Puerto Rico’s history

about puerto rico


Boriquén, as the island was initially called, was inhabited by several indigenous groups, including the Taínos, before the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the island during his second voyage to the New World in 1493. The island was named San Juan (San Juan Bautista is its patron saint) before its current name, Puerto Rico became popular. Juan Ponce de León, who is remembered for his search for the Fountain of Youth, became the first governor of the island in 1508. After the Spanish-American War in 1898, Puerto Rico passed into the hands of the United States. Puerto Ricans obtained American citizenship in 1917.


The official languages are Spanish and English.


The island’s total population totals nearly 4 million, including the 1.5 million that live in San Juan and its suburbs. Ponce, Mayagüez, Caguas, Arecibo and Aguadilla are the other major urban centers of the island. The average life on the island is 73.8 years.


The evolution of Puerto Rico over the last 45 years, from an agrarian society to a centered on manufacturing and services (including tourism), has created a great demand for a well-prepared labor force. The average Puerto Rican worker has at least 12 years of instruction.

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