History / Brief History of Puerto Rico
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Reenactment of a Taíno Indian ceremony at the Caguana Ceremonial Center in Utuado
Puerto Rico is the smallest island in the chain known as the Greater Antilles, which is located in the Caribbean Sea. For four centuries the island was a colony of Spain, before becoming a U.S. territory in 1898.

The island’s first inhabitants, referred to as archaic, migrated from the Orinoco river valley, in the northern region of South America, more than two thousand years ago. When the Spaniards first arrived in Borinquén (the name given to the island by its native population), during Christopher Columbus’ second voyage to the Americas in 1493, they encountered a culture known as the Taino, who were part of the Arawak ethnic group that extended across the Greater Antilles. This indigenous culture and its legacy have left an indelible mark on the culture of Puerto Rico.

The Spanish Colony

Columbus named the island of Borinquén, San Juan, after Saint John the Baptist, but it was not until 1508 that the Spaniards established a permanent settlement here, with Juan Ponce de León serving as first governor. The subjugation and inhuman treatment of the indigenous population sparked a rebellion in 1511, however the native stone axes were hardly a match for the gunpowder, harquebuses and military strategies of the conquering Spaniards. Diseases transported across the Atlantic, along with the dismal conditions of forced labor, inevitably led to the decimation of the native population. Their role as forced laborers was in turn ceded to the Africans who were brought as slaves first from Spain, and then directly from West Africa. The interrelation between these three cultures—Taino, Spanish and African—created the ethnic and cultural foundations for Puerto Rico. Racial and cultural mixing continued over the course of the next four centuries, fed by successive waves of immigrationimmigration: Population movement consisting of the arrival of people to a country or region other than their homeland in order to establish themselves there. by freed Africans from neighboring islands (in the 18th century), Catholic Europeans (in the 19th century), as well as immigrants from the continental United States, Cuba and the Dominican Republic (in the 20th century).

The colony developed rapidly, acting as a base for the Spanish Empire as it expanded into the Americas. The island’s main city was called Puerto Rico (Rich Port), because of its spacious bay and natural harbor. Over the course of time, the port came to be known as San Juan, and the island as Puerto Rico. As the empire grew and began to confront rivals among other European powers, Puerto Rico’s strategic value overshadowed any economic importance it might have had, particularly after the conquest of such rich civilizations as the Aztec in Mexico and the Inca in Peru. Puerto Rico soon became the "key to the Indies" for this sprawling empire, a tactical defense point for repelling intrusions and insurrections within the newly claimed Spanish sea.

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4- Chronology of the Governors of the 19th Century
About San Juan
Agrarian Reform of 1941
Annexation of Río Piedras to San Juan
Architecture in Puerto Rico: A Defining Paradigm for Our Identity
Brief History of the Government of Puerto Rico
Environment, Geography and Natural Resources
Geographic Distribution of the Population, 1765-1980
Hacienda Santa Rita, Guánica
Historical Roots of Violence in Puerto Rico
Introduction to the project Puerto Rico in the world
Language and Literature
Natural Resources
Oller y Cestero, Francisco
Ponce, Former Banco de Ponce
Ponce, Former Casino
Ponce: Former Spanish Military Hospital / Home for the Blind
Ponce: Ponce High
Ponce: Regional Headquarters of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture/ Armstrong Poventud House
Puerto Rican Diaspora in the United States
Puerto Rico: A Historical Overview
Ramón Power y Giralt House, San Juan
The English Invasion of 1797