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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lima: Early Days

It all officially started when Lima was founded on January 18, 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. In the valley close to the River Rimac began one of the America’s most important cities and the seat of the Spanish viceroyalty.
In 1532 Pizarro had defeated the Inca ruler Atahualpa. Since good old King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella had granted him permission to become the governor of any of the lands he conquered, he was understandably searching for the perfect location to begin ruling Peru all powerfully.
His first choice for a capital was Juaja in the middle of the Andes. After sitting down and having a really good think about it, he realized that the altitude and inland location made it a pretty inconvenient choice for a seafaring people such as the Spanish of the Age of Discovery.
Spanish scouts were thereafter sent out and came back reporting that they had found a location on the Pacific Ocean that ticked all the boxes. Pizarro set off for the proposed capital and having approved the area founded the city on the aforementioned date as the Ciudad de Los Reyes or the City of Kings.
Before Pizarro arrived the valley was inhabited by several Amerindian groups and evidence of their archeological evidence of their existence remains scattered throughout the city to this day. In the 15th century the Inca had conquered the valley and constructed public buildings.
Pizarro had not seen the last of the Inca, who took exception to being “conquered” and the troops of Manco Inca launched an attack on the new capital of the Spanish Americas in August 1536. There was heavy combat in the streets of the capital and eventually Pizarro and his conquistadors beat the Incas with their superior artillery. The Spanish Crown confirmed the foundation of the city on December 17, 1537 and King Charles V issued a coat of arms to the city.
Lima became an important religious center when the Roman Catholic Diocese was established in 1541 and the city officially became the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru in 1543.

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