Puerto Rico Essay example

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Puerto Rico

The Caribbean before the landing of Columbus served almost as a bridge between the north coast of South America and Florida for the Amazonian tribes in the south and the north american inhabitants. When Christopher Columbus on his second trip in 1493 landed in Puerto Rico and claimed it for Spain, he found the island populated by as many as 60,000 Arawak or Taino indians, which for the most part, were friendly compared to the Carib indians in some of the more southerly islands which were warlike and to some degree cannibalistic.

The conquest of the island didn't take long, and the peaceful Tainos were put to the task as slaves for
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In 1508 the first governor arrived, Juan Ponce de León (who is more famous as the searcher for the fountain of youth and discoveror of the state of Florida). The island remained Spanish despite harassment and numerous conquest attempts by buccaneers and pirates and English and Dutch expeditions. To defend the island against these threats, two forts, El Morro and San Cristóbal,were built to guard the approaches to San Juan harbor. Defense of these forts foiled attempts by Sir Francis Drake in 1595, by another English fleet in 1598, and by the Dutch in 1625 to capture Puerto Rico for their respective empires. The defeat of the British in 1797 finally thwarted that country's designs on the island, and the Spanish colony was kept intact.

During the 16th to the 19th century Puerto Rico was characterized primarily by underpopulation, poverty and neglect by Spain. It was mainly a garrison for the ships that would pass on their way to or from the other and richer colonies. During this time as much as 10 or 11 years would pass between the arrival of ships from Spain and as trade with other countries was prohibited, the island

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