Spanish settlement in the original city of San Germán occurred early in the conquest and colonization of Puerto Rico. After the destruction of a small early settlement near modern-day Añasco during a Taíno uprising which started in February 1511, the new settlement was built by Miguel Diaz at Guayanilla and named after Germaine of Foix, the new queen of King Fernando. This town was attacked by French corsairs in August 1528, May 1538 and 1554. The construction of a small fort began in 1540, but work stopped in 1546 when the population of the town began moving inland to the current modern location.
An early written reference to the new town occurs in 1573. A letter sent to Spain's king Philip II mentions a city with the names of Nueva Salamanca and San Germán. Spanish conquerors used the name Nueva Salamanca to honor the city of Salamanca in Spain.
On May 12, 1570, the Royal Audience of Santo Domingo (see Audiencia) ordered that both the populations of San Germán and Santa María de Guadianilla be merged into a single city due to the constant attacks. The new city was built on the hills of Santa Marta, next to the Guanajibo River in 1573. Its official name was Nueva Villa de Salamanca, named after the city of Salamanca in Spain. However, the population would call the city San Germán el Nuevo (The New San Germán) and, eventually, the Villa de San Germán (The Village of San Germán).
San Germán is also known as the founding city of towns, given the fact that in 1514 the Spanish crown separated the island into two administrative territories (Partidos). The borders of the two partidos were established as the Camuy River to the north and the Jacagua river to the south. They were named the San Juan Partition and the San Germán Partition.Aguada — Founded in 1508
Ponce — Founded in 1692
Añasco — Founded in 1733
San Sebastián — Founded in 1752
Yauco — Founded in 1756
Mayagüez — Founded in 1760
Cabo Rojo — Founded in 1771
Rincón — Founded in 1771
Moca — Founded in 1772
Aguadilla — Founded in 1775
Peñuelas — Founded in 1793
Camuy — Founded in 1807
Sabana Grande — Founded in 1813
Isabela — Founded in 1819
Quebradillas — Founded in 1823
Lares — Founded in 1827
Guayanilla — Founded in 1833
Las Marías — Founded in 1871
Maricao — Founded in 1874
Hormigueros — Founded in 1874
Lajas — Founded in 1883
Guánica — Founded in 1914
Mountains: Alto del Descanso (2,520 ft; 768 m) and Tetas de Cerro Gordo (2,897 ft; 883 m).
Rivers: Río Caín, Río Duey, Río Rosario, Río Guanajibo (Estero), Río Hoconuco Guamá and Rio El Brujo
^1 Due to its large size, Minillas is usually subdivided into Minillas Valle, Minillas Carretera and Minillas Parcelas.
San Germán is the site of the Porta Coeli church, one of the earliest Spanish cathedrals built in Latin America. Porta Coeli is still a major attraction that brings both domestic and international tourists every year.Puente de Bolas (Bridge of Balls)
Ceiba de la Libertad
Lola Rodríguez de Tió Museum
Casa Cruz de la Luna
Ramírez de Arrellano y Rossell Museum
Santo Domingo Plazuela
Three Races and One Culture Mural
San Germán Historic District
Inter-American University of Puerto Rico
Church San Germán de Auxerre
La Barrica, Original Spanish Tavern. Circa 1847
The urban center of San Germán is mainly composed of Spanish colonial houses. Many have been restored and conserve their Spanish look while other houses are somewhat abandoned and in poor condition. There are ongoing projects employing public and private funding to preserve and restore many houses and monuments and to maintain San Germán's colonial era look.Patron Celebrations (St. Germain d'Auxerre and Santa Rosa de Lima) - July
Festival de la Pana - July
Anón Festival - September
Christmas Festival - December
Christmas Parade - Early December
Patron Celebrations (The Virgin of the Rosary) — Celebrated in San Germán's Ward, Rosario Poblado, which borders Mayagüez.
San Germán is home to one of Puerto Rico's oldest basketball franchises, dating back to the 1930s, the San Germán Athletics (los Atléticos de San Germán), nicknamed "The Orange Monster". Many glories of Puerto Rican basketball have played in San Germán, a city that is also known as "The Crib of Puerto Rican Basketball". Some of those players are Arquelio Torres, José "Piculín" Ortiz, Eddie Casiano, Nelson Quiñones, Elías "Larry" Ayuso, Christian Dalmau, and so many others. Their home court is The Arquelio Torres Ramírez Court, which houses approximately 5,000 fans.
The Athletic's fan base is most commonly referred to as their sixth man, or "The Orange Monster". This is because for a visiting team it's extremely hard to win in San Germán due to how vigorous and "into" the game the fans are.
The Athletics have been to 26 National Superior Basketball (BSN) Finals, of which one was cancelled (1953) due to confiscation because of a fight between players from San Germán and the Ponce Lions, giving birth to Puerto Rican basketball's most intense rivalry.
Championships (14): 1932, 1936, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1985, 1991, 1994, 1997 Sub-Championships (11): 1931, 1933, 1936, 1938, 1940, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1965, 1986
The area around San Germán grows fruits (banana, pineapple) and sugar cane on mid-scale. Dairy farms are also present in small scale. Some locals grow other produce on a small scale. Other industries in the municipality include Baxter Serum Mfg., Cordis, Insertco (print shop for medical instructions inserts), Wallace Silversmiths de Puerto Rico, General Electric (production of circuit breakers) and several other companies in the service industry.
Most businesses are located in or near the "downtown" area (San Germán Pueblo). Plaza del Oeste is the main shopping center.
Major employers of the city include Fresenius Kabi, CCL, Wallace International, General Electric and several business owners.Act of Valor (2012) Which follows a Navy Seal squad on a covert mission to recover a kidnapped CIA Agent Morales (Roselyn Sánchez).
Dinero Sangre (1986) In a banana republic a ruthless mercenary waits to make a killing in gold. Only two people stand in his way (Guy Ecker)
Like all municipalities in Puerto Rico, San Germán is administered by a mayor. The current mayor is Isidro A. Negrón Irizarry, from the Partido Popular Democrático Popular Democratic Party (PPD). Negrón was first elected in the 2000 general election.
The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district IV, which is represented by two Senators. In 2012, María Teresa González and Gilberto Rodríguez were elected as District Senators.
Green - The Episcopal dignity and also the color of the Shield of Christopher Columbus and his son, don Diego Colón, Viceroy of the Indies, who named the city in honor of Germana de Foix.
White - The purity of the blood of the great families who colonized San Germán.
Purple - Color of the Shield of Juan Ponce de León, first governor of Puerto Rico.
First Quarter: The Mitre and the Staff in a green field represent St. Germain of Auxerre, the Patron Saint of the city.
Second Quarter: The second quarter exhibits the arms of the Kingdoms of Aragón and Sicily, where don Fernando the Catholic reigned.
Third Quarter: In this quarter the arms combine with the County of Foix and the Kingdom of France, which constitute the family shields of Germaine de Foix whose name is perpetuated as the name of the city of San Germán.
Fourth Quarter: Is Ponce de León's shield, The Crown: Is a civic or municipal standard and is used as a stamp for towns and cities; San Germán was assigned five towers to denote that this population formally obtained the title of city from the Spanish crown in the nineteenth century.
San Germán has 15 public schools: 8 elementary schools, 1 middle school, 4 second units and 2 high schools:Amina Tió de Malaret (Elementary)
Antonia Martínez (Elementary)
Bartolomé de las Casas (Elementary)
Carmen Borrás Batistini (Elementary)
Georgina Alvarado (Elementary)
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Elementary)
Herminia C. Ramírez (Elementary)
Mariano Abril (Elementary)
Julio Víctor Guzmán (Middle)
Luis Muñoz Rivera (Second Unit)
Federico Degetau (Second Unit)
Francisco Mariano Quiñones (Second Unit)
Galo Rosado (Second Unit)
Laura Mercado (High School)
Lola Rodríguez de Tió (High School)
It also has several private schools, such as Colegio San José, Academia Sangermeña and Academia Presbiteriana.
The main campus of the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico is located adjacent to the downtown area of San Germán. It was founded in 1912 as the Polytechnical Institute of Puerto Rico, the first private university on the island.PFC Joseph (José) R. Martínez destroyed a German infantry unit and tank in Tunisia, during World War II, by providing heavy artillery fire, saving his platoon from being attacked in the process. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor, by General George S. Patton, thus becoming the first Puerto Rican recipient of said military decoration.
Ubaldino Ramírez de Arellano — Senator
Lola Rodríguez de Tió — poet, author of the original lyrics of Puerto Rico's national anthem, La Borinqueña, and pro-independence advocate
Benicio del Toro — Award-winning actor
Francisco Mariano Quiñones — Abolitionist and politician
Samuel R. Quiñones — Longest-serving President of the Puerto Rico Senate, serving for twenty years.