Freddie's Puerto Rico


Freddie Prinze Biography
As Told By His Mother: Mrs. Maria Pruetzel
Why are we fascinated with Freddie Prinze?
Tracerella and Her Prinze Charming
Chico and the Man
Freddie's Puerto Rico
Freddie Prinze Sr. Fan Club
Prinze Performance Clips
Freddie Prinze Photo Gallery l
Freddie Prinze Photo Gallery ll
Visiting Freddie's Crypt June 22 Photo Gallery
Poems For Freddie
Poems For Maria
Freddie Prinze

I invite you to take some time to explore the tropical island of Puerto Rico, where you can find local exotic hideaways, miles of white sandy beaches, mountains and valleys, and many other natural wonders. In addition to the natural splendors you will find yourself surrounded by warm and friendly people.
Within these pages you can find a wide scope of information pertaining to the island, its culture and people, and every detail that makes Puerto Rico a magnificent and unique island.
Enjoy your visit to Puerto Rico!


Taíno Indians who inhabited the territory, called the island Boriken or Borinquen which means: "the great land of the valiant and noble Lord". Today this word -used in various modifications- is still popularly used to designate the people and island of Puerto Rico. The Taíno Indians, who came from South America, inhabited the major portion of the island when the Spaniards arrived. The Taino Indians, lived in small villages, organized in clans and led by a Cacique, or chief. They were a peaceful people who, with a limited knowledge of agriculture, lived on such domesticated tropical crops as pineapples, cassava, and sweet potatoes supplemented by seafood.

1492 On April 17, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain signed the agreement to finance and set the terms of Columbus's voyage to the Indies. The document is known as the Capitulations of Santa Fe. The agreement established that Columbus would become the viceroy and governor of all discovered land and rights to 10% of all assets brought to Spain, among other terms.

1493 On September 25, Christopher Columbus set sail from Cádiz, Spain on his second voyage, with 17 ships and almost 1,500 men.

On November 19, Christopher Columbus discovered the island in his second voyage to the New World. He found the island populated by as many as 50,000 Taíno or Arawak Indians. The Taíno Indians who greeted Columbus made a big mistake when they showed him gold nuggets in the river and told him to take all he wanted. Originally the newcomers called the island "San Juan Bautista", for St. John the Baptist and the town Puerto Rico because of its obvious excellent potentialities. It was not until later that the two names were switched. Thanks in part to the enthusiasm of ambitious Juan Ponce de León, a lieutenant to Columbus, the city of Puerto Rico ("rich port") quickly became Spain's most important military outpost in the Caribbean.
Christopher Columbus

1501 The Spanish Crown permitted export of slaves to America.

1503 Governor Nicolás de Ovando opposes the importing of slaves.

First slaves arrive in Hispañola.

1506 On May 20, Christopher Columbus died in Valladolid, Spain.

1508 Spanish colonization begins.

On January 14, first school in Puerto Rico was established in Caparra.

On August 8, Spaniard Juan Ponce de León founded the Caparra Village.

Caparra Ruins
Cañuelo Ruins

The Spanish authorities refused to grant to Diego Columbus (Christopher's son) privileges to all discovered land, as a results, the Crown nominated Juan Ponce de León governor of the island.
The first "repartimiento" in Puerto Rico was established, this system consisted of distributing among officials and colonists fixed numbers of Indians. The terms of the agreement specified that Spaniards were obliged to pay the Indians for their labor and to teach them the Christian religion.

1510 Differences between Spaniards and Taíno Indians began.

The Cacique Urayoán ordered his warriors to drown Diego Salcedo to determine whether or not the Spaniards were immortal, as they believed that Spanish colonizers had divine powers. It is told that after they drowned Diego, they watched him for several days until they were sure that he was dead.

1511 The Taíno Indians revolt against Spaniards with no success. Ponce de León orders 6,000 shot; survivors flee to mountains or leave the island.

Diego Columbus won rights to all land discovered by his father after presenting his case to the courts in Madrid. King Ferdinand ordered Ponce de Leon to be replaced as governor by Diego Columbus. Ponce de Leon not wishing to serve Diego, obtained title to explore the Upper Bahamas and areas to the North.

The Spanish Crown granted a Coat of Arms to the Island of Puerto Rico.

On August 8, Pope Julius II created two dioceses in Puerto Rico, the bishop of which were all suffragans of the archbishopric of Seville. The Canon of Salamanca, Alonso Manso, was appointed bishop of the Puerto Rican diocese and took possession in 1513 - the first bishop to arrive in America.

1512 On September 26, the first school of advanced studies was established by Bishop Alonso Manso.
On December 27, the Burgos Law is issued, by Ferdinand II, the Catholic, of Aragón, regulated relations between Spaniards and the conquered Indians, particularly to ensure the spiritual and material welfare of the latter, who were often severely treated.

San Germán is founded.

1513 On January 27, African Slaves are introduced into the island.

On March, Ponce de Leon sailed into the Bahamas headed toward Florida.

1514 The Spanish Crown granted permission to Spaniards to marry native Taíno Indians.

Hernando de Peralta received permission to obtain 2 white slaves, possibly Arab or Arab Descent.

Caribe Indians attacked settlements along the banks of the Daguao and Macao rivers that had been founded by Diego Columbus.

1517 King Carlos V authorized the importation of 4,000 slaves to the Caribbean.

1519 Government Center is moved from Caparra to the isle of San Juan.

1521 Caribe Indians attacked the south coast.

The city and the Island exchanged names, and the City of San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico became the official capital.

Casa Blanca ("White House") was built. The house was owned by Ponce de León's family until the late 18th century.

The ever arriving Spaniards settlers, many of them gold-seekers, brought no women on their ships. To populate the country, the Spaniard took Indian women. With the arrival of African slaves, other elements were added. This historic intermingling has resulted in a contemporary Puerto Rico without racial problems.

Juan Ponce de León organized an expedition, setting out for Florida, where he suffered serious injuries. He took refuge on La Habana, Cuba, where he died.

1522 On January 24, San Jose Church is founded, it is the oldest church still in use in America.

1523 The first sugar cane processing plant is built.

The "Convento de Santo Domingo" (Dominican Friars Community) was built. The convent organized the first library in the island.

1524 The first hospital was built, called Concepción, by Bishop Alonso Manso.

On their attempt to capture the Island the French attacked many settlements. On October 11, the French sacked and burned San Germán. All the other first settlements-Guánica, Sotomayor, Daguao and Loíza-had disappeared. Only the capital remained.

1530 Sugar became the most important agricultural product.

Francisco Manuel de Lando conducted the first census.

1532 The construction of "Santa Catalina" Palace, the governors house, began. Later the name was changed to "La Fortaleza".

1539 Concerned about potential threats from European enemies and recognizing the strategic importance of Puerto Rico, Spain began constructing massive defenses around San Juan. The construction of San Felipe del Morro Castle began. The fort featured 18-foot-thick walls; San Cristóbal and San Geronimo Forts also garrisoned troops, were built with the financial subsidy from the Mexican mines. Next the Spaniards constructed a wall, parts of which still survive, around the entire city.

1542 The coconut tree was introduced to the island. The coconut is indigenous to the Indo-Malaysian region. It spread by sea currents with the average maximum distance of 3,000 miles, on which the coconut will remain afloat and still remain viable. Considering these limitations there were no or little chance of a coconut seed reach the New World. Most authorities agree that the coconut was introduced to the New World by Portuguese and Spanish traders.

1544 The second hospital was built, called San Ildefonso.

1559 Juan Ponce de León remains were brought to San Juan.

The gold mines were declared depleted.

1587 Engineers Juan de Tejada and Juan Bautista Antonelli lay out the main design for El Morro still seen today.

1595 On November 22, Sir Francis Drake, hero of the battle of the Spanish Armada, tried fruitlessly to conquer the island and set San Juan city on fire.

1598 On June 15, the British Navy led by George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, landing in Santurce, conquered the island and held it for several months, it is forced to abandon his conquest owing to an outbreak of plague among his troops.

Ginger replaces sugar as Puerto Rico's main cash crop.

1600 San Juan is enclosed by very formidable ramparts in the Caribbean.

1616 Arecibo and San Blás de Illescas (later called Coamo) were founded.

1620 Bernardo de Balbuena became Bishop of Puerto Rico.

1625 On September 25, Holland attacks San Juan, under the leadership of Boudewijn Hendrick (Balduino Enrico), besieging El Morro and La Fortaleza, burning the city, but the Spanish repel the Dutch troops.

1634 King Philip IV of Spain began fortifying the "San Cristóbal" Fort (the largest Spanish fort in the New World), along with six fortresses linked by a line of sandstone walls surrounding the city.

1648 In San Germán, Porta Coeli Catholic Church was finished.

1692 Ponce is founded.

1702 The British attack Arecibo, with no success.

1765 Lieutenant General Alexander O'Reilly (commissioned by Spain to investigate contraband activity) conducted a census. Puerto Rico's population had reached 45,000, and included 5,037 slaves, an 11.2 percent, a very low ratio, considered the lowest for the Caribbean.

1770 Cock fighting began in the island.

1786 The first History of Puerto Rico was published by Brother Iñigo Abbad y Lasierra. The book titled "Historia Geográfica, Civil y Política de Puerto Rico was published in Madrid, constitutes a complete history of Puerto Rico from the time of its discovery in 1493 until 1783.

1797 French-Spanish declaration of war to England. The British again attempt to conquer the island, an invasion by 7,000 British troops and 64 warships under the command of General Ralph Abercromby, attacked San Juan. Captain General Don Ramon de Castro and his army resisted the attack.

1800 On October 16, the Municipal Library of San Juan was inaugurated.

1803 In 1803, Denmark abolished the slave trade, and Britain followed in 1807, France in 1817, Holland in 1818, Spain in 1820, and Sweden in 1824. Slavery itself is finally abolished in the British colonies in 1833, in the French colonies in 1848, and in the Dutch colonies in 1863; it is abolished in the Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico in 1873 and Cuba in 1880.

1806 The printing press was brought to the island.

1809 As a result of Napoleon's invasion of Spain, the resistance government took the first step further and recognized Puerto Rico and other Spanish colonies in America as an over sea provinces with the right to send representatives to the Spanish government. Now Puerto Rico has the opportunity to choose a Puerto Rican to represents the Island, with right to a vote, in the Spanish Cortes ("Cortes de Cádiz" or "Junta Suprema").

1810 Ramón Power y Giralt was elected and sent to Spain as delegate.

Rafael Cordero opened a free primary school for poor children.

1811 The Power Law was approved.

1812 Public lighting with olive oil lamps was established in the streets of San Juan.

Cadiz Constitution was adopted, established the division of Spain and its territories into provinces, each with a local corporation or council to promote its prosperity and defend its interests, which granted Puerto Ricans conditional citizenship.

The first book of poems was printed.

1813 The Puerto Rico Lottery was founded.

1815 On August 10, the Royal Decree of Grace (commerce liberty) was issued. At the same time Puerto Rico's meager gold supply was exhausted, islanders struggled to develop an agricultural economy. Cattle, sugar cane, tobacco and coffee were the main investments.

Spain restored absolute power to the king, revoking the Cadiz Constitution and reinstating Puerto Rico to its former condition of a colony subject to the unrestricted power of the Spanish monarch.

1816 Simón Bolivar, from Venezuela, the Great Liberator of the Americas, lands on Vieques.

1820 Alfonso_XII King of Spain proclaimed the restitution of the Cadiz Constitution.

1824 Adding to Spain enemies of the Crown, the Island became a host to an assortment of pirates and smugglers. One of the more famous was the Puerto Rican Roberto Cofresi, who is said to have shared his spoils with the poor. Pirate Roberto Cofresi and his crew attacked 8 ships one of them an American Ship. As a result, the US Naval Forces send the schooner Grampus to pursue him. After a ferocious battle Cofresi and his crew were captured by Captain John Sloat.

1825 On March 25, Pirate Roberto Cofresí was executed on the fields of "El Morro" castle.

Puerto Rico governors receive absolute governing faculties.

1835 On June 25, Queen Maria Cristina abolished the slave trade to Spanish colonies.

1839 "La Perla" Theater was inaugurated in Ponce.

1843 First lighthouse in Puerto Rico constructed atop El Morro.

The first book, "Aguinaldo Puertorriqueño" was published is the island.

1846 First lighthouse in Puerto Rico constructed atop El Morro.

The book, "Cancionero de Borinquen" was published.

1849 The book "El Jibaro" by Manuel Alonso was published.

The first horse races were founded sponsored by the local government.

Governor Juan de la Pezuela Cevallos, founded the Royal Academy of Belles Letters. This institution contributed greatly to the intellectual and literary progress of the Island. The school licensed primary school teachers, formulated school methods, and held literary contests.

Vieques was annexed to Puerto Rico.

1855 Mutiny by the San Cristóbal artillery brigade against the Spanish crown. The castle is held by rebels for 24 hours causing panic in the city when the cannon are turned around and aimed at the city streets.

1863 The Pilgrimage of Bayoán by Eugenio Maria de Hostos was published, reveals on a fiction tone restrictions of the Spanish Colonial regime. The book was suppressed by the Spanish Government.

1865 On February 1, all municipalities were required by order of the Governor, José Lemery, to make appropriations for rural schools.

1867 Puerto Rico reach a population of 656,328; its population recorded as 346,437 whites and 309,891 "of color" (this category included blacks, mulattos and mestizos). The majority of Puerto Ricans lived in extreme poverty. Agriculture, the main source of income, was limited by lack of roads, rudimentary tools and equipment, and natural disasters, such as hurricanes and periods of drought. While illiteracy was 83.7 percent, the intellectual minority remained relatively active within the limitations imposed by local Spanish authorities.

On October, Hurricane Saint Narciso strikes the island.

On November 18, an earthquake occurred with an approximate magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale. The epicenter was located in the Anegada Passage, between Puerto Rico and St. Croix, Virgin Islands. The earthquake produced a tsunami that ran inland almost 150 meters (490 feet) in the low parts of the coast of Yabucoa.

1868 On September 23, several hundred women and men revolted against Spain for Puerto Rican independence, the event took place in Lares and is better known as the Cry of Lares ("Grito de Lares"). The most important figures in the uprising were Manuel Rojas, Mathias Bruckman, Joaquín Parilla, and Francisco Ramírez. The main leader was Ramón Emeterio Betances but he was not given permission to enter the island. Manuel Rojas plantation in the town of Lares became the headquarters for like-minded revolutionaries who would push for a split from Spain. The rebellion is planned by a group, led by Dr. Ramón Emeterio Betances and Segundo Ruiz Belvis, who in January 6, 1868 founded the Revolutionary Committee of Puerto Rico ("Comité Revolucionario de Puerto Rico") from their exile in the Dominican Republic.

1869 The first political parties are organized in the island.

The telegraph is introduced into the island.

On June 4, as a result of Roman Baldorioty de Castro, Luis Padial and Julio Vizcarrondo efforts, the Moret Law is approved, with this law liberty was given to slaves born after September 17, 1868 and to slaves over 60 years old.

On November, the Liberal Reformist Party ("Partido Liberal Reformista") and the Liberal Conservative Party ("Partido Liberal Conservador") were founded, becoming the first true political organizations in the island. The Liberal Reformist Party is led by Román Baldorioty de Castro, José Julián Acosta, Nicolás Aguayo and Pedro Gerónimo Goico, among others. The Liberal Conservative Party is led by José R. Fernández, Pablo Ubarri and Francisco Paula Acuña.

1873 The Spanish Constitutional Monarchy is replaced by a republican government.

The Spanish Crown abolished slavery in Puerto Rico. Leaders of the Puerto Rican abolitionist movement, including José Julián Acosta, Francisco Mariano Quiñones, Julio L. de Vizcarrondo, Ramón Emeterio Betances and Segundo Ruiz Belvis, waged a long struggle to end slavery on the island.

On March 22, 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.

The Liberal Conservative Party changed names to Unconditional Spanish Party ("Partido Español Incondicional").

The Liberal Reformist Party changed names to Reformist Federal Party ("Partido Federal Reformista").

1876 Spain proclaims "El Yunque" a Forest Reserve, making it one of the oldest reserves in the Western Hemisphere.

1885 The coffee from Adjuntas is considered to be one of the best coffees in the world.

1887 In San Juan a horse race track is built.

On March, Ramón Baldorioty de Castro, José Celso Barbosa, Rosendo Matienzo Cintrón, and Luis Muñoz Rivera formed the Puerto Rican Autonomous Party that tried to create a political and legal identity for Puerto Rico while emulating Spain in all political matters.

1890 Luis Muñoz Rivera founded the newspaper "La Democracía".

1891 The railroad was inaugurated.

1893 On August 16, Hurricane Saint Roque strikes the island.

Electrical lighting was established in San Juan.

On October 5, the "Banco Popular de Puerto Rico" was founded. It is the largest bank on the island.

1895 The Puerto Rican flag is first used on 22 December and adopted as a national symbol.

1897 On November 25, the Autonomic Charter ("Carta Autonómica") is approved in which Spain concedes political and administrative autonomy to the island. It allowed the island to retain its representation in the Spanish Cortes, and provided for a bicameral legislature. This legislature consisted of a Council of Administration with eight (8) elected and seven (7) appointed members, and a Chamber of Representatives with one (1) member for every 25,000 inhabitants.

The telephone service was inaugurated in San Juan.

The Orthodox Autonomist Party ("Partido Autonomista Ortodoxo" was founded, led by José Celso Barbosa and Manuel Fernández Juncos.

1898 On February 9, the new government officially opened for business in the spring of 1898. Governor General Manuel Macías inaugurated the new government of Puerto Rico under the Autonomous Charter which gave town councils complete autonomy in local matters. Subsequently, the governor had no authority to intervene in civil and political matters unless authorized to do so by the Cabinet.

On March 10, Dr. Julio J. Henna and Robert H. Todd, prominent leaders of the Puerto Rican section of the Cuban Revolutionary Party, began to correspond with United States President McKinley and Senate in hopes that they would consider including Puerto Rico in whatever intervention is planned for Cuba. Henna and Todd also provided the U.S. government with information about the Spanish military presence on the island.

On April 24, Spanish Minister of Defense Segismundo Bermejo sent instructions to Spanish Admiral Cervera to proceed with his fleet from Cape Verde to the Caribbean, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

On May, Lt. Henry H. Whitney of the Fourth Artillery is sent to Puerto Rico on a reconnaissance mission, sponsored by the Army's Bureau of Military Intelligence. He provided maps and information on the Spanish military forces to the U.S. government prior to the invasion.

On May 10, Spanish forces in the fortress of San Cristóbal in San Juan exchanged fire with the U.S.S. Yale under the command of Capt. William Clinton Wise.

On May 12, A squadron of 12 U.S. ships commanded by Rear Adm. William T. Sampson bombarded San Juan.

On June 25, the U.S.S. Yosemite arrived off San Juan harbor, Puerto Rico, to blockade the port.

On July 18, General Nelson A. Miles, commander of the invading forces, received orders to sail for Puerto Rico.

On July 21, convoy of 3,300 soldiers and nine transports escorted by the U.S.S. Massachusetts sailed for Puerto Rico from Guantánamo, Cuba.

On July, 25 General Nelson Miles came ashore with the first contingent of 16,000 American troops, landed unopposed at the town of Guánica in the South of Puerto Rico. Upon arrival, the ship met with Spanish resistance the morning of August 26. By August, the whole island was practically invaded.

On August 8, the Spanish-American War, conflict between the United States and Spain that ended Spanish colonial rule in the Americas and resulted in U.S. acquisition of territories in the western Pacific and Latin American.

On August 12, peace protocols were signed in Washington, D.C.

On September 9, U.S. and Spanish Commissions met in San Juan, Puerto Rico to discuss the details of the withdrawal of Spanish troops and the cession of the island to the United States.

On September 29, Governor Macías officially announced that Puerto Rico had been ceded to the United States.

On October 1, the Spanish and United States commissioners held their initial meeting in Paris to draft the Peace Treaty.

On October 18, the Spanish withdrawal from Puerto Rico was completed as the final troops left San Juan for Spain. General John R. Brooke became military governor.

On December 10, Treaty of Paris is signed (ratified by the U.S. Senate Feb. 6, 1899), treaty concluding the Spanish-American War. The American peace commission consisted of William R. Day, Sen. Cushman K. Davis, Sen. William P. Frye, Sen. George Gray, and the Honorable Whitelaw Reid. The Spanish commission is headed by Don Eugenio Montero Rios, the President of the Senate. Jules Cambon, a French diplomat, also negotiated on Spain's behalf. Spain renounced all claim to Cuba, ceded Guam and Puerto Rico and its dependent islets to United States, and transferred sovereignty over the Phillipines to the United States for $20,000,000.

1899 On January 15, the first boxing match was held in Puerto Rico.

The federal military forces changed the name of the island to Porto Rico.

Currency was exchanged, Puerto Rican "peso" to the dollar.

On May, General George W. Davis succeeded to Island command. Freedom of assembly, speech, press, and religion were decreed and an eight-hour day for government employees was established. A public school system was started and the U. S. Postal service was extended to the Island. The highway system was enlarged, and bridges over the more important rivers were constructed. . The government lottery was abolished, cock-fighting was forbidden, and a beginning was made toward the establishment of a centralized public health service.

On June, the Socialist Working Party was founded, led by Santiago Iglesias Pantín.

On August 8, Hurricane San Ciriaco strikes the island. It rained for 28 days straight and the winds reached speeds of 100 miles per hour. The loss of life and property damage were immense. Approximately 3,400 people died in the floods and thousands were left without shelter, food, or work. The sugar and coffee industry was devastated.

Luis Muñoz Rivera founded the newspaper "El Territorio".

On October, the American Federal Party ("Partido Federal Americano") was founded, led by Luis Muñoz Rivera.

1900 The island was surrendered to the United States military authority.

On March 19, President McKinley asserts the need for free trade with Puerto Rico.

On April 12, the Foraker Law (Organic Act of 1900) is approved, establishing civil government and free commerce between the island and United States. The law was impulsed into Congress by senator Joseph B. Foraker. Puerto Rico became U.S. first unincorporated territory. The first civil governor (Charles H. Allen) of the island under the Foraker Act was inaugurated on May 1, in San Juan.

On June 5, President McKinley named an Executive Cabinet under Gov. Charles H. Allen that included five Puerto Rican members--José Celso Barbosa, Rosendo Matienzo Cintrón, José de Diego, Manuel Camuñas and Andrés Crosas, and six U.S members--William H. Hunt, Secretary; J.H. Hollander, Treasurer; J.R. Garrison, Auditor; W.B. Eliot, Interiors; James A. Harlan, Attorney General; and Dr. M.G. Brumbaugh, Secretary of Education.

The Department of Education was formed with Dr. M. G. Braumbaugh (later governor of Pennsylvania) the first Commissioner of Education. The method of of teaching was entirely in English with Spanish treated as a special subject.

On November 6, the first elections under Foraker Act were celebrated (registered voters 123,140).

On December 3, the first Legislative Assembly which met.

1901 The Hollander Law was approved, giving Puerto Rico a Resident Commissioner in Washington.

On March 4, Federico Degetau takes office in Washington as the first Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico.

1902 The Porto Rico Telephone Company was inaugurated.
Cuba declares independence; United States declares Puerto Rico a territory.

On November 4, the second elections under Foraker Act were celebrated (registered voters 158,924).

1903 On March 9, University of Puerto Rico was founded.

Roosevelt signed an executive order to surrender the Culebra to Navy Control.

U.S. officially designates Luquillo Forest Reserve the only tropical rain forest in the National Forest System.

1904 Luis Muñoz Rivera and José de Diego founded the Unionist Party of Puerto Rico to fight against the colonial government established under the Foraker Act.

On July 4, Beeckman Winthrop became the governor of Puerto Rico and served until 1907.

First universal suffrage was established, men over 21 years old were allow to participated.

On November 6, President Theodore Roosevelt leaves Washington D.C. for a 17 day trip to Panama and Puerto Rico, becoming the first president to make an official visit outside of the U.S.

On December 11, during a visit to Puerto Rico, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt addressed the Puerto Rican Congress and recommended that Puerto Ricans become United States citizens.

1908 Driving licenses began to be issued.

The first motion picture projector was brought to the island. It is used in a tent theater called "Cine Puerto Rico".

1909 The Olmsted Amendment to the Foraker Act was passed by both houses of Congress, this act placed the supervision of Puerto Rican affairs in the jurisdiction of an executive department to be designated by the president. The legislation was a response to a governmental crisis in Puerto Rico in early 1909.

1912 On June 29, The Inter American University was established by the United Presbyterian Church. The IAU is a private, nonprofit institution. The system includes schools of law and optometry.

Rosendo Matienzo Cintrón, Manuel Zeno Gandía, Luis Llorens Torres, Eugenio Benítez Castaño, and Pedro Franceschi founded the Independence Party which was the first party in the history of the island to exclusively want Puerto Rican independence. Though short-lived, it established a precedent for future organizations with similar ideologies.

1914 The first Puerto Rican officers are assigned to the Executive Cabinet, allowing islanders a majority. The officers were Martin Travieso, Secretary, and Manuel V. Domenech, Commissioner of Interiors.

The first postal savings bank was opened in San Juan.

1915 A delegation from Puerto Rico, accompanied by the Gov. Arthur Yager, traveled to Washington in order to ask Congress to grant the island more autonomy.

1916 On December 5, the Jones Act is approved, with this law:
Puerto Rico becomes U.S. territory ("organized but unincorporated,")
U.S. nationalizes all Puerto Ricans as a citizens and allows Puerto Ricans to elect their legislature. As citizens, they were now allowed to join the army, only 300 rejected the citizenship and many others refused to join the army. During World War I, over 18,000 Puerto Ricans served.
Separated the three governmental powers: the legislative, the executive and the judicial.
A bill of rights was created.
Arranged that elections were to be celebrated every four years.

1917 On March 2, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones Act. Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States "organized but unincorporated," a bill of rights and also established a locally elected Senate and House of Representatives. In addition, it granted Puerto Ricans U.S. statutory citizenship, which means that Puerto Ricans were granted citizenship by act of Congress, not by the Constitution and citizenship is therefore not guaranteed by it. On the other hand, the Foraker Act still determined economic and fiscal aspects of government.

On May, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signs compulsory military service act into law. 20,000 islanders are drafted into World War I.

On July 6, the first elections under Jones Act were celebrated.

The Organic Act was approved. This gave the island a legislature (19 senators, 39 representatives) elected freely by the Puerto Rican people.

1918 "El Imparcial" newspaper was founded.

On October 11, an earthquake occurred, with an approximate magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale and was accompanied by a tsunami which got up to 6 meters (19.5 feet) high. The epicenter was located northwest of Aguadilla in the Mona Canyon (between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic), causing great damage and loss of life at Mayagüez, and lesser damage along the west coast. The tremors continued for several weeks.

1919 "El Mundo" newspaper was founded.

1920 Santiago Iglesias was elected senator, becoming the first Socialist senator, and marking the rise of the Socialist Party as a major party in insular politics.

1921 Emmet Montgomery Reilly was appointed governor of Puerto Rico. (1921-1923) Montgomery is one of the most hated governors.

1922 In the case of Balzac v. Porto Rico (258 U.S. 308) the U.S. Supreme Court declared that Puerto Rico was a territory rather than a part of the Union. The decision stated that the U.S. constitution did not apply in Puerto Rico.

On September 17, the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party was founded.

On December 2, the first radio station WKAQ was inaugurated.

1925 The construction on the Capitol Building began.

1928 On September 13, Hurricane Saint Phillip ("San Felipe") strikes the island.

Charles Lindbergh visited the island in his plane Spirit of St. Louis.

1929 With the Wall Street stock-market crash of 1929 precipitated the Great Depression, the worst economic downturn in the history of the United States. The depression had devastating effects on the island, creating widespread hunger and unemployment. Many banks couldn't continue to operate. Farmers fell into bankruptcy. The depression lasted over a decade.

On January 9, Pan Am Airline started the first flights to Miami.

The air mail service was inaugurated.

1930 Pedro Albizu Campos was elected president of the Nationalist Party.

1931 Hurricane Saint Nicholas strikes the island.

1932 On May 17, the Congress of United States approved a law to change back the name of the island Porto Rico, to its original name, Puerto Rico.

On September 30, Hurricane "San Ciprián" strikes the island. Two hundred people were killed, a thousand injured, and property damage reached $40,000,000.

1933 Blanton Winship was appointed Governor of Puerto Rico, Elisha Francis Riggs Chief of Police, and Robert A. Cooper Judge of the Tribunal of the United States in Puerto Rico.

The program for economic assistance known as Puerto Rican Emergency Relief Administration (PRERA) begins to be implemented.

Sixto Escobar became the first Puerto Rican to win a boxing championship of the National Boxing Association.

On May 9, cock fighting was legalized in Puerto Rico.

1934 Franklin D. Roosevelt visited the island.

1935 On May 28, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Puerto Rican Reconstruction Administration (PRRA), which provided for agricultural development, public works, and electrification of the island.

The Sixto Escobar Stadium was inaugurated.

1936 On February 23, Puerto Rican Nationalists Hiram Rosado and Elias Beauchamp, in retaliation for the University Massacre ("Masacre of Rio Piedras"), kill Police Chief Riggs in San Juan. They are captured and killed in the police headquarters of Old San Juan.

On July 31, Pedro Albizu Campos, Juan Antonio Corretjer, Clemente Soto Vélez and other Nationalists sentenced to 6-10 years in federal prison.

Women given full suffrage.

Bacardi y Compañía was established by the Bacardi family in Puerta de Tierra.

1937 At the beginning of "Nacionalista de Puerto Rico" Party parade, in Ponce, occurred as called "Masacre de Ponce" were 20 people are killed and 100 people are wounded.

Pedro Albizu Campos and other Nationalists are transferred out of Puerto Rico to serve time in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Mercedita airport in Ponce started operations.

President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed every October 12 as Christopher Columbus Day.

The Democratic Popular Party was founded, under the leadership of Luis Muñoz Marín.

The "Cervecería India" was inaugurated.

The United States Congress grants U.S. Citizenship to Puerto Rican Natives.

1941 United States began to establishes military bases in the islands of Culebra and Vieques.

Rexford Tugwell was assigned governor of Puerto Rico (1941-1946).

The Ponce Cement Corporation was founded and started operations in Ponce.

1942 The "Banco Gubernamental de Fomento" was founded.

Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company was established.

On May 11, the 188 Law was signed, the law regulates a industrial development program, better known as the "Manos a la Obra" (Hands to work), under the direction of pharmacist Teodoro Moscoso and the Industrial Company of the Development. ICD became the main promoter of the economic development in Puerto Rico.

1943 On April 2, U.S. Senator Tydings introduces bill to Congress calling for independence for Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Postal Service issued an stamp to commemorate the 450th anniversary of Columbus's landing on Puerto Rico.

1945 Puerto Ricans began to emigrate to United States. Looking for job and better economic situation.

1946 On July 7, Pan American Airlines starts non-stop flights to New York.

On July 21, President Harry Truman designates native born Jesús T. Piñero governor.

The Independent Party was founded.

The Caribbean National Forest, commonly known as "El Yunque" was designated an insular wildlife refuge.

1947 On August 5, United States Congress decides to allow Puerto Ricans to elect their governor, President Harry Truman signed the act.

1948 On August 4, U.S. grants Puerto Rico power to elect own Governor.

Pedro Albizu Campos was invited to speak at the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras by its students. The Rector Jaime Benitez is against the invitation. A strike is held in the University of Puerto Rico, which lead to violent police repression.

On August 15, gambling was legalized in Puerto Rico.

On October, Nationalists attempt to assassinate the governor. Guards resisted the attack, killing four of the five Nationalists. (Raimundo Diaz Pacheco, Domingo Hiraldo, Roberto Acevedo and Manuel Torres. Gregorio Hernandez was badly wounded.)

On November 2, the first governor was elected by the Puerto Ricans. Luis Muñoz Marin was elected, with 61.2% of the vote.

Luis Muñoz Marin campaigned for economic reforms and structural changes in the political relationship between the U.S. and islanders. Marin and other political leaders considered agricultural countries to be underdeveloped and industrial countries developed, manufacturing was seen as the means by which Puerto Rico could develop economically. As a consequence the government launched an industrialization program known as "Operation Bootstrap." Under this program the island was to become industrialized by providing labor locally, inviting investment of external capital, importing the raw materials, and exporting the finished products to the U.S. market.

The Statehood Republican Party was founded.

The Catholic University of Puerto Rico was founded. It has faculties of arts and humanities, science, education, business, and law.

Puerto Rico sends the first delegation to the Olympics.

1949 Caribe Hilton Hotel was inaugurated. (Fomento invested more than $7 million dollars.)

San Juan National Historic Site was established.

The first Health Center was founded in Adjuntas.

The first Social Security cards are issued.

On November 1, two Puerto Ricans from New York (nationalists) attempt to kill President Harry S. Truman at Blair House in Washington. One of the assailants and one White House policeman die.

1951 On July 4, the 600 Law was passed, giving Puerto Rico the right to establish a government with proper constitution.

1952 On March 3, the flag of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was officially adopted - based on a flag designed by a group of patriots in the year 1895.

On July 25, the New Constitution was approved by voters in a referendum in March, and Puerto Rico was proclaimed as Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

On November 4, Luis Muñoz Marín was re-elected governor to his second 4-year term, with 64.9% of the vote.

1953 The largest migration of Puerto Ricans to the United States mainland ocurred, with 69,124 emigrating (mostly to New York, New Jersey and Florida).

1954 First experimental transmissions of television occurred.

On March 1, Puerto Rican nationalists (Lolita Lebron, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Irvin Flores and Andres Figueroa) open fire in the U.S. House of Representatives, wounding five Congressmen. They are sentenced to 50 years imprisonment.

1955 On June 21, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture was founded.

The first Pueblo supermarket was established (located in Puerto Nuevo, San Juan).

1956 On August 12, Hurricane Saint Clare strikes the island.

On November 6, Luis Muñoz Marín was re-elected governor to his third 4-year term, with 62.5% of the vote.

1957 The "El Comandante" horse race track was inaugurated.

The first Pablo Casals Music Festival took place in University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras.

1959 Bacardi y Compañía was moved to Cataño.

Ponce Art Museum was inaugurated.

The San Juan Star newspaper was founded.

1960 On November 8, Luis Muñoz Marín was re-elected to his fourth 4-year term with 58.2% of the vote.

1961 President John F. Kennedy visited the island.

Rita Moreno wins an Oscar for her acting performance in the motion picture West Side Story.

The newspaper San Juan Star wins the Pulitzer prize under the category of Journalism and Editorial Writing. William J. Dorvillier obtained the prize for his editorials on clerical interference in the 1960 gubernatorial election in Puerto Rico.

1963 Roberto Sanchéz Vilella was elected governor.

Observatory of Arecibo was inaugurated (the world largest radio telescope of its type).

1964 On November 3, Roberto Sanchez Vilella was elected governor, with 59.2% of the vote.

1965 Pedro Albizu Campos leader of the Nationalist Party dies.

1966 The shopping mall "Plaza Las Americas" was inaugurated, the largest shopping center in central and South America.

1967 On July 23, first plebiscite on the political status of Puerto Rico is held. Voters overwhelmingly affirm continuation of Commonwealth status. Commonwealth 60%
Statehood 39%
Independence 1%

On November 5, Luis A. Ferré, leader of a pro-statehood party, was elected governor, with 43.6% of the vote, becoming the first time a pro-statehood governor has received a majority.

The New Progressive Party was founded.

Formal research efforts to save the endangered Puerto Rican parrot began in the Forest with collaboration of U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the PR Department of Natural Resources and the World Wildlife Fund.

1969 On March 16, José Feliciano wins a Grammy.

1970 On May 18, "El Nuevo Día" newspaper was founded.

Marisol Malaret wins the Miss Universe Pageant.

1971 United States army takes possession of almost all of Culebra Island.

President Richard Nixon declared Christopher Columbus day a federal public holiday on the 2nd Monday in October.

1972 The Puerto Rican Socialist Party was founded.

On November 7, Rafael Hernández Colón was elected governor, with 50.7% of thw vote, becoming the youngest elected governor, at age 36.

Roberto Clemente a baseball player with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who was declared the league's Most Valuable Player in 1966 died in a plane accident.

1973 On March 5, Luís Aponte Martínez became the first Puerto Rican Cardinal .

Roberto Clemente was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

1974 For the sake of controlling the costs of the marine transport in the island, the administration of Rafael Hernandez Colon decided to buy by $176 million the operations of the marine company Is Land to form Navieras de Puerto Rico

On January 24, a bomb set off in historical Fraunces Tavern, New York City, killed four and injured more than 50 persons. Puerto Rican nationalist group (FALN) claimed responsibility and police tied 13 other bombings to it.

Igneri and pre-Taíno ruins found at Tibes, north of Ponce.

1976 On November 2, Carlos Romero Barceló was elected governor, with 48.3% of the vote.

The 936 section of the United States Internal Revenue Tax Code was implemented. This new code allowed American companies to make profit in the island without paying taxes. Banks on the island experienced an unprecedented growth. About 100,000 Puerto Ricans were directly dependent on employment generated by Section 936 companies.

The "Ateneo Puertorriqueño" was founded.

1978 On March 22, Karl Wallenda died while crossing a wire between two hotels in San Juan, he is knocked off balance by a gust of wind and fell to his death ten stories below.

On July 25, The "Cerro Maravilla" incident took place. Police officers were responsible for the death in execution manner of two pro-independence men.

1979 Pan-American Games are held in San Juan.

On September 6, President James Carter grants executive clemency, freeing Nationalists; Lolita Lebrón, Andrés Figueroa Cordero, Rafael Cancel Miranda and Irving Flores, who were in prison since 1954.

1980 On April 30, Luis Muñoz Marín founder of the Popular Democratic Party and first elected governor of Puerto Rico dies.

On November 4, Carlos Romero Barceló was re-elected governor, to his second 4-year term with 47.2% of the vote, securing his election by only 0.2% over Rafael Hernández Colón.

The U.S. Congress recommends the Navy leave Vieques.

1981 On January 11, the "Macheteros" blow up 11 jet fighters of Puerto Rico's National Guard near San Juan.

1983 San Juan National Historic Site declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations.

The "Renovación Puertorriqueña" Party was founded.

1984 On October, The Pope, Juan Pablo II visited the island.

On November 6, Rafael Hernández Colón was elected governor, with 47.8% of the vote.

1985 Deborah Carthy Deu wins the Miss Universe Pageant.

1986 On December 31, a tragic fire took place at the Dupont Plaza Hotel, in San Juan, 97 persons died.

1987 On October 1st, Ileana Colón Carlo became first woman comptroller in Puerto Rican politics.

1988 On November 8, Rafael Hernández Colón was re-elected governor to his second 4-year term with 48.7% of the vote.

1989 On September 18, Hurricane Hugo strikes the island as it cuts a path of destruction across the Caribbean.

1990 The U.S. Postal Service issued an commemorative stamp potraying Luis Muñoz Marín.

1991 In an island wide vote, Puerto Ricans reject an amendment that would have "reviewed" their commonwealth status.

Puerto Rico declares Spanish the only official language of the island.

Puerto Rico receives the Asturias Award from Spain for declaring Spanish the official language.

The LOTO was inaugurated.

1992 The government sold 80% of the stock in "Telefónica Larga Distancia de Puerto Rico" to "Telefónica Internacional de España" for more than $140 million dollars.

Pedro Roselló was elected governor.

Tall ships from all over the world come to celebrate the Christopher Columbus Grand Regatta in old San Juan as part of the festivities of the Fifth Centenary of the Discovery of the New World.

Kumagai Gumi Company, a Japanese firm, backed by the Mitsubishi Bank, joined in a 50% share of the $225 million development of the "El Conquistador" Resort in Fajardo.

1993 Law Number 1 of 1993 declares English and Spanish as the official languages of Puerto Rico.

On April 6, Act Number 5, known as Executive Reorganization Act of 1993 was approved. The act established reorganization plans for the following sectors: Security, Correctional procedures, Natural resources, Agricultural activities, Industrial activities, Human resources, Public finance and Family and community services.

The government began an experimental project to provide basic health care services to the poor. The plan, known as "La Tarjeta de Salud".

Dayanara Torres wins the Miss Universe Pageant.

XVII Centro American and Caribbean Games are held in the island.

Major League Baseball player Orlando Cepeda was inducted into the Puerto Rico Sports Hall of Fame.

In the Referendum, Commonwealth status was reaffirmed by voters.
Statehood.......... 788,296 (46.3%)
Commonwealth....... 826,326 (48.6%)
Independence........ 75,620 ( 4.4%)
Nulls............... 10,748 ( 0.7%)

The U.S. Postal Service issued an stamp to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus's landing on Puerto Rico.

On March 5, Navieras de Puerto Rico was sold, due to considerable amount of company generated losses (around $375 million). The public corporation was acquired by the organization Bankers Trust Investment Partners by $29,5 million in cash and $102,9 million that assumed in current liabilities.

Hurricane Marilyn strikes the island.

1996 On July 8, Hurricane Bertha strikes the island.
CNN Report July 8
CNN Report July 9
CNN Report July 10

On August 20, the U.S. Congress repealed Section 936 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, with a clause that retains its benefit for ten years of existing corporations. Section 30A was created to substitute Section 936. It essentially retains the wage credit component of Section 936.

On November 4, Pedro Roselló was re-elected to his second 4-year term with 51.8% of the vote, the largest margin of any pro-statehood governor in Puerto Rico history.

1996 On September 9, Hurricane Hortense strikes the island, killing five people and knocking out electricity to 85 percent of the island

1997 U.S. Congress introduced Project Young, to provide a process leading to full self-government for Puerto Rico. (introduced Feb. 27 by Rep. Don Young, H.R.856)

1998 The Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC) was sold to GTE and a group of local investors for $2,250 million.

Caribe Hilton, located in San Juan, has been sold by the government to Hilton International.

On September 21, Hurricane George with 120 mph winds strikes the island, killing 7 people and leaving more than 24,000 in shelters. Virtually the entire island was left without electricity (99.5%), most without water service (77%) and without phone services (25%). President Clinton on Monday declared Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands disaster areas, authorizing immediate release of federal recovery aid. Damage estimated at $2 billion.

On September 29, in a show of commitment to help the victims of hurricane Georges, U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton travels on Tuesday to typhoon-ravaged Puerto Rico.

On December 13, In a non-binding referendum, which offered Puerto Rican voters will have five choices, which included: (1) remaining a U.S. commonwealth, (2) entering into a "free association" with the United States that would be somewhere between commonwealth and independence, (3) becoming a state, (4) declaring independence, and (5) or none of the above. The option 5 "none of the above" obtained the majority of votes.
Option Votes Percent
1 993 0.06%
2 4536 0.29%
3 728157 46.49%
4 39838 2.54%
5 787900 50.30%
Others 4846 0.31%

1999 On June 27, the first heart transplant was accomplished.

On August 8, President Bill Clinton offers clemency to 16 Puerto Rican independence activists.

On September 11, eleven Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) members responsible for a wave of bombings across the United States (New York and Chicago) in the 1970s and 1980s have been released from Federal prisons after accepting a controversial clemency offer from President Bill Clinton.

On November 17, Hurricane Lenny strikes the island.

2000 On November 7, Sila M. Calderon was elected governor (Puerto Rico's first female governor).
Party Votes Percent
Sila M. Calderon (PPD) 812,277 48.8%
Carlos I. Pesquera (PNP) 758,998 45.6%
Ruben Berrios Martinez (PIP) 86,398 5.3%
Others 7,887 0.5%

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