Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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July 25th
U.S. Overseas Territories
On July 25, 1952, Puerto Rico became a self-governing commonwealth with a constitution written by Puerto Ricans and modeled after the U.S. Constitution. The island had been a U.S. possession since 1898, when Spain surrendered it at the end of the Spanish-American War.

Puerto Rico is the largest of a handful of island territories under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

Location: Puerto Rico – Caribbean
Area: 3,515 sq. mi.
Approx. Pop.: 4,000,000

Location: Guam – Pacific
Area: 212 sq. mi.
Approx. Pop.: 178,000

Location: U.S. Virgin Islands – Caribbean
Area: 136 sq. mi.
Approx. Pop.: 110,000

Location: Northern Mariana Islands – Pacific
Area: 184 sq. mi.
Approx. Pop.: 89,000

Location: American Samoa – Pacific
Area: 77 sq. mi.
Approx. Pop.: 66,000

Location: Johnston Atoll – Pacific
Area: 1 sq. mi.
Approx. Pop.: 0*

Location: Midway Islands – Pacific
Area: 2 sq. mi.
Approx. Pop.: 0

Location: Wake Island – Pacific
Area: 3 sq. mi.
Approx. Pop.: 0

Location: Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands – Pacific
Area: 3 sq. mi.
Approx. Pop.: 0

Location: Kingman Reef – Pacific
Area: 1 sq. mi.
Approx. Pop.: 0

Location: Navassa Island – Caribbean
Area: 2 sq. mi.
Approx. Pop.: 0

Location: Palmyra Atoll – Pacific
Area: 5 sq. mi.
Approx. Pop.: 0

* No indigenous inhabitants. Some smaller U.S. territories are inhabited by a few U.S. government personnel.

American History Parade
1866
Following the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson elevates Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant to the rank of general of the U.S. Army, making him the first American officer to hold that rank.

1898
During the Spanish-American War, U.S. troops begin to land in Puerto Rico.

1952
Puerto Rico becomes a self-governing commonwealth of the United States.

1956
The Italian ocean liner Andrea Doria sinks off Nantucket, Massachusetts, after colliding with the Swedish liner Stockholm; some 50 people die, but 1,660 are rescued.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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