Ica - Encyclopedia




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ICA (YCA, or Ecca), a city of southern Peru and the capital of a department of the same name, 170 m. S.S.E. of Lima, and 46 m. by rail S.E. of Pisco; its port on the Pacific coast. Pop. (1906, official estimate) 6000. It lies in a valley of the foothills of the Cordillera Occidental, which is watered by the Rio de Ica, is made highly fertile by irrigation, and is filled with vineyards and cotton fields; between this valley and the coast is a desert. The original town was founded in 1563, 4 m. E. of its present site, but it was destroyed by the earthquake of 1571, and again by that of 1664, after which the present town was laid out near the ruins. In 1882 a Chilean marauding expedition inflicted great damage to private property in the town and vicinity. These repeated disasters give the place a partially ruined appearance, but it has considerable commercial and industrial prosperity. It has a large cotton factory and there are some smaller industries. Wine-making is one of the principal industries of the valley, and much brandy, called pisco, is exported from Pisco. A new industry is that of drying the fruits for which this region is celebrated. Ica is the seat of a national college.

The department of ICA lies between the Western Cordillera and the Pacific coast, and extends from the department of Lima S.E. to that of Arequipa. Pop. (1906, official estimate) 68,220; area 8721 sq. m. Ica is in the rainless region of Peru, and the greater part of its surface is barren. It is crossed by the rivers Pisco, Ica and Grande, whose tributaries drain the western slope of the Cordillera, and whose valleys are fertile and highly cultivated. The valley of the Nasca, a tributary of the Grande, is celebrated for an extensive irrigating system constructed by the natives before the discovery of America. The principal products of the department are cotton, grapes, wine, spirits, sugar and fruit. These are two good ports on the northern coast, Tambo de Mora and Pisco, the latter being connected with the capital by a railway across the desert, 46 m. long.

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