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Puerto Rico:  History and Government

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 1 year, 5 months ago

Image from USA Today



There are 3.4 million inhabitants of the island of Puerto Rico


Another 5.1 million Puerto Ricans reside in other parts of the United States



Puerto Ricans in the United States:  2010 -2016.  Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College



Topics on the Page


The Spanish-American War


Constitution of Puerto Rico


History of Puerto Rico


Puerto Rican Citizenship


People of Puerto Rico

  • Roberto Clemente


Political Cartoon from 1898 Book about the Spanish American War


The Spanish-American War


Library of Congress website on the Spanish American War

Timeline of the Spanish-American War



  • When the conflict was settled by the Treaty of Paris, Spain relinquished its sovereignty over Cuba, and ceded Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam to the United States.
    • Although, rebels in the Philippines and Cuba had looked to the Americans as saviors, the U.S. victory only replaced one imperial power with another.


  • The new territory promised markets, military bases, and influence overseas. It also enlisted the U.S. into the ranks of Europe's imperial powers--surely a difficult position for a nation not only founded in opposition to British imperialism, but also fostered on the tenets of the Monroe Doctrine, which asserted that Old and New World systems were so contrary that they should operate on different halves of the globe.
    • The Spanish-American War would spur U.S. policy-makers to reinterpret the Monroe Doctrine and reassess American leadership as it extended from the Western Hemisphere to the world.


African American soldiers served with distinction and controversy within the United States during the war.

Click here for an eye-opening video about United States Imperialism in Latin America.

Click here for a 10 question trivia game on the Spanish-American War



Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (1952)


  • Established the island as a Commonwealth


  • Puerto Rico's government functions much like U.S. state governments.  People vote for governor, members of the legislature and the island's representative to the House of Representatives--known as a resident commissioner (although that person does not have a vote in the House).


  • Puerto Ricans cannot vote in U.S. Presidential elections



The History of Puerto Rico


65th Infantry Regiment (Borinqueneers) Congressional Gold Medal


Originally home to the TaĆ­nos, a sea-faring people with especially close ties to the island of Hispaniola


Puerto Rico and the United States, from Origins, a publication of the History Departments of The Ohio State and Miami Universities



Puerto Rican History, Smithsonian Museum of American History



The Lost History of Puerto Rico's Independence Movement, Mother Jones (April 21, 2015)



The 65th Infantry Regiment (Borinqueneers) was the first group of Hispanic segregated soldiers in U.S. history


    • Received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2016




Puerto Rican Citizenship


Jones-Shaforth Act (1917)


  • Granted U.S. Citizenship to anyone born on the island


The Law that Made Puerto Ricans U.S. Citizens, Yet Not Fully Americans, Zocalo Public Square (March 8, 2018)



After a Century of American Citizenship, Puerto Ricans Have Little to Show for It, The Nation (March 2, 2017)



Through a Puerto Rican Lens:  The Legacy of the Jones Act, National Museum of American History



Puerto Rico Citizenship Archives Project, University of Connecticut



People of Puerto Rico


A bronze sculpture of Roberto Clemente at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA

Roberto Clemente, Humanitarian and Activist


Beyond Baseball:  The Life of Roberto Clemente, Smithsonian


Sport's Most Charitable Legend


Roberto Clemente, Society for American Baseball Research



MLB Remembers the Legacy of Roberto Clemente



Campaign to Retire Roberto Clemente's No. 21 Throughout Baseball Gains Traction, The PostGame (July 8, 2019) 



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