May 4 Is Rhode Island Independence Day
May 4 is Rhode Island Independence Day.
On May 4, 1776 Rhode Island declared independence from Great Britain. It was the first of the soon-to-be former colonies to take this step.
If you were a school kid in Rhode Island in 1976, you got the day off as a holiday as part of Bicentennial observances that year.
I recall that as a good day. I lived in Rhode Island between 1968 and 1980.
(Below—The Rose Island lighthouse in Narragansett Bay)
Here is some history on Rhode Island ( Click here for the full link) —
Rhode Island was a leader in the American Revolutionary movement. Having the greatest degree of self-rule, it had the most to lose from the efforts of England after 1763 to increase her supervision and control over her American colonies. In addition, Rhode Island had a long tradition of evading the poorly enforced navigation acts, and smuggling was commonplace.
Beginning with strong opposition in Newport to the Sugar Act (1764), with its restrictions on the molasses trade, the colony engaged in repeated measures of open defiance, such as the scuttling and torching of the British customs sloop Liberty in Newport harbor in July 1769, the burning of British revenue schooner Gaspee on Warwick’s Namquit Point in 1772, and Providence’s own “Tea Party” in March 1775. Gradually the factions of Ward and Hopkins put aside their local differences and united by endorsing a series of political responses to alleged British injustices. On May 17, 1774, after parliamentary passage of the Coercive Acts (Americans called them “Intolerable”), the Providence Town Meeting became the first governmental assemblage to issue a call for a general congress of colonies to resist British policy. On June 15 the General Assembly made the colony the first to appoint delegates (Ward and Hopkins) to the anticipated Continental Congress.
In April 1775, a week after the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord, the colonial legislature authorized raising a 1,500-man ”army of observation” with Nathanael Greene as its commander. Finally, on May 4, 1776, Rhode Island became the first colony to renounce allegiance to King George III. Ten weeks later, on July 18, the Assembly ratified the Declaration of Independence.
(Below–The flag of Rhode Island along with a Revolutionary-era U.S. flag. This is a picture I took last summer in Newport, Rhode Island.)
Below is a picture I took in 2008 of the famous Independent Man statue found on the top of the Rhode Island State Capitol.
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