Skip to Main Content
Link to CSU Home
Link to CSU Home
Students in the Library

Michael Schwartz Library

Students in the Connection Lounge
Michael Schwartz Library

Engaging with International Students



Early History:

The earliest inhabitants of Puerto Rico are believed to be the Arawaks, also known as the Tainos. It is thought that they had come to the island from South America around 500 A.C.. They named the island Borinquén, they refered to themselves as Boriqua (a term still used today by the people of Puerto Rico). Borinquén meant "The Land of the Valiant and Noble Lord" to the Taino.

November  19, 1943 - Christopher Columbus anchored in a bay at the West of Puerto Rico.

Colonization begins on 1508 when the first European Settlement named "Caparra" is founded by Juan Ponce de León near a bay on the island's northern coast. Caparra gets renamed "Puerto Rico" (translating to "rich port") in 1521. Over time, people started referring to the entire island as Puerto Rico while the port city itself being called "San Juan."

After Puerto Rico gets colonized several historic stages unfold before Puerto Rico achieves a self-government system. These being:

- The Spanish Rule Era (1600s - 1800s)

- The Foraker Act Era (Late 1800s - Early 1900s)

Modern History:

During the "Operation Bootstrap Era (Mid 1900s)" Puerto Rico faces economic and social changes after World War II. U.S. Congress then passes an act permitting Puerto Ricans to elect their own governor in 1948.

Culture (Food)

Arroz y habichuelas

Rice and beans are the main dish that Puerto Rican people eat. The beans typically used are Pink Beans and they are seasoned and spiced according to family recipes. The rice is cooked separately, medium-grain rice is typically used and this rice is seasoned with oil and spiced according to a family recipe. After these have been cooked separately, they are served together.


Made from green plantain, with a savory flavor. The plantain is marinated in water and garlic, deep fried in oil to soften, then smashed, and deep-fried again until crispy.


A silky coconut custard desert. Typically served with a touch of cinnamon powder.

Culture (Traditions)

Carnaval Ponseño

It's an annual carnival held in the city of Ponce in Puerto Rico in the month of February. This event takes time and place during the week before Ash-Wednesday and within this week a day is selected every year so that there can be a parade. The parade is brought to life by cultural Puerto Rican art and music showcasing, some of these involving the Vejigantes (a local demonic folk character) who are brought to life by people who wear paper-mâché masks and colorful jumpsuits.

These Vejigantes walk around dancing and showing their beautiful jumpsuits and masks to everyone while also scaring the kids and sometimes giving them candy, sometimes they also hit girls on their thighs who are wearing very short shorts with inflated pigs bladder which they hold several of and are painted in vibrant colors.

Culture (Locations)

Parque Ceremonial Indígena de Caguana

One of Puerto Rico's more important historic sites, an archeologically preserved on-site museum location showcasing where the Taino people once had inhabited before colonization from the Spaniards. There are ceremonial plazas, petroglyphs, ancient artifacts and such to see as you learn about the Taino people and how they lived.


The language spoken in Puerto Rico is Spanish.

Tourist Attractions

Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy (Rio Camuy Caves Park)

A huge cave system covering 268 acres and thought to be the third largest cave system in the world. The cave features various rooms, some with extremely high ceilings, stalagmites, stalactites and rivers rushing along the base. Also, interesting to note that the caves where used by the indigenous Taino people long ago.