Tree: Red Maple
Bird: Rhode Island Red
Song: "Rhode Island's It for Me"
Fish: Striped Bass Mineral: Bowenite
Fruit: Rhode Island Greening Apple
Nicknames: The Ocean State, Little Rhody
Entered Union: May 29, 1790
It is unclear how Aquidneck Island came to be known as Rhode Island, although there are two popular theories.
The explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, in 1524 noted the presence of an island near the mouth of Narragansett Bay, which he likened to the Greek island of Rhodes. However, subsequent European explorers were unable to precisely identify the island that Verrazzano had named. Nevertheless, the Pilgrims who later colonized the area assumed that Verrazzano's "Rhodes" was Aquidneck.
A second theory concerns the fact that Adriaen Block, during his expeditions in the 1610's, passed by Aquidneck, described in a 1625 account of his travels as "an island of reddish appearance" (in 17th-century Dutch, "een rodlich Eylande"). Historians have theorized that this "reddish appearance" resulted from either red autumn foliage or red clay on portions of the shore.