When it was established in 1703, Providence County contained five towns. Today, it is one of six counties in the Providence metropolitan area, an area that covers the entire state and even extends into Massachusetts. Providence County includes the city of Cranston, one of the largest cities in the state, as well as the city of Providence.
Providence is the capital city and one of the largest cities in the region. The city was founded in 1636 by a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Roger Williams. A small four-and-a-half acre park, the Roger Williams National Memorial, celebrates his contributions to religious freedom and contains the Antram-Gray House, built around 1730; two interpretive gardens, and two memorial sites.
Providence County contains over 190 historic sites. A few noteworthy ones include Main Street Historic District in Woonsocket, which contains buildings dating to the mid-1800s; Todd Farm in North Smithfield, built in 1740; and the Whipple-Jenckes House in Cumberland, built around 1750. The Saylesville Meetinghouse in Lincoln was built in 1704 as a meeting house for Quakers. It is the oldest surviving meeting house in New England.
Other cities and towns in Providence County include Pawtucket, Glocester, Cumberland, and Burrillville.