Lima is the capital of Peru and the country’s commercial and industrial centre.
The city is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central coastal part of the country, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima Metropolitan Area.
Despite its location in the tropics and in a desert, Lima's proximity to the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean leads to temperatures much lower than those expected for a tropical desert and thus Lima can be classified as a desert climate.
Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the city in 1535, as La Ciudad de los Reyes, or "The City of Kings." It became the most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru and, after independence, was made the capital of the Republic of Peru.
Lima is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru with a population of more than 9 million. Most of its people live in poverty, barely scratching a living to feed large families. Cholera outbreaks have been common in the past few years, and the city has been the target of political assassinations, bombings, and state-sponsored terrorism.
Data and Facts
- The city's historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, due to its large number of historical buildings dating from the Spanish colonial era.
- Etymology: The name Lima may derive from the Quechuan word Rimac, which is the name of a river that flows through the city. Some speculate that the Spanish created the word Lima in trying to say Rimac, which they heard from local inhabitants.
- Head of State: President Martin Vizcarra
- Language: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara.
- Country motto: Firm and Happy for the Union.
- Currency: Peruvian sol (PEN)
- Median age: 28.4 years
- Life expectancy: 74.2 years
- Religion: 95.4% Christianity, 3.1% Unaffiliated, 1% Folk.
As Lima is the capital city of the Republic of Peru, it is home to the three branches of the Government of Peru: The executive branch, headquartered in the Government Palace, The legislative branch, headquartered in the Legislative Palace, and the Judicial branch, headquartered in the Palace of Justice.
The province of Lima is divided into 43 districts which are administered by the Metropolitan Lima Municipal Council. The city proper of Lima is formed by 30 of these districts. The remaining 13 districts consist of sparsely populated desert and mountainous areas
Each district is headed by a local mayor. The Mayor of Lima has authority over these and the 13 outer districts of the Lima province. Each province and district is administratively autonomous, creating an obstacle to citywide planning and development.
Since most municipalities have only enough money to run basic services, lack of finances has hindered inner-city renewal and suburban expansion.
Lima is the country's industrial and financial center and one of Latin America's most important financial centers, home to many national companies and hotels. It accounts for more than two-thirds of Peru's industrial production and most of its tertiary sector.
Abundant mineral resources are found in Peru's mountainous areas and Lima contains more than two thirds of its industrial production. The Metropolitan area is the main location of industry. Textiles, clothing, and food are Lima's most important industries. Chemicals, leather and oil derivatives are manufactured and processed.
Lima has also the largest export industry in South America and is a regional center for the cargo industry, shipping over 21 million tons of cargo per year. The main export goods are commodities: oil, steel, silver, zinc, cotton, sugar and coffee. The Callao seaport also serves as one of the main fishing and commerce ports in South America.
Despite its economic importance, Lima is not flushed with jobs. The national government has been a traditional leading employer, but the privatization of state companies left thousands of people out of work during the mid-1990s. The city suffers from severe unemployment and underemployment, and many people who work just barely manage to feed their families. Lima's economy grew rapidly during the mid 1990s, but a severe two-year recession that started in 1997 left one out of two Peruvians living in poverty.
Lima, as the industrial and financial center of Peru, is home to many national companies. Most foreign companies operating in the country are also located in the capital. The metropolitan area has approximately 7,000 factories which benefit from the city's developed infrastructure.
Some of the most important companies headquartered in the city are Southern Peru Copper Corp, Repsol, Minera Antamina, Petroperu, Telefónica, Minera Cerro Verde, Telefonica del Peru, Doe Run Peru, Seguro Social de Salud, Banco de Credito del Peru, Minera Yanacocha, Minera Barrick Misquichilca, Volcan, Consorcio Minero, Alicorp, Grupo Gloria, Fluor Daniel, Wong, Movistar and Primax.
The financial district is in San Isidro, while much of the industrial activity takes place in the west of the city.
The growth of automobile transportation has given rise to the heavily congested traffic conditions that exist in contemporary Lima. Although there is now a well-developed highway system in the metropolitan area, including an expressway between central Lima and Miraflores, the vast majority of Limeños must cope with an outdated street network and rely on three basic modes of transport: minibuses, small buses and larger municipal buses, many of which operate in bad repair. Hundreds of taxi drivers, licensed and unlicensed,Heavy trucks, private cars, and motorcycles and bicycles of all shapes and sizes complete the traffic mix.
The Lima Metro has twenty six passenger stations and opened in 2012. The railway line from Callao to Lima is the oldest in South America.
Lima is served by Jorge Chávez International Airport, located in Callao. It is the country's largest airport hosting the largest number of domestic and international passengers. It serves as the fourth-largest hub in the Latin American air network.
Lima possesses five other airports: the Las Palmas Air Force Base, Collique Airport and runways in Santa María del Mar, San Bartolo and Chilca.
Although the country invests only 0.08% of its GDP in innovation, StartUp Perú, a government program, is putting the country’s startups on the map. The head of the Ministerio de la Producción, Raúl Pérez-Reyes said that the organization has already invested 35 million soles (US$10 million) in around 400 innovative ventures, from 18 regions of the country. But StartUp Perú isn’t the only way to get funding and mentorship for a startup in the country. There are over ten additional options including UTEC Ventures, an accelerator that is part of the entrepreneurial department of the University of Engineering and Technology, Wayra Perú, Endeavor Perú, or NESst among others.
Peru also hosts an annual venture capital conference that brings together the leaders of the Peruvian innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, connecting local startups with both international and local investors.
In 2018, over 900 attendees participated, with more than 300 startups and 250 national and international investors and corporations attending the event.
The country has one of the best-performing economies and fastest-growing startup scenes.
A massive fintech boom is also playing out across Latin America, with the size of the industry expected to exceed $150 billion by 2021.
Peru is home to an estimated 120 fintech startups actively tackling the issues of financial inclusion and better servicing the region’s small and medium-sized businesses. A few of Peru’s fintech sectors stand out, including factoring and foreign exchange.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
Healthcare in Lima is a matter of class. Wealthier residents can afford good health care, and many of them often travel abroad for treatment. Millions of Limeños have little access to health care. There are 119 hospitals in the metropolitan area, with 2.7 physicians per 1,000 residents. Unhealthy conditions have led to cholera and tuberculosis outbreaks.
Most children attend school in Lima, but illiteracy rates have remained high. About 52 percent of students are in primary schools, and 33 percent attend secondary schools.
Lima is home to one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the New World. The National University of San Marcos, founded on 12 May 1551, during the Spanish colonial empire. The capital also hosts some other fine universities, including La Molina National Agrarian University, and the National Engineering University. The city has several private universities. Among them are the University of Lima, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, Ricardo Palma University, University of San Martín de Porres, Women's University of the Sacred Heart, and University of the Pacific. A university degree remains out of reach for most young Limeños.
Despite government pressure, several newspapers in Lima continue to report government misdeeds. The city is home to the nation's most influential newspapers, including El Comercio, La República, and Gestion. Twenty-five newspapers, including ten dailies, are published in Lima. El Comercio is considered one of the best newspapers in Latin America and has often taken a critical view of the Fujimori regime
Lima is home to the country's highest concentration of museums, most notably the Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú, Museum of Art, the Museo Pedro de Osma, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of the Nation, The Sala Museo Oro del Perú Larcomar, the Museum of Italian Art, the Museum of Gold and the Larco Museum.
Peruvian music is a fusion of sounds and styles drawing on the country’s Andean, Spanish, and African roots. Hundreds of years of cultural mixing in Peru has formed a broad musical landscape along with unique pre-Hispanic and mestizo dances to accompany the tunes:
- Andean influences can be best heard in wind instruments and the shape of the melodies.
- African influences are heard in the rhythm and percussion instruments.
- European influences can be heard in the harmonies and stringed instruments.
The most popular sport in Lima is football with professional club teams operating in the city but the capital also has sports venues for golf, volleyball and basketball, many within private clubs.
A popular sport among Limenos is fronton, a racquet sport similar to squash invented in Lima. The city is home to seven international-class golf links. Equestrianism is popular in Lima with private clubs as well as the Hipódromo de Monterrico horse racing track.