Portal:Puerto Rico/Selected articles

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Selected article

The Cerro Maravilla Incident is the name given by the Puerto Rican public and media to describe the events that occurred on July 25, 1978 at Cerro Maravilla, a mountain in Puerto Rico, wherein two young Puerto Rican pro-independence activists were killed in a police ambush. The event sparked a series of political controversies where, in the end, the police officers were found guilty of murder and several high-ranking local government officials were accused of planning and/or covering-up the incident.

Originally declared a police intervention against terrorists, the Governor of Puerto Rico ordered the local Justice Department to launch various investigations, and asked the FBI and the US Justice Department to aid in such investigations, which concluded that there was no wrongdoing on the officer's part. However, after the local opposing political party launched its own inquiries, new evidence and witness testimonies uncovered gross negligence on the officers' part, as well as the possibility of a local and federal cover-up. Local trials were held, and 10 officers were convicted of various crimes.

The incident and subsequent events have become one of the most controversial moments in Puerto Rico's political history. (more...)




Male Elfin-woods Warbler
The Elfin-woods Warbler (Dendroica angelae), or Reinita de Bosque Enano (Spanish name), is a bird endemic to the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico where it is a local and uncommon species. Discovered in 1968 and described in 1972, it is the most recently described species of New World warbler (Parulidae family). The species name, angelae, is a tribute to Angela Kepler, one of its discoverers. It is an insectivore, feeding by gleaning small insects off leaves and foraging the middle canopy for insects. Its song and call are difficult to hear, described as a "a single, short, metallic chip". The Elfin-woods Warbler breeds from March to June, and both parents are involved in the construction of the nest and in feeding the chicks.

Due to its small populations and restricted habitats, conservation efforts were begun in 1982 to protect this species but, as of 2005, the warbler was still in need of protection. The species is not in immediate danger as the majority of its habitat is protected forest, but introduced species, such as rats and mongooses, habitat reduction, and natural disasters represent potential threats to the population, with last estimates pointing to 600 mature individuals. (more...)




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The recorded military history of Puerto Rico encompasses the period from the 16th century, when Spanish conquistadores battled native Tainos, to the present employment of Puerto Ricans in the United States Armed Forces in the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Puerto Rico was part of the Spanish Empire for four centuries, when the Puerto Ricans defended themselves against invasions from the British, French, and Dutch. During the mid-19th century, the quest for Latin American independence from Spain spread to Puerto Rico, culminating in the failed revolution known as El Grito de Lares. The island was invaded by the United States during the Spanish-American War; the war ended when Spain officially ceded the island under the 1898 Treaty of Paris. Puerto Rico became a United States territory and a military regiment known as the Porto Rico Regiment was established on the island.

As citizens of the United States, Puerto Ricans have participated in every major United States military engagement from World War I, with Puerto Rico's 65th Infantry Regiment distinguishing themselves in combat during the Korean War. (more...)




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The history of Puerto Rico began with the settlement of the archipielago of Puerto Rico by the Ortoiroid culture, sometime between 3000–2000 BC. Other tribes, such as the Igneri and Arawak Indians, populated the island between 120 and 1000 AD. At the time of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World, the dominant indigenous culture was that of the Taínos. The Taíno culture died out during the latter half of the 16th century because of exploitation, war and diseases brought by the Spanish.

Located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea, Puerto Rico was the key to the Spanish Empire since the early years of the exploration, conquest and colonization of the New World. The smallest of the Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico was a major military post during many wars between Spain and other European powers for control of the region during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The island was a stepping-stone in the passage from Europe to Cuba, Mexico, Central America, and the northern territories of South America. Throughout most of the 19th century and until the conclusion of the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico and Cuba were the last two Spanish colonies in the New World and served as the final outposts in Spanish strategies to regain control of the American continents. (more...)




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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...)




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The fauna of Puerto Rico is similar to other island archipelago faunas, with high endemism, and low, skewed taxonomic diversity. Bats are the only extant native terrestrial mammals in Puerto Rico. All other terrestrial mammals in the area were introduced by humans, and include species such as cats, goats, sheep, the Small Asian Mongoose, and escaped monkeys. Marine mammals include dolphins, manatees, and whales. Of the 349 bird species, about 120 breed in the archipelago, and 47.5% are accidental or rare. The most recognizable and famous animal of Puerto Rico is probably the coquí, a small endemic frog, and one of the 85 species that constitute Puerto Rico's herpetofauna. No native freshwater fish inhabit Puerto Rico, but some species, introduced by humans, have established populations in reservoirs and rivers. The low richness-high diversity pattern is also apparent among invertebrates, which constitute most of the archipelago's fauna. (more...)



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The Taíno are pre-Columbian indigenous inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and some of the Lesser Antilles. It is believed that the seafaring Taíno were relatives of the Arawakan people of South America. Their language is a member of the Arawakan language family, which ranges from South America across the Caribbean. The Taíno of the Bahamas were known as the Lucayan (the Bahamas being known then as the Lucayas), while those in Puerto Rico called themselves Boriquen. At the time of Columbus's arrival in 1492, there were five Taíno kingdoms or territories on Hispaniola, each led by a principal Cacique (chieftain), to whom tribute was paid. At the time of the Spanish conquest, the largest Taíno population centers may have contained around 3,000 people or more. The Taíno were historical neighbors and enemies of the Carib, another group with origins in South America who lived principally in the Lesser Antilles. The relationship between the two groups has been the subject of much study. (more...)



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Nutrition Assistance for Puerto Rico is a federal assistance nutritional program provided by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) solely to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States. It provides over $1.5 billion in supplemental economic resources to just over 1 million impoverished residents to cope with their nutritional needs. The program is commonly known in Puerto Rico as Programa de Asistencia Nutricional, PAN, or Cupones in Spanish, and is based on, though not directly part of the USDA’s national Food Stamp Program. Since its inception in 1982, the program has been providing low-income families living in Puerto Rico with cash benefits used for food purchases. Although the methods of providing such benefits have changed over the years, its basic objective of helping low-income families meet their nutritional needs has remained constant. It has, however, been controversial throughout its existence, attracting both criticism and advocacy from Puerto Rico and the United States. (more...)



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San Juan (Spanish pronunciation: [saŋ xwaŋ]), named after Saint John the Baptist, (Spanish: San Juan Bautista) is the capital and largest city of Puerto Rico. The latest census estimates place the city's population at 433,733, making it the 42nd-largest city under the jurisdiction of the United States. It is currently composed of 18 wards (barrios), with an overall population density of 3,507 km2. The city is also the center of the island's main metropolitan area (Spanish: area metropolitana), also including the municipalities of Bayamón, Guaynabo, Cataño, Canóvanas, Caguas, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Carolina and Trujillo Alto, with a total population of about 2 million inhabitants; hence about half the population of Puerto Rico now lives and works in this area.

San Juan was founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, and is the oldest city in Puerto Rico and the United States, and the second oldest European-established city in the Americas. Today, San Juan serves as one of Puerto Rico's most important seaport, and is the island's manufacturing, financial, cultural, and tourism center. It is the cede of the island's largest university campus, and has hosted numerous important events within the sports community, including the 1979 Pan American Games, 1966 Central American and Caribbean Games, 2006 World Baseball Classic and the Caribbean Series. (more...)




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Rail transport in Puerto Rico currently consists of a 10.7 mile (17.2 km) passenger metro system in the island’s metropolitan area of San Juan and a small cargo system in the southern city of Ponce. Its history can be traced back to the mid-19th century with the construction of a limited passenger line in Mayagüez. Between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Puerto Rico's rail transport system expanded significantly, becoming one of the largest rail systems in the Caribbean at the time thanks to an economic boom in agriculture industries, especially the sugar cane industry. The rail system was expanded to include passenger travel with a direct line from the island's northern capital of San Juan to the western and southern cities and towns, greatly improving travel and communication within the island. However, the entire system was soon overshadowed by the arrival of the automobile, and by the 1950s was completely abandoned. Small remnants of this system still exist in some parts of Puerto Rico, some conserved for tourism purposes. (more...)



Reggaeton is a form of urban music which became popular with Latin American (or Latino) youth during the early 1990s and spread over the course of 10 years to North American, European, Asian, and Australian audiences. Reggaeton blends Jamaican music influences of reggae and dancehall with those of Latin America, such as bomba and plena, as well as that of hip hop. The music is also combined with rapping in Spanish, English or 'Spanglish'. Reggaeton has given the Hispanic youth a musical genre that they can consider their own.

While it takes influences from hip hop and Jamaican dancehall and hip hop, Reggaeton has its own specific beat and rhythm, whereas Latino hip hop is simply hip hop recorded by artists of Latino descent. The specific rhythm that characterizes reggaeton is referred to as “Dem Bow,” a reference to the title of the dancehall song by Shabba Ranks that first popularized the beat in the early 1990s. Its origins represents a hybrid of many different musical genres and influences from various countries in the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States. The genre of reggaeton is most closely associated with Puerto Rico, as this is where the musical style later popularized and became most famous, and where the vast majority of its current stars originate from. (more...)




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The Boricua Popular Army — or Ejército Popular Boricua in Spanish — is a clandestine organization based on the island of Puerto Rico, with cells throughout the United States. They campaign for and support the independence of Puerto Rico from what they characterize as United States colonial rule. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) classifies the Boricua Popular Army as a terrorist organization.

Also known as Los Macheteros ("the Machete Wielders") and 'Puerto Rican Popular Army', their active membership consists of Puerto Rican men and women and was calculated by professor Michael González Cruz on his book Nacionalismo Revolucionario Puertorriqueño to be composed by approximately 5,700 members with an unknown number of supporters, sympathizers, collaborators and informants, with cells (usually consisting of between six and ten members) in the United States and other countries.

The group has claimed responsibility for numerous bombings, attacks against the U.S. military and armed robberies since 1978, and was led primarily by former FBI Most Wanted Fugitive Filiberto Ojeda Ríos until his death in 2005. (more...)




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Black history in Puerto Rico initially began with the African freeman who arrived with the Spanish Conquistadors. The Spaniards enslaved the Taino

s, who were the native inhabitants of the island, and many of them died as a result of the cruel treatment that they had received. This presented a problem for the Spanish Crown since they depended on slavery as a means of manpower to work the mines and build forts. Their solution was to import slaves from Africa and as a consequence the vast majority of the Africans who immigrated to Puerto Rico did so as a result of the slave trade. The Africans in Puerto Rico came from various points of Africa, and suffered many hardships and were subject to cruel treatment.

When the gold mines were declared depleted and no longer produced the precious metal, the Spanish Crown ignored Puerto Rico and the island became mainly a garrison for the ships. Africans from British and French possessions in the Caribbean were encouraged to immigrate to Puerto Rico and as freemen provided a population base to support the Puerto Rican garrison and its forts. (more...)




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The 65th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed "The Borinqueneers", was an all-volunteer Puerto Rican regiment of the U.S. Army. Its motto was Honor and Fidelity. It participated in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.

Puerto Ricans have participated in every major American military conflict, from the American Revolution, when volunteers from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Mexico fought the British in 1779 under the command of General Bernardo de Gálvez (17461786), to the present-day conflict in Iraq. The 65th Infantry which was originally activated as the "Porto Rico Regiment" in 1898, served in World War I, and was involved in active combat during World War II. However, it was during the Korean War that Puerto Ricans suffered the most casualties as members of an all-Hispanic volunteer unit. Among the problems that they faced were the difference in languages (the common foot soldier spoke only Spanish, while the commanding officers were mostly English-speaking Americans) and the harsh, cold climate. The 65 Infantry was deactivated in 1956 and became the only unit ever to be transferred from an active Army component to the Puerto Rico National Guard. (more...)




The Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (English: Armed Forces of National Liberation, FALN) was a Puerto Rican clandestine paramilitary organization that, through direct action, advocated complete independence for Puerto Rico. At the time of its dissolution, the FALN was responsible for more than 120 bomb attacks on United States targets between 1974 and 1983. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) classifies the FALN as a terrorist organization.

The FALN was led by Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, who was one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's most wanted criminals. The group served as the predecessor of the Boricua Popular Army. Several of the organization's members were arrested and convicted for conspiracy to commit robbery and for firearms and explosives violations. On August 11, 1999 former United States President Bill Clinton offered clemency to sixteen of the convicted militants under the condition that they renounce any kind of violent manifestation. This decision drew criticism towards the Clinton administration from figures that include the United States Attorney, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Congress. (more...)




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The Puerto Rican Amazon (Amazona vittata), is an endemic parrot of the archipelago of Puerto Rico belonging to the neotropical genus Amazona. Measuring 28–30 cm (11–12 in), the Puerto Rican Amazon is predominantly green with a red forehead and white rings around the eyes. Two subspecies have been described, although there are doubts over the distinctiveness of the form gracilipes from Culebra Island, extinct since 1912. Its closest relatives are believed to be the Jamaican Black-billed Amazon (Amazona agilis) and the Hispaniolan Amazon (Amazona ventralis). The species is the only remaining native parrot in Puerto Rico and one of the ten most endangered bird species in the world. Initially widespread and abundant, the population declined drastically in the 19th and early 20th centuries with the removal of most of its native habitat, also vanishing from nearby Vieques Island and Mona Island. Conservation efforts were started in 1968 to save this species from likely extinction. As of 2008, the total wild population is estimated to be between 30 and 35 individuals. (more...)



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The Puerto Rican Campaign refers to an American military sea and land operation on Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War. The offensive began on May 12, 1898, when the United States Navy attacked the archipelago's capital, San Juan. The land offensive began on July 25. The Americans encountered larger opposition as they advanced towards the main island's interior. They engaged in two crossfires in Guamani River and Coamo, both of which were inconclusive as the allied soldiers retreated. On August 9, 1898, American troops that were pursuing units retreating from Coamo encountered heavy resistance in Aibonito and retreated after six of their soldiers were injured. They returned three days later reinforced with artillery units and attempted a surprise attack. In the subsequent crossfire, confused soldiers reported seeing Spanish reinforcements nearby and five American officers were gravely injured, which prompted a retreat order. All military actions in Puerto Rico were suspended on August 13, after the signing of the Treaty of Paris was made public. (more...)



Sha'are Zedeck synagogue in San Juan
The Jewish immigration to Puerto Rico began in the 15th century with the arrival of the marranos (variously called conversos, Crypto-Jews, or Secret Jews) who accompanied Christopher Columbus on his second voyage. A Jewish community did not flourish in Puerto Rico because Judaism was prohibited by the Spanish Inquisition. The first large group of Jews to settle in Puerto Rico were European refugees fleeing German–occupied Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. The second influx of Jews to the island came in the 1950s, when thousands of Cuban Jews fled after Fidel Castro came to power. Puerto Rican Jews have made many contributions in multiple fields, including business and commerce, education, and entertainment. Puerto Rico has the largest and richest Jewish community in the Caribbean, with 3,000 Jewish inhabitants. It is also the only Caribbean island in which all three major Jewish denominationsOrthodox, Conservative, and Reform—are represented. (more...)



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The currencies of Puerto Rico closely follow the historic development of Puerto Rico. As a colony of Spain and the United States, Puerto Rico was granted the use of both foreign and provincial currencies. Between 1636 and 1637, Philip IV of Spain imposed a tax which had to be paid using a revenue stamp. Inspired by this, Puerto Rico began producing banknotes in 1766, becoming the first colony to print 8-real banknotes in the Spanish Empire and which in the Spanish government's approval of subsequent issues. In the 19th century, Salvador Meléndez Bruna ordered the issue of provincial banknotes, creating the Puerto Rican peso. On February 1, 1890, the Banco Español de Puerto Rico was inaugurated and began issuing banknotes. On August 13, 1898, the Spanish-American War ended with Spain ceding Puerto Rico to the United States. The Banco Español de Puerto Rico was renamed Bank of Porto Rico and issued bills equivalent to the United States dollar, creating the Puerto Rican dollar. After Puerto Rico's economy and monetary system was fully integrated into the United States' economic and monetary system, the Puerto Rican dollars were redeemed. (more...)



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The flag of Puerto Rico consists of five equal horizontal bands of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side bears a large, white, five-pointed star in the center. In 1952, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico adopted the 1892 flag design however, the color of the triangle was changed to the same dark blue of the flag of the United States. In 1995, the government of Puerto Rico issued a regulation in regard to the use of the Puerto Rican flag titled: "Reglamento sobre el Uso en Puerto Rico de la Bandera del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico" in which the government specifies the colors to be used but, does not specify any official color tones or shades. From 1492 to 1952, The only flags permitted to be flown in Puerto Rico were the Spanish flag (1492 - 1898) and the flag of the United States (1898 - 1952). The Puerto Rican flag, which was unveiled in New York City in 1892, of the Puerto Rican Revolutionary was outlawed until 1952 when the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico adopted it as its official standard. There are other types of flags used and flown in Puerto Rico. Each of the 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico have adopted a flag which represents the region and its people. Plus, most of the political parties in Puerto Rico have their own flag, which are usually displayed in public during rallies, meetings, or parades in show of political strength and unity. (more...)