The State of Rhode Island is on the north eastern coast of the United States, bordered by Connecticut and Massachusetts. It is the smallest US state, covering just 1545 square miles. It is not actually an island, as it name suggests, although there are 30 small islands within its boundary and nearly one tenth of the inland area is covered by salt water, hence its nickname “Ocean State’. The estimated population of Rhode Island in 2005 was 1,076,189 and they are mostly of Italian, Irish and French Canadian descent. The capital city of Rhode Island is Providence. It was primarily settled by indigenous Indians, but when European settlers arrived in the early 1600’s the Indians were decimated by the diseases the settlers introduced and by the bloody conflicts between the two parties. Rhode Island was the first of the original American colonies to declare independence from British rule and it had a prominent part in the American Revolution.
Rhode Island has a colorful history, from its activity in the slave trade to the Industrial Revolution when it was a leading area in textiles and cotton. Many of the abandoned factories have now been converted into offices and apartments. Nowadays health services are the largest industry in Rhode Island, followed by tourism.
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