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San Pedro Sula (Cortes, Honduras)

Last modified: 2023-07-03 by dov gutterman
Keywords: san pedro sula | bird | cortes | thrush | cogwheel |
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image by Andy Weir, 29 January 2001

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Presentation of San Pedro Sula

The municipality of San Pedro Sula (549,918 inhabitants in 2000; 837.6 sq. km), located in the eastern part of the valley of Sula, is the capital of the Department of Cortés. Founded as San Pedro de Puerto de Caballos, the town was subsequently renamed San Pedro Sula. The origin of the name of Sula is either the Aztec word "sol-la", meaning "a place settled by quails" or the Misquito word "solá", meaning "deer".
The town of San Pedro Sula was founded on 27 June 1536 by the Spanish captain Don Pedro de Alvarado. The site of the original foundation is not known, but it is sure that the settlement had to be moved several times because of river floods and pirates' raids. Rich in gold, the town was for years a shleter against the English, French and Dutch pirates. Virtually abandoned in 1600, San Pedro had nearly disappeared 60 years later. Until 1860, the former wealthy town was nothing but a small village mostly used as a smugglers' camp. The main income of the regular villagers came from the sale of sarsaparilla (Smilax spp.), then used as a medicinal herb (namely against psoriasis and syphilis). San Pedro Sula, which had kept its municipal status re-emerged in the middle XIXth century when navigation resumed on river Omoa.
On  28 June 1825, the First Honduran Congress decreed that San Pedro Sula should be incorporated into the Department of Santa Bárbara, one of the (then) seven departments of Honduras.
On 4 July 1893, General Domingo Vásquez, President of the Republic, created the Department of Cortés, with San Pedro Sula as its capital. Still a poor, rural village, San Pedro really developed after 1902, when concessions were granted to American companies in northern Honduras to grow bananas. The population of the town grew from 1,714 in 1888 to 5,000 in 1900 and more than 10,000 in 1920.
In 1949, there were 21,139 inhabitants in San Pedro Sula, which was the main industrial  and trading center of the country, most of the trade being controlled by foreigners. The town already had water conveyance, electricity, paved roads and public transportation. San Pedro Sula is still the second biggest town in Honduras and its economic capital.
Source: Municipal website.
Ivan Sache, 15 February 2008

Flag of San Pedro Sula

The arms and flag of Cortes Department are the same as its capital, San Pedro Sula.
Fred Drews, 15 March 2006

The municipal flag of San Pedro Sula was created for the celebration of the 450th anniversary of the foundation of the town and presented to the Municipal Council on 10 June 1986.
The flag is horizontally divided yellow-green, with in the middle a thrush surrounded on the top by a cogwheel and on the bottom by a laurel branch.
The yellow stripes represents gold, as a symbol of beauty, nobility, magnanimity, richness, power, light, constancy and wisdom, which are permanent characteristics of the laborious citizens of San Pedro. The yellow colour also recalls the strong religious feelings of the population.
The green stripe symbolizes the beauty and fertility of the valleys and mountains of the Valley of Sula, the presence of the love and art of the ancestors, highlighted in the jade of its most precious jewels. The green colour also symbolizes the hope that the republic has in this region a hotspot of wealth and progress powered by the strength of its citizens.
The thrush shown in the middle of the flag symbolizes the spirit of the inhabitants of the town, which do with constancy their material and spiritual tasks, while being happy and friendly with the others. The spirit of the early rising inhabitants is symbolized by the early song of the thrush.
The cogwheel ("progress' wheel") represents the permanent effort for the achievement of developpement and the creation of sources of work in industry, trade and agriculture. The cogs symbolize the union of the forces and ideas of the lifeblood ot the town to boost development.
The laurel crown is to be understood as a reward granted only to the winners. Laurel is the permanent stimulus to the inhabitants of San Pedro to successfully reach their personal and collective objectives.
Source: Municipal website, symbols page
Ivan Sache, 15 February 2008

Coat of Arms

image contributed by Fred Drews, 15 March 2006

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