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Puerto Rico is a cultural enclave of Spanish, African, and Indian heritages. Over a short period of time, each of these groups traversed and interacted within Ponce.
, and local people reveal this legacy around the town.
The Tainos were one of the many indigenous groups that migrated across the Antilles thousands of years ago. They came from the continental Americas and thereby established trade routes that united the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
A well known Taino subculture in Puerto Rico were the Boriquas. Their existence was depleted due to slavery and disease imposed with the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors.
The Spanish reigned shortly after 1493. They contributed the national language and Western European civic planning. This included roads, urbanization, and early textiles. The Spanish, once the center of the Holy Roman Empire, built several cathedrals and missions in Puerto Rico.
The Spanish also introduced Africanism by importing slaves from Africa to supplement their plantation work force. The African languages, foods, music, and religion have since been profoundly influential on Puerto Rican culture.
The United States held an interest in Puerto Rico since the 1890's and officially established Puerto Rico as a U.S. territory in 1917. This relationship with the United States has closely shaped the political climate and overall daily lives for Puerto Rican citizens.