Why is Rhode Island called Rhode Island, even though it’s not an island?
Rhode Island is an island within what is now the state of Rhode Island. It is thought that the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazano may have compared another island, Block Island, off the southern tip of the current state, to the Mediterranean island of Rhodes. Early settlers erroneously thought that he had been referring to the island called Aquidneck by the Native Americans. For the record, the state’s official name is the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. It was settled in 1636 by folks believed to have been banished by the Massachusetts Bay Colony.