|Mayagüez, Puerto Rico|
From top left: Mayagüez's skyline from Cerro Las Mesas, Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria Cathedral, Mayagüez's City Hall, Teatro Yaguez and Mayagüez sunset
|Nickname(s): La Sultana del Oeste", "La Ciudad de las Aguas Puras", "El Pueblo del Mangó"|
Location within the island of Puerto Rico
|Founded||July 19, 1760|
|- Mayor||José Guillermo Rodríguez (PPD)|
|- Senatorial dist.||Mayagüez|
|- Representative dist.||18 and 19|
|- City||274.1 sq mi (709.89 km2)|
|- Land||77.6 sq mi (201.07 km2)|
|- Water||196.5 sq mi (508.82 km2)|
|- Density||1,268.1/sq mi (489.6/km2)|
|Racial groups |
| - White
- American Indian/An
- Native Hawaiian/Pi
- Some other race
- Two or more races
|Time zone||AST (UTC-4)|
|ZIP codes||00680 - 00682|
|Area code(s)||787, 939|
|GNIS feature ID||1611495|
|Anthem - "Mi patria es un oasis"|
Mayagüez (pronounced /maɪaˈɡwɛs/, Spanish pronunciation: [maʝaˈɡwes]) is the eighth-largest municipality of Puerto Rico. Also known as "La Sultana del Oeste" (The Sultaness of the West), "Ciudad de las Aguas Puras" (City of Pure Waters), or "Ciudad del Mangó" (City of the Mango), on April 6, 1894 the Spanish crown gave it the formal title of "Excelente ciudad de Mayagüez", Mayagüez is located in the center of the western coast on the island of Puerto Rico. It is both a principal city of the Mayagüez Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Mayagüez–San Germán–Cabo Rojo Combined Statistical Area.
Mayagüez was officially founded on September 18, 1760 by a group led by Faustino Martínez de Matos, Juan de Silva and Juan de Aponte, at a hill located about one kilometer inland from Mayagüez Bay and the outlet of the Yagüez River. The Spanish Crown granted the founders the right to self-government in 1763, formally separating the town from the larger Partido de San Germán. Originally the settlement was named Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria de Mayagüez (Our Lady of Candelaria of Mayagüez) to evoke an apparition of the Virgin Mary on the island of Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. Most of the town's settlers, including its founders, originally migrated from the archipelago, whose patron saint is the Virgin of Candelaria.
On May 7, 1836, the settlement was elevated to the royal status of villa, and Rafael Mangual was named its first mayor. At the time, the villa's principal economic activity was agriculture. The famous patriot, educator, sociologist, philosopher, essayist, and novelist Eugenio María de Hostos was born in Mayagüez in 1839.
On July 10, 1877 the villa formally received its city charter from the Royal Crown of Spain.
The city's main Roman Catholic church, "Our Lady of the Candelaria" (plot consecrated on August 21, 1760, first masonry building erected in 1780, current church originally built in 1836) was rebuilt in 1922. The original redesign by architect Luis Perocier sought to restore the building to its original splendor. Not only had the 1918 Puerto Rico earthquake destroyed the temple's ceiling, but a lightning bolt also struck and tore down a wedge-shaped corner of one of its two bell towers. However, lack of proper funding and the extent of the damage of the original structure forced the actual rebuilding of the church to be scaled-down considerably.
In 1911, the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was founded in Mayagüez. Today it is known as the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) — the Caribbean's leading science and engineering institution.
Between 1962 and 1998 Mayagüez was a major tuna canning and processing center. At one time, 80% of all tuna products consumed in the United States were packed in Mayagüez (the biggest employer, StarKist, had 11,000 employees working three daily shifts in the local plant's heyday). Mayagüez was also a major textile industry hub; until very recently, almost a quarter of all drill uniforms used by the United States Army were sewn in the city.
Mayagüez is located near the geographical center of the west coast of Puerto Rico about 2 hours by automobile from San Juan. Its land area is 201.06 km2 (78 sq mi). The city's terrain includes; coast plains, river valleys, marshland, hills and mountains. Of its multiple rivers and streams, the two most important are the Río Yagüez, which flows from the Central Mountain Range through downtown until it empties into the Mona Passage; and the Río Guanajibo, which flows through several neighborhoods in the southern portion of the municipality until it empties in the Mona Passage as well.
The municipio has an estimated population of just over 100,000 spread over 21 wards (barrios) including Mayagüez Pueblo (The downtown area and the administrative center of the city). One of the wards is Isla de Mona e Islote Monito, which consists of the offshore islands of Mona Island and Monito Island. This is the largest ward by land area, and at the same time the only one without any permanent population. Also, uninhabited Desecheo Island belongs to the municipality, as part of Sabanetas barrio.
Mayagüez Pueblo is further subdivided into sectors:
Other notable neighborhoods or sectors:
According to 2005 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there are 95,191 people (down from 98,434 in 2000), 31,877 households, and 21,539 families residing in Mayagüez. The population density was /km² (/mi²). There were 39,364 housing units at an average population density of 1,267.9 /mi². The city has a considerable "college population" adding approximately 10,000 people to the year around population of Mayagüez.
In 2000, 41.20% of Mayagüez residents identified themselves as white; 36.44% were black; 7.54% were Asian; 0.41% were Native American; 0.06% Pacific Islander; 10.05% were of other races; and 4.27% were from two or more races. People of Hispanic or Latino origin, who may be of any race, comprised 19.79% of the population.
Of the 31,877 households in Mayagüez, 38.6% were married couples living together, 22.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% were non-families. 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living in them. Of all households 27.8% are made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.41.
In Mayagüez, the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. Mayagüez has more women, with 88.4 males for every 100 females.
Although the city has seen its share of natural disasters, it faced a major economic downturn due to the closure of its textile factories and tuna industry, which were the principal industries of the city for the greater part of the 20th century. Over 11,000 permanent jobs in these two industries were lost in the city during the 1990s, and because of this, Mayagüez became the jurisdiction of the United States with the second largest number of industrial job losses during the time period, second only to Flint, Michigan. Once the third city in population and importance in Puerto Rico, population numbers for it have been relatively stagnant, and it has actually lost population in recent years.
However, due to ancillary infrastructure developments and a renewed effort to repopulate the city's Guanajibo Industrial Park, the local economy has seen a slow turn for the better. In 2005 Winston-Salem Industries for The Blind was the first industry to move into the park in many years. In July 2007 Honeywell opened a customer support service center for its aerospace and information technology divisions in the city. Other industries, such as Lockheed, are expected to follow suit in 2009.
Mayagüez's contributions to Puerto Rican gastronomy have been many, and a few of these are known outside Puerto Rico. Besides being host to one of the largest concentrations of mango (spelled locally as "mangó") trees in the island, the city has been a host to various food enterprises whose products are popular in Puerto Rico (and some elsewhere):
A defunct cola bottling operation in town produced "Vita Cola", a popular soft drink in Puerto Rico between the late 1940s and early 1960s.
Mayagüez was a major rum producing city in Puerto Rico between the 1930s and 1970s. Several brands were produced by the city's three rum distillers. The most successful rum producing operation at the time was that of "José González Clemente y Co.", the bottlers of "Ron Superior Puerto Rico", an award-winning dark rum that was bottled between 1909 and the late 1970s.
Mayagüez will host the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games for which the local and commonwealth governments have provided an investment of $250 million for, among other things, building two new stadiums (the first a re-built Isidoro García Baseball Stadium the second next to it a track and field and soccer stadium. Mayagüez will also host the 2011 Caribbean Series.
Mayagüez's National Superior Basketball League (BSN) professional basketball team, the Indios de Mayagüez, are named in honor of the city's Indian heritage. Its baseball winter league team (LBPPR), the Indios de Mayagüez, honor both their Indian heritage and the home town's Cervecería India brewery.
The professional volleyball team Indias de Mayagüez from Liga de Voleibol Superior Femenino, plays locally at local Palacio de los Deportes. The "Justas" or Inter University Games of the Liga Atlética Interuniversitaria de Puerto Rico will be celebrated in Mayagüez in 2010 in preparation for the Central American and Caribbean Games.
Plaza Colón with City Hall on background, Christmas 2006
Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria Cathedral, Christmas 2006
As one of Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities, Mayagüez's government has two branches, the executive and the legislative. Those citizens eligible to vote, directly elect a mayor and the municipal assembly for four-year terms. The municipal government is housed in Mayagüez City Hall or Casa Alcaldia, which faces the south-side of the Plaza de Colon.
The executive branch is headed by a popularly elected mayor. The office is currently held by José Guillermo Rodríguez. In addition to running the city's day-to-day operations and supervising associated departments, the mayor is also responsible for appointing a secretary-auditor and a treasurer.
Mayagüez's Municipal Assembly is made up of sixteen elected officials, as defined in the Puerto Rico Law of Autonomous Municipalities of 1991.
Law enforcement in Mayagüez is the joint responsibility of the Mayagüez Municipal Police Department and the Puerto Rico Police Department. The first Fire Fighters corps in the city was created in 1876.
The wide cross represents Christianity brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus , who signed his documents with the phrase and the motto Christ Ferens, which means: "He who has Christ." The blue and white waves between the third and fourth quarters recall the coat of arms granted to Columbus by kings Ferdinand and Isabella. The waves represent the ocean (and particularly Mona Passage) through which he sailed to bring the gospel to these new lands. The blue and white waves symbolize the Yagüez River and evokes the nickname City of Pure Waters. The red and white flames on the flag symbolize the traditional bonfires of Day of Our Lady of Candelaria ("Día de La Candelaria"), ignited in honor of the city's patron saint(a tradition started for spanish settlers from the Canary Islands). The flag was officially adopted with the signing of City Ordinance 38, signed December 3, 1996.
According to the Puerto Rican historian Federico Cedó Alzamora, the original version of the coat of arms of Mayagüez was given to the city 19 December 1894 by the Queen Regent of Spain Maria Christina of Austria . The upper half of the coat of arms shows the columbine coat of arms recalls and commemorates the discovery of the Island of Borinquén (Puerto Rico) by Columbus in his second trip to the New World in 1493. The lower half of the coat of arms shows a stylized dissembarkment of Columbus on Puerto Rico. The explorer's crew disembarked at the western coast of the island , where several rivers spill their waters in the Mona Passage, among them the Yagüez, from which the name of Mayagüez is derived. The present version was reinterpreted by heraldist Roberto Biascochea Lota.
The city's anthem was written by pianist and former music teacher Luciano Quiñones , a long-time resident and now "adopted son" of the city. Until this song's adoption, the plena "A Mayagüez", written by César Concepción, was used by many as an unofficial city song. Quiñones' composition was the winner of a contest sponsored by the city's municipality in 2003. MIDI and recorded versions of the anthem can be listened to here.
The Residential Center for Educative Opportunities of Mayagüez, (CROEM) is one of only two public boarding schools in Puerto Rico. The largest public high school in town is Eugenio María de Hostos High School. The other public high school in Mayaguez is Dr. Pedro Perea Fajardo Vocational High School. The former José De Diego High School was finally closed in 2009.
The non-profit Southwestern Educational Society, (S.E.S.O.) maintains the Southwestern Community School, an English language college preparatory school. Other private schools include: the Academia Inmaculada Concepción (Immaculate Conception Academy), Colegio San Benito (Saint Benedict College), Colegio Presbiteriano Pablo Casasús, Academia de La Milagrosa (Academy of Our Lady of Miracles) and the Academia Adventista del Oeste (Western Adventist Academy).
Today, Mayagüez has become a major college town, due in part to various secondary education institutions in the city.
There are also a number of junior colleges in the city.
The major form of transport in Puerto Rico is the automobile. Mayagüez, in fact, is served by two highways linking it to other parts of the island. Puerto Rico Highway 2 existing as an arterial highway is the main route between Ponce to the south-east and Aguadilla and Arecibo to the north and north-east respectively. PR-2 is currently undergoing a conversion to a freeway between Ponce and Mayagüez. Another important route in Mayagüez is PR-102. It begins at an intersection with PR-2, about 2 miles north of Mayagüez Pueblo at the Mar y Sol development and runs along Mayagüez's coastal industrial areas to Joyuda, where it then turns east and terminates in Sabana Grande. The portion of the highway adjacent to the Estadio Isodoro Garcia is being upgraded from a two-lane road into an urban boulevard in anticipation of the 2010 Centro-American and Caribbean Games in which Mayagüez is the host city. In addition to this upgrade, an elevated by-pass is being constructed from the coastal park site over the Yagüez River ending at the Concordia Housing Project.
Transportation in Mayagüez is limited only to a single trolley service, various private taxi companies and an irregular daytime syndicated público service named "Mayagüez Urbano". The city operates three trolleys, free of cost, which run as shuttle between the downtown area and the Palacio de Recreación y Deportes. The University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez also runs an internal network of trollies to carry its students inside campus and between UPRM, Mayagüez Terrace development and Palacio de Recreación y Deportes, linking here with the city's trolley service.
The Port of Mayagüez is the third busiest port on Puerto Rico. It is located northwest of the central business district along Puerto Rico routes 64, 341, and 3341, and stretches for 3.8 miles along the coast. Its main canal is .4 miles wide and its depth ranges from 47 to 120 feet, the water's depth along the piers ranges between 28 and 29 feet. The port is protected from rough seas by reefs which run along its northern and western sections.
Mayagüez's airport, Eugenio María de Hostos Airport, also known as El Mani Airport, has had regular airline services for more than thirty years. It is located 4 miles north of the central business district in the Sabanetas Barrio. Prior to being inaugurated in 1955, the airport served as a military base. In the 1970s it had domestic service from Prinair, then from American Eagle and Eastern Air Lines's regional carrier Eastern Metro Express in the 1980s. After Eastern went bankrupt in 1991, American Eagle remained the only airline serving the airport until it ended service to the city on April 30, 2005, due to poor loads. For a while, Fina Air served flights to the Dominican Republic before the airline went bankrupt. Cape Air currently serves the airport with 5 daily flights to San Juan during the high season and three daily flights during the low season.
Arguably the best known native of Mayagüez ever is educator and philosopher Eugenio María de Hostos (1839-1903).
Well-known living "mayagüezanos" (as of December 2008) include: singer Chucho Avellanet (Armando Hipólito), his nephew, former Menudo bandmember Roberto Avellanet, singer, composer and wine maker Wilkins Vélez, jazz flutist Nestor Torres, Puerto Rican independence leaders Juan Mari Brás and Rafael Cancel Miranda, television hostess Gricel Mamery, baseball players José Vidro and Wil Cordero, Associate Secretary of the United States Navy William A. Navas, Jr., former WWE diva Nidia Guenard and her sister Lourdes Guenard, and salsa percussionist and bandleader Roberto Roena. Two major Latino television stars in the United States, singer and show host Rafael José (Diaz) and anchorwoman María Celeste Arrarás, as well as horror film director and writer Ana Clavell, were raised in Mayagüez. United States Congressman José Serrano, who represents Congressional District NY-16 (which covers The Bronx in New York City) was born in Mayagüez. New York Surrogate's Court Judge Margarita López Torres was also born in Mayagüez.
Other Puerto Rican personalities born in Mayagüez are: journalist Carmen Jovet, news announcer Luz Nereida Vélez, comedic actors Adrián García and Shorty Castro, local senator Orlando Parga and puppeteer (Antulio) Kobbo Santarrosa. Journalist Julio Victor Ramirez, hijo was raised in the city.
Former mayor of San Juan, Hernán Padilla was born in Mayagüez, but raised in the nearby town of Cabo Rojo. Television actor Armando Riesco was born in Mayagüez, but raised in San Juan. Porn star Gina Lynn, born in the city, was raised in Jackson Township, New Jersey.
For a while (since his then-wife Herlinda Gómez was a native of the city) Colombian folk singer and actor Carlos Vives was a part-time resident. So were Spanish journalist and adventurer Miguel de la Quadra Salcedo, local media personality Silverio Pérez, and Ponce mayor Francisco Zayas Seijo when each got a degree from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Hugo Savinovich lived in Mayagüez during the early years of his wrestling career.
Major League Baseball players who played with the Indios de Mayagüez include Iván (Pudge) Rodríguez, Tommy Lasorda, Ron LeFlore, Denny McLain, John Wesley (Boog) Powell, Dave McNally, Phil Niekro, Roberto Hernández, and Wally Joyner.
Puerto Rican folk singer Roy Brown Ramírez is a current resident.
Well-known "mayagüezanos" who have died include: Commander-in-chief of the Cuban independence forces (and participant in the Grito de Lares) Juan Rius Rivera, actresses Alicia Moreda, Lucy Boscana and Madeline Willemsen; radio disc jockey, announcer, musicologist and marketing impresario Gilbert Mamery, plena singer and band leader Mon Rivera (The Younger), former Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives Ernesto Ramos Antonini, María Luisa Arcelay, the first woman in all of Latin America to be elected to a legislative government body, and former Mayagüez Mayor, Benjamin Cole, who held his office for 24 consecutive years. His brother, composer Roberto Cole was also a native. Pilar Defilló i Amigüet, the mother of cellist Pablo Casals, was born in Mayagüez. PFC.Humberto Acosta-Rosario, U.S. Army, is the only Puerto Rican still listed as Missing in Action from the Vietnam War. Oscar Garcia Rivera, Sr. (1900-1969), the first Puerto Rican to be elected to public office in the continental United States as a member of the New York State Assembly in 1937. Simón Madera, was an excellent musician and his compositions were distinguisehed in their use of the violin and clarinet. His best and most popular composition was “Mis Amores” which he composed at age 18. In addition to danzas, he composed waltzes and works for chamber music. He lived his last years in Guayama and died there on August 18, 1957.
Latino crooner and salsa singer (of one of Tito Puente's orchestras) Santos Colon was born in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico, but since he was raised in Mayagüez since early childhood he considered himself a (rather proud) mayagüezano. Salsa artist Frankie Ruiz, born in Paterson, New Jersey, was also raised in Mayagüez.
Salvador Agrón, a notorious murderer turned youth counselor whose life became the basis for the Broadway play The Capeman, was born in Mayagüez (for a while he was a resident of the local Asilo de Beneficencia, on Ramón E. Betances Avenue) and raised in New York City. Former Puerto Rico governor Roberto Sánchez Vilella was born in Mayagüez, but was raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico, former New York State senator Olga A. Méndez was also born in Mayagüez.
Mayagüez serves as a host city for two foreign consulates with business in Puerto Rico:
|Cabo Rojo||Hormigueros||San Germán|