Providence is the capital and most populous city in Rhode Island. Founded in 1636, it is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It is located in Providence County, and is the third-largest city in the New England region. Providence has a city population of 182,042. The city is situated at the mouth of the Providence River, at the head of Narragansett Bay. The Providence city limits enclose a small geographic region, with a total area of 20.5 square miles.
Providence was one of the first cities to industrialize in the United States. By 1830, the city had manufacturing industries in metals, machinery, textiles, jewelry, and silverware. Though manufacturing has declined, the city is still one of the largest centers for jewelry and silverware design and manufacturing. Services, in particular education, healthcare, and finance, also make up a large portion of the city's economy. Providence also is the site of a sectional center facility, a regional hub for the U.S. Postal Service. Since it is the capital of Rhode Island, Providence's economy additionally consists of government services. Over one third of Providence's economy is based in either trade, transportation, and utilities, or educational and health services.
The flagship campuses of five of Rhode Island's colleges and universities are in Providence (city proper): Brown University, Johnson & Wales University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
The city is home to the American Hockey League team Providence Bruins and two rugby teams, the Rugby Union team Providence Rugby Football Club, and the Semi-Professional Rugby League team The Rhode Island Rebellion. Major colleges and universities fielding NCAA Division I athletic teams are Brown University and Providence College.