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.
- The country with the cheapest duty free in Europe has been revealed
"The quotation for goods at Spanish duty free shops turned out to be approximately 14% lower than any other European airport as Skyskanner reports.
To process a comparative analysis the prices for the most popular goods at duty free shops were taken into account: alcohol, perfumery products, cigarettes and sweets. The price for alcohol products strongly varies depending on the airport. Therefore, the prices may vary up to 50% in different airports.
You can save a lot of money buying perfumery products when you leave Spain. For instance, you can buy Burberry perfume for less than 80 euro in Spanish duty-frees, whereas in Geneva the price reaches 115 euro.
It is interesting to know that the prices at duty free shops in Madrid airports are three times less than in Paris airports. "
- The new skyscraper comes with an artificial beach in Dubai
"The UAE largest city started the construction on another ambitious project. The inventors report that the new skyscraper will have swimming pools and artificial rainforest inside.
The 1.3 ha site will comprise two 47-storey towers with a five-storey glass hall. The two towers will have a standard entertainment range and services: a hotel, serviced apartments, office buildings and different shopping centers.
The Rosemont Hotel&Residences start-up date is still a mystery. "