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Puerto Rico: the smallest island in the Greater Antilles

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Puerto Rico (Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico) is a state that occupies the smallest island in the Greater Antilles. Located in the Caribbean Sea between the island of Hispaniola and the Virgin Islands, the state of Puerto Rico is a state freely associated with the United States of America. The capital is the city of San Juan. The state is made up of the major island of Puerto Rico (8,891 sq km) and other smaller islands, including Vieques (134 sq km), Mona (50 sq km), Culebra (28 sq km), Desecheo and Caja de Muertos.

Puerto Rico is not an island of volcanic origin, the rocks that make up the island have risen from the depths of the sea in the Upper Cretaceous. Cordillera Central is considered to be one of the oldest lands in the Caribbean region. Less than a third of the total area of the island is flat.


The island is crossed along the southern coast by the Cordillera Central mountain range, which is home to the highest peak in Puerto Rico, the Cerro de Punta (1,338 meters). Besides the capital San Juan other important cities are above all Bayamon, Ponce, Carolina, Mayagüez, Caguas and Arecibo.

The economy is based on agriculture, cattle breeding, fishing and tourism. Sugar cane, tobacco, bananas, coffee, citrus fruits, pineapples, coconuts are mainly grown here. Industries that mainly deal with the transformation of agricultural, textile, pharmaceutical and petrochemical products are also developed.

Puerto Rico was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493. The first stable colony was founded by the Spanish in 1508. The island belonged to Spain until 1898. In that year it was occupied by the United States of America during the Spanish-American war. The island was therefore one of the last Spanish colonies in America.

Spanish is still the mother tongue for over 95% of the population. While English is the first language for only 5% of the inhabitants. Puerto Rico’s population is mainly white (75%). But there are also minorities of blacks (10%) and mixed race mainly crosses between Europeans and Africans (10%).

The climate of Puerto Rico.

  • Area: 9,103 sqkm. (Arable 9%, Pastures 26%, Forests and Woodlands 16%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 49%)
  • Population: 3,200,000 (2019 data). Europeans 80%, Mulattos (descendants of European and African) 12%, Africans 8%.
  • State Capital: San Juan.
  • Language: Official languages are Spanish and English.
  • Religion: Roman Catholic 85%; Protestant 15%.
  • Currency: American Dollar (USD)
  • Time: UTC -4 hours.



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