Desde la isla del encanto a nueva york...y otras historias

(an analysis of the historical shifts of te cultural identity of Puerto Ricans/ Nuyoricans; as dictated by politics and popular media)

by Papoose Ariel "Morena" Martin

The history of Puerto Rico, as we think we know it, begins with the arrival of Christopher Columbus (Crístobal Colon). In 1493, a year after this axplorer set sail for India, Columbus landed upon Puerto Rican (Borinquen) soil. This land was not abandoned. It was populated by some "60,000 Taino or Arawak indians."(1) Columbus claimed the land in the name of Spain. This land remained under Spanish rule until 1898.

In 1898 Spain found itself battling to retain possession of it's colonies (Cuba and Puerto Rico). This well noted Spanish-American War resulted in "the U.S. aquisition of territories in the western pacific and Latin America (August 8). The treaty of Paris was signed (December 10). Spain renounced all claim to Cuba, ceded Guam and Puerto Rico to the U.S. and transferred sovereignty if the Philippines over to the United States for $20,000,000."(2) The national identity and status of Puerto Rico was soon to change, drastically.

In 1916 the Jones act was passed, making Puerto Ricans citizens of the United States. While Puerto Ricans "enjoyed" this "advantage" Puerto Rico was not officially part of the U.S. Nation; rather it was (and still is) a commonwealth. "In 1952 Puerto Rico's new constitution was approved and the Puerto Rican flag was adopted."(3) The fact that the citizens of Puerto Rico were now legal citizens of the United States paved the way for an influx of Puerto Ricans to the U.S. mainland. While this changed the face of U.S. history it also created a new Puerto Rican identity.

Between the 1970's and the 1980's the New York Puerto Rican population was on the rise. The native born/foreign group negan to move into areas that were formerly inhabited by Europeans. Many of these people settled in the Bronx. Some would suggest that the shift/expansion in Puerto Rican culture began when Puerto Ricans came into close contact with non-Hispanic African Americans. What emerged was a new language (Spanglish) and a new breed of Puerto Ricans (Nuyoricans).

Go on to cultural references in the movie

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(1) (page 1)

(2)ibid (page 5)

(3)ibid (page 8)