Bristol, Rhode Island

From Academic Kids

Template:Rimap Bristol is a town in Rhode Island and the county seat of Bristol County. Bristol, a deep water seaport, is named after Bristol, England.


History and Triva

The first battle of King Philip's War took place here in 1675; though Philip was defeated, his Indian name, Metacom, is now the name of a main road in Bristol.

King Philip also made nearby Mount Hope his base of operations. "King Philip's chair," a rocky ledge on the mountain, was a lookout site for enemy ships on Mount Hope Bay. After that war, the town was settled in 1680 as a part of the Plymouth Colony. It remained a part of Massachusetts until the crown transferred it to the Rhode Island colony in 1747.

During the American Revolutionary War, the British Navy bombarded Bristol twice. On October 7, 1775, a group of ships led by Captain Wallace and the HMS Rose came into town and demanded provisions. When they were refused, Wallace shelled the town, causing some damage. The attack was stopped when Lt. Gov. William Bradford rowed out to the Rose to negotiate a cease-fire, but a second attack took place on May 25, 1778. This time, 500 British and Hessian troops marched through main street (now called Hope Street) and burnt 30 barracks and houses, taking some prisoners to Newport.

Bristol also is noted for having the oldest, continuous Independence Day celebrations in the United States. The first mention of this comes from July 1777, when a British officer noted sounds coming from across Narragansett Bay:

"This being the first anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the Rebel Colonies, they ushered in the morning by firing 13 cannons, one for each colony, we suppose. At sunset, the rebel frigates fired another round of 13 guns, each one after the other. As the evening was very still and fine the echo of the guns down the Bay had a grand effect."

The first formal celebrations were held in 1785 and continue today. The festivities start two to three weeks before the Fourth of July and ends with the Military, Civic and Firemen's Parade, an event that draws over 200,000 people from Rhode Island and the surrounding states. These elaborate celebrations gives Bristol its nickname, "America's most patriotic town."

Bristol is home to Roger Williams University, named for Rhode Island founder Roger Williams.


Bristol is situated on 10.1 square miles of a peninsula, with Narragansett Bay on its west and Mount Hope Bay on its east. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 53.4 km² (20.6 mi²). 26.2 km² (10.1 mi²) of it is land and 27.2 km² (10.5 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 50.99% water.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 22,469 people, 8,314 households, and 5,653 families residing in the town. The population density is 858.1/km² (2,222.2/mi²). There are 8,705 housing units at an average density of 332.4/km² (860.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 97.14% White(mostly Portuguese), 0.62% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.67% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 1.03% from two or more races. 1.29% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 8,314 households out of which 28.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% are married couples living together, 10.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 32.0% are non-families. 26.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.45 and the average family size is 2.99.

In the town the population is spread out with 19.6% under the age of 18, 13.8% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town is $43,689, and the median income for a family is $54,656. Males have a median income of $37,587 versus $26,413 for females. The per capita income for the town is $21,532. 8.1% of the population and 5.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 9.2% of those under the age of 18 and 10.8% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

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