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The Taínos recognized the power of the seasonal hurricanes that affect the island.
The Spanish word huracán originated from the Taíno juracán, the sacred name for this phenomenon.
Americans, Cubans, and Dominicans tend to consider their presence in Puerto Rico temporary. Spanish and English are the official languages, but Puerto Rico is overwhelmingly Spanish speaking, despite government efforts to eradicate Spanish or foster bilingualism.
Spain turned Puerto Rico into a military stronghold.
San Juan was walled and fortified to house military forces, but the other settlements were neglected until the eighteenth century; isolated by the scarcity of roads, they subsisted on contraband, with little official management. Census projections for 2000 place the population at 3,916,000, not including the estimated 2.7 million Puerto Ricans in the mainland United States.
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.