Essay on Spanish Colonialism and Its Influence on Puerto Rico

1381 Words 6 Pages
Spanish Colonialism and Its Influence on Puerto Rico

There is an on going debate on the identity of Puerto Ricans. One controversial argument is that the first Puerto Ricans were in fact black. Although this idea is not well taken by many Puerto Ricans, history reveals that this statement is accurate. However this is only one contributing factor to the formation of the formation of the Puerto Rican people. Puerto Rican identity can only be understood by studying the colonial history of the island. Spanish colonial rule over Puerto Rico transformed the islanders into a nation without land and one that is economically dependent upon the reining metropolis, once Spain, and today the United States. González’s Puerto Rico: The
…show more content…
Genocide led to the extermination of the Taino people. Although some natives were able to escape the brutalities of the Spanish conquest disease, enslavement, and miscegenation gradually annihilated all traces of Taino blood.

In 1534 the governor of the island described the Puerto Rican population as, "so depopulated that one sees hardly any of Spanish descent, but only Negroes" (González, 10). This documentation confirms Gonzalez’s argument that although the African inhabitants of the island had no sense of "national homeland" they were the beginning of the racial and cultural formation of Puerto Ricans (González, 10).

The African presence in puerto Rico is visible and celebrated. The island has a very different concept of race than that of the United States. In Puerto Rico all skin complexions are considered Puerto Rican but in America darker skin is considered black. The racial categaorization of the United states has displaced Puerto Ricans outside the racial structure denying their culture and therefore their Puerto Ricanness. This confuses Puuerto Rican’s sense of identity because in the United States they may be considered and treated as if they were black. However the fact that they are not black displaces them from the balck community leaving them in a sort of identity limbo.

González moves on to the second story of Puerto Rico’s historical development: The mass immigration to Puerto Rico by

Related Documents