Monthly Archives: March 2013

Puerto Rico Report

Puerto Rico
By Ian Henderson

Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States of America. It is in the Caribbean Sea in a group of three large islands. The islands are called Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra (we lived in Culebra for two months!). The population of Puerto Rico was 3,706,691 people in 2012! Puerto Rico has some weird things and some really cool things. Now let’s explore!

Puerto Rico is between the Virgin Islands and the island of Hispaniola, which is split in two by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It is about 800 miles southeast of Florida. We traveled to Puerto Rico from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. It turns out that compared to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas is practically a speck! The latitude and longitude coordinates of Puerto Rico are 18 degrees 15 minutes north and 66 degrees 30 minutes west. Try to guess how far away Puerto Rico is from Maine. It’s 1,877 miles away! South America is actually five hundred miles away across the Caribbean Sea!

Puerto Rico was inhabited by the Taíno Indians hundreds of years ago. The Taíno called the island Borikén (which means land of the lords). The Taíno were living peacefully among the animals all over the island of Puerto Rico. Then in 1493 on his second voyage Christopher Columbus discovered Puerto Rico. In the year 1508 Ponce de Leon the conquistador, also one of the men on Columbus’ second voyage, came to Puerto Rico to build a safe haven for ships bringing gold to Spain and to search for gold. It was eventually annexed by the U.S.A when we took it over in the Spanish-American war in 1898.

When Spain initially took over Puerto Rico they did not colonize it, but used it for military uses as a port to protect gold ships. They didn’t colonize it till later around 1512 creating sugar plantations and growing other cash crops. They didn’t have anyone to do the work for them so they captured the indians that where being nice to them and giving them gold! They took the indians and enslaved them and soon the indians died of diseases like small pox. So the Spanish brought over Africans to do the work because they were used to the germs that the Spanish had so they used them instead. However, less Africans were brought to Puerto Rico than other Caribbean Islands.

In 1898 Puerto Rico was taken over by the USA in the Spanish-American war. It was a quick take over. The U.S fired at the Spanish with heavily armored battle ships but the Spanish only had the old musty cannons from when Ponce de Leon was in charge so, they were easily defeated.

Today Puerto Rico is a territory owned by the USA. Most people still speak Spanish at home and at work. Almost everyone speaks some English, and the richer Puerto Ricans are often bilingual. The people are a mixture of Spanish, Taíno, African descent. There has also been a lot of mixing with people from the USA. The food is also inspired by African, American, Taíno, and Spanish cuisine. For example, the African slaves influenced deep fried food. Rice and beans is a very common dish.

I have observed and found the wonders of this land… including El Yunque, Old San Juan, and Culebra (see earlier posts). I hope that you will come here after reading this essay. Puerto Ricans are very welcoming! Personally I think it’s very interesting that they are so happy to have more strangers on their little island but I also think its a little weird.

Ian Henderson

Bwag

March 2-3

5 hours…… 5 hours can you believe it 5 hours. I know its insanely crazy! We woke up at 6 a.m. and left for Puerto Rico. Let me just tell you that this blog is a lot more boring then it sounds. Of course passage was so boring it was scary. But we did a- lot of home schooling and fishing we caught four barracuda and a little tunny, which is a type of fish also called a bonito.

Then we got to the marina that we were headed for. We unloaded and found kids my friends were Seth & Calvin. we played all sorts of stuff but eventually we got to use a motorized scooter. What you do is push a button on the bottom of the scooter that you push to start it. Then like a normal scooter you push with your legs about three times, then you put the motor on and it will go by motor for a few minutes.

Today we saw our friends real quick in the morning but we had to leave by ten o’clock. As usual, passage was very boring and we did home schooling and I took a nap. When we got to our destination (Caja de Muerto which means box of the dead) I started writing this.

Ian

Gone…. gone forever….

March 1, 2013

Remember me!?! Well after spending all this time in Culebra we are finally leaving! Amazing isn’t it? I feel happy about leaving, but also I’m sort’ve sad. I mean I think I’m gonna miss this place. Ya’ know? With my friends and stuff……….. Oh! and the insane craziness. I remember when we first came here and I only knew like two people in the whole school. I remember how I slowly gained respect and became known throughout the school. And I remember when Jonatan, Edjan and I, had an iPod + a portable speaker. We started dancing through the hallways then some more kids joined. More, and more kept joining in, until about half the school was parading through the hallways, which are open air. Yep those were the good old days. Even today was pretty awesome it was just a normal school day except we only had two classes and at the end of the day we had a big going away party it was pretty bossome. But I’ve got friends waiting for me in Maine. Main island of Puerto Rico here I come!

Ian