Puerto Rico Imperialism

Puerto Rico is a small island located in the West Indies that was under Spanish rule for nearly 400 years before control was transferred to the United States in 1989. Puerto Rico was, “part of the Spanish Empire since 1508”. After almost four centuries of Spanish control, the United States was granted control of the 108 by 40 mile island after Spain lost the Spanish -American War. Even today, Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States.

Background During the four centuries that Puerto Rico was under Spanish rule, the island became a military post during the wars Spain was involved in. Making Puerto Rico an important territory in Spain’s eyes. By 1825 Spain lost a majority of its vast overseas empire. However, Puerto Rico was one
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The United States saw its fellow industrialized countries essentially taking over the world. The other countries established their own trade routes, had control over territories that contained raw materials that they could use to create different products for retail purposes, and took control over islands that became strategic when in times of war and when attempting to seize more territory for their already vast empires. The United States did not have this, however this is what they desired – a vast overseas empire.
After the Spanish – American War Spain sued the United States for peace. Therefore, on December 10, 1898 the United States and Spain signed a peace treaty. Following their imperialistic dreams, the United States wanted Cuba, Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. Cuba became independent, Guam and Puerto Rico were ceded to the United States, and the Philippines were sold to the United States to what today is equivalent to twenty million dollars. Four months after the signing of the Treaty of Paris, on April 11, 1899 the agreement finally became enforced and the United States created their long dreamed of overseas
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This law established Puerto Rico’s right to a civilian government. Meaning that the territory could be run by its own people. Not independent, but free to make some of their own laws and decisions, while still being under the rule of the United States. But, all of the United States’ federal laws must be in effect and enforced in Puerto Rico because they are still under the control of the United States and not completely independent (Light Pink). To an extent Puerto Rico’s semi-independence has similarities to a state’s independence while still following all federal law. The Foraker Act (or Organic Act) put an end to the military rule that controlled the island. The new formal colonial government had a, “House of Representatives with 35 elected members, a judicial system with a Supreme Court, and a non-voting Resident Commissioner in Congress”. Puerto Rico had its very own governor, the first being Charles H. Allen who was inaugurated into office on May 1, 1990, just 19 days after the Foraker Act was ratified. The President of the United States also appointed an executive counsel to be in Puerto Rico. Thus allowing the territory to run their everyday operations independently while the United States continued to maintain control over the

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