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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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The fauna of Puerto Rico is similar to other island archipelago faunas, with high endemism, and low, skewed taxonomic diversity. Bats are the only extant native terrestrial mammals in Puerto Rico. All other terrestrial mammals in the area were introduced by humans, and include species such as cats, goats, sheep, the Small Asian Mongoose, and escaped monkeys. Marine mammals include dolphins, manatees, and whales. Of the 349 bird species, about 120 breed in the archipelago, and 47.5% are accidental or rare. The most recognizable and famous animal of Puerto Rico is probably the coquí, a small endemic frog, and one of the 85 species that constitute Puerto Rico's herpetofauna. No native freshwater fish inhabit Puerto Rico, but some species, introduced by humans, have established populations in reservoirs and rivers. The low richness-high diversity pattern is also apparent among invertebrates, which constitute most of the archipelago's fauna. (more...)

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Did you know...

  • ...that Puerto Rico once had a President? Francisco Ramirez Medina, who participated in the Grito de Lares, was temporarily named President of the "Republic of Puerto Rico" on September 28, 1868 until the revolt was ended by the Spanish .
  • ...That Dr. Nitza Margarita Cintrón, is the first Hispanic to be named Chief of Space Medicine and Health Care Systems Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center?
  • ...that the reggaeton was invented in Puerto Rico and has since then spread to other places around the world?


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Héctor Lavoe (September 30, 1946 - June 29, 1993) was an internationally renowned Puerto Rican salsa singer born and raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Lavoe joined Willie Colón's band, performing as the band vocalist, before forming his own band, performing as lead vocalist. Lavoe recorded several musical hits, including Bandolera, El periódico de ayer, Mi gente and El cantante (written by Ruben Blades just for him), reaching international star status. His career includes two stellar performances, one during the 1974 Congo promotional activities of the Ali-Foreman fight and a 1975 concert at Yankee stadium. However, Lavoe was stricken with several tragedies during his lifetime, including a lifelong addiction to heroin. After several failed attempts at a comeback, he died penniless from complications from AIDS. (more...)

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History Pre-recorded | Black history | Military history | African immigration | Chinese immigration | Corsican immigration | French immigration | German immigration | Irish immigration | Grito de Lares | Foraker Act | Jones–Shafroth Act | Migration to Hawaii | Migration to New York
Politics Constitution | The Commonwealth | Governor | Puerto Rican citizenship | Resident Commissioner | Legislative Branch (Senate - House of Representatives) | Supreme Court | Political parties | Military | Independence movement
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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