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.
- You can now apply for Australian Visa through the Internet
"Country entry permit application has become facilitated and the procedure itself takes less time.
Starting from October 1 this year this new system allows to apply for visa online 24/7, including holidays.
Electronic system makes possible not to visit the consulate to apply for the entry permit and you no longer need to mail papers. Moreover, the authorized individuals for applying from the applicant are free to use this system to apply for a visa instead of the applicant.
You are able to verify your application status through the Internet and when you get the entry permit to Australia all the documents will be sent either to your e-mail address or by a registered letter on the mailing address specified in the application form. You will need to take the received document with you and be able to show it if needed. However, it is noted that the airline company will be aware whether you have got the Australian visa or not (airport staff have an access to the electronic data system, which will also include information about received entry permits) and therefore you may not show your visa at passport control and during the boarding. "
- Spain is inviting to go shopping to the “unexplored” cities
"By 2019 the country is planning to increase their income up to 5 billion euro from selling goods and services to the tourists.
Spain is quite a hyped up place where one can go shopping. Still, the country’s annual profit reaches 1.6 billion euro from holidaymakers. Madrid and Barcelona are considered to be highly-visited touristic cities, which is about 37-47% of tourist-shoppers accordingly. The rest is dispersed among the other cities in Spain.
However, the local authorities are not so satisfied with such a situation. They intend to build up the population settlements with shopping streets which were before unknown to the foreign shoppers. It is said that in the near future the experienced tourists will realize the shopping capabilities of the country, besides the two most attractive cities, Madrid and Barcelona. "