"Puerto Rico". The name immediately brings to mind images of a beautiful lush tropical island of enchantment. The name "Puerto Rico" usually does not conjure the image of Taino Indians or African slaves, yet these populations have great importance in laying the foundation for the notion of identity of Puerto Ricans. In contemporary debates of Puerto Rican identity, it is essential to examine the history of the island to determine the effects of Spanish colonialism on Puerto Rican identity. As he demonstrates in his article "Puerto Rico: the Four-Storeyed Country", Jose L. Gonzalez discusses the notion of identity as a series of storeys, one built upon another in order further incorporate each aspect in the past that contributes to the idea of "Puerto Ricaness" in the present. Thus, in looking at the history of Puerto Rico and the effects of Spanish colonialism, we will see that Puerto Rican identity has been constructed storey by storey, catalyzed by the Spanish occupation.
At the time of the sixteenth century, the country of Spain was in its prime, enjoying its status as the most powerful empire in Europe; possessing the most land than any other European country . This was the time of Renaissance, the "rebirth", and in this time of the "new", Spain looked to further support and maintain its position in seeking wealth and empire overseas, not just in the European region. Christopher Columbus, as appointed by King Ferdinand and Queen Elizabeth, was sent in search of wealth and treasure, and in his travels, discovered what is known today as "America", the United States, in 1492. In November of 1493, Columbus discovered the island of Puerto Rico, which at that time was ...
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...o". From Negrón-Muntaner and Grosfoguel (Eds.), Puerto Rican Jam: Essays on Culture and Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 257-285.
Rivera, Angel, Q. "Music, Social Classes, and the National Question in Puerto Rico". In Glasser.
Scarano, Francisco. "Sugar and Slavery in Puerto Rico, 1815-1849: An Overview," from Scarano, 1984, Sugar and Slavery in Puerto Rico: The Plantation Economy of Ponce, 1800-1850. Madison: U of Wisconsin Press. pp.3-34
Trías-Monge, J. (1997). "The Shaping of a Colonial Policy". From Trías-Monge, Puerto Rico: the Trials of the Oldest Colony of the World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 36-51.
Walker, Rich. (1998). A Multicultural Alternative to Language and Nationalism. Http://frontpage.trincoll.edu/rwalker.
Waxer, Lise. (October 29, 1998). Puerto Rican Music Between Rafael Hernandez and Rafael Cortijo.
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