The municipality of Ponce is the second largest in Puerto Rico by land area, and it was the first in Puerto Rico to obtain its autonomy, becoming the Autonomous Municipality of Ponce in 1992.
Agüeybaná, a cacique who led the region, was among those that greeted Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León when he came to the island in 1508.
The city serves as the governmental seat of the autonomous municipality as well as the regional hub for various Government of Puerto Rico entities, such as the Judiciary of Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico was part of the Spanish Empire for four centuries, during which the people of Puerto Rico defended themselves against invasions from the British, French, and Dutch.
Puerto Ricans fought alongside General Bernardo de Gálvez during the American Revolutionary War in the battles of Baton Rouge, Mobile, Pensacola and St. During the mid-19th century, Puerto Ricans residing in the United States fought in the American Civil War.
In the 1800s, the quest for Latin American independence from Spain spread to Puerto Rico, in the short lived revolution known as the Grito de Lares and culminating with the Intentona de Yauco.
Puerto Rico retains its strategic importance, housing the U. Army Southern Command and other military facilities. Puerto Rico includes the surrounding small islands, including Culebra and Vieques to the east and Mona to the west.
Mona is a nature reserve and wildlife refuge under government jurisdiction.