United States Trade Representative

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Posted by sonny 04/22/2009 @ 06:16

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North Korea worries overshadow trade as Obama, Lee meet - Washington Post
Lee has enthusiastically embraced the deal and met with US Trade Representative Ron Kirk on Monday to discuss it. But Seoul has refused to renegotiate the auto provisions that many US lawmakers find objectionable, saying it made significant concessions...
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South Korea: President Lee, USTR agree to speed up ratification of FTA - ISRIA
President Lee Myung-bak, currently on a state visit to the United States, met with US Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk at Blair House in Washington, DC, and agreed to work together for a speedy ratification of the Korea-US free trade agreement...
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... Obama's trade representative, Ron Kirk, vowed during his confirmation hearing to alter the agreement on grounds it “isn't fair.” Obama and Lee will sign a declaration reaffirming a US commitment to help provide for South Korea's defense,...
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Op-Ed Contributor Russian Paradox Forum - New York Times
At the St. Petersburg forum, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk negotiated speeding up Russia's WTO accession with First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, a Sechin nemesis; Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, another target of...
New US Commander for Afghanistan to Implement Different Strategy - Voice of America
US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke spoke of a new thinking on the issue during a recent visit to Pakistan. Holbrooke says the long-held notion that Afghanistan's illicit opium trade is the main source of funding...
European Commission Concludes US in Violation of Trade Agreements - PokerNews.com
But it might not be entirely coincidental that its release comes as US Representative Barney Frank's bill, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, is in committee and looking for support....
US keen to have investment treaty with India - Press Trust of India
Washington, June 16 (PTI) The recession hit US today said it wants to enhance dialogue with India on key trade policy issues, including the bilateral investment treaty under negotiation. US Trade Representative Ron Kirk will be discussing these issues...
Ambassador Kirk Announces Plan to Move Forward with the ACTA ... - ag-IP-news Agency
WASHINGTON, DC - The United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced in a press release that the Administration plans to move forward with the negotiation of an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to step up the fight against global...

Office of the United States Trade Representative

US-TradeRepresentative-Seal.svg

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is the United States government agency responsible for developing and recommending United States trade policy to the President of the United States, conducting trade negotiations at bilateral and multilateral levels, and coordinating trade policy within the government through the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) and Trade Policy Review Group (TPRG). Established as the Office of the Special Trade Representative (STR) under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the USTR is part of the Executive Office of the President. With over 200 employees, the USTR has offices in Geneva, Switzerland, and Brussels, Belgium. The current United States Trade Representative is Ron Kirk.

The head of the office holds the title of United States Trade Representative (USTR), which is a Cabinet-level position (though not technically within the Cabinet). The United States Trade Representative and Deputy United States Trade Representatives (DUSTR) carry the title of Ambassador.

Ron Kirk is the current Trade Representative.

Since the enactment of Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974, the USTR has played a key role in the expansion of intellectual property laws worldwide, and monitored efforts by other governments to protect IP rights. To this end the USTR issues an annual Special 301 Report which "examines in detail the adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights" in many countries around the world. Countries may be designated in the categories of Priority Foreign Country, Section 306 Monitoring, Priority Watch List, or Watch List. The Report also regularly attacks price controls that distort and damage free market incentives for the creation of intellectual property, particularly in the area of pharmaceuticals.

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Executive Office of the President of the United States

Executive Office of the President

The Executive Office of the President (EOP) consists of the immediate staff of the President of the United States, as well as multiple levels of support staff reporting to the President. The EOP was established by executive order in 1939 after the passage of the Reorganization Act of 1939.

Since its inception under Franklin D. Roosevelt, the size of the EOP has increased; the current figures for the EOP are about 2,000 full-time equivalent employees. These employees work in the East Wing and the West Wing of the White House and in the Executive Office Building, an extension of the White House.

The Executive Office of the President includes personnel who directly support or advise the President of the United States. Examples include the White House Press Secretary, the Office of Presidential Communications (including senior media relations personnel and Presidential speechwriters), and White House-based Presidential policy and legal advisors, including those focused on domestic, social, foreign and national security policies of the federal government of the United States.

Senior staff within the Executive Office of the President have the title Assistant to the President, second-level staff have the title Deputy Assistant to the President, and third-level staff have the title Special Assistant to the President.

Very few EOP officials are required to be confirmed by the Senate, although there are a handful of exceptions to this rule (e.g., the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the United States Trade Representative). The core White House Staff appointments do not require Senate approval. The staff of the Executive Office to the President is headed by the White House Chief of Staff.

The Office of the Vice President includes personnel who directly support or advise the Vice President of the United States. The Office is headed up by the Vice President's Chief of Staff, currently Ron Klain. The Office also provides staffing and support to the Second Lady of the United States.

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Susan Schwab

George W. Bush, forty-third President of the United States

Susan C. Schwab (born March 23, 1955) is an American politician, who served as United States Trade Representative from June, 2006 to January, 2009.

She was nominated to replace Rob Portman as United States Trade Representative in April, 2006, becoming Acting Trade Representative upon Portman's confirmation as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Previously, she served as Deputy United States Trade Representative from 2005 to 2006.

Prior to becoming Deputy Trade Representative, she had served since 2003, as President and CEO of the University System of Maryland Foundation. From 1995 to 2003, she served as Dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park. Earlier in her career, she served as an aide to then-U.S. Senator John Danforth, as a foreign service officer in the State Department, as a well-respected Director-General of the Foreign and Commercial Service within the U.S. Department of Commerce, and as a business advisor to Motorola. Her first job was an agricultural trade negotiator the USTR office, and she also served as Trade Policy Officer in the US Embassy in Tokyo.

She had put a conclusion on the United States-Canada softwood lumber dispute that lasted since 2001 by officially signing a deal along with Canadian Trade Minister David Emerson on September 12, 2006 that will give Canada 4 out of the 5.3 billion dollars that the country lost in the dispute.

On January 13, 2009, as the Bush Administration neared its end, Schwab reportedly announced retaliatory tariffs on "dozens" of European luxury items, including French truffles, Irish oatmeal, Italian sparkling water, "fatty livers of ducks and geese," apparently foie gras and Roquefort cheese. The European ban on U.S. beef containing hormones was the reason cited by the US for the retaliatory action. Roquefort cheese, made from sheep's milk in a region of southern France, was hit with a 300% tariff, apparently the highest level by far of any in the package. When a 100% tariff was placed on the cheese in 1999, the report says, José Bové helped martial opposition. Bové is known for making a highly publicized attack on a local McDonald's restaurant that same year. So far in 2009, French complaint with the Roquefort tariff is being pursued through diplomatic channels.

Schwab is a resident of Annapolis, Maryland. She attended Williams College (BA) in Political Economy, Stanford University (MA) in Development Policy and George Washington University (Ph.D) in Public Administration and International Business. 1972 Graduate International School Bangkok.

On November 20, 2006, Schwab's husband, Curtis Carroll, a professional magician, died in a hospice in Annapolis. Schwab had returned to the U.S. early from the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Hanoi earlier in the week to be near her husband.

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Ron Kirk

Ron Kirk

Ronald "Ron" Kirk (born June 27, 1954) is the 16th United States Trade Representative, serving in the Obama administration. He served as mayor of Dallas, Texas from 1995 to 2002; he also ran for the United States Senate in 2002.

Born in Austin, Texas, Kirk is the youngest of four children; his father was a U.S. postal worker and the family was politically active. He grew up in a predominantly African American community, and attended Austin's public schools. He was a leader in high school, and was elected student council president in his senior year.

Kirk attended Austin College, graduating with a degree in both political science and sociology in 1976. He then went to the University of Texas School of Law. Upon receiving his Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1979, he practiced law until 1981 when he left to work in the office of then-Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen. In 1983, Kirk returned to Texas to lobby the state legislature in Austin, first as an attorney with the city of Dallas, and later with a law firm.

In 1994, Kirk worked for then-Texas Governor Ann Richards as Secretary of State of Texas. The following year, Kirk ran for mayor of Dallas. With support of Dallas' business community and influential members of the city's African American community, Kirk was successful in his bid and became the first African American mayor of Dallas, Texas while winning 62 percent of the total vote.

During his tenure as mayor, Kirk earned the reputation of being a coalition-builder, managing to keep the always-tumultuous Dallas City Council and Dallas School Board together. Under his leadership, he proposed the "Dallas Plan," a vision for the next 25 years, which included the controversial Trinity River Project, a $246 million plan that called for constructing a network of parks and highways in the flood plain of the Trinity River. He also pushed the construction of the American Airlines Center, whose opening he oversaw in 2002.

In 1999, Kirk was re-elected as mayor of Dallas in a landslide with 74 percent of the vote.

In 2001, Kirk resigned as mayor of Dallas in order to run for the Senate seat vacated by retiring Republican Phil Gramm. Facing then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn and Libertarian Scott Jameson, Kirk lost with 43 percent of the vote to Cornyn's 55 percent.

Following his failed bid for Senate, Kirk returned to the law firm of Gardere Wynne Sewell in Dallas, and was briefly a candidate for chairman of the Democratic National Committee after the 2004 elections. He is now a partner with the Houston-based law firm Vinson and Elkins, where, according to Texans for Public Justice, he was, as of March 2007, one of the four highest paid lobbyists for Energy Future Holdings Corporation, the group created by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs to acquire TXU.

During the Democratic National Convention, Kirk came out in favor of establishing the U.S. Public Service Academy as a civilian counterpart to the military service academies.

Although there was speculation that Kirk would be appointed Secretary of Transportation by President Obama, he was given the position of Trade Representative. As a supporter of NAFTA, his selection has drawn concern from advocates of protectionist trade policies. His nomination ran into further controversy when it was revealed that he owed $9,975 in back taxes. As compensation for speeches he gave from 2004 to the present, he had $37,750 of payments made directly to a scholarship fund at Austin College. Kirk should have included the $37,750 payments with his gross income and then claimed a charitable deduction for the same amount. Kirk also claimed deductions for three years of season tickets to the Dallas Mavericks, as qualifying entertainment expenses. In order to claim a qualifying entertainment expense, the Internal Revenue Service requires written documentation of the time, place, business purpose, name, and business relationship of the person being entertained, records that Kirk did not keep for almost half of the basketball games. Kirk's deductions for tax and accounting fees were also too large.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Kirk as United States Trade Representative on March 18, 2009 with a vote of 92 in favor and 5 opposed and he was sworn in the same day. Kirk was formally sworn in by Joe Biden on March 20, 2009. Kirk is the first African American to hold the position of United States Trade Representative.

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War of 1812

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The War of 1812, between the United States of America and the British Empire (particularly Great Britain and British North America), was fought from 1812 to 1815.

There were several immediate stated causes for the U.S. declaration of war: first, a series of trade restrictions introduced by Britain to impede American trade with France, a country with which Britain was at war (the U.S. contested these restrictions as illegal under international law); second, the impressment (forced recruitment) of U.S. citizens into the Royal Navy (though many of those impressed were British citizens whose change in citizenship was not recognized by Great Britain); third, the British military support for American Indians who were offering armed resistance to the expansion of the American frontier to the Northwest. An unstated but powerful motivation for the Americans was the need to uphold national honour in the face of what they considered to be British insults (such as the Chesapeake affair).

American expansion into the Northwest (Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin) was impeded by Indian raids. Some historians maintain that Americans wanted to seize parts of Canada, while others argue this was merely a tactic designed to obtain a bargaining chip. Some members of the British Parliament at the time and dissident American politicians such as John Randolph of Roanoke also claimed that land hunger rather than maritime disputes was the main motivation for the American declaration. Although the British made some concessions before the war on neutral trade, they saw themselves as having the right to reclaim their deserting sailors, and also as the protectors of the native Amerindians from encroaching settlers. The British also had the long-standing goal of creating a large "neutral" Indian state that would cover much of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. They made the demand as late as 1814 at the peace conference, but lost battles that would have validated their claims.

The war was fought in four theatres: on the oceans, where the warships and privateers of both sides preyed on each other's merchant shipping; along the Atlantic coast of the U.S., which was blockaded with increasing severity by the British, who also mounted large-scale raids in the later stages of the war; on the long frontier, running along the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River, which separated the U.S. from Upper and Lower Canada (Ontario and Quebec); and finally along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, where U.S. General Andrew Jackson defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (1814) and a major British regular army at the Battle of New Orleans (early 1815).

During the course of the war, both the Americans and British launched invasions of each other's territory, all of which were unsuccessful or gained only temporary success. At the end of the war, the British held parts of Maine and some outposts in the sparsely populated West while the Americans held Canadian territory near Detroit, but these occupied territories were restored at the end of the war.

In 1813, the Americans gained one of their main goals by breaking a confederation of Native American tribes. By taking control of Lake Erie, they cut them off from British aid, and Tecumseh, the Indian leader, was killed at the Battle of the Thames. While some Natives continued to fight alongside British troops, they subsequently did so only as individual tribes or groups of warriors and where they were directly supplied and armed by British agents.

After two years of warfare, the major causes of the war had disappeared. Neither side had any reason to continue or any chance of gaining a decisive success which would compel their opponents to cede territory or advantageous peace terms. As a result of this stalemate, the two countries signed the Treaty of Ghent on 24 December 1814. News of the peace treaty took two months to reach the U.S., during which fighting continued. In this interim, the Americans won a major victory at the Battle of New Orleans, while the British won the Battle of Fort Bowyer.

In the United States, battles such as New Orleans and the earlier successful defence of Baltimore (which inspired the lyrics of the U.S. national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner) produced a sense of euphoria over a "second war of independence" against Britain. It ushered in an "Era of Good Feelings," in which the partisan animosity that had once verged on treason practically vanished. Canada also emerged from the war with a heightened sense of national feeling and solidarity. This was later expressed as the "Militia Myth," the notion that locally recruited militia rather than British regular troops bore the major burden of the fighting in Canada and the adjoining parts of the United States. Britain, which had regarded the war as a sideshow to the Napoleonic Wars raging in Europe, was less affected by the fighting; its government and people subsequently welcomed an era of peaceful relations with the United States.

The war was fought between the United States and the British Empire, particularly Great Britain and her North American colonies of Upper Canada (Ontario), Lower Canada (Québec), New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton Island (at that time a separate colony from Nova Scotia), and Bermuda.

The war started poorly for the Americans in August 1812, when an attempt to invade Canada was repulsed by Major General Isaac Brock and a force of 350 regular British troops he commanded (supported in turn by local militias and warriors from native Indian tribes). This led to the British capture of Detroit (in the southeast corner of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan). A second invasion, on the Niagara peninsula, was defeated on October 13, 1812 at the Battle of Queenston Heights, in which Brock was killed.

The American strategy relied in part on militias that either resisted service or were incompetently led. Financial and logistical problems also plagued the American effort. Military and civilian leadership was lacking and remained a critical American weakness until 1814. New England opposed the war and refused to provide troops or financing. Britain had excellent financing and logistics, but the war with France had a higher priority, so in 1812–13, it adopted a defensive strategy. After the final defeat of Napoleon in 1814, the British were able to send veteran armies to the U.S., but by then the Americans had learned how to mobilise and fight.

At sea, the powerful Royal Navy blockaded much of the coastline, though it was allowing substantial exports from New England, which was trading with Britain and Canada in defiance of American laws. The blockade devastated American agricultural exports but helped stimulate local factories that replaced goods previously imported. The American strategy of using small gunboats to defend ports was a fiasco, as the British raided the coast at will. The most famous episode was a series of British raids on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, including an attack on Washington, D.C. that resulted in the British burning of the White House, the Capitol, the Navy Yard, and other public buildings, later called the "Burning of Washington." The British power at sea was sufficient to allow the Royal Navy to levy "contributions" on bayside towns in return for not burning them to the ground. The Americans were more successful in ship-to-ship actions, building fast frigates. They sent out several hundred privateers to attack British merchant ships; British commercial interests were damaged, especially in the West Indies.

The decisive use of naval power came on the Great Lakes and depended on a contest of building ships. In 1813, the Americans won control of Lake Erie and cut off British and native forces to the west from their supplies. Control of Lake Ontario changed hands several times, with neither side able or willing to take advantage of any temporary superiority. The Americans ultimately gained control of Lake Champlain, and naval victory there forced a large invading British army to turn back in 1814. In disrupting the power of the native peoples of the northwest and southeast, the Americans secured a major war goal.

Once Britain defeated France in 1814, it ended the trade restrictions and impressment of American sailors, thus removing another cause of the war. Both Great Britain and the United States agreed to a peace that left the prewar boundaries intact.

In January 1815, after the Treaty of Ghent was signed but before word crossed the Atlantic, the Americans succeeded in inflicting 2000 casualties in defeating a British invasion army at New Orleans. The British captured Fort Bowyer.

The war had the effect of uniting the populations within each country. Canadians celebrated the war as a victory because they avoided conquest. Americans celebrated victory personified in Andrew Jackson. He was the hero of the defense of New Orleans, and in 1828, was elected the 7th President of the United States.

The United States Merchant Marine had come close to doubling between 1802 and 1810. Britain was the largest trading partner, receiving 80% of all U.S. cotton and 50% of all other U.S. exports. The United States Merchant Marine was the largest neutral fleet in the world by a large margin. The British public and press were very resentful of the growing mercantile and commercial competition. The United States' view was that Britain was in violation of a neutral nation's right to trade with any nation it saw fit.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy expanded to 175 ships of the line and 600 ships overall, requiring 140,000 sailors. While the Royal Navy was able to man its ships with volunteers in peacetime, in war, it competed with merchant shipping and privateers for a small pool of experienced sailors and turned to impressment when unable to man ships with volunteers alone. A sizeable number of sailors (estimated to be as many as 11,000 in 1805) in the United States merchant navy were Royal Navy veterans or deserters who had left for better pay and conditions. The Royal Navy went after them by intercepting and searching U.S. merchant ships for deserters. Such actions, especially the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair, incensed the Americans.

The United States believed that British deserters had a right to become United States citizens. Britain did not recognise naturalised United States citizenship, so in addition to recovering deserters, it considered any United States citizen born British liable for impressment. Exacerbating the situation was the widespread use of forged identity papers by sailors. This made it all the more difficult for the Royal Navy to distinguish Americans from non-Americans and led it to impress some Americans who had never been British. (Some gained freedom on appeal.) American anger at impressment grew when British frigates stationed themselves just outside U.S. harbors in U.S. territorial waters and searched ships for contraband and impressed men in view of U.S. shores. "Free trade and sailors' rights" was a rallying cry for the United States throughout the conflict.

American expansion into the Northwest Territory (the modern states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin) was being obstructed by Indian leaders like Tecumseh, supplied and encouraged by the British. Americans on the frontier demanded that interference be stopped. Before 1940, some historians held that United States expansionism into Canada was also a reason for the war, but the theory lost supporters. The territory in question (western Ontario), had already been largely settled by Americans, and they remained mostly neutral during the war. Some Canadian historians propounded the notion in the early 20th century, and it survives among most Canadians. This view was also shared by members of the British Parliament at the time.

Madison and his advisers believed that conquest of Canada would be easy and that economic coercion would force the British to come to terms by cutting off the food supply for their West Indies colonies. Furthermore, possession of Canada would be a valuable bargaining chip. Frontiersmen demanded the seizure of Canada not because they wanted the land, but because the British were thought to be arming the Indians and thereby blocking settlement of the West. As Horsman concluded, "The idea of conquering Canada had been present since at least 1807 as a means of forcing England to change her policy at sea. The conquest of Canada was primarily a means of waging war, not a reason for starting it." Hickey flatly stated, "The desire to annex Canada did not bring on the war." Brown (1964) concluded, "The purpose of the Canadian expedition was to serve negotiation, not to annex Canada." Burt, a leading Canadian scholar, agreed completely, noting that Foster—the British minister to Washington—also rejected the argument that annexation of Canada was a war goal.

The declaration of war was passed by the smallest margin recorded on a war vote in the United States Congress. On May 11, Prime Minister Spencer Perceval was shot and killed by an assassin, resulting in a change of the British government, putting Lord Liverpool in power. Liverpool wanted a more practical relationship with the United States. He issued a repeal of the impressment orders, but the U.S. was unaware of this, as it took three weeks for the news to cross the Atlantic.

Although the outbreak of the war had been preceded by years of angry diplomatic dispute, neither side was ready for war when it came. Britain was heavily engaged in the Napoleonic Wars, most of the British Army was engaged in the Peninsular War (in Spain), and the Royal Navy was compelled to blockade most of the coast of Europe. The total number of British regular troops present in Canada in July 1812 was officially stated to be 6,034, supported by Canadian militia. Throughout the war, the British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies was the Earl of Bathurst. For the first two years of the war, he could spare few troops to reinforce North America and urged the commander in chief in North America (Lieutenant General Sir George Prevost) to maintain a defensive strategy. The naturally cautious Prevost followed these instructions, concentrating on defending Lower Canada at the expense of Upper Canada (which was more vulnerable to American attacks) and allowing few offensive actions. In the final year of the war, large numbers of British soldiers became available after the abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte. Prevost launched an offensive of his own into Upper New York State, but mishandled it and was forced to retreat after the British lost the Battle of Plattsburgh.

The United States was not prepared to prosecute a war, for President Madison assumed that the state militias would easily seize Canada and negotiations would follow. In 1812, the regular army consisted of fewer than 12,000 men. Congress authorised the expansion of the army to 35,000 men, but the service was voluntary and unpopular, it offered poor pay, and there were very few trained and experienced officers, at least initially. The militia called in to aid the regulars objected to serving outside their home states, were not amenable to discipline, and as a rule, performed poorly in the presence of the enemy when outside of their home state. The U.S. had great difficulty financing its war. It had disbanded its national bank, and private bankers in the Northeast were opposed to the war.

The early disasters brought about chiefly by American unpreparedness and lack of leadership drove United States Secretary of War William Eustis from office. His successor, John Armstrong, Jr., attempted a coordinated strategy late in 1813 aimed at the capture of Montreal, but was thwarted by logistical difficulties, uncooperative and quarrelsome commanders, and ill-trained troops. By 1814, the United States Army's morale and leadership had greatly improved, but the embarrassing Burning of Washington led to Armstrong's dismissal from office in turn. The war ended before the new Secretary of War James Monroe could put any new strategy into effect.

American prosecution of the war also suffered from its unpopularity, especially in New England, where antiwar spokesmen were vocal. The failure of New England to provide militia units or financial support was a serious blow. Threats of secession by New England states were loud; Britain immediately exploited these divisions, blockading only southern ports for much of the war and encouraging smuggling.

In 1812, Britain's Royal Navy was the world's largest, with several hundred vessels in commission. Although most of these were involved in blockading the French navy and protecting British trade against French (and Danish) privateers, the Royal Navy nevertheless had 85 vessels in American waters. By contrast, the United States Navy, which was not yet twenty years old, was a frigate navy with only 22 commissioned vessels, though a number of the American frigates were exceptionally large and powerful for their class. Whereas the standard British frigate of the time mounted 38 guns, with their main battery consisting of 18-pounder guns, the USS Constitution, USS President, and USS United States were theoretically 44-gun ships and were capable of carrying 56 guns, with a main battery of 24-pounders.

The British strategy was to protect their own merchant shipping to and from Halifax, Canada and the West Indies, and to enforce a blockade of major American ports to restrict American trade. Because of their numerical inferiority, the Americans aimed to cause disruption through hit-and-run tactics, such as the capture of prizes and engaging Royal Navy vessels only under favorable circumstances. Days after the formal declaration of war, however, two small squadrons sailed, including the frigate USS President and the sloop USS Hornet under Commodore John Rodgers, and the frigates USS United States and USS Congress, with the brig USS Argus under Captain Stephen Decatur. These were initially concentrated as one unit under Rodgers, and it was his intention to force the Royal Navy to concentrate its own ships to prevent isolated units being captured by his powerful force. Large numbers of American merchant ships were still returning to the United States, and if the Royal Navy was concentrated, it could not watch all the ports on the American seaboard. Rodgers' strategy worked, in that the Royal Navy concentrated most of its frigates off New York Harbor under Captain Philip Broke and allowed many American ships to reach home. However, his own cruise captured only five small merchant ships, and the Americans never subsequently concentrated more than two or three ships together as a unit.

The successes gained by the three big American frigates forced Britain to construct five 40-gun, 24-pounder heavy frigates and two of its own 50-gun "spar-decked" frigates (HMS Leander and HMS Newcastle) and to razee three old 74-gun ships of the line to convert them to heavy frigates. It was acknowledged by the Royal Navy that there were factors other than greater size and heavier guns. The United States Navy's sloops and brigs had also won several victories over Royal Navy vessels of approximately equal strength. While the American ships had experienced and well-drilled volunteer crews, the enormous size of the overstretched Royal Navy meant that many ships were shorthanded and the average quality of crews suffered, and constant sea duties of those serving in North America interfered with their training and exercises.

The capture of the three British frigates stimulated the British to greater exertions. More vessels were deployed on the American seaboard and the blockade tightened. On June 1, 1813, off Boston Harbor, the frigate USS Chesapeake, commanded by Captain James Lawrence, was captured by the British frigate HMS Shannon under Captain Sir Philip Broke. Lawrence was mortally wounded and famously cried out, "Don't give up the ship! Hold on, men!" Although the Chesapeake was only of equal strength to the average British frigate and the crew had mustered together only hours before the battle, the British press reacted with almost hysterical relief that the run of American victories had ended.

In January 1813, the American frigate USS Essex, under the command of Captain David Porter, sailed into the Pacific in an attempt to harass British shipping. Many British whaling ships carried letters of marque allowing them to prey on American whalers and nearly destroyed the industry. The Essex challenged this practice. She inflicted considerable damage on British interests before she was captured off Valparaiso, Chile, by the British frigate HMS Phoebe and the sloop HMS Cherub on March 28, 1814.

Following their earlier losses, the British Admiralty instituted a new policy that the three American heavy frigates should not be engaged except by a ship of the line or smaller vessels in squadron strength. An example of this was the capture of the USS President by a squadron of four British frigates in January 1815 (although the action was fought on the British side mainly by the HMS Endymion).

The blockade of American ports later tightened to the extent that most American merchant ships and naval vessels were confined to port. The American frigates USS United States and USS Macedonian ended the war blockaded and hulked in New London, Connecticut. Some merchant ships were based in Europe or Asia and continued operations. Others, mainly from New England, were issued licenses to trade by Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, commander in chief on the American station in 1813. This allowed Wellington's army in Spain to be supplied with American goods, as well as maintaining the New Englanders' opposition to the war. The blockade nevertheless resulted in American exports decreasing from $130-million in 1807 to $7-million in 1814.

The operations of American privateers (some of which belonged to the United States Navy, but most of which were private ventures) were extensive. They continued until the close of the war and were only partially affected by the strict enforcement of convoy by the Royal Navy. An example of the audacity of the American cruisers was the depredations in British home waters carried out by the American sloop USS Argus. It was eventually captured off St. David's Head in Wales by the British brig HMS Pelican on August 14, 1813. A total of 1,554 vessels were claimed captured by all American naval and privateering vessels, 1300 of which were captured by privateers. However, insurer Lloyd's of London reported that only 1,175 British ships were taken, 373 of which were recaptured, for a total loss of 802.

As the Royal Navy base that supervised the blockade, the Halifax profited greatly during the war. British privateers based there seized many French and American ships and sold their prizes in Halifax.

The war was the last time the British allowed privateering, since the practice was coming to be seen as politically inexpedient and of diminishing value in maintaining its naval supremacy. It was certainly the swan song of Bermuda's privateers, who had returned to the practice with a vengeance after American lawsuits had put a stop to it two decades earlier. The nimble Bermuda sloops captured 298 enemy ships (the total number of captures by all British naval and privateering vessels between the Great Lakes and the West Indies was 1,593).

When the war began, the British naval forces had some difficulty in blockading the entire U.S. coast, and they were also preoccupied in their pursuit of American privateers. The British government, having need of American foodstuffs for its army in Spain, benefited from the willingness of the New Englanders to trade with them, so no blockade of New England was at first attempted. The Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay were declared in a state of blockade on December 26, 1812.

This was extended to the coast south of Narragansett by November 1813 and to all of the American coast on May 31, 1814. In the meantime, much illicit trade was carried on by collusive captures arranged between American traders and British officers. American ships were fraudulently transferred to neutral flags. Eventually, the U.S. government was driven to issue orders to stop illicit trading; this put only a further strain on the commerce of the country. The overpowering strength of the British fleet enabled it to occupy the Chesapeake and to attack and destroy numerous docks and harbors.

Additionally, commanders of the blockading fleet, based at the Bermuda dockyard, were given instructions to encourage the defection of American slaves by offering freedom, as they did during the Revolutionary War. Thousands of black slaves went over to the Crown with their families and were recruited into the 3rd (Colonial) Battalion of the Royal Marines on occupied Tangier Island, in the Chesapeake. A further company of colonial marines was raised at the Bermuda dockyard, where many freed slaves—men, women, and children—had been given refuge and employment. It was kept as a defensive force in case of an attack. These former slaves fought for Britain throughout the Atlantic campaign, including the attack on Washington, D.C. and the Louisiana Campaign, and most were later re-enlisted into British West India regiments or settled in Trinidad in August 1816, where seven hundred of these ex-marines were granted land (they reportedly organised themselves in villages along the lines of military companies). Many other freed American slaves were recruited directly into existing West Indian regiments or newly created British Army units. A few thousand freed slaves were later settled at Nova Scotia by the British.

Maine, then part of Massachusetts, was a base for smuggling and illegal trade between the U.S. and the British. From his base in New Brunswick, in September 1814, Sir John Coape Sherbrooke led 500 British troops in the "Penobscot Expedition". In 26 days, he raided and looted Hampden, Bangor, and Machias, destroying or capturing 17 American ships. He won the Battle of Hampden (losing two killed while the Americans lost one killed) and occupied the village of Castine for the rest of the war. This territory was returned to the United States by the Treaty of Ghent. The British left in April 1815, at which time they took 10,750 pounds obtained from tariff duties at Castine. This money, called the "Castine Fund", was used in the establishment of Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The strategic location of the Chesapeake Bay near America's capital made it a prime target for the British. Starting in March 1813, a squadron under Rear Admiral George Cockburn started a blockade of the bay and raided towns along the bay from Norfolk to Havre de Grace.

On July 4, 1813, Joshua Barney, a Revolutionary War naval hero, convinced the Navy Department to build the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla, a squadron of twenty barges to defend the Chesapeake Bay. Launched in April 1814, the squadron was quickly cornered in the Patuxent River, and while successful in harassing the Royal Navy, they were powerless to stop the British campaign that ultimately led to the "Burning of Washington." This expedition, led by Cockburn and General Robert Ross, was carried out between August 19 and 29, 1814, as the result of the hardened British policy of 1814 (although British and American commissioners had convened peace negotiations at Ghent in June of that year). As part of this, Admiral Warren had been replaced as commander in chief by Admiral Alexander Cochrane, with reinforcements and orders to coerce the Americans into a favourable peace.

Governor-General Sir George Prevost of Canada had written to the Admirals in Bermuda, calling for a retaliation for the American sacking of York (now Toronto). A force of 2,500 soldiers under General Ross—aboard a Royal Navy task force composed of the HMS Royal Oak, three frigates, three sloops, and ten other vessels—had just arrived in Bermuda. Released from the Peninsular War by British victory, the British intended to use them for diversionary raids along the coasts of Maryland and Virginia. In response to Prevost's request, they decided to employ this force, together with the naval and military units already on the station, to strike at Washington, D.C.

On August 24, U.S. Secretary of War John Armstrong insisted that the British would attack Baltimore rather than Washington, even when the British army was obviously on its way to the capital. The inexperienced American militia, which had congregated at Bladensburg, Maryland, to protect the capital, were routed in the Battle of Bladensburg, opening the route to Washington. While Dolley Madison saved valuables from the Presidential Mansion, President James Madison was forced to flee to Virginia.

The British commanders ate the supper that had been prepared for the President before they burned the Presidential Mansion; American morale was reduced to an all-time low. The British viewed their actions as retaliation for destructive American raids into Canada, most notably the Americans' burning of York (now Toronto) in 1813. Later that same evening, a furious storm swept into Washington, D.C., sending one or more tornadoes into the city that caused more damage but finally extinguished the fires with torrential rains. The naval yards were set afire at the direction of U.S. officials to prevent the capture of naval ships and supplies. The British left Washington, D.C. as soon as the storm subsided. Having destroyed Washington's public buildings, including the President's Mansion and the Treasury, the British army next moved to capture Baltimore, a busy port and a key base for American privateers. The subsequent Battle of Baltimore began with the British landing at North Point, but they withdrew when General Ross was killed at an American outpost. The British also attempted to attack Baltimore by sea on September 13 but were unable to reduce Fort McHenry, at the entrance to Baltimore Harbor.

America's leaders assumed that Canada could be easily overrun. Former President Jefferson optimistically referred to the conquest of Canada as "a matter of marching." Many Loyalist Americans had migrated to Upper Canada after the Revolutionary War, and it was assumed they would favor the American cause, but they did not. In prewar Upper Canada, General Prevost found himself in the unusual position of purchasing many provisions for his troops from the American side. This peculiar trade persisted throughout the war in spite of an abortive attempt by the American government to curtail it. In Lower Canada, much more populous, support for Britain came from the English elite with strong loyalty to the Empire, and from the French elite, who feared American conquest would destroy the old order by introducing Protestantism and weakening the Catholic Church, Anglicization, republican democracy, and commercial capitalism. The French inhabitants feared the loss to potential American immigrants of a shrinking area of good lands.

In 1812–13, British military experience prevailed over inexperienced American commanders. Geography dictated that operations would take place in the west: principally around Lake Erie, near the Niagara River between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, and near the Saint Lawrence River area and Lake Champlain. This was the focus of the three-pronged attacks by the Americans in 1812. Although cutting the St. Lawrence River through the capture of Montreal and Quebec would have made Britain's hold in North America unsustainable, the United States began operations first in the western frontier because of the general popularity there of a war with the British, who had sold arms to the American Indians opposing the settlers.

The British scored an important early success when their detachment at St. Joseph Island, on Lake Huron, learned of the declaration of war before the nearby American garrison at the important trading post at Mackinac Island, in Michigan. A scratch force landed on the island on July 17, 1812, and mounted a gun overlooking Fort Mackinac. After the British fired one shot from their gun, the Americans, taken by surprise, surrendered. This early victory encouraged the Indians, and large numbers of them moved to help the British at Amherstburg.

An American army under the command of William Hull invaded Canada on July 12, with his forces chiefly composed of militiamen. Once on Canadian soil, Hull issued a proclamation ordering all British subjects to surrender, or "the horrors, and calamities of war will stalk before you." He also threatened to kill any British prisoner caught fighting alongside an Indian. The proclamation helped stiffen resistance to the American attacks. The senior British officer in Upper Canada, Major General Isaac Brock, decided to oppose Hull's forces, and felt that he should make a bold action to calm the settler population in Canada, and to try and convince the aboriginals that were needed to defend the region that Britain was strong. Hull was worried that his army was too weak to achieve its objectives, and engaged in minor skirmishing and felt more vulnerable after the British captured a vessel on Lake Erie carrying his baggage, medical supplies, and important papers. On July 17, without a fight, the American fort on Mackinac Island surrendered after a group of soldiers, fur traders, and native warriors ordered by Brock to capture the settlement deployed a piece of artillery overlooking the post before the fort realised it, which led to its capitulation. This capture secured British fur trade operations in the area and maintained a British connection to the Native American tribes in the Mississippi region, as well as inspiring a sizeable number of Natives of the upper lakes region to combat the United States. Hull, believing after he learned about the capture that the tribes along the Detroit border would rise up and oppose him and perhaps attack Americans on the frontier, on August 8 withdrew most of his army from Canada back to secure Detroit whilst sending a request for reinforcements and ordering the American garrison at Fort Dearborn to abandon the post for fear of an aboriginal attack.

Brock advanced on Fort Detroit with 1,200 men. Brock sent a fake correspondence and allowed the letter to be captured by the Americans, saying they required only 5,000 Native warriors to capture Detroit. Hull feared the Indians and their threats of torture and scalping. Believing the British had more troops than they did, Hull surrendered at Detroit without a fight on August 16. Fearing British-instigated Indian attacks on other locations, Hull ordered the evacuation of the inhabitants of Fort Dearborn (Chicago) to Fort Wayne. After initially being granted safe passage, the inhabitants (soldiers as well as civilians) were attacked by Potowatomi Indians on August 15 after traveling two miles (3 km) in what is known as the Fort Dearborn Massacre. The fort was subsequently burned.

Brock promptly transferred himself to the eastern end of Lake Erie, where American General Stephen Van Rensselaer was attempting a second invasion. An armistice (arranged by Prevost in the hope the British renunciation of the Orders in Council to which the United States objected might lead to peace) prevented Brock from invading American territory. When the armistice ended, the Americans attempted an attack across the Niagara River on October 13, but suffered a crushing defeat at Queenston Heights. Brock was killed during the battle. While the professionalism of the American forces would improve by the war's end, British leadership suffered after Brock's death. A final attempt in 1812 by American General Henry Dearborn to advance north from Lake Champlain failed when his militia refused to advance beyond American territory.

In contrast to the American militia, the Canadian militia performed well. French Canadians, who found the anti-Catholic stance of most of the United States troublesome, and United Empire Loyalists, who had fought for the Crown during the American Revolutionary War, strongly opposed the American invasion. However, a large segment of Upper Canada's population were recent settlers from the United States who had no obvious loyalties to the Crown. Nevertheless, while there were some who sympathised with the invaders, the American forces found strong opposition from men loyal to the Empire.

After Hull's surrender, General William Henry Harrison was given command of the American Army of the Northwest. He set out to retake Detroit, which was now defended by Colonel Henry Procter in conjunction with Tecumseh. A detachment of Harrison's army was defeated at Frenchtown along the River Raisin on January 22, 1813. Procter left the prisoners with an inadequate guard, who were unable to prevent some of his North American Indian allies from attacking and killing perhaps as many as sixty Americans, many of whom were Kentucky militiamen. The incident became known as the "River Raisin Massacre." The defeat ended Harrison's campaign against Detroit, and the phrase "Remember the River Raisin!" became a rallying cry for the Americans.

In May 1813, Procter and Tecumseh set siege to Fort Meigs in northern Ohio. American reinforcements arriving during the siege were defeated by the Indians, but the fort held out. The Indians eventually began to disperse, forcing Procter and Tecumseh to return to Canada. A second offensive against Fort Meigs also failed in July. In an attempt to improve Indian morale, Procter and Tecumseh attempted to storm Fort Stephenson, a small American post on the Sandusky River, only to be repulsed with serious losses, marking the end of the Ohio campaign.

On Lake Erie, American commander Captain Oliver Hazard Perry fought the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813. His decisive victory ensured American control of the lake, improved American morale after a series of defeats, and compelled the British to fall back from Detroit. This paved the way for General Harrison to launch another invasion of Upper Canada, which culminated in the U.S. victory at the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813, in which Tecumseh was killed. Tecumseh's death effectively ended the North American Indian alliance with the British in the Detroit region. American control of Lake Erie meant the British could no longer provide essential military supplies to their Indian allies, who therefore dropped out of the war. The Americans controlled the area for the duration of the war.

Because of the difficulties of land communications, control of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River corridor was crucial. When the war began, the British already had a small squadron of warships on Lake Ontario and had the initial advantage. To redress the situation, the Americans established a Navy yard at Sackett's Harbor, New York. Commodore Isaac Chauncey took charge of the large number of sailors and shipwrights sent there from New York; they completed the second warship built there in a mere 45 days. Ultimately, 3000 men worked at the shipyard, building eleven warships and many smaller boats and transports. Having regained the advantage by their rapid building program, Chauncey and Dearborn attacked York (now called Toronto), the capital of Upper Canada, on April 27, 1813. The Battle of York was an American victory, marred by looting and the burning of the Parliament buildings and a library. However, Kingston was strategically more valuable to British supply and communications along the St. Lawrence. Without control of Kingston, the American navy could not effectively control Lake Ontario or sever the British supply line from Lower Canada.

On May 27, 1813, an American amphibious force from Lake Ontario assaulted Fort George on the northern end of the Niagara River and captured it without serious losses. The retreating British forces were not pursued, however, until they had largely escaped and organised a counteroffensive against the advancing Americans at the Battle of Stoney Creek on June 5. On June 24, with the help of advance warning by Loyalist Laura Secord, another American force was forced to surrender by a much smaller British and Indian force at the Battle of Beaver Dams, marking the end of the American offensive into Upper Canada. Meanwhile, Commodore James Lucas Yeo had taken charge of the British ships on the lake and mounted a counterattack, which was nevertheless repulsed at the Battle of Sackett's Harbor. Thereafter, Chauncey's and Yeo's squadrons fought two indecisive actions, neither commander seeking a fight to the finish.

Late in 1813, the Americans abandoned the Canadian territory they occupied around Fort George. They set fire to the village of Newark (now Niagara-on-the-Lake) on December 15, 1813, incensing the British and Canadians. Many of the inhabitants were left without shelter, freezing to death in the snow. This led to British retaliation following the Capture of Fort Niagara on December 18, 1813, and similar destruction at Buffalo on December 30, 1813.

In 1814, the contest for Lake Ontario turned into a building race. Eventually, by the end of the year, Yeo had constructed the HMS St. Lawrence, a first-rate ship of the line of 112 guns that gave him superiority, but the overall result of the Engagements on Lake Ontario had been an indecisive draw.

The British were potentially most vulnerable over the stretch of the St. Lawrence where it formed the frontier between Upper Canada and the United States. During the early days of the war, there was much illicit commerce across the river, but over the winter of 1812–13, the Americans launched a series of raids from Ogdensburg on the American side of the river, hampering British supply traffic up the river. On February 21, Sir George Prevost passed through Prescott on the opposite bank of the river with reinforcements for Upper Canada. When he left the next day, the reinforcements and local militia attacked. At the Battle of Ogdensburg, the Americans were forced to retire.

For the rest of the year, Ogdensburg had no American garrison, and many residents of Ogdensburg resumed visits and trade with Prescott. This British victory removed the last American regular troops from the Upper St. Lawrence frontier and helped secure British communications with Montreal. Late in 1813, after much argument, the Americans made two thrusts against Montreal. The plan eventually agreed upon was for Major General Wade Hampton to march north from Lake Champlain and join a force under General James Wilkinson that would embark in boats and sail from Sackett's Harbor on Lake Ontario and descend the St. Lawrence. Hampton was delayed by bad roads and supply problems and also had an intense dislike of Wilkinson, which limited his desire to support his plan. On October 25, his 4,000-strong force was defeated at the Chateauguay River by Charles de Salaberry's smaller force of French-Canadian Voltigeurs and Mohawks. Wilkinson's force of 8,000 set out on October 17, but was also delayed by bad weather. After learning that Hampton had been checked, Wilkinson heard that a British force under Captain William Mulcaster and Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Wanton Morrison was pursuing him, and by November 10, he was forced to land near Morrisburg, about 150 kilometers (90 mi.) from Montreal. On November 11, Wilkinson's rear guard, numbering 2,500, attacked Morrison's force of 800 at Crysler's Farm and was repulsed with heavy losses. After learning that Hampton was unable to renew his advance, Wilkinson retreated to the U.S. and settled into winter quarters. He resigned his command after a failed attack on a British outpost at Lacolle Mills.

By the middle of 1814, American generals, including Major Generals Jacob Brown and Winfield Scott, had drastically improved the fighting abilities and discipline of the army. Their renewed attack on the Niagara peninsula quickly captured Fort Erie. Winfield Scott then gained a victory over an inferior British force at the Battle of Chippawa on July 5. An attempt to advance further ended with a hard-fought but inconclusive battle at Lundy's Lane on July 25.

The outnumbered Americans withdrew but withstood a prolonged Siege of Fort Erie. The British suffered heavy casualties in a failed assault and were also weakened by exposure and shortage of supplies in their siege lines. Eventually the British raised the siege, but American Major General George Izard took over command on the Niagara front and followed up only halfheartedly. The Americans themselves lacked provisions, and eventually destroyed the fort and retreated across the Niagara.

Meanwhile, following the abdication of Napoleon, 15,000 British troops were sent to North America under four of Wellington’s ablest brigade commanders. Fewer than half were veterans of the Peninsula and the remainder came from garrisons. Along with the troops came instructions for offensives against the United States. British strategy was changing, and like the Americans, the British were seeking advantages for the peace negotiations. Governor-General Sir George Prevost was instructed to launch an invasion into the New York-Vermont region. The army available to him outnumbered the American defenders of Plattsburgh, but control of this town depended on being able to control Lake Champlain. On the lake, the British squadron under Captain George Downie and the Americans under Master Commandant Thomas MacDonough were more evenly matched.

On reaching Plattsburgh, Prevost delayed the assault until the arrival of Downie in the hastily completed 36-gun frigate HMS Confiance. Prevost forced Downie into a premature attack, but then unaccountably failed to provide the promised military backing. Downie was killed and his naval force defeated at the naval Battle of Plattsburgh in Plattsburgh Bay on September 11, 1814. The Americans now had control of Lake Champlain; Theodore Roosevelt later termed it "the greatest naval battle of the war." The successful land defense was led by Alexander Macomb (American general). To the astonishment of his senior officers, Prevost then turned back, saying it would be too hazardous to remain on enemy territory after the loss of naval supremacy. Prevost's political and military enemies forced his recall. In London, a naval court-martial of the surviving officers of the Plattsburgh Bay debacle decided that defeat had been caused principally by Prevost’s urging the squadron into premature action and then failing to afford the promised support from the land forces. Prevost died suddenly, just before his own court-martial was to convene. Prevost's reputation sank to a new low, as Canadians claimed that their militia under Brock did the job and he failed. Recently, however, historians have been more kindly, measuring him not against Wellington but against his American foes. They judge Prevost’s preparations for defending the Canadas with limited means to be energetic, well-conceived, and comprehensive; and against the odds, he had achieved the primary objective of preventing an American conquest.

Far to the west of where regular British forces were fighting, more than 65 forts were built in the Illinois Territory, mostly by American settlers. Skirmishes between settlers and U.S. soldiers against Indians allied to the British occurred throughout the Mississippi River valley during the war. The Sauk were considered the most formidable tribe. Two notable battles fought by the Sauk were the Battle of Cote Sans Dessein, at the mouth of the Osage River in the Missouri Territory, and the Battle of the Sinkhole, near St. Louis.

In September 1813, Fort Madison, an American outpost in what is now Iowa, was abandoned after it was attacked and besieged by Indians, who had support from the British. This was one of the few battles fought west of the Mississippi. Black Hawk participated in the siege of Fort Madison, which helped to form his reputation as a resourceful Sauk leader.

Little of note took place on Lake Huron in 1813, but the American victory on Lake Erie and the recapture of Detroit isolated the British there. During the ensuing winter, a Canadian party under Lieutenant Colonel Robert McDouall established a new supply line from York to Nottawasaga Bay on Georgian Bay. When he arrived at Fort Mackinac with supplies and reinforcements, he sent an expedition to recapture the trading post of Prairie du Chien in the far west. The Battle of Prairie du Chien ended in a British victory on July 20, 1814.

Earlier in July, the Americans sent a force of five vessels from Detroit to recapture Mackinac. A mixed force of regulars and volunteers from the militia landed on the island on August 4. They did not attempt to achieve surprise, and at the brief Battle of Mackinac Island, they were ambushed by Indians and forced to re-embark. The Americans discovered the new base at Nottawasaga Bay, and on August 13, they destroyed its fortifications and a schooner that they found there. They then returned to Detroit, leaving two gunboats to blockade Mackinac. On September 4, these gunboats were taken unawares and captured by enemy boarding parties from canoes and small boats. This Engagement on Lake Huron left Mackinac under British control.

The British garrison at Prairie du Chien also fought off another attack by Major Zachary Taylor. In this distant theatre, the British retained the upper hand until the end of the war, through the allegiance of several Indian tribes that received British gifts and arms. At the conclusion of peace, Mackinac and other captured territory was returned to the United States. Fighting between Americans and the Sauk and other Indian tribes continued through 1817, well after the war ended in the east.

In March 1814, Jackson led a force of Tennessee militia, Choctaw, Cherokee warriors, and U.S. regulars southward to attack the Creek tribes, led by Chief Menawa. On March 26, Jackson and General John Coffee decisively defeated the Creek at Horseshoe Bend, killing 800 of 1,000 Creeks at a cost of 49 killed and 154 wounded out of approximately 2,000 American and Cherokee forces. Jackson pursued the surviving Creek until they surrendered. Most historians consider the Creek War as part of the War of 1812, because the British supported them.

By 1814, both sides, weary of a costly war that seemingly offered nothing but stalemate, were ready to grope their way to a settlement. It is difficult to measure accurately the costs of the American war to Britain, because they are bound up in general expenditure on the Napoleonic War in Europe. But an estimate may be made based on the increased borrowing undertaken during the period, with the American war as a whole adding some £25-million to the national debt. In America, the cost was $105-million, although because the British pound was worth considerably more than the dollar, the costs of the war to both sides were roughly equal. The national debt rose from $45-million in 1812 to $127-million by the end of 1815, although through discounts and paper money, the government received only $34-million worth of specie. By this time, the British blockade of U.S. ports was having a detrimental effect on the American economy. Licensed flour exports, which had been close to a million barrels in 1812 and 1813, fell to 5,000 in 1814. By this time, insurance rates on Boston shipping had reached 75%, coastal shipping was at a complete standstill, and New England was considering secession. Exports and imports fell dramatically as American shipping engaged in foreign trade dropped from 948,000 tons in 1811 to just 60,000 tons by 1814. But although American privateers found chances of success much reduced, with most British merchantmen now sailing in convoy, privateering continued to prove troublesome to the British. With insurance rates between Liverpool, England and Halifax, Nova Scotia rising to 30%, the Morning Chronicle complained that with American privateers operating around the British Isles, "We have been insulted with impunity." The British could not fully celebrate a great victory in Europe until there was peace in North America, and more pertinently, taxes could not come down until such time. Landowners particularly balked at continued high taxation; both they and the shipping interests urged the government to secure peace.

On December 24, 1814, diplomats from the two countries, meeting in Ghent, United Kingdom of the Netherlands (now in Belgium), signed the Treaty of Ghent. This was ratified by the Americans on February 16, 1815.

I think you have no right, from the state of war, to demand any concession of territory from America… You have not been able to carry it into the enemy's territory, notwithstanding your military success and now undoubted military superiority, and have not even cleared your own territory on the point of attack. You can not on any principle of equality in negotiation claim a cessation of territory except in exchange for other advantages which you have in your power… Then if this reasoning be true, why stipulate for the uti possidetis? You can get no territory: indeed, the state of your military operations, however creditable, does not entitle you to demand any.

With a rift opening between Britain and Russia at the Congress of Vienna and little chance of improving the military situation in North America, Britain was prepared to end the war promptly. In concluding the war, the Prime Minister, Lord Liverpool, was taking into account domestic opposition to continued taxation, especially among Liverpool and Bristol merchants—keen to get back to doing business with America—and there was nothing to gain from prolonged warfare.

Unaware of the peace, Andrew Jackson's forces moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, in late 1814 to defend against a large-scale British invasion. Jackson defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, with 1,784 British killed or wounded compared to 210 Americans. It was hailed as a great victory for the U.S., making Jackson a national hero and eventually propelling him to the presidency.

The British gave up on New Orleans but moved to attack the Gulf Coast port of Mobile, Alabama. In one of the last military actions of the war, 1,000 British troops won the Battle of Fort Bowyer on February 12, 1815. When news of peace arrived the next day, they abandoned the fort and sailed home. In May 1815, a band of British-allied Sauk, unaware that the war had ended months ago, attacked a small band of U.S. soldiers northwest of St. Louis. Intermittent fighting, primarily with the Sauk, continued in the Missouri Territory well into 1817, although it is unknown if the Sauk were acting on their own or on behalf of Great Britain.

British losses in the war were about 1,600 killed in action and 3,679 wounded; 3,321 British died from disease. American losses were 2,260 killed in action and 4,505 wounded. While the number of Americans who died from disease is not known, it is estimated to have been about 17,000. These figures do not include deaths among American or Canadian militia forces or losses among native tribes.

In addition, tens of thousands of American slaves escaped to the British because of their offer of freedom, or they just fled in the chaos of war. The British settled a few thousand of the newly freed slaves in Nova Scotia.

The war was ended by the Treaty of Ghent, signed on December 24, 1814 and taking effect February 18, 1815. The terms stated that fighting between the United States and Britain would cease, all conquered territory was to be returned to the prewar claimant, the Americans were to gain fishing rights in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, and that both the United States and Britain agreed to recognise the prewar boundary between Canada and the United States.

The Treaty of Ghent, which was promptly ratified by the Senate in 1815, ignored the grievances that led to war. Britain made no concessions concerning impressment, blockades, or other maritime differences; the treaty proved to be merely an expedient to end the fighting. Mobile and parts of western Florida remained permanently in American possession, despite objections by Spain, and Britain was unwilling to enforce treaty provisions regarding their claim to the territories. Thus, the war ended in a stalemate with no gain for either side.

Neither side lost any territory, with the exception of Carleton Island, now part of New York, nor were the original points of contention addressed by the treaty that ended it—and yet it changed much between the United States of America and Britain.

The Treaty of Ghent established the status quo ante bellum; that is, there were no territorial changes made by either side. The issue of impressment was made moot when the Royal Navy stopped impressment after the defeat of Napoleon. Excepting occasional border disputes and the circumstances of the American Civil War, relations between the United States and Britain remained generally peaceful for the rest of the nineteenth century, and the two countries became close allies in the twentieth century.

The U.S. ended the Indian threat on its western and southern borders. The nation also gained a psychological sense of complete independence as people celebrated their "second war of independence." Nationalism soared after the victory at the Battle of New Orleans. The opposition Federalist Party collapsed, and the Era of Good Feelings ensued. The U.S. did make one minor territorial gain during the war, though not at Britain's expense, when it captured Mobile, Alabama from Spain.

The United States no longer questioned the need for a strong Navy and indeed completed three new 74-gun ships of the line and two new 44-gun frigates shortly after the end of the war. (Another frigate had been destroyed to prevent it being captured on the stocks). In 1816, the U.S. Congress passed into law an "Act for the gradual increase of the Navy" at a cost of $1,000,000 a year for eight years, authorizing nine ships of the line and 12 heavy frigates. The Captains and Commodores of the U.S. Navy became the heroes of their generation in the United States. Decorated plates and pitchers of Decatur, Hull, Bainbridge, Lawrence, Perry, and Macdonough were made in Staffordshire, England, and found a ready market in the United States. Three of the war heroes used their celebrity to win national office: Andrew Jackson (elected President in 1828 and 1832), Richard Mentor Johnson (elected Vice President in 1836), and William Henry Harrison (elected President in 1840).

The New England states became increasingly frustrated over how the war was being conducted and how the conflict was affecting their states. They complained that the United States government was not investing enough in the states' defenses both militarily and financially and that the states should have more control over their militia. The increased taxes, the British blockade, and the occupation of some of New England by enemy forces also agitated public opinion in the states. As a result, at the Hartford Convention (December 1814–January 1815) held in Connecticut, New England representatives asked for New England to have its states' powers fully restored. Nevertheless, a common misconception propagated by newspapers of the time was that the New England representatives wanted to secede from the Union and make a separate peace with the British. This view is not supported by what actually happened at the Convention.

Slaveholders primarily in the South suffered considerable loss of property as tens of thousands of slaves escaped to British lines or ships for freedom, despite the difficulties. The planters' complacency about slave contentment was shocked by their seeing slaves who would risk so much to be free.

Today, American popular memory includes the British capture and destruction of the U.S. Presidential Mansion in August 1814, which necessitated its extensive renovation. From this event has arisen the tradition that the building's new white paint inspired a popular new nickname, the White House. However, the tale appears apocryphal; the name "White House" is actually first attested in 1811. Another memory is the successful American defense of Fort McHenry in September 1814, which inspired the lyrics of the U.S. national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.

The War of 1812 was seen by British loyalists in British North America (which formed the Dominion of Canada in 1867) as a victory, as they had successfully defended their borders from an American takeover. The outcome gave Empire-oriented Canadians confidence and, together with the postwar "militia myth" that the civilian militia had been primarily responsible rather than the British regulars, was used to stimulate a new sense of Canadian nationalism.

A long-term implication of the militia myth that was false (but remained popular in the Canadian public at least until World War I) was that Canada did not need a regular professional army. The U.S. Army had done poorly, on the whole, in several attempts to invade Canada, and the Canadians had shown that they would fight bravely to defend their country. But the British did not doubt that the thinly populated territory would be vulnerable in a third war. "We cannot keep Canada if the Americans declare war against us again," Admiral Sir David Milne wrote to a correspondent in 1817.

The Battle of York demonstrated the vulnerability of Upper and Lower Canada. In the 1820s, work began on La Citadelle at Quebec City as a defence against the United States; the fort remains an operational base of the Canadian Forces. Additionally, work began on the Halifax citadel to defend the port against American attacks. This fort remained in operation through World War II.

In the 1830s, the Rideau Canal was built to provide a secure waterway from Montreal to Lake Ontario, avoiding the narrows of the St. Lawrence River, where ships could be vulnerable to American cannon fire. To defend the western end of the canal, the British also built Fort Henry at Kingston, which remained operational until 1891.

The Native Americans allied to the British came out as losers. The British proposal to create a "neutral" Indian zone in the American west was rejected at the Ghent peace conference and never resurfaced. In the decade after 1815, many Americans assumed that the British continued to conspire with their former Indian allies in an attempt to forestall American hegemony in the Great Lakes region. Such perceptions were faulty. After the Treaty of Ghent, the Indians became an undesirable burden to British policymakers who now looked to the United States for markets and raw materials. British agents in the field continued to meet regularly with their former Indian partners, but they did not supply arms or encouragement for Indian campaigns to stop American expansionism in the Midwest. Abandoned by their powerful sponsor, Great Lakes Indians ultimately migrated or reached accommodations with the Americans. In the Southwest, Indian resistance had been crushed by General Andrew Jackson; as President (1829-37), Jackson systematically removed the major tribes to reservations west of the Mississippi.

Bermuda had been largely left to the defenses of its own militia and privateers prior to American independence, but the Royal Navy had begun buying up land and operating from there in 1795, as its location was a useful substitute for the lost American ports. It originally was intended to be the winter headquarters of the North American Squadron, but the war saw it rise to a new prominence. As construction work progressed through the first half of the century, Bermuda became the permanent naval headquarters in Western waters, housing the Admiralty and serving as a base and dockyard. The military garrison was built up to protect the naval establishment, heavily fortifying the archipelago that came to be described as the "Gibraltar of the West." Defence infrastructure would remain the central leg of Bermuda's economy until after World War II.

The war was scarcely noticed at the time and is barely remembered in Britain because it was overshadowed by the far-larger conflict against the French Empire under Napoleon. Britain's goals of impressing seamen and blocking trade with France had been achieved and were no longer needed. In the early years of the 19th century, the Royal Navy was the dominant nautical power in the world. It used its overwhelming strength to cripple American maritime trade and launch raids on the American coast. However, the Royal Navy was acutely conscious that the United States Navy had won most of the single-ship duels during the war. The causes of the losses were many, but among those were the heavier broadside of the American 44-gun frigates and the fact that the large American crews were hand-picked from among the approximately 55,000 unemployed merchant seamen in American harbors. The United States Navy had 14 frigates and smaller ships to crew at the start of the war, while Britain maintained 85 ships in North American waters alone. The crews of the British fleet, which numbered some 140,000 men, were rounded out with impressed ordinary seamen and landsmen. In an order to his ships, Admiral Warren ordered that less attention be paid to spit and polish and more to gunnery practice. It is notable that the well-trained gunnery of the HMS Shannon allowed her victory over the untrained crew of the USS Chesapeake.

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Puerto Rico

Flag of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico (pronounced /ˌpwɛrtə ˈriːkoʊ/ or /ˌpɔrtə ˈriːkoʊ/), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Spanish: "Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico" — literally Associated Free State of Puerto Rico), is a self-governing unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico is composed of an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands and keys, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona. The main island of Puerto Rico is the smallest by land area and second smallest by population among the four Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico).

The history of the archipelago of Puerto Rico before the arrival of Christopher Columbus is not well known. What is known today comes from archaeological findings and early Spanish accounts. The first comprehensive book on the history of Puerto Rico was written by Fray Iñigo Abbad y Lasierra in 1786, 293 years after the first Spaniards arrived on the island.

The first settlers were the Ortoiroid people, an Archaic Period culture of Amerindian hunters and fishermen. An archaeological dig in the island of Vieques in 1990 found the remains of what is believed to be an Arcaico (Archaic) man (named Puerto Ferro man) dated to around 2000 BC. Between AD 120 and 400 arrived the Igneri, a tribe from the South American Orinoco region. Between the 4th and 10th centuries, the Arcaicos and Igneri co-existed (and perhaps clashed) on the island. Between the 7th and 11th centuries the Taíno culture developed on the island, and by approximately 1000 AD had become dominant. This lasted until Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492.

When Christopher Columbus arrived in Puerto Rico during his second voyage on November 19, 1493, the island was inhabited by a group of Arawak Indians known as Taínos. They called the island "Borikén" or, in Spanish, "Borinquen". Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista, in honor of Saint John the Baptist. Later the island took the name of Puerto Rico (Spanish for "Rich Port") while the capital was named San Juan. In 1508, Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León became the island's first governor to take office.

The Spanish soon colonized the island. Taínos were forced into slavery and were decimated by the harsh conditions of work and by diseases brought by the Spaniards. In 1511, the Taínos revolted against the Spanish; cacique Urayoán, as planned by Agüeybaná II, ordered his warriors to drown the Spanish soldier Diego Salcedo to determine whether the Spaniards were immortal. After drowning Salcedo, they kept watch over his body for three days to confirm his death. The revolt was easily crushed by Ponce de León and within a few decades much of the native population had been decimated by disease, violence, and a high occurrence of suicide. African slaves were introduced to replace the Taíno. Puerto Rico soon became an important stronghold and port for the Spanish Empire. Various forts and walls, such as La Fortaleza, El Castillo San Felipe del Morro and El Castillo de San Cristóbal, were built to protect the port of San Juan from European enemies. France, The Netherlands and England made several attempts to capture Puerto Rico but failed to wrest long-term occupancy. During the late 17th and early 18th centuries colonial emphasis was on the more prosperous mainland territories, leaving the island impoverished of settlers.

In 1809, in the midst of the Peninsular War, the Supreme Central Junta based in Cádiz recognized Puerto Rico as an overseas province of Spain with the right to send representatives to the recently convened Spanish parliament. The representative, Ramon Power y Giralt, died after serving a three-year term in the Cortes. These parliamentary and constitutional reforms, which were in force from 1810 to 1814 and again from 1820 to 1823, were reversed twice afterwards when the traditional monarchy was restored by Ferdinand VII. Nineteenth century reforms augmented the population and economy, and expanded the local character of the island. After the rapid gaining of independence by the South and Central American states in the first part of the century, Puerto Rico and Cuba became the only Spanish colonies found in the Americas. The Spanish Crown revived the Royal Decree of Graces of 1815. This time the decree was printed in three languages — Spanish, English and French — intending to attract Europeans of non-Spanish origin, with the hope that the independence movements would lose their popularity and strength with the arrival of new settlers. Free land was offered to those who wanted to populate the islands on the condition that they swear their loyalty to the Spanish Crown and allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church.

Toward the end of the 19th century, poverty and political estrangement with Spain led to a small but significant uprising in 1868 known as "Grito de Lares". It began in the rural town of Lares but was subdued when rebels moved to the neighboring town of San Sebastián. Leaders of this independence movement included Ramón Emeterio Betances, considered the "father" of the Puerto Rican independence movement, and other political figures such as Segundo Ruiz Belvis. In 1897, Luis Muñoz Rivera and others persuaded the liberal Spanish government to agree to Charters of Autonomy for Cuba and Puerto Rico. In 1898, Puerto Rico's first, but short-lived, autonomous government was organized as an 'overseas province' of Spain. The charter maintained a governor appointed by Spain, which held the power to annul any legislative decision, and a partially elected parliamentary structure. In February, Governor-General Manuel Macías inaugurated the new government under the Autonomous Charter. General elections were held in March and the autonomous government began to function on July 17, 1898.

On July 25, 1898, during the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico was invaded by the United States with a landing at Guánica. As an outcome of the war, Spain ceded Puerto Rico, along with Cuba, the Philippines, and Guam to the U.S. under the Treaty of Paris.

The United States and Puerto Rico thus began a long-standing relationship. Puerto Rico began the 20th century under the military rule of the U.S. with officials, including the governor, appointed by the President of the United States. The Foraker Act of 1900 gave Puerto Rico a certain amount of popular government, including a popularly-elected House of Representatives. In 1917, the Jones-Shafroth Act granted Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship and provided for a popularly-elected Senate to complete a bicameral Legislative Assembly. As a result of their new U.S. citizenship, many Puerto Ricans were drafted into World War I and all subsequent wars with U.S. participation.

Natural disasters, including a major earthquake, a tsunami and several hurricanes, and the Great Depression impoverished the island during the first few decades under American rule. Some political leaders, like Pedro Albizu Campos who led the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, demanded change. On October 30, 1950, Albizu-Campos and other nationalists led a 3-day revolt (known as The Jayuya Uprising) against the United States in the town of Jayuya. The United States declared martial law and attacked Jayuya with infantry, artillery and bombers. On November 1, 1950, Puerto Rican nationalists Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo attempted to assassinate President Harry S Truman. Torresola was killed during the attack, but Collazo was captured. Collazo served 29 years in a federal prison, being released in 1979. Don Pedro Albizu Campos also served many years in a federal prison in Atlanta, Georgia, for seditious conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government in Puerto Rico.

The internal governance changed during the latter years of the Roosevelt–Truman administrations, as a form of compromise led by Muñoz Marín and others. It culminated with the appointment by President Truman in 1946 of the first Puerto Rican-born governor, Jesús T. Piñero.

In 1947, the U.S. granted Puerto Ricans the right to democratically elect their own governor. Luis Muñoz Marín was elected during the 1948 general elections, becoming the first popularly-elected governor of Puerto Rico. In 1950, the Truman Administration allowed for a democratic referendum in Puerto Rico to determine whether Puerto Ricans desired to draft their own local constitution. A local constitution was approved by a Constitutional Convention on February 6, 1952, ratified by the U.S. Congress, approved by President Truman on July 3 of that year, and proclaimed by Gov. Muñoz Marín on July 25, 1952, the anniversary of the 1898 arrival of U.S. troops. Puerto Rico adopted the name of Estado Libre Asociado (literally translated as "Free Associated State"), officially translated into English as Commonwealth, for its body politic.

During the 1950s Puerto Rico experienced rapid industrialization, due in large part to Operación Manos a la Obra ("Operation Bootstrap"), an offshoot of FDR's New Deal, which aimed to transform Puerto Rico's economy from agriculture-based to manufacturing-based. Presently, Puerto Rico has become a major tourist destination and a leading pharmaceutical and manufacturing center. Yet it still struggles to define its political status. Three plebiscites have been held in recent decades to resolve the political status but no changes have been attained. Support for the pro-statehood party, Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP) and the pro-commonwealth party, Partido Popular Democrático (PPD) remains about equal. The only registered pro-independence party, the Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño (PIP), usually receives 3-5% of the electoral votes.

On October 25, 2006, the State Department of Puerto Rico conferred Puerto Rican citizenship to Juan Mari Brás. The Supreme Court of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican Secretary of Justice determined that Puerto Rican citizenship exists and was recognized in the Constitution of Puerto Rico. Since the summer of 2007, the Puerto Rico State Department has developed the protocol to grant Puerto Rican citizenship to Puerto Ricans.

Puerto Rico has a republican form of government, subject to U.S. jurisdiction and sovereignty. Its current powers are all delegated by the United States Congress and lack full protection under the United States Constitution. Puerto Rico's head of state is the President of the United States. The government of Puerto Rico, based on the formal republican system, is composed of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The executive branch is headed by the Governor, currently Mr. Luis Fortuño. The legislative branch consists of a bicameral Legislative Assembly made up of a Senate upper chamber and a House of Representatives lower chamber. The Senate is headed by the President of the Senate, while the House of Representatives is headed by the Speaker of the House. The judicial branch is headed by the Chief Justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. The legal system is a mix of the civil law and the common law systems. The governor and legislators are elected by popular vote every four years. Members of the Judicial branch are appointed by the governor with the "advice and consent" of the Senate.

Puerto Rico is represented in the United States Congress by a nonvoting delegate, formally called a Resident Commissioner (currently Pedro Pierluisi). Current legislation has returned the Commissioner's power to vote in the Committee of the Whole, but not on matters where the vote would represent a decisive participation. Puerto Rican elections are governed by the Federal Election Commission. While residing in Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans cannot vote in U.S. presidential elections, but they can vote in primaries. Puerto Ricans who become residents of a U.S. state can vote in presidential elections.

As Puerto Rico is not an independent country, it hosts no embassies. It is host, however, to consulates from 41 countries, mainly from the Americas and Europe. Most consulates are located in San Juan. As an unincorporated territory of the United States, Puerto Rico does not have any first-order administrative divisions as defined by the U.S. government, but has 78 municipalities at the second level. Mona Island is not a municipality, but part of the municipality of Mayagüez. Municipalities are subdivided into wards or barrios, and those into sectors. Each municipality has a mayor and a municipal legislature elected for a four year term. The municipality of San Juan (previously called "town"), was founded first, in 1521, San Germán in 1570, Coamo in 1579, Arecibo in 1614, Aguada in 1692 and Ponce in 1692. An increase of settlement saw the founding of 30 municipalities in the 18th century and 34 in the 19th. Six were founded in the 20th century; the last was Florida in 1971.

From 1952 to 2007, Puerto Rico had three political parties which stood for three distinct future political scenarios. The Popular Democratic Party (PPD) seeks to maintain the island's "association" status as a commonwealth, improved commonwealth and/or seek a true free sovereign-association status or Free Associated Republic, and has won a plurality vote in referendums on the island's status held over six decades after the island was invaded by the U.S. The New Progressive Party (PNP) seeks statehood. The Puerto Rican Independence Party seeks independence. In 2007, a fourth party, the Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico Party (PPR), was ratified. The PPR claims that it seeks to address the islands' problems from a status-neutral platform. Non-registered parties include the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, the Socialist Workers Movement, the Hostosian National Independence Movement, and others.

Puerto Rico has been under U.S. sovereignty for over a century and Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917. Puerto Rico is an "unincorporated territory" of the United States which according to the U.S. Supreme Court's Insular Cases is "a territory appurtenant and belonging to the United States, but not a part of the United States." Puerto Rico is subject to the Congress’ plenary powers under the territorial clause of Article IV, sec. 3, of the U.S. Constitution. U.S. federal law applies to Puerto Rico, even though Puerto Rico is not a state of the American Union and has no voting representative in the U.S. Congress. Due to the establishment of the Federal Relations Act of 1950, all federal laws that are "not locally inapplicable" are automatically the law of the land in Puerto Rico.

All persons born in Puerto Rico after 1941 are considered natural-born citizens of the United States, one of the constitutional requirements to be President of the United States.

While the approval of the commonwealth constitution marked a historic change in the civil government for the islands, neither it, nor the public laws approved by Congress in 1950 and 1952, revoked statutory provisions concerning the legal relationship of Puerto Rico to the United States. This relationship is based on the Territorial Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The statutory provisions that set forth the conditions of the relationship are commonly referred to as the Federal Relations Act (FRA). While specified subsections of the FRA were "adopted in the nature of a compact," other provisions, by comparison, are excluded from the compact reference. Matters still subject to congressional authority and established pursuant to legislation include the citizenship status of residents, tax provisions, civil rights, trade and commerce, public finance, the administration of public lands controlled by the federal government, the application of federal law over navigable waters, congressional representation, and the judicial process, among others.

In 1967, the Puerto Rico's Legislative Assembly polled the political preferences of the Puerto Rican electorate by passing a plebiscite Act that provided for a vote on the status of Puerto Rico. This constituted the first plebiscite by the Legislature for a choice on three status options (commonwealth, statehood, and independence). Claiming "foul play" and dubbing the process as illegitimate and contrary to International Law norms regarding decolonization procedures, the plebiscite was boycotted by the major pro-statehood and pro-independence parties of the time, the and the Puerto Rican Independence Party, respectively. The Commonwealth option, represented by the PDP, won with a majority of 60.4% of the votes. After the plebiscite, efforts in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, to enact legislation to address the status issue died in U.S. Congressional committees. In subsequent plebiscites organized by Puerto Rico held in 1993 and 1998 (without any formal commitment on the part of the U.S. Government to honor the results), the current political status failed to receive majority support (receiving 48.6% in 1993 and less than one percent, 0.3%, in 1998, when the "none of the above option" received the joint vote of voters who supported "enhanced" commonwealth with sovereignty from the U.S. and some pro-independence supporters).

On November 27, 1953, shortly after the establishment of the Commonwealth, the General Assembly of the United Nations approved Resolution 748, removing Puerto Rico's classification as a non-self-governing territory under article 73(e) of the Charter from UN. But the General Assembly did not apply its full list of criteria to Puerto Rico to determine if it has achieved self-governing status. According to the White House Task Force on Puerto Rico's Political Status in its December 21, 2007 report, the U.S., in its written submission to the UN in 1953, never represented that Congress could not change its relationship with Puerto Rico without the territory's consent. It stated that the U.S. Justice Department in 1959 reiterated that Congress held power over Puerto Rico pursuant to the Territorial Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In a 1996 report on a Puerto Rico status political bill, the "U.S. House Committee on Resources stated that PR's current status does not meet the criteria for any of the options for full self-government". It concluded that PR is still an unincorporated territory of the U.S. under the territorial clause, that the establishment of local self-government with the consent of the people can be unilaterally revoked by the U.S. Congress, and that U.S. Congress can also withdraw the U.S. citizenship of PR residents of PR at any time, for a legitimate Federal purpose. The application of the Constitution to Puerto Rico is limited by the Insular Cases.

Under the Constitution of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico is described as a 'Commonwealth' and Puerto Ricans enjoy a degree of administrative autonomy similar to that of a U.S. state. Puerto Ricans have been granted U.S. citizenship in 1917 due to the Jones-Shafroth Act. The act was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson on March 2, 1917. U.S. Federal law 8 U.S.C. § 1402 approved by the President Harry S. Truman on June 27, 1952 declared U.S. Citizens at birth to all persons born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941 and all persons born in Puerto Rico between April 11, 1899, and January 12, 1941, are automatically conferred citizenship, but, since Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory and not a U.S. state, the U.S. Constitution does not enfranchise U.S. citizens residing in Puerto Rico. President George H. W. Bush issued a memorandum on November 30, 1992 to heads of executive departments and agencies establishing the current administrative relationship between the federal government and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This memorandum directs all federal departments, agencies, and officials to treat Puerto Rico administratively as if it were a state, insofar as doing so would not disrupt federal programs or operations. Puerto Rico does participate in the internal political process of both the Democratic and Republican parties in the U.S., accorded equal-proportional representation in both parties, and delegates from the islands vote in each party's national convention.

Puerto Rico is classified by the U.S. government as an independent taxation authority by mutual agreement with the U.S. Congress. Contrary to common misconception, residents of Puerto Rico pay some U.S. federal taxes: import/export taxes, federal commodity taxes, social security taxes, etc. Most residents do not pay federal income tax but pay federal payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare), and Puerto Rico income taxes. But federal employees, or those who do business with the federal government, Puerto Rico-based corporations that intend to send funds to the U.S. and others also pay federal income taxes. Because the cutoff point for income taxation is lower than that of the U.S. IRS code, and because the per-capita income in Puerto Rico is much lower than the average per-capita income on the mainland, more Puerto Rico residents pay less income tax (or fewer income taxes) to the local taxation authority than if the IRS code were applied to the island. Residents are eligible for Social Security benefits upon retirement. But Puerto Rico is excluded from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and receives less than 15% of the Medicaid funding it would be allotted as a state, while Medicare providers receive only partial state-like reimbursements for services rendered to beneficiaries in Puerto Rico (even though the latter paid fully into the system).

Puerto Ricans may enlist in the U.S. military. Since becoming statutory United States citizens in 1917, Puerto Ricans have been included in the compulsory draft whenever it has been in effect. Puerto Ricans have participated in all U.S. wars since 1898, most notably World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as the current Middle Eastern conflicts.

The nature of Puerto Rico's political relationship with the U.S. is the subject of ongoing debate in Puerto Rico, the United States Congress, and the United Nations. In 2005 and 2007, two reports were issued by the U.S. President's Task Force on Puerto Rico's Status. Both reports conclude that Puerto Rico continues to be a territory of U.S. under the plenary powers of the U.S. Congress. Reactions from Puerto Rico's two major political parties were mixed. The Popular Democratic Party (PPD) challenged the task force's report and committed to validating the current status in all international forums, including the United Nations. It also rejects any "colonial or territorial status" as a status option, and vows to keep working for the enhanced Commonwealth status that was approved by the PPD in 1998 which included sovereignty, an association based on "respect and dignity between both nations", and common citizenship. The New Progressive Party (PNP) supported the White House Report's conclusions and supported bills to provide for a democratic referendum process among Puerto Rico voters.

Puerto Rico consists of the main island of Puerto Rico and various smaller islands, including Vieques, Culebra, Mona, Desecheo, and Caja de Muertos. Of these last five, only Culebra and Vieques are inhabited year-round. Mona is uninhabited most of the year except for employees of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources. There are also many other even smaller islands including Monito and "La Isleta de San Juan" which includes Old San Juan and Puerta de Tierra.

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has an area of 5,325 square miles (13,790 km2), of which 3,425 square miles (8,870 km2) is land and 1,900 square miles (4,900 km2) is water. The maximum length of the main island from east to west is 110 miles (180 km), and the maximum width from north to south is 40 miles (64 km). Comparing land areas, Puerto Rico is 8/10 the size of Jamaica and 8/100 the size of Cuba, the next smallest and the largest countries in the Greater Antilles, respectively. Compared to U.S. states, it is larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined, but slightly smaller than Connecticut. The main island is mostly mountainous with large coastal areas in the north and south. The main mountain range is called "La Cordillera Central" (The Central Range). The highest elevation in Puerto Rico, Cerro de Punta (4,390 feet; 1,338 m), is located in this range. Another important peak is El Yunque, one of the highest in the Sierra de Luquillo at the El Yunque National Forest, with an elevation of 3,494 feet (1,065 m).

Puerto Rico has 17 lakes, all man-made, and more than 50 rivers, most originating in the Cordillera Central. Rivers in the northern region of the island are typically longer and of higher water flow rates than those of the south, since the south receives less rain than the central and northern regions.

Puerto Rico is composed of Cretaceous to Eocene volcanic and plutonic rocks, overlain by younger Oligocene and more recent carbonates and other sedimentary rocks. Most of the caverns and karst topography on the island occurs in the northern region in the carbonates. The oldest rocks are approximately 190 million years old (Jurassic) and are located at Sierra Bermeja in the southwest part of the island. They may represent part of the oceanic crust and are believed to come from the Pacific Ocean realm.

Puerto Rico lies at the boundary between the Caribbean and North American plates and is being deformed by the tectonic stresses caused by their interaction. These stresses may cause earthquakes and tsunamis. These seismic events, along with landslides, represent some of the most dangerous geologic hazards in the island and in the northeastern Caribbean. The most recent major earthquake occurred on October 11, 1918 and had an estimated magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale. It originated off the coast of Aguadilla and was accompanied by a tsunami.

The Puerto Rico Trench, the largest and deepest trench in the Atlantic, is located about 75 miles (121 km) north of Puerto Rico in the at the boundary between the Caribbean and North American plates. It is 1,090 miles (1,750 km) long and about 60 miles (97 km) wide. At its deepest point, named the Milwaukee Deep, it is 27,493 feet (8,380 m) deep, or about 5.2 miles (8.4 km).

Located in the tropics, Puerto Rico enjoys an average temperature of 82.4 °F (30 °C) throughout the year. Temperatures do not change drastically throughout the seasons. The temperature in the south is usually a few degrees higher than the north and temperatures in the central interior mountains are always cooler than the rest of the island. The Hurricane season spans from June to November. The all-time low in Puerto Rico has been 39 °F (4 °C), registered in Aibonito.

Species endemic to the archipelago are 239 plants, 16 birds and 39 amphibians/reptiles, recognized as of 1998. Most of these (234, 12 and 33 respectively) are found on the main island. The most recognizable endemic species and a symbol of Puerto Rican pride is the Coquí, a small frog easily identified by the sound of its call, and from which it gets its name. Most Coquí species (13 of 17) live in the El Yunque National Forest, a tropical rainforest in the northeast of the island previously known as the Caribbean National Forest. El Yunque is home to more than 240 plants, 26 of which are endemic to the island. It is also home to 50 bird species, including the critically endangered Puerto Rican Amazon. Across the island in the southwest, the 10,000 acres (40 km2) of dry land at the Guánica Dry Forest Reserve contain over 600 uncommon species of plants and animals, including 48 endangered species and 16 endemic to Puerto Rico.

In the early 1900s the greatest contributor to Puerto Rico's economy was agriculture and its main crop was sugar. In the late 1940s a series of projects codenamed Operation Bootstrap encouraged a significant shift to manufacture via tax exemptions. Manufacturing quickly replaced agriculture as the main industry of the island. Puerto Rico is classified as a high income country by the World Bank.

Economic conditions have improved dramatically since the Great Depression due to external investment in capital-intensive industries such as petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and technology. Once the beneficiary of special tax treatment from the U.S. government, today local industries must compete with those in more economically depressed parts of the world where wages are not subject to U.S. minimum wage legislation. In recent years, some U.S. and foreign owned factories have moved to lower wage countries in Latin America and Asia. Puerto Rico is subject to U.S. trade laws and restrictions.

Also, starting around 1950, there was heavy migration from Puerto Rico to the Continental United States, particularly New York City, in search of better economic conditions. Puerto Rican migration to New York displayed an average yearly migration of 1,800 for the years 1930-1940, 31,000 for 1946-1950, 45,000 for 1951-1960, and a peak of 75,000 in 1953. As of 2003, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that more people of Puerto Rican birth or ancestry live in the U.S. than in Puerto Rico.

On May 1, 2006, the Puerto Rican government faced significant shortages in cash flows, which forced the closure of the local Department of Education and 42 other government agencies. All 1,536 public schools closed, and 95,762 people were furloughed in the first-ever partial shutdown of the government in the island's history. On May 10, 2006, the budget crisis was resolved with a new tax reform agreement so that all government employees could return to work. On November 15, 2006 a 5.5% sales tax was implemented. Municipalities are required by law to apply a municipal sales tax of 1.5% bringing the total sales tax to 7%.

Tourism is an important component of Puerto Rican economy supplying an approximate $1.8 billion. In 1999, an estimated 5 million tourists visited the island, most from the U.S. Nearly a third of these are cruise ship passengers. A steady increase in hotel registrations since 1998 and the construction of new hotels and new tourism projects, such as the Puerto Rico Convention Center, indicate the current strength of the tourism industry.

Puerto Ricans had median household income of $17,741 for 2007. By comparison, the poorest state of the Union, Mississippi, had median household income of $36,338 in 2007. Puerto Rico’s public debt has grown at a faster pace than the growth of its economy, reaching $46.7 billion in 2008. In January 2009, Governor Luis Fortuño enacted several measures aimed at eliminating the government's $3.3 billion deficit. The island unemployment rate is 12% as January of 2009.

The majority of Puerto Ricans are descendants from the Spanish settlers that settled Puerto Rico in the 16th century. A large number are from Spain, and other Latin American nations. African, Mestizo, Mulato, and Native Americans also formed a significant part of the Puerto Rican population.

Other foreign ethnic groups includes Irish, Scots, Germans, Italians and thousands others who were granted land by Spain during the Real Cedula de Gracias de 1815 ("Royal Decree of Graces of 1815"), which allowed European Catholics to settle in the island with a certain amount of free land. This mass immigration during the 19th century helped the population grow from 155,000 in 1800 to almost a million at the close of the century. A census conducted by royal decree on September 30, 1858, gives the following totals of the Puerto Rican population at this time: 300,430 identified as Whites; 341,015 as Free colored; and 41,736 as Slaves. During the early 20th century Jews began to settle in Puerto Rico. The first large group of Jews to settle in Puerto Rico were European refugees fleeing German–occupied Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. The second influx of Jews to the island came in the 1950s, when thousands of Cuban Jews fled after Fidel Castro came to power. More recently, Puerto Rico has become the permanent home of over 100,000 legal residents who immigrated from not only Spain, but from Latin America: Argentines, Cubans, Dominicans, Colombians and Venezuelans.

Emigration has been a major part of Puerto Rico's recent history. Starting soon after World War II, poverty, cheap airfare and promotion by the island government caused waves of Puerto Ricans to move to the continental United States, particularly to New York City, New York; Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, and Camden, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; Springfield and Boston, Massachusetts; Orlando, Miami and Tampa, Florida; Philadelphia; Hartford, Connecticut; Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, California. This trend continued even as Puerto Rico's economy improved and its birth rate declined.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census there were almost four million inhabitants. Eighty percent of Puerto Ricans described themselves as "white"; 8% as "black"; 12% as "mulatto" and 0.4% as "American Indian or Alaska Native".

A 2002 study of Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of 800 Puerto Ricans found that 61.1% had Amerindian maternal mtDNA, 26.4% African, and 12.5% Caucasian. Conversely, patrilineal input showed that 70% of all Puerto Rican males have inherited Y chromosome DNA from a male European ancestor, 20% from a male African ancestor, and fewer than 10% from a male Amerindian ancestor. This suggests that the largest components of the Puerto Rican genetic pool are European/Caucasian, Amerindian, and African, in descending order.

In a study done on Puerto Rican women born on the island but living in NY in 2004, the ancestry proportions corresponding to the three parental populations were found to be 53.3±2.8% European, 29.1±2.3% West African, and 17.6±2.4% Native American based on autosomal ancestry informative markers. The study also showed 98% of the people sampled had European ancestry markers, 87% had African ancestry markers, 84% had Native American ancestry markers, 5% showed only African and European markers, 4% showed only Native American and European markers, 2% showed only African markers, and 2% showed only European markers.

The official languages are Spanish and English with Spanish being the primary language. English is taught as a second language in public and private schools from elementary levels to high school and in universities. Particularly, the Spanish of Puerto Rico, has evolved into having many idiosyncrasies that differentiate it from the language as spoken in other Spanish-speaking countries. This is mainly due to the influences from ancestral languages, such as those from the Taínos and Africans, and more recently from the English language influence resulting from its relationship with the United States.

The Roman Catholic Church has been historically the dominant religion in Puerto Rico. The first dioceses in the Americas was erected in Puerto Rico in 1511. All municipalities in Puerto Rico have at least one Catholic church (building), most of which are located at the town center or "plaza". Protestantism which was suppressed under the Spanish regime has been encouraged under American rule making modern Puerto Rico interconfessional. Taíno religious practices have been rediscovered/reinvented to a degree by a handful of advocates. Various African religious practices have been present since the arrival of African slaves. In particular, the Yoruba beliefs of Santeria and/or Ifá, and the Kongo-derived Palo Mayombe find adherence among a few individuals who practice some form of African traditional religion. Puerto Rico is also home to the largest and richest Jewish community in the Caribbean with 3,000 Jewish inhabitants. Puerto Rico is the only Caribbean island in which the Conservative, Reform and Orthodox Jewish movements are represented.

Puerto Rican culture is a mix of four cultures, African (from the slaves), Taíno (Amerindians), Spanish, and more recently, North American. From Africans, the Puerto Ricans have obtained the "bomba and plena", a type of music and dance including percussions and maracas. From the Amerindians (Taínos), they kept many names for their municipalities, foods, musical instruments like the güiro and maracas. Many words and other objects have originated from their localized language. From the Spanish they received the Spanish language, the Catholic religion and the vast majority of their cultural and moral values and traditions. From the United States they received the English language, the university system and a variety of hybrid cultural forms that developed between the U.S. mainland and the island of Puerto Rico. The University of Puerto Rico was founded in 1903, five years after the island became part of the U.S.

Much of the Puerto Rican culture centers on the influence of music. Like the country as a whole, Puerto Rican music has been developed by mixing other cultures with its own unique flavor. Early in the history of Puerto Rican music, the influences of African and Spanish traditions were most noticeable. However, the cultural movements across the Caribbean and North America have played a vital role in the more recent musical influences that have reached Puerto Rico.

The official symbols of Puerto Rico are the bird, Reinita mora (Spindalis portoricensis), the flower, Flor de Maga (Thespesia grandiflora), and the tree, Ceiba or Kapok (Ceiba pentandra). The unofficial animal and a symbol of Puerto Rican pride is the Coquí (Eleutherodactylus coqui). Other popular symbols of Puerto Rico are the "jíbaro", the "countryman", and the carite.

Baseball was one of the first sports to gain widespread popularity in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rico Baseball League serves as the only active professional league, operating during the winter. No Major League Baseball franchise or affiliate plays in Puerto Rico, however, San Juan hosted the Montreal Expos for several series in 2003 and 2004 before they moved to Washington, D.C. and became the Washington Nationals. Puerto Rico has participated in the World Cup of Baseball winning one gold (1951), four silver and four bronze medals and the Caribbean Series, winning fourteen times. Famous Puerto Rican baseball players include Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda, enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973 and 1999, respectively.

Boxing, basketball, and volleyball are considered popular sports as well. Puerto Rico has the third-most boxing world champions and its the global leader in champions per capita. These include Miguel Cotto, Félix Trinidad, Wilfred Benítez, and Wilfredo Gómez. The Puerto Rico national basketball team joined the International Basketball Federation in 1957. Since then, it has won more than 30 medals in international competitions, including gold in three FIBA Americas Championships and the 1994 Goodwill Games. August 8, 2004, became a landmark date for the team when it became the first team to defeat the United States in an Olympic tournament since the integration of National Basketball Association players. Winning the inaugural game with scores of 92-73 as part of the 2004 Summer Olympics organized in Athens, Greece. Miscellaneous practices of this sport have experienced some success, including the "Puerto Rico All Stars" team, which has won twelve world championships in unicycle basketball. Organized Streetball has gathered some exposition, with teams like "Puerto Rico Street Ball" competing against established organizations including the Capitanes de Arecibo and AND1's Mixtape Tour Team. Consequently, practitioners of this style have earned participation in international teams, including Orlando "El Gato" Meléndez, who became the first Puerto Rican born athlete to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. Orlando Antigua, whose mother is Puerto Rican, made history in 1995, when he became the first Hispanic and the first non-black in 52 years to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. The Puerto Rico Islanders Football Club, founded in 2003, plays in the United Soccer Leagues First Division, which constitutes the second tier of football in North America. Puerto Rico is also a member of FIFA and CONCACAF. In 2008 the archipelago's first unified league, the Puerto Rico Soccer League, was established. Secondary sports include Professional wrestling and road running. The World Wrestling Council and International Wrestling Association are the largest wrestling promotions in the main island. The World's Best 10K, held annually in San Juan, has been ranked among the 20 most competitive races globally.

Puerto Rico has representation in all international competitions including the Summer and Winter Olympics, the Pan American Games, the Caribbean World Series, and the Central American and Caribbean Games. Puerto Rican athletes have won 6 medals (1 silver, 5 bronze) in Olympic competition, the first one in 1948 by boxer Juan Evangelista Venegas. On March 2006 San Juan's Hiram Bithorn Stadium hosted the opening round as well as the second round of the newly formed World Baseball Classic.

The 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games will be held in Mayagüez in 2010. On January 30, 2009, ODECABE gave the organizers of the game 60 days to get an estimated twenty millions dollars to carry out the event or be at risk of losing the seat.

Education in Puerto Rico is divided in three levels — Primary (elementary school grades 1-6), Secondary (intermediate and high school grades 7-12), and Higher Level (undergraduate and graduate studies). As of 2002, the literacy rate of the Puerto Rican population was 94.1%; by gender, it was 93.9% for males and 94.4% for females. According to the 2000 Census, 60.0% of the population attained a high school degree or higher level of education, and 18.3% has a bachelor's degree or higher. This ranks as worst and 6th worst, respectively, among U.S. states, where the national averages are 80.4% and 24.4%.

Instruction at the primary school level is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 18 and is enforced by the state. The Constitution of Puerto Rico grants the right to an education to every citizen on the island. To this end, public schools in Puerto Rico provide free and non-sectarian education at the elementary and secondary levels. At any of the three levels, students may attend either public or private schools. As of 1999, there were 1532 public schools and 569 private schools in the island.

The largest and oldest university system in Puerto Rico is the public University of Puerto Rico (UPR) with 11 campuses. The largest private university systems on the island are the Sistema Universitario Ana G. Mendez which operates the Universidad del Turabo, Metropolitan University and Universidad del Este, the multi-campus Inter American University, the Pontifical Catholic University, and the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón. Puerto Rico has four schools of Medicine and four Law Schools.

Cities and towns in Puerto Rico are interconnected by a system of roads, freeways, expressways, and highways maintained by the Highways and Transportation Authority under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and patrolled by the Police of Puerto Rico. The island's metropolitan area is served by a public bus transit system and a metro system called Tren Urbano (in English: Urban Train). Other forms of public transportation include sea-born ferries (that serve Puerto Rico's archipelago) as well as Carros Públicos (private mini buses).

The island has three international airports, the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Carolina, Mercedita Airport in Ponce, and the Rafael Hernandez Airport in Aguadilla, and 27 local airports. The Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport is the largest aerial transportation hub in the Caribbean, and one of the largest in the world in terms of passenger and cargo movement.

Puerto Rico has 9 ship ports in different cities across the main island. The San Juan Port is the largest in Puerto Rico, and is the busiest port in the Caribbean and the 10th busiest in the United States in terms of commercial activity and cargo movement, respectively. The second largest port is the Port of the Americas in Ponce currently under expansion to increase cargo capacity to 1.5 million 20 ft. containers (TEUs) per year.

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Robert Zoellick

Robert Zoellick

Robert Bruce Zoellick (IPA: ) (born July 25, 1953) is the eleventh president of the World Bank, a position he has held since July 1, 2007. He was previously a managing director of Goldman Sachs, United States Deputy Secretary of State (resigning on July 7, 2006) and U.S. Trade Representative, from February 7, 2001 until February 22, 2005.

President George W. Bush nominated Zoellick on May 30, 2007 to replace Paul Wolfowitz as President of the World Bank. On June 25, 2007, Zoellick was approved by the World Bank's executive board.

Zoellick was born in Naperville, Illinois. Zoellick graduated in 1971 from Naperville Central High School. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1975 from Swarthmore College and received his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1981. In 1992, he received the Knight Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his eminent achievements in the course of German Unification.

In 2002, Zoellick was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Saint Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Indiana. On May 30, 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Zoellick to become president of the World Bank, with Paul Wolfowitz formally stepping down on June 30.

Upon graduation from Harvard Law School Zoellick served as a law clerk for Judge Patricia Wald on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Zoellick served in various positions at the Department of the Treasury from 1985 to 1988. He held positions including Counselor to Secretary James Baker, Executive Secretary of the Department, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Policy.

During George H. W. Bush's presidency, Zoellick served with Baker, by then Secretary of State, as Under Secretary of State for Economic and Agricultural Affairs, as well as Counselor to the Department (Under Secretary rank). In August 1992, Zoellick was appointed White House Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President. Zoellick was also appointed Bush's personal representative for the G7 Economic Summits in 1991 and 1992.

After leaving government service, Zoellick served from 1993-1997 as an Executive Vice President of Fannie Mae. Afterwards, Zoellick was appointed as the John M. Olin Professor of National Security at the U.S. Naval Academy (1997–1998), Research Scholar at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Senior International Advisor to Goldman Sachs.

Zoellick signed the January 26, 1998 letter to President Bill Clinton from PNAC that advocated war against Iraq.

During 1999, Zoellick served on a panel that offered Enron executives briefings on economic and political issues.

In the 2000 U.S. presidential election campaign, Zoellick served as a foreign policy advisor to George W. Bush as part of a group, led by Condoleezza Rice, that called itself The Vulcans. James Baker designated him as his second-in-command — "a sort of chief operating officer or chief of staff" — in the 36-day battle over recounting the vote in Florida.

Zoellick was named U.S. Trade Representative at the beginning of the younger Bush's first term; he was a member of the Executive Office, with the rank of Ambassador. According to the U.S. Trade Representative website, Zoellick completed negotiations to bring China and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization (WTO); developed a strategy to launch new global trade negotiations at the WTO meeting in Doha, Qatar; shepherded Congressional action on the Jordan Free Trade Agreement and the Vietnam Trade Agreement; and worked with Congress to pass the Trade Act of 2002, which included new Trade Promotion Authority. He also heavily promoted the Central American Free Trade Agreement over the objections of labor, environmental, and human rights groups.

Zoellick played a key role in the U.S.-W.T.O. dispute against the European Union over genetically modified foods. The move sought to force genetically modified crops and food on the E.U., which would not otherwise accept them, or be slow to do so..

On January 7, 2005, Bush nominated Zoellick to be Deputy Secretary of State. Zoellick assumed the office on February 22, 2005. The New York Times reported on May 25, 2006 that Zoellick could soon announce his departure. Zoellick agreed to serve as Deputy Secretary of State for not less than one year. He was seen as a major architect of the Bush administration's policies regarding China.

On September 21, 2005, Zoellick created a major stir on both sides of the Pacific by giving a remarkably candid speech to the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. In the speech, he not only introduced the notion of China as a "stakeholder" in the international community but sought to allay fears in the US of ceding dominance to China. The full text of his speech can be found here.

In addition, Zoellick chartered a new direction in the Darfur peace process. During a trip to a Darfur refugee camp in 2005, he wore a bracelet with the motto, "Not on our watch." Zoellick was seen by many as the administration's strongest voice on Darfur. His resignation catalyzed groups, such as the Genocide Intervention Network, to praise his record on human rights issues.

Zoellick officially took office as President of the World Bank on July 1, 2007. His first term is set to expire in 2012.

Zoellick also serves or has served as a board member for a number of private and public organizations: Alliance Capital, Said Holdings, and the Precursor Group; and as a member of the advisory boards of Enron and Viventures, a venture fund; and a director of the Aspen Institute's Strategy Group.

He has also served on the board of the German Marshall Fund and on the World Wildlife Fund Advisory Council, and was a member of Secretary William Cohen's Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee.

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission. He also attended the annual invitation-only conferences of the Bilderberg Group in 1991, 2003, 2006 and 2007.

While in the position of Deputy Secretary of State, Zoellick visited Sudan four times. He supported expanding a United Nations force in the Darfur region to replace African Union soldiers. He was involved in negotiating a peace accord between the government of Sudan and the Sudan Liberation Army, signed in Abuja, Nigeria in May 2006.

Zoellick is considered an influential advocate of US-German relations. Fluent in German, he possesses considerable knowledge of Germany, the country of his family background.

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Source : Wikipedia