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5 Fun Facts About April 12 In Rhode Island History

---Learn Every Day: RI Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history ri To: 618-270-4005---

1. In 1934, the worst forest fire in Rhode Island's history broke out on April 12th. The fire burned over 4,000 acres of land and destroyed many homes and businesses in the Oakland Beach area of Warwick and East Greenwich.

2. On April 12, 1636, Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, signed a treaty with the Narragansett tribe allowing him to settle in what is now Providence. This treaty was the first of its kind in American history, and it granted Williams permission to establish a government independent from the English Crown.

3. In 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the construction and manning of the first naval fleet in Rhode Island history. The fleet was built in Providence, and its flagship, the Alfred, was launched on April 12th of that year.

4. The first public library in Rhode Island, and the second in the United States, was founded in Providence on April 12, 1753. The library, known as the Providence Library Company, was initially stocked with books that had been donated by local citizens.

5. On April 12, 1989, Rhode Island's longest-serving governor, J. Joseph Garrahy, signed legislation that made the state the first in the nation to mandate a high school exit exam. This controversial move was intended to ensure that all graduating students had a baseline level of knowledge and skills.
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