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HISTORY OF PUERTO RICO.

  Term Paper ID:28727
Essay Subject:
Country demographics. History, U.S. Commonwealth status, Nationalist movement, Economic development, fugure political status.... More...
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Paper Abstract:
Country demographics. History, U.S. Commonwealth status, Nationalist movement, Economic development, fugure political status.

Paper Introduction:
History of Puerto Rico Introduction Puerto Rico has been classified as one of the world's most beautiful islands. Its sandy, white beaches entertain thousands of tourists each year. It is commonly known as the "Hawaii of the East Coast." Statehood arguably should be a simple issue, but it is not (Gallup, 1). In a recent episode of "The West Wing," a character playing an advisor to the President of the United States said "Outside of a couple of baseball players and Ricky Martin, most of the American people know nothing about Puerto Rico, nor do they care." His assistant replied, "That may be true, but they're going to have to face up to the question of what to do with Puerto Rico sooner or later." This paper addresses the question of what to do with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a par

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Famous legends and historical documents from theSpanish themselves tell stories of this resistance, led by famous caciquessuch as Urayoan and Agueybana II. Thousands ofindependence sympathizers were jailed and more than thirty were killed.Five Nationalists were killed in an attempt to assassinate Governor LuisMunoz Marin. Eighteen people were killed thatday and 2 wounded, in what became known as the Ponce Massacre (Santiago,8-1 ). As early as 1514, enslaved Tainos and Africans inPuerto Rico joined forces in revolt against slavery. Section 936 indeed proved to be a perverse economic tool. Free Africans, known as libertos, originallytraveled with the Spanish conquistadors to the Americas. Puerto Rico's African Heritage Some scholars believe that there is evidence of an African presencein the Americas prior to the Spanish arrival in the late fifteenth century.Archeological studies have discovered what may be African artifacts andhuman skeletons in parts of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean thatpredate the Europeans by at least 2, years. "Operation Bootstrap" Beginning in the 195 s, the governments of both Puerto Rico and theUnited States promoted a development strategy for the island known as"Operation Bootstrap." Briefly described, Operation Bootstrap consisted ofa plan to transform the island of Puerto Rico from an agricultural societyto an industrial one. The History The Spanish Conquest The original name of the island, given by the indigenous Taino-Arawakpeople, was "Boriken," which means "land of the brave people." The Tainoswere an agricultural people with highly developed political, social,religious, and cultural beliefs and practices, whose ancestors go back to4, BC. In 1993 another plebiscite was held; this time 46.3percent of the people voted in favor of statehood, 48.6 percent voted tocontinue commonwealth status, and 4.4 percent voted for independence(Fotheringham, 3 ). Today, 85 percentof what Puerto Ricans eat is imported, mostly from the United States(Jenkins, 131). Caciques or chiefs led revolts againstthe invading Spaniards. In 1493, on his second voyage to the Americas, ChristopherColumbus claimed Borinquen for Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain.He originally named the island of the Tainos "San Juan Bautista." A bigmistake was made by the Tainos when they showed Columbus gold nuggets inthe river and told him to take all he wanted. Its sandy, white beaches entertain thousands of tourists eachyear. For example, evidence ofexchanges between the great Olmec culture of Mexico and the Nubian-Kemeticcultures of Africa during the period 8 -145 has been found in La Ventaand Palenque in Mexico. The corporation qualifyingunder Section 936 is entitled to a credit equal to the US corporate taxthat would be otherwise imposed on the corporation's qualifying income.Many Fortune 5 companies realized that Section 936 made Puerto Rico a taxhaven for capital- intensive manufacturing, contrary to its originalpurpose. 25-32Gallup Organization: "Americans Divided over the Status of Puerto Rico;"13 March 1998. Tax exemptions prompted more than 1 of the 5 largest U.S. government ran military and civil politicaladministrations on the island of Puerto Rico (Fotheringham, 27). http://198.175.14 .8POLL_ARCHIVES/latest.htm:Jenkins, Glenn: "Puerto Rico: the Economic and Fiscal Dimensions;"Boston: Harvard Institute for International Development; 1998.Irizarry, Johnny; Mills-Torres,Maria; Vega, Marta Moreno; Rivera, Anita:"Resistance in Paradise: Rethinking 1 Years of U.S. Forexample, many Arawak-Taino words passed into Spanish (and, in some cases,from there into English), such as huracan (hurricane) and hamaca (hammock).Taino musical instruments, such as maracas and the guiro (an instrumentmade from gourds), continue to play a key role in Puerto Rican musicalforms (Irizarry, et al, 4). The People The Puerto Rican people reflect the varied physical and culturalheritage of the different groups that have mixed together to create theisland's population: the original indigenous inhabitants, European settlers(mainly from Spain), and Africans. mainlandresemble those of every other immigrant groups: pursuit of the "AmericanDream" and a better social and economic situation for themselves and theirfamilies (Irizarry et al, 16). On July 25, 1952, in commemorationof the date of the U.S. Gariido is also known for bringing the firstwheat and other new vegetable seeds to the Americas. Involvement in theCaribbean and the Pacific;" Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1998.Santiago, Jos? mainland to thenorth. He has the means of restoring souls to the enjoyment of paradise."The island's name was later changed to "Puerto Rico," which means "richport" (Fotheringham, 26). It is commonly known as the "Hawaii of the East Coast." Statehoodarguably should be a simple issue, but it is not (Gallup, 1). Don Young (R-Alaska)introduced a bill in the U.S. By the time of theSpanish-American War, Puerto Rico's indigenous, Spanish, and African rootshad blended together into the island's unique political, social, religious,and cultural life. South America lies to the south and the U.S. Inlegal terms, Puerto Ricans are not considered immigrants, because they areU.S. corporations to set up operations in Puerto Rico. The three political options are: 1. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Governor Marin led the Popular Democratic Party in establishingPuerto Rico as a Free Associated State. House of Representatives (H.R.856), bringingthe United States closer to a national discussion of the future status ofPuerto Rico. In 1937the Puerto Rican police opened fire on a peaceful protest march by theNationalist Party in the city of Ponce. citizenship, extended inthe midst of World War I, brought with it the imposition of militaryservice on Puerto Ricans. U.S. This bill did not become law during the past Congress, but iscertain to be brought up again in the new Congress that takes office in2 (Fotheringham, 32). From1898 until 1947 the U.S. congressmen were woundedin that attack and the Nationalists were sentenced to 56 years in prison.Armed actions in support of Puerto Rican independence continued through the198 s; to this day, fourteen independence activists remain in jail in theUnited States, convicted of acts of "sedition," including bombings and thepossession of firearms (Irizarry, et al, 14). The Country Puerto Rico is a mountainous tropical archipelago in the Caribbeanthat measures 3,423 square miles. 2. As a resultof this rapid industrialization, Puerto Rican agriculture has been greatlyweakened and the island has stopped growing its own food. Five U.S. 1, pp. Operation Bootstrap provoked the movement of huge numbers of PuertoRicans from rural to urban areas as they searched for work. mainland. citizens. Commonwealth: the current status, established in 1952. This section declaresPuerto Ricans exempt from federal income tax, and corporations based inPuerto Rico exempt from federal corporate tax. Despite the decimation of the Taino people, their influence lives onas a permanent physical and cultural element of Puerto Rican life. They voted in Luis Munoz Marin - originally abeliever in independence for Puerto Rico - who served as governor until1965. governors maintained some type ofEnglish-only law over Puerto Rico (Fotheringham, 29). H.R. Independence: Puerto Rico would become an independentsovereign nation, in control of its own affairs. Between 131 -1491, Mandingo merchant explorers fromAfrica made more than fifty trips to various Caribbean and Central andSouth American points. The majority of the people voted for the continuation ofcommonwealth status. Puerto Rico's current population is more than 3.5 million people.There are also 2.7 million Puerto Ricans living on the U.S. Conclusions As the character said in "The West Wing," the American People aregoing to have to make a decision soon about what to do with Puerto Rico.Despite the many challenges Puerto Ricans face today, they continue to playa significant role in the politics and government of the United States andto bring a wealth of contributions to all aspects of the economic,political, social, professional, intellectual, artistic, and cultural lifeof the United States. Itcreated a development strategy founded on the hypothesis that if it were tobe eliminated, which would occur under statehood, the Puerto Rican economywould collapse (Jenkins, 97). Statehood: Puerto Rico would become a state of theUnited States. Shortly thereafter, two Nationalists brought the issue ofPuerto Rican independence to world attention when they assaulted BlairHouse, the residence of President Harry Truman in Washington, DC, while theWhite House was being renovated. 856 would establish a multi-phase self-determinationprocess for definition and approval of future status options by Congressand the residents of Puerto Rico. Congress in 19 passed the Foraker Act,to replace military rule with a civil government for the territory. (Fotheringham, 29) In 1967 a plebiscite was held in Puerto Rico on the issue ofpolitical status. From 1898 until the establishment of theCommonwealth of Puerto Rico in 1952, U.S. Constitution andinternational law recognized by the United States: independence, includingfree association; statehood; or continued unincorporated status with localself-government subject to supremacy of federal law and the discretion ofCongress. Almost immediately after the arrival of the Spanish, the Tainosbegan to rebel against colonization. This to a man who once wrote:"Gold constitutes treasure and he who possesses it has all he needs in thisworld. PuertoRican musical instruments such as la clave, drums with stretched animalskin such as bongos or congas, and Puerto Rican music-dance forms such as"la bomba" or "la plena" are likewise rooted in Africa. Albizuthought the incorporation of Puerto Rico to the American way of life woulddestroy the Puerto Rican identity and nationality. mainland can.Puerto Ricans on the island are exempt from federal taxes, but have asystem of local taxes very similar to that of the U.S. Works CitedFotheringham, Joshua R.: "What Should Be Done with Puerto Rico?"Hinckley Journal of Politics; Spring 2 , Vol 2, No. After 1898, a new colonial era enteredthe lives of the Puerto Rican people. 3. mainland.Puerto Ricans are the second largest Latino group in the United States.Spanish is the language spoken on the island, with English taught as asecond language in the schools (Fotheringham, 26). African influence may be traced in many words from African languagesthat have become a permanent part of Puerto Rican Spanish, and, in somecases, English: "mango,", "candungo" (storage pot), "mofongo" (a plantaindish), "mondongo" (a stew), "guineo" (banana), or "chevere" (good!). In 1998, after one hundred years of federal rule, the United StatesHouse of Representatives moved to provide for the first meaningful route toself-determination for the Puerto Rican people. The other is FranciscoGallego, the first Spanish entrepreneur of African origin in Puerto Rico(Irizarry, et al, 5-6). In a recentepisode of "The West Wing," a character playing an advisor to the Presidentof the United States said "Outside of a couple of baseball players andRicky Martin, most of the American people know nothing about Puerto Rico,nor do they care." His assistant replied, "That may be true, but they'regoing to have to face up to the question of what to do with Puerto Ricosooner or later." This paper addresses the question of what to do with theCommonwealth of Puerto Rico, a part of America most Americans know nothingabout. Its neighbors include the DominicanRepublic and Haiti (two countries that share a single island), Cuba, andJamaica to the west and the U.S. By 1848 more thantwenty revolts had occurred (Irizarry, et al, 6). Rep. Puerto Rico was now ruled as apossession of the United States. The Puerto Rican experience presents somedifferences from the traditional ways people in the United States areaccustomed to understanding race (Irizarry, et al, 1). In 1948, for the first time, the United States allowed Puerto Ricansto elect their own governor. African slavery was amajor engine of the Puerto Rican economy from 15 8 to March 22, 1873, whenit was finally abolished. Within sixty years, most of the Tainopopulation was destroyed through war against the Spanish invaders, or thedevastation of slavery in gold mines and plantations, and diseases theEuropeans brought to the island (Irizarry, et al, 3). The Future The future political status of Puerto Rico continues to be a burningissue for all Puerto Ricans. H.R. As a result, Puerto Ricans range acrossthe full spectrum of skin colors. Illiteracy was widespread at that time, affecting 85 percent ofthe population, and the United States expected no resistance from thePuerto Ricans when it imposed English-only laws on the island. invasion of Puerto Rico in 1898, a Puerto Ricanconstitution was adopted establishing the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.Despite their U.S. In 195 there was another Nationalist uprising. citizenship, Puerto Ricans still have an anomalous legalstatus - neither fully independent nor fully a part of the United States.For example, Puerto Ricans on the island cannot vote for the president ofthe United States, but Puerto Ricans residing in the U.S. On March 1, 1954, Lolita Lebon and threeother Nationalists opened fire on the U.S. The Nationalist Party - led by Pedro Albizu Campos - was founded in1922, demanding independence for Puerto Rico. Through the 195 s, theNationalists continued their fight for Puerto Rican independence. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of PuertoRicans from both the island and the United States have served in the U.S.military, first through the draft and now as volunteers (Fotheringham, 27). mainland.(Fotheringham, 28) Twentieth Century Nationalist Movements Conflict between the people and their new rulers emerged first overlanguage. Puerto Ricanintellectuals and independentistas resisted the replacement of the Spanishlanguage with English. Once the Taino population was largely destroyed, the Spanish beganenslaving Africans to fill their need for labor. History of Puerto Rico Introduction Puerto Rico has been classified as one of the world's most beautifulislands. Nonetheless, their motives for coming to the U.S. Virgin Islands and the lower Antilles tothe east. 856 defines the three status optionswhich currently exist for Puerto Rico under the U.S. It also createdan enormous migration of Puerto Ricans to the United States: more than 4 percent of the Puerto Rican population now lives on the U.S. In 1917 President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones Act, which madePuerto Ricans citizens of the United States. Economic Development of Puerto Rico In 1921, in order to spur the development of labor- intensiveindustries in Puerto Rico and improve the island's high unemployment rates,the tax subsidy found in Section 936 was enacted. They can no longer remain the part of America thatAmericans know nothing about. (Irizarry, et al, 8-9) Puerto Rico and the United States In the treaty ending the Spanish-American War of 1898, Puerto Ricowas ceded to the United States. House of Representatives,demanding independence for Puerto Rico. Two well-knownlibertos are Juan Gariido, who accompanied Juan Ponce de Leon - the firstgovernor of Puerto Rico assigned by the Spanish crown - in exploring thecoast of Florida in 15 6. Manuel Torres: "1 Years of Don Pedro Albizu Campos;"Black and Latino Studies Journal; Columbia University, Spring 1998; Pgs.7-15.----------------------- 11

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