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Newport, Rhode Island

Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War College, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and a major United States Navy training center. The city is the seat of Newport County. Newport was known for being one of the "Summer White Houses" during the administrations of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. The population was 26,475 at the 2000 census.

Newport was founded in 1639 and its eight founders and first officers were Nicholas Easton, William Coddington, John Clarke, John Coggeshall, William Brenton, Jeremy Clark, Thomas Hazard, and Henry Bull, who left Portsmouth, Rhode Island after a political fallout with Anne Hutchinson and her followers. As part of the agreement, Coddington and his followers took control of the southern side of the island. They were soon joined by Nicholas Easton, who had recently been expelled from Massachusetts for holding heretical beliefs. The settlement soon grew to be the largest of the four original towns of Rhode Island. Many of the first colonists in Newport quickly became Baptists, and in 1640 the second Baptist congregation in Rhode Island was formed under the leadership of John Clarke.

Peace did not last long in Newport, as many did not like Coddington's autocratic style. As a result, by 1650 a counter faction led by Nicholas Easton was formed. The Coddington/Easton divide would dominate Newport politics for much of the 17th century. Newport soon grew to become the most important port in colonial Rhode Island. A public school was established in 1640. In 1658, a group of Jews fleeing the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal were allowed to settle in Newport (Jews fleeing Brazil after defending Dutch interests there against the Portuguese were denied the right to stay in then-Dutch New York until governor Peter Stuyvesant finally relented in 1655; seeking asylum in Spain and Portugal was not an option). The Newport congregation, now referred to as Congregation Jeshuat Israel, is the second oldest Jewish congregation in the United States and meets in the oldest standing synagogue in the United States, Touro Synagogue. At the same time, a large number of Quakers settled in Newport. The evidence of this population can be seen today in the fact that many streets in the oldest part of town known as the "The Point", are named after trees. The Quaker meetinghouse in Newport (1699) is the oldest house of worship in Rhode Island. In 1727, James Franklin (brother of Benjamin) was printing in Newport; in 1732, he published the first newspaper, the Rhode Island Gazette. In 1758, his son James founded the Mercury, a weekly paper. Throughout the 18th century the famous Goddard and Townsend furniture was made in Newport.


The article above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Newport, Rhode Island".