Discovered by Columbus in 1493, the island was ceded by Spain to the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American War. A popularly elected governor has served since 1948. In plebiscites held in 1967 and 1993, voters chose to retain commonwealth status.
Puerto Rico is comprised of the main island, plus two smaller islands (Vieques and Culebra), and numerous smaller islets. Puerto Rico's economy is highly integrated with that of the mainland United States. If Puerto Rico were not part of the United States, it would represent the 10th largest trading partner. The population of Puerto Rico is approximately 4 million with another 4 million living in the continental United States. A large percentage is found in the Northeastern United States.