Gigi Fernández won the gold medal in women's tennis (doubles) in the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics. A great number of Latin American athletes have been successful in many sports. Some well-known baseball stars are Roberto and Sandy Alomar from Puerto Rico and Sammy Sosa from the Dominican Republic. What other Latin American athletes do you know?
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El Morro is a fortress that the Spanish began in 1539 and finished in 1787. It was built to protect the Spanish settlers from pirates and other invaders. Some of its walls are 20 feet thick. It is a popular place to fly kites (hacer volar una chiringa). How could such a fortress protect the city of San Juan?
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EL LORO PUERTORRIQUEÑO
El loro puertorriqueño is the only native parrot in Puerto Rico. You might see one in El Yunque, the tropical rain forest. Its blue wing tips are usually only visible when it is in flight. The parrot became an endangered species in 1971, when only twenty of them were left. Their numbers have now increased. What other animals have been saved from extinction?
PASTA DE GUAYABA
Pasta de guayaba is a popular dessert. This sweet, thick paste made from the guava fruit is usually eaten with white cheese. Another dessert that is similar to pasta de guayaba is jalea de mango. It is made with mango pulp and sugar and has a thick, jelly consistency. It is cut into cubes and refrigerated. What tropical fruits have you eaten?
LUIS MUÑOZ MARÍN
Luis Muñoz Marín (1898-1980) was head of the Popular Democratic Party in Puerto Rico in 1942 when he launched a development program that greatly improved the manufacturing sector and led to a rise in the general standard of living. He became the island's first elected governor in 1948 and, in 1952, signed an agreement making Puerto Rico a commonwealth of the U.S. What other U.S. territories do you know that aren't states?
Taínos were the people living on the island when Columbus arrived in 1493. They left these glyphs. Their language survived in words like huracán (hurricane). The taínos were hunters, fishers, and farmers. They were enslaved by the Spaniards, and subsequently died out. The word taíno means gentle. What other Native American cultures can you name?
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This animal is the Puerto Rican coquí, a tiny tree frog about one inch long named after its song. There are 16 species of coquíes living in Puerto Rico's tropical forests.
The people in this photograph are in Puerto Rico's El Yunque, a 28,000-acre rain forest which is part of the U.S. National Forest Service.
This small guitar, known as the cuatro, is an integral part of Puerto Rican musical tradition. The original cuatros had only four strings.