Lares, Puerto Rico
Municipio Autónomo de Lares
City and Municipality
Lares City Hall in 2019
Ciudad del Grito (The Town of The Grito), Altar de la Patria (Altar of the Fatherland), La Capital de la Montaña (Capital of the Mountains)
|Anthem: "En las verdes montañas de Lares" (In the green mountains of Lares)|
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Lares Municipality
|Founded||April 26, 1827|
|• Mayor||José I. Rodríguez Ruiz|
|• Senatorial dist.||5 - Ponce|
|• Total||61.64 sq mi (159.6 km2)|
|• Land||61.45 sq mi (159.2 km2)|
|• Water||.09 sq mi (0.2 km2)|
|• Density||500/sq mi (190/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−4 (AST)|
Lares (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈlaɾes]) is a city and a mountain municipality of Puerto Rico's central-western area. Lares is located north of Maricao and Yauco; south of Camuy, east of San Sebastián and Las Marias; and west of Hatillo, Utuado and Adjuntas. Lares is spread over 10 wards and Lares Pueblo (Downtown Lares). It is part of the Aguadilla-Isabela-San Sebastián Metropolitan Statistical Area.
A significant event that occurred in Lares, the 1868 uprising brought on by pro-independence rebels who wanted Puerto Rico to gain its freedom from Spain. The movement, known thereafter as El Grito de Lares (literally, The Cry of Lares, or Lares Revolt), was soon extinguished.
The flag of Lares (the first Puerto Rican flag) is now considered by many Puerto Ricans to be the symbol of their independence movement. Initially developed to represent the island's struggle to gain its emancipation from Spain, the flag is now used by those struggling to liberate the island from the United States. The flag was displayed during the week of September 17 to 23 of 2018, at the Museum of History, Anthropology and Art located within the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of El Grito de Lares.
The United States acquired Puerto Rico from Spain in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War under the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1898. In 1899, the US conducted its first census of Puerto Rico, finding that the population of Lares was 20,883.
Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017 triggered numerous landslides in Lares. In many areas of Lares there were more than 25 landslides per square mile due to the significant amount of rainfall. Puerto Rico se levanta (Puerto Rico will stand up) became the slogan used across the island to communicate the island would rise again.
When the hurricane hit, many areas in the Municipal Cemetery of Lares were damaged by landslides. Total affected were about 5,000 burial plots, with the burial places shifting and some plots opened. In response, the municipality closed the cemetery to the public. In early 2019, El Nuevo Día newspaper in Puerto Rico began listing the names of the cadavers that would be exhumed and moved to other cemeteries, a long and delicate process. On March 4, an update was given by Lares officials on how the issue was being handled. On May 10, 2019, it was announced that a decision had been made to build a temporary wooden structure separating the affected area so that family members could visit the plots that were unaffected by the hurricane-triggered landslides.
Lares is a mountainous municipality located in the central western part of the island of Puerto Rico. According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, the municipality has a total area of 61.64 square miles (159.6 km2), of which 61.45 square miles (159.2 km2) is land and .09 square miles (0.23 km2) is water.
Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Lares is divided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located near the center of the municipality, in a barrio referred to as "el pueblo".
Barrios (which are like minor civil divisions) in turn are further subdivided into smaller local populated place areas/units called sectores (which means sectors in English). The types of sectores may vary, from normally sector to urbanización to reparto to barriada to residencial, among others.
Of the 742 places on the list of Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico (Special Communities of Puerto Rico), the following barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods were in Lares: Castañer, Cerro Avispa, Comunidad Anón, Comunidad Arizona, Comunidad El Bajadero, Comunidad Peligro, Comunidad San Felipe, and Seburuquillo.
Landmarks and places of interest
- El Ayuntamiento de Castañer
- Hacienda Collazo
- Parque El Jíbaro
- Hacienda El Porvenir
- Heladería de Lares (ice cream parlor)
- Hacienda Lealtad
- Mirador Mariana Bracetti
Festivals and events
Lares celebrates its patron saint festival in December. The Fiestas Patronales de San Jose 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 Lares include:
- Banana Festival – June
- Lares Festival – September
- Rábano Estate Festival – October
- Almojábana Festival – October
Lares has a professional volleyball team called Patriotas de Lares (Lares Patriots) that have international players including: Brock Ullrich, Gregory Berrios, Ramon "Monchito" Hernandez, and Ariel Rodriguez. The Patriotas won 3 championships, in 1981, 1983 and 2002. In 1981 and 1983 they beat Corozal in the finals and in 2002 they beat Naranjito. Some of the Native players were: David Vera 1979, Rigoberto Guiyoti 1979, Modesto 1980, Luis Vera 1980, Carlos Vera 1980,
Lares' economy is primarily agricultural. Harvested products include bananas, coffee, oranges, and tomatoes.
Tourism also plays a significant role in the municipality's economy. The Heladeria de Lares (Lares Ice Cream Shop) is well known around Puerto Rico for its unorthodox selection of ice cream including; rice and beans ice cream.
In 2016, Rural Opportunities Puerto Rico Inc. (ROPRI) in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) completed the building of 24 (one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom) units in Lares, specifically for farmers (in Spanish: agricultores), and their families, to live and work. It is called Alturas de Castañer (Castañer Heights) and there the families work to grow coffee, bananas and other crops which are sold to markets, and restaurants nearby.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
1899 (shown as 1900) 1910-1930
1930-1950 1960-2000 2010
Like most of the people of Puerto Rico, Lares population originated with the Taino Indians and then many immigrants from Spain settled the central highland, most prominently the Andalusian, Canarian and Extremaduran Spanish migration who formed the bulk of the Jibaro or white peasant stock of the island. The Andalusian, Canarian and Extremaduran Spaniards also influenced much of the Puerto Rican culture which explains the main Spanish dialect, and the Spanish architecture that surrounds the city. Europe had a lot of influence on their culture, you can see evidence of European art throughout the island as well. This area of the Island has an array of cultures. Basque, French, Corsican and Italian is highly predominant due to the introduction of coffee in this region of the Island. Unlike coastal towns, in the mountain regions of Puerto Rico the people are predominantly white.
The mayor of Lares for fifteen years was Roberto Pagán Centeno and he resigned in late 2019. José Rodríguez Ruiz began serving his term as mayor of Lares on January 20, 2020. Rodríguez Ruiz belongs to the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus.
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.
The Héctor Hernández Arana Primary school is located in Lares.
The origins of the municipality's flag can be traced back to the days of the failed 1868 revolt against Spanish rule known as the Grito de Lares. The flag is derived from the Dominican Republic flag of 1844-49 (reflecting the rebel leaders' dream to eventually join with the Dominican Republic and Cuba into one nation) and was knitted by Mariana Bracetti, a revolutionary leader, at the behest of Dr. Ramón Emeterio Betances, the revolt's leader, who designed it. This flag is formed by a white Latin cross in the center. The width of the arms and base are equal to a third part of the latitude of the emblem. It has two quadrilaterals located above and two below the arms of the cross. The superior (top) ones are blue and the inferior (bottom) ones red. A five-point white star is located in the center of the left superior (top) quadrilateral.
Coat of arms
A white cross is centered on and extends across the shield from side to side and top to bottom; it has blue top quadrants and red bottom quadrants; it has a five pointed white star in the upper left quadrant. A chain surrounds the shield. The coat of arms as described has positioned around it on a scroll and a ribbon in a semicircle the words: "Lares Ciudad del Grito." This constitutes the stamp of Lares and identifies unmistakably the municipality of Lares.
Puerto Rico State Route 111 runs through the town.
Lares has 15 bridges.
- Singer, composer and Virtuoso Guitarist Jose Feliciano who wrote and sang the Feliz Navidad Song, was born in Lares on September 8, 1945
- Lolita Lebrón was a Puerto Rican nationalist who was convicted of attempted murder and other crimes in 1954 and freed from prison in 1979 after being granted clemency by President Jimmy Carter.
- Denise Quiñones - Miss Universe 2000
- Luis Hernández Aquino
- Odilio González (born March 5, 1937), known by his stage name El Jibarito de Lares, is a Puerto Rican singer, guitarist and music composer who has been singing and composing for more than 65 years.
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