Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island, USA. Providence is the economic, cultural, and political center of Rhode Island. Population - 178,042 people (2010).
The first settlement on the site of the present town was founded by Roger Williams, a Puritan exiled from Massachusetts. In 1636 he bought a tract of land from the Narragansett Indians, with whom he developed an amicable relationship. According to legend, upon seeing a piece of land suitable for settlement, Williams exclaimed: "God's merciful Providence!" (eng. - "God's merciful Providence!"), hence the town's name.
In its early years, the city served as a haven for religious dissidents of various denominations-Baptists, Quakers, Jews, Huguenots from France, Anglicans, even Catholics. The orthodox Massachusetts Puritans nicknamed Rhode Island "the sewer of New England.
Because of difficulties in cultivating the land and conflicts with Indians, development was slow. In the 1770s the British government imposed a series of taxes, which greatly damaged the city's economy. High taxes forced the city to join the other colonies, which did not recognize the power of the metropolis.
Baptist Church, built in 1776
During the War of Independence the city escaped capture by the British. It housed American troops and infirmaries.
The war boosted the economy, and in the following years the city experienced a real industrial revolution. This was especially true of mechanical engineering, textiles, silverware and jewelry. The development of industry ensured a massive influx of immigrants and a rapid growth of the population. The city's development continued after the Civil War.
The Great Depression of the 1920s greatly affected life in Providence. Many businesses were closed. Even after World War II, things did not improve: the economy was in decline, and residents were leaving the city. Organized crime was gaining strength, and Providence became the mafia capital of New England.
Beginning in the 1970s, the city's revitalization began. The city's economy refocused on services: education, health care, tourism. The population began to grow. Today Providence is one of New England's most notable cities.