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Puno Travel Guide

Puno History

Being the birthplace of the Tiahuanaco Culture, one of the most important pre-Hispanic cultures and the utmost expression of the Aymara people, Puno is considered to be a town of legends.

According to the legend Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, who received instructions from their father, the Sun God, to found the tahuantinsuyo Empire, merged from Laka Titicaca. The Inca Empire was divided into four regions - or suyos - one of them being Collasuyo, which spread over the entire Plateau of Collao, including Puno, other suyos(Chinchansuyo, Antisuyo, Contisuyo).

After the Incas incorporated the region of Titikaka and the Kolla-culture under Inca Mayta Capac to the empire of Tahuantinsuyo and became part of the region of Kollasuyu. The importance of this Suyu into the empire was especially the presence of gold and silver mines, the breeding of alpacas and llamas for wool and meat and the culture of altitude plants as potatoes, quinua, coffee and ,many more.

When the Spaniards arrived Cusco in the mid 16 th century, they beard of the great mining wealth of this region, especially gold and silver. The bloody battles ensuing in the 17 th century over th possession of the Laikakota Mines(9km west from the City of Puno) forced the Viceroy, Count of Lemos, to travel to the area and to pacify it, resulting in the founding of the present City of Puno , capital of the department. Founded on November 4/1668, it was named San carlos de Puno.

The period of peace was over in 1781 when Indian revolutionists fought for independence, as for example the revolt of Tupac Katari. In the war of independence in the beginning of the 19th century Puno was an important connecting city between the freedom fighters of Peru and Río de la Plata in Buenos Aires. After the independence in 1821 Puno was the scene of battle between Peru and Bolivia. When the Bolivians won the battle of Ingavi, they occupied Peru up to Tacna and Moquegua. The convention of 1847 neutralized the victory of the Bolivians and Puno and its region could finally live in peace.


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