Vega Baja, Puerto Rico

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Vega Baja

Municipio Autónomo de Vega Baja
City and Municipality
Vega Baja, Puerto Rico welcome sign.jpg
Flag of Vega Baja
Flag
Nickname(s): 
"Ciudad del Melao Melao"
Anthem: "Melado Melado"
Location of Vega Baja in Puerto Rico
Location of Vega Baja in Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18°26′46″N 66°23′15″W / 18.44611°N 66.38750°W / 18.44611; -66.38750Coordinates: 18°26′46″N 66°23′15″W / 18.44611°N 66.38750°W / 18.44611; -66.38750
Country United States
Territory Puerto Rico
FoundedOctober 7, 1776
Government
 • MayorMarcos Cruz Molina (Partido Popular Democrático)
 • Senatorial dist.3 - Arecibo
 • Representative dist.12
Area
 • Total144.28 km2 (55.71 sq mi)
 • Land122 km2 (47 sq mi)
 • Water22.28 km2 (8.60 sq mi)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total59,662
 • Density410/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Vegabajeños
Time zoneUTC-4 (AST)
Zip code
00693, 00694
Major routesPR secondary 2.svg PR secondary 137.svg Ellipse sign 155.svg Ellipse sign 160.svg
Toll plate yellow.svg
PR primary 22.svg
Websitewww.vegabaja.gov.pr

Vega Baja (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈbeɣa ˈβaxa]) is a municipality located on the coast of north central Puerto Rico (U.S.). It is north of Morovis, east of Manatí, and west of Vega Alta. Vega Baja is spread over 12 wards and Vega Baja Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the San Juan–Caguas–Guaynabo metropolitan statistical area.

History[edit]

The name Vega Baja in Spanish means lower side of the riverplain. Geographically, the North of Puerto Rico goes down and is slightly higher than the level of the Atlantic Ocean and Vega Baja is a coastal town. Other historians believed that the name Vega Baja comes from La Vega. Vega is a surname of one of the families involved in the foundation of Vega Baja. It is also believed that the name comes from the region of Spain La Vega Baja del Segura.

Although is generally believed that Vega Baja was founded in 1776, after the division of Vega Alta from La Vega, historians have verified that it was many years later when it was officially recognized by the Spanish government. The foundation day is October 7 and it is also the day of commemorating the "Virgin of the Rosary". Vega Baja was originally known as Vega-baxa del Naranjal de Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Vega Baja of the Orange Grove of Our Lady of the Rosary). Orange comes from its previous name based on the fruit that was cultivated in the place.

Cibuco is one of the rivers that goes through Vega Baja, and is a variation of the name "Sebuco", a chief or Cacique Taíno Indian of the region. These "cells" of Taíno Indians were known to settle in the vicinity of the rivers. Although the Cibuco River is prone to floods due to heavy seasonal rains, the benefits provided to the land by the river are numerous.

Taino carvings have been found on some of the exposed reefs in the vicinity of the Cibuco river. Among these carvings is one depicting a face and others shaped as fish. They are an indication that these reefs were frequented for spear fishing and perhaps other day-to-day activities. Other places like Carmelita, Maisabel, Cueva Maldita and Paso del Indio are known as archaeological sites where the aborigines established their communities.

Noteworthy events[edit]

In 1990, over a million dollars in cash was found buried in plastic barrels, thought to have been deposited by drug smugglers for later retrieval. The sudden wealth of a few residents attracted attention and prompted an investigation by FBI and local police.[1]

Geography[edit]

Vega Baja, Puerto Rico tidepools

Vega Baja[2] is on the northern coast.

Hurricane Maria[edit]

Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017 triggered numerous landslides in Vega Baja with the significant amount of rainfall.[3][4]

Barrios[edit]

Barrios of Vega Baja

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

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
190010,305
191012,83124.5%
192015,75622.8%
193020,40629.5%
194023,10513.2%
195028,92525.2%
196030,1894.4%
197035,32717.0%
198047,11533.4%
199055,99718.9%
200061,92910.6%
201059,662−3.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1899 (shown as 1900)[9] 1910-1930[10]
1930-1950[11] 1960-2000[12] 2010[7]

Tourism[edit]

Playa Mar Bella aka Playa de Puerto Nuevo, Vega Baja

Landmarks and places of interest[edit]

  • Casa Alcaldía
  • Casa Alonso Museum
  • Casa Portela Museum
  • El Trece Recreational Area
  • House of Culture and Tourism
  • Man of the Sugar Cane Monument
  • Melao Melao Artisan Center
  • Migrante Square
  • Museo del Salon de la Fama del Deporte Vega Baja Melao Melao
  • Playa Puerto Nuevo and Recreational Area[13]
  • Plaza José Francisco Náter
  • Teatro América
  • Teatro Fénix
  • Tortuguero Lagoon
  • Tortuguero Recreational Area
  • Trinitarias Park

Economy[edit]

The abundant fertility of its soil, has meant Vega Baja has much agricultural and farming land. In addition, Vega Baja has one of the most visited beaches of the northern coastline, Playa Puerto Nuevo. This beach attracts thousands of beachgoers annually, making it a center for local tourism, especially during the hot summer months.[13] It boasts a natural rock formation of enormous proportions both in height and length colloquially named La Peña. This rock feature shelters the beach portion from the open seas just behind it. During rough marine conditions, the rock feature protects beachgoers, while the spectacle of waves crashing from behind and cascading down its face can be appreciated in the relative safety of the beach.

Agriculture[edit]

  • Pineapple, cattle feed (hay). In decades past, the land portion situated between the neighborhood of Monte Carlo and the neighborhood of Los Naranjos, was the site for the cultivation of sugar cane.

Industry[edit]

  • Clothing, leather articles; electrical and electronic equipment, machinery
  • Medical, and pharmaceutical.

Special communities[edit]

Since 2001 when law 1-2001 was passed,[14] measures have been taken to identify and address the high levels of poverty and the lack of resources and opportunities affecting specific communities in Puerto Rico. Initially there were 686 places that made the list.[15] By 2008, there were 742 places on the list of Comunidades especiales de Puerto Rico. The places on the list are barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods and in 2004 included the following areas in Vega Baja:[15][16]

  1. Alto de Cuba
  2. Barrio Algarrobo, Callejón Pérez, Sector El Hoyo
  3. Guarico Viejo
  4. La Trocha-Río Abajo

In 2017, Governor Rosello created a new government agency to aid the Special Communities of Puerto Rico Program and Jesús Vélez Vargas, its director stated that the program was evolving with more streamlined ways to help the residents of these marginalized communities.[17][18]

Culture[edit]

Festivals and events[edit]

Melao Melao Marathon - October
Matron Celebrations - October
Christmas Festival - December
"Blue Marlin" Fishing Tournament

Government[edit]

Vega Baja, like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, elect a mayor every four years to administer the city. The educator Marcos Cruz Molina is the mayor since 2013 and Ebrahim Narváez is the President of the Municipal Legislature.

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district III, which is represented by two senators. In 2012, José "Joito" Pérez and Ángel "Chayanne" Martínez were elected as District Senators. Rafael (Tatito) Hernández is the Eleventh District Representative and Hector Torres the Twelve District Representative at the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico.

Transportation[edit]

There are 23 bridges in Vega Baja.[19]

Symbols[edit]

Flag[edit]

Vega Baja's flag consists of a yellow cloth crossed by a green band. The band relates to the fertile valley and the river.

Coat of arms[edit]

The Vega Baja coat of arms has a v-shaped green band with overlapping roses in silver and three oranges trees, with gold fruit. At the top part is a five-tower crown, silver, black and green. The main colors of the shield; green and gold are used traditionally in civic, scholastic and sports activities. The crown five tower indicates that the town holds the rank of "Villa" by royal decree.

Anthem[edit]

The anthem of Vega Baja is "Melado Melado" with lyrics as written in 1974 by Adrián Santos Tirado and music by Roberto Sierra.

Education[edit]

Elementary schools[edit]

  • Agapito Rosario Rosario
  • Almirante Sur II
  • Almirantito
  • Cabo Caribe
  • Centro Comunal
  • Dr. Jesús M. Armaiz
  • Federico Degetau
  • Fernando Rosario Vázquez
  • José de Diego
  • José Gualberto Padilla
  • Manuel Negrón Collazo I
  • Manuel Padilla Dávila
  • Ofelia Díaz
  • Rafael Hernández
  • Rosa M. Rodríguez
  • San Vicente

Middle schools[edit]

  • Ángel Sandín Martínez
  • Brígida Álvarez Rodríguez
  • Centro De Adiestramiento
  • Segunda Unidad Pugnado Afuera (S.U.P.A) o Segunda Unidad Manuel A. Martínez Dávila
  • Segunda Unidad Almirante Norte (S.U.A.N)

High schools[edit]

  • Lino Padrón Rivera
  • Juan Quirindongo Morell
  • Brigida Alvarez Rodriguez

Private schools[edit]

Signs for Mech Tech College in Vega Baja
  • Academia Regional Adventista Del Norte
  • Colegio Nuestra Señora del Rosario
  • Fountain Christian Bilingual School
  • North Point Military Academy
  • Academia Eden Montesory
  • Christian Military
  • Academia El Arca Centro Educativo
  • Believer's Academy
  • Mech Tech

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lemoyne, James (April 18, 1990). "Talk of a Puerto Rico Town: Buried Treasure, No Kidding". NYT.
  2. ^ "Vega Baja Municipality - Municipalities - EnciclopediaPR". Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH).
  3. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico". USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS.
  4. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico" (PDF). USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS.
  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. ^ a b 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. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  9. ^ "Report of the Census of Porto Rico 1899". War Department Office Director Census of Porto Rico. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  10. ^ "Table 3-Population of Municipalities: 1930 1920 and 1910" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  11. ^ "Table 4-Area and Population of Municipalities Urban and Rural: 1930 to 1950" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  12. ^ "Table 2 Population and Housing Units: 1960 to 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Vega Baja busca una Alianza Público Privada para la casona del balneario". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). 22 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Leyes del 2001". Lex Juris Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). 8 August 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  16. ^ 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. 278, ISBN 978-0-9820806-1-0
  17. ^ "Evoluciona el proyecto de Comunidades Especiales". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). 24 February 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  18. ^ ElVocero.com, Por. "Ya es ley Oficina para el Desarrollo Socioeconómico y Comunitario". El Vocero de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  19. ^ "Vega Baja Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Retrieved 20 February 2019.

External links[edit]