Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rhode Island Now Aquidneck Island on Tourist Maps

What is the smallest state in the union?  If you answered "Rhode Island" then your answer is correct based on intent.  The official name of the smallest state is the "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations."  That is because the colony which the state was formed from was a combination of a settlement on the actual island called Rhode and farm plantations around the town of Providence.

The confusion between the state and the island names' have naturally led to confusion.  People will ask why the state is called an island when the state is not an island because of ignorance concerning the actual island.  The U.S. Board of Geographic Names, the official federal government's geographic name body, identifies the island as Rhode Island, while the vernacular name the locals use is Aquidneck Island, the name the local Indians called the island.

Now the state is moving to fix the confusion.  The newest version of the state's tourist map are now identifying the island as Aquidnick Island.  This changes is not a formal name changes but is a significant push to officially rename the island.  The Board of Geographic Names would be the sole authority who could do that.

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