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Moquegua is a small department in southern Perumarker that extends from the coast to the highlands. The region's name is of Quechua origin and means "quiet place". The regional capital is the city of Moqueguamarker, but the port city of Ilomarker is more commercially active.


The region's volcanoes and its geomorphology make its geography remarkable. It is formed by upstream portion of the Tambo River, one of the most torrential coastal rivers, which forms deep valleys that can be divided into three sectors, the first one being in the northwest, forming the Puquina-La Capilla sector. These are veritable oasis enclaved in the rocks; arid hillsides and some terraces where horticulture is possible. High quality alfalfa as well as fruits, especially grapes, are produced here, due to a good climate and a rich soil. The second sector is the valley of Omate, one of the most populated and fertile soils of the department. The Ubinas Volcanomarker, Peru's most active volcano, is located nearby. In the hillsides, the land is fertile in contrast with the desolation and sterility of its highlands. In the southern part of the Tambo River is located the town of Carumas, which along with Puquina and Omate, are the vital centers of this geography. The Moquegua River is a short run one and is formed by its tributaries: the Torata, Huaracane and Tumilaca rivers. After passing through the regional capital, it digs deep into a canyon called the Osmare.


The Moquegua Region is bordered by the regions of Arequipa on the north, Puno on the east, Tacna on the south, and the Pacific Oceanmarker on the west.



According to the 1993 Census, the Moquegua Region has a population of 128,747 inhabitants, 51.9% of which (66,843) are male and 48.1% (61,904) are female.

, the Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática esimates the region's population to be 156,750.


Spanish is spoken at home by 75% of the population; while others speak Aymara (12.7%), Quechua (10.9%), other indigenous languages (0.1%) and foreign languages (0.2%).


Persons originating from other regions of the country make up 37.8% of the population and 0.2% of residents were born abroad.

The largest immigrant groups come from the Puno Region (14.7% of the total population) and the Arequipa Region (9.9%).


The population is spread out with 43.3% under the age of 20, 9.9% from 20 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 13.4% from 45 to 64, and 4.8% who are 65 years of age or older.


Secondary education has been attended by 33.3% of the population and 5.5% also have graduated from non-university higher education, while 4.3% have complete university studies. 37.9% only have attended primary education and 7.1% have not had any education.

The illiteracy rate in the region is 10%.

Political division

Map of the Moquegua region showing its provinces
The region is divided into 3 provinces ( , singular: ), which are composed of 20 districts (distritos, singular: distrito).


The provinces, with their capitals in parenthesis, are:


Inca oral tradition as documented by the Spanish chroniclers has long held that the present-day Moquegua Region was inhabited by small groups of natives known as pukinas and kollas long before the arrival of the Incas. According to chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega, it was Inca Mayta Capac who organized the military expedition to expand the domains of the Cuscomarker monarchs along this part of the coast.Since these were fertile lands, capable of supporting a larger population, the Inca army officers in charge decided to establish the towns of Cuchuna and Moquegua. In doing so, they were also protecting the Inca domain over the conquered lands.

Archaeological research conducted over the past several decades has shed considerable light on the ancient history of Moquegua, giving this remote section of Peru a unique place in the history of Peru. Archaeological surveys and excavations, documented in myriad professional publications, as well as books for the public available at Moquegua's Museo Contisuyo, demonstrate a sequence of occupation stretching from more than 10,000 B.C. through the present day.

There is no accurate data on the Spanish conquest or the founding of the city of Moquegua by its army. Presumably, it was founded on November 25, 1541 by Pedro Cansino and his wife, Josefa de Bilbao.

The named after him.

During the War of the Pacific, Moquegua suffered the invasion of Chileanmarker troops. This army looted all buildings —including churches—, tortured women, and took people's jewelry.

See also

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