The municipality of Jayuya was founded in 1911. It is known as the “High Ground,” the “Town of the Tomato,” the “Town of the Three Peaks,” the “Indigenous Capital of Puerto Rico,” the “Overlook of Puerto Rico” and the “Artisan Mecca.”
The autonomous municipality of Jayuya is located in the central region of Puerto Rico and covers 39 square miles km. It consists of the sectors of Jayuya-Pueblo, Coabey, Collores, Jauca, Jayuya Abajo, Mameyes Arriba, Pica, Río Grande, Saliente, Veguitas and Zamas. According to the 2000 Census, the population is 17,318.
Jayuya is also known for its indigenous monuments: The Written Rock and the Tibes Rock, located in the Coabey sector; The Tomb of the Indian in Jayuya-Pueblo sector; and the Indigenous Mural in the Zamas sector, where the Jayuya sun petroglyph was found.
The Cemí Archaeological Museum exhibits archaeological pieces from the indigenous cultures of the island. The municipality is also the site of the National Indigenous Festival of Jayuya, one of the most important folk festivals held on the island. It honors the memory of the Tainos.
Jayuya is bordered by Utuado and Ciales on the north, by Ponce, Juana Díaz and Orocovis on the south, by Ciales on the east and Utuado on the west. It is located in the highest elevations of the Central Mountain Range, site of the highest mountains in Puerto Rico. Its land is high in clay content and the elevation of its lower sandy hills range between 400 and 2,000 feet. meters.
The highest point on the island, La Punta, is 4,390 feet in elevation. Other important peaks are: Cerro Magoyo, Piedra Blanca, Cerro Maravillas, Cerro Saliente and the Tres Picachos. The largest segment of the Toro Negro Forest is also located in Jayuya and Ponce. It is located at an elevation of between 440 meters (1,433 feet) and 1,338 meters (4,390 feet). Rivers in the municipality include the Grande de Jayuya, as well as the Saliente, Jauca, Limón, Naranjito and Veguita.
It is believed that the word “jayuya” comes from the indigenous word “Hayuya,” which means “place of the guavas.” Other historians assert that the name Jayuya comes from the Taino Chief Hayuya. His home was located in the territory that is now Jayuya. Around 1513, the Spaniards Alonso Niño and Alonso de Mendoza sacked the indigenous settlement and sold the Indians as slaves.
Originally, the area was called “Arenas Jayuya” and was a sector of Utuado, which was later divided into Jayuya Arriba and Jayuya Abajo. In 1534, the settlement was located on the road between San Juan and San Germán.
In 1815, the territory known today as Jayuya experienced a big influx of families from Europe, the Canary Islands and Asturias. It was the year that the Real Cédula de Gracias encouraged the immigration of foreigners who were Catholics. Around 1878, a settlement was formed near a chapel in Jayuya Arriba. In 1883, the residents got the chapel assigned to the Tomás Rata presbytery. During the same year, the king of Spain, Alfonso XII, authorized construction of the Nuestra Señora de la Monserrate parish church.
Originally, the economy of Jayuya was based on raising cattle and horses. Later, coffee was introduced. Agriculture in Jayuya was greatly affected by the San Ciriaco Hurricane that hit the island in 1898.
In 1907, the first highway to Jayuya was built, opening the way to progress for the town. In 1910, typhoid fever devastated the rural population. A Methodist preacher from the United States, Signey W. Edwards, took spiritual and material consolation to those who suffered from the epidemic.
On March 9, 1911, after several attempts, the residents of Jayuya convinced the Puerto Rico legislature to approve Law No. 34, which created the municipality of Jayuya with the sectors of Jayuya Arriba or Pueblo, Jayuya Abajo and Mameyes Arriba. These sectors were separated from Utuado. At the time it was founded, the municipality had 9,287 inhabitants. Its first mayor was Rosario Canales.
In 1925, the Figueroa School was built, along with other school buildings in the sectors of Collores and Coabey. The municipal hospital was built on land donated by Catalina Figueras. Three years later, the San Felipe Hurricane devastated the town of Jayuya. One consequence of the storm was an economic crisis that affected the coffee-growing sector.
In 1930, the Coabey and Veguitas-Zamas sectors, both divisions of Jayuya Arriba and Jayuya Abajo, became part of Jayuya. Eighteen years later, the Puerto Rico Planning Board created the sectors of Collores, Jauca and Pica, formed from land separated from Jayuya Abajo. The Jayuya Arriba sector was eliminated and its territory divided into the new sectors of Río Grande and Saliente. Veguitas-Zamas was divided into Veguitas and Zamas and the urban zone was expanded.
Around 1934, a sugar mill was established in Jayuya. It later became the Santa Bárbara plantation. It ceased operations in 1948.
In 1950, Jayuya was the site of an armed revolt that was known as the Nationalist Revolution of 1950. The rebellion was led by Pedro Albizu Campos and Jayuya native Blanca Canales, among others. The nationalist leaders occupied the police headquarters and the post office and proclaimed the Republic of Puerto Rico. The National Guard intervened and defeatedof the rebellion.
By 1976, the municipality’s economy continued to depend on agricultural products: coffee, tomatoes, beans and vegetables. Cattle and manufacturing have also been important parts of the economy, along with internal tourism.
The history of the Jayuya flag is similar to that of the coat of arms. A band of green peaks with a white border divides the flag horizontally on a red background. The flag represents the spirit of the Jayuya residents and their pride in their town.
Coat of Arms
The Jayuya coat of arms is a heraldic symbol that represents the cultural, historic and social heritage of the town. The red background symbolizes the peaceful coexistence and brotherhood of the Jayuya residents. On the upper part of the seal is a castle or fort wall with three towers, which represents Jayuya’s status as a municipality. Below this, centered in the upper section, is a crown, the symbol of Chief Hayuya. In the center is a band of green peaks with a white border that represents the Tres Picachos, the natural beauty of the Jayuya countryside, and the Virgen de la Monserrate, the patron saint.
1911-1916 Rosario Canales
1916-1920 Juan de Jesús López
1920-1924 Ramón B. Marrero Rodríguez
1924-1928 Juan de Jesús Medina
1928 José Rivera Aponte
1928-1936 Jesús Dávila Rodríguez
1936-1940 Vicente Santiago Reyes
1940-1944 Juan Oliver Frau
1944 Mario Canales Torresola
1944-1948 Manuel Diversé
1948-1952 Ramón de Jesús Soto
1952-1968 Adrián Torres Torres
1968-1972 Rafael A. Ríos Delgado
1972-1976 José D. Castro González
1976-1984 Antonio Reyes Santiago
1984-1992 Venancio A. Tejedor León
1992-1994 José A. Rivera Rodríguez
1997-Currently Jorge L. González Otero
Jorge L. “Georgie” González Otero
Places of Interest
• Canales House Museum
• The Tres Picachos
• The Written Rock
• Monument to Chief Hayuya
• Tomb of the Puerto Rican Indian
• El Cemí Museum
• Hacienda Gripiñas Parador inn
• Jayuya Cultural Center
• .Monument to Nemesio R. Canales
• Music Plaza
• Nemesio R. Canales Plaza
Rosario Canales Quintero Founded the town of Jayuya in 1883. First mayor of Jayuya from 1911 to 1916. Father of Nemesio Canales, Mario Canales and Blanca Canales, among others.
Nemesio Canales Rivera Journalist, essayist, playwright, novelist, poet and legislator. As legislator for the Union Party, he presented the first bill to guarantee the legal rights of women in 1909. His literary contributions include his famous essays Paliques and the theatrical work El Héroe Galopante, among others.
Mario Canales Torresola Mayor of Jayuya, representative in the House from 1944 to 1962. President of the Agriculture Commission in the 1950s, the era when the tomatoes of Jayuya made history. Member of the Constituent Assembly of 1952.
Blanca Canales Torresola: Recognized social worker and revolutionary leader. Participated in the Nationalist Revolution on October 30, 1950, and proclaimed the formation of the Republic of Puerto Rico in Jayuya under the motto God and Fatherland.
Jesús Ríos Robles Folk music performer during the 1930s and 1940s.
Antonio Romero Muñiz (Toñín Romero) Known as “The Jíbaro of town and country.” Singer and composer of boleros, Christmas songs and décimas. He is honored with a bust in the Music Plaza and at the Toñín Romero Festival, where troubadours sing his songs.
Roberto Rivera Negrón Actor and director of television series, adventures and comedies, and participant in poetry readings. Received numerous prizes for his work.
Carlos Orama Padilla Writer, poet and journalist. Wrote about popular personalities and the daily life of the past.
• National Indigenous Festival- November
• Three Kings Festival- January
• Jíbara Tomato Festival- February
• La Monserrate Marathon- September
• Virgen de La Monserrate Patron Saint Festival -September
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: November 20, 2009.
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