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Puerto Rico Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Puerto Rico is a territory located in the Caribbean. In this lesson, explore Puerto Rico's history, geography, and climate. Learn about the amazing wildlife and culture found there!

Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is an island full of rich history, tropical environments, and unique wildlife! It is not an independent country, but a territory, or area of land belonging to another country. The United States maintains control over Puerto Rico, even though it is not connected to the US mainland. Puerto Rico is in the Caribbean Sea, southeast of Florida.

Puerto Rico is located in the Caribbean and is southeast of the United States.
Puerto Rico map

History

Would you believe Puerto Rico was discovered by accident? Christopher Columbus discovered the main island during a voyage to find rest and supplies. He named the island San Juan Bautista. In 1508, explorer Juan Ponce de Leon colonized the island and it was renamed Puerto Rico, meaning 'Rich Port.'

Puerto Rico was ruled by the Spanish for many years. During this period, the Spanish enslaved many of the natives and the island got attacked by pirates many times. The United States gained control of the island in 1898. It is still a territory of the United States today, although there are local leaders who help govern Puerto Rico.

San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico, and it is rich in history.
San Juan History

Geography and Climate

Even though the main island is named Puerto Rico, the whole territory is called the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is an archipelago, or a chain of islands that are close together in the Caribbean Sea.

The main island of Puerto Rico is mostly mountains except for flat coastal areas that surround the edges of the island. All of the lakes in Puerto Rico are man-made! Puerto Rico is located along a tectonic plate called the Puerto Rico Trench. Because of this, there have been earthquakes and landslides on the island.

The climate of Puerto Rico is tropical and temperatures are fairly warm all year long. There is a rainy season from April to November, and the islands can experience hurricanes due to their location. Still, the warm temperatures attract many visitors who want to vacation to get away from cold, snowy weather.

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