Coat of Arms
Governor Alejandro García Padilla
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»Puerto Rican, Boricau
»Unincorporated territory of the United States
»9,104 km2 (169th)
»$127 billion (72nd)
» Per capita -$34,527 (29th)
» Per capita – $23,678 (44th)
»United States dollar ($) (USD)
Puerto Rico officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a United States territory 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 is 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, by land area, the smallest of the Greater Antilles. With around 3.5 million people, it ranks third in population among that group of four islands, which include Cuba, Hispaniola and Jamaica. The capital and largest city is San Juan. Due to its location, Puerto Rico has a tropical climate with warm weather year-round and does not observe daylight saving time. Its official languages are Spanish, which is prevalent, and English.
Originally populated for centuries by aboriginal people known as Taíno, the island was claimed by Christopher Columbus for Spain during his second voyage to the Americas on November 19, 1493. Like Cuba, Puerto Rico remained a Spanish colony until 1898. Despite the Laws of Burgos of 1512 and other decrees for the protection of Indians, some Taíno people were forced into slavery in the early years of colonization. The population suffered extremely high fatalities from epidemics of European infectious diseases.
During the four centuries of Spanish rule, the island’s culture and physical landscape were transformed. European knowledge, customs and traditions were introduced, namely Roman Catholicism, the Spanish language, and advances such as agriculture, construction in stone, and the printing press. Numerous public buildings, forts, churches and public infrastructure built during Spanish rule are still standing to this day, forming an indelible part of the island’s cultural heritage.
The economy of Puerto Rico is classified as a high income economy by the World Bank and as the most competitive economy in Latin America by the World Economic Forum. According to World Bank, gross national income per capita of Puerto Rico in 2013 is $23,830 (PPP, International Dollars), ranked as 63rd among all sovereign entities in the world. Its economy is mainly driven by manufacturing (primarily pharmaceuticals, textiles, petrochemicals, and electronics) followed by the service industry (primarily finance, insurance, real estate and tourism.
The geography of Puerto Rico and its political status are both determining factors on its economic prosperity, primarily due to its relatively small size as an island; its lack of natural resources used to produce raw materials, and, consequently, its dependence on imports; as well as its suzerainty to the United States which controls its foreign affairs while exerting trading restrictions, particularly in its shipping industry.Puerto Rico experienced a recession from 2006 to 2011, interrupted by 4 quarters of economic growth, and entered into recession again in 2013, following growing fiscal imbalance and the expiration of the IRS Section 936 corporate incentives that the U.S.
Internal Revenue Code had applied to Puerto Rico. This IRS section was critical to the economy, as it established tax exemptions for U.S. corporations that settled in Puerto Rico, and allowed their insular subsidiaries to send their earnings to the parent corporation at any time, without paying federal tax on corporate income. Puerto Rico has, however, surprisingly been able to maintain a relatively low inflation in the past decade while maintaining a purchasing power parity per capita higher than 80% of the rest of the world.
Imports: $47.32 billion (2013 est.)
- machinery and equipment,
- petroleum products, among others. (2010)
- United States 55 %,
- Ireland 23,7 %,
- Japan 5,4 %, among others. (2010)
Tourism in Puerto Rico attracted 4.2 million visitors in 2013 and 4 million visitors in 2011, a notable increase over 2010 at 3.68 million, tourism has been a money revenue industry for Puerto Rico for a number of decades given it is host to diverse natural wonders, cultural and historical buildings, concerts and sporting events.
The fact that visitors from the United States do not need a passport to enter Puerto Rico attracts a large number of tourists from the mainland United States each year. Other groups of tourists that visit Puerto Rico in significant numbers include French, German, Spaniards, Mexicans, Venezuelan, Brazilians and Asian tourists.
The inauguration of the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel on 16 October 1919 marked the beginning of upscale tourism in Puerto Rico.
Tripadvisor announced (2011) Puerto Rico as their traveler’s choice for some of the best beaches in the world along with USA Today, Former’s, Forbes Magazine etc.
“SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — This U.S. territory of sandy beaches and lush rain forest, close-knit families and endless celebrations is home to the happiest people in the world, according to a new study. “- The Seatle Times
- Old San Juan- The Spanish colonial district of San Juan is located on a small island on the north coast and contains numerous popular tourist sites, such as 17th and 18th century forts, fountains, plazas, and other historic buildings.
- Fort San Felipe del Morro- Constructed in the 16th century by the Spanish to guard the entrance to the port of San Juan, the fortress known colloquially as el Morro survived bombardments by foreign forces (including a fleet led by Sir Francis Drake) over multiple centuries.
- Fortín San Juan de la Cruz- Better known as “el Cañuelo,” the smallest of the three island forts in the harbor of San Juan was built to guard the mouth of the Bayamón River while providing crossfire with the batteries of the larger El Morro fortification across the bay. Like its sister fortresses of El Morro and San Cristóbal, el Cañuelo is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Plaza de Armas- Located on San José Street, this picturesque square in Old San Juan is the site of the City Hall and contains numerous historic statues as well as a round fountain known as “The Four Seasons.”
- El Yunque has been a Federal Forest Reserve for over a century – we celebrated our centennial anniversary, our first “Century of Service” to the public in 2003.