Ica, central coastal Peruvian department and city. Located approximately 170 miles southeast of the capital of Lima, the department has a surface area of 8,205 square miles and a population of 695,489 (2005 census). The city of Ica has over 200,000 residents (2005). The Ica River, flowing into the Pacific from January to April, when rainfall is sufficient on the upper western slopes of the Andes, provides water for irrigation of fertile coastal fields. The valley is extremely dry, with less than one-half inch of rainfall yearly. In the winter (May through August) there are dense mists (garúa). Cacti will grow on slopes above 2,300 feet, but it is only by irrigation that the coastal desert bears crops.
Under the Incas, numerous agricultural crops were cultivated in the region, and various marine resources were exploited. With European contact following the 1530s, the native population fell sharply, by over 90 percent, the consequence of disease, the breakdown of hydraulic systems, exploitation, and the introduction of Old World crops and animals that changed the ecological balance. Wheat and vegetables were grown and transported to the Lima market. Grapes were quickly introduced, as the soil and climate seemed perfect for viticulture. By the 1590s wine and subsequently brandy (Pisco) supplied growing urban markets in Lima and highland mining centers. In the sixteenth century, African slaves were imported to replace the declining number of indigenous iqueños and mitayos (transplanted Andeans), and by the mid-nineteenth century Chinese workers or coolies came to play an important role in the local labor market. During the twentieth century, cotton replaced grapes as the primary agricultural commodity, although Pisco is still a prized commodity in Lima. Ica continues to be a major supplier of fresh vegetables to the capital.
Alberto Rossel Castro, Historia regional de Ica (1964).
Eugene A. Hammel, Power in Ica: The Structural History of a Peruvian Community (1969).
Robert G. Keith, Conquest and Agrarian Change: The Emergence of the Hacienda System on the Peruvian Coast (1976).
Angeles Caballero, César A. Peruanidad del pisco. 4th ed. Lima: Banco Latino, 1995.
Menzel, Dorothy. Pottery Style and Society in Ancient Peru: Art as a Mirror of History in the Ica Valley, 1350–1570. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976.
Schreiber, Katharina Jeanne, and Josue Lancho Rojas. Irrigation and Society in the Peruvian Desert: The Puquios of Nasca. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2003.
Noble David Cook
Jewish Colonization Association
JEWISH COLONIZATION ASSOCIATION
Philanthropic organization (also known as the ICA and the PICA, or Palestine Jewish Colonization Association) founded in 1891.
Baron Maurice de Hirsch founded the ICA to assist Jews in Europe and Asia to flee persecution and go to countries in the Western Hemisphere. He initially endowed it with $10 million as a joint stock company, and the amount was eventually increased fourfold. The ICA assisted Jews by establishing agricultural settlements; most of these were in Argentina but there were also some in Brazil. It also helped Jewish farmers in Canada and the United States and provided assistance to Jews who were still living in Russia and the newly created states of Eastern Europe after World War I. In Palestine, the ICA took over the support and consolidation of colonies Baron Edmond de Rothschild had created.
Since Israeli statehood, the ICA has helped support settlements as well as research and training in agriculture. It also works with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the Joint Distribution Committee in providing relief aid.
see also joint distribution committee.
Winsberg, Morton D. Colonia Baron Hirsch: A Jewish Agricultural Colony in Argentina. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1964.
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