Yungay is located in the Callejón de Huaylas on Río Santa at an elevation of 2,500 m, 450 km north of Lima, the country's capital. East of the small town are the mountain ridges of snow-covered Cordillera Blanca, with Huascarán, Peru's highest mountain, no more than 15 km east of Yungay.
Yungay is the capital of Yungay Province, as well as the main town in the Yungay District. Yungay Province has a population of 60,000 (2000 estimate). The Province of Yungay occupies part of the Callejón de Huaylas, the Conchucos Valley (Yanama), the coast of Ancash (Quillo) and the Huascarán National Park.
The "Restoration" army, a Chilean-Peruvian army during the War of the Confederation, defeated the army of the Peru-Bolivian Confederation during the Battle of Yungay on January 20, 1839, marking the dissolution of the short-lived confederacy.
A remarkable event of the history of Peru happened in Yungay, where in the Guitarrero Cave US archeologist Thomas F. Lynch (Cornell University, USA, 1969) discovered very old cultural vestiges from circa 10,000 BCE, making this place "one of the great testimonies of the origin of agriculture in América".
On May 31, 1970 a landslide caused by the 1970 Ancash earthquake buried the whole town, killing 25,000 persons. Only 92 people survived, most of whom were in the cemetery and stadium at the time of the earthquake, as these zones were the highest in town.
The Peruvian government has forbidden excavation in the area where the old town of Yungay is buried, declaring it a national cemetery.
- Guitarrero caves near Yungay (Peru). First agriculture evidence of Peru 10,000 years ago (maps and fotos)
Earthquake of 31 May 1970
- (Spanish) Earthquake 31 May 1970 (chimboteonline)
- (Spanish) Earthquake 31 May 1970 (yungayperu.com, with details and fotos of the catastrophe)