Monday, July 25, 2016
6 Distracting Facts about Rhode Island
2. Rhode Island's official name is "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," which is the longest name of any US state. The "plantations" in the title was retained by voter decision in 2010 (the word is believed to have been used as a synonym for "colony" rather than as a term for a place where people were subjugated by other people).
4. In 1652, the colony passed a law to prevent slavery, but it was mostly ignored. During the Revolutionary War, the First Rhode Island Regiment was the first African American military unit to fight for the United States (on August 29, 1778). In spite of this, in the years following the Revolution, 60 - 90% of African slave trade was controlled by Rhode Island merchants.
5. During the Industrial Revolution of the early 1800s, many people moved to cities to find work in factories and mills. By 1829, 60% of the state's free white males were ineligible to vote because they weren't landowners. Eventually, a poll tax of $1.00 was established, allowing landless white men to vote if they could pay the tax.