Letter: Reject State Resolution #1 to preserve our 387-year history

Posted 10/21/20

To the editor:

This state has been part of the English-speaking world since 1633, and Rhode Island (also known as Aquidneck Island) has been part of the early explorer world since 1524 …

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Letter: Reject State Resolution #1 to preserve our 387-year history

Posted

To the editor:

This state has been part of the English-speaking world since 1633, and Rhode Island (also known as Aquidneck Island) has been part of the early explorer world since 1524 (Verrazzano). The "Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" was acknowledged by Roger Williams and the revised Royal Charter of 1663, when all four settlements (Newport and Portsmouth of Rhode Island; Warwick and Providence plantations) were included in this nomenclature. It is bad enough that the American history we learned as children is not being taught in schools today, but to have this piece of local history also removed from any future schoolbooks (Is the State's origin taught in our public schools?) or official documents would be denying this part of our 387-year-old history. 

If our youth were taught the origins of this State, they would know that the word "plantation" was an English term for a colony. Nothing more. Those who think this term is the same context as the Civil War-era southern homesteads are obviously wrong - by about 200 years. As it is, some people are confused by the term "Battle of Rhode Island," not understanding that this battle took place in 1778 between the Continental Army and the British on the island of Rhode Island. 

Speaking of which, the island has been designated as both "Rhode" and "Aquidneck" on maps since the 1990's ... after another public argument about its nomenclature. The latter name was used by the natives before the English arrived, but the former has been on maps since the 1600's. 

So if you vote to delete the "and Providence Plantations" from the State's original name that it has had for nearly four centuries, you would be acknowledging that only this island is the State and the rest of the state (Providence Plantations) does not exist - which might make people living in the other 36 towns unhappy. Personally, I think it's kind of cool to say that I live in the smallest state with the longest name ... and will gladly educate anyone who questions about what our "plantations" truly means.

Susan E. Anderson

Tiverton

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