History of Utuado

Utuado was founded October 12, 1739 by Sebastian de Morfi, on behalf of 60 families from Arecibo. It was the first town established in the interior mountainous region of the island known as La Cordillera Central and the 11th oldest established municipality in Puerto Rico, following San Juan, San Germán, Coamo, Arecibo, Aguada, Loiza, Ponce, Añasco, Guayama and Manatí.

Columbus's arrival

At the time of the discovery of the island on November 19, 1493 by Christopher Columbus, Puerto Rico was inhabited by the Taíno Indians. The Taínos were a culturally developed society with a universal language, a developed agricultural system, and a social organization based on caciques or chieftains. The Utuado area was ruled over by cacique Guarionex. In barrio Caguana, the Taínos built a series of courts or bateyes, The Caguana Ceremonial Park or Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Caguana, that is considered the best example of Taino engineering in the West Indies.

Early history: XVI-XVIII

In his work El Dorado Borincano, La economia de la conquista 1510-1550, Jalil Sued Badillo gives a detailed account of the economic state of Puerto Rico during the first decades after the discovery and mentions the importance of the Otoao region. From 1510 through 1513, the island witnessed a Taíno rebellion as a result of harsh and inhumane treatment by the Spanish settlers. During the process of pacification many Spaniards settled in the area now occupied by the municipality of Utuado and set up farms (haciendas), initially on behalf of the Spanish government (Hacienda Real), to provide food to the Indian slaves working the gold mines and the Spanish colonists in the area. One of the first settlers in the Otoao region in 1512 was Antonio Sedeño, the island's bookkeeper. His farm's main crop was yuca. His farm was sold in 1519 to Blas de Villasante, the island's treasurer, for 525 gold pesos.

Areas in the Utuado region that were exploited for gold