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History Of Moquegua

For over 12,000 years, this green valley has attracted humans. The Huaracanes established the first permanent settlements around 1000 BC. The area became an important source of agricultural products for empires that dominated the region: Tiwanaku and Wari at the same time (600-1000 AD) and the Inka (1475-1534). In the centuries between Wari and Inka domination, the Chiribaya (950-1350 AD) and Estuquiña (1000-1475 AD) cultures thrived Later indigenous nations to inhabit the area also included the Colla and Lupaca.

Moquegua was founded November 25, 1541 by Spaniards Pedro Cancino and Juan de la Torre as Santa Catalina de Guadalcázar del Valle de Moquegua. As it was for other empires, Moquegua was an important agricultural area for the Spanish. It was especially prized for its wines and piscos, which were exported to Chile and Central America.

Moquegua declared its independence from Spain in 1814, although the Spaniards tried to regain it, such was the economic importance of this town. During the Wars of Independence and the War of the Pacific, Moquegua was attacked, plundered and destroyed several times.

Humans weren’t the only ones to wreak havoc on Moquegua. The city was also destroyed by seven earthquakes between 1600 and 1784, and again in 1833, 1868, 1948, 1970 and 2001.

Since colonial times, Moquegua’s economy has been based on agriculture, especially of wines, piscos and liqueurs. Today, mining is the main source of income for the city, thus earning it the nickname, The Copper Capital of Peru. After the Bi-National Highway between Ilo and La Paz is completed, Moquegua will undoubtedly gain in importance.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

15 Apr 2012

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