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City (pop., 2005: 389,579), chief seaport, Peru. It was founded in 1537 by Francisco Pizarro on Callao Bay west of Lima. As the leading shipping point for gold and silver taken by Spanish conquistadores from the Incas, it was frequently assaulted by pirates and by Spain's European rivals. It was destroyed by a tidal wave in 1746 and then rebuilt near its original site. It withstood several sieges by Spanish forces during the wars for independence. The revolutionary leader Simón Bolívar landed there in 1823, and three years later it was the scene of the final Spanish surrender to rebel forces. It suffered heavy earthquake damage in 1940 but has since expanded and modernized.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Callao, visit Britannica.com.