Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Spanish: "Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico") is a semi-autonomous territory composed of an archipelago in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands, approximately 1,280 miles (2,000 km) off the coast of Florida (the nearest of the mainland United States). The archipelago includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands and keys. The island Puerto Rico is the smallest by land area but third largest by population among the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico). The largest of the other archipelago islands are Mona, Vieques, and Culebra. It was one of the Spanish colonies taken over by the United States in the Spanish-American War of 1898.
A few of Hawaii's residents were from Puerto Rico. There weren't many Puerto Ricans in the islands, and those who lived there were seen as thieves, crooks and grifters by all the other ethnic groups. Many residents also believed the urban legend that when Puerto Rico sent over a shipload of laborers, the government had in fact emptied their jails and whorehouses.