Founded by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535 and originally named as Ciudad de los Reyes or “City of Kings”, the city of Lima enjoyed great prestige and influence as the capital of Spains South American empire. Peru broke away from the Spanish empire and declared independence in 1821.  The Spanish influence is overwhelmingly apparent in the old colonial buildings that still dot the Plaza de Armas, designed by Pizarro.