Warren, Rhode Island

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Warren is a town in Bristol County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 11,360 at the 2000 census.



Warren was the site of the Indian village of Sowams on the peninsula called Pokanoket (the near parts now called Mount Hope Neck), and was first explored by Europeans in 1621, by Edward Winslow and Stephen Hopkins. By the next year, Plymouth Colony had established a trading post at Sowams. In 1623, Winslow and John Hampden saved the life of Wampanoag Sachem Massasoit with medicine, gaining an important native ally.[3]

In 1636, Roger Williams, banished from Salem, fled to Sowams where he was sheltered by Massasoit until he settled at Providence.

Permanent English settlement east of the Indian village began. In 1653, Massasoit and his oldest son sold to certain Plymouth Colony settlers what is now Warren and parts of Barrington, Rhode Island; Swansea, Massachusetts; and Rehoboth, Massachusetts. After the death of Massasoit, relations between the Indians and the settlers became strained, leading to King Philip's War in 1675. The English settlement at Sowams was destroyed during the war, but rebuilt.[3]

In 1668, the township was officially incorporated with the name Sowams;[3] in 1691, the Plymouth Colony merged with the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Warren was ceded to Rhode Island from Massachusetts in 1747.[4] The town was named "Warren" after a British naval hero, Admiral Sir Peter Warren, after a victory at Louisburg in 1745. At the time of cession in 1747, Barrington, Rhode Island was unified with Warren, until it was separated again in 1770.

In the mid-18th century the town was well known as a whaling port, and shipbuilding became an important industry. The Revolutionary War seriously affected Warren's commercial prosperity, and the town suffered British raids in 1778 along with the rest of the region.

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