Rhode Island
 
 
 
 
Travel America

Learn before you travel. This section of Fun Easy English focuses on facts and other cool stuff about your favorite U.S. state. This is great English reading practice. This page focuses on the state of Rhode Island.
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Rhode Island

Roger Williams and a group of religious followers founded the town of Providence in what is today known as Rhode Island after their banishment from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Williams believed in the importance of liberty of conscience, which became an important principle in the founding of Rhode Island and ultimately in the founding of the United States. Officially called "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," Rhode Island is one of the six New England states and one of the original 13 states of the Union, entering in 1790. It is the smallest state in area in the country. Rhode Island's flower is the violet, and the capital is Providence. The name "Rhode Island" is credited to Italian navigator Giovanni Verrazano who compared the nearby island Block Island to Rhodes in Greece. Later Williams thought that Verrazano had been referring to island where they had settled and began calling the island Rhode Island.
Flag of Rhode IslandRhode Island State Flag


The flag of Rhode Island is white, bearing on each side in the center a gold anchor, underneath it a blue ribbon with the state motto ("Hope") in gold letters, and surrounded by thirteen golden stars in a circle, representing the original 13 states. The flag design adopted in 1877 also stipulated that; "The flag shall be edged with yellow fringe."

The Rhode Island General Assembly first adopted a seal for the colony in 1664 which contained an anchor with the word "Hope" above it (Rhode Island's state seal). The use of the word "Hope" was probably inspired by the biblical phrase "hope we have as an anchor of the soul."
Source: State Symbols USA
 
The great seal of the state of Rhode IslandRhode Island State Facts

Picture: state seal of Rhode Island
State Capital Providence
Nickname The Ocean State / Little Rhody
Motto Hope
Statehood May 29, 1790 (13th)
Origin of Name Possibly named in honor of the Greek island of Rhodes or named Roode Eylandt by Adriaen Block, Dutch explorer, because of its red clay.
Largest Cities Providence, Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, East Providence
Border States Connecticut, Massachusetts
Area 1,045 sq. mi.; Smallest state
State Bird Rhode Island Red
State Flower Violet (viola)
State Tree Red Maple (acer rubrum)
State Song Rhode Island's It For Me
Map showing the location of Rhode IslandTravel and tourism site for Rhode Island - This state travel and territorial tourism site provides ideas for your vacations, meetings, and more.
Rhode Island Stories
 
Wickford Arts Festival

Did you know that Rhode Island has more artists per person than any state in the country? The town of Wickford celebrates this fact by holding an arts festival every July. Started in 1962, the Wickford Arts Festival has grown in size and importance. Today, artists from around the world compete for the few spaces that become available each year to exhibit their wares. A percentage of the space is reserved for local artists.

Close to 100,000 people attend the two-day festival, which is devoted to fine art, photography, and three-dimensional art. The Wickford Arts Festival is a "juried" show; that is, if you want to exhibit your art in the festival, you must submit a sample of your work to be judged. The judges consider originality, workmanship and presentation when making their choices on who is allowed to exhibit in the show. What's your favorite type of art?
 
The Narragansett Indian Tribe

The Narragansett Indian Tribe lived in what is now known as Rhode Island, long before Europeans settled there. The Narragansett were made up of several sub-tribes, each with a chief (sachem). They survived by farming corn, hunting, and fishing.

Europeans first came into contact with the Indians of Rhode Island in 1524, when the explorer Giovanni de Verrazano visited Narragansett Bay. He described a large Indian population organized under powerful "kings." Europeans didn't settle this area until 1635. The Narraganset and Europeans maintained good relations until King Philip's War in 1675-76. This war was the last major effort by the Indians of southern New England to drive out the English settlers who wanted more and more Indian land. But the Narragansett were completely defeated.

After the war, the remaining Narragansetts were forced to live on reservation lands, but by the end of the 18th century, the reservation lands had been drastically reduced. The state of Rhode Island "detribalized" the Narragansett during 1880-1884, which meant that they were no longer recognized as a tribe.

Over the years, the Narragansett tried to maintain their tribal customs and traditions, but it wasn't until the 1970s that they were able to reclaim part of their land and the 1980s before they received federal recognition as a tribe. It took decades, but the persistence of the Narragansett at getting back a part of what belonged to them finally paid off.
 
Looff Carousel

Take a ride on a work of art by hopping onto a carousel! Hand-made carousels, also called merry-go-rounds, are a form of folk art that was once very popular. Unfortunately, many early handmade carousels have been disassembled and sold off in pieces.

The Looff Carousel at Crescent Park in East Providence, Rhode Island, is one of the few handmade carousels still in use. It was designed and built in 1895 by Charles I.D. Looff, a native of Denmark, who was one of the earliest and most important manufacturers of carousels. Still functioning on its original site more than 100 years later, the Looff Carousel is one of the finest surviving examples of a once common American folk art. Because of its cultural significance, the Looff Carousel was entered into the National Register of Historic Sites and Places on April 21, 1976.

Did you know there is a lead horse on a carousel? According to carousel legend, the lead horse is always the biggest, most decorative horse. Often the lead horse is a military or war horse. If a chariot (a two or four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage) is included in the carousel, the first horse just behind it on the outside is the lead horse. On some carousels, the horses move up and down as if they were galloping, so riders get a sense of what it is like to ride a real horse. Next time you get the chance, hop onto a carousel, you may even get to ride the lead horse!
 
Samuel Slater of Rhode Island

Who was Samuel Slater and what is he famous for?

During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Rhode Island became a pioneer in manufacturing in the United States. One of the individuals who played a big role in Rhode Island's economy was Samuel Slater.

Rhode Island was especially strong in textile manufacturing. The state, along with other parts of the Northeast, was part of the American Industrial Revolution, when the economy, which had been based on agriculture, became one based on machines and industries.

Slater established his first mill in 1790 on the Blackstone River in Rhode Island. It was one of the first factories in the United States. Three years later, in Pawtucket, he built Slater Mill, the first American factory to successfully produce cotton yarn with water-powered machines.

Other mills were established throughout Rhode Island and New England. By the first half of the 19th century, there were more than 100 mills in Rhode Island that employed thousands of men, women, and children. Factory owners liked to hire women and children because they could pay them lower wages than they paid men.
 
Gaspee Days

The Boston Tea Party, which took place on December 16, 1773, is the best known of the early protests by U.S. Colonists against British rule. But it actually followed another conflict that some people refer to as the "first real blow for freedom." Have you heard of it?

The incident occurred in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, in June 1772, when American Colonists burned the British ship HMS Gaspee. The Americans were tired of the unfairness of King George III, who placed taxes on everything from glass to stamps to tea. King George had sent the Gaspee to Naragansett Bay to enforce his orders and prevent smuggling.

The HMS Gaspee. was under the command of Lieutenant William Dudingston, who required that all other ships lower their flags as a sign of respect to his ship. As a result, Dudingston was not well liked. When the American vessel Hannah refused to lower its flag, the Gaspee chased it and the captain of the Hannah deliberately lured the Gaspee across shallow waters and left the British ship stranded on a sandbar, unable to move. Late that night, 64 Rhode Islanders rowed out to the Gaspee, boarded the ship, took the crew prisoners, shot Dudingston, and set the vessel on fire.

The citizens of Warwick, Rhode Island, celebrate this event every June. The events include a ball, a children's Colonial costume contest (like the one the girls in the photo are wearing), Colonial dinners, and a staging, or re-enactment, of the event.
Source: Library of Congress
Rhode Island

There are no national forests, parks, or monuments in this state.
 
Travel America
Cool America
About the U.S.A.

About the U.S.A. is an American Studies reader that examines the customs, government, and history of the United States of America. The text provides a wealth of information on U.S. geography and history; the roles of local, state, and federal government; national holidays and symbols; the Constitution; and citizenship. The book, which was written for intermediate to advanced learners of English, contains a range of activities for language students to practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing. (opens to a new PDF window) Great English reading practice.
About America

Learn about the fascinating history and government of the United States of America. Lessons include content on American Government, American History, and Integrated Civics. Handouts with interactive games and student-centered activities encompass all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Great English reading practice for beginning to intermediate students.
American Teens Talk!

Americans Teens Talk! is a collection of interviews of American high school students. Each interview is accompanied by vocabulary notes and discussion questions. The interviews in American Teens Talk! give learners a view into the lives of adolescents in the U.S. Through the written format of the interviews, learners are able to increase their vocabulary, practice their reading and listening skills, engage in discussions, and learn more about U.S. culture. These interviews come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading
Sing Out Loud Children's Songs

Sing Out Loud Children's Songs includes popular children's songs in the U.S.A. Posters accompany the individual Sing Out Loud Children's Songs. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Sing Out Loud Traditional Songs

The Sing Out Loud Traditional Songs collection contains 13 traditional American folk songs and song lyrics. Listen to the songs online, read the lyrics, and collect the posters that accompany the songs. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Sing Out Loud American Rhythms

Do you love music? Want to use it to learn English? Check out the hip-hop inspired song "Peace" from Sing Out Loud American Rhythms. American Rhythms includes a variety of musical genres from many different artists in the U.S.A. These songs will appeal to teens and young adults. These songs come with audio programs. Great English listening and reading practice.
Route 66 - Famous American Road

U.S. Route 66 (US 66 or Route 66), also known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in the United States, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending in Santa Monica, California, near Los Angeles, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km). It was recognized in popular culture by both the hit song "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" and the Route 66 television show in the 1960s.
Route 66: The Highway That's the Best
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Chicago: The Start of Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Going West for Decades on Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Arizona: The Spirit of Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Route 66 California: The End of the Trail
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Ten Must-See Route 66 Attractions
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Four Famous Foods On Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
International Tourists Drawn to Route 66
(Beginner - Listening)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening practice.
This video shows travel along Route 66, the most famous road in America.
Cool Stuff
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