Lima has been in existence for thousands of years, with various urban communities living theirs as inhabitants. These communities are of large size and dates back from the pre-Inca era to the early intermediate era (from 200 BC to 600 BC). The most important period of this old city is the Pachacamac, which was a period when lima was regarded as an important religious site during the pre-Inca and Inca times. It is known that most of the ransom demanded by Francisco Pizarro (the Great conquistador) was gotten from the Inca chief Atahualpa (Atahualpa) from Pachacamac.
The old Spanish city of Lima was founded by Francisco Pizarro as far back as the 18th of Jan. 1535. The city was dubbed “Ciudad de Los Reyes “(“City of the Kings”). The city was converted to the capital of Peru after it was chosen over the former Inca capital of Cuzco – this preference was because the city of Lima was located in the coastal area of the southeast, its location made it easy for communication with Spain.
Lima grew and developed into a focal point of wealth and power throughout the entire viceroyalty. It was the seat of the audience (the royal high court). Royal justice was passed from the city, moral and religious laws were passed from the city as it stood as the headquarters of inquisition in the viceroyalty. It grew to become the centre of learning and prestigious associations in the entire Peru. Universities and schools of learning sprung up in the city, examples are the University of San Marcos (1551), the Peruvian Academy of letters (1887). The national university of engineering (1896), and the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (1917). Even a popular medical school was founded in 1808 by Jose Hipolito Unanue.
The city grew and expanded from late 17th to mid-19th century in a slow and steady fashion. The city was hit by a devastating earthquake that tore down almost half of it. It was later built back in a grandiose fashion that was motivated mostly by European enlightenment. The city still maintained its political and conservative nature amidst all these developments. During the struggles for Latin-American independence in the 19th century, the city of Lima was a strong and loyal capital to the campaign up until July 1821 when Peru declared its independence from Spain as the last mainland colony to be free of colonial rule.
The city of Lima became the continent’s richest and most important town of the early Spanish colonial town. Although it was hit by an earthquake that nearly wiped out the entire city, it was quickly rebuilt and reinstated as the capital of Peru. Most of the ancient buildings you see their today date back from the period after the earthquake.
After the declaration of independence from their colonial rulers in 1821, the city grew as one of the most developed towns in the continent. It became the first South American city to build its own railway. The cities were later devastated again in 1881 during a war with Chile, old historical treasures were burned down and carted off by the victorious Chileans who took over the town for over two years.
The modern-day Lima is now occupied by few wealthy and middle-class citizens due to the influx of people from rural areas in search of good life. However, the city is still struggling to maintain its historical and cultural significance of the past and is one of the choice destinations for tourists and historians today.