On an early morning in May 1898, the United States Navy with a fleet of battleships and cruisers sailed into San Juan Harbor and began a fierce firefight with the Spanish military. The Americans engaged multiple Spanish fortress's and it's main citadel, the massive Castillo San Felipe del Morro. The huge fortress traded salvos with the American ships throughout the day, during the Bombardment of San Juan. A few short months later, the Americans accepted a Spanish surrender, taking control of Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines, ending the last of the Spanish Empire.
Puerto Rico soon came under American control, but the island was denied any meaningful self government or representation in Washington D.C. until 1917. The island soon became awash with investors and businessmen looking to make a profit off of the Puerto Rican people. Profits grew but little of it was seen by the workers. This informal policy of mercantilism hurt the island and debilitated any success. It became formal when these policies were part of the instituted 1920 Merchant Marine Act. The act made it so that trade could only use American built ships, crewed by American citizens, and only ship between U.S. Ports. This act would hinder the islands developmental growth as costs skyrocketed. This was confirmed by the World Economic Forum and The Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2013. However the Government Accountability Office reported the economic problems couldn't be directly attributed to the 1920 Act due to complexity.
The United States has also not treated the islands citizens, its own citizens by law well at all. Two off shore islands to the East became military bases, one of which on the island of Vieques became a bomb range for decades, poisoning the earth. Also, using its citizens as guinea pigs for unethical and amoral medical trials, such as the horrific trials of the early contraceptive pill and forced sterilization of over a third of Puerto Rican women by 1965. The U.S. Government also stored wartime herbicides, including the infamous agent orange on the island...READ MOREhttps://www.theodysseyonline.com/american-relationship-with-puerto-rico