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

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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 two names were switched over the centuries: the island became Puerto Rico and its capital San Juan. This sense of uniqueness also shapes their migrant experience and relationship with other ethnoracial groups in the United States.

It also has a marked underwater "snorkeling trail" with beautiful undersea scenery.

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

The impenetrable highlands became a refuge in which settlers, runaway slaves, Taínos, and deserters produced a racially mixed population. Almost 70 percent of the island is urban, in contrast to its rural character up to the 1940s.

Sprawl has integrated formerly distinct barrios (rural and suburban neighborhoods), cities, and towns.The tropical island ecosystem is unique and diversified in spite of industrialization and urban sprawl.Beside Mona, the government has established several other nature reserves.There are twenty forest reserves, such as El Yunque Rain Forest and the Caribbean National Forest, which are under federal jurisdiction.A rugged central mountain range constitutes two-thirds of the island and separates a northern coastal plain noted for karst formations from a drier southern plain.The downtown plaza is a worthwhile stop with its beautiful fountains, a stunning cathedral and an old red and black wooden fire station that is still in use today.