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OTD: Rhode Island declares independence from England, becoming the first of the colonies to do so.

May the 4th be with you! Here is a cool little piece of US history that not many people know. Sorry it's not about Star Wars... On this day, 246 years ago, the colony or Rhode Island passed the Rhode Island Act of Renunciation – becoming the first colony to renounce King George III and his rule so publicly and officially.

The General Assembly of the Colony of Rhode Island voted nearly unanimously, making them the first independent sovereign state in the western world. Rhody was the mercantile center of the transatlantic trade and they were refuted by Parliaments Sugar Act of 1764.

Statesman Jonathon Arnold drew up a bill that repealed an act of allegiance to the king. Everything moving forward was for the state, not the crown. The bill replaced “God save the King” with the phrase “God save the United Colonies.”

Months later on July 4th, Governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, Founding Father Stephen Hopkins was present in Philadelphia to sign the Declaration of Independence.

He suffered from palsy, and with his hand shaking during his signature, he famously said; "My hand trembles, but my heart does not."

The smallest state but the first to defy the King and kick off the revolution for the 12 other colonies. Ironically, Rhode Island became the last state to ratify the new American Constitution years later in 1970.

Because of its vibrant ports of Providence and Newport, Rhode Island was the only state that could survive independence with their own trade and wealth. They didn't want to lose any income from the federal government, but they were finally confronted with financial impositions and the threat of being treated as a foreign country from the United States.

But on that note, we'll focus on the more positive historical event... Happy Rhode Island Independence Day!


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