Ayacucho (äyäkōˈchō) [key], city (1993 pop. 105,918), capital of Ayacucho dept., S central Peru. It is a commercial center in a rich mining region that produces gold, silver, and nickel. Agriculture and light industry are the mainstays of the economy. On the plains of Ayacucho, near the city, Antonio José de Sucre crushingly defeated (Dec. 9, 1824) Spanish forces under Viceroy José de la Serna. The battle not only secured Peruvian independence from Spain but also marked the triumph of the revolutionary forces in all Spanish South America. Known as Huamanga since the 16th cent., the city was renamed after the battle. It has a university and many fine examples of Spanish colonial architecture. In the 1980s and early 1990s it was the center of the terrorist group the Shining Path.
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