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The first European explorer know to have explored the Rhode Island area was Giovanni da Verrazzano He sailed into the Narragansett Bay in 1524 and finding five Algonquian speaking groups of Native Americans The Narragansett the Wampanoag the Nipmunc the Niantic and the Pequot Through out the next hundred years Dutch fur traders arrived in the Rhode Island region this caused illnesses and plagues to the Indians who suffered great losses In 1635 William Blackstone an Anglican clergyman left Boston to seek solitude and settled in Valley Falls which was then part of the Massachusetts Bay colony A year later a puritan minister roger Williams a religious rebel became the first European to establish an independent permanent settlement in the Rhode Island region The establishment of religious freedom in the colony of Rhode Island affected colonial America greatly Williams had lived in the Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies but got into conflicts with the puritan authorities when he spoke about religious freedom and challenged the civil and religious restrictions in the colonies In January 1636 he was forced to flee Massachusetts to avoid deportation back to England He found refuge with the Wampanoag whose chief Massasoit was his friend Massasoit granted Williams and his friends a piece of land east of the Seekonk River However this piece of land was controlled by the Plymouth colony and they made them move across the river to where the Narragansett were living The Narragansett then granted them a large piece of land where they established providence Rhode islands first permanent white settlement in 1636 Unlike most Europeans Native Americans respected Williams and he in return respected them as humans not as savages Williams believed that the settlers compensate the Native Americans for the land that they have taken The Native Americans not only accepted Williams settlement but they encouraged it In 1638 another group of colonists led by john Clarke William Coddington and Anne Hutchinson arrived from Massachusetts
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