Puerto Rico (/ / or / /, Spanish pronunciation: [pʷeɾto ˈriko]), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Spanish: Estado Libre Asociado de 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") comprises 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. The main island of Puerto Rico is the smallest by land area of the Greater Antilles. It ranks third in population among that group of four islands, which include Cuba, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), and Jamaica. Due to its location, Puerto Rico enjoys a tropical climate and is subject to the Atlantic hurricane season. Official languages of the island are Spanish and English, with Spanish being the primary language.
North America is the third largest continent, and is also a portion of the second largest supercontinent if North and South America are combined into the Americas and Africa, Europe, and Asia are considered to be part of one supercontinent called Afro-Eurasia. With an estimated population of 460 million and an area of 24,346,000 km² (9,400,000 mi²), the northernmost of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west; the Atlantic Ocean on the east; the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and South America on the south; and the Arctic Ocean on the north. The northern half of North America is sparsely populated and covered mostly by Canada, except for the northwestern portion which is occupied by Alaska, the largest state of the U.S. The central and southern portions of the continent are represented by the United States, Mexico, and numerous smaller states primarily in Central America and in the Caribbean. The continent is delimited on the southeast by most geographers at the Darién watershed along the Colombia-Panama border, placing all of Panama within North America. Alternatively, a less common view would end North America at the man-made Panama Canal. Islands generally associated with North America include Greenland, the world's largest island, and archipelagos and islands in the Caribbean. The terminology of the Americas is complex, but "Anglo-America" can describe Canada and the U.S., while "Latin America" comprises Mexico and the countries of Central America and the Caribbean, as well as the entire continent of South America.
Natural features of North America include the northern portion of the American Cordillera, represented by the geologically new Rocky Mountains in the west; and the considerably older Appalachian Mountains to the east. The north hosts an abundance of glacial lakes formed during the last glacial period, including the Great Lakes. North America's major continental divide is the Great Divide, which runs north and south down through Rocky Mountains. The major watersheds all drain to the east: The Mississippi/Missouri and Rio Grande into the Gulf of Mexico, and St. Lawrence into the Atlantic.
The geography of Puerto Rico describes an archipelago located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands. The main island of Puerto Rico is the smallest and most eastern of the Greater Antilles. With an area of 3,515 square miles (9,104 km2), it is the third largest island in the United States and the 82nd largest island in the world. Various smaller islands and cays, including Vieques, Culebra, Mona, Desecheo, and Caja de Muertos comprise the remainder of the archipelago with only Culebra and Vieques being inhabited year-round. Mona is uninhabited through large parts of the year except for employees of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources.
The mainland measures some 96 nautical miles (110.5 mi; 177.8 km) by 35 nautical miles (40.3 mi; 64.8 km), an area slightly less than three times the size of the U.S. state of Rhode Island. It is mostly mountainous with large coastal areas in the north and south regions of the island. Some popular beaches on the north-west side of the island are Jobos Beach, Maria's Beach, Domes Beach and Sandy Beach. The main mountainous range is called La Cordillera Central (The Central Range). The highest elevation point of Puerto Rico, Cerro de Punta (4,390 feet or 1,338 meters), is located in this range. Another important peak is El Yunque, located in the Sierra de Luquillo at the El Yunque National Forest, with a maximum elevation of 3,494 feet (1,065 m). The capital, San Juan, is located on the main island's north coast.
The current political status of Puerto Rico is the result of various political activities within both the United States and Puerto Rican governments. Politically, Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States which according to the U.S. Supreme Court's Insular Cases is "a territory appurtenant and belonging to the United States, but not a part of the United States." The basic question regarding this issue is whether Puerto Rico should remain a U.S. territory, become a U.S. state or become an independent country.
American and Puerto Rican political activities regarding the status question have revolved around three sets of initiatives: presidential executive orders, bills in the U. S. Congress, and referenda held in Puerto Rico. U. S. Presidents have issued three executive orders on the subject, and Congress has considered some four major bills related to the Puerto Rico political status question. Puerto Rican status referenda have been held four times to determine the desired political status of Puerto Rico in relation to the United States of America. At the November 6, 2012, non-binding referendum on the status question, 54% of respondents voted to reject the current status under the territorial clause of the U.S. Constitution, while in a second question 61% favored statehood as the preferred alternative.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Puerto Rico:
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a self-governing unincorporated territory of the United States of America located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands. The commonwealth comprises an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands and keys, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona. The main island of Puerto Rico is the least extensive but the third most populous of the four Greater Antilles: Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico.
San Juan is Spanish for Saint John. It can also be the short version of San Juan Bautista (John the Baptist).
In English, the name most commonly refers to the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The United States of America (USA), commonly referred to as the United States (US), America, or simply the States, is a federal republic consisting of 50 states, 16 territories, a federal district, and various overseas extraterritorial jurisdictions. The 48 contiguous states and the federal district of Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) in total and with around 316 million people, the United States is the fourth-largest country by total area and third largest by population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife.
Paleo-indians migrated from Asia to what is now the US mainland around 15,000 years ago, with European colonization beginning in the 16th century. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard. Disputes between Great Britain and these colonies led to the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies unanimously issued the Declaration of Independence. The ensuing war ended in 1783 with the recognition of independence of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and was the first successful war of independence against a European colonial empire. The current Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. The first 10 amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and guarantee many fundamental civil rights and freedoms.