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Narragansett Bay

NARRAGANSETT BAY

NARRAGANSETT BAY. An inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in southeastern Rhode Island, Narragansett Bay was so named by English explorers after the Indians who lived on its western shore.

The bay served as a primary artery of colonial maritime commerce. Trade and shipbuilding were the most prominent businesses. By the early 1700s, ships built in Newport and other bayside towns were available for sale to other colonies and Europe. During the American Revolution the Bay, integral to trade in restricted goods such as molasses, was the site of several key confrontations between the colonists and British officials. In 1772 HMS Gaspee, charged with pursuing colonial smugglers, was burned to the waterline.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Daniels, Bruce Colin. Dissent and Conformity on Narragansett Bay: The Colonial Rhode Island Town. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1983.

Hale, Stuart O. Narragansett Bay: A Friend's Perspective. Narragansett, R.I.: Marine Advisory Service, University of Rhode Island, 1980.

Leslie J.Lindenauer

See alsoNarragansett .

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Narragansett Bay

Narragansett Bay, arm of the Atlantic Ocean, 30 mi (48 km) long and from 3 to 12 mi (4.8–19 km) wide, deeply indenting the state of Rhode Island. Its many inlets provided harbors that were advantageous to colonial trade and later to resort development. At the head of the bay is Providence; at the SE corner of the northern bay portion is Newport. Conanicut Island and Prudence Island are also in Narragansett Bay, which is spanned by Newport Bridge (1969; 1,600 ft/488 m). The bridge links Newport with Jamestown.

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