Humacao is a small city on the east coast of the island of Puerto Rico. My mother’s family hails from this largely rural area of the southeast. It is also a poor region of Puerto Rico, with over 43% of the city’s population below the poverty line. The town square, dominated by a church like many of Puerto Rico’s public areas, is lined with vacant storefronts and dilapidated public facilities.
The region was home to the Taíno native population before the arrival of the Spanish. The contemporary residents of Humacao are still immensely proud of their native heritage as seen in this monument to Jumacao, the city’s namesake and leader of a revolt against the Spanish invaders.
“It is believed that the Taíno chief Jumacao was the first ‘cacique’ to learn to read and write in Spanish, since he wrote a letter to the King of Spain Charles I complaining about how the Governor of the island wasn’t complying with their peace agreement. In the letter, Jumacao argued that their people were virtually prisoners of Spain. It is said that King Charles was so moved by the letter that he ordered the Governor to obey the terms of the treaty.” (Triposo)
Hurricane Maria made landfall here; the locals are still without electricity.
Have you been to the east coast of Puerto Rico? What are some of your favorite places to visit?