San Pedro de Macorís

San Pedro de Macorís is a province of the Dominican Republic, also the name of its capital city. The city is fairly active due to its proximity to the national capital of Santo Domingo and also its role in the sugar industry. The province is informally known as San Pedro, SPM or Serie 23 for the first two numbers of their Dominican identification or Cedula.

Citizens from San Pedro de Macorís are called petromacorisanos. The culture of the province shares many similarities with those of the other eastern provinces. For example, during carnival season, the diablos (devils) tend to wield fuetes (whips), which relates to the traditional cattle farming of the whole region.

Serie 23 is a mecca for all Dominican culture and was the home to the DR's most famous writer, Pedro Mir. In the past years the beautiful architecture of Serie 23 has been used as a backdrop for several Hollywood feature films, such as Miami Vice, The Good Shepherd and Sugar. It often stands in for Havana, Cuba.

Economy

There are several Ingenios azucareros (sugar mills or, literally, sugar engines) distributed in the province which handle the load of its large sugar cane plantations. This industry in turn allowed for San Pedro De Macorís to serve as the base of operations for two of the DR's three biggest rummeries. Bovine cattle is another important economic asset, as it is in all of the other eastern provinces thanks to the vast Llanura Oriental (Eastern Plain). San Pedro also hosts many hotel and tourism ventures, ranging from low-tier resorts to top tier exclusive Golf and Country Clubs.

Sports

The province enjoys a rarely disputed reputation as the capital of Dominican baseball, providing a relatively high number of professional baseball players. Many of these players are drafted to play in the USA's Major Leagues of Baseball, with Sammy Sosa being the most notable player from SPM in recent years (see a full list of Dominican players). Baseball players from this city often come from poor homes and use baseball as a way to earn money for their families. Many ball players from this city are major philanthropists as well.

The City of San Pedro de Macorís

San Pedro de Macorís is a municipality (municipio) in the Dominican Republic and the capital of the San Pedro de Macorís province in the south-eastern region of the country. The city has approximately 195,000 inhabitants, when including the metro area. As a provincial capital, it houses the Universidad Central del Este university.

History

San Pedro de Macoris was founded in the late 19th century by Cubans who were fleeing their country's War of Independence. They brought their extensive sugar cane farming knowledge and contributed to making the sugar industry the most important economic activity in the area. San Pedro de Macorís reached its peak during the first quarter of the 20th century, when its sugar production enjoyed high prices on the international market as a result of the First World War. Many Europeans settled here, making it a very cosmopolitan urban center. Pan American flew its seaplanes in regularly (Eastern Macorís has the privilege of being the first Dominican city to receive seaplanes, in its Higuamo River), at a time when this port enjoyed more commercial activity than the capital city of Santo Domingo. The next economic boom resulted in the recruitment of a large number of Afro-Caribbean workers from the Lesser Antilles. These workers and their descendants would soon comprise the majority of the population in the city and are known as the "Cocolos of San Pedro de Macoris."

San Pedro de Macorís pioneered many areas such as the first firefighting corps, the first national baseball championship, the first town to have telephone and telegraph centers, the first racetrack and the first boxing coliseum, among others. The first sugar factory was founded by Juan Amechazurra, milling for the first time on January 9, 1879. By 1894 there were many factories in the province that reached a high level of progress. The rapid industrial development placed the young city among the main ones of the Republic. The intellectual culture surged at the same pace with schools and the press; among the first newspapers were "Las Novedades", "Boletín", "La Locomotora" and "El Cable."

Culture

Some of the distinguished poets from San Pedro de Macorís include René del Risco, Pedro Mir, who held the title of National Poet; Esterbina Matos, Ludín Lugo, Juan Brayan and Mateo Robinson, among others.

In regards to drinks, Macorís produces the "Guavaberry", a drink based on the araijan fruit, which is consumed during Christmas and has a sweet taste, not unlike a wine. It is frequently consumed in rum as an infusion. Although the species grew in Hispaniola already its use was introduced and spread by immigrants from the Eastern Caribbean where colonists had discovered it as a substitute for myrtleberry-infused schnapps.

Name

The name San Pedro came before that of Macorís. There are three versions regarding the origin of the name: the first attributes it to the fact that there is a San Pedro Beach in the city port; the second sees it as a tribute to General Pedro Santana, who was President at the time; and the third simply said it was in order to distinguish it from San Francisco de Macorís, a city in the north.

San Pedro de Macorís has been poetically referred to as "Macorís of the Sea", "The Sultan of the East" and many call it the "Capital of the East".

Sports

The city is home to the Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican Winter Baseball League, who play at the Estadio Tetelo Vargas.

San Pedro de Macoris is well known as the birthplace of a disproportionate number of professional baseball players. According to Baseball-Reference, 76 players in Major League Baseball history were born in San Pedro de Macoris. The city is often referred to as "The Cradle of Shortstops."

When immigrants were brought in as contract labor for sugar plantations from the Eastern Caribbean they brought the sport of cricket. They formed teams and played against each other. The ownership and management of many of the sugar estates were American. The cricket teams were offered money by their players plantation managers to switch sports and they did. Native Dominicans picked up the game watching teams composed of Eastern Caribbeans. Over time, Vic Power established an extremely good youth system in San Pedro de Macoris and was one of the largest influences on making this city into the largest source of baseball talent in the world. Players from the city with at least 400 games played or 250 innings pitched in the Major Leagues include:

WHEN TO GO

Between December and May, temperatures in Puerto Plata tend to hover between 28C and 31C. June to November is hurricane season, so the Dominican Republic is often hit by tropical storms – but the hotels are dab hands at dealing with them. June has the highest rainfall, clocking up 12 wet days.

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