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Article

Jorge Luján-Muñoz

[formerly Santiago de Guatemala]

Guatemalan city. It is located in a valley at the foot of the Agua volcano, 1500 m above sea-level, and has a population of c. 30,000. It was founded in 1527 as Santiago de Guatemala, but following a landslide in 1541 it was relocated in 1543 to the Panchoy Valley. It was the capital of the Audiencia de Guatemala, which included the present Mexican state of Chiapas and the five Central American countries (excluding Panama), until 1773, when the last in a series of devastating earthquakes led to its abandonment as the capital; Guatemala City became the new capital in 1776. The old city quickly began to grow again and gained the status of capital of the Sacatepéquez department, acquiring its present name in 1790.

Antigua was originally laid out on the typical Spanish grid plan centred around a main square; the plan is believed to have been executed by ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Roberto Pontual

Brazilian city, capital of Pará state. Built c. 130 km from the Atlantic Ocean on the Baia de Marajó, the southern estuary of the Amazon delta, the city (1994 population 1,244,688) is the chief port and commercial centre of northern Brazil and has several fine Neo-classical buildings. Founded by the Portuguese in 1616 as a defensive outpost for the Amazon region, its remote location and difficulty of access left it largely isolated from the rest of Brazil until the end of the 18th century, although it developed a prosperous spice trade with Europe during this period. Early buildings include the Jesuit church of S Francisco Xavier (1719), which replaced two earlier buildings on the site and has an interior with rich gilt wood-carving. Significant urban development took place in Belém in the 1750s and after, when a mission of scientists, architects and draughtsmen arrived in the region to demarcate the Portuguese–Spanish frontier established by the Treaty of Madrid (...

Article

Natalia Vega

Capital of Colombia. The largest city in Colombia, it is located in the centre of the country on the Sabana, a plateau in the Andes 2600 m above sea level. The population in the late 20th century was c. 6 million. The city’s name probably derives from that of the village of Bacatá, the seat of El Zipa, chief of a group of Muisca tribes that populated the region at the time of the Spaniards’ arrival. (For a discussion of Pre-Columbian art and architecture in the region, see South America, Pre-Columbian, §II, 1).

In 1536 Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada was commissioned to undertake an expedition to discover the mouth of the Magdalena River and to search for an alternative route to Peru. After an arduous year-long journey, he arrived in the Zipa lands; in 1538 he officially founded the city and proceeded to build a church and straw houses, followed by Spanish-style constructions in more permanent materials. The city spread out on a grid, characteristic of Spanish rules of urban planning for the New World colonies, interrupted only by the San Francisco and San Agustín rivers. The central district of La Candelaria was developed around the Plaza Real and Calle Real (now the Plaza de Bolívar and Carrera 7). Of the houses, constructed around central patios and with hallways connecting the public and private spaces, a notable example is the home of the Marqués de San Jorge (now the ...

Article

Cláudia Costa Cabral

Capital city of Brazil. Founded on the central plateau c. 1000 km from the Atlantic coast, within a federal district in Goiás state, Brasília was inaugurated in 1960. Although the physical realization of the city was the achievement of a single political administration, headed by President Juscelino Kubitschek between 1956 and 1961, the groundwork of the Brasília project took many years. The idea of an inland capital can be traced back to colonial times, being first advocated by the movement for the independence from Portugal known as Inconfidencia Mineira in 1789. The intention of moving the capital from Rio de Janeiro (which had become the capital in 1763) to the central plateau was endorsed by the republican Constitution of 1891; this was followed by the expedition led by Luís Cruls in 1892, in which the site for the new capital was chosen and demarcated. Cruls also recommended damming the River Paranoá to form an artificial lake. The implementation of the new federal capital was part of a series of modernization measures and structural changes in national productivity drawn up by ...

Article

Ann McKeighan Lee

Capital and largest city of Argentina. Located on the south-western bank of the River Plate estuary, it has a metropolitan population of 11 million, almost entirely of European (especially Italian) descent; indeed, the cultural development of the city was largely influenced by the wave of Italian immigrants who arrived in the 1870s. Buenos Aires was first founded by Spanish colonizers in 1536, but it was not until 1580 that a lasting settlement was established. During the first two centuries of colonial occupation, the city of Córdoba was of greater importance, but in 1776 Buenos Aires became the centre of the new Viceroyalty of the River Plate, and since then it has grown continually in size and importance. The few remaining buildings from the colonial period display a range of influences, including Spanish Baroque, Portuguese Manueline style and the Rococo style of Lima (see also Argentina, Republic of §II 1....

Article

W. Iain Mackay

Peruvian city and capital of the department of Cajamarca in northern Peru. It is also notable for being the site of a Pre-Columbian culture represented primarily by a localized pottery style dated c. ad 400–c. 1000. It is situated at an altitude of c. 2750 m in a fertile Andean valley and has a population of c. 70,000. Settlements dating back to the Early Horizon or Chavín period (c. 900–c. 200 bc), such as Huaca Loma and Layzón, have been discovered on the outskirts of the town. In the hills above the town, 14 km to the south-west, the Cumbe Mayo aqueduct, which is 7.8 km long and probably contemporary with Chavín culture, feeds the fertile Cajamarca valley. Also in the vicinity is the site of Otuzco, with its Middle Horizon cemetery, comprising mainly niches carved into the stone and an associated fortress. The modern city is a popular holiday destination for Peruvians....

Article

Caracas  

Anthony Páez Mullan

[Santiago de Leon de los Caracas]

Capital of Venezuela. It was founded in 1567 by Diego de Losada in a strategic location on fertile land in the foothills of the Cordillera, about 11 km from the coast. It was laid out by Diego de Henares on a grid-plan, as was characteristic of most of the cities founded by the colonizing Spaniards in the Americas and in general accordance with the ‘Leyes de Indias’ (1573) of Philip II, King of Spain. In the first plan (1578) houses were located around a central square, and each city block was divided into four parts. Throughout the period of colonial rule (until 1821) Caracas developed slowly, the result of limited economic activity, recurrent earthquakes and devastating epidemics. No buildings survive from the 16th century. In the mid-17th century, however, Caracas took on the role of civic and religious authority that had previously rested with the city of Coro. The most significant building from this period is the cathedral, begun in the mid-1660s to replace an earlier cathedral destroyed by earthquake. It has five naves and owes much to Coro Cathedral (...

Article

Fernando Carrasco Zaldúa

(de Indias)

City in northern Colombia. It is located on the Caribbean coast in northern Colombia, in the department of Bolívar, with a population in the late 20th century of c. 500,000. Founded in 1533 on a strategically important bay, throughout the colonial period it was the principal port for trade with Spain and the importation of slaves from Africa. This commercial activity and the immediate need to fortify the city from attack were reflected in a rapid consolidation that made it the first well-established site on Colombian territory. It achieved city status in 1575, and ground-floor trading arcades and religious buildings were almost complete by the early 17th century. The cathedral (begun 1575, damaged 1586, restored and completed 1600–21 by Simón Gonzáles (d 1627)) was one of the most influential religious buildings in the Spanish viceroyalty of Nueva Granada. The church of S Pedro Claver (1695–1736), designed by Jesuit architects and the most monumental church in the city, was inspired by Il Gesù in Rome. Opposite it, Palacio de la Inquisición (...

Article

Henning Bischof

Modern town, partially overlying a Pre-Columbian site in Ancash Department, Peru. Ancient Chavín de Huántar flourished between c. 1000 bc and c. 300 bc, and the ceremonial architecture and more than 200 stone sculptures of this period were used to define the Chavín culture and art style. Subsequent research has shown that they were the culmination of Chavín culture rather than its origins. The site was reoccupied, after a short break, in the Huarás and Callejón periods, from c. 200 bc to c. ad 1000.

The importance of Chavín de Huántar was never entirely forgotten during the Spanish colonial period, and the ruins attracted 19th-century travellers, including Charles Wiener and Ernst W. Middendorf. The first systematic study of the ruins (from 1919) was carried out by the Peruvian archaeologist Julio C. Tello, who by the early 1930s had conceptualized the Chavín culture as the fountainhead of central Andean civilization. ...

Article

José Alcina Franch

Pre-Columbian city that flourished c. ad 1450–1540, 28 km (by road) north of Cuzco, Peru; excavated by José Alcina between 1968 and 1970. The town centre is on a high plateau, 3720 m above sea level, near Lake Piuray on the old road from Cuzco to the Yucay Valley. Chinchero was ‘founded’ as an Inca imperial city at the beginning of the reign of Tupac Inca Yupanqui (reg ad 1471–93) and became the country residence of his panaka (lineage group). The proximity of Cuzco—15 km by the Inca road—meant that the architecture of Chinchero was heavily influenced by the imperial Inca style (see also South America, Pre-Columbian, §III, 2, (iii)).

The urban nature of the site is evident not only from the size and quality of its buildings but also from the way they are sited. There was an internal communication system and also a drainage system that catered for the whole area, ensuring the draining of all residual waters into the ravine adjacent to the site. The city-plan can be divided into three sectors: a residential and administrative sector, a religious sector and an agricultural sector. The first two evolved around two squares, that of the present village and the ...

Article

Laura Escobari

[formerly Oropesa]

Bolivian city. It is located on the banks of the River Rocha in the central Andean region of the country; in the late 20th century its population was c. 300,000. The name derives from a Quechua word meaning ‘marsh land’. For a discussion of Pre-Columbian settlements in the area, see South America, Pre-Columbian, §III, 1, (ii), (d). The city was founded with the name Oropesa by Jerónimo de Osorio on the orders of viceroy Francisco de Toledo in 1571, although it had been inhabited by Spanish settlers since 1542. The city’s founding purpose was to supply farming products to the highlands and mining centres of Potosí and Oruro, and its success, particularly in grain cultivation, brought considerable wealth to the landowners. In regard to painting, in the early 18th century Cochabamba experienced a situation similar to that in other cities, where Neo-classicism mixed elements of Rococo with metropolitan Baroque. In architecture Neo-classicism began to appear in the second half of the 18th century in such churches as S Teresa (...

Article

Irene Fanning

Argentine city and capital of Córdoba province. It is situated in the central valley of the sierras that lie north of the Pampas region, north-west of Buenos Aires, and after Buenos Aires is the country’s largest city, with a population of almost one and a quarter million. Until 1776, when the Viceroyalty of the River Plate with Buenos Aires at its head was established, Córdoba was one of the most important centres of Spanish colonial rule south of Lima, capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru. Córdoba de la Nueva Andalucía, as it was first called, was founded by Jerónimo Luis Cabrera in 1573. The original site lay at the crossing of trade routes between the Viceroyalty of Peru, the Andean passes to the Captaincy of Chile and the port of Buenos Aires. Its urban development was based on a grid plan as ruled by the Consejo de Indias: a central square surrounded by a main church, a town hall and a customs house. The Jesuit, Franciscan and Dominican orders were granted adjacent plots of land....

Article

S. Leticia Talavera and P. Mariano Monterrosa

City in Mexico. It is the capital of the state of Jalisco, in western Mexico, c. 200 km from the Pacific coast. A point of convergence of transport routes, which has helped the development of its industry, commerce and agricultural production, it has a population of c. 1.6 million. It was founded on its present site in the Valley of Atemajac in 1542, and in 1560 it was declared capital of the kingdom of Nueva Galicia, entailing the transfer of the tribunal and royal treasury from Compostela (now Tepic). When New Spain was divided into 12 intendencias, the city became the capital of the intendencia of Guadalajara, which comprised the present state of Jalisco, part of Aguascalientes and Zacatecas.

Guadalajara contains notable examples of all the artistic and architectural styles imported from Europe by the Spanish colonists, from the Gothic to Neo-classicism. The Cathedral (1561–1618) was planned as a basilica and begun by ...

Article

Jorge Luján-Muñoz

[formerly Guatemala de la Asunción]

Capital of Guatemala. It is situated 1492 m above sea-level in a broad, elongated valley running from north to south. It was founded on 2 January 1776 following the transfer of the capital from Antigua (see Antigua), which had been largely destroyed by an earthquake in 1773. The problems of housing c. 30,000 inhabitants were compounded by an ensuing economic recession, which slowed the construction process. The grid-plan urban design of Antigua was reproduced (although with broader streets), orientated to the cardinal points and focusing on a central main square. The major buildings were not generally completed until the mid-19th century. Those in the main square include the cathedral; its Neo-classical design was drawn up by the Spanish architect Marcos Ibáañez with the help of Antonio Bernasconi, although the building’s execution was taken over by Bernasconi, José de Sierra and Pedro Garci-Aguirre from 1783 and Santiago Marqui from ...

Article

Havana  

Roberto Segre

[La Habana]

Capital of Cuba. The city of San Cristóbal de La Habana was established three times between 1514 and 1519: first, on the south coast of Cuba at the mouth of the River Onicaxinal; second, on the north coast, on the banks of the River Casiguaguas (now the Almendares); and finally on the bay that sheltered the port of Carenas. It was founded in honour of the saint and the Indian chief Habaguanex. Its key position in the Caribbean made it the main city of the Spanish Antilles. In 1552 it became the capital, and in 1592 Philip II granted it the status of city. In 1610 its population rose to 10,000. Its grid plan was irregular, and its first streets, which ran parallel to the coast, were winding. In contrast to the monocentric urban development of cities in Latin American colonies, in Havana the activities of the community took place in different areas, giving rise to a polycentric plan that persisted throughout the city’s history. Religious activities centred on the cathedral square; political, administrative and military activities on the Plaza de Armas; foreign commerce on the Plaza de S Francisco; and domestic trade on the Plaza Nueva (now Plaza Vieja). Government buildings and the mansions of the wealthiest families were situated around these squares. Until the 19th century the city was enclosed by walls and fortifications. It was protected by the latter until ...

Article

Houston  

Deborah A. Middleton

Port city in the state of Texas. Houston was founded in 1836 and incorporated in 1837 becoming a port, and railroad and energy centre; oil was discovered nearby in 1901. The city was conceived as wards arranged about a central downtown core. Early distinctive historical architecture includes Trinity Church (1919), a neo-Gothic building by Ralph A. Cram and Frank Ferguson (1861–1926), architects who also designed Rice University and the Julia Ideason building (1926). The Niels and Mellie Esperson buildings (1927 and 1941) were designed by John Eberson in an Italian Renaissance style and topped by a grand tempietto. Art Deco architecture, such as the Houston Municipal Airport (1940), is well represented in Houston.

The River Oaks Shopping Center (1937), designed by architect Stayton Nunn, is one of the first strip shopping centres in America, it was followed by another first, the Galleria (...

Article

Ann Kendall

[Huánuco Viejo]

Pre-Columbian Inca regional capital, 150 km from modern Huánuco in north-central Peru. The well-preserved city at Huánuco Pampa, which flourished during the late Imperial period (c. 1473–1534), consists of approximately 3500 visible structures covering an area of c. 2 sq. km. The city was planned according to Inca concepts of urbanism and was divided into four sectors (north, south, east, and west), each of which was further subdivided into twelve sections. The centre of the city comprised a large plaza (550×350 m) with a central ushnu (or usnu; Quechua: ceremonial platform). Roads (including those to Cuzco and Quito) met at the plaza. The ushnu comprises a main rectangular platform (32 × 48 × 3.5 m high) set on two lower platforms, all made of stone blocks dressed on their exposed faces. The main platform included a balustrade with two entrances and a flight of steps on its southern side. The entrances were flanked by stone blocks carved in high relief with what appear to be pumas. Two small buildings on the lowest platform face east....

Article

José Alcina Franch

Village and site of Pre-Columbian Andean ruins 16 km from Cañar in the Sierra Sur, Ecuador. The site is in a rugged area between the River Silante and the village of Ingapirca, c. 3200 m above sea level. An early Cañari settlement, dating from the 10th century ad, was conquered by the Incas at the end of the 15th century. Its Inca name is believed to have been Hatun Cañar. The site had been known and visited since the 18th century but was not excavated until 1968, by G. J. Hadden. Further work was conducted by Juan Cueva in 1970, José Alcina in 1974–5, and Antonio Fresco in 1978–82.

The identification of architectural structures has proved difficult, as some are Inca and others earlier. The outstanding feature of the site is the Castillo complex, comprising a large oval building and a series of rectangular dwellings. The Castillo itself is a pyramidal structure in which the main platform is formed by a finely carved wall ...

Article

Simon Collier

Chilean city. It is located c. 475 km north of Santiago, on a sloping site 2 km from the Pacific coast. Founded in 1544, its growth was slow, with the population rising from c. 6000 in 1800 to 16,000 in 1900 and to just over 100,000 by the early 1990s. Silver and copper mines in its hinterland gave it a certain prosperity in the 19th century, but this diminished after 1900. In 1948 President Gabriel González Videla (1898–1980), himself a native of the town, initiated his Plan Serena, an ambitious scheme of urban renewal, involving an extensive remodelling of the modest city centre. Many buildings (especially those around the main square, but also the railway station) were reconstructed c. 1950 in imitation colonial style, good examples being the Intendencia, the Municipalidad, the post office, the law courts and the charming Museo Arqueológico. Other improvements included an ornamental avenue through the south of the city, a section of it lined with reproductions of classical statues, known to the more irreverent inhabitants as the ...