Meaning of Boricua


To the people born in Puerto Rico are known as boricuas. A Puerto Rican, therefore, is a Puerto Rican. For example: “The Puerto Rican singer will perform next Tuesday at the National Theater”, “The Spanish team hired a Puerto Rican pivot as reinforcement”, “The Puerto Rican writer will be the protagonist of the opening day of the book fair.

Boricuas are individuals born on the island of Puerto Rico. Most Puerto Ricans reside in that territory or in the United States: it should be remembered that Puerto Rico has the status of “unincorporated territory” of the United States. It is a nation that maintains a regime of self-government, but is under the sovereignty of the United States.

But the definition of Puerto Rican is not that simple, since not all Puerto Ricans should be called or considered in this way. For this, it is not only necessary to be born on the island of Puerto Rico, but also to be descended from a family that has resided on the island for several generations. The exact number of generations does not seem to be well defined, but it is said that if it does not exceed two then we are not talking about Puerto Ricans, but about Puerto Ricans.

Curiously, this does not mean that to be a Puerto Rican you have to reside in Puerto Rico; Not only is this not one of the requirements, but some statistics indicate that a large part of the Puerto Rican citizens living in New York today are descendants of Puerto Rican families.

There are also large communities of Puerto Ricans in the US Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Canada, and Mexico.

The etymology of the term Puerto Rican is unclear. There are those who believe that the notion derives from Borinquén, which is an aboriginal name that was given to the island of Puerto Rico. Others maintain that Boricua comes from Boricuá, a word from the Arawak language that alluded to those who ate crabs. The Taino people, who lived on the island, called themselves that way.

In addition to the Taínos, among the original residents of the island of Puerto Rico we find various ethnic groups. The most numerous are Europeans, since they include people from France, Spain (including the Canary Islands), Corsica, Germany, Scotland and Portugal. On the other hand, there are the Igbo and the Yoruba, from the African continent, as well as the Lebanese and the Chinese, from Asia.

African slaves also arrived in Puerto Rico, since many of the conquerors imported them to expand their colonies in the Caribbean. Among all the ethnic groups mentioned so far, there was an avoidable miscegenation, very common in various parts of Latin America, and this largely explains the detriment of the native population.

One of the most important names in Puerto Rican culture is Ramón Power y Giralt, one of the first men from the island to decide to call himself Puerto Rican. He was born in the Autonomous Municipality of San Juan Bautista on October 7, 1775 and dedicated his life to the fight for the rights of his compatriots, so that they were equally represented before the General Courts of Spain. His parents were of European origin: his mother, María Josefa, was French, while his father was Irish.

The singer and actor Ricky Martin is one of the most famous Puerto Ricans in the world. He was born on December 24, 1971 in the city of San Juan and began his musical career as part of the Menudo group.

The baseball player Roberto Clemente, the boxer Héctor Camacho and the basketball player JJ Barea are other Puerto Ricans known worldwide for the success they achieved in their professional activities.