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Fifteenth-century Italian explorer and navigator Christopher Columbus, known in Spanish as Cristobál Colón, "discovered" Puerto Rico for Spain on November 19, 1493.The island was conquered for Spain in 1509 by Spanish nobleman Juan Ponce de León (1460-1521), who became Puerto Rico's first colonial governor. Puerto Rico's indigenous name is Borinquen ("bo REEN ken"), a name given by its original inhabitants, members of a native Caribbean and South American people called the Arawaks.
Although it is considered to be part of the Torrid Zone, the climate of Puerto Rico is more temperate than tropical.The average January temperature on the island is 73 degrees, while the average July temperature is 79 degrees. Census Bureau report, the island of Puerto Rico has a population of 3,522,037.The record high and low temperatures recorded in San Juan, Puerto Rico's northeastern capital city, are 94 degrees and 64 degrees, respectively. This represents a three-fold increase since 1899—and 810,000 of those new births occurred between the years of 19 alone. Approximately 70 percent of the population is white and about 30 percent is of African or mixed descent.As in many Latin American cultures, Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion, but Protestant faiths of various denominations have some Puerto Rican adherents as well. presidential election, however, the Puerto Rican delegate was granted the right to vote on the House floor.Puerto Rico is unique in that it is an autonomous Commonwealth of the United States, and its people think of the island as un estado libre asociado, or a "free associate state" of the United States—a closer relationship than the territorial possessions of Guam and the Virgin Islands have to America. S House of Representatives by a resident commissioner, which for many years was a nonvoting position. Because of the Puerto Rico's commonwealth status, Puerto Ricans are born as natural American citizens.Puerto Ricans have their own constitution and elect their own bicameral legislature and governor but are subject to U. Therefore all Puerto Ricans, whether born on the island or the mainland, are Puerto Rican Americans.
Puerto Rico's status as a semiautonomous Commonwealth of the United States has sparked considerable political debate. In November of 1992 an island-wide referendum was held on the issue of statehood versus continued Commonwealth status.
Historically, the main conflict has been between the nationalists, who support full Puerto Rican independence, and the statists, who advocate U. In a narrow vote of 48 percent to 46 percent, Puerto Ricans opted to remain a Commonwealth.
The island of Puerto Rico (formerly Porto Rico) is the most easterly of the Greater Antilles group of the West Indies island chain.
Located more than a thousand miles southeast of Miami, Puerto Rico is bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by the Virgin Passage (which separates it from the Virgin Islands), on the south by the Caribbean Sea, and on the west by the Mona Passage (which separates it from the Dominican Republic).
Puerto Rico is 35 miles wide (from north to south), 95 miles long (from east to west) and has 311 miles of coastline.
Its land mass measures 3,423 square miles—about two-thirds the area of the state of Connecticut.