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History[ edit ] Puerto Rico, like many other countries, has transitioned from an agricultural economy to an industrial one. Its economy is currently experiencing a transformation caused by the Information Agealbeit slowly. Pre-colonialism[ edit ] Not much is known about the economic history of Puerto Rico prior to the arrival of Spaniards.
Manatees were speared and fish were caught in nets, speared, poisoned, trapped in weirs, or caught with hook and line. Wild parrots were decoyed with domesticated birds, and iguanas were taken from trees and other vegetation.
Livestock was not practiced as there were no large animals native to Puerto Rico that could be raised in an agricultural setting in order to produce commodities such as food, fiberor labor. Fields for important root crops, such as the staple yucawere prepared by heaping up mounds of soil, called conucos.
This improved soil drainage and fertility as well as delaying erosion, and it allowing for longer storage of crops in the ground. Less important crops such as corn were raised in simple clearings created by slash and burn technique.
Typically, conucos were three feet high and nine feet in circumference and were arranged in rows. It was planted using a coa, a kind of hoe made completely from wood. Women processed the poisonous variety of cassava by squeezing it to extract the toxic juices.
Then they would grind the roots into flour for baking bread. Batata sweet potato was the next most important root crop. It was cooked and eaten off the cob. Corn bread becomes moldy faster than cassava bread in the high humidity of the West Indies.
Tobacco, calabashes West Indian pumpkins and cotton were grown around the houses. Other fruits and vegetables, such as palm nuts, guavasand Zamia roots, were collected from the wild.
Slaves were minimally remunerated for or forced to work in farms, mines, households, and other aspects. Agriculture was the primary mean of productionas well as livestock which was originally imported from Europe. Sugar canetobacco, coffee, and minor fruits were the primary cultivations which were exported to Europe and, by so, constituted the main economy for the island.
United States rule[ edit ] This section may lack focus or may be about more than one topic. November In the early 20th century the greatest contributor to Puerto Rico's economy was agriculture and its main crop was sugar, displacing other cash crops such as tobacco and coffee.
Roosevelt launched the Puerto Rican Reconstruction Administration, which provided agricultural development, public works, and electrification of the island. Economic conditions have improved dramatically since the Great Depression because of external investment in capital-intensive industries such as petrochemicalspharmaceuticals and technology.
Starting in the late s a series of projects called Operation Bootstrap encouraged, using tax exemptions, the establishment of factories. Thus manufacturing replaced agriculture as the main industry of the island. Operation Bootstrap was based on an "industrialization-first" campaign and modernization, focusing the Puerto Rican economy on exports, especially to the United States.
As a result, Puerto Rico is now classified as a "high income country" by the World Bank. Following the Fair Minimum Wage Act ofPuerto Rico is also subject to the minimum wage laws of the United States, which gives lower-wage countries such as Mexico and the Dominican Republic an economic advantage in the Caribbean.
In recent years, some U. Puerto Rico is subject to U. Also, starting aroundthere was heavy migration from Puerto Rico to the Continental United Statesparticularly New York Cityin search of better economic conditions. Puerto Rican migration to New York displayed an average yearly migration of 1, for the years —, 31, for —, 45, for —, and a peak of 75, in Census Bureau estimates that more people of Puerto Rican birth or ancestry live in the U.
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