It is located in the northeast Caribbean Sea , approximately 1, miles 1, km southeast of Miami , Florida. Virgin Islands ; it includes the eponymous main island and several smaller islands, such as Mona , Culebra , and Vieques. The capital and most populous city is San Juan. Spanish and English are the official languages of the executive branch of government,  though Spanish predominates. Spanish rule led to the displacement and assimilation of the native population, the forced migration of African slaves , and settlement primarily from the Canary Islands and Andalusia.
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It is a cornerstone of Latin American literature : a work of creative non-fiction that helped to define the parameters for thinking about the region's development, modernization, power, and culture. Subtitled Civilization and Barbarism , Facundo contrasts civilization and barbarism as seen in early 19th-century Argentina. Facundo describes the life of Juan Facundo Quiroga , a gaucho who had terrorized provincial Argentina in the s and s. Kathleen Ross, one of Facundo' s English translators, points out that the author also published Facundo to "denounce the tyranny of the Argentine dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas". Sarmiento sees Rosas as heir to Facundo: both are caudillos and representatives of a barbarism that derives from the nature of the Argentine countryside.
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