January 18, 2013 - Lima Foundation Day

Francisco Pizarro founded Lima in what is now Peru on this day in 1535, calling it La Ciudad de los Reyes (City of Kings).

The name wasn't used by many, not for long. An older name for the the area was Limaq. This name was in the Incan language Quechua, and the Spanish version of the name was Lima. Even the very oldest Spanish maps of Peru names the city Lima as well as La Ciudad de los Reyes.

Lima is the capital of Peru. It is Peru's largest city; almost one-fourth of all Peruvians live in this city.

According to Nile Guide, it never rains in Lima. A bit of drizzle, yes, but not “real” rain.  (According to Wikipedia, there is only half an inch of precipitation per year.)  But because Lima lies on the Pacific Coast, the temperatures are mild, and there is morning fog in the summer and persistent low clouds in the winter. (Since Lima is in the Southern Hemisphere, June and July are winter months, and January is a midsummer month.) I was amazed to find out that there are only about 1284 hours of sunshine PER YEAR – which averages only 3.5 hours per day!

So it never rains but it's almost always cloudy. Lima's on the coast but in a desert.


Apparently Peruvian, and especially Limean, food is famously great. The city boasts more than 20 cooking schools and Latin America's “most sophisticated cuisine.”  The blending of Indian and European cultures takes advantage of many varieties of peppers (some unique to this area), more than 2,000 kinds of potatoes, plentiful and varied seafood, a grainlike staple called quinoa, and a tropical fruit called lacuma.

By the Way...

Lima's founder, Francisco Pizarro, is partially responsible for one of the biggest upsets in military history. He and his contingent of 200 Spanish soldiers prevailed over perhaps 80,000 Incas!

How did that happen?

It's hard to know for sure what happened more than 400 years ago—especially because the history of the conquest was written by the Spanish victors, rather than by a fair-minded outsider. But smallpox had devastated the Incan population and killed the king...the Spaniards had guns, which were loud and scary...and the Spaniards perhaps surprised the Incas with their savagery. For example, Pizarro managed to take the new king hostage; this king promised to fill a room with gold and treasure in return for his release, and he made good on his promise. But Pizarro took the treasure and killed the king, anyway!

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