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The culture of Puerto Rico is the result of a number of international and indigenous influences, both past and present. Modern cultural manifestations showcase the island's rich history and help to create an identity which is a melting pot of cultures - Taíno (Native Indian), Spanish, African, Other European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and North American, also Hawaiian!.
While the Spanish, African, and Caribbean groups have had the greatest influence on the development of a distinct Puerto Rican cultural identity, the political and social exchange with the U.S. has also helped to shape the local culture.
The most profound European influence is that of Spain, the island's colonizer. Spanish heritage has left an indelible mark on the island, and signs of this cultural exchange can be found everywhere, from the official language to the local culinary styles.
The culture of European countries has also influenced the development of the performing arts on the island, especially in music. Many of the island's musical genres have their origins in the Spanish culture, which is responsible for such genres of music as decima, seis, danza, mambo, etc.. Puerto Ricans even adopted Europe's classical music, which was popular among the members of the elite upper-class.
With the introduction of slavery to the colony, the island experienced an influx of Africans who brought with them the cultural trappings of their own tribes. These influences are evident in the fields of dance and music, such as la bomba, la plena, and most recently in reggaeton, as well as in Puerto Rican Spanglish. More subtle ties also exist, such as those that connect Puerto Rico's literary history with the rich African tradition of oral storytelling.
The shared heritage of many Caribbean nations is reflected in cultural pursuits like dance, as well as in local culinary styles. The neighboring islands that have had the most influence on Puerto Rico's dance and music are Cuba and the Dominican Republic. A number of Latin American countries have also exerted influence on Puerto Rico, particularly in helping the island to develop its own distinct cultural identity. In the filmmaking community, co-productions between Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries have created an exchange of ideas and influenced their film conventions. For instance, the Latin sense of humor and fantastical elements are evident in Puerto Rican films.
Culturally, Puerto Rican sentiment for the U.S. tends to vary between emulation and opposition, a result of the complicated socio-political relationship between the two. American influences such as jazz can be found in the development of the island's unique musical style, but there is also evidence of cultural antagonism, particularly in areas such as literature. This dichotomy also exists in cinema, which has been greatly influenced by the U.S. With its commonwealth status, Puerto Rico has always attracted U.S. studios to shoot in the country, and film genres popular in the States during specific periods were often mirrored in contemporary Puerto Rican productions. However, other films delve into issues springing from the complex relationship between the two countries.