Doing Business in Latin America and the Caribbean: Puerto Rico


In 1493, Christopher Columbus arrived in Puerto Rico and claimed the island for the Spanish Crown. Spain controlled the island for most of the next four centuries until 1898, when it ceded Puerto Rico to the United States as part of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish-American War.

Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship in 1917 and the right to elect their own governor in 1947. Puerto Rico approved a constitution in 1952 that was ratified by the U.S. Congress and approved by President Truman the same year. To this day, Puerto Rico remains a commonwealth of the United States.


Puerto Rico is the easternmost island of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, located approximately 1,050 miles east-southeast of Miami. San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital and principal city, lies on the island’s northern coast.

Puerto Rico consists of the main island of Puerto Rico and various smaller islands, including the island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra. The main island is approximately 100 miles (160 km) by 35 miles (60 km) with an area of about 3,400 square miles (8,800 square kilometers). Puerto Rico comprises a mountainous interior surrounded by coastal plains in the north and south.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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