|Puerto Rico History|
Puerto Rico is a disconnected part of the United States of America; it is no longer under their control and retains and autonomous status. It is one of the smallest islands in the Caribbean yet is seemingly one of the more well known. To find out why this is, let's take a browse through the Puerto Rico history books.
There is not much known about the island of Puerto Rico before it was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493. It is most probable; however, that the first settlers were the American Indian tribes that were native to many other parts of the Caribbean. These were hunters and fishermen and were generally very simple.
European Colonization and Slavery
The island was claimed by the Spanish and eventually named Puerto Rico which means Rich Port. One can only imagine why the Spanish were interested given this name. It was then governed by the Spanish and a member of the inquisition became the first governor of the islands. The native Taino tribes were forced to become slaves on the island they once inhabited freely and work for the Spanish. Others were killed by the diseases that the Spanish brought with them. The Taino tribe did strike back on one occasion and drowned one of their soldiers, just to see whether they were immortal or not.
African slaves were introduced to keep up the workforce and the island became a very important strategic location for the Spanish Empire. The Dutch, English and French all tried to capture the islands but none of them managed any kind of long- term success. At this stage in Puerto Rico history, the Spanish placed a huge emphasis on the islands. The 17th and 18th centuries saw a change to this focus and other territories received more attention, leaving Puerto Rico with much fewer inhabitants.
US Military Rule and Hope form Independence
After an uprising, the Island obtained an autonomous status and the islanders became very tired of the poor political and social conditions. In 1898, the island was invaded by the Americans as part of the American-Spanish wars. Puerto Rico was ceded to the Americans under the Treaty of Paris after the war.
The start of the 20th century saw Puerto Rico history coming under US military rule. This meant they were part of the war efforts. US rule did not get off to the best of starts. The island suffered from an earthquake, hurricane, tsunami and the great depression. This lead to a march in 1937 which was held in a town called Ponce. This was not a peaceful event and the police opened fire, thus killing 19 protesters. This event went down in Puerto Rico history as the Ponce massacre.
In 1947, Puerto Rico was granted the right to choose its own government. This led to a revolt against the US, which in turn, led to yet another massacre. Puerto Rico underwent industrialization half way through the 20th century and is currently a popular tourist destination. Very few of the natives support any move away from the United States and the independence party generally receives 3 to 5% of votes cast.
Puerto Rico history is very fascinating and colorful. Despite its share of misfortune, Puerto Rico has become a very prosperous place, a hot spot for tourists, and an island paradise.