Juncos

juncos

 Juncos, Puerto Rico

The municipality of Juncos is known as the “Valencian City” and its residents are known as the “Valencian Mules.” The patron saint is the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. Its territory covers an area of approximately 67 square kilometers or 26 square miles. Its population is 36,452 (2000 Census). Juncos is divided into the sectors of Pueblo Norte, Pueblo Sur, Caimito, Ceiba Norte, Ceiba Sur, Gurabo Abajo, Gurabo Arriba, Lirios, Mamey, Valenciano Abajo and Valenciano Arriba.

Today, manufacturing is the main economic activity in the municipality. Juncos has factories producing clothing, scientific instrumentation, electrical equipment and other products. During the 1970s, Juncos was an important producer of milk. Earlier, cultivation of sugar cane and tobacco were the most important economic activities in the municipality. Juncos has an important archaeological finding that was discovered in 2003 in the Ceiba Sur sector of the municipality.

Geography

Juncos is bordered on the north by the municipality of Carolina, on the east by Las Piedras, on the south by San Lorenzo and Las Piedras and on the west by San Lorenzo. It is located in the southeastern part of the island. Geographically, it is part of the Cayey Range region. In the north are the lower elevations of the Luquillo Range. El Asomante ridge, which is part of the Luquillo Range, divides Juncos from the municipality of Canóvanas. The ridge extends through the Gurabo Abajo and Caimito sectors. On the border between the Cerro Gordo sector of San Lorenzo and the Valenciano Arriba sector of Juncos is the Viviana peak, which reaches 468 meters (1,535 feet) above sea level.

The municipality’s hydrological system consists of the Gurabo River, which is a tributary of the Grande de Loíza River and crosses Juncos from east to west. The Valenciano River crosses the municipality from north to south and is fed by the streams La Santa and Don Víctor. Deposits of iron, as well as small deposits of copper, have been found in Juncos.

The name of the municipality is derived from the Junco bush, which is abundant in the wetter areas of the region. The municipality’s territory was part of the Hato Grande ranch located in the Caguas valley, where several municipalities in the region were founded. This ranch extended from the plains north of the central mountain range along the Grande de Loíza River. A series of ranches was established in this area, huge expanses dedicated to raising livestock, that gave rise to various settlements that eventually became towns. Such was the case with San Miguel de Hato Grande, which we know today as the municipality of San Lorenzo; the Hato de Las Piedras, which became Las Piedras, Humacao and Tabuco, and the Hato del Valenciano. This latter was subdivided into the Hatillo de Los Lirios and the Hatillo de Los Juncos.

In 1782, the residents of Hatillo de Los Juncos asked the secular and church authorities to move the parish church from Las Piedras to their town. They asked to be allowed to organize a new town separate from Humacao. The request for the formation of a new town was accepted by the government and on August 3, 1792, Interim Governor Francisco Torralba issued the order that founded the town of Juncos. Tomás Gracia Pagán was named the first mayor.

On September 8, 1797, the first mass was conducted at the Nuestra Señora de la Concepción Parish Church. At the time of its founding, Juncos consisted of the sectors of Gurabo, Juncos Pueblo, Lirios, Seiba (spelled with an “s”) and Valenciano. That same year, 323 men from Juncos, Arecibo and Cayey participated in the defense of the capital against the English attack.

In 1811, the municipality of Hato Grande, known today as San Lorenzo, was founded. Part of one of the sectors of Juncos was ceded to the new municipality. Years later, when Gurabo was founded, the same thing occurred. The size of the municipality was thus decreased, though it retained the original names of its sectors. In 1853, the municipality’s territory was reorganized again. The Gurabo sector was divided into Gurabo Abajo and Gurabo Arriba and the Valenciano sector into Valenciano Abajo and Valenciano Arriba. Similarly, the Seiba sector became Seiba del Norte and Seiba del Sur. The spelling of the name also changed and has been Ceiba ever since.

Juncos grew and developed over the years. Streets and a cemetery were built and the population increased. In 1898, the United States invaded Puerto Rico, Juncos’ mayor, Francisco Escuté, resigned. Shortly thereafter, in October of the same year, Ricardo A. Martínez was named as the new mayor. The rest of the city council, composed of Spaniards and other foreigners, also resigned. On October 13, Agustín Collazo was named city attorney and Primitivo Delfaus was named municipal treasurer.

In 1902, under the law for the consolidation of certain municipal terms, the Puerto Rico legislative Assembly eliminated the municipality of Juncos and annexed its sectors to those of Hato Grande (San Lorenzo). In 1905, a new law passed by the Legislative Assembly repealed the previous act and the municipality of Juncos was reconstituted with the same sectors it had in 1902.

In 1912, the Junqueño Theater, originally called the Arcelay Cinema, was built. This historic monument was restored in 1996. The first public library was named for Rosa González Toledo, who was the first librarian at the Island Penitentiary.

In the late 19th century, the Constancia Central sugar mill, owned by Agustín Collazo and later by the Eastern Sugar Associates, operated in Juncos. There were also two plantations, La Solitaria, owned by Manuel Méndez, and La Mallorquina, owned by the heirs of Jaime Palau.

Symbols

Flag
The flag  of the municipality of Juncos has a gold background on which appear the wavy blue bands that represent the Valenciano River. Centered above the waves are sprigs of the juncos plant in yellow, blue, green and red. The flag was created through a resolution approved by the Juncos Municipal Assembly on August 2, 1982.

Coat of Arms
The municipality’s coat of arms  is divided into four sections. The upper left and lower right quadrants present vertical bands of color in gold or yellow and red, alluding to the Valencia region of Spain and the municipality’s nickname as the “Valencian City.” The lower part of the coat of arms displays green, flowering juncos that represent the name of the town. At the top, the coat of arms carries the crown wall that is the heraldic symbol of cities, villas and towns.

Places of Interest

• Former cigar factory
• Former city hall
• Juncos Central sugar mill
• Escuté walkway
• Juncos Plaza
• Immaculate Conception Church
• Soldier’s Plaza
• Former municipal jail
• Junqueño Theater
• The Christ of Brotherhood
• Theater Cafe

Illustrious Citizens

Ramón Fortuño Sellés – Poet, writer of articles and short stories. Mayor of San Lorenzo and member of the House of Representatives.

Rosa González Toledo – First librarian in the Island Penitentiary. Founded the Aibonito School Health Program.

Clemente Pereda- Poet, essayist and journalist. Was the author of the book of poetry Versos de otoño (1928).

Events

• Patron Saint Festival – December
• Kite Festival – March
• Juncos Youth Festival – July
• Anniversary of Juncos – August
• Modesto Carrión International Marathon – November
• Town Festival – November
• Valenciano Carnival – November

 

Text taken from enciclopediapr.org

Video

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