"With the Atlantic bordering on the south and the 28-mile long Naragansett Bay splitting the state along a north-south axis, Rhode Island is nicknamed the "Ocean State." Its early settlement in 1636 and important sea trade there-after made Newport and Providence the seventh and eighth largest cities in the country as of the 1970 Census. The cities are no longer so nationally preeminent, but the state remains heavily populated and ranks behind New Jersey as the second most densely settled state in the nation."
Smolski, Chester and Yacher, Leon, "Spotlight: Rhode Island" (1990). Smolski Texts. 346.