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Taínos were Amerindians who occupied the island before European domination.

Then estimated at thirty thousand, they were reduced to two thousand by the seventeenth century through exploitative labor, disease, native uprisings, and emigration to the other islands.

Christopher Columbus landed in Puerto Rico in 1493, during his second voyage, naming it San Juan Bautista.

The Taínos, the indigenous people, called the island Boriquén Tierra del alto señor ("Land of the Noble Lord").

In 1519 Caparra had to be relocated to a nearby coastal islet with a healthier environment; it was renamed Puerto Rico ("Rich Port") for its harbor, among the world's best natural bays.The total land area, including the smaller islands, is 3,427 square miles (8,875 square kilometers).The tropical island ecosystem is unique and diversified in spite of industrialization and urban sprawl.Puerto Rico retains its strategic importance, housing the U. Army Southern Command and other military facilities. Puerto Rico includes the surrounding small islands, including Culebra and Vieques to the east and Mona to the west.Mona is a nature reserve and wildlife refuge under government jurisdiction.