Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States, located in New England; bounded by Massachusetts (N and E), the Atlantic Ocean (S), and Connecticut (W). Its official name is the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
Area, 1,214 sq mi (3,144 sq km).
Pop. (2000) 1,048,319, a 4.5% increase since the 1990 census.
Capital and largest city, Providence.
Nickname, Little Rhody.
State bird, Rhode Island red.
State flower, violet.
Rhode Island is the smallest of the 50 states and except for New Jersey the most densely populated. The dominant physiographic feature of the state is the Narragansett basin, a shallow lowland area of Carboniferous sediments, extending into SE Massachusetts and, in Rhode Island, partly submerged as Narragansett Bay . The bay cuts inland c.30 mi (50 km) to Providence, where it receives the Blackstone River; it contains several islands, including Rhode Island (or Aquidneck), the largest (and the site of historic Newport); Conanicut Island, with the resort of Jamestown ; and Prudence Island.
Although more than half of Rhode Island is covered with forests, it is highly urbanized. Providence is the capital and the largest city; other important cities are Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, and Newport .
Rhode Island's coast is lined with resorts noted for their swimming and boating facilities, and windswept Block Island is a favorite vacation spot. Narragansett Bay is famous for its sailboats and yachts. The America's Cup yacht race has been held in Newport several times, beginning in 1930 and most recently in 1983. The state also has many historic attractions.
Rhode Island's traditional manufacturing economy has diversified and is now also based on services, trade (retail and wholesale), and finance. In spite of this, many of the products for which Rhode Island is famous are still being manufactured. These include jewelry, silverware, textiles, primary and fabricated metals, machinery, electrical equipment, and rubber and plastic items. Tourism is also important.
Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright (c) 2003.