The Identity of a Puerto Rican Essay

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The Identity of a Puerto Rican

Sidney W. Mintz describes the Caribbean as "a scattering of some fifty inhabited units spanning nearly 2, 500 miles of sea between Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and the north coast of South America, constitute the oldest colonial sphere of Western European overseas expansion... these territories were dominated and navigated and explored, their aborigines had been thrust into the consciousness of European monarchs, philosophers, and scientists" (17). The islands in the Caribbean might have some common historical patterns of conquest, slavery and the development of multi-cultural societies but each island has its own history, culture and identity. As part of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico can identify with some of
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The first storey deals with the issue of the "first" Puerto Ricans, the mestizo culture of a predominantly Afro Antillean type. The second storey is from the 18th to the 19th century and the second wave of immigration, the third storey deals with the invasion of the United States in 1898 and finally, the fourth storey deals with an advancement American capitalism, industrialization and migration. The United States plays an important role in the issue of Puerto Rican national identity. Nancy Morris in her book Puerto Rico: Culture, Politics and Identity, writes, "The collective identity of Puerto Ricans has been influenced by the island’s relationship with the United States, but Puerto Ricans have retained an identity that is distinct and separate from their sovereign power" (1).

The Taino Indians, The African and The Spanish

The Puerto Rican culture has three historical roots; the Taino Indian, the African and the Spanish. The Africans became the most important for economic and social reasons. As part of the Spanish conquest most of all the Taino Indians were exterminated. Both the Tainos and Africans were trapped in the most oppressed stratum of the social pyramid, this allowed for cultural exchange between the two group. Due to the lack of Spanish woman, the Spanish men also became involved with both the Tainos and Africans. Gonzalez claims that, "when the descendants of the first African slaves had already become black Puerto
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