Puerto Rico Country Profile
Puerto Rico was originally claimed by the Spanish in 1493 following years of inhabitation by aboriginal peoples. After nearly 400 years of colonial rule, Puerto Rico was relinquished to the United States following the Spanish-American War. In 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted citizenship to the United States. In 1952, a constitution was enacted providing for internal self-government; however, a 2012 vote left open the possibility of American statehood.
Puerto Rico consists primarily of mountainous terrain with sandy beaches along most coastal areas. Weather is temperate year round with little seasonal variation. Puerto Rico sits along the Mona Passage, a primary shipping lane which leads to the Panama Canal and San Juan, the capital, is one of the largest natural harbors in the Caribbean.
Puerto Rico has one of the most dynamic economies in the Caribbean region and is working aggressively to close the budget deficit and restore economic growth. The industrial sector has surpassed agriculture as the primary focus of economic activity. Natural resources consist primarily of copper and nickel while dairy and livestock products have overtaken sugar production as the primary source of agriculture income. Tourism continues to be an important source of income along with pharmaceuticals, electronics and apparel.
Puerto Rico is a territory of the US with commonwealth status and policy relations between Puerto Rico and the US is conducted under the Office of the President. The Civil law system is based on the Spanish civil code and within the structure of the United States Federal System. Puerto Rico celebrates both the United States Independence Day, July 4th and Puerto Rico Constitution Day on July 25th.