The Spanish–American War was an armed conflict between Spain and the United States in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of USS Maine in Havana harbor in Cuba, leading to U. S. intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. The war led to emergence of U. S. predominance in the Caribbean region, resulted in U. S. acquisition of Spain's Pacific possessions. That led to U. S. involvement in the Philippine Revolution and in the Philippine–American War. The main issue was Cuban independence. Revolts had been occurring for some years in Cuba against Spanish rule; the U. S. backed these revolts upon entering the Spanish–American War. There had been war scares before, as in the Virginius Affair in 1873, but in the late 1890s, American public opinion was agitated by reports of gruesome Spanish atrocities; the business community had just recovered from a deep depression and feared that a war would reverse the gains. It lobbied vigorously against going to war. President William McKinley sought a peaceful settlement.
The United States Navy armored cruiser USS Maine mysteriously sank in Havana Harbor. McKinley signed a joint Congressional resolution demanding Spanish withdrawal and authorizing the President to use military force to help Cuba gain independence on April 20, 1898. In response, Spain severed diplomatic relations with the United States on April 21. On the same day, the U. S. Navy began a blockade of Cuba. Both sides declared war; the ten-week war was fought in both the Pacific. As U. S. agitators for war well knew, U. S. naval power would prove decisive, allowing expeditionary forces to disembark in Cuba against a Spanish garrison facing nationwide Cuban insurgent attacks and further wasted by yellow fever. The invaders obtained the surrender of Santiago de Cuba and Manila despite the good performance of some Spanish infantry units and fierce fighting for positions such as San Juan Hill. Madrid sued for peace after two Spanish squadrons were sunk in Santiago de Cuba and Manila Bay and a third, more modern, fleet was recalled home to protect the Spanish coasts.
The result was the 1898 Treaty of Paris, negotiated on terms favorable to the U. S. which allowed it temporary control of Cuba and ceded ownership of Puerto Rico and the Philippine islands. The cession of the Philippines involved payment of $20 million to Spain by the U. S. to cover infrastructure owned by Spain. The defeat and loss of the last remnants of the Spanish Empire was a profound shock to Spain's national psyche and provoked a thorough philosophical and artistic reevaluation of Spanish society known as the Generation of'98; the United States gained several island possessions spanning the globe and a rancorous new debate over the wisdom of expansionism. The combined problems arising from the Peninsular War, the loss of most of its colonies in the Americas in the early 19th-century Spanish American wars of independence, three Carlist Wars marked the low point of Spanish colonialism. Liberal Spanish elites like Antonio Cánovas del Castillo and Emilio Castelar offered new interpretations of the concept of "empire" to dovetail with Spain's emerging nationalism.
Cánovas made clear in an address to the University of Madrid in 1882 his view of the Spanish nation as based on shared cultural and linguistic elements – on both sides of the Atlantic – that tied Spain's territories together. Cánovas saw Spanish imperialism as markedly different in its methods and purposes of colonization from those of rival empires like the British or French. Spaniards regarded the spreading of civilization and Christianity as Spain's major objective and contribution to the New World; the concept of cultural unity bestowed special significance on Cuba, Spanish for four hundred years, was viewed as an integral part of the Spanish nation. The focus on preserving the empire would have negative consequences for Spain's national pride in the aftermath of the Spanish–American War. In 1823, the fifth American President James Monroe enunciated the Monroe Doctrine, which stated that the United States would not tolerate further efforts by European governments to retake or expand their colonial holdings in the Americas or to interfere with the newly independent states in the hemisphere.
S. would respect the status of the existing European colonies. Before the American Civil War, Southern interests attempted to have the United States purchase Cuba and convert it into a new slave territory; the pro-slavery element proposed the Ostend Manifesto proposal of 1854. It was rejected by anti-slavery forces. After the American Civil War and Cuba's Ten Years' War, U. S. businessmen began monopolizing the devalued sugar markets in Cuba. In 1894, 90% of Cuba's total exports went to the United States, which provided 40% of Cuba's imports. Cuba's total exports to the U. S. were twelve times larger than the export to her mother country, Spain. U. S. business interests indicated that while Spain still held political authority over Cuba, economic authority in Cuba, acting-authority, was shifting to the US. The U. S. became interested in a trans-isthmus canal either in Nicaragua, or in Panama, where the Panama Canal would be built, realized the need for naval protection. Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan was an influential theorist.
S. built a p
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Aguada, Puerto Rico
Aguada is a municipality of Puerto Rico, located in the western coastal valley region bordering the Atlantic Ocean, east of Rincón, west of Aguadilla and Moca. It is part of the Aguadilla-Isabela-San Sebastián Metropolitan Statistical Area. Aguada's population is spread over Aguada Pueblo. According to sources, a Taíno settlement called. Although there is dispute to it, some sources believe that Christopher Columbus entered the island of Puerto Rico through Aguada on his second voyage in November 1493. In July 1510, Cristóbal de Sotomayor received control of the area from Juan Ponce de León and renamed the town Villa de Sotomayor. However, in 1511 the settlement was burned by the local Taínos; that same year, the King ordered a monastery established in the island, the Ermita de Espinar was founded. The name of the region was changed to San Francisco de Asís de la Aguada, since the friars were Franciscan; the monastery was finished in 1516. In 1526, King Charles I of Spain founded the Aguada settlement.
However, in 1529, Taínos attacked the monastery burning the settlement. Still, Aguada resurfaced and became a stopover point for ships on their way to Spain from South America. On September 17, 1662, King Charles II of Spain emitted a Royal Decree declaring Aguada as a "village", assigning Juan López de Segura as First Lieutenant. In 1737, Philip V, King of Spain, declared that all mail en route to Venezuela and other South American countries from Puerto Rico must exit from Aguada's ports, leading to the area's economic growth. An increase in population has been attributed to possible desertions from foreign merchant ships. In the early years of the 20th Century, two disasters affected the town of Aguada. First, a huge fire in 1912 destroyed most of the town buildings, including the old city hall, which contained all the city archives. On October 11, 1918 at 10:14:42 local time an earthquake known as the San Fermín earthquake destroyed the church and other structures. At Rio Culebrinas, 1000 kg blocks of limestone from the wrecked Columbus monument were carried inland to distances of 46–76 meters by waves 4.0 m high.
El Matador de Tiburoes is folklore of Aguada. A young man, accustomed to fighting sharks, was without his religious, good luck charms, when he was asked to demonstrate his shark-fighting capabilities to dignitaries from Spain. All day and night he pondered, he had never fought a shark without his religious lucky charm, but they had upped the ante offering him Spanish gold. As the shark came into the bay, the spectators who were gathered on the beach yelled in anticipation. Encouraged and unable to stop himself he jumped into the sea, pursuing the shark, fought the shark with his bare hands, as he had done so many times before. Only this time he was nearly killed when the shark hit him with his tail and caused him to suffer internal bleeding, he received his prize of gold and healed, never fought a shark again. Aguada is located in the west coast of the island of Puerto Rico, it borders the Atlantic Ocean and Aguadilla on the north, Moca on the east, Añasco on the south, Rincón on the west. Aguada is part of the Coastal Plains of the West, which features fertile terrain.
Although the terrain is plain, there are some mountains to the south and southeast. Among the mountains located in Aguada are the Atalaya peak, located within the limits of Aguada and Rincón; the San Francisco mountain, the birthpoint of the Cordillera Central, Cerro Gordo, peaking at 853 feet. Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017 triggered numerous landslides in Aguada with the significant amount of rain that fell. Aguada's hydrographic system is composed of the Río Culebrinas, Caño Madre Vieja, Río Grande, Río Cañas, Río Culebra, Río Guayabo, Río Ingenio. All of these rivers flow into the Mona Passage. Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Aguada is subdivided into barrios: In 2010, the population of Aguada was 41,959, which represented a small decrease from the 42,042 registered in the 2000 Census; this has been the first decrease in population in the last century, since Aguada's population had been increasing from 14,670 in 1930 to its current population. According to the 2010 Census, 86.6% of the population identifies themselves as White, 5.3% as Black.
According to the census, the population is divided by gender. 23.7% of the population is under 18 years old. The next biggest percentage of population is between 49 years old; the economy of Aguada was based on the processing of sugarcane. The Central Coloso, located in the Guanábano ward of Aguada, was one of the most important refineries in the island, it was the last one to cease operations closing in 2003. Aside from sugar mills, there was a cattle and wood industry; as of 2012, the economy relies on small businesses and manufacturing. In late 2014, the government announced a $172 million deal with private investors to restart sugar production in Puerto Rico for the purpose of supplying the island rum producers with up to 56% of the molasses needed; the plan involved building a new processing plant on the grounds of the old Coloso Sugar Cane factory in Aguada. Aguada is part of the Porta del Sol touristic region in Puerto Rico; the Porta del Sol website highlights Aguada's town square and beaches as its most notable touristic attractions.
It mentions landmarks like the Espinar Hermitage Ruins and a
Old San Juan
Old San Juan is a historic district located at the "northwest triangle" of the islet of San Juan. Its area correlates to the Ballajá, Marina, San Cristóbal, San Francisco subbarrios of barrio San Juan Antiguo in the municipality of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Old San Juan is the oldest settlement within Puerto Rico and the historic colonial section of the city of San Juan; this historic district is a National Historic Landmark District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Old San Juan Historic District. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Old San Juan is located on a small and narrow island which lies along the north coast, about 35 miles from the east end of Puerto Rico, is united to the mainland of Puerto Rico by three bridges, it is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and to the south by San Juan Bay —which lies between the city and the mainland. On a bluff about 100 feet high at the west end of the island and commanding the entrance to the harbor, rise the battlements of Fort San Felipe del Morro, in which there is a lighthouse.
The "Caño de San Antonio" lies to the southeast, where the island of Old San Juan connects to the mainland through Santurce, by three bridges, "Puente Dos Hermanos", "Puente G. Esteves" and "Puente San Antonio"; the city is characterized by its narrow, blue cobblestone streets, flat roofed brick and stone buildings which date back to the 16th and 17th century—when Puerto Rico was a Spanish possession. Near Fort San Felipe del Morro, is the Casa Blanca, a palace built on land which belonged to the family of Ponce de León. In 1508, Juan Ponce de León founded Caparra; the ruins of Caparra are known as the Pueblo Viejo sector of Guaynabo, behind the land-locked harbor just to the west of the present San Juan metropolitan area. In 1509, the settlement was abandoned and moved to a site, called at the time "Puerto Rico", a name that evoked that of a similar geographical harbor in the island of Gran Canaria, Canary Islands. In 1521, the name "San Juan" was added, the newer settlement was given its formal name of "San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico", following the usual custom of christening the town with both its formal name and the name which Christopher Columbus had given the islands, honoring John the Baptist.
Constructed in 1521, Casa Blanca served as the first fortification of the settlement and residence of Juan Ponce de León descendants, until the mid-eighteenth century. La Fortaleza was built between 1533 and 1540, followed by the construction of a battery at "the Morro." Plans for the castle portion of San Felipe del Morro were made in 1584. Extensions to the Morro, plus construction of El Cañuelo, El Boquerón, were made between 1599 and 1609. Circumvallation of the city commenced in 1630 and was concluded by 1641. San Cristobal fort was completed by 1771. By 1776, the population totaled 6000; the garrison town of San Juan included 250 acres of military installations and 62 acres of public and private use. By 1781, the city's fortifications included 376 cannon. By 1876, 24,000 lived inside the walls of San Juan, encompassing 62 acres, 926 buildings. Prior to the 19th century, the area outside the city walls occupying the east side of Old San Juan Island, was uninhabited. In 1838 the so-called area of Puerta de Tierra had a population of 168 residents of African descent.
According to a census made in 1846, the population had risen to 223 inhabitants living in 58 houses. On March 3, 1865, the municipal government of San Juan approved a resolution promoting the city expansion across the Puerta de Tierra which included the plan for demolishing the city walls along the eastern side. On May 28, 1897, the wall demolition was started after a proclamation was issued by Queen Maria Christina. By the year 1899, the population of Puerta de Tierra had risen to 5,453. During the late 1940s, disrepair in the old city was evident; the local authorities were considering development proposals for renovating the old city and incorporating modern architecture on new constructions. Anthropologist Ricardo Alegría vehemently advised against the idea of razing old colonial buildings in favor of contemporary building designs, he followed the example suggested by his father, a local civic leader who had prevented the demolition of the Capilla del Cristo in favor of a traffic redesign.
He advised mayor Rincón de Gautier in having local zoning laws changed to favor remodeling and the incorporation of Spanish colonial motifs in any new construction. This helped preserve the city's architectural profile, has been a key to San Juan's current status as a tourist destination; when Luis Muñoz Marín became governor of Puerto Rico, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture was founded, Alegría—then named its first director—sought legal and administrative changes that would allow for major remodeling efforts to be successful. At the time, most real estate in Old San Juan had devalued under appraised values because the city was perceived as unsafe and not profitable for business. Under combined efforts by the institute and the Government Development
Venezuela the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and a large number of small islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea. The capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of Caracas, it has a territorial extension of 916,445 km2. The continental territory is bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Colombia, Brazil on the south and Tobago to the north-east and on the east by Guyana. With this last country, the Venezuelan government maintains a claim for Guayana Esequiba over an area of 159,542 km2. For its maritime areas, it exercises sovereignty over 71,295 km2 of territorial waters, 22,224 km2 in its contiguous zone, 471,507 km2 of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean under the concept of exclusive economic zone, 99,889 km2 of continental shelf; this marine area borders those of 13 states. The country has high biodiversity and is ranked seventh in the world's list of nations with the most number of species.
There are habitats ranging from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon basin rain-forest in the south via extensive llanos plains, the Caribbean coast and the Orinoco River Delta in the east. The territory now known as Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522 amid resistance from indigenous peoples. In 1811, it became one of the first Spanish-American territories to declare independence, not securely established until 1821, when Venezuela was a department of the federal republic of Gran Colombia, it gained full independence as a country in 1830. During the 19th century, Venezuela suffered political turmoil and autocracy, remaining dominated by regional caudillos until the mid-20th century. Since 1958, the country has had a series of democratic governments. Economic shocks in the 1980s and 1990s led to several political crises, including the deadly Caracazo riots of 1989, two attempted coups in 1992, the impeachment of President Carlos Andrés Pérez for embezzlement of public funds in 1993.
A collapse in confidence in the existing parties saw the 1998 election of former coup-involved career officer Hugo Chávez and the launch of the Bolivarian Revolution. The revolution began with a 1999 Constituent Assembly, where a new Constitution of Venezuela was written; this new constitution changed the name of the country to Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The sovereign state is a federal presidential republic consisting of 23 states, the Capital District, federal dependencies. Venezuela claims all Guyanese territory west of the Essequibo River, a 159,500-square-kilometre tract dubbed Guayana Esequiba or the Zona en Reclamación. Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America. Oil was discovered in the early 20th century, today, Venezuela has the world's largest known oil reserves and has been one of the world's leading exporters of oil; the country was an underdeveloped exporter of agricultural commodities such as coffee and cocoa, but oil came to dominate exports and government revenues.
The 1980s oil glut led to a long-running economic crisis. Inflation peaked at 100% in 1996 and poverty rates rose to 66% in 1995 as per capita GDP fell to the same level as 1963, down a third from its 1978 peak; the recovery of oil prices in the early 2000s gave. The Venezuelan government under Hugo Chávez established populist social welfare policies that boosted the Venezuelan economy and increased social spending, temporarily reducing economic inequality and poverty in the early years of the regime. However, such populist policies became inadequate, causing the nation's collapse as their excesses—including a uniquely extreme fossil fuel subsidy—are blamed for destabilizing the nation's economy; the destabilized economy led to a crisis in Bolivarian Venezuela, resulting in hyperinflation, an economic depression, shortages of basic goods and drastic increases in unemployment, disease, child mortality and crime. These factors have precipitated the Venezuelan Migrant Crisis where more than three million people have fled the country.
By 2017, Venezuela was declared to be in default regarding debt payments by credit rating agencies. In 2018, the country's economic policies led to extreme hyperinflation, with estimates expecting an inflation rate of 1,370,000% by the end of the year. Venezuela is a charter member of the UN, OAS, UNASUR, ALBA, Mercosur, LAIA and OEI. According to the most popular and accepted version, in 1499, an expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda visited the Venezuelan coast; the stilt houses in the area of Lake Maracaibo reminded the Italian navigator, Amerigo Vespucci, of the city of Venice, Italy, so he named the region Veneziola, or "Little Venice". The Spanish version of Veneziola is Venezuela. Martín Fernández de Enciso, a member of the Vespucci and Ojeda crew, gave a different account. In his work Summa de geografía, he states that the crew found indigenous people who called themselves the Veneciuela. Thus, the name "Venezuela" may have evolved from the native word; the official name was Estado de Venezuela, República de Venezuela, Estados Unidos de Venezuela, a
United States Maritime Commission
The United States Maritime Commission was an independent executive agency of the U. S. federal government, created by the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, passed by Congress on June 29, 1936, replaced the United States Shipping Board which had existed since World War I. It was intended to formulate a merchant shipbuilding program to design and build five hundred modern merchant cargo ships to replace the World War I vintage vessels that comprised the bulk of the United States Merchant Marine, to administer a subsidy system authorized by the Act to offset the cost differential between building in the U. S. and operating ships under the American flag. It formed the United States Maritime Service for the training of seagoing ship's officers to man the new fleet; the purpose of the Maritime Commission was multifold as described in the Merchant Marine Act's Declaration of Policy. The first role was to formulate a merchant shipbuilding program to design and have built over a ten-year period 900 modern fast merchant cargo ships which would replace the World War I-vintage vessels which made up the bulk of the U.
S. Merchant Marine prior to the Act; those ships were intended to be chartered to U. S. shipping companies for their use in the foreign seagoing trades for whom they would be able to offer better and more economical freight services to their clients. The ships were intended to serve as a reserve naval auxiliary force in the event of armed conflict, a duty the U. S. merchant fleet had filled throughout the years since the Revolutionary War. The second role given to the Maritime Commission was to administer a subsidy system authorized by the Act which would offset the differential cost between both building in the U. S. and operating ships under the American flag. Another function given to the Commission involved the formation of the U. S. Maritime Service for the training of seagoing ship's officers to man the new fleet; the actual licensing of officers and seamen still resided with the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation. President Roosevelt nominated Joseph P. Kennedy first head of the Commission.
Kennedy held that position until February 1938 when he left to become US Ambassador to Great Britain. After Kennedy's departure, the chairmanship was assumed by Rear Admiral Emory S. Land, USN, the head of U. S. Navy's Bureau of Construction and Repair prior to his appointment to the Commission on the behest of the President and where he had been a deputy commissioner since the founding of the body; the other four members of the Commission in the years before the beginning of World War II were a mix of retired naval officers and men from disciplines of law and business. The man most notable in the group Land brought to the Commission was Commander Howard L. Vickery, USN, like Land, was a naval officer involved in the construction of new Navy vessels. Vickery became responsible for overseeing the Commission's shipbuilding functions including the design and construction of the ships, developing shipyards to build them and companies to manufacture the complicated and specialized ship's machinery.
As World War II drew closer, Vickery was much at the forefront of putting into place the Emergency Shipbuilding Program which man like Henry J. Kaiser were so instrumental in developing into an industry which would perform some of the greatest feats of wartime industrial production previously witnessed and never since matched; as a symbol of the rebirth of the U. S. Merchant Marine and Merchant Shipbuilding under the Merchant Marine Act, the first vessel contracted for was SS America, owned by the United States Line and operated in the passenger liner and cruise service during 1940-1. Upon the U. S. entry into World War II, America was requisitioned by the U. S. became USS West Point. In the prewar years, several dozen other merchant ships were built for the Commission under its original 500 ship Long Range Shipbuilding Program but it wasn't until the late fall of 1940 the critical importance of the Commission to the defense of the lifeline to Great Britain and to the national mobilization for war became apparent when the beginnings of the Emergency Shipbuilding program were laid.
Together, all the Maritime Commission's shipbuilding program became known as Ships for Victory and great pride was taken in it by the many thousands of ordinary citizens went to work in the shipyards and joined the ranks of the shipbuilding workforce. From 1939 through the end of World War II, the Maritime Commission funded and administered the largest and most successful merchant shipbuilding effort in world history, producing thousands of ships, including Liberty ships, Victory ships, others, notably Type C1, Type C2, Type C3, Type C4 freighters and T2 tankers. Most of the C2s and C3s were converted to Navy auxiliaries, notably attack cargo ships, attack transports, escort aircraft carriers and many of the tankers became fleet replenishment oilers; the Commission was tasked with the construction of many hundred "military type" vessels such as Landing Ship, Tank s and Tacoma-class frigates and large troop transports. By the end of the war, U. S. shipyards working under Maritime Commission contracts had built a total of 5,777 oceangoing merchant and naval ships.
In early 1942 both the training and licensing was transferred to the U. S. Coast Guard for administration, but late in the fall of 1942, the Maritime Service was transferred to the newly created War Shipping Administration which itself was created for the purpose of overseeing the operation of the fleet of merchant ships being built by the Emergency Program for the needs of the U. S. Armed Services; the WSA was added to the list of wartime agencies created within the Roosevelt Administration and was intended to relieve t
German immigration to Puerto Rico
German immigration to Puerto Rico began in the early part of the 19th century and continued to increase when German businessmen immigrated and established themselves with their families on the island. However, it was the economic and political situation in Europe during the early 19th century plus the fact that the Spanish Crown re-issued the Royal Decree of Graces which now allowed Europeans who were not of Spanish origin to immigrate to the island that contributed the most to the immigration of hundreds of German families to Puerto Rico in search of a better life. Puerto Rico was ceded by Spain to the United States under the terms of the 1898 Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish–American War, the U. S. established military bases there. Many soldiers of German-American background stationed in the island upon encountering Puerto Ricans of German ancestry made social contact with them. Not many of them stayed on the island and married into local families, established for decades since their own arrival from Germany.
With the passage of the Jones Act of 1917 Puerto Ricans could be conscripted to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States. As a result, Puerto Ricans fought in Germany during World War II and have served in U. S. military installations in said country since then. Many of these soldiers married German women who moved to the island with their husbands. Puerto Ricans of German descent have distinguished themselves in different fields, among them the fields of science and the military. According to Professor Úrsula Schmidt-Acosta, German immigrants arrived in Puerto Rico from Curaçao and Austria during the early 19th century. Many of these early German immigrants established warehouses and businesses in the coastal towns of Fajardo, Ponce, Mayagüez, Cabo Rojo and Aguadilla. One of the reasons that these businessmen established themselves in the island was that Germany depended on Great Britain for such products as coffee and tobacco. By establishing businesses dedicated to the exportation and importation of these and other goods, Germany no longer had to pay the high tariffs which the British charged them.
Not all of the immigrants were businessmen. Many economic and political changes occurred in Europe during the latter part of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, changes which affected the lives of millions of people. One of these changes came about with the advent of the Second Industrial Revolution. Many people who worked the farmlands abandoned their homes and moved to the larger, industrialized cities with the hope of finding better paying jobs; those who continued to work in the agricultural sector suffered the consequences of the widespread crop failures which came about as the result of long periods of drought and disease, the cholera epidemic and a general deterioration of economic conditions. Starvation and unemployment were on the rise. Europe faced a series of revolutionary movements known as the European Revolutions of 1848 which erupted in Sicily and were further triggered by the French Revolution of 1848. Soon the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states erupted.
The rather non-violent "revolutions" failed. Disappointed, many Germans immigrated to the Americas and Puerto Rico; the majority of these came from Alsace-Lorraine, Hesse, Rheinland and Württemberg. The Spanish Crown had lost most of its possessions in the Americas, its two remaining colonies were Cuba and Puerto Rico, who were demanding more autonomy and had pro-independence movements. The Spanish Crown issued the Royal Decree of Graces, promulgated on August 10, 1815 with the intention of attracting European settlers who were not of Spanish origin to the islands; the Spanish government, believing that the independence movements would lose their popularity, granted land and gave "Letters of Domicile" to German, Corsican and French settlers who swore loyalty to the Spanish Crown and allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church. After a period of five years, settlers were granted a "Letter of Naturalization" that made them Spanish subjects. In the early 19th century, German immigrants introduced the "Christmas Tree" to the Americas.
The custom of adorning Christmas trees in Puerto Rico began in the city of Bayamón in 1866 when Dr. Agustin Stahl adorned a Christmas tree in his backyard; the people of Bayamón baptized his tree "El Árbol de Navidad del Doctor Stahl". In 1870, the Spanish Courts passed the "Acta de Culto Condicionado", a law granting the right of religious freedom to all those who wished to worship another religion other than the Catholic religion; the Anglican Church, the Iglesia Santísima Trinidad, was founded by German and English immigrants in Ponce in 1872. Among the original founders was G. V. Wiecher, who wrote to the Anglican Bishop of Antigua, W. W. Jackson, requesting a Spanish-speaking priest for their church; the church, located on Calle Marina was the first non-Roman Catholic Church established in the Spanish Colonies and is an operating parish, as well as a tourist attraction. Albert and Betty Ostrom began training Puerto Ricans for pastoral service in the Lutheran Church of Puerto Rico from 1905 to 1931.
The Mennonite Church, which began with the Anabaptists in the German and Dutch-speaking parts of central Europe in the 16th century established congregations in Puerto Rico. The first Mennonite congregation in Puerto Rico, named Bethany Mennonite Church, was founded in 1946 in Coamo, Puerto Rico; the first meetinghouse was a tabernacle-type church, built in 1946 an