Ilo is a port city in southern Peru, with some 58,000 inhabitants. It is the largest city in the Moquegua Region and capital of the province of Ilo. Before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the area was populated by the Chiribaya civilization. The Conquistadores were given land grants by Charles V and brought olives to this area. Olive agriculture was the main crop and source of work until the early 20th century.
A small settlement, Pacocha, was established by the seashore where the Rio Osmore flows into the Pacific ocean. High tides in the late 19th century flooded Pacocha and the population moved to Ilo's actual location, adopting its current name. Until the beginning of the 20th century most of the people lived along the banks of the Rio Osmore, whose waters flow sporadically during the summer months.
Ilo was a port of call to the ships travelling from the east to the west coast of the United States via Tierra del Fuego. After the building of a pier in the 19th century, international trade flourished in the region. Italians, Chinese, Japanese and Germans settled in Ilo during this time. However, the building of the Transcontinental Rail Road and the Panama Canal caused commercial activities to decrease and mostly steamships transporting goods between Peruvian and Chilean ports remained.