Ponce pōn´sā [key], city (1990 pop. 187,749), S Puerto Rico. One of Puerto Rico's largest cities, it is the island's chief Caribbean port. Ponce is also an agricultural trade and distribution center. Industries include tourism, the processing of agricultural products, rum distilling, canning, and diamond cutting. Manufactures include textiles, shoes, cement, paper, electrical devices, and metal products. Founded in the early 16th cent., Ponce is one of the oldest cities in the Americas. It is the seat of the Catholic Univ. of Puerto Rico (est. 1948) and a regional college of the Univ. of Puerto Rico. Landmarks include a cathedral, an 18th-century fort, and many preserved old Spanish homes and churches as well as more modern buildings of interest. There are museums of art, architecture, history, and music.
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