Puerto Rico is an island located in the Caribbean

Puerto Rico
is an island located in the Caribbean Sea in the West Indies. It is an
incorporated territory of the United States of America. The first white man to
set foot on the island was the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus, who
declared the name of the island to be San Juan. However, when gold was
discovered in the river, the name of the island changed to Puerto Rico, Spanish
for rich port.’ Puerto Rico was colonized by the Spanish until 1898, when it came under the dominion of the
United States. However, even in this state, it is still largely a
self-governing state. The island came under the rule of the United States,
because, during the Spanish-American war the United States had invaded it, not
only because it was a Spanish territory, but also because it was a hub for
growing sugar. After the United States promised to fight for the liberty and
freedom of the Islanders, Puerto Ricans joined their war effort by attacking Spanish-owned
enterprises. However, when the Spaniards were kicked out of the island, instead
of keeping their promise of restoring Puerto Rican dignity and liberty, the
Americans stayed put and installed a colonial system, thus supplanting the
parliamentary system the Puerto Ricans had hoped would be their system of
choice, and whose members had been democratically-elected by the Puerto Ricans.

During its
expansion in the 19th Century, the United States had created
incorporated territories such as Colorado, with the view that residents of
these places would eventually gain American citizenship. However, Congress
blocked such a move for the Puerto Ricans, arguing that people from territories
formerly under Spanish rule were ‘aliens’ who would never be able to understand
Anglo-Saxon systems. Thus, the Puerto Ricans stayed in this limbo where the
neither had their full independence nor were they citizens of the United States
of America until 1917 when they gained their citizenship following the
Jones-Shafroth Act, a move that critics argue was only possible because the
United States needed people to fight for them in the First World War, rather
like the Emancipation of the blacks during the American Civil War. In 1952,
Puerto Rico officially became a Commonwealth of the United States. This meant
that while it was under overall American control, it was a self-governing
territory. However, Puerto Ricans, along with residents of areas such as the
US. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa,
don’t have the ability to vote for President, or even for a representative to
the Senate. While they may have representation to Congress, this is through a
nonvoting member of the House of Representatives who doesn’t have the power to vote, even on issues affecting Puerto
Rico.

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Puerto
Ricans have held several attempts to fight for their independence. In fact, in
January 2017, their governor, Ricardo Rosello, came into power on the back of a
promise tofight for statehood. Later that year, a referendum was held, and
Puerto Ricans voted to become a fully-fledged state of the United States.
However, such a vote has no legal consequence unless it is ratified by the
American Congress, which has no aim of doing so.