Puerto Rico U.S.A.

Lesson Plan

Social Studies
Hispanic Issues
Puerto Rico - Introduction


On July 25th, 1898 the United States invaded Puerto Rico through the port of Guanica. Puerto Rico was granted to the United States with the Treaty of Paris after the Spanish American War in 1898. The island was under American Military rule until La Ley Foraker in 1900, which established a civil government headed by appointed governors - all of them U.S. Americans.  
La Ley Foraker also established the post of Resident Commissioner, giving Puerto Ricans a non voting representative in the US Congress. In 1917 La Ley Jones granted Puerto Ricans American citizenship - just in time to draft them into the Armed Forces.  
In 1952 Puerto Rico became a Commonwealth of the United States giving islanders "limited" self-rule - much like a state. There is an elected governor, and an elected Congress with two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Puerto Ricans do not vote in presidential elections unless they reside in one of the states.  

Spanish is the native language but many people speak English as well. Many Boricuas have joined the US Armed forces and have fought in all wars from 1917. Many, many Puerto Rican soldiers have received medals for their bravery. At one time the 65th Infantry Division, made up solely of Puerto Ricans, became the most decorated unit in the US Army.


Today Puerto Rico has become one of the most modern Latin American countries. There are highways and freeways, hospitals, schools, many universities and colleges, museums, malls, fast food chain restaurants as well as local restaurants. There is a modern telephone system, cable television, satellite TV, and Internet. All the modern conveniences found in the states are enjoyed by islanders. San Juan is a modern city comparable to any in the mainland United States.

Puerto Rico is becoming the gateway to Latino America. What other Latino American country has such close ties to the United States?



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