to the town of
VIEQUES , Puerto Rico
People are know as
Inmaculada Concepción de María
The town of VIEQUES in Puerto Rico was founded in 1844
Housing units : 4388
Estimated population as of 2006 is 9,205
The zipcode is 00765
|Area in square miles
|Density per square mile of land area
The Wards (Barrios) are:
Destino,Lujan, Esperanza, Santa Maria, Los Bravos, Morropo, Bastimento, La PRRA, Monte Santo, Florida, La Hueca, El Pilon, Los Chivos, Martineau and downtown Isabel II
Location of VIEQUES
in the Map of Puerto Rico
Vieques (English pronunciation: vee-AY-kayz or -kez), in full Isla de Vieques, is an island-municipality of Puerto Rico in the northeastern Caribbean. Like mainland Puerto Rico the island is US territory, though it retains strong Spanish influences from 400 years of Spanish ownership.
Vieques lies about 10 miles (16 km) to the east of the Puerto Rican mainland, and measures approximately 21 miles long by 3 miles wide (34 km by 5 km). It has a population of about 10,000. Its two towns are the administrative center Isabel Segunda (sometimes written Isabel II) on the northern side of the island, and Esperanza on the south.
The island's name is a Spanish spelling of a Native American word said to mean "small island". It also has the nickname "Isla Nena", usually translated from the Spanish as "Little Girl Island". Its natives are known as "Viequenses". During the colonial period the British name was "Crab Island".
Vieques is best known internationally as the site of a series of protests against the US Navy's use of the island as a bombing range and weapons testing ground, which eventually led to the Navy's departure in 2003.
Archaeological evidence suggests that Vieques was first inhabited by ancient Native American peoples who travelled from continental America perhaps between 3000 BC and 2000 BC. However, estimates of these prehistoric dates of inhabitation vary widely, and a fossilized skeleton of a 10,000-year-old man discovered in the late 1980s in the central southern part of the island indicates a much earlier human presence. These tribes had a Stone Age culture and were probably fishermen and hunter-gatherers.
Further waves of settlement by Native Americans followed over many centuries. The Arawak-speaking Saladoid (or Igneri) people, thought to have originated in modern-day Venezuela, arrived in the region perhaps around 200 BC (again estimates vary). These tribes, noted for their pottery, stone carving, and other artefacts, eventually merged with groups from Hispaniola and Cuba, to form what is now called the Taino culture. This culture flourished in the region from around 1000 AD, and survived on Vieques until the arrival of the Europeans in the 15th century.
 Colonial period
The European "discovery" of Vieques is sometimes credited to Christopher Columbus, who landed in Puerto Rico in 1493. It does not seem to be certain whether Columbus personally visited Vieques, but in any case the island was soon claimed by the Spanish. During the early 16th century Vieques became a center of Taino rebellion against the European invaders, prompting the Spanish to send armed forces to the island to quell the resistance. The native Taino population was decimated, and its people either killed, imprisoned or enslaved by the Spanish.
The Spanish did not, however, permanently colonise Vieques at this time, and for the next three hundred years it remained a lawless outpost, frequented by pirates and outlaws. As European powers fought for control in the region, a series of attempts by the French, English and Danish to colonise the island in the 17th and 18th centuries were repulsed by the Spanish.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the Spanish took steps to permanently settle and secure the island. In 1811, Don Salvador Meléndez, then governor of Puerto Rico, sent military commander Juan Rosselló to begin what would become the annexation of Vieques by the Puerto Ricans. In 1832, under an agreement with the Spanish Puerto Rican administration, Frenchman Teófilo José Jaime María Le Guillou became Governor of Vieques, and undertook to impose order on the anarchic province. He was instrumental in the establishment of large plantations, marking a period of social and economic change for the island. Le Guillou is now remembered as the "founder" of Vieques (though this title is also sometimes conferred on Francisco Saínz, governor from 1843 to 1852, who founded Isabel Segunda, the "town of Vieques", named after Queen Isabel II of Spain). Vieques was formally annexed to Puerto Rico in 1854.
In 1816, Vieques was briefly visited by Simón Bolívar while fleeing defeat in Venezuela.
During the second part of the 19th century, thousands of black immigrants came to Vieques to work on the sugar cane plantations. They arrived from the nearby islands of St. Thomas, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Croix, and many other Caribbean nations, some as slaves and some as independent economic migrants. Since this time black people have formed an important part of Vieques’ society.
 US acquisition
In 1898, after Spain's defeat in the Spanish–American War, Vieques, along with mainland Puerto Rico, was ceded to the United States.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the sugar industry, on which Vieques was totally dependent, went into decline due to falling sugar prices and industrial unrest. Many locals were forced to move to mainland Puerto Rico or St. Croix to look for work.
During World War II, the United States military purchased about two thirds of Vieques as an extension to the Roosevelt Roads base nearby on the Puerto Rican mainland. The original purpose of the base (never implemented) was to provide a safe haven for the British fleet should Britain fall to Germany. Much of the land was bought from the owners of large farms and sugar cane plantations, and the purchase triggered the final demise of the sugar industry. Many agricultural workers, who had no title to the land they occupied, were evicted.
After the war, the US Navy continued to use Vieques for military exercises, and as a firing range and testing ground for bombs, missiles, and other weapons.
 Protests and departure of the US Navy
Main article: Navy-Vieques protests
The continuing post-war "occupation" of Vieques by the US Navy drew protests from the local community, angry at the expropriation of their land and the environmental impact of weapons testing. The locals' discontent was exacerbated by the island's parlous economic condition.
These protests came to a head in 1999 when Vieques native David Sanes was killed by a bomb dropped during target practice. A campaign of civil disobedience began. The Vieques issue became something of a cause celèbre, and local protestors were joined by sympathetic groups and prominent individuals from mainland USA and abroad.
As a result of this pressure, in May 2003 the Navy withdrew from Vieques, and much of the island was designated a wildlife reserve under the control of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Closure of the Roosevelt Roads base followed in 2004.
Reference: Wikipedia.org / census.gov / mapquest.com