Providence was first settled in 1636 by Roger Williams. The area was one of the original colonies of the United States. The city was founded after Williams withdrew from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and it quickly became an area where persecuted dissenters settled.
Providence was the first colony to renounce allegiance to the British in 1776 and later was the last of the colonies to ratify the Constitution, only doing so after it was assured that the Bill of Rights would be included.
After the American Revolution, Providence was the ninth-largest city in the country by population. In its earliest history, the economy revolved around maritime activity but following the war, this changed. Instead, the economy was based around manufacturing products including - but not limited - to textiles, machinery, and jewelry. This would continue throughout the city’s history, later attracting manufacturers including Gorham Silverware and Brown & Sharpe.
Providence was incorporated as a city in 1832. The city only continued to grow, with the population climbing significantly during the Civil War. Because of its manufacturing, the city thrived during this time.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Providence was one of the wealthiest cities in the country. Its manufacturing industry was thriving, and many immigrants came to the area to work in the city’s industrial manufacturing centers. More companies went to the area, including Fruit of the Loom and Babcock & Wilcox.
Later, in the 1970s, millions of dollars were spent to revitalize the city. This including uncovering the rivers that were paved over, creating river walks and constructing the Providence Place Mall. Today, the city is broken up into 25 official neighborhoods. Providence is home to many attractions, including parks, shopping centers, restaurants, historic landmarks, and buildings. As with most post-industrial cities, poverty is now a problem, with close to 28% of the total population living below the federal poverty line according to the recent census information. Recent increases in median housing prices have further contributed to this problem. The city has also been working on rebranding itself to emphasize its cultural and educational opportunities.