A report from The Economist.
Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.
Islanders must look to themselves to salvage their fortunes
PUERTO RICO’S distant overlords have often displayed mixed feelings towards it. With its central Caribbean location and natural harbour at San Juan, the island was a strategic asset for the Spanish for four centuries. It was, said Philip IV in 1645, “front and vanguard of all my Western Indies and, consequently, the most important of them and most coveted by the enemies.” On the other hand, its rugged terrain was less productive than Hispaniola. It was also plague-ridden, expensive to fortify and the garrison in San Juan kept deserting because the Spanish kings rarely paid their troops.
Their enemies squandered the opportunity this presented: perhaps they felt similarly about the place. Puerto Rico was seized or assailed by the English, French and Dutch…
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