The conquistador Juan Ponce de León accompanied Columbus on this trip.When Ponce de León arrived in Puerto Rico, he was well received by the Cacique (Tribal chief) Agüeybaná (The Great Sun), chieftain of the island Taino tribes.The Spanish offensive culminated in the Battle of Yagüecas against Cacique Mabodomoca.After the failed rebellion, the Tainos were forced to give up their customs and traditions by order of a Royal decree, approved by King Ferdinand II, which required that they adopt and practice the values, religion and language of their conquerors.Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista in honor of Saint John the Baptist.The main port was named Puerto Rico (Rich Port) (eventually the island was renamed Puerto Rico and the port which was to evolve into the capital of the island was renamed San Juan).
The members of Puerto Rico's 65th Infantry Regiment distinguished themselves in combat during the Korean War and were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal.
They introduced Christianity, Cattle, Horses, Sheep, the Spanish language and more to the land (Florida) that later became the United States of America, 107 years before the Pilgrims landed.
Puerto Rico was considered the "Key to the Antilles" by the Spanish because of its location as a way station and port for Spanish vessels.
They, however were not the only enemies that Spain faced in the Caribbean during this period. The Anglo-Spanish War was not limited to Europe—extending to Spanish and English territories in the Americas.
On October 11, 1528, the French sacked and burned the settlement of San Germán during an attempt to capture the island, destroying many of the island's first settlements—including Guánica, Sotomayor, Daguao and Loiza—before the local militia forced them to retreat. In November 1595, Sir Francis Drake, the vice-admiral in command of the Royal Navy fleet that tackled the Spanish Armada, and Sir John Hawkins attempted an unsuccessful invasion of San Juan.
The rest of Puerto Rico, which had been reorganized in 1580 as a captaincy general, had to rely on only a handful of soldiers and the local volunteer militia to defend the island against militant and pirate attacks.