Around one-third of the national population lives in the metropolitan area.
Lima is home to one of the oldest higher-learning institutions in the New World.
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At the start of this period, the urban area was confined to a triangular area bounded by the city's historic centre, Callao and Chorrillos; in the following decades settlements spread to the north, beyond the Rímac River, to the east, along the Central Highway and to the south. It is located on mostly flat terrain in the Peruvian coastal plain, within the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers.
The city slopes gently from the shores of the Pacific Ocean into valleys and mountain slopes located as high as 1,550 meters (5,090 ft) above sea level.
With a population of more than 10 million, Lima is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru and the third-largest city in the Americas (as defined by "city proper"), behind São Paulo and Mexico City.
Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, as Ciudad de los Reyes.
During this period the urban layout was modified by the construction of broad avenues that crisscrossed the city and connected it with neighboring towns.