Callao has one of the few good natural harbours on the Pacific coast and is the port for Lima, the ancient capital of Peru. Travel deeper into the country from here to visit the Incas ancient capital at Cuzco and Machu Picchu high in the Andean foothills. Founded in 1537, Callao was the main port for shipping the gold and silver taken by the Spanish conquerors from the Inca Empire. Consequently the port was frequently assaulted by pirates and European enemies of Spain and was pillaged by Sir Francis Drake in 1578. The Real Felipe fortress withstood a number of sieges by Spanish forces during the wars of independence and after Simon Bolívar landed here in 1823, it was also the scene of the final surrender of Spain.
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