Ponce, Puerto Rico – Pearl of the South

ponce bombasFoundation: Ponce’s (PON-sai) historical importance goes back to the migratory period of the clans and pre-Columbian groups (archaic, ingeris, pre-Taíno and Taíno) . These settled in the southwestern region of the country (between Ponce and Cabo Rojo) and founded the chieftainship of Guainía. The chief of this territory was Agüeybaná that, according to the chroniclers of the era was the chief of greatest authority in the Island.

In 1493 the Genoese admiral Christopher Columbus arrives at our coasts, but it was not until 1508 when the conquest of the Island began. It was through the southern region of Puerto Rico where our first Spanish governor Juan Ponce de León arrived. The city was named in his honor.
In the first years of the colonization, along the riviera of the Jacaguas river, the first Spanish families populated the area that today occupies the Independent Municipality of Ponce. Soon, this group, in search of greater security, settled in the fertile plains on the flanks of the river that the Indians called Barayama (today, Portugués river). Later, in 1670, they erected a small hermitage under the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Around this same period the town was developed, officially recognized in 1692.

During the course of the eighteenth century and first half of the nineteenth century, Ponce experienced changes that were preparing it for the directive role that the population would take on from second half of the nineteenth century. From that time the population was growing, thus expanding its urban contour; progress that occurred in spite of the catastrophes (fires, storms, tremors and others) that to a certain extent prevented it. Another occurrence of significance at the time was the establishment of the first sugar cane mills in the region.

This factor was the base for the conversion of Ponce in an economic center of great importance in the southern region. This flourishing activity was in headed by a foreign landowner class, that by means of the slavery system converted the fertile grounds of Ponce into the main agricultural center of the country. Evidence of that economic development was always the well remembered Ponce Exhibition Fair of 1882, where the agricultural and industrial advances of Ponce and Puerto Rico were displayed. Today we have left from that period the Pavilion that today lodges the Fire House Museum.

In contrast to the living conditions that reigned in the island, Ponce emerged from town to villa (1848) and from villa to city (1877), until becoming what the historians of the country distinguished as the turn-of-the-century Alternative Capital of Puerto Rico.
During the second half of XIX century Ponce had become a progressive city-the economic, cultural and intellectual center of the south; some assert it was that center of the country. The main political figures of the country would congregate here to direct the changes that the colony demanded: assimilation, autonomy or separation. In the cultural scope, music, theater, opera, literary movements and journalism found in Ponce important means of expression.

At the end of XIX century, Ponce was a mosaic of diverse groups: Creoles, peninsulars, blacks, mulattos and other non-Hispanic European immigrants. On the other hand, its urban contour reflected the diversity of its citizens. It was the union of the human and physical element which gave Ponce its own profile that distinguished it from the rest of Puerto Rico; and which gave it its alternative character in contrast with the capital, San Juan.
This factor was the base for the conversion of Ponce in an economic center of great importance in the southern region. This flourishing activity was in headed by a foreign landowner class, that by means of the slavery system converted the fertile grounds of Ponce into the main agricultural center of the country. Evidence of that economic development was always the well remembered Ponce Exhibition Fair of 1882, where the agricultural and industrial advances of Ponce and Puerto Rico were exposed; and we have still have left the Pavilion that today lodges the Fire House Museum.

As opposed to the conditions of life that reigned in the Island, Ponce emerged from town to villa (1848) and from villa to city (1877), until becoming which the historians of the country distinguished Ponce as the turn-of-the-century Alternating Capital of Puerto Rico.

During the second half of XIX century Ponce had become a progressive city and the economic, cultural and intellectual center of the south; and there are some who affirm that of the country. The main political figures of the country would congregated, to direct the changes that the colony demanded, be it assimilation, autonomy or separation. In the cultural scope, music, theater, opera, literary movements and the journalistic task found in the City important means of expression.

At the end of XIX century, Ponce was a mosaic of diverse groups: Creoles, peninsulars, blacks, mulattos and other non Hispanic European immigrants. On the other hand, its urban contour reflected the idiosyncrasy of its citizens. It was the union of the human and physical element which gave Ponce its own profile that distinguished it from the rest of the Island; and which gave simultaneously the alternating character in contrast with the capital, San Juan.

mapa ponceLocation: It is bordered by: Peñuelas on the west; Adjuntas on the nortwest; Utuado and Jayuya on the north; and Juana Díaz on the east.
Area: 278.4 sq km / 116.0 sq mi
Population: 186,475 (census 2000)
Population Density: 669.8 per sq km / 1,607.5 per sq mi
People are known as: Ponceños
Ponce is also known as:
La Perla del Sur (Pearl of the South)
Ciudad Señorial (Majestic City)

Wards: Ponce, Puerto Rico
ponce wards

Census 2000:
Population by Wards – Ponce
Habitants
Anón 1,669
Bucaná 3,963
Canas 34,065
Canas Urbano 21,482
Capitanejo 1,404
Cerrillos 4,284
Coto Laurel 5,285
Cuarto 3,011
Guaraguao 1,017
Machuelo Abajo 13,302
Machuelo Arriba 13,727
Magueyes 6,134
Magueyes Urbano 1,332
Maragüez 754
Marueño 1,474
Monte Llano 462
Playa 16,926
Portugués 4,882
Portugués Urbano 5,886
Primero 3,550
Quebrada Limón 804
Quinto 724
Real 3,139
Sabanetas 6,420
San Antón 11,271
San Patricio 465
Segundo 11,321
Sexto 4,745
Tercero 773
Tibes 866
Vayas 1,338
Total 186,475

Source: Censo 2000

Patrón:
Nuestra Señora de la Guadalupe
Nuestra Señora de la Guadalupe Parish
Plaza de las Delicias
P.O. Box 32210
Ponce, P.R. 00732-2210
(787) 842-0134
ponce iglesia
Nuestra Señora de la Guadalupe Parish

Topografía: Geographically classified among the municipalities that belong to the Southern Coastal Plain, towards the north runs the Central Mountain Range.
Hidrografía: Several gorges and rivers flow through the zone; most of them are intermittent courses. Most important is the Portugués river that flows through the urban zone. In the past it caused floods but it has been canalsh ave been dug to control the flow. It drains in the Bucana river and flow together into the port. The Cañas river runs by the west side and takes water from the Pastillo. The Cerrillos river flows from the Central Mountain Range and is dammed forming the reservoir of the same name. Futher down is the Bronce dam. Both dams are used for agriculture and domestic irrigation. In its beach the salt water Cucharas Lagoon is located.
Clima: Ponce’s climate is tropical semidesert. The annual precipitation average on the coast is 36 inches, in the interior 48 inches, and to the north close to the Central Mountain Range, 60 inches. Its temperature also varies within its ample geography. The coast has an annual average of 79°, the interior 76°, and in the mountains 72°.
Economy: Commerce, tourism, manufacture (consumer products, clothing & cement) and customer services.
Average Salary: $296.21 weekly (1998)

ponce banderaFlag: Above the traditional red and black colors of Ponce the shield of the city. The five tower gold crown indicates that Ponce is a city by royal decree. As an exterior frame to shield, we have interlaced, a sugar cane plant on the right and to the left a coffee tree branch. These products symbolize the principal economic means of the city in 1887, year that King Alfonso XII granted the right to become a city.

ponce escudoCoat Of Arms: The shield of Ponce is divided by a diagonal line that crosses straight from the superior end to the left inferior end. In this divided field is the color red, that covers the superior right portion, symbol of fire and strength and the black that covers the left inferior portion representing the night, repentance, prudence and modesty. On that black and red background is a yellow lion with black mane, walking towards the left of the shield, facing – looking – towards the right. The lion is on a bridge that is a representation of the rivers. The shield is bordered by a coffee plant branch and a sugar cane plant, crops that in their time were of great importance for the town.

Ponce public schools.

Name Level Telephone Address
ANDRÉS GRILLASCA SALAS Elementary (787) 842-6414 PO Box 119
ANSELMO RIVERA MATOS Elementary (787) 843-7938 PO Box 2000 Suite 18
CERRILLO HOYOS Elementary (787) 848-8793 PMB 025
DR. JOSÉ C. BARBOSA Elementary (787) 842-8671 PO Box 334586
HERMINIA GARCÍA Elementary (787) 840-6455 9 Calle E
JOSÉ GAUTIER BENÍTEZ Elementary (787) 844-3035 PO Box 7856
JOSÉ JULIÁN ACOSTA Elementary (787) 842-5175 PO Box 7856
JUAN MOREL CAMPOS Elementary (787) 842-5343 Calle León Final
JULIO COLLAZO Elementary (787) 843-7939 PO Box 2000 Suite 18
LA YUCA Elementary (787) 843-4776 PO Box 6805
LAS MONJITAS Elementary (787) 843-1212 PO Box 662
LAS RAÍCES Elementary (787) 842-4418 Suite 295
LIZZIE GRAHAM Elementary (787) 842-0255 PO Box 10756
LLANOS DEL SUR Elementary (787) 848-1105 PO Box 839
LUIS MUÑOZ RIVERA I Elementary (787) 841-6008 PO Box 2000 Suite 21
LUIS MUÑOZ RIVERA II Elementary (787) 843-1715 G-6 Villa Esperanza
MONTE LLANOS Elementary (787) 843-5910 PO Box 2000 Suite 18
PARCELAS REAL Elementary (787) 842-3007 Suite 295
PEDRO J. FOURNIER Elementary (787) 842-8974 Suite 295
RAMIRO COLÓN COLÓN Elementary (787) 842-0376 10 Calle Lolita Tizol
RODULFO DEL VALLE Elementary (787) 844-1265 Drawer 459
ROMÁN BALDORIOTY DE CASTRO Elementary (787) 843-2235 PO Box 336504
SANTA TERESITA Elementary (787) 841-4949 Calle 23 Esquina 24
SIMON MORET GALLART Elementary (787) 843-5154 PO Box 7856
TOMÁS CARRIÓN MADURO Elementary (787) 843-7280 301C Drawer 477
ABRAHAM LINCOLN Elementary (787) 842-0117 46 Campeche
ÁNGELA CORDERO BERNARD Elementary (787) 844-4020 PO Box 7496
ÁUREA E. RIVERA COLLAZO Elementary (787) 841-0328 PO Box 8643
CAPITANEJO Elementary (787) 837-6302 PO Box 566
CARMEN MEDINA ANAYA Elementary (787) 841-1214 PO Box 7393
CARMEN SOLÁ DE PEREIRA Elementary (787) 841-6411 PO Box 10685
DR. RAFAEL LÓPEZ NUSSA Elementary (787) 842-7170 PO Box 10577
DR. RAMÓN E. BETANCES Elementary (787) 844-8651 PMB 248 PO Box 7105
EUGENIO MARÍA DE HOSTOS Elementary (787) 844-5884 2049 Eduardo Ruberte
FERNANDO L. MALAVÉ OLIVERAS Elementary (787) 843-2048 PO Box 7851
FRANCISCO PARRA DUPERON Elementary (787) 842-5257 PO Box 7105
JAIME L. DREW Elementary (787) 842-7343 PO Box 7025
JOAQUÍN FERRAN Elementary (787) 842-0014 PO Box 7105
JOSEFINA BOYA LEÓN Elementary (787) 840-3770 PO Box 464
JUAN CUEVAS ABOY Elementary (787) 843-3895 PO Box 7571
JULIA CORDERO NEGRÓN Elementary (787) 843-8248 PO Box 7855
JULIO ALVARADO Elementary (787) 844-7048 PO Box 10091
LIBRADO NET Elementary (787) 842-6395 Urb. San Antonio 50 Calle
LUCY GRILLASCA Elementary (787) 842-4010 1615 Ave. Eduardo Ruberte
MERCEDES P SERRALLÉS Elementary (787) 843-6170 PO Box 566
OLIMPIO OTERO Elementary (787) 842-5197 440 Calle Villa Final
PARCELAS MAGUEYES Elementary (787) 843-4403 PO Box 7025
PARCELAS MARUEÑO Elementary (787) 841-5332 PO Box 7025
SEGUNDO RUIZ BELVIS Elementary (787) 840-3400 PO Box 30268
ANTONIO PAOLI Intermediate (787) 844-0615 PO Box 6960
DR. RAFAEL PUJALS Intermediate (787) 840-4600 PO Box 330726
ERNESTO RAMOS ANTONINI Intermediate (787) 843-2336 PO Box 7856
JARDINES DE PONCE Intermediate (787) 844-3400 LA Rambla Suite 394
JUAN SERRALLÉS (INTERMEDIA) Intermediate (787) 848-2005 PO Box 1073
MANUEL GONZÁLEZ PATO Intermediate (787) 841-7216 301 C Suite 395
DR. PEDRO ALBIZU CAMPOS Intermediate (787) 841-2548 PO Box 7393
EDUARDO NEUMANN GANDIA Intermedia (787) 840-0112 PO Box 7025
EUGENIO LE COMPTE Intermediate (787) 844-4552 PO Box 7091
HEMETERIO COLÓN Intermediate (787) 840-3500 21 Calle Concordia
ISMAEL MALDONADO LUGARO Intermediate (787) 843-2135 PO Box 263
SANTIAGO GONZÁLEZ Intermediate (787) 842-5028 PO Box 7025
SOR ISÓLINA FERRE Intermediate (787) 840-6075 PO Box 30067
INSTITUTO TECN. PS – Institute (787) 843-0935 PO Box 7284
FEDERICO DEGETAU Y GONZÁLEZ Secondary (787) 842-6178 PO Box 336217
ROSARIO LA TORRE MORALES Secondary (787) 843-5099 PO Box 7226
JUAN SERRALLÉS Secondary (787) 848-5274 PO Box 1136
JARDINES DE PONCE High School (787) 840-7785 PO Box 780
THOMAS ARMSTRONG TORO High School (787) 844-3388 PO Box 336921
BERNARDINO CORDERO BERNARD High School (787) 842-7091 PO Box 10478
BETHZAIDA VELÁSQUEZ High School (787) 284-1080 PO Box 7636
DR. ALFREDO M. AGUAYO High School (787) 843-1305 137 Avenida Hostos
DR. PILA High School (787) 840-4800 PO Box 2238
PONCE HIGH SCHOOL High School (787) 842-4156 PO Box 109
BELLAS ARTES DE PONCE All Levels (787) 259-737 20 Calle Tizol
CENTRO DE SERVICIOS EDUCATIVOS All Levels (787) 844-0965 PO Box 336837
JUAN MOREL CAMPOS (MÚSICA) All Levels (787) 842-3974 PO Box 4087
RAMÓN MARÍN All Levels (787) 842-1371 PO Box 10788 Suite 188

Hymn: Author Dr. Angel Luis Rodríguez Rosado

¡Oh, Ponce! En mi corazón
cuando oigo tu nombre
yo siento el rugido
de un fiero león.

Borinque nunca olvidará
que al son de la danza,
la bomba y la plena
la hiciste bailar.

Tu Parque de Bombas es ya
templo de una historia
que tu Vieja Ceiba
ha visto pasar…
¡Ponce! Siempre serás tú
joya que mirarte
habrá que llamarte
La Perla del Sur.

Tu rojo y negro pabellón
bandera es de gloria
que en toda victoria
es tu inspiración.

Tu Parque de la Abolición
recuerda la lucha
de tus bravos hijos
por la libertad.

En coche quiero disfrutar
las dulces quenepas
y ver tus encantos
Ciudad Señorial…

¡Ponce! Siempre serás tú
joya que al mirarte
habrá que llamarte
La Perla del Sur.

Events:
Regional Artesan Fair – March
Ponce Beach Festival – May
San Antón Bomba Festival – July
Matron Celebrations- December

Places To Visit:
Serrallés Castle
Nuestra Señora de la Guadalupe Cathedral
Tibes Ceremonial Indian Center
Ponce Traditional Urban Center
El Vigía
Buena Vista Hacienda
La Guancha
Ponce Art Museum
Casa Paoli Museum
Historia
Ponce Massacre Museum
Fire House
Ponce Plaza

Distinguished Citizens:
Alfredo M. Aguayo – Educator & writer
Pedro Albizu Campos -Nationalist Lider
María Teresa Babí – Professor
Federico Degetau – Politic & writer
Ruth Fernández – Singer & Legislator
Luis A. Ferré – Engineer, pianist, founder of the Partido Nuevo Progresista, Senate President & of Puerto Rico.
José Julio Henna – Doctor
Rafael Hernández Colón – Lawyer, Secretary of Justice, Senate Presidente & Governor of Puerto Rico.
Antonio S. Luchetti – Public servant, engineer
Juan Morel Campos – Composer & musician
Luis Ernesto Ramos Yordán – Doctor & Legislator


How to get to Ponce from San Juan.

direction ponce