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Roger Williams (near 1603 – between January and February 1683) was an English Protestant theologian who was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Williams started the first Baptist church in America, the First Baptist Church of Providence, before leaving to become a Seeker. He was a student of Native American languages and an advocate for fair dealings with Native Americans.