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Rhode Island State Symbols

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Welcome to the Ocean State! If you think tiny Rhode Island’s state symbols are a yawn, guess again. The Ocean State is the only state besides Delaware whose state bird is a chicken (the Rhode Island Red). It is the only state whose symbols include a seal (the harbor seal). (Continued below)

Rhode Island State Flag
Nicknames & Slogans
Nicknames The Ocean State, The Smallest State, Plantation State, Little Rhody 1971
Symbols of State
Motto Hope 1875
Song Rhode Island’s It For Me 1996
EcoSymbols
Flower violet (Viola sororia) 2001
Tree red maple (Acer rubrum) 1964
Fruit greening apple (Malus) 1991
Bird Rhode Island Red (Gallus gallus) 1954
Marine Mammal harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) 2016
Fish striped bass (Morone saxatilis) 2000
Insect American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) 2015
Shell quahaug (Mercenaria mercenaria) 1987
Coral northern star coral (Astrangia poculata) 2021
Mineral bowenite 1966
Rock cumberlandite 1966
Soil Narragansett (unofficial) Unofficial
Cultural Symbols
Appetizer calamari 2012
Drink coffee milk 1993
Tartan 2000
Yacht Courageous 2000
Flagship & Tall Ship Ambassador Replica of the Continental sailing vessel known as “Providence” 1992
Sailing Educational Vessel SSV Oliver Hazard Perry 2013
March Rhode Island 1996
Folk Art The Charles I.D. Looff Carousel (also known as the Crescent Park Carousel) 1985
Flag Pledge 1910

While New Mexico’s tarantula hawk wasp is a tough act to follow, Rhode Islanders shot back by adopting the American burying beetle. Far more appetizing is calamari, the official state appetizer.

Just for fun, take a ride on the Charles I.D. Looff Carousel, adopted as the official folk art. Who would have thought that a New England state would become the only state other than Hawaii to adopt a living coral as a state symbol?

Rhode Island is one of just two states with an official motto consisting of just four letters—“HOPE.” It also boasts one of the more attractive state flags.

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If you think state flags and flowers are nothing more than trivia, guess again. A thorough exploration of the more than 1,500 items adopted as state symbols embraces geography, history, and psychology.

You have found the best state symbols website, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The introduction above is adapted from Geobop’s State Symbols and My State Symbols Book, by far the biggest and most detailed state symbols references ever. You can learn still more about the symbols of the 50 states in the books Flag Quest and Grading the States. (Learn more about them here.)

After you spend some time exploring your favorite state’s symbols, you can come back here and tell us what you think about them.

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