La Borinqueña is the official song of Puerto Rico. 48 of the 50 states have official state songs. Some have more than one. New Hampshire is at the top with nine different official songs.

The original

Lola Rodriguez Tio wrote the original lyrics in 1868, when Puerto Rico was a colony of Spain. Here is an English translation from

The Boriqueña

Wake up, Borinqueño who have given the signal!
Wake up from that dream that it’s time to fight!

[Arise, Puerto Rican! The call to arms has sounded! Awake from this dream, it is time to fight!]

To that call patriotic
doesn’t your heart burn?
Come! It will be nice to us
the noise of the cannon.

[Doesn’t this patriotic call set your heart alight? Eat! We are in tune with the roar of the cannon.]

Look, already the Cuban
free will be;
will give you the machete
his freedom…
will give you the machete
your freedom.

[Come, the Cuban will soon be free; the machete will give him his liberty.]

Already the warrior drum
he says in his son,
what is the manigua the site,
the meeting place,
of the meeting…
of the meeting.

[Now the war drum says with its sound, that the jungle is the place of the meeting.]

The Cry of Lares
must be repeated
and then we will know
win or die.

[The Cry of Lares must be repeated, and then we will know: victory or death.]

Beautiful Borinquen,
Cuba must be followed;
you have brave children
they want to fight.

[Beautiful Puerto Rico must follow Cuba; you have brave sons who wish to fight.]

longer undaunted
we can not be
we don’t want anymore, shy
allow ourselves to be subjugated

[Now, no longer can we be unmoved; now we do not want timidly to let them subjugate us.]

We want
be free now,
and our machete
sharp it is.
and our machete
sharp it is.

[We want to be free now, and our machete has been sharpened.]

Why then do we
we have to be,
so sleepy and deaf
and deaf to that signal?
at that sign, at that sign?

[Why then have we been so sleepy and deaf to the call?]

No need to fear, rich
to the noise of the cannon,
to save the country
it is duty of the heart!

[There is no need to fear, Puerto Ricans, the roar of the cannon; saving the nation is the duty of the heart.]

we no longer want despots,
fall the tyrant now,
the wild women
They will also know how to fight.

[We no longer want despots, tyranny shall fall now; the unconquerable women also will know how to fight.]

We want
and our machetes
they will give it to us…
and our machete
will give it to us…

[We want liberty, and our machetes will give it to us.]

Let’s go, Puerto Ricans,
Let’s go now,
that awaits us anxiously,
eager for freedom.
The freedom, the freedom!

[Come, Puerto Ricans, come now, we hope and wait for freedom, wait for freedom, freedom, freedom!]

This original poem is now known as the revolutionary version of the song. Grabbing machetes and following Cuba may not be the goal of the average person in the 21st century, but some separatists still sing this version of the song.

The original song

The poem above was the first version of La Borinqueña, but it was not the first song to this tune. The tune was originally used for La Bella Trigueña, composed by Félix Astol Artés. The lyrics are also sometimes attributed to Francisco Ramírez. The English translation below is by Bard:

The Beautiful Brunette

Beautiful brunette

Image of innocence

Of the garden of Borinquen

Pure and fragrant flower.

For you, all mortals stop and stare

At your gentle, charming air

Your short, lovely foot.

When you appear on your balcony

The light of the sun is eclipsed

The light of the sun is eclipsed

Because your black eyes are two rays

That burn the heart of those who look at them, my girl

You stand out among the thousand flowers

That adorn the tropical garden with beauty.

Around you

The zephyr moves without ceasing

The hummingbird, so attentive

Comes to caress you.

Beautiful brunette, my sweet treasure

You are the pearl of Borinquen

Oh!, Oh!, Oh! Pity me, land of my sorrow

For I am dying for you

I am dying of immense love

Of immense love, of immense love

The official

In 1908, under U.S. rule, Manuel Fernandez Juncos wrote a new set of words. This new version of the song was adopted in 1952 as the official song of Puerto Rico. An English translation by Samuel Quiros:

The land of Borinquen
where I have been born.
It is a florid garden
of magical brilliance.

A sky always clean
serves as a canopy.
And placid lullabies are given
by the waves at her feet.

When at her beaches Columbus arrived,
he exclaimed full of admiration:
Oh! Oh! Oh!
This is the beautiful land, that I seek.

It is Borinquen the daughter,
the daughter of the sea and the sun.
of the sea and the sun,
of the sea and the sun,
of the sea and the sun,
of the sea and the sun!


There is a petition at calling for a replacement of the anthem. Because the current words include a reference to Columbus, the petitioners want to swap La Borinqueña for La Preciosa by Marc Anthony.

There is also a petition, also at, to return to the original words of the anthem.

Contemporary artists and scholars have reinterpreted La Borinqueña through different lenses, sometimes challenging traditional narratives and highlighting marginalized voices.These interpretations can spark debate and contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the song’s complexities. One of the most interesting interpretations is La Borinqueña, the super hero.

Controversy surrounding La Borinqueña stems from its powerful symbolism and reflection of various viewpoints within Puerto Rican society. As with any cultural artifact, different interpretations coexist and add layers of meaning to its enduring legacy. As a state, Puerto Rico will be able to maintain the current song or to add more official songs, just as it can now as a territory.



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