Discovery of Puerto Rico

On November 19, Christopher Columbus discovered the island of Puerto Rico in his second voyage to the New World. He found the island populated by as many as 50,000 Taíno or Arawak Indians. The Taíno Indians who greeted Columbus made a big mistake when they showed him gold nuggets in the river and told him to take all he wanted.

Originally the newcomers called the island San Juan Bautista, for St. John the Baptist. It was not until later that the name was switched to Puerto Rico “rich port” for all the gold found in the island. It quickly became Spain’s most important military outpost.

FACTS

  • Capital: San Juan
  • Language: Spanish and English
  • Climate: “Perfect Tropical Paradise” 80°F year round in lower elevations, 70°F in the mountains
  • Tourism: San Juan is one of the world’s busiest cruise-ship port
  • Location: Between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Dominican Republic

INTERESTING DETAILS

  • The island is a State territory of the United States in 1898 it was never independent because since he was discovered by Christopher Columbus in the late 19th century it was part of Spain. Later in the Spanish-American War, Spain lost their positions. Today Americans are not needed passports to travel to the Caribbean nation and Puerto Ricans have U.S. citizenship and must comply with many federal laws of the United States.
  • Puertoricans do not call themselves Americans, although they are. They are proud of their individuality, are called Puertorriqueños and Boricuas, trying to preserve their culture, which is a mixture of Spanish, Indian and African.
  • The culture is very unique – People on the island usually greet with a kiss, if you are close, but during a conversation is considered respectful to stand very close to the one you talk to. Gestures are an important part of communication. The locals are very friendly to tourists and often talk to them in English.
  • The island has won 5 times the Miss Universe , respectively in 1970, 1985, 1993, 2001 and 2006
  • The largest radio-telescope in the world is located in the island nation . It has a diameter of 305 meters and is used for accurate information about when and where an asteroid might hit Earth and much more
  • Almost two-thirds of the U.S. rum is produced in Puerto Rico . It is the largest rum distillery and beverage manufacturing is done under strict control. The history of rum on the island dates back 400 years.

 

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