Motto: Joannes Est Nomen Eius (John is his name) 

 History Populated for centuries by aboriginal peoples, the island was claimed by the Spanish Crown in 1493 following Columbus' second voyage to the Americas. In 1898, after 400 years of colonial rule that saw the indigenous population nearly exterminated and African slave labor introduced, Puerto Rico was ceded to the US as a result of the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship in 1917. Popularly-elected governors have served since 1948. In 1952, a constitution was enacted providing for internal self government. In plebiscites held in 1967, 1993, and 1998, voters chose not to alter the existing political status.

Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic .
Geographic coordinates: 18 15 N, 66 30 W
Area: total: 13,790 sq km
land: 8,870 sq km
water: 4,921 sq km
Coastline 501 km
Maritime claims: Territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

tropical marine, mild; little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain: mostly mountains with coastal plain belt in north; mountains precipitous to sea on west coast; sandy beaches along most coastal areas
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Cerro de Punta 1,339 m
Natural Resources: Some copper and nickel; potential for onshore and offshore oil
Land use: Arable land: 3.69%
permanent crops: 5.59%
other: 90.72% (2005)
Irrigated 400 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: Periodic droughts; hurricanes
Environment - current issues: erosion; occasional drought causing water shortages
Geography note: important location along the Mona Passage - a key shipping lane to the Panama Canal; San Juan is one of the biggest and best natural harbors in the Caribbean; many small rivers and high central mountains ensure land is well watered; south coast relatively dry; fertile coastal plain belt in north

Population: 3,971,020 (July 2009 est.)
Nationality: Noun: Puerto Rican (s) (US citizens)
adjective: Puerto Rican
Age structure: 0-14 years: 19.9% (male 404,635/female 386,733)
15-64 years: 66% (male 1,260,114/female 1,361,193)
65 years and over: 14.1% (male 240,318/female 318,027) (2009 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.34% (2009 est.
Birth rate: 12.12 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate: 7.75 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.96 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 98% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.8% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Nationality: noun: Puerto Rican(s) (US citizens)
adjective: Puerto Rican
Ethnic Groups: White (mostly Spanish origin) 80.5%, black 8%, Amerindian 0.4%, Asian 0.2%, mixed and other 10.9%
Religion: white (mostly Spanish origin) 76.2%, black 6.9%, Asian 0.3%, Amerindian 0.2%, mixed 4.4%, other 12% (2007)
Languages: Spanish, English
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.1%
male: 93.9%
female: 94.4% (2002 est.)

Country Name: Conventional long form: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico .conventional short form: Puerto Rico
Dependency Status: Commonwealth associated with the US
Government Type: Commonwealth
Capital: San Juan
geographic coordinates: 18 28 N, 66 07 W
Administrative divisions: none (territory of the US with commonwealth status); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 78 municipalities (municipios, singular - municipio) at the second order; Adjuntas, Aguada, Aguadilla, Aguas Buenas, Aibonito, Anasco, Arecibo, Arroyo, Barceloneta, Barranquitas, Bayamon, Cabo Rojo, Caguas, Camuy, Canovanas, Carolina, Catano, Cayey, Ceiba, Ciales, Cidra, Coamo, Comerio, Corozal, Culebra, Dorado, Fajardo, Florida, Guanica, Guayama, Guayanilla, Guaynabo, Gurabo, Hatillo, Hormigueros, Humacao, Isabela, Jayuya, Juana Diaz, Juncos, Lajas, Lares, Las Marias, Las Piedras, Loiza, Luquillo, Manati, Maricao, Maunabo, Mayaguez, Moca, Morovis, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, Patillas, Penuelas, Ponce, Quebradillas, Rincon, Rio Grande, Sabana Grande, Salinas, San German, San Juan, San Lorenzo, San Sebastian, Santa Isabel, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Trujillo Alto, Utuado, Vega Alta, Vega Baja, Vieques, Villalba, Yabucoa, Yauco
Independence: none (territory of the US with commonwealth status)
National holidays: US Independence Day, 4 July (1776); Puerto Rico Constitution Day, 25 July (1952)
Constitution: Ratified 3 March 1952; approved by US Congress 3 July 1952; effective 25 July 1952
Legal system: Based on Spanish civil code and within the US Federal system of justice.
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal; island residents are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections
Executive branch: chief of state: President Barack H. OBAMA (since 20 January 2009); Vice President Joseph R. BIDEN (since 20 January 2009)

head of government: Governor Luis FORTUNO (since 2 January 2009)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor with the consent of the legislature

elections: under the US Constitution, residents of unincorporated territories, such as Puerto Rico, do not vote in elections for US president and vice president; however, they may vote in Democratic and Republican party presidential primary elections; governor elected by popular vote for a four-year term (no term limits); election last held 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012)

election results: Luis FORTUNO elected governor with 52.8% of the vote
Legislative branch: bicameral Legislative Assembly consists of the Senate (at least 27 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives (51 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held 4 November 2008 (next to be held November 2012); House of Representatives - last held 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - PNP 81.5%, PPD 18.5%; seats by party - PNP 22, PPD 5; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - PNP 72.5%, PPD 27.5%; seats by party - PNP 37, PPD 1

note: Puerto Rico elects, by popular vote, a resident commissioner to serve a four-year term as a nonvoting representative in the US House of Representatives; aside from not voting on the House floor, he enjoys all the rights of a member of Congress; elections last held 4 November 2008 (next to be held in November 2012); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PNP 1
Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Appellate Court; Court of First Instance composed of two sections: a Superior Court and a Municipal Court (justices for all these courts appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate)
Political parties and leaders: National Democratic Party [Roberto PRATS]; National Republican Party of Puerto Rico [Dr. Tiody FERRE]; New Progressive Party or PNP [Pedro ROSSELLO] (pro-US statehood); Popular Democratic Party or PPD [Anibal ACEVEDO-VILA] (pro-commonwealth); Puerto Rican Independence Party or PIP [Ruben BERRIOS Martinez] (pro-independence)
International organization participation: Caricom (observer), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, ITUC, UNWTO (associate), UPU, WCL, WFTU
Flag description: Five equal horizontal bands of red (top and bottom) alternating with white; a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side bears a large, white, five-pointed star in the center; design initially influenced by the US flag, but similar to the Cuban flag, with the colors of the bands and triangle reversed

Overview: Puerto Rico has one of the most dynamic economies in the Caribbean region. A diverse industrial sector has far surpassed agriculture as the primary locus of economic activity and income. Encouraged by duty-free access to the US and by tax incentives, US firms have invested heavily in Puerto Rico since the 1950s. US minimum wage laws apply. Sugar production has lost out to dairy production and other livestock products as the main source of income in the agricultural sector. Tourism has traditionally been an important source of income, with estimated arrivals of nearly 5 million tourists in 2004. Growth fell off in 2001-03, largely due to the slowdown in the US economy, but slowly recovered in 2004-5, but declined again in 2006-7.
GDP Purchasing power parity (PPP):  $70.23 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -2.5% (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $88 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita: $17,700 (2008 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 1% industry: 45%  services: 54% (2005 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.5% (2003 est.)
Labor force: 1.479 million (2007)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 2.1%
industry: 19%
services: 79% (2005)
Unemployment rate: 12% (2002)
Budget: Revenues: $6.7 billion
expenditures: $9.6 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (FY99/00)
Agriculture & Industrial products:
Agriculture:  sugarcane, coffee, pineapples, plantains, bananas; livestock products, chickens
Industries: pharmaceuticals, electronics, apparel, food products, tourism
Industrial production growth rate: NA%
Exports: $46.9 billion f.o.b. (2001)
Exports - commodities: chemicals, electronics, apparel, canned tuna, rum, beverage concentrates, medical equipment
Imports: $29.1 billion c.i.f.
Imports - commodities: chemicals, machinery and equipment, clothing, food, fish, petroleum products
Currency: US dollar (USD)

Telephones - main lines in use: 1.038 million (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 3.354 million (2005)
Telephone System: general assessment: modern system integrated with that of the US by high-capacity submarine cable and Intelsat with high-speed data capability
domestic: digital telephone system; cellular telephone service
international: country code - 1-787, 939; submarine cables provide connectivity to the US, Caribbean, Central and South America; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat
Radio broadcast stations: AM 74, FM 53, shortwave 0 (2008)
Television broadcast stations: 34 (2008)
Internet country code: .pr
Internet hosts: 404 (2008)
Internet country code:
Internet users: 1 million (2007)

Railways: Total: 96 km
Highways: Total: 26,186 km
paved: 24,877 km (includes 427 km of expressways)
unpaved: 1,309 km (2007)
Ports and harbors: Guayanilla, Mayaguez, San Juan
Merchant marine: total: 3
by type: roll on/roll off 3
foreign-owned: 3 (US 3)
registered in other countries: 1 (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2008)
Airports: 29 (2009) Main airport is Luis Munoz Marin International Airport
Airports - with paved runways: total: 17
over 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 5 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 12
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 10 (2009)

Military no regular indigenous military forces; paramilitary National Guard, Police Force
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the US
  Main Source of Information: the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook

Items of Interest  
National Anthem:

Since Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States, the "official" anthem is "The Star Spangled Banner", but the local anthem entitled "La Borinqueña" is more often heard on the island and is more identified with / by the people. "La Borinqueña was officially adopted in 1952 when Puerto Rico became a Commonwealth.


La tierra de Borinquén
donde he nacido yo,
es un jardín florido
de mágico fulgor.

Un cielo siempre nítido
le sirve de dosel
y dan arrullos plácidos
las olas a sus pies.

Cuando a sus playas llegó Colón;
Exclamó lleno de admiración;
"Oh!, oh!, oh!, esta es la linda
tierra que busco yo".

Es Borinquén la hija,
la hija del mar y el sol,
del mar y el sol,
del mar y el sol,
del mar y el sol,
del mar y el sol.


The land of Borinquen,
where I was born,
is a flower-garden
of magical brilliance.

An ever-clear sky
is its canopy,
and the waves sing lullabies
at its feet.

When Columbus reached these beaches,
full of awe he exclaimed,
"This is the lovely land
that I seek."

Borinquén is the daughter
of the sea and the sun.
the sea and the sun.
the sea and the sun.
the sea and the sun.
the sea and the sun.

Favourite Local Cuisine: Aroz con Gandulez and Pernil (a dish made with rice and pigeon peas and pork shoulder)