Location of GUANICA
in the Map of Puerto Rico
Guánica (GWAH-nee-kah) is a municipality in southwestern Puerto Rico located on southern coast, bordering the Caribbean Sea, south of Sabana Grande, east of Lajas, and west of Yauco. The municipality of Guánica consists of seven wards as well as Guánica Pueblo, the principal town and administrative center of the municipality.
Juan Ponce de León landed in the Guánica harbor on August 12, 1508 and founded a town called Guaynía, a word derived from the Taíno indigenous culture that possibly meant "Here is a place with water". The town, considered the capital of the island of Puerto Rico (which was at that time named Isla de San Juan Bautista), was destroyed during the indigenous uprising of 1511, and the area was abandoned by Europeans for some years, during which time San Juan (itself at first called Puerto Rico) became the capital of the island. The refounded town of Guánica was at first a part of the municipality of Yauco until Guánica was established as a separate municipality on March 13, 1914. Víctor Ángel Sallaberry Safini was Guánica's first mayor.
On July 25, 1898 USA troops (who included the young poet-writer Carl Sandburg and were led by General Nelson A. Miles) landed in Guánica as part of the course of the Spanish-American War. This invasion led to Puerto Rico being acquired by the United States. The invasion, just one small part of the war between Spain and America, occurred in Guánica due to its sheltered harbor and proximity to Ponce, besides being such an unexpected site for such an attack, which had been anticipated at the heavily fortified city of San Juan. The invasion is commemorated by a contentious monument on the waterfront; along a broad paseo (el malecón), there is a large coral boulder marked by the carved words, "3rd Battalion, 1st U.S.V. Engineers, Sept. 1898."
Guánica is a modern town that maintains roots and connections to a traditional past. Known as el pueblo de la amistad (the friendly town), is also occasionally referred to as el pueblo de las doce calles (the town of the twelve streets). The central part of town consists of five streets running north-south crossing seven other streets that run east-west, resulting in a compact grid of 24 square blocks, one of which is the town plaza. Facing the plaza is the Catholic church, city hall, a school, and many shops; the plaza itself contains greenery, walks, and a music stand. In recent years this central area of the twelve streets has been extensively supplemented by suburbs in the south and west. Hills surround the town and harbor, including the 450-foot (140 meters) hill to the east of town, itself topped by the tiny Fort Caprón. Two large factories, one producing fertilizer, partially distract the eye from the pleasant landscape, but both have been important to the economy of the town, at one time dominated by the sugar plantations of Guánica Central. The resort chain known as Club Med once attempted to set up a luxury resort on beaches east of the town, but withdrew due to local opposition which was apprehensive about both environmental and community degradation; east of the town some 200 acres of land, including three miles of beach, have been intermittently for sale. Life goes on. It is a fishing village. Commercial fishermen still ply their traditional trade beyond the harbor entrance.
The five waves, blue and yellow represent the Guánica Bay, a fragment of the Official Shield of Guánica.
 Coat of Arms
Shield divided in four quarters. In the superior right side, it has a "bohio" (hut) under a crown that represents Cacique Agüeybaná, whose yucayeque (Indian territory) was in this region. In the superior left quarter, a lion representing Juan Ponce de León. The checkered strips over a silver-plated background in the inferior right side represent the shields of Don Cristóbal de Sotomayor, founder of the town of Tavara, the actual location of Guánica. The waved stripes represent the bay of this town. The branches surrounding the shield represent the sugar cane industry that was very important in this region.
Reference: Wikipedia.org / census.gov / mapquest.com