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The only settlement that remained was the capital, San Juan. Spain, determined to defend its possession, began the fortification of the inlet of San Juan in the early 16th century; in 1532, construction of the first fortifications began with La Fortaleza (the Fortress) near the entrance to San Juan Bay.
Later, Fort San Cristóbal and Fort San Jerónimo—built with a financial subsidy from the Mexican mines—garrisoned troops and defended against land attacks; in 1587, engineers Juan de Tejada and Juan Bautista Antonelli redesigned Fort San Felipe del Morro; these changes endure.
The first European colony, Caparra, was founded on August 8, 1508 by Juan Ponce de León, a lieutenant under Columbus, who was greeted by the Taíno Cacique Agüeybaná and who later became the first governor of the island.
Ponce de Leon was actively involved in the Higuey massacre of 1503 in Puerto Rico; in 1508, Sir Ponce de Leon was chosen by the Spanish Crown to lead the conquest and slavery of the Taíno Indians for gold mining operations.
The Foraker Act of 1900, which established a civil government, and the Jones Act of 1917, which made Puerto Ricans U. citizens, paved the way for the drafting of Puerto Rico's Constitution and its approval by Congress and Puerto Rican voters in 1952.
However, the political status of Puerto Rico, a Commonwealth Between the seventh and 11th centuries, the Arawak are thought to have settled the island, during this time the Taíno culture developed, and by approximately 1000 AD, it had become dominant.
As part of the colonization process, African slaves were brought to the island in 1513.However, these would not be the last attempts at control of Puerto Rico, the European powers quickly realized the potential of the newly discovered lands and attempted to gain control of them.The first school in Puerto Rico and the first school in the United States after Puerto Rico became a US territory, was the Escuela de Gramatica (Grammar School), the school was established by Bishop Alonso Manso in 1513, in the area where the Cathedral of San Juan was to be constructed.The smallest of the Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico was a stepping-stone in the passage from Europe to Cuba, Mexico, Central America, and the northern territories of South America.Throughout most of the 19th century until the conclusion of the Spanish–American War, Puerto Rico and Cuba were the last two Spanish colonies in the New World; they served as Spain's final outposts in a strategy to regain control of the American continents.