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San Germán, Puerto Rico

Municipio Antónomo de San Germán
Town and Municipality
Porta Coeli Church is the most recognized landmark of San Germán.
Porta Coeli Church is the most recognized landmark of San Germán.
Flag of San Germán, Puerto Rico
Flag
Coat of arms of San Germán, Puerto Rico
Coat of arms
Nicknames: 
"La Ciudad de las Lomas", "Ciudad de las Golondrinas", "Ciudad Fundadora de Pueblos", "Ciudad Cuna del Baloncesto Puertorriqueño", "Ciudad Peregrina"
Anthem: "San Germán es mi pueblo querido"
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting San Germán Municipality
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting San Germán Municipality
Coordinates: 18°N 67°W / 18°N 67°W / 18; -67Coordinates: 18°N 67°W / 18°N 67°W / 18; -67
Commonwealth  Puerto Rico
Founded 1511
1512 (on 2nd site)
Barrios
Area
 • Town and Municipality 54.51 sq mi (141.18 km2)
 • Land 54.51 sq mi (141.18 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation
528 ft (161 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Town and Municipality 31,879
 • Density 584.83/sq mi (225.804/km2)
 • Metro
136,212
 • CSA
251,260
Demonym(s) Sangermeños
Time zone UTC−4 (AST)
ZIP Codes
00683, 00636
Area code(s) 787/939
Major routes PR primary 2.svg PR secondary 101.svg PR secondary 102.svg PR secondary 114.svg PR secondary 120.svg PR secondary 122.svg PR secondary 166.svg Ellipse sign 118.svg Ellipse sign 119.svg

San Germán is a historic town and municipality located in the Sabana Grande valley of southwestern region of Puerto Rico, south of Mayagüez and Maricao, north of Lajas, east of Hormigueros and Cabo Rojo, and west of Sabana Grande. San Germán is spread over eighteen barrios plus San Germán Pueblo (the historic downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is both a principal city of the San Germán–Cabo Rojo Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Mayagüez–San Germán–Cabo Rojo Combined Statistical Area. San Germán is the second oldest city of Puerto Rico, after San Juan. The island of Puerto Rico was once split between the San Juan and the San Germán municipalities. The latter covered the western half of Puerto Rico, and extended from the western shores of the island to Arecibo in the north and Ponce in the south.

History

Spanish settlement in the original city of San Germán occurred early in the conquest and colonization of Puerto Rico. After the destruction of a small early settlement near modern-day Añasco during a Taíno uprising which started in February 1511, the new settlement was built by Miguel Diaz at Guayanilla and named after Germaine of Foix, the new queen of King Fernando. This town was attacked by French corsairs in August 1528, May 1538 and 1554. The construction of a small fort began in 1540, but work stopped in 1546 when the population of the town began moving inland to the current modern location.

An early written reference to the new town occurs in 1573. A letter sent to Spain's king Philip II mentions a city with the names of Nueva Salamanca and San Germán. Spanish conquerors used the name Nueva Salamanca to honor the city of Salamanca in Spain.

On May 12, 1570, the Royal Audience of Santo Domingo (see Audiencia) ordered that both the populations of San Germán and Santa María de Guadianilla be merged into a single city due to the constant attacks. The new city was built on the hills of Santa Marta, next to the Guanajibo River in 1573. Its official name was Nueva Villa de Salamanca, named after the city of Salamanca in Spain. However, the population would call the city San Germán el Nuevo (The New San Germán) and, eventually, the Villa de San Germán (The Village of San Germán).

San Germán is also known as the founding city of towns, given the fact that in 1514 the Spanish crown separated the island into two administrative territories (Partidos). The borders of the two partidos were established as the Camuy River to the north and the Jacagua river to the south. They were named the San Juan Partition and the San Germán Partition.

Towns that came out of the San Germán Partition

Geography

Mountains: Alto del Descanso (2,520 ft; 768 m) and Tetas de Cerro Gordo (2,897 ft; 883 m).

Rivers: Río Caín, Río Duey, Río Rosario, Río Guanajibo (Estero), Río Hoconuco Guamá and Rio El Brujo

Climate

Climate data for San Germán, Puerto Rico (1898-2013)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.8
(91)
33.3
(91.9)
35
(95)
35
(95)
35
(95)
37.2
(99)
37.2
(99)
36.1
(97)
36.7
(98.1)
36.1
(97)
36.7
(98.1)
36.7
(98.1)
37.2
(99)
Average high °C (°F) 30.6
(87.1)
30.6
(87.1)
31.1
(88)
31.7
(89.1)
32.2
(90)
32.8
(91)
33.3
(91.9)
33.3
(91.9)
32.8
(91)
32.2
(90)
31.7
(89.1)
31.1
(88)
31.95
(89.51)
Daily mean °C (°F) 23.9
(75)
23.9
(75)
24.4
(75.9)
25.6
(78.1)
26.7
(80.1)
27.2
(81)
27.2
(81)
27.2
(81)
27.2
(81)
26.7
(80.1)
25.6
(78.1)
24.4
(75.9)
25.83
(78.5)
Average low °C (°F) 16.7
(62.1)
16.7
(62.1)
17.8
(64)
18.9
(66)
20.6
(69.1)
21.7
(71.1)
21.1
(70)
21.1
(70)
21.1
(70)
20.6
(69.1)
19.4
(66.9)
17.2
(63)
19.41
(66.94)
Record low °C (°F) 6.7
(44.1)
10.6
(51.1)
10.0
(50)
10.0
(50)
13.3
(55.9)
14.4
(57.9)
11.7
(53.1)
14.4
(57.9)
15.6
(60.1)
13.3
(55.9)
11.7
(53.1)
9.4
(48.9)
6.7
(44.1)
Rainfall mm (inches) 63.8
(2.512)
55.6
(2.189)
55.6
(2.189)
87.1
(3.429)
130.6
(5.142)
68.6
(2.701)
79.5
(3.13)
132.8
(5.228)
157.5
(6.201)
185.2
(7.291)
145.0
(5.709)
59.2
(2.331)
1,220.5
(48.051)
Source: The Weather Channel,

Cityscape

Barrios

  • Ancones
  • Caín Alto
  • Caín Bajo
  • Cotuí
  • Duey Alto
  • Duey Bajo
  • Guamá
  • Hoconuco Alto
  • Hoconuco Bajo
  • Maresúa
  • Minillas
  • Rosario Alto
  • Rosario Bajo
  • Rosario Peñón
  • Sabana Eneas
  • Sabana Grande Abajo
  • San Germán Pueblo
  • Tuna
  • Retiro

Due to its large size, Minillas is usually subdivided into Minillas Valle, Minillas Carretera and Minillas Parcelas.

Tourism

San Germán is the site of the Porta Coeli church, one of the earliest Spanish cathedrals built in Latin America. Porta Coeli is still a major attraction that brings both domestic and international tourists every year.

Landmarks and places of interest

San German Historic district
Plaza Santo Domingo, located in the San Germán Historic District
San Germán Auxerre
Plaza Francisco Mariano Quiñones and the Church San Germán de Auxerre
  • Puente de Bolas (Bridge of Balls)
  • Casa Morales
  • Ceiba de la Libertad
  • Historic Gallery
  • Lola Rodríguez de Tió Museum
  • Casa Cruz de la Luna
  • Ramírez de Arrellano y Rossell Museum
  • Santo Domingo Plazuela
  • Three Races and One Culture Mural
  • San Germán Historic District
  • Porta Coeli
  • Inter-American University of Puerto Rico
  • Church San Germán de Auxerre
  • La Barrica, Original Spanish Tavern. Circa 1847

The urban center of San Germán is mainly composed of Spanish colonial houses. Many have been restored and conserve their Spanish look while other houses are somewhat abandoned and in poor condition. There are ongoing projects employing public and private funding to preserve and restore many houses and monuments and to maintain San Germán's colonial era look.

Culture

Festivals and events

  • Patron Celebrations (St. Germain d'Auxerre and Santa Rosa de Lima) - July
  • Festival de la Pana - July
  • Anón Festival - September
  • Christmas Festival - December
  • Christmas Parade - Early December
  • Patron Celebrations (The Virgin of the Rosary) — Celebrated in San Germán's Ward, Rosario Poblado, which borders Mayagüez.

Sports

San Germán is home to one of Puerto Rico's oldest basketball franchises, dating back to the 1930s, the San Germán Athletics (los Atléticos de San Germán), nicknamed "The Orange Monster". Many glories of Puerto Rican basketball have played in San Germán, a city that is also known as "The Crib of Puerto Rican Basketball". Some of those players are Arquelio Torres, José "Piculín" Ortiz, Eddie Casiano, Nelson Quiñones, Elías "Larry" Ayuso, Christian Dalmau, and so many others. Their home court is The Arquelio Torres Ramírez Court, which houses approximately 5,000 fans.

The Athletic's fan base is most commonly referred to as their sixth man, or "The Orange Monster". This is because for a visiting team it's extremely hard to win in San Germán due to how vigorous and "into" the game the fans are.

The Athletics have been to 26 National Superior Basketball (BSN) Finals, of which one was cancelled (1953) due to confiscation because of a fight between players from San Germán and the Ponce Lions, giving birth to Puerto Rican basketball's most intense rivalry.

Championships (14): 1932, 1936, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1985, 1991, 1994, 1997 Sub-Championships (11): 1931, 1933, 1936, 1938, 1940, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1965, 1986

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 20,246
1910 22,143 9.4%
1920 23,848 7.7%
1930 23,768 −0.3%
1940 26,473 11.4%
1950 29,553 11.6%
1960 27,667 −6.4%
1970 27,990 1.2%
1980 32,922 17.6%
1990 34,962 6.2%
2000 37,105 6.1%
2010 35,527 −4.3%
2020 31,879 −10.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1899 (shown as 1900) 1910-1930
1930-1950 1960-2000 2010 2020
Racial distribution
Racial - (self-defined) San Germán, Puerto Rico
- 2010 Census
Race Population  % of Total
White 29,614 83.4%
Black/African American 1,989 5.6%
American Indian and
Alaska Native
129 0.4%
Asian 41 0.1%
Native Hawaiian
Pacific Islander
5 0.0%
Some other race 2,992 8.4%
Two or more races 727 2.1%

Symbols

Flag

Green - The Episcopal dignity and also the color of the Shield of Christopher Columbus and his son, don Diego Colón, Viceroy of the Indies, who named the city in honor of Germana de Foix.

White - The purity of the blood of the great families who colonized San Germán.

Purple - Color of the Shield of Juan Ponce de León, first governor of Puerto Rico.

Coat of Arms

First Quarter: The Mitre and the Staff in a green field represent St. Germain of Auxerre, the Patron Saint of the city.

Second Quarter: The second quarter exhibits the arms of the Kingdoms of Aragón and Sicily, where don Fernando the Catholic reigned.

Third Quarter: In this quarter the arms combine with the County of Foix and the Kingdom of France, which constitute the family shields of Germaine de Foix whose name is perpetuated as the name of the city of San Germán.

Fourth Quarter: Is Ponce de León's shield, The Crown: Is a civic or municipal standard and is used as a stamp for towns and cities; San Germán was assigned five towers to denote that this population formally obtained the title of city from the Spanish crown in the nineteenth century.

Notable Puerto Ricans from San Germán

  • PFC Joseph (José) R. Martínez destroyed a German infantry unit and tank in Tunisia, during World War II, by providing heavy artillery fire, saving his platoon from being attacked in the process. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor, by General George S. Patton, thus becoming the first Puerto Rican recipient of said military decoration.
  • Ubaldino Ramírez de Arellano — Senator
  • Lola Rodríguez de Tió — poet, author of the original lyrics of Puerto Rico's national anthem, La Borinqueña, and pro-independence advocate
  • Benicio del Toro — Award-winning actor
  • Francisco Mariano Quiñones — Abolitionist and politician
  • Samuel R. Quiñones — Longest-serving President of the Puerto Rico Senate, serving for twenty years.

Economy

Agriculture

The area around San Germán grows fruits (banana, pineapple) and sugarcane on mid-scale. Dairy farms are also present in small scale. Some locals grow other produce on a small scale.

Business

Most businesses are located in or near the downtown area (San Germán Pueblo). Plaza del Oeste is the main shopping center.

Industry

Major employers of the city include Fresenius Kabi, CCL, Wallace International, Baxter Serum Mfg., Cordis, Insertco (print shop for medical instructions inserts), Wallace Silversmiths de Puerto Rico, General Electric (production of circuit breakers) and several other companies in the service industry.

Motion pictures filmed In San Germán

Education

The following schools are in San Germán:

  1. Bartolome de Las Casas: PK-6
  2. Georgina Alvarado: PK-5
  3. Henry W. Longfellow: PK-5
  4. Herminia C. Ramirez: PK-5
  5. Julio Victor Guzman: KG-8
  6. Laura Mercado: 6-12
  7. Lola Rodriguez de Tio: 9-10
  8. Mariano Abril: PK-6
  9. (Second Unit) Francisco Maria Quinones: KG-8

The main campus of the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico is located adjacent to the downtown area of San Germán. It was founded in 1912 as the Polytechnical Institute of Puerto Rico, the first private university on the island. The Colegio San José, was a private school which was established in San Germán in 1930 and closed in 2017.

Transportation

By the 16th century there was a rough road called Camino de Puerto Rico (Camino Real) connecting San Germán (which was located near the mouth of the Añasco River) to other areas of Puerto Rico, including San Sebastián, Arecibo, Toa Alta, and Caparra.

In 2019, there were 44 bridges in San Germán.

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