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Orocovis

Municipio de Orocovis
Town and Municipality
Waterfall in lush green mountains, man sitting on a rock on the bottom left, the waterfall is called Salto Doña Juana
Salto de Doña Juana waterfall in Orocovis
Flag of Orocovis
Flag
Coat of arms of Orocovis
Coat of arms
Nicknames: 
"Corazón de Puerto Rico", "El Centro Geográfico de Puerto Rico"
Anthem: "Mi patria es una bella isla"
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Orocovis Municipality
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Orocovis Municipality
Commonwealth  Puerto Rico
Founded November 10, 1825
Barrios
Area
 • Total 71.1 sq mi (184.17 km2)
 • Land 71.0 sq mi (184 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.17 km2)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 21,434
 • Density 301.46/sq mi (116.382/km2)
Demonym(s) Orocoveños
Time zone UTC-4 (AST)
ZIP Code
00720
Area code(s) 787/939
Major routes PR secondary 143.svg PR secondary 155.svg PR secondary 156.svg PR secondary 157.svg Ellipse sign 149.svg
Orocovis, Puerto Rico Near the main plaza 1941
Near the main plaza, 1941

Orocovis (from Taino language, Orocobix popularly thought to mean "remembrance of the first mountain") is a town and municipality of Puerto Rico located in the Central Mountain Range, north of Villalba and Coamo; south of Morovis and Corozal; southeast of Ciales; east of Jayuya; and west of Barranquitas. Orocovis is spread over 17 barrios and Orocovis Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

Since before the Spanish colonization in the 16th century, Taíno Indians were already established in the Orocovis region. They were led by the cacique Orocobix and his group of Taino was known as the Jatibonicu. After Spaniards settled in the island, the region was called Barros and designated as a barrio of Barranquitas.

On May 25, 1825, the neighbors of the region granted Don Juan de Rivera Santiago the powers to request the Governor authorization to found a municipality in Barros, where they had bought almost 14 acres of land from Doña Eulalia de Rivera, who donated an additional acre to establish several municipal works. However, due to the distance from bodies of water, the settlement was moved to another place. On November 10, 1825, Governor Miguel de la Torre granted permission to found the new municipality of Barros.

In 1838, the parish of San Juan Bautista de Barros was created and was blessed and inaugurated on October 29 of the same year. However, on 1875, a fire destroyed the church, the King's House, the priest's house and several homes.

In 1928, the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico approved a resolution to change the name of Barros to Orocovis, to honor the Taíno cacique of the same name, who lived in that region.

Symbol

Flag of Orocovis

The Flag of Orocovis is formed by five vertical stripes: Two green stripes at the ends, representing the territories of Aibonito and Barranquitas; and a blue one in the center representing the regional domain of the cacique Orocobix prior to the Spanish colonization. These stripes are divided by two narrower white stripes, representing the territories granted by Barranquitas and Morovis to form the municipality in 1825.

Over the blue portion there's an oval with a sun. The sun has seventeen rays that represent the different regions of the town. The sun, being the center of our solar system, represents Orocovis as the center of the island of Puerto Rico.

Coat of Arms

The oval is symbol of the letter "O", initial of the name of the town. In each quadrant appear representative elements of the town. In the left superior quadrant a Taíno Indian bust, symbol of the great "Chief Orocobix" and the Indian heritage of the town, silhouetted in gold on a silver-plated background. The Indian bust faces towards the star or sun that appears in the superior right quadrant, which is in gold on a blue background and represents the territorial municipality with its seventeen rays or demarcations. In the inferior right quadrant, a plantain plant is observed representing the agriculture, silhouetted in gold on a silver-plated background. A bridge also silhouetted in gold on a blue background, above the river appears in the left inferior quadrant.

Nicknames

Most of Orocovis nicknames stem from its location in the center of the island. Some of them are: "Corazón de Puerto Rico" (Heart of Puerto Rico) and "Centro Geográfico de Puerto Rico" (Geographical Center of Puerto Rico). The center of the island of Puerto Rico is in a ward called "Pellejas", on Road 566, Km 5.7. Former sayings about the center of the Island being in front of the Catholic church was determined to be false by engineers from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.

Geography

Most of the Orocovis terrain runs through the Cordillera Central of the island. Most of the high peaks are in the southern region of the town within the limits of the municipality with Villalba and Coamo. The highest peak of the town is Cerro Mogote.

The rivers Toro Negro, Sana Muertos, Orocovis, Matrullas, and Bauta, and the creeks Doña Juana, Palmar and Cacaos are among the water bodies in the town. There are two lakes: El Guineo, formed within de Toro Negro River, and the Matrullas Lake formed by the Bauta River. El Guineo is Puerto Rico's highest lake.

Cityscape

Barrios

The municipality of Orocovis is itself sub-divided into several barrios (wards/districts):

  • Ala de la Piedra
  • Barros
  • Bauta Abajo
  • Bauta Arriba
  • Bermejales
  • Botijas 1&2
  • Cacaos
  • Collores
  • Damián Abajo
  • Damián Arriba
  • Gato
  • Mata de Caña
  • Orocovis
  • Pellejas 1&2
  • Pueblo
  • Sabana
  • Saltos

Culture

"The Musical Capital of Puerto Rico"

Orocovis is sometimes called "The Musical Capital of Puerto Rico" because many major Puerto Rican performers were either born or raised in the town, particularly bandleader Bobby Valentín, folk singer Andrés Jiménez, merengue singer Manny Manuel, salsa legend William "H. Christ" Corchado, and the Colón-Zayas family of musicians, which includes Emma (singer, multi-instrumentalist) and Edwin (a cuatro player).

Tourism

Salto Doña Juana, Orocovis, Puerto Rico
Salto Doña Juana
  • Bosque Estatal de Toro Negro
  • Las Picinas del Area Recreativa "Jesús M. (Tito) Colón Collazo (Tito Colón Pool, Spring Water and Recreative Park)
  • Las Cabañas (The Ribs, Restaurant)
  • Area Recreativa de Damian (Recreative park of Damian)
  • Rios (Rivers)
  • Vistas Panorámicas (Panoramic View)
  • Lugares Recrativos (Passive Parks)
  • Toro verde ( Ecological adventure park)

Landmarks and places of interest

  • Indian Cave
  • Matrullas Lake
  • El Guineo Lake
  • Orocovis Museum
  • Taíno Refuge
  • Mirador Villalba - Orocovis
  • Bosque Toro Negro (Toro Negro Rain Forest)
  • Area Recreativa Cerro La Guaira (Recreative Park)
  • Salto Doña Juana (Doña Juana Water Fall)
  • Toro Verde Nature Adventure Park

Festivals and events

Orocovis Fiestas Patronales are held in June. Other traditional festivals held at the city are the Infant Theater Festival in April; the Festival del Camarón in July; the Arts Craft Fair in September; and the National Festival of the Puerto Rican Pastel in November.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 14,845
1910 15,028 1.2%
1920 15,758 4.9%
1930 16,115 2.3%
1940 19,770 22.7%
1950 21,181 7.1%
1960 20,362 −3.9%
1970 20,201 −0.8%
1980 19,332 −4.3%
1990 21,158 9.4%
2000 23,844 12.7%
2010 23,423 −1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1899 (shown as 1900) 1910-1930
1930-1950 1960-2000 2010 2020

According to the 2000 census, Orocovis has a population of 23,844 with a population density is 378.4 people per square mile (145.5/km2). Although there was a decline in the population during the 1980s, it has steadily increased during the last decades.

Statistics taken from the 2000 census shows that 81.4% of Orocoveños have Spanish or White origin, 4.1% are black, 0.4% are Amerindian etc.

Race - Orocovis, Puerto Rico - 2000 Census
Race Population  % of Total
White 19,401 81.4%
Black/African American 975 4.1%
American Indian and Alaska Native 87 0.4%
Asian 15 0.1%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 5 0.0%
Some other race 2,618 11.0%
Two or more races 743 3.1%

Transportation

There is no direct highway connection to Orocovis. Roads #137 and #155 lead from the north, while roads #138 and #155 lead from the south. Orocovis lies at about an hour and a half from San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico.

There are 17 bridges in Orocovis.

Economy

Agriculture

Cattle, coffee, fruits, tobacco, and wheat. A young business growing hydroponics lettuce was in negotiations to be a supplier for Walmart in 2019.

Industrial

Several small nutritional product industries.

Education

Orocovis has several public and private schools and public education is administered by the Puerto Rico Department of Education.

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