Puerto Rico: Culture & History
The culture of Puerto Rico is greatly influenced by the Caribbean, Spain and the United States. There is the old culture and the energy-filled new culture found on that island. There are beautiful picturesque views of waterfalls, underground river caves, forests, bays, reefs and offshore islands with white sandy beaches. The countryside is impressively beautiful with its highland villages and calm looking seaside towns. Sugar cane is one of the most prolific crops there along with coffee and fruit trees. Puerto Ricans are a proud, vivacious, outgoing and warm people who actively support their culture through museums, folklore, artwork, literature and music.
Columbus came to the island of Puerto Rico on his second voyage in 1493. The Taino Indians had settled there a couple thousand years before that, yet he claimed it for Spain and called it San Juan Bautista. The Spanish returned to Puerto Rico and decimated the Taino Indians with diseases and murdered thousands. After that Spain renamed the island from San Juan Bautista to Puerto Rico. Traces of the Taino's settlements and remains of their ceremonial ball courts can still be found in many places throughout the island.
After the Tainos were destroyed because they preferred death to slavery, Africans were imported as slaves to replace them. Productivity increased tremendously and Puerto Rico became a wealthy island. Thus other European countries attacked the island to get or share its wealth.
They were a number of factors, which came together to bring an end of the Spanish colonialist masters. Disease, indifference and archaic Spanish laws allowed the people to rise up and overthrow the Spanish. The Spanish-American War broke out in 1898 and destroyed what was left of the Spanish Empire. Cuba became free and Guam, the Philippines and Puerto Rico came under United States protectorate.