AYACUCHO, a city and department of central Peru, formerly known as Guamanga or Huamanga, renamed from the small plain of Ayacucho (Quichua, "corner of death"). This lies near the village of Quinua, in an elevated valley 11,600 ft. above sea-level, where a decisive battle was fought between General Sucré and the Spanish viceroy La Serna in 1824, which resulted in the defeat of the latter and the independence of Peru. The city of Ayacucho, capital of the department of that name and of the province of Guamanga, is situated on an elevated plateau, 8911 ft. above sea-level, between the western and central Cordilleras, and on the main road between Lima and Cuzco, 394 m. from the former by way of Jauja. Pop. (1896) 20,000. It has an agreeable, temperate climate, is regularly built, and has considerable commercial importance. It is the seat of a bishopric and of a superior court of justice. It is distinguished for the number of its churches and conventual establishments, although the latter have been closed. The city was founded by Pizarro in 1539 and was known as Guamanga down to 1825. It has been the scene of many notable events in the history of Peru.
The department of Ayacucho extends across the great plateau of central Peru, between the departments of Huancavelica and Apurimac, with Cuzco on the E. and Ica on the W. Area, 18,185 sq. m.; pop. (1896) 302,469. It is divided into six provinces, and covers a broken, mountainous region, partially barren in its higher elevations but traversed by deep, warm, fertile valleys. It formed a part of the original home of the Incas and once sustained a large population. It produces Indian corn and other cereals and potatoes in the colder regions, and tropical fruits, sweet potatoes and mandioca (Jatropha manihot, L.) in the low tropical valleys. It is also an important mining region, having a large number of silver mines in operation. Its name was changed from Guamanga to Ayacucho by a decree of 1825.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)