Print Posted by Conglo Enterprise on 09/30/2017

PUERTO RICO THE LOST STATE or the oldest colony in the world.

PUERTO RICO THE LOST STATE or the oldest colony in the world.

History and Travel, Learn the Facts About the Enchantment Island Borinquen. Explore and Discover…

Did you know that In 1779, Puerto Ricans fought in the American Revolutionary War.? Did you know that Puerto Rico has the world's largest radio telescope?Did you know that El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. national forest system? Did you know the origin and invention of the “Piña colada” much more…?

Puerto Rico:

In this article you will learn some facts and places from Puerto Rico, but first let me present myself. My name is Jose Milian cofounder of Surpass Magazine that join venture with my friend David McKnight together we want to create a magazine that has regular features for the man on the success road. I was born in Puerto Rico but raised in New York, Miami and Puerto Rico. Lived in New York, Florida, Atlanta, Montana and now in Texas. Yes, my family was always moving around. During this time, people always asked me many questions like: Are you US citizen?  What currency do you use? Where is Puerto Rico? Do I need a passport to go to Puerto Rico? And many, many more...

Let me start with some history:

 The island is 3,515 square miles or about 100 miles long and 30 miles wide. The Ortoiroid people settle around 3000 and 2000 BC. Also, some other tribes like the Saladoid and Arawak Indians populated the island between 430 BC and 1000 AD. Later when Christopher Columbus arrived in the new world in 1492 he saw a dominant culture called Tainos, then in his second voyage on November 19, 1493 he claimed the island for the Kingdom of Spain. During this time the French, Dutch and British tried several invasions attempts but failed to defeat the Spanish.

Puerto Rico is located in the northeastern of the Caribbean and it was very important for the Spanish Empire during the exploration and colonization of the new world. Puerto Rico was a major military post and a very important passage from Europe to Cuba, Mexico, Central America and the northern territories of South America. This was one of the reason why Puerto Rico had many war between Spain and European powers during the 16th thru 18th centuries.

Christopher Columbus name the Island San Juan Bautista in honor of the Catholic Saint, John the Baptist but the Tainos called the island “Boriken” or Borinquen in Spanish. (Means “Land of the Valiant Lord”) This is the reason why Puerto Ricans called them self “Boricuas”.  San Juan became the capital city of Puerto Rico. Christopher Columbus discovered Puerto Rico and with a letter from King Ferdinand empowered by a papal bull. This letter was communicated to the Tainos/Arawak Indians. The king wants the Tainos to acknowledge the Christian religion (Roman Catholic Church) and God, to accept the authority of the King of Spain. This was the way the Spanish Empire was expanding.

Christopher Columbus had a lieutenant called Juan Ponce de Leon who founded a Spanish settlement in Caparra Puerto Rico and became the first governor of the island in August 8 ,1508. During this time traders and other maritime visitors start calling the island of San Juan as a rich port or Puerto Rico in Spanish and San Juan for the trading and shipping port.

The Taino population was suffered big fatalities from epidemics of European infectious diseases, Spain created the Laws of Burgos of 1512 to protect the indigenous population but it was too late and not efficient. The loss of the Tainos was so big that the Spanish brought enslaved Africans to compensate for the Indian labor loss.  Other islands like Cuba and Guadeloupe started to have bigger sugar plantations attracting more trades of enslaved Africans. Every Island stated to create Afro-Creole communities. The different cultures (Tainos, Africans, Europeans and Other) started mixing creating a new population called Puerto Rican Jibaro Culture. The term “jibaro” mean the people of the mountains of Puerto Rico or “hill billy”. This might have a negative connotation but it represents an ideology of a traditional Puerto Rican.

When I was growing my grandma use to tell me: “Don’t be so jibaro” because I was shy when people that I did not know started to talk to me. I used to get very mad. Anyways, enough of me. Let’s continue:  the Spanish started building heavily fortified settlements in the Spanish Caribbean or “Walled City” as it was known; La Fortaleza, Castillo San Cristobal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro are the three forts that you must see if you decide to travel to Puerto Rico.

The Spanish colonization continue all the way to the 18th centuries. As you know in our previous issue David McKnight has been writing about our Founding Fathers, politics and more, “America Where We Came from” is the title of one of his first articles. (Read our First Issue) As you well know, Our Founding Fathers or individuals of the Thirteen British Colonies that led the American Revolution who established the United States of America signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

 Then in 1779, Puerto Ricans and other Hispanic soldiers helped to capture the capital of the British colony of west Florida or Pensacola under the command of General Bernando de Galvez as the Field Marshal of the Spanish Army in North America. The Puerto Rican troops was commanded by Brigadier General Ramon Castro who defeated the British and Indian army of 2500 soldiers and warships.

President Regan wrote on his proclamation 5084:

 … “Through the years, Hispanics American citizens have risen to the call of duty in defense of liberty and freedom. Their bravery is well-known and has been demonstrated time and again, dating back to the rendered by General Bernando de Galvez during the American revolution” …

As you can see, Puerto Rican have been fighting wars for the freedom of United States. The first company of native Puerto Ricans enlisted in the U.S Army was in 1899, then in World War I the Porto Rico Infantry of 1906 enter in the fight, then in World War II the 65th infantry of Puerto Rican troops had a code name Operation “PORTREX” in 1941. Puerto Ricans soldiers of the 65th infantry trained in Salinas Puerto Rico. This regimen of Puerto Rican Troops fought the Chinese during the Korean War.

In 1942 Puerto Rican Soldiers earn Individual awards, 2 Silver Star, 22 Bronze Star and 90 Purple Heart. Then 1975 they went to the Vietnam war and recently in the middle east war, many of my friends lost their lives to defend our liberty and freedom…

Ok, let’s go back in time for a moment, Spain started to defend its possession by constructing fortress like “La Fortaleza” in the San Juan Bay then follow with massive defenses constructing Fort San Felipe del Morro, Fort San Cristobal and Fort San Jeronimo.  Now in 1595 the English privateer Sir Francis Drake sailed to Puerto Rico with 27 vessels and 2500 troops intending to loot the city of San Juan but unable to defeat the forces entrenched in the forts, Then the Royal Navy learn what happened and George Clifford met the Spanish resistance in the San Antonio bridge (islet island now known as Condado area) and managed to have control for several months but an outbreak of dysentery among troops force the Navy force to abandon the island. El morro

As you can see Puerto Rico has been desired by many countries as a strategic place in the Caribbean so the Dutch decided to invade the island too. On 1625 during the Battle of San Juan a Dutch Commander Boudewijn Hendricksz knew about the other failures and managed to circumvent the cannons of San Felipe del Morro to occupy the port and started to set the village on fire but failed to conquer the Morro finally the commander was defeated and deemed the cause lost.  The Spanish continue to rule from the 16th to early 19th century.

Now, everything starts to get interesting since Puerto Rican wanted to become free from Spain an independence movement was created but the Spanish authorities started a harsh persecution. Many Spanish colonies started to separate from Spain and continue losing grounds but Spain knew they needed to fight the independence movements by keeping strong Cuba and Puerto Rico. They created the Royal Decree of Grace of 1815 printed in Spanish, English and French to attract immigrant’s families from Corsica, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Scotland by giving free land as an incentive to populate the island. This people only needed to do one thing, they needed to swear loyalty to the Spanish Crown and the allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church. This campaign was very successful.

Now, as you can read Puerto Rico is a country with many European immigrants and Americans. In the United State a Civil War had started in 1861 and many Hispanic fought on both sides. Puerto Rican in that time still were considered Spaniards by the American because Spain was still ruling in Puerto Rico. In this time many Puerto Rican wanted to be independent from Spain so they started traveling from ships that sailed from U.S and Puerto Rico durance the commerce that existed between ports. Many Puerto Rican settle in New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Many Puerto Rican join the armed forces but inscribed as Spaniards. One lieutenant Augusto Rodriguez join the 15th Connecticut Regimen or “The Lyon Regimen” and served in the defenses of Washington, D.C leading Battles of Fredericksburg and Wyse Fork. He was discharge in New Heaven on July 12, 1865. Many Puerto Rican had the hope that one day the United State will help free their country from Spain. Then the island became USA unincorporated
 territory only in 1898 with the treaty of Paris after the Spanish American War.

Now you know, Puerto Rican also fought in the American Civil War…

  At the end of the 18th century a Captain called Alfred Thayer Mahan a member of the Navy War Board wrote a book title “The Influence of Sea Power Upon History” inspired by the powerful British Royal Navy. He influenced the United State to start the acquisition of colonies in the Caribbean. The Canal of Panama was built to have access between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  The former Secretary of State William H. Seward tried to convince President Lincoln and Ulysses Grant to purchase Puerto Rico and Cuba. The U.S senate approved 160 million dollars to buy these two islands but Spain rejected the offer.

Since 1894 the United State started to develop contingency plans for a war with Spain. In 1896 the U.S Naval intelligence started a military operation in Puerto Rican Waters and attacks on Spanish territories. The U.S needed the lucrative crops of sugar farms from Cuba and a Naval Station in Puerto Rico, then 1898 during the Spanish-American War, the U.S invaded Puerto Rico defeating the Spanish. They also gain from this war Guam and the Philippines under The Treaty of Paris. A French Diplomat, Jules Cambon helped in the negotiations between both countries.  The United State gave $20,000,000 to complete settlement. Spain accepted it but did not gave up Cuba.Capitol

The united State and Puerto Rico started a new relationship. In the early 20th century Puerto Rico was rule by military. The President of the United State appointed a governor and in 1900 the Foraker Act gave Puerto Rico a sit in the elected House of Representatives. In 1913 the Seventeen Amendment help US Senators to be elected by their respective state legislature.  The American Legal System, the supreme court, and a United State District court for the territory were established. A non-voting member of congress or “Resident Commissioner” was appointed for Puerto Rico, the act applied to all state but exempt Puerto Rico some benefits from the U.S. internal Revenue Laws.

As you can read Puerto Rico has always been included in the U.S. laws but sometime some benefits are taken away.  This act gave to the civil government to legislate on all matter. Puerto Rican could repeal and modify any laws in existence but the U.S Congress retained the power to annul acts of the Puerto Rico Legislature.  President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 address the Puerto Rican Legislature and recommended Puerto Rican to become U.S citizens.

In 1917 the U.S congress approved the Jones-Shafroth Act or the Jones Acts, which granted Puerto Rican U.S citizenship. Puerto Rican House of representative voted against it because they understood that the main reason was to imposed the citizenship in order to draft Puerto Rican Men’s to the US Army since the U.S. was entry to World War I.

The Great Depression impoverished the island and some politician of that time wanted to change the status, Puerto Ricans were very poor and dying and many young politicians saw this. One of this leader was called Pedro Albizu Campos. He led the First Puerto Rican National Party, (first Puerto Rican politician graduated from Harvard). He demanded a change in relation with the Unites States.

In 1936 a US Senator Millard Tydings introduced a bill supporting independence for Puerto Rico but Luis Munoz Marin the leader of the Liberal Party of Puerto Rico opposed. All other Puerto Rican Parties supported the bill, but was not until 1946 that President Truman reached a settlement with Luis Munoz Marin and other Puerto Rican Leaders to appoint the first born Puerto Rican as Governor, Jesus T. Pinero.

In 1947 the U.S granted Puerto Ricans to elect their own governor and in 1948 Luis Munoz Marin became the first elected Governor of Puerto Rico. Quickly the senate release a bill that would restrain the rights of the independence and nationalist movements. The Senate was controlled by the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) and created the Gag Law approved by the legislature and it made illegal to display the Puerto Rican Flag, to campaign, talk and sing any tune of independent.

In 1950 the U.S congress approved Public Law 600, which allow for a democratic referendum in Puerto Rico to determine whether Puerto Ricans desired to draft their own local constitution. Here is where the bill authorizes the people of Puerto Rico to adopt their own constitution without affecting changing Puerto Rico’s political, social and economic relationship to the Unite State.

The Constitution of Puerto Rico was modified by the US Congress and approved by President Truman. Puerto Rico adopted the name “Estado Libre Associado de Puerto Rico” or literally meaning Associated Free State of Puerto Rico and officially translated into English as Commonwealth.

In the 1950 Puerto Rico started a rapid industrialization due to the new deal made by FDR called Bootstrap. This transformed the economy in Puerto Rico from agriculture based to manufacturing. New company started to develop in Puerto Rico like pharmaceuticals and many others.  The Island became also a mayor tourist destination.

Puerto Rico has three major political parties. The pro-statehood party, Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP) and the pro-commonwealth party, Partido Popular Democratico (PPD) remains almost equal but the only pro-independence party, the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) usually receive 3 to 5 % of the electoral votes. To understand better each party we can say that the democrats are the PPD and the republicans are the PNP. In 2012 plebiscites show 54% in favor of statehood preferred option.

In 2007 Puerto Rico State Department developed a protocol to issue certificates of Puerto Rican Citizenship to Puerto Ricans. To be eligible you must be born in Puerto Rico, born outside of Puerto Rico to a Puerto Rican born parents or be an American citizen with at least one-year residence in Puerto Rico. This was recognized by Spain, which considers Puerto Rico to be an Ibero-American nation. Spain will also let you apply for their Spanish citizenship after two years residency.

Now you can understand some of the challenges every Puerto Rican faces when they want to identify their own identity. Now the big question is: Is Puerto Rico a State or a Colony? And, why Puerto Rican cannot vote for the President of the Unites States from Puerto Rico but once they come to main land they can then vote for the President. There are many questions but one thing is for sure, Puerto Ricans enjoy the benefits of what USA stand for….


 Things you must know before traveling to Puerto Rico:

You don’t need passport. Your driver license or valid photo ID is fine.

The legal age for drinking 18.

The currency is U.S. Dollar.

It’s basically 70 to 80 degree all year long

Your cell phone will work in Puerto Rico.

Official languages is Spanish and English. Many people speak English but Spanish is dominant.

Avoid Hurricane season to travel, Hurricane most of the time down grade to tropical storms.

If you want to explore the Island you will need to rent a car. Not for timid drivers, there are 2 million Puerto Ricans in the metropolitan area.

Puerto Rico use miles and kilometers. Speed limits are in miles but distances are in Km.

 No daylight saving time and is in the Atlantic Time Zone.

 No customs duties on article bought in PR.

Major credit cards are accepted and ATM’s are connected to major US networks.

 Puerto Rican call the dollar bills as pesos.

20 things you did not know about Puerto Rico

There are five Miss Universe winners from Puerto Rico.

It has the world’s largest telescope.

There are 270 miles of beaches to walk along.

It has some of the best coffee in the world.

Puerto Rico has three light houses, one took a direct hit during the bombardment in 1898 by Sampson’s US fleet.

Pina colada was invented in Puerto Rico.

More than 20% of Puerto Rican hold a Bachelor’s degree.

El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S National Forest System.

Puerto Rico produces 70% of all rum in the U.S.

Puerto Rico has 3 of the 5 remaining Bioluminescent Bays in the world.

Puerto Rico is roughly as big as Connecticut.

San Juan is the second largest cruise port in the western hemisphere.

San Juan has two of the oldest churches in the Americas.

Puerto Rico has its own Galapagos Island or Mona Island unspoiled by man. Many iguanas and the island is protected.

The Whopper Jr. was created, by accident in 1963 by Luis Arena president and CEO of Burger king Puerto Rico. The only Latino in the Burger King Hall of Fame.

 The word hurricane, barbecue, canoe come from the Tainos vocabulary. Also the Tainos gave us the Hammock.

 The Feliz Navidad song was written in 1970 by Puerto Rican Singer Jose Feliciano.

 A Puerto Rican help write the Irish constitution when the Irish Free State was established, Dr. Albizu Campos (First Puerto Rican Graduated from Harvard)

Salsa music was invented by Puerto Ricans and Cubans in New York City.

Charles A Lindbergh landed in Puerto Rico on his birthday. He was offered an icy treat that he loved and Puerto Rican call it “Limber”

6 places you must see in Puerto Rico


Castle San Felipe del Morro 

The Vieques Biobay

El yunque

Camuy Caves

Culebra Island and Mona Island

Fiestas Patronales ( Many Town have their own Festivals)


Some Famous Artist and Oscar Winners

Oscar winners:

Benicio del Toro

Jose Ferrer ( first Puerto Rican to win an Oscar)

Rita Moreno ( West Side Story)

Baseball Hall Of Fame:

Roberto Clemente

Jose Rivera

Orlando Cepeda

Roberto Alomar


John leguizamo

David Zayas

Erik Ezstrada

Rosie Perez

Amaury Nolasco

Charlotte Ayanna

Jadyn Douglas

Raul Julia

Joaquin Phoenix

Roselyn Sanchez

Luis Guiman

Chita Rivera

Jimmy Smits


Jose Feliciano

Ricky Martin

Tito Puentes


Juan “Chi-chi” Rodriguez

Felix Trinidad

Hector “Macho” Camacho

and many more…

 This is the USA flag with 51 stars if Puerto Rico becomes a state.

Now, you can see that Puerto Ricans had contributed and achieved many things for our country and beyond. Thank you for reading.

Written by:

Jose D.Milian

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