Who founded puerto rico: I. History of Puerto Rico

I. History of Puerto Rico

Hispanic Americans:  Notes on Puerto Ricans

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In many ways, the island
Puerto Rico and
its inhabitants exemplify
ambivalent attitude toward immigrants.  
was essentially a prize that the United
won in its victory over Spain
in the Spanish-American War.  The
was eager to obtain a
strategically important island from which access to the
could be controlled, but was reluctant to provide the levels of economic
assistance needed to increase the islanders’ standard of living. On the other
hand, Puerto Ricans, who had long struggled for independence from
suddenly found themselves under the «protection» of the

Today, the island occupies «commonwealth status»—  As a protectorate of the United
, it is not truly
independent, nor does it have representation in the
Congress.  But it does elect its own government and receives social and
economic aid from this country.  Its residents are
citizens (unless they formally reject citizenship in writing), but do not pay
Income Taxes.   Periodically, the island holds a plebiscite which
provokes hot debate as to the three options usually available: 1.) Statehood;
2.) independence; or 3.) the status-quo as a commonwealth of the
.  In all plebiscites, Puerto
Ricans have opted for Commonwealth Status.  

Mainland Americans vary in their opinions about what should be done
Puerto Rico.  (The first) President,
George Bush incurred the wrath of the Puerto Rican
Party when he indicated that he hoped
Puerto Rico
would vote to become this nation’s 51st state.   Others claim that
would be too much of a burden for this country to
manage.  Puerto Ricans, themselves seem content to straddle the fence
between complete independence and statehood by opting to continue the
island’s commonwealth status.

Review the notes that follow— You are not expected to know any of the
minute details.  I’ve presented a brief historical sketch in an attempt
to portray the struggle endured by Puerto Ricans over the last three centuries.



I. History of Puerto Rico

 A. Early settlement— (Puerto
has the oldest history of any of the Caribbean

1. Christopher Columbus
Puerto Rico on his second
voyage to the new world in 1493.


a. When he arrived, the island
was inhabited by the TAINO (also called ARAWAK) Indians. It is not known when
they first settled the island, but carbon dating of ancient artifacts indicates
that the island has been inhabited since 100 AD.


2.  For
the next fifteen years, the Spaniards left
Puerto Rico
San Juan
Bautista) alone, and the 30,000 TAINO inhabitants saw little of them except
when they made occasional visits for trading, etc.

3. But then, in 1508, Ponce
De Lion and a band of about 50 men established a settlement (Ciudad de Puerto
Rico) on the island.


a. Ponce
had made a secret deal with the Spanish governor of the
to search for gold on the island.


(1) The had
noticed that the Indians were wearing gold rings and jewelry. (They asked them
where they got the gold and the Indians took them to the beaches where gold
nuggets would occasionally wash up on the shore).


During the next year, the Spaniards enjoyed warm relations with the Indians.
They panned enough gold from the rivers to make the enterprise profitable, and
hopes for a small, quiet settlement where the Indians would not be abused
seemed to be realized.


4.  However, King
Ferdinand soon learned of the island’s excellent potential to fill his coffers
and sent several of his family friends to exploit the island further. 

5. Shortly thereafter the course of Puerto
followed that of other Caribbean
islands— thousands of Indians were enslaved (ostensively
to be converted to Christianity) under the encomieda
system—a combination of capitalism and feudalism.

6. All along the northern
coast, the Spaniards opened mines and panning operations using the free slave
labor of the Indians. In 1510,
was appointed governor of the island, but was not granted power to
«relinquish the repartimento» or the
colonial ordinance that authorized the enslavement of the indians. Ponce, to his credit, tried to stop the
abuse of the Indians but was unsuccessful.

7. The Indians rebelled in 1511 (after
discovering the Spaniards were mortal by drowning a Spanish boy), but
quashed it quickly and the Indians that were captured were sold into slavery.
(Again, to Ponce’s credit), none of the Indians in the sections of the island
that he was able to control rebelled).

8. Even so, the King took more
power from
and eventually assuaged his hurt feelings by giving him permission to explore
Ponce died in 1521
from wounds received in an encounter with the
Indians and his remains are interred in the Metropolitan Cathedral of
. (At the time of his death the island was
being referred to as
Puerto Rico). 

9. By 1540 the Spaniards had gotten just about
all the gold they could from the island and the settlers turned to agriculture
to boost the economy. The Indians had either fled to
or (as in the case of most) perished from diseases
brought from
Europe by the colonists.


II.   Agricultural economy  


A. To
promote settlement, the king allotted tracts of land ranging in size from 200
to 400 acres.


B. Blacks were brought in from Africa
through Portuguese traders to replace the Indian slave labor.


1. Two types of farms


subsistence farms (small plots worked by mestizos—
offspring of mixed parentage)… Mestizos were
the forerunner of the island’s large peasant class.

plantations— run by immigrants of pure European Ancestry


C.   Sugar was
developed as major crop— but mercantilist policies of the king lead to the
collapse of the sugar trade in 1580’s. (Sugar remained important throughout the
island’s history)

D. Colonists turned to ginger and animal
husbandry also emerged as an important agricultural industry.


III.  Early island growth
and military importance


A. As the island grew in
economic importance several things occurred:


1. The capital city was moved
to its present site and renamed «
San Juan
(The old settlement was plagued with mosquitoes and was insufficient to handle
the increased harbor traffic.


2. England, France, and Holland
increased their attempts to unseat the Hapsburg Monarchs which included attacks
(some by privateers) against
colonies in the

a. The city’s inhabitants
constructed a series of fortifications from the 1520’s to 1540’s— many of
which are still standing today.


(1) Casa Blanca

(2) Santa Catalina

(3) El Castillo de San Felipe del Morro (El Morro)


3.   As a result of
increased attacks by the English and French, the Captain General of the island
was directed to enhance the island’s general military preparedness.


a. New fortifications were
constructed throughout the island and the militia was beefed up. 

b. Despite the
defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588,
Puerto Rico
did well against English attacks in the 1590’s.


(1) Sir Francis Drake’s failed
attack in 1594


(2) George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland,
succeeded in taking
San Juan
in 1598, but his victory was brief. An outbreak of influenza (that had earlier
weakened the Puerto Ricans) weakened his troops to the point where the
inhabitants were able to retake the city and drive the British off the island.


(3) The Dutch under Boudewijn Hendrikszoon lead a
massive attack against
San Juan
in 1625 and held the Spanish under siege in El Morro
for a month before they were able to manage a counterattack that drove the
Dutch away.


c.  In
the 1640’s the Spanish took major steps to fortify the city of
and surrounding countryside.


IV.    Puerto in the 17th through 19th
centuries under Spanish Rule


A. Spanish mercantilist policies
in the 1600’s restricted international trade so harshly that by mid-17th
century a thriving business in smuggling existed— to the extent that nearly
the entire population of the island was involved in one way or another!


B. According to one report commissioned by the king
and submitted in 1765


1. the
island’s population had reached 45,000.


a. 40,000 free persons  


b. 5,000 slaves


2.  most
of the population lived along the northeastern coast towns and earned their
living through smuggling and the black market


Despite these conditions,
continued to place emphasis on the importance of
Puerto Rico
as a military post critical to its
New World
empire. Effective measures were not taken to improve its economic condition.

D. In 1797, France
declared war on
Puerto Rico and dispatched a fleet
of 60 ships and 9,000 troops. This force landed and quickly laid siege to the
San Juan.
But, as before, the islanders were successful in repelling the attack.

E. When Napoleon invaded Spain in 1808, several
Latin American countries won independence from
Fearing that
Puerto Rico would attempt to
become independent, the Spanish Cortes granted the island residents special
citizenship status and dropped some tariffs. Later, when King Ferdinand VII
resumed the throne, some of these provisions were continued to counter the
movement for independence.

F. At the beginning of
the 19th century, Puerto Ricans established very strong trading ties with the
. However, Jefferson‘s
trade embargo with the Spanish
West Indies,
effective blockade of the
United States
during the war of 1812 dampened things. Friction developed with
as it tried to continue its mercantilistic policy.
But even the mother country recognized the futility of its efforts and erased
the last vestiges of mercantilism in 1824. Ships of all nations could finally
trade in Puerto Rican ports.

G. Between 1820 and 1900 the island’s population
grew from 150,000 to nearly a million.

H. Liberalization of Spanish rule that had begun in
the first decade of the 1800’s was overturned in 1823 when the constitutional
government of


1.    The king
returned and appointed a series of 14 governors who reigned over 42 years.


a. Result: harsh oppression and
martial law


(1) 2200 curfews  

(2) execution of
separatists; exile of sympathizers and government’s critics and reformers

(3) banning facial

(4) requirements for
internal passports restricting movement of island population


I.     Hesitancy
on the part of the Spanish crown to grant reforms increased separatist


1. In
1863 several hundred Puerto Ricans took the town of LARES, arresting its
officials, electing a provisional government, and proclaiming the «
Puerto Rico


a. Government troops squelched
the rebellion, but in doing so gave rise to an anthem— «El Grito de Lares» (The Shout
of Lares)


(1) Even today this is a symbol
of the Puerto Rican independence movement and pro-independence groups make
pilgrimages to LARES.


J.    In 1869 Spain
Puerto Rico 11 seats on the
re-convened Cortes.


1. It looked as though things
would improve for the Island— Spain enacted a program to abolish slavery and
end the harsh «libreta» laws requiring
internal passports, etc.


2. However, a coup in Spain
undid the new reforms in 1875.


K.  In
1875 Puerto Rican Separatist Groups could be arranged, more or less, into the following


1. «Hard Core
Autonomists» who wanted to sever ties completely— these were comprised
largely of peasants and members of the middle classes.

2. «Semi-Autonomists» who wanted to
forge an alliance with Spanish Republicans and remain a semi-autonomous colony
under the new

3. «Moderate Separatists» who argued
for fusion with the Spanish Liberal Party so that if a liberal monarch did win
control of
independence would be granted with out the bolldshed
of a revolution.

4. «Conservatives» who opposed separatism
largely because they felt that an independent
Puerto Rico
would be taken over by the
United States.


L.  Conservatives succeeded
in influencing the king to send a new governor general to the island to quelch demands from the liberals for autonomy.


1. The
new governor general was exceedingly harsh and under his rule, hundreds of
people were tortured to death during a «year of terror.»


M.  In 1897, Puerto
briefly achieved autonomy. The assassination of the
Spanish Prime Minister Brought Mateo Sagasta to power
and he quickly declared
Puerto Rico an
autonomist state. (But its governor would still be appointed by

1. The island quickly adopted a bicameral constitutional form of government
which assumed power in July, 1898.


2. However, in this same month the United
invaded the island with a
force of 16,000 men. The beginning of the Spanish American War marked the end
of Puerto Rican autonomy.


V.   The 20th
century— Puerto Rico under the United States

A. The Spanish American War
lasted less than four months. The campaign in
Puerto Rico, only
two weeks.


1. The 1898 Treaty of Paris
Puerto Rico and the Philippines
to the Unites States.


a. Puerto
received a military government whose governor general was
given almost dictatorial power.


(1) Immediate policies

(a) change
to American currency


(b) suspended
defaulted mortgages


(c) promoted
trade with the


(d) improved
public health


(e) reformed
tax laws


(f) overhauled local government


Puerto Ricans were still unhappy because the
was reluctant to give in to
home rule

1. A devastating hurricane in 1899 killed 3,000 and virtually decimated the
island’s sugar and coffee industries. Nearly 25% of the island’s inhabitants
were left homeless. 

2. Congress was slow to respond and when it did, gave a mere pittance (200,000 dollars) for recovery

3. Local American administrators were inept and
disliked by the native population. The hostility between them was intense.


C.  In
1900 President McKinley endorsed a program for the gradual introduction of
autonomy to the island, but the path to home rule was unclear.

1. The Foraker Act of 1900— (Puerto Ricans did
not support it, nor cooperate with it)


a. Presidentially
appointed governor

b. Executive Council of Americans and Puerto

c. Resident Commissioner elected by Puerto
Ricans to speak, but not vote, before congress.

d. 15% tariff on all
imports and exports from the us— proceeds to go to


(1) free
trade after two years


discouragement of large
corporations from owning large estates (not enforced)


D.   The Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917— (Puerto Rican statesmen detested it)


1. The act automatically
granted American citizenship to Puerto Ricans unless they wanted to defer it by
signing a special document.

2. (Puerto Ricans saw it a an
affront to their quest for autonomy).

3. Meanwhile as the Puerto Rican economy grew,
most of the profits were pocketted
U. S.
businesses on the island. Working conditions were horrible.

4. A labor movement developed on the island in 1909
and soon allied itself with AF of L in the
and was successful in
improving the conditions of workers.


E.   The Great
Depression of the 1930’s coupled with two devastating hurricanes created
tremendous hardship for Puerto Ricans.


F.   Pedro Albizu
Campos— Puerto Rican, former American Army Officer and Harvard Law graduate.


1. Leader of Nationalist
Organization in Puerto Rico, he formed a very effective separatist
organization. (He pointed to the Fact that
Puerto Rico
was already autonomous at the time of the


a. March 21,
, his followers, dressed in Black shirts marched in Ponce.
A single gun shot lead to shooting between police and his followers. Twenty
people shot to death about a hundred wounded.

(1) Governor of Puerto
called it a riot  

(2) U.S.
Civil Liberties
Union called it a massacre  

(3) Still referred to today as «La Massacre de


G.    Luis Munoz
Marin— Founded the Popular Democratic Party in 1938. In 1940 his party won
majority of seats in both houses of Puerto Rican Congress.

1. Worked with new governor of Puerto Rico
(who, unlike his
predecessors, spoke Spanish and understood the needs and desires of Puerto

2. Influenced U.S.
to appoint first native-born governor in
Puerto Rico‘s

3. Orchestrated the first Puerto Rican election
of its own Governor in 1946

4. Influenced U.S.
to grant Puerto Ricans power to elect their first governor and became first
popularly elected Governor in the island’s history in 1948.


H.  1950—
President Truman approves Public Law 600— The
Rican Commonwealth


1. Provided
for a plebiscite whereby voters would elect to remain a colony or become a
commonwealth which would give them the power to draft their own constitution
would retain paramount power).


2. 1951— Puerto Ricans voted 3-to-1 for


I.  Violence did exist
during this period, however—

1. 1950— on the day Truman signed PL 600 Puerto Rican Nationalists
demonstrated in several cities in
Puerto Rico.
There were over 100 casualties with 27 dead. One month later two Puerto Ricans
made an attempt on Truman’s life.


2. 1954— Four Puerto Rican nationalists shouting
«Viva Puerto Rico Libre» fired into the
House of Representatives and wounded five congressmen.


J.  1966—
Commission set up by Kennedy to review island’s status (it was comprised of
Puerto Ricans and Americans) decided that three options should be considered:
Commonwealth, and Statehood.


1. Popular plebiscite in 1967—
Munoz rejoined politics and argued that island should continue as a
commonwealth. Popular vote supported him— 66%.


VI.   Political Parties Today:  

A. Partido
de Popular Democratico — the party of Munoz that has
favored Commonwealth Status

B. Partido Independista Puertorriqueno —
the pro-autonomy party

C. Partido Nuevo Progresista — favors statehood  

D. Partido Socialista — the fledgling communist organization

VII.  Puerto Rican Economy


A. While Puerto Rico leads Latin
America in wealth, it still falls well below the poorest U.S. state in income,
production, and employment— unemployment sits at about 20 percent today. The
island consistently relies on the
for subsidies— in the last few years entitlements from the federal government
have amounted to about 25 percent of the island’s gross domestic product.

B. There is still the problem of the Puerto
‘s future relationship with the United


Top of

History in Puerto Rico | Frommer’s

In the Beginning

Although the Spanish occupation was the decisive factor defining Puerto Rico’s current culture, the island was settled many thousands of years ago by Amerindians. The oldest archaeological remains yet discovered were unearthed in 1948. Found in a limestone cave a few miles east of San Juan, in Loíza Aldea, the artifacts consisted of conch shells, stone implements, and crude hatchets deposited by tribal peoples during the first century of the Christian era. These people belonged to an archaic, semi-nomadic, cave-dwelling culture that had not developed either agriculture or pottery. Some ethnologists suggest that these early inhabitants originated in Florida, immigrated to Cuba, and from there began a steady migration along the West Indian archipelago.

Around A.D. 300, a different group of Amerindians, the Arawaks, migrated to Puerto Rico from the Orinoco Basin in what is now Venezuela. Known by ethnologists as the Saladoids, they were the first of Puerto Rico’s inhabitants to make and use pottery, which they decorated with exotic geometric designs in red and white. Subsisting on fish, crab, and whatever else they could catch, they populated the big island as well as the offshore island of Vieques.

By about A.D. 600, this culture had disappeared, bringing to an end the island’s historical era of pottery making. Ethnologists’ opinions differ as to whether the tribes were eradicated by new invasions from South America, succumbed to starvation or plague, or simply evolved into the next culture that dominated Puerto Rico — the Ostionoids.

Much less skilled at making pottery than their predecessors but more accomplished at polishing and grinding stones for jewelry and tools, the Ostionoids were the ethnic predecessors of the tribe that became the Taínos. The Taínos inhabited Puerto Rico when it was explored and invaded by the Spanish, beginning in 1493. The Taínos were spread throughout the West Indies but reached their greatest development in Puerto Rico and neighboring Hispaniola (the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic).

Ponce de León: Man of Myth & Legend

For an explorer of such myth and legend, Juan Ponce de León still remains an enigma to many historians, his exploits subject to as much myth as fact.

It is known that he was born around 1460 in San Tervas de Campos, a province of Valladolid in Spain, to a noble Castilian family. The red-haired youth grew into an active, aggressive, and perhaps impulsive young man, similar in some respects to Sir Francis Drake in England. After taking part in Spain’s Moorish wars, Ponce de León sailed to America with Columbus on his second voyage, in 1493.

In the New World, Ponce de León served as a soldier in the Spanish settlement of Hispaniola, now the island home of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. From 1502 to 1504, he led Spanish forces against Indians in the eastern part of the island, finally defeating them.

In 1508, he explored Puerto Rico, discovering gold on the island and conquering the native tribes within a year. A year later, he was named governor of Puerto Rico and soon rose to become one of the most powerful Europeans in the Americas. From most accounts, Ponce de León was a good governor of Puerto Rico before his political rivals forced him from office in 1512.

At that time he received permission from King Ferdinand to colonize the island of Bimini in the Bahamas. In searching for Bimini, he came upon the northeast coast of Florida, which he at first thought was an island, in the spring of 1513. He named it La Florida because he discovered it at the time of Pascua Florida or «Flowery Easter.» He was the first explorer to claim some of the North American mainland for Spain.

The following year he sailed back to Spain, carrying with him 5,000 gold pesos. King Ferdinand ordered him back to Puerto Rico with instructions to colonize both Bimini and Florida. Back in Puerto Rico, Ponce de León ordered the building of the city of San Juan. In 1521, he sailed to Florida with 200 men and supplies to start a colony. This was to be his downfall. Wounded by a poison arrow in his thigh, he was taken back to Cuba in June 1521 and died there from his wound.

Legend says Ponce de León searched in vain for the so-called Fountain of Youth, first in Bimini and later in Florida. He never once mentioned it in any of his private or official writings — at least those writings that still exist — and historians believe his goal was gold and other treasures (and perhaps to convert the natives to Catholicism).

His legacy lives on at the Casa Blanca in Old San Juan. Casa Blanca is the oldest continuously occupied residence in the Western Hemisphere and the oldest of about 800 Spanish colonial buildings in Old San Juan’s National Historic Zone. In 1968, it became a historic national monument. Today the building is the site of the Juan Ponce de León Museum. The conquistador’s carved coat of arms greets visitors at the entrance.

Taíno culture impressed the colonial Spanish, and it continues to impress modern sociologists. This people’s achievements included construction of ceremonial ballparks whose boundaries were marked by upright stone dolmens, development of a universal language, and creation of a complicated religious cosmology. They believed in a hierarchy of deities who inhabited the sky. The god Yocahu was the supreme creator. Another god, Juracán, was perpetually angry and ruled the power of the hurricane. Myths and traditions were perpetuated through ceremonial dances (areytos), drumbeats, oral traditions, and a ceremonial ballgame played between opposing teams (10-30 players per team) with a rubber ball; winning this game was thought to bring a good harvest and strong, healthy children. Skilled at agriculture and hunting, the Taínos were also good sailors, canoe makers, and navigators.

About 100 years before the Spanish invasion, the Taínos were challenged by an invading South American tribe — the Caribs. Fierce, warlike, sadistic, and adept at using poison-tipped arrows, the Caribs raided Taíno settlements for slaves (especially female) and bodies for the completion of their rites of cannibalism. Some ethnologists argue that the preeminence of the Taínos, shaken by the attacks of the Caribs, was already jeopardized by the time of the Spanish occupation. In fact, it was the Caribs who fought most effectively against the Europeans; their behavior led the Europeans to unfairly attribute warlike tendencies to all of the island’s tribes. A dynamic tension between the Taínos and the Caribs certainly existed when Christopher Columbus landed on Puerto Rico.

To understand Puerto Rico’s prehistoric era, it is important to know that the Taínos, far more than the Caribs, contributed greatly to the everyday life and language that evolved during the Spanish occupation. Taíno place names are still used for such towns as Utuado, Mayagüez, Caguas, and Humacao. Many Taíno implements and techniques were copied directly by the Europeans, including the bohío (straw hut), the hamaca (hammock), the musical instrument known as the maracas, and the method of making bread from the starchy cassava root. Also, many Taíno superstitions and legends were adopted and adapted by the Spanish and still influence the Puerto Rican imagination.

Spain, Syphilis & Slavery

Christopher Columbus became the first European to land on the shores of Puerto Rico, on November 19, 1493, near what would become the town of Aguadilla, during his second voyage to the New World. Giving the island the name San Juan Bautista, he sailed on in search of shores with more obvious riches for the taking. A European foothold on the island was established in 1508, when Juan Ponce de León, the first governor of Puerto Rico, imported colonists from the nearby island of Hispaniola. They founded the town of Caparra, which lay close to the site of present-day San Juan. The town was almost immediately wracked with internal power struggles among the Spanish settlers, who pressed the native peoples into servitude, evangelized them, and frantically sought for gold, thus quickly changing the face of the island.

Meanwhile, the Amerindians began dying at an alarming rate, victims of imported diseases such as smallpox and whooping cough, against which they had no biological immunity. The natives paid the Spanish back, giving them diseases such as syphilis against which they had little immunity. Both communities reeled, disoriented from their contact with one another. In 1511, the Amerindians rebelled against Spanish attempts to enslave them. The rebellion was brutally suppressed by the Spanish forces of Ponce de León, whose muskets and firearms were vastly superior to the hatchets and arrows of the native peoples. In desperation, the Taínos joined forces with their traditional enemies, the Caribs, but even that union did little to check the growth of European power.

Because the Indians languished in slavery, sometimes preferring mass suicide to imprisonment, their work in the fields and mines of Puerto Rico was soon taken over by Africans who were imported by Spanish, Danish, Portuguese, and British slavers.

By 1521, the island had been renamed Puerto Rico (Rich Port) and was one of the most strategic islands in the Caribbean, which was increasingly viewed as a Spanish sea. Officials of the Spanish Crown dubbed the island «the strongest foothold of Spain in America» and hastened to strengthen the already impressive bulwarks surrounding the city of San Juan.

Pirates & Pillaging Englishmen

Within a century, Puerto Rico’s position at the easternmost edge of what would become Spanish America helped it play a major part in the Spanish expansion toward Florida, the South American coast, and Mexico. It was usually the first port of call for Spanish ships arriving in the Americas; recognizing that the island was a strategic keystone, the Spanish decided to strengthen its defenses. By 1540, La Fortaleza, the first of three massive fortresses built in San Juan, was completed. By 1600, San Juan was completely enclosed by some of the most formidable ramparts in the Caribbean, whereas, ironically, the remainder of Puerto Rico was almost defenseless. In 1565 the king of Spain ordered the governor of Puerto Rico to provide men and materials to strengthen the city of St. Augustine, Florida.

By this time, the English (and to a lesser extent, the French) were seriously harassing Spanish shipping in the Caribbean and north Atlantic. At least part of the French and English aggression was in retaliation for the 1493 Papal Bull dividing the New World between Portugal and Spain — an arrangement that eliminated all other nations from the spoils and colonization of the New World.

Queen Elizabeth I’s most effective weapon against Spanish expansion in the Caribbean wasn’t the Royal Navy; rather, it was buccaneers such as John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake. Their victories included the destruction of St. Augustine in Florida, and Santo Domingo in what is now the Dominican Republic, and the general harassment and pillaging of many Spanish ships and treasure convoys sailing from the New World to Europe with gold and silver from the Aztec and Inca empires. The Royal Navy did play an important role, however, as its 1588 defeat of the Spanish Armada marked the rise of the English as a major maritime power. The Spanish then began to aggressively fortify such islands as Puerto Rico.

In 1595, Drake and Hawkins persuaded Queen Elizabeth to embark on a bold and daring plan to invade and conquer Puerto Rico. An English general, the Earl of Cumberland, urged his men to bravery by «assuring your selves you have the maydenhead of Puerto Rico and so possesse the keyes of all the Indies.»

Confident that the island was «the very key of the West Indies which locketh and shutteth all the gold and silver in the continent of America and Brasilia,» he brought into battle an English force of 4,500 soldiers and eventually captured La Fortaleza.

Although the occupation lasted a full 65 days, the English eventually abandoned Puerto Rico when their armies were decimated by tropical diseases and the local population, which began to engage in guerrilla warfare against the invading army. After pillaging and destroying much of the Puerto Rican countryside, the English left. Their short but abortive victory compelled the Spanish king, Philip III, to continue construction of the island’s defenses. Despite these efforts, Puerto Rico retained a less-than-invincible aspect as Spanish soldiers in the forts often deserted or succumbed to tropical diseases.

A Dutch Threat

In 1625, Puerto Rico was covetously eyed by Holland, whose traders and merchants desperately wanted a foothold in the West Indies. Spearheaded by the Dutch West India Company, which had received trading concessions from the Dutch Crown covering most of the West Indies, the Dutch armies besieged El Morro Fortress in San Juan in one of the bloodiest assaults the fortress ever sustained. When the commanding officer of El Morro refused to surrender, the Dutch burned San Juan to the ground, including all church and civil archives and the bishop’s library, by then the most famous and complete collection of books in America. Fueled by rage, the Spanish rallied and soon defeated the Dutch.

In response to the destruction of the strongest link in the chain of Spanish defenses, Spain threw itself wholeheartedly into improving and reinforcing the defenses around San Juan. King Philip IV justified his expenditures by declaring Puerto Rico the «front and vanguard of the Western Indies and, consequently, the most important of them and most coveted by the enemies of Spain.»

Within 150 years, after extravagant expenditures of time and money, San Juan’s walls were almost impregnable. Military sophistication was added during the 1760s, when two Irishmen, Tomas O’Daly and Alejandro O’Reilly, surrounded the city with some of Europe’s most up-to-date defenses. Despite the thick walls, however, the island’s defenses remained precarious because of the frequent tropical epidemics that devastated the ranks of the soldiers; the chronically late pay, which weakened the soldiers’ morale; and the belated and often wrong-minded priorities of the Spanish monarchy.

A Catholic Crusade

From the earliest days of Spanish colonization, an army of priests and missionaries embarked on a vigorous crusade to convert Puerto Rico’s Taínos to Roman Catholicism. King Ferdinand himself paid for the construction of a Franciscan monastery and a series of chapels, and he required specific support of the church from the aristocrats who had been awarded land grants in the new territories. They were required to build churches, provide Christian burials, and grant religious instruction to both Taíno and African slaves.

Among the church’s most important activities were the Franciscan monks’ efforts to teach the island’s children how to read, write, and count. In 1688, Bishop Francisco Padilla, who is now included among the legends of Puerto Rico, established one of the island’s most famous schools. When it became clear that local parents were too poor to provide their children with appropriate clothing, he succeeded in persuading the king of Spain to pay for their clothes.

Puerto Rico was declared by the pope as the first see (ecclesiastical headquarters) in the New World. In 1519, it became the general headquarters of the Inquisition in the New World. (About 70 years later, the Inquisition’s headquarters were transferred to the well-defended city of Cartagena, Colombia.)

From Smuggling to Sugar

The island’s early development was shackled by Spain’s insistence on a centrist economy. All goods exported from or imported to Puerto Rico had to pass through Spain itself, usually through Seville. In effect, this policy prohibited any official trade between Puerto Rico and its island neighbors.

In response, a flourishing black market developed. Cities such as Ponce became smuggling centers. This black market was especially prevalent after the Spanish colonization of Mexico and Peru, when many Spanish goods, which once would have been sent to Puerto Rico, ended up in those more immediately lucrative colonies instead. Although smugglers were punished if caught, nothing could curb this illegal (and untaxed) trade. Some historians estimate that almost everyone on the island — including priests, citizens, and military and civic authorities — was actively involved in smuggling.

By the mid-1500s, the several hundred settlers who had immigrated to Puerto Rico from Spain heard and sometimes believed rumors of the fortunes to be made in the gold mines of Peru. When the island’s population declined because of the ensuing mass exodus, the king enticed 500 families from the Canary Islands to settle on Puerto Rico between 1683 and 1691. Meanwhile, an active trade in slaves — imported as labor for fields that were increasingly used for sugar-cane and tobacco production — swelled the island’s ranks. This happened despite the Crown’s imposition of strict controls on the number of slaves that could be brought in. Sugar cane earned profits for many islanders, but Spanish mismanagement, fraud within the government bureaucracy, and a lack of both labor and ships to transport the finished product to market discouraged the fledgling industry. Later, fortunes were made and lost in the production of ginger, an industry that died as soon as the Spanish government raised taxes on ginger imports to exorbitant levels. Despite the arrival of immigrants to Puerto Rico from many countries, diseases such as spotted fever, yellow fever, malaria, smallpox, and measles wiped out the population almost as fast as it grew.

More Smuggling

As the philosophical and political movement known as the Enlightenment swept both Europe and North America during the late 1700s and the 1800s, Spain moved to improve Puerto Rico’s economy through its local government. The island’s defenses were beefed up, roads and bridges were built, and a public education program was launched. The island remained a major Spanish naval stronghold in the New World. Immigration from Europe and other places more than tripled the population. It was during this era that Puerto Rico began to develop a unique identity of its own, a native pride, and a consciousness of its importance within the Caribbean.

The heavily fortified city of San Juan, the island’s civic centerpiece, remained under Spain’s rigid control. Although it was the victim of an occasional pirate raid, or an attack by English or French forces, the outlying countryside was generally left alone to develop its own local power centers. The city of Ponce, for example, flourished under the Spanish Crown’s lax supervision and grew wealthy from the tons of contraband and the high-quality sugar that passed through its port. This trend was also encouraged by the unrealistic law that declared San Juan the island’s only legal port. Contemporary sources, in fact, cite the fledgling United States as among the most active of Ponce’s early contraband trading partners.

Rising Power

During the 18th century, the number of towns on the island grew rapidly. There were five settlements in Puerto Rico in 1700; 100 years later, there were almost 40 settlements, and the island’s population had grown to more than 150,000.

Meanwhile, the waters of the Caribbean increasingly reflected the diplomatic wars unfolding in Europe. In 1797, after easily capturing Trinidad (which was poorly defended by the Spanish), the British failed in a spectacular effort to conquer Puerto Rico. The criollos, or native Puerto Ricans, played a major role in the island’s defense and later retained a growing sense of their cultural identity.

The islanders were becoming aware that Spain could not enforce the hundreds of laws it had previously imposed to support its centrist trade policies. Thousands of merchants, farmers, and civil authorities traded profitably with privateers from various nations, thereby deepening the tendency to evade or ignore the laws imposed by Spain and its colonial governors. The attacks by privateers on British shipping were especially severe because pirates based in Puerto Rico ranged as far south as Trinidad, bringing dozens of captured British ships into Puerto Rican harbors. (Several decades earlier, British privateers operating out of Jamaica had endlessly harassed Spanish shipping; the tradition of government-sanctioned piracy was well established. )

It was during this period that coffee — which would later play an essential role in the island’s economy — was introduced to the Puerto Rican highlands from the nearby Dominican Republic.

Despite the power of San Juan and its Spanish institutions, 18th-century Puerto Rico was predominantly rural. The report of a special emissary of the Spanish king, Marshal Alejandro O’Reilly, remains a remarkably complete analysis of 18th-century Puerto Rican society. It helped promote a more progressive series of fiscal and administrative policies that reflected the Enlightenment ideals found in many European countries.

Puerto Rico began to be viewed as a potential source of income for the Spanish Empire rather than a drain on income. One of O’Reilly’s most visible legacies was his recommendation that people live in towns rather than be scattered about the countryside. Shortly after this, seven new towns were established.

As the island prospered and its bourgeoisie became more numerous and affluent, life became more refined. New public buildings were erected; concerts were introduced; and everyday aspects of life — such as furniture and social ritual — grew more ornate. Insights into Puerto Rico’s changing life can be seen in the works of its most famous 18th-century painter, José Campeche.

The Last Bastion

Much of the politics of 19th-century Latin America cannot be understood without a review of Spain’s problems at that time. Up until 1850, there was political and military turmoil in Spain, a combination that eventually led to the collapse of its empire. Since 1796, Spain had been a military satellite of postrevolutionary France, an alliance that brought it into conflict with England. In 1804, Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson’s definitive victory for England over French and Spanish ships during the Battle of Trafalgar left England in supreme control of the international sea lanes and interrupted trade and communications between Spain and its colonies in the New World.

These events led to changes for Spanish-speaking America. The revolutionary fervor of Simón Bolívar and his South American compatriots spilled over to the entire continent, embroiling Spain in a desperate attempt to hold on to the tattered remains of its empire. Recognizing that Puerto Rico and Cuba were probably the last bastions of Spanish Royalist sympathy in the Americas, Spain liberalized its trade policies, decreeing that goods no longer had to pass through Seville.

The sheer weight and volume of illegal Puerto Rican trade with such countries as Denmark, France, and — most importantly — the United States, forced Spain’s hand in establishing a realistic set of trade reforms. A bloody revolution in Haiti, which had produced more sugar cane than almost any other West Indies island, spurred sugar-cane and coffee production in Puerto Rico. Also important was the introduction of a new and more prolific species of sugar cane, the Otahiti, which helped increase production even more.

By the 1820s, the United States was providing ample supplies of such staples as lumber, salt, butter, fish, grain, and foodstuffs, and huge amounts of Puerto Rican sugar, molasses, coffee, and rum were consumed in the United States. Meanwhile, the United States was increasingly viewed as the keeper of the peace in the Caribbean, suppressing the piracy that flourished while Spain’s Navy was preoccupied with its European wars.

During Venezuela’s separation from Spain, Venezuelans loyal to the Spanish Crown fled en masse to the remaining Royalist bastions in the Americas — Puerto Rico and, to a lesser extent, Cuba. Although many arrived penniless, having forfeited their properties in South America in exchange for their lives, their excellent understanding of agriculture and commerce probably catalyzed much of the era’s economic development in Puerto Rico. Simultaneously, many historians argue, their unflinching loyalty to the Spanish Crown contributed to one of the most conservative and reactionary social structures anywhere in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. In any event, dozens of Spanish naval expeditions that were intended to suppress the revolutions in Venezuela were outfitted in Puerto Rican harbors during this period.

A Revolt Suppressed & Slavery Abolished

During the latter half of the 19th century, political divisions were drawn in Puerto Rico, reflecting both the political instability in Spain and the increasing demands of Puerto Ricans for some form of self-rule. As governments and regimes in Spain rose and fell, Spanish policies toward its colonies in the New World changed, too.

In 1865, representatives from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines were invited to Madrid to air their grievances as part of a process of liberalizing Spanish colonial policy. Reforms, however, did not follow as promised, and a much-publicized and very visible minirevolt (during which the mountain city of Lares was occupied) was suppressed by the Spanish governors in 1868. Some of the funds and much of the publicity for this revolt came from expatriate Puerto Ricans living in Chile, St. Thomas, and New York.

Slavery was abolished in March 1873, about 40 years after it had been abolished throughout the British Empire. About 32,000 slaves were freed following years of liberal agitation. Abolition was viewed as a major victory for liberal forces throughout Puerto Rico, although cynics claim that slavery was much less entrenched in Puerto Rico than in neighboring Cuba, where the sugar economy was far more dependent on slave labor.

The 1895 revolution in Cuba increased the Puerto Rican demand for greater self-rule; during the ensuing intellectual ferment, many political parties emerged. The Cuban revolution provided part of the spark that led to the Spanish-American War, Cuban independence, and U.S. control of Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and the Pacific island of Guam.

The Yanks Are Coming! The Yanks Are Coming!

In 1897, faced with intense pressure from sources within Puerto Rico, a weakened Spain granted its colony a measure of autonomy, but it came too late. Other events were taking place between Spain and the United States that would forever change the future of Puerto Rico.

On February 15, 1898, the U.S. battleship Maine was blown up in the harbor of Havana, killing 266 men. The so-called yellow press in the United States, especially the papers owned by the tycoon William Randolph Hearst, aroused Americans’ emotions into a fever pitch for war, with the rallying cry «Remember the Maine.«

On April 20 of that year, President William McKinley signed a resolution demanding Spanish withdrawal from Cuba. The president ordered a blockade of Cuba’s ports, and on April 24, Spain, in retaliation, declared a state of war with the United States. On April 25, the U.S. Congress declared war on Spain. In Cuba, the naval battle of Santiago was won by American forces, and in another part of the world, the Spanish colony of the Philippines was also captured by U.S. troops.

On July 25, after their victory at Santiago, U.S. troops landed at Guánica, Puerto Rico, and several days later they took over Ponce. U.S. Navy Capt. Alfred T. Mahan later wrote that the United States viewed Puerto Rico, Spain’s remaining colonial outpost in the Caribbean, as vital to American interests in the area. Puerto Rico could be used as a military base to help the United States maintain control of the Isthmus of Panama and to keep communications and traffic flowing between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Spain offered to trade other territory for Puerto Rico, but the United States refused and demanded Spain’s ouster from the island. Left with little choice against superior U.S. forces, Spain capitulated. The Spanish-American War ended on August 31, 1898, with the surrender of Spain and the virtual collapse of the once-powerful Spanish Empire. Puerto Rico, in the words of McKinley, was to «become a territory of the United States.»

Although the entire war lasted just over 4 months, the invasion of Puerto Rico took only 2 weeks. «It wasn’t much of a war,» remarked Theodore Roosevelt, who had led the Rough Riders cavalry outfit in their charge up San Juan Hill, «but it was all the war there was.» The United States had suffered only four casualties while acquiring Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and the island of Guam. The Treaty of Paris, signed on December 10, 1898, settled the terms of Spain’s surrender.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

A day in history: Puerto Rico is nearby, Ryzhikov in space

November 19, 2022

Real time

What is remarkable about the date of November 19?

Photo: wikipedia.orgwikipedia.org

Today, November 19, in Russia, representatives of the missile forces and artillery are congratulated on the holiday, as well as glass industry workers are honored, the world celebrates International Men’s Day. On November 19, in Tatarstan, it was forbidden to make changes to income acts before the adoption of the budget, our Sergey Ryzhikov made his first spacewalk, St. Petersburg was seriously flooded, the Teutonic Order was founded, Pushkin completed Boris Godunov, Columbus discovered Puerto Rico. Born: singer Zulfat Zinnurov, artist Shamil Apanaev, founder of Moscow State University Mikhail Lomonosov, navigator Ivan Kruzenshtern, Indian politician Indira Gandhi. Died: composer Franz Schubert, biochemist Kazimir Funk, film director Leonid Gaidai, science fiction writer Boris Strugatsky. Read more in the Realnoe Vremya review.

Video of the day

Bugulminets went into space

On November 19, 1946, the artist Shamil Apanaev was born in Moscow. He comes from the famous Apanaev merchant family, starting from the landlord Ismagil, who was also engaged in leather dressing. Shamil’s parents are from Orenburg. He studied at the Moscow Art School in Memory of 1905, and then at the Institute of Architecture. He worked at the Combine of Layout-Diaram Art Works at the Moscow Art Fund of the Union of Artists, at the Insan Publishing House, where he designed books. The main direction in Apanaev’s work was landscape painting.

On November 19, 1982, singer and presenter Zulfat Zinnurov was born. While studying journalism at KSU, he organized and led the popular disco «Kүnel». He hosted the programs «Sin-mineke, min-sineke» and «Bashvatkych» on the TNV channel. On the stage, he established himself as a performer of songs in the style of «chanson».

On November 19, 2015, the State Council of Tatarstan adopted a bill that prohibits making changes to income acts before the budget is adopted. Parliamentarians came to such a decision in order to avoid confusion in the budgetary processes. Thus, the adopted draft law prohibits the submission of normative legal acts on taxes and fees, as well as normative legal acts that regulate budgetary legal relations that change budget revenues, to the constitutional body before the submission of the budget bill for the next year to the republican parliament.

On November 19, 2019, cosmonaut from Tatarstan Sergey Ryzhikov made his first spacewalk. Together with Russian cosmonaut Sergei Kud-Sverchkov, he spent 6 hours there. The main task was to replace the panel of the thermal control system of the oldest module of the ISS — the Zarya functional cargo block. However, it was not possible to open the hatch of the sealed container. The Tatarstan citizen had a special task — to inspect the place outside the station where a crack was found in Zvezda and film it, but he did not notice anything. Sergei Ryzhikov was born at 1974 in Bugulma. He is the 121st Russian cosmonaut.

On November 19, 2021, Realnoe Vremya reported that complaints about interruptions in mail service have become more frequent in Tatarstan. A number of branches have long been unable to cope with their main task — the delivery of correspondence, residents of several microdistricts of Kazan told Realnoe Vremya. In particular, they talked about the «paralysis» of the 66th post office, which serves the population of houses on Ibragimov Avenue, Dekabristov, Bondarenko and about two dozen more streets of the Moscow district of the city. Subscribers complained that now they go for mail themselves. «Digitalization» of the department, according to them, did not speed up, but slowed down the work of employees, letters, notices and newspapers are not delivered to recipients for months due to the lack of postmen at the sites.

St. Petersburg in the water

On November 19, 1824, the largest flood in history occurred in St. Petersburg, and in its entire history it was flooded more than 330 times. In 1824, the water level in the Neva rose 421 cm above the ordinary, although a figure over 300 was considered catastrophic. The walls of houses collapsed, the roofs of buildings were torn off, some trees were uprooted. Pushkin wrote about this event in the poem «The Bronze Horseman».

And on November 19, 1825, he also finished work on «Boris Godunov», about the reign of a boyar from 1598 to 1605 and the appearance of False Dmitry I. The historical drama of the Russian poet echoes in content with the early Shakespearean plays. So Pushkin said goodbye to romanticism and moved on to realism. It appeared in print in 1830, on the stage in 1866, and before that it was banned. The tragedy was first made into a movie in 1907.

November 19, 2012 Boris Strugatsky died. His brother Arkady died in 2011, after which Boris Natanovich published two independent novels, or, as he put it, continued to «cut the thick log of literature with a two-handed saw, but without a partner. » The books were published under the pseudonym S. Vititsky. Strugatsky also prepared «Comments on the past»: the history of the creation of the works of the brothers, and from 1998 answered thousands of questions from readers.

Teutons unite!

November 19, 1190 was founded by the German spiritual and knightly military order — Teutonic, with the motto «Help — Protect — Heal». During the Third Crusade, German pilgrims established a hospital for sick and wounded countrymen near the Syrian fortress of Acre. According to another version, the order was founded by German merchants to help poor and sick compatriots. Anyway, in February 119On the 1st of the year, Pope Clement III established the «German Brotherhood of St. Mary in Jerusalem», which in 1198, as an encouragement for the German crusaders, was transformed from a hospital into a spiritual knightly order headed by chaplain Conrad. It still exists in Germany, but already as a small church organization.

November 19, 1493, Christopher Columbus, during his second trip to the New World, discovered Puerto Rico, where the Indians who called themselves the Taino lived. Columbus named the new land San Juan de Bautista. In 1508, its colonization began, the city of Caparra was founded, which later became known as Puerto Rico (Spanish for «rich port»). Today, English and Spanish are spoken in the state, and 3.1 million people live in it.

Stories, Ivan Kruzenshtern, Indira Gandhi, Franz Schubert, Mikhail Lomonosov, Boris Strugatsky, Sergei Ryzhikov, Boris Godunov, Leonid Gaidai, Moscow State University,

modern jazz news, reviews, interviews

jazzquad.ru — electronic edition in Russian , dedicated to everything related to jazz, blues and ethnic music, as well as musical styles bordering on these areas. In addition to news, jazzquad.ru contains articles about performers, disc reviews, interviews with musicians, reports from concerts and festivals, information about books, new releases, and much more.

jazzquad.ru is the direct successor of the printed magazine «Jazz-Kvadrat», published in Minsk from 1997 to 2009 and for a number of years was the only Russian-language magazine in the world on the above topics. more



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