People of Puerto Rico
Even though Puerto Ricans don’t have a defined race, they are proud of their identity.
Boricuas are the result of a multicultural tradition that began more than 500 years ago when the Spaniards arrived on the island that is now known as Puerto Rico, which was inhabited at the time by the Taínos — an indigenous group with a significant presence throughout the Caribbean.
African influences where added to the melting pot years later, when Spaniards brought slaves to the island to work sugar and coffee plantations.
The fusion of those three races lead to the modern day Puerto Ricans — good people who welcome visitors as part of their extended family. Puerto Ricans tend to be friendly and cheerful people who move their hands a lot when they talk and express their emotions with intensity and passion.
When you pass by locals walking through the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, they will greet you with a buenos días (good morning), even if they do not know you. And if they sit near you in a restaurant while you taste a mallorca (popular local pastry) and a coffee, they will say buen provecho (enjoy your meal), just for the sake of courtesy.
Puerto Rico has a population of around 3.6 million people, and there are more than five million additional boricuas residing in the mainland United States. The official languages on the island are Spanish and English, and most of the population identifies itself as Christian. Puerto Rican society is educated with a literacy level that exceeds 93%, and is also inclusive with same-sex marriage laws and other statutes that protect the rights of common law marriages.
Famous Puerto Ricans
It is said that there are Puerto Ricans all over the world, and in part it is because many have excelled in various disciplines such as film, music, and sports, elevating the reputation of the Island of Enchantment globally. For example, movie stars such as Rita Moreno, Raúl Juliá, Benicio del Toro, and Luis Guzmán are from Puerto Rico. Likewise, music icons such as Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, and Daddy Yankee have Puerto Rican heritage.
In sports, Puerto Rico has giants such as baseball players Roberto Clemente, Iván Rodríguez, Roberto Alomar, Alex Cora, and Yadier Molina; boxers Félix "Tito" Trinidad, Héctor "Macho" Camacho, and Miguel Cotto; tennis player and Olympic gold medalist Mónica Puig; hurdler Javier Culson; and many others. In science, NASA geologist and astronaut Joseph M. Acaba, who has traveled to the International Space Station, was born to Puerto Rican parents.
The island also has representation in other fields. Of Puerto Rican descent, Sonia Sotomayor was the first Latina to become a Supreme Court Justice, and Dr. Antonia Coello became the first Puerto Rican and Hispanic person to be appointed as Surgeon General of the United States.