Puerto Rico, Officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and briefly called Porto Rico, is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea.
It is an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller ones such as Mona, Culebra, and Vieques. The capital and most populous city is San Juan. Its official languages are Spanish and English, though Spanish predominates. The island’s population is approximately 3.4 million. Puerto Rico’s rich history, tropical climate, diverse natural scenery, renowned traditional cuisine, and attractive tax incentives make it a popular destination for travelers from around the world.
Originally populated by the indigenous Taíno people, the island was claimed in 1493 by Christopher Columbus for the Crown of Castile, and it later endured invasion attempts from the French, Dutch, and British. Four centuries of Spanish colonial government transformed the island’s ethnic, cultural and physical landscapes primarily with waves of African captives, and Canarian, and Andalusian settlers. In the Spanish imperial imagination, Puerto Rico played a secondary, but strategic role when compared to wealthier colonies like Perú and Mexico. Such a distant administrative control continued right up until the end of the 19th century helping to produce a distinctive creole Hispanic culture and language that combined elements from the Natives, Africans, and Iberian people. In 1898, following the Spanish–American War, the United States appropriated Puerto Rico together with most former Spanish colonies under the terms of the Treaty of Paris.