Puerto Rico: San Juan

San Juan (/ˌsæn ˈhwɑːn/; Spanish pronunciation: [saŋ ˈhwaŋ], 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.

Today, San Juan is Puerto Rico's most important seaport, and is the island's manufacturing, financial, cultural, and tourism center. The population of the Metropolitan Statistical Area, including San Juan and the municipalities of Bayamón, Guaynabo, Cataño, Canóvanas, Caguas, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Carolina and Trujillo Alto, is about 2 million inhabitants; thus, about half the population of Puerto Rico now lives and works in this area. San Juan is also a principal city of the San Juan-Caguas-Fajardo Combined Statistical Area. The city has been the host of events within the sports community, including the 1979 Pan American Games, 1966 Central American and Caribbean Games, events of the 2006, 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classics, the Caribbean Series and the Special Olympics and MLB San Juan Series in 2010.

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. The USS Yale captured a Spanish freighter, the Rita in San Juan Bay, thus being the first hostile encounter between the warring sides in Puerto Rico. On May 9, Yale fought a brief battle with an auxiliary cruiser of Spain, name unknown, resulting in a Spanish victory. Around this time, Captain Ángel Rivero Méndez was assigned the command of the Spanish forces in the fortress of San Cristóbal in San Juan. On May 10, the Yale returned to San Juan Bay, Rivero-Méndez ordered his men to open fire upon the USS Yale using an Ordoñez 15 centimeter cannon, thus becoming the first attack against the Americans in Puerto Rico during the Spanish–American War. For his actions, Captain Rivero-Mendez was awarded the "Cruz de la Orden de Merito Militar" (The Cross of the Order of the Military Merit) first class. The residents of San Juan were furious with Rivero and blamed him for the destruction caused to their city by the American bombardments. Nothing came of those accusations and Capt. Rivero-Méndez was ordered to turn over the keys of all the military installations in San Juan to Captain Henry A. Reed of the U.S. Army after the Treaty of Paris of 1898 was signed. 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.

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.

South of Santurce is Hato Rey, part of the former municipality of Río Piedras. Hato Rey was grazing ground for cattle owned by the royal government (hence its name, the King's Herd in Spanish) as early as the 16th century, and is now considered the financial center of the island. A section of this district is often referred to as Milla de Oro (actually 0.47 miles or 0.76 kilometers long) due in part to the many banks and businesses located there.

In the southern part of the city is the socially diversified community of Río Piedras. Founded in the mid-1850s, Río Piedras was a separate town which hosted sugar cane plantations and the estates of some of San Juan's wealthiest inhabitants (as well as their working class staff). The Spanish colonial governors also had their summer home there on land which eventually gave way to the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico. In 1951 the municipalities of San Juan and Río Piedras were merged to redefine San Juan's current city limits. Today Río Piedras comprises the largest area of the municipality of San Juan. and is home to the "Plaza del Mercado" (Río Piedras Marketplace), the main campus and the Medical Sciences campus of the University of Puerto Rico and the San Juan Botanical Garden.

San Juan is the birthplace of artists and musicians, locally known as Sanjuaneros, who have significantly influenced Puerto Rican culture. During the 20th century, the musical aspect of the city was influenced by performers including Afro-Caribbean dancer and choreographer Sylvia del Villard and José Enrique Pedreira who became a composer of Puerto Rican Danzas. International musicians such as opera singer Justino Díaz and Grammy Award winners Ramón Ayala (Daddy Yankee) and Ricky Martin were born in the city. Other notable residents include writers Giannina Braschi and Tomas Blanco, award-winning actors Raúl Juliá and Benicio del Toro, and comedian José Miguel Agrelot. Rafael Cordero (1790–1868), was influential in the development of Puerto Rican education and has been once renowned[by whom?] as " The Father of Public Education in Puerto Rico". The city is also the home of contemporary and classic art museums. The Puerto Rico Arts Museum owns the largest collection of contemporary art in Puerto Rico, housing over 1,100 permanent art pieces and displaying temporary exhibitions containing artwork from various locations through Latin America.

The Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art, located in Santurce, specializes in contemporary artwork from Latin America and the Caribbean. The paintings displayed in the permanent exhibition are either acquired by the museum's administrative personnel or donated by artists and collectors. They are judged by a panel of painters, art critics, and scholars before being displayed.

Other museums such as the Pablo Casals Museum, the Book Museum, Americas Museum and the National Gallery display historic items and artwork alongside contemporary art. Miscellaneous museums such as the Children's Museum and the Bacardi Distillery (also known as the "Rum Cathedral") in nearby Cataño appeal to different audiences through interactive exhibitions.

San Juan has an elaborate system of triage, hospital, and preventive care health services. The municipal government sponsors regular health fairs in different areas of the city focusing on health care for the elderly and the disabled. There are 20 hospitals in San Juan, half of them operated by the government. The largest hospital in San Juan and most important of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean is the Rio Piedras Medical Center, or Centro Medico de Rio Piedras in Spanish. This hospital, founded in 1956, is operated by the Medical Services Administration of the Department of Health of Puerto Rico. It is made up of eight other hospitals.

San Juan Municipal Hospital: This hospital is operated by the San Juan municipal government.
Industrial Hospital: This is the hospital for Puerto Rico government employees, whether municipal or Commonwealth government employees. Normally, injured police officers and firefighters are cared for here.
San Juan Pediatric Hospital - Also operated by the San Juan municipal government.
Pediatric Hospital: Operated by the government of the Commonwealth, this is the main trauma hospital for pediatric cases.
Centro Medico: This is the main hospital for trauma cases for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
Centro Cardiovascular del Caribe (Caribbean Cardiovascular Center): This is the main hospital for open heart surgery in the Caribbean. It features a hotel for the patients' families.
Psychiatric Hospital: The main psychiatric hospital in Puerto Rico. Operated by the government of Puerto Rico.
Psychiatric Correctional Hospital: It is both a hospital and correctional facility. It is operated jointly by the Puerto Rico Department of Corrections and the Medical Services Administration.

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