Place Names

Puerto Rico


Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico  (Spanish)
Flag Coat of arms
  • "Joannes Est Nomen Eius" (Latin)
  • "Juan es su nombre" (Spanish)
  • "John is his name"
Anthem: La Borinqueña Menu0:00
and largest city
San Juan
18°27′N 66°6′W / 18.450°N 66.100°W / 18.450; -66.100
Official languages Spanish, English
National language Spanish
Ethnic groups (2010)
  • 75.8% White
  • 12.4% Black
  • 3.3% Mixed
  • 0.5% Amerindian
  • 0.2% Asian
  • 7.8% other
Government Commonwealth / Organized Unincorporated Territory
 -  President Barack Obama (D)
 -  Governor Alejandro García Padilla (PPD / D)
 -  Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi (PNP / D)
 -  Federal legislative branch United States Congress
Legislature Legislative Assembly
 -  Upper house Senate
 -  Lower house House of Representatives
 United States sovereignty
 -  Cession (from the
Kingdom of Spain)
December 10, 1898 
 -  Autonomy November 25, 1897 
 -  Total 9,104 km (169th)
3,515 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 1.6
 -  2012 estimate 3,667,084 (130th (world) / 29th (beside US states))
 -  Density 418/km (29th (world) / 2nd (beside US states))
1,082/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2009 estimate
 -  Total $ 108.441 billion (n/a)
 -  Per capita $ 27,384.27 (n/a)
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $98.76  billion (58th)
 -  Per capita $26,588 (34th)
Gini (2009) 53.2
high · n/a
HDI (2004) 0.867
very high · n/a
Currency United States dollar (USD)
Time zone AST (UTC–4)
 -  Summer (DST) No DST (UTC–4)
Drives on the right
Calling code +1 787 / 939
ISO 3166 code PR
Internet TLD .pr
  Spanish is Puerto Rico's national language.
  Mostly Spanish immigrant.
  Supreme authority and sovereignty retained by the Kingdom of Spain.

Puerto Rico (/ˌpɔrtə ˈriːkoʊ/ or /ˌpwɛərtə ˈriːkoʊ/, Spanish pronunciation: [pʷeɾto ˈriko] officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Spanish: Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico), is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

Puerto Rico (Spanish for "rich port") comprises an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona. The main island of Puerto Rico is the smallest by land area of the Greater Antilles. It ranks third in population among that group of four islands, which include Cuba, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), and Jamaica. Due to its location, Puerto Rico enjoys a tropical climate and is subject to the Atlantic hurricane season. Official languages of the island are Spanish and English, with Spanish being the primary language.

Originally populated for centuries by indigenous aboriginal peoples known as Taínos, the island was claimed by Christopher Columbus for Spain during his second voyage to the Americas on November 19, 1493. Under Spanish rule, the island was colonized and the indigenous population was forced into slavery and wiped out due to, among other things, European infectious diseases. Spain possessed Puerto Rico for over 400 years, despite attempts at capture of the island by the French, Dutch, and British. In 1898, Spain ceded the archipelago, as well as the Philippines, to the United States as a result of its defeat in the Spanish–American War under the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1898. In 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship and since 1948 have elected their own governor. In 1952 the Constitution of Puerto Rico was adopted and ratified by the electorate.

A democratically elected bicameral legislature is in place but the United States Congress legislates many fundamental aspects of Puerto Rican life. The islanders may not vote in U.S. presidential elections because the territory is not a state. The island's current political status, including the possibility of statehood or independence, is widely debated in Puerto Rico. In November 2012, a non-binding referendum resulted in 54 percent of respondents voting to reject the current status under the territorial clause of the U.S. Constitution. Among respondents to a second question about alternatives, 61 percent voted for statehood as the preferred alternative to the current territorial status. However, partly because of criticism of the referendum's process, President Barack Obama stated in April 2013 that he will seek $2.5 million to hold another one, this being the first Puerto Rican status referendum to be financed by the Federal government.