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Puerto Rico History Timeline

Puerto Rico's Information

Flag of Puerto Rico
Land Area 8,870 km2
Water Area 4,921 km2
Total Area 13,791km2
Population 3,578,056 (#132)
Population Density 403.39/km2
Government Type Presidential Democracy; A Self-governing Commonwealth In Political Association With The US
GDP (PPP) $131.00 Billion
GDP Per Capita $37,700
Currency Dollar (USD)
More Information Puerto Rico
Largest Cities
1000s - 1800s
  • (1000 AD) Arawak Indians settled in Puerto Rico; island called Boriquen
  • (1493) Columbus claimed island for Spain, named it San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist)
  • (1508) Juan Ponce de Leon established first Spanish settlement
  • (1509) Juan Ponce de Leon named governor of San Juan Bautista
  • (1520s) Island officially named Puerto Rico
  • (1873) Spain abolished slavery after almost 400 years; Puerto Rico given representation in Spain's parliament
  • (1898) US forces invaded Puerto Rico during Spanish American War; Treaty of Paris ended war, gave US possession of island
  • (1900) President William McKinley signed Foraker Act, allowed island residents to organize own government
  • (1902) US declared Puerto Rico a territory
  • (1917) Jones Act granted US citizenship to Puerto Ricans
  • (1942) Hiram Bithorn became the first Puerto Rican baseball player in major leagues – played for Chicago Cubs,
  • (1946) US appointed Jesus T Pinero as Puerto Rico's first governor
  • (1948) Puerto Rico sent first team to the Olympics; Munoz Marin elected governor
  • (1950) Puerto Rico's Commonwealth Bill signed by US President Truman
  • (1951) Puerto Ricans voted in favor of US commonwealth status in referendum
  • (1952) Puerto Rico became self-governing commonwealth of US
  • (1954) Nationalists opened fire in US House of Representatives, injured five congressmen
  • (1967) 60% of voters backed continued commonwealth
  • (1972) Puerto Rico baseball hero, Roberto Clemente, killed in plane crash
  • (1985) Landslide in Ponce killed 129 people
  • (1989) Hurricane Hugo caused heavy damage to islands of Vieques and Culebra
  • (1993) Spanish, English declared official languages
  • (1998) Hurricane George swept across island, caused serious damage; residents voted to decide island's political status, Puerto Rico remained commonwealth
  • (2000) Sila Calderon, PPD, elected, first female governor
  • (2003) US Navy closed bombing range on Vieques
  • (2004) Anibal Acevedo Vila confirmed as territory's next governor
  • (2005) Filiberto Ojeda Rios, fugitive pro-independence rebel leader, killed in shootout with US federal agents
  • (2006) Puerto Rico closed government offices due to financing issues; Puerto Rico adopted first sales tax
  • (2008) Acevedo Vila called on UN to back Puerto Rico's right to self-determination; Luis Fortuno won gubernatorial election
  • (2009) Neighborhood near San Juan evacuated after explosion at oil refinery triggered major fire
  • (2010) Largest police graft probe in FBI history held dozens of Puerto Rican police on drugs charges
This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.

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