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Providence History, Rhode Island

Providence History – Colonial Period

Providence, US is the capital of Rhode Island State and one of the oldest cities in the country (part of the original 13 colonies). Providence history goes back to the colonialist era, when Roger Williams, a religious refuge, founded a new town in 1636. Williams named the new settlement “Providence” like in “divine providence”, and intended for it to become a city where other religious exiles could live unharmed, and where religious tolerance was a standard. As the new settlers realized the Providence soil was not suitable for cultivation, they began to build wharfs, and maritime commerce became Providence’s main industry. When the British laws became more and more restrictive, as the Sugar Act and Tea Act, the Providence citizens, like the Boston traders in the Boston Tea Party, were among the first to rebel. Luckily, the town was not attacked by British troops, and as soon as the war ended, with Newport devastated by occupation and new commercial routes to South America, Providence economy skyrocketed.

Providence History – 1790-1830

Providence was also one of the pioneering towns in the American Industrial Revolution. In 1790, Samuel Slater started the first manufactures, and this “era of experimentation”, as historian Peter J. Coleman calls it, will last until the beginning of the 19th century. Manufacturing plants were producing tools, silverware, textiles and jewelry, and they also attracted working force, represented by Irish, German, Italian and Swedish immigrants. Due to the fast economic shifts and the demographic diversity, several riots occurred in this period, some led by blacks, some by the Irish Catholics, in conflict with the Anglo-Protestant natives. Nevertheless, the conflicts finally settled and Providence became a city with the adoption of a city charter in 1931.

Providence History – Providence in the 20th Century

Providence faced another wave of immigration at the beginning of the 20th century. Some of the industries began to decline, and after World War II ended, the weapon factories had to be closed. With two devastating hurricanes hitting the coast in 1954 and 1955, Providence history registered one of its darkest periods. The criminality rate had reached one of the highest numbers in the nation. With the help of governmental funds in the ‘70s, Providence began to recover. The construction of new buildings, streets, malls and condominium projects brought new investor and the population decrease rate began to stabilize. Due to its fast recovery in the 70s and 90s, Providence was nicknamed “Renaissance City”. The history of tolerance continues in nowadays Providence: in 2002, the city elected the first gay mayor in the nation: David N. Cicilline. The Providence airfare deals will help you plan a weekend of fascinating discoveries in Providence, a town of perpetual renewal.

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