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Official Government Seal of Puerto Rico, c. 1950s

Official Government Seal of Puerto Rico

Official Government Seal of Puerto Rico

Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, CUNY, CEN_POST_B2_246
 
Document Description
Postcard showing the official government seal of Puerto Rico and listing facts about the island, c. 1950s.
 
Questions
What do you think the symbols on the flag mean?
When did Puerto Rico become a possession of the United States? Why?
Who was the first governor of Puerto Rico?
What is the predominate language of Puerto Rico? Why?
What do the letters "F" and "I" stand for?
Who discovered Puerto Rico? When? 
What did the natives call the island?
 
Historical Challenges
Make a timeline of Puerto Rico’s history.
Create a similar document about New York. Place the New York seal in the center and surround it with facts about New York.
What would be the costs and benefits of statehood for Puerto Rico? Are most people on the island for or against becoming a state?
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
Art: Create a seal for your town or school. Explain why you selected each symbol.
English Language Arts: Hold a debate discussing the pros and cons of Puerto Rico becoming an independent country.
 
Resources
Reynolds, Jeff. 2005. Puerto Rico (A to Z). Children’s Press, 2005.
George, Linda, and Charles George. 2000. Luis Muñoz Marin: Father of Modern Puerto Rico. Children’s Press, 2000.
Lopez, Jose Javier. 2006. Puerto Rico (Modern World Nations). Chelsea House Publications, 2006.
 

 

Historical Context
The Estado Libre Asocido de Puerto Rico, or the Seal of Puerto Rico, was created in 1953. The seal contains the same figures as the Spanish crown assigned to Puerto Rico in the sixteenth century. In the green center, the lamb symbolizes peace and brotherhood. The rack of arrows above the lamb is a symbol for creativity. The letters "F" and "I" along the sides stand for the Spanish monarchs, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, who were in power when Spain claimed Puerto Rico. The inscription "Joannes est nomen ejus" translates to "Juan is its name," referring to Puerto Rico’s first name, San Juan. Surrounding the center are the towers of Castile and the lions of Leon. Castile and Leon represent Spain’s two major regions. Also, there is a cross referring to Spain as the most powerful Catholic country at the time. Finally, also encircling the center are Spanish flags.
 
Essential Question
How do immigrants influence the culture of a society?
 
Check for Understanding
Identify three key details from this document and evaluate the influence of European culture on the island of Puerto Rico.