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.
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.