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Foundation of Lima on January 18, 1535

16th Century Earthquakes

Records about Historical Earthquakes in Peru

In 1533 - Already two years before the foundation of Lima Hernando Pizarro, the brother of the founder of Lima, was taken aback by a heavy earthquake while searching for a suitable terrain for the new capital. A warning sign which the conquerors ignored! 1555 the city experienced an even stronger earthquake. Many buildings were badly damaged, some citizens hurt and the first fatalities were reported.

16th Century Earthquakes

Earthquake 1533 Lima Area

Already two years before the foundation of Lima Hernando Pizarro, the brother of the founder of Lima, was taken aback by a heavy earthquake while searching for a suitable terrain for the new capital. A warning sign which the conquerors ignored!

Earthquake November 1555 Lima

Lima experienced the strongest earthquake since its foundation in 1535. Many buildings were badly damaged, some citizens hurt, a few even killed.

Earthquake 4th of April 1568 Lima

In the afternoon at the beginning of the mass hold by the Jesuit Jerónimo Ruiz del Portillo in the Convent of Santo Domingo, Lima was again struck by a strong tremor. No big damages are reported, but the earthquake was so strong that it was felt 200km to 300km away.

Earthquake 17th of July 1578 Villa de Santa Maria de Cañete

At noon the small town of Villa de Santa Maria de Cañete was shaken by a strong earthquake with a magnitude of around 7.5. Nearly 200 people were killed, hundreds injured. The village was destroyed completely and numerous damages at the central Peruvian coast were reported.

Earthquake 1581 Lima

According to the residents of Lima and records of the Viceroy Conde del Villar the city was once again rattled by a destructive earthquake. The exact date is unknown, but many houses were badly damaged.

Earthquake 22nd of January 1582 Arequipa

In the afternoon a strong earthquake hit the Arequipa region destroying the town completely. Around 50 people were killed, hundreds injured and in the whole area around 1000 houses destroyed. The earthquake as well caused a strong tsunami.

Earthquake 15th of August 1582 Lima

Another strong tremor hits Lima during the celebrations of the Concilio Provincial. According to records the noise of the earthquake was immense, residents panicked; many houses were damaged and collapsed causing injuries and death.

Earthquake 17th of March 1584 Lima

Another major earthquake hits Lima and causes great destruction. The authorities made big efforts to get damaged houses repaired and ordered to demolish buildings beyond repair. The Casas Reales in Callao were badly damaged. Aftershocks hit Lima for two days.

Earthquake 9th of July 1586 Lima

At approximately 07.00 pm an earthquake with an estimated 8.6 magnitude on the Richter scale leveled the Lima-Callao region nearly to the ground. Many buildings in Lima were destroyed completely, only a few remained but damaged badly. Rocks and masses of stones fell from nearby hills like Cerro San Cristobal. The earthquake was preceded by immense noise. Only around 20 citizens died.

A tsunami generated by the earthquake flooded great parts of Limas gateway to the world, the port of Callao. Records indicate waves high as 20m inundating locations hundreds of meters away from the coast. The Viceroy Conde del Villar reported to the Spanish crown that this earthquake was much worse than the ones from 1555, 1581 and 1584. The destruction extended to the valleys around Lima as far as Chincha and Ica and could be felt 1000km along the coast (as well in Huanuco and Cusco). Lima experienced heavy aftershocks for around 2 months.

Earthquakes 19th and 28th of February 1600 Arequipa

Caused by an eruption of the Huaynaputina volcano, located near Moquegua in the south of Peru, the city of Arequipa and the surrounding areas were badly hit by countless strong earthquakes with a magnitude of up to 7.8.

Already in the days before the eruption of the Huaynaputina the citizens of Arequipa were shaken by countless earthquakes getting stronger by the days. Finally on the 19th of February thick fog covered the city, thunder, lighting, rumbling and falling ashes frightened the Arequipeños. A strong tremor and the heavy weight of the thick layer of ashes caused numerous houses to collapse. In the following days numerous smaller and bigger quakes rattled the area. And finally on the 28th of February an intense earthquake demolished the few houses still standing in the Arequipa region. Around 4000 people were killed. The eruption of the volcano including the caused earthquakes was probably the biggest catastrophe in the Arequipa region.
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