3 Puerto Rican people

Puerto Rican people

Infobox Ethnic group
group = Puerto Rican

caption = Notable Puerto Ricans:
Graciela Rivera·Ángel Rivero Méndez·Luis Muñoz Rivera·Roberto Clemente·Ricky Martin·Sila Calderon·Benicio del Toro·Yolandita Monge
poptime = Puerto Rican
3,994,259 (Island)
(Island's population are U.S Citizens)
region1 = flagcountry|Puerto Rico (2007 est.)
pop1 = 3,994,259
ref1 = [ [http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-ann-est.html U.S. Census Annual Population Estimates 2000 to 2006] ]
region2 = flagcountry|United States (2007 est.)
pop2 = 4,120,205
ref2 = [ [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/DTTable?_bm=y&-state=dt&-context=dt&-ds_name=ACS_2007_1YR_G00_&-CONTEXT=dt&-mt_name=ACS_2007_1YR_G2000_B03001&-tree_id=306&-redoLog=true&-all_geo_types=N&-_caller=geoselect&-currentselections=ACS_2006_EST_G2000_B03002&-geo_id=01000US&-search_results=01000US&-format=&-_lang=en U.S. Census, The Hispanic Population in the United States: 2007 Detailed Tables, Section I, Table 1.2] ]
region3 = flagcountry|Mexico
pop3 = 5,000
ref3 = [ [http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/18/23/34792376.xls OECD Data Sheet] ]
region4 = flagcountry|United Kingdom
pop4 = 1,000
ref4 = [ [http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/18/23/34792376.xls OECD Data Sheet] ]
region5 = flagcountry|Canada
pop5 = 300
ref5 = [ [http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/18/23/34792376.xls OECD Data Sheet] ]
langs = Spanish
religions = Predominantly Roman Catholic. Large minority Protestantism.
related-c = Spanish · Italian·French·Corsican·German·Irish·Mestizos·Amerindians·Mulattos·Zambos·Africans

A Puerto Rican ( _es. 'puertorriqueño') (Taíno term: boricua) is a person who was born in Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, people use the Spanish language as their primary tongue.

Puerto Ricans born and raised in the United States who use the English language as their mother tongue are also referred to as Puerto Rican, although they are not native Puerto Ricans, but descendants of Puerto Ricans. Rarely are Puerto Ricans born in the diaspora called Puerto Rican Americans, or simply Americans.

Puerto Ricans, who also commonly refer to themselves as "boricuas," are largely the descendants of Europeans, Taíno Indians, Africans or a blend of these groups which has produced a very diversified population. The population of Puerto Ricans and descendants is estimated to be between 8 to 10 million worldwide, with most living within the islands of Puerto Rico, Central Florida, and in New York City there is a large Nuyorican community.


The original inhabitants of Puerto Rico are the Taíno Indians, who called the island "Borikén"; however, as in other parts of the Americas, the native people soon diminished in number after the arrival of European settlers. The negative impact on the numbers of indigenous peoples was almost entirely the result of Old World diseases that the Amerindians had no natural/bodily defenses against, including measles, chicken pox, mumps, influenza, and even the common cold. In fact, it was estimated that the majority of all the indigenous inhabitants of the New World perished due to contact and contamination with those Old World diseases, while those that survived were killed by warfare with each other and with Europeans.

Both run-away and freed African slaves (the Spanish, upon establishing a foothold, quickly began to import Sub-Saharan African slaves to work in expanding their colonies in the Caribbean) were in Puerto Rico. This interbreeding was far more common in Latin America because of those Spanish and Portuguese mercantile colonial policies exemplified by the oft-romanticized male conquistadors (e.g. Hernán Cortés). Aside from the presence of slaves, some indication for why the native population was so diluted was the tendency for conquistadors to bring with them scores of single men hoping to serve God, country, or their own interests. Many exploratory migrations entailed violent pillaging to gain personal and national wealth, prestige, and power while spreading Christianity, ostensibly for the benefit of the natives, but also for that of the church, and God, all of which were arguably destructive influences on indigenous societies.

All of these factors would indeed prove detrimental for the Taínos in Puerto Rico and surrounding Caribbean islands, so much so that by the early 1500s, Taínos as a people were extinct on the island.

In the 16th century, a significant depth of Puerto Rican culture began to develop with the import of Sub-Saharan African slaves by the Spanish, as well as by the French, the British, the Dutch and the Portuguese.

Thousands of Spanish settlers also immigrated to Puerto Rico from the Canary Islands during the 18th and 19th centuries, so many so that whole Puerto Rican villages and towns were founded by Canarian immigrants, and their descendants would later form a majority of the Spanish population on the island.

These were followed by the arrival of French (especially Corsicans) immigrants along with smaller waves of Dutch, Chinese, Greek, Italian, Maltese, Portuguese (especially Azoreans), and German immigrants. In recent times, Puerto Rico has been the destination for immigrants from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, South America and Spain, as well from islands of the West Indies. In 1791, the slaves in Saint-Domingue (Haiti), revolted against their French masters. Many of the French escaped to Puerto Rico via what is now the Dominican Republic and settled in the west coast of the island, especially in Mayagüez. Puerto Rico has some British ancestry, notably Scots came to reside there in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Puerto Rican heritage

Ethnic background

The Original Inhabitants of Puerto Rico

The European heritage of Puerto Ricans comes primarily from one source:
*flagicon|Spain Spaniards (including Canarians, Catalans, Galicians, Asturians, Andalusians, and Basques)

Other sources of European populations:

*flagicon|Corsica Corsicans
*flagicon|France French
*flagicon|Germany Germans
*flagicon|Republic of Ireland Irish
*flagicon|Portugal Portuguese
*flagicon|Scotland Scots
*flagicon|Malta Maltese

African Heritage:
*West Africans

People from Asia:
*flagicon|China Chinese

Modern Puerto Rican identity and heritage

Until 1950 the U.S. Bureau of the Census attempted to quantify the racial composition of the island's population, while experimenting with various racial taxonomies. In 1960 the census dropped the racial identification question for Puerto Rico but included it again in the year 2000. The only category that remained constant over time was white, even as other racial labels shifted greatly—from "colored" to "Black," "mulatto," and "other". Regardless of the precise terminology, the census reported that the bulk of the Puerto Rican popula­tion was white from 1899 to 2000. [ [http://www.mona.uwi.edu/liteng/courses/e21h_2007/documents/santiago/Neither%20Black%20nor%20White-The%20Representation%20of%20Puerto%20Rican%20Racial%20Identity.RTF Representation of racial identity among puerto ricans and in the u.s. mainland] ]

The Puerto Rico of today has come to form some of its own social customs, cultural matrix, historically-rooted traditions, and its own unique pronunciation, vocabulary, and idiomatic expressions within the Spanish language. Even after the attempted assimilation of Puerto Rico into the United States in the early 20th century, the majority of the people of Puerto Rico feel pride in their nationality as "Puerto Ricans", regardless of the individual's particular racial, ethnic, political, or economic background. Many Puerto Ricans are consciously aware of the rich contribution of all cultures represented on the island. This diversity can be seen in the everyday lifestyle of many Puerto Ricans such as the profound European influences in Puerto Rico regarding food, music, dance, and architecture.

In the 2000 U.S. Census Puerto Ricans were asked to identify which racial category with which they personally identify. The breakdown is as follows: white (mostly Spanish origin) 80.5%, black 8%, Amerindian 0.4%, Asian 0.2%, mixed and other 10.9%. It is important to note that the U.S. Census does not have the option to choose ethnic background. Based on current DNA studies in Puerto Rico, the majority of Puerto Ricans can be considered to be Mestizos (Spanish and Amerindian), a mix of three races, Spanish, Taino Indian and African, predominantly Spanish (European), or Mulattos and African.

Puerto Ricans and the United States

U.S. residents have also migrated from the U.S. mainland to different parts of Puerto Rico, especially to the San Juan metro area and the southern portion of the island, mainly for tourism purposes and for business ventures, including in the financial, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical industries. They are also a part of the United States. Part of the money made is also by the production of sugarcane and tourism.


Puerto Ricans often proudly identify themselves as "Boricua", loosely based on "Boriqueño" (archaic), both words originating from the Taíno word "Boriken" (also known as "Boriquén", "Borinquen", or "Borinquén"), to illustrate their recognition of the island's original Taíno heritage. The word "Boriken", which translates to "the great land of the valiant and noble Lord", [ cite web|author=Chief Pedro Guanikeyu Torres|work=Taino Inter-Tribal Council Inc.|title=The Dictionary of the Taíno Language|url=http://members.dandy.net/~orocobix/tedict.html|accessdate=February 11|accessyear=2006 ] was used by the original Taíno Indian population to refer to the island of Puerto Rico before the arrival of the Spanish. The use of the word "Boricua" has been popularized in the island and abroad by descendents of Puerto Rico heritage, commonly using the phrase, "Yo soy Boricua" ("I am Boricua", or "I am Puerto Rican") to identify themselves as Puerto Ricans. Another variation which is also widely used is "Borincano" which translated means "from "Borinquen"."


Spanish is the predominant language among Puerto Ricans residing in the island; however, its vocabulary has expanded with many words and phrases coming from the African and Taíno influences of the island. More recently, exclusively used by those who live in the mainland United States, its language has been influenced by Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States by adding English words, pronunciation, and phrases to their vocabulary (for example: "lonchar" - to go to lunch), adding to the mixture of both languages known as Spanglish. Such words as "socio" and "bostel" have crept into usage, as has "mano" (short for "hermano" and therefore a slang equivalent for "bro" or "homie") in the Puerto Rican world.


The great majority of Puerto Ricans are Christians, though there are certain Islamic and Jewish sectors in the island. Roman Catholicism has been the main religion among Puerto Ricans since the arrival of the Spanish in the 15th century, although the increasing presence of Protestant, Latter-Day Saint (Mormon), Pentecostal and Jehovah's Witnesses denominations has increased under U.S. sovereignty, making modern Puerto Rico an inter-confessional community. The island is also home to small Jewish and Muslim communities.

Political and international status

The federal Naturalization Act, signed into law on March 26, 1790, by President Washington, explicitly barred anyone not of the White "race" from applying for U.S. citizenship. This law remained in effect until the 1950s, although its enforcement was tightened in the late nineteenth century regarding Asian immigrants, and by the Johnson-Reed act of 1924 imposing immigration quotas. In short, until late in the twentieth century, only immigrants of the White "race" could hope to become naturalized citizens. This is how Puerto Rico came about being forced to become U.S citizens in 1917. [ [http://www.law.fsu.edu/Journals/lawreview/frames/261/romatxt.html#heading11 Vision of America] ] [ [http://redalyc.uaemex.mx/redalyc/pdf/377/37717104.pdf "History:" The Racialisation of Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans] ]

Since Puerto Rico is a so-called "commonwealth" and not an incorporated State of the United States of America, not all constitutional rights, privileges and immunities provided by the U.S. Constitution were extended to the island and its residents by the Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917. The Jones Act established that Puerto Ricans born prior to 1899 were considered naturalized citizens of Puerto Rico, and anyone born after 1898 were declared naturally-born citizens of the United States; unless the Puerto Rican expressed intentions to remain as a subject of Spain. Since 1917, all Puerto Ricans, whether born within the U.S. or in Puerto Rico are citizens of the United States.

Puerto Ricans residing in Puerto Rico cannot vote in the U.S. Presidential election, nor are they represented by a voting U.S. Representative or Senator. They are represented by a Resident Commissioner in the U.S. House of Representatives who has the right of voice, but not vote. Puerto Ricans residing in the United States, however, do have all rights and privileges associated with residing in a U.S. State.

As statutory U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans born in Puerto Rico may enlist in the U.S. military. Puerto Ricans have been included in the compulsory draft when it has been in effect. Puerto Ricans have fully participated in all U.S. wars since 1898, such as World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, and the current Middle-Eastern conflicts. Recently, nearly 60 Puerto Ricans have died serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflictsFact|date=June 2008.

ee also

*Afro-Puerto Rican


4. U of PR Taíno DNA study- http://www.taino-tribe.org/pr-taino-dna.htm

Further reading

* "Adiós, Borinquen querida": The Puerto Rican Diaspora, Its History, and Contributions," by Edna Acosta-Belen, "et al." (Albany, NY: Center for Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies, SUNY-Albany, 2000)
* "Boricua Hawaiiana: Puerto Ricans of Hawaii --- Reflections of the Past and Mirrors of the Future," by Blase Camacho Souza (Honolulu: Puerto Rican Heritage Society of Hawaii, 1982)
* "Boricua Literature: A Literary History of the Puerto Rican Diaspora," by Lisa Sénchez González (New York: New York University Press, 2001)
* "Boricua Pop: Puerto Ricans and the Latinization of American Culture," by Frances Negrón-Muntaner (New York: New York University Press, 2004)
* "Boricuas: Influential Puerto Rican Writings," by Roberto Santiago (New York: One World, 1995)
* "Boricuas in Gotham: Puerto Ricans in the Making of Modern New York City," edited by Gabriel Haslip-Viera, Angelo Falcón and Félix Matos Rodríguez (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2004)

ee also

*Puerto Rican American
*History of Puerto Rico
*Demographics of Puerto Rico
*Black history in Puerto Rico
*List of Puerto Ricans
*List of notable Puerto Ricans

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