PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CBS/AP) — A statewide referendum that would shorten Rhode Island’s official name was approved by voters on Election Day.

With 100-percent of precincts reporting, nearly 53-percent of voters approved a ballot question to remove Providence Plantations from its name.

Advocates say the word plantation evokes images of slavery in the state. Opponents argued that the word instead is a reference to colonies with agricultural economies.

A previous vote to change the name failed in 2010.

Rhode Island was incorporated as The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations when it declared statehood in 1790.

Merchants from Rhode Island played a key role in the transatlantic slave trade, launching more than 1,000 voyages to buy and ship slaves from Africa and the Caribbean.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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