As settlement of Puerto Rico progressed, the native Indians tried to defend their island but were overpowered by the Spanish' Conquistadores'. The Indians not killed in battle were enslaved, most died off from disease and maltreatment. Many of the Indian women survived and eventually populated the interior of Puerto Rico along with the Spanish sailors who had brought no women with them. For several hundred years Puerto Rico was mainly a small farm economy. In the early 1800's the King of Spain granted a 'Cedula de Gracia' to increase the European population of Puerto Rico by awarding land grants to immigrants from South American colonies, Spain and other European countries. Thus began the century of change from small farms to large coffee plantations, then sugar production came into supremacy. African slaves were imported for the larger plantations.... [continues]
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