[Editor's note: I thought someone was joking when they mentioned Rhode Islanders are trying to change their state name. Turns out this is for real. Wacky!]
Republished from Wikipedia.
The name Rhode Island and Providence Plantations derives from the merging of two colonies, Providence Plantations and Rhode Island. Providence Plantations was the name of the colony founded by Roger Williams in the area now known as the City of Providence. Rhode Island was the area now known as Aquidneck Island, which now comprises the city of Newport and the towns of Middletown and Portsmouth, the largest of several islands in Narragansett Bay.
“Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” is the longest official name of any state in the Union. On June 25, 2009, the Legislature of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations voted to allow the people to decide whether to keep the name or drop “Providence Plantations” due to the perception that the name relates to slavery. A referendum election is to be held on this subject in the near future.