Hormigueros, Puerto Rico

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Municipio Autónomo de Hormigueros
Flag of Hormigueros
"El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de la Monserrate", "El Pueblo del Milagro", "Los Peregrinos", "Corazón del Oeste"
Anthem: "Sobre un verde valle de mi linda Borinquén"
Location of Hormigueros in Puerto Rico
Location of Hormigueros in Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18°08′23″N 67°07′39″W / 18.13972°N 67.12750°W / 18.13972; -67.12750Coordinates: 18°08′23″N 67°07′39″W / 18.13972°N 67.12750°W / 18.13972; -67.12750
Country United States
Territory Puerto Rico
 • MayorPedro García Figueroa
 • Senatorial dist.4 - Mayagüez
 • Representative dist.20
 • Total29 km2 (11 sq mi)
 • Land29 km2 (11 sq mi)
 • Water0 km2 (0 sq mi)
 • Total17,250
 • Density590/km2 (1,500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
Zip code
Major routesPR primary 2.svg PR urban primary 114.svg PR secondary 100.svg Ellipse sign 103.svg

Hormigueros (Spanish pronunciation: [oɾmiˈɣeɾos]) is a municipality of Puerto Rico (U.S.A.) located in the western region of the island, northeast of Cabo Rojo; northwest of San Germán; and south of Mayagüez. Hormigueros is spread over 5 wards and Hormigueros Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center). It is part of the Mayagüez Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The region of what is now Hormigueros belonged to the Guaynia region, located on the southwest portion of Puerto Rico. Archaeological findings have established that there were tribes already settled in the region around 820 BC.

During the Spanish colonization at the beginning of the 16th century, European colonizers settled in the area. A coffin found underground the basilica was tested in laboratories and was dated prior to 1600. Historians also mention the Horomico river as one of the main sources of gold during the rush of the era.[1] In 1692, the settlement that would become the town of Hormigueros was first established as a village of San Germán. It was founded by Giraldo González de la Renta sometimes spelled Geraldo).[2]

After its initial establishment, Hormigueros belonged to the municipality of San Germán.[2] From 1863 to 1873, residents of Hormigueros made formal petitions to be separated from San Germán and be declared an independent municipality. They were finally granted their independence as a municipality on April 1, 1874, being its first mayor Narciso Oller Serra.

However, after the American invasion of 1898, Hormigueros was annexed this time to the town of Mayagüez. The annexation was ordered by Guy V. Henry, but according to Adolfo de Hostos, it was a town's petition.[3] In 1912, they were granted their independence once again, although there were attempts to annex them again during 1928-29.


Virgen de La Monserrate at the Museo de las Americas in San Juan, Puerto Rico

There is folklore about the town's founder, an explanation of why the church in the town, Basílica Menor de la Virgen de Monserrate, became so important. The legend has to do with the townspeople aiding Geraldo in finding his eight-year-old daughter, "with eyes as blue as the turquoise skies", when she disappeared. When his daughter was found 15 days later she was unharmed, not hungry, and unafraid and happily explained that a black woman had helped her. Geraldo and the townspeople imagined it was the Virgin of Montserrat and Geraldo said that for having helped his daughter she would be venerated for all ages. Many people heard of the tale and began praying for miracles at the place. Many pilgrimages have been made to the church, even as early as in the 17th century.[4] It had not been the first time Geraldo had experienced a miracle at the location where the church would be built. The first miracle was when a savage bull was going to attack him but when he prayed the bull bent its knees, bowed its head to the ground, and didn't attack.[5] Some versions of the story of the bull that would kill Geraldo state the bull's legs actually broke and thus was unable to charge at him.[6] Since then, many Catholics perform penitence by walking the steps to the church on their knees.[7]



The town's flag is based on the towns shield. It consists of a blue cloth with a horizontal white rhombus. Superposed on the white rhombus is another blue rhombus with a white globe outlined in blue with a cross. The globe with the cross symbolises royalty and represents Christ's domain over the world. This symbol is a traditional attribute to the Virgin of Montserrat.[2]

Coat of arms[edit]

The town's shield is formed by a blue rhombus, with silver-plated edge. On the blue bottom there's a green hill which is a representation of Our Lady of Monserrate de Hormigueros Sanctuary, with its silver stairway. The border has symmetrical black dots, on guard. On the top of the shield resides a crown formed by a wall, with three towers that have blue doors and windows. The joints of the stones are filled with blue lines. The shield is surrounded by two chains that begin at the crown and finish under the bottom part of the shield with the last links broken.[2]


The name of Hormigueros means "anthill" in English. The town possibly derives its name from three concepts. The first one refers to the crowds that gathered at the Basilica Menor on September 8 to honor the Virgin of Montserrat. The second refers to the topographic formation of the town which consists of countless hills resembling "anthills" or mogotes, reason why it was called "Valle del Hormiguero" or "Anthill Valley". Third, it is possible that the name was originated from a Taíno word: Horomico, which means "río de oro" or "river of gold" due to the importance of the rivers in the area during the gold rush of the Spanish colonization.[2]


The municipality of Hormigueros can be divided in three areas: the northern mountainous region that covers one fourth of the town, with hills of relative height; a semi-mountainous region that extends from east to west covering downtown Hormigueros; and the flat, valley-like region that extends towards the south covering 5.6 square miles.[2]

Hurricane Maria[edit]

Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017 triggered landslides in Hormigueros with the significant amount of rainfall.[8][9]


The climate conditions of Hormigueros are hot and humid. The average temperature is 72 to 79 °F (22 to 26 °C).


Subdivisions of Hormigueros.

Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Hormigueros is subdivided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a small barrio referred to as "el pueblo".[10][11][12][13]

These residential areas are located outside Hormigueros downtown:

  1. Buenaventura
  2. San Romualdo Norte
  3. San Romualdo Sur
  4. Valle Hermoso Norte
  5. Valle Hermoso Sur



Despite its small size, Hormigueros still has several few attractions for visitors.[2] Some of them are:


The economy of Hormigueros is still developing. In the 1980s and '90s Allergan, Inc. (a pharmaceutical company) had a subsidiary established in town boosting the economic development of Hormigueros. However, after Allergan left no other private industry has opened operations in Hormigueros. On the other hand, Hormigueros does provide abundant land, talent and accessibility for an economic development and expansion. Not far away there are two regional airports: Eugenio María de Hostos Airport at Mayagüez and Mercedita Airport at Ponce. In addition, there is Rafael Hernández International Airport at Aguadilla. All three airports lie within 30 miles approximately.[2]

Special Communities Program[edit]

Spearheaded by then governor Sila María Calderón, Law 1-2001 was passed in 2001,[15] to identify Puerto Rico's marginalized communities.[16] In 2017, then governor Ricardo Rosselló created a new government agency to work with the Special Communities of Puerto Rico Program.[17][18] Of the 742 places on the list of Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico, the following barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods were in Hormigueros: Sector El Hoyo in Jaguitas, Lavadero, Salsipuedes and San Romualdo.[19]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[20]
1899 (shown as 1900)[21] 1910-1930[22]
1930-1950[23] 1960-2000[24] 2010[12]
Race - Hormigueros, Puerto Rico - 2000 Census[25]
Race Population % of Total
White 14,283 86.0%
Black/African American 811 4.9%
American Indian and Alaska Native 31 0.2%
Asian 21 0.1%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 4 0.0%
Some other race 1,063 6.4%
Two or more races 401 2.4%

Hormigueros is a small municipality is one of the least populated. The population, according to the 2000 census, was 16,614 with a population density of 1,510.3 people per square mile (580.9/km²). Since the 1950s, the population has more than doubled. According to the 1950 census, there were 6,916 people living in Hormigueros.

Statistics taken from the 2000 census shows that 86.0% of Hormiguereños self-identify as Spanish or white origin, 4.9% as black, 0.2% as indigenous etc.


The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district IV, which is represented by two Senators. In 2012, Gilberto Rodríguez and María Teresa González were elected as District Senators.[26]


Hormigueros boasts several public and private schools within its territory. Public education is handled by the Puerto Rico Department of Education, specifically the Mayaguez Local Educational Agency (LEA).

The local schools are: Elementary Schools

  • Escuela Elemental Nueva

Middle Schools

  • Ramon Rodríguez Diaz

High Schools

  • Segundo Ruiz Belvis

Second Unit (Elementary and Middle)

  • Alfredo Dorrington Farinacci

Higher Education[edit]

At the same time, most of the population (21-35) has either a bachelor or a higher degree,[citation needed] making the town one of the most talented ones in the Island of Puerto Rico.[citation needed]


Puerto Rico Highway 2 provides access to Hormigueros from the nearby city of Mayagüez, or from Ponce. The rest of the roads in the town are mostly rural.

It has a public transportation system consisting of public cars. Taxis are also available around the town.

There are 16 bridges in Hormigueros.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hormigueros". Nueva Isla (in Spanish). SG Communications.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Hormigueros: History and Founding. Encyclopedia Puerto Rico. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Hormigueros" (in Spanish). Municipality of Hormigueros.
  4. ^ "Selección de Leyendas puertorriqueñas". UFDC (in Spanish).
  5. ^ Ramírez-Rivera, José. 1929- Selección de Leyendas puertorriqueñas por Cayetano Coll y Toste ; adaptación y versión moderna de José Ramírez Rivera ; [dibujos, Janet Slemko, Brad Klein] (in Spanish) (5th ed.). Mayagüez, P.R.: Ediciones Libero. pp. 92–94. ISBN 978-0-9601700-2-9.
  6. ^ Hermandad de Artistas Gráficos de Puerto Rico (1998). Puerto Rico--arte e identidad (in Spanish). La Editorial, UPR. pp. 96–. ISBN 978-0-8477-0223-7.
  7. ^ LaBrucherie, Roger (1984). Images of Puerto Rico. El Centro, Calif., USA:: Imágenes Press. p. 27.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  8. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico". USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS.
  9. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico" (PDF). USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "Map of Hormigueros at the Wayback Machine" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-03-24. Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  14. ^ "US Census Barrio-Pueblo definition". Fact Finder. US Census. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  15. ^ "Leyes del 2001". Lex Juris Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). 8 August 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  17. ^ "Evoluciona el proyecto de Comunidades Especiales". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). 24 February 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  18. ^ "Ya es ley Oficina para el Desarrollo Socioeconómico y Comunitario". El Vocero de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  21. ^ "Report of the Census of Porto Rico 1899". War Department Office Director Census of Porto Rico. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  22. ^ "Table 3-Population of Municipalities: 1930 1920 and 1910" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. p. 128. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  23. ^ "Table 4-Area and Population of Municipalities Urban and Rural: 1930 to 1950" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  24. ^ "Table 2 Population and Housing Units: 1960 to 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  25. ^ "Ethnicity 2000 census" (PDF).
  26. ^ "Senadores por Distrito" [Senators by District] (in Spanish). Comisión Estatal de Elecciones de Puerto Rico. 12 December 2012. Archived from the original on 4 August 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  27. ^ "Hormigueros Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Retrieved 19 February 2019.

External links[edit]