Naranjito is in the central eastern region of Puerto Rico. It is known as “The City of Colors” and the “Blackbird Town.” According to the 2000 census, there are 29,709 Naranjiteño living in eight wards: Achiote, Anones, Cedro Abajo, Cedro Arriba, Guadiana, Lomas, Naranjito Pueblo, and Nuevo. The north coast of Puerto Rico is visible from some of these wards.
The patron saint’s festival is dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel, and is held around September 29. The town also celebrates the 13th of June in honor of Saint Anthony of Padua.
This town has traditionally grown coffee, tobacco, and produce, and hosted a dairy industry, especially for the production of milk. There is some manufacturing, principally needlework factories.
Naranjito is one of the municipalities in the northern hills region. It is bordered on the north by Toa Alta, on the south by Barranquitas and Comerío, on the east by Bayamón, and on the west by Corozal. The highest parts of the municipality are located in Cedro Arriba, Anones, part of Cedro Abajo and Nuevo wards. The Las Cruces and the Avispa ridges are located at an elevation of 1,673 feet (510 meters) above sea level. Other elevations fluctuate between 1,640 to 2,296 feet (500 and 700 meters). The remainder of the topography varies between 328 and 1,640 feet (100 and 500 meters) above sea level.
The town is irrigated by the La Plata River and its tributaries, the Guadiana (which springs from Anones ward) and Cañas (rising from Cedro Abajo ward) rivers. The Guadiana in turn, has as its tributaries the Toro, Rivera, Anones, Patos, and San Francisco brooks; while the Jaguas brook is a tributary of the Cañas river. The Mavilla River also crosses Naranjito from its source in Cedro Arriba ward; it is considered to be the largest tributary of the Cibuco River. The Grande de Manatí River irrigates the southeast corner of the municipality. The La Plata Reservoir, is located in the Guadiana and Achiote wards of Naranjito.
In 1810, several residents of Bayamón and Toa Alta petitioned the Spanish government to create an independent municipality from the towns where they lived, as these communities were distant from the urban centers of Bayamón and Toa Alta. In addition to the distance and the poor condition of the roads, these residents alluded to their need to attend Mass and receive sacraments, along with the absence of the authorities in the region.
The inhabitants chose the name of San Eduardo de Barrionuevo, in honor of a Spaniard who owned the land that was purported to be used for the new town. This first effort was unsuccessful. In 1824, these residents, supported by residents in Quebrada Anones, Naranjito, Guadiana, and Río Cañas wards of Toa Alta, authorized Braulio Morales to petition the government to found a town called San Miguel de Guadiana. These efforts were also unsuccessful, since nobody donated sufficient land on which to build a church, a square, the government house, and the parish. When Manuela de Rivera donated a little less than six acres of land in Naranjito ward for this purpose, the founders decided that that sector would be the town center.
Finally, on December 3, 1824, the government authorized founding the town with the name of Naranjito. Braulio Morales was appointed “captain settler” and subsequently José de Ortega and José Antonio de Rivera were appointed to help the captain in the construction of public buildings. At that time the town was comprised of Achiote, Guadiana, Lomas, Naranjito Pueblo, Quebrada Anones, and Río Cañas wards, all of which had been separated from Toa Alta. In 1853, Cedro and Barrio Nuevo wards were added, the latter being the same Barrionuevo mentioned before. It is believed that “barrio nuevo” was written in error. In 1878, Cedro ward was divided into Cedro Abajo and Cedro Arriba, and Barrio Nuevo was named Nuevo, completing the process of changing the original name.
In 1902, the Puerto Rico legislature passed a law to consolidate certain municipalities, including Naranjito. This time its officials and wards became part of the town in Bayamón. The law was repealed by the legislature in 1905, and Naranjito recovered its sovereignty with the same borders and wards.
The Naranjito flag consists of an orange rectangle crossed by two narrow green stripes near the upper and lower edges. The orange color refers to the name of the town — Naranjito means little orange—, while the green stripes symbolize the color of its fields and mountains.
Coat of Arms
The coat of arms has four quarters crowned by a turreted castle. The first quarter bears a red cross representing Saint Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of Naranjito. The second quarter bears a globe and a cross symbolizing the power and sovereignty of God. The gold and red stripes in the second and third quarters are the vertical stripes or pales of the Guadiana family. The third quarter also bears a sheaf of lilies as a tribute to Saint Anthony of Padua. The fourth quarter bears an orange tree as a reference to the name of the town, Naranjito. The turreted castle is the symbol of township, and for the citizens of Naranjito it symbolizes their unity.
Places of Interest
• Gelito Ortega basketball court
• Cedro Abajo falls
• Las Avispas ridge
• La Plata Lake
• Anones park and lookout point
• La Marina promenade
• Municipal swimming pool
• Troubadours Square
José Archilla-Cabrera – Professor, poet, and pharmacist
Ernesto Cabrera – Prominent political figure and member of the House of Representatives in 1972.
Aurelio Gracia-Morales – Attorney and superior judge
Francisco “Paquito” López Cruz – Musician and folklorist, author of La música folklórica en Puerto Rico and Método para tocar cuatro. He is credited with reviving interest in Puerto Rican folk music.
Francisco (Paco) Roque – Poet
Mercedes Rosado – Attorney and superior judge
o Mothers’ day – May
o Men’s superior volleyball tournament – May to July
o Saint Anthony’s Day – June
o Blackbirds Festival – June
o Sweetsop Festival – June
o Patron saint’s festival – September
Text taken from enciclopediapr.org
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