This week in Christian history: Pope's indulgence sparks Reformation, Roger Williams gets charter

Roger Williams gets charter for Rhode Island – March 14, 1643

Roger Williams
Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, returns from England in 1644 with a charter for Providence colony. |

This week marks the anniversary of when Roger Williams, the notable dissident banished from Puritan Massachusetts, received a charter for a settlement that later became Rhode Island.

Williams had been banished from colonial Massachusetts over his views on church-and-state separation and the treatment of Native Americans in 1635.

After getting the charter, the Narragansett tribe aided Williams in creating the colony, known as Providence Plantations. The colony became a hub for religious minorities and dissidents.

"Among those who found a haven in the religious and political refuge of the Rhode Island Colony were Anne Hutchinson — like Williams, she had been exiled from Massachusetts for religious reasons — some of the first Jews to settle in North America, and the Quakers," noted

"In Providence, Roger Williams also founded the first Baptist church in America and edited the first dictionary of Native-American languages."

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