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San Juan, Puerto Rico
Municipality of San Juan
Municipio de San Juan
Flag of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Coat of arms of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Coat of arms
"La Ciudad Amurallada"
Spanish for "The Walled City"
"Ciudad Capital"
Spanish for "Capital City"
Location in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Location in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18°24′23″N 66°3′50″WCoordinates: 18°24′23″N 66°3′50″W[1]
Country  United States of America
Territory  Puerto Rico
Established 1509[2]
Named for John the Baptist
 • Municipality 77.0 sq mi (199 km2)
 • Land 47.9 sq mi (124 km2)
 • Water 29.1 sq mi (75 km2)  37.8%
 • Urban 876.2 sq mi (2,269 km2)
Elevation[3] 26 ft (8 m)
Population (2010)[4]
 • Municipality 395,326
 • Density 5,100/sq mi (2,000/km2)
 • Urban 2,148,346
 • Metro 2,350,126
Demonym(s) Sanjuaneros
Time zone AST (UTC-4)
ZIP code(s) 00901, 00907, 00909, 00911-00913, 00915, 00917, 00918, 00920, 00921, 00923-00927
Area code(s) 787 and 939
Website sanjuanciudadpatria.com/en

San Juan (/ˌsæn ˈhwɑːn/; Spanish pronunciation: [saŋ ˈxwan], Saint John) is the capital and most populous municipality in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 395,326 making it the 46th-largest city under the jurisdiction of the United States. San Juan was founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, who called it Ciudad de Puerto Rico ("Rich Port City"). Puerto Rico's capital is the second oldest European-established capital city in the Americas, after Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. Several historical buildings are located in San Juan; among the most notable are the city's former defensive forts, Fort San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Cristóbal, and La Fortaleza, the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Americas.


In 1508, Juan Ponce de León founded the original settlement which he called Caparra. It was named after the Province of Caceres in Spain, the birthplace of Nicolás de Ovando, then the Governor of Spain's Caribbean territories, today it is part of the Pueblo Viejo sector of Guaynabo, just to the west of the present San Juan metropolitan area. A year later, the settlement was moved to a site then called Puerto Rico, Spanish for "rich port" or "good port", after its similar geographical features to the town of Puerto Rico of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. In 1521, the newer settlement was given its formal name, Puerto Rico de San Juan Bautista.

The ambiguous use of San Juan Bautista and Puerto Rico for both the city and the island in time led to a reversal in practical use by most inhabitants: by 1746 the name for the city (Puerto Rico) had become that of the entire island, leading to the city being identified as Puerto Rico de Puerto Rico on maps of the era. On the other hand, the name for the island (San Juan Bautista) became the name for the city only after the occupation of the island by the United States.

San Juan, as a settlement of the Spanish Empire, was used by merchant and military ships traveling from Spain as the first stopover in the Americas. Because of its prominence in the Caribbean, a network of fortifications was built to protect the transports of gold and silver from the New World to Europe. Because of the rich cargoes, San Juan became a target of the foreign powers of the time.

The British attack in 1797, during the French Revolutionary Wars, led by Sir Ralph Abercromby (who had just conquered Trinidad). His army laid siege to the city but was forced to withdraw in defeat as the Puerto Rican defenses proved more resilient than those of Trinidad. Various events and circumstances, including liberalized commerce with Spain, the opening of the island to immigrants as a direct result of the Royal Decree of Graces of 1815, and the colonial revolutions, led to an expansion of San Juan and other Puerto Rican settlements in the late 18th and early 19th century.

On May 8, 1898, United States Navy ships, among them the USS Detroit, USS Indiana, USS New York, USS Amphitrite, USS Terror and USS Montgomery, commanded by Rear Admiral William T. Sampson arrived at San Juan Bay.  On July 25, General Nelson A. Miles landed at Guánica (in southwestern Puerto Rico) with 3,300 soldiers in what was known as the Puerto Rican Campaign. The American troops found some resistance and engaged the Spanish and Puerto Rican troops in battle, the most notable of these the battles of Yauco and Asomante. All military actions in Puerto Rico were suspended August 13, 1898, after President William McKinley and French Ambassador Jules Cambon, acting on behalf of the Spanish government, signed an armistice. Spain ceded the island to the United States later the same year by signing the Treaty of Paris.

In 1919, Félix Rigau Carrera, "El Aguila de Sabana Grande" (The Eagle from Sabana Grande), the first Puerto Rican pilot, became the first native Puerto Rican to fly an aircraft in the island when he flew his Curtiss JN-4 from Las Casas.

On January 2, 1947, the people of San Juan elected Felisa Rincón de Gautier (also known as Doña Fela) (1897–1994) as their mayor. Thus, she became the first woman to be elected as the mayor of a capital city in any of The Americas. During the Cold War era, she served as mayor until January 2, 1969.

On October 30, 1950, San Juan was the scene of the San Juan Uprising, one of many uprisings which occurred in various towns and cities in Puerto Rico, by the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party against the Governments of Puerto Rico and the United States. Among the uprising's main objective was to attack "La Fortaleza" (the Governors mansion) and the United States Federal Court House Building in Old San Juan. In accordance to the planned uprising in San Juan, a group of nationalists were supposed to attack simultaneously the gubernatorial mansion La Fortaleza, where Puerto Rican governor Luis Muñoz Marín resided, and the United States Federal Court House which is located close to an area called "La Marina" in Old San Juan. The La Fortaleza battle, which ensued between the nationalists and the police lasted 15 minutes, and ended when four of the five attackers were killed.


San Juan from space

San Juan is located along the north-eastern coast of Puerto Rico. It lies south of the Atlantic Ocean; north of Caguas and Trujillo Alto; east of and Guaynabo; and west of Carolina. The city occupies an area of 76.93 square miles (199.2 km2), of which, 29.11 square miles (75.4 km2) (37.83%) is water. San Juan's main water bodies are San Juan Bay and two natural lagoons, the Condado and San José.


San Juan has a tropical climate and enjoys an average temperature of 81.0 °F (27.2 °C) . In the winter, temperatures can drop to around 60 °F (16 °C), though the average winter low is 71 °F (22 °C). Rainfall is well-distributed throughout the year, but the months of January, February, and March are the driest;  Rainfall averages 56.35 inches (1,431.3 mm), falling on an average 198.5 days per year; despite this dampness, the city averages 2,970 hours of sunshine per year, or just over ⅔ of the possible total. Annual rainfall has historically ranged from 35.53 in (902 mm) in 1991 to 89.50 in (2,273 mm) in 2010.


 General view of harbor at San Juan, Puerto Rico looking South to San Juan Bay, 1927.
 The clock tower building at center was the San Juan Rail Terminal.


Some of Old San Juan streets are still paved with blue cobblestones from the Spanish colonial era.

The architecture of San Juan is very diverse, due to its size and all the cultural influences received during its existence. The oldest part of the city, known as Old San Juan, mostly features the influence of Spanish architecture. This part of the city is comprised by a network of setted roads usually surrounded by ancient, two-storied houses built on masonry. Some colonial structures have been restored and serve either as government offices or museums. Some examples are the Ballajá Barracks, which now serve as museum and headquarter of several cultural organizations; La Fortaleza, which has served as the residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico since the 16th Century; and the Ancient Welfare Asylum, which now houses the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, among others. Old San Juan also features several public squares, like the Plaza de Armas, located in front of San Juan City Hall; and cathedrals, like the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista. Old San Juan is also notable for being partly enclosed by massive walls and fortifications built by the Spanish government.

The architecture is more varied in other districts of the city. The district of Santurce features a lot of influence from art deco, while the districts of Hato Rey feature more modern structures.

The main central part of the city is characterized by narrow streets made of blue cobblestone and picturesque colonial buildings, some of which date back to the 16th and 17th century. Sections of the old city are surrounded by massive walls and several defensive structures and notable forts. These include the 16th-century Fort San Felipe del Morro and the 17th-century Fort San Cristóbal, both part of San Juan National Historic Site, and the 16th-century El Palacio de Santa Catalina, also known as La Fortaleza, which serves as the governor's mansion. Other buildings of interest predating the 20th century are the Ayuntamiento or Alcaldía (City Hall), the Diputación Provincial and the Real Intendencia buildings, which currently house the Puerto Rico Department of State, the Casa Rosa, the San José Church (1523) and the adjacent Hotel El Convento, the former house of the Ponce de León family known as Casa Blanca, the Teatro Tapia, the former Spanish barracks (now Museum of Ballajá), La Princesa (former municipal jail, now headquartering the Puerto Rico Tourism Company), and the Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery, located just outside the city walls. The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista (construction began in the 1520s) is also located in Old San Juan, and contains the tomb of the Spanish explorer and settlement founder Juan Ponce de León. Old San Juan, also known as the "old city", is the main cultural tourist attraction in Puerto Rico; its bayside is lined by dock slips for large cruise ships.


 San Juan Beach

Technological advances after World War II in the development of the airline industry, coupled with the island's climate and natural setting, have transformed San Juan into the springboard for tourism around the island, and has made the rest of the Caribbean known throughout the world during the last fifty years. Today the capital features hotels, museums, historical buildings, restaurants, beaches and shopping centers. In San Juan there are tourist attractions, including: Old San Juan, Ocean Park, Isla Verde and Condado.


The Port of San Juan is the fourth busiest seaport in the Western Hemisphere, ranked among the top 17 in the world in terms of container movement. It is also the largest home-based cruise port in the world with over a dozen cruise ships. It is the second busiest port in cruise volume after Miami.

The Metropolitan Area is served by two airports. The Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, San Juan's primary commercial airport, is located eight miles (12.9 km) from Old San Juan in the neighboring municipality of Carolina. The airport accommodates more than 30 domestic and international airlines and is the busiest airport in the Caribbean. It is often referred to as "The Gateway to the Caribbean" because it serves as the main connection to the island and the rest of the Caribbean for the United States and vice versa. The area's secondary airport is the Fernando Ribas Dominicci Airport, which is located directly across the San Antonio Creek or Cano San Antonio from Old San Juan in the Isla Grande district. Dominicci Airport is used mainly by general aviation aircraft, charter flights, and some domestic commercial flights.Air Sunshine is located in terminal A next to Jetblue at the Luis Munoz Marin (LMM) International airport and offers  service to and from San Juan (SJU) , Anguilla(AXA),Dominica(DOM),Nevis(NEV),St.Thomas(STT),ST.Maarten(SXM),Tortola(EIS),Virgin Gorda(VIJ) and Vieques(VQS) on a regular basis and the destination of your choice on demand.