rhode island timeline

I have compiled this time-line from several sources to use in fleshing out the background of my Rhode Island ancestors' lives. It is by no means exhaustive or fully representative of the rich history of the region. It primarily focuses on the founding of the earliest towns in Rhode Island and New England, as well as other significant social, political, and religious events in the region.
1500-1638 Aquidneck is contested ground and hunting lands of the Wampanoags and Narragansetts.
1524 Giovanni da Verrazzano, an Italian explorer working for the French, explores Aquidneck and Narragansett Bay.
1614 Adriaen Block, a Dutch explorer, visits and maps Rhode Island region.
1620 Pilgrims found Plymouth Colony.
1630 Puritans found Boston and the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1634 or 1635 William Blackstone leaves Boston and settles in what is now Cumberland, RI, on the banks of the Blackstone River, claimed by Rehoboth, Mass.
1635 Oct 9 Roger Williams banished by Massachusetts General Court.
1636 Jan Roger Williams flees Salem; buys land on east bank of Seekonk river from Massasoit (Ousamequin) of the Wampanoag.
June Roger Williams crosses the Seekonk and founds Providence with others.
Thomas Hooker and puritans found Hartford and Connecticut Colony.
1637 Aug 20 Providence compact signed.
Nov 30 Antinomians and others disarmed at Boston.
About this year, Richard Smith establishes a trading post at Cocumscussoc (Wickford) in the Narragansett Country.
Roger Williams and Gov. John Winthrop purchase Prudence Island and Patience Island.
1638 Mar 7 Pocasset (Portsmouth) Compact signed (probably at Boston?).
Mar 24 Roger Williams obtains a deed from Canonicus and Miantonomi for the Providence lands; William Coddington and friends buy Aquidneck from Canonicus and Miantonomi.
May 13 First meeting at Pocasset, meeting house ordered built.
Oct 8 Roger Williams deeds lands at Providence to others.
Dec 18 Samuel Gorton ordered to leave Plymouth Colony.
Pawtuxet inhabited.
Protestants found New Haven and Quinnipiac Colony.
1639 Mar 16 First Baptist church established at Providence.
Apr 28 Coddington and others split from the Hutchinsons, resolve to form new town.
Apr 30 Samuel Gorton at Portsmouth.
May 16 First meeting at Newport and its bounds defined (included Conanicut Island)
May 20 Inhabitants of Newport admitted.
Jun 5 Newport lands proportioned.
Fundamental Orders of Connecticut signed at Hartford.
1640 Mar 8 Samuel Gorton at Providence.
Jul 27 Providence men sign an agreement to form a government.
July A dividing line between Providence and Pawtuxet is established.
1641 Mar 12 Pocasset renamed Portsmouth, unites with Newport.
Nov 17 Samuel Gorton at Pawtuxet
1642 Sep 8 Pawtuxet subjects itself to Massachusetts authority (until 1658).
Roger Williams sent to England to obtain a charter (returns successful in 1644).
1643 Jan 12 Samuel Gorton and others have deed of Shawomet from Miantonomi.
1644 Dr. John Clarke organizes First Baptist Church at Newport.
1646 Samuel Gorton and others obtain protection for Shawomet, which is renamed Warwick, while on a mission to England.
1647 May 19 Providence, Warwick, Portsmouth and Newport unite
1649 Jan Coddington goes to England and secures commission as Governor for life.
1651 Providence and Warwick split from Newport and Portsmouth.
Roger Williams and Dr. John Clarke sent to England to obtain a new charter.
1654 Roger Williams returns from England; the four towns re-unite.
1656 Quakers arrive on Aquidneck.
Second Baptist Church founded in Newport.
1657 Jan 20 The native sachems deeded land in the Narragansett called Pettaquamscott (later Kings Town) to Samuel Wilbur and others.
Apr 15 A deed was obtained for Conanicut Island and Dutch Island.
1658 May 22 Benedict Arnold and John Greene purchase Goat Island, Coaster's Harbor Island, and Dyer's Island from Cachanaquant, Chief Sachem of the Narragansetts.
Pawtuxet reunited to Providence.
1660 Jan 29 Hugh Mosher and others obtain a deed for Misquamicut (Westerly) from the sachem Socho, who had been given the land by Conanicus and Miantonomi for driving off the Pequot in 1637.
Aug 27 Block Islandbought.
1661 Apr Settlers arrive on Block Island and found New Shoreham.
Sep Lands at Misquamicut (Westerly) divided.
Nov Connecticut begins harassment of Westerly settlers.
1663 Jul 3 Residents of Wickford place themselves under Connecticut jurisdiction.
Jul 28 Dr. John Clarke obtains a charter for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations from Charles II, and returns to Rhode Island.
1668 May 4 Residents of Wickford request that Connecticut provide protection for their government.
1671 Dec 23 Samuel Hubbard and others form the Seventh Day Baptist congregation.
1675 June Outbreak of King Philip's War.
Dec 19 Narragansett (Great) Swamp Fight; over 1000 natives and 200 Englishmen killed.
1676 Aug 12 King Philip (Metacom, son of Massasoit of the Wampanoag) killed in battle near Mt. Hope.
1677 Oct 31 East Greenwich grant.
1678 Jamestown incorporated on Conanicut Island.
1679 Jul 29 Residents of Narragansett (Wickford) petition the King to put an end to differences in the government of their town.
1680 A committee is formed to codify the laws of the colony.
1681 Sep 1 Settlement at Mt. Hope named Bristol.
1682 Jun 2 Saconett renamed Little Compton.
1683 Aug 22 Governor Cranfield of New Hampshire holds an assembly at Richard Smith's in Wickford.
1687 Jan 12 Sir Edmund Andros dissolves the Charter and RI becomes part of the Dominion of New England. The towns of the King's Province are re-named: Rochester (Kingstown), Haversham (Westerly), and Dedford (East Greenwich).
1689 Jul 3 French privateers plunder New Shoreham on Block Island.
Charter government is resurrected.
1708 The Assembly begins to order the sale of several large tracts of vacant land in Narragansett, to be part of Kings Town.
1722 Kings Town split into North Kingstown and South Kingstown.
1738 Charlestown set off from Westerly.
1747 Richmond set off from Charlestown.


Bartlett, John Russell, ed. Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in New England. Printed by order of the General Assembly, Providence, 1856-1862 (Reprinted New York, 1968.

Bridenbaugh, Carl. Fat Mutton and Liberty of Conscience: Society in Rhode Island, 1636-1690. Brown University Press, Providence, 1974.

James, Sydney V. Colonial Rhode Island: A History. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1975.