My monthly edition of the Travel Column at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord takes us to Puerto Rico.
Welcome to this month’s edition of the Travel Column. Today I’m going to talk about San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico (Spanish for ‘rich port’), is an unincorporated territory of the United States, although it currently resembles a country that stands alone.
The island is also affectionately dubbed, ‘La isla del encanto’ – the island of enchantment. Founded by Spanish colonists, Puerto Rico is also considered a Caribbean island located approximately 1000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida and just east of the Dominican Republic. It is also one of the smallest islands in the Greater Antilles being only 100 miles long and 35 miles wide. Puerto Rico is home to almost three and a half million people. The language spoken is predominantly Spanish and the capital city is San Juan.
Puerto Ricans have been considered American since 1917, although it is not recognized as a state, nor do Puerto Ricans have a voice in congress or get to vote in American elections. Puerto Rico’s political status has always been a bone of contention and an ongoing matter of significant debate.
The island was named ‘Porto Rico’ by the U.S. after the Treaty of Paris, signed by Spain and the U.S., ending the Spanish/American war. And its name was changed back to Puerto Rico in 1931 giving it the official name – the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
A bit of History
Puerto Rico was colonized by Spain after the arrival of Christopher Columbus circa 1493 and became populated by the Taino people, an indigenous people who became the main inhabitants of the island as they did in various other Caribbean islands. This island endured several other takeovers and wars through the years until 1898 when poet, journalist, and politician – Luis Munoz Rivera among others, tried to persuade the Spanish government to grant Puerto Rico as a self-governing island, ultimately organized as an overseas province of Spain as of July 17, 1898. This turned out to be short-lived as the United States was determined to take over the island and finally did so by invading on July 25, a mere week after Puerto Rico acquired autonomy, during the Spanish/American war.
In 1914 the Puerto Rican House of Delegates voted unanimously to separate from the U.S., but this was never to be. . . please continue reading at the Smorgasbord