Puerto Rico before Greenland

Once the Wall Street Journal reported that President Trump is interested in buying Greenland, the Washington Examiner asked his rivals in the 2020 presidential campaign what they thought of the purchase.

Several of the candidates said that Puerto Rico should be prioritized over Greenland. “Before we buy Greenland,” tweeted Andrew Yang, “we should take care of Puerto Rico.”

“If we’re talking about territories, let’s make sure that the people of D.C. actually get senators, let’s make sure that the people of Puerto Rico are actually treated like the fellow U.S. citizens that they are, and let’s make sure that we have some handle on the financial future of this country,” said Pete Buttigieg, “then maybe we can talk about whether there’s any other territory to add or subtract.”

“If we want to do something, we should make sure that the island of Puerto Rico is invested in and well taken care of, and as they recover from Hurricane Maria and they have to deal with this austerity that is choking the ability of people to get a good education and to prosper,” said Julian Castro.

Does the U.S. buy territories?

In the past, the United States has bought land. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 from France provided nearly one quarter of the current land of the United States. The Gadsden Purchase of 1853-54 from Mexico led to the states of Arizona and New Mexico. The purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 also enlarged the footprint of the United States. The United States bought the U.S. Virgin Islands from Denmark in 1917.

The United States attempted to buy Greenland in 1867 and again in 1946. Then as now, it was not for sale.

Did the United States buy Puerto Rico?

Spain owned Puerto Rico at the time of the Spanish-American War at the end of the 19th century. In the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States — that is, Spain gave Puerto Rico to the United States.

Guam and the Philippines were also given to the United States. Spain gave up control over Cuba, as well. Cuba was assured of independence in the treaty, and became independent in 1902. The Philippines gained independence in 1946.

Puerto Rico and Guam are still territories of the United States. Neither was sold to the United States.

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