I am a Puerto Rican. I was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico as were my parents. At the tender age of three I was living in New York. My mother migrated there looking for a new start. Since I was raised in New York for most of my life, I consider myself affectionately as a Nuyorican. I learned to speak Spanish, the native language of Puerto Rico primarily from my mother who only spoke Spanish in the house. When my mom remarried, my new father spoke spoke both English and Spanish -- so we had the best of both worlds and speaking both languages was instilled in me naturally.
I have an affinity to Puerto Rico, New York and Georgia. I moved to Georgia in 1992 so it's been my home for a long time.
The world is a large place and there are many people who don't know much about Puerto Rico, so I enjoy sharing. First, Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico (Spanish for "rich port") is an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona. With around 3.6 million people, it ranks third in population among that group of four islands, which include Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Jamaica. The capital and largest city is San Juan. Due to its location, Puerto Rico has a tropical climate and is subject to hot weather all-year-round. The national language is Spanish but English is recognized as an official language as well.
Originally populated for centuries by the aboriginal people known as Taíno, the island was claimed by Christopher Columbus for Spain during his second voyage to the Americas on November 19, 1493. Like Cuba, Puerto Rico remained a Spanish colony until 1898. Despite the Laws of Burgos of 1512 and other decrees for the protection of Indians, some Taíno peoples were forced into slavery in the early years of colonization. Others suffered high fatalities from epidemics of European infectious diseases.
During the four centuries of Spanish rule, the island's culture and physical landscape were transformed. European knowledge, customs and traditions were introduced, namely Christianity, the Spanish language, and advances of European civilization such as agriculture, construction in stone, Since the beginning of Puerto Rico's colonization by Spain in 1508, the inhabitants of Puerto Rico were Spanish citizens. For over 400 years, Puerto Rico remained Spanish territory despite attempts to capture the island by the French, Dutch, and the British.
On November 25, 1897, Spain's central government in Madrid granted the island the Autonomic Charter, giving the Province of Puerto Rico more sovereignty over its local affairs. Thus, Puerto Rico became an overseas autonomous province in full equality with the other provinces of the Spanish nation. But in 1898, Spain was forced by the United States to cede the island following the Spanish–American War, under the terms of the Treaty of Paris.
In 1917, the U.S. granted citizenship to Puerto Ricans. In 1948, Puerto Ricans were given the right to elect their own governor. In 1952, under request by the United States, a local territorial constitution was adopted and ratified by the electorate. Under the tenets of the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act, residents of the island are still subject to the plenary jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress. As of 2014, Puerto Rico remains a U.S. territory, even though this territorial status was asked to be eliminated by a majority vote (54% of the electorate) with the island's latest plebiscite in 2012.
I love Puerto Rico although I haven't lived there for many, many years. Consider visiting it if you have not had the pleasure. It is a wonderful vacation spot. Hispanic Heritage Month inspired me to paint Taino Origin in honor of my roots.
Julie Crisan is a self-taught artist. She enjoys painting abstracts and folk art primarily using acrylic on canvas. Her art comes framed and ready to hang for your enjoyment. Her mission is to beautify the world one wall at a time and she hopes that by keeping her work affordable it will be within budget of anyone who enjoys collecting original paintings.