by Reniet Ramirez
In early 19th century…
…when Puerto Rico was still under the Spanish regimen, most of the land that is now Orocovis, was part of the Villa de Coamo town (now Coamo). But due to the increase of population as a result of the Royal Decree of Graces of 1815, the towns of Puerto Rico started to segregate. In 1803 Barranquitas separated from Villa de Coamo and becomes a new town. Now the land mentioned above is part of Barranquitas.
Orocovis was originally a neighbourhood of Barranquitas. Per one of our historians, Mr. Cérvulo Rivera Aponte, Orocovis was born early in the 1820s as a departure from the neighbourhood of Palo Hincado.
That same year, residents of Orocovis decided it was time to separate from Barranquitas and create their own municipality. They chose don Juan Rivera de Santiago to represent them in this mission and to go in person before the Captain General of the island and the bishop of the diocese to request permission for the erection of the new town. The site chosen to start constructing buildings was an area known as “Los Barros”.
The new town, which would be made up of the neighbourhoods Orocovis (of Barranquitas) and Barros (of Morovis), was finally founded on November 10, 1825. Despite the fact that it was the people of Orocovis who set to form a new town, they named the new town Barros.
They built the King’s House (what today would be the equivalent of a Town Hall) on that site of “Los Barros” (what is known today as “cruce del Gato”) but they soon realize this site was too far from the river and eventually moved the town to where it is located today in the Orocovis neighbourhood. They did however keep the name Barros. In 1928 (103 years later) the name was changed to Orocovis.