Second decade 1903 to 1913

Puerto Rico

  • Sugar continued to reign, constituting 75% of the island’s gross domestic product.
  • There was a lot of movement and concentration of people in San Juan, with accompanying housing shortages.
  • By 1910, twelve steamship companies from different countries operated in San Juan.
  • Infrastructure projects began, like bridges and ports, and railroad lines from San Juan continued to expand to other towns on the island.
  • Don Rafael Carrión Pacheco, who had nothing to do with banking at the time, represented various railroad line companies.
  • The United States recognized the shield of Puerto Rico, and occupied government buildings like the Arsenal de La Puntilla, El Morro and San Cristóbal forts, all located in the Ballajá sector of the city.
  • The Palacio de Las Catalinas (La Fortaleza), continued to be the governor’s mansion.
Puerto Rico map


  • Aside from traditional local music, people listened and danced to danza, mazurka, polka, and pasodoble, as well as coplas and waltzes; and there was interest in zarzuelas.
  • Christmas carols, aguinaldos, children’s rondas, and religious songs were also popular, in addition to municipal bands.
  • In the countryside, the seis continued to be the backbone of rural music.
  • On the coasts and at the sugar mills, people danced bomba and plena; and they listened and danced to music from the United States, like the one-step, two-step and rags.
Musical notes

Christmas Tree

  • Occasionally, trees were decorated with large ornaments without a religious or traditional meaning, such as perforated tin cans used to place candles on the floor or walls. These created a lantern effect that shone through the pinholes in the can.
  • Underneath the tree, families would place gifts, such as wooden toys and dolls. In addition, people developed trees that were made of goose feathers that had been dyed green.