When Christopher Columbus landed on the island on the November 19, 1493, during his second voyage to the shores of America, the island was inhabited by Native Americans who called themselves Tainos.
Initially, the Spaniards named the island San Juan Bautista, in honor of Saint John the Baptist, but eventually the island was renamed Puerto Rico, which means "rich port".
First, I took a walk through the
from Columbus Square. A monument to the famous discoverer of the land stood there.
Spanish colonization of the island began in 1508, when Juan Ponce de Leon, a detachment of conquistadors from Santo Domingo (Haiti Island), arrived and founded the city Kaparra. Puerto Rico port, which was moved to a new location of Kaparra in 1521, became the administrative center of the island. The capital of the territory, and the small island of "Old San Juan", are now a part of the capital, named
There was some geographical confusion related to the name of the state and its capital. The island was originally named San Juan, in honor of a Christian saint. The capital, respectively, received the name of Puerto Rico (Rich Port), but later the cartographers "mixed" the names.
Puerto Rico is the largest, insular territory of the United States, and is located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea.
Puerto Rico is a dependent territory of the United States and has the status of "unincorporated organized territory", which means that the area is under the control of the United States (and is not an integral part thereof). The action of the United States Constitution is limited; the supreme power belongs to the Congress, but the territory has its own system of government.
Puerto Rico has its own constitution, legislative, executive and judicial branches of power. Their agreement with the US is to have common citizenship, currency, and defense. In the absence of a clear legal framework of the status of the territory, this issue is being actively discussed on the island, in the United States and the United Nations. In 2000, by order of President Clinton's special committee on the status of Puerto Rico, a special commission "President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status" was created. In its report, the Commission confirmed the current status and recommended to provide the citizens of the island the right to self-determination. It is assumed that in the framework of this procedure, Puerto Ricans can choose one of two options: maintaining the current status of joining the US state of rights or the granting of independence. The respective bill was put forward to Congress for consideration.
In 2012, a referendum was held on its political status. There were two stages. During the first stage, the people were in favor of changing the political status of the archipelago. It was voted for by 54% of voters.
In the second stage, Puerto Ricans elected a new political structure. November 6, 2012, during the second stage of the referendum, Puerto Rico became the 51st state of the United States. 65% of voters supported the decision, while 31% voted in favor of giving the sovereign archipelago-associated state status in the alliance with the United States. Only 4% supported complete independence from the US.
The US Congress must make a decision concerning the final inclusion of Puerto Rico in the United States.
I visited the system of defensive forts of
and San Felipe del Morro. They are US national parks.
The fort offered beautiful views of the city and its environs.
We found these three flags almost everywhere we went: a flag with the Burgundy cross (which was, at one time, a Spanish military flag), the Puerto Rico Commonwealth flag, and the flag of the United States of America.
In the distance, you can see another fort, San Felipe del Morro. We went there.
Here's a cute basketball court.
These are the shanty districts of the city.
This is the main square, inside the fort.
This is a memorial cemetery (Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery) near the fort: