Corozal, founded in 1795, is located in the west central region of the island, close to the north coast. It is bordered on the north by Vega Alta and Toa Alta, on the south by Orocovis, Barranquitas and Naranjito, on the east, also, by Naranjito, and on the west by Morovis and Orocovis. Its area is 110.4 square kilometers (42.6 square miles).
Corozal is divided into 13 sectors: Abras, Cibuco, Corozal Pueblo, Cuchillas, Dos Bocas, Magueyes, Maná, Negros, Padilla, Palmarejo, Palmarito, Palos Blancos and Pueblo (Barrio). The population is 36,867 corozaleños (2000 Census).
The corozaleños are also known as “The plantain farmers,” because of the huge numbers of plantains planted in the mountains of the municipality. The municipality is also called the “cradle of volleyball” and the “Capital of the Center of the Island.”
Corozal’s patron saint festival honors the Holy Family and is held in the month of January. The town also has a Plantain Festival.
The highest elevations in the municipality are in the south, in the Palmarito and Maná sectors, where the elevations reach 2,296 feet (700 meters ) above sea level. In the southwest, in the Magueyes sector, the peak of the same name measures 2,067 feet (630 meters). In the south, between the Palmarito sector of Corozal and the Mata de Cafías sector of Orocovis is the Matacañas peak, which reaches 2,408 feet (734 meters) on the Orocovis side of the border. In the center of Corozal, in the Negros and Palos Blancos sectors, are the Corozal Mountains, with elevations between 1,640 feet (500 meters) and 2,296 feet (700 meters). In the north, in the Cibuco, Abras and Palmarejo sectors, the land is flat.
The rivers where gold was extracted during the first centuries of colonization of the island were the Cibuco, the Corozal, Espíritu Santo, Fajardo, tHerrera, Mameyes, Manatí, Mavilla, the Morovis and La Plata. Four of those lie in the municipality of Corozal: the Cibuco and its three tributaries Corozal, Mavilla and Morovis. Other rivers that are tributaries of the Cibuco are the Negros, Dos Bocas, Indio, Unibón and Las Carreras. Of all of these, the one that produced the most gold was the Mavilla River.
The Cibuco River originates in the Cuchillas sector of Corozal and empties into the Atlantic Ocean to the north in Vega Baja. It is some 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) in length. The Corozal River originates in the Negros sector of Corozal and is 8 kilometers (5 miles) long.
The Mavilla River originates in the Cedro Arriba sector of Naranjito and is approximately 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) long. The Morovis River forms in the Morovis sector of the municipality of the same name. It is approximately 11 kilometers (7 miles) in length. The Grande de Manatí River crosses Corozal from the southeast to the southwest. Its tributary, the Riachuelo creek, forms in Corozal.
In the Abras sector are La Chiquita and Quintero caves and in the Padilla sector is the Rodríguez cave. All are wet and dark. The Quintero cave is especially deep.
The name of Corozal is derived from the word “corozo,” the Spanish name for the prickly palm (Acrocomia media), which is known for being strong, spiny, and producing edible yellow fruit that grows in bunches. This fruit was part of the diet of the Tainos. The first colonialists used it to make oil.
In the late 18th century, the site called Corozal was part of the jurisdiction of Toa Alta, but was not officially one of its sectors. The distance between the sites and the constant floods on the Cibuco River made communication impossible with the center of Toa Alta. This led some of the residents to organize and request the governor to grant authorization to form an independent town. Their request was granted in 1795. When, some researchers claim the town was founded.
However, the founding of a new town was conditioned on meeting certain requirements, including the construction of a church and government buildings, marking the borders of the territory, and holding elections. The official year of the founding of Corozal is believed to be 1803 or 1804, the date when a rudimentary church existed, a fence had been built around the cemetery, and a military commander had been elected to serve as the leader of the territory. Later, this official took on the title of mayor.
In 1828, the territory had 1,985 residents. During that era, the Corozal economy was based on the production of coffee, tobacco, sugar cane and other crops, as well as the raising of livestock. In 1853, there were 28 sugar cane presses, numerous coffee estates and fruit orchards. For a brief period of time, gold mining also took place.
In 1855, Corozal had two public schools, one in the center of town and the other in the rural zone. The municipality was divided into the sectors of Corozal Pueblo, Cuchilla, Dos Bocas, Habras, Maná, Negros, Padilla, Palmarejo, Palmarito, Palos Blancos and Sibuco. Despite various natural disasters, including a deadly cholera epidemic (1855) and the ravages of the San Roque (1893) and San Ciriaco (1899) hurricanes, the population grew to 11,508 residents by 1899.
With the passage of the Law for the Consolidation of Certain Municipal Terms in 1902, Corozal once again became part of Toa Alta. It was reconstituted as a municipality in 1905 when the law was reversed. Later, in 1948, the existing Magueyes sector and the urban center of town were reconstituted, creating the new sector called Pueblo.
Today, agriculture still has a role in Corozal but on a smaller scale. The municipality also has factories producing clothing, food products and machinery. The current population is approximately 70,000 inhabitants.
The Corozal flag is inspired by its coat of arms. It consists of three horizontal bands of equal width: yellow above, green in the center, and blue below. The central band carries the town’s coat of arms.
Coat of Arms
On a field of gold are three corozo palms with fruit in front of mountains and behind waves of water in blue and silver. Above is the crowned wall in gold with three towers, outlined in green. Under the coat of arms, on a flowing white ribbon, is the phrase: “In God and Corozal, We are United.” The motto expresses the spirit of brotherhood among corozaleños under the fatherhood of God. The palms represent the name of the town and its river, whose banks are luxuriously planted with these palm trees. The mountains represent the tall and striking Corozal hills and symbolize the “strength of character and forward looking nature” of the sons of Corozal. The waves represent the Corozal River and the gold stones represent the precious metal that was collected from the river’s sands until recently. The gold color of the background of the coat of arms is a symbol of industriousness and also alludes to the gold found in Corozal. The crowned wall is a symbol on the coats of arms of the cities and towns.
1825 – Esteban Rodríguez
1826-1829 – Feliciano Poventud
1830-1833 – Antonio Rodríguez
1849 – 1853 Bernardo París
1853 – Juan de la Cruz Coca
1856 – Francisco de la Vega
1864 – Juan A. Rodríguez
1867 – ? López de
1870-1872 – José Bernardo Gándara
1872 – Froilán Santana
1876 – José Bernardo Gándara
1876-1877 – Jaime Bou
1878 – José Bernardo Gándara
1878 – Joaquín Aldea Berenguer
1879 – ? Rivera
1879 – Enrique Gómez
1879-1883 – José Ramón Sifre
1883-1884 – José G. Pastor
1884 – Leandro Alvarez
1884-1885 – Manuel García Pineda
1885-1886 – Antonio Medín
1888 – Leandro Alvarez
1888 – Antoino Medín
1888 – Juan Barreras
1888-1890 – Joaquín Rojas Martínez
1890 – José María Escalera
1890 – Antonio Martín
1890-1893 – Manuel Valiente
1895-1896 – Camilo Taboa
1895-1896 – Manuel Valiente
1898 – Martín Nieves
1898 – Camilo Taboa
1898 – Plácido Nevárez
1898 – José Manuel Batista
1900-1902 – A. Bou
1905-1925 – Jaime Bou Galí
1925-1933 – Manuel Bou Galí
1933-1937 – José Cruz Vázquez
1937-1941 – Rafael Rivera Mediavilla
1941-1945 – José Isidoro Valiente
1945-1949 – Leandro Cabranes
1960 – Antonio Gorgas
1965 – Francisco Rodríguez
1969 – Baltasar Ayala
1973 – José Nieves Albino
1977 -2000 – Carlos Serra Vélez
2000 – 2012 Roberto Hernández Vélez
2012- currently Sergio L. Torres Torres
Hon. Sergio L. Torres Torres
Places of Interest
• Town barber shop
• City Hall
• Cibuco Historical Tourism Center
• El Rancho Recreational Center
• Municipal church
• Public Plaza
Ramón Luis Acevedo – Writer and professor. Currently he is the director of the Puerto Rican Literature Institute. He also a directo of Estudios Hispánicos journal.
Emilio R. Delgado – Poet and journalist. He was editor of three important, leading magazines: Faro, Vórtice and Puerto Rico Ilustrado. He also directed the newspaper La Correspondencia and was Secretary and Librarian of the Puerto Rican Athenaeum. (1901-
Sixto Febus – painter. Studied in classes taught by Picasso at the Sorbonne University in Paris. He has painted portraits of famous personalities. He worked as conservatore in prestigious museum as the Louvre, in Paris, the Prado, in Madrid and Buckingham Palace in England. His works have been exhibited in prestigious museums in the United States, Spain, Vienna and Australia.
• Corozal Carnival – June
• San Juan Bautista Carnival – June
• Corozo Festival – October
• Plantain Festival – October
• Patron Saint Festival (The Holy Family) – January
Note: These articles have been edited and checked by academics and specialists in History. Discrepancies may exist among historians regarding some data.
Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: June 04, 2015.
Images Gallery of Corozal
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