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The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Spanish: Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico) is a archipelago located east of the Dominican Republic in the northeastern Caribbean. Puerto Rico, the smallest of the Greater Antilles, includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands and keys, including the populated island-municipalities of Vieques and Culebra, as well as unpopulated Mona island, located halfway between the islands of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.

The nature of Puerto Rico's political relationship with the United States is the subject of ongoing debate on and off the island. Those who support maintaining the current formula insist that upon attaining this status, Puerto Rico entered into a voluntary association with the U.S. "in the nature of a compact", but opponents of the Commonwealth status, disagree: according to them, Puerto Rico is no more than an unincorporated organized territory of the U.S., subject to the plenary powers of the United States Congress.

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San Juan architecture.jpg
San Juan (Spanish pronunciation: [saŋ xwaŋ]), named after Saint John the Baptist, (Spanish: San Juan Bautista) is the capital and largest city of Puerto Rico. The latest census estimates place the city's population at 433,733, making it the 42nd-largest city under the jurisdiction of the United States. It is currently composed of 18 wards (barrios), with an overall population density of 3,507 km2. The city is also the center of the island's main metropolitan area (Spanish: area metropolitana), also including the municipalities of Bayamón, Guaynabo, Cataño, Canóvanas, Caguas, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Carolina and Trujillo Alto, with a total population of about 2 million inhabitants; hence about half the population of Puerto Rico now lives and works in this area.

San Juan was founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, and is the oldest city in Puerto Rico and the United States, and the second oldest European-established city in the Americas. Today, San Juan serves as one of Puerto Rico's most important seaport, and is the island's manufacturing, financial, cultural, and tourism center. It is the seat of the island's largest university campus, and has hosted numerous important events within the sports community, including the 1979 Pan American Games, 1966 Central American and Caribbean Games, 2006 World Baseball Classic and the Caribbean Series. (more...)

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Ponce City Hall.JPG
Photo credit: Mtmelendez

City halls in Puerto Rico, such as the one in Ponce, are usually the centerpieces of each Municipality's town center. Most are located across the town plaza, and are frequented by the public and tourists alike.

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Did you know...

  • ...that in 1596, Sir Francis Drake, the famed British Admiral who defeated the Spanish Armada, was defeated twice in his attempts to take San Juan and that he died of dysentry while attacking the island?
  • ...that the myth of the Chupacabra has its origins in Puerto Rico?


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Lieutenant General Pedro Augusto del Valle (August 28, 1893 – April 28, 1978) was a United States Marine Corps officer who became the first Hispanic to reach the rank of Lieutenant General. His military career included service in World War I, Haiti and Nicaragua during the so-called Banana Wars of the 1920s, and in the seizure of Guadalcanal and later as Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division during World War II.

On May 29, 1945, del Valle participated in one of the most important events which led to victory in Okinawa. After five weeks of fighting, his Battalion captured Shuri Castle, a medieval fortress of the ancient Ryukyuan kings, which represented a moral blow for the Japanese and was an undeniable milestone in the Okinawa campaign. He was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal for outstanding leadership as Commanding General of the First Marine Division, during the attack and occupation of Okinawa from 1 April to 21 July 1945. (more...)

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Geography Municipalities | Islands | Mona Island | Dry Forests | El Yunque National Forest | Rivers | Puerto Rico Trench
Economy Companies | Operation Bootstrap | Tourism | Puerto Rican peso (1895–98) | United States dollar (1898-present)
Society Puerto Ricans | Puerto Ricans in the United States | Demographics | Education | Holidays | Religion
Culture Art | Buildings and Structures | Casals Festival | Cinema | Cuisine | Literature | Music | Sports
Ecology Fauna of Puerto Rico | Herpeto fauna | Endemic fauna | Endemic flora | Puerto Rican birds | Vieques birds | Puerto Rican amazon | Golden coquí | Monito gecko | Puerto Rican crested anole | Mona ground iguana | Elfin woods warbler | Puerto Rican trees
Other Flag | Transportation | Rail transport | Slang | Communications | List of Puerto Ricans | List of fraternities and sororities in Puerto Rico | Scouting in Puerto Rico| Piragua

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