Lambayeque Region

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This article is about the Peruvian region. For other uses, see Lambayeque (disambiguation).
Lambayeque Region
Official seal of Lambayeque Region
Location of the Lambayeque Region in Peru
Location of the Lambayeque Region in Peru
Country Peru
Subdivisions 3 provinces and 38 districts
Capital Chiclayo
 • President Humberto Acuña Peralta (2011-2014)
 • Total 14,231.3 km2 (5,494.7 sq mi)
Highest elevation 3,078 m (10,098 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2005 Census)
 • Total 1,091,535
 • Density 77/km2 (200/sq mi)
Dialing code 074
ISO 3166 code PE-LAM
Principal resources Rice, sugarcane and fruit
Poverty rate 30%
Percentage of Peru's GDP 3.89%

Lambayeque is a coastal region in northwestern Peru known for its rich Moche and Chimú historical past and related archeological sites and museums. The region's name originates from the ancient pre-Inca civilization of the Lambayeque, also called Sican culture.


The name Lambayeque is a Spanish derivation of the god Yampellec, said to have been worshipped by the first Lambayeque king, Naymlap. The Spanish colonists gave the name to the early people, also known as the Sicán, whose culture lasted from about AD 750 to 1375. They preceded the Inca Empire.


The territory of the Lambayeque Region is made up of wide plains irrigated by rivers from the Andes; in most of the arid area, irrigation is needed to support any farming. The fertile river valleys produce half of the sugar cane crop of Peru. In addition, Lambayeque and the Piura Region provide most of the rice crops consumed in Peru.

Increased agricultural harvest is expected with completion of the Olmos Transandino Project. The water supply project will transfer up to 2 billion m3 annually of water from the Huancabamba River in the Cajamarca Region east of Lambayeque.

In the smaller scale farming of earlier centuries, the Olmos Carob Tree Forest supported goat herds that fed on carobs. The fine goatskins were tanned to create the fine, pale, leather known as "cordoban" or "cordovan", from the Spanish town of Córdoba, where the process was developed. Goat fat was used to make soap.

There are two small islands off the Pacific coast of the Lambayeque Region: Lobos de Afuera, and Lobos de Tierra; there was a dispute with the Piura Region over control of the latter island.

The region is bordered by the Piura Region on the north, the Cajamarca Region on the southeast, the La Libertad Region on the south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west.

Political division[edit]

Map of the Lambayeque region showing its provinces

The region is divided into three provinces (provincias), which are composed of 38 districts (distritos). The provinces, with their capitals in parentheses, are:


Legend tells that in ancient times, a great float of balsa rafts arrived at the beaches of the existing San José cove. Formed by a brilliant cortège of nine foreign warriors, this float was led by a man of great talent and courage, named Naymlap, the mythical founder of the first northwest civilization.

Among the descendants of Naylmlap were the Moche, the Wari', and the Chimú peoples.

The Wari' dominated much of the coastal and highland area. Their Cerro Pátapo ruins, an important archeological site discovered in 2008 near Chiclayo, show that they had important centers in what is now Northern Peru. Formerly their territory was believed to be concentrated in the central and south regions.

The Chimú also developed a great civilization in Lambayeque before being conquered in the 15th century by the later Inca Empire. The Chimú grew to acquire a notable state parallel to the Inca. The Chimú moved their capital to the northern area, establishing great urban centers there. They were skilled farmers, textile experts and wonderful goldsmiths, producing extraordinary works in gold.

The Inca conquest of what today is Lambayeque, lasted almost four decades. Pachacuti, Tupac Inca Yupanqui and Huayna Cápac, successively, ruled during the process.

In the 16th century, the Spanish leader Francisco Pizarro took his conquistadors across the region on the way to Cajamarca, where he captured the Inca leader, massacred thousands of Inca with the aid of Indian allies, and concluded the defeat of the Inca empire. He was amazed by the gold seen in vases and utensils.

During Colonial times, a rivalry started between the people of the towns of Lambayeque and Santiago de Miraflores de Saña. The latter people lived in opulence and provoked the greed of pirates, who repeatedly raided and looted the city in the 17th century. A flood in 1720, however, destroyed Saña and marked the end of the flourishing city. It was not rebuilt.

The people of Lambayeque followed Juan Manuel Iturregui as their leader in the struggles for emancipation and independence from Spain. He spread libertarian ideas and helped get arms for the cause.

Sipán Museum, in Lambayeque
Presentation of a dish of Arroz con pato.

Places of interest[edit]


The most famous composer from Lambayeque was Luis Abelardo Nuñez, born in Ferreñafe on 22 November 1926. His songs are among the most popular in Peruvian music. These included the following:

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 6°26′S 79°52′W / 6.433°S 79.867°W / -6.433; -79.867