Coamo, Puerto Rico

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Coamo

Municipio Autónomo de Coamo
Town and Municipality
Hot Springs of Coamo (Los Baños de Coamo)
Hot Springs of Coamo
(Los Baños de Coamo)
Flag of Coamo
Flag
Nicknames: 
"La Villa de San Blás de Illescas", "Los Maratonistas", "La Villa Añeja", "Ciudad de las Aguas Termales"
Anthem: "Allá muy cerca del pueblo"
Location of Coamo in Puerto Rico
Location of Coamo in Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18°04′48″N 66°21′29″W / 18.08000°N 66.35806°W / 18.08000; -66.35806Coordinates: 18°04′48″N 66°21′29″W / 18.08000°N 66.35806°W / 18.08000; -66.35806
CountryUnited States
TerritoryPuerto Rico
Founded1579
Government
 • MayorHon Juan Carlos García Padilla (PPD)
 • Senatorial dist.Guayama
 • Representative dist.27
Area
 • Total78.05 sq mi (202.15 km2)
 • Land78.04 sq mi (202.13 km2)
 • Water7 sq mi (0,017 km2)
Elevation
486 ft (148 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total40,512
 • Density520/sq mi (200/km2)
Demonym(s)Coameños
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
Zip code
00769
Major RoutesPR primary 14.svg CR 138 jct wide.svg CR 143 jct wide.svg CR 150 jct wide.svg CR 153 jct wide.svg CR 154 jct wide.svg CR 155 jct wide.svg CR 238 jct wide.svg
Websitecoamo.puertorico.pr
Downtown plaza area

Coamo (Spanish pronunciation: [koˈamo]) is a municipality founded 1579 in the south-central region of Puerto Rico (U.S.), located north of Santa Isabel; south of Orocovis and Barranquitas; east of Villalba and Juana Díaz; and west of Aibonito and Salinas. Coamo is spread over 10 wards and Coamo Pueblo – the downtown area and the administrative center of the city. It is both a principal city of the Coamo Micropolitan Statistical Area and the Ponce-Yauco-Coamo Combined Statistical Area.

Coamo is a small town nestled in a valley about 10 miles (16 km) east of Ponce (about 30 minutes by car). It was named "San Blas Illescas de Coamo" by its first settlers. Saint Blaise (San Blas) was the Catholic saint who remains the town's patron. Illescas is the Spanish town where the town founders originated (nowadays in Toledo province, Castile-La Mancha, Spain).

There are several theories regarding the origin of the word "Coamo". Some think it comes from an indigenous word that means "valley" but it is also plausible that Coamo derives its name from Coamex (or Coamey), who was a celebrated local cacique (or "chieftain" in the Taino language). Archeological digs near the region have produced some of the best examples of the island's pre-Columbian cultural artifacts.

Coamo has a series of natural hot springs, Los Baños de Coamo. The Battle of Coamo was a decisive battle of the Spanish–American War (1898).

History[edit]

Founded on July 15, 1579, Coamo is the third-oldest settlement of the island's post-Columbian period (after San Juan in the north and San Germán in the west). By 1582, there were twenty families living in Coamo, in the same area where the Tainos had had their village of Guayama. Coamo officially became a town in 1616, and was given the title of "Villa" by Spanish Royal Decree in 1778.

Coamo was the administrative center that encompassed most of the southern half of the island during the early colonial period. As the agricultural and sugar industries grew and became the mainstays of the colony's economy, the province would eventually subdivide into several distinct municipalities, and the administrative center of the region would later shift west to the coastal town of Ponce.

Coamo is the home of a series of natural hot springs, Los Baños de Coamo, which have attracted visitors since before the Spaniards landed. These springs were once rumored to have been Juan Ponce de León's legendary "fountain of youth". In the early nineteenth century, a system of pools of varying depths, sizes and temperatures was constructed at the site of these springs to serve as a spa for the colonials. During the North American invasion in the Spanish–American War (1898), this site was the scene of one of the decisive battles of that conflict (the Battle of Coamo). The American troops took possession of the island, and the spa was subsequently abandoned. Though the site lay in ruins for most of the twentieth century, it continued to be a landmark to the Coameños, who would often go to bathe in its healing thermal waters. The pools remain, but the old buildings which once hosted the island's affluent and colonial soldiers are gone, except for the remains of one central wall structure which has been preserved and incorporated into a fountain courtyard on the grounds of a popular tourist hotel and rest stop which has replaced the ancient Spanish ruins.

Notable people[edit]

Some of its notable people include:[1]

Geography[edit]

Coamo[3] is located in the South Central region of Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Maria[edit]

Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017 triggered numerous landslides in Coamo with the significant amount of rain that fell.[4][5]

Barrios[edit]

Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Coamo 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.[6][7][8][9]

Economy[edit]

Agriculture[edit]

Coamo is an agricultural center where mangoes, corn, guanabanas, tamarindo, quenepas, avocados, oranges and plantains are grown, and where poultry and cattle are raised.

Industry[edit]

Coamo is a trading center for machinery, aircraft radio components, and clothing.

Special communities[edit]

Since 2001 when law 1-2001 was passed,[11] measures have been taken to identify and address the high levels of poverty and the lack of resources and opportunities affecting specific communities in Puerto Rico. Initially there were 686 places that made the list.[12] By 2008, there were 742 places on the list of Comunidades especiales de Puerto Rico. The places on the list are barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods and in 2004 included the following areas in Coamo:[12][13]

  1. Zambrana neighborhood
  2. Cuyón
  3. Sector Varsovia in El Cerro
  4. Río Jueyes
  5. Sector Sabana Hoyo

In 2017, Governor Rosello created a new government agency to aid the Special Communities of Puerto Rico Program and Jesús Vélez Vargas, its director stated that the program was evolving with more streamlined ways to help the residents of these marginalized communities.[14][15]

Tourism[edit]

The house of Florencio Santiago, a philanthropist from Pasto, Coamo

Landmarks and places of interest[edit]

Some of the landmarks of Coamo are:[1]

Culture[edit]

Festivals and events[edit]

Coamo hosts several annual events:[1]

  • Patron Festivities - February
  • San Blas Half-Marathon - February
  • Flower Carnival - May
  • Yuca (cassava) Carnival - August
  • Juey (crab) Carnival - October
  • Bomba & Plena Festival - November

Sports[edit]

Coamo is famous for being the host of the San Blas Half-Marathon, a yearly world-class professional marathon that attracts the best competitive runners in the world. It was inaugurated in 1963 by Delta Phi Delta Fraternity in honor to the founder of the town. World-class international and local runners compete in a 13.1094-mile (21.0975 km) half-marathon. It is Puerto Rico's biggest race, and the crowds are always large.

The Maratonistas de Coamo (from the BSN) is the only professional team which the town hosts. The team has played in Coamo with mixed success since joining the league in 1985.

Demographics[edit]

Race - Coamo, Puerto Rico - 2000 Census[16]
Race Population % of Total
White 30,264 80.5%
Black/African American 2,165 5.8%
American Indian and Alaska Native 101 0.3%
Asian 25 0.1%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 6 0.0%
Some other race 3,799 10.1%
Two or more races 1,237 3.3%

Government[edit]

All municipalities in Puerto Rico are administered by a mayor, elected every four years. The current mayor of Coamo is Juan Carlos García Padilla, of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD). He was elected at the 2000 general elections.

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district VI, which is represented by two Senators. In 2012, Miguel Pereira Castillo and Angel M. Rodríguez were elected as District Senators.[17]

Transportation[edit]

There are 31 bridges in Coamo.[18]

Symbols[edit]

Flag[edit]

The flag of Coamo derives its colors from the coat of arms. Its colors are red, yellow, and black.

Coat of arms[edit]

The top left and the lower right have a red background with a gold Episcopal hat each. These parts of the coat of arms represent the old seat of San Blas de Illescas. The horse and the bull represent the cattle wealth of the population. The gold color that serves as background in contrast with the black color, recalls the yellowish reddish tone of the fields of Coamo during the droughts. The heavy border of the coat of arms contains the following figures: two flames; three bell towers with gold bells outlined in red; two red crosses with arms ending in three petals; and a circle with a surface divided by horizontal blue and silver-plated stripes.

Notable Puerto Ricans from Coamo[edit]

  • Florencio Santiago - born in 1855, he was a philanthropist who studied at Boston University. He donated most of his patrimony which was used for the building of many structures in Coamo barrio-pueblo.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Coamo Municipality Places of Interest". enciclopediapr.org. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  2. ^ "The names of the awarded artists 2015". www.florencebiennale.org. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Coamo Municipality - Municipalities - EnciclopediaPR". Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH).
  4. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico". USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS.
  5. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico" (PDF). USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS.
  6. ^ Picó, Rafael; Buitrago de Santiago, Zayda; Berrios, Hector H. Nueva geografía de Puerto Rico: física, económica, y social, por Rafael Picó. Con la colaboración de Zayda Buitrago de Santiago y Héctor H. Berrios. San Juan Editorial Universitaria, Universidad de Puerto Rico,1969.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Puerto Rico:2010:population and housing unit counts.pdf (PDF). U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau. 2010.
  9. ^ "Map of Coamo at the Wayback Machine" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  10. ^ "US Census Barrio-Pueblo definition". factfinder.com. US Census. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Leyes del 2001". Lex Juris Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). 8 August 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  13. ^ 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. 274, ISBN 978-0-9820806-1-0
  14. ^ "Evoluciona el proyecto de Comunidades Especiales". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). 24 February 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  15. ^ ElVocero.com, Por. "Ya es ley Oficina para el Desarrollo Socioeconómico y Comunitario". El Vocero de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  16. ^ Ethnicity 2000 census
  17. ^ Elecciones Generales 2012: Escrutinio General Archived December 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine on CEEPUR
  18. ^ "Coamo Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  19. ^ http://www.angelfire.com/blog/florenciosantiago/Biograf_FS.pdf

Sources:

  • Historia de Coamo, "La Villa Añeja", Ramon Rivera Bermúdez, 1980.

External links[edit]