Juan Ponce de León y Loayza

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Juan Ponce de León y Loayza
Juan Ponce de León y Loayza

NationalitySpanish (Puerto Rican)
Known forCity of Ponce named after him
Spouse(s)Doña Ana de Salamanca[1]
Parent(s)Juan Ponce de León II
Doña Isabel de Loayza

Juan Ponce de León y Loayza[a] (born San Juan, Puerto Rico)[2] was the son of Juan Ponce de León II (born Juan Troche-Ponce de León), the interim Spanish governor of Puerto Rico in 1579. His mother was Isabel de Loayza born in Villa Talavera de la Reina, Toledo, Spain, the daughter of Governor Iñigo López de Cervantes y Loayza.[3][4] The city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, was named after Juan Ponce de León y Loayza.

Noble lineage[edit]

Juan Ponce de León y Loayza's father, Juan Ponce de León II, was the son of lady Juana Ponce de León, one of three daughters born of Juan Ponce de León, the Spanish conquistador, and his wife Leonora Ponce de León (their other three children were Isabel, Maria, and Luis).[5] Thus, Juan Ponce de León y Loayza was the great-grandson of the Spanish conquistador and first governor of Puerto Rico, Juan Ponce de León.


Juan Ponce de León II, the first native Puerto Rican governor of Puerto Rico, was the father of Juan Ponce de León y Loayza

In his trip from Spain to Puerto Rico in August 1577, Bishop Diego de Salamanca, not finding a commercial ship heading to Puerto Rico at the time, boarded a Spanish warship headed to Mexico, which dropped him off in the southern coast of Puerto Rico at Guanica. He then rode by horse through the interior of the Island in his way to his post in San Juan.[6]

While traveling to San Juan, he took notice that the southern region was not being attended to by the Spanish leaders in San Juan, and while in San Juan, made efforts to have farmers sent to the South to settle there and work the land.[7] Having married Doña Ana de Salamanca,[8] the niece of Bishop Diego de Salamanca, Juan Ponce de León y Loayza learned of Diego's efforts and became interested in colonizing the area, thus becoming one of the first settlers on the southern shores of Puerto Rico.[9]

The first Spanish settlement was near Rio Jacaguas,[10] but being too vulnerable to Indian attacks at that location,[11] the colony moved further west and inland to the banks of Rio Portugues,[12] near the center of the current location of the city that bears his name.[13][14]

Political leadership[edit]

The city of Ponce was named after Juan Ponce de León y Loayza, the great-grandson of Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León

In 1670, a small chapel was built in the area where the actual plaza is now located. Ponce de León y Loaiza was the town’s most enthusiastic colonizer; it was his main interest to have this area settled and incorporated into a town. These were the humble beginnings of what would become a very important and aristocratic city.[15] While a resident there, and as son of interim governor of Puerto Rico, Juan Ponce de León y Loayza worked to have the Queen of Spain issue a permit to formalize the founding of a hamlet there. The hamlet had developed around the small chapel, raised and dedicated in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

On 17 September 1692, the King of Spain Carlos II issued a Cédula Real (Royal Permit) converting the chapel into a parish, and in so doing officially recognized the small settlement as a hamlet as was Spanish custom.[16] It is believed that Juan Ponce de León y Loayza himself was instrumental in obtaining the royal permit to formalize the founding of the hamlet.[17]


In 1848, many years after Juan Ponce de León y Loayza's death, the hamlet was declared a villa (Villa de Ponce) by Royal Decree. In 1877, it obtained its city charter, paving the way to becoming the modern-day city of Ponce.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ According to historian Francisco Lluch Mora, his full name was Juan Troche Ponce de León de Loaíza y Guzmán. See Francisco Lluch Mora, Orígenes Y Fundación De Ponce Y Otras Noticias Relativas a Su Desarrollo Urbano, Demográfico Y Cultural (Siglos XVI-XIX), p. 26.


  1. ^ Ponce: Notas para su historia. Mariano Vidal Armstrong. Oficina Estatal de Conservacion Historica. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 1989. page 10. Accessed 19 February 2018.
  2. ^ Passengers to Puerto Rico – 1567 – 1577. Miguel Hernández. Puerto Rico Hispanic Genealogical Society. (Note that the young Ponce de León traveled from Spain to Puerto Rico on 7 June 1572 {Record #33}).
  3. ^ Historia de Puerto Rico. Salvador Brau. (New York: D. Appleton & Co.) 1917. Copyright, 1904. Page 94.
  4. ^ Derecho de Sucesiones: La Sucesión Intestada. Efraín González Tejera. University of Puerto Rico Press. 2000. Page 368.
  5. ^ Biography of Juan Ponce de Leon
  6. ^ Historia de Puerto Rico. Salvador Brau. 1904. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Published: 1917. page 94.
  7. ^ Repertorio Historico de Puerto Rico. "Puerto Rico at the Dawn of the Modern Age: Books and Pamphlets, ca. 1830–1930." American Memory, Library of Congress. Washington, DC, 1999. (From: Año I, NÚM. 1. Repertorio Historico de Puerto Rico. Director Propietario: Cayetano Coll y Toste. Date: November 1896. Publisher: Sucesion de J. J. Acosta. Fortaleza 21, San Juan, Puerto Rico. 1896.)][permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Ana de Salamanca arrived from Spain
  9. ^ The Catholic Historical Review. Vol. 4. American Catholic Historical Association. Page 350.
  10. ^ Yerba Bruja (In Spanish) Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  11. ^ Ponce Webcindario. (In Spanish). Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  12. ^ Ponce. Francisco Suarez. Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 2009.] Archived 14 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  13. ^ Ponce...La Perla del Sur. Projecto Salon Hogar. (In Spanish)] Archived February 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  14. ^ Ponce en 1831. Sylvia Zavala Trías. (In Spanish) Antepasados Esclavos. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  15. ^ Spain in Puerto Rico: The Early Settlements. Archived 12 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine Doris M. Vazquez. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. New Haven, Connecticut, USA.
  16. ^ Puerto Rico En Breve: Nuestra Trayectoria Historica y Cultural.
  17. ^ Welcome to Puerto Rico