History & Chronology

The Region of Arequipa has a rich history and a varied landscape. The presence of humans in this region can be traced all the way back to 7000 BC. Dated to be about 5000 years old, the Cave Paintings of Sumbay inthe Andean Mountains at 4127 meters above sea level are an important ancient site. These ancient paintings display the practices, mostly hunting and gathering, of the first Peruvians settled in this area.

The Wari Cultureruled the southem area of Peruincluding aportion of Arequipa,mainly inthe Provinces of Condesuyos and Castilla. The most important site is Toro Muerto near the Valley of Majes. Alter the Wari people ruled part of Arequipa,there wasn't another major empire or civilization to settle in the area until the arrival of the Incas in the l300s.

Arequipa gained more importance in the history of Peru a ter the arrival of the Spaniards,who ounded thecity of Arequipain 1540. Fromthat moment until now Arequipa has assumed more and more prominence in Peru so that today it is second only to Lima.

The Spaniards used Sillar (white volcanic stone) to build beauti ulpieces of Colonialarchitecture. The unique style of downtown Arequipa was a good reason to add it to the World Heritage List of the UNESCO in 2000. Below is a chronology ol Arequipa including only the most important remarks:

Wari Culture


Main Location in Arequipa: Valley of Majes, Province of Castilla, Region of Arequipa

Beginning of Presence in the Area: The Wari people ruled parts of the Condesuyos and Castilla Provinces. These people didn't build any relevant temples or sites in Arequipa.

Main Survival Activities: Agriculture, handcrafting (ceramics and sculptures), construction and urbanism, and goldsmithing.

Political Organization: The Wari Empire was ruled by a military dictatorship. The locals were controlled and ruled by a military chie!and his commandos.

Decay of Wari in Arequipa: In the lOOOs, the Wari leadership started to weaken, which led to several rebellions in several different regions. Eventually, the colonized in these areas of Arequipa rose up and freed them selves from the Waris.


  • With the influence of the Wari people, the locals made a few hundred stone petroglyphs. There is an incredible exhibition of their carved work located near the Valley of Majes.

Incas in Arequipa


Main Location in Arequipa: The most important sites in Arequipa were located in Puerto Inca, Province of Caraveli and along the Colea Valley, Province of Caylloma Region of Arequipa.

Beginning of Presence in the Area: lt is believed that Inca /V1ayta Capac in the l300s started the conquest of the people living inthis region by sending his army with
Mitimaes (group of Inca subjects sent to a conquered region to teach new customs and practices) .

Main Survival Activities: Agriculture, fishing, handcrafting (ceramics), textiles, and construction of water channels and Andean terraces.

Political Organization:  The Inca Empire was ruled by an Inca king who claimed to be the son of the Sun (most irmportant deity for the Incas) . This was a tyrannical militarized leadership.The localswere ruled by the Inca King and controlled by upper­ class subjects of the Empire.

Decay of the Inca Empire in Arequipa: With the arrival of the Spaniards in Peru in 1532, Arequipa lost Inca presence and was colonized soon a ter.


  • Puerto Inca was animportant area of influence during the Inca Empire. lt is believed that Puerto Inca was an important fishing town.The fish catch was token from Puerto Inka in Arequipa to Cusco the some doy so the Inca King was able to eat fresh seafood in Cusco. (The commoners also ate seafood, but it  was dehydrated with salt first before being token to the Andes.)
  • The Colea Valley was an important area for the Incas as well. Several Andeanterraces were built along the valley to improve the production of crops. These terraces are still used by locals today. Some of these communities maintain ancient customs and practices.
  • The Uyo Uyo site is an example of the presence of the Incas in the Province of Caylloma. The site is located near the town of Yanque.

Arequipa Colonial


Main Location in Arequipa: The city of Arequipa was founded in l540 and from that time to the fall of Spanish rule, it was the most important city in the Region of Arequipa. The city of Arequipa is located in the Province of Arequipa, Region of Arequipa.

Beginning of Presence in the Area: When the first expedition commanded by Diego de Almagro was returning from Chile in 1537, it was decided that the explorers would stay in the area as farmers. In 1540 don Garcí Manuel de Carbajal decided to found the city of Arequipa. At that time the layout of downtown Arequipa was planned with the location of the main square as well as the main streets and the "solares" (plots) which were assigned to the members of the expedition who took part in the foundation of the city.

Main Survival Activities: Agriculture, commerce, fishing, and mining

Political Organization: Arequipa was ruled by the Viceroy of the Viceroyalty of Peru, who ruled through the "Teniente Gobernador," and other subjects of the kingdom of Spain.

Decay of the Viceroyalty of Peru in Arequipa: Arequipa took an active role in the independence of Peru. Important members of Arequipa supported the army commanded by the Argentinian General San Martin.


  • Alter the Spaniard foundation of Arequipa in 1540, the colonizers started the construction of beautiful churches, monasteries, and houses by mixing European techniques with local practices and a whitish volcanic stone known as "sillar." These stones hove been molded by local and foreign artists for hundreds of years to create incredible pieces of art and architecture in Arequipa.
  • The beauty of downtown Arequipa has been recognized by the UNESCO, which added downtown Arequipa to World Heritage List in 2000.
  • The Santa Catalina Monastery is a superb example of the beauty of downtown Arequipa. This beautiful Colonial complex with 20,000 square meters is an exhibition of architecture and  art.
  • The mansion of the founder is another example of Colonial architecture and art. This mansion is a representation of the power and wealth of the colonizers in Arequipa.

Arequipa Republic - First 100 years


Capital: The capital of Arequipa is the city of Arequipa.

Role of Arequipa during the First 100 Years: The Region of Arequipa played an important intellectual role in the independence of Peru. For instance, Juan Pablo Viscardo y Guzmán published the relevant "Carta a los Españoles Americanos," which sets the pillars of the independence doctrine. Once Peru gained its freedom from Spain, several insurrections started in Arequipa and ended with the designation of a new president.

Arequipa's Economy: With the construction of the railroad from Arequipa to Mollendo as well as to Juliaca and Cusco in the early l870s, the Region of Arequipa (department at that time) gained more importance in the economy of the country. The War of the Pacific ( 1879-1884) crashed the economy of Arequipa.

Arequipa's Culture: Arequipa has been an important source of prominent Peruvian personalities such as Mariano Melgar (poet and musician), Dean Valdivia (founder of the Lauretian Academy), Francisco de Luna Pizarro (first President of the Peruvian Congress) and Nicolas de Pierola (President of the Republic) . During this period, the Laurentian Academy was founded for the study of the sciences and arts. Later, in 1827, the Independence National School was inaugurated.The San Agustin University, founded in 1719,continued as an educational institution for the people of Arequipa as well as others.

Arequipa's Art: The art school of the University of San Agustín has a well-deserved reputation which was first obtained during the Colonial period and continued during the Republic.The museums of Arequipa exhibit relevant pieces of art painted by locals, other Peruvians, and many important foreigners. The Santa Catalina Monastery exhibits great pieces of art.


  • The transition from a colony to a republic was a difficult one for Peruvians. Several coup d'états took place during the first years of the republic, many of them having started inArequipa. Sorne examples are the insurrections of Santa Cruz and Orbegoso in 1836 and Ramon Castilla in 1854.
  • Arequipa gained sorne stability with the construction of the railroad, which connected the cities of Mollendo, Juliaca, and Cusco. The traditional Iron Bridge, 488 meters long,was built in 1882 to allow the rail road to cross the Chili River . Its importance continued to the end of the l800s.
  • During the War of the Pacific, Arequipa was under the control of Chile an troops. The progress of Arequipa was interrupted and it wasn't until the early l900s that Arequipa regained sorne stability. In 1908, the first telegraph was installed to link communication between the Provinces of Arequipa and Camana.
  • The best water system in Peru started to be built in the early l900s. The original Yumina Aqueduct is still in use and serves the inhabitants  of  Arequipa.

The Present


Capital: The capital of Arequipa continued to be the city of Arequipa.

Role of Arequipa in the Last 95 Years: During this period of time, Arequipa continued to be a region of insurrections and a provider of well-educated Peruvians. At the sorne time, Arequipa consolidated as the second most important region of Peru.

Arequipa's Economy: Arequipa invested in the construction of immense water reservoirs in the high mountains of the Andes to provide water for the future to the people of Arequipa and the thousands of hectares dedicated to agriculture. In 1966, the construction of the Industrial Park brought progress to the region. Later on,the Majes-Siguas project added 60,000 hectares of land for agriculture.

Arequipa's Culture: Arequipa continued to educate prominent Peruvian personalities. The schools and universities hove played an important role in the history of Arequipa and Peru. For instanee, Mario Vargas Llosa, born in Arequipa, is a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. His novels are known world wide and hove been translated  into  several foreign languages.

Arequipa's Art: The art school of the University of San Agustín continues to improve the artistic skills of the Arequipa people. "La Casa del Moral"or "La Mansion del Fundador"offers great exhibitions of art from locals, other Peruvians, and foreigners.


  • In 1930, Luis Sanchez Cerro declared himself Supreme Chie!of the Republic in the city of Arequipa. This led to the resignation of President Leguia.
  • In 1948,Odria led in Arequipa another coup d'état resulting in Jose Luis Bustamante y Rivero's fall from power. Odria stayed in power 8years and Arequipawas favored with several projects, mainly in health and education.
  • The beauty of downtownArequipa has beenrecognized by the UNESCO,which added downtownArequipa to World Heritage List in 2000.
  • Nowadays Arequipa is an important tourist hubwhere travelers canlearn about history andanthropology;eat delicious regional cuisine; enjoy incredible landscapes, flora, and fauna; and practice the adventure sports of their preference.
  • Arequipacontinues to hove thesecondbiggest economy of the country. The mainsources of income aremanufacturing,services (banks, real state,health,and private education), commerce, construction,and tourism.


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