From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Callao (Spanish: El Callao) is the largest and most important port in Peru.
The city is coterminous with the Constitutional Province of Callao, the only
province of the Callao Region. Callao is located west of Lima, the country's
capital, and is part of the Lima Metropolitan Area, a large metropolis that
concentrates almost one-third of Peru's population. Callao borders Lima
Province on the north, east and south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west.
Callao (pronounce as Kah.ya.oh) was founded in 1537, just two years after
Lima (1535), and soon became the main port for Spanish commerce in the
Pacific. The origin of its name is unknown; both Indian (particularly Yunga,
or Coastal Peruvian) and Spanish sources are credited, but it is certain
that it was known by that name since 1550.
At the height of the Viceroyalty, virtually all goods produced in Peru,
Bolivia, and Argentina were carried over the Andes by mule to Callao, to be
shipped to Panama, carried overland, and then transported on to Spain via
On August 20, 1836, during the Peru-Bolivian Confederacy, President Andrés
de Santa Cruz mandated the creation of the Callao Littoral Province
(Provincia Litoral del Callao), which had political autonomy in its internal
During the government of President Ramón Castilla, Callao was given the name
of Constitutional Province (Provincia Constitucional), on April 22, 1857;
before that, Callao had the name of Litoral Province. All of the other
Peruvian provinces had been given its name by law, while Callao was given it
by constitutional mandate.
Callao was never part of the Lima Department nor of any other departments.
The province's first mayor was Col. Manuel Cipriano Dulanto.
By 1949, Callao was known as one of the biggest centers of coca-based
products and cocaine traffic in the world.
* In 1746, a tsunami caused by an earthquake destroyed the entire port
* On 2 May 1866, during the Battle of Callao, the Spanish fleet tried to
reconquer independent Peru.
* On June 19, 1986 hundreds of prisoners were massacred on El Frontón.
Callao is built on and around a peninsula, the district of La Punta, once a
wealthy residential neighborhood. An historical fortress, the Castillo de
Real Felipe (site of "Rodil's Last Stand"), stands on the promontory
overlooking the harbor.
There is also a large naval base in Callao, in which the leader of the
Shining Path rebel movement, Abimael Guzmán, and Vladimiro Montesinos, the
ex-director of internal security during the Fujimori regime are currently
Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport is located in Callao.
On a bluff overlooking the harbor sits Colegio Militar Leoncio Prado, the
military high school Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa attended and made
famous in his first novel, La Ciudad y los Perros (1962) (published in
English as The Time of the Hero in 1963). The book was later filmed as The
City and the Dogs and featured exterior shots of the school. The city also
has a university, the National University of Callao.
Callao also has several islands, San Lorenzo (currently a military base), El
Frontón (a former high security prison), the Cavinzas, and the Palominos,
where a large number of sea lions and sea birds live in a virtually
untouched ecosystem. There is currently proposed plans to build a huge naval
terrestrial, and air port on San Lorenzo Island. This project is called the
San Lorenzo Megaport Project.
Residents of Callao are known as chalacos.
Jorge Chávez International Airport (IATA: LIM, ICAO: SPIM), known as
Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chávez in Spanish, is Peru's main
international and domestic airport. It is located in Callao, 11 km (7 miles)
from the Historic Centre of Lima and 17 km (11 miles) from Miraflores.
Callao is the port city now fully integrated with Lima, the nation's capital
In 2008, the airport handled 8,288,506 passengers and 98,733 aircraft
For many years it was the hub for now defunct Aeroperú and Compañía de
Aviación Faucett, one of the oldest airlines in Latin America. Now it serves
as a hub for many aviation companies like TACA Perú and LAN Perú
Local government affairs are divided into two levels. Regional matters are
handled by the Regional Government of Callao (Gobierno Regional del Callao),
which is located in the Bellavista District. Affairs such as city cleaning,
promoting of sports and basic services are handled by the Provincial
Municipality of Callao, which is headquartered in the Callao District. Also,
each of the six districts has its own Municipality which handles matters in
their respective jurisdictional areas.
Callao is divided into six districts, (Spanish: distritos; singular:
distrito), each of which is headed by a mayor (alcalde).
* 1 Bellavista
* 2 Callao (downtown)
* 3 Carmen de la Legua Reynoso
* 4 La Perla
* 5 La Punta
* 6 Ventanilla
* The rest of Callao Region is composed of the islands of San Lorenzo, El
Frontón and Cavinzas, which all together have an area of 17.63 square
kilometres (6.81 sq mi).
The port is served by the Ferrocarril Central Andino railway, which in 2006 is to be modernised from narrow gauge of 3 feet (914 mm) to the world standard gauge of 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm).