Barceloneta, Puerto Rico

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Municipio de Barceloneta
Town and Municipality
Barceloneta in letters sculpture
Barceloneta in letters sculpture
Flag of Barceloneta
Coat of arms of Barceloneta
Coat of arms
"La Ciudad de las Piñas", "La Ciudad Industrial," "El Pueblo de los Indios", "El Pueblo de Sixto Escobar"
Anthem: "Querido Barceloneta"
Location of Barceloneta in Puerto Rico
Location of Barceloneta in Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18°27′02″N 66°32′19″W / 18.45056°N 66.53861°W / 18.45056; -66.53861Coordinates: 18°27′02″N 66°32′19″W / 18.45056°N 66.53861°W / 18.45056; -66.53861
Commonwealth Puerto Rico
FoundedJuly 1, 1881
 • MayorWanda Soler (PPD)
 • Senatorial dist.3 - Arecibo
 • Representative dist.13
 • Total36.39 sq mi (94.24 km2)
 • Land32 sq mi (82 km2)
 • Water4.73 sq mi (12.24 km2)
 • Total24,816
 • Density680/sq mi (260/km2)
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
Zip code
Major routesPR secondary 2.svg PR secondary 140.svg
Toll plate yellow.svg
PR primary 22.svg

Barceloneta (Spanish pronunciation: [baɾseloˈneta]) is a municipality in Puerto Rico and is located in the north region, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, north of Florida, east of Arecibo and west of Manati. Barceloneta is spread over 3 wards and Barceloneta Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Barceloneta was founded on July 1, 1881 by Don Bonocio Llenza Feliú, an immigrant from Barcelona, Spain. The name of Barceloneta ("Little Barcelona") is derived from the Spanish city. Barceloneta was one of the last municipalities created by the Spanish Government in Puerto Rico.[1][2]

About a decade after its foundation, the town had a significant economic development led by agriculture and industry. By 1894, there were three sugarcane estates, 93 sugar mills, and the production of other fruits.[3]

In 1899, Barceloneta requested to be annexed to the town of Manatí. An election was scheduled for August 14, 1899 to decide the matter. However, on August 8, the island suffered the effects of Hurricane San Ciriaco, which prevented the elections from being held. The following year, Governor George Whitefield Davis ordered the annexation of Barceloneta into Manatí. The annexation was short-lived. Eleven years later, the government reinstated Barceloneta as a municipality.[4]

After Central Plazuela, a large sugar cane mill, closed in 1963, Barceloneta started reinforcing its agricultural economy with pineapples and other minor fruits. Efforts to revive the economy were not too successful, until pharmaceutical industries established themselves in the town during the 1970s.[5]

Because of its location next to the Río Grande de Manatí, Barceloneta was known for many years as a site of important port activity, for shipment of sugar and salt, as well as passengers to New York City and Barcelona. Don Bonocio's son was the owner of a sail ship that made those routes.[citation needed]


The Municipality of Barceloneta sits on the northern karst region of Puerto Rico, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by the municipalities of Arecibo, Florida, and Manatí. In terms of physical features, the municipality occupies a roughly rectangular area in the northern coast of the island. It has a surface area of 36.4 square miles (94.24 km2).[5]

Barceloneta's terrain is predominantly plain. Since it is located in the karst region, it features hills, ponors, and caves. Near the coast, the terrain is occupied by the Tiburones cienaga.[6]

Updated flood zone maps (as of 2019) show that Barceloneta is extremely vulnerable to flooding, along with Humacao, Rincón, Toa Baja, and Corozal. For its many wetlands, Barceloneta ends up being extremely vulnerable when hit by a major hurricane.[7]

Water features[edit]

The Río Grande de Manatí travels across the municipalities of Manatí and Barceloneta and drains into the Atlantic Ocean. Barceloneta also features the Caño Tiburones, a natural reserve.[5][6][8]


Barrios of Barceloneta

Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Barceloneta is subdivided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a small barrio referred to as "el pueblo", near the center of the municipality.[9][10][11]


Landmarks and places of interest[edit]

Barceloneta has many places of interest.[13]

  • Antiguo Muelle (Old Seaport)
  • Cambalache Reserve
  • Caño Tiburones Marshland
  • La Monserrate Refinery Ruins
  • Las Criollas Beach
  • Marqués de la Esperanza Hacienda Ruins
  • Palmas Altas Beach
  • Sixto Escobar Museum
  • Centro Cultural de Barceloneta: Located in the heart of the city, the museum is dedicated to the culture and history of Barceloneta. Also features a collection of archaeological artifacts and Taino pieces.



Barceloneta has the biggest pharmaceutical complex in the world (14 industries). It is known that these companies have chosen Barceloneta to establish their facilities for its underground water reservoirs. The water in Barceloneta is so pure that it requires very little treatment for use in the manufacturing of pharmaceutical products.[5]

The employment created by these companies, along with a well-developed plan for urban growth, has allowed Barceloneta to be more than simply a town where people go to work. Puerto Rico Premium Outlets, conveniently placed near the expressway, have made the town into a favorite destination for shopping and consuming, and consequently a prime place for investment in food chains and entertainment. Increased employment opportunities have also caused an increase in population in Barceloneta and its surrounding municipalities. Barceloneta is looking at a future with tourism.

Barceloneta is also famous for its blue sand beaches, due to the high iron content found in the sand.

Special Communities Program[edit]

In 2001, law 1-2001 was passed[14] to identify communities with high levels of poverty in Puerto Rico.[15] In 2017, Governor Rosello created a new government agency to work with the Special Communities of Puerto Rico Program.[16][17] Of the 742 places on the list of Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico, the following barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods are in Barceloneta: Abra del Pimiento, Abra los Caballos, Cité Sector in Garrochales, Palenque, and Seboruco.[18]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[19]
1899 (shown as 1900)[20] 1910-1930[21]
1930-1950[22] 1960-2000[23] 2010[10]


Barceloneta is known for its political stability. Mayor Sol Luis Fontánes held the mayor's seat for the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) from 1986 until 2012. She assumed the role after the sudden death of elected mayor Héctor Ruíz Martínez, also of the PPD. After that, Fontánes was elected by only a narrow margin (49.2% vs. 48.6%), but he gained popularity with time. At the 2008 general elections, Fontánes received more than 70% of the votes and his margin of victory was one of the biggest of that election.[24][25] However, on 2012, Fontánes was arrested on charges of extortion, after 24 years as mayor. He resigned on March 1, 2012 while in prison.[26] In 2012, Wanda Soler was elected as Fontánes replacement.[13]

The Barceloneta Police Department is the municipality's police force.

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district III, which is represented by two Senators. In 2008, José Emilio González and Angel Martínez were elected as District Senators.[27]

Names and symbols[edit]


The flag of Barceloneta is a variation of the flag of Barcelona in Spain, from where the town borrows its name. It features four fields, two of them bearing the cross of Saint George (in Catalan, Sant Jordi), with five red and yellow bars in vertical direction to the right of each cross. These are all symbols pertaining to the city of Barcelona, and the community of Catalonia, where it is located, since the town was founded by a Catalan immigrant. The remaining two fields in the flag are blue, representing the Atlantic Ocean, which lies to the north of Barceloneta.[1][6][28]

Coat of arms[edit]

Barceloneta's coat of arms is similar to the flag, since it features the same Catalan symbols. However, it features three sugarcane flowers (guajanas) on top of the blue fields. The sugarcane flowers symbolize the source of life of the old agricultural economy of Barceloneta. The blue symbolizes the beaches and marine ports that contributed to the industry and commerce of the town. Like many coat of arms, it features a crown with three towers.[1]


Barceloneta is referred to as "La Ciudad de las Piñas" (city of the pineapples) for its many pineapple plantations. It is also known as "La Ciudad Industrial" (industrial city) for its many industries, mainly pharmaceutical.[29]

Other names are "Ciudad de los Indios" (town of the Indians) and "Pueblo de Sixto Escobar" (town of Sixto Escobar) for being the birthplace of the Puerto Rican boxer.



Barceloneta has recently added the use of trolly cars, free of charge, for local transport within the town itself. For travel outside Barceloneta, there is a station for carros publicos (public car transportation), which is a type of taxi.

There are 9 bridges in Barceloneta.[30]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Barceloneta Municipality Founding History and Symbols". Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH). Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Barceloneta, Puerto Rico". Archived from the original on 2011-10-20. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
  3. ^ Barceloneta, Puerto Rico Archived 2012-03-25 at the Wayback Machine on BoricuaOnline
  4. ^ Barceloneta, municipio de Puerto Rico Archived 2011-11-29 at the Wayback Machine on PRfogui
  5. ^ a b c d "Barceloneta Municipality General Info (Location, Square Miles, Economy and Geography)". enciclopediapr. Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH). Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Barceloneta, Puerto Rico Archived 2012-03-25 at the Wayback Machine on
  7. ^ Alvarado León, Gerardo E. "Sobre 250,000 estructuras están en zonas inundables" (PDF). Junta de Planificación - Gobierno de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). El Nuevo Día. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Cinco datos curiosos sobre el caño Tiburones". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). 10 April 2014.
  9. ^ Gwillim Law (20 May 2015). Administrative Subdivisions of Countries: A Comprehensive World Reference, 1900 through 1998. McFarland. p. 300. ISBN 978-1-4766-0447-3. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b Puerto Rico:2010:population and housing unit counts.pdf (PDF). U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau. 2010.
  11. ^ "Map of Barceloneta" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2007-12-17.
  12. ^ "US Census Barrio-Pueblo definition". factfinder. US Census. Archived from the original on 2017-05-13. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Barceloneta Municipality Festivals, Places, Mayor". enciclopediapr. Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH). Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Leyes del 2001". Lex Juris Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  15. ^ "Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). 8 August 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Evoluciona el proyecto de Comunidades Especiales". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). 24 February 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  17. ^ "Ya es ley Oficina para el Desarrollo Socioeconómico y Comunitario". El Vocero de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  18. ^ Rivera Quintero, Marcia (2014), El vuelo de la esperanza:Proyecto de las Comunidades Especiales Puerto Rico, 1997-2004 (Primera edición ed.), San Juan, Puerto Rico Fundación Sila M. Calderón, p. 273, ISBN 978-0-9820806-1-0
  19. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  20. ^ "Report of the Census of Porto Rico 1899". War Department Office Director Census of Porto Rico. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  21. ^ "Table 3-Population of Municipalities: 1930 1920 and 1910" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  22. ^ "Table 4-Area and Population of Municipalities Urban and Rural: 1930 to 1950" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  23. ^ "Table 2 Population and Housing Units: 1960 to 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  24. ^ Carmen Milagros Díaz (January 15, 2012). "Hablan los alcaldes invencibles". El Vocero. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012.
  25. ^ "Elecciones en Puerto Rico". Retrieved 2012-02-18.
  26. ^ Caquías Cruz, Sandra (March 1, 2012). "Sol Luis Fontanes renuncia a la alcaldía de Barceloneta". El Nuevo Día. Archived from the original on 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
  27. ^ Elecciones Generales 2008: Escrutinio General Archived November 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine on CEEPUR
  28. ^ Barceloneta, municipio de Puerto Rico Archived 2011-11-29 at the Wayback Machine on PRfrogui
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2006-08-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ "Barceloneta Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Retrieved 19 February 2019.

External links[edit]