Nazca (sometimes spelled Nasca) is a city and a system of valleys on the southern coast of Peru, and the name of the region's largest existing town in the Nazca Province. It is also the name applied to the Nazca culture that flourished in the area between 300 BC and AD 800. They were responsible for the Nazca Lines and the ceremonial city of Cahuachi; they also constructed an impressive system of underground aqueducts named Puquios, that still function today.
The city of Nazca is capital of the Nazca Province of the Ica region.
On 12 November 1996 at 11:59 a.m. local time (16:59 GMT time) a heavy earthquake of 6.4 (the center of the earthquake was 7.7 in the sea) destroyed the city of Nasca and its surroundings almost completely. Because it occurred during the day there were only 17 fatalities, but 1,500 people were injured and around 100,000 left homeless. Almost all old houses in bricks were destroyed, but within 12 years Nasca has been completely rebuilt in colored houses with columns, now often multi-stored houses, with a small boulevard in the center.
Since 1997, Nazca has been the location of a major Canadian gold mining operation. The people who were living on the land for the previous 2000 years did not have title to the land, so they were displaced without legal problems. Since then, there have been some attempts to legalize poor citizens' ownership of their land and their fixed property, in response to Hernando de Soto's research on the poor.[original research]