San Juan was founded in 1521 on a small island connected to the mainland of Puerto Rico by a series of bridges and a causeway. The Spanish, in order to protect the transportation of gold and silver to Europe, built here a series of strong fortifications. In 1595 and 1598, and again in 1797, the British attacked the city, and in 1625, the Dutch laid siege, but each time its defences proved too strong.
In 1898, as part of the Spanish-American war, Americans bombed and occupied
San Juan and took control of Puerto Rico, which has remained a territory of
the United States of America ever since. During the 20th century, the city expanded
beyond its old walls to incorporate the greater metropolitan area, and today
has three distinct districts: the Old City; the beach and resort area; and other
outlying communities including Río Piedras, Hato Rey, Puerta de Tierra,
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