Your PR Guide :: A Top 10 Lista


Here is your brief guide to Puerto Rico. Answering all the questions you never really had about US’s favorite commonwealth.




What is Puerto Rico exactly?

Puerto Rico is officially a “commonwealth” of the United States. Since no one really knows what a commonwealth is (why do I think of Virginia?), the Spanish translation is far more helpful: Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico – the associated free state of Puerto Rico.


It’s a free state in the sense Puerto Rico can elect its own Governor. It’s associated in the fact that the US runs the show. That’s why you don’t need a passport to travel there. It’s part of Los Estados Unidos.




In PR there is an on-going debate. Should Puerto Rico be the 51st state? Should it be its own country? Hey Congress…. Pick a lane already!


Both Obama and Romney have promised to support the idea of statehood… if that’s what the citizens of Puerto Rico want. Yeah. Not likely. This can will be kicked down the road until BP finds oil off the coast of San Juan.




How did the US obtain Puerto Rico?

The usual way. Columbus landed on it, claimed it for Spain, and then made all the natives slaves. The introduction of European diseases pretty much wiped out the rest of the indigenous Taínos. Spain owned PR for 400 years until it ceded it to the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American War.




What does Puerto Rico mean?


Scrooge McDuck is rich. So is Puerto wine.


Puerto Rico means “rich port.” It’s location in the Atlantic made San Juan an important port city when transversing The Pond. Puerto Rico is often referred to as Borinquen, which comes from Borikén, the original name of the island given by the Taíno people, the indigenous population of Puerto Rico. (See below for more on Borinquen)


Puerto Rico is also known as “La Isla de Encanto.” It’s a Spanish Twin-laden phrase meaning “Island of Enchantment.” As for La Isla Bonita? The pretty island?


That’s a Madonna song. Different place.






Where is Puerto Rico?








How big is Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico is 3500 square miles. It’s roughly 3x the size of Rhode Island (1200 square miles), but smaller than Connecticut (5500 square miles).





How many people live in Puerto Rico?

3.7M people. About the size of Los Angeles proper.




How many Puerto Ricans live in the US?

Almost a million more Puerto Ricans live in the US than in Puerto Rico. New York is the largest home to the Puerto Rican community. Puerto Ricans born in New York are referred to as Nuyorican. And no, the Puerto Rican/Nuyorican community wasn’t amused when their flag was burned in a Seinfeld episode.




Philadelphia hosts the second largest PR community following NY. After Mexicans (nearly 70%), Puerto Ricans are the second largest Hispanic group in the US with about 9%.




What does “Boricua” mean? Wasn’t it in a rap song?

Boricua stems from the indiginous word Borikén, which was the original name for Puerto Rico. Boricua is used to describe someone from Puerto Rico and was highlighted in the rap song “Boricua, Morena” by Nore featuring Daddy Yankee.

If you don’t like naughty words, don’t watch the video.







What’s the Puerto Rican flag look like?

Puerto Rico’s flag looks an awful lot like the Cuban flag. This is because they were designed together. Puerto Rico had close ties to its island neighbor but coordinated the blue triangle and red stripes to match the American flag, given its “commonwealth” status to the US.





Gimme the US Weekly Puerto Rican Rundown….

Geraldo Rivera, J. Lo, Marc Anthony, Benicio Del Toro, Rosario Dawson, Rosie Perez, Jimmy Smits, and Erik Estrada, to name a few.


Choose your own caption.

Bradley Hartmann is founder and el presidente at Red Angle (, a Spanish language training firm focused on the construction industry. He’s been to Puerto Rico. It was nice.

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