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Rhode Island is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area. Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut to the west and Massachusetts to the north and east, and it shares a water boundary with New York's Long Island to the southwest. The 2009 estimated population of Rhode Island is 1,053,209.
During the Revolution, the British occupied Newport. A combined Franco-American force fought to drive them off of Aquidneck Island. Portsmouth was the site of the first African American military unit, the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, to fight for the U.S. in the Battle of Rhode Island August 29, 1778. The arrival of a far superior French fleet forced the British to scuttle their own ships, rather than surrender them to the French.
In addition to industrialization, Rhode Island was heavily involved in the slave trade during the post-revolution era. Slavery was extant in the state as early as 1652, and by 1774, the slave population of Rhode Island was 6.3%, nearly twice as high as any other New England colony. In the late 18th century, several Rhode Island merchant families began actively engaging in the triangle slave trade. Notable among these was Rhode Island Senator James De Wolf and his family, as well as brothers John and Nicholas of the Brown family, for whom Brown University is named, although some Browns, particularly Moses, became prominent abolitionists. In the years after the Revolution, Rhode Island merchants controlled between 60% and 90% of the American trade in African slaves.
Rhode Island is famous for being the first in many respects; some of the states most "famous firsts" include enacting the first law prohibiting slavery in North America on May 18, 1652.
Rhode Island is an example of a cold winter humid continental climate with hot, rainy summers and chilly winters.
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