Puerto Rico has a history that includes the pre-Columbian era, the Spanish colonization of the island, and its present-day relationship with the United States. I will only go briefly into the most important dates that have made the most impact on the island's history.

XV Century -- The Taíno indians, a group of Arawaks who emigrated from South America, are the only inhabitants on the island. They are a peaceful people who were spread out through most of the island prior to the arrival of Columbus.

1493 -- Columbus, on his second voyage, lands on the island on November 19th. He and his crew found approximately 50,000 Taínos living on the island at the time

1510 -- Tension between the Spanish and the Taínos begin to escalate.

1511 -- The Taínos attempt a revolt that failed. Under the orders of Ponce de León, 6,000 Taínos are shot.

1513 -- Slaves reach Puerto Rico.

1514 -- Mona Island is officially part of Puerto Rico.

1519 -- The main Government of the island is moved from Villa de Caparra to San Juan.

1530 -- Sugar is king. It becomes the most important crop and fuels the island's economy.

1539 -- Spain begins to defend the island because of increasing potential of an attack from European enemies. Construction begins on San Felipe del Morro Castle, which has become a symbol of the island.

1765 -- A census is conducted and it is concluded that the population has reached 44,883, with slaves making up 11.2 percent.

1770 -- Cockfighting begins on the island.

1797 -- Spain and France declare war on England. British forces attempt to take over the island but are repelled.

1809 -- Puerto Rico gains the right to vote for someone to represent the island in the Spanish Cortes.

1845 -- Census is conducted. Whites=216,083, Free colored=175,791 and Slaves=51,265, making the total population 443,139.

1854 -- Vieques officially becomes part of Puerto Rico.

1868 -- "El Grito de Lares" (The Lares Revolt) - Hundreds of men and women revolted against Spain in a cry for Puerto Rico's independence. It took place in Lares, which later became a haven for revolutionaries.

1873 -- Slavery is abolished on the island.

1876 -- Spain names El Yunque, Puerto Rico's rainforest, a forest reserve.

1891 -- The railroad is inaugurated.

1895 -- The Puerto Rican Flag is adopted on December 22nd.

>> continue on to History Part 2