History & Chronology

The Region of Lima is the area of Peru where some of the most important human remains of the oldest Peruvians are located. The presence of humans in this region goes back 14,000 years (11,000 BC). At that time the early Peruvians were hunters and gatherers, living in small groups. The most important remains are found in Chivateros and date back 11,500 years.

The first known civilization appearing in Peruvian land was Caral, which was located in the city of Supe, Lima (206 kilometers north of Downtown Lima). It has been proven that their main site was built around 4,500 years ago (2500 BC). In 2001, the site of Caral was recognized as the oldest organized city, or civilization, in America after carbon testing was performed (Science Magazine).

After Caral, Lima was chosen to be the center of later civilizations or at least an important area for other civilizations developed outside of Lima. During the colonization of Peru the Spanish Monarchy (1532 AD – 1821 AD) designated Lima to be the Capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru. Once Peru gained its independence from Spain, Lima was chosen as the capital of the new republic and it has been the capital since then. Below is a chronology of Lima:

 Man of Chivateros (9500 BC approx)


Main Location in Lima: The caves are located in a hill next to the mouth of the Chillon River in the District of Ventanilla, Province or County of Lima, Region of Lima.

Beginning of Presence in the Area: The people of Chivateros arrived in the area around 9,500 BC. They lived as nomads, moving around the Chillon River Valley (nowadays Ventanilla, the hills of Carabayllo, and the pampas of Piedra Gordas).

Main Survival Activities: They were gatherers and hunters, not staying in one place to raise or grow anything.

Political Organization: They lived in small groups probably ruled by the elders and a shaman or priest. They didn't form a state or an organized community.

Decay of Chivateros in Lima: The people of Chivateros never formeda civilization, but later on they were ruled by several different civilizations (Chavin de Huantar, Wari, Lima and Inca) .


  • They used the stones of the area to make hunting tools.
  • It is unknown if they worshiped a god or had any beliefs about a spiritual world.

First Civilization in America Caral (2500 BC - 1500 BC)


Main Location in Lima: City of Supe, Region of Lima.

Beginning of Presence in the Area: The Caral people ruled a big portion of the Supe Valley. Several small settlements were built in the northernmost and southernmost 27.5 miles (44 kilometers) of the main site.

Main Survival Activities: Agriculture and fishing.

Political Organization: Centralized organization ruled by the Curaca of the Valley (lord of the Valley) . Each settlement had a Curaca, who was a subordinate of the Caraca of the Valley.

Decay of Caral In Lima: It is believed that powerful earthquakes and massive floods marked the end of Caral.


  • In 2009 it was added to the World Heritage List of the UNESCO, which states that Caral is the oldest center of Civilization in the Americas.
  • Caral was an important religious and political complex.
  • At the-site, it is possible to see the remains of seven buildings. The Main Pyramid is 60 feet tall.
  • The Caral people developed their civilization in complete isolation. They developed an early quipu (record keeping system later improved by the Incas) and also flutes made out of llama bones.
  • It is believed that the people of Caral were pacifists. No war weapons have been found at the-site or in their domain.

Chavín Culture (800 BC - 200 BC)


Main Location in Lima: The Valleys of Lima were chosen to build temples and cities. Miraflores, Pachacamac, and Lunuahuana are some examples.

Beginning of Presence in the Area: The Chavin rulers took over the Lima Region from the moment they started as an organized state around 800 B.C.

Main Survival Activities: Agriculture (well­ developed irrigation systems were implemented to massively produce corn, cassava, potatoes, quinoa, and other crops), fishing, construction of religious ceremonial buildings and homes.

Political Organization: Chavin was a society based on their religious beliefs. Their society was ruledb y a group of priests. Next in the hierarchy were the artisans and people with skills such as goldsmiths or ceramists, and after  them fishermen, farmers, and shepherds.

Decay of Chavin of Lima: Itis believed that around the 500s BC, the Chavin culture lost dominance in the area and another culture took over (the Lima culture) .


  • In 1985 Chavin was added in the World Heritage List of the UNESCO.
  • Chavin de Huantar was their main ceremonial site, covering an area of five hectares.
  • At the site, it is possible to walk through the passages and rooms of the main ceremonial building.
  • The Chavin people were great sculptors and builders. Some examples of their work are their main temple in the shape of a U, their Monolithic Totem, tuff ball heads, and the impressive Tello Obelisk.
  • They believed in a divine trilogy formed by the jaguar, condor, and snake.

Lima Culture (200 AD - 700 AD)


Main Location in Lima: The Lima Culture ruled in the valleys of the Rivers Chillon, Rimac, and Lurin (currently Lima Province or County, Region of Lima).

Beginning of Presence in the Area: Once Chavin lost dominance in Lima, the natives occupying the Valleys of Huacho, Huaral, Miraflores, and San Vicente de Canete gave birth to a new culture based on religious beliefs as well.

Main Survival Activities: Agriculture (they used aqueducts and channels to irrigate big extensions of land, some of which are still being used) . Their well-developed irrigation system allowed them mass­ produced products such as corn, beans, sweet potatoes, peanuts, and fruits such as lucuma, pacae, and chirimoya. Other important activities were fishing, construction of religious ceremonial buildings,  and bartering commerce.

Political Organization: It was a hierarchical society based on the different types of social levels. It is unknown how people ruled, but it is known that there was a wealthy class and another onewith fewer resources.

Decay of the Lima Culture: Unknown. It is thought that naturaldisasters andthe rise of the Wari Culture marked the end of this civilization.


  • Their ceramics are advanced with monochromatic or multicolor designs.
  • Their textiles denote some basic and advanced techniques which were related to social status. They used several colors to draw fish and geometrical figures into their textiles.
  • Their main temples were also used by future civilizations. Huaca Pucllana and Pachacamac were originally built by the Lima Culture.
  • The religion was a main component of the society based on their temples or huacas.
  • They believed in the divinity of nature, and it is believed that human sacrifices were part of their practices.

Wari Culture (800 AD - 1,050 AD)


Main Location in Lima: The Wari Empire chose the Valley of Miraflores as one of its most  important  centers.

Beginning of Presence in the Area: Around 800 AD, the Wari Empire extended over the entire Region of Lima.

Main Survival Activities: Agriculture, handcrafting (ceramics and sculptures), construction and urbanism, and gold­ smithing.

Political Organization: This was a military empire ruled by a tyrant.

Decay of Wari Lima: An economic crisis hit the empire, allowing the urban centers suppressed by the Waris to rebel. This gave birth to the Chancay culture, originated in the North of Lima.


  • Wari is the result of the Tiahuanaco and Nasca cultures. The main site is located 15 miles from the  City  of  Ayacucho, Region of Ayacucho.
  • La Huaca Pucllana, originally built by the Lima culture, was chosen as one of the most important sites by the Wari culture.
  • Considered the first empire of Peru,Wari ruled Lima for about 250 years. They built three-story buildings, well-planned cities, temples, and palaces for royalty.
  • They venerated Wiracocha (the maker - "el hacedor"). This religion was also practiced by the Incas.

Inca Culture (1450 AD - 1532 AD)


Main Location in Lima: The Inca Empire built important temples and cities in Pachacamac and Lunahuana.

Beginning of Presence in the Area: By approximately 1450 AD, the Incas arrived in Lima and overthrew the last remains of the Chancay culture.

Main Survival Activities: The Incas were a well-organized empire where the workforce played a relevant role in agriculture, livestock, handcrafting, and the construction of buildings and roads. The people of Lima became the workforce to build the temples and houses of their new rulers.

Political Organization: The Incas had a regional governor (known as "Apunchik) who ruled in Lima.

Decay of the Incas in Lima: The arrival of the Spaniard Francisco Pizarro marked the end of the Inca Empire. From that moment, Lima was chosen as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru.


  • The Incas were magnificent builders. They built impressive temples, fortresses, and cities made out of perfectly shaped stones placed one on top of the other. The citadel of Machu Picchu (discovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham) is the best example of their work. In 1983, Machu Picchu was added to the World Heritage List of the UNESCO.
  • The Incas built important sites in Pachacamac (the Temple of Pachacamac in the County or Province of Lima) and Lunahuana (lncahuasi or house of the Inca in the County of San Vicente de Cañete).These sites are part of the Qhapac Nan (network of roads built in one of the world's most extreme terrains, the Andes). In 2014, the Qhapaq Ñan was added to the World Heritage List of the UNESCO.

Lima During Colonial Times (1532 AD - 1821 AD)


Main Location in Lima: The Kingdom of Spain chose the City of Lima to be the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru. The current main square was chosen to be the center of the city and is the birthplace of the capital of Peru.

Beginning of Presence in the Area: Francisco Pizarro founded the city of Lima on January 18, 1535 AD.

Main Survival Activities: The Spaniards practiced a centralized government with Lima as its center.

Political Organization: The Vice-royalty of Peru was in charge of a viceroy who reported to the king of Spain from Lima. All main governmental entities were located in Lima. Religion played a strong role in the organization of the colony, and it was reinforced through the Holy Inquisition.

Decay of the Vice-royalty: Freedom for Peru was declared in the main square of Lima after several rebellious expeditions defeated the royal army in several battle fields along Peru.

Decay of the Vice-royalty: Freedom for Peru was declared in the main square of Lima after several rebellious expeditions defeated the royal army in several battlefields throughout Peru.


  • The first university of the Americas was founded in Lima. King Charles V decreed the creation of the National University of San Marcos in l551.
  • Downtown Lima was the center of the capital. The architecture and art of the time can be observed in several buildings in this area.
  • Churches are filledwithantique art from all over the world brought by the Catholic congregations that came from Spain.
  • Lima received thousands of slaves from Africa. Their beliefs mixed with the Catholic and native beliefs to produce new customs and practices.

Lima During The Republic (1821 AD - 1921 AD)


Capital: The capital of Lima is the City of Lima.

Role of Lima During the First 100 Years: The Region of Lima was the center of the government of Peru and all major decisions were made there. The president of the republic, and the headquarters of the Judicial and Legislative branches ruled from Lima. During the first l00 years, Peru had several military governments due to the uprising of different military generals. It was common for a new president (dictator) to create a new constitution to fit his needs.

Lima's Economy: Lima was the engine of the Peruvian economy; however, the main activities that provided resources to the country came from regions other than Lima. By the 1840s and for decades afterwards the bird droppings (guano) from the Ballestas Islands generated big dividends to the economy of Lima and Peru. The implementation of big haciendas, the first banks, and factories improved the economy. The War of the Pacific ( 1879-1884) seriously damaged the economy of Lima and the country.

Lima's Culture: Lima was and still is the center of the cultural life of the country. The best universities are located in Lima. San Marcos University, the first university of the Americas, is an important research institution. During the first l00 years, this university educated the best of the best.

Lima's Art: Due to the role that this city played in the economy of the country, Lima was chosen to be home to many artists. The District of Barranco grew to be the bohemian district of the region and the country.


  • Peru had 20 presidents in its first 20 years as a republic and 69 in its first l00 years. Ten constitutions were approved in Lima during these l00 years.
  • In 1848, the  construction of the  first railroad was begun to join Lima with El Callao Harbor (the first one in South America). At this same time, Lima saw the  arrival   of   thousands   of "Coolies" (Chinese immigrants), who arrived in Peru to work as semi-slaves in construction, "guano de islas", and agriculture.
  • In 1854, President Ramon Castilla declared in Lima the abolition of slavery.
  • In 1866, the Spaniards declared war on Peru in order to regain their lost colony. The Real Felipe fortress, built by the Spaniards in El Callao, was one of the main defensive lines to the Spanish attacks, enabling Lima to repel the Spaniards.
  • In 1880, Lima was taken by the Chilean army. Peru signed a peace treaty, losing the Regions of Tarapaca and Arica in 1883.

Lima During The Republic (1921 AD - Present)


Capital: The capital of Lima is the City of Lima.

Roleof Lima inthe last 94 years: The Region of Lima is still the center of the government of Peru, and all major decisions are still made in Lima.The president of the republic and the headquarters of the Judicial and Legislative branches are in Lima. During the last 94 years, Lima has continued to be the most important region of the country. Nowadays, Lima is home to a third of Peru's population.

Lima's Economy: Lima has continued to manage the economy of the country. It controls  all the  revenue obtained from taxes. The main economic activities are commerce, manufacturing, transportation, communications, governmental services, and construction. Lima generates about half of the gross national product ("PBI"). On the other hand, 19% of Lima's population still live in poverty (one of the regions in Peru with the lowest rate of poverty).

Lima's Culture: Lima is still the center of the cultural life of the country but some other regions, such as Cusco and Arequipa, have improved their cultural activities. The best universities are still located in Lima; however, Peru's universities are not among the best ones in South America.

Lima's Art: Due to the role that Lima plays in the economy of the country, it is usually chosen by artists to be their hometown. Several museums show the best pieces of art, ancient as well as modern, produced in Lima and Peru.


  • During the last 94years, Peru has had 26 presidents and four constitutions (all of them approved in Lima).
  • The Region of Lima is made up of immigrants from other regions of Peru as well as other countries. This immigration has shaped a multicultural region where it is possible to observe all the different customs and practices of Peru.
  • During the last 15 years, Peru has been chosen to host several worldwide summits and conventions. This is due to its location, attractions, and varied accommodations.
  • Lima's variety includes the best culinary options. Peruvian food as well as international cuisine can be enjoyed in many of its restaurants.

Loremp Impsiom

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