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The Spanish word huracán originated from the Taíno juracán, the sacred name for this phenomenon.Spain turned Puerto Rico into a military stronghold.Although the Spanish introduced slavery to replace a dwindling Taíno labor force, slavery never reached large proportions until the plantation system was fully implemented in the nineteenth century.However, there was a significant African influx of slave, indentured, and free labor.Sprawl has integrated formerly distinct barrios (rural and suburban neighborhoods), cities, and towns.The San Juan metropolitan area extends almost to Fajardo in the east and west to Arecibo.

Puerto Ricans in the United States have developed a linguistic repertoire that involves mixing English and Spanish in everyday talk.

San Juan was walled and fortified to house military forces, but the other settlements were neglected until the eighteenth century; isolated by the scarcity of roads, they subsisted on contraband, with little official management. Census projections for 2000 place the population at 3,916,000, not including the estimated 2.7 million Puerto Ricans in the mainland United States.