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To increase its hold on its last two New World colonies, the Spanish Crown revived the Royal Decree of Graces of as a result of which , immigrants, mainly Spaniards, settled on the island in the period up until the American conquest.

Printed in three languages—Spanish, English, and French—it was intended to also attract non-Spanish Europeans, with the hope that the independence movements would lose their popularity if new settlers had stronger ties to the Crown.

Hundreds of non-Spanish families, mainly from Corsica , France , Germany , Ireland , Italy and Scotland, also immigrated to the island.

Free land was offered as an incentive to those who wanted to populate the two islands, on the condition that they swear their loyalty to the Spanish Crown and allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church.

Puerto Rico still receives Spanish and European immigration. Poverty and political estrangement with Spain led to a small but significant uprising in known as Grito de Lares.

Slavery was abolished in Puerto Rico in , "with provisions for periods of apprenticeship". Many joined the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Committee , founded on December 8, , and continued their quest for Puerto Rican independence.

In , Antonio Mattei Lluberas and the local leaders of the independence movement in Yauco organized another uprising, which became known as the Intentona de Yauco.

They raised what they called the Puerto Rican flag, which was adopted as the national flag. The local conservative political factions opposed independence.

Rumors of the planned event spread to the local Spanish authorities who acted swiftly and put an end to what would be the last major uprising in the island to Spanish colonial rule.

This bilaterally agreed-upon charter maintained a governor appointed by the King of Spain — who held the power to annul any legislative decision — and a partially elected parliamentary structure.

General elections were held in March and the new government began to function on July 17, Part of his strategy called for the acquisition of colonies in the Caribbean, which would serve as coaling and naval stations.

They would serve as strategic points of defense with the construction of a canal through the Isthmus of Panama , to allow easier passage of ships between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

William H. Seward , the former Secretary of State under presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson , had also stressed the importance of building a canal in Honduras , Nicaragua or Panama.

The U. Senate did not approve his annexation proposal, and Spain rejected the U. By , the U. Office of Naval Intelligence had prepared a plan that included military operations in Puerto Rican waters.

Except for one plan, which recommended annexation of the island then named Isle of Pines later renamed as Isla de la Juventud , a recommendation dropped in later planning, plans developed for attacks on Spanish territories were intended as support operations against Spain's forces in and around Cuba.

After the U. Spain relinquished sovereignty over Cuba , but did not cede it to the U. The United States and Puerto Rico began a long-standing metropolis-colony relationship.

The Foraker Act of gave Puerto Rico a certain amount of civilian popular government, including a popularly elected House of Representatives.

The upper house and governor were appointed by the United States. Its judicial system was reformed to bring it into conformity with the American legal system ; a Puerto Rico Supreme Court and a United State District Court for the territory were established.

It was authorized a non-voting member of Congress, by the title of "Resident Commissioner", who was appointed. In addition, this Act extended all U.

Internal Revenue laws. The Act empowered the civil government to legislate on "all matters of legislative character not locally inapplicable", including the power to modify and repeal any laws then in existence in Puerto Rico, though the U.

Congress retained the power to annul acts of the Puerto Rico legislature. In , the Puerto Rican House of Delegates voted unanimously in favor of independence from the United States, but this was rejected by the U.

Congress as "unconstitutional", and in violation of the Foraker Act. In , the U. The same Act provided for a popularly elected Senate to complete a bicameral Legislative Assembly, as well as a bill of rights.

It authorized the popular election of the Resident Commissioner to a four-year term. Natural disasters, including a major earthquake and tsunami in and several hurricanes , as well as the Great Depression, impoverished the island during the first few decades under U.

He organized a protest at the University of Puerto Rico in , in which four were killed by police. In , U. In , Albizu Campos' party organized a protest in Ponce.

The Insular Police, similar to the National Guard , opened fire upon unarmed cadets and bystanders alike.

In the aftermath, on April 2, , Tydings introduced another bill in Congress calling for independence for Puerto Rico, though it was again defeated.

In order to be eligible, applicants must have been born in Puerto Rico, born outside of Puerto Rico to a Puerto Rican—born parent, or be an American citizen with at least one year of residence in Puerto Rico.

The first elections under this act were held the following year, on November 2, On May 21, , a bill was introduced before the Puerto Rican Senate which would restrain the rights of the independence and Nationalist movements on the island.

Under this new law it would be a crime to print, publish, sell, or exhibit any material intended to paralyze or destroy the insular government; or to organize any society, group or assembly of people with a similar destructive intent.

According to Dr. Constitution , which guarantees Freedom of Speech. He asserted that the law as such was a violation of the civil rights of the people of Puerto Rico.

The law was repealed in Congress granted Puerto Ricans the right to organize a constitutional convention via a referendum that gave them the option of voting their preference, "yes" or "no", on a proposed U.

Puerto Rico's electorate expressed its support for this measure in with a second referendum to ratify the constitution. The Constitution of Puerto Rico was formally adopted on July 3, The Constitutional Convention specified the name by which the body politic would be known.

On February 4, , the convention approved Resolution 22 which chose in English the word Commonwealth , meaning a "politically organized community" or "state", which is simultaneously connected by a compact or treaty to another political system.

In Puerto Rico's Legislative Assembly polled the political preferences of the Puerto Rican electorate by passing a plebiscite act that provided for a vote on the status of Puerto Rico.

This constituted the first plebiscite by the Legislature for a choice among three status options commonwealth, statehood, and independence.

In subsequent plebiscites organized by Puerto Rico held in and without any formal commitment on the part of the U. In , Commonwealth status won by a plurality of votes Disputes arose as to the definition of each of the ballot alternatives, and Commonwealth advocates, among others, reportedly urged a vote for "none of the above".

Congress approved Public Law P. It required congressional approval of the Puerto Rico Constitution before it could go into effect, and repealed certain sections of the Organic Act of Secretary of the Interior Oscar L.

Chapman , under whose Department resided responsibility of Puerto Rican affairs, clarified the new commonwealth status in this manner:.

The bill to permit Puerto Rico to write its own constitution merely authorizes the people of Puerto Rico to adopt their own constitution and to organize a local government The bill under consideration would not change Puerto Rico's political, social, and economic relationship to the United States.

The most notable occurred in Jayuya and Utuado. In the Jayuya revolt, known as the " Jayuya Uprising ", the Puerto Rican governor declared martial law , and attacked the insurgents in Jayuya with infantry, artillery and bombers under control of the Puerto Rican commander.

The " Utuado Uprising " culminated in what is known as the Utuado massacre. Truman at his temporary residence of Blair House.

Torresola was killed during the attack, but Collazo was wounded and captured. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but President Truman commuted his sentence to life.

After Collazo served 29 years in a federal prison, President Jimmy Carter commuted his sentence to times served and he was released in Pedro Albizu Campos served many years in a federal prison in Atlanta , for seditious conspiracy to overthrow the U.

It was modified and ratified by the U. Congress, approved by President Truman on July 3 of that year, and proclaimed by Gov. This was the anniversary of July 25, , landing of U.

It was intended to transform Puerto Rico's economy from agriculture-based to manufacturing-based to provide more jobs.

Puerto Rico has become a major tourist destination, as well as a global center for pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Four referenda have been held since the late 20th century to resolve the political status. Because there were almost , blank ballots in the referendum, creating confusion as to the voters' true desire, Congress decided to ignore the vote.

The first three plebiscites provided voters with three options: statehood, free association, and independence. However, a letter from the Donald Trump administration recommended adding a third option, namely, the Commonwealth, the current status.

This option had been excluded from the plebiscite in response to the results of the plebiscite, which had put the question of asked whether to continue with the then current status, to which the winning response was No.

Nevertheless, the Trump administration cited changes in demographics during the past 5 years to argue for adding the option once again.

Amendments to the plebiscite bill were adopted making ballot wording changes requested by the Department of Justice, as well as adding a "current territorial status" option.

The department also told the Associated Press, following the announcemet of the outcome, that it had "not reviewed or approved the ballot's language".

He pointed out that voter turnout for the referendum was extremely low, and suggests that a different type of mutually-beneficial relationship should be found.

If the federal government were to agree to discuss an association agreement, the conditions would be negotiated between the two entities.

The three current Free Associated States Marshall Islands , Micronesia and Palau use the American dollar, receive some financial support and the promise of military defense if they refuse military access to any other country.

Their citizens are allowed to work in the U. Colonialism is not an option It's a civil rights issue The latter is currently prohibited.

Statehood might be useful as a means of dealing with the financial crisis, since it would allow for bankruptcy and the relevant protection.

According to the Government Development Bank, this might be the only solution to the debt crisis. Congress has the power to vote to allow Chapter 9 protection without the need for statehood, but in late there was very little support in the House for this concept.

Other benefits to statehood include increased disability benefits and Medicaid funding, the right to vote in presidential elections and the higher federal minimum wage.

On June 11, , Puerto Rico held a vote on a political status referendum. Since , the UN has been considering the political status of Puerto Rico and how to assist it in achieving "independence" or "decolonization".

In , the Special Committee determined that a "colonial relationship" existed between the U. The UN's Special Committee on Decolonization has often referred to Puerto Rico as a "nation" in its reports, because, internationally, the people of Puerto Rico are often considered to be a Caribbean nation with their own national identity.

More specifically, the group called on the United States to expedite a process that would allow the people of Puerto Rico to exercise fully their right to self-determination and independence.

On November 27, , shortly after the establishment of the Commonwealth, the General Assembly of the United Nations approved Resolution , removing Puerto Rico's classification as a non-self-governing territory.

The General Assembly did not apply the full list of criteria which was enunciated in when it took favorable note of the cessation of transmission of information regarding the non-self-governing status of Puerto Rico.

House Committee on Resources stated, "Puerto Rico's current status does not meet the criteria for any of the options for full self-government under Resolution " the three established forms of full self-government being stated in the report as 1 national independence, 2 free association based on separate sovereignty, or 3 full integration with another nation on the basis of equality.

The report concluded that Puerto Rico " Congress, and that U. Congress can also withdraw the U. Constitution to Puerto Rico is limited by the Insular Cases.

In , [] , [] , [] , [] and [] the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization passed resolutions calling on the United States to expedite a process "that would allow Puerto Ricans to fully exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence", [] and to release all Puerto Rican political prisoners in U.

On July 15, , the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization approved a draft resolution calling on the government of the United States to expedite a process that would allow the Puerto Rican people to exercise fully their inalienable right to self-determination and independence.

On April 29, , the U. House voted — to approve a measure for a federally sanctioned process for Puerto Rico's self-determination, allowing Puerto Rico to set a new referendum on whether to continue its present form of commonwealth, or to have a different political status.

If Puerto Ricans voted to continue as a commonwealth, the government of Puerto Rico was authorized to conduct additional plebiscites at intervals of every eight years from the date on which the results of the prior plebiscite were certified; if Puerto Ricans voted to have a different political status, a second referendum would determine whether Puerto Rico would become a U.

Immediately following U. House passage, H. Senate , where it was given two formal readings and referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

The latest Task Force report was released on March 11, The report suggested a two-plebiscite process, including a "first plebiscite that requires the people of Puerto Rico to choose whether they wish to be part of the United States either via Statehood or Commonwealth or wish to be independent via Independence or Free Association.

If continuing to be part of the United States were chosen in the first plebiscite, a second vote would be taken between Statehood and Commonwealth.

On June 14, , President Barack Obama "promised to support 'a clear decision' by the people of Puerto Rico on statehood". On November 6, , a two-question referendum took place, simultaneous with the general elections.

The second question posed three alternate status options: statehood, independence, or free association. There were also , blank and invalidated ballots, which are not reflected in the final tally, as they are not considered cast votes under Puerto Rico law.

Congress action on November 6, , plebiscite results. Federal government. In December , the U. Supreme Court related to the case Puerto Rico v. Sanchez Valle.

Constitution does not contemplate "sovereign territories". That the Court has consistently recognized that "there is no sovereignty in a Territory of the United States but that of the United States itself".

That is because "the Government of a territory owes its existence wholly to the United States". Congress's plenary authority over federal territories includes the authority to permit self-government, whereby local officials administer a territory's internal affairs.

On June 30, , the President signed a new law approved by U. Congress , H. This board will have a significant degree of federal control involved in its establishment and operations.

In particular, the authority to establish the control board derives from the federal government's constitutional power to "make all needful rules and regulations" regarding U.

In September , the island was threatened or hit by two major hurricanes: Irma and Maria. The heart of the storm stayed off-shore, but the northeast of Puerto Rico, including San Juan , saw serious damage.

Nearly half of the island lost power, and the already weak power grid was significantly weakened. This led to a humanitarian crisis, which was greatly exacerbated by Hurricane Maria 's landfall as a strong Category 4 storm.

After Maria hit, the entire island was without power, and total casualties topped 3, The recovery as of late November was slow but progress had been made.

Electricity was restored to two-thirds of the island, although there was some doubt as to the number of residents getting reliable power.

The number still living in shelters had dropped to with thousands of others living with relatives. Thousands had left Puerto Rico, with close to , having arrived in Florida alone.

Much of the population has been unable to return to jobs or to school and access to health care has been severely limited. Bills for other funding were being considered in Washington but little progress had been made on those.

A November 28, report by the Sierra Club included this comment: "It will take years to rebuild Puerto Rico, not just from the worst hurricane to make landfall since , but to sustainably overcome environmental injustices which made Maria's devastation even more catastrophic".

All hospitals were operating. The island was encouraging operators to increase the number of tourists. Over public schools would not reopen in the fall; were expected to be operational.

Almost 40, students left the island's schools since May ; some of these were in schools in the mainland U.

Before the hurricanes, Puerto Rico had planned to close schools due to inadequate numbers of students.

Rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico were set back again by an earthquake swarm beginning in December and continuing into The earthquakes have caused structural damage across Puerto Rico including collapsing resident homes and historical landmarks.

The Hurricane Maria death toll controversy was caused by a large discrepancy between the official number of deaths and various estimates.

The official number of Hurricane Maria-related deaths as reported by the government of Puerto Rico was The Commonwealth commissioned George Washington University to assess the death toll.

Among many messages that some considered vulgar and of bad taste, were jokes targeting the dead of Hurricane Maria.

It was those jokes that were particularly painful as many Puerto Ricans had been unable to properly bury their dead in the chaotic days that followed Hurricane Maria, reading chats where the governor mentioned "cadavers", and did not stop others from joking about the dead.

Of these five, only Culebra and Vieques are inhabited year-round. Mona, which has played a key role in maritime history, is uninhabited most of the year except for employees of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources.

The latter is the only inhabited islet with communities like Old San Juan and Puerta de Tierra , and connected to the main island by bridges.

The island is mostly mountainous with large coastal areas in the north and south. Puerto Rico has 17 lakes, all man-made, and more than 50 rivers , most originating in the Cordillera Central.

Puerto Rico is composed of Cretaceous to Eocene volcanic and plutonic rocks, overlain by younger Oligocene and more recent carbonates and other sedimentary rocks.

The oldest rocks are approximately million years old Jurassic and are located at Sierra Bermeja in the southwest part of the island.

They may represent part of the oceanic crust and are believed to come from the Pacific Ocean realm. Puerto Rico lies at the boundary between the Caribbean and North American plates and is being deformed by the tectonic stresses caused by their interaction.

These stresses may cause earthquakes and tsunamis. These seismic events, along with landslides , represent some of the most dangerous geologic hazards in the island and in the northeastern Caribbean.

It caused extensive property damage and widespread losses, damaging infrastructure, especially bridges. The failure of the government to move rapidly to provide for the general welfare contributed to political activism by opponents and eventually to the rise of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party.

On January 7, , the country experienced its second largest earthquake , estimated at a 6. The climate of Puerto Rico in the Köppen climate classification is tropical rainforest.

Easterly trade winds pass across the island year round. Puerto Rico has a rainy season which stretches from April into November. The mountains of the Cordillera Central are the main cause of the variations in the temperature and rainfall that occur over very short distances.

The mountains can also cause wide variation in local wind speed and direction due to their sheltering and channeling effects adding to the climatic variation.

The island has an average temperature of Daily temperature changes seasonally are quite small in the lowlands and coastal areas.

The temperature in the south is usually a few degrees higher than those in the north and temperatures in the central interior mountains are always cooler than those on the rest of the island.

This change is due mainly to the warm waters of the tropical Atlantic Ocean , which significantly modify cooler air moving in from the north and northwest.

Puerto Rico experiences the Atlantic hurricane season , similar to the remainder of the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic oceans. A hurricane passes in the vicinity of the island, on average, every seven years.

Since , the Lake Okeechobee Hurricane also known as the San Felipe Segundo hurricane in Puerto Rico of September is the only hurricane to make landfall as a Category 5 hurricane.

Hurricane Dorian was the third hurricane in three years to hit Puerto Rico. Most of these , 12 and 33 respectively are found on the main island.

El Yunque is home to more than plants, 26 of which are endemic to the island. It is also home to 50 bird species, including the critically endangered Puerto Rican amazon.

Puerto Rico has three bioluminescent bays: rare bodies of water occupied by microscopic marine organisms that glow when touched. The population of Puerto Rico has been shaped by initial Amerindian settlement , European colonization , slavery , economic migration, and Puerto Rico's status as unincorporated territory of the United States.

The estimated population of Puerto Rico as of July 1, was 3,,, a Continuous European immigration and high natural increase helped the population of Puerto Rico grow from , in to almost a million by the close of the 19th century.

A census conducted by royal decree on September 30, , gave the following totals of the Puerto Rican population at that time: , were free colored ; , identified as Whites ; and 41, were slaves.

During the 19th century, hundreds of families arrived in Puerto Rico, primarily from the Canary Islands and Andalusia , but also from other parts of Spain such as Catalonia , Asturias , Galicia and the Balearic Islands and numerous Spanish loyalists from Spain's former colonies in South America.

This immigration from non-Hispanic countries was the result of the Real Cedula de Gracias de " Royal Decree of Graces of " , which allowed European Catholics to settle in the island with land allotments in the interior of the island, provided they paid taxes and continued to support the Catholic Church.

Between and the census questionnaire in Puerto Rico did not ask about race or ethnicity. According to the census, most Puerto Ricans identified as White and Hispanic; few identified as Black or some other race.

A Pew Research survey indicated an adult literacy rate of Puerto Rico has a life expectancy of approximately This means Puerto Rico has the second highest life expectancy in the United States, if territories are taken into account.

As of , Puerto Rico was home to , permanent legal residents. Virgin Islands , as well as Nuyoricans stateside Puerto Ricans coming back.

Emigration is a major part of contemporary Puerto Rican history. Puerto Ricans continue to follow a pattern of " circular migration ", with some migrants returning to the island.

Emigration exceeds immigration. As those who leave tend to be better educated than those who remain, this accentuates the drain on Puerto Rico's economy.

Based on the July 1, estimate by the U. Census Bureau , the population of the Commonwealth had declined by , people since the Census data had been tabulated.

The most populous city is the capital, San Juan , with , people based on a estimate by the Census Bureau. Of the ten most populous cities on the island, eight are located within what is considered San Juan's metropolitan area , while the other two are located in the south Ponce and west Mayagüez of the island.

The official languages [] of the executive branch of government of Puerto Rico [] are Spanish and English, with Spanish being the primary language.

Spanish is, and has been, the only official language of the entire Commonwealth judiciary system, despite a English-only language law. Census Bureau's update provides the following facts: In Puerto Rico, public school instruction is conducted almost entirely in Spanish.

There have been pilot programs in about a dozen of the over 1, public schools aimed at conducting instruction in English only.

Objections from teaching staff are common, perhaps because many of them are not fully fluent in English. The Spanish of Puerto Rico has evolved into having many idiosyncrasies in vocabulary and syntax that differentiate it from the Spanish spoken elsewhere.

As a product of Puerto Rican history, the island possesses a unique Spanish dialect. Similarly, words attributed to primarily West African languages were adopted in the contexts of foods, music, and dances, particularly in coastal towns with concentrations of descendants of Sub-Saharan Africans.

Religious affiliation in Puerto Rico [] []. By , there was a priest for each church. All municipalities in Puerto Rico have at least one Catholic church, most of which are located at the town center, or plaza.

Some aspects were absorbed into syncretic Christianity. Protestantism , which was suppressed under the Spanish Catholic regime, has reemerged under United States rule, making contemporary Puerto Rico more interconfessional than in previous centuries, although Catholicism continues to be the dominant religion.

Protestants collectively added up to almost two million people. Another researcher gave a more conservative assessment of the proportion of Protestants:.

Puerto Rico, by virtue of its long political association with the United States, is the most Protestant of Latin American countries, with a Protestant population of approximately 33 to 38 percent, the majority of whom are Pentecostal.

David Stoll calculates that if we extrapolate the growth rates of evangelical churches from to for another twenty-five years Puerto Rico will become 75 percent evangelical.

Ana Adams: "Brincando el Charco An Associated Press article in March stated that "more than 70 percent of whom identify themselves as Catholic" but provided no source for this information.

Neither a date or a source for that information is provided and may not be recent. The people surveyed by Pew consisted of Puerto Ricans living in the 50 states and DC and may not be indicative of those living in the Commonwealth.

Spyridon's Church is located in Trujillo Alto, and serves the small Orthodox community. Similarly, some aspects of African religious traditions have been kept by some adherents.

In , the 25, Jehovah's Witnesses represented about 0. Puerto Rico has 8 senatorial districts , 40 representative districts and 78 municipalities.

It has a republican form of government with separation of powers subject to the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United States.

The government of Puerto Rico, based on the formal republican system , is composed of three branches: the executive , legislative , and judicial branch.

The legislative branch consists of a bicameral legislature called the Legislative Assembly , made up of a Senate as its upper chamber and a House of Representatives as its lower chamber.

The governor and legislators are elected by popular vote every four years with the last election held in November Members of the judicial branch are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Current congressional rules have removed the commissioner's power to vote in the Committee of the Whole , but the commissioner can vote in committee.

Puerto Ricans who become residents of a U. Puerto Rico hosts consulates from 41 countries, mainly from the Americas and Europe, with most located in San Juan.

Mona Island is not a municipality, but part of the municipality of Mayagüez. Municipalities are subdivided into wards or barrios , and those into sectors.

Each municipality has a mayor and a municipal legislature elected for a four-year term. An increase of settlement saw the founding of 30 municipalities in the 18th century and 34 in the 19th.

Six were founded in the 20th century; the last was Florida in The three parties stand for different political status. The PPD, for example, seeks to maintain the island's status with the U.

After , other parties emerged on the island. The party claims that it seeks to address the islands' problems from a status-neutral platform.

But it ceased to remain as a registered party when it failed to obtain the required number of votes in the general election.

The insular legal system is a blend of civil law and the common law systems. Puerto Rico is the only current U. Because the U. Although Puerto Rico has since followed the federal example of transferring criminal and civil procedure from statutory law to rules promulgated by the judiciary, several portions of its criminal law still reflect the influence of the California Penal Code.

The judicial branch is headed by the chief justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court , which is the only appellate court required by the Constitution.

All other courts are created by the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico. Someone accused of a criminal act at the federal level may not be accused for the same act in a Commonwealth court, unlike a state court, since Puerto Rico as a territory lacks sovereignty separate from Congress as a state does.

The nature of Puerto Rico's political relationship with the U. Their residents do not have voting representation in the U. Like the different states of the United States, Puerto Rico lacks "the full sovereignty of an independent nation", for example, the power to manage its "external relations with other nations", which is held by the U.

Constitution has been extended to an area by Congress or the courts , its coverage is irrevocable. To hold that the political branches may switch the Constitution on or off at will would lead to a regime in which they, not this Court, say "what the law is".

Puerto Ricans "were collectively made U. Since Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory see above and not a U.

Only fundamental rights under the American federal constitution and adjudications are applied to Puerto Ricans. Various other U. Supreme Court decisions have held which rights apply in Puerto Rico and which ones do not.

Puerto Ricans have a long history of service in the U. Armed Forces and, since , they have been included in the U. Though the Commonwealth government has its own tax laws, Puerto Ricans are also required to pay many kinds of U.

They are excluded from the Supplemental Security Income SSI , and the island actually receives a smaller fraction of the Medicaid funding it would receive if it were a U.

Being a U. Thus, such a parallel accusation would constitute double jeopardy and is constitutionally impermissible.

In , President George H. Bush issued a memorandum to heads of executive departments and agencies establishing the current administrative relationship between the federal government and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

This memorandum directs all federal departments, agencies, and officials to treat Puerto Rico administratively as if it were a state, insofar as doing so would not disrupt federal programs or operations.

Many federal executive branch agencies have significant presence in Puerto Rico, just as in any state, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation , Federal Emergency Management Agency , Transportation Security Administration , Social Security Administration , and others.

While Puerto Rico has its own Commonwealth judicial system similar to that of a U. Puerto Ricans have also been frequently appointed to high-level federal positions, including serving as United States ambassadors to other nations.

Puerto Rico is subject to the Commerce and Territorial Clause of the Constitution of the United States and, therefore, is restricted on how it can engage with other nations, sharing the opportunities and limitations that state governments have albeit not being one.

It has also established trade promotion offices in many foreign countries, all Spanish-speaking, and within the United States itself, which now include Spain, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Colombia, Washington, D.

Such agreements require permission from the U. Department of State; most are simply allowed by existing laws or trade treaties between the United States and other nations which supersede trade agreements pursued by Puerto Rico and different U.

At the local level, Puerto Rico established by law that the international relations which states and territories are allowed to engage must be handled by the Department of State of Puerto Rico , an executive department , headed by the secretary of state of Puerto Rico , who also serves as the territory's lieutenant governor.

It is also charged to liaise with general consuls and honorary consuls based in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration , along with the Office of the Resident Commissioner , manages all its intergovernmental affairs before entities of or in the United States including the federal government of the United States, local and state governments of the United States, and public or private entities in the United States.

Department of State, the Agency for International Development , and others. The resident commissioner of Puerto Rico , the delegate elected by Puerto Ricans to represent them before the federal government, including the U.

Congress, sits in the United States House of Representatives, serves and votes on congressional committees, and functions in every respect as a legislator except being denied a vote on the final disposition of legislation on the House floor.

She received more votes than any other official elected in Puerto Rico that year. Many Puerto Ricans have served as United States ambassadors to different nations and international organizations, such as the Organization of American States, mostly but not exclusively in Latin America.

For example, Maricarmen Aponte, a Puerto Rican and now an acting assistant secretary of state, previously served as U. As it is a territory of the United States of America, the defense of Puerto Rico is provided by the United States as part of the Treaty of Paris with the president of the United States as its commander-in-chief.

The Adjutant General, in turn, delegates the authority over the State Guard to another officer but retains the authority over the Puerto Rico National Guard as a whole.

The NFC had authority over all U. Navy has basically exited from Puerto Rico, except for the ships that steam by, and the only significant military presence in the island is the U.

Coast Guard. Protests over the noise of bombing practice forced the closure of the naval base. A branch of the U. Army National Guard is stationed in Puerto Rico — known as the Puerto Rico Army National Guard — which performs missions equivalent to those of the Army National Guards of the different states of the United States , including ground defense, disaster relief, and control of civil unrest.

The local National Guard also incorporates a branch of the U. At different times in the 20th century, the U. The former U. Navy facilities at Roosevelt Roads, Vieques, and Sabana Seca have been deactivated and partially turned over to the local government.

Other than U. Army's small Ft. In recent years, the U. Congress has considered their deactivations, but these have been opposed by diverse public and private entities in Puerto Rico — such as retired military who rely on Ft.

Buchanan for the services available there. Puerto Ricans have participated in many of the military conflicts in which the United States has been involved.

A significant number of Puerto Ricans participate as members and work for the U. Armed Services, largely as National Guard members and civilian employees.

The size of the overall military-related community in Puerto Rico is estimated to be , individuals. This includes retired personnel.

Reserve forces. There are no counties, as there are in 48 of the 50 United States. There are 78 municipalities. Municipalities are subdivided into barrios , and those into sectors.

Each municipality has a mayor and a municipal legislature elected to four-year term. The geography of Puerto Rico and its political status are both determining factors on its economic prosperity, primarily due to its relatively small size as an island; its lack of natural resources used to produce raw materials [ citation needed ] , and, consequently, its dependence on imports ; as well as its territorial status with the United States, which controls its foreign policy while exerting trading restrictions, particularly in its shipping industry.

Puerto Rico experienced a recession from to , interrupted by 4 quarters of economic growth, and entered into recession again in , following growing fiscal imbalance and the expiration of the IRS Section corporate incentives that the U.

Internal Revenue Code had applied to Puerto Rico. This IRS section was critical to the economy, as it established tax exemptions for U.

In comparison to the different states of the United States , Puerto Rico is poorer than Mississippi the poorest state of the U.

At a global scale, Puerto Rico's dependency on oil for transportation and electricity generation, as well as its dependency on food imports and raw materials, makes Puerto Rico volatile and highly reactive to changes in the world economy and climate.

Tourism in Puerto Rico is also an important part of the economy. In , Hurricane Maria caused severe damage to the island and its infrastructure, disrupting tourism for many months.

An April report indicated that by that time, only a few hotels were still closed, that life for tourists in and around the capital had, for the most part, returned to normal.

The latest Discover Puerto Rico campaign started in July An April report stated that the tourism team "after hitting the one-year anniversary of the storm in September [], the organization began to shift towards more optimistic messaging.

The "Have We Met Yet? In , Discover Puerto Rico planned to continue that campaign, including "streaming options for branded content".

In late November , reports indicated that 90 calls to San Juan by Royal Caribbean ships would be cancelled during and As well, 30 ship departures from San Juan were being canceled.

The rationale for this decision was discussed in a news report: []. The reason for the cancellations is the privatization of the cruise docks in San Juan due to much-needed maintenance that is needed.

There is an urge for governor Wanda Vazquez to not go ahead with the privatization so this news is fluid. The Commonwealth had been defaulting on many debts, including bonds, since With debt payments due, the governor was facing the risk of a government shutdown and failure to fund the managed health care system.

They also said that "Congress must enact measures recommended by both Republicans and Democrats that fix Puerto Rico's inequitable health care financing structure and promote sustained economic growth.

Just before that deadline, the control board gave the Commonwealth government until February 28 to present a fiscal plan including negotiations with creditors for restructuring debt to solve the problems.

A moratorium on lawsuits by debtors was extended to May Governor Rossello rejected this plan as unjustified and unnecessary.

Puerto Rico has an operating budget of about U. Throughout those years, including present time, all budgets contemplated issuing bonds to cover these projected deficits rather than making structural adjustments.

This practice increased Puerto Rico's cumulative debt, as the government had already been issuing bonds to balance its actual budget for four decades beginning in This sparked an ongoing government-debt crisis after Puerto Rico's general obligation bonds were downgraded to speculative non-investment grade "junk status" by three credit-rating agencies.

In terms of financial control, almost 9. For practical reasons the budget is divided into two aspects: a "general budget" which comprises the assignments funded exclusively by the Department of Treasury of Puerto Rico , and the "consolidated budget" which comprises the assignments funded by the general budget, by Puerto Rico's government-owned corporations , by revenue expected from loans, by the sale of government bonds, by subsidies extended by the federal government of the United States , and by other funds.

Almost one out of every four dollars in the consolidated budget comes from U. In particular, the government-owned corporations add a heavy burden to the overall budget and public debt, as none is self-sufficient.

In terms of protocol, the governor, together with the Puerto Rico Office of Management and Budget OGP in Spanish , formulates the budget he believes is required to operate all government branches for the ensuing fiscal year.

He then submits this formulation as a budget request to the Puerto Rican legislature before July 1, the date established by law as the beginning of Puerto Rico's fiscal year.

While the constitution establishes that the request must be submitted "at the beginning of each regular session", the request is typically submitted during the first week of May as the regular sessions of the legislature begin in January and it would be impractical to submit a request so far in advance.

Once submitted, the budget is then approved by the legislature, typically with amendments, through a joint resolution and is referred back to the governor for his approval.

The governor then either approves it or vetoes it. If vetoed, the legislature can then either refer it back with amendments for the governor's approval, or approve it without the governor's consent by two-thirds of the bodies of each chamber.

Once the budget is approved, the Department of Treasury disburses funds to the Office of Management and Budget which in turn disburses the funds to the respective agencies, while the Puerto Rico Government Development Bank the government's intergovernmental bank manages all related banking affairs including those related to the government-owned corporations.

The cost of living in Puerto Rico is high and has increased over the past decade. While some online stores do offer free shipping on orders to Puerto Rico, many merchants exclude Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and other United States territories.

Census Bureau's update. The report also indicates that One of the most cited contributors to the high cost of living in Puerto Rico is the Merchant Marine Act of , also known as the Jones Act , which prevents foreign-flagged ships from carrying cargo between two American ports, a practice known as cabotage.

Instead, they must proceed directly to U. The local government of Puerto Rico has requested several times to the U. Congress to exclude Puerto Rico from the Jones Act restrictions without success.

In the Government Accountability Office published a report which concluded that "repealing or amending the Jones Act cabotage law might cut Puerto Rico shipping costs" and that "shippers believed that opening the trade to non-U.

Data were not available to allow us to validate the examples given or verify the extent to which this difference occurred. The study found that Puerto Rico received very similar or lower shipping freight rates when compared to neighboring islands, and that the transportation costs have no impact on retail prices on the island.

The study was based in part on actual comparison of consumer goods at retail stores in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Jacksonville, Florida, finding: no significant difference in the prices of either grocery items or durable goods between the two locations.

The school was free of charge and the courses taught were Latin language, literature, history, science, art, philosophy and theology.

Education in Puerto Rico is divided in three levels—Primary elementary school grades 1—6 , Secondary intermediate and high school grades 7—12 , and Higher Level undergraduate and graduate studies.

As of , the literacy rate of the Puerto Rican population was Instruction at the primary school level is compulsory between the ages of 5 and As of [update] , there are public schools and private schools.

The largest private university systems on the island are the Sistema Universitario Ana G. Since Puerto Ricans pay no income tax, they are not eligible for health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

The city of San Juan has a system of triage , hospital, and preventive care health services. The municipal government sponsors regular health fairs in different areas of the city focusing on health care for the elderly and the disabled.

In , there were 69 hospitals in Puerto Rico. Founded in , it is operated by the Medical Services Administration of the Department of Health of Puerto Rico , and is actually a network of eight hospitals:.

The city of San Juan operates nine other hospitals. These nine hospitals are:. The city of Ponce is served by several clinics and hospitals. There are four comprehensive care hospitals: Hospital Dr.

Veterans Administration will build a new hospital in the city to satisfy regional needs. On the island of Culebra , there is a small hospital in the island called Hospital de Culebra.

It also offers pharmacy services to residents and visitors. For emergencies, patients are transported by plane to Fajardo on the main island.

Reforma de Salud de Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Health Reform — locally referred to as La Reforma The Reform — is a government-run program which provides medical and health care services to the indigent and impoverished , by means of contracting private health insurance companies, rather than employing government-owned hospitals and emergency centers.

The overall rate of crime is low in Puerto Rico. The homicide rate of Carjackings happen often in many areas of Puerto Rico.

In , the FBI made it a Federal crime and rates decreased per statistics, [] but as of , the problem continued in municipalities like Guaynabo and others.

Many Cubans and Dominicans have relocated to the island in the past few decades. From the Spanish, Puerto Rico received the Spanish language, the Catholic religion and the vast majority of their cultural and moral values and traditions.

The United States added English-language influence, the university system and the adoption of some holidays and practices.

On March 12, , the University of Puerto Rico was officially founded, branching out from the "Escuela Normal Industrial", a smaller organization that was founded in Fajardo three years earlier.

Much of Puerto Rican culture centers on the influence of music and has been shaped by other cultures combining with local and traditional rhythms.

Early in the history of Puerto Rican music, the influences of Spanish and African traditions were most noticeable. The cultural movements across the Caribbean and North America have played a vital role in the more recent musical influences which have reached Puerto Rico.

The official symbols of Puerto Rico are the reinita mora or Puerto Rican spindalis a type of bird , the flor de maga a type of flower , and the ceiba or kapok a type of tree.

The architecture of Puerto Rico demonstrates a broad variety of traditions, styles and national influences accumulated over four centuries of Spanish rule, and a century of American rule.

Spanish colonial architecture , Ibero-Islamic , art deco , post-modern , and many other architectural forms are visible throughout the island.

From town to town, there are also many regional distinctions. The oldest parts of the district of Old San Juan remain partly enclosed by massive walls.

La Fortaleza continues to serve also as the executive mansion for the governor of Puerto Rico. During the s, sections of Old San Juan fell into disrepair, and many renovation plans were suggested.

There was even a strong push to develop Old San Juan as a "small Manhattan ". Strict remodeling codes were implemented to prevent new constructions from affecting the common colonial Spanish architectural themes of the old city.

When a project proposal suggested that the old Carmelite Convent in San Juan be demolished to erect a new hotel, the Institute had the building declared as a historic building, and then asked that it be converted to a hotel in a renewed facility.

The paradigm to reconstruct and renovate the old city and revitalize it has been followed by other cities in the Americas, particularly Havana , Lima and Cartagena de Indias.

Ponce Creole is an architectural style created in Ponce, Puerto Rico , in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This style of Puerto Rican buildings is found predominantly in residential homes in Ponce that developed between and Ponce Creole architecture borrows heavily from the traditions of the French, the Spaniards, and the Caribbean to create houses that were especially built to withstand the hot and dry climate of the region, and to take advantage of the sun and sea breezes characteristic of the southern Puerto Rico's Caribbean Sea coast.

Puerto Rican art reflects many influences, much from its ethnically diverse background. A form of folk art , called santos evolved from the Catholic Church's use of sculptures to convert indigenous Puerto Ricans to Christianity.

Santos depict figures of saints and other religious icons and are made from native wood, clay, and stone. After shaping simple, they are often finished by painting them in vivid colors.

Santos vary in size, with the smallest examples around eight inches tall and the largest about twenty inches tall. Traditionally, santos were seen as messengers between the earth and Heaven.

As such, they occupied a special place on household altars , where people prayed to them, asked for help, or tried to summon their protection. Also popular, caretas or vejigantes are masks worn during carnivals.

Similar masks signifying evil spirits were used in both Spain and Africa, though for different purposes. The Spanish used their masks to frighten lapsed Christians into returning to the church, while tribal Africans used them as protection from the evil spirits they represented.

True to their historic origins, Puerto Rican caretas always bear at least several horns and fangs.

Red and black were the typical colors for caretas but their palette has expanded to include a wide variety of bright hues and patterns.

Puerto Rican literature evolved from the art of oral story telling to its present-day status. Written works by the native islanders of Puerto Rico were prohibited and repressed by the Spanish colonial government.

Only those who were commissioned by the Spanish Crown to document the chronological history of the island were allowed to write.

Diego de Torres Vargas was allowed to circumvent this strict prohibition for three reasons: he was a priest, he came from a prosperous Spanish family, and his father was a Sergeant Major in the Spanish Army, who died while defending Puerto Rico from an invasion by the Dutch armada.

This historical book was the first to make a detailed geographic description of the island. The book described all the fruits and commercial establishments of the time, mostly centered in the towns of San Juan and Ponce.

The book also listed and described every mine, church, and hospital in the island at the time. The book contained notices on the State and Capital, plus an extensive and erudite bibliography.

Some of Puerto Rico's earliest writers were influenced by the teachings of Rafael Cordero. Among these was Dr.

Manuel A. Alonso , the first Puerto Rican writer of notable importance. After this first novel, Hostos abandoned fiction in favor of the essay which he saw as offering greater possibilities for inspiring social change.

In the late 19th century, with the arrival of the first printing press and the founding of the Royal Academy of Belles Letters, Puerto Rican literature began to flourish.

The first writers to express their political views in regard to Spanish colonial rule of the island were journalists.

After the United States invaded Puerto Rico during the Spanish—American War and the island was ceded to the Americans as a condition of the Treaty of Paris of , writers and poets began to express their opposition to the new colonial rule by writing about patriotic themes.

Cayetano Coll y Toste was another Puerto Rican historian and writer. Antonio S. Pedreira , described in his work Insularismo the cultural survival of the Puerto Rican identity after the American invasion.

With the Puerto Rican diaspora of the s, Puerto Rican literature was greatly influenced by a phenomenon known as the Nuyorican Movement. Puerto Rican literature continued to flourish and many Puerto Ricans have since distinguished themselves as authors, journalists, poets, novelists, playwrights, essayists, and screenwriters.

The influence of Puerto Rican literature has transcended the boundaries of the island to the United States and the rest of the world.

The mass media in Puerto Rico includes local radio stations , television stations and newspapers , the majority of which are conducted in Spanish.

There are also three stations of the U. Armed Forces Radio and Television Service. Several television channels provide local content in the island.

The music of Puerto Rico has evolved as a heterogeneous and dynamic product of diverse cultural resources.

The most conspicuous musical sources have been Spain and West Africa, although many aspects of Puerto Rican music reflect origins elsewhere in Europe and the Caribbean and, over the last century, from the U.

Puerto Rican music culture today comprises a wide and rich variety of genres, ranging from indigenous genres like bomba , plena , aguinaldo , danza and salsa to recent hybrids like reggaeton.

Puerto Rico has some national instruments, like the cuatro Spanish for "four". The cuatro is a local instrument that was made by the "Jibaro" or people from the mountains.

Originally, the Cuatro consisted of four steel strings, hence its name, but currently the Cuatro consists of five double steel strings. It is easily confused with a guitar, even by locals.

The Casals Festival takes place annually in San Juan, drawing in classical musicians from around the world. In , Paoli was the first operatic artist in world history to record an entire opera — when he participated in a performance of Pagliacci by Ruggiero Leoncavallo in Milan, Italy.

In the latter part of the 19th century, the cuisine of Puerto Rico was greatly influenced by the United States in the ingredients used in its preparation.

Puerto Rican cuisine has transcended the boundaries of the island, and can be found in several countries outside the archipelago.

Basic ingredients include grains and legumes , herbs and spices , starchy tropical tubers , vegetables, meat and poultry, seafood and shellfish, and fruits.

Desserts include flan, arroz con dulce sweet rice pudding , piraguas , brazo gitanos , tembleque , polvorones , and dulce de leche.

Locals call their cuisine cocina criolla. The traditional Puerto Rican cuisine was well established by the end of the 19th century. This is due to the frequent hurricanes that Puerto Rico experiences, which destroy crops of maize, leaving more safeguarded plants like conucos hills of yuca grown together.

Wheat, chickpeas garbanzos , capers , olives , olive oil , black pepper , onions, garlic, cilantrillo cilantro , oregano , basil , sugarcane , citrus fruit, eggplant , ham , lard , chicken , beef, pork, and cheese all came to Puerto Rico from Spain.

The tradition of cooking complex stews and rice dishes in pots such as rice and beans are also thought to be originally European much like Italians, Spaniards, and the British.

Early Dutch , French, Italian, and Chinese immigrants influenced not only the culture but Puerto Rican cooking as well.

This great variety of traditions came together to form La Cocina Criolla. Coconuts, coffee brought by the Arabs and Corsos to Yauco from Kafa , Ethiopia , okra , yams , sesame seeds , gandules pigeon peas in English sweet bananas, plantains, other root vegetables and Guinea hen, all come to Puerto Rico from Africa.

Puerto Rico has been commemorated on four U. Forever stamps included the Puerto Rico Flag illustrated by a bird issued Four Puerto Rican personalities have been featured on U.

These include Roberto Clemente in as an individual and in the Legends of Baseball series issued in Baseball was one of the first sports to gain widespread popularity in Puerto Rico.

The Puerto Rico Baseball League serves as the only active professional league, operating as a winter league.

The Puerto Rico national baseball team has participated in the World Cup of Baseball winning one gold , four silver and four bronze medals, the Caribbean Series winning fourteen times and the World Baseball Classic.

Boxing , basketball , and volleyball are considered popular sports as well. In the professional circuit, Puerto Rico has the third-most boxing world champions and it is the global leader in champions per capita.

Since then, it has won more than 30 medals in international competitions, including gold in three FIBA Americas Championships and the Goodwill Games August 8, , became a landmark date for the team when it became the first team to defeat the United States in an Olympic tournament since the integration of National Basketball Association players.

Winning the inaugural game with scores of 92—73 as part of the Summer Olympics organized in Athens , Greece. In , the archipelago's first unified league, the Puerto Rico Soccer League , was established.

Other sports include professional wrestling and road running. The World Wrestling Council and International Wrestling Association are the largest wrestling promotions in the main island.

The World's Best 10K , held annually in San Juan, has been ranked among the 20 most competitive races globally. On February 9, , the new government officially began.

Local legislature set its own budget and taxes. They accepted or rejected commercial treaties concluded by Spain. Subsequently, the governor had no authority to intervene in civil and political matters unless authorized to do so by the Cabinet.

General elections were held in March and on July 17, Puerto Rico's autonomous government began to function, but not for long.

Part of his strategy called for the acquisition of colonies in the Caribbean Sea; these would serve as coaling and naval stations, as well as strategic points of defense after construction of a canal in the Isthmus.

On March 10, , Dr. Julio J. Henna and Roberto H. Henna and Todd also provided the US government with information about the Spanish military presence on the island.

Henry H. He provided maps and information on the Spanish military forces to the US government that would be useful for an invasion. The Spanish—American War broke out in late April.

William C. Sampson bombarded installations at San Juan. On July 18, General Nelson A. Miles , commander of US forces, received orders to sail for Puerto Rico and to land his troops.

Opposition was met in the southern and central regions of the island but by the end of August the island was under United States control.

On August 12, peace protocols were signed in Washington and Spanish Commissions met in San Juan on September 9 to discuss the details of the withdrawal of Spanish troops and the cession of the island to the United States.

Brooke became the first United States military governor of the island. This brought about significant changes: the name of the island was changed to Porto Rico it was changed back to Puerto Rico in and the currency was changed from the Puerto Rican peso to the United States dollar.

A public school system was begun and the U. Postal service was extended to the island. The highway system was enlarged, and bridges over the more important rivers were constructed.

The government lottery was abolished, cockfighting was forbidden it was legalized again in , [45] and a centralized public health service established.

The beginning of the military government also marked the creation of new political groups. Both groups supported annexation by the United States as a solution to the colonial situation.

The island's Creole sugar planters, who had suffered from declining prices, hoped that U. Disaster struck in August , when two hurricanes ravaged the island: the San Ciriaco hurricane on August 8, and an unnamed hurricane on August Approximately 3, people died in the floods and thousands were left without shelter, food, or work.

Afterwards, nearly Puerto Ricans migrated to Hawaii by to work in the sugar plantations of Hawaii. The military government in Puerto Rico was short lived; it was disbanded on April 2, , when the U.

The structure of the insular government included a governor appointed by the President of the United States , an executive council the equivalent of a senate , and a legislature with 35 members, though the executive veto required a two-thirds vote to override.

The first appointed civil governor, Charles Herbert Allen , was inaugurated on May 1, Teaching was conducted entirely in English with Spanish treated as a special subject.

Both languages, however, were official on the island. On November 6, the first elections under the Foraker Act were held and on December 3, the first Legislative Assembly took office.

The American program included building up a modern economic infrastructure that included roads, ports, electric power systems, telephones and telegraphs lines, as well as hospitals and programs to develop agriculture.

Sugar mill owners between the period of and turned their sugar mills into monocultural plantations in response to the economy of the 20th century.

The sugar mills and tobacco, cigar, and cigarette factories gained the United States' attention due to their fast productions and large amount of produce.

Women and children were the primary workers within these industries. By , the coffee production that once was steady failed.

The sugar industry rose along with the economy. Puerto Rican mill owners and French and Spanish residents took the United States' corporate capital [ clarification needed ].

This had an effect of putting sugar producers into bankruptcy. The United States acquired jurisdiction over Puerto Rico where there was free trade between the two.

Capital flowed into Puerto Rico with the effect of modernizing its sugar processing mills due to the United States' influence. The United States had formed a Tobacco Trust that had basis rules for cigarettes, but Puerto Ricans had issues when it came to brand and local marketing.

The Tobacco Trust controlled cigarettes and cigar production as well as controlled the tobacco leaf. There was a fall of the industry due to the exports.

During the time when sugar was not going well the coffee in the late s. What changed the coffee production started when the export production replaced the farming.

People lost their land and properties, the amount of land disposal shrank and the people hoped that Europe would take part in the trade of coffee, but they did not.

Coffee makers were not happy with them being controlled by the United States. In most of the people worked as families instead of individuals most likely due to 90 percent of the output due to them being poor.

In , the United States took over rich lands that influenced Puerto Rico's economy that soon made Puerto Rico a state that was more capitalized in operation.

There was no limit in their treads to the United States, the sugar industry had expanded and irrigation payments.

The taxes Hollander Act was taxing 2 percent on rural property in This made the people very angry and the people protested.

The people were able to bring the tax down to 1 percent but this still forced landowners to sell their land. In cockfighting was legalized again and became a booming industry for some families.

In , Puerto Rico had a record sugar crop. English-language instruction provoked fears of cultural genocide.

This effort generated resistance from teachers, parents, politicians, intellectuals and others. Resistance to the imposition of English was part of a larger effort to resist invasion and colonization.

The schools became an important arena for cultural identity, as promoted by the middle-class local teachers who rejected the idea of creating Hispanic Yankees speaking only English, and instead sought to have an autonomous Puerto Rican culture that incorporated the best of modern pedagogy and learning, with a respect for the island's Hispanic language and cultural traditions.

By Spanish was firmly rooted in the population. Spanish was also one of the leading international languages, through which Puerto Ricans were in contact with the world.

It was the language in which culture was communicated. The level of opposition to the imposition of English was such that it led to the failure of U.

One shock came in , however, when a New York study found Puerto Rican schoolchildren in New York City to be seriously deficient in basic skills.

After 39 years of the imposition of English at the University of Puerto Rico, Spanish became the preferred language of instruction in , and in the public schools the vernacular of Puerto Ricans became the language of teaching and learning in — Puerto Rico's agricultural economy was transformed into a sugar monoculture economy, supplemented by gardens for local consumption.

American sugar companies had an advantage over the local sugar plantation owners. The local plantation owner could finance his operations only at local banks which offered high interest rates, compared to the low rates that American companies received from the commercial banks in Wall Street.

This factor, plus the tariffs imposed, forced many of the local sugar plantation owners to go bankrupt or to sell their holdings to the more powerful sugar companies.

Sugar was considered one of the few strategic commodities in which the United States was not fully self-sufficient. An economically evolving Puerto Rico called for a new advancement in political status.

However, the birth of multiple political groups led to a diversion of the island's interests: uniting as a statehood with the US, becoming a US territory commonwealth, or declaring independence altogether.

The Partido Federal favored immediate transformation of Puerto Rico into an organized unincorporated territory and eventually join US statehood.

They wanted to fully integrate US law and government. Their plan was to become a territory and have representation through a delegate and eventually become a US state with no restrictions.

The party was based on the principles of the Socialist Labor Party of America and received much support from American colonial authorities.

The Olmsted Amendment changed the Foraker Act , which was designed to switch the Puerto Rican government from a military one to a government ran by the civilians.

The Puerto Rican status quo was again altered in when the Foraker Act, which replaced military rule with a civilian government in Puerto Rico, was modified by the Olmsted Amendment.

Domenech Commissioner of Interiors , were assigned to the Executive Cabinet. This allowed for native Puerto Ricans to hold a majority in the Council, which consisted of five members selected by the president, for the first time in history.

The Partido Union had opposed extension of U. If they didn't become a state, U. For them, the promise of citizenship didn't affirm the promise of statehood, it excluded any considerations of independence.

The act made Puerto Rico an "organized but unincorporated" United States territory , much like a colony. The Act also divided governmental powers into three branches: an executive appointed by the President of the United States , legislative, and judicial branch.

The legislative branch was composed of the Senate , consisting of nineteen members, and a House of Representatives , consisting of 39 members.

A bill of rights, which established elections to be held every four years, was also created. Though the act created a more structured government for the island, the United States Congress still held the right to veto or amend bills and laws passed by the territorial legislature.

On October 11, , an earthquake occurred, with an approximate magnitude of 7. Tremors continued for several weeks. Approximately casualties were reported resulting from the earthquake and 40 from the tsunami.

Some politicians were in favor of Puerto Rico becoming an incorporated state of the U. Amid this debate, a nationalist group emerged that encouraged radical activism for Puerto Rico to become independent from the United States.

This party used advocated massive demonstrations and protests against any political activity that was not going to result in Puerto Rico gaining independence.

Being the president, he instilled many of his political ideologies into the party which was composed heavily of anticolonial politics and feelings of contempt against the United States.

Increased conflict arose between their adherents and the authorities. On October 20, Albizu testified against the dean of the University of Puerto Rico, claiming that he wanted to Americanize the institution.

He was arrested for breaking the Smith Act of which declared that it was against the law for anyone to teach or be part of a group that encouraged the overthrow of the American government.

Its officials asked Governor Blanton Winship to provide armed police officers for the campus, to forestall possible violence.

Colonel Elisha Francis Riggs, the U. It resulted in the death of the four nationalists and one bystander. Francis Riggs in San Juan. They were taken into custody where they were killed by policemen and officers while being held at the San Juan headquarters.

After initially being found innocent in a jury with seven Puerto Ricans and two North Americans, the judge ordered a new jury which had ten North Americans and two Puerto Ricans, who found him guilty.

They were sentenced to six to 10 years in a federal prison in the United States. On March 21, , a peaceful march was organized by the Nationalist Party, under Pedro Alibizu Campos, to commemorate the ending of slavery in Puerto Rico in by the governing Spanish National Assembly.

As a result, a police officer, Armando Martinez, ran from the corner in front of the Nationalist council and fired once into the air.

This prompted many others to fire their arms. On July 25, , a little over a year after the Ponce massacre, Governor Winship ordered a military parade take place in the city of Ponce in celebration of the American invasion of Puerto Rico.

Such celebrations customarily took place in San Juan, the capital of the colonial government. At the parade, an attempt was made to assassinate Winship, allegedly by members of the Nationalist Party.

It was the first time in Puerto Rico's long history that an attempt had been made against a governor. Although Winship escaped unscathed, a total of 36 people were wounded, including a colonel in the National Guard and the Nationalist gunman.

In the years after World War II, social, political and economical changes began to take place that have continued to shape the island's character today.

The main reasons for this were an undesirable economic situation brought by the Great Depression , as well as strong recruiting by the U.

In May , a bill was introduced before the Puerto Rican Senate which would restrain the rights of the independence and nationalist movements on the archipelago.

The U. Congress passed an act allowing Puerto Ricans to elect their governor, and the first elections under this act were held on November 2, On July 3, , President Harry S.

Truman signed the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act of , which allowed Puerto Ricans to draft their own constitution to establish their own internal government — while the island was still under a gag law.

It also authorized the President to forward the new constitution to the Congress, if he found it conformed to the provisions of the Act.

The Constitution, which took effect upon approval by the U. Four U. On October 30, , a group of Puerto Rican nationalists, under the leadership of Pedro Albizu Campos, staged several attacks across the main island, known as the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party revolts of the s , the most successful of which is known as the Jayuya Uprising.

The revolts included an attack on the governor's mansion , La Fortaleza. Puerto Rican military forces were called in to put down the Jayuya Uprising.

Luis A. On July 23, , the first plebiscite on the political status of Puerto Rico was held. Voters affirmed continuation of Commonwealth status Commonwealth— Both times, although by smaller margins, the status quo has been upheld.

The referendum was controversial as opponents had tried to persuade people to abstain from voting altogether and argued the vote was invalid.

As the U. Constitution empowers Congress to admit new states, the referendum could be taken only as a sign of popular opinion.

Legally the island remains a territory of the United States, under congressional supervision. The party campaigned for Puerto Rico to become the 51st state of the Union.

Puerto Rico continues to struggle to define its political status under US colonial rule. Even though Puerto Rico was granted the right to draft its own constitution while under a gag law, approved with conditions by Congress on July 3, , it remains an unincorporated organized territory of the United States.

With A bill has never made it to the US Senate since the United States took possession of the islands in Over a million people have been forced to migrate to the United States in the last 10 years — The local economy has been kept in a state of forced dependency.

Hampered by strict trade restrictions, the insular government was forced into bankruptcy. Colonial rule in Puerto Rico continues to spark political debates which dominate Puerto Rican society on the islands and throughout the diaspora.

Voters overwhelmingly affirmed continuation of Commonwealth status with Other referendums have been subsequently held to determine the political status of Puerto Rico, in and in In all three of these, the status quo has been upheld; there was no strong feeling in favor of independence or statehood.

The Puerto Rican status referendum, occurred on November 6, Of votes for new status, a In all earlier referenda, votes for statehood were matched almost equally by votes for remaining an American territory, with the remainder for independence.

Support for U. The Puerto Rican status referendum, occurred on June 11, However, the Trump administration cited changes in demographics during the past 5 years to add the option once again.

Amendments to the plebiscite bill were adopted making ballot wording changes requested by the U. Department of Justice, as well as adding a "current territorial status" option.

Colonialism is not an option The latter is currently prohibited. Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, action by the United States Congress would be necessary to implement changes to the status of Puerto Rico under the Territorial Clause of the United States Constitution.

While the eye of Category 5 Hurricane Irma passed north of the island on September 5, , winds were sufficient to leave 1 million citizens without power.

Coffee was a major industry before the s. Arabica beans were introduced to the island in Production soared in the central mountainous area after because of cheap land, a low-paid and plentiful workforce, good credit facilities, and a growing market in the U.

Decline set in after , and the end came with a major hurricane in and the s depression. The island's social and economic structure modernized after , with new infrastructure such as roads, ports, railroads and telegraph lines, and new public health measures.

The high infant mortality death rate of the late 19th century declined steadily, thanks in large measure to basic public health programs.

Land tenure did not become concentrated in fewer hands, but incomes increased as American agribusiness and capital investments arrived.

The land tenure system in the firm control of local farmers small, medium, and large. In the s, the economy of Puerto Rico boomed. A dramatic increase in the price of sugar, Puerto Rico's principal export, brought cash to the farmers.

As a result, the island's infrastructure was steadily upgraded. New schools, roads and bridges were constructed. The increase in private wealth was reflected in the erection of many residences, while the development of commerce and agriculture stimulated the extension of banking and transport facilities.

This period of prosperity came to an end in with the onset of the Great Depression. At the time, agriculture was the main contributor to the economy.

The agricultural production, the principal economic driver for the island, came to a standstill. Under President Franklin D. Funds were made available for construction of new housing, infrastructure, including transportation improvements and other capital investment to improve island conditions.

In , a new federal minimum wage law was passed, establishing it at 25 cents an hour. As a consequence, two-thirds of the island's textile factories closed because they could not be profitable while paying workers at that level.

After World War II, large numbers of young people migrated to the mainland's industrial cities for work and remitted dollars back to their families.

In Washington introduced Operation Bootstrap , which greatly stimulated economic growth from until the s. Puerto Rico became one of the most affluent economies in Latin America.

It was coupled with agrarian reform land redistribution that limited the area that could be held by large sugarcane interests. Operation Bootstrap enticed US mainland investors to transfer or create manufacturing plants by granting them local and federal tax concessions, but maintaining the access to mainland markets free of import duties.

Another incentive was the lower wage scales in the densely populated island. The program accelerated the shift from an agricultural to an industrial society.

The industrialization was in part fueled by generous local incentives and freedom from federal taxation, while providing access to continental US markets without import duties.

As a result, a rural agricultural society was transformed into an industrial working class. Manufacturing activity, however, has been burdened by electricity rates two to three times the average in the United States.

In , protests over the noise of bombing practice forced the closure of Roosevelt Roads Naval Station. In , Puerto Rico saw its credit rating downgraded to one notch above non-investment grade by the main credit rating agencies, with the possibility of more downgrades happening in the near future.

Present-day Puerto Rico has become a major tourist destination and a leading pharmaceutical and manufacturing center, as well as a major financial center for the Caribbean.

The Commonwealth had been defaulting on many debts, including bonds, since Just before that deadline, the control board gave the Commonwealth government until February 28 to present a fiscal plan including negotiations with creditors for restructuring debt to solve the problems.

A moratorium on lawsuits by debtors was extended to May In September , Hurricane Maria destroyed most of the island's power grid, leaving millions without power for several months.

The disaster and slow recovery caused an exodus of over , people to the mainland United States, and depressing the island's economy for years and worsening the fiscal crisis.

In December , cockfighting again became illegal in Puerto Rico. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Aspect of history. This article's factual accuracy is disputed.

Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help to ensure that disputed statements are reliably sourced.

November Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: Grito de Lares. Main article: Puerto Rican Campaign. Main article: Foraker Act.

Main article: Jones—Shafroth Act.

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