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With each annual publication of The Oxford Atlas of the World, we consider places around the globe that have been at the centre of historic news and events, and nominate a Place of the Year; for 2017 we chose Puerto Rico.
Events in the region in the past year truly resonated with staff and OUPblog followers who voted. The island gained attention when it declared a form of bankruptcy in May 2017, following prolonged and severe recession; but was unable to do so formally due to its political relationship with the United States. Later in the year in September, Hurricane Maria brought about destruction to the region, and many Puerto Ricans had to leave the island. Much has since improved, but power is still not completely restored and hundreds of survivors remain in shelters.
Puerto Rican communities throughout the US joined forces to raise funds and collect food, water, and supplies to help those affected, and several Puerto Rican and Latino celebrities, including Ricky Martin, Jennifer López, Marc Anthony, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daddy Yankee, Gloria Estefan, and Pitbull united to help the relief effort.
Currently, future support for Puerto Rico remains unclear and debates will undoubtedly continue between the Commonwealth and the White House regarding debt relief and further hurricane assistance.