The towntown, founding: A group of vecinos that wanted to found a town had to grant a power of attorney to one or more other vecinos to represent them before the governor and viceroy. This person could authorize the founding of the town and the establishment of a parish. The grantors of the power of attorney had to be a majority in the given territory and more than ten in number. Once the case had been made, the governor appointed a capitán poblador or settlement official to represent the vecinos and one or more delegates, who usually lived in nearby cabildos vecinos to receive the necessary documentation. Proof was required that the settlement was so far from a church that it was very difficult for the settlers to partake of sacraments and municipal services. In general, proof was provided of the absence or bad condition of roads and bridges. If the petition was approved, it was required that the vecinos mark off the new municipality and build public works such as a church, a parish house, a government house (Casa del Rey), a slaughterhouse, and a cemetery, and to set aside land for the town square or plaza and the commons (ejidos). The vecinos were expected to cover the cost of building these works by levying special assessments. Usually one of the land owners donated some land for the founding. Once the requirements had been met, the governor authorized the founding of the town and the parish, and he appointed a Lieutenant at War who usually was the same capitán poblador. of Las Marías is set in the western region of Puerto Rico. Its territory comprises approximately 120 square kilometers (46.3 mi2). Las Marías is also known as the "pueblo de la china dulce" (Town of Sweet Oranges) and "ciudad de los cítricos" (Citrus Fruit City). At the time of the 2000 census, there were 11,061 marieños living in Las Marías. The town is divided into sixteen barrios (wards): Alto Sano, Anones, Bucarabones, Buena Vista, Cerrote, Chamorro, Espino, Furnias, Las Marías Pueblo (Downtown), East Maravilla, North Maravilla, South Maravilla, Naranjales, Palma Escrita, Purísima Concepción, and Río Cañas. The town's patron saint is the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
The municipality's economy is primarily agricultural. Its major crops are coffee and produce, such as plantains, bananas, and citrus fruits, especially oranges. Most of the jobs available in Las Marías are created in sectors such as construction, retail sales, health care, and social services. In addition, the town's old coffee haciendashaciendas: An agricultural establishment that was larger than the estancia and smaller than the hato. The earliest haciendas grew sugarcane and had the first trapiches or rudimentary sugar mills. Later there were more advanced sugar mills, or ingenios, where molasses and unrefined sugar were produce. Some had equipment for producing low grade rum. Later, coffee was grown on haciendas. are a great tourist attraction. Las Marías also has a garment factory and marble quarries. The marble is used in the manufacture of floor tiles and terrazzo.
This western Puerto Rican town is bounded by the municipalities of San Sebastián to the north, Maricao to the south, Lares to the east, and Mayagüez and Añasco to the west. Las Marías is part of the geographical region of the Cordillera Central mountain range. Well-known peaks include Las Marías, Plan Bonito, Valladares, Godén, and Herencia. The Urayoán mountain range runs through the southwestern part of the municipality. Due to its topography, nearly 94 percent of the municipality's land consists of steep slopes. Any plains or fairly flat lands belonging to Las Marías are found mainly in the valleys formed by the Grande de Añasco, Guaba, and Arenas rivers. Its soils, classified as catalina and cialitos clay, are typical highland soils.
The municipality's waterways include the Grande de Añasco River, also known as the Guacio River, which marks the city limits between Las Marías and San Sebastián. Tributaries to that river include the Guaba, Bucarabones, Mayagüecilla, Arenas, Casey, and Cañas rivers, as well as the Fría, Mayagüecilla, La Verde, Las Marías, Los Verracos, Cintrona, Vélez, Collera, Pepinera, and La Mota Creeks. The municipality is also known for its many springs, especially La Cantera.
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