San Juan (/ˌsæn ˈhwɑːn/; Spanish pronunciation: [saŋ
ˈxwan], Saint John) is the capital and most populous municipality in
the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the
United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 395,326
making it the 46th-largest city under the jurisdiction of the United
States. San Juan was founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, who called
it Ciudad de
Puerto Rico ("Rich Port City"). Puerto Rico's capital is
the second oldest European-established capital city in the Americas,
after Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. Several historical
buildings are located in San Juan; among the most notable are the
city's former defensive forts,
Fort San Felipe del Morro
Fort San Felipe del Morro and Fort San
Cristóbal, and La Fortaleza, the oldest executive mansion in
continuous use in the Americas.
Today, San Juan is Puerto Rico's most important seaport, and is the
island's manufacturing, financial, cultural, and
tourism center. The population of the Metropolitan Statistical Area,
including San Juan and the municipalities of Bayamón, Guaynabo,
Cataño, Canóvanas, Caguas, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Carolina and Trujillo
Alto, is about 2 million inhabitants; thus, about half the
Puerto Rico now lives and works in this area. San
Juan is also a principal city of the San Juan-Caguas-Fajardo Combined
Statistical Area. The city has been the host of events within the
sports community, including the 1979 Pan American Games, 1966 Central
American and Caribbean Games, events of the 2006, 2009 and 2013 World
Baseball Classics, the
Caribbean Series and the
Special Olympics and
MLB San Juan Series in 2010.
1.1 Coat of arms and flag of San Juan
3.2.1 Old San Juan
3.2.2 Other districts
9.1 Colleges and universities
9.2 Public and private schools
10.1 Public transport
11 Health and utilities
12.1 Professional teams
13 International relations
13.1 Twin towns – sister cities
14 Notable people from San Juan
15 See also
19 External links
See also: Timeline of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Ruins of Juan Ponce de León's residence at Caparra
Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León founded the original settlement which he
called Caparra. It was named after the Province of Caceres in Spain,
the birthplace of Nicolás de Ovando, then the Governor of Spain's
Caribbean territories, Today it is part of the Pueblo Viejo sector
of Guaynabo, just to the west of the present San Juan metropolitan
area. A year later, the settlement was moved to a site then called
Puerto Rico, Spanish for "rich port" or "good port", after its similar
geographical features to the town of
Puerto Rico of
Gran Canaria in
the Canary Islands. In 1521, the newer settlement was given its
Puerto Rico de San Juan Bautista.
The ambiguous use of San Juan Bautista and
Puerto Rico for both the
city and the island in time led to a reversal in practical use by most
inhabitants: by 1746 the name for the city (Puerto Rico) had become
that of the entire island, leading to the city being identified as
Puerto Rico de
Puerto Rico on maps of the era.
San Juan and bay, Puerto Rico, 1766
San Juan, as a settlement of the Spanish Empire, was used by merchant
and military ships traveling from
Spain as the first stopover in the
Americas. Because of its prominence in the Caribbean, a network of
fortifications was built to protect the transports of gold and silver
New World to Europe. Because of the rich cargoes, San Juan
became a target of the foreign powers of the time.
The city was witness to attacks from the English led by Sir Francis
Drake in 1595 (in what is known as the Battle of Puerto Rico) and by
George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, in 1598. Artillery from San
Juan's fort, El Morro, repelled Drake; however, Clifford managed to
land troops and lay siege to the city. After a few months of
English occupation, Clifford was forced to abandon the siege when his
troops began to suffer from exhaustion and sickness. In 1625 the city
was sacked by Dutch forces led by Captain Balduino Enrico (also known
as Boudewijn Hendricksz/Bowdoin Henrick), but El Morro withstood the
assault and was not taken. The Dutch were counterattacked by Captain
Juan de Amézqueta
Juan de Amézqueta and 50 members of the civilian militia on land and
by the cannons of the Spanish troops in El Morro Castle. The land
battle left 60 Dutch soldiers dead and Enrico with a sword wound to
his neck which he received from the hands of
Amézqueta.[unreliable source?] The Dutch ships at sea were
boarded by Puerto Ricans who defeated those aboard. After a long
battle, the Spanish soldiers and volunteers of the city's militia were
able to defend the city from the attack and save the island from an
invasion. On October 21, Enrico set
La Fortaleza and the city ablaze.
Captains Amézqueta and Andrés Botello decided to put a stop to the
destruction and led 200 men in an attack against the enemy's front and
rear guard. They drove Enrico and his men from their trenches and into
the ocean in their haste to reach their ships.
The British attack in 1797, during the French Revolutionary Wars, led
Ralph Abercromby (who had just conquered Trinidad). His army
laid siege to the city but was forced to withdraw in defeat as the
Puerto Rican defenses proved more resilient than those of Trinidad.
Various events and circumstances, including liberalized commerce with
Spain, the opening of the island to immigrants as a direct result of
the Royal Decree of Graces of 1815, and the colonial revolutions, led
to an expansion of San Juan and other Puerto Rican settlements in the
late 18th and early 19th century.
La Plaza, San Juan, ca. 1900
On May 8, 1898,
United States Navy ships, among them the
USS Detroit, USS Indiana, USS New York,
USS Amphitrite, USS Terror and USS Montgomery,
commanded by Rear Admiral
William T. Sampson
William T. Sampson arrived at San Juan
Bay. The USS Yale captured a Spanish freighter, the Rita in
San Juan Bay, thus being the first hostile encounter between the
warring sides in Puerto Rico. On May 9, Yale fought a brief battle
with an auxiliary cruiser of Spain, name unknown, resulting in a
Spanish victory. Around this time, Captain
Ángel Rivero Méndez
Ángel Rivero Méndez was
assigned the command of the Spanish forces in the fortress of San
Cristóbal in San Juan. On May 10, the Yale returned to San Juan Bay,
Rivero-Méndez ordered his men to open fire upon the USS Yale
using an Ordoñez 15 centimeter cannon, thus becoming the first attack
against the Americans in
Puerto Rico during the Spanish–American
War. For his actions, Captain Rivero-Mendez was awarded the "Cruz
de la Orden de Merito Militar" (The Cross of the Order of the Military
Merit) first class. The residents of San Juan were furious with
Rivero and blamed him for the destruction caused to their city by the
American bombardments. Nothing came of those accusations and Capt.
Rivero-Méndez was ordered to turn over the keys of all the military
installations in San Juan to Captain Henry A. Reed of the U.S. Army
after the Treaty of Paris of 1898 was signed. On July 25, General
Nelson A. Miles
Nelson A. Miles landed at
Guánica (in southwestern Puerto Rico) with
3,300 soldiers in what was known as the Puerto Rican Campaign.
The American troops found some resistance and engaged the Spanish and
Puerto Rican troops in battle, the most notable of these the battles
of Yauco and Asomante. All military actions in
Puerto Rico were
suspended August 13, 1898, after President
William McKinley and French
Ambassador Jules Cambon, acting on behalf of the Spanish government,
signed an armistice.
Spain ceded the island to the United
States later the same year by signing the Treaty of Paris.
Camp Las Casas, located in the district of Santurce, served as the
main training camp for the Puerto Rican soldiers prior to World War I
and World War II; the majority of the men trained in this facility
were assigned to the "Porto Rico Regiment of Infantry" which was
renamed the 65th Infantry Regiment of the
United States Army by the
Reorganization Act of June 4, 1920. The 65th Infantry was deactivated
in 1956 and became the only unit ever to be transferred from an active
Army component to the
Puerto Rico National Guard.
Shanty town along the Martín Peña Canal, 1973
Teófilo Marxuach (Retired as a Lieutenant Colonel), a
native of Arroyo, Puerto Rico, fired the first shot in what is
considered to be the first shot of World War I fired by the regular
armed forces of the
United States against any ship flying the colors
of the Central Powers Marxuach, who was a member of the "Porto
Rico Regiment of Infantry" and Officer of the Day, on March 25, 1915,
opened fire on the Odenwald, an armed German supply vessel, when it
was trying to force its way out of San Juan's bay. The shots
ordered by Lt. Marxuach were the first fired by the
United States in
World War I.
In 1919, Félix Rigau Carrera, "El Aguila de Sabana Grande" (The Eagle
from Sabana Grande), the first Puerto Rican pilot, became the first
native Puerto Rican to fly an aircraft in the island when he flew his
Curtiss JN-4 from Las Casas. At the time, the area was used by the
military as an air base and it was also Puerto Rico's first commercial
airport, and Rigau Carrera was allowed to perform his historic flight
from the air field.
Camp Las Casas
Camp Las Casas was eventually closed down, and
in 1950 a public housing project by the name of Residencial Fray
Bartolome de Las Casas was constructed on its former location.
On January 2, 1947, the people of San Juan elected Felisa Rincón de
Gautier (also known as Doña Fela) (1897–1994) as their mayor. Thus,
she became the first woman to be elected as the mayor of a capital
city in any of The Americas. During the
Cold War era, she ordered
the establishment of the island's first Civil Defense system under the
directorship of Colonel
Gilberto José Marxuach
Gilberto José Marxuach (Teófilo's son).
Rincón de Gautier served as mayor until January 2, 1969.
Historic coat of arms of San Juan (Spanish rule)
On October 30, 1950, San Juan was the scene of the San Juan Uprising,
one of many uprisings which occurred in various towns and cities in
Puerto Rico, by the
Puerto Rican Nationalist Party
Puerto Rican Nationalist Party against the
Puerto Rico and the United States. Among the uprising's
main objective was to attack "La Fortaleza" (the Governors mansion)
United States Federal Court House Building in Old San Juan. In
accordance to the planned uprising in San Juan, a group of
nationalists were supposed to attack simultaneously the gubernatorial
mansion La Fortaleza, where Puerto Rican governor Luis Muñoz Marín
resided, and the
United States Federal Court House which is located
close to an area called "La Marina" in Old San Juan. The La Fortaleza
battle, which ensued between the nationalists and the police lasted 15
minutes, and ended when four of the five attackers were killed.
Coat of arms and flag of San Juan
Main article: Diego de Torres Vargas
On March 8, 1948 the city government of San Juan officially adopted as
the city's first flag an orange field, in the center of which is the
Coat of Arms of the City. The orange color was based and taken from
Father Diego de Torres Vargas' text and it reads : "Escudo de
armas dado a
Puerto Rico por los Reyes Católicos en el año de 1511,
siendo Procurador un vecino llamado Pedro Moreno. Son : un
cordero blanco con su banderilla colorada, sobre un libro, y todo
sobre una isla verde, que es la de Puerto Rico, y por los lados una F
y una I, que quiere decir Fernando e Isabel, los Reyes Católicos que
se las dieron, y hoy se conservan en el estandarte real, que es de
damasco anaranjado, con que se ganó la ciudad" ("Coat of Arms given
Puerto Rico by the
Catholic Monarchs in the year 1511 being
Procurator a vecino named Pedro Moreno. They are: a white lamb with a
red flag, on top of a book, and everything above a green island, which
is Puerto Rico...which is of orange damask, with which the city was
won"). It appears that the color was changed from orange to white at
17th-century Spanish painting commemorating Captain Juan de
Amézqueta's victory and Enrico's defeat at
Puerto Rico de San Juan;
by Eugenio Caxés, Museo del Prado
Castle San Felipe del Morro
Rigau Carrera poses in his plane (1919)
Lieutenant Teofilo Marxuach
The bodies of two nationalists lie on the ground after their attack on
La Fortaleza (1950)
Coat of arms of San Juan
San Juan from space
San Juan is located along the north-eastern coast of Puerto Rico. It
lies south of the Atlantic Ocean; north of Caguas and Trujillo Alto;
east of and Guaynabo; and west of Carolina. The city occupies an area
of 76.93 square miles (199.2 km2), of which, 29.11 square miles
(75.4 km2) (37.83%) is water. San Juan's main water bodies are
San Juan Bay
San Juan Bay and two natural lagoons, the Condado and San José.
San Juan has a tropical monsoon climate and enjoys an average
temperature of 81.0 °F (27.2 °C) although 90 °F
(32 °C) or higher temperatures are seen on an average 79 days
annually, more commonly occurring during the wetter months of the
northern summer, especially if the winds come from the south. In the
winter, temperatures can drop to around 60 °F (16 °C),
though the average winter low is 71 °F (22 °C). The
coolest temperature officially recorded was 60 °F (16 °C)
on March 3, 1957, and the hottest was 98 °F (37 °C) on
October 9, 1981; the record cold daily maximum is 71 °F
(22 °C) on February 4, 1935, while the record warm daily minimum
is 83 °F (28 °C) on August 11, 1995, the most recent of
four occasions. Rainfall is well-distributed throughout the year,
but the months of January, February, and March are the driest; as
March averages just 1.95 inches (49.5 mm) of rain, the city falls
under the tropical monsoon category. Rainfall averages 56.35
inches (1,431.3 mm), falling on an average 198.5 days per
year; despite this dampness, the city averages 2,970 hours of
sunshine per year, or just over ⅔ of the possible total. Annual
rainfall has historically ranged from 35.53 in (902 mm) in
1991 to 89.50 in (2,273 mm) in 2010.
Climate data for San Juan Marin Int'l,
Puerto Rico (1981–2010
normals, extremes 1898–present)[a]
Record high °F (°C)
Mean maximum °F (°C)
Average high °F (°C)
Daily mean °F (°C)
Average low °F (°C)
Mean minimum °F (°C)
Record low °F (°C)
Average rainfall inches (mm)
Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 in)
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Percent possible sunshine
Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990), The
General view of harbor at San Juan,
Puerto Rico looking South to San
Juan Bay, 1927. The clock tower building at center was the San Juan
Old San Juan
The architecture of San Juan is very diverse, due to its size and all
the cultural influences received during its existence. The oldest part
of the city, known as Old San Juan, mostly features the influence of
Spanish architecture. This part of the city is comprised by a network
of "setted" roads usually surrounded by ancient, two-storied houses
built on masonry. Some colonial structures have been restored and
serve either as government offices or museums. Some examples are the
Ballajá Barracks, which now serve as museum and headquarter of
several cultural organizations; La Fortaleza, which has served as the
residence of the Governor of
Puerto Rico since the 16th Century; and
the Ancient Welfare Asylum, which now houses the Institute of Puerto
Rican Culture, among others.
Old San Juan
Old San Juan also features several public
squares, like the Plaza de Armas, located in front of San Juan City
Hall; and cathedrals, like the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista. Old
San Juan is also notable for being partly enclosed by massive walls
and fortifications built by the Spanish government.
The architecture is more varied in other districts of the city. The
district of Santurce features a lot of influence from art deco, while
the districts of
Hato Rey feature more modern structures.
Districts of San Juan
Main article: Subdivisions of San Juan, Puerto Rico
What is now known as
Old San Juan
Old San Juan occupied the western end of a rocky
islet, the Isleta de San Juan, at the mouth of San Juan Bay. During
the 20th century, the main population centers surged well beyond the
walls of the old city and onto Puerto Rico's main island, and merged
with the existing settlements east and south of Old San Juan. With the
Río Piedras in 1951, the municipality of San Juan grew
four times its previous size. As a result, the city is now composed of
a variety of districts and neighborhoods. San Juan is now subdivided
into 18 districts (barrios), 16 of which fall within the former
municipality of Río Piedras. Eight districts are further subdivided
into sectors (sub-barrios), including two districts in the area that
covered the original municipality of San Juan. The 18 districts are:
Hato Rey Central
Hato Rey Norte
Hato Rey Sur
Sabana Llana Norte
Sabana Llana Sur
San Juan Antiguo
San Juan Antiguo (Old San Juan)
Old San Juan
Main article: Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Some streets in
Old San Juan
Old San Juan are still paved with blue cobblestones
from the Spanish colonial era.
During the Spanish colonial times most of the urban population resided
in what is now known as Old San Juan. This sector is located on the
western half of a small island called the Isleta de San Juan, which is
connected to the mainland by two bridges and a causeway. The small
island, which comprises an area of 47 square miles (120 km2),
also hosts the working-class neighborhood of
Puerta de Tierra
Puerta de Tierra and most
of Puerto Rico's central government buildings, including the
The main central part of the city is characterized by narrow streets
made of blue cobblestone and picturesque colonial buildings, some of
which date back to the 16th and 17th century. Sections of the old city
are surrounded by massive walls and several defensive structures and
notable forts. These include the 16th-century Fort San Felipe del
Morro and the 17th-century Fort San Cristóbal, both part of San Juan
National Historic Site, and the 16th-century El Palacio de Santa
Catalina, also known as La Fortaleza, which serves as the governor's
mansion. Other buildings of interest predating the 20th century
are the Ayuntamiento or Alcaldía (City Hall), the Diputación
Provincial and the Real Intendencia buildings, which currently house
Puerto Rico Department of State, the Casa Rosa, the San José
Church (1523) and the adjacent Hotel El Convento, the former house of
the Ponce de León family known as Casa Blanca, the Teatro Tapia, the
former Spanish barracks (now Museum of Ballajá), La Princesa (former
municipal jail, now headquartering the
Puerto Rico Tourism Company),
and the Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery, located just
outside the city walls. The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista
(construction began in the 1520s) is also located in Old San Juan, and
contains the tomb of the Spanish explorer and settlement founder Juan
Ponce de León. Old San Juan, also known as the "old city", is the
main cultural tourist attraction in Puerto Rico; its bayside is lined
by dock slips for large cruise ships.
Old San Juan
Old San Juan lies the wealthy tourist-oriented neighborhood of
Condado, which occupies land that used to be owned by entrepreneur
Pablo Ubarri Capetillo, a Spanish railroad developer and Count of San
José de Santurce under the Spanish colonial period. Beaches such as
nearby Ocean Park, popular with swimmers, surfers and kitesurfers, are
found all along the district's Atlantic coastline which is also the
locus of numerous hotels.
Near Condado are two separate business districts, Santurce and
Miramar. Miramar is mainly a residential area rising south of the
Condado Lagoon. It comprises the former barrio of Miraflores, as well
as drained marshland and landfill over which was built San Juan's
first airport, the Isla Grande airport, which was renamed Fernando
Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport in honor of Major Fernando Luis
Ribas-Dominicci (USAF). Miramar now hosts the
Puerto Rico Convention
Center as well as some of San Juan Harbor's cruise ship piers. In 2005
Miramar was designated an historical district of Puerto Rico.
Santurce, originally named San Mateo de Cangrejos (Saint Matthew of
the Crabs), was a settlement for freed African slaves during the early
days of the city. After Pablo Ubarri sought permission to link San
Río Piedras proper via steam tramway in 1878, the time it
took to travel between both points were shortened and thereby
stimulated the colonization and growth of the district. At the
beginning of the twentieth century an electric trolley was installed,
the township was split into three parts, and its main settlement,
merged with the city, was renamed using the Spanish spelling of
Saint George in Basque), Ubarri's birthplace in Vizcaya,
Spain. The "Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico" (
Puerto Rico Museum of
Art) and other important cultural venues are located in Santurce.
Looking down an
Old San Juan
Old San Juan street towards the bay
South of Santurce is Hato Rey, part of the former municipality of Río
Hato Rey was grazing ground for cattle owned by the royal
government (hence its name, the King's Herd in Spanish) as early as
the 16th century, and is now considered the financial center of
the island. A section of this district is often referred to as Milla
de Oro (actually 0.47 miles or 0.76 kilometers long) due in part to
the many banks and businesses located there.
In the southern part of the city is the socially diversified community
of Río Piedras. Founded in the mid-1850s,
Río Piedras was a separate
town which hosted sugar cane plantations and the estates of some of
San Juan's wealthiest inhabitants (as well as their working class
staff). The Spanish colonial governors also had their summer home
there on land which eventually gave way to the main campus of the
University of Puerto Rico. In 1951 the municipalities of San Juan and
Río Piedras were merged to redefine San Juan's current city limits.
Río Piedras comprises the largest area of the municipality of
San Juan. and is home to the "Plaza del Mercado" (Río Piedras
Marketplace), the main campus and the Medical Sciences campus of the
Puerto Rico and the San Juan Botanical Garden.
Race – San Juan,
Puerto Rico – 2010 Census
% of Total
American Indian and
Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islander
Some other race
Two or more races
San Juan is the largest city in
Puerto Rico by population. From
1899 to 1950 the municipality of San Juan excluded the township of
Río Piedras. For this reason, population data and land area for the
period make reference only to the Antiguo San Juan and Santurce
barrios, or subdivisions, of San Juan. The old municipality of Río
Piedras constituted the third most populated city of
Puerto Rico at
the time of its annexation in 1951. Its strategic location south of
the capital served as a junction for all the principal ways of
transportation of the island and as a geographical entry to San Juan,
which are factors that prompted Río Piedras's dramatic urban
development in the 20th century.
According to the 2010 Census, the racial composition of San Juan was
White: 68.0% (Non-Hispanic Whites: 1.2%)
Black or African American: 18.3% (Non-Hispanic Blacks: 0.3%)
American Indian: 0.8%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.0%
Some other race: 8.2%
Two or more races: 4.0%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 98.2%
Among the Hispanic and Latino population, Puerto Ricans are,
unsurprisingly, the largest group; they make up 87.5% of San Juan's
Hispanic population. People of Dominican descent made up 12.2% of the
Hispanic population, while those of Cuban descent formed 1.7% of the
Hispanic populace. Other Hispanic and Latino groups collectively
formed 3.2% of San Juan's Hispanic population.
There are 13,304 whites of non-Hispanic origin living in San Juan;
10,571 blacks of non-Hispanic origin living in San Juan. Non-Hispanic
whites and blacks form 3.2% and 2.6% of San Juan's population
respectively. There are also approximately 562 Asians of non-Hispanic
origin in San Juan; they make up only 0.1% of the population. However,
Asians of Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin together number at 6,342.
The vast majority of Asians in San Juan are of Chinese descent; of the
6,342 Asians, 4,928 are Chinese. Chinese comprise 1.4% of the
population. The only other sizable Asian group in San Juan are Indian
Americans; there are 698 people of Indian descent in the city, forming
0.2% of the population. There are very small numbers of people of
Filipino, Japanese, and Vietnamese ancestry; none of these groups
number more than 100 members.
According to the 2006–2008 American Community Survey, 87.5% of San
Juan's population was native and 12.5% were foreign-born. Of the
native population, 86.9% were born in
Puerto Rico or the United
States, of which 75.6% were born in
Puerto Rico and 8.9% were born in
the United States. The remaining 0.7% were born in a U.S. territory or
were born abroad to American parents. The remaining 11.9% of the
population were born outside the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S.
territories. In recent years, an increasing number of Americans not of
Hispanic ancestry (both of
African American and of White American
descent) have moved to San Juan. In addition, a large number of
Stateside Puerto Ricans
Stateside Puerto Ricans have settled in the city upon their return to
Puerto Rico. There is also a growing
West Indian population, both of
Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin.
In terms of ancestry, 23,875 people claimed American ancestry, which
is equivalent to 5.8% of San Juan's population. Other sizable ancestry
groups included those of Italian descent, French descent, and West
Indian descent. People of Italian descent numbered at 1,694, forming
0.4% of the population; people of French descent numbered at 1,064,
forming 0.2% of the population. Finally, those of
West Indian descent
numbered at 1,393, forming 0.3% of San Juan's population.
Approximately 1,026 people claimed Sub-Saharan African ancestry; 719
claimed Irish ancestry; 646 claimed German ancestry; 431 claimed Arab
ancestry, and 346 claimed English ancestry. There are many other
ancestry groups in San Juan, but they are very scant.
San Juan experienced significant economic growth following World War
II. During this period the city underwent an industrial revolution,
although as of 1984 it had never generated its own economic
region. The city's economy relies mostly on companies
dedicated to the manufacture of several products, including: Chemical
substances (bleach and house cleaning products); medicines; rum and
other beverages; fertilizers; electric tools; electronic devices;
plastics, textiles, and food-based products. Tourism is also a key
industry, based on San Juan's proximity to Puerto Rico's main airport,
Luis Muñoz Marín
Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. The tourism focus of
the city is located in the district of Condado Beach where there are
luxurious hotels. Historical locations such as El Morro, Old San
Juan and El Cuartel de Ballaja are promoted in tourism campaigns. The
Hato Rey contains a corporate sector known as "La Milla de
Oro", (The Golden Mile) which serves as the headquarters of local and
international banks. San Juan's
Hato Rey district is often referred to
as the "Wall Street of the Caribbean", due to the influence of the
Puerto Rico and the Caribbean's economy.
Seaborne Airlines is headquartered on the 9th floor of the World Plaza
Building in San Juan.
San Juan beach
Technological advances after World War II in the development of the
airliner, coupled with the island's climate and natural setting, have
transformed San Juan into the springboard for tourism around the
island, and has made the rest of the Caribbean known throughout the
world during the last fifty years. Today the capital features
hotels, museums, historical buildings, restaurants, beaches and
shopping centers. In San Juan there are tourist attractions,
including: Old San Juan, Ocean Park, Isla Verde and Condado.
Places and monuments emphasized in tourism campaigns include: Old San
Juan, promoting the historic nature of its colonial buildings and
narrow streets covered by adoquine, a blue stone cast from furnace
slag; they were brought over as ballast on Spanish ships. This
includes the city's ancient defensive wall and forts, most notably El
Morro and the Castle of San Cristóbal. On January 23, 1984 both
of these edifices were catalogued as being part of humanity's cultural
patrimony. The restaurants and art galleries in the zone are
visited by tourists. The local universities are promoted as
historic places, most notably the campus of University of Puerto Rico
located in Río Piedras, which is the oldest university on the island
being founded in 1903.
See also: List of notable residents of San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan is the birthplace of artists and musicians, locally known as
Sanjuaneros, who have significantly influenced Puerto Rican culture.
During the 20th century, the musical aspect of the city was influenced
by performers including Afro-Caribbean dancer and choreographer Sylvia
del Villard and
José Enrique Pedreira
José Enrique Pedreira who became a composer of Puerto
Rican Danzas. International musicians such as opera singer Justino
Grammy Award winners Ramón Ayala (Daddy Yankee) and Ricky
Martin were born in the city. Other notable residents include writers
Giannina Braschi and Tomas Blanco, award-winning actors Raúl Juliá
and Benicio del Toro, and comedian José Miguel Agrelot. Rafael
Cordero (1790–1868), was influential in the development of Puerto
Rican education and has been once renowned[by whom?] as " The Father
of Public Education in Puerto Rico". The city is also the home of
contemporary and classic art museums. The
Puerto Rico Arts Museum owns
the largest collection of contemporary art in Puerto Rico, housing
over 1,100 permanent art pieces and displaying temporary exhibitions
containing artwork from various locations through Latin America.
Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art, located in Santurce,
specializes in contemporary artwork from Latin America and the
Caribbean. The paintings displayed in the permanent exhibition are
either acquired by the museum's administrative personnel or donated by
artists and collectors. They are judged by a panel of painters, art
critics, and scholars before being displayed.
Other museums such as the
Pablo Casals Museum, the Book Museum,
Americas Museum and the National Gallery display historic items and
artwork alongside contemporary art. Miscellaneous museums such
as the Children's Museum and the
Bacardi Distillery (also known as the
"Rum Cathedral") in nearby
Cataño appeal to different audiences
through interactive exhibitions.
Main article: List of mayors of San Juan, Puerto Rico
As one of Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities, San Juan's government
consists of two branches, the executive and the legislative. Those
citizens eligible to vote directly elect a mayor and the municipal
assembly for four-year terms. The municipal government is housed in
City Hall or Casa Alcaldia, which is located at 153 San Francisco
Street, facing the Plaza de Armas at the center of Old San Juan.
City Hall was constructed based on Madrid's City Hall starting in 1604
and finally completed in 1789.
The executive branch is headed by a popularly elected mayor. The
office is currently held by Carmen Yulín Cruz, who was elected at the
2012 general election. Before her,
Jorge A. Santini
Jorge A. Santini held the position
for 12 years. In addition to running the city's day-to-day operations
and supervising associated departments, the mayor is responsible for
appointing a secretary-auditor and a treasurer. San Juan's Municipal
Legislature is made up of 17 municipal legislators, elected at-large,
which represent the city's population.
San Juan is also the seat of the
Puerto Rico Senatorial district I,
which is represented by two Senators. In 2012, José Nadal Power
Ramón Luis Nieves
Ramón Luis Nieves were elected as District Senators.
In 2010 there were 201 slayings in San Juan, a rate of around 50 per
100,000 residents. Law enforcement in San Juan is the joint
responsibility of the Department of Police and Public Safety, also
known as the
San Juan Police Department
San Juan Police Department and the
Puerto Rico Police
Department. The Municipal Police, originally known as the "San
Juan Municipal Guard", was created in 1521 and has active military and
law enforcement functions, until 1980 when act #77 created municipal
law enforcement agencies in Puerto Rico. It currently employs over
1,000 sworn officers plus civilian staff.
See also: Media of Puerto Rico
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (May 2017)
Colleges and universities
Main tower of the University of
Puerto Rico campus in Rio Piedras
San Juan is home to many of Puerto Rico's institutions of higher
learning. The University of
Río Piedras Campus is located
in San Juan, along with the University of Puerto Rico's Medical
Sciences Campus. Other colleges located in San Juan are the University
of the Sacred Heart, the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, the
Ana G. Méndez University System's Metropolitan University, the
Metropolitan Campus of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico,
the Carlos Albizu University, the Evangelic Seminary of Puerto Rico
and the Center for Advanced Studies on
Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
There are smaller colleges located in the city, including the ICPR
Junior College, the Instituto de Banca y Comercio and the
International Junior College, located in Santurce. There are also
several technical schools based in San Juan, including the
Technological College of San Juan, the Liceo de Artes y Ciencias,
Ramirez College of Business and Technology, and the Puerto Rico
Technical Junior College. The
Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music and
the School of Fine Arts in
Old San Juan
Old San Juan specialize in education that
promotes the fine arts and music.
Public and private schools
Also, San Juan is home to 136 public schools operated
Puerto Rico Department of Education. Most of the specialized
schools operated by the Commonwealth of
Puerto Rico are located in San
Juan. These schools emphasize topics such as Science and Math, Radio
and Television, Arts, Trade, Music, and Sports, but also include other
subjects such as Spanish, English, and Social Studies in their
curriculum. In addition to dozens of state-run elementary,
intermediate, and high schools, the government of the city of San Juan
operates two bilingual schools, including one sports-magnet school,
the first municipal-run schools in Puerto Rico.
Several private schools are located in San Juan, including Robinson
and St. John's schools in the Condado, Perpetuo Socorro in Miramar,
St. John's Episcopal, Santa Mónica and
Academia San Jorge in
Santurce, Commonwealth High School, La Merced and Espíritu Santo in
Hato Rey, Escuela Josefita Monserrate de Selles, San Antonio, Colegio
San Ignacio de Loyola, San José in
Río Piedras and Cupeyville, St.
Mary's, Boneville and Cupey Maria Montesory School in Cupey.
Port of San Juan
Port of San Juan is the fourth busiest seaport in the Western
Hemisphere, ranked among the top 17 in the world in terms of container
movement. It is also the largest home-based cruise port in the world
with over a dozen cruise ships. It is the second busiest port in
cruise volume after Miami.
The Metropolitan Area is served by two airports. The Luis Muñoz
Marín International Airport, San Juan's primary commercial airport,
is located eight miles (12.9 km) from
Old San Juan
Old San Juan in the
neighboring municipality of Carolina. The airport accommodates more
than 30 domestic and international airlines and is the busiest airport
in the Caribbean. It is often referred to as "The Gateway to the
Caribbean" because it serves as the main connection to the island and
the rest of the Caribbean for the
United States and vice versa. The
area's secondary airport is the Fernando Ribas Dominicci Airport,
which is located directly across the San Antonio Creek or Cano San
Old San Juan
Old San Juan in the Isla Grande district. Dominicci
Airport is used mainly by general aviation aircraft, charter flights,
and some domestic commercial flights. It used to be the city's and
also the island of Puerto Rico's main international gateway until the
opening of Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport. It is now also
widely used by the Isla Grande Flight School and Caribbean Flight
Center, the only flight school on the island.
See also: Tren Urbano
At 4,300 vehicles per paved mile, San Juan has by far the highest
density of vehicles on the road of any country in the world. The
city is served by five limited-access expressways and highways and
numerous arterial avenues and boulevards, but continues to suffer from
severe traffic congestion.
The Metropolitan Bus Authority (Autoridad Metropolitana de Autobuses
or AMA in Spanish) provides daily bus transportation to residents of
San Juan, Guaynabo, Bayamón, Toa Baja, Trujillo Alto,
Carolina through 30 fixed routes. Its fleet consists of 277 regular
buses and 35 handicap-accessible buses. AMA's ridership is estimated
at 112,000 on weekdays. There is also a daily ferry service, known
Cataño Ferry (La Lancha de Cataño), which operates between
Old San Juan
Old San Juan and the town of Cataño.
The T5, 21 and 53 buses pass between Old San Juan, Condado and Isla
Verde. More information is available at http://sjbus.info/
In an attempt to decrease vehicle dependency and road congestion, the
city built a metro system dubbed "Tren Urbano" ("Urban Train"). The
10.7-mile (17.2 km) line connects to 16 stations. The
project, which opened in late 2004, cost $2.25 billion and was
more than $1 billion over budget and four years late. The Tren
Urbano has received less ridership than was originally projected and
has not significantly reduced the city's automobile traffic, despite a
reported 7.5% ridership increase in 2006 over 2005. There is a planned
project to build a "interurban light rail system" connecting the
cities of San Juan and Caguas.
Increased investment in public transportation, however, has not
changed the fact that San Juan is an automobile-reliant city and its
fast growth has sparked urban sprawl. As of mid-2010, the government
has approved plans for a redesign of this Puerto Rican city, featuring
a new mass transit system, new roads and intersections, and more
beach-access points. No cars will be allowed inside the oldest part of
city (Old San Juan). The plans hope to remedy previous poor urban
planning in the oldest section of the city, the Isleta, while curbing
reliance on motor vehicles. The plans for redevelopment also hope to
make the city more appealing in order to attract new residents, as San
Juan has suffered from a shrinking population over the past 60
Health and utilities
San Juan has an elaborate system of triage, hospital, and preventive
care health services. The municipal government sponsors regular health
fairs in different areas of the city focusing on health care for the
elderly and the disabled. There are 20 hospitals in San Juan, half of
them operated by the government. The largest hospital in San Juan and
most important of
Puerto Rico and the Caribbean is
Rio Piedras Medical Center, or Centro Medico de
Rio Piedras in
Spanish. This hospital, founded in 1956, is operated by the Medical
Services Administration of the Department of Health of Puerto Rico. It
is made up of eight other hospitals.
San Juan Municipal Hospital: This hospital is operated by the San Juan
Industrial Hospital: This is the hospital for
Puerto Rico government
employees, whether municipal or Commonwealth government employees.
Normally, injured police officers and firefighters are cared for here.
San Juan Pediatric Hospital - Also operated by the San Juan municipal
Pediatric Hospital: Operated by the government of the Commonwealth,
this is the main trauma hospital for pediatric cases.
Centro Medico: This is the main hospital for trauma cases for Puerto
Rico and the Caribbean.
Centro Cardiovascular del Caribe (Caribbean Cardiovascular Center):
This is the main hospital for open heart surgery in the Caribbean. It
features a hotel for the patients' families.
Psychiatric Hospital: The main psychiatric hospital in Puerto Rico.
Operated by the government of Puerto Rico.
Psychiatric Correctional Hospital: It is both a hospital and
correctional facility. It is operated jointly by the Puerto Rico
Department of Corrections and the Medical Services Administration.
The city of San Juan operates 10 hospitals. Of these, nine are
Diagnostic and Treatment Centers located in communities throughout San
Juan. The main hospital is located at Centro Medico. These 10
Puerta de Tierra
Santurce Parada 19
General Hospital (Centro Medico)
Also, there are 10 private hospitals in San Juan. These are:
Hospital Auxilio Mutuo
Hospital Auxilio Mutuo Expreso
Hospital de Veteranos: The main Veterans hospital in the Caribbean.
Operated by the U.S. Veteran Healthcare System.
Ashford Presbyterian Hospital
Hospital Pavia Hato Rey
Hospital Pavia Santurce
San Jorge Children's Hospital: The most well known children's hospital
in the San Juan Metropolitan Area.
Hospital San Gerardo: Located at the Cupey neighborhood, is a small
hospital but is also specialized in psychiatry and elderly.
Hospital del Maestro (Teachers Hospital): Located in Hato Rey, this
hospital is operated by the
Puerto Rico Teachers Association.
A night view of the
José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum
Teams based in San Juan have been notably successful in athletic
competition. The Santurce Crabbers won the National Superior
Basketball League championship in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2003
during this period being recognized as a dynasty. The San Juan
Senators and the Santurce Crabbers were the two major baseball teams
in the city, winning the championship of the Puerto Rican Professional
Baseball League a total of seventeen times. The Santurce Crabbers are
located third among teams with more championships in the Caribbean
Series, winning championships in the 1951, 1953, 1955, 1993 and 2000
editions of the tournament. The city has also been the host of events
within the sports community; some examples include:
Host of the 1966 Central American and Caribbean Games.
Host of the 1979 Pan American Games.
Has been host of the
Caribbean World Series
Caribbean World Series nine times.
Major League Baseball's
Montreal Expos played 22 home games at Hiram
Bithorn Stadium in both 2003 and 2004. The team also briefly
considered moving permanently to San Juan before relocating to
Hosted the 2006, 2009 and 2013
World Baseball Classic
World Baseball Classic at the Hiram
Host of the
1974 FIBA World Championship
1974 FIBA World Championship (basketball).
Has been host of the FIBA
Americas Championship five times (1980,
1993, 1999, 2003, 2009).
The first edition of World Wrestling Entertainment's pay per view New
Year's Revolution was held at the
José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in
The Latin American Regional
Special Olympics in February 2010
Host of Major League Baseball's 2010 "San Juan Series", three games of
the Mets at Marlins held on June 28–30, 2010 at Hiram Bithorn
The recently built $28 million San Juan Natatorium is beginning to
attract islandwide and regional swim meets, as well winter training by
top-rated mainland U.S. colleges and universities, including the
United States Military Academy at
West Point and the United States
Naval Academy at Annapolis.
In July 2007, the San Juan Golf Academy and its driving range began
operating atop the city's former sanitary landfill in Puerto Nuevo and
will eventually include the city's first and only 9-hole golf course.
Cangrejeros de Santurce
Baloncesto Superior Nacional
Roberto Clemente Coliseum
Cangrejeros de Santurce
Puerto Rico Baseball League
Hiram Bithorn Stadium
Atléticos de San Juan
Puerto Rico Soccer League
San Juan United
Puerto Rico Soccer League Second Division
Sixto Escobar Stadium
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Puerto Rico
Twin towns – sister cities
San Juan is twinned with:
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 2006[irrelevant
Guatemala City, Guatemala
San Juan City, Philippines
Santiago, Dominican Republic
Notable people from San Juan
See also: Category:People from San Juan, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico portal
Puerto Rico/Did you know-Puerto Rico? portal
History of Puerto Rico
List of former national capitals
List of national capitals
List of people from San Juan, Puerto Rico
List of streets in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Military history of Puerto Rico
Spanish Colonial style
North America portal
United States portal
Puerto Rico portal
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See also: Bibliography of the history of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Wikimedia Commons has media related to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for San Juan.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911
Encyclopædia Britannica article
San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico.
City of San Juan
National Park Service – San Juan
Historic Places in
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, a National Park
Service Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
National Weather Service – San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico
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2003: Santo Domingo
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