Yauco, founded in 1756, is known as the «Coffee Town,» the «Taino Capital,» and the «Town of Corsicans.» Its patron saint is the Virgen del Santísimo Rosario. Its name comes from the Taino word Coayú orCoayuco, which was used to identify the region and is related etymologically to the word yuca or cassava.
Yauco covers a territory of 69.16 square miles. It is divided into the sectors of Yauco Pueblo, Aguas Blancas, Algarrobo, Almácigo Alto, Almácigo Bajo, Barina, Caimito, Collores, Diego Hernández, Duey, Frailes, Jácana, Naranjo, Quebradas, Rancheras, Río Prieto, Rubias, Sierra Alta, Susúa Alta, Susúa Baja and Vegas. The population is 46,384 yaucanos (2000 Census).
The economy of Yauco is based on agriculture, especially its coffee, which is recognized worldwide. Tobacco, sugar cane and fruits are also grown. Also operating in the municipality are several factories that manufacture scientific instruments and food products made from flour.
Yauco is bordered on the north by the municipalities of Maricao, Lares and Adjuntas, on the east by Guayanilla, on the west by Guánica and Sabana Grande and on the south by the Caribbean Sea. Yauco is part of the southern coastal plain, although the northern zone of the municipality extends to the southern slopes of the central mountain range. The municipality’s highest elevations are located in this area: mount Membrillo, Rodadero peak and the Curet peak. Part of the mountainous territory of Yauco falls within the Guilarte and Susúa forests.
The municipality’s hydrological system consists of the following bodies of water: the Yauco, Loco, Chiquito, Naranjo and Buey rivers and the Grande, La Granja, Quebradas, Berrenchín, Fría, Mango Prieto and Susúa streams. There are also two reservoirs: the Luchetti, with an original capacity of 16,500 foot/acres, and the Loco, with 1,950 foot/acres.
Other geographical features are La Ballena bay and El Convento and El Negro caves, located in the Duey sector.
Yauco is part of the region that was ruled by the Taino chief Agüeybaná, one of the most important leaders on the island. It is believed that Coayuco, as the region was called by the Taino Indians, was visited by Juan Ponce de León in 1508. He was received by Agüeybaná, who provided guides to help him explore the island.
Later, Güaybaná, the chief who assumed power after the death of Agüeybaná, led an insurrection against the conquistadors because of the system of forced labor. Many Spaniards died in the insurrection, including Cristóbal de Sotomayor, an official of the island. As a result of the attack, Juan Ponce de León sent a huge war party to attack the Indians in Coayuco. Güaybaná died in one of the attacks.
After 1512, the island was divided into two territorial sections: the Puerto Rico region and the San Germán region. Yauco became part of the latter. By the middle of the 18th century, Yauco had a chapel. It was built in honor of Nuestra Señora del Rosario. In that era, it was presided over by Fray Pablo de Santiago.
In 1755, Fernando Pacheco led a group of residents who asked the governor and captain general, Felipe de Estenós, for authorization to found a town. On February 29, 1756, the Spanish crown authorized the founding. It was then that plans were drawn for the main buildings, such as the town hall, the church, the plaza and streets. Pacheco became the first mayor.
After the Real Cédula de Gracia order of 1815, the population of Yauco prospered notably, thanks to the production of cotton, sugar and coffee. The many Corsican immigrants who arrived in the mountainous area of the southwestern part of the island dedicated themselves to agriculture. Cultivation of coffee in Yauco originally began in the Rancheras and Diego Hernández sectors and later extended to the Aguas Blancas, Frailes and Rubias sectors.
In 1872, the town of Yauco had 11 masonry houses, 166 wooden houses, 77 huts and two public buildings (the church and the city hall). By the end of the century, the territory had been organized into twenty sectors: Algarrobo, Almácigo Alto, Almácigo Bajo, Aguas Blancas, Barina Alta, Barina Baja, Collores, Diego Hernández, Duey, Frailes, Guánica, Jácana, Naranjo, Quebradas, Rancheras, Río Prieto, Sierra Alta, Susúa Alta, Susúa Baja and Vegas.
The «last cry of rebellion» against the Spanish government was raised in Yauco. On March 24, 1897, about sixty insurrectionists, under the command of Fidel Vélez, took up arms against the colonial regime. Other leaders of the revolt were Manuel Catalá, Antonio Mattei Lluveras and Agustín Morales. They attempted to seize the city hall and raise a Puerto Rican flag sewn by the wife of Fidel Vélez. Many of these leaders were arrested and imprisoned in El Morro.
On July 27, 1898, U.S. troops commanded by General Miles arrived in Yauco. At that time, the municipality had various manufacturing facilities: factories producing furniture, crackers, pasta, chocolate and other products.
The Yauco flag is divided into two horizontal rectangles. The upper one is black and symbolizes coffee. The lower is gold and represents sugar cane. Both colors have been incorporated into the uniforms of sports teams from Yauco. In the center of the flag is the municipal coat of arms.
Coat of Arms
The coat of arms is divided into four sections by a central cross that represents Christianity. The first and the fourth quarters display the coat of arms of the Pacheco family, in honor of Fernando Pacheco, founder and first mayor of Yauco. The second and third quarters show coffee flowers with five silver leaves and four red points that symbolize coffee beans, all on a field of gold. These symbols represent the importance of the coffee industry for the municipality of Yauco. The border of the coat of arms represents the rosary and the crown wall with three towers establishes Yauco’s status as a town.
The heraldic description of the coat of arms is as follows:
On a field of silver is a kettle with gold and sable checks, with the heads of seven green snakes with red tongues, three facing to the right and four facing left. The border consists of gold and sable checks.
Hon. Abel Nazario Quiñones
Places of Interest
• Agre House
• Cesari House
• Lake Luchetti
• Lake Vegas
• Ruins of Nuestra Señora del Rosario Chapel
• Ideal Theater
• Tozza Castle
Loida Figueroa – Poet, historian and novelist of the mid-20th century.
Francisco Lluch Mora – Poet and essayist. Wrote Canto a Yauco and Canto a Eugenio María de Hostos, among other poems, along with prose. Was selected Humanist of the year 1994 by the Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades.
Ismael Vélez – Internationally recognized scientific researcher and botanist.
Amaury Veray – Composer from the nationalist period of Puerto Rican music. He wrote the Christmas classic called «Villancico yaucano.»
• Coffee Festival – February
• Patron Saint Festival – October
• Christmas Festival – December
Text taken from enciclopediapr.org
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