Tribal groups like the Ortoiroid, Igneri and Arawak Indians were among the first inhabitants of Puerto Rico. The island was soon discovered by Christopher Columbus. During that period, the Tainos culture was dominant. The nation then came under the Spanish Empire and was their military post during several wars. During the Spanish-American war in 1898, it came under the American rule and is still a Commonwealth under the United States.
Puerto Rican culture is a hybrid mix of African, Taino, Spanish and North American cultures. In particular, its music especially the bomba and plena are results of African influence. Arts, crafts, dance and sports are important aspects of Puerto Rican culture. The island’s architectural structure reflects its strong Spanish background.
Located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, Puerto Rico lies to the east of the Dominican Republic and to the west of the Virgin Islands. The island is mainly divided into three parts: the mountainous part, which consists of the Cordillera Central, Sierra de Luquillo Mountains, Sierra de Cayey and Sierra Bermeja; the coastal plains and the northern karst region.