American troops raise U.S. flag in Puerto Rico, Oct. 18, 1898

Puerto Rico en Fotos on Twitter: "La bandera de Estados Unidos es izada en San Juan, tras la invasión norteamericana en Puerto Rico 1898. ...

Puerto Rico en Fotos on Twitter: “La bandera de Estados Unidos es izada en San Juan, tras la invasión norteamericana en Puerto Rico 1898. …

By ANDREW GLASS

On this day in 1898, as the Spanish-American War drew to a close, U.S. troops raised the stars and stripes in Puerto Rico, signifying that the former Spanish colony had come under U.S. control. Gen. Nelson Miles had landed some 3,500 U.S. troops on the island on July 25. On Dec. 10, the former combatants signed the Treaty of Paris, formally ending the war.

In the early 1880s, Puerto Ricans began to agitate for an independent government. They reached their goal in 1897, the year before Spain ceded the island to the United States.

In 1917, Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory. Since then, it has been an unincorporated, organized territory of the United States with commonwealth status. Migration from rural to metropolitan areas rose during the 20th century as industry supplanted agriculture in the island economy. Beginning in the 1920s, Puerto Ricans began to leave the island in large numbers to seek work in mainland cities.
Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Popularly elected governors have served in Puerto Rico since 1948. The 1952 constitution provides for internal self-government. Congress maintains jurisdiction over the territory under the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act of 1950.
Four plebiscites have been held since the late 20th century to resolve its political status. In the most recent referendum, held in 2012, 54 percent differed with “the present form of territorial status,” with full statehood as the preferred option among those who voted for a change of status.
Subsequently, Puerto Rico’s Legislative Assembly enacted a concurrent resolution requesting the president and the Congress end the current status and begin the process of admitting Puerto Rico to the union as the 51st state.
Its residents currently elect a nonvoting delegate to Congress. They also participate in Republican and Democratic presidential primaries and in the party’s quadrennial national political conventions.
SOURCE: U.S. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

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