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5 Fun Facts About May 31 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 was the 13th state to ratify the US Constitution on May 31, 1790. The state's ratification was significant, as it was the last of the original 13 colonies to do so.

2. On May 31, 1879, the Newport Daily News reported on the construction of the Newport Casino, a posh entertainment venue and social club that would become a hub for the city's wealthy elite. The casino would later be designated a National Historic Landmark.

3. In a tragic event on May 31, 1901, the steamship Larchmont sank off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, resulting in the deaths of over 100 passengers and crew members. The disaster sparked public outcry and calls for improved safety regulations for passenger ships.

4. On May 31, 1937, the iconic Newport Bridge (now known as the Claiborne Pell Bridge) opened to traffic, providing a much-needed connection between Newport and Jamestown. At the time of its completion, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.

5. In a landmark decision on May 31, 2018, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed the Reproductive Privacy Act, a bill that codified the right to abortion into state law. The law was significant given the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade only established a constitutional right to abortion, leaving states to determine their own policies around the issue.
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