Since we just visited Puerto Rico and traveled around almost half of the island, I thought it would be instructive to understand a little of its history and its relationship with the United States. As I noted in my previous posting about our recent vacation, many populated parts of Puerto Rico have an appearance similar to the boroughs of New York City (note: there are approximately one million former Puerto Ricans living in the New York area).
The first important note about Puerto Rican history is that it became a US “territory” at the beginning of the 20th century after the Spanish-American war. As losers of the war, Spain was forced to cede Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Phillipines to the US, and these countries fell under the dominion of the US President.
For the last 60 years, Puerto Rico has officially been a commonwealth where it maintains a certain amount of independence, yet takes direction from the US. There have been various periods when the Puerto Rican population and the US have danced with the notion of the island becoming the 51st State.