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Puer­to Ricans often call the island Bor­in­quen, from Borikén, its indige­nous Taíno name. The terms boricua and bor­in­cano derive from Borikén and Bor­in­quen respec­tive­ly, and are com­mon­ly used to iden­ti­fy some­one of Puer­to Rican her­itage. The island is also pop­u­lar­ly known as “La Isla del Encan­to”, which trans­lat­ed means “The Island of Enchant­ment.”

Puer­to Rico, geo­graph­i­cal­ly, is com­posed of an arch­i­pel­ago that includes the main island of Puer­to Rico and a num­ber of small­er islands and keys, the largest of which are Vieques, Cule­bra, and Mona. The main island of Puer­to Rico is the small­est by land area and sec­ond small­est by pop­u­la­tion among the four Greater Antilles, which also include Cuba, His­pan­io­la, and Jamaica. Eth­ni­cal­ly, the peo­ple of Puer­to Rico “con­sti­tute a Latin Amer­i­can and Caribbean nation that has its own unequiv­o­cal nation­al iden­ti­ty”.

The first set­tlers were the Ortoiroid peo­ple, an Archa­ic Peri­od cul­ture of Amerindi­an hunters and fish­er­men. An archae­o­log­i­cal dig in the island of Vieques in 1990 found the remains of what is believed to be an Arcaico (Archa­ic) man (named Puer­to Fer­ro man) dat­ed to around 2000 BC. Between AD 120 and 400 arrived the Igneri, a tribe from the South Amer­i­can Orinoco region. Between the 4th and 10th cen­turies, the Arcaicos and Igneri co-exist­ed (and per­haps clashed) on the island. Between the 7th and 11th cen­turies the Taíno cul­ture devel­oped on the island, and by approx­i­mate­ly 1000 AD had become dom­i­nant. This last­ed until Christo­pher Colum­bus arrived in 1492