(Spanish pronunciation: [maʝaˈɣweθ]
) is the eighth-largest
municipality of Puerto Rico
. Originally founded as "Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria" it is 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
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 (77.63 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.
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
- Isla de Mona e Islote Monito
- Juan Alonso
- Mayagüez Arriba
- Mayagüez Pueblo
- Quebrada Grande
- Río Cañas Abajo
- Río Cañas Arriba
- Río Hondo
is further subdivided into these wards:
- Marina Septentrional
- Marina Meridional
The sectors that comprises Mayagüez City are:
- El Seco
- El Liceo
- El Pueblo
- La Mineral
- La Quinta
Other notable neighborhoods or sectors:
- El Mani - community in Sabanetas
- Mayagüez Terrace - development in Algarrobo, near the UPRM Campus
- Alturas de Mayagüez - development in Algarrobo, near the Holiday Inn Hotel and the Regional Distribution Center
- El Cerro de las Mesas. Known for being the home of "CROEM" and for its picture perfect views of the City from Camino Berrios.
- Buena Vista - a hilltop pintoresque community next to downtown
- Columbus Landing
- Dulces Labios
- Ensanche Martinez (La Bosque) - student area, near the UPRM Campus
- Ensache Ramirez
- Ensanche Vivaldi - student area, near the UPRM Campus
- La Riviera - student area
- Ponce de Leon
According to 2007 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there are 96,191 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 2007, 39.2% of Mayagüez residents identified themselves as white; 44.4% were black; 1.5% were Asian; 0.4% were Native American; 0.06% Pacific Islander; 10.0% were of other races; and 4.2% were from two or more races
. People of Hispanic or Latino origin, who may be of any race, comprised 98.8% 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.
Contributions to Puerto Rican gastronomy
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):
- Brazo gitano - literally "gypsy arm", is the locally produced jelly roll, originally from Spain. E. Franco & Co., a bakery, food importer and restaurant established in the late 1850s, is the best-known provider of brazos gitanos in town. Another (more recent) provider is Ricomini Bakery, whose central store in downtown Mayagüez has been open for over 100 years.
- Sangría de Fido - the heirs of Wilfrido Aponte still bottle "Sangría de Fido", a powerful concoction inspired on sangria, but actually made with fruit juices, Bacardi 151 rum and burgundy wine (technically not from Bourgogne, but produced by E & J Gallo Winery in Modesto, California). Originally bottled by hand by the bartender since the mid-1970s, "Sangría de Fido" has a sizeable reputation outside Puerto Rico, and can claim tasters from as far away as California and Spain. E & J Gallo once awarded Aponte with a "Customer of the Year" award and flew him to their headquarters. Aponte was reportedly offered $250,000 by Bacardi to sell his original recipe once, to which he refused.
- Bolo's Sorullitos - a now-defunct operation that originated at "Bolo's Restaurant", a seaside eatery next to Mayagüez Bay, which produced sorullitos, or fried cornsticks, along with mayo-ketchup, a dip made of mayonnaise, ketchup and garlic extract. The restaurant was popular in Puerto Rico between the late 1970s and mid-1980s (its custom made building now houses WORA-TV, one of the local television stations). For a while the frozen cornsticks were sold commercially in stores.
- Flan-Es-Cedó' - Elmec Industries, Inc. has been the local flan producer for over thirty years
- India / Medalla beer - the only remaining mass-produced Puerto Rican beer is brewed by "Cervecería India", one of the largest employers in town. "Mayagüezanos" are queued into morning rush hour, lunch and afternoon rush hour by the company's whistle, which rings at 7:00 am, 8:00 am, 12:00 pm, 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. (all times AST)
- Rex Cream's Ice Cream - established in the mid-1960s by Chinese migrants who came to Puerto Rico by the way of Costa Rica, Rex Cream is a chain of ice cream parlors that had its heyday in the late 1970s. The two flagship stores in Mayagüez, however, are still popular (particularly on Good Friday, since one of the stores is the endpoint for a Good Friday religious procession) for producing alternative ice cream flavors, particularly a corn sherbet.
- Tuna fish - At one time, StarKist, Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee produced 80% of their collective production for consumption in the United States in Mayagüez. As of the time of writing, the only tuna fish cannery remaining in town is that for Bumble Bee.
- El Meson Sandwiches - a Puerto Rican fast food sandwich chain based in Mayaguez. The company sells sandwiches, breakfast, salads and other Puerto Rican foods. There are over 30 shops in the chain, which employs 400 employees.
- A new distillery was founded in Mayagüez in 2009 by the name of Destilería Coquí, the production is limited to 100 bottles a day, their main product is artisan rum called Pitorro.
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[citation needed
]. 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.