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It became the path for importing coal, oil, automobiles, and other such bulk goods.The bay has substantial recreational uses and still supports a considerable shellfishing industry, although pollution restricts the areas where shellfish are available. In the western area many rocks and boulders lie on rolling land with outcrops of granite and gneiss.Aquidneck’s renaming as Rhode Island (a name that came to be used as shorthand for the whole colony) by the English in 1644 may have come in part from English settlers’ confusion between two foreign sources: Giovanni da Verrazzano’s earlier comparison of Block Island to the Greek island of Rhodes, and the name Roodt Eyland (Red Island), which the Dutch had given to Aquidneck because of its red soil.Providence Plantations, the first settlement on the mainland, on Narragansett Bay, was named by the minister Roger Williams, founder of the state, who credited Divine Providence with bringing him safely there in 1636.The capital is The name Rhode Island is of uncertain origin.It originally applied to the island in Narragansett Bay that the Native Americans called Aquidneck Island.Better soils with fewer rocks are found in the lowlands and adjacent bay islands, where the soil base is sedimentary.Along the west side of Narragansett Bay and in river valleys, glacial outwashes of sand and gravel are rapidly drained.
Marine influences are discernible in differences between coastal and inland locations.The contributions of Rhode Island to the forming of the new country were remarkable.Particularly important was the concept of freedom of conscience—the legacy of Roger Williams.The average monthly temperature is 29 °F (−2 °C) in January and 71 °F (22 °C) in July.The average annual temperature is 50 °F (10 °C), and the average precipitation is about 46 inches (1,170 mm) per year.
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The extreme compactness of area, proportionally large population, and economic activity have tied it closely to its neighbouring states.