Puerto rico motto: Puerto Rico Coat of Arms

Flags, Symbol & Currency of Puerto Rico

The National Flag of Puerto Rico was officially adopted on July 25, 1952, under the rule of Governor Luis Marín. Several Puerto Ricans are credited with the creation of the design although most sources attribute the flag design to Francisco Marín.

The National Flag of Puerto Rico features five equal horizontal bands of red (top, center, and bottom) alternating with white. A blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side bears a large, white, five-pointed star in the center. The red color stands for the bloodshed by brave Puerto Ricans in their quest for freedom. The white color stands for the Puerto Rican triumph in their quest for independence as well as the peace they hoped to attain. It also represents individual liberty and the rights that keep the government in balance. The blue triangle on the flag’s hoist side stands for the «Republican Government«, where its three sides signify the three branches — executive, legislative and judicial parts of the government. The triangle contains a white five-pointed star to signify the Puerto Rican territory and hence represent «The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.» The blue color represents the sky and the ocean. The flag has a width-to-length proportion ratio of 2:3.

History of the flag of Puerto Rico

The first time a flag was used in Puerto Rico’s territory was when Christopher Columbus arrived in the region and hoisted the Spanish Royal Flag. Flags were also flown continuously during the Spanish conquest of the area as Juan León’s forces flew the Spanish Expedition Flag. From 1492 onwards, when the entirety of Puerto Rico fell under Spanish control, the Spanish government hoisted their national flag in the territory. Flags were also vital to the native Puerto Ricans who agitated for independence with notable leaders like, Ramón Emeterio, who in 1868, conceived the importance of an original flag. Mariana Bracetti, drawing inspiration from the Dominican flag, designed and knit a flag that was used during the revolution. The Puerto Rican Revolutionary Committee used the flag in their quest to liberate Puerto Rico on March 24, 1897. When Puerto Rico became an American territory, the Puerto Rican flag was outlawed from 1898 -1952. When the flag was formally adopted, the symbolism behind some of the colors was altered to distance the flag from its history. The meaning behind the white bars was changed to represent the new republican system of government while the blue was changed to a darker tone to make it similar to the American flag. The original meaning of the flag was described in a letter written by Maria Manuela who was the daughter of Manuel Besosa, a revolutionary committee member.

Historical and Other Flags of Puerto Rico

Spanish era flag

Flag of the Kingdom of Spain

American-era Flag

Flag of the US

Symbols of Puerto Rico

The National Coat of Arms of Puerto Rico

The National Coat of Arms of Puerto Rico was adopted on June 3, 1976. The green background of the shield represents the vegetation of the island, and the Lamb of God and cross flag is associated with the patron saint of the island — St. John the Baptist. The book the lamb rests upon is symbolic of the Book of Revelations. To the left of the shield, a golden-crowned ‘F’ represents Ferdinand II of Aragon. To the right, a golden-crowned ‘Y’ represents Ysabel (Isabella I of Castile). Underneath the shield Puerto Rico’s motto is displayed in Latin, a quotation from the Vulgate of Luke 1:63, which means «Joannes Est Nomen Eius» («John is his name.») and refers to St. John the Baptist.

National Motto

«Joannes Est Nomen Eius» («John is his name«)

National Anthem

  • Anthem Title: La Borinqueña 
  • Music Composer: Félix Astol Artés
  • Lyricist: Manuel Fernández Juncos
  • Date of Adoption: July 24, 1952 [music]; July 27, 1977 [lyrics]

La Borinqueña is the national anthem of Puerto Rico. The music of the anthem have been composed by Félix Astol Artés. The lyrics of the anthem have been authored by Manuel Fernández Juncos. The music of the anthem was adopted on July 24, 1952. The lyrics of the anthem was adopted on July 27, 1977. 

La Borinqueña (Spanish)

La tierra de Borinquen

donde he nacido yo

es un jardín florido

de mágico primor.

Un cielo siempre nítido

le sirve de dosel

y dan arrullos plácidos

las olas a sus pies.

Cuando a sus playas llegó Colón

exclamó lleno de admiración,

“¡Oh! ¡oh!, ¡oh!,

Esta es la linda tierra

que busco yo”.

Es Borinquen, la hija,

la hija del mar y el sol

del mar y el sol,

del mar y el sol

del mar y el sol,

del mar y el sol.

The land of Borinquen,

where I was born,

is a flower-garden

of magical beauty.

An constantly clear sky

serves as its canopy,

and the placid lullabies are sung

by the waves at its feet.

When at her beaches Colombus arrived,

he exclaimed full of admiration,

“Oh! Oh! Oh!

This is the beautiful land

that I seek.”

Borinquen is the daughter

the daughter of the sea and the sun.

the sea and the sun.

the sea and the sun.

the sea and the sun.

the sea and the sun.

The Currency of Puerto Rico is the United States dollar

The current official currency of Puerto Rico is the United States dollar (USD). 1 dollar is divided into 100 cents.


Currently, coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 cents, and $1 are in circulation.


 Currently, notes in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 are in circulation.

United States dollar Banknote

United States 1 dollar Banknote

United States dollar Coin

United States 1 dollar Coin

Historical currencies of Puerto Rico

Being a colony of both Spain and the United States, Puerto Rico used the currencies of both countries. Puerto Rico used its gold as its currency, but by the 16th century, the gold reserves were diminished. To fill in the reserve, a shipment of gold, known as Situado Mexicano — was sent by the Viceroyalty of New Spain to Puerto Rico for economic support. But due to the irregularity of the shipment arrival and also the natural disasters, the economy of the island greatly suffered. From 1766, Puerto Rico started producing 8 real banknotes, hence becoming the first colony in the Spanish Empire to do so. These banknotes were used and filled the gap until the shipment’s arrival. When the Situado Mexicana again arrived, the banknotes were returned to the Spanish crown.  In the 19th century, the Situado was discontinued and this resulted in an economic crisis. The Colonial Governor of Puerto Rico ordered the issuance of provincial Puerto Rican peso banknotes. From 1815, the banknotes were no longer printed. During 1860-1870, the banknotes were reissued. On February 1, 1890, the Banco Espanol de Puerto Rico was established and banknotes were started to be issued by the bank. From 1895, provincial peso coins were issued as per order by the Royal Decree.

On August 13, 1898, the Spanish-American War ended, and the Banco Espanol de Puerto Rico was renamed the Bank of Puerto Rico. The Bank started issuing bills that were equivalent to the United States dollar. This led to the creation of the Puerto Rican dollar. From 1913, the economy and monetary system of Puerto Rico had fully merged with that of the United States. In 1916, the Puerto Rican dollar was withdrawn from circulation. On July 10, 2005, the Liberty Dollar was introduced.

Puerto Rican peso Banknote

Puerto Rican 100 pesos Banknote

Puerto Rican dollar Banknote

Puerto Rican 5 dollars Banknote

6 Puerto Rican Phrases You Need To Know

Part of a fortification in San Juan, Puerto Rico | © Arnob Alam / Flickr

Mariela Santos

1 May 2017

Language is an important part of any country since words carry cultural meaning, and it rings true in Puerto Rico. just the same. Some phrases go in and out of style, enjoying varying amount of popularity, but they make an impact nonetheless. The following six phrases will help visitors start to speak like people in Puerto Rico do, and provide a much needed introduction to how locals communicate.

This phrase literally translates to “older than the cold” in English. Puerto Ricans use this phrase when they want to say that something or someone is really, really old.

Juan Bobo is a popular, folkloric character in Puerto Rico whose name is “Juan the dummy.” and he is known for not being very intelligent. In a story about him, Juan Bobo had a pet pig that he dressed and over-accessorized; the pig is referenced in this phrase, that means “like Juan Bobo’s pig” when translated. Say this when someone is wearing too many accessories to the point that it’s not flattering.

The word “hola” which means “hello” in Spanish | © Angel Raul Ravelo Rodriguez/ Flickr

San Juan has a statue of dedicated to Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colón), the Spanish explorer that claimed Puerto Rico as a Spanish territory. This phrase translates to “when Columbus lowers his fingers” and references the aforementioned statue. People say the phrase when they mean “when hell freezes over” because like with Columbus’s fingers, both events will never happen.

Say this phrase, which translates to “longer than the hope of a poor man,” when you can’t see an end to something. The phrase comes from the idea that someone with a low-income always has hope that the situation will get better in the long run.

Attendees at a Puerto Rican Day parade | © Juan Beltran/ Flickr

In English this phrase translates to “eating a cable,” but it means to be bored. It’s commonly said as “me estoy comiendo un cable” or “I’m bored.” Puerto Rican phrases are definitely creative, and this is an example of that.

According to Project Gutenberg, “estar al garete” means “Without direction or purpose.” The expression is originally nautical, meaning “adrift,” but it is usually with “a lo loco” (literally, “like a madman”; with no course). ” The phrase usually refers to a person.

Pages of a Spanish dictionary | © Kalliop3/ Flickr

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Interesting facts about Christopher Columbus — Fact Museum

New facts can now be read on Telegram, Instagram and Twitter.

What American state was named as a result of a cartographer’s mistake?

When the Spaniards, led by Columbus, landed on one of the American islands, they named it San Juan in honor of John the Baptist. The town of Puerto Rico soon became the administrative center of the island (translated from Spanish as «rich port»). But later cartographers confused the names of the island and the city, so now the state is called Puerto Rico, and its capital is San Juan.

Source: Wikipedia / Puerto Rico

geography John the Baptist cartography Columbus error names Puerto Rico

What scientific knowledge did Columbus use to intimidate the Indians?

During the fourth expedition, Christopher Columbus and his team lived for a year in Jamaica, where local natives willingly supplied them with provisions. But over time, they began to bring less food, and Columbus turned to astronomical tables, discovering that on February 29, 1504 there would be a total lunar eclipse. That day he told the Indian chiefs that his gods were outraged by their behavior and would soon show it. When the moon turned red, the leaders in horror began to ask for forgiveness. Columbus retired to the cabin until the end of the eclipse, and then announced that the Indians were forgiven, and they returned the supplies to the previous level.

Source: Wikipedia / March 1504 lunar eclipse

February 29 astronomy eclipse Columbus Indians Moon Jamaica

The king of which country once changed its motto to the exact opposite?

According to an ancient legend, on the Pillars of Hercules there was an inscription “Non plus ultra” warning sailors, that is, “Nowhere else”, symbolizing the end of the world. At the end of the 15th century, at the end of the Reconquista, the Pillars of Hercules became the territory of Spain, and the inscription was placed on the Spanish coat of arms. However, Columbus soon discovered America, and King Carlos I removed the particle from the motto, turning it into “Plus ultra” — “Beyond”.

Source: Wikipedia / Plus ultra

heraldry Pillars of Hercules mottos Spain Columbus

Why did Costa Rica get its name?

In 1502, the Columbus expedition, which landed on an unknown coast, drew attention to the local Indians, hung with gold ornaments. Thinking that there are gold deposits here, the Spaniards called their discovery Costa Rica, which means “rich coast”. Subsequently, it turned out that Costa Rica is very poor in minerals.

Source: Wikipedia / Costa Rica

geography gold Indians Columbus Costa Rica discovery names minerals ornaments

Why do the names Dominica and the Dominican Republic have different origins?

In the Caribbean, there are two states with very similar names — Dominica and the Dominican Republic. But the origin and meaning of these names are completely different. Dominica got its name from the Italian word for «Sunday», as on this day the island was discovered by the expedition of Christopher Columbus. But the Dominican Republic began to be so named from the name of its capital Santo Domingo, received in honor of St. Dominic, the founder of the Dominican order.

Source: Wikipedia / Dominica, Wikipedia / Dominican Republic

Sunday geography Dominica Dominican Republic Dominicans Caribbean Columbus names

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