The District of Carabayllo
Carabayllo – Home of Colliques, Incas and Independence
Carabayllo is the next stop in our tour of the 43 districts of the province of Lima. It is located north of the city, in what is called the Cono Norte, or Northern Cone. The district is bordered on the north and northeast by the province of Canta. To the south, it borders the district of Comas; on the east, the district of San Juan de Lurigancho; and on the west, by the districts of Puente Piedra and Ancon.
Created around the time of Peru’s Independence from Spain, Carabayllo was the first district founded by Jose de San Martin in 1821. In the beginning, the district was much larger, encompassing much of the current districts of San Martin de Porres, Independencia, los Olivos, Comas, Puente Piedra, Santa Rosa, Ventanilla, Ancon and Santa Rosa de Quives. The district is connected to the urban center of Lima via Av. Tupac Amaru and Av. Universidad. The majority of the population is socioeconomically situated in the working middle to lower classes. About 65% of the district is rural cropland.
As far back as 5000 BC, peasants settled into this area around the Chillòn River Valley. As cultures waxed and waned over the next few thousand years, the area became quite populated and saw quite a bit of technological advancement in agriculture (especially irrigation), fishing, and textiles. Around the time of the formation of the Inca Empire, there was a great amount of warfare as various cultures sought to control or expand their own regions. The great Collis (called Colliques by the Spanish) arose during this time, and the area was divided into 7 curacazgos (chiefdoms) which had a main center in what is now Comas. The Inca Tupac Yupanqui eventually conquered this area for the Incas. The fight was particularly violent, and as a punishment, Yupanqui had the population placed under the care of a yanakuna (men selected early in their lives to serve the state, whose main job was to watch over livestock). A trial was held, and the male members of the curacazgos were put to death for charges of attempting an insurrection through witchcraft. The Inca ruler then brought in Aymara people from other areas to resettle and cultivate the land. This was a common Inca practice; the name for transplanted groups of people was “mitimaes.”
These days, Carabayllo is far off the beaten path for most visitors to Lima. However, as one might imagine from its past, there is quite a bit of archeological interest in the area. Sadly, most of it is in disrepair; however, it can be worth a visit for those interested in the history of the area. Some of the most ancient sites include the Temple of Huacoy as well as the fortification and wall built by the Collis.
There are also remnants of Peru’s Colonial past, perhaps most importantly the Casona (or Hacienda) de Punchauca. This home had been passed down to Don Antonio Jimeno, a supporter of the Viceroy Don Jose La Serna. On July 2, 1821, La Serna met in the home with Jose de San Martin, who at that time had already managed to wrest partial control of the city of Lima. Because La Serna opposed declaring independence, San Martin proposed creating a constitutional monarchy, with the idea of appointing a European monarch. La Serna turned the idea down, saying that as viceroy, he simply didn’t have the authority to grant independence. About a month later, on July 28th, San Martin declared Peru’s independence. As can be seen in the attached video, the casona where these talks too place is now sadly in desperate condition.
These days, the district is also home to the following:
- El Huarangal Nuclear Center
- AGUAZUL Water Treatment Plant
- The ecosystem “Las Lomas de Carabayllo”
- The Juan Jose Vega Regional Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History