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The native Taino population began to dwindle, with the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, through disease and Miscegenation. Many Spanish men took Taino and African wives. Under Spanish and American rule, Puerto Rico underwent a whitening process or "blanqueamiento". Puerto Rico went from being two-thirds black and mulatto in the beginning of the 19th century, to being nearly 80% white by the middle of the 20th century, which was largely due to the Royal Decree of Graces of 1815 and the Regla del Sacar laws. Under Spanish rule, Puerto Rico had laws such as Regla del Sacar or Gracias al Sacar, which made persons of mixed African-European ancestry to be classified as white, which was the opposite of "one-drop rule" in US society after the American Civil War. Though, most Puerto Ricans self-identify as white, few are of purely European ancestry, with about 61% of Puerto Ricans have significant Taino ancestry and 46% of Puerto Ricans having significant African ancestry, many are racially mixed, with most people having varying degrees of European, African, and Taino ancestry. Studies have shown that the ancestry of the "average" white Puerto Rican person is about 64% European, 21% African, and 15% Taino/Amerindian, with European ancestry strongest on the west side of the island, African ancestry strongest on the east side, and consistent levels of Taino ancestry throughout the island. In fact, even though 75% of Puerto Ricans self-identify as white, it is estimated only about 25% are of nearly pure European ancestry with little to no non-European admixture.

Puerto Rican People Physical Features

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