Ilo is a port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 city in southern Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, with some 58,000 inhabitants. It is the largest city in the Moquegua Region
Moquegua Region
Moquegua is a small department in southern Peru that extends from the coast to the highlands. The region's name is of Quechua origin and means "quiet place". The regional capital is the city of Moquegua, but the port city of Ilo is more commercially active....

 and capital of the province of Ilo.


Before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the area was populated by the Chiribaya civilization. The Conquistadores were given land grants by Charles V and brought olives to this area. Olive agriculture was the main crop and source of work until the early 20th century. A small settlement, Pacocha, was established by the seashore where the Rio Osmore flows into the Pacific ocean. High tides in the late 19th century flooded Pacocha and the population moved to Ilo's actual location, adopting its current name. Until the beginning of the 20th century most of the people lived along the banks of the Rio Osmore, whose waters flow sporadically during the summer months. Ilo was a port of call to the ships travelling from the east to the west coast of the United States via Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The archipelago consists of a main island Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego divided between Chile and Argentina with an area of , and a group of smaller islands including Cape...

. After the building of a pier in the 19th century, international trade flourished in the region. Italians, Chinese, Japanese and Germans settled in Ilo during this time. However, the building of the Transcontinental Rail Road and the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

 caused commercial activities to decrease and mostly steamships transporting goods between Peruvian and Chilean ports remained.

Along with its pier, a railroad was built to connect Ilo to Moquegua
Moquegua is a city in southern Peru, located in the Moquegua Region, of which it is the regional capital. It is also capital of Mariscal Nieto Province and Moquegua District. It is located 1144 kilometers south from the capital city of Lima.-History:...

. The railroad was named after Calamazo (Spanish pronunciation of Kalamazoo, from the name stamped on the equipment used by the railroad). The main economic activities of the city include fishing and mining. Copper mines originally owned by the Southern Peru Copper Corporation (SPCC) have provided several jobs to the region. SPCC was established by the American Smelting and Mining Corporation in the middle of the 20th century. Many Americans and Peruvians working for SPCC live in an area of Ilo called Ciudad Nueva. The copper smelting plant and a formerly state-owned refinery located 10 kilometers far from the city have contributed to a large amount of air and water pollution in the region. Ilo's industry appeared in the Canadian documentary film The Corporation, as an example of environmental problems caused by industries. Local swimming areas include Pozo de Lisas, Monte Carlo and Puerto Ingles. Bolivia has in the past utilized Ilo as a free gate to the ocean for both recreational and trade purposes.

The Peruvian government has granted a 99 year lease to the government of landlocked Bolivia to develop a port facility, in effect allowing Bolivia to claim to be a "Pacific Ocean nation". Bolivia lost an earlier claim to a portion of Pacific coast after going to war with Chile in the 19th century.

Temperatures in Ilo range between 18 and 28 degrees Celsius year round. Rain is almost non-existent, as Ilo is located north of the Atacama desert, one of the driest coastal deserts in the world.

The Battle of Pacocha
Battle of Pacocha
The naval Incident of Pacocha took place on 6 May 1877 when Nicolás de Piérola was leading a revolution to overthrow then Peruvian President Mariano Ignacio Prado. Piérola used the Peruvian monitor Huáscar as a raiding ship. She practiced sabotage primarily against the government forces of Peru...

 took place near Ilo.

Pacific Ocean terminal of the Interoceanic Highway

Ilo is the southernmost of the 3 ports which comprise the Peruvian termini of the Interoceanic Highway
Interoceanic Highway
The Interoceanic Highway or Trans-oceanic highway is an international, transcontinental highway in Peru and Brazil that is conecting the two coutries . It entails the renovation and construction of roughly 2,600 kilometers of roads and 22 bridges...

 which is being constructed to link the state of Acre
The acre is a unit of area in a number of different systems, including the imperial and U.S. customary systems. The most commonly used acres today are the international acre and, in the United States, the survey acre. The most common use of the acre is to measure tracts of land.The acre is related...

, in the Amazon Basin
Amazon Basin
The Amazon Basin is the part of South America drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries that drains an area of about , or roughly 40 percent of South America. The basin is located in the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela...

 in Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, across the Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 to the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...


Main sights

The main attraction is the Urban Center whose landmarks are:
  • St. Jerome's temple, built in 1871
  • Glorieta José Gálvez, built in 1915
  • State Pier, built at the end of 19th century
  • Punta Coles
  • Peruvian Navy
    Peruvian Navy
    The Peruvian Navy is the branch of the Peruvian Armed Forces tasked with surveillance, patrol and defense on lakes, rivers and the Pacific Ocean up to 200 nautical miles from the Peruvian littoral...

  • "El Algarrobal" Museum.
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