Rhode Island is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area and the seventh least populous (1,059,361 as of 2019), but it is also the second most densely populated behind New Jersey. The state takes its name from Rhode Island; however, most of the state is located on the mainland. The state has land borders with Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south via Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound. It also shares a small maritime border with New York. Providence is the state capital and most populous city in Rhode Island.
On May 4, 1776, the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was the first of the Thirteen Colonies to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown, and it was the fourth state to ratify the Articles of Confederation, doing so on February 9, 1778. The state boycotted the 1787 convention which drew up the United States Constitution and initially refused to ratify it; it was the last of the original 13 states to do so, on May 29, 1790.
Formally named the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations since its accession to the Union in 1790, voters in the state approved an amendment in November 2020 to the state constitution, renaming itself the State of Rhode Island. This change took effect when the results were certified on November 30, 2020. Rhode Island’s official nickname is “The Ocean State”, a reference to the large bays and inlets that amount to about 14 percent of its total area.