Puerto Rico -- School-age

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Flag Map.

Things to Know

Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico means "rich port" in Spanish.

Capital: San Juan

Official Languages: Spanish and English

Currency: U.S. dollar

Puerto Rico map

Puerto Rico is located about 1,000 miles southeast of Florida, a part of the West Indies in the north Caribbean Sea. Puerto Rico is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

Puerto Rico includes the largest main island and a number of smaller islands.

Puerto Rico globe

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Puerto Rico flag

Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory in 1917. In 1950, President Truman sighed the Puerto Rico Commonwealth Bill, which enabled the island' people to establish their own constitution. Puerto Rico became a commonwealth on July 25, 1952. It is a self-governing unincorporated territory of the United States.

History

Puerto Rico's first inhabitants were the Taino Indians, who originally came from South America. Christopher Columbus reached the islands during his second voyage in 1493 in the name of the Spanish Empire.

San Juan from above
San Juan from above.
Juan Ponce de Leon, who accompanied Columbus, was granted permission to explore the island. He found a well protected bay that could harbor large sailing ships.

Beside the bay a town, Caparra, was founded. By 1521 the town was moved to the northern end of the harbor and named Puerto Rico. Over time the port became known as San Juan and the name Puerto Rico came to be applied to the whole island.

Settlement on Puerto Rico really began in 1898, when the Spanish gave the island to the U.S.

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Animals

National Symbol: " target="blank">Coqui (pronounced ko-kee).

Some species of the conqui are only found in Puerto Rico.

Coqui
Coqui

Puerto Rico has no large wild mammals. All land mammals on the island came with humans (except bats). Mice and rats came on sailing ships. The mongoose was brought in to control rats on sugarcane plantations. Domesticated animals such as cats, dogs, cows, and horses were brought to Puerto Rico.

Iguanas and many small lizards abound, bats are present, as are a few snakes. The largest snake is the Puerto Rico boa.

In the waters surrounding are variety of sea mammals, such as dolphins and humpback whales.

Puerto Rico has some insects including mole crickets and termites that damage buildings and crops. Barracuda, kingfish, crabs, mullet, Spanish mackerel, tuna, sharks, snappers, lobster, and oysters are among the marine life inhabiting coastal waters.

Land

Puerto Rico has a tropical climate with tropical wet and dry climates. There is little difference from season to season.

Puerto Rico is a mountainous tropical island; sixty percent of Puerto Rico is covered in mountains.

Puerto Rico is a mountainous tropical island; sixty percent of Puerto Rico is covered in mountains.

El Yunque
El Yunque

Most of tropical forests in Puerto Rico are gone. El Yunque Peak is the Caribbean National Forest. These 28,000 acres are all that remain of the rain forest that once covered much of the island

Plants

There are several thousand varieties of tropical plants that grow in Puerto Rico; poinciana, flaming red blooms, and huge kapok trees.

Crops: sugarcane , coffee , pineapples, plantains, bananas

Before coffee and sugarcane became the foremost cultivated crops, cacao (chocolate tree) and ginger were the top crops.
Kapok Tree
Kapok Tree

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Make

Fort El Morro is a fortress that was completed in 1589. El Morro has small circular sentry boxes. Make a Sand Castle Glitter Globe. (school-age)

More Puerto Rica crafts for school-age children - Puerto Rican Mask, Red and White Jars.

Taínos of Puerto Rico
Crafts to make. This site also contains lesson plans and printouts.

Coquí

Color

Puerto Rican Symbols:

Puerto Rico Flag Printout
Bird-Stripe-Headed Tanager

Flower-Hibiscus

Taino color page

Puerto Rican Symbols:

Fun Facts

Roberto Clemente
The first Hispanic to enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

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