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Moquegua is a city and department centered in the Osmore River valley of southern Peru. In 2005 the population of the valley region was 159,306. Moquegua, home to an estimated 73,000 people (2003), is capital of Mariscal Nieto province. Garcilaso de la Vega writes of the Incas establishing a settlement called Moquehua along the river. After the Spanish Conquest, the valley first belonged to Chucuito province and then in the 1570s became the independent corregimiento (province) of Ubinas, for the most populous local Indian group. As to the city itself, Spaniards began residing there as early as 1541, although they did not receive official authorization to found the villa of Santa Catalina de Moquegua until 1625.

Moquegua gained greatest renown as a viticultural center. By 1587, Spaniards established vineyards in the valley, where they flourished. After 1600, Moqueguans sold most of their wine in Potosí, La Paz, and other highland districts. In the eighteenth century, they distilled much of the wine into brandy. At its height the Moqueguan industry had storage capacity for more than 3 million gallons of wine and brandy. The region suffered from occasional earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but in the late 1800s an epidemic of phylloxera and the Chilean invasions during the War of the Pacific (1879–1883) devastated the vineyards.

In June 2001 an earthquake caused extensive damage throughout the city, leaving an estimated 100,000 people homeless. Part of the restoration process involved rebuilding family kilns long used in the region.

See alsoWine Industry .


J. A. Montenegro y Ubaldi, "Noticia de la ciudad de Moquegua," in Revista histórica 1 (1906): 70-109.

Luis E. Kuon Cabello, Retazos de la historia de Moquegua (1981).

Kendall W. Brown, Bourbons and Brandy: Imperial Reform in Eighteenth-Century Arequipa (1986).

Don S. Rice, Charles Stanish, and Phillip R. Scarr, eds., Ecology, Settlement, and History in the Osmore Drainage, Peru, 2 vols. (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Gutiérrez Flores, Juan, and Teresa Cañedo-Argüelles Fabrega. La visita de Juan Gutiérrez Flores al Colesuyo y Pleitos por los cacicazgos de Torata y Moquegua. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú Fondo Editorial, 2005.

Lozada, María Cecilia, and Jane E. Buikstra. El señorío de Chiribaya en la costa sur del Perú. Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2002.

Pinto Vargas, Ismael. Moquegua: Perfil de una ciudad. San Antonio, Peru: Red Eléctrica del Sur, 2000.

Vining, Benjamin R. Social Pluralism and Lithic Economy at Cerro Baúl, Peru. Oxford, U.K.: John and Erica Hedges, 2005.

                                      Kendall W. Brown