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State Library
State House, 2nd floor
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 222-2473
Fax: (401) 222-3034
TTY: 711

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8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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A Federal Depository since 1791 and An Official Federal Depository Library since 1913

The Independence of Rhode Island

Old State House

At the Old State House on Benefit Street in Providence, the Rhode Island General Assembly officially ended the colony's allegiance to Great Britain through legislation passed on May 4th, 1776. The original act is in the keeping of the Secretary of State and is kept at the State Archives. The Encyclopedia Americana lists Rhode Island as the first colony to declare its independence (1996 Deluxe Library Edition, Vol. 23, p.485). Rhode Island was the first of the American colonies to repeal by official legislative act its allegiance to King George III of England. Rhode Island also had the first overt act of violence against the British authorities, the burning of the revenue sloop Liberty in Newport on July 19, 1769.