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The History of Puerto Rico From the Spanish Discovery to the American Occupation   By: (1832-)

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In "The History of Puerto Rico From the Spanish Discovery to the American Occupation," author R. A. (Rudolph Adams) Van Middeldyk delivers a comprehensive and engaging narrative that traces the rich history of Puerto Rico, from its initial encounters with Spanish explorers to the island's eventual occupation by the United States.

Middeldyk's meticulous research is evident throughout the book, as he leverages a variety of primary sources to construct a compelling and informative account of Puerto Rico's past. Through his lucid and well-structured prose, the author effortlessly guides readers through centuries of political, social, and cultural transformations, shedding light on the many factors that shaped Puerto Rico into what it is today.

One of the book's main strengths lies in its attention to detail. Middeldyk effectively captures the nuances of Puerto Rico's complex colonial past, exploring the island's interactions with indigenous peoples, its role as a Spanish colony, and its evolving relationship with the United States. The author also delves into the region's economic development, highlighting the impact of sugar plantations, as well as the struggles faced by the enslaved population.

Furthermore, Middeldyk skillfully intertwines major historical events with the experiences of ordinary Puerto Ricans, allowing readers to glimpse the island's history from various perspectives. By incorporating the stories of individuals from different walks of life, the author imbues the narrative with a human element, making the historical account more relatable and emotionally resonant.

Despite its academic nature, "The History of Puerto Rico" remains accessible and engaging. Middeldyk's coherent writing style, coupled with his ability to distill complex concepts into digestible explanations, ensures that readers of all backgrounds can easily follow along. The inclusion of relevant maps, illustrations, and photographs further enhances the reading experience, enabling readers to visualize the places and people discussed throughout the book.

However, one small drawback of the book is the inherent Eurocentric perspective that sometimes permeates the narrative. While Middeldyk acknowledges the diverse heritage of Puerto Rico, it would have been beneficial to explore the island's history from alternative indigenous or Afro-Puerto Rican perspectives, offering a more inclusive examination of the region's complex past.

In conclusion, "The History of Puerto Rico From the Spanish Discovery to the American Occupation" by R. A. Van Middeldyk is a meticulously researched and skillfully written account that provides readers with a thorough understanding of Puerto Rico's history. Despite its occasional Eurocentric lens, the book remains an essential resource for anyone seeking to explore the island's colonial past and the factors that have shaped its identity over the centuries. Middeldyk's unwavering attention to detail and ability to humanize historical events make this a captivating and enlightening read for both scholars and general readers alike.

First Page:

The Expansion of the Republic Series.

THE HISTORY OF PUERTO RICO

FROM THE SPANISH DISCOVERY TO THE AMERICAN OCCUPATION

BY R.A. VAN MIDDELDYK

EDITED BY MARTIN G. BRUMBAUGH, PH.D., LL.D. PROFESSOR OF PEDAGOGY, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA AND FIRST COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION FOR PUERTO RICO

COPYRIGHT, 1903

[Illustration: Columbus statue, San Juan.]

EDITOR'S PREFACE

The latest permanent possession of the United States is also the oldest in point of European occupation. The island of Puerto Rico was discovered by Columbus in 1493. It was occupied by the United States Army at Guanica July 25, 1898. Spain formally evacuated the island October 18, 1898, and military government was established until Congress made provision for its control. By act of Congress, approved April 12, 1900, the military control terminated and civil government was formally instituted May 1,1900.

Puerto Rico has an interesting history. Its four centuries under Spanish control is a record of unusual and remarkable events. This record is unknown to the American people. It has never been written satisfactorily in the Spanish language, and not at all in the English language. The author of this volume is the first to give to the reader of English a record of Spanish rule in this "pearl of the Antilles... Continue reading book >>




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