To understand South American culture one must know about the geography and history of Lima, and the events that came about with the meeting of two worlds, an event that gave birth to the Peruvian nation.
To understand South American culture one must know about the geography and history of Lima, and the events that came about with the meeting of two worlds, an event that gave birth to the Peruvian nation. Lima can be found along the deserted central coastline of Peru, bathed mainly by the River Rímac, although with its expansion during the 20th century, it now also covers the valleys of the rivers Chillón to the North and Lurín to the south. These valleys belong to the so called Pacific Rim, on the western slopes of the Andes. The whole city is on the coast. The Plaza Mayor is located some 161 meters above sea level, and the districts to the east are all less than 1000 metres above sea level. The province of Lima goes beyond the metropolis. Its southern districts tend to be resorts of deserted beaches that are very popular in the summer, therefore that have plenty of green areas, country houses, rural restaurants, luxurious condos and Recreation Clubs. The motorways that run through the Andes, cross very high mountain passes, the most famous being the Ticlio or Abra de Anticona, a pass you have to take to get to the valleys of the central range and even the high central jungle. In 8 hours on the Carretera Central or PE-22, you can cross the whole Andes range and get to the central jungle with its mountain rain forests. In the spring of 1534, Francisco Pizarro was in search of a place along the Peruvian coast to found the city that in time would become the City of the Kings. With an expert team for the time period, they had to choose the most suitable place for settling their new city; it had to have the conditions and fulfil the laws for founding cities at the time. In January 1535 they had determined that Limaq as a base was the most suitable. This word is well linked to the present name of the River Rímac. Therefore it was on the 18th of January that conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the new city on behalf of Emperor Carlos V and his mother Queen Juana. For this reason the cities present coat of arms preserves the letters I and K in reference to said King and queen. Pizarro called it the City of the Kings, out of devotion and in memory of the Three Wise Men, as it was close to the festival of the Epiphany. There isn?t always agreement on the subject however, as some feel that is was always in honour of the kings of Spain. Little by little the title City of the Kings was used less and less; and they started using the name Lima instead, derived from Limaq, name that the pre-Columbian inhabitants used for the area when it had been under the control of the Curuca Taurichusco before the conquest. Lima?s creation was not peaceful; the Inca population in the area resisted the Spanish at different confrontations. There was not much evidence of these accounts, until 2008 when evidence was found in Puruchuco, an archaeological site in the east of the city, 475 bodies were entombed practically at ground level with no order at all. These bodies were not wrapped according to the custom of the so called late horizon of the Inca period, but in simple rags that their family wrapped them in as if they were some refuse. Even more amazing, the bones showed severe injuries that could not have been caused by the rudimentary pre-Columbian weapons. It was determined that they had died during confrontations with the conquistadores. The tests that they carried out determined that the males, they were aged between 18 and 22, died around 1536, the year in which Manco Inca Yupanqui rebelled against Francisco Pizarro, uprising rebellions in the Lima and Cusco colonies. During the vice regal period Lima flourished as an important centre for the continental South American colonies. Features of the culture started to emerge, architectonic styles like mansions with balconies, churches, clothes, music, gastronomy and customs. The threat of pirate attacks from the sea motivated the building of the great wall of Lima in the 17th century, of which now only two parts remain, one in the historic centre, called Parque de la Muralla, and the other just some minutes to the east, known as the Baluarte de Santa Lucía. Many earthquakes over the centuries have meant that Lima has had to constantly renew its architecture, offering different styles. These also generated mystic traditions and accounts. Legend says that in the middle of the 17th century an African slave painted a crucified Christ on a sun dried brick wall, inside the Pachacamilla, an area where the Angolans gathered, living in abject poverty. On the 13th of November 1655 a terrible earthquake shook the area of Lima and Callao, bringing down churches and covering mansions, leaving thousands of dead and injured. All the walls of the brotherhood came down, apart from the weak wall with the painted image of Jesus. This remained intact, without even a crack, causing amazement among the slaves and later on the whole town, that came to see the miracle. Worship was not official to start with, but anyone who dared to delete some of the image would suffer from shivers and shakes. It was in 1671 that the event received the approval of the authority and a chapel was built to protect and allow for the worship of the wall, a replica of which is shown in a procession every year during the month of October, since 1687. Today said painting is the altar of the Monastery of the Nazarenes, known as the Sanctuary of the Señor de los Milagros. This building received yearly thousands of Christ Moreno devotees that animated by faith wish to admire the original image that the black slave painted more than 359 years ago and that remains unharmed down to this day. Another famous person during the vice regal period was Michaela Villageas or better known as Perricholi. A famous actress and pioneer business woman of the Peruvian theatre. During her youth she had a romance with the sixty year old Virrey Don Manuel Amat y Juniat, a relationship that scandalized the society of the 18th century, as Amat made her his lover without hiding it and made her into the centre of social life in Lima. Lima took on the role of capital of the rising Peruvian Republic from its independence in 1821. The modernization carried on during the 19th century, but was interrupted and seriously affected by the Pacific war between 1881 and 1884; afterwards a reconstruction period began. During the 20th century there were decades during which the city was embellished. The growth of the city began to speed up from the 50?s onwards due to the mass immigration of people from the interior of the country to the city, in search of a better future (they didn?t always find one) with the promise of better work than in their towns and villages of origin. This produced an exponential growth of the population and the consequent urban growth that is still going thanks to the new generations of said immigrants. Despite the recent peak in the main cities in Perú, Lima still generates nearly two thirds of the countries economical and industrial activity.
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