The debate on Puerto Rican Identity is a hot bed of controversy, especially in today’s society where American colonialism dominates most of the island’s governmental and economic policies. The country wrestles with the strong influence of its present day colonizers, while it adamantly tries to retain aspects of the legacy of Spanish colonialism. Despite America’s presence, Puerto Ricans maintain what is arguably their own cultural identity which seems largely based on the influence of Spain mixed with customs that might have developed locally.
The features of the formation of the Puerto Rican people under Spanish rule are therefore critical in addressing questions on Puerto Rican identity. The migration of thousands of Spaniards both from the mainland and its islands to Puerto Rico, the development of subsequent Creole populations, the formation of the agricultural sectors and their labor needs are some of the contributing features that will hopefully lead toward a better understanding of the complexities that surround the concept of Puertoricaness.
The early years of Spanish rule began with the gradual development of a settler society as well as the native Taino Indians. The Taino population was soon drastically reduced and the structure of this society, diversified with the introduction of African Slave laborers. Race is therefore a core element in the discussion of the Puerto Rican identity. The early settlers came from Europe in search of riches that were soon diminished and therefore a natural need for other economic means had to be developed by the people who decided to remain behind. Some of the people who remained in Puerto Rico were coerced into doing so because of...
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...r legacy of Spanish colonial rule in Puerto Rican society.
Bergad, Laird. "The Coffee Boom,1885-1897," from Bergad, Coffee and Agrarian Capitalism in Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rico (Princeton: Princeton U Press, 1883) 145-203.
Figueroa, Luis. Lecture, September 1998
Gonzales, Jose Luis. Puerto Rico: the Four Storeyed Country and Other Essays (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishing Inc.)1-30.
Scarano, Francisco. "Sugar and Slavery in Puerto Rico, 1815-1849: An Overview," from Scarano ,Sugar and Slavery in Puerto Rico: Plantation Economy of Ponce,1800-1850(Madison :U of Wisconsin Press,1984) 3-34.
del Valle Atiles, Francisco. "The Spiritual Life of the Jibaro" form :Iris M. Zavala and Rafael Rodriguez (eds.), The Intellectual Roots of Independence: An Anthology of Puerto Rican Political Essays (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1980), 95-103.
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