Chimu chēmo͞o´ [key]
, ancient civilization on the desert coast of N Peru. It is believed to have begun c.1200. The Moche
, an earlier civilization, was previously known as early Chimu or proto-Chimu. After the decline of the Moche (c.800), there was a long transition period about which relatively little is known except that it was probably influenced by Tiahuanaco
. The Chimu were urban dwellers and apparently had a powerful military and a complex, well-organized social system. They built many well-planned cities; the largest and most impressive was their capital, Chan Chan
. The Chimu exerted considerable influence on the Cuismancu empire, centered at Chancay
. The last phases of Chimu civilization were contemporaneous with the rise of the Inca
empire, by which it was absorbed c.1460.
See J. A. Mason, Ancient Civilizations of Peru (1957, rev. ed. 1988); V. W. Wolfgang, The Desert Kingdoms of Peru (1965); E. P. Lanning, Peru before the Incas (1967).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: South American Indigenous Peoples