Narragansett Bay

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Narragansett Bay
Waters Atlantic Ocean
Land mass North America
Geographical location 41 ° 38 ′  N , 71 ° 22 ′  W Coordinates: 41 ° 38 ′  N , 71 ° 22 ′  W
Narragansett Bay (Rhode Island)
Narragansett Bay
surface 380 km²
Islands Aquidneck Island , Conanicut Island , Prudence Island
Tributaries Taunton River , Providence River , Seekonk River
Narragansett Bay outlined in red in relation to Rhode Island

Narragansett Bay outlined in red in relation to Rhode Island

The Narragansett Bay is a bay and estuary north of Rhode Iceland sound .

It covers 380 km², forming New England's largest estuary, which acts as a large natural harbor, and includes an archipelago . This bay is mostly in the state of Rhode Island ; small parts extend into neighboring Massachusetts .

Of over thirty islands, the three largest are Aquidneck Island , Conanicut Island, and Prudence Island . Waters that are part of Narragansetts Bay include the Sakonnet River , Mount Hope Bay, and parts of the Taunton River to the south . The bay opens to Rhode Island SoundBlock Island is less than 20 miles from the opening - and the Atlantic Ocean . Bridges across parts of the bay include suspension bridges , the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge and Mount Hope Bridge , as well as the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge and the Braga Bridge , which forms the bridge on Interstate 195 over Narragansett Bay.


Providence , the capital of Rhode Islands and the largest city, is located on the western coast of the northernmost part of Narragansett Bay. Many suburbs of Providence, such as Warwick and Cranston , are also on the bay. Home of the United States Naval War College , Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and a major United States Navy training center , Newport is on the ocean's south end of Aquidneck Island . The town of Fall River is located at the confluence of the Taunton River with Mount Hope Bay , which forms the northernmost part of Narragansett Bay. The southwest coast includes the tourist resorts of Narragansett and Wickford . Quonset Point , south of Warwick, is eponymous for Quonset hut . The Roger Williams University located in Bristol .

Geology and geomorphology

Narragansett Bay is an estuary that emerged from a number of flooded, glacially shaped river valleys that once existed in the southern continuation of the three rivers that now flow into the bay. The three rivers are:

The estuary is the result of the effects and consequences of the recent glaciation in North America ( Wisconsin glaciation ) on or for New England. In the course of the icing, a lot of water was bound in the continental glaciers and ice sheets, so that the sea level was far below today's level and the coast of Rhode Island was about 40 kilometers south of the current coastline. When the Laurentide ice sheet the area of today's Narragansett Bay reached, he scraped deep notches in the landscape and put this old basement free, still in the area of the bay is pending . The terrain notches running in north-south direction can be clearly seen on the map: The West Passage between Conanicut Island and the mainland in the west and the East Passage between Conanicut Island and Aquidneck Island.

When the ice retreated, the region became ice-free approximately 14,000 years ago. The sea level was still well below today's level. At first there was a meltwater lake in the area of ​​today's bay for about 500 years. This was replaced by a river that flowed along the longitudinal axis of the former lake. From around 9,000 years ago the coastline had advanced into the area of ​​Narragansett Bay. The river valleys were flooded and the estuary in its current form began to emerge.

Early history

The first visit by Europeans to the bay was probably in the early 16th century. During this time the area around the bay was populated by two different groups of Indians: the Narraganset occupied the western coast of the bay and the Wampanoag lived on the east coast, occupying the land east of Cape Cod .

It is recognized by most historians that the Europeans first contact was through Giovanni da Verrazzano , an Italian explorer who entered the bay with his ship La Dauphine in 1524 after visiting New York Bay . Verrazzano called the bay Refugio, the "refuge". The bay has several entrances, but the exact route of his journey and the place where he anchored is still controversial between historians, which leads to a corresponding uncertainty as to which tribe he contacted first. Verrazzano reported that he found clearings and open forests, suitable for traveling "even by a large army" (German: even by a large army).

Later, in 1614, the bay was discovered and mapped by the Dutch navigator Adriaen Block , after which Block Island was named.

The first European settlement mentioned in a document dates from the 30s of the 17th century. Roger Williams , an unsatisfied member of the Plymouth Colony , came to this area around 1636. He met the sachem of the Narraganset, called Canonicus by the Europeans , and opened a trading post on the Providence coast . At the same time the Dutch had established a trading post about twelve miles to the southwest. It was administered by New Amsterdam in New York Bay.

In 1643 Williams traveled to England , where he was granted a charter to the new Rhode Island colony . He also wrote a dictionary of the Narraganset language, "Keys to the Indian Language", which was published in England that same year.

The Gaspée affair , a major event in the American Revolution , occurred in the bay in 1772; it was triggered by the hijacking of the British ship HMS Gaspee . The American victory eventually contributed to the start of the war, the battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts three years later . This event is celebrated in Warwick in June as Gaspee Day Celebration : the burning of the ship is symbolically re-enacted.

The HM Bark Endeavor of James Cook was sold in 1775 after Cook's third voyage, in Lord Sandwich renamed and served as a troop ship during the American Revolutionary War . In August 1778 she was sunk along with other ships in Narragansett Bay to block an incoming French fleet that was supposed to bring reinforcements to the Americans.

Roger Williams and other early colonists named many islands in the bay. In order to remember the names, the schoolchildren from the colonial era used a poem:

Patience, Prudence, Hope and Despair.
And the little hog over there.


Navigable bays, harbors, calas, rivers and coastal ponds in and around Narragansett Bay

West Passage

Providence River

East Passage

Mount Hope Bay

Sakonnet River

Pawcatuck River

South coast

Block Island

Web links

Commons : Narragansett Bay  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. "Abundance and Distribution of Ichthyoplankton in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island , 1989-1990 "Estuaries, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Mar., 1999), pp. 149-163
  2. ^ The Islands - City of Providence website
  3. ^ A b Geological History of Jamestown, Rhode Island: Glaciation. Jamestown RI - Rhode Island Visitor Information Home Page.
  4. a b Geologic Setting. In: KY McMullen, LJ Poppe, RP Signell, JF Denny, JM Crocker, AL Beaver, PT Schattgen: Surficial Geology in Central Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island: Interpretations of Sidescan Sonar and Multibeam Bathymetry. US Geological Survey Open-File Report 2006-1199 (HTML version)
  5. ^ Geological History of Jamestown, Rhode Island: The Holocene epoch. ( Memento of the original from February 18, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Jamestown RI - Rhode Island Visitor Information Home Page. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. Archived copy ( memento of the original from January 23, 2003 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Archived copy ( Memento of the original dated November 13, 2003 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. ^ W. Conon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England (New York) 1983.
  8. [1]
  9. James Cook and the discovery of the South Seas , catalog for the exhibition of the same name in the Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn 2009, p. 134
  10. [2]