Welcome to Warwick, Rhode Island!
See our beautiful beaches, historic villages, great golfing, breathtaking foliage, and unlimited shopping. Whether your interest lies in boating and shoreline activities or researching colonial America, Warwick is a great place to start. However, even if you would just like to have no destination or goal for the day, the City of Warwick has 39 miles of coastline and some of the most spectacular views of Narragansett Bay. Warwick is a city in Kent County, Rhode Island. It is the second largest city in the state. Founded by Samuel Gorton in 1642, Warwick has witnessed major events in American history.
Warwick was decimated during King Philip’s War (1675-76) and was the site of the first shot fired during the American Revolution against the British schooner Gaspe. Warwick is also the home of revolutionary war general Nathanael Greene, George Washington’s second-in-command, and the Civil War hero of the battle of Gettysburg, General George S. Greene.
Warwick is home to Rhode Island’s main airport, T. F. Green Airport, which serves the greater Providence area and also functions as a reliever for Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. It is also the home of the 43rd Military Police Brigade of the Rhode Island Army National Guard.
Warwick Early History
Warwick was founded in 1642 by Samuel Gorton when Narragansett Indian Chief Sachem Miantonomi agreed to accept 144 fathoms of Wampumpeague for what was known as “The Shawhomett Purchase”. This included the present day towns of Coventry and West Warwick. However, the purchase was not without dispute. The two sachems of the area, Sacononoco and Pumham, stated that Miantonomi had sold the land without asking for their approval. The two sachems took their case to Boston, Masschusetts where they placed their lands under Massachusetts rule. In 1643 Massachusetts sent a militia force to Shawomett to arrest Gorton and his followers. After a tense standoff, all but 3 of the Gortonists surrendered to the Massachusetts force. This event caused the other three towns on Narragansett Bay (Providence, Portsmouth, and Newport) to unite and get a royal charter allowing the towns on Narragansett Bay to form the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
In 1648, Gorton was granted a Charter by Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick. Because of this, the name of the settlement was changed from Shawhomett to Warwick. While Massachusetts continued to lay claim to the area, it made no effort to enforce it.
In 1772, Warwick was the scene for the first violent act against the Crown when, in what was to be called the Gaspe Affair, local patriots boarded the British HMS Gaspe, a revenue cutter charged with enforcing the Stamp Act 1765 and Townshend Acts in an area where smuggling was common, the Narragansett Bay. It was here that the first blood of the American Revolution was spilled when the commanding officer of the Gaspe, Lt. Duddingston, was shot in his crotch while resisting the taking of his ship. The Gaspe was stripped of all cannon and arms before being torched.
During the Revolution, Warwick Militiamen participated in the battles of Montreal, Quebec, Saratoga, Monmouth, Trenton, Rhode Island, and were present for the surrender at Yorktown.