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PONCE, a seaport and the second largest city of Puerto Rico, the seat of government of the Department of Ponce, on the south coast, about 50 m. (84 m. by the military road) S.W. of San Juan. Pop. (1899), 27,952, of whom 2554 were negroes and 9942 of mixed races; (1910), 35,027. It is served by the American Railroad of Puerto Rico, by a railway to Guayama (1910), and by steamboats from numerous ports; an old military road connects it with San Juan. Ponce consists of two parts: Ponce, or the city proper, and Ponce Playa, or the seaport ; they are separated by the Portuguese River and ate connected by an electric street railway. Ponce Playa is on a spacious bay and is accessible to vessels drawing 25 ft. of water; Ponce is 2 m. inland at the interior margin of a beautiful plain, with hills in the rear rising to a height of 1000 to 2000 ft. The city is supplied with water by an aqueduct about 2 m. long. There are two attractive public squares in the heart of the city: Plaza Principal and Plaza de las Delicias. Among prominent public buildings are the city hall, the custom-house, the Pearl theatre, several churches Roman Catholic (including a finely decorated cathedral) and Protestant; St Luke's hospital and insane asylum, an asylum for the blind, a ladies' asylum, a home for the indigent and aged, and a military barracks. At the Quintana Baths near the city are thermal springs with medicinal properties. The surrounding country is devoted chiefly to the cultivation of sugar cane, tobacco, oranges and cacao, and to the grazing of cattle. Among the manufactures are sugar, molasses, rum, and ice, and prepared coffee for the market. Ponce, named in honour of Ponce de Leon, was founded in 1752 upon the site of a settlement which had been established in the preceding century, was incorporated as a town in 1848, and was'made a city in 1878.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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