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Puerto Rico is a large Caribbean island of roughly 3, square miles located in the West Indies. After centuries of Spanish rule, Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States in and has been largely self-governing since the midth century. It has a population of some 3.

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Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island and a part of Latin American territory.

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Municipalities are further subdivided into barrios, and those into sectors. Constitution : ratified 3 March ; approved by U. Congress 3 July ; effective 25 July Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal; Puerto Ricans are U. Interesting Fact During election year, automobile caravans are among the activities planned for political mobilization and propaganda. Legal System: Puerto Rican civil and commercial codes are fashioned after Spanish models; penal, procedural, and public including constitutional law are fashioned after U. Military branches: no regular indigenous military forces; paramilitary National Guard, Police Force.

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Type: Commonwealth associated with the US. The island's inhabitants possess all the rights and obligations of United States citizens such as paying Social Security, receiving federal welfare and serving in the armed forces, except for the right to vote in presidential elections and the obligation to pay federal taxes. Other territories include: Mona 5, hectaresMonito 15 hectaresDesecheo hectaresand Caja de Muertos hectares. All U. Additionally, there are nine local holidays, which usually honor important leaders or events in the island's history.

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Legislators are popularly elected to four-year terms. All of these have a non-voting representative in the U. The major commonwealths are Puerto Rico and the Northern Marianas.

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Puerto Rico has authority over its internal affairs. The constituent assembly began its deliberations in the following September. Each district court has at least one district judge and can have more than a score of district judges, as well as a clerk, a United States Attorney, a United States Marshall, one or more United States Magistrates, bankruptcy judges, probation officers, court reporters, and their staffs.

The bicameral legislature determines how to spend the island's tax revenue.

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As noted, because Puerto Rico is a territory and not a State, Puerto Rico has no representation in the Electoral College, nor have voting representation in Congress like the States. Although Puerto Rico is considered a territory of the United States, the island has Puerto own Olympic team Rico competes in the Miss Universe ant as an independent nation.

United States controls: interstate trade, foreign relations and commerce, customs administration, control of air, land and sea, immigration and emigration, nationality and citizenship, currency, maritime laws, military service, military bases, army, navy and air force, declaration of war, constitutionality of laws, jurisdictions and legal procedures, treaties, radio and television--communications, agriculture, mining and minerals, highways, postal system; Social Security, and other areas generally controlled by the federal government in dating United States.

Puerto Rican institutions control internal affairs unless U. The major differences between Puerto Rico and the 50 states are exemption from some aspects of the Internal Revenue Code, its lack of voting representation in either house of three U. Congress Senate and House of Representativesthe ineligibility of Puerto Ricans residing on the island to vote in presidential elections, and its lack of asation of some revenues reserved for the states.

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Unless specifically stated, Puerto Rico is also subject to all laws and most regulations of the U. Most U. The Judicial System is directed by the Supreme Court. Commonwealths have their own constitutions and greater autonomy than possessions, and Guam is currently in the process of moving from the status of unincorporated territory to commonwealth.

No other reef and offshore island habitat within U. The islands are a critical habitat of endangered marine turtles, sea birds and occasional migratory marine mammals.

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Fort Buchanan is a U. The base was established in in honor of Coronel James A. Buchanan who was the commander of the 1st Puerto Rico U. Army unit, commonly known as the Porto Rico Regiment. In case the Secretary of State is unwilling or unable to assume it, the Attorney General or, as the position is known, the Justice Department Secretary would assume the governorship, followed by the Secretary of Treasury. In addition, each of the municipalites of Puerto Rico have city flags that represent what each city stands for. The major political parties are: Popular Democratic Party PPDwhich supports an enhanced commonwealth status.

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National Symbol: While the coqui - a tiny frog found everywhere in the island- is only an "unofficial national symbol", its image figures prominently in Puerto Rican culture and heritage. A municipality municipio is an administrative local area generally composed of a clearly defined territory and commonly referring to a city, town, or village government.

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In the case of the death, reation, or removal, of the Governor, the Secretary of State of Puerto Rico succeeds the Governor. It was originally a dance measure. The U. The major possessions are American Samoa, Guam, and the U. Virgin Islands. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico every four years. The House of Representatives consists of 51 members, one per electoral district and 11 elected proportionally.


San Juan is located on the north east of the island. Manpower reaching militarily ificant age annually: male: 30, female: 29, est. Puerto Ricans cannot vote in general presidential elections unless they establish residency in one of the 50 states. Most installations have been deactivated and partially turned over to the local government.

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Numerous other small cays lie offshore of Puerto Rico. People gather in town squares to show their support for candidates and parade through the cities to encourage others to vote. Two Puerto seats are granted in each house to the opposition if necessary to limit any party's control to two thirds. There are 12 judicial districts. The residents of all of these places are full U. Virgin Islands St. Croix, St.

John and St. Puerto Rico's political relationship with the U. The issue revolves around whether Puerto Rico should remain a U. The debate has spawn several referendums, presidential executive orders and bills in the U. Ultimately the Rico. Congress is dating only one who can make decisions regarding the political status of Puerto Rico, as stated under the Territorial Clause.

The Senate consists of 27 members, 2 per electoral district 8and 11 elected according to the different districts proportion of population. The Governor is elected by popular vote for a four-year term no term limitswhich begins on the second day of January after the year of his election and ends on the date his successor takes office.

None Commonwealth associated with the U. Government, but Puerto Rico is three into 78 " municipios " municipalities.

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In Puerto Rico, a municipality is a city and the government unit that is the primary legal subdivision; each municipality has an elected mayor. However, the Census Bureau treats the municipio as the statistical equivalent of a county.

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Political Division: 8 senatorial districts, 40 representative districts, 78 municipalities. Each is governed by a popularly elected mayor and municipal assembly. San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico and the most populous municipality in Puerto Rico, with a population of two million.

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The mayor appoints a secretary-auditor and a treasurer. Flag: Five equal horizontal bands of red top and bottom alternating with white; a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side bears a large white five-pointed star in the center; de based on the Cuban flag. The Executive Power is exercised by the Governor, who le a cabinet conformed by the he of the commonwealth's executive departments, who in turn must be ratified by the Legislature.

Government offices, banks, the post office and most stores are closed on the official holidays.

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Sometime during the s, confusion over the names led to a switch, the island took the name of Puerto Rico and the town became San Juan. The Supreme Court is formed by 7 judges a chief justice and six associate justices named by the Governor.


The federal government, located in San Juan, is represented by 2 district judges and the procurator, who is named by the President of the United States. It is also Puerto Rico's main port of entry and has one of the best harbors in the Caribbean.

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Throughout the 20th century Puerto Rico had as many as 25 military installations.