Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. It is the largest of the Galapagos Islands, located in the eastern Pacific Ocean west of mainland Ecuador. It has an area of 2,249 sq mi (5,825 sq km), and its northern tip, Albemarle, is crossed by the Equator. It has unique species of flightless cormorants and penguins as well as large numbers of iguanas and a flamingo colony.
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The town is known as the "Jardín del Noroeste," the "Garden of the Northwest," because of the many wild flowers in its landscape. It is also knowns as el "Pueblo de los Quesitos de Hoja", the "town of Leaf Cheeses," for its production of this typical fresh white cheese wrapped in banana plant leaves, reputed to be the best. It is also known as la Ciudad de los Gallitos or the "City of the Fighting Cocks." Since the 18th century, cock fighting was very common throughout the island, and the town became famous and well known for the quality of its fighting cocks and special breeding and training techniques used by its people.
The Taíno chief Mabodamaca, one of the most important chieftains of the Island of Boriken (Taino name for the island of Puerto Rico) during the 18th century, ruled the region of the 'Guajataca' (Taíno name for the northeastern region of Puerto Rico) where Isabela was originally founded. Although the actual date of the origins of the first Spanish settlement is not precisely known, a small settlement/hermitage is known to have existed by the end of the 17th century or beginning of the 18th century in a great extension of land into what encompass today the municipalities of Isabela, Camuy and Quebradillas. The settlement bordered to the east with the shoreline of the Guajataca River and was located on the grounds of an earlier Taíno settlement.(Isabela Economy 18century).
Around 1725, José Antonio de Mendizábal y Azares (Governor of the Island of Puerto Rico) granted authorization to base a population on the existing hermitage/village. Its given name, San Antonio de La Tuna, derives from the avocation of the Spanish settlers to the saint San Antonio de Padua and in honor of a wild cactus growing in the region (Tuna is the Spanish name for cactus). At the end of the eighteenth century San Antonio de la Tuna had a church, more than sixty houses, and almost 1,200 inhabitants, which was a considerable population for those times.(Isabela Economy 18century).
A new Coat of Arms photo is available in the official Web page on www.isabela.com.pr
Geographically, the municipality of Isabela belongs to the Northern Coastal Plains. Running through the south, the Aymamón mountains, a prolongation of the Jaicoa Mountain Range that begins in the neighboring town of Aguadilla, boasts peaks of over above sea level. The most prominent hills that are part of these mountains are La Bandera (Galateo Alto ward)) at 368 meters (1,207 ft); La Silla (Arenales Alto ward) at 337 meters (1,106 ft); El Sombrero (in Galateo Alto) at 330 meters (1,083 ft); Indio (Planas ward)) at 310 meters (1,017 ft); and Monte Encantado (in Arenales Altos) at 280 meters (919 ft) of elevation above sea level. The central part of the territory, which consists mostly of flatlands, the mountains does not surpass 200 meters (656 ft) of height; the coastline flats (Bajuras), is slightly above sea level.
By Adrián Augusto Alfaro (Cholo)
Isabela, permite que me inspire
en tu nombre que incita inspiración
deja que tus bellezas las admire
y le cante con todo el corazón.
Son tus playas hermosas
y tus mares fuente de gran pureza;
cristalinas y adornan tus orillas
las palmeras que abanican
con brisas tus colinas.
En tu historia de Coto y Guajataca
razas dan formación a
tu cultura ejemplificándose
en tu Mabodamaca indio,
firmeza, honor, clase y altura.
Tu Pozo de Jacinto
es leyenda tu nombre
San Antonio de la Tuna
tus gallos, tus quesitos, bellas prendas
Manuel Corchado y Juarbe, su cuna.
Isabela, déjame que me inspire
que me levante al cielo en oración
y que le pida a Dios,
que con bondad te mire
y que siempre te de,
su santa bendición.
Bendita Isabela, mi bello Jardín
mi bella Isabela, de mi corazón.
The early economy of the hermitage had been based mainly on cattle ranching, its derivative products and hogs products, but trading was limited because of many factors: its inland location and topography, the settlement was posted above a hill overlooking the river (now river Guajataca) and it made diffucult the use of the river as a trading route as did the location's propensity to disease and outbreaks.(Isabela Economy 18century).
After the transfer to the present Isabela the economic realities that resulted from the new land and property opportunities that were readily available, the healthier environment formed due to the wide open plains and prevalent northern winds, and the proximity to the coast and the natural sea port at the bay of 'Punta Sardina' prompted for the diversificaion of the agricultural products and an increase on trade. The cultivation of sugar cane, coffee, tobacco, cotton, yuca, coconuts and fruits was stimulated further.(Isabela Economy 18century). Since then, Isabela has continued to flourish up to the present time.
Festivals and events
SportsIsabela is also well known for its world-class surfing spots, and was the host site for two World Cup Surfing Championships in the 20th century.
Isabela had a basketball team that played at the Jose "Buga" Abreu Coliseum, the Isabela Bantams ("Gallitos de Isabela"). The team had average success. In 1987, one of its superstars, Frankie Torruella, was diagnosed with heart disease, and the trading of another star player, Edwin Pellot, to the Coamo team, hastened the team's fallout. In 1984, the team lost the championship, four games to two, to the Canovanas Indians team ("Indios de Canóvanas"). Between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, the Bantams were serious championship contenders. In the late 1970s their star player, Mickey Coll, died in a motorcycle accident. The first home team's court was named after him. The Bantams where Isabela's home team until October 2005 when they moved the franchise to Guaynabo. The Playeras, a female volleyball team, played in Isabela for 2 seasons until they as well moved to Aguadilla becoming Las Divas.
The local basketball team was called the "Gallitos" ("Little Cocks," in reference to the slim, lightweight body of the fighting variety) due to the town's fame for quality fighting cocks. The name was translated literally into English as "Bantams", a variety of dwarf cocks.
The town has a cock fighting arena, traditionally called a "Gallera." Fights are customarily held on Sunday mornings, and the bet and stakes are controlled by the government of Puerto Rico, and pay prizes based on the fighting record of the cocks.
Isabela also has amateur baseball teams. Also Isabela is well known for its Fine Step Horses ("Caballos de Paso Fino") and its world class board, wind and kite surfing spots.
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