By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (August 8, 2022) – In Issue 2022-138 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps, we discover some island history connected with a great explorer.


On August 8, 1508, Ponce de Leon founded the first European settlement in Puerto Rico.  The original site was called Caparra, but it was abandoned a year later and eventually became San Juan.  The rumors of gold on the island led to the name, Puerto Rico – rich port.

Puerto Rico is a commonwealth territory of the United States.  Although it is treated in many ways as an independent country, all Puerto Ricans are Americans. 

When we say Puerto Rico, most people mean the main island, but the geographical area of Puerto Rico is actually an archipelago made up of many, mostly uninhabited, islands.  Culebra and Vieques are other popular islands to visit.

Puerto Rico is shown in this Rand McNally map from 1898.

Puerto Rico – 1898 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.