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How did Rhode Island get its name?
Rhode Island was discovered in 1524 by Italian navigator Giovanni da Verrazano. The story is that he saw a similarity between this area and the Greek island of Rhodes. But the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, there in 1635, named it Roodt Eylandt 'red island', for the color of its soil. It seems most likely that this Dutch name evolved into the English form used by 17th-century settlers, with the spelling influenced by the Greek island name. The official name is Rhode Island and Providence Plantation.