views updated May 29 2018


Trujillo, a district, province, and department (now called "La Libertad") in Peru, with a capital of the same name. The capital was one of the first European towns (villas) established after the Spanish invaded Peru. In 1534, Diego de Almagro laid it out in a fertile coastal river valley, very near the old Chimú capital of Chan Chan. He named the settlement after the Spanish homeland of his partner, Francisco Pizarro. The latter returned to officially found the town in March 1535. Throughout the sixteenth century, the city remained the seat of political and economic power of the Peruvian viceroyalty in the north, being the principal residence of encomienda-holding families. It quickly became an important stopover on the overland route south to Lima, the city of the kings. Wheat, sugarcane, and some silver produced in the hinterland provided the basis for a thriving import-export trade.

The city's early predominance did not go unchallenged in the following years. In 1563, another Spanish town, the villa of Santiago de Miraflores, was built in the valley of Saña. Despite energetic protests to the central authorities, Trujillo lost some of its most prominent citizens, part of its wide territorial jurisdiction, and a proportion of the Mita (rotating, draft Amerindian laborers), who were reassigned to serve the Spanish founders of the city, which became known as Saña. In 1609 Trujillo became the seat of a bishopric. Its religious hegemony, however, was threatened about a decade later by an earthquake that made the bishop move his headquarters north to Lambayeque. A reluctant bishop was ordered by superiors back to Trujillo and enticed to move with subventions from the government to rebuild his church. Finally, the constant threat of pirates forced the city to enclose itself inside thick defensive walls before the end of the seventeenth century.

Throughout colonial times, Trujillo nonetheless remained an important coastal center of agricultural production and, in the late eighteenth century, of mining.In the 1780s, it becamean intendancy, which restored its control over much of its original territorial jurisdiction.

During the nineteenth century, Trujillo was often the scene of political struggles. It was José Bernardo de Torre Tagle y Portocarrero, the intendant of Trujillo, who joined the cause for independence under José de San Martín, giving the movement an important and early boost. Shortly thereafter, in 1823, the city became the scene of rivalry between José Mariano de la Riva Agüero y Osma, Peru's first president, and Torre Tagle, who with the help of General Antonio José de Sucre, established a rival government. Simón Bolívar, the noted Spanish American liberator, used the city as a temporary administrative center for his authoritarian regime in 1824. During these years the Department of Trujillo was renamed the Department of La Libertad, a name it retains. Trujillo was also the locale of a short-lived revolt during the presidential term of José Rufino Echenique, and later it was pillaged by the invading Chileans during the War of the Pacific (1879–1883).

In the twentieth century, Trujillo became famous as the birthplace of Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, founder of the political party Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana (APRA). It also gained prestige when César Vallejo, the great avant-garde poet, studied at La Libertad University. While there he became acquainted with Trujillo's bohemia, meeting Haya de la Torre, among others.

The consolidation of some sixty-five agricultural estates into three giant agro-industrial complexes after World War I caused massive discontent among the landed class and the city's commercial interests. These segments of society and the organized sugar plantation workers made Trujillo the solid center of APRA. In the 1930s, afterLuis M. Sánchez Cerro was elected and then shot by an APRA sympathizer, the rank-and-file Apristas revolted. The military, called in to repress the rebellion, rounded up men with bruises on their trigger fingers and shoulders, indicating that they had fired weapons; marched them to the ruins of Chan Chan; and summarily shot them. This became known as the "Trujillo massacre" and marked the beginning of a legacy of hatred between APRA and the military, which was not finally overcome until Alan García won the presidential elections and was allowed to take office in 1985.

Today, Trujillo is the third largest city of Peru in population with an estimated population of more than 634,000 citizens in 2005. The city fathers have preserved Trujillo's colonial air, evoking tradition, ceremonialism, and conservatism in the architecture of the city center, especially around its central plaza and main commercial street, with their renovated Casonas (great houses), which provide the visitor and Trujillanos alike with reminders of its rich history.

The most important economic center of northern Peru, Trujillo is an inland commercial and transportation center for the surrounding farming areas. Around 1800, the city of Trujillo greatly expanded due to extensive irrigated agriculture, fueled primarily by the sugarcane industry. In 2007 asparagus, rice, and shoes are the area's main products. Among its internationally known products, asparagus is exported to neighboring countries, Europe, and the United States. The areas around Trujillo may be the largest exporters of white asparagus in the world. In 2007 Peru is the world's leading asparagus exporter, followed by China and then Mexico.

See alsoBolívar, Simón; Peru, Political Parties: Peruvian Aprista Party (PAP/APRA).


Miguel Feijoo De Sosa, Relación descriptiva de la ciudad, y provincia de Trujillo del Perú (1763; repr. 2 vols., 1984).

Frederick B. Pike, The Modern History of Peru (1967).

Rubén Vargas Ugarte, Historia general del Perú (1971), esp. vols. 1-3, 5-6, 9-10.

Peter F. Klarén, Modernization, Dislocation, and Aprismo: Origins of the Peruvian Aprista Party, 1870–1932 (1973).

David P. Werlich, Peru: A Short History (1978).

Additional Bibliography

Blasco Bazán, Vera. La revolución de Trujillo: Asalto al cuartel O'Donavan en 1932, primera insurgencia civil del siglo XX. Trujillo, Peru, 2003.

González Ochoa, José Ma. Francisco Pizarro (Trujillo, 1478–Lima, 1541). Madrid: Acento Editorial, 2002.

Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática, Perú. Available from (2005).

Marmanillo Casapino, Luis Ernesto. Trujillo monumental: Una revisión del centro histórico. Trujillo, Peru: Universidad Privada Antenor Orrego, 1996.

Valle Alvarez, Luis. Aportes para la historia de Chan Chan. Trujillo, Peru: Ediciones SIAN, 2004.

Zevallos Quiñones, Jorge. Huacas y huaqueros en Trujillo durante el virreinato, 1535–1835. Trujillo, Perú: Editora Normas Legales, 1994.

Zevallos Quiñones, Jorge. Los fundadores y primeros pobladores de Trujillo del Perú. 2 vols. Trujillo, Peru: Fundación Alfredo Pinillos Goicochea, 1996.

                                       Susan E. RamÍrez


views updated May 08 2018


TRUJILLO , town in Estremadura, W. Spain, on an important junction near the Portuguese border. Trujillo was taken by Alfonso viii in 1184, then reconquered by the Moors; it definitely became part of the kingdom of Castile only in 1233. It may be assumed that there was a Jewish settlement there in the Muslim period, but the available data mainly concerns the Christian period. Toward the end of the 13th century, the community of Trujillo was the second largest in Estremadura, after Badajoz. In the 14th century Jews in Trujillo owned land, vineyards, and houses, which apparently had belonged to them before. There also were merchants and craftsmen among them. No data has survived about the fate of this community during the 1391 persecutions, but there were Jews who forsook their faith under duress in Trujillo as elsewhere. Yet the community was able to pay 6,000 maravedis in 1439 and 7,500 in 1474. A year before the edict of expulsion, in 1491, it spiraled to 11,400 maravedis, owing to an influx of refugees from other Jewish communities and to a special tax imposed as a contribution toward the war against Granada. In 1480 the segregation of Jews and Conversos into different quarters was carried out in Trujillo. The Jews were ordered to leave their quarter within two years and resettle in another part allotted to them. Exchange of houses was arranged, and the Jews were allowed to build a synagogue in their own area. Abraham *Seneor collected taxes and imposts in the town and its surroundings in the 1480s. The community existed until the edict of expulsion, when the exiles from elsewhere in Spain passed through Trujillo and Badajoz on their way to Portugal.


Baer, Urkunden, 2 (1936), index; J. González, El Reino de Castilla en la época de Alonso viii, 3 vols. (1960), index; Suárez Fernández, Documentos, index.

[Haim Beinart]