Photoessay: Puerto Rico’s Tourism

by | Dec 21, 2002

Christopher Columbus, who one might consider Puerto Rico’s first tourist, was mesmerized by the island—its climate, its beauty, and yes its resources, from whence it got its name “rich port.” It was the gem of the Spanish colonial empire until 1898 when the Spanish-American War resulted in the dissolution of the Spanish empire. Puerto Rico, along with other Caribbean islands, were ceded to the United States, and soon after Puerto Rico officially became recognized as an American territory. Puerto Rico, however, has never allowed itself to be completely indoctrinated into the U.S. Puerto Rico’s own constitution was created in 1952, creating the Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico (Commonwealth of Puerto Rico).

Puerto Rico’s economic well being, however, was perhaps too intertwined with the American economy—when the U.S. economy faltered, the Puerto Rican one followed suit. Successive recessions drove American industries to leave Puerto Rico in search of business opportunities elsewhere, and luxury hotels, forced to shut their doors, dragged local retailers and vendors down with them.

Winter 2002Volume I, Number 2

Angel A. Amy Moreno, Ed.D., Ph.D. is the chair of the Department of Social Sciences at Roxbury Community College. He is also Visiting Professor of Latin American History at Northeastern University and a Fine Art Photographer. His photo exhibit entitled “A Bridge Over an Ocean: San Juan – Boston, 1975 to 2001” will be displayed at the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Affairs Office until November 30, 2002, and may be viewed Monday-Friday, 10:30 – 4:30 p.m. The office is located at 31 St. James Street, Suite 570, Boston (617-350 6400).

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