Lares (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈlaɾes]) is a city and a mountain municipality of the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico's central-western area located north of Maricao and Yauco; south of Camuy, east of San Sebastián and Las Marias; and west of Hatillo, Utuado and Adjuntas. Lares is spread over 10 wards and Lares Pueblo (Downtown Lares). It is part of the Aguadilla-Isabela-San Sebastián Metropolitan Statistical Area.
A city adorned with Spanish-era style churches and small downtown area stores, Lares is a breezy area that is about 1.5 hours from San Juan by car.
A significant event that occurred in Lares, the 1868 uprising brought on by pro-independence rebels who wanted Puerto Rico to gain its freedom from Spain. The movement, known thereafter as El Grito de Lares (literally, The Cry of Lares, or Lares Revolt), was soon extinguished.
The flag of Lares (the first Puerto Rican flag) is now considered by many Puerto Ricans to be the symbol of their independence movement. Initially developed to represent the island's struggle to gain its emancipation from Spain, the flag is now used by those struggling to liberate the island from the United States. The flag was displayed during the week of September 17 to 23 of 2018, at the Museum of History, Anthropology and Art located within the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of El Grito de Lares.
Lares was founded on April 26, 1827 by Francisco de Sotomayor and Pedro Vélez Borrero. The city was named after one of its settlers, Amador de Lariz, a Spanish nobleman.
The United States acquired Puerto Rico from Spain in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War under the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1898. In 1899, the US conducted its first census of Puerto Rico, finding that the population of Lares was 20,883.
December 2019 and January 2020 Puerto Rico earthquakes caused 28 families in Lares to lose their homes.
Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017 triggered numerous landslides in Lares.