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Puerto Rico and the United States

Historical Background, Puerto Rico Achieves Greater Autonomy, Recent Developments, Further Readings

The legal relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States has been described in a number of ways, ranging from "colonial possession" to "dual sovereigns." Technically speaking, Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, subject to the plenary power of Congress. At the same time, however, Puerto Rico is a commonwealth with its own constitution, bicameral legislature, chief executive, and judiciary. Home to more than 4 million people, this 3,435-square-mile Caribbean island has never achieved complete sovereignty or total independence.

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