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Chimu (chēmo͞oˈ), 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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
The Chimu civilization was specifically known for building Chan Chan, the largest city in pre-Columbian South America.
Chanchan, Metropoli Chimu. Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 1980.
The Huanchaquito-Las Llamas burial site is less than half a mile from the Chimu's capital Chan Chan, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The "capital city" of the pre-Inca Chimu civilization culture known as Chan Chan is a World Heritage site and the largest of its kind in the Americas.
The corridor where they were found, buried in earth, was only discovered in June in the Utzh An or Great Chimu palace.
Archaeologists have recently uncovered the remains at a site which dates back to the Chimu empire of Peru.
Experts estimate it dates back 550 years to the Chimu empire, the second largest pre-Columbian society after the Incas.
They found that more than 140 children were ritually killed in a single event some 550 years ago during the ancient Chimu civilization, according to a National Geographic report on the discovery.