July 25, 2010

Constitution Day – Puerto Rico

This holiday commemorates Puerto Rico's 1952 adoption of a constitution that makes it an unincorporated territory of the United States.

Puerto Ricans have a democratic republican government, with a governor, legislature, and judicial system. However, it is not an independent nation and is subject to the United States government, and the President of the U.S. is the head of state.

The people of Puerto Rico are represented in the U.S. Congress by a delegate, but that delegate doesn't have a vote. Puerto Ricans may vote in U.S. Presidential primary elections but not the presidential elections in November. They don't have to pay federal income tax.

(Thank goodness! “No taxation without representation” was a big deal in U.S. history.)

People born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens. Although, as I just mentioned, Puerto Ricans living in Puerto Rico cannot vote in Presidential elections, anyone born in Puerto Rico who is living in one of the 50 states (or in the District of Columbia) is allowed to vote. Voting rights are certainly more complicated than I was told in government classes!

Here is a quick quiz on Puerto Rico:

1. Before the U.S. ruled this Caribbean island, which European country colonized it?

2. What is the capital of Puerto Rico?

3. What are the two official languages?

4. Where does Puerto Rico rank in size among these three nearby islands? Jamaica, Cuba, Hispaniola (which is the island of the Dominican Republic and Haiti)

ANSWERS at the bottom of the post.

Learn more about Puerto Rico.

Check out the Boricua Kids website. Be sure to check out the teeny-tiny (adorable!) frog, the coqui. There are pages on food, songs, and other interesting stuff. Be sure to check into the lesson plans, where you will find word search puzzles and bilingual poetry.

Do some crafts.

  • The first Puerto Ricans were the Taino Indians, who originated a style of white decorations on red pottery that is now traditional.

ANSWERS: 1.Spain – 2.San Juan – 3.English and Spanish – 4.Puerto Rico is the smallest of all of them

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