By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (May 29, 2024) – In this edition of Fun with Maps we debate the naming origins of the Ocean State: Verrazano or Block? 

Greek or Red

Rhode Island was the last of the 13 colonies to ratify the US Constitution on May 29, 1790.

It is the smallest US state by area, but packs in 1.1 million people and is the 45th most populous.

It is not an island for the most part, although it has numerous islands.

The origin of the name Rhode Island is a bit murky.  One of the two leading theories is that explorer Verrazano sailing by the area felt that it resembled Rhodes in Greece.  The other one is that another explorer, Block, passing through the area in 1610 thought that it was a bit reddish, or rodlich in his native Dutch.

This Colton map of Rhode Island and Massachusetts is from 1855.

Map of Massachusetts and Rhode Island from 1855

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.