Patillas, Puerto Rico
Patillas (Spanish pronunciation: [paˈtiʎas]) is a municipality of Puerto Rico located in the southeastern coast, south of San Lorenzo; west of Yabucoa and Maunabo; and east of Guayama and Arroyo. It is spread over 15 wards and Patillas Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the Guayama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Municipio de Patillas
Town and Municipality
"La Esmeralda del Sur", "Los Leones"
Location in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico
|• Mayor||Norberto Soto Figueroa (PPD)|
|• Senatorial dist.||7 - Humacao|
|• Representative dist.||34|
|• Total||59.3 sq mi (153.62 km2)|
|• Land||48.3 sq mi (125 km2)|
|• Water||11.1 sq mi (28.62 km2)|
|• Density||330/sq mi (130/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−4 (AST)|
As early as 1760 there were people already settled in Patillas. It was not, however, a permanent settlement until it was officially founded in 1811. In 1841 a fire in Patillas killed a great many people.
Patillas is located along the southeastern coast of the island of Puerto Rico. There was an establishment of a sugar cane mill which took advantage of the agricultural potential the valley provided. As this establishment provided a good source of income for the neighbors it also was the main reason for the town's foundation in 1811. Doña Adelina Cintrón, owner of "La Finca Patillas", donated almost 8 acres (32,000 m2) of land for the foundation. Most of the neighbors then relocated towards the west side of the proposed site called Cacao Bajo.
The flag of Patillas has four green rectangles on the corners that symbolize the valleys and mountains of the town. These rectangles are separated by a golden cross symbolizing the fidelity towards the town's religious patron "El Santo Cristo de la Salud". Superimposed in the middle of the golden cross is an emerald, thus the nickname "La Esmeralda del Sur".
The art design of the flag was a creation of Pedro de Pedro in 1977. Each symbol on the flag was defined by Pedro J. Rivera Arbolay. The legal assessor was the attorney Roberto Beascochea Lota.
Coat of armsEdit
The coat of arms features a crow with a piece of bread in its beak, which represents the bird that saved the life to San Benito Abad, patron of the town, from being poisoned with a piece of bread. The castle with three windows symbolizes the captivity of Santa Barbara, matron of Patillas in the first years of the foundation and the devotion to the Holy Trinity. The cross represents Santo Cristo de la Salud. The two crossed machetes underneath the cross represent the peasants' struggle in the sugar cane plantations and the origins of economic development. The three towers in the superior part mean that Patillas is categorized as a town. The watermelon leaf, fruit that abounded in the west of Patillas, is the reason for the name of the town. The motto "Ora et Labora", means "Pray and Work"; motto of the religious order of San Benito Abad.
The name Patillas is originally an indigenous name for a native type of watermelon. The large abundance of this fruit in the area, along with the land donation from the original owner, lead to the town's name.
Patillas is on the southeastern coast. Despite being located in the region known as the Coast Valley of the South, a part of the town is mountainous. The Sierra de Cayey borders the town's territory through the northern region, and the Sierra de Guardarraya through the east.
Bodies of waterEdit
Río de Apeadero, Río Chico, Río Grande de Patillas, Río Jacaboa, and Río Marín (rivers) and a number of creeks flow through Patillas. There is also the Patillas Reservoir called Lago Patillas which was built in 1914. The Patillas and Marín Rivers flow into the reservoir which is also used for fishing.
Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Patillas is subdivided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a barrio referred to as "el pueblo".
Landmarks and places of interestEdit
- Charco Azul (river)
- Charco Los Tres Chorros (river)
- Carite-Guavate Forest
- Escondida Beach
- Guardarraya Beach
- Charco de la vuelta
- Villa pesquera Beach
- Lago de Patillas
- Guavate forest and place to eat
Festivals and eventsEdit
Patillas' Fiestas Patronales are held in August. Other traditional festivals held at the city are the Emerald of the South Carnival in May.
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Special Communities ProgramEdit
Spearheaded by then governor Sila María Calderón, Law 1-2001 was passed in 2001, to identify Puerto Rico's marginalized communities. In 2017, then governor Ricardo Rosselló created a new government agency to work with the Special Communities of Puerto Rico Program. Of the 742 places on the list of Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico, the following barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods were in Patillas: Sector Barro Blanco in Bajos, Sector Higüero in Jacaboa, Sector Recio in Guardarraya, and Quebrada Arriba.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
1899 (shown as 1900) 1910-1930
1930-1950 1960-2000 2010
The United States took control of Puerto Rico from Spain in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War under the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1898 and conducted its first census of Puerto Rico, finding that the population of Patillas was 11,163.
According to the 2000 census, Patillas has a population of 20,152 with a population density is 426.0 people per square mile (163.9/km²). Although there was a decline in the population during the 1960s and the 1990s, it has steadily increased during the last decade.
Puerto Rico is primarily made up of people of African and European descent with some claiming Asian and indigenous ancestry. Statistics from the 2000 census shows that 67.7% of Patillences self identify as Spanish as in European or white origin which could include white American since the United States has had presence on the island since 1899 ; only 12.3% self identify as black or Afro Puerto Rican, even though Africans outnumbered Europeans during the early colonial period 0.5% self identify Amerindian etc.
|Race - Patillas, Puerto Rico - 2000 Census|
|Race||Population||% of Total|
|American Indian and Alaska Native||95||0.5%|
|Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander||7||0.0%|
|Some other race||1,452||7.2%|
|Two or more races||2,460||12.2%|
Like all municipalities in Puerto Rico, Patillas is administered by a mayor. The current mayor is Norberto Soto Figueroa, from the Popular Democratic Party (PPD). Soto was elected at the 2012 general election.
Patillas has several public and private schools distributed through several regions. Public education is handled by the Puerto Rico Department of Education.
There is an airport, Patillas Airport, but it does not have any commercial air service. The nearest commercial airport with international air service (to the United States mainland) is Mercedita Airport in Ponce. The nearest commercial airport with major commercial air service is Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in Carolina.
There are 32 bridges in Patillas.
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