Rhode Island, island, 15 mi (24 km) long and 5 mi (8 km) wide, S R.I., at the entrance to Narragansett Bay. It is the largest island in the state, with steep cliffs and excellent beaches. Known to the Native Americans and early colonials as Aquidneckəkwĭd´nĕk [key], it was renamed Rhode Island (probably after the isle of Rhodes) in 1644. Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth are on the island.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Physical Geography