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The city of Lima, founded by Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, was considered the vice-royal capital of South America for three centuries. After Pizarro's decision to make Lima the capital of his government, different Hispanic authorities established their residence in the city.

Its official name was Ciudad de los Reyes (City of Kings), although after a while, people preferred to call it Lima. For some researchers, the name Lima is a transformation of the name of the river on which it was founded, Rimac. Others instead suggest that the name was the old word for the lands of Taulichusco, the lord who ruled the valley when the Spanish arrived.

In 1821, Lima became the capital of independent Peru. During the first decades of Republican life, it was the scene of political fights among different leaders. The advent of the twentieth century implied a renovation since the city modernized and grew in the attempt of trying to keep up with other great capitals of the world. In 2002, the Department of Lima was divided into the Departament of Lima and Metropolitan Lima, the capital of the country.