5 Things You Didn't Know About Puerto Rico

On July 25, 1952, Puerto Rico officially became a Commonwealth after more than 50 years as an occupied and unincorporated territory of the United States.  Here are 5 fascinating things you didn’t know about Puerto Rico...

 
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It's the Birthplace of the PiƱa Colada We have Puerto Rico to thank for this sweet mix of coconut cream, pineapple juice, white rum, and ice. The identity of its actual creator continues to be an unresolved controversy — three different bartenders apparently lay claim to the invention — but it was named Puerto Rico's national drink in 1978.

It Has Its Own Flag Although Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, the island also has its own flag.  Although the colors are red, white, and blue, they are not based on the U.S. flag, despite widespread misconceptions. Rather, the flag is a representation of the island's close ties with Cuba during the 19th century; Puerto Rico's flag is the Cuban flag's colors, reversed.

 
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It Has the Tallest Sculpture in North America With all the talk about statues being pulled down and relocated, you might think that a huge sculpture honoring Christopher Columbus would be a prime target. That statue, called "Birth of a New World", is a 360 foot statue of Christopher Columbus and its the tallest sculpture in North America. The sculpture, by Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, weighs a staggering 6,500 tons and required about 500 workers to put it on its feet. As of July 2020, the statue appears not to be a target of statue-removal groups, although members of the indigenous Taino have objected to the statue's presence.

It Has Three of the World's Five Bioluminescent Bays Three of the world's five bioluminescent bays are in Puerto Rico. These rare ecosystems result from microscopic, single-celled organisms called dinoflagellates that grow in quantities big enough to produce a "glow-in-the-dark" effect when stimulated by movement. In other words, when you paddle or splash, the organisms light up a neon blue-green. The bays are in La Parguera, Fajardo, and Vieques.

It's the Rum Capital of the World Puerto Rico is also known as the rum capital of the world, and for good reason. Casa Bacardi in Cataño is the largest rum distillery in the world, producing about 85% of the Bacardi brand, and the island is responsible for more than 70% of rums sold in the United States, making it Puerto Rico's top export. Distilleries on the island make more than 80 types of rum.