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Rhode Islanders have voted to keep the word “Plantations” in the state’s official name despite concerns that it evokes images of slavery.

Rhode Island is formally called “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” The name appears in the colony’s 1663 Royal Charter and is on the state seal and many official documents.

The name refers to the merger of the “Providence Plantations” settlement founded by religious dissident Roger Williams with neighboring towns into a unified government.


But some people say the word “plantations” makes them think of Rhode Island’s role in the slave trade, and state lawmakers last year authorized a ballot question on the name change.

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