THE ESTADO LIBRE Asociado de Puerto Rico is a densely populated island in the eastern Greater Antilles in the CARIBBEAN SEA, divided into 78 counties.
Even though it is a possession of the UNITED STATES, Puerto Rico is an independent commonwealth and has selfgovernance in all its local affairs.
The rectangularshaped, mostly mountainous volcanic island is approximately 100 mi (160 km) east to west and 35 mi (56 km), north to south and has a total land area of 3,515 square mi (9,103 square km).
Four other satellite islands-Mona, Desecheo, Culebra, and Vieques-are also under its control.
Puerto Rico's warm and humid tropical weather varies little throughout the year and is often interrupted by hurricane season from June to November.
San Juan, its largest and oldest city, is also its capital.
Other large cities include Ponce, Mayaguez, and Caguas.
The 2004 estimated population was 3,898,000.
Boriquen was the name given for Puerto Rico by its primary inhabitants, the Taino, at the time Christopher Columbus discovered the island in 1493.
The Spanish, in search of gold and resources, eventually wiped out the natives by disease, war, and slavery.
In 1511, Puerto Rico became the first Spanish colony in the New World and was attacked periodically by the British and Dutch.
Many African slaves later arrived to work on the sugar plantations.
The island remained in Spanish hands until after the Spanish American War, when it became part of the United States.
Today, there is an ongoing debate between gaining complete independence, keeping its commonwealth status, or becoming the 51st state.
Puerto Rico has a very distinctive and mixed culture, influenced by its Taino, Spanish, African, and American heritages.
Approximately 80 percent of the population is white, 8 percent African, and 12 percent mixed or other ethnicities.
Both Spanish and English are spoken, and the majority of the population is Roman Catholic.
The island's varied topography can be divided into four main regions.
Much of the interior of the island is covered by the Cordillera Central, the central mountain range, which contains the island's highest point, Cerro de Punta at 4,390 ft (1,338 m), and El Yunque rainforest, also known as Caribbean National Forest.
On the north part of the island is an area of foothills called the Karst Country, made up of beautiful limestone rock formations and underground rivers.
On the southwest corner of Puerto Rico is a region of coastal dry forest, made up of desert trees, cacti, bedrock, and many migratory birds, that is environmentally different from other moister parts of the island.
The fourth geographical zone is the narrow coastal plain around the perimeter of Puerto Rico, which includes beautiful sunny beaches, bioluminescent bays, and cities that help make Puerto Rico a popular tourist destination.
There are 45 nonnavigable rivers in total in Puerto Rico which flow into the coastal plain, the longest being Rio Grande de Loiza.
Puerto Rico has no natural lakes and 12 artificial reservoirs.
Common environmental concerns include population growth, urbanization, deforestation, water pollution, and soil erosion.
Puerto Rico's diverse economy is almost equally divided in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) by manufacturing, especially chemical and pharmaceutical production, and service industries, including tourism.
Agriculture contributes 2 percent of the nation's GDP, and tourism 6 percent.
The island's primary natural resources are clay, limestone, salt, sand, gravel, stone, copper, nickel, and petroleum.
- Croatia launches a three-minute flight
"Split has become a city with one the shortest flights in the world. A three minute flights links the city air phase with the city centre.
The airline company that has launched the flight is developing the flights between the islands and the mainland of the country. Today the airplane flies to Lastovo, Rab, Korcula, Hvar and Lošinj Islands.
The price for a three minute flight is 149 kuna. The shortest flight is considered to be the one between the Scottish islands, Papa Westray and Westray, which lasts only 2 minutes. "
- China’s glass-bottom bridge appeared to be not as strong as everybody expected
"The glass on the bottom got cracked just underneath the tourists
It is reported that one of the tourists dropped a metal mug on the bridge floor while visiting this new place of interest. It resulted in a glass crack. When this happened all the tourists were immediately evacuated and the bridge itself was closed to the public.
The representatives of the Shiniuzhai geological park, where the bridge is placed state that the accident didn’t threaten the visitors’ security as there was only 1 of the 3 glass layers that got cracked. The glassmaker also agrees that there was nothing to worry about and the glass cracks don’t pose any risk to the tourists. However, it’s hard to believe, but that is not the first material flaw produced by this company. A year ago the glass floor placed at one of the skyscrapers in Chicago got cracked and was supplied by the same company. "