By | 01 Mar 2023 at 5:05 PM
American Citizenship Day 2023: Date, History, Facts about Puerto

Every year, on March 2, Puerto Rico celebrates American Citizenship Day. The holiday commemorates the day in 1917 when Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship. On this date, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act and granted Puerto Ricans statutory U.S. citizenship.

The background of American Citizenship Day

Puerto Rico is an island located 1,000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida in the Caribbean. Christopher Columbus first landed on the island at the end of the 15th century. Soon after, in the sixteenth century, the Spanish colonised it rapidly. Until the Spanish-American War in 1898, Puerto Ricans remained under Spanish rule. Prior to that time, all Puerto Ricans were Spanish citizens.

During the Spanish-American War, the United States invaded Puerto Rico, and the Treaty of Paris ceded the island to the United States. The United States acquired Puerto Rico and three other territories following the war. Initially, Puerto Rico was governed by the U.S. military and officials appointed by the president of the United States. Aligning the judicial system with that of the United States was the goal of the reforms.

Citizenship remained a singular issue. Originally, Spaniards born in Spain could choose to remain Spanish by submitting a formal declaration. Foreigners remained non-citizens. People born in Puerto Rico were citizens of the United States, but according to scholar John L. A. de Passalacqua, they had “no citizenship recognised under international law or even United States municipal law.” Following this, new Codes and Acts continued to be enacted with minor modifications. In 1917, the U.S. Congress passed the Jones–Shafroth Act, which granted U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans born on or after 25 April 1898. The act established statutory U.S. citizenship for U.S. nationals of Puerto Rico and those who were absent from the territory at the time of U.S. acquisition but had since returned. The act was met with criticism and scepticism, but it is still in effect today. Every year on March 2, the date of the signing, Puerto Rico celebrates American Citizenship Day. The office is closed and the holiday is observed publicly.

James Ronald Webster Day 2023: Date, History, Facts

5 little-known facts about Puerto Rico.

Puerto Ricans may be citizens of the United States, but they cannot vote for the president or vice president.

Puerto Ricans can obtain Puerto Rican citizenship if they meet the criteria.

Puerto Rico is the oldest known colony in the world.

Many of Puerto Rico’s smaller islands are reportedly uninhabited.

It is believed that the legendary Cofres Pirate, Puerto Rico’s most famous pirate, invented the pina colada.


Year Date Day
2023 March 2 Thursday
2024 March 2 Saturday
2025 March 2 Sunday
2026 March 2 Monday
2027 March 2 Tuesday