San Juan street life

A street view of Old San Juan.

Rep. Jenniffer González (R-PR) —Puerto Rico's resident commissioner in the U.S. Congress—, San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero, and Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 7th District) announced a U.S. House Resolution to recognize the 500 years of the foundation of San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital.

The resolution is co-authored by González, Velázquez, Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL 7th District), Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL 9th District), Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-L 25th District), and Rep. Carlos Jiménez (R-FL 26th District).

The measure seeks to celebrate the history of the city and for San Juan to be recognized as the oldest continuously inhabited city established by Europeans within the territory of the United States, having been founded in 1521.

The celebrations of the fifth centenary of San Juan will take place from September 2021 to May 2022.

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Historic Old San Juan

"This resolution seeks to extend the celebration of the fifth centenary of San Juan so that it is recognized throughout the United States, so that throughout the nation they know of the oldest city under its flag and share the pride we have for our World Heritage. The feelings that San Juan evokes in each person who visits or lives it, in everyone on the island, the nostalgia in those who now reside in the states, are deep and reflect that unique character, born of a history that has seen so many battles. as parties and left five hundred years of a legacy that is not only monuments and dates but a people and a way of life that contributes to the great diversity of the nation," González stated.

Moreover, Lugo said that "our Capital City is culture, history and tradition. The celebration of the fifth centenary is in itself a memorable moment for present and future generations. San Juan is the heritage of our society and we are honored to be able to celebrate it and recognize it with the world."

"The ties between Puerto Rico and Florida are incredibly strong and Floridians care deeply for our fellow Americans on the island," Murphy said. "I am proud to join the representative of Puerto Rico in Congress, Jenniffer González-Colón, in presenting this resolution to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the founding of San Juan, the beautiful and iconic capital of Puerto Rico."

If the measure is approved, the 500th anniversary of the founding of the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico, would be recognized; honoring the history of the city of San Juan would be promoted; and people in the rest of the United States would be encouraged to observe and recognize the anniversary of the fifth centenary of the city.

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A majestic view of Old San Juan’s El Morro citadel.

The exposition of reasons tells the history of the capital of Puerto Rico, its historical importance as the oldest city in the United States and the third in the entire Americas; in it is the second oldest church in America, the Iglesia San José, built in 1532; San Juan is home to the oldest continually used executive mansion in America, the Palacio de Santa Catalina; the tomb of the first governor of Puerto Rico and explorer of the current state of Florida to which he gave that name, Juan Ponce de León, is buried in the Cathedral of San Juan; the cultural and architectural heritage of San Juan is recognized by the United Nations by listing it as a World Heritage Site.

In one of the fortifications, the Morro, the first shot was fired by the United States during the First World War; this went to the German submarine Odenwald. The first female mayor of a capital in all of America was Mrs. Felisa Rincón de Guatier in San Juan, who with the implementation of the so-called nursery schools, formed the model of the current Head Start. In addition, the city of San Juan has been host to important sporting events.

Today, the resident commissioner and the mayor will meet with D. Santiago Cabañas Ansorena, the U.S. ambassador to Spain, to begin conversations concerning the celebration.

Read the House Resolution below:

Among other initiatives, the measure seeks to acknowledge San Juan as the oldest city in U.S. soil.

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