Five horizontal bands of red and white; a blue triangle based on the left side with white, five-pointed star in the center; design influenced by the US flag, but like the Cuban flag, but with the colors of the bands and triangle reversed





NAME:                                  Borinquen (original Arawak name; Borikén); Commonweath of Puerto Rico; Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico; On his first cross-Atlantic voyage of discovery Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista and he named the great port Puerto Rico; over time the names bécame inverted: the country Puerto Rico and the city and port San Juan. The full name of San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist) is the name of the Roman Catholic cathedral in the capital’s colonial center.

NATIONAL SYMBOLS:   Puerto Rican spindalis (bird) and coqui (frog)

NATIONAL ANTHYM      “La borinqueña”

POPULATION:                    3,800,000 (1997); 3,900,000 (2007); 3,600,000 (2010); 3,500,000 (2015)

                                                Another 2,100,000 Puerto Ricans live in New York City and 1,800,000 live elsewhere in USA: total Puerto Rican population: 7,700,000.

ETHNIC GROUPS:             99.9% mestizo/Hispanic/mulatto

CAPITAL:                            San Juan (population 2015: 395,000; metropolitan area, 2,400,000)

CONSTITUTION:               1952

LANGUAGES:                     Spanish and English joint official languages

RELIGION:                          90% Roman Catholic

LIFE EXPECTANCY:        men (75); women (83)

GOVERNMENT:                 Governor and Commonwealth legislature; Puerto Ricans cannot vote in American national elections nor do they pay federal income tax; representative in House of Representatives with voice but no vote; the Chief of State is the president of the United States; the head of government is the governor of Puerto Rico.

MILITARY:                         US military

ECONOMY:                         Principal industry: manufacturing; per capita income = $6,360 (highest in Latin America); unemployment rate = 22.4%

MONEY:                               US dollar

GEOGRAPHY:                    Easternmost of Greater Antilles islands; 75% is mountainous; highest peak = Cerro de Punto (4,390 ft.)

INTERNET CODE:             .pr



                2000 BCE             Ortoiroi, an Archaic age culture

                                                Carib, Arawak, and Boricua peoples come later, before Taíno culture

                120 – 400              Igneri, a tribe from the Venezuela's Orinoco river region emigrated to Puerto Rico

                650 – 1493           Taíno culture developed and dominated the island

                1493                       Found by Cristóbal Colón on his second voyage; native Tainos conquered; Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista

                1508                       Juan Ponce de León named island's first Spanish governor; Spain settled the island and the Tainos died or were killed over the next 20 years

                1511                       Name changed to Puerto Rico; capital called San Juan Bautista

                1518                       African slaves introduced

                1561 - 1627          Bernardo de Balbuena, Bishop of Puerto Rico, wrote major Spanish Baroque poetry describing beauty of the New World, especially Mexico (La grandeza mexicana, 1604)

                1809                       Puerto Rico made integral part of Spain

                1868                       Grito de Lares: defined Puerto Rican nationhood

                1873                       Slavery abolished

                1898                       Independence from Spain as result of Spanish-American War; dependence on U.S.A.

                1900                       U.S. military rule ended

                1909                       Revolt against U.S. presence

                1934 – 1972         Roberto Clemente: Hall of Fame baseball player for Pittsburgh Pirates; one of Major League Baseball’s all-time greatest players.




                1952                       Commonwealth status (Free Associated State of U.S.A.) (Estado Libre Asociado) granted after plebiscite.

                1954 – present     Sonia Sotomayor, Neorriqueña, born in Bronx, New York City, whose parents were from Lajas, Puerto Rico.

                1971 – present     Ricky Martin (Enrique Martín Morales), born in Puerto Rico: Puerto Rican pop singing artist, member of Menudo band.




                1976                       Carlos Romero Barceló elected governor.

                1984                       Pope John Paul II visited Puerto Rico.

                2005                       Governor Aníbal Acevedo-Vila.

                2006 – 2007         The Puerto Rico State Department developed the protocol to grant the Puerto Rican citizenship to Puerto Ricans.

                2009                       Sonia Sotomayor named to U.S. Supreme Court: first Latino/a and first Puerto Rican-American nominated and appointed as US Supreme Court justice.

                2013                       Alejandro García Padilla, elected governor.


GOVERNMENT: Constitutional commonwealth; representative democracy



                Alejandro García Padilla, Popular Democratic Party



                Carlos Romero Barceló, former governor, Democrat



                Democratic Party

                Nationalist Party

                Republican Party




Alejandro Tapia y Rivera (1826-82); writer

Eugenio María de Hostos (1839-1903); intelectual, writer

Pablo Casals (1876-1973) ; world renowned musician and cellist

Concha Meléndez  (1895-1983); educator, poet, writer

Luis Palés Matos  (1898-1959) ; writer, poet who invented Afro-Antillano poetry genre

José Ferrer  (1912-92); guitarist, singer, and actor

Julia de Burgos (1914-53); writer, poet

René Marqués (1919-79)   ; writer, novelist

Rita Moreno  (b, 1931); dancer, singer, actress

Roberto Clemente (1934-72); Mayor League baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates; in the Baseball Hall of Fame

Luis Rafael Sánchez (b. 1936); writer, essayist, novelist, playwright

Iris Zavala (b. 1936); Spanish professor, writer, poet, literary critic

Orlando Cepeda (b. 1937); Major League baseball player; in the National Baseball Hall of Fame

Raúl Juliá (1940-94); actor

José Feliciano (b. 1945); song writer, singer

Sonia Sotomayor (b. 1954); American Supreme Court justice