Puerto Rico is an island. It’s rectangular in shape. It’s coasts measure
approximately 580 kilometers. It is the smallest and most eastern island of the
Greater Antilles. Puerto Rico has many Mountains; they cover 60% of the island.
The territory also consists of a large amount of rain forests, deserts, beaches,
caves, oceans and rivers. A few of the largest mountains in Puerto Rico are, the
Cerro La Punta (4,389) Rosas (4,156), and Guilarte (3,952). Many of the
rainforest that covered the island has vanished. The 28,00 acres that are left
remain at El Yunque peak. Locations of mountains- This is the Carribean national
Forrest. In this Forrest you can find many varieties of plant and animal life.
Locations of rainforests- Also some very important caves of the west hemisphere
are in Puerto Rico. For example the Rio Camuy. Within it are fine examples of
stalactites, stalagmites, and plenty of bats. Due to the fact that Puerto Rico
is a relatively short in whidth, it does not have any large bodies of water like
rivers and lakes. However it is surrounded by water so that’s not really a
problem. There is also a very large amount of rainfall due to the rainforests.
Puerto Rico’s natural resources consist of some stone, fish, copper and
nickel, and there is a potential for on and off-shore crude oil. The weather is
regularly warm with an average temperature of 80 degrees F. The north coast gets
twice as much rain as the south coast. The dry season is December to March.
Puerto Rico is very exposed to the cyclones of the Caribbean. Not as bad however
as Jamaica, Cuba, and other Lesser Antilles. Hurricanes frequently occur between
August and October. The most destructive hurricane in Purto Rico’s history was
San Ciriaco. It occurred on August 8, 1899. History Puerto Rico’s first
inhabitants were the Taino Indians. They first called the island Boriken or
Boriquen. The name means “the great land of the valiant and noble Lord”. The
island was first discovered by the Spanish in 1493. It went through many
changes. The Indians were pushed aside and made slaves for the new settlers.
Slaves were shipped in from Spain as well. Hundreds if Indians died from
disease. Many Spanish men married Indian women. The island colony suffered for
hundreds of years from hurricanes and plagues. After about 1850, the desire for
greater freedom from Spain increased among the people of Puerto Rico. As a
result of this a new form of government was set up in 1898. Puerto Rico was
taken over by America. It became a part of the United States on December 10,
1898. Being a part of the U.S. helped the Puerto Rican society a lot. They built
hospitals, dams, roads, and schools. In 1917 the second Organic Act gave Puerto
Ricans the ability to become U.S. citizens. The U.S. Army’s 65th Infantry
Regiment won fame for their courage and daring. This regiment was made up of all
Puerto Ricans. The government of Puerto Rico is run by the United States
congress. Most federal laws apply to Puerto Rico. The Common wealth government
is operated under its own constitution. The governer is chief executive officer
and is pretty much in charge. Voters elect 2 senators and 1 representitive. The
supreme Court is the highest court in Puerto Rico. It has 7 justices appointed
by the govenor. They my serve as long as they want, as long as its not past
retirement age. The 92 superior court judges are appointed to 12 year terms.
Cases involving federal law are heard in the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico.
It has 7 judges appointed by the President of the United States. Culture Puerto
Rico is a very crowded island it is populated by about 3,522,037 people. The
capital is San Juan. San Juan is also the largest city. Other large cities of
Puerto Rico are, Carolina, and Mayaguez. Puerto Rico is a great place to go and
see spainish culture. The food is a lot like Spanish and Mexican food. But
certain spices make some things more Puerto Rican. Puerto Rico has many
different types of music, as well as the United States. But it is most know for
its Salsa. Many think it as a sauce to dip chips in. However in Puerto Rico it
is a very commonly listened to music. And with Salsa music comes “The
Salsa”. The salsa is a Latin dance where a man and woman partner up and swing
there hips in sync with the beat of the song. Another well known dance used in
Puerto Rico is the Meringue. It is a faster salsa. In this dance, a partner is
not needed as much. Two well known Latin singers in America are Jennifer Lopez
and Rikki Martin. In Puerto Rico the style is very similar to that of the U.S.
Some of the tastes vary, but pretty similar. Religion The majority of people in
Puerto Rico are Roman Catholic. Most of the rest are Protestants. Some practice
voodoo as well. Industry Puerto Rico’s most valueble agricultural product are
Milk, poultry and eggs. Farmers also raise beef cattle. They also sell or trade
many other products. They have two very important fruits that they produce. They
are Bananas and plantains. Plantains are a lot like bananas. Puerto Rico also
has mines from which they produce stone, sand and gravel, and lime. Puerto Rico
is an island so naturally they have a fishing industry. Their annual fish catch
is valued at $9 million. About 4 ? million lbs. Of fish are caught yearly. The
most valueble catch for Puerto Rico is lobster. Puerto Rico and the U.S. trade
with each other very often. It is much like the trade between the actual states
and the U.S. Puerto Ricans do not pay customs duties on goods imported from the
United States, as they do on other imported goods. Puerto Rico’s chief imports
include crude petroleum, food products, textiles and plastic products.