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Providence Plantation was a colonial plantation that was the first permanent European American settlement in present-day Rhode Island. It was established at Providence in 1636 by English clergyman Roger Williams and a small band of followers who had left the oppressive atmosphere of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to seek freedom of worship. Narragansett sachems Canonicus and Miantonomi granted Williams a sizable tract of land for his new village.
"Providence Plantations" refers to the mainland portion of the state, which included Williams's Providence Plantation and Samuel Gorton’s Shawomet Purchase (1642), which was renamed Warwick Plantation. "Rhode Island" referred to Aquidneck Island, on which the colonies of Portsmouth (1638) and Newport (1639) were established.
In 1663, the four settlements merged to form the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Today, the state is officially named The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, although "and Providence Plantations" is little used.
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