A LITTLE JOURNEY TO PUERTO RICO
Do you know what people mean when they speak of "Our New Possessions"?
What are they? Where are they? Why are men, in the streets, in the
shops, everywhere, talking about them? Why are the newspapers full of
articles in regard to them? Why are our lawmakers at the capital
devoting so much time and attention to them? Can you tell?
Some of these things you can easily ascertain for yourselves. Others we
will speak of here.
The new territory which has lately come into the possession of the
United States, consists of the islands of Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the
Philippines. Cuba is not included in this list; it is soon to be an
Since Puerto Rico and these other islands have come to be parts of the
United States, everyone is anxious to learn something more of them.
The best way to learn the geography of a country and the customs of the
people is to visit the country and see with your own eyes.
That would be a difficult thing for most of us. The next best way is to
make the journey in imagination, and that all of us can do.
The island nearest us is Puerto Rico, the most eastern island of the
Greater Antilles. Let us visit that first and the other islands later
We must find out something of the climate, however, before we start on
this journey. This may not be the right season of the year to go. We
must know, too, what kind of clothing to take with us.
In order to plan our route wisely, we must know something of the
geography of the island. We should also know the past history of Puerto
Rico, in order to understand the customs of the people and the
conditions that exist there.
* * * * *
LOCATION, SIZE, SURFACE.
If you will find a map of the West Indies in your atlas or geography,
you will also find Puerto Rico. It is one of the four Greater Antilles
Islands, and lies east of Haiti and farthest out in the Atlantic Ocean.
It is over four hundred miles from the east coast of Cuba, one thousand
miles from Havana, and about one thousand four hundred and fifty miles
from New York.
In size it is the smallest of the group. Its area is about three
thousand five hundred and fifty square miles. Its average length is
about ninety-five miles; its average breadth about thirty-five miles.
In shape it resembles the State of Connecticut, though it is only
three-fourths the size of that State.
[Illustration: THE ISLAND OF PUERTO RICO.]
Puerto Rico, in English, means Rich Harbor. But Puerto Rico is not rich
in harbors. There are not more than six good harbors, but it has less
than three hundred and fifty miles of coast line.
The surface of Puerto Rico is mountainous.