The history of Puerto Rico began with the settlement of the
archipelago of Puerto Rico by the Ortoiroid people, sometime between
3000–2000 BC. At the time of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New
World, the dominant indigenous culture was that of the Taínos. The
Taíno culture died out during the latter half of the 16th century
because of exploitation, war and diseases brought by the Spanish.
Puerto Rico was the key to the Spanish Empire from the early years of
the exploration, conquest and colonization of the New World. The
smallest of the Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico was a major military
post during many wars between Spain and other European powers for
control of the region during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. In
1898, during the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico was invaded and
subsequently became a possession of the United States. The first half
of the 20th century was marked by the struggle to obtain greater
democratic rights from the United States. The Foraker Act of 1900,
which established a civil government, and the Jones Act of 1917, which
granted Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship, paved the way for the drafting
of Puerto Rico's Constitution and the establishment of democratic
elections in 1952. However, the political status of Puerto Rico, a
Commonwealth controlled by the U.S., remains an anomaly, more than 500
years after the first Europeans settled the island.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
The United States declared war against the United Kingdom, officially
beginning the War of 1812.
Napoléon Bonaparte fought and lost his final battle, the Battle of
Charles Darwin received a manuscript by Alfred Russel Wallace
on evolution, which prompted him to publish his theory.
World War II: Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French Forces,
makes an appeal to the French people following the fall of France to
Nazi Germany, rallying them to support the Resistance.
The United States and the Soviet Union signed the SALT II treaty,
placing specific limits on each side's stock of nuclear weapons.
Wikiquote of the day:
The day after Columbine, I was interviewed... The reporter had been
assigned a theory and was seeking sound bites to support it. "Wouldn't
you say," she asked, "that killings like this are influenced by
violent movies?" No, I said, I wouldn't say that... The reporter
looked disappointed, so I offered her my theory. "Events like this," I
said, "if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news
programs like your own. When an unbalanced kid walks into a school and
starts shooting, it becomes a major media event. Cable news drops
ordinary programming and goes around the clock with it. The story is
assigned a logo and a theme song ... The message is clear to other
disturbed kids around the country: If I shoot up my school, I can be
famous..." -- Roger Ebert