Puerto Rico
Brief History
 by JoAnn C. Smith (Chair)
Population/Government/Social Order
 by Alex J. Rolfes
Religion/Language
 by Zwisel M. Gandia
Work/Economy & National/Popular
Culture
 by Elizabeth Krugh
Customs/Food/Material Life
 by Katie Smith
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Puerto Rico:
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Puerto Rico is located in
the Caribbean Ocean
Around 100 miles long by
35 miles wide
Referred by many as
Borinquen
San Juan is the capital of
Puerto Rico
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Brief History
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Puerto Rico began after the last Ice Age – Little is known of
these people
Later, Native Americans arrived and were called the Arawak
Indians. They came to the island in three different waves
as the Igneri, Ostionoid, and Tainos
Arawak Indians called the island Borinquen, which means
“the land of the brave lord”
The Tainos were a peaceful nation, and a more advanced
society – they made carvings in stone, wood, and clay
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Brief History Continued…
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ON Nov 19, 1493,
Christopher Columbus
sailed in his second voyage
to the New World and
discovered Puerto Rico
Columbus named the
island San Juan Bautista
Columbus did not stay in
Puerto Rico and continued
on his journey
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Brief History Continued…
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In 1508, the first Spanish
settlers came to San Juan
Bautista looking for gold
Their leader was Juan Ponce
de Leon
He changed the island’s name
to Puerto Rico which means
rich port
The Taino Indians were forced
into slavery to mine for gold
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Brief History Continued…
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In 1898, the U.S. entered the Cuban War for independence
against the Spain, and it became the Spanish-American
War
On Aug 11, 1898, Spain surrender to the U.S.
Dec 10, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed, which
officially ended the Spanish-American War
The island of Puerto Rico became territorial control of the
United States along with Cuba, the Philippines, and Guam
In contrast, Spain lost the last of its empire in the New
World
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Brief History Continued…
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On July 25, 1952, the
island became the
Commonwealth of Puerto
Rico
A constitution was enacted
giving islanders “limited”
self-rule
Puerto Rico is not a state,
but rather a self-governing
possession of the U.S.
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Brief History Continued…
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Since 1952 to present, Puerto Rico is the only territory that
never gained its own independence
For this reason, both flags fly next to each other in Puerto
Rico
To this day, some islanders are for independence, and
others are against it
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Population
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3,897,960 People Live
in Puerto Rico
70% Live in Cities
• San Juan
• Ponce
• Mayaguez
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Homogeneous Mix
• Taino
• Black Slave
Descendents
• White Spanish
Descendents
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Age and Life Expectancy
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Median Age
• Puerto Rico: 33.8 Years
• United States: 36 Years
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Life Expectancy
• Both: 77.4 Years
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Why?
• Strong Economies
• Social Structure
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Agriculture
Industry
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Where Do People Live?
TM-P001. Total Persons: 2000
Universe: Total population
Current Data Set: Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF 1) 100Percent Data
Puerto Rico by County
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Taino
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Once had a population
of 30,000
Approximate Current
Population is Less
Than 2,000
• Highlands
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Why is This?
•
•
•
•
Disease
Emigration
Poor Labor Conditions
Native Uprising
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Black Slave Descendents
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8% of Total
Population
Ancestors used to
restore shrinking
Taino work force
Slavery
Popularized by the
Plantation System
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White Spanish Descendents
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Currently Make up
80.5% of
Population
Many of their
Ancestors
colonized Puerto
Rico
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Religion
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Christianity is the main
religion
85% of the population are
Roman Catholics and 15%
includes Protestant and
others.
Small Jewish community.
A smaller number
regularly attends religious
services.
Some ascribe to
spiritualism, belief that
spirits of the dead inhabit
the island.
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Religion Continued…
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Others practice Santeria, an Afro-Caribbean belief system
brought to Puerto Rico from Cuba.
Puerto Rico’s religion includes “Santos”, “Milagros”,
“Santeria” and Rosaries.
“Santos” are devotional wood carvings of saints and the
Virgin Mary in her many manifestations.
The carvings of saints probably refer back to the 1600s,
when rural populations had few priests and churches but
many home altars.
“Milagros” are offerings that are made to a particular saint
for help in curing a weakness.
Some of the Puerto Rican Catholicism that is practiced
incorporates some Taíno and African traditions.
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Religion Continued…
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The celebration of Los Tres Reyes
Magos is one of the most
important Puerto Rican religious
traditions. The Kings arrive on
the Feast of the Epiphany,
January 6, bringing gifts to
children.
In the Bible, the Three Kings
journey to Bethlehem bringing
gifts of gold, incense and myrrh
to Christ the Child.
In Puerto Rico, the Three Kings
ride Paso Fino horses, a local
breed, instead of camels.
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Churches and Cathedrals
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San Juan Cathedral
Construction began in
1840, finally ending in
1852.
Remains of the Spanish
explorer Juan Ponce de Leon
lie on a crypt.
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Work/Economy
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History of Colonization
Relationship to the United States
• 90% of all exports to the US and
50% of all imports from the US
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Today considered an industrial
economy
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Work/Economy Continued…
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Manufacturing 41% of the GDP
• Mid 1970s increasing high tech and
capital intensive
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Agriculture 1.4% of the GDP
• Shifted from sugar and coffee to
modern agribusiness
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Tourism is a big industry
• 75% of tourist are Americans
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Problems with Wal-Mart
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National/Popular Culture
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Jibaro
• “legendary hospitality, simplicity, selfsufficiency, and individuality, his wary
evasiveness and dissembling deferentially in
the face of authority, and his complacent,
easygoing love of the simple pleasures of
fiestas, coffee, idle banter, and nature”
(Manuel Alonso)
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National/Popular Culture
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Danza
• Created from a mix of African and Latin
sounds
• Celebrated by the lower classes
http://www.prfdance.com/history.htm
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National/Popular Culture
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Bomba and Plena
• Symbolic of the different cultures in
Puerto Rico
• Bomba has roots in the slave
plantation system
• Plena is believed to have originated
in the lower middle classes
http://www.prfdance.com/history.htm
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National/Popular Culture
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Salsa
• Originated in the New York Puerto Rican
community
• Tito Puente
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National/Popular Culture
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Literature
• Modern literature dispels the myths of
the perfect family and addresses the
effects of colonialism on culture
• Jose Luis Gonzalez
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National/Popular Culture
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National Sport:
Baseball
• Learned of baseball
through Cuba
• Teams were
forbidden to play in
racist America
• Developed their
own teams
• Roberto Clemente
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Customs
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Puerto Ricans are
known for their
warm hospitality
greeted with a kiss
on the cheek or a
combination hug
and kiss
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Business
conducted
differently
Business hours
many people are
involved in tasks
that can usually be
completed by one
person
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Customs ~ Weddings
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Twp types: civil
and religious
Male must ask
female’s father for
permission
Long engagements
Bridal doll
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Customs ~ Clothing
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Often vibrantly
dressed
Women will wear
black for extended
period of time after
death of spouse
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Food
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cocina criolla or
Créole cooking
Spanish and
American
influences
Beef, pork, rice,
pineapple, papaya,
and guava all main
ingredients
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Food
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Typically three
meals a day
Small breakfast
consisting of
coffee, milk, rolls,
and bred
Large lunch eaten
midday, lasting for
hours
Late dinner around
9:00
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Soup very common
to start meals
Main meals include
stews, meat pies,
barbequed pig
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Food
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Most common
desserts it flan
Coconut main
ingredient in
desserts
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National drink is
rum
Used in most
alcoholic beverages
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Leisure and Recreation
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Sports
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•
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Baseball
Fishing
Scuba
Horseback riding
Shopping
• Local Shops
• Shopping malls
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Language
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Spanish is the predominant language.
Although, the Spanish they speak is a mix with many
words borrowed from the pre-Colombian Amerindian tongue
right up to modern-day English. American culture has had
a progressive effect upon Puerto Rican culture since 1898.
The Spanish language basically came from the Spaniards
when they colonized Boriken.
This language soon replaced the Arawakan dialect, spoken
by the indigenous population.
By 1530, most of the Tainos, either were forced to work for
the Spanish or had become fluent in the language.
It was a way of communicating with their fellow masters.
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Language Continued…
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As the United States, Puerto Rico also has English as one of
the official languages.
It became officially bilingual in the year 1992, when the
governor passed a law that stated that both, Spanish &
English would be the official languages.
English is spoken for about ¼ of the population.
Colonization had a big impact on the languages we speak
today. It is from the Taino and Spanish roots that we have
the dialect we have today.
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Government Setup
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Commonwealth
• Autonomous
• Self-Governing
• Does Not Have
Statehood in the
United States
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Territory of the
United States
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Interesting Governmental Rights
for Puerto Ricans
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Voting in the United States
• Presidential Primaries
• No Election Day Privileges
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President of the United States is the Head
of State in Puerto Rico
Power Lies in electing Congressmen and
Various Leaders
Resident commissioner in the United
States Congress. This person has no
voting power.
Puerto Ricans Uphold U.S. Federal Law
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Power to the People
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Power Lies in
electing
Congressmen and
Various Leaders
• Governor
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Senate
• 27 Members
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Elected Every Four
Years
Head of Executive
Branch
Two From Each Eight
Senatorial District
Eleven Added
House of
Representatives
• 51 Members
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Forty Members from
each
Eleven Added
Minority Seats
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Power to the People
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Judicial Branch
• Puerto Rico has its own Supreme Court.
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Also Subject to the Federal Laws of the
United States.
If Federal Law is Broken: United States
Federal Court System and the Local District
Court Collaborate
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Political Parties
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Popular Democratic Party (PDP)
New Progressive Party (PNP)
Puerto Rican Independence Party
(PIP)
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Popular Democratic Party (PDP)
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Supports Existing
Commonwealth
Status
Founded in 1938
Dominated Puerto
Rican Politics Until
1968
• Defeated by New
Progressive Party
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Main Factor: Divided
PDP
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New Progressive Party
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Desires Statehood
• 28th Most Powerful
State
• Seven to Eight
Members of
Congress
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Founded in 1967
Major Force in
Puerto Rican
Politics
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Puerto Rican Independence
Party
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Least Popular Party
in Puerto Rico
Desires Complete
Independence from
the United States
Started in Mid1940s
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Conclusion:
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Puerto Rico has developed onto the only Caribbean island where
industry has exceeded primary agricultural production.
The people of Puerto Rico have a love of their country, or “patria”
such as loyalty to their own culture, way of life, and hospitality
Economically, Puerto Rico is still poorer that the poorest state of
the Union, Mississippi
In comparison, to other islands in the West Indies, Puerto Rico is
considered wealthy
Puerto Ricans are looking for new ways to keep their economy
strong as they continue their relationship with the United States.
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