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Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico
Flag of Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico
"La Ciudad de los Petateros", "El Pueblo de los Prodigios" (town of prodigies)
Anthem: "Sabana Grande, ciudad petatera"
Location of Sabana Grande in Puerto Rico
Location of Sabana Grande in Puerto Rico
Country United States
Territory Puerto Rico
Founded 1813
 • Total 37.1 sq mi (96 km2)
 • Land 37.1 sq mi (96 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
 • Total 25,265
 • Density 681.0/sq mi (263.2/km2)
Demonym(s) Sabaneños
Time zone UTC-4 (AST)
Zip code

Sabana Grande ( Great Savannah) is a municipality of Puerto Rico located north of Lajas and Guánica; south of Maricao; east of San Germán; and west of Yauco. Sabana Grande is spread over seven wards and Sabana Grande Pueblo (The downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the San Germán-Cabo Rojo Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The municipality's name comes from the extensive plain that occupies the southern part of the municipality, better known as Sabana Grande Abajo. According to historian Mario Villar Roces, before 1808 there was a community with its own church on the land today known as Sabana Grande Arriba. Evidence of this is the oldest baptismal registry preserved from the area, as Sabana Grande was originally a sector of the municipality of San Germán.

Because the community was so far from the center of San Germán, residents felt a need to build a church, which was established as an auxiliary to the San Germán parish. The church was built and was devoted to San Isidro Labrador and Santa María de la Cabeza.

During Spanish rule, in order for a town to be established, the following had to take place: A group of vecinos ("neighbors" or citizens) that wanted to found a town had to grant a power of attorney to one or more other vecinos to represent them before the governor and viceroy. This person could authorize the founding of the town and the establishment of a parish. The grantors of the power of attorney had to be a majority in the given territory and more than ten in number. Once the case had been made, the governor appointed a "capitán poblador" or settlement official to represent the vecinos and one or more delegates, who usually lived in nearby cabildos, or hamlets. Proof was required that the settlement was so far from a church that it was very difficult for the settlers to partake of sacraments and municipal services. In general, proof was provided of the absence or bad condition of roads and bridges. If the petition was approved, it was required that the vecinos mark off the new municipality and build public works such as a church, a parish house, a government house (Casa del Rey), a slaughterhouse, and a cemetery, and to set aside land for the town square or plaza and the commons (ejidos). The vecinos were expected to cover the cost of building these works by levying special assessments. Usually one of the land owners donated some land for the founding. Once the requirements had been met, the governor authorized the founding of the town and the parish, and he appointed a Lieutenant at War who usually was the same capitán poblador.

There is some debate as to when Sabana Grande was founded. Some say that it was established in 1808, while others say it was established in 1813, a year after the town was politically established in 1812. Historian Villar Roces posits that although the exact date of the founding of the town is not found in any document in the municipal archives, 1813 should be considered the year it was legally founded because it coincides with the date of the first registry document. In entry number 23 in the third book of marriages, dated July 1, 1813, the priest is identified as "Priest Ecónomo of the Sabana Grande Parish Church," while previous entries were called "Attending Priests" or "Coadjutants of the Villa of San Germán."

Sabana Grande became an independent parish, under its own jurisdiction, in June 1813, with the first parish priest of the San Isidro Labrador y Santa María de la Cabeza Church being Martín Antonio Borreli.

On December 21, 1814, the first captain general of Sabana Grande, Pedro de Acosta, took office. Some local historians assert that he donated seventy cuerdas of land where the Kings House, priests house, a plaza, a butcher shop and a cemetery were established. Others say that this land was donated by Joaquín P. Rodríguez de la Seda y Almodóvar. Villar Roces adds that Juan Francisco de Acosta, brother of the mayor and parish priest of Sabana Grande, donated his house to the town so it could be used as the Kings House or council house.

The first families of Sabana Grande were the Vélez Borrero, García Almodóvar, Nazario de Figueroa, Acosta, Sanabria, Lugo, Rivera, Sepúlveda, del Toro, Montalvo, Irizarry, Borreli, Ramírez, Torres, Matos, Pabón, Dávila, Quiñones, Rodríguez de la Renta, Soltero, Segarra, Ortiz de la Renta, Ortiz de la Peña, Saavedra families and others. Also, Catalan families with the surnames of Busigó, Malaret and Serra, and a group of Greek immigrants with the surname Soto, all settled in the town from the time of its founding.


  • Río Guanajibo and its affluents

Río Coco, Rio La Maquina, Río Cruces, Río Flores, Río Grande, Río Loco.


Valle de Lajas
Valle de Lajas/Lajas Valley, November 2006


  • Torre
  • Machuchal
  • Rayo
  • Rincón
  • Santana
  • Susúa
  • Tabonuco
  • Pueblo


Landmarks and places of interest

  • El Pozo de la Virgen
  • Hacienda Quilinchini
  • Susúa State Park
  • Las Antenas
  • Casa Barco
  • El Buren
  • Logia Igualdad Num. 23 de Sabana Grande
  • Cementerio Masonico de Ia Resp. Logia Igualdad Num. 23 de Sabana Grande:
The Cementerio Masonico de Ia Resp. Logia Igualdad #23 de Sabana Grande is of statewide significance under Criterion A in the area of Social History as the property is associated with a very important pattern of social and political events that took place during the nineteenth century in Puerto Rico. The construction of the cemetery came out as a result of the struggles among the Spanish political establishment and its ideological partner, the Catholic Church, against the presence of the philosophical brotherhood commonly known as the Freemasons.
  • Placita de la Recordación


Festivals and events

  • Patron Celebrations
  • Virgen del Pozo Marathon - May
  • Petate Festival - December
  • Carnaval Interentidades



The flag of Sabana Grande has four squarers, two green and two yellow, alternating. In the center is the municipal coat of arms. The meaning of the flag comes from the coat of arms.

Coat of arms

The municipality's coat of arms contains the elements that represent the town's patron saints. The shovel and rake allude to San Isidro Labrador. It is believed this representation arose from the faith of the workers in the Sabana Grande countryside. When a bad drought came, they made promises in the hopes that their patron saint would save their crops. The urn represents the domestic tasks of Santa María de la Cabeza, the wife of San Isidro.

In the center is the leaf of the petate palm as an icon of a traditional industry of Sabana Grande. Above is the crown wall which, as a symbol of solidarity, civic unity and common defense, is a heraldic tribute that is part of the coat of arms of towns. The motto on the coat of arms is "Town of the Prodigies."

Famous people

See also: Category:people from Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico
  • Augusto Malaret (Author)
  • Dr. Manuel Quevedo Báez (author)
  • Luis Negrón López (politics)
  • Radames Vega - Gold Medallist of 1978 Juegos Centroamericanos
  • Confesor Acosta Ocasio (Liso)
  • Santos Colón Vega cantante
  • Félix Rigau Carrera - First Puerto Rican pilot and the first pilot to fly on air mail carrying duties in Puerto Rico.
  • Ángel Rigau Ramos (poet)
  • Aníbal González Irizarry (TV)
  • Adalberto Rodríguez "Machuchal" (Comedian)
  • Ángel Gregorio Martínez (First Puerto Rican to die in World War II)
  • Fidel Vélez (Patriot) (Intentona de Yauco)
  • Godless (Black Metal Band)
  • Calixto Carrera Montalvo (poet)
  • John Ruiz (boxing-First Hispanic Heavyweight World Champion)
  • Jose Vidro MLB All-Star
  • Francis Rosas Comidian/Actor
  • Jose "Witito" Martinez - Puerto Rico Baseball Legend
  • Jonathan Sanchez MLB Pitcher, No Hitter, World Series Champion

Sebastian "Papo" Marchany Photography

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