Some of the first movements of American literature, philosophy, and education originated in New England. The region played a prominent role in the movement to abolish slavery, and was the first region of the United States to be transformed by the Industrial Revolution. Today, New England is a major world center of education, technology, insurance, and medicine. Boston is its cultural, financial, educational, medical and transportation center.
Adiantum viridimontanum, commonly known as Green Mountain maidenhair fern, is a rare fern found only in outcrops of serpentine rock in New England and Canada. The leaf blade is cut into finger-like segments, themselves once-divided, which are borne on the outer side of a curved, dark, glossy rachis (the central stalk of the leaf). These finger-like segments are not individual leaves, but parts of a single compound leaf. The "fingers" may be drooping or erect, depending on whether the individual fern grows in shade or sunlight. Spores are borne under false indusia (rolled flaps of tissue) at the edge of the subdivisions of the leaf, a characteristic unique to the genus Adiantum.
Until 1991, A. viridimontanum was grouped with the western maidenhair fern, A. aleuticum, which grows both in western North America and as a disjunct on serpentine outcrops in eastern North America. At one time, A. aleuticum itself was classified as a variety (A. pedatum var. aleuticum) of the northern maidenhair fern, A. pedatum. However, after several years of study, botanist Cathy Paris recognized that A. aleuticum was a distinct species, and that some of the specimens that had been attributed to that taxon (group of organisms) were a third, hybrid species intermediate between A. pedatum and A. aleuticum. She named the new species A. viridimontanum for the site of its discovery in the Green Mountains in Vermont; it has since been located in Quebec and in one site on serpentine in coastal Maine.
Myles Standish was an English military officer hired by the Pilgrims as military advisor for Plymouth Colony. One of the Mayflower passengers, Standish played a leading role in the administration and defense of Plymouth Colony from its inception. On February 17, 1621, the Plymouth Colony militia elected him as its first commander and continued to re-elect him to that position for the remainder of his life. Standish served as an agent of Plymouth Colony in England, as assistant governor, and as treasurer of Plymouth Colony. He was also one of the first settlers and founders of the town of Duxbury, Massachusetts.
Rhode Island was the first of the 13 original colonies to declare independence from British rule, declaring itself independent on May 4, 1776, two months before any other colony. The State was also the last of the thirteen original colonies to ratify the United States Constitution.
Rhode Island's official nickname is "The Ocean State," a reference to the State's geography, since Rhode Island has several large bays and inlets that amount to about fourteen (14) percent of its total area. Its land area is 1,045 square miles (2706 km2), but its total area is significantly larger.