When you think of Puerto Rican communities in America, New York, Orlando and Philadelphia spring to mind. However, Texas lays claim to an ever-growing population too, and over the past 18 months, the Houston Chronicle has noted Puerto Ricans setting ever deeper ties to the Lone Star State. Steeped in American and Latino heritage, the state, whether rural or urban, is starting to make a real case for being a home away from home for Puerto Ricans.
The ranch life
Puerto Ricans, and Hispanic people in general, will be familiar with the ranch history of the USA. Today, Civil Eats has noted a resurgence in young Puerto Ricans looking to buy land on the island and start up ethical ranches. Similarly, people are starting to buy ranches in Texas in their droves as they look to enjoy a modern yet agriculturally-led life out in the country. The ranching tradition is as Hispanic as they come, stretching back to the time of the Conquistadors, and the Texan cultural heritage owes much to that.
As well as establishing ranches, there’s a good bit of Puerto Rican history across Texas. The Texas State Historical Association notes the founding of Puerto Rico around 1920 and has remained a small outpost of Hispanic culture in the state ever since. Building these roots in the rural areas of Texas shows how much the state has in common with Puerto Rican history, and this is influencing the more built-up areas of the state today.
Infusing Boricua culture
That culture has come home to roost in the big cities. The Latino Reporter has highlighted the rise of Puerto Rican-Texan food in San Antonio and elsewhere in the state, a scene to rival that coming from the Mexican border to the south. With 177,000 Puerto Ricans now calling Texas home, fried plantain, mofongo and empanadillas are ready to welcome new members of the state with open arms. A break from Tex-Mex, it’s a real cultural and foodie foundation for new members of the state community, and a nod towards the strides being made across the state.
What this shows is that Puerto Ricans can feel at home in Texas. The state has a historical and modern link to Hispanic people and Puerto Ricans, and its current residency are only making those ties stronger. Texas might not be thought of as the most typical Boricua community, but maybe it should be.