La Borinqueña

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La Borinqueña
English: The Borinquenian

Colonial anthem of  Puerto Rico
LyricsManuel Fernández Juncos[1][2], 1901
MusicFélix Astol Artés, 1867
Adopted1952 (as instrumental)
Readopted1977 (with lyrics)
Audio sample
"La Borinqueña" (instrumental)

"La Borinqueña" (English: "The Borinquenian", Spanish pronunciation: [la βoɾiŋˈkeɲa]) is the colonial anthem of the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.[3]

After Puerto Rico became "The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico" in 1952,[4] the first elected governor, Luis Muñoz Marín, signed law #2 of July 24, 1952 that made an altered version of the musical composition known as "La Borinqueña" its colonial anthem. The words that go with the composition were approved by governor Carlos Romero Barceló on July 27, 1977, law #123.[5]


The title refers to the aboriginal Taíno name for the island of Puerto Rico, Borinquén.


The music was originally credited to Félix Astol Artés in 1867 as a habanera danza, with romantic lyrics, but there is some evidence that Francisco Ramírez, a native of San Germán, wrote the music[5] in 1860, and named it "La Almojábana".[6] In 1868, Lola Rodríguez de Tió wrote a poem in support of the Puerto Rican revolution, which was set to the Ramirez/Astol Artés music. In fear of investigation by the Spanish insular government, Ramirez asked Astól to claim authorship of the music since he was a native of Catalonia and would, therefore, raise no suspicion.[5]

After the cession of the island to the United States, the popular revolutionary lyrics of Lola Rodríguez de Tío were deemed too subversive for official adoption; therefore, a non-confrontational set of lyrics were written in 1903 by Asturias-born Manuel Fernández Juncos. The tune was officially adopted as the colony's anthem in 1952 by governor Luis Muñoz Marín, and the words were adopted in 1977 by governor Carlos Romero Barceló.

The colonial version is played as a slow march, without the original tune's initial paseo. Per the request of the new government, Ramón Collado rearranged the music in 1952 into a more military tune.[7] Luis Miranda, the musical director of Puerto Rico's 65th Infantry Regiment Band, adapted the tune to be played as a march in 1922. The 1977 law that adopted the words as an anthem merely stated that the anthem be played as a march, the tempo vaguely described as being in a "martial manner", but established no official arrangement for the music. An official revision made in 2003 leaves the tune as a march.

In 2012, Dr. Yajaira Sierra Sastre, an aspiring astronaut, collaborated in a variety of projects with the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network and the Cornell Nanoscale Facility, which included writing the smallest "national" anthem ever written, "La Borinqueña Más Pequeña".[8]

Colonial anthem of Puerto Rico[edit]

Manuel Fernandez Juncos

(lyrics by Manuel Fernández Juncos, 1903)

La tierra de Borinquén
donde he nacido yo
es un jardín florido
de mágico primor.
Un cielo siempre nítido
le sirve de dosel.
Y dan arrullos plácidos
las olas a sus pies.
Cuando a sus playas llegó Colón;
Exclamó lleno de admiración;
"Oh!, oh!, oh!,
Esta es la linda tierra
que busco yo."
Es Borinquén la hija,
la hija del mar y el sol,
Del mar y el sol,
Del mar y el sol,
Del mar y el sol,
Del mar y el sol.
The land of Borinquén
where I was born
is a flowery garden
of magical beauty.
A constantly clear sky
serves as its canopy.
And placid lullabies are sung
by the waves at its feet.
When at her beaches Columbus arrived;
he exclaimed full of admiration
"Oh! Oh! Oh!
This is the beautiful land
that I seek."
Borinquén is the daughter,
the daughter of the sea and the sun.
Of the sea and the sun,
Of the sea and the sun,
Of the sea and the sun,
Of the sea and the sun.

Original 1868 revolutionary version by Lola Rodríguez de Tío[edit]

Lola Rodríguez de Tío
¡Despierta, borinqueño
que han dado la señal!
¡Despierta de ese sueño
que es hora de luchar!
A ese llamar patriótico
¿no arde tu corazón?
¡Ven! Nos será simpático
el ruido del cañón.
Mira, ya el cubano
libre será;
le dará el machete
su libertad...
le dará el machete
su libertad.
Ya el tambor guerrero
dice en su son,
que es la manigua el sitio,
el sitio de la reunión,
de la reunión...
de la reunión.
El Grito de Lares
se ha de repetir,
y entonces sabremos
vencer o morir.
Bellísima Borinquén,
a Cuba hay que seguir;
tú tienes bravos hijos
que quieren combatir.
ya por más tiempo impávido
no podemos estar,
ya no queremos, tímidos
dejarnos subyugar.
Nosotros queremos
ser libre ya,
y nuestro machete
afilado está.
y nuestro machete
afilado está.
¿Por qué, entonces, nosotros
hemos de estar,
tan dormidos y sordos
y sordos a esa señal?
a esa señal, a esa señal?
No hay que temer, riqueños
al ruido del cañón,
que salvar a la patria
es deber del corazón!
ya no queremos déspotas,
caiga el tirano ya,
las mujeres indómitas
también sabrán luchar.
Nosotros queremos
la libertad,
y nuestros machetes
nos la darán...
y nuestro machete
nos la dará...
Vámonos, borinqueños,
vámonos ya,
que nos espera ansiosa,
ansiosa la libertad.
¡La libertad, la libertad!
Arise, boricua!
The call to arms has sounded!
Awake from the slumber,
it is time to fight!
Doesn't this patriotic
call set your heart alight?
Come! We are in tune with
the roar of the cannon.
Come, Come, the Cuban will
soon be freed;
the machete will give him
his justice,
the machete will give him
his liberty.
Now the drums of war
speak with their music,
that the jungle is the place,
the meeting place.
The meeting...
The meeting...
The Cry of Lares
must be repeated,
and then we will know:
victory or death.
Beautiful Borinquén
must follow Cuba;
you have brave sons
who wish to fight.
Now, no longer can
we be unmoved;
now we do not want timidly
to let them subjugate us.
We want to be free now,
and our machete
has been sharpened.
We want to be free now,
and our machete
has been sharpened.
Why, then,
have we been
so sleepy and deaf
to the call?
To the call, to the call?
There is no need to fear,
Ricans, the roar of the cannon;
saving the nation is
the duty of the heart.
We no longer want despots,
tyranny shall fall now;
the unconquerable women also will
know how to fight.
We want freedom,
and our machetes
will give it to us.
We want freedom,
and our machetes
will give it to us.
Come, Boricuas,
come now,
since freedom
awaits us anxiously,
freedom, freedom!


  1. ^ "Ley del Himno del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico". lexjuris (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  2. ^ "CENTRAL AMERICA :: PUERTO RICO". CIA Factbook. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  3. ^ Ray Quintanilla. "From rebel to peacemaker." The Chicago Tribune. 9 January 2006
  4. ^ "Himnos Oficiales". Portal del Gobierno de Puerto Rico. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  5. ^ a b c La Fortaleza, Simbolos Patrios: Himno de Puerto Rico Archived 2006-06-14 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved: February 23, 2008.
  6. ^ "borinq.html". Coqui NET.
  7. ^ "Himnos Nacionales". PR GOV.
  8. ^ "'La Borinqueña' más pequeña". El Nuevo Dia. 28 March 2012.

External links[edit]