RG 042. State Boundary Commissions and Committees
Identifier: RG 042
This record group brings together records created by various commissions, legislative committees, interstate committees, and other bodies formed to address outstanding boundary issues between Rhode Island and its neighbors in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York from the colonial era to the present century. Most recently, in 2003, the General Assembly formed a body to provide for the determination and settlement of outstanding boundary questions between Connecticut and Rhode Island from the mouth of the Ashaway River north to the Massachusetts border. Conflicting colonial foundation patents and charters, vaguely worded land acquisition agreements with Native Americans, overlapping royal grants, inadequate geodetic methodologies, the shifting natural landscape, and displaced and destroyed boundary markings and monuments over time all formed sources of conflicting claims between Rhode Island and its neighbor states about their shared borders and gave rise to frequent investigations and negotiation from the eighteenth to well into the twentieth century. Rhode Island's borders were first defined in a royal patent of 1644, and then in the Royal Charter of 1663. Since then different portions of the line have been re-examined, adjusted and re-affirmed by various bodies.