The origins of current flag dates from King Charles II colonial times. This flag was officially adopted in 1897, with posterior minor changes.
The flag ratio is 29:33 (originally 4:5), the narrowest among all USA state flags. It's constituted by a white field, with thirteen golden stars, representing the original thirteen colonies and the fact Rhode Island was the thirteenth and last colony to sign the Declaration of Independence. The state motto, "HOPE", is written with golden letters in a blue ribbon, below a golden anchor, that also represents hope, in reference to Biblical phrase "hope we have as an anchor of the soul" (Hebrews 6:18-19). Usually the flag holds a golden fringe.