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Small in size, large in history

If Alaska is big and wild, Rhode Island is small and mild. The Ocean State's 1,045 square miles would fit into Alaska 470 times; Jerimoth Hill, its highest point, reaches 812 feet; it is one of six states with no wilderness at all, though it does have 20,900 acres of state parks, one national park, and five wildlife refuges.

Still, the 13th of the original Colonies has been a frontier and a pioneer: Roger Williams, exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for demanding greater religious freedom, founded Providence in 1636. In 1793, Samuel Slater touched off the Industrial Revolution in Pawtucket with the first water-powered cotton mill in the US.

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The state is heavily industrialized, though it remains 60 percent forested. With 961.8 residents per square mile (compared with Alaska's 1.03) and a population of just over 1 million, it rates two two US Representatives.

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