Return to homeFacts: http://www.50states.com/rdisland.htm
Government: https://www.ri.gov/index.php Rhode Island is 1,231 sq. mls. Its official name is
State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
(WSJ, 6/2/99, p.CA4)(SSFC, 12/17/06, p.G5)
Williams (d.1683) was born in London. After a brief period as a
Baptist, the founder of the Rhode Island Colony and colonial
religious leader, became a Seeker—one who adhered to the basic
tenets of Christianity but refused to recognize any creed. Williams
was the first champion of complete religious toleration in America.
(HNQ, 5/1/99)(WSJ, 6/21/05, p.D10)
1631 Feb 5, The founder
of Rhode Island, Roger Williams, and his wife arrived in
Boston from England.
1635 Oct 9, Religious dissident
Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony (Mass.
Bay Company). Enforcement was delayed until the following January
due to illness. He became a founder of Rhode Island.
(AP, 10/9/01)(AH, 4/07, p.26)
1636 Jun, Roger Williams and
his followers founded Providence, Rhode Island, on land purchased
from the Narragansett Indians. The settlement was governed by
policies of democracy and religious tolerance.
1637 Nov 7-1637 Nov 8, Anne
Hutchinson (b.1591) and her followers were tried as heretics and
banished from the Mass Bay colony to Rhode Island.
1637 Roger Williams
(1603-1683), minister, founded Providence, Rhode Island, after
spending the winter with Indians. He created a haven for dissenters.
(WSJ, 6/21/05, p.D10)
1639 May 8, William Coddington
founded Newport, RI.
1639 Roger Williams of
Providence, Rhode Island, embraced the Baptist faith long enough to
help found the first Baptist church in America. After 4 months he
abandoned the Baptist congregation and left organized religion
(AH, 4/07, p.27)
1643 Roger Williams of
Providence, Rhode Island, published “A Key into the Language of
America,” a dictionary of the Narragansett Indian language and a
commentary on the culture and customs of the southern New England
Indians. The work was printed in England by Gregory Dexter.
(AH, 4/07, p.27)
1644 Mar 14, Roger Williams of
Providence, Rhode Island, was issued a charter in the name of the
king, which connected the towns of Providence, Portsmouth, and
Newport under the title of "the Incorporation of Providence
Plantations in the Narragansett Bay in New England." A March 24 date
is also common for this and reflects later use of the new style
1644 Roger Williams published
“The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution,” a sweeping condemnation of
Massachusetts’s intolerance and a manifesto defending the rights of
each individual to decide, according to his own conscience, how best
to worship god without interference from any civil authority.
(AH, 4/07, p.27)
1652 May 18, A law was passed
in Rhode Island banning slavery in the colonies but it caused little
stir and was not enforced. More than 1,000 slave voyages were
mounted from Rhode Island, mostly in the 18th century, carrying more
than 100,000 Africans into slavery.
(HN, 5/18/99)(Reuters, 3/29/07)
1654 Roger Williams (1603-1683)
was elected as the 9th president of President of the Colony of Rhode
Island and Providence Plantations.
1662 Jan 27, 1st American lime
kiln began operation in Providence RI.
1663 Jul 15, King Charles II of
England granted John Clarke a charter for the colony of Rhode Island
guaranteeing freedom of worship. He granted the charter giving the
Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations an elected
governor and legislature. Roger Williams (1603-1683) authored the
Rhode Island and Providence Plantation Charter, which stated that
religion and conscience should never be restrained by civil
(http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/ri04.asp)(AH, 4/07, p.21)
1675 Feb 10, Narragansett and
Nipmuck Indians raided Lancaster, Mass. Over 35 villagers were
killed and 24 were taken captive including Mary Rowlandson and her 3
children. Rowlandson was freed after 11 weeks and an account of her
captivity was published posthumously in 1682. Wakefield, Rhode
Island, USA, The Great Swamp Memorial marks the site where 4,000
Indians died in defense of a secret fort.
(Postcard, Wakefield Chamber of Commerce)(AH,
1675 Dec 19, Some 1,000
colonial troops attacked the Narragansett winter village in Rhode
Island. The Great Swamp Fight ended with some 80 English killed and
600 Indians dead, mostly women and children. Wakefield, Rhode
Island, USA, The Great Swamp Memorial marks the site where 4,000
Indians died in defense of a secret fort.
(Postcard, Wakefield Chamber of Commerce)(AH,
1676 Mar 29, Wampanoag allies
including Narragansetts destroyed Providence, Rhode Island. The
house of Roger Williams was destroyed as he negotiated with Indian
leaders on the outskirts of town.
(AH, 6/02, p.48)(AH, 4/07, p.29)
1676 Aug 12, Indian chief King
Philip, also known as Metacom, was killed by a Pocasset Indian
named Alderman in the swamps of Rhode Island. This ended the King
Philip’s War. Benjamin Church, a Plymouth volunteer, ordered that
Philip be beheaded and quartered. [see Aug 28]
(AH, 6/02, p.50)
1676 Aug 28, Indian chief King
Philip, also known as Metacom, was killed by English soldiers,
ending the war between Indians and colonists. [see Aug 12]
1676 Roger Williams published
“George Fox Digg’d Out of His Burrowes.” It was an account of his
debates with the Quakers in Newport and Providence.
(AH, 4/07, p.28)
1683 Apr 1, Roger Williams
(b.1603) died in poverty in Rhode Island. Williams died at
Providence between, his wife Mary having predeceased him in 1676.
Williams was the first champion of complete religious toleration in
America. In 2005 Edwin S. Gaustad authored the biography “Roger
1754 Jun 19, The Albany
Congress opened. New York colonial Gov. George Clinton called for
the meeting to discuss better relations with Indian tribes and
common defensive measures against the French. The attendees included
Indians and representatives from Connecticut, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode
Island. Benjamin Franklin attended and presented his Plan of Union,
which was adopted by the conference. The meeting ended on July 11.
1761 Jun 10, Puritan version of
"Othello" opened in Newport, Rhode Island.
1762 Aug 22, Ann Franklin
became the first female editor of an American newspaper, the
Newport, Rhode Island “Mercury.”
1763 Dec 2, Touro Shul, the
oldest existing US synagogue, was dedicated in Newport, RI.
1764 Brown University was
(SFC, 11/9/00, p.A22)
1765 More than 100 Africans
perished on the slave ship Sally in the voyage from Africa. Some
hanged themselves or starved to death. Some rebelled and were shot
dead or drowned. In 2007 the ship's log book, detailing the deaths
of slaves that occurred almost daily aboard the ship, was encased in
glass in an exhibit at Brown University.
1772 Jun 9, The 1st naval
attack of Revolutionary War took place when residents of Providence,
RI., stormed the HMS Gaspee, burned it to the waterline and shot the
captain. A Rhode Island ship captain lured the British schooner HMS
Gaspee, sent to Narragansett Bay to enforce trade laws, into shallow
waters a few miles south of Providence, where it ran aground.
Colonists in Providence heard the news and rowed out to it. Later,
no one would tell King George III who set fire to the ship.
(WSJ, 6/24/03, p.A1)(AP, 6/7/18)
1774 Jun 13, Rhode Island
became the 1st colony to prohibit importation of slaves.
1776 Jan 16, Continental
Congress approved the enlistment of free blacks. This led to the
all-black First Rhode Island Regiment, composed of 33 freedmen and
92 slaves, who were promised freedom if they served to the end of
the war. The regiment distinguished itself at the Battle of Newport.
(SFEC,11/23/97, Par p.19)(MC, 1/16/02)
1776 May 4,
Rhode Island declared its freedom from England, two months before
the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
(AP, 5/4/97) (HN, 5/4/98)
1778 Feb 28, Rhode Island
General Assembly authorized the enlistment of slaves.
1778 British troops ordered
ships in Newport Harbor to be sunk as French naval forces
(SFC, 3/12/99, p.A9)
1785 Jul 4, The first Fourth of
July parade was held in Bristol. It served as a prayerful walk to
celebrate independence from England.
(SFC, 7/5/97, p.A3)
1785 Aug 20, Oliver Hazard
Perry, US Naval hero ("We have met the enemy"), was born in Rhode
1787 May 25, The Constitutional
Convention convened in Philadelphia after enough delegates showed up
for a quorum. The Founding Fathers turned to the Rushworth's
Collections of England for revolutionary precedents. George
Washington presided. [see May 25, 1777] Rhode Island refused to send
(AP, 5/25/97)(WSJ, 3/10/99, p.A22)(HN,
5/25/99)(Econ, 9/16/06, p.44)
1790 May 29, Rhode Island
became the last of the 13 original colonies to ratify the United
States Constitution. They held out for an amendment securing
religious freedom. The state was largely founded by Baptists fleeing
persecution in Massachusetts.
(SFC, 6/24/96, p.A19)(AP, 5/29/97)(HN, 5/29/98)
1790 Dec 20, In Pawtucket,
Rhode Island, 23-year-old British subject Samuel Slater began
production of the first American spinning mill. The British
jealously guarded their technological superiority in the early
stages of the Industrial Revolution, making it illegal for
machinery, plans and even the men who built and repaired them to
leave the country. After serving a 7-year mill apprenticeship in
England, Slater recognized the potential offered in America. He
memorized the plans for intricate machine specifications, disguised
himself as a farm worker and in 1789 sailed to a new life across the
Atlantic. Slater entered into a partnership with Rhode Island
merchant Moses Brown and built a small spinning mill--the equivalent
of 72 spinning wheels. At first, Slater's Mill employed only a
handful of children between the ages of 7 and 12, but by 1800, he
had more than 100 employees. By the time of Slater's death in 1835,
he owned or had an interest in 13 textile mills and left an estate
of almost $700,000. From this small beginning, America's own
Industrial Revolution grew. [see Dec 21]
(AP, 12/20/97)(HNPD, 12/20/98)(WSJ, 9/23/04,
1790 Dec 21, Samuel Slater
opened the first cotton mill in the United States in Rhode Island.
[see Dec 20]
1798 Dec 14, David Wilkinson of
Rhode Island patented a nut and bolt machine.
1800 Jan, Pierre Samuel du Pont
de Nemours, his two sons and their families, arrived in Newport from
(SFC, 7/10/00, p.A32)
1811 Jan 9, The USS Revenge, a
ship commanded by US Navy hero Oliver Hazard Perry ran aground on a
reef off of Watch Hill, Rhode Island. Divers discovered the wreck in
August 2005, but only made the news public in 2011.
1831 Gorham Silver Co. was
founded in Providence, RI. Their coin silver products indicated
metal that was 900 parts silver out of a total of 1000 metal parts.
(SFC, 3/9/05, p.G4)
1835 Dec 3, 1st US mutual fire
insurance company issued 1st policy in RI.
1850 Oct 19, Annie Smith Peck
(d.1935), one of the world’s renowned mountain climbers, was born in
Providence, Rhode Island.
1851 Fruit of the Loom was
founded in Rhode Island as the B.B and R Knight Corporation and
changed its name in 1856. Robert Knight, a textile mill owner,
visited his friend, Rufus Skeel. Mr. Skeel owned a small shop in
Providence, Rhode Island that sold cloth from Mr. Knight's mill. Mr.
Skeel's daughter painted images of apples and applied them to the
bolts of cloth. The ones with the apple emblems proved most popular.
Mr. Knight thought the labels would be the perfect symbol for his
trade name, Fruit of the Loom.
1854 Chickens, later called
Rhode Island Reds, were first bred in R.I.
(SFEC, 8/29/99, Z1 p.8)
1862 May 9, US Naval Academy
was relocated from Annapolis MD to Newport, RI.
1866 Aug 11, The world's 1st
roller rink opened at Newport, RI.
1870 A Rhode Island company
began making the Howell torpedo, the first to follow a track without
leaving a wake. It made 50 by 1889 when a rival company copied and
surpassed the design.
(SSFC, 5/19/13, p.A7)
1871 Robert Knight, Rhode
Island textile mill owner, secured patent number 418 for the brand
Fruit of the Loom.
1872 Jun 4, Harvey Flint
(d.1882) patented his Quaker Bitters, a general cure-all with 21.4%
alcohol. He had recently left a family furniture business in
Providence, Rhode Island, and began making Quaker Bitters under the
name Flint & Co.
1878 Linguist Maximilian
(Maximilien) Delphinius Berlitz (1852-1921) opened his first Berlitz
language school in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2001 Berlitz
became a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan’s Benesse Corporation.
1881 Aug 31, The first U.S.
tennis championships (for men) were played, in Newport, R.I.
1884 Oct 6, The US Naval War
College was established in Newport, R.I.
1890 Aug 20, H.P. Lovecraft
(d.1937), author of horror tales, was born in Providence, RI.
(HN, 8/20/98)(SSFC, 2/27/05, p.B1)
1892 Jan 17, In Exeter, Rhode
Island, Mercy Brown (19), rumored to be a vampire, died of
consumption. Some believed her story inspired Bram Stoker’s 1897
1895 Apr 24, Joshua Slocum
(1844-1909), a Canadian-American sailor, began a voyage around the
world from Boston in a 37-foot rebuilt fishing boat called the
Spray. He ended on Jun 27, 1898, at Newport, Rhode Island. His
record was not beaten until 1938. In 1899 Slocum authored "Sailing
Alone Around the World."
3/9/00, p.A27)(WSJ, 6/21/08, p.W8)
1895 Oct 4, The first U.S. Open
golf tournament was held, at the Newport Country Club in Rhode
Island. At the US Amateur Golf Championship at Newport, R.I.,
officials ruled against the prone position use of a pool cue to sink
(AP, 10/4/97)(SFC, 11/29/97, p.C3)
1895 Cornelius Vanderbilt built
his 70-room mansion, the Breakers, in Newport, Rhode Island.
(USAT, 5/8/98, p.3D)
1898 Jun 27, Joshua Slocum
(1844-1909) became the first person to sail single-handedly around
the world. His voyage began on April 24, 1895 in Boston and ended on
this day at Newport, Rhode Island.
1901 Jun 29, Nelson Eddy,
baritone (Met opera, film star, duets with Jeanette MacDonald), was
born in Providence, RI.
1907 Feb 11, The passenger ship
Larchmont was steaming through a winter storm in heavy seas, 4 miles
southwest of Watch Hill, Rhode Island when she was rammed by the
coal carrying schooner Harry P. Knowles, which had drifted off
course in the blizzard. The Larchmont sank in 10 minutes and only 19
men including the captain, George McVey survived the ordeal.
1907 Feb 12, Bodies continued
to wash ashore from the steamer Larchmont, which had collided the
previous with a schooner off New England's Block Island. The
vessel's quartermaster, James E. Staples, claimed a loss of 332.
1910 Oct 17, Julia Ward Howe,
prominent American abolitionist, social activist, poet, died at her
home in Rhode Island. She was the author of "The Battle Hymn of the
Republic". In 2016 Elaine Showalter authored “The Civil Wars of
Julia Ward Howe. A Biography.”
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Ward_Howe)(Econ, 2/20/15, p.74)
1916 Aug 25, Van Johnson
(d.2008), film actor, was born in Newport, RI.
(SFC, 12/13/08, p.A5)
1937 Mar 15, H.P. Lovecraft
(b.1890), author of horror tales whose works included "The Color out
of Space," died in Providence, RI.
(HN, 8/20/98)(SSFC, 2/27/05, p.B1)
1939 Nov 14, Wendy (Walter)
Carlos, composer (Switched on Bach), was born in Pawtucket, RI.
1939 The heirs of financier
Nelson W. Aldrich sold his 70-room Narragansett Bay beachfront
estate for a token amount to the Catholic Providence diocese.
(WSJ, 5/15/02, p.A1)
1940 In Rhode Island the
Jamestown Bridge was completed. It connected North Kingstown and
Jamestown. It was demolished in 2006 and replaced by the
(SFC, 4/19/06, p.A3)
c1941 In Quonset, R.I., Harry
Cobden (d.1999 at 95) co-designed a quick-to-construct steel
building for the Navy. It was called a Quonset Hut.
(SFC, 6/23/99, p.C2)
1941 The Narragansett Bay Plum
Beach Lighthouse at North Kingston, R.I., closed. A restoration in
2003 removed 60 tons of pigeon guano.
(SFC, 12/2/03, p.A2)
1942 Apr 13, Bill Conti,
composer (For Your Eyes Only, Rocky IV), was born in Providence, RI.
1947 Apr 18, James Woods, actor
(Salvador, Against All Odds), was born in Warwick, RI.
1954 The first Newport Jazz
Festival was organized by George Wein and held on the lawn of the
Lorrilard estate in Newport, R.I.
(SFC, 6/30/96, B9)
1956 May 26, Aircraft carrier
"Bennington" burned off RI, killing 103.
1957 Sep 14, Pres. Eisenhower
met with Arkansas Gov. Faubus in Rhode Island. Faubus agreed to
cooperate with the president’s decisions regarding the high schools
of Little Rock.
1959 The Newport Folk Festival
(WSJ, 7/28/98, p.A16)
1960 Oct 20, The 1st fully
mechanized post office opened in Providence, RI.
1965 Jul 25, Bob Dylan played a
Fender Stratocaster at the Newport Folk Festival, RI. In 2015 Elijah
Wald authored “Dylan Goes Electric! Newport, Seeger, Dylan, and the
Night that Split the Sixties.”
(SFC, 7/20/15, p.E2)
1965 Rev. Edward Flannery
(d.1998 at 86) of Providence, R.I., published “The Anguish of the
Jews: Twenty-three Centuries of Anti-Semitism.
(SFC, 10/23/98, p.D7)
1969 The Newport, RI., Music
(WSJ, 7/15/04, p.D8)
1973 Oct 3, The Providence
Journal in Rhode Island ran a story by journalist Jack White
(1942-2005) that revealed Pres. Nixon and his wife paid just $793 in
income taxes in 1970 and $878 in 1971 and received tax refunds
totaling over $131,000. Nixon claimed a $570,000 tax deduction for
donating his vice-presidential papers to the government. Nixon later
agreed to pay $476,000 in back taxes.
(WSJ, 12/15/95, p.A-8)(SFC, 10/13/05, p.B7)
1974 Vincent Cianci Jr. was
elected mayor of Providence.
(WSJ, 8/5/03, p.D6)
1974 Betty Hutton (1921-2007),
former Hollywood film star underwent a detox program in Rhode
Island. Under the guidance of Father Peter McGuire she finished her
high school education and later became a faculty member at Salve
Regina University in Newport, R.I., where she taught classes in TV
(SFC, 3/14/07, p.A2)
1976 Former Gov. John O.
Pastore retired after 25 years as a US Senator .
(SFEC, 7/16/00, p.B9)
1977 Superior Court Judge
Thomas Needham (d.2000) ruled that Rhode Island wives were required
to use their husbands’ surnames. The State later overturned his
(SFC, 3/30/00, p.C5)
1978 The Cuban jazz band
Irakere performed at the Newport Jazz Festival.
(SFC, 6/16/96, BR
1980 In Providence a fiberglass
sculpture of a termite was erected by the New England Pest Control
Co. overlooking I-95 for $20,000. The termite was named Nibbles
Woodaway in 1990.
(SFC, 5/23/01, p.B4)
1982 Mar 16, Claus Von Bulow
was found guilty in Newport, R.I., of trying to kill his
now-comatose wife, Martha, with insulin. Von Bulow was acquitted in
1984 In Rhode Island Vincent
Cianci, the mayor of Providence, was forced to resign after a decade
on the job after being convicted of assaulting a man with a
cigarette, an ashtray and a log. He was re-elected in 1990. In 2002
he was brought down by a federal racketeering probe and served
nearly five years in prison.
(Econ, 7/5/14, p.26)
1985 Jun 10, Socialite Claus
von Bulow was acquitted by a jury in Providence, Rhode Island, at
his retrial on charges he’d tried to murder his heiress wife, Martha
“Sunny” von Bulow.
1987 Jul 27, In Warwick, RI,
Craig Price (13) crept across his neighbor's yard, broke into a
little brown house on Inez Avenue and stabbed Rebecca Spencer 58
times. She was a 27-year-old mother of two. On Sep 1, 1989, he
butchered Joan Heaton (39) with kitchen knives she had bought
earlier that day. The bodies of her daughters, Jennifer 10, and
Melissa 8, were found in pools of blood, pieces of knives broken off
in their bones; Jennifer had been stabbed 62 times. Price was
scheduled to be released in 1994 but was sentenced to 15 years,
seven to serve and eight suspended, following contempt charges and
belligerent statements. Fights in prison added more time to his
sentence. As of 2007 Price's scheduled release date was February
2022. He will be 48.
1988 Jan 6, Christine Cole (10)
disappeared in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Her lifeless body washed up
on a beach some 15 miles away in the city of Warwick, 54 days later.
On July 18, 2019, the Pawtucket Police Department, having used DNA
evidence announced the arrest of a suspect in her murder, Joao
Monteiro (59) of Central Falls, Rhode Island.
(ABC News, 7/19/19)
1993 Rhode Island repealed its
nautical taxes and became something of a nautical tax haven.
(SFC, 7/24/10, p.A6)
1997 The first Terrastock music
festival was held in Providence R.I. In 1998 the festival moved to
(SFC, 4/20/98, p.D1)
1999 Oct 24, R.I. Senator John
Chafee died in Maryland at age 77. He was first elected to the state
Legislature in 1956 and served 3 terms as governor. He was also a
veteran of the Korean War and served as Secretary of the Navy.
(SFC, 10/26/99, p.A5)(SFEC, 6/25/00, Par p.4)
2000 Jan 28, In Providence
Cornel Young Jr., 28, an off duty police officer, was shot dead by 2
police officers when he tried to assist in a street confrontation.
In April a grand jury decided not to file charges against the
(SFC, 2/4/00, p.D3)(SFC, 4/19/00, p.A8)
2000 Jul 15, Former governor
and senator John O. Pastore died at age 93.
(SFEC, 7/16/00, p.B9)
2000 Aug 23, The final winner
of the "Survivor" TV contest set on Pulau Tiga island was broadcast
to as many as 40-50 million viewers. Richard Hatch (39), a corporate
trainer from Newport, R.I., won the $1 million grand prize. In 2006
Hatch was convicted on three counts related to tax evasion and was
sentenced to 51 months in federal prison plus three years of
(SFC, 8/23/00, p.A1)(SFC, 8/24/00,
2000 Nov 9, Ruth Simmons was
named the 18th Pres. of Brown Univ. She became the 1st African
American to head an Ivy League institution.
(SFC, 11/9/00, p.A22)
2001 Apr 2, Vincent Cianci Jr.
(59), mayor of Providence, RI, was indicted by a federal grand jury
on racketeering charges. Cianci was convicted on a single count of
racketeering conspiracy in Jun, 2002, and sentenced to 5 years and 4
months in jail on Sep 6. In 2003 Mike Stanton authored "The Prince
of Providence," a biography of Cianci.
(SFC, 4/3/01, p.A2)(SFC, 6/25/02, p.A4)(SFC,
9/7/02, p.A3)(WSJ, 8/5/03, p.D5)
2001 Jul 19, Rhode Island
became the 3rd state, behind Minnesota and Connecticut, to extend
civil rights protections to transsexuals and cross-dressers.
(SFC, 7/20/01, p.A5)
2002 Apr, Provincetown acquired
the Russian submarine Juliett 484 as an attraction to raise money
for a museum centered on the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, yet to
be acquired. Russia launched Juliett in 1968 as a diesel sub that
carried 4 nuclear missiles. In 1994 it was taken from the Liepaja
naval base in Latvia to Helsinki, Finland, for use as a restaurant
and bar. In 1998 it was towed to St. Petersburg but failed as a
tourist attraction. In 2001 she taken to Halifax for use in the
movie “K-19: The Widowmaker.”
(WSJ, 5/24/02, p.A1)
2002 Jun 8, Carlos Pacheco, an
employee at the Providence Journal production plant, killed 2
co-workers and wounded another. He was later found dead in a burned
out car in Warwick.
(SSFC, 6/9/02, p.A20)
2003 Feb 20, In Rhode
Island The Station, a West Warwick nightclub, erupted in a raging
fire during a pyrotechnics display at a rock concert, 98 people were
killed and 200 others injured. Flammable soundproofing was later
blamed. In Feb, 2006, Dan Biechele, manager of the band, pleaded
guilty to 100 counts of manslaughter in exchange for up to 10 years
in prison. He was sentenced to 4 years in prison. In 2008
Anheuser-Busch and a Rhode Island beer distributor agreed to pay $21
million to settle lawsuits brought by survivors of the fire.
(SFC, 2/22/03, A1)(WSJ, 3/3/03, p.A1)(SFC,
2/1/06, p.A3)(SFC, 5/11/06, p.A7)(SFC, 5/24/08, p.A3)
2003 Dec 9, Jeffrey and Michael
Derderian, owners of a Rhode Island nightclub, and Dan Biechele, the
tour manager for the rock band Great White, were indicted on charges
related to the February 20 fire that killed 100 people. In 2006 a
judge gave the owners 4 years and probation.
(AP, 12/9/04)(SFC, 5/10/06, p.A7)(WSJ, 9/30/06,
2004 Jun, Doctors at Rhode
Island Hospital implanted a BrainGate, pea-size sensor made by
Cyberkinetics, in the brain of Matthew Nagle, a quadriplegic, which
connected to computer. Over a 9-month period he learned to use his
mind to control motion on a video monitor and a robotic arm. The
journal Nature reported the results of the experiment on July 13,
(SFC, 7/13/06, p.A1)(Econ, 7/15/06, p.77)
2005 Mar 26, A small plane,
carrying 2 Rhode Island families from vacation in Florida, crashed
near Penn. State Univ. All 6 people aboard were killed.
(SSFC, 3/27/05, p.A3)
2006 Jan 3, Rhode Island became
the 11th state to legalize medical marijuana and the first since the
U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that patients who use the drug can
still be prosecuted under federal law.
2006 Jan 25, "Survivor" Richard
Hatch was convicted in Providence, R.I., of failing to pay taxes on
his $1 million winnings. He was later sentenced to more than four
years in prison.
2006 Feb 22, A Rhode Island
jury found 3 companies, Sherwin-Williams, NL Industries and
Millennium Holdings, liable for creating a public nuisance by
selling lead paint decades ago, and that the companies should pay to
clean it up from homes and buildings in the state.
(WSJ, 2/23/06, p.D7)
2006 Feb 25, In Rhode Island
Brown University announced it will stop investing in companies that
do business in Sudan because the country has been accused of
2006 Apr 18, In Rhode Island
the 1940 Jamestown Bridge was demolished. It connected North
Kingstown and Jamestown and was replaced by the Jamestown-Verrazano
(SFC, 4/19/06, p.A3)
2006 Apr 28, Rhode Island,
America's smallest state, was reported to be seeking to become the
first state to offer a wireless broadband network from border to
border. The Rhode Island Wireless Innovation Networks (RI-WINs) was
expected to be fully in place by 2007, providing wireless
connectivity throughout the state, whose land mass of about 1,045
square miles is only slightly more than double the size of
metropolitan Los Angeles.
2006 Sep 29, A Rhode Island
nightclub owner was sentenced to four years in prison and his
brother to probation, angering relatives of the 100 people who died
in a 2003 fire at their club.
2006 Dec 15, New US rules went
into effect governing the reporting of public sector pension assets.
A number of US states faced pension asset shortfalls. Taxpayers in
Connecticut and Rhode Island faced some $3500 in unfunded
liabilities per citizen. California faced $49 billion in unfunded
(Econ, 11/18/06, p.36)
2007 Mar 3, Warren Alpert
(b.1920), philanthropist, died in NYC. In 1950 he formed Warren
Equities Inc., which became one of the largest independent gasoline
and convenience store marketers and one of the leading independent
wholesale petroleum marketers in the Northeast. In 1986 Alpert
founded the Warren Alpert Foundation, a philanthropic effort devoted
to supporting medical research and health care. On Jan 29 it was
announced that he had donated $100 million to Rhode Island’s Brown
(WSJ, 3/5/07, p.A1)(http://tinyurl.com/25gd5v)
2007 Rhode Island lawmakers
ended a 51-year prohibition on Sunday auto sales.
(WSJ, 11/6/08, p.A14)
2008 Mar 4, John McCain
clinched the Republican nomination. Hillary Clinton won primaries in
Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, halting Barack Obama's winning streak.
Obama won in Vermont. Obama came away with a large share of
delegates, too, in counting that continued.
2008 May 26, David Mumford of
Brown University said he would donate his $33,333 portion of the
prestigious Israeli mathematics Wolf Prize, to a Palestinian
university and an Israeli group that tries to ease Israeli travel
restrictions on Palestinian students.
2009 Jan 1, Claiborne Pell
(b.1918), former US Senator from Rhode Island (1660-1997), died. He
was the chief sponsor of the 1965 law establishing the national
Endowment for the Arts and the national Endowment for the
Humanities. He also sponsored legislation creating the Basic
Educational Opportunities Grants (1972), which provided direct aid
to college students. The awards were renamed the Pell Grants in
(SFC, 1/2/09, p.B6)
2009 May, Rhode Island under
Gov. Donald Carcieri projected a budget gap of $372 million for the
year ending June 30. Carcieri pushed a plan to phase out the state’s
9% corporate tax rate to improve the state’s friendliness towards
(Econ, 5/2/09, p.34)
2009 Jun 16, Rhode Island
became the 3rd state in the US to allow marijuana sales to
chronically ill patients as the General Assembly voted to override a
veto by Gov. Don Carcieri.
(SFC, 6/17/09, p.A7)
2010 Mar 2, In Rhode Island the
Central Falls Teachers’ Union pledged to support reforms. The school
board had voted last week to fire 93 teachers and staff from the
high school after the end of the school year. On May 16 the school
district announced that it had reached an agreement with the union
to return all staffers.
(SFC, 3/4/10, p.A8)(SFC, 5/17/10, p.A4)
2010 Mar 31, Flooding
across the US Northeast forced hundreds of residents from their
homes, knocked out sewage plants, and snarled traffic on major East
Coast routes as roads. Rhode Island endured the most severe damage
as the Pawtuxet reached 20.8 feet unleashing the worst flooding in
over 200 years.
(AP, 3/31/10)(Econ, 4/10/10, p.32)
2011 Aug 1, Central Falls,
Rhode Island, filed for bankruptcy as it faced unfunded pension and
benefit liabilities nearly 4 times its annual budget. Former state
Supreme Court Justice Robert G. Flanders Jr. became the receiver
superseding the powers of the elected city officials.
2011 Aug, The US Department of
Justice announced that Google had agreed to pay $500 million to
settle allegations that it allowed Canadian-based "rogue pharmacies"
-- which offer counterfeit medications or do not require valid
prescriptions -- to run ads through AdWords. In 2012 Rhode
Island received about $230 million of the $500 million
2011 Sep 23, Federal agents in
Rhode Island said they have put a major dent in the ranks of the New
England mafia with the arrests of Edward Lato (64), Alfred Scivola
(70), Raymond Jenkins (47) and Albino Folcarelli (53).
(SFC, 9/24/11, p.A4)
2012 Mar 6, Louise White (81)
of Newport, RI, claimed last month’s $336.4 million Powerball
(SFC, 3/7/12, p.A7)
2012 May 14, Rhode Island Gov.
Lincoln Chafee issued an executive order that the state will
recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.
(SFC, 5/15/12, p.A6)
2012 Jul 8, Dozens of women who
attended a Rhode Island high school run by the disgraced Legion of
Christ religious order urged the Vatican to close the program,
saying the psychological abuse they endured trying to live like
teenage nuns led to multiple cases of anorexia, stress-induced
migraines, depression and even suicidal thoughts. On July 12 The
Legion's lay branch Regnum Christi posted a statement on its website
(AP, 7/9/12)(AP, 7/13/12)
2012 Nov 14, In Rhode Island
Anthony L. DiNunzio, acting head of the New England Mafia, was
sentenced to 6½ years in prison for shaking down local strip clubs
for protection money.
(SFC, 11/15/12, p.A8)
2012 Nov 19, In Rhode Island
Charles Moreau, the former mayor of Central Falls. Pleaded guilty to
accepting gifts from a supporter who received a lucrative city
(SFC, 11/20/12, p.A8)
2012 Nov 30, US Interior Sec.
Ken Salazar said the government plans to sell leases for wind farms
off the coasts of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Virginia.
(SFC, 12/1/12, p.A5)
2013 Jan 1, Ten states kicked
off the new year with a minimum wage rise of between 10 and 35
cents. The rises went into effect in Arizona, Colorado, Florida,
Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and
2013 Feb 9, A record-breaking
blizzard packing hurricane-force winds hammered the northeastern
United States, cutting power to 700,000 homes and businesses,
shutting down travel and leaving at least five people dead. The
storm centered its fury on Connecticut, Rhode Island and
Massachusetts. 38 inches fell in Milford, Connecticut. 29.3 inches
fell on Portland, Maine, breaking a 1979 record.
2013 Apr 16, Rhode Island held
a gun buy-back day and netted 186 firearms.
(Econ, 4/27/13, p.31)
2013 May 2, Rhode Island became
the nation's 10th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed as
Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill into law.
2013 Aug 1, US gay couples
exchanged vows in Minnesota and Rhode Island as the number of states
allowing same sex marriages grew to 13 plus Washington DC.
(SFC, 8/2/13, p.A6)
2013 Nov 1, In Rhode Island
Ralph Mariano (55), was sentenced to 10 years in prison as the
mastermind of a kickback scheme that cost the Navy $18 million.
(SFC, 11/2/13, p.A6)
2014 Feb 28, In Rhode Island
former Central Falls mayor Charles Moreau, convicted in 2012 of
corruption, was freed from prison after pleading guilty to accepting
a bribe. An appeals court had thrown his earlier conviction into
(SFC, 3/1/14, p.A5)
2014 Sep 17, In the US version
of the Mayors Challenge, announced by former NYC Mayor Michael
Bloomberg, the $5 million top prize went to Providence, Rhode
Island. Its project called for improving poor children's vocabulary
by outfitting them with recording devices if their parents agreed.
2016 Jul 20, Rhode Island Gov.
Gina Raimondo signed legislation banning the use of bullhooks to
train elephants, making her state the first to do so.
(http://tinyurl.com/hrewt2q)(SFC, 7/22/16, p.A7)
2016 Dec 26, In Rhode Island
the occupation of a tribal government building by a faction of the
Narragansett tribe entered its seventh day. Occupiers included
council members who impeached Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas and want
him to step down.
(SFC, 12/27/16, p.A6)
2018 Feb 19, In Rhode Island a
grand jury indictment was unsealed accusing Republican Sen. Nicholas
Kettle of extorting sex from a male page.
(SFC, 2/20/18, p.A9)
2018 Apr 10, The Newport Arctic
Scholars Initiative convened in Newport, Rhode Island, with
representatives from the Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway
and the US.
2018 Sep 6, Rhode Island signed
a reciprocal driver's license agreement with Taiwan.
2018 Sep 19, In Rhode Island
senior military representatives from over 100 countries gathered for
the 23rd Int'l. Seapower Symposium at the US Naval College in
Newport for a three day meeting on cooperation and shared
(SFC, 9/22/18, p.A6)
2018 Oct 8, Rhode Island-based
Deepwater Wind announced that Denmark-based Orsted has entered into
an agreement to buy it. Orsted said it's paying $510 million.
2018 Dec 1, In Louisiana the
Democratic Governors Assoc. meeting in New Orleans selected Rhode
Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as its new chairwoman.
(SSFC, 12/2/18, p.A10)
2019 Jun 14, Rear Adm. Shoshana
Chatfield was named the first female leader of the US Naval War
College in Rhode Island.
(SSFC, 6/16/19, p.A12)
2019 Jul 1, In Rhode Island the
Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence released a list of 50 clerics
it says have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.
Only 19 of the priests and deacons on the list, from files dating
back to 1950, were still alive.
(SFC, 7/2/19, p.A4)
2019 Dec 3, A snowstorm that
doesn’t want to end coated coastal New England at the height of the
morning commute, snarling travel and closing schools. The National
Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for coastal areas of
Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine and a winter weather advisory
for southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
2020 Mar 1, President Donald
Trump said travelers from countries at high risk of coronavirus
would be screened before boarding and upon arrival, without
specifying which countries. New cases were reported in the Chicago
area and Rhode Island. To date, more than 86,500 cases have been
confirmed. Outside of China, it has spread to 53 countries, with
more than 6,500 cases and more than 100 deaths. Globally, the
illness has killed nearly 3,000 people.
(Reuters, 3/1/20)(Reuters, 3/1/20)