A Look at Puerto Rico’s Acculturated History, Literature, and Religion (3040 words)

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Choose one of the Caribbean islands: Cuba, República Dominicana o Puerto Rico and write an essay based on at least 3 cultural aspects history, literature, music, art, religion, etc. Explain each one of them from their beginnings, how they came to be, how they are expressed, what they represent in each country, how they express the idiosyncrasy of the country, etc. Give examples and citations that support your ideas. This essay should be at least 8 pages long.

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Through centuries of migration and forced assimilation, Puerto Rico has experienced a fascinating fusion of different cultures, from the native Taíno peoples to the Spanish colonialists to West African tribal peoples enslaved for three hundred years that has infused Puerto Rican culture, including its literature and religion.
Archaeologists have found several artifacts to suggest that Puerto Rico was inhabited by the Archaic Indians, since at least 2000 BCE, peoples who may have migrated via Florida and Cuba (Gallucci 2014). These peoples hunted, fished, domesticated plants, such as maize, yuca, and the common bean, cultivated plants, such as sweet potato, and used stone tools dated to around 700 BC (Oliver 2009). Waves of different peoples, Awarak Indians from South America, migrated to the island (Gallucci 2014; Oliver 2009). Around 500 AD, coastal settlements started to develop, as well as settlements in the interior valleys (Oliver 2009). From AD 500 to 1200, settlements became more sophisticated, with courts built for rubber-ball games and plazas decorated with petroglyphs, the period of most construction occurring between 1000 and 1200 AD (Oliver 2009). During this time came a change when the civilization went from egalitarian to stratified, dividing into hierarchal chiefdoms, a feature of which is shown in the differences in construction of burial mounds (Oliver 2009).
Spanish conquest
By 1200 AD, the Taíno inhabited the island of Puerto Rico, as well as Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola (Oliver 2009). These are the people who Christopher Columbus met in his second voyage in November 1493 (Oliver 2009). They called the island Borinkén or Borinquén, the island of strong men (Gallucci 2014; Garcia-Preto 2005). Unfortunately, almost all that data researchers have about the Taíno social life, including chiefdoms, at that time are based on 16th century Spanish documents (Oliver 2009). It has been suggested that Taíno chiefs succeeded each other based on matrilineal descent (Oliver 2009).
After Columbus happened upon the island, which he named San Juan Bautista, Juan Ponce de León founded a permanent settlement in 1508 (Gallucci 2014). The Spanish colonists were entirely men, which meant they took for wives Taíno women to populate the island (Vilar 2014). By analyzing DNA, geneticists have a more in-depth look at Puerto Rican history. It turns out that genetically, 60 percent of modern Puerto Ricans are descended from the Taíno through maternal lineage (Vilar 2014). This means that primarily, Taíno women had babies with European men, leaving Taíno men to eventually die out (Vilar 2014). This points towards asking what happened to the Taíno men, because this happened not only in Puerto Rico but other Spanish-conquered countries, and that leads to the dark history of Spanish colonialism in decimating the indigenous male population (Vilar 2014). First, a smallpox epidemic in 1518 killed 90...
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