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History of Trujillo (Peru)

Pigeon excreta, the greatest monument danger in Trujillo

The history of Trujillo, the capital of the department of La Libertad, in Peru, began with its foundation by Diego de Almagro at the end of 1534, under the name of “Villa de Trujillo”, being instituted by Cabildo by Francisco Pizarro on May 5. March of 1535, constituting itself administratively and commercially in one of the principal cities of the viceroyalty of Peru.

For its role in the process of independence of the country, on December 29, 1820, the Congress of the Republic conferred the title of “Meritorious and Loyal City to the Fatherland” and its municipality, then council, the dictation of honorable. It has been twice the seat of government of the country. It is also considered the birthplace of the Judicial Power of Peru, in this city the first court of justice in the country was founded.

Foundation of Trujillo (Peru)

At the beginning of December 1534, Diego de Almagro chose the place, in the “valley of Chimo”, to found the “Villa de Trujillo” in memory of the homeland of Pizarro, ordering to make preparations for its foundation. plot the urban layout was [Martín de Estete] (currently one of the streets of the historic center of the city bears his name). The line was made with twine, the apples were long, reaching an average of between 130 and 150 meters per side. In respect of the Iberian custom, these were organized in a checkerboard plot with the Plaza Mayor as the starting point. The first urban layout covered an approximate area of ​​40 ha. The following year, on March 5, 1535, Francisco Pizarro consumed the foundation with the installation of the Cabildo, appointing his authorities. The distribution of parcels was also made.

Martin de Estete was named as “lieutenant governor” and as ordinary mayors, Rodrigo Lozano and Blas de Atienza, he also appointed Alonso de Alvarado, García de Contreras, Diego Verdejo, Pedro Mato and Pedro de Villafranca as aldermen, thus being installed the first town council of the city.

On November 23, 1537, King Carlos I of Spain conferred upon him by “Real cedula” the title of City and granted him his Coat of Arms.

Virreinal time

Trujillo was constituted from its foundation like the most important city of the average north of the viceroyalty and like intermediate point between the City of the Kings, established like capital of the virreinato, and the city of San Miguel de Piura; In addition, its natural harbor, “Huanchaco”, fishermen’s cove located in the current district of the same name, was the articulating point with the Spanish sites located in Panama.

Virreinal time
Royal certificate of award of Coat of Arms, granted by King Carlos I of Spain

Century XVI

After receiving the rank of city, was designated capital of corregimiento, which was one of the first attempts of viceregal political organization. In this way he assumed the status of administrative capital of the area; in Trujillo, the royal box was established, whose jurisdiction covered the provinces of what are now the regions of Cajamarca, Ancash, Lambayeque, Amazonas and La Libertad. Before the creation of the encomiendas, Trujillo became the place of residence of the encomenderos of the north of the viceroyalty and counted, already around 1540, with a regular regiment. By 1544, Trujillo had 300 houses and approximately 1,000 inhabitants. The economy flourished from agricultural activities such as the cultivation of sugarcane, wheat, bread crops and the raising of livestock.

At the religious level, since the founding of the city, Trujillo welcomed various religious orders. Consequently, in the year 1577 the Bishopric of Trujillo was created by papal bull issued by Pope Gregory XIII. After that, during all that remained of the sixteenth century and even until the beginning of the seventeenth century, the construction of temples had a great boom in the city, the same that remain to this day. In 1616 the construction of the cathedral was completed in the main square of the city.

XVII century

On February 14, 1619 at 11:30, Trujillo faced an earthquake that caused the death of 400 people and the destruction of the city. In the sea, giant waves damaged all existing boats. This experience gave rise to a singular devotion to Saint Valentine, who on February 12, 1627 was declared patron of Trujillo by the town council of the city and on whose holy day the earthquake occurred. Before this, he initiated a movement that sought the transfer of the city to the west. This movement encountered resistance in the members of the clergy, who refused to leave their temples.

After that a long process of reconstruction began, until 1639 the Cabildo asked to reduce the contributions, thanks to the tragedy of 1619; The architecture also underwent important changes, leaving aside the Elizabethan Gothic style of the first years, giving rise to the new churches were made to three ships.

In 1625 the Seminary of San Carlos and San Marcelo was created and the Society of Jesus was established in the city. In 1680 the Convent and Hospital of the Bethlemites were founded. The urban perspective was completed with the construction of the Te Trujillo wall that remained standing for nearly two centuries.

Towards the end of the seventeenth century, there were great droughts and plagues that undermined the rich agriculture of the area, causing a great economic crisis in the city, whose main economic support was the production of food for the viceroyalty.

Century XVIII

From the second decade of the eighteenth century, Trujillo acquired greater importance in the regional scope due to the flood that occurred in 1720 that caused the disappearance of the city of Saña, located in the current department of Lambayeque and that had gained importance due to the problems that Trujillo faced during the previous century.

By 1760, it was estimated that about 9,200 people lived in Trujillo, almost three times the population that the city registered in 1604. During that century, Trujillo also faced earthquakes such as those of 1725 and 1759 and floods as in 1701, 1728, 1720 and 1814

In 1784 the Intendancy of Trujillo was created maintaining the same zone of influence as the initial Trujillo corregimiento and also had the franchise of the nearby port of Huanchaco; in 1779, the territory of the quartermaster was expanded, which came to have nine parties: Trujillo, Lambayeque, Piura, Cajamarca, Huamachuco, Chota, Moyobamba, Chacachapoyas, Jaen and Maynas, that is, almost all of northern Peru; his first intendant was Fernando Saavedra.

Foundation of Trujillo (Peru)
18th and 19th century architecture in the Plaza Mayor of Trujillo.


Time of independence

The libertarian ideas and the independence of Peru had in the city of Trujillo one of its main foci of gestation. The San Carlos and San Marcelo Seminary was a pool of liberal thinkers and leaders, where the heroes Luis José de Orbegoso and Moncada, José Faustino Sánchez Carrión, and Toribio Rodríguez de Mendoza, among others, studied.

Although the discussion on the independence of Peru occurred in the city of Lima due to the political influences that inhabited it, the discussion in Trujillo had more evident manifestations. Thus, after the election of the Peruvian representatives for the Cortes de Cádiz in 1812, the main personalities of Trujillo had a marked pro-independence trend.

Time of independence
Casa “Muñoz y Cañete”, actual sede de la prefectura de la ciudad; en esta casa Micaela Cañete de Merino, bordó la primera bandera del Perú republicano.

Republican era

The Provisional Regulation given by San Martín in 1821 created the Department of Trujillo, on the basis of the viceregal intendancy, a demarcation that was reaffirmed by the first “Political Constitution of Peru” of 1823. Because of its size and economic wealth, the Department of Trujillo was, between 1821 and 1825, the only stable and productively ordered territory with which the nascent republic could count. Trujillo was a prosperous and secure city, the same as for his efforts in favor of the emancipation war, on January 31, 1822 he received by decree of the then Protector San Martin the title of “City Meritorious and Loyal to the Fatherland”, and its municipality, then called Cabildo, the dictation of honorable.

In 1823, after the creation of the Republic of Peru, the protectorate of José de San Martín culminated, and before the counterattack of the royalist troops that took the city of Lima, during the government of the first president of Peru José de la Riva Agüero The Congress, meeting in Callao, by decree of June 21 of that year, ordered that the seat of government be moved to Trujillo, and days later, the congress exonerated Riva Agüero from the office of president of the republic, by decree of the June 23 of the same year.

Being aware of these facts, Riva Agüero embarked towards Trujillo with his ministers and part of the deputies; Once there, on June 26, he established his seat of government, dissolved the congress and created a 10-member Senate, which is known as the Senate of the Ten. In this city, Riva Agüero ruled de facto until 6 August 1823

In 1824, the city received the liberating army of Simón Bolívar, who assumed the government of the country and established in Trujillo the seat of government, the national accounts, the official bulletin and the general staff, on March 8, 1824. Subsequently Por Decree of March 26, 1824, Trujillo was designated as the capital of the Republic, while Lima was liberated.

Republican era
Plaza de armas de Trujillo (Peru) in 1839, drawing of “Léonce Angrand”.

Contemporary age

In the 1960s, the slums were established, then called “pueblos jóvenes” such as El Porvenir (present district of El Porvenir, La Esperanza (current district of La Esperanza) and Florencia de Mora (present district of Florencia de Mora) located at the Northeast of the city, which then formed the zone of immediate influence of the city, the historic center of Trujillo also underwent a process of accelerated population growth, on the other hand, there were also new residential developments outside the perimeter of the historic center such as: Santa Maria, California, San Fernando, Santa Edelmira, Santa Inés, Palermo, Primavera, Las Quintanas, San Andres, La Merced, El Golf, Palmeras del Golf, among others, some of which were located on the southwest side of the city near sea.

With the incursion of the Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces in 1968 changes took place such as the agrarian reform that generated serious damage to the production and economy of the region. This situation was aggravated by the drought that lasted about four years and then the 1970 earthquake that hit the northern region of Peru. These events accelerated the migration of rural populations and other population centers in the region, exacerbating the demographic growth of Trujillo, which by 1972 had 279,481 inhabitants.

Contemporary age
Night view of the Jirón Gamarra, of great commercial activity in the historic center of Trujillo

From the 1980s, Trujillo acquired the dimension and behavior of a particularly dynamic metropolitan area; by then the growth of the city and the adjacent districts, once “Young towns”, had produced the conurbation of these. Thus, for the decade of the 1980s the nascent metropolitan area of ​​Trujillo was constituted by the integrated urban area of ​​the districts of Trujillo, El Porvenir and Florencia de Mora, the districts of “Víctor Larco Herrera” and “district” being discontinuous integrated areas. La Esperanza “, by 1981 the city already had 403,337 inhabitants. Also from the 1980s, projects such as Trujillo Industrial Park, located in the northern part of the city, in the current district of La Esperanza, were promoted.

With the arrival of the 1990s, the districts of La Esperanza and Víctor Larco Herrera were integrated into the urban continuum of Trujillo, and the horizontal growth of the city caused the districts of Moche, Huanchaco, Laredo and Salaverry to become part of the area. discontinuous integrated city. It was towards the first half of the decade of the 1990s, with the emergence of the town center “El Milagro”, in the district of Huanchaco, but urbanly linked to the district of La Esperanza, and the increase of interdependence with the districts of Moche and Laredo, that Trujillo was cemented as the new metropolis of Peru; counting by then with a population of 589,314 inhabitants.

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