Further Puerto Rico information:
This special island has one animal
found nowhere else in the world-the coquí, a small tree frog that produces a
loud, clear "song" from the trees at night. Your'll hear them singing.
Barracuda, kingfish, mullet, snaper, tuna, lobster, and oysters are among the many fish inhabiting coastal waters and reefs. So you're sure to enjoy the seafood in Puerto Rico.
Click here for Things to see in Old San Juan
In the early 1990s Puerto Rico had 105 radiobroadcasting stations and 9 television stations, and cable television is available. The commonwealth's first radio station, WKAQ in San Juan, began operations in 1922. WKAQ-TV in San Juan, Puerto Rico's initial television station, first went on the air in 1954.
As a result of the Spanish-American War (1898), Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States on December 10, 1898. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens since 1917.
Under the leadership of Luis Muñoz Marín, head of the Popular Democratic Party, a development program known as Operation Bootstrap was launched in 1942, resulting in greatly increased manufacturing and a large rise in the general living standard. In 1948, Muñoz became the first elected governor of the island.
On June 4, 1951, Puerto Rican voters approved in a referendum a U.S. law that granted them the right to draft their own constitution. The constituent assembly began its deliberations in the following September. In March 1952 the electorate approved the new constitution, and on July 25 Governor Muñoz proclaimed the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The commonwealth held its first general election under the new statute on November 4; Muñoz and the Popular Democratic Party received an overwhelming majority.
In a July 1967 referendum, Puerto Ricans once more voted to remain a commonwealth.
The Statehood Question
In the election of 1968, Luis Alberto Ferré, candidate of the New Progressive Party, was elected governor. He favored statehood for Puerto Rico, but not until the island's economy was stronger. In 1972 the Popular Democratic Party returned to power with Rafael Hernández Colón, a supporter of commonwealth status, as governor. The electorate shifted again in 1976, as the New Progressives regained control of the legislature and Carlos Romero Barceló was elected governor.
Things to see in Old San Juan
The historical heart of the city, referred to as Old San Juan, lies on a small island connected to the mainland by bridges and a causeway. It is characterized by narrow, crooked streets and a number of buildings dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. So you'll love it. Take a stroll and enjoy the scene. The oldest part remains partly enclosed by massive walls and contains several notable forts, such as El Morro (begun 1539) and San Cristóbal (17th century), both part of San Juan National Historic Site, and La Fortaleza (begun 1533), which now serves as the governor's mansion. Also on the island is the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista (begun 1520s), a Gothic structure that contains the tomb of the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León.
On the mainland just east of Old San Juan is the section known as Condado Beach. High-rise luxury hotels and condominiums prevail in this area, which is the main focus of tourist activity in the city. To the south are two separate business districts, Santurce and Hato Rey, both encompassing tall office buildings. Farther south is the residential area of Río Piedras, which contains the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico, founded in 1903. Also in the San Juan area are the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico (1912), the Sacred Heart University (1976), the Museum of Puerto Rican Art, and the Ponce de León Museum.
The region's first European settlement, called Caparra and located west of the present-day city of San Juan, was begun in 1508 under the direction of Ponce de León. Taíno indigenous peoples lived in the area at the time. In 1521 the original settlement was abandoned and moved to the site of what is now called Old San Juan. Interestingly, this settlement was originally known as Puerto Rico (rich port), whereas the island had been named San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist) by Christopher Columbus in 1492; later the names were reversed. The community was subjected to frequent attacks by Europeans (including Sir Francis Drake in 1595), and several imposing fortifications were built. The city of San Juan remained under Spanish control until 1898, when the island was ceded to the United States at the conclusion of the Spanish-American War. The large-scale expansion of the city limits outward from Old San Juan to the mainland has occurred during the 20th century.
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