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Castañer
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Hacienda Castañer was established by Spanish immigrant from Sóller, Mallorca Juan Castañer Anglada (1847-1916) who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1861 to work as a field hand at Hacienda San José/Los Rábanos owned by fellow Spaniard  and family friend Juan Colom.  He soon learned all the intricacies of cultivating and processing coffee and some two years later became an overseer.  In September 1868 Juan decided to venture on his own, bought an estimated 250 cuerdas from Juan Colom, established a small store and began planting coffee on his own.  In  June 1870, in need for help in his thriving business, Juan hired Juan Colom, most likely son of Juan Castañer's first employer on the island, and sent for his brother Antonio Castañer Anglada (1851- ) who was still living in Sóller and established the firm Castañer Hnos.

During the decade on 1870 Juan acquired several tracts of land sometimes reselling them at a profit, these were sometimes acquired from local farmers in lieu of payment for debt incurred at the store.  A drought that lasted from 1873 to 1874 and Hurricane San Felipe of 1876 that affected Puerto Rico for ten hours had a devastating effect on the local farming activity.  Although it affected Castañer Hnos., its effect on small farmers was even greater resulting in the Castañer's acquisition of a vast number of cuerdas in lieu of payment.  During the decade of 1880 they continue to amass additional land through purchase and foreclosure. 

While Antonio remained running the coffee plantation, processing house and store up in the mountains, in 1883 Juan moved to Yauco to establish and run a mercantile firm and commercial store to negotiate directly with large coffee exporters in Ponce and Mayaguez.  In the following years, Antonio brought in to help him fellow Majorcan Antonio Ozonas Frontera and Juan hired also Majorcan Antonio Joy as accountant in the mercantile firm in Yauco.  In 1888 Juan brought in to work at the mercantile firm in Yauco his son born out of wedlock, Ramón Castañer Velez, who although in 1890 got married and established his own plantation in Ciales, by 1897 had returned to work for Castañer Hnos.

In 1897 Antonio returned to live in Spain and Juan becomes increasingly concerned about his economic well being due to Spain's political instability and its war with the US.  Puerto Rico's economy in general was negatively affected; commercial houses defaulted on payments, bank credit was suddenly unavailable and land values declined.  In 1898 Juan returned to Spain not before establishing the firm Scres. de Castañer Hnos. S en C to take over the administration of his personal assets and those of Castañer Hnos.  The members of the new firm were Juan and Antonio Castañer Anglada as limited partners, Juan's son-in-law Antonio Ozonas Frontera, his son Ramón Castañer Velez and Antonio Joy.  In the decade of 1910, Majorcan Pedro Pons Arbona (1877-1924) was administrator of the plantation.

After its establishment, Scres. de Castañer Hnos S en C, continued to operate succesfully acquiring additional land which in 1914 totaled approximately 2,400 cuerdas of which 1,500 were planted with coffee trees.   WWI had a negative impact on the coffee industry in Puerto Rico as the European Market demand for coffee was drastically diminished.  The Great Depression of 1929  and Hurrican San Felipe of 1928 and Hurricane San Ciprian of 1932 had additional negative effect on the industry basically making it dissapear.  

Some of the plantations which comprised Hacienda Castañer were:

  • Hacienda San José/Rabanos: 569 cuerdas in Barrio Bartolo of Lares 
  • Hacienda La Balear: 282 cuerdas in Barrio Guayo of Adjuntas
  • Hacienda Juanita: 250 cuerdas in Barrio Rio Prieto of Lares
  • Hacienda Buena Vista: 275 cuerdas in Barrio Limaní of Adjuntas
  • Hacienda Santa Rosa/El Muerto: Barrio Guilarte of Adjuntas
  • Hacienda Quebrada Bonita: Barrio Indiera Alta of Maricao
  • Hacienda Aguas Blancas: Barrio Aguas Blancas of Yauco
  • Hacienda San Juan Bautista: Barrio Bartolo of Lares

In 1928 Sucrs. de Castañer S en C shut down operations mainly due to the damage caused by Hurricane San Flipe.  In the 1930s large tracts of land in Barrio Bartolo were sold to the Government of Puerto Rico who distributed it in parcels to local people.  The firm was legally dissolved in 1938 wen all remaining assets and liabilities were distributed among its members.  Of the assets distributed in 1938, Hacienda Balear was retained by Antonio Ozonas Frontera, son-in-law of Juan Castañer Anglada, Hacienda Pons was retained by Pedro Pons Arbona and Hacienda Quebrada Bonita by Miguel Alemañy Casasnovas.  

Today the only remain of Hacienda Castañer is the Manor House which is within the populated area or township still today known as Castañer.  The book Castañer: Una Hacienda Cafetalera en Puerto Rico (1868-1930) by Luis Edgardo Diaz Hernandez, PhD has the detailed history of this plantation and its owners.