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date: 18 November 2019


  • W. Iain Mackay


Peruvian city and capital of the department of Arequipa. The city (population in 1996 c. 680,600) is situated on the River Chili in a fertile valley in the foothills of the Andes and on the slopes of a volcanic range. Earliest settlement dates back to the Early Horizon (c. 900–c. 200 bc), and there have been archaeological finds at San Juan de Siguas, Santa Isabel de Siguas (to the north), and in the Vítor Valley (to the west of Arequipa). The Lupaca people first settled in the area around what is now Arequipa c. ad 800–1200. The site of Churajon lies about 30 km from Arequipa; substantial agricultural systems and terracing characterize the region. In drier areas there are numerous petroglyphs, notably at Toro Muerto. By the 1350s provincial Inca settlements had been established near the present-day city. Arequipa would have been a tambo (Quechua: ‘road-side inn’) on the route between the highlands and the coast. The Spaniards founded the city of Villahermosa de Arequipa (or Villa Hermosa de la Asunción) on ...

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