A little known immigration destination for the Irish was to Peru. One important aspect of this migration was many of them would eventually immigrate again, only this time to San Francisco. Most of the Irish were Roman Catholics, although a minority of Protestants also immigrated.
Irish settled in four main areas: Arequipa (Santa Marta and El Sagrario parishes), Cajamarca (San Nicolas Parish), Callao (Santa Rosa Parish), and Lima (El Sagrario Parish). A very important Irish center was in Callao, just a few miles from Lima. As a major port, Callao played an important role in the development, economy and defense of Peru. In 1851, the first railroad in South America was opened between Callao and Lima. Aside from the bustling industry, the Irish were drawn to Callao to mine guano (bat droppings). It was through these industries the Callao Irish would travel north to San Francisco, and south to the port of Valparaiso, Chile, forming a natural migration pattern between the three ports.
Another important Irish center was in the interior city of Arequipa. This is often called the “White City” because of its unique volcanic rock. It is situated in the midst of the Andes Mountains in southern Peru.
Fortunately, many record for Peru can be found on microfilm at the Family History Library: www.familysearch.org In the microfilm the Irish can be found in general records such as civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths; military records, church registers and censuses.
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