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HISTORY

OUR HISTORY, CULTURE AND ROOTS


The Puerto Rican cultural, physical and basic roots are:



1.  Taino Indian: 



The native indian of Boriken, that was exterminated as an ancestry.



2.  Spanish:

 

They discovered Puerto Rico (called Boriken by the Taíno indians) in 1493.  In 1503 they colonized and occupied until 1898 when it then passed to be part of United States, as a war spoil.



3.  African: 



The Spaniards bring them as slaves to substitute our indigenious labor.



In October 12, 1492 America was discovered and we asked if it was discovered or started and invasion.  This is a polemical time in which some opinions are that we have to celebrate, at the mean time, for others it means the start of a process of systematic destruction of a nation or a human being that continues today's days.

In that time one of the more significant acts in the human history:  the european world found with another world, unknown for them and their history start all over again.



Taino Indian



They were indigenious Amerindio, from pre-Columbus time, habitants of the Greater Antilles like Cuba, Hispaniola (Haiti and Santo Domingo), Puerto Rico, Jamaica and The Bahamas.

Tibes is the most important arqueological deposit of the Caribbean.  Represents the indigenious life for more than thousands of years before the arrival of Colombus to our island.  Is located at Ponce, Puerto Rico and it was discovered in 1975.

Approximately eight hundred years before the discovery of Puerto Rico, the Tainos made the "bateyes" or ceremonial places in stone, that we can see today they celebrate their "areytos or traditional festivals", games and important events.  Maybe they used it as cemeteries.  We have evidence that they also made their "bohios".

Most of the Tainos died because of Spanish Conquerors brutality, their illnesses completely unknown by the Tainos.  Also because of the introduction of smoke and probably syphilis that the Spanish Conquerors passed to them.  The Taino culture was destroyed due to the subsequent importation of African slaves.



Arrival of Spanish Conquerors



The Spaniards arrived first at The Bahamas, Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti and Santo Domingo) in 1492, and then in Puerto Rico.  They did not bring their women so they took the Taino indians women as wives on a civil marriage and they had their mestizo children.




Reference: Wikipedia:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Colombus



Christopher Columbus discovered Puerto Rico island (called Boriken by the Taino indian) on November 19, 1493, then he named Boriken as San Juan Bautista when it was baptized by him.



CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
(CRISTOBAL COLON)




Reference:  Wikipedia:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus



He was an explorer and trader who crossed the Atlantic Ocean and reached the Americas on October 12, 1492.  History places great significance on his discovery of America in 1492, when in fact he did not reach the mainland until his third voyage in 1498.  It is also a common misconception that he is the earliest European explorer to reach the Americas.  Although there is evicence of Pre-Columbian trans-Atlantic Ocean European contact, Columbus is commonly credited as the first European to see the Americas because of the profound impact his contact wrough on history.  His voyage marked the beginning of the Americas.  He was married to Felipa Perestrello e Moniz, and had a son named Diego.  Columbus is said to have been born in Genoa, in modern Italy, according to the statements attributed to Columbus himself, member of his family, and others who knew him well.  Another important theory says today that he could have been Catalan or Greek,  from the island of Chios.
Reference:  Wikipedia:  en.wiki.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus



 Christopher Columbus Santa Maria Ship





Reference:  Wikipedia:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher _Columbus

 

AMERIGO VESPUCCI
(AMERICO VESPUCIO)




Reference:  Wikipedia:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amerigo_Vespucci



He was an Italian merchant and cartographer who voyaged to and wrote the Americas.  His exploratory journeys along the eastern coastline of South America convinced him that a new continent had been discovered, a bold contention in his day when everyone (except the Portuguese), including Christopher Columbus, thought the seafaring trailblazers setting out the European docks were traveling to East Asia and South Asia.  The role of Vespucci has been much debated, particularly due to two of his letters whose authenticity has been brought into doubt:  the "Mundus Novus" (New World) and the "Lettera" (or The Four Voyages).  While some have suggested that Vespucci was exaggerating his role and constructed deliberate fabrications, others have instead proposed that the two letters were forgeries written by others of the same period.  Upon arriving off of the coast of South Africa, he wrote back to Italy announcing that the land masses they explored were much larger than anticipated and unlike the Asia described by earlier Europeans and therefore, must be a New World, i.e., previously unknown Fourth Continent after Europe, Asia and Africa.  It was the publication and widespread circulation of his letters that led Martin Waldseemuller to name the new continent America on his world map of 1507.  Vespucci styled himself Americus Vespucius in his Latin writings, so Waldseemuller based the new name on the Latin from Vespucci's first name, taking the feminine from America.
Reference:  Wikipedia:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amerigo_Vespucci

 

 Amerigo Vespucci Ship


 


Reference:  Wikipedia:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amerigo_Vespucci

 

Arms used by the Spaniards


 


Reference:  photo by Aurye (store located in Old San Juan, P.R.)

 

Introduction of Black African

 

On 1513 the Spanish Conquerors introduced the black africans as slaves.  They were brought by the Portuguese, English and Hollander to work in our land.

One of the venezuelan historic heroes was a black Puerto Rican from San Juan.  When he arrived to Venezuela, he initiated a slaves revolution and it was well known as Rey Miguel  (King Miguel).  He established a town with a church until he was killed by the Spaniards in a combat.  According to historians, the first free black man arrived in the Island in 1509.  Juan Garrido a "conquistador" who belonged to Juan Ponce de Leon's encourage was the first the first free black man to set foot on the island and in the New World for that matter.  Another free black man who accomplanied De Leon was Pedro Mejias.  It is believed that Mejias married a Taino woman chief for (acacica) by the name of Luisa.  When Ponce De Leon and the Spaniards arrived in the island of "Boriken" (Puerto Rico), they were greeted by the Cacique Agueybaná, the supreme leader of the peaceful Taíno tribes in the island.  Agueybana helped to maintain the peace between the Tainos and the Spaniards.  However, the peace would be short-lived because the Spaniards soon took advantaged of the Tainos' good faith and enslaved them;  forcing them to work in the gold mines and in the construction of forts.  Many Tainos either died as a result of either the cruel treatment that they had received or of the smallpox disease epidemic which had attacked the island.  Many Tainos either commited suicide or left the island after the failed Taino revolt of 1511.  The slaves were branded on the forehead with a stamp so people would know they were brought in legally and that way they couldn't be kidnapped.  The cruelty of hot branding was stopped in 1784.  The African slave was sent to work the gold mines, as a replacement of the lost Taino manpower, or to work in the fields in the islands ginger and sugar industry.  He was allowed to live with his family in a "bohio" (hut) in his masters land and was given a patch of land where he could plant and grow vegetables and fruits.  Blacks had little or no opportunity for advancement and faced discrimination from Spaniards.  The slave was educated by his master and soon learned to speak his language.  They enriched the "Puerto Rican Spanish" language by adding some words of their own and educated their children with what what they had learned from their masters.  The Spaniards considered the black man superior to the Taínos, since the Taínos were unwilling to assimilate their ways. 
Reference:  
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/African+immigration+to+Puerto+Rico

 


Reference:  
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/African+immigration+to+Puerto+Rico


 

Slaveschaines

 

 



Reference: 
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/African+immigration+to+Puerto+Rico




 Photo of Slaves in Puerto Rico


 

Leaders of the Puerto Rican abolitionist movement, including Jose Julian Acosta, Francisco Mariano Quinones, Julio L. de Vizcarrondo, Ramon Emeterio Betances and Segundo Ruiz Belvis, waged a long struggle to end slavery on the island. On March 22, 1873, the Spanish National Assembly finally abolished slavery in Puerto Rico. The owners were compensated with 35 million pesetas per slave, and slaves were required to continue working for three more years.
Reference:  http://www.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/1898/slaves.html





Reference: 
http://www.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/1898/slaves.html


 
Photo of Bombardment of San Felipe Del Morro



Reference:  http://en.wikipedia.org 

The city was witness to attacks from the English led by  Sir Francis Drake in 1595 (in what is known as the Battle of Puerto Rico) and by George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, in 1598. Artillery from San Juan's fort, El Morro, repelled Drake; however, Clifford managed to land troops and lay siege to the city.  After a few months of British occupation, Clifford was forced to abandon the siege when his troops began to suffer from exhaustion and sickness. In 1625 the city was sacked by Dutch forces lead by Captain Balduino Enrico (also known as Boudewijn Hendricksz/Bowdoin Henrick), but El Morro withstood the assault and was not taken. The Dutch were counterattacked by Captain Juan de Amezquita and 50 members of the civilian militia on land and by the cannons of the Spanish troops in El Morro Castle. The land battle left 60 Dutch soldiers dead and Enrico with a sword wound to his neck which he received from the hands of Amezquita.  The Dutch ships at sea were boarded by Puerto Ricans who defeated those aboard. After a long battle, the Spanish soldiers and volunteers of the city's militia were able to defend the city from the attack and save the island from an invasion. On October 21, Enrico set La Fortaleza and the city ablaze. Captains Amezquita and Andre Botello decided to put a stop to the destruction and led 200 men in an attack against the enemy's front and rear guard. They drove Enrico and his men from their trenches and into the ocean in their haste to reach their ships.
Reference: 
http://en.wikipedia.org
 
 

Arrival of Americans

It happened when Puerto Rico passed to be part of United States, as a war spoil.

Brief war in 1898 between Spain and the USA over Spanish rule in Cuba and the Philippines;  the complete defeat of Spain made the USA a colonial power.  The Treaty of Paris ceded the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico to the USA;  Cuba became independent.   The USA paid $20 million to Spain.  This ended Spain's colonial presence in the Americas.  The war began in Cuba when the US battleship Maine was blown up in Havana harbour, allegedly by the Spanish.  Other engagements included the Battle of Manila Bay, in which Commander George Dewey's navy destroyed the Spanish fleet in the Philippines;  and the taking of the Cuban port cities of El Caney and San Juan Heights (in which Theodore Roosevelt's regiment, the Rough Riders, was involved), destroying the Spanish fleet there.
Reference: 
http://encyclopedia.farlex.com/_/viewer.aspx?path=hut&name=4890n029.jpg





Reference:   
http://encyclopedia.farlex.com/_/viewer.aspx?path=hut&name=4890n029.jpg


Interesting Fact

The islands of Cayo Diablo, St. Thomas, St. John, Tortola, Guana, Greater Camanoe, Necker Cay, and Virgin Gorda were once known as the Puerto Rico Bank.
Reference:  http://www.topuertorico.org