Deeper Into Jeopardy! XXXV: South America – Final Jeopardy!

Jeopardy! category: SOUTH AMERICA (4-3-2008)

FJ! Clue: The name of this capital city is a corruption of Rimac, the river on which it lies

Correct response

The gist: The bean got named later.Lima, Peru – once again – was founded on the site of an indigenous settlement within the Inca Empire by a Spanish conquistador. After Francisco Pizarro defeated the Incan Emperor Atahualpa in 1532, he was given the governorship of the new Spanish territory by Charles I, and he chose to establish his seat of power in Rímac river valley. It became the capital of Viceroyalty of Peru and a major port of trade, being Spain’s largest city on the Eastern side of the Pacific and Spain’s major link to the Pacific trading network, including lucrative connections to the Far East and Southeast Asia. During the Peruvian War of Independence, Lima and its elite citizens were generally opposed to Republicanism, and the city became something of a monarchist stronghold. However, the Viceroy evacuated the city in 1821, facing overwhelming pro-independence forces, and José de San Martín, the first Protector of Peru (the office that would later become the President of Peru), was invited into the city to sign a Declaration of Independence. Lima became the capital of the newly-declared Republic of Peru. Cut off from Spanish largesse, the city’s economy halted until the 1850s, when it was revitalized by extensive guano exports. During the latter half of the 19th century, the city experienced a large influx of Asian immigrants, mostly from China, Japan, and Korea, who have historically been targets of prejudice and, at times, violence. The city has also suffered through more than its fair share of earthquakes, sitting as it does on the seismically and volcanically active Ring of Fire, including major shake-ups in 1687, 1746, and 1940, the latter of which destroyed most of the city and prompted a major rebuilding program using more modern construction techniques and urban planning.

Lima today is a major Pacific city, with almost 8.5 million people living in its metro area, representing almost a third of Peru’s total population. The majority of its population are mestizos, people of mixed European and indigenous American descent, but the city has a long immigrant tradition including significant populations of non-Spanish European, Jewish, and Asian citizens. There is also a large Afro-Peruvian population, mostly descended from slaves brought to Peru by the Spanish as early as the 1520s. The city is Peru’s main economic, manufacturing, and industrial centre, with a large number of factories and a huge workforce present in a relatively small area, and its seaport is a global centre for shipping and fishing. Thanks to its central role in the Spanish American colonial world, the city retains much colonial architecture, and the Historic Centre, like that of so many South American cities, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is being preserved. Lima’s National University of San Marcos, founded in 1551, is one of the New World’s oldest establishments of higher learning.

The beans are so-called because the crop originates in the Central America and the Andes, and early shipments to English-speaking parts of the world came through Lima – and had the port’s name prominently stamped somewhere on the crate.


A satellite view of Lima, with both the Andes and the Pacific in frame

The clue: A South American capital that sort of sounds like Rimac. Pretty simple, and that’s all there is to it. Even if you couldn’t name the capital of Peru off the top of your head, you might be able to suss it out by repeating “Rimac” to yourself enough times.

In Jeopardy!: Something about these South American capitals… a lot of them have unsearchable names as far as the J!Archive is concerned. “Lima” returns almost 300 clues, which is just too many. “Lima” and “Peru” returns a more manageable 48. Most of them, of course, are either “Lima is the capital of what” or “what is the capital of Peru.” Some of the more interesting clues include 12 about Pizarro, four about the Inca, and, of course, five about the bean and its circa-Peruvian origins. There’s one other clue, surprisingly just for $400, that repeats this clue’s fact about the name deriving from “Rimac” – it’s rare to see a Final Jeopardy! and a category opener so similar. Finally, the other FJ! clue about Lima similarly talks about the origin of its name, but says it’s from the Quechua, the language of the Inca, for “talker,” as they referred to the river. That one also mentions Pizarro, by the way.

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