Location and Climate• Puerto Rico is an island that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean.• The total area of the island is 3, 508 square miles.• The mainland of Puerto Rico can be compared as three times the size of the state of Rhode Island.• The climate in Puerto Rico is tropical.• The rainy season is from April-November.• Throughout the year, the average temperature is about 82 degrees.
Geography• The terrain is mountainous but also has many beaches that attract tourists each year.• The Cordillera mountain range is the most important range in Puerto Rico.• There are also many farms and plantations in Puerto Rico that produce popular crops such as tobacco, sugarcane, and coffee.
Government• Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States of America.• Therefore, they also follow the President and the laws of the U.S..• However, Puerto Rico has its own elected Governor because the people cannot vote in the election for the President.• The current Governor is Luis Guillermo Fortuño Burset who was inaugurated on January 2, 2009.• Puerto Rico has control over all of its internal affairs unless they violate the United States constitutional laws.• Puerto Rico usually does not receive the same revenues that many states do and lacks representation in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.• In addition to following the government of the United States, Puerto Rico has its own three branch government.
Government (continued…) and Currency• The Executive branch is made up of the elected Governor (who is elected for four terms, like the president) and his cabinet.• The Legislative branch is made up of the Senate and the Chamber of Representatives that are picked to represent a district of the country.• The Judiciary branch has a Supreme court made up of 7 judges that are chosen by the Governor.• There are also Superior courts and District Courts that are split throughout the 12 districts.• The currency of Puerto Rico is the U.S. dollar.• Similar to U.S. states, there was a collectors coin that was made for the commonwealth.
Natural Resources• Puerto Rico has many useful natural resources such as nickel, copper, and oil.• These important and popular resources help the Puerto Rican economy to flourish.• Sand and gravel are also helpful to the economy and are vital in constructing buildings.• Many of the natural resources are captured through mining.• The United States government controls all mining in the territory.
Education• In Puerto Rico, education is very important.• Like the U.S., school is necessary from 6 to 17 years of age.• There is 6 years of primary school and then 2 sets of 3 years of secondary school.• In Puerto Rico there are over 50 college institutions for those people who want to continue schooling past the age of 17.• Public schools teach the students in Spanish; however, English is a required class from start through high school.• There are English based private schools in many areas that are taught fully in English with Spanish as a second language classes.
Family and Culture• The average family in Puerto Rico consists of 3.5 people.• Most families are Catholic (85% of people) but all religions are accepted because of the constitution.• Mostly all Puerto Ricans speak Spanish as a first language, but English is also the official language of the country.• Many Puerto Ricans consider family to be the most important thing in their lives.• Families are expected to give each other emotional and material support.• Children and adults spend their free time playing popular sports that are the same as many of us play.• The most popular sport in Puerto Rico is baseball.
Tourist Attractions• Playa de Luquillo is said to one of the most beautiful beaches on the island and is close to the capital, San Juan.• Casa Blanca is located in San Juan and was built in 1521 as a reward for Ponce de León. It later became a station for both the Spanish and American military but now only stands as a historical building and tourist attraction.• Igelsia de San José was built in 1532 by Dominican friars. It is known as the second oldest church in the western hemisphere and for more than 300 years, the Spanish explorer Ponce de León was buried here.• La Coca Falls is a gorgeous waterfall that is located in El Yunque National Park. It is an 85 foot high fall that cascades into boulders; it is one of the first and most beautiful things people will see when visiting El Yunque.
History• Puerto Rico was first inhabited by the Arawak Indians.• However, during Columbuss exploration, the Taínos culture was prominent in the country.• The island, although considered part of the New World, was not found by Columbus.• It was unofficially claimed by Spain because of its actual founder, Juan Ponce de León.• Puerto Rico has a convenient location between Europe and South/Central America.• For this reason, it was a military post for many countries during times of war.• After the Spanish-American war, in 1898, Puerto Rico came into the United States possession and in 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship.
Food• Many Puerto Rican dishes can be traced back to the Arawak and Taínos cultures.• Chicken, fish and shellfish, egg, vegetables, and plantains are main ingredients used in the dishes.• The national drink of Puerto Rico is rum; however, they enjoy drinking coffee, and other alcoholic beverages.
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