San Germán is known as "La Ciudad de las Lomas" (city of hills) and "La Fundadora de Pueblos" (founder of towns). San Germán was the second city founded by the Spanish in Puerto Rico, as the island was divided into two jurisdictions: the northern, with Caparra or Puerto Rico (now San Juan) as its capital, and the southern division, with San Germán as the capital.
The original village was founded in 1511, but it was raided by the French in 1528, 1538, and 1554; the fleeing residents established a new settlement in the nearby hills.
On May 12, 1570, due the constant attacks and dangers, the Royal Audience of Santo Domingo ordered San Germán and Santa Maria de Guadianilla to be merged into a single city, under the name of Germain de Foix, the second wife of King Ferdinand of Spain. After several attempts the town was officially founded on 1573, on the hills of Santa Marta, next to the Guanajibo River. Its official name was Nueva Villa de Salamanca, named after the city of Salamanca, in Spain. However, the population refused to use this name and called the city San Germán el Nuevo (the New San Germán) instead. Eventually, the city was called the Villa de San Germán (the Village of San Germán). It's Puerto Rico's oldest settlement outside San Juan.
The "Porta Coéli" (Gate of Heaven) Church ; the town's most famous building is overlooking one of San Germán's two plazas, dates back to 1606 and is one of the oldest churches in the Western Hemisphere, the second founded on the Island and is the oldest under U.S. jurisdiction. Restored by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, the little church now serves as a museum of religious and containing Mexican colonial paintings and wood statuary of the 18th and 19th centuries. Porta Coeli Church is one of only a few buildings constructed with Gothic architectural style in the New World. Open Wed-Sun, 8:30am - 12pm, 1pm - 4:30pm. (787) 892-5845.
In the second plaza, the more elaborate San Germán de Auxerre church faces the traditional town hall. San Germán the second urban center founded by Spaniard on the island, has retained much of its original Spanish colonial charm and many lovely residences including a mansion converted into Parador.
In 1912 the Polytechnic Institute of Puerto Rico, later renamed the Inter-American University, was established in San Germán; it houses the International Institute of Music, which sponsors a summer music festival.
The town is a center for needlework and art and retains a colonial atmosphere.
San Germán is located in the southwestern region of the island, south of Mayagüez and Maricao; north of Lajas; east of Hormigueros and Cabo Rojo; and west of Sabana Grande.
The surrounding area produces sugar, coffee, fruit, and tobacco.
There are many well-known "sangermeños", among them: poet Lola Rodríguez de Tió, historian Aurelio Tió, writer and politician Francisco Mariano Quiñones. and actor Benicio del Toro.
|Land Area:||140 sq km (54.0 sq mi)|
|Water Area:||0.00 sq mi|
|Density:||264.2 per sq km (687.1 per sq mi)|
|Per Capita Income:||$7,944|
|Source: 2000 Census|
|Hymn:||San Germán es mi pueblo querido...|
|Wards:||Ancones,Caín Alto, Caín Bajo, Cotui, Duey Alto, Duey Bajo, Guamá, Hoconuco Alto, Hoconuco Bajo, Maresúa, Minillás, Pueblo, Retiro, Rosarío Alto, Rosarío Bajo, Rosario Peñón, Sabana Eneas and Sabana Grande Abajo.|
|Driving Distance:||111.8 miles *|
|Driving Time:||2 hours, 23 minutes *|
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