Lima is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Peru . It is the country's cultural, economic and industrial center and transportation hub. The city is located between the Chillon, Rimac and Lorraine rivers. With a population of approximately 9 million, Lima is the fifth largest city in Latin America , after Mexico City , Sao Paulo , Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro . It is on its way to be a global city .Lima founded the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pesaro on January 18, 1535, and called it the City of Kings ( in Spanish : La Ciudad de los Reyes ). Then it became the capital and most important city of the Spanish crown in Peru. After the Peru Independence War , Lima became the capital of the Republic of Peru. For three centuries Lima remained the most important urban congregation on the continent of South America . 8,380,000 people live in Lima and its environs (according to the 2007 census), that is, one third of the country's population and the city's industrial production accounts for about two-thirds of the country's industrial total.