Who was the founder of Rhode Island?
Rhode Island’s founder was Roger Williams, a political and religious dissident. He was a supporter of religious freedom and the separation of religion and government. Williams was born in London around 1603. He continued to study at Charterhouse and at Pembroke College in Cambridge after studying an apprenticeship with Sir Edward Coke, a law scholar. He converted to the Puritan religion while he was still in Cambridge. In 1627, he graduated from Pembroke and became a private chaplain for Sir William Masham. Williams married Mary Barnard in 1629 and began planning a migration to North America, following in the footsteps of other Puritan leaders. Roger and Mary left shortly after the wedding and arrived in America in February 1631.
In the new World
Shortly after arrival, Roger Williams was offered a position as minister of the Church in Boston. He rejected the offer because the church was not separated from the Church of England, which he believed to be corrupt. He did not believe that the practicing churches of that time were “true” churches and instead of attending services, he was waiting for an apostle to be delivered. He hoped that this apostle would establish a worthy church. Since the Salem Church was considering a separation from the Church of England, they offered Williams a position. This offer was not supported by other religious leaders and was eventually withdrawn. The Massachusetts Bay Colony eventually exiled him based on his religious beliefs.
Founding Providence, Rhode Island
Dopo essere scappato dalla colonia del Massachusetts Bay, Williams è stato dato rifugio invernale dagli indigeni Wampanoags. Il capo Chasem Massasoit gli ha venduto un terreno in 1636. Williams e i suoi seguaci religiosi iniziarono a sviluppare l’area solo per essere avviati dai funzionari di Plymouth, sostenendo che la terra apparteneva a loro. Si spostarono attraverso il fiume e ancora una volta acquistarono terra dalla tribù dei Narragansett. Questa nuova area divenne Providence, Rhode Island.
Providence has gained popularity with other like-minded dissidents, and at the beginning, family leaders voted on civil matters. This agreement continued to develop based on the idea of separation of church and state, confirmed by various public documents. Providence was the first city to ensure religious freedom, to provide for the separation of church and state and to offer citizenship regardless of religion.
Conflict in the colonies
Between 1634 and 1638, the colonialists, the Narragansett tribe and the Mohegan tribe entered the war with the Pequot tribe. During this Pequot War, Williams played an important role as a mediator and peacekeeper. He conducted negotiations with the Narragansett tribe which led to their alliance with the English settlers. This alliance helped defeat the Pequot tribe. Because of his actions, twice becoming hostage to secure the return of the tribal chiefs, Williams became the most trusted native of the Native Americans. He is credited for having kept the peace between natives and settlers for almost FOUR decades. Roger Williams died in 1683.
Roger Williams’ legacy
Williams will be remembered for his dedication to religious freedoms enjoyed in the United States today. He bravely defended the Native Americans, fought against corruption in the Church of England, and disagrees with the king’s cards on the colonies. Several locations have taken its name, including Roger Williams College in Bristol, Roger Williams Park in Providence, Roger Williams National Memorial and Roger Williams Park Zoo.