Monday, June 23, 2008

Huaura: Cradle of Independence

Yesterday, Sunday, my uncle Willy and Elba, his partner, took us up the coast to the north, with the aim of visiting the 5,000 year-old ruins at Caral. Due to the poor condition of the access road we aborted that section of the trip, but we did enjoy a nice visit to the town of Huaura.

Huaura is known as the "Cradle of Independence" because it was there that Gen. José de San Martín first declared Peru's independence on 27 November, 1820, before a mixed-race crowd However, at the time, no proclamation was signed, and the Lima aristocracy arranged for another, "official", proclamation in Lima's main square, which took place eight months later, on 28 July, 1821, before an exclusively white and moneyed assemblage. This date is today celebrated as Independence Day, a national holiday, while the 27th of November is largely unrecognized. The citizens of Huaura, being proud of their city's role in housing and feeding the Independendist Army for eight months and as the site of the first declaration of independence, resent this. But, as our guide in the local museum pointed out, they follow their hearts in setting their priorities: "We celebrate for a week (in November) and march for a day (in July)."

Balcony, built in 1710, from which San Martín first declared Peru's independence

Courtyard and 298 year-old stairs to the Balcony of Independence and what was San Martíns study

Hipbone of a megatherium, a prehistoric giant ground sloth

No comments: