History - Part 2

1898 -- The Spanish American War comes to an end and it is officially announced that Puerto Rico has been ceded to the United States. The Treaty of Paris is signed, officially concluding the war.

1902 -- The United States officially makes Puerto Rico a territory.

1903 -- January 17, Luquillo Forest Reserve, known on the island as "El Yunque," becomes the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System.

1939 -- U.S. Military presence is first seen on the island of Vieques when 27,000 acres are bought by the Navy.

1940 -- Passage of the 1940 U.S. Nationality Act grants that anybody born on Puerto Rico after that date is considered natural born U.S. citizens. Congress also amended the statute on naturalization, expanding it to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican's citizenship is protected under the 14th amendment.

1945 -- Officially U.S. citizens, many Puerto Ricans emigrate to the U.S. to take advantage of the better economic opportunities.

1948 -- First time Puerto Rico participates in the Olympics.

1950 -- Public Act 600, signed by Harry S. Truman, allows Puerto Ricans to create their own constitution, changing Puerto Rico's status from protectorate to commonwealth.

1952 -- New Puerto Rican Constitution is approved by voters, leading to official recognition the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, but the island still remains a territory of the United States.

1967 -- First vote on Puerto Rico's political status is held. Sixty percent voted to stay a Commonwealth, while only 39 percent voted for statehood.

1993 -- Law Number 1 makes both English and Spanish the official languages of Puerto Rico. Voters favor Commonwealth status once again in a Referendum.

1997 -- Project Young is introduced the U.S. Congress, which will provide a process to a full self-government for Puerto Rico.

1998 -- Puerto Ricans voted in a non-binding referendum:

1999 -- U.S. Marine jets on a training flight in Vieques, dropped bombs and miss their targets, killing a civilian and injuring four other people. Protesters occupy U.S. Navy Range at Vieques.

2001 -- President George W. Bush orders a stop to Navy bombing exercises on Vieques. Clean up will take several decades and will cost hundreds of millions.

2006 -- An estimated $740 million deficit forces schools and government offices to shut down for two weeks. The crisis, caused by disagreements between the legislature and the government over a spending plan, leaves approximately 100,000 public employees without pay and more than 1,600 schools are closed.

Act No. 117 implements a sales tax to deal with the deficit.