San Juan: 500 Years

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced a resolution in the Senate celebrating the 500th anniversary of the founding of Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan, while Congresswoman Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon  has introduced a companion bill in the House.

Cosponsors include Reps Nydia Velazquez ([D-NY), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Carlos Gimenez ([R-FL) Darren Soto (D-FL), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), and Ritchie Torres (D-NY).

San Juan’s history

“San Juan was founded in 1521, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city established by Europeans in the United States,” Gonzalez-Colon pointed out. “Today, Puerto Rico’s capital city is a major economic and trade center, home to one of the top 25 busiest container ports in the Nation. San Juan is also known for its rich culture and vibrant history, perhaps best encapsulated by its iconic cobblestone streets and the massive system of fortifications built by Spanish military engineers between the 16th and 18th centuries to defend the city. I was proud to introduce a bipartisan resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the founding of San Juan, and want to thank Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio for introducing a companion version in the Senate.”

The first Spanish Governor of Puerto Rico, Ponce de Leon, established the capital of Puerto Rico at Caparra, now known as Pueblo Viejo. A year later, the capital was moved to San Juan. The walled city built there by the Spanish is now called Old San Juan, and the city has extended far beyond its boundaries.

Iglesia San José was built in 1532. The Palacio de Santa Catalina, also known as La Fortaleza, was built between 1533 and 1540 and is the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Americas.

UNESCO declared all of San Juan a World Heritage site. Other World Heritage sites in the U.S.include the Statue of Liberty, Yosemite National Park, and the Grand Canyon. San Juan is as significant a part of U.S. cultural heritage.

H.Res 343

The resolution is as follows:

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) recognizes the 500th anniversary of the founding of the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico;

Senator Rick Scott said, “I am proud to join my colleagues in celebrating the 500th anniversary of Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan. As Governor of Florida and now as Senator, I’ve had the opportunity to visit Puerto Rico several times and see firsthand the rich culture, wonderful people and beauty the island has to offer. I’m proud to be a voice for Puerto Rico in the United States Senate and join Congresswoman Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon and Senator Marco Rubio to celebrate this important milestone for our brothers and sisters on the island. I’ll keep fighting every day to ensure that Puerto Rico is treated fairly, families on the island have their shot at living the American Dream and Puerto Rico can continue to thrive for future generations.”

Senator Marco Rubio said, “As we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the founding of the City of San Juan, I’m proud to join my fellow Americans in Puerto Rico as they celebrate the founding of the oldest city in our nation. This resolution pays tribute to the city’s legacy, which remains a historic gem for all American citizens.”

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