When Rhode Island Did Become an Independent Sovereign State?
Rhode Island Independence Day is a state holiday in the state of Rhode Island in the United States on May 4 each year. It commemorates the state’s independence from Great Britain on May 4, 1776. On this day in 1776, Rhode Island, the colony founded by the most radical religious dissenters from the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay Colony, became the first North American colony to renounce its allegiance to King George III. Ironically, Rhode Island would be the last state to ratify the new American Constitution more than 14 years later on May 29, 1790. Rhode Island was thus the first independent sovereign state in the western world.
Providence Plantation was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, who was a Baptist preacher and had fled from religious persecution in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1644, the colony was recognized as an English colony and granted a charter by the English Parliament. The area later became known as the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
Rhode Island was one of the 13 colonies in North America that rebelled against the British rule in 1775 and the first to officially declare independence from the British Crown. The other twelve states were: New Hampshire; Massachusetts; Connecticut; New York; Pennsylvania; New Jersey; Delaware; Maryland; Virginia; North Carolina; South Carolina; and Georgia. On May 4, 1776, the general assembly in Rhode Island passed an act, which declared Rhode Island and Providence Plantations an independent state. The anniversary of this date has become known as Rhode Island Independence Day.
Rhode Island is on the eastern coast of the United States and is officially known as the “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations”. The flag of Rhode Island is a white rectangle in the proportions 29:33. A gold anchor representing hope and the maritime history of the state is at the center of the flag. A blue ribbon with the word “HOPE” in gold letters is depicted below the anchor. The anchor and ribbon are surrounded by 13 gold stars representing the 13 colonies in North America that rebelled against British rule in 1775.