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Jamestown, Rhode Island is in Newport County and is mostly located on Conanicut Island, which is the second largest island in Narragansett Bay. Giovanni da Verrazzano, the Italian explorer, was the first European to visit the Narragansett in 1524, and the town of Jamestown was incorporated in 1678. It was named in honor of James, Duke of York, who later became King James II. In December of 1775, the Hessians and British landed on Conanicut Island and burned the ferry house along with many homes and other buildings, causing more than one-third of the residents to flee the island. The British left Narragansett Bay in October of 1779, destroying the Beavertail Lighthouse and their own forts before they fled. By 1787, the lighthouse, Quaker Meetinghouse, and Jamestown Windmill, all of which were destroyed, were rebuilt and back in use.

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