Warwick is a city in Kent County, Rhode Island, United States. It is the second largest city in the state, with a population of 82,672 at the 2010 census. Its mayor has been Scott Avedisian since 2000. Founded by Samuel Gorton in 1642, Warwick has witnessed major events in American history.
Warwick was decimated during King Philip's War (1675–76) and was the site of the Gaspée Affair, a significant prelude to the American Revolution. Warwick is also the home of revolutionary war general Nathanael Greene, George Washington's second-in-command, and the Civil War hero of the battle of Gettysburg, General George S. Greene.
Warwick is home to Rhode Island's main airport, T. F. Green Airport, which serves the greater Providence area and also functions as a reliever for Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. It is also the home of the 43rd Military Police Brigade of the Rhode Island Army National Guard.
Warwick was founded in 1642 by Samuel Gorton when Narragansett Indian Chief Sachem Miantonomi agreed to accept 144 fathoms of Wampumpeague for what was known as "The Shawhomett Purchase". This included the present day towns of Coventry and West Warwick. However, the purchase was not without dispute. The two sachems of the area, Sacononoco and Pumham, stated that Miantonomi had sold the land without asking for their approval. The two sachems took their case to Boston, Massachusetts where they placed their lands under Massachusetts rule. In 1643 Massachusetts sent a militia force to Shawomett to arrest Gorton and his followers. After a tense standoff, all but three of the Gortonists surrendered to the Massachusetts force. This event caused the other three towns on Narragansett Bay (Providence, Portsmouth, and Newport) to unite and get a royal charter allowing the towns on Narragansett Bay to form the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
In 1648, Gorton was granted a Charter by Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick, Lord Admiral and head of the Parliamentary Commission on Plantation Affairs. Because of this, the name of the settlement was changed from Shawhomett to Warwick. While Massachusetts continued to lay claim to the area, it made no further effort to enforce it.
In 1772, Warwick was the scene for the first violent act against the Crown. In what was to be called the Gaspée Affair, local patriots mooned an then boarded HMS Gaspée, a revenue cutter charged with enforcing the Stamp Act 1765 and Townshend Acts in Narragansett Bay, where smuggling was common. It was here that the first blood of the American Revolution was spilled when the commanding officer of the Gaspée, Lt. Dudingston, was shot in his crotch while resisting the taking of his ship. The Gaspée was stripped of all cannon and arms before being torched.