Puerto Rico Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rico (Spanish for "Rich Port"), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Spanish: Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit. "Free Associated State of Puerto Rico") and briefly called Porto Rico, is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeast Caribbean Sea, approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 km) southeast of Miami, Florida.

An archipelago among the Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico includes the eponymous main island and several smaller islands, such as Mona, Culebra, and Vieques. The capital and most populous city is San Juan. The territory's total population is approximately 3.4 million. Spanish and English are the official languages, though Spanish predominates.

Originally populated by the indigenous Taíno people, Puerto Rico was colonized by Spain following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493. It was contested by French, Dutch, and British, but remained a Spanish possession for the next four centuries. The island's cultural and demographic landscapes were shaped by the displacement and assimilation of the native population, the forced migration of African slaves, and settlement from the Canary Islands and Andalusia. In the Spanish Empire, Puerto Rico played a secondary but strategic role compared to wealthier colonies like Peru and New Spain. Spain's distant administrative control continued up to the end of the 19th century, producing a distinctive creole Hispanic culture and language that combined indigenous, African, and European elements. In 1898, following the Spanish–American War, the United States acquired Puerto Rico under the terms of the Treaty of Paris.

Puerto Ricans have been citizens of the United States since 1917, and enjoy freedom of movement between the island and the mainland. As it is not a state, Puerto Rico does not have a vote in the United States Congress, which governs the territory with full jurisdiction under the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act of 1950. However, Puerto Rico does have one non-voting member of the House called a Resident Commissioner. As residents of a U.S. territory, American citizens in Puerto Rico are disenfranchised at the national level and do not vote for president and vice president of the United States, nor pay federal income tax on Puerto Rican income. Like other territories and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico does not have U.S. senators. Congress approved a local constitution in 1952, allowing U.S. citizens on the territory to elect a governor. Puerto Rico's future political status has consistently been a matter of significant debate.

In early 2017, the Puerto Rican government-debt crisis posed serious problems for the government. The outstanding bond debt had climbed to $70 billion at a time with 12.4% unemployment. The debt had been increasing during a decade long recession. This was the second major financial crisis to affect the island after the Great Depression when the U.S. government, in 1935, provided relief efforts through the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration. On May 3, 2017, Puerto Rico's financial oversight board in the U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico filed the debt restructuring petition which was made under Title III of PROMESA. By early August 2017, the debt was $72 billion with a 45% poverty rate.

In late September 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, causing devastating damage. The island's electrical grid was largely destroyed, with repairs expected to take months to complete, provoking the largest power outage in American history. Recovery efforts were somewhat slow in the first few months, and over 200,000 residents had moved to the mainland State of Florida alone by late November 2017.

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Puerto_Rico", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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