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CUZCO

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 679 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CUZCO, an inland city of southern Peru, capital of an Andean department of the same name, about 36o m. E.S.E. of Lima, in lat. 13° 31' S., long. 73° 03' W. The population, largely composed of Indians and mestizos, was estimated at 30,000 in 1896, but according to the official estimate of 1906, it was then about 25% less. The city stands at the head of a small valley, 11,38o ft. above sea-level, and is nearly enclosed by mountains of considerable elevation. The valley itself is 9 m. in length and extends S.E. to the valley of Vilcamayu. Overlooking the city from the N. is the famous hill of Sacsahuaman, crowned by ruins of the cyclopean fortress of the Incas and their predecessors, and separated from adjacent heights by the deep ravines of two streams, called the Huatenay and Rodadero. The principal part of the city lies between these two streams, with its great plaza in the centre. On the W. side of the Huatenay are two more fine squares, called the Cabildo and San Francisco. The houses of the city are built of stone, their walls commonly showing the massive masonry of the Incas at the bottom, crowned with a light modern superstructure roofed with red tiles. The streets cross each other at right angles and afford fine vistas on every side. The principal public buildings are the cathedral, which is classed among the best in South America, the convent of San Domingo, which partly occupies the site of the great Temple of the Sun of the Incas, the cabildo or government-house, a university founded in 150, a college of science and arts, a public library, hospital, mint and museum of Incarial antiquities. Cuzco was made the see of a bishopric soon after it was occupied by the Spaniards. The Church has always exercised a dominating influence in this region, and the city has many churches and religious establishments. There are a number of small manufacturing industries in Cuzco, including the manufacture of cotton and woollen fabrics, leather, beer, embroidery and articles of gold and silver. Its trade is not large, however, owing to the costs of transportation. The climate is cool and bracing, and the products of the vicinity include many of the temperate zone. A railway from Juliaca (a station on the line from Mollendo to Puno) to Cuzco was virtu-ally completed early in 1908. This railway gives Cuzco an outlet to the coast, and also direct connexion with La Paz, the Bolivian capital. A branch of the Callao & Oroya railway is also projected southward to Cuzco, and reached Huancayo in 1908. Cuzco was the capital of a remarkable empire ruled by the Incas previous to the discovery of Peru, and it was one of the largest and most civilized of the native cities of the New World. It was captured by Pizarro in 1533, and it is said that its size and the magnificence of its principal edifices filled the Spaniards with surprise. It was for many years an object of contention among the Spanish factions, but ultimately the greater attractions of Lima and its own isolation diminished its importance. The department of Cuzco is the second largest in Peru, having an area of 156,317 sq. m., and a population, according to a reduced official estimate of 1906, of only 328,980. It occupies an extremely mountainous region on the frontier of Bolivia, E. of the departments of Junin, Ayacucho and Apurimac, and extends from Loreto on the N. to Puno and Arequipa on the S. Its area, however, includes a large district E. of the Andes which is claimed by Bolivia, and the settlement of the dispute may materially diminish its size. The elevation of a large part of the department gives it a temperate climate and permits the cultivation of cereals and other products of the temperate zone. Cattle and sheep are produced in large numbers in some of the provinces, while in others mining forms the chief industry. On the eastern forested slopes and in the lower valleys tropical conditions prevail. The population is chiefly composed of Indians who form a sturdy, docile labouring class, but are in great part strongly disinclined to accept the civilization of the dominant white race.
End of Article: CUZCO
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