The city of San Juan was for a long time known as Puerto Rico or Rich Port. At some point in history, the names switched.
San Juan was founded on 1508, like almost all original settlements, it was moved to its current location on 1521 on the Island of Isla Grande. The Spanish really wanted to protect Puerto Rico because of its strategic location so they completely walled the island of Isla Grande, with strategic forts located at each corner, and miniforts all over the place. It really is quite an awe of military engineering. At one point they even had a chain that stretched across the entrance of the bay, and as protective / delaying tactic, it would be raised and stop ships from entering the bay.
The Spanish did leave a lot in Puerto Rico, their culture, their language, they brought a lot of slaves, etc. But they also held tight control on Puerto Rico, on how it should develop, on what was right and wrong. This however led to well-planned cities. There is a lot of ways to look at it.
The sentiment among the people was we should be independent. And the time came when Spain ceaded, and began the transition process from colony to independent nation. Then the Spanish-American war happened. And since then, so many things have happened.
The US treated us just like a colony. And yet, in some ways it was good. You see in the 1900's the US was really socialist.
They expanded education and health to every corner of the Island. English was mandatory, but after awhile people weren't really that enthused to teach it anyways. They helped establish our first state university. They poured money into everything, buildings, roads, and especially military bases (just like the Spanish).
Then in 1950's, everything changed, again. The US gave PRicans almost all rights as state residents, except the right to vote for a president and representation in Senate and House, and the Puerto Rican constitution was written. The US also began the downward spiral into anti-socialism. For the next 50 years, Puerto Rico would start turning upside down again.
The public rail-based transportation system was allowed to die. The private automobile began to turn into a necessity for living on the Island. And today, there are 4 million cars for the 3.9 million people. They insist on expanding the highway system.
Public schools are still in every municipality, and they may offer courses as good as they are stateside, but the dropout rate is just depressing and we have not seen the social benefits (such as reduced crime) that come with proper education, so crime is in effect a sign of the disfunction of the education system. Private schools are disgustingly expensive, but offer a much better education.
Public health system is well,... No comment. I remember in 1995, fearing having to go to the doctor for vaccines. They were free at the state clinic. It was an average place, but the flu shots were free. Then Roselló came and gave the public hospitals over to the private corporations. The Reform, as it is known, has turned out to be much more expensive than originally intended. Anyways, turns out depending on which shot I get, the cost ranges from $50 to $137 (TPD).
It saddens me to see Puerto Rico have made so much progress and then have it turn its back on its people, on its Constitution, on its core beliefs. The US has done a lot for Puerto Rico, but people have to remember that we are Americans too, and so many Puerto Ricans have fought our wars, and served the country.
A little bit of education before the photos get posted.
This was my introduction post for Puerto Rico.