Hispanic Heritage Month – Puerto Rican

Okay so now for Hispanic Heritage Month we want to take these next couple of days to provide information about the different cultures that fall under the Hispanic culture.  Now don’t forget that we will be having a contest at the end of Hispanic Heritage Month (Oct 15) to see what you’ve learned…

The culture we want to highlight today is the Puerto Rican culture.

Puerto Ricans are largely the descendants of native Taíno Indians or a blend of European and African cultures.  Majority of Puerto Ricans live within the islands of Puerto Rico or in the United States.  The blend of cultures (Taino and African) is displayed in the Puerto Rican culture via food and the arts.  Puerto Ricans often proudly identify themselves as Boricua as a tribute to their native land.

The original inhabitants of Puerto Rico are the Taíno Indians, who called the island Boriken. Naturally with most American Indian tribes when European settlers arrived to various areas the population diminished due to diseases and other assimilation matters.

A unique aspect of Puerto Ricans is the aspect of politics and Puerto Rico being a US territory.  Not all the constitutional rights, privileges or immunities given by the U.S. Constitution are extended to the island and its residents due to the Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917.  The act states that anyone born after 1898 were declared naturally-born citizens of the US and anyone prior to are considered naturalized citizens of Puerto Rico.  With this being said – Puerto Ricans residing in Puerto Rico can’t vote in the US Presidential election nor are they represented by a US Representative or Senator.  They are represented by a Resident Commissioner in the US House of Representatives who is only given the right to voice not to vote.

Notable Puerto Ricans

  • Musician – Ricky Martin
  • Actor –  Benicio del Toro
  • Actress – Rosario Dawson
  • Poet – Miguel Algarín
  • Oscar de la Renta – Fashion Designer
  • Angel Ramos- founder of Telemundo
  • Dr. María Cadilla –  educator, Women rights activist

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