The Annexation of Puerto Rico


During the Spanish American war , much of the fighting took place in Puerto Rico, such as the famous battle of San Juan Hill . Later president Theodore Roosevelt was the leader of the "Rough Riders" regiment that charged the hill and won the battle. These victories over Spain and the eventual winning of the war allowed the United States to take many former Spanish territories in the Carribean and the Pacific.


The War
The Wreckage of the Maine
The Wreckage of the Maine

The Spanish American War started when a United States warship, the U.S.S. Maine exploded and sunk on February 15, 1898 in Havana harbor. Congress then gave President McKinley the authority to declare war on Spain. The war only lasted a couple of months and only 379 men died in combat. However, the poor conditions and rudimentary medicine caused over 5,000 men to die from disease.

U.S. Control
Celebration in Puerto Rico
Celebration in Puerto Rico


Puerto Rico was under the military control of the U.S. at the turn of the century, but in 1900, the Foraker act gave a certain degree of self government to Puerto Rico. Among the rights that were granted were the formation of a self-elected House of Representatives and a local and federal judicial system. In 1917, the Jones act established Puerto Ricans as U.S. Citizens. In the 1950s, a series of uprisings finally led to the ratification of a Puerto Rican constitution, officially creating the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The approval by President Truman occurred on the anniversary of the United States' arrival in the country during the Spanish American war. The date is now a national holiday.




Sources


"creation of the U.S. empire." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2010. Web. 18 Mar. 2010. <http://www.americanhistory.abc-clio.com>. "Spanish-American War." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2010. Web. 3 Apr. 2010. <http://www.americanhistory.abc-clio.com>.