Las Piedras, Puerto Rico
Located in the east-central area of the island, the inland municipality of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico is dividedinto 7 wards with Las Piedras Pueblo as the administrative centre. Las Piedras, Puerto Rico is north of Yabucoa, south of Canovanas and Rio Grande, east of San Lorenzo and Juncos and west of Humacao and Naguabo.
With 86 square kilometres of terrain, which is mostly plains with large rocky outcrops, Las Piedras, Puerto Rico has several high elevation points. To the north, part of the Sierra Luquillo, El Toro Peak stands at 1074 meters above sea level, and to the south, the Cayey mountain range boasts Collares Peak at 369 meters above sea level and El Asomante at 270 meters above sea level. According to the 2000 Census, the population of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico is approximately 34, 485.
Las Piedras, Puerto Rico is named for the many volcanic rocks which scatter the area. The people of the municipality are called Pedrenos or Pedrenses, and are nicknamed Las Come Guabaras – the guabara (a type of crustacean) eaters.
The History of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico
Las Piedras, Puerto Rico has been inhabited for many years. In 1773, Fray Inigo Abbad y Lasierra wrote of a population in the area, which was then known as Ribera de Las Piedras. At that time, there were 3 houses, and a parochial church serving Caguas and Humacao. Over 1,500 people lived in the area, some of whom were Spanish colonists who had previously settled in the coastal settlement of Humacao.
Difficulties caused by attacks on Humacao by pirates and Carib tribes led the colonists to seek a new settlement which would be easier to defend and chose this area. Ribera de Las Piedras was part of a hato belonging to the Delgado family. The land had been granted to Sebastian Delgado by the Spanish Crown in 1626 with the purpose of farming cattle.
In 1797, the government annexed Ribera de las Piedras to the neighbourhood of Juncos. Locals were dissatisfied with this change and requested that they be allowed to built a new church. The government allowed them to do so, providing they donated 16 acres(approx) of land, paid for the decoration of the church and funded a wage of 300 pesos to the priest and 25 pesos to the Sacristan, whose job was to take care of church property.
In 1801, Las Piedras, Puerto Rico was founded and construction began on the Nuestra Señora de la Concepción church. 1825 saw a powerful storm which destroyed the church, archives and the Casa del Rey building. In 1827, a project was started to find land and funding for a new Casa del Rey. This was agreed to by locals, who offered to provide financial assistance despite not being obligated to do so. By 1847, according to written documentation by Benito Lopez, Las Piedras Puerto Rico had 27 houses, 27 bohio type huts and 6 barrios.
Economically Las Piedras, Puerto Rico has traditionally been an area of production for livestock such as cattle, as well as agriculture : sugar, tobacco and tropical fruit. In the 1970s, the government devoted two thirds of the land to cattle pasture and 26% to crop growing. Today, there are around 130 farms in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico mostly producing flour and livestock. The economy of Las Piedras is also supported by manufacture, including technology and pharmaceuticals.
Attractions in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico
Las Piedras offers a number of interesting sights for visitors to the island of Puerto Rico. La Cueva del Indio – The Indian Cave was discovered by land developers in 1982. Traditionally used by the indigenous Taíno people for ceremonial purposes, this important finding was added to the National Register of Historic Monuments in 2003. More than 200 petroglyphs decorate the walls of the cave, and date back hundreds of years. In order to protect the site, visitors must contact the town hall of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico to arrange a guided tour.
Nearby, it is also possible to hike up to the Asentamiento El Monte de Retiro. This was previously the site of a Taíno settlement, with its elevation and views over Las Piedras making it an ideal lookout point.
Other places of interest include the Historical Museum of Las Piedras, where a vast selection of antiques, art and local crafts are displayed. Artisan crafts such as ceramics, baskets and woven items can be purchased at the Paseo Artesanal, which provides a popular meeting point in Las Piedras.
The busy art and craft market plays an essential role in the economy of the municipality, and the town hall runs programmes which help to train locals who wish to set up craft-making and trading businesses. For those of a sportier nature, the Francisco Negron Park is worth a look – it is the only Triple A rated baseball facility in Puerto Rico.
Interesting Facts About Las Piedras, Puerto Rico
The flag of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico has three horizontal stripes, colored from top to bottom : white, green and blue. A Taíno sun is positioned in the centre of the flag. The coat of arms shows the monogram of the Holy Virgin in blue and topped with a crown, as well as a Taíno sun, and is surrounded with 7 silver-colored stones to represent the rocky earth of Las Piedras.
The now famous “hammock seat” was said to have been invented by an artist from Las Piedras. These suspended seats are now a common souvenir and are made from a strong thread called cordoncillo which ensures their sturdiness.
Las Piedras, Puerto Rico hosts an annual Guiro festival, celebrating the traditional musical instrument, with music, dance and song. Another popular event is the Lechon (Suckling Pig) Festival which has taken place in December for over 20 years. Suckling pig is roasted over a fire and other typical dishes are offered from street market stalls, while entertainment is provided by local musicians. The Patron Saint festival is also celebrated in December.
Famous People from Las Piedras, Puerto Rico
Carmen Benitez – political activist
Miguel Hernandez Agosto – politician
Victor Torres – historian, journalist
Eugenio Mendez – Famous for making cuatros (musical instrument typical in Puerto Rico)
Eugenio Lopez – Landowner and boxer