Ponce is locat­ed on the south side of the island. The Sec­ond largest city in Puer­to Rico, also known as “La Per­la del Sur” or The Pearl of the South.  Ponce is also know as The “Ciu­dad Seno­r­i­al (Majes­tic City) and “La Ciu­dad de los Leones (City of Lions). Ponce was the Cap­i­tal of the south until 1989.  It is 3 miles from the south­ern coast. Ponce is also Puer­to Rico’s sec­ond largest city. Ponce dates from the late 17th cen­tu­ry.  It con­sists of colo­nial homes, church­es, foun­tains, plazas, and a fire sta­tions (Par­que de Bombas).

The city was named after Juan Ponce de Leon y Loayza, the great grand­son of Juan Ponce de Leon, the Span­ish  Con­quis­ta­dor. In 1692, Juan Ponce de Leon received per­mis­sion from the Span­ish Roy­al­ty to cre­ate a ham­let around a small chapel ded­i­cat­ed to Lady of Guadalupe.   In 1848 the ham­let was declared a vil­la and by 1877, obtained a city char­ter. A large flow of immi­grants from Cat­alo­nia, the Balearie Islands, and oth­er parts of Spain, as well as from the Unit­ed King­dom, Ger­many, Cuba, France, Colum­bia and Venezuela assured the city’s con­tin­ued growth. Most of these immi­grants made con­sid­er­able for­tunes in cof­fee, corn and sug­ar cane har­vest­ing, pro­duc­ing rum, bank­ing and finance.  In some years of the late 19th cen­tu­ry, Ponce had a larg­er pop­u­la­tion and also stronger finan­cial insti­tu­tions than those of the cap­i­tal, San Juan. The Coat of Arms of Ponce con­tains a red and black col­ored shield.

There is a five tow­er gold crown that indi­cates that Ponce is a city by roy­al decree.  As an exte­ri­or from the shield, there is a sug­ar cane plant on the right side and to the left, a cof­fee tree branch.  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 (for the fire that almost destroyed the city), that cov­ers the supe­ri­or right por­tion and the col­or black (for the ash­es after that fire).  On that black and red back­ground is a yel­low lion with black name, walk­ing towards the left of the shield, fac­ing right of the shield.  The lion is on a bridge, mean­ing that you must cross a riv­er to enter the city by any region.  The shield is bor­dered by a cof­fee plant branch and a sug­ar cane plane, in which the ear­ly econ­o­my of the city was based.

Ponce History:

fire-house-e1378219800246The Ponce Fire of 1883: In 1883, Ponce was dev­as­tat­ed by an enor­mous fire. The fire almost destroyed most of the south coast of Puer­to Rico. Thanks to the Ponce fire­men (who’s fire­house was locat­ed at Par­que de Bom­bas), Ponce and the coast were saved. The fire­men from The Par­que de Bom­bas engaged in a long bat­tle with the fire that last­ed twen­ty-two days before it was extin­guished. The Par­que de Bom­bas now stands as a muse­um and tourist attrac­tion, which is still on the same loca­tion at the cen­tral plaza (Plaza Las Deli­cias). The fire sta­tion con­tin­ued to serve as an active fire sta­tion until 1990, when it was closed and used entire­ly as a muse­um. For their brav­ery, the group was hon­ored both in Ponce and through­out the rest of Puer­to Rico. A pic­ture of the fire­men hangs on the wall of the Par­que de Bom­bas building.

ponce-puerto-rico-massacre-albizu-campos-1937-1The Ponce Mas­sacre: On March 21, 1937, Ponce was involved in an inci­dent called the Ponce Mas­sacre. The inci­dent occurred as a result of a march orga­nized in Ponce on Palm Sun­day by the Puer­to Rican Nation­al­ist Par­ty. The march was orga­nized to com­mem­o­rate the end of slav­ery and to also protest the incar­cer­a­tion of Nation­al­ist Leader, Pedro Abizu Cam­pos, as well as demand­ing Puer­to Rico’s Inde­pen­dence from the Unit­ed States. Nine­teen unarmed nation­al­ist pro­test­ers, peace­ful­ly cel­e­brat­ing the Abo­li­tion of Slav­ery (in 1873), were fatal­ly shot by police under orders from the Unit­ed States, CoIn­tel­Pro (Counter Intel­li­gence Pro­gram) and non-demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed mil­i­tary assigned Gov­er­nor, Major Gen­er­al, Blan­ton C. Winship.

MameyesThe Mameyes Mud­slide: In Octo­ber 1985, Ponce suf­fered a great tragedy. It occurred after a trop­i­cal storm that passed across the south coast of the island. Because of this trop­i­cal storm, the south cen­ter part of Puer­to Rico expe­ri­enced a rain­fall that reached 31.6 inch­es. This rain­fall came after anoth­er heavy rain­fall, five months ear­li­er. This result­ed in a mud­slide when an entire sheet of bedrock in the moun­tain­ous bar­rio of Mameyes out­side of the city, col­lapsed from the over-sat­u­rat­ed soil bur­ring much of the bar­rio. 115 homes were destroyed or heav­i­ly dam­aged by the slide and 129 peo­ple lost their lives. Inter­na­tion­al help was need­ed to res­cue peo­ple and corpses. The Unit­ed Stat­ed and many for­eign coun­tries, such as Mex­i­co, France, and Venezuela sent eco­nom­ic and human­i­tar­i­an relief.

Addi­tion­al Infor­ma­tion will be com­ing soon