What makes up a puerto rican: Fast Facts About Puerto Rico

Puerto Rican DNA — Puerto Rican Genealogy

What can you find out from DNA?

«La Puertorriqueña» painting by Mindy Carrera 2016.
Subject is the author of this web page

Puerto Ricans from the island often use the term Boricua to describe a person from Puerto Rico. If you are around my age (38), you may have heard J.Lo yell it when she reminded up she was still Jenny from the block (3:05) or when Big Pun describes the kind of girls he likes (2:54). Boricua comes from the Taino name for the island: Borinken (there are various spellings). As a Boricua, I always knew that everyone that came before me for a few generations was born in Puerto Rico but I always wondered about who came before them. There are so many different colors in my family. I have a cousin with blond hair, green eyes and caramel skin whose sister has toffee colored skin, brown eyes, and black hair. Three of my great-grandparents had blue eyes, both my grandmothers have green, I have hazel, and my son blue. The genes we carry may be hidden in some generations and appear when it is least expected. My daughter has an orange tint to her hair and skin as fair as the fictional Snow White. There is no physical resemblance between us besides our eyes color and hair. How does that happen? I find it endlessly fascinating. Puerto Rican genealogy is rich and diverse. While Boricuas may find solidarity in our shared heritage and culture, our genes tell a very different story. Our skin, hair, eyes, surnames all may provide a hint as to where our ancestors came from but they certainly do not tell the whole story. 

Every Boricua knows in theory at least, that they are a mix of Spaniards, Tainos, and Africans (which by the way, was just «proven» to be the perfect human. You can read articles and about the research study here and here). Recently, National Geographic published a study confirming that current Puerto Ricans have a significant amount of Taino DNA. Read about here. But the questions remain for all of us: Could the Europeans have been other than Spanish? When did they get to the island? How did they travel up these dirt roads into the towering mountains and build a life? How and when did they become Christianized if they were Jewish or Muslim? How much mixing happened between the Tainos, Europeans, and Africans? When? How did their names change to Spanish? 
I have discovered that my family has been on the island since at least late 1700’s. That is at least three centuries! As a history teacher, I always put things in a historical perspective… Thus, it means when Thomas Jefferson was President of the United States my ancestors were already creating a life in Puerto Rico. In the political landscape of 2015 when the news is covering immigration reform and everyone seems to have an opinion on social media, it occurs to me that most of my friends here in Philadelphia don’t have roots in the Western Hemisphere before the turn of the 20th Century. When I see posts that immigration should stop I cringe at how quick people are to deny their own ancestral story. They are so willing to forget that their great-grandfathers were once walking off a boat in an east coast harbor looking for opportunity. It encourages me when I watch Who Do You Think You Are? or Finding Your Roots because I think that mainstream people need to see the stories of their favorite celebrities to maybe awaken their interest in knowing their own history. But I digress, back to how I figured out my family has been in Puerto RIco for over 300 years! 

Mural in San German, Puerto Rico

Most of my discoveries came from my investigations of family members and documents but I was able to answer the questions of my deep heritage through DNA. This has helped me to begin the search over the Atlantic. My son and I were tested which helped me to see how genes are passed down. And low and behold I discovered that indeed the theory held true for me! After testing through several sites, I am most certainly a mix of European, Amerindian (Taino), and African. However, it is more interesting than just that. This information has led to my next quest of deciphering the DNA and associating it to the ancestors I have verified. Using research of surnames and given names along with the DNA, has helped point me in the right direction of where to search next.  My mother and maternal grandmother are testing next and these results will really help me to decipher from where the various strands of DNA have been passed down.

I used Ancestry, FamilyTree DNA, and Gedmatch. After hours and hours of making and comparing excel spreadsheets, I came up with a pie to represent the averages of all the information gathered from the two testing sites and Gedmatch. Ancestry and FTDNA gave me a pie chart with results. GEDmatch is a free non-profit utility website. DNA testers can upload DNA test results from AncestryDNA, FTDNA and 23andme to compare with a large existing database of test results. GEDmatch uses a slightly different algorithm for the comparison so some additional matches may be available, as well as different views of the comparisons. This can also provide contact information for some matches. Its results are much more specific than the aforementioned testing websites, which is endlessly interesting but not necessary if you just wat to see the major regions around the world that have contributed to your DNA. Here is an explanaition of how to use Gedmatch.  I have listed a few sites below to check out that will flesh out the regions a bit. Each testing site uses different systems so some of the areas included in their «regions» may be slightly different but barring any outliers (someone from China or Australia perhaps), the results should be fairly easy to make sense of. I will outline my thoughts of my own results below.

Parque Ceremonial Indigena de Caguana ~ Utuado, Puerto Rico 2010

Ponce de Leon ~ Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 2010

Life size Vejigante Mask ~ Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

My DNA Results

I received my first results from Ancestry.com before 2015 when I began this site. I originally had those results here but they are so obsolete at this point, I took them down. As time goes on and technology advances, companies will be able to update and get more specific as more indigenous peoples are tested around the world and I will continue to post the changes of my results. Here are my results from 2019 ethnicity estimate from Ancestry.com. Looking at my results to the left you can see that the European, Native, and African mix is a bit more complex than just a mix of the three. 

Iberian Peninsula & Southern Europe — my results indicate, Portugal, Spain and Italy. At first I was surprised that the Portuguese was higher than Spanish but upon reflection in thinking about my ancestors’ surnames (Caraballo and Rentes). I believe this may be reflecting the opaque borders that existed between what became Spain and Portugal for centuries. Particularly, Galicia and Extremadura. Even today, these areas remain rural and the Lusitani DNA may be still present even though the border changed around the people. The Italian, I’m still unsure about.

French — My initial reaction is that this may be in part from Corsica (along with the Italian and Sardinian present) and Catalonia. Corsica has a long history of being owned by France and Italy and with that, many peoples came with the occupations.  My ancestors’ surnames include Laboy and Laboy which may be the link to this ancestry. The language of Catalan is an Occitan language meaning it shares linguistic traits with Southern France. (My first name is actually Catalan.)

European Jewish — This changed from Middle Eastern in previous results and I was RIGHT! This was the most exciting part of the 2019 update personally. Some of my ancestors indeed were Sephardic Jews.

Native American -Based on location, this represents the Tainos. 

African — I consolidated the various West African origins which represent the slaves taken and brought to Puerto Rico.

Updated Ancestry Results

Ancestry.com recently did an update of DNA ethnicity estimates in 2022.  The results are quite different. Sardinian and Italian disappeared and Basque appeared none of which surprised me. It seems more accurate to what my paper research has revealed.

Portugal & Spain — This basically stayed the same.

  • Indigenous Puerto Rico — I really like the specificity of this new «region.»
  • Basque — This appeared and I suspect some of the previously large French percentage ended up here. Long before our current borders, the Basque people lived in the area that is now Basque Country in Spain but also in what is now southwestern France along the Bay of Biscay and the Pyrenees Mountains. My mother is Rh- (blood) which is a rare in the general population but common among the Basque.
  • England & Northwestern Europe, Germanic E.  & Ireland — Based on DNA, surnames, eye and skin color, I have concluded this represents France, Hungary and the British Isles. This may come from the surname Mateo which is spelled Mateu (Catalan maybe?) on some documents and believed by the family to have been originally Matthew. (Maybe a stranded pirate?)

Northern Africa — Based on the history of Spain, this probably is from the Moors who ruled Spain for 500 years. These Moors were Berbers from North Africa and Arabs.
West African — Added up it represents 8% of my total which stayed about the same as before.
Jewish Peoples of Europe — I do have a branch of my family from Ceiba from a direct line of females that are practicing Jews so this is no surprise. It seems that the sons (where my line descends from) did in fact convert or just left religion altogether. The region title is interesting but it’s ok because of all the other facts I have, I can conclude that they were Sephardic Jews.  

Researching and Testing DNA

DNA Testing Websites:

  • Ancestry.com — testing site
  • 23 and Me — testing site
  • Family Tree DNA — testing site
  • National Geographic — testing site
  • GEDmatch — 3rd party site that uses results from above testing to provide other detailed information about ethnicity and genetic inheritance

Check out Roberta Estes’ blog, DNA explained for further information about each of these tests. 

Online Articles about Genealogical DNA Testing:

  • Which Grandparents Are You Most Related To? 
  • Determining Ethnicity Percentages
  • Autosomal DNA, Ancient Ancestors, Ethnicity and the Dandelion
  • DNA Inheritance
  • Regional Ancestry Geographic Reference Populations

Books about Genealogical DNA Testing:

  • NextGen Genealogy: The DNA Connection by David R. Dowell
  • Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak & Ann Turner


  • Latina Magazine Staff discuss their DNA results.
  • The Journey of Man — Spencer Wells (Amazing!)
  • Where Did We All Come From? Tracing Human Migration Using Genetic Markers — lecture presented by Prof. Moses Schanfield

Ramon Diaz y Burgos & Gregoria Felciano y Rivera ~ Ceiba, Puerto Rico 1950

Finding Family through DNA

If you have done a DNA test, you’ve certainly been «matched» to other testers. This chart is extremely helpful in understanding how those matches may fit into your real family tree. Please be careful of false positives! Over the past few years I have seen so many people get caught up in connecting with matches and believing the theory that Puerto Ricans are all related but this is just not accurate. Because the population of Puerto Rico is small and the number of immigrants that populated with the natives and slaves is finite and of course, people mated with other people from the island with similar DNA backgrounds, testing company algorithms match us all as distant as cousins. This article explains false positives of small segment matches not particular to Puerto Rico. However, Puerto Rico (and other small island populations) will experience more of this phenomenon. The more Ancestry.com updates its systems, the less accurate the family matching is becoming. I have reached out to the company. 
The numbers are in relation to centimorgans.

Be Inspired…

In March 2017, Residente, formerly half of Calle 13, was so inspired about his DNA results he decided to visit some of the countries indicated in his ancestry results and make an album. The album will be followed up by a documentary in later 2017. The intro track is done by Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame who as it turns out, is Residente’s cousin. Lin-Manuel as always, tells a story and poetically breaks down the meaning and process of discovering our roots. Click on the clip to the right, listen carefully and enjoy! 
Check out his interview on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

The movie is playing at Film Festivals around the country. It is truly an experience. Residente, inspired by his DNA and disenchanted with the inauthentic business of popular music, set on a journey to create real, honest music with indigenous instruments and local musicians. The film documents his experience. He brings back home at the end, to Puerto Rico and lays it all out, all his frustration and his love for his island. This film was a labor of love, longing and desire to tap into the human soul. To find a thread that joins us all over the world. He is brilliant and passionate. This is a must-see.

DNA companies

  • FamilyTreeDNA – Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA testing
  • MyHeritage DNA –Autosomal DNA test
  • MyHeritage FREE DNA file upload – Transfer your results from other vendors free
  • AncestryDNA – Autosomal DNA test
  • 23andMe Ancestry – Autosomal DNA only, no Health

Ramona Burgos y Ortiz, Irma Diaz y Burgos, Mayita Burgos

Felicita Diaz Pagan ~ Bronx, New York

Sergio and Ramon Diaz Burgos ~ New York City

Maria Luisa Eustaquia ~ Ceiba, Puerto Rico

I’m half Puerto Rican and half Jewish and so, in some ways, living in many worlds at once is where I feel most at home. ~ Quiara Alegria Hudes

Can you find out if you have Puerto Rican ancestry?

You may have heard family stories that you have Puerto Rican blood, you may be living overseas and want to know more about your grandparents and their ancestors, or you may have received a Genetic DNA Test result informing you that your ancestry is a certain percentage Puerto Rican. Whatever the case, we hope this article will help you on your way.

Located in the heart of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is a beautiful island nestled perfectly between the Dominican Republic, the British Virgin Islands, the US Virgin Islands, and Anguilla. The island, historically known as Boriken, is a United States overseas territory that was formerly a colony of Spain; for these reasons, there are two official languages and most inhabitants are bilingual in Spanish and English.

In short, can you find out if you have Puerto Rican ancestry?

Yes, absolutely! Depending on if and when in your past you had some Puerto Rican ancestors, Genetic DNA Testing can reveal some very interesting information. Like most people from this island know, it was first colonised by Spain back in 1493 after Columbus and his crew arrived on the southeast shoreline, at which point the colonists mixed with the natives, who were Arawak native Americans called Taíno (and who identified as ‘Boricua’). Over the next four hundred years, European settlers mainly from Spain continued to come to Puerto Rico and dominate the language, culture, and cuisine, until 1898, when the US fought the Spanish Empire all over the oceans and ‘liberated’ Puerto Rico, amongst others nations.

Due to this history, most Puerto Ricans are likely to discover that their ancestors came from mainland Spain, with the most popular regions of immigration in the 19th century being Catalonia and Valencia (31.3%), Cantabria and Asturias (15.8%), and Central (14.8%). Also, Galicia, which represents a smaller percentage of the Spanish population, accounted for around 12% of immigrants moving from Spain. What Puerto Ricans are also likely to discover is that they have Taíno blood, as well as African, as the two communities, along with the Spanish community, mixed and moved around the island a lot over centuries, for a whole variety of pleasant and unpleasant reasons. Before the mass immigration of Spaniards in the 19th century, Puerto Rico was two-thirds black and one-third native, but by the end of the 20th century, it was more than 80% white.

What National Geographic’s Genographic Project scientists have found by studying the DNA and genetics of Puerto Ricans is that more than 60% of maternal lineages are Native American, whereas 0% of men carry paternal Native American lineages, rather, they are 80% West Eurasian/European. The reason for this is fairly simple; centuries ago, it was men who were leaving Europe, heading to the new world and intermixing with the indigenous women. The darker factor in this story is that the colonists decimated and banished the male indigenous population, completely replacing them.

To find out about your Puerto Rican ancestry, the most scientific way is to take an ancestry DNA testing kit which will give you a definitive answer.

How simple is it to find out about your Puerto Rican ancestry?

Aside from taking an ancestry DNA Testing kit, you could start by asking your family about what they know of your potential Puerto Rican roots. If your parents or grandparents are still alive, ask them what they know, write down any information, and be sure to get full names rather than nicknames. Also remember that some Puerto Ricans have three surnames, as some women choose to keep their two original surnames as well as taking on the third one through marriage. Most families have a genealogist amongst the ranks, ask your tíos, tías, primos, or abuelos who that person might be, and from there you’ll be able to access a wealth of knowledge.

The average Puerto Rican is made up of 12% Native American, 65% West Eurasian (Mediterranean, Northern European and/or Middle Eastern) and 20% Sub-Saharan African DNA, so don’t be surprised if your family tells you that their ancestors came from somewhere utterly different to your expectations.

How can you find out more about your Puerto Rican roots?

— This guide contains some great links about finding more information from various sources.

— This website is the best we have found about someone going through every database, interviewing every family member, taking DNA tests, and really digging deep into their family tree to find out everything they can. This transparent and honest account of genealogy can serve as inspiration to any curious potential Puerto Ricans out there.

— New York’s Public Library has a great guide on how to search through records and census documents to trace the movements of your ancestors.

— This National Geographic account of migration to Puerto Rico is filled with genealogy gems that will interest anyone researching the island’s history.

— This article from The Atlantic digs even deeper into the pre-contact civilization that existed in Puerto Rico, namely, the Taíno people and where they may have come from, as well as how traces of their DNA exist in many modern-day Puerto Ricans.

We recommend purchasing our ancestry DNA test in order to examine your genetic markers and help uncover some interesting information about your:

  • Recent ancestry — exploring as much as 500 years of ancestry.
  • Sub-regional ancestry — providing further details on what regions your ancestors lived in. Please note that Living DNA offers the most detailed sub-regional ancestry details in the industry.
  • Extended ancestry — taking a look back 10,000 years on your ancestors’ global journeys to see how they ended up where they did.
  • DNA matches — seeing if any other DNA testing customers come up as a biological match with you!

Good luck on your Puerto Rican ancestry journey!

How is Puer tea made? | Chinese Tea Blog


  • Collection
  • Drying
  • «Shaqing»
  • Tea leaf crusher
  • Drying

There are two varieties of pu-erh: shu (black) and sheng (raw, green). In the production process of shu and sheng pu-erh, there are many similarities and some particularities.

First, let’s look at the production steps common for each type of pu-erh.

1. Collection of raw materials. For the production of pu-erh, as a rule, leaves and buds from tea trees or bushes are used, sometimes cuttings. There are 10 varieties of tea leaves, the tenth of which is the best. Pressed pu-erhs are made from a blend of tea raw materials, and loose pu-erhs can be either blended or monosorts.

2. Drying of tea leaves takes place in the shade, outdoors, or in a factory room.

3. «Killing greenery», in Chinese it sounds like «sha ging» (sha ging). This stage is common to many varieties of Chinese tea. Tea leaves are exposed to high temperatures during the roasting or steaming process to remove excess moisture, «fresh green» smell and impart a «tea» flavor.

4. Crushing tea leaves. In villages and small enterprises, raw materials are crushed by hand; in factories, this stage is mechanized. After crushing, the raw materials are sorted out so that no lumps remain.

5. Drying. The tea leaf is dried either in the sun or in a dry room. After drying, mao cha, raw tea, is obtained.

If mao cha is to be made into sheng pu-erh, then after a few weeks of drying, loose sheng is ready. The same raw material, if necessary, is pressed — under steam, in a special metal cylinder, or with the help of a weight, on which the worker stands.

If mao cha is to be made into shu pu-erh, then the accelerated aging method invented in 1973 by the legendary Zou Bing Liang is used. This technology is called «Wo Dui» (Wo Dui), wet stacking: tea leaves are collected in heaps, sprinkled with water, and then covered with a cloth. Under the influence of humidity and high temperature, the process of fermentation or fermentation begins with the participation of microorganisms, mold fungi. In order for the pu-erh to age evenly, the pile is stirred daily and covered again. The process of preparing high-quality shu pu-erh lasts at least a year. Then shu pu-erh is dried and sold — in loose or pressed form.

The most popular form of compaction is flatbread, cha bing or qi zi bing cha (“seven sons cake”). Tea is also pressed into the shape of a nest (to cha), a ball (yuan cha), a brick (zhuan cha) or a square (fang cha). Sometimes, as in ancient times, tea is placed in bamboo.

And finally, a few words about white pu-erh. It is produced only from tea buds collected from old trees or from young bushes. The kidneys undergo minimal processing, resulting in a thin, delicate drink. White pu-erh is pressed and loose. Pressed white pu-erh, just like pressed sheng, acquires new, deeper shades of taste over time.

Puerto Ricans | it’s… What are Puerto Ricans?

Puerto Ricans — people in Latin America, the main population of about. Puerto Rico. As of 2009, the total number was 8.5 million, including about 4.0 million in Puerto Rico and 4.4 million in the United States. [5] Religion — predominantly Catholicism. The language is Spanish.


  • 1 Origin
  • 2 Sessions
  • 3 Household traditions
  • 4 Culture
  • 5 Notes
  • 6 Literature


In the 16th c. Taino Indians lived on the island. They developed agriculture, fishing, hunting, and pottery. At present, the basis of the core of the nation is made up of the descendants of Spanish immigrants (Creoles), mixed with the indigenous population and Negro slaves taken out of Africa. According to a genetic study, Puerto Ricans have the following origin: according to male Y-chromosomes (70% of the population is of European origin, 20% of Negro and 10% of Indian origin), according to female mitochondrial DNA, the picture is fundamentally different (61% carry Indian genes, 26% African and only 13% European).


Most of the population is employed in the service sector (36%). Less in industry and agriculture. Puerto Ricans living in the US are employed in low-paying jobs.

Household traditions

In the field of family relations in Puerto Rico, the nuclear family is widespread, there is a large one. Ritual kinship is widespread — compadrasgo, that is, relations with godparents. Informal marriages are popular. Many families consist of one mother and children from different fathers.

Clothing as in the US South. A noticeable difference is the sombrero.

Food: in view of the one-sided development of the economy, food is mainly imported. Fats, pork meat, potatoes, flour, rice, vegetables are used. The working people mostly eat corn, beans and bananas.


Wood carving, ceramics, weaving of baskets, rugs, hats, lace production, embroidery are developed among folk crafts.

Among entertainments, songs and dances are developed, gambling and cockfights are widespread. The culture mixed elements of three cultures: Spanish, Indian and African. There are dances dating back to African ones, for example, bomb , played to the sound of a drum. The basis of national music is ancient melodies ( dansa ). Of the instruments, the guitar is the most common. Best Composer — Juan Moreno Campos (1858-1896)

Puerto Rican fiction is characterized by a significant development of poetry. José Gauthier Benítez (1850-1880) and José J. Padilla (1829-1896) in the 19th century were known in all Spanish-speaking countries.

In the visual arts, the most ancient monuments are the cave paintings of the Indians, their ceramics and stone figurines. In architecture, the heyday fell on the colonial period, 16-17 centuries. There is a lot of US influence here at the moment. The appearance of cities combines slums and one-story villages with buildings of banks, hotels, clubs, villas, multi-storey buildings. In the 20th century the leading role in art is played by the direction of democratic realism, national traditions are being revived. This is also related to the development of tourism.


  1. Multiculturalism Mexico: United States Virgin Islands statistics
  2. Multiculturalism Mexico: Dominican Republic statistics
  3. Census Canada 2006
  4. Los Extranjeros en Mexico
  5. Census Bureau 2009


  • Peoples and religions of the world, ed.

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