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Rhode Island in the 17th century


Picture of Rhode Island
Picture of Rhode Island

Massachusetts and Plymouth continued to threaten the Rhode Island settlements, partly because they served as a refuge for religious dissenters from those Puritan colonies. To prevent interference in the settlements’ affairs, in 1644 Williams obtained a charter from Parliament that provided a legal basis for the settlements’ existence. Under the terms of the charter, Providence, Newport, and Portsmouth were incorporated as Providence Plantations. Although Warwick was not included in the charter, freeholders from that settlement joined in the first recorded meeting of the colony’s general assembly, at Portsmouth in May 1647.

In 1651 the affairs of the infant colony were disrupted when Coddington obtained a charter establishing the separate colony of Aquidneck, which included Aquidneck and Conanicut islands. Under the terms of the charter, the conservative and theocratic Coddington was to serve as governor of Aquidneck for life. Williams and John Clarke went immediately to England and succeeded in getting Coddington’s charter revoked in 1652. In 1654 the colony was reunited. "Rhode Island" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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