Lajas, Puerto Rico

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Lajas

Municipio de Lajas
Town and Municipality
Homes in Lajas, Puerto Rico
Homes in Lajas, Puerto Rico
Flag of Lajas
Flag
Nicknames: 
"La Ciudad Cardenalicia", "Los Tira Piedras"
Anthem: "Nuestro Lajas, pueblito querido"
Location of Lajas in Puerto Rico
Location of Lajas in Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18°03′07″N 67°03′35″W / 18.05194°N 67.05972°W / 18.05194; -67.05972Coordinates: 18°03′07″N 67°03′35″W / 18.05194°N 67.05972°W / 18.05194; -67.05972
Country United States
Territory Puerto Rico
Founded1883
Government
 • MayorMarcos Irizarry (PPD)
 • Senatorial dist.5 - Ponce
 • Representative dist.21
Area
 • Total199.04 km2 (76.85 sq mi)
 • Land158 km2 (61 sq mi)
 • Water41.04 km2 (15.85 sq mi)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total25,753
 • Density130/km2 (340/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Lajeños
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
Zip code
00667
Major routesPR secondary 101.svg PR secondary 116.svg PR secondary 122.svg Ellipse sign 117.svg Ellipse sign 118.svg

Lajas (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈlaxas]) is a municipality of Puerto Rico (U.S.) located in southwestern Puerto Rico, on the southern coast of the island, bordering the Caribbean Sea, south of San Germán and Sabana Grande; east of Cabo Rojo; and west of Guánica. Lajas is spread over 11 wards plus Lajas Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the San Germán-Cabo Rojo Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[edit]

Located at the Lajas Valley, the town was founded in 1883 by the Xueta Teodoro Jacome Pagan. Xuetes (Chuetas) were Majorcan Jews (Sephardi Catalan Jews). Some families changed their names from Jacome to the Castilian form Santiago (Saint James the Righteous). Jacome is the Mallorquin form of James (Ia'akov). Catalan Jews from Majorca were part of the early settlers in the South of (Boriken) (Puerto Rico).

When after the Treaty of Paris (1898), the U.S. conducted its first census of Puerto Rico, the population of Lajas was 8,789.[1]

The village of La Parguera is a popular tourist destination to see the famous Bahía Fosforescente (Phosphorescent Bay) and its keys and islet's.[2]

People from the El Combate community in barrio Boquerón are known as mata con hacha ("those who kill with axes") based on an folklore about a fight over the salinas, where those from Cabo Rojo fought with axes against people from the adjacent town of Lajas. Because the people from Lajas apparently fought back by throwing stones they are known as tira piedras ("those who throw stones").[3]

Geography[edit]

Lajas[4] is located on the southern coast. Laguna Cartagena National Wildlife Refuge is a national protected area located in Lajas.

Barrios[edit]

Subdivisions of Lajas.

Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Lajas is subdivided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a small barrio referred to as "el pueblo".[5][6][7][8][9][10]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
19008,789
191011,07126.0%
192011,9087.6%
193012,4544.6%
194014,73618.3%
195016,32610.8%
196015,375−5.8%
197016,5457.6%
198021,23628.4%
199023,2719.6%
200026,26112.8%
201025,753−1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
1899 (shown as 1900)[13] 1910-1930[14]
1930-1950[15] 1960-2000[16] 2010[17]

Tourism[edit]

Boats at La Parguera in Lajas, Puerto Rico

Lajas is famous for its main touristic attraction, Phosphorescent Bay (La Parguera), a place where bioluminescent dinoflagellates of different colors appear when the water moves. The origin of the colored lights is the object of many legends. Lajas is also a fishing town.

Landmarks and places of interest[edit]

Caracoles, a mangrove island off La Parguera
  • Cartagena Lagoon
  • Indian Museum
  • Old Train Station
  • Old Silver Mines
  • La Parguera
  • Lajeño soldier Monument
  • Isla Magueyes
  • Isla Mata la Gata
  • Pineapple Processing Plant Ruins
  • Rosada Beach or Playita Rosada
  • Caracoles
  • Caribe Fisheries
  • Alien route, which is a landing strip developed by a local from Lajas to welcome extraterrestrial landings.[18]

Special Communities Program[edit]

Spearheaded by then governor Sila María Calderón, Law 1-2001 was passed in 2001,[19] to identify Puerto Rico's marginalized communities.[20] In 2017, then governor Ricardo Rosselló created a new government agency to work with the Special Communities of Puerto Rico Program.[21][22] Of the 742 places on the list of Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico, the following barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods were in Lajas: El Papayo, El Tendal, Sector Sabana Yeguas, La Haya, Las Cuevas, Los Jovillos, Maguayo, Piñalejos, and Tokio.[23]

Culture[edit]

Festivals and events[edit]

  • February: The Festival of Kites, and Our Lady of Candelaria Patron Saint Festival
  • June: Pineapple Festival (Festival de la Piña Paradisíaca), where up to 50,000 people come for arts, crafts, music and 30,000 lbs. of pineapple[24]
  • September: Lola Rodriguez of Tio Festival

Government[edit]

Like all municipalities in Puerto Rico, Lajas is administered by a mayor. The current mayor is Marcos Irizarry, from the Popular Democratic Party (PPD). Irizarry was elected at the 2012 general election, but he had served before from 1997 to 2009.

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district V, which is represented by two Senators. In 2012, Ramón Ruiz and Martín Vargas Morales, from the Popular Democratic Party, were elected as District Senators.[25]

Transportation[edit]

There are 5 bridges in Lajas.[26]

Symbols[edit]

Flag[edit]

The flag consists of three (3) horizontal stripes; the superior one green, the center white and the bottom one yellow. A fourth cross. In the center of that cross we have two arms united with a ripe yellow pineapple. The cross is surrounded by eleven gold stars; five in the superior (north) part and six in the inferior (south) part of the cross forming a circle.

Coat of arms[edit]

It is gold with a green band crossing it diagonally right to left; gold stands for the wealth of the land and green for the beauty of the valley, which is a gift from mother nature to Lajas. The band is adorned, at each end, with a pineapple bordered in gold and black. In the center of the band, also in gold, a marine shell. In the top left there is a red cardinal's hat and in the bottom a red anchor with green; the shield has a 3 tower castle, each one with two windows and a door. On the bottom, outside the shield, a banner with the inscription "Ciudad Cardenalicia" (Cardinality City). The banner and the inscription appear in black.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joseph Prentiss Sanger; Henry Gannett; Walter Francis Willcox (1900). Informe sobre el censo de Puerto Rico, 1899, United States. War Dept. Porto Rico Census Office (in Spanish). Imprenta del gobierno. p. 164.
  2. ^ "La Parguera". Lajas PR.
  3. ^ "Página Oficial Municipio Autónomo de Cabo Rojo". Cabo Rojo PR.
  4. ^ "Lajas Municipality - Municipalities - EnciclopediaPR". Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH).
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Puerto Rico:2010:population and housing unit counts.pdf (PDF). U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau. 2010.
  8. ^ "Map of Lajas" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-03-22. Retrieved 2007-12-18. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Map of the Neighborhoods (Barrios) of Lajas". Lajas PR.
  11. ^ "US Census Barrio-Pueblo definition". Fact Finder. US Census. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved September 21, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ "Report of the Census of Porto Rico 1899". War Department Office Director Census of Porto Rico. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  14. ^ "Table 3-Population of Municipalities: 1930 1920 and 1910" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  15. ^ "Table 4-Area and Population of Municipalities Urban and Rural: 1930 to 1950" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  16. ^ "Table 2 Population and Housing Units: 1960 to 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  17. ^ Puerto Rico:2010:population and housing unit counts.pdf (PDF). U.S. Dept. of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration U.S. Census Bureau. 2010.
  18. ^ https://www.cbsnews.com/news/if-he-builds-it-will-they-come/
  19. ^ "Leyes del 2001". Lex Juris Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). 8 August 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  21. ^ "Evoluciona el proyecto de Comunidades Especiales". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). 24 February 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  22. ^ "Ya es ley Oficina para el Desarrollo Socioeconómico y Comunitario". El Vocero de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  23. ^ 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
  24. ^ "Esperan 50,000 personas en Festival de la Piña". Primera Hora (in Spanish). 20 May 2019. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  25. ^ Elecciones Generales 2012: Escrutinio General Archived 2013-01-15 at the Wayback Machine on CEEPUR
  26. ^ "Lajas Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Retrieved 19 February 2019.

Famous lajeños[edit]

Media related to Lajas, Puerto Rico at Wikimedia Commons