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Rhode Island Colleges

Rhode Island Colleges


Rhode Island Ė more particularly, Providence Rhode Island Ė was founded by Roger Williams in 1636 after he was exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony by religious zealots.  He was joined by other religious exiles, and from the start Rhode Islandís independent and rebellious character was established.  Settlers there burned two British cutters in 1775 and later, the state refused to join in the War of 1812.  Newport was a notorious haven for pirates and for sailors who joined the pirates and privateers that sailed the Atlantic taking nautical prizes and dividing up the booty.


The state is heavily industrialized and has been for one hundred fifty years.  It is a major center for the manufacture of jewelry; electronics, plastic products and boat construction are also prominent Rhode Island industries. 


Providence is a wholesale distribution center for New England.  By far the largest city, Providence has a metropolitan area of over one million people although the city houses less than two hundred thousand.  The city has been an urban renewal success story in the northeast in the last twenty years, cleaning up antiquated industrial areas and attracting new business.


Pawtucket is a former textile center where some two dozen former textile mills have been turned into galleries.  The coastline of Rhode Island is one of its principal economic assets due to the tourist traffic it draws.  The Narragansett Bay extends well inland along the Rhode Island Coast and shapes the stateís coastline.  Pawtucket is an example of one of Rhode Islandís cities developing its own tourist attractions to draw people on their way to Newport or Block Island or some other summer retreat.


Newport is famous for the mansions left behind by the wealthy families that used to spend their summers there.  It is still a vital coastal town and popular sailing spot.  The Americaís Cup has been held in Narragansett Bay several times.  The coast and the stateís few cities also have a number of historical attractions in the form of colonial buildings and old commercial areas.


The state does have some small agricultural operations, truck farmers who are raising berries and market vegetables.  Half the state is forested and there are a number of parks within its borders.  Rhode Island is, in a sense, a comfortable extension of Massachusetts, lacking its tension and the high-finance tenor of its business community but every bit as steeped in New England tradition, coastal beauty and architectural heritage as Massachusetts. 


Rhode Islandís entry in the Ivy League is Brown University in Providence.  Also in Providence you will find Rhode Island School of Design, a long established and well respected institute for art oriented students and, on a historical note, the place where the Talking Heads met as students and formed a band.  The University of Rhode Island is in Kingston. 


For the mainstream student who doesnít live in Rhode Island, probably none of these schools make much sense.  On the other hand, itís quite possible that employment opportunity may appear on the horizon in Providence, known since the 1990s as ďThe Renaissance City.Ē  Donít discount the place, simply because itís impossible to find on a map.

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