Rhode Island was the first colony to call for a Continental Congress, which it did in 1774, and the first to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown, which it did on May 4, 1776. After the American Revolution, during which it was heavily occupied and contested, Rhode Island became the fourth state to ratify the Articles of Confederation, which it did on February 9, 1778. Because its citizens favored a weaker central government, it boycotted the 1787 convention that had drafted the United States Constitution, which it initially refused to ratify; it finally did ratify it on May 29, 1790, the last of the original 13 states to do so.
The state was officially named the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations since the colonial era, but came to be commonly known as "Rhode Island". In November 2020, the state's voters approved an amendment to the state constitution formally dropping "and Providence Plantations" from its full name. Its official nickname is the "Ocean State", a reference to its 400 mi (640 km) of coastline and the large bays and inlets that make up about 14% of its total area. (Full article...)