The Historic Town of Ciudad Del Jacaguas
This historic town began in 1592 as a village on the shores of the Jacaguas. Prior to this, in 1582, Dona Juana Diaz’s husband was killed along with many of the other residents in this area. The deaths were due to the continuous attacks made by the local Caribe Indians. It was around this time that a number of farms were created in the area by royal decree. These early farmers were to initially operate from Coamo and before long the first piece of land, 16 acres of prime ground, came to be firmly established as a fruit and livestock farm.
In 1798 the Juana Diaz municipality, with approximately 1000 people, was formed in remembrance of Dona Juana Diaz - the first lady to assume responsibility for that small ranch. Diaz was also known as “Versailles de Ponce” because of its rich countryside, trees and rivers which circulated within the region. “La Ciudad Del Mavi” and “La Ciudad de los Reyes y los Poetas” (City of Kings and Poets) are just two examples of the collection of well deserved names that have been given to the town over the years. On the 25th of April 1798, the civil Government was established. This happened to take place just one month after the founding of the parish by Don Tiburcio Rodriguez.
Today you will find Juana Diaz (pronounced HWAH-nah DEE-ahz) south of Villalba on the Southern Coast of the Puerto Rico. Descalabrado, Inabon, Canas and Guayo are some of the many tributaries that cut through the area. “Ciudad Del Jacaguas”, a well known pet name, was derived from the river Jacaguas. The Lake is a vital water supply as it’s primarily use is that of drinking water for Juana Diaz and many other surrounding towns.
Juana Diaz is also a site where the most elegant and naturally formed crystallized rock, commonly known as marble, can be found. The exceptional quality of this marble has made it one of the most sought after stone materials in the world. Presently there are four quarries in Juana Diaz that produce marble as well as construction aggregate. At the turn of the century, these quarries were also able to start producing Manganese ore.
La Luciana, Serrano, Amelia, Cintrona, Ursula, Cristina, Poncena and Potala became well-known as the mills used for the vast production of sugar and molasses at the turn of the century in Juana Diaz. Today these industrial giants have disappeared into the annuls of history, with only the Boca Chica mill still left to educate people about a time when these mills once helped Puerto Rico compete with the rest of the world's sugar industry.
During the month of April the Mavi Carnival takes place with its vibrant parades, costumes, food and dancing. It is also here that the famous Taino beverage, which is fermented from the bark of the mabi tree or ironwood, offers fine refreshment. So come and experience Juana Diaz for yourself and enjoy a refreshing look at Puerto Rico.