America's Historic Towns and Oldest Places
Newport, Rhode Island (estimated population 21, 815) was founded in 1639 on Aquidneck Island, which was called Rhode Island at the time. Its eight founders and first officers were Nicholas Easton, William Coddington, John Clarke, John Coggeshall, William Brenton, Jeremy Clark, Thomas Hazard, and Henry Bull. They say Rhode Island is especially haunted because it was one of the 13 original colonies and the native American souls are still not at rest . Newport helped lead the way toward the Revolution and independence. Because the city was such a well-known hot-bed of revolutionary fervor, and because of its long history of disdain for royal and parliamentary efforts to control its trade, the British occupied Newport from 1776 to 1779, and over half of the town’s population fled. Newport’s history is remarkable in many ways, but perhaps the most unique aspect is the fact that so much of its history is still visible on the landscape in an impressive concentration of preserved architecture.