Lajas, Puerto Rico
Municipio de Lajas
Town and Municipality
Homes in Lajas
"La Ciudad Cardenalicia", "Los Tira Piedras"
|Anthem: "Nuestro Lajas, pueblito querido"|
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Lajas Municipality
|• Mayor||Jayson Martínez (PNP)|
|• Senatorial dist.||5 - Ponce|
|• Representative dist.||21|
|• Total||76.85 sq mi (199.04 km2)|
|• Land||61 sq mi (158 km2)|
|• Water||15.85 sq mi (41.04 km2)|
|• Density||340/sq mi (130/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−4 (AST)|
Lajas (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈlaxas]) is a municipality of Puerto Rico 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 barrios 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.
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).
Puerto Rico was ceded by Spain in the aftermath of the Spanish–American War under the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1898 and became a territory of the United States. In 1899, the United States conducted its first census of Puerto Rico finding that the population of Lajas was 8,789.
People from the El Combate community in barrio Boquerón are known as mata con hacha ("those who kill with axes") based on 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").
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".
Barrios (which are like minor civil divisions) and subbarrios, in turn, are further subdivided into smaller local populated place areas/units called sectores (sectors in English). The types of sectores may vary, from normally sector to urbanización to reparto to barriada to residencial, among others.
Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico (Special Communities of Puerto Rico) are marginalized communities whose citizens are experiencing a certain amount of social exclusion. A map shows these communities occur in nearly every municipality of the commonwealth. Of the 742 places that were on the list in 2014, 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.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
1899 (shown as 1900) 1910-1930
1930-1950 1960-2000 2010
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
There are 5 beaches in Lajas. Some of the main attractions of Lajas are:
- 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
- Caribe Fisheries
- Alien route, which is a landing strip developed by a local from Lajas to welcome extraterrestrial landings.
Festivals and events
Lajas celebrates its patron saint festival in February. The Fiestas Patronales de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria is a religious and cultural celebration that generally features parades, games, artisans, amusement rides, regional food, and live entertainment.
Other festivals and events celebrated in Lajas include:
- Kite Festival – February / March
- Festival de Pesca de la Aguja Azul – May
- Pineapple Festival (Festival de la Piña Paradisíaca) - May or June, where up to 50,000 people come for arts, crafts, music and 30,000 lbs. of pineapple
- Fiesta de San Pedro Festival – June
- Agriculture Fair or (Feria Agrícola Nacional del Valle de Lajas) – June / July
- Christmas Parade and Artisans Fair – December
Like all municipalities in Puerto Rico, Lajas is administered by a mayor. The current mayor is Jayson Martínez, from the New Progressive Party (PNP). Martínez was elected at the 2020 general election.
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.
There are 5 bridges in Lajas.
- Robinson Cancel, Major League Baseball player
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
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.
Roseate tern at La Parguera, (on the list of threatened species)
- List of Puerto Ricans
- History of Puerto Rico
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Lajas, Puerto Rico
- Did you know-Puerto Rico?
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- Luis Aponte Martinez, Roman Catholic cardinal of the Archdiocese of San Juan
- Ulises Casiano, Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Mayagüez
- Jacobo Morales, actor and film director
- Jose "Joe" Basora, Puerto Rican Boxer
Media related to Lajas, Puerto Rico at Wikimedia Commons