The Plaza de Armas (literally Weapons Square, but better translated as Parade Square or parade ground) is a common name given to given to public squares in Latin America, Spain and the Philippines. There are also examples of squares with that name in North America. In the central region of Mexico this space is known as El Zócalo and in Central America as Parque Central (Central Park). While some large cities have both a Plaza de Armas and a Plaza Mayor, in most cities those are two names for the same place.
Most cities constructed by the Spanish conquistadores were designed in a standard military fashion, based on a grid pattern taken from the Roman castrum, of which one block would be left vacant to form the Plaza de Armas. It is often surrounded by governmental buildings, churches, and other structures of cultural or political significance. The name derives from the fact that this would be a refuge in case of an attack upon the city, from which arms would be supplied to the defenders.
Main examples of Plaza de Armas in the Hispanic world
- Plaza de Armas of Guatemala
- Plaza de Armas of Arequipa, Peru
- Plaza de Armas of Ayacucho, Peru
- Plaza de Armas of Cajamarca, Peru
- Plaza de Armas of Cusco, Peru
- Plaza de Armas of Huánuco, Peru
- Plaza de Armas of Ambo, Peru
- Plaza de Armas of Guadalajara, Mexico
- Plaza de Armas of Havana, Cuba
- Plaza de Armas of Lima, Peru
- Plaza de Armas of Manila, Philippines
- Plaza de Armas of Pisco, Peru
- Plaza de Armas of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
- Plaza de Armas of San Antonio, United States
- Plaza de Armas of San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Plaza de Armas of Santiago, Chile
- Plaza de Armas of Trujillo, Peru
- Plaza de Armas of Asunción, Paraguay
- Plaza de Armas of Santo Domingo, República Dominicana
Public transit stations
- Place-d'Armes (disambiguation), French equivalent
- "Profes.net". 2013-10-07. Archived from the original on 2013-10-07. Retrieved 2021-01-07.
- Edward L. Jackiewicz, Fernando J. Bosco (2020). Placing Latin America: Contemporary Themes in Geography (via Google Books) (4th ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. p. 68. ISBN 9781538126318. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
- Herzog, Lawrence A. (2001). From Aztec to High Tech: Architecture and Landscape Across the Mexico-United States Border (via Google Books) (reprint ed.). JHU Press. p. 27. ISBN 9780801866432. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
- Herzog, Lawrence A. (1 May 2006). Return to the Center: Culture, Public Space, and City Building in a Global Era (Google Books). University of Texas Press. p. 116. ISBN 9780292712621. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
The Romans elevated the plaza to a place of political power (the forum) within the city. Spain inherited the Roman concept of the city, and by the time of the Renaissance, her powerful kings were ready to build a new Spain, an empire across the ocean, whose engine would be a system of cities and towns. At the microscale, these cities would be anchored by the spacial nucleus, the central place of power - the Plaza Mayor.
- Herzog, Lawrence A. (2001). From Aztec to High Tech: Architecture and Landscape Across the Mexico-United States Border (via Google Books) (reprint ed.). JHU Press. p. 169. ISBN 9780801866432. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
King Philip II of Spain, in his Royal Ordinances passed on the colonialists in 1573, decreed that the central public square, or Plaza de Armas, would serve as the fulcrum of colonial town life, and the main nexus for important public and religious buildings.