Why Isn’t Puerto Rico a State?

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory in US companies located in the Caribbean Sea. Also known as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the island has its capital in San Juan. While Puerto Rican citizens are formally citizens of the United States, Puerto Rico is not identified as a state but as a territory, which means that the citizens of Puerto Rico cannot vote in the federal elections of the United States and are not represented in a congress.

History of Puerto Rico

According to historians and archaeologists, the original inhabitants of Puerto Rico were known as the Ortoiroidi who dedicated themselves to fishing and hunting. These orthoiroids are believed to have arrived on the island before 250 BC. In the 11th century, the Taino culture was the most dominant of the island. The people who practiced culture called the island “Boriken” which means “the land of the noble Lord”. Christopher Columbus arrived on his banks in November 1493. Puerto Rico became a Spanish colony in 1520.

Why isn’t Puerto Rico a state?

Before becoming a United States territory, Puerto Rico was previously a territory of Spain. However, during the period of the Spanish-American war, which lasted between April and August of 1898, the United States became interested in Puerto Rico and invaded the island with the hope of creating a sugar market. Encouraged by promises of economic security and prosperity, many Puerto Rican residents have helped the Americans fight Spanish forces. Following an American victory and the signing of a treaty called the Treaty of Paris, Puerto Rico was handed over to the United States. However, prosperity was not brought to the island of Puerto Rico as the United States had promised. In fact, poverty in Puerto Rico became more rampant when it was surveyed by the United States.

At that time, the United States did not want to incorporate Puerto Rico as a state, citing a number of concerns about the possibility for the former Spanish territory to enter the United States (these concerns were dubbed “island cases”). The “Insular Cases” have focused mainly on the differences between the United States and Puerto Rico in terms of race and language. Puerto Rico did not become a state at this time and it was not until the year 1917, when the United States wanted to maximize troop mobility, that Puerto Ricans became US citizens. Until now, Puerto Rico residents do not enjoy full privileges assigned to other American citizens. For example, Puerto Ricans cannot vote in any presidential election,

Since the early 20th century, there have been efforts to move towards Puerto Rican independence or statehood. A 2017 opinion poll showed that a small majority of 52% of Puerto Ricans were in favor of the state. However, the results of a referendum would not be sufficient to guarantee the state of Puerto Rico, as only voting members of the United States Congress have the opportunity to finalize the state. As many argue that the reasons why Puerto Rico was never accepted as a state were racially discriminatory, the blocks that remain on the path to the potential state are controversial

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