Puerto Rico: History
Gatekeeper of the Caribbean Sea
The island of Puerto Rico was discovered by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage but before his discovery the island was already inhabited by the Taino Indians. After the Spanish occupation of the island, Puerto Rico became Spain’s most important military outpost in the Caribbean and the Taino Indians, who were the original inhabitants of the island, were forced into slavery along with Africans who were imported by the Spaniards in earlier centuries, thus resulting in the strong African influence on the country till date. Under Spanish rule, the island was known as San Juan Bautista. Many fortresses and were built on the island, making it a stronghold of the Spanish empire. The country was ruled by the Spaniards for hundred of years, till finally in 1897, the country was granted autonomy owing to political pressure on the Spanish empire. However, this autonomy was short lived with the beginning of the American- Spanish War in 1898, and ended with Puerto Rico coming under U.S. martial law. In later years Puerto Rico regained its autonomous powers and became an official commonwealth of the U.S.