Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island (/roʊd ˈaɪlɨnd/ (help·info)), is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area. Rhode Island borders Connecticut to the west and Massachusetts to the north and east. Rhode Island also shares a water border with New York'sLong Island to the southwest. Despite being called Rhode Island in common usage most of the state is on the continental mainland. The name Rhode Island derives from the colonial-era name for what is now known as Aquidneck Island, which now comprises the city of Newport and the towns of Middletown and Portsmouth, the largest of several islands in Narragansett Bay. Rhode Island was the first of the thirteen original colonies to declare independence from British rule and the last to ratify the United States Constitution. Rhode Island's official nickname is "The Ocean State", a reference to state's geography, as nearly one tenth of Rhode Island's inland area is covered by salt water. In addition, no area of the state is more than a thirty-minute drive from the water's edge (under normal traffic conditions). Unofficially, and in other parts of the country, Rhode Island is referred to as Little Rhody.
One hundred years after the declaration that all men are created equal, there began to gather in Newport a colony of the rich, determined to show that some Americans were conspicuously more equal than others.