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City (pop., 2000: 173,618), capital of Rhode Island, U.S. It is located at the head of Narragansett Bay on the Providence River. Founded in 1636 by Roger Williams as a refuge for religious dissenters, it was partly destroyed in King Philip's War in 1676. It played an important role in the American Revolution and was a major port in trade with the West Indies in the 18th century. Incorporated as a city in 1831, it became the sole capital of the state in 1900. Previously it had shared that honour with Newport since 1854. A seaport and an industrial and commercial centre, it is the focus of a metropolitan area that includes Pawtucket and East Providence. Educational institutions include Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Providence, visit Britannica.com.