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Carolina, Puerto Rico

From Academic Kids

Carolina is a city located in the northern part of Puerto Rico, a short distance from San Juan. Along with San Juan, Bayamón, Guaynabo, Toa Baja and Cataño, it is considered to be a part of the island's metropolitan area.

Don Gaspar Martínez donated the land where the municipality of Carolina was originally founded. He named the land "San Fernando de la Carolina" in honor of his daughter, Carolina. The name has since been shortened to Carolina.

The city is known as "Tierra de Gigantes" (Land of Giants) not only for well-known Carolina resident Don Felipe Birriel González (who was 7'11"), but also in honor of other eminent people from Carolina such as poet Julia de Burgos and baseball player Roberto Clemente. Carolina was also the home of Jesús T. Piñero, the first Puerto Rican governor to be appointed in that position by the United States government.

Carolina, led since the 1980s by mayor José Aponte, is one of Puerto Rico's most important touristic centers. Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, while wrongfully credited to San Juan, is actually located in an area, Isla Verde, that is geographically a part of Carolina. Also located in Carolina are a large group of hotels, which sit by Carolina's large beach area.

Carolina also is home to many large housing projects and to Plaza Carolina, one of Puerto Rico's largest malls. In recent years, Carolina has seen the building of the Ciudad Deportiva Roberto Clemente or Roberto Clemente Sports City, a sports and recreation facility that aims to become a sports school for the youth, and the Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium, host to many entertainment events and to the 2003 Caribbean World Series. In addition to that, it has the Coliseo Guillermo Angulo, where the BSN's Gigantes de Carolina play, as well as the Gigantes of Puerto Rican women's professional basketball, the Gigantes of men's professional volleyball, and the Gigantes of women's professional volleyball.

The Gigantes of professional baseball use the Clemente Walker stadium.

Famous natives from Carolina include: mayor Jose Aponte, former world boxing champion Wilfredo Benitez, his father and trainer Goyo Benitez, his mother Clara Benitez, fellow former world boxing champions Esteban De Jesus and Alfredo Escalera; Roberto Clemente, and the man after whom all the sports teams in Carolina are named: El Gigante de Carolina (The Carolina Giant), who is believed to have been, at 7 plus feet, the tallest Puerto Rican in history. There is a statue dedicated to him in Carolina.

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