(City of the Kings)
Lima is the capital and largest city in Peru, as well as the capital of Lima Province. It is the cultural, industrial, financial, and transport hub of the country. The city is located in an area encompassing the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers. It lies on a desertic coast adjacent to the bay in the Pacific Ocean where its port was built and named Callao.
Founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, Lima is also known as the City of Kings. For more than three centuries, Lima was the most important city and the greatest metropolis in South America. More than four centuries have passed since its founding as a Spanish city, and Lima has become an expression of Peru's heritage, with nearly one-third of the nation's population living in its metropolitan area.
While there is no formal administrative definition for the city of Lima, it is generally considered to be comprised of the central 30 out of the 43 districts of Lima province, corresponding roughly to the urban area centered on the historic Cercado de Lima district. The city serves as the core of the Lima Metropolitan Area, one of the ten largest metropolitan areas in the Americas.
The city was founded by conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, naming it Tres Veces Coronada Ciudad de los Reyes as the location was decided at Epiphany, the January 6. Lima, its original name, however persisted. It is uncertain where the name originated, but it is thought that it derives from the Aymara word lima-limaq, (yellow flower) or from Quechuan rimaq (talking). In the oldest Spanish maps of Peru, both Lima and Ciudad de los Reyes can be seen together as the names of the city. The river that feeds Lima is still known to this day as "Rimac" which is thought to be the origin of the city's name, the "valley of the Rimac". The river is also nicknamed the "Talking river" (Río Hablador in Spanish).
Lima became the most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, which encompassed nearly all of Spain's possessions in South America during the colonial era (mid 1500s to early 1800s).
In 1746, many important and monumental buildings were damaged and or destroyed (later repaired) in an earthquake. The City of Kings' cultural patrimony and incomparable, beautiful architecture remained prevalent. Its architectural and political importance in Latin America were equalled only by Mexico City.
In 1996, the Japanese embassy hostage crisis took place in Lima, an affair which received global media attention. It ended on April 22, 1997 when Peruvian Armed Forces commandos stormed the building by carrying out a frontal daytime attack after tunneling underground into the embassy to rescue the seventy-two hostages. One hostage died of medical complications, two soldiers.
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