The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, colloquially known as Rhode Island, is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area. Rhode Island borders Connecticut to the west, and Massachusetts to the north and east, as well as New York by sea to the southwest.Despite being called Rhode Island in common usage, most of the state lies on the North American mainland. Providence Plantations is the mainland; "island" refers to Aquidneck Island (now composed of the city of Newport, and the towns of Middletown and Portsmouth).
Rhode Island was the first of the thirteen original American colonies to declare independence from British rule and the last to ratify the United States Constitution.Rhode Island has long held the nickname of "Little Rhody", though the state has officially adopted the nickname of "the Ocean State", as nearly one tenth of Rhode Island's inland area is covered by salt water, and no part of the state is more than a thirty-minute drive from the water's edge.