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Arequipa History, Peru


Arequipa is the capital of the Arequipa region, Peru. Archaeologists have proved that the fertile valley where Arequipa is situated has been occupied since 5000-6000 BC. Aymara Indians initially occupied it and in 15th century the Inca conquered this land. Arequipa then became an important supplier of agrarian products to the Inca Empire.

On 15 august 1540, Garci Manuel de Carbajal founded the modern city of Arequipa. He was an emissary of a Spanish explorer, Francisco Pizzaro. D Juan de la Torry y Diaz Chacon became the first mayor of Arequipa. Arequipa got the rank of a city by King Charles V of Spain after about a year. King Charles also gave it the coat of arms that the city still bears. The city has a number of relic and colonial architectures that are influenced by the Spanish. One can see a glimpse of colonial past of the city through these structures.

Once Arequipa got the rank of a city, a large mestizo population was developed and the city went through a lot of demographics changes too. It witnessed growth in all fields over the centuries. In 1870 a southern Railroad to the coastal port of Mollendo was built that increased the trade via Pacific Ocean. In 1930 the city prospered more due to the direct road link with the Pan-American Highway. It improved the accessibility of Arequipa from rest of America. Since then there has been no looking back. It is now an important centre of commerce between Lima and rest of southern Peru.  Since 1940 the city saw an increase in the number of immigrants from Peruvian Sierra. This has changed not only the demographic but the cultural character of the city also.

Many earthquakes have raked the city a number of times. In 1868 it was almost destroyed by one of them and on June 23, 2001, an earthquake of 7.9 on Richter scale damaged the city to a large extent.

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