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Puerto Rico Facts

Unincorporated territory of the United States

  • The term "Puerto Rico" translates to "Land of the Valiant Lord".
  • Puerto Rico is located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
  • People from this region are called Puerto Ricans.
  • The region was originally inhabited by indigenous aboriginal peoples known as Taínos.
  • The island was claimed by Christopher Columbus for Spain during his second voyage to the Americas on November 19, 1493.
  • Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista, in honor of Saint John the Baptist.
  • In 1917, Puerto Ricans became U.S. citizens.
  • The islanders may not vote in U.S. presidential elections.
  • Since 1947, Puerto Ricans have been able to elect their own governor.
  • Luis Muñoz Marín was elected during the 1948 general elections and became the first elected governor.
  • In 2012, a non-binding referendum, Puerto Rico votes in favor of changing its territorial status and requesting to become the 51st state of the United States.
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