Geographic position

41.4880° N, 71.3126° W

Sources Geo coordinates at

General note

Newport is a seaside city on Aquidneck Island in southern Rhode Island, south of Providence. The Native peoples living in this area, Narragansetts and Wampanoags, farmed and fished and had a large summer settlement in what is now downtown Newport. Attracted by the cleared land, English settlers following Anne Hutchinson, an Englishwoman driven out of Boston as a heretic, purchased Aquidneck Island from the Narragansett Indians in 1636. Many of these settlers became Baptists and embraced the idea of liberty of conscience; thus, the settlement, like Providence Plantation, founded by Roger Williams, another refugee from the Mass Bay's religious intolerance, became a secular democracy, attracting Quakers and Jews, who helped transform the small agricultural outpost into one of colonial America's five leading seaports. Trade and the export of rum, candles, fish, furniture, silver and other goods were the main engines of economic growth and linked Newport with the slave trade. Active in the push towards American independence, Newport was occupied by the British and then the French. Bypassed by industrialization, the city became a summer resort and in the antebellum period, a center for artists, writers, scientists, educators and theologians. In Occom's time, people travelled to Newport to take passage to other ports on the eastern seaboard.