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19th November, 1493 the island of Puerto Rico was discovered

On the 19th of November, 1493 during the second expedition to the shores of America Christopher Columbus reached the island of Puerto Rico, home to the Taino Indians. The island was named in honor of St. John the Baptist - San Juan Bautista. But then there was a geographical oddit, in connection with which the island was renamed in Puerto Rico.

In 1508 Spaniards colonized the island, when from Santo Domingo (on a modern map is marked as the island of Haiti) detachment of conquistadors led by Juan Ponce de Leon arrived on the island and founded the city of Kaparra. Juan Ponce de Leon was the first governor of the island. In 1521 the administrative center of the island became the port of Puerto Rico (it was Kaparra transferred to a new place), which became a Spanish fortress in the Caribbean.

Cartographers accidentally mixed up the names, and the error has been replicated. As a result, on maps capital was named San Juan and the Island - Puerto Rico (translated as "rich port"). A careful study of the map pinpoints that the name of Old San Juan is also stuck behind a small island that is part of the capital.

The colonialists began to cultivate sugar cane on the island. An endless stream of slaves imported from Africa came here as a free labor. But the number of Taino dramatically decreased, which was due to the spread of diseases that were brought together with African and Spanish settlers. The situation was aggravated by the deplorable living conditions (the Indians were forced to work for the Spanish crown), which led to the complete extinction of the indigenous population by the end of the XVI century.

Slavery was abolished only in 1873. In 1898 after the Spanish- American War, Puerto Rico passed into the possession of the United States of America. In 1952 the island received the right of self-government and the status of the country "freely joined the United States".

Citizens of Puerto Rico celebrate the same national holidays as the United States , as well as their own. Every year on the 19th of November people celebrate the opening of Puerto Rico.

The modern map of the world shows that today Puerto Rico is a part of the United States in the West Indies. Area of ownership is 8 900 sq. km and it includes the island of Puerto Rico and other islands of the Lesser Antilles, including Culebra, Vieques, Mona, etc. The population is 3.9 million people, of whom the majority is Creoles, mulatto (23%) and negros (4%).

This Day in History 19-11-2013