Friday, August 8, 2008

Puerto Rico

Summertime means travel time. I'm lucky when it comes to travel. I've seen many of the world's landmarks up close and personal. Places like the Eiffel Tower, The Acropolis, Vatican City, Ayres Rock, Franz Josep Glacier, Norte Dame and Big Ben. For the next few postings I want to share some lesson plans I use for my students as I present some of America's outstanding landmarks and places of interest. So get your luggage packed and gas-up your mental car because we're off. Today, let's go to Puerto Rico:

Puerto Rico (officially called the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico) is a self-governing territory of the U. S. located in the northeastern Caribbean. The territory includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands and keys, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona.

The history of Puerto Rico (which means "Rich Port" in Spanish) before Christopher Columbus arrived is not well known. What we do know comes from archaeological findings and early Spanish stories. We know that the first settlers were the Ortoiroid people, an Archaic Period culture of hunters and fishermen. An archaeological dig on Vieques in 1990 found the remains of an Archaic man from around 2000 BC. Between AD 120 and 400, the Igneri, a tribe from South America arrived. Between the 4th and 10th centuries, the Arcaicos and Igneri lived together on the island. Between the 7th and 11th centuries Arawak Indians known as Tainos inhibited the island and were there when Christopher Columbus arrived during his second voyage to the New World on November 19, 1493.

The Tainos called the island "Borikén". Columbus re-named the island San Juan Bautista, in honor of Saint John the Baptist. Later the island took the name of Puerto Rico and the capital was named San Juan. In 1508, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon became the island’s first governor.

The Spanish soon colonized the island. Taínos were forced into slavery and died off due to harsh conditions of work and diseases brought by the Spaniards. Others committed suicide and within a few decades most of the native population had vanished. African slaves were captured and then shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to work the sugar cane and tobacco fields. Puerto Rico soon became an important stronghold and port for the Spanish Empire. Walls and forts were built around San Juan to protect the city from Spain’s enemies like France, England and The Netherlands.

In the late 19th century, the people of Puerto Rico were very poor and began to rebel against Spain. On July 25, 1898, during the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico was invaded by the United States. As an outcome of the war, Spain ceded Puerto Rico, along with Cuba, the Philippines, and Guam to the U.S. under the Treaty of Paris. The Foraker Act gave Puerto Rico a certain amount of self-government and the Jones-Shafroth Act of 1917 gave Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship. In 1947, the U.S. granted Puerto Ricans the right to democratically elect their own governor. Many Puerto Ricans migrated to America in the 1950s. Today, Puerto Rico is a major tourist destination and a leading pharmaceutical and manufacturing center. Find out more about at:

Research gathered at:

Now here's one of my poems with swaying palm trees:

Or Low-Life A Ceiling

A man jumps from the twentieth floor but floats down.
Escapism hanging on a coat rack. A banquet honoring
vinegar. Falling leaves. A crowd waiting for the
arrival. Or on a park bench with a grassy knoll to
fondle. Shopping at a best friend's house. A telephone
with two mouthpieces. A cookbook story of our lives.
Busy crosswalks. Phony street signs. To have a
pre-conceived notion of downtown Phoenix. "I see you've
learned to travel light", she says, noticing the
flight bags under my eyes. "Yeah, and you must be on
your way to palm reading class", I reply, searching
for the tube of hand lotion. Hot bath. Fragrance-free
shampoo. Pickpockets working the market stalls. Then
later, I dream that weapons are the witnesses...

naked with sunlight entering our forest...
or we could test drive an Italian hair dryer.

A full stomach or sky adrift in a lifeboat.

Until everything around us looks like shoelaces or
maybe just a bit rambunctious in a rash, wearing a
dark catacomb and paste-on mustaches as disguises.

Poem first published at:
Poem copyright 2008 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.


oakleyses said...

nike free, oakley sunglasses, polo outlet, tory burch outlet, louboutin pas cher, kate spade outlet, longchamp outlet, sac longchamp pas cher, jordan pas cher, replica handbags, nike roshe, nike air max, cheap oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, gucci handbags, christian louboutin outlet, prada handbags, kate spade, longchamp outlet, replica watches, ray ban sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet online, nike air max, nike free run, burberry pas cher, chanel handbags, michael kors pas cher, longchamp outlet, oakley sunglasses, air max, coach outlet, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin, longchamp pas cher, louis vuitton outlet, ray ban sunglasses, replica watches, prada outlet, uggs on sale, ugg boots, polo ralph lauren, coach outlet store online, tiffany and co, christian louboutin uk, ugg boots, nike outlet, jordan shoes, tiffany jewelry, christian louboutin shoes

oakleyses said...

ray ban uk, true religion jeans, michael kors outlet online, nike tn, converse pas cher, coach purses, true religion outlet, nike huaraches, polo lacoste, mulberry uk, ralph lauren uk, sac hermes, nike air max, nike air max uk, hollister pas cher, nike air force, michael kors, michael kors outlet online, nike air max uk, nike trainers uk, uggs outlet, longchamp uk, burberry outlet, nike roshe run uk, guess pas cher, oakley pas cher, michael kors outlet online, ray ban pas cher, michael kors outlet, michael kors, nike blazer pas cher, true religion outlet, new balance, hogan outlet, burberry handbags, uggs outlet, hollister, timberland pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, vans pas cher, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet online, north face, michael kors outlet, lululemon canada, hollister uk, north face uk, abercrombie and fitch uk, michael kors outlet

oakleyses said...

soccer jerseys, converse outlet, north face outlet, celine handbags, mont blanc pens, toms shoes, wedding dresses, bottega veneta, beats by dre, ghd hair, vans, gucci, hollister clothing, mcm handbags, ralph lauren, instyler, north face outlet, babyliss, jimmy choo outlet, valentino shoes, abercrombie and fitch, nike air max, vans outlet, supra shoes, karen millen uk, converse, chi flat iron, reebok outlet, herve leger, juicy couture outlet, p90x workout, timberland boots, montre pas cher, nike air max, insanity workout, hollister, ray ban, oakley, baseball bats, hermes belt, lancel, nike roshe run, mac cosmetics, asics running shoes, louboutin, juicy couture outlet, new balance shoes, ferragamo shoes, nfl jerseys, soccer shoes

oakleyses said...

louis vuitton, wedding dresses, links of london, swarovski, hollister, pandora uk, moncler, doudoune moncler, coach outlet, moncler outlet, canada goose outlet, louis vuitton, canada goose, canada goose, pandora charms, ugg pas cher, canada goose outlet, moncler, replica watches, pandora jewelry, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, pandora jewelry, moncler, moncler uk, marc jacobs, canada goose outlet, moncler, louis vuitton, thomas sabo, louis vuitton, ugg, canada goose jackets, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, swarovski crystal, louis vuitton, canada goose, canada goose uk, ugg uk, moncler outlet