Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

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Cabo Rojo
Municipio Autónomo de Cabo Rojo
City and Municipality
Collage of Cabo Rojo
Collage of Cabo Rojo
Flag of Cabo Rojo
Coat of arms of Cabo Rojo
Nicknames: 
"Cuna de Cofresí", "Los Mata con Hacha", "Ciudad Maravillosa", "Cuna de Betances", "Capital del Turismo"
Anthem: "Mi Cabo Rojo Querido"
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Cabo Rojo Municipality
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Cabo Rojo Municipality
Coordinates: 18°05′12″N 67°08′45″W / 18.08667°N 67.14583°W / 18.08667; -67.14583Coordinates: 18°05′12″N 67°08′45″W / 18.08667°N 67.14583°W / 18.08667; -67.14583
Commonwealth Puerto Rico
FoundedDecember 17, 1771
Barrios
Government
 • MayorJorge Morales Wiscovitch (PNP)
 • Senatorial dist.4 – Mayagüez
 • Representative dist.20
Area
 • City and Municipality177.40 sq mi (459.5 km2)
 • Land70.35 sq mi (182.2 km2)
 • Water107.05 sq mi (277.3 km2)
Population
 (2020)[2]
 • City and Municipality47,158
 • Density270/sq mi (100/km2)
 • Metro
136,212
 • CSA
251,260
Demonym(s)Caborrojeños
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
ZIP Codes
00623, 00622
Area code(s)787/939
Major routesPR secondary 100.svg PR secondary 101.svg PR secondary 102.svg PR secondary 114.svg Ellipse sign 103.svg
Websitewww.caborojopr.net

Cabo Rojo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkaβo ˈroxo]) is a town and municipality situated on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico and forms part of the San Germán–Cabo Rojo metropolitan area as well as the larger Mayagüez–San Germán–Cabo Rojo Combined Statistical Area.

History[edit]

The area near Las Salinas (salt flats) has been inhabited since 30 BC and AD 120 according to archaeological evidence. Punta Ostiones, listed in the National Register of Historic Places as an archeological site, was home to a large group of Archaic Indians.[3]

Despite the threat of pirates and natives, the Spanish settled the area of Los Morrillos around 1511. By 1525, salt mining was an important industry in the area. In 1759 the first request to establish itself as a town was denied. Cabo Rojo was founded on December 17, 1771, by Don Nicolás Alfonso Ramírez de Arellano y Martínez de Matos, a descendant of Spanish royalty and nobility, with the approval of Governor and Captain General Miguel de Muesas. According to Fray Iñigo Abbad y Lasierra by the end of the 18th century,[citation needed] Cabo Rojo had a population of 1,215 people.[when?]

Cabo Rojo (red cape in English) derives its name from both the reddish color of its salt-flats and the reddish tint that characterizes the seaside cliffs along its southern coast. According to legend, the name was given by Christopher Columbus himself. The first church, founded in 1783, was called San José. The present-day main Catholic church is called San Miguel Arcángel Church located in the town's square.

Hurricane Maria[edit]

Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, causing large-scale damage and destruction to infrastructure.[4][5] In Cabo Rojo, around 400 homes lost their roof, and three thousand residents were left without drinking water as a result of Hurricane María. The coastal fishing village of Joyuda was the most impacted area of Cabo Rojo.[6]

Geography[edit]

The municipality of Cabo Rojo lies on the southern-west corner of the island of Puerto Rico, on the Western Coastal Plains. Sierra Bermeja, Puerto Rico's geologically oldest mountain range, crosses the municipality from west to east towards Lajas. It is bordered by Mayagüez and Hormigueros to the north, San Germán and Lajas to the east, the Caribbean Sea to the south and the Mona Passage to the west. Cabo Rojo has a surface area of 72 square miles (187 km2).[7]

Cabo Rojo's terrain is plain. However, some notable peaks are Mariquita, Buena Vista, Vargas, and Peñones de Melones.

Barrios[edit]

Subdivisions of Cabo Rojo

Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Cabo Rojo 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.[8][9] Cabo Rojo is a principal municipality of the San Germán–Cabo Rojo metropolitan area as well as the larger Mayagüez–San Germán–Cabo Rojo Combined Statistical Area.

People from the El Combate community in barrio Boquerón are known as mata con hacha ("those who kill with axes") based on an old folk tale about a fight over the salinas, where those from Cabo Rojo fought with axes against people from the adjacent town of Lajas. The latter apparently fought back by throwing stones and are thus known as tira piedras ("those who throw stones").[11]

Sectors[edit]

Barrios (which are like minor civil divisions)[10] and subbarrios,[12] in turn, are further subdivided into smaller local populated place areas/units called sectores (sectors in English). The types of sectores may vary, from normally sector to urbanización to reparto to barriada to residencial, among others.[13][14][15]

Special Communities[edit]

Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico (Special Communities of Puerto Rico) are marginalized communities whose citizens are experiencing a certain amount of social exclusion. A map shows these communities occur in nearly every municipality of the commonwealth. Of the 742 places that were on the list in 2014, the following barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods were in Cabo Rojo: Ballajá, Colacho, El Fuego y Las Piedras (Guaniquilla), Hoyo Bravo, Las Quebradas en Monte Grande, Pedernales, Puerto Real, and Sector Corozo.[16]

Climate[edit]

Climate data for CABO ROJO (Average and Records: 1910–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 91
(33)
92
(33)
95
(35)
95
(35)
95
(35)
99
(37)
99
(37)
97
(36)
98
(37)
97
(36)
98
(37)
98
(37)
96.2
(35.7)
Average high °F (°C) 87
(31)
87
(31)
88
(31)
89
(32)
90
(32)
91
(33)
92
(33)
92
(33)
91
(33)
90
(32)
89
(32)
88
(31)
89.5
(31.9)
Daily mean °F (°C) 75
(24)
75
(24)
76
(24)
78
(26)
80
(27)
81
(27)
81
(27)
81
(27)
81
(27)
80
(27)
78
(26)
76
(24)
78.5
(25.8)
Average low °F (°C) 62
(17)
62
(17)
64
(18)
66
(19)
69
(21)
71
(22)
70
(21)
70
(21)
70
(21)
69
(21)
67
(19)
63
(17)
66.9
(19.4)
Record low °F (°C) 44
(7)
51
(11)
50
(10)
50
(10)
56
(13)
58
(14)
53
(12)
58
(14)
60
(16)
56
(13)
53
(12)
49
(9)
53.2
(11.8)
Average rainfall inches (mm) 2.51
(64)
2.19
(56)
2.19
(56)
3.43
(87)
5.14
(131)
2.70
(69)
3.13
(80)
5.23
(133)
6.20
(157)
7.29
(185)
5.71
(145)
2.33
(59)
48.05
(1,220)
Source: Weather.com[17]

Demographics[edit]

Puerto Rico was ceded by Spain in the aftermath of the Spanish–American War under the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1898 and became a territory of the United States. In 1899, the United States conducted its first census of Puerto Rico finding that the population of Cabo Rojo was 16,154.

Historical population
Census Pop.
190016,154
191019,56221.1%
192022,41214.6%
193023,7926.2%
194028,58620.1%
195029,5463.4%
196024,868−15.8%
197026,0604.8%
198034,04530.6%
199038,52113.1%
200046,91121.8%
201050,9178.5%
202047,158−7.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[18]
1899 (shown as 1900)[19] 1910–1930[20]
1930–1950[21] 1960–2000[22] 2010[23] 2020[24]

Tourism[edit]

Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo

There are 127 beaches in Cabo Rojo, including Playa Sucia.[25]

Its tourism industry has flourished with the development of hotels and marinas, but local and international environmentalists are concerned that this development will endanger Cabo Rojo's rich and beautiful beaches, sunsets and natural resources. Cabo Rojo is also well known for its fishing, particularly the Puerto Real fishing village, and its many seafood restaurants, most of which are found in the fishing village of Joyuda.

Landmarks and places of interest[edit]

The San Miguel Arcángel Church, in the main town square, was built between 1773 and 1783. The famous Cabo Rojo lighthouse, Los Morrillos Lighthouse, known by locals as El Faro, was built in 1881 over limestone cliffs that rise 200 feet above sea level. This old lighthouse was automated and electrically charged in 1967 and is considered to have some, if not, the most spectacular ocean views on Puerto Rico's west coast. The lighthouse has undergone recent renovations which has created controversy because of the quality of the work. According to locals and scholars, the internal structure was gutted leaving nothing of historical significance behind.

View of Puerto Real in Cabo Rojo at night

The lighthouse is located near the Salinas, or salt mines. These salt mines are reported to be the oldest industry in the New World. Salt has been mined in this site non-stop since the time of the Taínos. Near the Salinas, a local civic group Caborrojeños Pro Salud y Ambiente run a visitor center known as the Centro Interpretativo Las Salinas De Cabo Rojo don Efrén Pérez Rivera. They offer free guided tours of the local area, which is rich in flora and fauna.

Monument to Ramon Emeterio Betances, 2007. The monument includes inscriptions honoring him on behalf of the Dominican Republic and Cuba. His remains, returned from France in the 1920s, are buried underneath the monument.

To stimulate local tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic in Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company launched the Voy Turistiendo (I'm Touring) campaign in 2021. The campaign featured a passport book with a page for each municipality. The Voy Turisteando Cabo Rojo passport page lists Faro Los Morrillos, Puente de Piedra, Centro Interpretativo Las Salinas, Hacienda Verde Tahiti (for agritourism), and several beaches including Playuela, Buyé, El Combate, and Boquerón, as places of interest.[27]

National protected areas[edit]

Culture[edit]

Festivals and events[edit]

Cabo Rojo celebrates its patron saint festival in September. The Fiestas Patronales de San Miguel Arcangel is a religious and cultural celebration that generally features parades, games, artisans, amusement rides, regional food, and live entertainment.[7][29]

Other festivals and events celebrated in Cabo Rojo include:

  • Pescao Festival – March
  • Años Cuarenta Festival – April
  • Chigüero Festival – April
  • Betances Festival – April
  • Oyster Festival – May
  • Boquerón Bay Crossing – July
  • Watermelon Festival – July
  • Retorno a la Arena – July
  • La Pileta Festival – December
  • Le Lo Lai Festival – December

Sports[edit]

Cabo Rojo had a BSN basketball team, Los Turistas de Cabo Rojo (the "Cabo Rojo Tourists") from 1989 to 1993.

Indias de Mayagüez, female Volleyball team from Liga de Voleibol Superior Femenino played the 2009 season at the Coliseo Rebekah Colberg Cabrera, because their home ground, Palacios de los Deportes, was under remodeling.[30]

Economy[edit]

Government[edit]

All municipalities in Puerto Rico are administered by a mayor, elected every four years. The current mayor of Cabo Rojo is Jorge Morales Wiscovitch, who beat incumbent Bobby Ramírez Kurtz at the 2020 general election.[31]

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district IV, which is represented by two Senators, and the Puerto Rico Representative District 20, which has one representative. In 2020, Ada García Montes and Migdalia González were elected as District Senators, while Kebin Andrés Maldonado Martiz was elected the District Representative.[32][33]

Symbols[edit]

The municipio has an official flag and coat of arms.[34]

Flag[edit]

The flag contains elements of the coat of arms, excluding the sword, the anchors and the crown.[35]

Coat of arms[edit]

The point or red triangle symbolizes the "Cabo Bermejo" (Vermillion Cape) in Los Morillos. The blue and white, with the anchors, represent the sea that "bathes our coasts". The flaming sword, is an attribute to Archangel Saint Michael, the town's patron saint. Finally, the crown, which heightens and distinguishes the shield, stands for the status of Cabo Rojo.[35]

Anthem[edit]

The anthem of Cabo Rojo is a composition with music and lyrics by Carlos Weber Asencio.

Transportation[edit]

Although Cabo Rojo lacks an airport, it is approximately 11 miles from the Eugenio María de Hostos Airport (MAZ) in Mayagüez, a commercial airport that serves direct flights to and from San Juan. Cabo Rojo has grown tremendously in the last few years as evidenced by its recent accreditation as a city. Cabo Rojo's nearest airport servicing international destinations is forty-five minutes away in Aguadilla's Rafael Hernández Airport (BQN). This airport was part of the now deactivated Ramey Air Force Base.

PR-100 is the main highway in the city, connecting northward to PR-2 between Hormigueros and Mayagüez, and southward to the Boquerón sector. Other mayor roads include PR-101, which connects to Lajas, PR-102, connecting to Mayagüez and San Germán, PR-103, an older road which parallels the newer PR-100, and PR-301, connecting to El Combate sector and the Los Morrillos Lighthouse.

There are 20 bridges in Cabo Rojo.[36]

Caborrojeños[edit]

Statue of "El Pirata Roberto Cofresí" in Cabo Rojo

The following is a list of notable Caborrojeños:

  • Antonio Fas Alzamora is the longest serving member of the Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly.
  • Ramón Emeterio Betances y Alacán (1827–1898) was a nationalist and a medical doctor. He was the primary instigator of the Grito de Lares revolution and, as such, is considered to be the father of the Puerto Rican independence movement and, as well, the Father of the Country.
  • Dr. Salvador Brau y Asencio (1842–1912) was a journalist, poet, writer and also a historian.
  • Roberto Cofresí y Ramírez de Arellano (1791–1825), better known as "El Pirata Cofresí", was a pirate.
  • Elisa Colberg (1903–1988) was the founder of the Puerto Rican Girl Scouts, the first troop of which formed in 1926 in Cabo Rojo.
  • Dra. Rebekah Colberg (1918–1985), is known as "The Mother of Women's Sports in Puerto Rico".
  • Ramón López Irizarry (1897–1982) was an educator and scientist who invented an easier way to extract the cream from the coconut pulp and developed the original formula of "Coco Lopez"
  • Demensio Rivera (1932–1964) was a United States Army veteran of the Korean War who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross; and whose award was upgraded in 2014, decades after his death, to the Medal of Honor.
  • Efrén Pérez Rivera is a former college professor and noted Puerto Rican environmentalist leader.
  • Colonel Carlos Betances Ramírez (1910–2001), was the only Puerto Rican to command a Battalion in the Korean War.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved July 14, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Bureau, US Census. "PUERTO RICO: 2020 Census". The United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  3. ^ "Inventory of Historic Light Stations National Park Service". Archived from the original on June 28, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2010.
  4. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico". USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS. Archived from the original on March 3, 2019. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  5. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico" (PDF). USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 3, 2019. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  6. ^ "María, un nombre que no vamos a olvidar. María golpea Joyuda, pero fue más gentil con el resto del Cabo Rojo" [Maria, a name we will never forget. María hurt Joyuda, but was more gentle with the rest of Cabo Rojo]. El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). June 13, 2019. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Cabo Rojo Municipality". Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH). Archived from the original on August 22, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  8. ^ Gwillim Law (May 20, 2015). Administrative Subdivisions of Countries: A Comprehensive World Reference, 1900 through 1998. McFarland. p. 300. ISBN 978-1-4766-0447-3. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  9. ^ "Map of Cabo Rojo at the Wayback Machine" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 24, 2018. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  10. ^ a b "US Census Barrio-Pueblo definition". Fact Finder. US Census. Archived from the original on May 13, 2017. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  11. ^ "Página Oficial Municipio Autónomo de Cabo Rojo". Cabo Rojo PR. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  12. ^ "P.L. 94-171 VTD/SLD Reference Map (2010 Census): Cabo Rojo Municipio, PR" (PDF). www2.census.gov. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Economics and Statistics Administration U.S. Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 22, 2020. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  13. ^ "Agencia: Oficina del Coordinador General para el Financiamiento Socioeconómico y la Autogestión (Proposed 2016 Budget)". Puerto Rico Budgets (in Spanish). Archived from the original on June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  14. ^ Rivera Quintero, Marcia (2014), El vuelo de la esperanza: Proyecto de las Comunidades Especiales Puerto Rico, 1997–2004 (first ed.), San Juan, Puerto Rico Fundación Sila M. Calderón, ISBN 978-0-9820806-1-0
  15. ^ "Leyes del 2001". Lex Juris Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ "Monthly Averages for Cabo Rojo, PR (00623)". Weather.com. Archived from the original on October 29, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  18. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  19. ^ "Report of the Census of Porto Rico 1899". War Department Office Director Census of Porto Rico. Archived from the original on July 16, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  20. ^ "Table 3-Population of Municipalities: 1930 1920 and 1910" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 17, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  21. ^ "Table 4-Area and Population of Municipalities Urban and Rural: 1930 to 1950" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 30, 2015. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  22. ^ "Table 2 Population and Housing Units: 1960 to 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 24, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  23. ^ Puerto Rico:2010:population and housing unit counts.pdf (PDF). U.S. Dept. of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration U.S. Census Bureau. 2010. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 20, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  24. ^ Bureau, US Census. "PUERTO RICO: 2020 Census". The United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  25. ^ "Las 1,200 playas de Puerto Rico [The 1200 beaches of Puerto Rico]". Primera Hora (in Spanish). April 14, 2017. Archived from the original on December 12, 2019. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  26. ^ "Teatro Excelsior". Discover Puerto Rico. Retrieved September 12, 2021.
  27. ^ Pasaporte: Voy Turisteando (in Spanish). Compañia de Turismo de Puerto Rico. 2021.
  28. ^ "BOSQUE ESTATAL DE BOQUERÓN". Archived from the original on January 29, 2009. Retrieved March 19, 2009.
  29. ^ "Puerto Rico Festivales, Eventos y Actividades en Puerto Rico". Puerto Rico Hoteles y Paradores (in Spanish). Archived from the original on February 26, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  30. ^ "Beltrán aprueba usar cancha Mario Jiménez de Guaynabo". Primera Hora (in Spanish). January 7, 2009. Archived from the original on April 21, 2014.
  31. ^ "Cabo Rojo Results". ceepur.org. December 31, 2020.
  32. ^ "Senatorial District Results Mayagüez IV". ceepur.org. December 31, 2020.
  33. ^ "Representative District 20 Results". ceepur.org. December 31, 2020.
  34. ^ "Ley Núm. 70 de 2006 -Ley para disponer la oficialidad de la bandera y el escudo de los setenta y ocho (78) municipios". LexJuris de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  35. ^ a b "CABO ROJO". LexJuris (Leyes y Jurisprudencia) de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). February 19, 2020. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  36. ^ "Cabo Rojo Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Archived from the original on February 20, 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2019.

External links[edit]