Motto: “loanne est nomen eius”
Capital City: San Juan
Population: 3.58 million (2014 census)
Languages spoken: Spanish and English
Religion: The majority of the population identifies as Catholics or Protestants
Head of state: Puerto Rico is a self-governing commonwealth in association with the United States. The chief of state is the President of the United States of America.
Currency: US dollar
National Dish and Drink: Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas) It’s a rice-and-pigeon-pea dish seasoned with sofrito and Pernil (Pork shoulder) diced smoked ham.
Brief history of the Island:
The Taíno Indians, who came from South America, inhabited the major portion of the island when the Spaniards arrived. The Taíno Indians, lived in small villages, organized in clans and led by a Cacique, or chief. Upon Christopher Columbus arrival in 1493, e 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.
On December 10, 1898, the Treaty of Paris is signed, treaty concluding the Spanish-American War. Spain renounced all claim to Puerto Rico and its dependent islets to United States, and transferred sovereignty over the Phillipines to the United States for $20,000,000.
On March 2, 1917, United States granted Puerto Ricans U.S. statutory citizenship.
Puerto Rico is a rich melting pot of cultures, although the strongest influences come from the Taino Indians, Spain and Africa.
Puerto Rico is also famed for its music. Its cultural and folk roots lie in ‘bomba’, ‘plena’, ‘trova’ and ‘jibara’ rhythms. The island also boasts world-famous salsa, merengue, reggaeton and pop artists.
Although Puerto Rican cooking is somewhat similar to both Spanish, Cuban and Mexican cuisine, it is a unique tasty blend of Spanish, African, Taíno, and American influences, using such indigenous seasonings and ingredients as coriander, papaya, cacao, nispero, apio, plantains, and yampee.
Puerto Ricans celebrate what is probably the world’s longest Christmas. The festivities get underway on 23 November and last until the end of January when the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián take place.
Facts about the Island:
- It has the world’s largest telescope.
- At 4,300 vehicles per paved mile, San Juan has by far the highest density of vehicles on the road of any country in the world.
- cockfighting is the most popular pastime on the island of Puerto Rico. In fact, almost every town has its own coliseum built for rooster fights.
- Every year, on January 5th children fill a box with grass or hay and place it under their beds for the three wise men’s (or the Three Kings, as they are better known locally) camels, and in return, the Three King’s brings presents, which they leave under the bed, after the camels eat the grass
Famous people from the Island
Ricky Martin, singer
Joan Smalls, model
Oscar De La Hoya, boxer,
Benicio del Toro, actor
Eugenio Maria de Hostos educator, philosopher, sociologist
Joaquin Phoenix, actor
Picture of the Island: