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The city of Callao is the port of Lima, Peru. It was founded in 1537, just two years after Lima (1535), and soon became the main port for Spanish commerce in the Pacific. At the height of the Viceroyalty, virtually all goods produced in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina were carried over the Andes by mule to Callao, to be shipped to Panama, carried overland, and then transported on to Spain via Cuba.

In 1746, an earthquake caused a tidal wave which destroyed the entire port.

An historical military fortress, the Castillo de Real Felipe, still stands on the promontory. There is also a large naval base in Callao, in which the leader of Sendero Luminoso rebel movement, Abimael Guzman, and Vladimiro Montesinos, the ex-director of internal security during the Fujimori regime are imprisoned.

Callao, although contiguous with urban Lima, is a separate department within the province of Lima.