el ganeden d'esmareldas

the garden of emeralds

Zaña, Chiclayo, Peru

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Before it was officially founded by Europeans, Zaña was inhabited by the indigenous Moche people. When it was colonized and established by Europeans on 29 November 1563, it was originally named Villa Santiago de Miraflores de Saña. 

In its early days, Zaña was a very busy city in Peru, filled with Spanish colonists as well as Indigenous and African slaves. There were also waves of Chinese and Japanese settlers who came looking for work in the sugar plantations. At its peak, Zaña had seven churches and was even considered as an option for the capital of Peru.

Zaña was an extremely important city in the early colonial Americas, and for this reason, it was also targeted by pirates and raids who would ransack the city of its riches. However, the true collapse of Zaña came when in the early 1720s, the Zaña River overflowed flooding the city of Zaña and causing the majority of the European colonists to flee the city, leaving behind their slaves.

Today, much of Zaña’s few inhabitants of descendants of the African and Indigenous slaves of early colonial Zaña. There remains the ruins of many churches and other buildings within the city, and Zaña, besides its small number of residents, is for the most part abandoned. It remains a major archeological site because of its importance in the early colonial Americas and because of its mix of American, European, African, and Asian cultures.


Chaitén, Los Lagos, Chile

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Chaitén was created before European conquer and was first explored by European conquistadors in the search for the City of the Caesars, a city of legend full of gold, silver, and diamonds, somewhere in the Andes. However, Chaitén was first officially listed as a town in 1940 and served as a port.


Chaitén, 1950

In 2008, for the first time in over nine thousand years, the nearby Mt Chaitén volcano erupted. The city of Chaitén was evacuated while Mt Chaitén continued to erupt for months continuously. Because of the volcano, the town was also flooded due to lahars (extremely dangerous flows of mud, debris, and rocks) causing the nearby river to overflow. Currently, the town of Chaitén is being rebuilt, though there is controversy whether it should be or not because of the state it’s in. Some of the population has returned, and it currently has a population of 3,500 residents, of its original 7,000.

42 55’0″S 72 42’0″W

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