National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Beaks and Spurs: Cockfighting in Puerto Rico
Reference Number 64501213
State Puerto Rico
County Multiple
Town Multiple
Street Address
Multiple Property Submission Name
Status Accepted 7/14/2014
Areas of Significance
Link to full file
"Cockfighting is definitely the oldest sport practiced in Puerto Rico. Considered by many ""the National Sport"" its documented practice in the island dates back to the eighteenth century. However, more than likely, cockfight is contemporary with the initial European settlement of the island during the sixteenth century, as the earliest colonizers brought their leisure life-ways along with their religion, politics, and economic patterns. Currently, there are over one hundred gal/eras (cockpits) in Puerto Rico . The government, through the Cockfighting Affairs Commission, which operates under the Department of Recreation and Sports, regulates the practice. The Commission is responsible for issuing licenses, regulating fights, and enforcing norms and standardized operating procedures for all one hundred and twenty eight (128) cockfighting rings on the island. What started as a recreational activity of the Spanish conquistadores has become an industry that generates millions of dollars annually, occupying a very significant place in the island's economy. For example, normally there are over two hundred thousand (200,000) fighting birds in any given year that required proper breeding, training, medical care, and feeding. In 2003, caring for these natural gladiators, and the eventual selling of the welltrained fighters, produced over 20,000,000 dollars. In that particular year, 191,465 fights were conducted, with an assistance of 1,264,023 people to the cockpits, and bets reaching the amount of 43,125,231 dollars. Annually, over one million people attend the fights, generating over one hundred million (100,000,000) dollars in bets, admission tickets, food consumption and other expenses incurred at the gal/eras. "

Any Associated Files


Weekly List Search Page

Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria