1990 Census data



Puerto Rico is a small island with a mountainous center and very little arable land. Similar to Costa Rica, Puerto Rico offered little incentive for the Spanish to establish colonies (there were very few sources of precious metals such as gold and a small population). The colonial heierchy found in other Spanish colonies thus did not develop in Puerto Rico, and the few slaves imported became racially mixed with the existing population.


Important Dates in Puerto Rican History



"Let's trade!" - The Spanish Crown, unable to keep out foreign shipping from entering Puerto Rico despite its considerable navy, decrees Puerto Rico to be open to world trade. The principal commercial export crop was coffee, and the cities of Ponce and Mayaguez developed as the major coffee-exporting ports.




The "Grito de Lares" - the only major revolution against Spanish control by the Puerto Rican citenzry. The fight began on September 24, and although the movement did not succeed in liberating Puerto Rico from Spanish rule, September 24 is still celebrated as a holiday in Puerto Rico.




The "8 day government" - Facing defeat in the Spanish-American war, Spain cedes autonomy to Puerto Rico and Cuba. A new Puerto Rican government is organized, and elections to determine a president are held. The new government takes office on July 17, 1898. 8 days later, U.S. Marines arrive in Puerto Rico, enforcing American sovereignty over Puerto Rico and ending the new government's rule after only 8 days.