This Day in History

July 25, 1898: U.S. Invades Puerto Rico

Time Periods: 1877
Themes: Imperialism, Latinx, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements

On July 25, 1898, 16,000 U.S. troops invaded Puerto Rico at Guánica, asserting that they were liberating the inhabitants from Spanish colonial rule, which had recently granted the island’s government limited autonomy.

Puerto Rico Invasion | Zinn Education Project

U.S. landing site. Guánica, Puerto Rico.

The island, as well as Cuba and the Philippines, were spoils of the Spanish-American War which ended the following month.

Puerto Rico remains a U.S. commonwealth today.

To learn more, watch the 2007 Democracy Now! segment, “On 109th Anniversary of U.S. Invasion of Puerto Rico” and see the related resources further below.

Puerto Ricans have had U.S. citizenship since 1917, but residents of the island cannot vote for president and lack voting representation in the U.S. Congress. We speak with two prominent Puerto Rican voices. Photojournalist and activist Frank Espada has worked for decades documenting the Puerto Rican diaspora, as well as the civil rights movement in the United States. Martín Espada is Frank’s son and an acclaimed poet and professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst