About This Place
Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War College, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and a major United States Navy training center. A major 18th century port city, Newport now contains among the highest number of surviving colonial buildings of any city in the United States. The city is the county seat of Newport County (a county that no longer has any governmental functions). Newport was known for being the city of some of the "Summer White Houses" during the administrations of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. The population was 24,672 at the 2010 census.
Newport was founded in 1639 and its eight founders and first officers were Nicholas Easton, William Coddington, John Clarke, John Coggeshall, William Brenton, Jeremy Clark, Thomas Hazard, and Henry Bull, who left Portsmouth, Rhode Island after a political fallout with Anne Hutchinson and her followers. As part of the agreement, Coddington and his followers took control of the southern side of the island. They were soon joined by Nicholas Easton, who had recently been expelled from Massachusetts for holding heretical beliefs. The settlement soon grew to be the largest of the four original towns of Rhode Island. Many of the first colonists in Newport quickly became Baptists, and in 1640 the second Baptist congregation in Rhode Island was formed under the leadership of John Clarke.
Peace did not last long in Newport, as many did not like Coddington's autocratic style. As a result, by 1650 a counter faction led by Nicholas Easton was formed. The Coddington/Easton divide would dominate Newport politics for much of the 17th century. Newport soon grew to become the most important port in colonial Rhode Island. A public school was established in 1640.