1776 - Rhode Island in the Year of Independence


Have you ever seen a copy of Declaration of Independence in person? Do you know what George Washington’s handwriting looks like?

In 1776, the fight for independence and the birth of our nation forever changed the international landscape. Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea encourages all Rhode Islanders to visit the new exhibition at the Rhode Island State Archives, entitled "1776 – Rhode Island in the Year of Independence.”

The exhibition chronicles emerging hostilities with Britain in the run-up to the Revolutionary War, the issuance of the Declaration of Independence, and Rhode Island’s response during that timeframe, including:

• A first Newport printing of the Declaration of Independence, sent by order of the General Assembly to Rhode Island towns.

• A letter from General George Washington to Governor Nicholas Cooke requesting arms for the Revolutionary Army.

• The July 19, 1776 Act officially naming our colony the “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”

“Rhode Island played a critical role in founding of our nation. I encourage all Rhode Islanders to come and discover the historical treasures we have in our State Archives. It’s exciting to see firsthand the amazing documentation of our rich and diverse history,” Secretary Gorbea said.

The public can also view a larger, more in-depth exhibit on 1776 - Rhode Island in the Year of Independence, free at the Rhode Island State Archives on Westminster Street. The exhibit will run June 1-August 31, 2016.

The Rhode Island State Archives, a division of the RI Department of State, is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30 at 337 Westminster Street in downtown Providence. Validated parking is available adjacent to the building at InTown Parking.

An Act repealing an Act entitled “An Act for the effectual securing to His Majesty
the Allegiance of His Subjects in this His Colony and Dominion of Rhode Island and Providence
Plantations” and altering the Form of Commissions of all Writs…

Image of a drawing of Old Colony House, also known as the Old State House or the Newport Colony House located in Newport, Rhode Island, 1850.Excerpt from Newport Historical Society- Colony House: The Newport Colony House is the fourth oldest…

Image of a portrait of the first Governor of Rhode Island Nicholas Cooke.Nicholas Cooke was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He was a shipmaster and manufacturer and acquired landholdings in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Cooke won…

We the Subscribers do solemnly and sincerely declare that
we believe the War, Resistance and Opposition in which the United
American Colonies are now engaged against the Fleets and Armies of
Great Britain is, on the Part of the said Colonies,…

Image of the Act for Raising 1500 Men to Defend Colonies, April 25, 1775 & protest of Governor Wanton et al against. On April 25, 1775, less a week after the first military engagements of Revolutionary War erupted at Lexington & Concord,…