Lima, the proud capital of Peru, holding almost on third of the population and having one of the longest histories of all capital on the continent was founded by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535 on the deltas of the Rimac River. The city was founded on the foundations of an Inca city. The Cathedral on the main square is completely built over the ruins of an Inca temple. The Incas arrived here from the highlands after that the area had seen many fascination civilizations, the last being the Moche civilization. This civilization got “incorporated” into the Inca world as did many other people throughout their in the end vast empire. Proof of this mixture of cultures can be found at the Pachacamac ruins near Lima. This was a sacred place for both civilizations.
On arrival of Pizarro, the city quickly became the trade centre for the Spanish conquistadores, bringing over food, soldiers, horses and taking back to Spain the vast quantities of gold and silver they conquered. Lima got sieged by the Incas in several occasions but the Spanish managed to keep the upperhand in all occasions and once dealt with the main Inca resistance in the country, Lima became the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru, a territory much bigger than nowadays Peru. From here all Spanish interests were managed and excursion into the new found land would be coordinated. Lima became known as La Ciudad de los Reyes, the city of Kings.
Situated on the “ring of fire”, Lima has suffered from several devastating earthquakes that left the city in ruins, ready to get rebuilt. Nevertheless Lima was able to maintain its importance as a trading city and harbor until far in the War of the Pacific when the Chilean army occupied Lima. The city got looted and shot back several years in time. After this for Peru very impactful war Peru tumbled into a crisis and many people from the highlands started moving to Lima. Lima became more and more the central nerve system of the country, having all important entities and institutions in one city. After another earthquake in the 40’s, Lima became even more overcrowded and the large unplanned urbanization of the huge city began.
Today Lima is a city of love and hate, beauty and ugly, a city of extremes. It is an unavoidable stop when visiting Peru, and reasonable as well as 1/3rd of the Peruvian people live and work here. It is the cultural, intellectual, financial and political centre of the entire country and one will never understand Peru without having seen Lima.