The Burning of the Gaspee En Español

The attack on the British Royal Navy's HMS Gaspee is celebrated in Rhode Island as the spark that ignited the American Revolution. Considered an act of treason by British authorities, in New England it was considered a brave assault on a “piratical” captain and his ship. The attack and its aftermath highlighted colonial frustrations and prompted the American colonies to call for the creation of a Continental Congress.

Rhode Island State Archives
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This poster is available in English and Spanish.

Gaspee Virtual Exhibit
View a Virtual Exhibit

This exhibit is available in English and Spanish.

New to the Gaspee story? Use the timeline below to learn more about it.

Explore primary sources related to the Gaspee from the RI State Archives

Maritime trade

Maritime Trade

Learn about trade and commerce in Rhode Island in the 1700s by looking at maps and reviewing shipping records.

Who controls the colony?

Who Controls the Colony?

Rhode Island and British officials disagreed about who had authority in Narragansett Bay. Read the letters exchanged between Governor Wanton, Lieutenant Dudingston, and Admiral Montagu.

Conflicting accounts

Conflicting Accounts

Over 30 people, including young indentured servants and prominent Rhode Islanders, provided their accounts of the event.

Additional Resources

Cast of Characters

A short list of some of the key players in the Gaspee attack and investigation.

Field Trip

Request a field trip! An educator can visit your classroom or you can bring students to the Archives!

RI's Digital Archive

See all of the Gaspee Commission’s records in the Rhode Island State Archives’ Digital Archive.

Gaspee VR

Explore the story of the Gaspee with an interactive app for use on smartphones or computers. Visit

Gaspee Virtual Archives

Visit the Gaspee Virtual Archives for additional materials including articles, images, lesson plans, and more.

EnCompass Digital Text Book

Learn more by visiting EnCompass, the Rhode Island Historical Society’s digital textbook.