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Turmoil in Providence: Rebels and Revolutionaries

A religious dissident kicked out of his colony. A ship-burning renegade. A reformer turned revolutionary. All in the first colony to declare independence from Great Britain. 

These are just some of the stories guests will relive on the Turmoil in Providence tour. Providence- and the rest of Rhode Island- got the nickname "Rogue's Island" because of its tendency to buck the trend. 

Providentians had some novel ways of telling King George what we thought. We set British tea ablaze, burned a British ship to the waterline, and declared formal independence on May 4th, 1776: two months before the rest of America. 

But why did Rhode Island, the smallest of the colonies, choose this patently crazy course of action? This tour closely examines the motivations of all parties involved, and sheds light on the real story. Guests learn about this oft overlooked history and more on the Turmoil in Providence Tour.

HIstorical image of Rhode Island.
Photo of downtown Providence, Rhode Island

Sights to See:

  • Roger Williams National Memorial, commemorating the founder of Providence

  • RI's first state house, site of RI independence

  • 109 Benefit Street: the home of Thomas Wilson Dorr, "The People's Governor"

  • First Baptist Church in America, founded by Roger Williams in 1638

  • Stephen Hopkins house, RI governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence

  • John Brown house, revolutionary behind the burning of the HMS Gaspee

  • Market House, 1775 site of British tea burning

Photo of downtown Providence, Rhode Island historic building.

Tour Info

  • Meeting Point: Roger Williams National Memorial parking lot, Canal Street side

  • Address: 282 North Main Street, Providence, RI

  • Distance: About 2 miles

  • Grade: Mostly flat with one 400 ft incline

  • Tour length: About 90 minutes

Historic painting recreation of Roger Williams.
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