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Rhode Island Commission on State Boundary | State Archives Catalog

Name: Rhode Island Commission on State Boundary

Historical Note:

Partly due to each state's vaguely worded land acquisition agreements with Native American tribes, inadequate geodetic methodologies, unclear written descriptions, shifting natural markers and displaced and destroyed man-made monuments over time, the boundaries between Rhode Island and Connecticut have been a source of contention, investigation, and negotiation from the eighteenth to well into the twentieth century.

Rhode Island's borders were first defined in the Royal Charter of 1663. Since then different portions of the line have been re-examined, adjusted and re-affirmed by various bodies. In 1703 a commission consisting of members from the two states agreed to the boundary between them, which was confirmed in 1726 and marked in 1728. Similar efforts to clarify and make boundary descriptions more explicit took place in 1840 and 1888, particularly involving the Ashaway River, which straddles the border, and, again in the late 1930s, after which a joint report was issued dated March 7, 1941.

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