Procession Square “La Rogativa”

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La Rogativa

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Right next to the entrance of San Juan Gate you will notice a narrow tree-covered uphill walkway that extends diagonally along Clara Lair street.  It leads to “La Plaza de la Rogativa” which would loosely translate as “Procession Square”.

The sculpture in the center of the square was commissioned in 1971 by a group of Puerto Rican businessmen to commemorate Ralph Abercromby’s failed siege of the city of San Juan.  After failing to take San Juan in 1797, the British Leutenant-General ordered a naval blockade to cut off Spanish reinforcements.

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After witnessing the anguish of his troops and citizens for weeks, the Spanish governor called for a procession or “rogativa” to implore for divine intervention.  The women of San Juan organized a procession and marched through the streets carrying torches and rustic instruments.  Apparently, Abercromby mistook the procession for the arrival of Spanish reinforcements and fled the Island fearing that he would be outnumbered and defeated.

“La Plaza de la Rogativa” offers an excellent view of the north side of the Palace of Santa Catalina as well as the portion of the city wall leading to Fort El Morro.

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