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5 Fun Facts About December 17 In Rhode Island History

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

1. Rhode Island Declared Independence from Britain on December 17, 1776
On December 17, 1776, the Rhode Island General Assembly declared independence from Great Britain, becoming the first of the original thirteen colonies to do so. Rhode Island had initially been hesitant to join the revolutionary cause, but ultimately chose to defy British authority and fight for their own independence.

2. The First Time Capsule Was Buried in Providence on December 17, 1870
On December 17, 1870, a time capsule was buried in Providence, Rhode Island, marking the first time such an object had been created and buried in the United States. The capsule was excavated in 2014, revealing a variety of historical artifacts from the time period, including newspapers, photographs, and even a pair of shoes.

3. The First Radio Station in Rhode Island Began Broadcasting on December 17, 1922
On December 17, 1922, WJAR Radio made its first broadcast from Providence, becoming the first radio station in Rhode Island. The station was originally owned by the Shepard Department Stores and broadcasted programs such as news, music, and sporting events.

4. The Last Execution in Rhode Island Occurred on December 17, 1845
December 17, 1845 marked the last execution in Rhode Island history. John Gordon, a convicted murderer, was hanged in Providence for the killing of his wife. After Gordon's execution, Rhode Island abolished the death penalty for all crimes except for treason.

5. The USS Providence Was Commissioned on December 17, 1775
The USS Providence, a Continental Navy sloop-of-war, was commissioned on December 17, 1775 in Providence, Rhode Island. The ship served as a privateer during the Revolutionary War and was captained by famed naval officer John Paul Jones. Today, a replica of the USS Providence is owned by the City of Providence and is used for tours and educational programs.
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