The History of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico: Caguas - Ponce - San Juan

Historical Events

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1492-10-08 Columbus' fleet about 400 sea miles from Puerto Rico

Explorer of the New World Christopher Columbus
Explorer of the New World
Christopher Columbus

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1508-08-08 Spaniard Juan Ponce de León founds Caparra the first European settlement in Puerto Rico

Explorer and  Conquistador Juan Ponce de León
Explorer and Conquistador
Juan Ponce de León
  • 1625-09-24 Dutch attack San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • 1760-07-19 The formal request to found the later city of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico is filed by its founders.
  • 1760-08-21 The church (later cathedral) of "Our Lady of Candlemas of Mayagüez (Puerto Rico)" is founded, establishing the basis for the founding of the city.
  • 1797-04-17 Sir Ralph Abercromby attacks San Juan, Puerto Rico, one of the largest invasions of Spanish territories in America
  • 1836-05-07 The settlement of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, is elevated to the royal status of villa by the government of Spain.
  • 1841-01-30 A fire destroys two-thirds of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
  • 1868-09-23 Grito de Lares proclaims Puerto Rico's independence (crushed by Spain)
  • 1873-03-22 Slavery is abolished in Puerto Rico, celebrated as Emancipation Day
  • 1877-07-10 The then villa of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, formally receives its city charter from the Royal Crown of Spain
  • 1891-06-11 Puerto Rican flag adopted
  • 1897-11-25 Spain grants Puerto Rico autonomy
  • 1898-07-28 Spanish troops in Ponce, Puerto Rico, surrender
  • 1898-10-18 American flag raised in Puerto Rico
  • 1898-12-10 Spanish-American War formally ended by the Treaty of Paris; US acquires Philippines, Puerto Rico & Guam
  • 1899-02-10 Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish-American War is signed by President McKinley; US acquires Philippines, Puerto Rico & Guam
  • 1899-04-11 Treaty of Paris ratifies ends war; Spain cedes Puerto Rico to US
  • 1900-04-12 The US Congress passes the Foraker Act, establishing Puerto Rico as an unincorporated territory (effective 1 May)
  • 1904-01-04 In 'Gonzales v Williams', the US Supreme Court rules that Puerto Ricans are not aliens and may not be refused admission into continental United States; not until 1917 will citizenship rights be granted

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1906-11-09 Theodore Roosevelt is 1st US President to visit another country (Puerto Rico and Panama)

26th US President Theodore Roosevelt
26th US President
Theodore Roosevelt
  • 1917-03-02 Jones Act: Puerto Rico territory created, US citizenship granted
  • 1919-06-20 150 die at the Teatro Yaguez fire, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
  • 1928-10-22 Phi Sigma Alpha fraternity is founded at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus.
  • 1932-05-17 US Congress changes name "Porto Rico" to "Puerto Rico"
  • 1937-03-21 Ponce massacre, police kill 19 at Puerto Rican Nationalist parade
  • 1946-07-21 Jesus T Pinerol becomes 1st native born Puerto Rican governor
  • 1949-01-02 Luis Muñoz Marín becomes the first democratically elected Governor of Puerto Rico
  • 1950-07-04 Harry Truman signs public law 600 (Puerto Ricans write own constitution)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1950-11-01 Puerto Rican nationalists try to kill US President Harry Truman at Blair House

33rd US President Harry Truman
33rd US President
Harry Truman
  • 1952-03-03 Puerto Rico approves its 1st self-written constitution
  • 1952-07-03 Puerto Rico's constitution approved by US Congress
  • 1952-07-25 Puerto Rico becomes a self-governing US commonwealth (Constitution Day)
  • 1952-08-25 Puerto Rico becomes a US commonwealth
  • 1954-03-01 4 Puerto Ricans open fire in US House of Representatives injuring 5 members
  • 1961-12-15 JFK visits Puerto Rico
  • 1964-02-03 Black & Puerto Rican students boycott NYC public schools
  • 1967-11-25 Puerto Rico placed on Atlantic Standard Time
  • 1969-01-02 Luis Ferré becomes the first statehooder Governor of Puerto Rico
  • 1972-04-01 30,000 attend Mar Y Sol rock concert, Vega Baja, Puerto Rico
  • 1974-08-04 Crawford-Butler Act allows Puerto Ricans to elect own governor
  • 1977-06-04 Violence during Puerto Rican Day in Chicago kills 2
  • 1978-03-22 Karl Wallenda of The Flying Wallendas dies after falling off a tight-rope between two hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • 1979-09-10 3 Puerto Rican nationalists who attempted to kill Truman are freed
  • 1984-10-31 Puerto Rican tanker 'San Francisco' explodes spilling 2 million gallons of oil as ship caught fire
  • 1985-07-15 Deborah Carthy-Deu, of Puerto Rico, crowned 34th Miss Universe
  • 1986-12-31 Dupont Plaza Hotel fire in San Juan, Puerto Rico kills 97
  • 1987-01-01 60 bodies recovered in Dupont Plaza Hotel fire in Puerto Rico
  • 1988-11-08 Rafael Fernandez Colón elected as president of Puerto Rico
  • 1989-09-18 Hurricane Hugo causes extensive damage in Puerto Rico
  • 1993-01-25 Puerto Rico adds English as its 2nd official language
  • 1993-05-21 Dayanara Torres, 18, of Puerto Rico, crowned 42nd Miss Universe
  • 1993-11-14 Puerto Rico votes against becoming the 51st US state
  • 1996-11-21 A propane explosion at the Humberto Vidal shoe store and office building in San Juan, Puerto Rico kills 33.
  • 2001-01-02 Sila Calderón becomes the first female Governor of Puerto Rico.
  • 2005-09-23 FBI killing of Filiberto Ojeda on Plan Bonito Hormigueros, Puerto Rico.
  • 2006-05-01 The Puerto Rican government closes the Department of Education and 42 other government agencies due to significant shortages in cash flow.
  • 2007-11-29 A 7.4 magnitude earthquake occurs off the northern coast of Martinique. This affected the Eastern Caribbean as far north as Puerto Rico and as south as Trinidad.
  • 2012-11-06 US territory Puerto Rico votes to become a US State
  • 2017-06-05 Puerto Rico declares its Zika virus epidemic over

Famous Birthdays

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 127

  • 1827-04-08 Ramón Emeterio Betances, Puerto Rican politician, medical doctor and diplomat (d. 1898)
  • 1839-01-11 Eugenio Maria de Hostos, Puerto Rico, patriot/scholar
  • 1848-04-12 José Gautier Benítez, Puerto Rican poet (d. 1880)
  • 1857-07-27 Jose Celso Barbosa, Puerto Rico, found Federalist Party in 1900
  • 1859-07-17 Luis Munoz Rivera, Puerto Rico, journalist (founded Federalist Party)
  • 1867-04-16 Jose de Diego, Puerto Rico, patriot/PR Secretary of Justice
  • 1874-01-24 Arthur Schomburg (Arturo Alfonso), Puerto Rico, archivist of African American history and culture
  • 1891-09-12 Pedro Albizu Campos, Advocate for Puerto Rican independence, born in Ponce, Puerto Rico (d. 1965)
  • 1898-02-18 Luis Muñoz Marín, Puerto Rican poet (d. 1980)
  • 1898-07-04 Dr. Pilar Barbosa, Puerto Rican historian (d. 1997)
  • 1905-09-01 Elvera Sanchez, Puerto Rican dancer (d. 2000)
  • 1905-09-26 Emilio Navarro, Puerto Rican baseball player
  • 1906-05-06 Enrique Laguerre, Puerto Rican writer (d. 2005)
  • 1907-09-14 A Cecil Snyder, Chief Justice of Puerto Rico

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1912-01-08 José Ferrer, Puerto Rican actor and director (Blood Tide, Dune), born in San Juan, Puerto Rico (d. 1992)

  • 1919-05-23 Ruth Fernandez, Ponce, Puerto Rico, singer (When you Return), politician, (d. 2012)
  • 1919-08-11 Luis Olmo, pioneering Puerto Rican NBA player (Brooklyn Dodgers), born in Arecibo (d. 2017)
  • 1923-04-20 Tito Puente, Puerto Rico, bandleader (Dance Mania)
  • 1927-02-18 Luis Arroyo, Puerto Rican baseball player
  • 1928-02-17 Marta Romero, Puerto Rican actress & singer
  • 1930-04-10 Norma Candal, Puerto Rican actor/comedian (d. 2006)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1931-12-11 Rita Moreno [Rosita Dolores Alverío], Puerto Rican singer, dancer and actress (West Side Story), born in Humacao, Puerto Rico

Singer/Dancer/Actress Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno
  • 1932-03-09 Walter Mercado, Puerto Rican astrologist and actor
  • 1932-09-04 Carlos Romero-Barcel, (Rep-D-Puerto Rico)
  • 1933-04-26 Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, Puerto Rican activist (d. 2005)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1934-08-18 Roberto Clemente, Puerto Rican baseball outfielder (Pittsburgh Pirates), born in Carolina, Puerto Rico (d. 1972)

Baseball Player Roberto Clemente
Baseball Player
Roberto Clemente
  • 1937-09-17 Orlando Cepeda, Puerto Rican Major League Baseball player, born in Ponce, Puerto Rico
  • 1939-06-21 Ruben Berrios, Puerto Rican politician
  • 1939-07-27 James Victor, Puerto Rico, actor (Boulevard Night, Streets of LA)
  • 1939-09-09 Carlos Ortiz, Puerto Rican boxer
  • 1942-09-23 Sila María Calderón, Puerto Rican politician
  • 1944-04-05 Pedro Rossello, Puerto Rican politician
  • 1944-08-23 Antonia Novello, 14th US Surgeon General (1990-92) 1dt woman and Hispanic holder, born in Farjardo, Puerto Rico
  • 1945-09-10 Jose Feliciano, Lares, Puerto Rican singer/songwriter (Light my Fire)
  • 1946-09-30 Héctor Lavoe, Puerto Rican singer (d. 1993)
  • 1946-10-26 Holly Woodlawn, transgender Puerto Rican actress (Warhol films), born in Juana Díaz (d. 2015)
  • 1948-07-18 Carlos Colón, Sr., Puerto Rican professional wrestler
  • 1949-01-15 Luis Alvarado, Puerto Rican baseball player (d. 1987)
  • 1950-03-07 Iris Chacon, Puerto Rican singer and dancer
  • 1955-09-16 Yolandita Monge, Puerto Rican singer
  • 1956-08-28 Luis Guzmán, Puerto Rican actor
  • 1956-10-29 Wilfredo Gómez, Puerto Rican boxer
  • 1956-11-25 Liana Vicens, Puerto Rico, 100m breaststroke (Olympics 1968)
  • 1957-01-07 Julian Solis, Puerto Rican boxer
  • 1957-01-19 Kenneth McClintock, Puerto Rican politician
  • 1958-06-11 Deborah Vidal, Ponce Puerto Rico, LPGA golfer (1994 Oldsmobile-19th)
  • 1958-08-11 Cordelia Gonzalez, actress (La Gran Fiesta), born in San Juan Puerto Rico
  • 1958-10-19 Lou Briel, Puerto Rican singer and actor
  • 1960-10-31 Luis Fortuño, Puerto Rican delegate to Congress
  • 1962-03-19 Ivan Calderón, Puerto Rican baseball player (d. 2003)
  • 1964-11-11 Roberto Hernandez, Santurce Puerto Rico, pitcher (Chicago White Sox)
  • 1965-03-09 Benito Santiago, Ponce Puerto Rico, catcher (Philadelphia Phillies)
  • 1965-05-14 Joey Cora, Caguas Puerto Rico, infielder (Seattle Mariners)
  • 1965-07-29 Luis Alicea, Santurce Puerto Rico, infielder (St Louis Cardinals)
  • 1965-10-06 Ruben Sierra, Rio Piedras Puerto Rico, outfielder (NY Yankees)
  • 1966-06-18 Sandy Alomar, catcher (Cleveland Indians), born in Salinas, Puerto Rico
  • 1966-11-02 Orlando Merced, MLB outfielder (Pittsburgh Pirates), born in Hato Rey Puerto Rico
  • 1967-02-19 Benicio Del Toro, Puerto Rico, actor (Licence to Kill, Usual Suspects)
  • 1967-03-02 Leo Gomez, Canovanas Puerto Rico, infielder (Chicago Cubs)
  • 1967-03-27 Jaime Navarro, Bayamon Puerto Rico, pitcher (Chicago Cubs)
  • 1967-04-13 Olga Tañón, Puerto Rican singer
  • 1967-07-06 Omar Olivares, Mayaguez Puerto Rico, pitcher (Detroit Tigers)
  • 1968-02-05 Roberto Alomar, infielder (Baltimore Orioles), born in Salinas, Puerto Rico
  • 1968-06-28 Chayanne, Puerto Rican singer
  • 1968-09-13 Bernie Williams, San Juan Puerto Rico, outfielder (NY Yankees)
  • 1968-10-13 Julio Valera, San Sebastian Puerto Rico, pitcher (KC Royals)
  • 1968-11-04 Carlos Baerga, Puerto Rico, infielder (Cleveland Indians)
  • 1969-04-07 Ricky Bones, pitcher (Milwaukee Brewers, NY Yanks), born in Salinas, Puerto Rico
  • 1969-07-14 Jose Hernandez, Hato Rey Puerto Rico, infielder (Chicago Cubs)
  • 1969-10-12 Jose Valentin, Manati Puerto Rico, infielder (Milwaukee Brewers)
  • 1969-10-20 Juan Gonzalez, Vega Baja Puerto Rico, outfielder (Texas Rangers)
  • 1969-10-31 Damon Mashore, Ponce Puerto Rico, outfielder (Oakland A's)
  • 1969-11-09 Angel Miranda, Arecieo Puerto Rico, pitcher (Milwaukee Brewers)
  • 1970-06-25 Ana Rosa Brito, Miss Puerto Rico Universe (1997)
  • 1970-10-14 Jon Seda, Puerto Rican actor
  • 1970-11-05 Javier Lopez, Ponce Puerto Rico, catcher (Atlanta Braves)
  • 1971-08-17 Jorge Posada, Puerto Rican baseball player
  • 1971-11-30 Ivan Rodriguez, Vega Baja Puerto Rico, catcher (Texas Rangers)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1971-12-24 Ricky Martin, Puerto Rican singer (Menudo) and actor (General Hospital), born in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Singer/Actor Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin
  • 1971-12-28 Melvin Nieves, San Juan Puerto Rico, outfielder (Detroit Tigers)
  • 1972-04-15 Ricky Otero, Vega Baja Puerto Rico, outfielder (Philadelphia Phillies)
  • 1972-06-25 Carlos Delgado, Aguadilla Puerto Rico, infielder (Toronto Blue Jays)
  • 1972-08-23 Raul Casanova, Puerto Rican baseball player
  • 1972-09-06 Justina Machado, Puerto Rican actress
  • 1972-10-02 Rafael Carmona, Rio Piedras Puerto Rico, pitcher (Seattle Mariners)
  • 1973-03-31 Bold Forbes, Puerto Rican/American thoroughbred racehorse (d. 2000)
  • 1973-04-02 Roselyn Sanchez, Puerto Rican actress, born in San Juan
  • 1973-06-17 Christian Claudio, Puerto Rican Business Consultant
  • 1973-07-31 Jerry Rivera, Puerto Rican singer (Abriendo Puertas), born in Humacao, Puerto Rico
  • 1973-11-08 Vanesa Littlecrow, Puerto Rican cartoonist, dancer, writer and model
  • 1974-02-24 Mike Lowell, Puerto Rican baseball player
  • 1974-04-18 Millie Corretjer, Puerto Rican singer
  • 1974-07-20 Bengie Molina, Puerto Rican baseball player
  • 1974-08-27 José Vidro, Puerto Rican baseball player
  • 1975-01-09 Kiko Calero, Puerto Rican baseball player
  • 1975-01-17 Freddy Rodriguez, Puerto Rican-American actor
  • 1975-02-13 Iván González, Puerto Rican writer and musician
  • 1975-06-03 Jose Molina, Puerto Rican baseball player
  • 1975-09-01 Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Puerto Rican guitarist
  • 1975-10-18 Alex Cora, Puerto Rican baseball player

Famous Weddings

  • 2000-05-09 Puerto Rican actress and former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres (25) weds singer-songwriter Marc Anthony (31) in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 2001-10-05 "The Golden Boy" professional boxer Oscar De La Hoya (28) weds Puerto Rican pop singer Millie Corretjer (27) in a secret ceremony held at "El Invernino" in San Juan
  • 2006-04-01 Miss Puerto Rico 2003 Joyceline Montero weds architect Hansell Bajuelo at la Iglesia de la Misericordia in Guaynabo City
  • 2006-06-03 Telenovela actress Adamari Lopez (35) weds Latin singing sensation Luis Fonsi (28) at La Iglesia de San Jose in Villa Caparra, Puerto Rico
  • 2006-10-14 Merengue singer Melina Leon (33) weds Ruy Fernando Delgado at La Iglesia Metodista Universitaria in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • 2007-06-09 "Ugly Betty" actress Ana Ortiz (36) weds musician Noah Lebenzon at the Horned Dorset Primavera Hotel in Rincon, Puerto Rico
  • 2008-11-29 "Without a Trace" star Roselyn Sanchez (35) weds actor Eric Winter (32) at Fort San Cristobal in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

HeartWedding of Interest

2011-01-01 Singer-songwriter Shania Twain (46) weds Swiss business executive Frederic Thiebaud in Rincon, Puerto Rico

Singer Shania Twain
Shania Twain

Famous Deaths

  • 1898-09-16 Ramón Emeterio Betances, Puerto Rican politician, medical doctor and diplomat (b. 1827)
  • 1903-08-11 Eugenio Maria de Hostos, Puerto Rican educator and nationalist (b. 1839)
  • 1914-08-23 George A Pogson, British consul in Puerto Rico, dies
  • 1959-06-29 A Cecil Snyder, Chief Justice of Puerto Rico, dies at 51
  • 1980-04-30 Luis Muñoz Marín, Puerto Rican poet, journalist, and politician (b. 1898)
  • 1988-06-16 Miguel Piñero, Puerto Rican playwright, actor, and co-founder of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. (b. 1946)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1992-01-26 José Ferrer, Puerto Rican actor/director (Cyrano de Bergerac), dies at 80

  • 1993-06-29 Héctor Lavoe, Puerto Rican singer (b. 1946)
  • 1997-03-25 Roberto Sanchez Vilella, governor of Puerto Rico in (1965-69), dies
  • 2000-02-07 Big Pun, Puerto Rican-American rapper (b. 1971)
  • 2000-09-02 Elvera Sanchez, Puerto Rican dancer (b. 1905)
  • 2001-03-20 Luis Alvarado, Puerto Rican baseball player (b. 1949)
  • 2003-05-18 Anna Santisteban, Puerto Rican beauty contest organizer (b. 1914)
  • 2003-08-10 Carmita Jiménez, Puerto Rican singer
  • 2003-10-21 Luis A. Ferré, Puerto Rican industrialist and politician (Governor of Puerto Rico, 1969-73), dies at 99
  • 2003-12-27 Iván Calderón, Puerto Rican baseball player (b. 1962)
  • 2004-01-28 Don Cholito, Puerto Rican radio host (b. 1923)
  • 2005-06-16 Enrique Laguerre, Puerto Rican writer (b. 1906)
  • 2005-09-23 Filiberto Ojeda, Puerto Rican revolutionary (b. 1933)
  • 2006-02-05 Norma Candal, Puerto Rican actress and comedian (b. 1930)
  • 2006-02-17 Ray Barretto, Puerto Rican musician (b. 1929)
  • 2006-06-06 Hilton Ruiz, Puerto Rican-American jazz pianist (b. 1952)
  • 2006-11-06 Federico (Fico) López, Puerto Rican basketball player (b. 1962)
  • 2007-01-11 Puchi Balseiro, Puerto Rican singer & songwriter (b. 1926)
  • 2010-08-01 Lolita Lebrón, Puerto Rican nationalist (b. 1919)
  • 2012-01-09 Ruth Fernandez, Puerto Rican singer and politician, dies from septic shock and pneumonia at 92
  • 2012-11-24 Héctor Camacho, Puerto Rican professional boxer, dies from gunshot injuries at 50
  • 2015-12-06 Holly Woodlawn, transgender Puerto Rican actress (Warhol films), dies at 69
  • 2017-04-28 Luis Olmo, pioneering Puerto Rican NBA player (Brooklyn Dodgers), dies at 97