General: Discovered by Columbus in 1493, the island passed from Spain to the United States in 1898 after the Spanish-American Wars. According to The Dress Wizard, general elections for governor have been held since 1948. In the plebiscites of 1967 and 1993. voters voted to retain commonwealth status.
Location: Caribbean Sea region, an island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of the Dominican Republic.
Geographical coordinates: 18° 15′ N. latitude, 66° 30′ W e.
Reference map: Central America and the Caribbean.
Area: total: 9,104 km2; land surface area: 8,959 km2; water surface area: 145 km2
Comparative area: Slightly less than triple the area of the state of Rhode Island.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 501 km.
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical sea, soft; little seasonal temperature variation.
Relief: predominantly mountainous, with a belt of coastal plains in the north; steep cliffs on the west coast; beaches along most of the coastline.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m; highest point: Mount Punta 1,338 m.
Natural resources: trace amounts of copper and nickel; possible oil fields on land and shelf.
Land use: arable land: 4%; cultivated land: 5%; pastures: 26%; forests and plantations: 16%; others: 49% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 390 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: periodic droughts; hurricanes.
Actual problems of the environment: soil erosion; occasional droughts cause water scarcity.
International environmental agreements:
Geography note: important location along the Mona Strait (a key shipping route to the Panama Canal); San Juan is one of the largest and most convenient natural harbors in the Caribbean; many small rivers and high mountains in the center of the island provide good irrigation of the land, the southern coast is relatively drier; a belt of fertile coastal plains in the north.
Common long form: Commonwealth of Puerto Rico;
Common short form: Puerto Rico. Dependent State: Freely affiliated commonwealth with the US.
State structure: commonwealth.
Capital: San Juan.
Administrative division: no (a territory freely joined to the USA); there are no first-order administrative divisions according to the US government classification, but there are 78 districts (municipio), second-order administrative divisions: Aguada, Aguadilla, Aguas Buenas, Adjuntas, Aibonito, Anasco, Arecibo, Arroyo, Atillo, Barranquitas, Barceloneta, Bayamón, Vega -Alta, Vega Baja, Villalba, Vieques, Guanica, Guayama, Guayanabo, Guayanilla, Gurabo, Dorado, Isabela, Cabana Grande, Cabo Rojo, Caguas, Cay, Camu, Canovanos, Carolina, Catano, Quebradillas, Coamo, Comerio, Corozal, Culebra, Lares, Las Marias, Las Piedras, Lajas, Lois, Luquillo, Manati, Maricao, Mauna-bo, Mayaguez, Moka, Morovis, Naguabo, Naranjito, Ormigueros, Orocovis, Patillas, Penuelas, Ponce, Rincon, Rio Grande, Salinas, San Loren-so, San Sebastian, Santa Isabel, San Germán, San Juan, Ceiba, Sidra, Ciales,
Independence: none (commonwealth in free association with the US).
National holiday: US Independence Day, July 4 (1776).
Constitution: ratified March 3, 1952; adopted by the US Congress July 3, 1952; entered into force on July 25, 1952.
Legal system: based on the Spanish civil code.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal; local residents are US citizens but do not vote in US presidential elections.
chief of state: US President George W. BUSH (since January 20, 2001); Vice President Richard B. CHENEY (since January 20, 2001);
head of the government: Governor Sila M. CALDERON (since January 2001);
government: no data; elections: the president and vice president of the United States are elected on the same list for 4 years; the governor is elected by popular vote for a term of 4 years; elections last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held in November 2004); election results: Power CALDERON – 48.8%.
Legislature: the bicameral Legislative Assembly consists of the Senate (28 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote for 4 years) and the House of Representatives (54 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote for 4 years); elections: Senate – last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held November 2004); House of Representatives – last held 7 November 2000 (next to be held November 2004); election results: Senate, allocation of votes between parties: NA; distribution of seats among parties: PNP 19, PPD 7, PIP 1, other 1; House of Representatives, distribution of votes between parties: no data; distribution of seats among parties: PNP 30, PPD 20, PIP 1, other 3; note: Puerto Rico elects one representative with an advisory vote to the US House of Representatives; elections last held 7 November 2000 (next expected in November 2004); distribution of votes between parties: no data; distribution of seats among the parties: PPD 1 (Anibal ACEVEDO-VILA [Anibal ACEVEDO-VILA]).
Judiciary: Supreme Court; high courts; municipal courts (judges of all courts are appointed by the governor with the approval of the Senate).
Political parties and leaders: National Democratic Party (Celeste BENITEZ); National Republican Party of Puerto Rico (Luis FERRE); New Progressive Party (PNP) (Pedro ROS-CELLO); People’s Democratic Party (PPD) (Hector Luis ACEVEDO); Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) (Ruben BERRIOS Martinez).
Political pressure groups and their leaders: Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN); Armed Forces of Popular Resistance; People’s Army of Boricua (also known as “macheteros”); Volunteers of the Puerto Rican Revolution.
Participation in international organizations: Caricom (observer), ECLAC (associate), FAO (associate), ICFTU, Interpol (subbureau), IOC, WCL, WFTU, WHO (associate).
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (commonwealth in free association with the US).
United States Diplomatic Representation: none (commonwealth in free association with the United States).
Description of the flag: five equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) and white; in the center of the blue isosceles triangle, the base of which is the left side of the flag, there is a large white five-pointed star; The flag of the United States served as a model.