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Porto Rico Its History, Products and Possibilities...   By:

Porto Rico Its History, Products and Possibilities... by Arthur D. Hall

First Page:

[Illustration: book's cover]

[Illustration: Map of Porto Rico]


Its History, Products And Possibilities.


Author of "Cuba" and "The Philippines."




Copyrighted 1898





I The Aborigines of Porto Rico 7

II Struggles of the Past 18

III Topography and Climate 27

IV Population and Towns 36

V Resources 42

VI Manners and Customs 53

VII The Dawn of Freedom 69

VIII Naval Lessons Taught by the War 77

IX What Our Army Achieved 88

X How the Porto Ricans Received Us 104

XI Our Claim to Porto Rico 128

XII What the Possession of Porto Rico Will Mean 143




Porto Rico, or Puerto Rico, as it is sometimes called, has lately become of the first importance in the eyes of the world. To Americans it has assumed special interest, as it is now practically in the possession of the United States, and sooner or later will be represented by a new star in our beautiful flag, that flag which recently, by the magnificent exploits of our navy and army, has assumed a greater importance than ever among the standards of the universe.

Uncle Sam will certainly find this beautiful and fertile island a most valuable possession, every foot of which he could sell at a large substantial price, if he chose to do so.

Until recently there has been an impression in the United States that Porto Rico did not amount to much, that Cuba was the only island in the West Indies which was of any especial value. But this is the most grievous error, as we shall endeavor to show in the course of this little book.

The island, without much exaggeration, can really be called the garden spot of the world, and there is no doubt but that when the Stars and Stripes wave permanently over it, and there is an influx of American enterprise and wealth, there will be a marvelous increase in values of all kinds.

Like all Spanish colonies, Porto Rico has been wofully mismanaged. The Spaniards have looked upon it in the light of a more or less valuable cow from which every drop of milk must be squeezed. But now, under more fortuitous circumstances, under a more beneficent rule, the charming little island will undoubtedly "blossom as a rose"; for those who have looked into the subject have declared that more can be raised on an acre of land in Porto Rico than in any other portion of the globe. Later on we shall examine in detail the truth or falsehood of this statement.

Porto Rico is older than the United States, for it was discovered by Columbus on November 16, 1493, during his second voyage to America. The great discoverer remained there only two days in the port of Aquadilla, but he did not come in contact with any of the ingenuous natives, for they fled in terror when they saw his ship.

During their subsequent conquests in the West Indies, the Spaniards paid no attention to Porto Rico until 1509. At this time Ponce de Leon, then governor of Hispaniola, afterward known as Hayti, determined to extend his dominion. With the idea of obtaining fresh supplies of gold, he went to Porto Rico and made a long visit to the chief of the natives, by whom he was received and entertained with the greatest kindness and hospitality. The chief willingly pointed out to his Spanish guests all the great resources of the island, and when, with the greed which has ever distinguished the men of their country, they asked for gold, he took them to streams where the sands were loaded with the precious metal.

Ponce de Leon was so delighted with the beauty and fertility of the island that he imagined he could find there the fountain of perpetual youth for which he so long sought in vain... Continue reading book >>

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