Despite its name, the nation's smallest state, Rhode Island, is a part of the North American mainland.

Map by National Geographic Society
  • On July 8, 1663, King Charles II granted a charter to the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, part of British holdings in North America. The charter was unique among the colonies for several reasons.

    First, the charter guaranteed religious freedom, making Rhode Island a destination for religious minorities throughout the colonies. Second, colonists were granted a surprising degree of self-governance. They elected their own leaders and created their own laws. Finally, the charter recognized Native Americans as original owners of the land. All land used by colonists was required to be purchased from its native inhabitants.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    charter Noun

    document that outlines rules for how a state or other organization will be organized.

    destination Noun

    place where a person or thing is going.

    governance Noun

    system of government or political management.

    recognize Verb

    to identify or acknowledge.

    unique Adjective

    one of a kind.