Four Cultural Corners of the Puerto Rican Flag
Puerto Rico culture is not just about the Puerto Rican flag. It is also definitely more than Menudo and Ricky Martin. As in its people and culture, this country represents a successful blend of different cultures in one island location in the Caribbean. The mix of local and international influence surely had an effect on this island’s evolution from the old days.
When the Spaniards first came to Puerto Rico, it was teeming with the native Taino population. The Spaniards fully took control of the island and made the Tainos their laborers. As the years passed, the Taino people population sloughed off mainly due to disease. During this time, the slaves from Africa were brought in to support the labor requirements of the island’s colonizers.
North America, more specifically the United States, started to exert its influence over this country after the Spanish-American War in 1898. Along with other Spanish territories, Puerto Rico ended up with the Americans through the Treaty of Paris signed by the two warring nations after the cessation of hostilities. The entry of the United States gave Puerto Rico its fourth cultural influence. The US, similar to what it did to the other Spanish territories, gave Puerto Rico much of its needed government structure and gave it the means to deliver public services that enabled development of the island.
In terms of obvious cultural influences, the Spaniards gave this country its language and much of its cuisine. As far as musical influence is concerned, the Africans and their drums ended up in the musical genre of bomba. Musically speaking, the Taino people left their legacy of instruments like the Guicharo and the widely popular Maracas. The United States, through their establishment of schools, introduced baseball, English and even influenced local cuisine. Four cultures in one island. That is Puerto Rico for you.