March 30th, 2008

The town of Canta sits upon a hill high up in the Chillón Valley of Lima. Sitting on another nearby hill is Obrajillo, and on another San Miguel. This peaceful and picturesque town, green throughout most of the year, is just two hours journey from Lima.

Canta (left), Obrajillo (center), San Miguel (center right)

The town of Canta sits in a valley as full of history as any other in Peru. Ruins of Inca and pre-Inca civilisation are to be found in the mountains around the town. Canta though, is perhaps most famous for it’s more recent history.

It was from this city that 150 men prevented the passage of Chilean troops during the War of the Pacific. The Chilean battalion, wanting to pass through the valley towards Lima, were prevented from doing so by locals organised by Coronel Manuel Encarnación Vento.



The people of Canta knew that towns the Chilean army passed through were subject to rape, plunder and mascre. They decided to defend themselves. Knowing the location of the Chileans who where further up the valley, Vento led the Peruvians to engage them. Not knowing when the enemy would be re-enforced, Vento declared that they had to attack “Today or never“. Willing to do whatever it took to defend Canta, he added “Pass what may“. Thankfully, they managed to drive the Chileans back and protect their town and families from slaughter.

Today, with old battles long forgotten, Canta is a peaceful place of simple lifestyles. It’s a town of traditional narrow streets and people going about their daily business. Walking down these streets, the smell of freshly baked bread from the local bakery often filled the air.

Nearby, smaller towns are waiting to be explored.

Join me, exploring more of the Department of Lima, here.

Photos –

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