Founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, Providence, Rhode Island, is among the oldest cities in the United States. It was named by Williams for “God’s merciful providence.” It is the most populous city in Rhode Island, with over 180,000 residents.
Given its rich history, it is easy to see why Providence is the capital of Rhode Island. In 1680, Pardon Thillinghast constructed a wharf that served as a major trading center. Here, trade took place between Africa, the West Indies, and the American colonies. As a result, Providence’s local economy thrived and acquired its status as an important American settlement.
From then on, Providence has been a place of historical significance. Providence residents were some of the first patriots involved in the events that lead up to the Revolutionary War, such as the Gaspee Affair of 1772. It is a little-known fact that Providence had its own tea party, during which Providence residents burnt tea to protest English taxation. Providence tourists can visit a number of historical sites from this period, including the Old State House where the Rhode Island Independence Act was signed in 1776.
Incorporated in 1831 and declared the capital of Rhode Island in 1900, Providence has remained a hub for diverse industries. These include manufacturing, trade, and finance. Recently, there has been a push to make Providence a “knowledge economy.” Knowledge economies are economies that are competitive in the ever-expanding fields of science and technology.
To this end, Brown University has opened the Herb Alpert Medical School in a previously unused jewelry factory. The Herb Alpert Medical School is the center of Providence’s burgeoning Knowledge District, which is home to a number of technology and research companies. These companies provide Providence residents with jobs that will help to improve the local economy and prepare Rhode Island’s capital for the future.
Providence is home to a number of educational institutions, including Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, Rhode Island College, and Providence College. Because of these institutions, Providence is home to many students and professors who help to shape the local culture.
From its history to its vibrant community of professionals, educators, and students, Providence occupies a secure position as the cultural and economic center of Rhode Island. To this day, Providence residents strive to make Providence a hub for innovation. It is no wonder, then, that Providence is the capital of Rhode Island.