Since the formation of Sister Cities International in 1956, cities across the world have formed diplomatic partnerships, becoming “sister cities” with each other.
The concept of sister cities is simple: two cities, usually in different countries, form an agreement to promote cultural and economic exchanges, promoting cultural growth and economic diversification.
Jacksonville has amassed eight international sister cities since taking on its first partnership in 1967. Most of those cities have something major in common with Jax, such as being a port city or being located near a coast. Jacksonville Sister Cities Association, a local nonprofit, manages these partnerships and coordinates activities between Jax and its sister cities.
We’ve created brief profiles for those eight sister cities to better acquaint Jax residents with each of them. (Honorable mentions also go out to Ningbo, Shaoxing, and Suzhou in China, which are not formally part of the sister city program but are considered “friendship cities.”)
The eighth and most recent addition to Jax’s sister city family, San Juan, isn’t technically an international city.
San Juan is the capital of, and most populous municipality in, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico – which is a U.S. territory. With a population of 395,000, San Juan is the 46th largest city within U.S. territory.
The city was established in 1509 and named for John the Baptist. It suffered greatly from the impact of Hurricane Maria in 2017 but has since gradually recovered.
San Juan has two other U.S. sister cities: Honolulu, HI, and Kileen, TX. Its others include Cadiz, Spain; Cartagena, Colombia; Dubai, UAE; Guatemala City, Guatemala; San Juan, Philippines; and Santiago, Dominican Republic.
It joined Jax’s collection of sister cities in October 2009.