Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central coastal part of the country, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima Metropolitan Area. With a population of more than 9 million, Lima is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru and the third-largest city in the Americas (as defined by "city proper"), behind São Paulo and Mexico City.
Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on 18 January 1535 as Ciudad de los Reyes in the agricultural region known by native Peruvians as Limaq, a name that it had acquired over time. It became the capital and most important city in the Viceroyalty of Peru. Following the Peruvian War of Independence, it became the capital of the Republic of Peru (República del Perú). Around one-third of the national population lives in the metropolitan area.
Lima is home to one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the New World. The National University of San Marcos, founded on 12 May 1551, during the Spanish colonial regime, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the Americas.
Nowadays the city is considered as the political, cultural, financial and commercial center of the country. Internationally, it is one of the thirty most populated urban agglomerations in the world. Due to its geostrategic importance, it has been defined as a "beta" city.
Jurisdictionally, the metropolis extends mainly within the province of Lima and in a smaller portion, to the west, within the constitutional province of Callao, where the seaport and the Jorge Chávez airport are located. Both provinces have regional autonomy since 2002.
In October 2013, Lima was chosen to host the 2019 Pan American Games, these games will be held at venues in and around Lima, and will be the largest sporting event ever hosted by the country. It also hosted the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2014 and the Miss Universe 1982 contest.