Puerto Rico's History


1950 On July 4, President Harry S. Truman signed what is known as Public Act 600, which allowed Puerto Ricans to draft their own constitution establishing the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The U.S. Congress had conferred commonwealth status on Puerto Rico and upgraded Puerto Rico's political status from protectorate to commonwealth.

The first Health Center is founded in Adjuntas.

The first Social Security cards were issued.

On October, Nationalists attempt to assassinate the governor. Guards resisted the attack, killing four of the five Nationalists. (Raimundo Diaz Pacheco, Domingo Hiraldo, Roberto Acevedo and Manuel Torres. Gregorio Hernandez was badly wounded.)

On November 1, two Puerto Ricans nationalist from New York, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola, attempt to kill President Harry S. Truman at Blair House in Washington in hopes of bringing their country closer to independence. One of the assailants and one White House policeman died.
 
1951 On July 4, the 600 Law is passed, giving Puerto Rico the right to establish a government with proper constitution.
 
1952 On March 3, the flag of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is officially adopted - based on a flag designed by a group of patriots in the year 1895.

On July 25, the New Constitution is approved by voters in a referendum in March, and Puerto Rico is proclaimed as Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, although remained a territory of the United States. As a United States commonwealth, it is still treated by Congress as one of the last remaining colonies in the world. With the institution of Commonwealth status, US administrations were freed from the obligation of reporting on Puerto Rico's status to the UN Decolonization Committee.

On November 4, Luis Muñoz Marín is re-elected governor to his second 4-year term, with 64.9% of the vote.
 
1953 The largest migration of Puerto Ricans to the United States mainland occurred, with 69,124 emigrating (mostly to New York, New Jersey and Florida).

On November 27, the United Nations stopped listing Puerto Rico as a colony or "Non-Self-Governing Territory".
 
1954 First experimental transmissions of television occurred.

On March 1, Puerto Rican nationalists (Lolita Lebron, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Irvin Flores and Andres Figueroa) opened fire in the U.S. House of Representatives, wounding five Congressmen. They are sentenced to 50 years imprisonment.
 
1955 On June 21, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture is founded.

The first Pueblo supermarket is established (located in Puerto Nuevo, San Juan).
 
1956 On August 12, Hurricane Saint Clare strikes the island.

On November 6, Luis Muñoz Marín is re-elected governor to his third 4-year term, with 62.5% of the vote.
 
1957 El Comandante horse race track is inaugurated.

On April 22, the first Pablo Casals Music Festival took place in University of Puerto Rico Theater, Río Piedras.
 
1959 Bacardi y Compañía is moved to Cataño.

Ponce Art Museum is inaugurated.

The San Juan Star newspaper is founded.

Pablo Casals founded the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra.
 
1960 On November 8, Luis Muñoz Marín is re-elected to his fourth 4-year term with 58.2% of the vote.
 
1961 President John F. Kennedy visited the island.

Rita Moreno wins an Oscar for her acting performance in the motion picture West Side Story.

The newspaper San Juan Star wins the Pulitzer prize under the category of Journalism and Editorial Writing. William J. Dorvillier obtained the prize for his editorials on clerical interference in the 1960 gubernatorial election in Puerto Rico.
 
1963 Roberto Sanchéz Vilella is elected governor.

Observatory of Arecibo is inaugurated (the world largest radio telescope of its type).
 
1964 On November 3, Roberto Sanchez Vilella is elected governor, with 59.2% of the vote.
 
1965 Pedro Albizu Campos leader of the Nationalist Party dies.
 
1967 The Partido Estadistas Unidos (United Statehooders Party) is founded by Luis A. Ferré, to campaign for statehood in the 1967 plebiscite.

On July 23, first plebiscite on the political status of Puerto Rico is held. Voters overwhelmingly affirm continuation of Commonwealth status.
Commonwealth 60%
Statehood 39%
Independence 1%
1968 Estadistas Unidos organized the Partido Nuevo Progresista (New Progressive Party) under Luis A. Ferré's leadership. The party campaigns for Puerto Rico to become the fifty-first state in the Union.

On November 5, Luis A. Ferré, leader of a pro-statehood party, is elected governor, with 43.6% of the vote, becoming the first time a pro-statehood governor has received a majority. Ferré is elected governor under the slogan "Esto tiene que cambiar" ("This must change".)

Formal research efforts to save the endangered Puerto Rican parrot began in the Forest with collaboration of U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the PR Department of Natural Resources and the World Wildlife Fund.

On April 12, the shopping mall Plaza Las Americas is inaugurated, the largest shopping center in central and South America.
 
1969 On March 16, José Feliciano wins a Grammy.
 
1970 On May 18, El Nuevo Día newspaper is founded.

Marisol Malaret wins the Miss Universe Pageant.
 
1971 United States army takes possession of almost all of Culebra Island.

President Richard Nixon declared Christopher Columbus day a federal public holiday on the 2nd Monday in October.
 
1972 The Puerto Rican Socialist Party is founded.

On November 7, Rafael Hernández Colón is elected governor, with 50.7% of thw vote, becoming the youngest elected governor, at age 36.

On September 30, Roberto Clemente became the first Hispanic to reach 3,000 hits and the first Puerto Rican to be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

On December 31, Roberto Clemente a baseball player with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who is declared the league's Most Valuable Player, died at age 38 in a plane accident.
 
1973 On March 5, Luis Aponte Martínez became the first Puerto Rican Cardinal [Glos.].

Roberto Clemente is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
 
1974 For the sake of controlling the costs of the marine transport in the island, the administration of Rafael Hernandez Colón decided to buy by $176 million the operations of the marine company Is Land to form Navieras de Puerto Rico (npr).

1975 On January 24, a bomb set off in historical Fraunces Tavern, New York City, killed four and injured more than 50 persons. Puerto Rican nationalist group (FALN) claimed responsibility and police tied 13 other bombings to it.

Igneri and pre-Taíno ruins found at Tibes, north of Ponce.
 
1976 On November 2, Carlos Romero Barceló is elected governor, with 48.3% of the vote.

The 936 section of the United States Internal Revenue Tax Code is implemented. This new code allowed American companies to make profit in the island without paying taxes. Banks on the island experienced an unprecedented growth. About 100,000 Puerto Ricans were directly dependent on employment generated by Section 936 companies.

The Ateneo Puertorriqueño is founded.

After numerous investigations and amendments to that statute, the coat of arms final version is approved and signed into law.
 
1978 On March 22, Karl Wallenda died while crossing a wire between two hotels in San Juan, he is knocked off balance by a gust of wind and fell to his death ten stories below.

On July 25, the Cerro Maravilla incident took place. Police officers were responsible for the death in execution manner of two pro-independence men.
 
1979 Pan-American Games are held in San Juan.

On September 6, President Jimmy Carter as part of an agreement with Fidel Castro to secure the release of American CIA agents imprisoned in Cuba, he grants executive clemency to the four Puerto Rican nationalists who opened fire on the U.S. House of Representatives back in 1954. Lolita Lebrón, Andrés Figueroa Cordero, Rafael Cancel Miranda and Irving Flores were freed from prison. who were in prison since 1954.
 
1980 On April 30, Luis Muñoz Marín founder of the Popular Democratic Party and first elected governor of Puerto Rico dies.

On November 4, Carlos Romero Barceló is re-elected governor, to his second 4-year term with 47.2% of the vote, securing his election by only 0.2% over Rafael Hernández Colón.

The U.S. Congress recommends the Navy leave Vieques.
 
1981 On January 11, the "Macheteros" blow up 11 jet fighters of Puerto Rico's National Guard near San Juan.
 
1983 The San Juan National Historic Site (El Morro) is declared a World Heritage Site [Glos.] by the United Nations.

The Partido Renovación Puertorriqueña is founded.
 
1984 On October, The Pope, Juan Pablo II visited the island.

On November 6, Rafael Hernández Colón is elected governor, with 47.8% of the vote.
 
1985 Deborah Carthy Deu wins the Miss Universe Pageant.

On February 18, the Puerto Rico International Airport was renamed Luis Muñoz Maríln International Airport.

Destileria Serrallés acquired the right to manufacture and distribute the Ronico and Captain Morgan brands in Puerto Rico.

On October, Ponce suffered a great tragedy, when at least 129 people lost their lives to an avalanche in an area known as Mameyes.
 
1986 On December 31, a tragic fire took place at the Dupont Plaza Hotel, in San Juan, 97 persons died.
 
1987 On October 1st, Ileana Colón Carlo became first woman controller in Puerto Rican politics.
 
1988 On November 8, Rafael Hernández Colón is re-elected governor to his second 4-year term with 48.7% of the vote.
 
1989 On September 18, Hurricane Hugo strikes the island as it cuts a path of destruction across the Caribbean.

President Bush appointed Antonia Novello, a native of Puerto Rico, to be Surgeon General of the United States.
 
1990 The U.S. Postal Service issued an commemorative stamp portraying Luis Muñoz Marín.
 
1991 In an island wide vote, Puerto Ricans reject an amendment that would have "reviewed" their commonwealth status.

Puerto Rico declares Spanish the only official language of the island.

Puerto Rico receives the Asturias Award from Spain for declaring Spanish the official language.

The LOTO is inaugurated.

In 1991, Isla Grande Airport was renamed in honor of United States Air Force Major Fernando Luis Ribas-Dominicci, an F-111 pilot who was killed in action during Operation El Dorado Canyon; the 1986 air strike of Libya (a country in North Africa).
 
1992 The government sold 80% of the stock in "Telefónica Larga Distancia de Puerto Rico" to "Telefónica Internacional de España" for more than $140 million dollars.

Pedro Roselló is elected governor.

Tall ships from all over the world come to celebrate the Christopher Columbus Grand Regatta in old San Juan as part of the festivities of the Fifth Centenary of the Discovery of the New World.

Kumagai Gumi Company, a Japanese firm, backed by the Mitsubishi Bank, joined in a 50% share of the $225 million development of the El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo.
 
1993 Law Number 1 of 1993 declares English and Spanish as the official languages of Puerto Rico.

On April 6, Act Number 5, known as Executive Reorganization Act of 1993 is approved. The act established reorganization plans for the following sectors: Security, Correctional procedures, Natural resources, Agricultural activities, Industrial activities, Human resources, Public finance and Family and community services.

The government began an experimental project to provide basic health care services to the poor. The plan, known as "La Tarjeta de Salud".

Dayanara Torres wins the Miss Universe Pageant.

XVII Centro American and Caribbean Games are held in the island.

Major League Baseball player Orlando Cepeda is inducted into the Puerto Rico Sports Hall of Fame.

In the Referendum, Commonwealth status is reaffirmed by voters.
  • Statehood.......... 788,296 (46.3%)
  • Commonwealth....... 826,326 (48.6%)
  • Independence........ 75,620 ( 4.4%)
  • Nulls............... 10,748 ( 0.7%)


The U.S. Postal Service issued an stamp to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus's landing on Puerto Rico.
1995 On March 5, Navieras de Puerto Rico is sold, due to considerable amount of company generated losses (around $375 million). The public corporation is acquired by the organization Bankers Trust Investment Partners by $29,5 million in cash and $102,9 million that assumed in current liabilities.

Hurricane Marilyn strikes the island.
 
1996 On July 8, Hurricane Bertha strikes the island.

On August 20, the U.S. Congress repealed Section 936 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, with a clause that retains its benefit for ten years of existing corporations. Section 30A is created to substitute Section 936. It essentially retains the wage credit component of Section 936.

On July 25, the U.S. government recognized Puerto Rican citizenship. In, 1994, Juan Mari Bras renounced his U.S. citizenship before a consular agent in the US Embassy of Venezuela for Puerto Rican citizenship. Puerto Rican citizenship was granted to Puerto Ricans by the US Congress in the 1900 Foraker Act, but later revoked by the Jones Act in 1917, Puerto Ricans are granted U.S. citizenship at birth.
Puerto Rican citizenship exists only as an equivalent to residency: Puerto Rican citizens are those US citizens who reside in Puerto Rico. Any US citizen can gain Puerto Rican citizenship after a year of residence on the island (Santini 1).
Juan Mari Bras the world's only Puerto Rican citizen.

On November 4, Pedro Roselló is re-elected to his second 4-year term with 51.8% of the vote, the largest margin of any pro-statehood governor in Puerto Rico history.
 
1996 On September 9, Hurricane Hortense strikes the island, killing five people and knocking out electricity to 85 percent of the island.
 
1997 U.S. Congress introduced Project Young, to provide a process leading to full self-government for Puerto Rico. (introduced Feb. 27 by Rep. Don Young, H.R.856)
 
1998 The Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC) is sold to GTE and a group of local investors for $2,250 million.

Caribe Hilton, located in San Juan, has been sold by the government to Hilton International.

Fort Buchanan became home to U.S. Army South.

On September 21, Hurricane George with 120 mph winds strikes the island, killing seven people and leaving more than 24,000 in shelters. Virtually the entire island was left without electricity (99.5%), most without water service (77%) and without phone services (25%). President Clinton on Monday declared Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands disaster areas, authorizing immediate release of federal recovery aid. Damage estimated at $2 billion.

On September 29, in a show of commitment to help the victims of hurricane Georges, U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton travels on Tuesday to typhoon-ravaged Puerto Rico.

On December 13, In a non-binding referendum, which offered Puerto Rican voters will have five choices, which included: (1) remaining a U.S. commonwealth, (2) entering into a "free association" with the United States that would be somewhere between commonwealth and independence, (3) becoming a state, (4) declaring independence, and (5) or none of the above. The option 5 "none of the above" obtained the majority of votes.
    Option Votes Percent
    1 993 0.06%
    2 4536 0.29%
    3 728157 46.49%
    4 39838 2.54%
    5 787900 50.30%
    Others 4846 0.31%
 
1999 On April 19, two US Marine jets in training dropped bombs over the island of Vieques and missed their targets. David Sanes Rodriguez, a civilian was killed and 4 people were injured. Days after, protesters began occupying the US Navy range at Vieques.

On June 27, the first heart transplant is accomplished.

On August 8, President Bill Clinton offers clemency to 16 Puerto Rican independence activists.

On September 11, eleven Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN) members responsible for a wave of bombings across the United States (New York and Chicago) in the 1970s and 1980s have been released from Federal prisons after accepting a controversial clemency offer from President Bill Clinton.

On November 17, Hurricane Lenny strikes the island.
 
2000 On June 25, the US Navy bombing resumes in Vieques, using nonexplosive dummy bombs.

On November 7, Sila M. Calderón is elected governor (Puerto Rico's first female governor).
    Party Votes Percent
    Sila M. Calderon (PPD) 812,277 48.8%
    Carlos I. Pesquera (PNP) 758,998 45.6%
    Ruben Berrios Martinez (PIP) 86,398 5.3%
    Others 7,887 0.5%


Presient Clinton issues E.O. 13183l established the President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status.
 
2001 On March 1, the Pentagon suspended Navy bombing on Vieques.

On April 27, the US Navy resumed bombing exercises on Vieques Island.

On May 11, Denise Quiñones wins the Miss Universe Pageant, held in Bayamõn.

On June 14, President George W. Bush ordered a stop to the Navy bombing exercises on Puerto Rico's Vieques Island. Cleanup is estimated to cost hundreds of millions and take decades. Bombing practice is set to stop by May, 2003.
 
2002 On April 12, Telemundo was purchased by NBC for $2.7 billion.
 
2004 On November 2, Aníbal Acevedo Vilá is elected governor.
    Party Votes Percent
    Aníbal Acevedo Vilá (PPD) 953,459 48.4%
    Pedro Rosselló (PNP) 949,579 48.2%
    Rubén Berríos Martínez (PIP) 52,660 2.7%
    Others 7,887 0.5%
 
2005 On June 6, the Tren Urbano (urban train) was inaugurated. The Tren Urbano is a 10.7 mile (17.2 km) metro system which links the municipalities of San Juan, Bayamón, and Guaynabo.
 
2006 On May, schools and government offices across the island shut down after an estimated $740m deficit in public funds near the end of the 2005-2006 fiscal year. The financial crisis left only essential services such as police and hospitals in operation. The shut down lasted for two weeks (from May 1 through May 14), leaving nearly 100,000 public employees without pay and closing more than 1,600 public schools. The major cause of the crisis lies on the inability of the legislature and the governor to agree on a spending plan since 2004.

On July 23, Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza was crowned Miss Universe.

On October 25, Juan Mari Brás became the first person to receive a Puerto Rican citizen certificate from the Puerto Rico State Department.

On November 15, the Act No. 117 of July 4, 2006 (known as the "Taxpayer Justice Act"), amended the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code of 1994 in order to establish a sale tax system in Puerto Rico to address major budget deficits. Act 117 eliminates the infamous 5% (6.6% effective rate) general excise tax.
The sales tax will be divided up as follows:
  • 5.5% to the central government, effective on November 15, 2006,
  • 1.5% to the municipalities, effective immediately,
  • an additional 1% to the central government, available in the event that the governor determines an insufficiency in collections for the general fund.
 
2007 On January 23, Americans are required to carry passports when traveling to Mexico, Bermuda, and most of the Caribbean islands. Because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, it is exempt from the new regulation.

On May 5, Concerns are raised that the newly implemented Sales and Use Tax and the reduction in budgeted expenditures will not be enough to reduce the Puerto Rico Government's fiscal deficit for the 2006-2007 year.

On May 20, former Governor and current Senator Pedro Rosselló officially announced his intentions to seek the New Progressive Party's nomination for Governor in the 2008 general elections.

On October 12, communities and activists protest the apparent mass killing of pet animals by a government contractor by throwing them of a 50 ft high bridge in Barceloneta.
 
2008 On January 5, over 100 cockfights in Puerto Rico are canceled due to the prohibition of various birds from the Dominican Republic, after discovery of various animals with the avian flu. The loss from such canceled activities is estimated in the millions.

On March 8, Luis Fortuño obtains 59% of the primary votes and wins the New Progressive Party gubernatorial candidacy over opponent and former Gov. Pedro Rossello.

On November 4, Luis Fortuño is elected governor.
    Party Votes Percent
    Luis Fortuño (PNP) 1,025,965 52.77%
    Aníbal Acevedo Vilá (PPD) 801,071 41.29%
    Rogelio Figueroa (PPR) 53,693 2.76%
    Edwin Irizarry Mora (PIP) 39,590 2.04%
    Pedro Rossello (Write-In) 13,215 0.64%
    Others 8,170 0.49%
 
2009 On May 26, US President Barack Obama has chosen Sonia Sotomayor, a United States Court of Appeals judge, as his first nominee to the United States Supreme Court. Sotomayor is the Court's 111th justice, its first Hispanic justice, and its third female justice. Sotomayor was born in The Bronx, New York City and is of Puerto Rican descent.
 
2010 On May 16, an earthquake occurred, the epicenter was in Moca.

On July 15, the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games are being held in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, from July 17 to August 1.

On September 10, Juan Mari Brás, Founder of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party and the first Puerto Rican to formally renounce U.S. citizenship, died of complications from lung cancer.

As of October 30, 2010 the United States Department of State does not accept Puerto Rican birth certificates issued prior to July 1, 2010 as primary proof of citizenship for a U.S. passport.
 
2011 On August 11, tropical storm Irene passes through Puerto Rico and its surrounding islands while becoming a hurricane just north of San Juan, the first of the 2011 Atlantic season.
 
2012 On November 6, Alejandro García Padilla is elected governor.
    Party Votes Percent
    Alejandro García Padilla (PPD) 896,060 47.73%
    Luis Fortuño (PNP) 884,775 47.13%
    Juan Dalmau Ramírez (PIP) 47,331 2.52%
    Rafael Bernabe (PPT) 18,312 0.98%
    Arturo Hernández (MUS) 10,523 0.56%
    Rogelio Figueroa (PPR) 6,668 0.36%
    Others 13,386 0.71%

On November 8, for the first time Puerto Rican voters support US statehood in a non-binding referendum with a 54%. Puerto Ricans voted on their political status in 1967, 1993, and 1998.


Other Resources



< 1 2 3 4 5 6



Did You Know?

The zip code 00601 is the lowest assigned to any geographic place in the United States or its territories and belongs to Adjuntas, Puerto Rico.