1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lima (Peru)

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LIMA, the principal city and the capital of Peru and of the department and province of Lima, on the left bank of the river Rimac, 71/2 m. above its mouth and the same distance E. by N. of its seaport Callao, in 12° 2′ 34″ S., 77° 7′ 36″ W. Pop. (1906 estimate) 140,000, of whom a large proportion is of negro descent, and a considerable number of foreign birth. The city is about 480 ft. above sea-level, and stands on an arid plain, which rises gently toward the S., and occupies an angle between the Cerros de San Jeronimo (2493 ft.) and San Cristobal (1411 ft.) on the N. and a short range of low hills, called the Cerros de San Bartolomé, on the E. The surrounding region is arid, like all this part of the Pacific coast, but through irrigation large areas have been brought under cultivation, especially along the watercourses. The Rimac has its source about 105 m. N.E. of Lima and is fed by the melting snows of the higher Andes. It is an insignificant stream in winter and a raging torrent in summer. Its tributaries are all of the same character, except the Rio Surco, which rises near Chorrillos and flowing northward joins the Rimac a few miles above the city. These, with the Rio Lurin, which enters the Pacific a short distance S. of Chorrillos, provide water for irrigating the districts near Lima. The climate varies somewhat from that of the arid coast in general, in having a winter of four months characterized by cloudy skies, dense fogs and sometimes a drizzling rain. The air in this season is raw and chilly. For the rest of the year the sky is clear and the air dry. The mean temperature for the year is 66° F., the winter minimum being 59° and the summer maximum 78°.

The older part of Lima was laid out and built with mathematical regularity, the streets crossing each other at right angles and enclosing square areas, called , of nearly uniform size. Later extensions, however, did not follow this plan strictly, and there is some variation from the straight line in the streets and also in the size and shape of the . The streets are roughly paved with cobble stones and lighted with gas or electricity. A broad boulevard of modern construction partly encircles the city, occupying the site of the old brick walls (18 to 20 ft. high, 10 to 12 ft. thick at the base and 9 ft. at the top) which were constructed in 1585 by a Fleming named Pedro Ramon, and were razed by Henry Meiggs during the administration of President Balta. The water-supply is derived from the Rimac and filtered, and the drainage, once carried on the surface, now passes into a system of subterranean sewers. The streets and suburbs of Lima are served by tramways, mostly worked by electric traction. The suburban lines include two to Callao, one to Magdalena, and one to Miraflores and Chorrillos. On the north side of the river is the suburb or district of San Lazaro, shut in by the encircling hills and occupied in great part by the poorer classes. The principal squares are the Plaza Mayor, Plaza Bolívar (formerly P. de la Inquisicion and P. de la Independencia), Plaza de la Exposicion, and Plaza del Acho, on the north side of the river, the site of the bull-ring. The public gardens, connected with the Exposition palace on the S. side of the city, and the Paseo Colon are popular among the Limeños as pleasure resorts. The long Paseo Colon, with its parallel drives and paths, is ornamented with trees, shrubbery and statues, notably the Columbus statue, a group in marble designed by the sculptor Salvatore Revelli. It is the favourite fashionable resort. A part of the old wagon road from Lima to Callao, which was paved and improved with walks and trees by viceroy O’Higgins, is also much frequented. The avenue (3 m. long) leading from the city to Magdalena was beautified by the planting of four rows of palms during the Pierola administration. Among other public resorts are the Botanical garden, the Grau and Bolognesi avenues (parts of the Boulevard), the Acho avenue on the right bank of the Rimac, and the celebrated avenue of the Descalzos, on the N. side of the river, bordered with statuary. The noteworthy monuments of the city are the bronze equestrian statue of Bolívar in the plaza of that name, the Columbus statue already mentioned, the Bolognesi statue in the small square of that name, and the San Martin statue in the Plaza de la Exposicion. The 22nd of May monument, a marble shaft crowned by a golden bronze figure of Victory, stands where the Callao road crosses the Boulevard. Most conspicuous among the public buildings of Lima is the cathedral, whose twin towers and broad façade look down upon the Plaza Mayor. Its foundation stone was laid in 1535 but the cathedral was not consecrated until 1625. The great earthquake of 1746 reduced it to a mass of ruins, but it was reconstructed by 1758, practically, as it now stands. It has double aisles and ten richly-decorated chapels, in one of which rest the remains of Francisco Pizarro, the conqueror of Peru. Also facing the same square are the archiepiscopal and government palaces; the latter formerly the palace of the viceroys. The interesting casa of the Inquisition, whose tribunals rivalled those of Madrid in cruelty, faces upon Plaza Bolívar, as also the old University of San Marcos, which dates from 1551 and has faculties of theology, law, medicine, philosophy and literature, mathematics, and administrative and political economy. The churches and convents of Lima are richly endowed as a rule, and some of the churches represent a very large expenditure of money. The convent of San Francisco, near the Plaza Mayor, is the largest monastic establishment in Lima and contains some very fine carvings. Its church is the finest in the city after the cathedral. Other noteworthy churches are those of the convents of Santo Domingo, La Merced and San Augustine. There are a number of conventual establishments (for both sexes), which, with their chapels, and with the smaller churches, retreats, sanctuaries, &c., make up a total of 66 institutions devoted to religious observances. An attractive, and perhaps the most popular public building in Lima is the Exposition palace on the plaza and in the public gardens of the same name, on the south side of the city. It dates from 1872; its halls are used for important public assemblies, and its upper floor is occupied by the National Historical Institute, its museum and the gallery of historical paintings. Other noteworthy edifices and institutions are the National Library, the Lima Geographical Society, founded in 1888; the Mint, which dates from 1565 and is considered to be one of the best in South America; the great bull-ring of the Plaza del Acho, which dates from 1768 and can seat 8000 spectators; the Concepcion market; a modern penitentiary; and various charitable institutions. In addition to the old university on the Plaza Bolívar, which has been modernized and greatly improved, Lima has a school of engineers and mines (founded 1876), the old college of San Carlos, a normal school (founded 1905), a school of agriculture (situated outside the city limits and founded in 1902), two schools for girls under the direction of religious sisters, an episcopal seminary called the Seminario Conciliar de Santo Toribio, and a school of arts and trades in which elementary technical instruction is given. Under the old régime, primary instruction was almost wholly neglected, but the 20th century brought about important changes in this respect. In addition to the primary schools, the government maintains free night schools for workmen.

The residences of the city are for the most part of one storey and have mud walls supported by a wooden framework which enclose open spaces, called patios, around which the living rooms are ranged. The better class of dwellings have two floors and are sometimes built of brick. A projecting, lattice-enclosed window for the use of women is a prominent feature of the larger houses and gives a picturesque effect to the streets.

Manufacturing has had some considerable development since the closing years of the 19th century; the most important manufactories are established outside the city limits; they produce cotton and woollen textiles, the products of the sugar estates, chocolate, cocaine, cigars and cigarettes, beer, artificial liquors, cotton-seed oil, hats, macaroni, matches, paper, soap and candles. The commercial interests of the city are important, a large part of the interior being supplied from this point. With its port Callao the city is connected by two steam railways, one of which was built as early as 1848; one railway runs northward to Ancon, and another, the famous Oroya line, runs inland 130 m., crossing the Western Cordillera at an elevation of 15,645 ft. above sea-level, with branches to Cerro de Pasco and Huari. The export trade properly belongs to Callao, though often credited to Lima. The Limeños are an intelligent, hospitable, pleasure-loving people, and the many attractive features of their city make it a favourite place of residence for foreigners.

Lima was founded on the 18th of January 1535 by Francisco Pizarro, who named it Ciudad de los Reyes (City of the Kings) in honour of the emperor Charles V. and Doña Juana his mother, or, according to some authorities, in commemoration of the Feast of the Epiphany (6th January) when its site is said to have been selected. The name soon after gave place to that of Lima, a Spanish corruption of the Quichua word Rimac. In 1541 Lima was made an episcopal see, which in 1545 was raised to a metropolitan see. Under Spanish rule, Lima was the principal city of South America, and for a time was the entrepôt for all the Pacific coast colonies south of Panama. It became very prosperous during this period, though often visited by destructive earthquakes, the most disastrous of which was that of the 28th of October 1746, when the cathedral and the greater part of the city were reduced to ruins, many lives were lost, and the port of Callao was destroyed. Lima was not materially affected by the military operations of the war of independence until 1821, when a small army of Argentines and Chileans under General San Martin invested the city, and took possession of it on the 12th of July upon the withdrawal of the Spanish forces. San Martin was proclaimed the protector of Peru as a free state on the 28th of July, but resigned that office on the 20th of September 1822 to avoid a fratricidal struggle with Bolívar. In March 1828 Lima was again visited by a destructive earthquake, and in 1854–1855 an epidemic of yellow fever carried off a great number of its inhabitants. In November 1864, when a hostile Spanish fleet was on the coast, a congress of South American plenipotentiaries was held here to concert measures of mutual defence. Lima has been the principal sufferer in the many revolutions and disorders which have convulsed Peru under the republic, and many of them originated in the city itself. During the earlier part of this period the capital twice fell into the hands of foreigners, once in 1836 when the Bolivian general Santa Cruz made himself the chief of a Bolivian-Peruvian confederation, and again in 1837 when an invading force of Chileans and Peruvian refugees landed at Ancon and defeated the Peruvian forces under President Orbegoso. The city prospered greatly under the two administrations of President Ramon Castilla, who gave Peru its first taste of peace and good government, and under those of Presidents Balta and Pardo, during which many important public improvements were made. The greatest calamity in the history of Lima was its occupation by a Chilean army under the command of General Baquedano after the bloody defeat of the Peruvians at Miraflores on the 15th of January 1881. Chorrillos and Miraflores with their handsome country residences had already been sacked and burned and their helpless residents murdered. Lima escaped this fate, thanks to the intervention of foreign powers, but during the two years and nine months of this occupation the Chileans systematically pillaged the public edifices, turned the old university of San Marcos into barracks, destroyed the public library, and carried away the valuable contents of the Exposition palace, the models and apparatus of the medical school and other educational institutions, and many of the monuments and art treasures with which the city had been enriched. A forced contribution of $1,000,000 a month was imposed upon the population in addition to the revenues of the custom house. When the Chilean garrison under Captain Lynch was withdrawn on the 22nd of October 1883, it took 3000 wagons to carry away the plunder which had not already been shipped. Of the government palace and other public buildings nothing remained but the bare walls. The buoyant character of the people, and the sympathy and assistance generously offered by many civilized nations, contributed to a remarkably speedy recovery from so great a misfortune. Under the direction of its keeper, Don Ricardo Palma, 8315 volumes of the public library were recovered, to which were added valuable contributions from other countries. The portraits of the Spanish viceroys were also recovered, except five, and are now in the portrait gallery of the Exposition palace. The poverty of the country after the war made recovery difficult, but years of peace have assisted it.

See Mariano F. Paz Soldan, Diccionario geográfico-estadistico del Perú (Lima, 1877); Mateo Paz Soldan and M. F. Paz Soldan, Geografia del Perú (Paris, 1862); Manuel A. Fuentes, Lima, or Sketches of the Capital of Peru (London, 1866); C. R. Markham, Cuzo and Lima (London, 1856), and History of Peru (Chicago, 1892); Alexandre Garland, Peru in 1906 (Lima, 1907); and C. R. Enock, Peru (London, 1908). For earlier descriptions see works referred to under Peru.  (A. J. L.)