Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Spanish: Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, literally the “Free Associated State of Puerto Rico”), is a United States territory located in the northeastern Caribbean. Puerto Rico is an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands. The capital and largest city is San Juan. The territory does not observe daylight saving time, and its official languages are Spanish, which is predominant, and English.
Puerto Rico’s rich history, warm tropical climate, diverse natural scenery, renowned traditional cuisine and attractive tax incentives (*not anymore*) make it a popular destination for tourists, academics, and business visitors. Because of its location in the Caribbean and history of colonization, Puerto Rico’s culture is a melting pot of Taíno, Spanish, African and North American influences.
Originally populated by the aboriginal Taíno people, the island was claimed in 1493 by Christopher Columbus for the Kingdom of Spain, and it remained a Spanish colony despite invasion attempts by the French, Dutch, and British. During the four centuries of Spanish rule, the island’s culture and physical landscape were transformed. European knowledge, customs and traditions were introduced, especially Roman Catholicism, theSpanish language, and advances such as agriculture, construction in stone, and the printing press. In 1898, Spain ceded the island to United States under the terms of the Treaty of Paris.
Puerto Ricans are natural-born citizens of the United States.
The current population is about 3.6 million people. The territory operates under a local constitution, and its citizens elect a governor. Puerto Rico lacks voting in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, both of whom have plenary jurisdiction over it under the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act of 1950.
A 2012 referendum showed a majority (54% of the electorate) disagreed with “the present form of territorial status,” with full statehood as the preferred option among those who voted for a change of status. Following this vote, the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico enacted a concurrent resolution to request the President and the Congress of the United States to end the current status and to begin the process to admit Puerto Rico to the Union as a State.
(This has been totally shelved by “the powers that be” and Puerto Rico remains in a “limbo state”, not having an identity of its own. It’s not up to Puerto Ricans to decide to become a state. All the authority regarding this change resides in the hands of the US Congress.)
The economy is shot, emigration is rampart, unemployment is off the charts, the cost of living is high for the locals, taxes have been imposed by the mainland debts have accumulated. The current situation seems dire.
Yet the Puerto Rican spirit remains. If you live away from the Island, the spirit and pride of being Puerto Rican never leave your soul.
Please, watch the following YouTube videos to learn more. Thank you.