The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
: Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico
) is a archipelago located east of the Dominican Republic
in the northeastern Caribbean
. Puerto Rico, the smallest of the Greater Antilles
, includes the main island of Puerto Rico
and a number of smaller islands and keys
, including the populated island-municipalities of Vieques
, as well as unpopulated Mona
island, located halfway between the islands of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola
The nature of Puerto Rico's political relationship with the United States is the subject of ongoing debate on and off the island. Those who support maintaining the current formula insist that upon attaining this status, Puerto Rico entered into a voluntary association with the U.S. "in the nature of a compact", but opponents of the Commonwealth status, disagree: according to them, Puerto Rico is no more than an unincorporated organized territory of the U.S., subject to the plenary powers of the United States Congress.
The participation of Puerto Ricans in World War II
as members of the United States armed forces
included guarding U.S. military installations in the Caribbean
and active combat participation in both the European
and Pacific theatres
of the war. Puerto Ricans
and people of Puerto Rican descent have participated as members of the U.S. armed forces in every conflict in which the United States has been involved since World War I
Puerto Ricans had obtained U.S. citizenship as a result of the 1917 Jones-Shafroth Act and were expected to serve in the military. When a Japanese Imperial Navy carrier fleet launched an unexpected attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Puerto Ricans were required to bear arms in defense of the United States. During World War II, more than 53,000 Puerto Ricans served in the U.S. military. Soldiers from the island, served in either the 65th Infantry Regiment or the Puerto Rican National Guard. Those who resided in the mainland of the United States were assigned to regular units of the military. They were often subject to the racial discrimination that was widespread in the United States at the time. (more...)
Photo credit: Carlo Giovannetti (Thief12)
Old San Juan is characterized by a mixture of Spanish architecture, cobblestone streets and open public plazas. Most buildings and plazas are maintained to preserve their history, with some, such as the Quinto Centenario Plaza being modernized with recent architecture and works of art.
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Selected anniversaries for September
- September 4, 1972 – Birth of Carlos Ponce, actor and singer
- September 6, 1964 – Birth of Rosie Perez, Academy Award-nominated actress and filmmaker
- September 7, 1934 – Birth of Juan "Pachín" Vicéns, basketball player (d. 2007)
- September 8, 1971 – Birth of Vico C (Armando Lozada Cruz), rapper and considered one of the founders of Latin hip hop
- September 9, 1898 – U.S. and Spanish Commissions met in San Juan to discuss the details of the withdrawal of Spanish troops and the cession of the island to the United States.
- September 9, 1939 – Birth of Bruce Gray, character actor
- September 12, 1983 – Los Macheteros assaulted the Wells Fargo depot located in West Hartford, Connecticut, stealing a total of seven million dollars, an event now known as Operation Aguila Blanca (White Eagle).
- September 13, 2004 – Death of Jose Juan Rodriguez Vargas Dorado, Puerto Rico
- September 15, 1931 – Birth of Raúl Dávila, actor, All My Children (d. 2006)
- September 15, 1933 – Birth of Henry Darrow, Emmy Award winning actor
- September 16, 1898 – Death of Ramón Emeterio Betances, main leader of the Grito de Lares and father of the Puerto Rican independence movement (b. 1827)
- September 17, 1922 – The Puerto Rican Nationalist Party was formed.
- September 17, 1937 – Birth of Orlando Cepeda, Mayor League Baseball Hall of Famer
- September 18, 1981 – Birth of Angelo Reyes, professional basketball player
- September 22, 1944 – The 65th Infantry landed in France and was committed to action on the Maritime Alps at Peira Cava.
- September 23, 1868 – The Grito de Lares occurred.
- September 23, 1911 – The College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was founded in Mayagüez.
- September 23, 2005 – Death of Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, after a stand-off with FBI agents (b. 1933)
- September 25, 1625 – The Dutch, under the leadership of Boudewijn Hendrick (Balduino Enrico), attacked San Juan, besieging Fort San Felipe del Morro and La Fortaleza.
- September 25, 1976 – Birth of Charlotte Ayanna, actress
- September 25, 1978 – Birth of Joel Piñeiro, Mayor League Baseball pitcher
- September 26, 1912 – The first school of advanced studies in Puerto Rico was established by Alonso Manso.
- September 27, 1932 – Hurricane San Ciprián struck the island, leaving 200-300 dead and more than 1,000 injured.
- September 30, 1946 – Birth of Héctor Lavoe, renowned salsa singer (d. 1993)
- September 30, 1972 – Roberto Clemente hits his 3,000th and final hit.
- ...that the myth of the Chupacabra has its origins in Puerto Rico?
- September 8, 2011: The US Justice Department issues a report decrying systematic civil rights abuse by the Puerto Rico Police Department, including illegal searches, use of excessive force, and corruption, sparking a wide call for action from the public and an announcement of reform by Gov. Luis Fortuño.
- August 21, 2011: Tropical storm Irene passes through Puerto Rico and its surrounding islands while becoming a hurricane just north of San Juan, the first of the 2011 Atlantic season.
- June 29, 2011: Jose "Piculin" Ortiz, a former professional basketball player in the NBA (Utah Jazz) and the Puerto Rican Olympic team and the Superior Basketball League, is arrested for drug-related charges.
- June 12, 2011: In professional basketball, José Juan "J.J." Barea, helps the Dallas Mavericks defeat the Miami Heat (4-2) and win the 2011 NBA Championship. A national welcoming party is held in his honor in Puerto Rico.
Captain Humbert Roque "Rocky" Versace
(July 2, 1937–September 26, 1965) was a United States Army
officer of Puerto Rican
descent who was awarded the United States
' highest military decoration — the Medal of Honor
— for his heroic actions while a prisoner of war
(POW) during the Vietnam War
While acting as intelligence advisor to South Vietnamese fighters, their unit was ambushed by opposing forces, and Versace provided sufficient covering fire for his unit to evacuate. However, he was wounded and taken prisoner deep in the jungle along with two other Americans. He tried to escape a total of four times, all unsuccessful. Versace insulted the Viet Cong and cited the Geneva Convention treaty during the indoctrination sessions, and was last seen singing "God Bless America" as he was taken away for execution. He was the first member of the U.S. Army to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions performed in Southeast Asia while in captivity. (more...)
A lot of Puerto Rican Americans sometimes feel outside of the Puerto Rican experience..., and then they get ridiculed from that. Some people may call them a "fake Puerto Rican". And I don't think that that's fair, because they still grew up on rice and beans. They still listen to salsa and merengue.
You know, you may not be born in Puerto Rico, but Puerto Rican is definitely born in you.
—Rosie Perez, April 27, 2006 interview with NPR.
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