Threatened by Latin America's nineteenth century revolutions, Spain facilitated immigration through economic incentives, attracting other nationalities as loyalists fled republican uprisings. occupation increased the American presence, and the 1959 revolution in Cuba brought an estimated 23,000 Cubans.
The nineteenth century also brought Corsican, French, German, Lebanese, Scottish, Italian, Irish, English, and American immigration. Many Dominicans immigrated in search of economic opportunities; some use Puerto Rico as a port of entry into the United States.
The San Juan metropolitan area extends almost to Fajardo in the east and west to Arecibo.
Ponce in the south and Mayagüez in the west also have become sprawling metropolitan areas.
Puerto Ricans self-define as a homogenized Taíno, African, and Spanish mixture.
Taínos were Amerindians who occupied the island before European domination.
However, there was a significant African influx of slave, indentured, and free labor.
In 1508, the Spanish granted settlement rights to Juan Ponce de León, who established a settlement at Caparra and became the first governor.
The tropical island ecosystem is unique and diversified in spite of industrialization and urban sprawl.
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.
A rugged central mountain range constitutes two-thirds of the island and separates a northern coastal plain noted for karst formations from a drier southern plain.
Mona is a nature reserve and wildlife refuge under government jurisdiction.