Title: The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Population: 3,142,779

Population Change: -2.47

National Average Age: 44

Urban Percentage:

Christian Population: 3,878,000

Christian Percentage: 97

Introduction: Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island and unincorporated U.S. territory with a landscape of mountains waterfalls and the El Yunque tropical rainforest. In San Juan the capital and largest city the Isla Verde area is known for its hotel strip beach bars and casinos. Its Old San Juan neighborhood features colorful Spanish colonial buildings and El Morro and La Fortaleza massive centuries-old fortresses.

Overview: Populated for centuries by aboriginal peoples the island was claimed by the Spanish Crown in 1493 following Christopher COLUMBUS' second voyage to the Americas. In 1898 after 400 years of colonial rule that saw the indigenous population nearly exterminated and African slave labor introduced Puerto Rico was ceded to the US as a result of the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship in 1917. Popularly-elected governors have served since 1948. In 1952 a constitution was enacted providing for internal self government. In plebiscites held in 1967 1993 and 1998 voters chose not to alter the existing political status with the US but the results of a 2012 vote left open the possibility of American statehood.