Puerto Rico Celebrates American Citizenship Day

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Provided by Prince William County Office of Communication

On March 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act, which granted the people of Puerto Rico U.S. citizenship.

Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean 1,000 miles southeast of Miami. Residents celebrate American Citizenship Day on March 2.

Christopher Columbus arrived on the island late in the 15th century. Soon thereafter, the Spanish colonized Puerto Rico and ruled there until the United States invaded the island in 1898 during the Spanish American War, according to nationaltoday.com.

Spain ceded the island to the United States under the Treaty of Paris of 1898. Under the treaty, Spain also ceded Guam to the United States, left the Philippines under U.S. control and relinquished any claim to Cuba, according to britannica.com.

Although they are citizens of the United States, the roughly 3.2 million Puerto Ricans are not allowed to vote for the U.S. president.

Puerto Rico is known as the world’s oldest colony. Some of Puerto Rico’s islands remain uninhabited. Puerto’s most famous pirate, Cofresi Pirate, is credited with inventing the pina colada

Ways to observe the day would be to learn something about American citizenship and Puerto Rican history, attend a citizenship event in Puerto Rico or simply note the day or wear red, white and blue.

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