Let the history of San Juan, Puerto Rico enchant you. These treasured sites and scenes are yours to behold, from incredible fortresses to colonial architecture. Nowhere else in United State territory holds more Spanish colonial historical sites. San Juan, Puerto Rico was first explored and settled shortly after Christopher Columbus’ first voyage. San Juan is the oldest city on United State Territory, founded in 1493 and governed by the Spanish government beginning in 1508.
When Christopher Columbus first landed on the island, he named it "San Juan Bautista", to honor John the Baptist. Shortly thereafter, the region now known as Old San Juan was named Puerto Rico (Rich Port). As the years went on, settlements changed and relocated, leading to confusion. Thus, the names of the island and the first settlement inadvertently switched. Puerto Rico became the name of the island and San Juan the name of the original settlement.
As San Juan became modernized, the distinction of Old San Juan with its historic riches, became more profound. In 1983, UNESCO declared the walled defenses of La Fortaleza a World Heritage Site. In 2013 the declarations continued as the U.S. Department of the Interior declared Old San Juan a National Historic Monument. Considered the historical heart of Puerto Rico, Old San Juan’s unique walled structure envelopes four forts, two of the oldest churches in the Western Hemisphere, and a delightful array of boutiques, museums, and monuments.
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