Logo   History of Providence RI
Providence was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, whose freethinking religious ideas got him banished from the colony of Massachusetts Bay.




Roger Williams (1603-83) had been minister of the church at Salem MA, but he believed that the Massachusetts Bay charter was not legal; that the Puritans should face the fact that they had really separated from the Church of England; and that in matters of conscience, no civil authority had any power over the individual.

No wonder the powers-that-be thought him a dangerous man!

Because of his own belief in freethinking, he dedicated his new settlement of Providence to the proposition that all people should have freedom of conscience, and of worship.

A good number of people came from Massachusetts, and others came directly from England, to the new colony.

Williams had bought the land for the town from the Narragansett Indians, and he remained on very good terms with them, even writing a book on their language which was published and sold in England.

Providence became the first colony to declare independence from England, in May 1776.

After the Revolutionary War, it took over from Newport the position as the state's most important seaport.

It's still an important port, and its industries of textiles, machine tools, rubber, jewelry, and boatbuilding also contribute to its prosperity.

—by Tom Brosnahan

What to See & Do

Providence Walking Tour

Providence Hotels

Tourist Information


About Providence

Newport RI

Block Island RI

South County RI

  Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Old Houses, Providence RI

Historic houses line a street on College Hill, with the Rhode Island State House peeking above, in Providence RI.



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