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The total land area, including the smaller islands, is 3,427 square miles (8,875 square kilometers).

The tropical island ecosystem is unique and diversified in spite of industrialization and urban sprawl.

African speech contributed words and also influenced phonology, syntax, and prosody. officials disdained Puerto Rican Spanish as an unintelligible "patois" that had to be eradicated; they also believed that by learning English, Puerto Ricans would be socialized into "American values." The U. government imposed educational policies prescribing schooling in English through the first half of the twentieth century; language became part of the long-standing struggles over Puerto Rico's culture and colonial condition.Language is a significant cultural marker of national identity for a people whose culture has always been under siege because of colonialism. Although "English-only" policies were abrogated after the establishment of the commonwealth in 1952, debates about language have intensified.Beside Mona, the government has established several other nature reserves.There are twenty forest reserves, such as El Yunque Rain Forest and the Caribbean National Forest, which are under federal jurisdiction. Christopher Columbus landed in Puerto Rico in 1493, during his second voyage, naming it San Juan Bautista.

The Taínos, the indigenous people, called the island Boriquén Tierra del alto señor ("Land of the Noble Lord").In 1508, the Spanish granted settlement rights to Juan Ponce de León, who established a settlement at Caparra and became the first governor.In 1519 Caparra had to be relocated to a nearby coastal islet with a healthier environment; it was renamed Puerto Rico ("Rich Port") for its harbor, among the world's best natural bays.The Spanish word huracán originated from the Taíno juracán, the sacred name for this phenomenon.Spain turned Puerto Rico into a military stronghold.Puerto Rico retains its strategic importance, housing the U. Army Southern Command and other military facilities. Puerto Rico includes the surrounding small islands, including Culebra and Vieques to the east and Mona to the west.