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Puerto Rico: the smallest island of the Greater Antilles

Puerto Rico (Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico), is the smallest island of Great Antilles in the Caribbean Sea located between the island of Hispaniola and the Virgin Islands, the state of Puerto Rico is a freely associated state to the United States of America, with capital San Juan.

Puerto Rico n’est pas une île d’origine volcanique, les roches qui composent l’île ont augmenté depuis les profondeurs de la mer à la fin du Crétacé, la Cordillère centrale est considérée comme l’un des terres la plus ancienne dans la région des Caraïbes. Moins d’un tiers de la superficie totale de Puerto Rico est plat.

The country includes the 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. The island of Puerto Rico is crossed along the southern coast from the mountains of the Cordillera Central, which has the highest point of Puerto Rico, the Cerro de Punta (1,338 metres).

Apart from the capital, San Juan other major cities are Bayamon, Ponce, Carolina, Mayagüez, Caguas and Arecibo. The economy of Puerto Rico is based on agriculture (sugar cane, tobacco, bananas, coffee, citrus, pineapple, coconuts), on livestock (cattle, pigs and poultry), fishing and tourism. Developed are also the industries involved in processing agricultural products, textiles, pharmaceutical and petrochemical.

Puerto Rico was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, the first permanent settlement was founded by the Spanish in 1508. The island belonged to Spain until 1898, when it was occupied by the United States of America during the Spanish-American War.

  • Area: 9,103 sqkm. (Arable 9%, Pastures 26%, Forests and Woodlands 16%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 49%)
  • Population: 4,000,000 (2007 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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