Ayacucho (Ayacuchu in Quechua) is the capital city of Huamanga Province, Ayacucho Region, Peru. It has a population of 93,033 within the city and an additional 140,230 in the surrounding area.
The name is derived from quechua aya (death) and cuchu (outback).
Ayacucho is famous for its large number of churches and for its religious celebrations during Holy Week. These celebrations include horse races featuring Peruvian Caballos de Paso and the traditional running of the bulls, known locally as the jalatoro or pascuatoro. The jalatoro is similar to the Spanish encierro, except that the bulls are led by horses of the Morochucos.
Vestiges of human settlements more than 15,000 years old have been found in the cave site of Pikimachay, about 25 km north of Ayacucho. In the 6th and 12th centuries, the region became occupied by the Huari Culture, which became the first expansionist empire known in the Andes before the Incas.
The modern colonial establishment of Ayacucho was led by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on April 25, 1540, as San Juan de la Frontera de Huamanga (St. John on the Huamanga Frontier). Due to the constant Incan rebellion led by Manco Inca against the Spanish on the zone, Pizarro was quick to populate it with a small number of Spaniards brought over from Lima and Cusco. On May 17, 1544, by Royal decree Ayacucho received its title of "La Muy Noble y Leal Ciudad de Huamanga".
On February 15, 1825, by decree of Simon Bolivar, the city's name was changed to the original "Ayacucho".
The city's main University was founded on July 3, 1677 as the Universidad Nacional San Cristobal de Huamanga (National University of St. Christopher of Huamanga).
The city is named after the historical Battle of Ayacucho. Upon seeing so many casualties on the battlefield, the settlers named the area Ayakuchu, aya meaning "soul" or "dead" and kuchu meaning "corner" in the Quechua language. The Battle of Ayacucho was the last armed clash between Spanish armies and patriots during the Peruvian War of Independence. The battle developed in the nearby pampa of La Quinua on December 9, 1824. The patriot victory sealed the independence of Peru and South America. La Paz, now capital of Bolivia, was also similarly renamed La Paz de Ayacucho following this battle.
The city's economy is based on agriculture and light manufactures, including textiles, pottery, leather goods, and filigree ware.
Andres Avelino Caceres, President of Peru
Nestor Cabrera, Writer
Willy del Pozo, Writer
Maria Parado de Bellido, heroine in War of Independence
Battle of Ayacucho
Ayacucho Archaeo-Isotope Project
Ayacucho Virtual (Spanish)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ayacucho