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Puerto Rico's History

1600 - 1797


San Juan is enclosed by very formidable ramparts in the Caribbean.


Arecibo and San Blás de Illescas (later called Coamo) were founded.

On September 15, a hurricane strikes the island.


Bernardo de Balbuena became Bishop of Puerto Rico.


On September 25, Holland attacks San Juan, under the leadership of Boudewijn Hendrick (Balduino Enrico), besieging El Morro and La Fortaleza, burning the city, but the Spanish repel the Dutch troops (battlemap).


On September 15, a hurricane strikes the island.

A month later, on October, another hurricane strikes the island.


King Philip IV of Spain began fortifying the San Cristóbal Fort (the largest Spanish fort in the New World), along with six fortresses linked by a line of sandstone walls surrounding the city.


The San Juan Gate was built as the entry to San Juan.


In San Germán, Porta Coeli Catholic Church was finished.


A hurricane strikes the island.


Ponce is founded.


The British attack Arecibo, with no success.


A hurricane strikes the island.


On August 28, a hurricane strikes the island.


On September 11-12, a hurricane strikes the island.


On October 27-28, a hurricane strikes the island.


Commissioned by Charles III of Spain to investigate contraband activity, Lieutenant General Alexander O'Reilly conducted a census. Puerto Rico's population had reached 44,883, of whom 5,037 were slaves, making an 11.2 percent, a very low ratio, considered the lowest for the Caribbean.


Cockfighting began in the island.


On August 28, a hurricane strikes the island, accompanied by an earthquake.


On June 13, a hurricane strikes the island.


On August 1st, a hurricane strikes the island.


John Adams, then Secretary of State, and who would later become the second President of United States, proposed the political annexation of Cuba and Puerto Rico to the United States.


On August 24-29, a hurricane strikes the island.


The first History of Puerto Rico was published by Brother Iñigo Abbad y Lasierra. The book titled "Historia Geográfica, Civil y Política de Puerto Rico was published in Madrid, constitutes a complete history of Puerto Rico from the time of its discovery in 1493 until 1783.


On May 2, an earthquake occurred with an approximate magnitude of 8 on the Richter scale.

Alexander Hamilton, then Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, proposed the annexation to the United States of Cuba, Puerto Rico, the western territories and the entire American Hemisphere.


The French and Spanish declare war on England. The British attempt to conquer the island, an invasion by 7,000 British troops and 64 warships under the command of General Ralph Abercromby, attacked San Juan. Captain General Don Ramon de Castro and his army resisted the attack (battle map).

Did You Know?

Did you know that the original design for the Puerto Rican flag used a sky blue tone? But when the flag was adopted officially by the Commonwealth in 1952 it featured a dark blue very similar to that of the US flag.