Who knew the being the smallest state meant BIG history? Our little state was the first to do many things, even if we were the last colony to sign the Constitution. I’m going to start throwing some dates and fun firsts for RI. Surprisingly enough, we were the first state to declare our independence from Britain way back in May of 1790! That’s over 220 years! Rhode Island was also the first state to pass anti slavery laws as early as 1652. In 1640 Anne Hutchinson became the first woman to establish an American town; Portsmouth RI. Amongst these forward thinking movements, we also had our smaller firsts. Pelham street was the first gas lit street lights in North America. If you’re an RI native then you definitely remember taking a field trip to the first water powered mill in the USA, Slater Mill. Our small state is also said to have held not only the first lawn tennis tournament, but also the first US National Tennis Championship in 1881. In 1774 Newport was home to the first circus! The first ferry in the nation left the Newport docks in 1657. Rhode Island has a very colorful and interesting history, which ought to be appreciated when appropriate. And hey, we also had one of the first US democracies! We have always been ahead of the times!