Manatí (Spanish pronunciation: [manaˈti], Manatee) is a city and municipality of Puerto Rico on the northern coast, north of Morovis and Ciales; east of Florida and Barceloneta; and west of Vega Baja. Manatí is spread over 8 barrios and Manatí barrio-pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Manatí was founded in 1799 by Don Pedro Menendez Valdes. The Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria church was built in the seventeenth century and is still standing in its original spot. Manati is known as La Ciudad Metropolitana (The Metropolitan City), and also as Las Atenas de Puerto Rico, (The Athens of Puerto Rico). It is named after a sea mammal, the manatee (the sea cow).
During those early years, the mayor of the town was Jose Aulet. Juan Ponce de León picked the Manatí leg of the Manuatabón River as the first area to pan for gold. The Aulet family owned lands rich in pineapples, sugar cane, and green bananas.