US Postage Stamps // Philatelic Project // Unincorporated Territories


Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
[Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico]
San Juan, PR // Northeastern Caribbean // Atlantic Time
(The Island of Enchantment [La Isla del Encanto])
Claimed for the Kingdom of Spain: November 19, 1493
by Christopher Columbus (* 1451, † 1506)
First European settlement founded: Caparra on August 8, 1508
by Juan Ponce de León (* 1460, † 1521)
Invasion of US forces: July 25, 1898 at Guanica Bay during the
Spanish-American War[1]
US citizenship granted: March 2, 1917
Commonwealth proclaimed: July 25, 1952
[1] Spain ceded Puerto Rico, along with the Philippines and Guam, then under Spanish sovereignty, to the USA under the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898.
On November 6, 2012 the people of Puerto Rico voted in a referendum to be admitted into the USA as 51st state.
View map of Puerto Rico

#4318 // August 11, 2011
(self-adhesive coil definitive)
Flags of Our Nation Series

Flag of the
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
and Puerto Rican Tody
View Puerto Rico quarter

PR #210 // 1899

PR #215 // 1900

PR #211 // 1899

PR #216 // 1900
overprint "PORTO/PUERTO RICO" on US #279

Benjamin Franklin
(* 1706, † 1790),
one of the US Founding Fathers,
and first US Postmaster
overprint "PORTO/PUERTO RICO" on US #279Bf

George Washington
(* 1732, † 1799),
one of the US Founding Fathers,
and first US President,
in office 1789 - 1797
Provisional issues of 1899/1900 with overprint "PORTO/PUERTO RICO" on US regular issues (1¢, 2¢, 5¢, 10¢) from the series "Universal Postal Union Colors" issued in 1898 and on regular issue #272 (8¢), July 1895. Misspellings of the overprint PORTU and/or FORTO and/or RICU are actually broken letters P or O. After the overprinted provisional issues of 1900, unoverprinted US stamps replaced those of Puerto Rico.
PR #212 // 1899
overprint on US #281

Ulysses S. Grant
(* 1822, † 1885),
18th US President,
in office 1869 - 1877
PR #214 // 1899
overprint on US #283

Daniel Webster
(* 1782, † 1852),
Whig leader and US Senator
PR #213 // 1899
overprint on US #272

William T. Sherman
(* 1820, † 1891),
General of the Union Army

#801 // November 25, 1937 // San Juan, PR
(ex Territories Issue, 3rd of 4 stamps)
Puerto Rico Territory

La Fortaleza

The Fortress, built in the 1530s, and located
in San Juan serves as the official residence of
the Governor of Puerto Rico. It is the oldest
Governor's Mansion in continuous use
in the Western Hemisphere.
#983 // April 27, 1949 // San Juan, PR
First elections for Governor of Puerto Rico
on November 2, 1947

Puerto Rican farmer holding
cogwheel and ballot box

Inauguration of first elected Governor,
Luis Muñoz Marín (* 1898, † 1980),
on January 2, 1949. He held the post
of Governor until 1965.

#1437 // September 12, 1971 // San Juan, PR
450th Anniversary of San Juan
[Municipio de la Ciudad Capital San Juan Bautista],
capital of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Sentry box of "El Morro" castle
(the stamp design is based on a woodcut)
#2024 // October 12, 1982 // San Juan, PR
Juan Ponce de León (* 1460, † 1521)
Spanish explorer and conquistador,
first Govenor of Puerto Rico (1509 - 1512)

On August 8, 1508, Spanish Explorer Juan Ponce de León established the settlement of Caparra on the south shore of San Juan Bay. A year later, the Caparra settlement was moved to a small peninsula on the north side of the bay and renamed Puerto Rico. The name was changed to San Juan in 1521, with the entire island taking on the name of Puerto Rico.

#2805 // November 19, 1993 // San Juan, PR
500th Anniversary
Columbus landing in Puerto Rico

Two caravels of the fleet of Columbus

Christopher Columbus (* 1451, † 1506) discovered Puerto Rico during his second voyage (1493 - 1496) and named it San Juan Bautista.

#5040 // January 17, 2016 // Washington, DC
Priority Mail® Stamp
The stamp is the 15th in a series of
American Landmarks started in 2008
La Cueva del Indio
[Cave of the Indian]
The cave is located on the north coast of Puerto Rico, near the town of Arecibo. The cave, which is more of a rock formation with daylight shining through, is full of ancient petroglyphs (rock carvings). These carvings were made by the Taíno Indians centuries ago. Today, little of the Taíno tribe or its culture remain. To preserve the historic artwork it was declared a »National Reserve« in 1992, and it was placed on the »National Register of Historic Places« in 2003.

Puerto Rican personalities featured on US stamps

#2097 // August 17, 1984 // Carolina, PR
5th Stamp in the American Sports Series
Roberto Clemente
(* 1934, † 1972, killed in a plane crash),
Puerto Rican baseball legend of the Pittsburgh
where he played his entire career
(1955 - 1972), and a great humanitarian

Flag of Puerto Rico and portrait
#2173 // February 18, 1990 // San Juan, PR
Great Americans Definitive Series
Luis Muñoz Marín (* 1898, † 1980),
first elected Governor of Puerto Rico,
in office 1949 - 1965

#3408j // July 6, 2000 // Atlanta, GA
(ex pane of 20 self-adhesive stamps "Legends of Baseball")
All-Century Team
Roberto Clemente
Member of the Baseball Hall of Fame
FDC cover

#4476 // September 14, 2010 // San Juan, PR
26th Stamp in the Literary Arts Series
Julia de Burgos (* 1914, † 1953),
Hispanic-African ancestry
Puerto Rican poet and nationalist,
civil rights activist, and feminist

Portrait created by Canadian artist Jody Hewgill,
the river in the background represent Julia's
most famous poem, "El Rio de Grande de Loiza"

Among her most important works are
"Poema para mi Muerte" [My Death Poem], and
"Yo Misma Fui Mi Ruta" [I Was My Own Path]
#4666 // April 26, 2012 // New York, NY
14th Stamp in the Distinguished Americans Series
José Ferrer (* 1912, † 1992)
[José Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintrón],
Puerto Rican actor, theater, and film director

Oil-on-canvas portrait
painted by artist Daniel Adel

First Latino who won a Best Actor Oscar in 1950
for his most famous role - the swashbuckling poet
Cyrano de Bergerac.

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico comprises an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona. The aborigines of Puerto Rico were seafaring people know as Taíno.

The Spanish words Puerto Rico mean Rich Harbor.
The official languages are Spanish and English.
Land/Water Area
rounded mi2 [km2]
3,515 [9.104]
56 [145]
(2012 estimate)
Population Density
per mi2 [km2] of land area
1,043 [403]
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has 77 counties.

The ZIP code turned 50 in 2013

Stamped Card(s) 

Puerto Rican Stamped Postal Card (PR #UX3)
with imprinted stamp 1¢ black (Thomas Jefferson) and additional affixed
overprinted US stamp 1¢ yellow green (Benjamin Franklin, PR #215/ US #279)
mailed in August 1900 from Mayaguez, PR, USA to Dresden, Germany.


// Elmar R. Göller // All rights reserved // Contact // Publishing Information