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Iquitos, chef-lieu of the Loreto department, founded in 1757 with the name of San Pablo de los Napeanos, was the first Amazon fluvial harbor.

The origin of Iquitos goes to 1740, when the Jesuit Jose Bahamonde founded the villages of Santa Barbara de Nanay and Santa Maria de Iquitos on the Mazan River.

After, inhabitants were organized in groups to go to Santa Clotilde, on the Nanay River, where they founded Santa Barbara. Later, they decided to move to the large plane on the Amazon bank, between the Nanay and Itaya rivers.

Many nomad and semi-nomad tribes lived in the Loreto department, crossed by stormy rivers and, in the middle of exuberant vegetation.

These people, with different languages and cultures, lived of forest fruits, hunting and fishing. Many tribes live until now on he Amazon and its tributaries. Missionaries were the first to get deeper into the forest. They founded villages, which allow forest tribes to adapt to an occidental way on living. With the expulsion of Jesuits in 1769, a change of their lifestyle occurred.

After the secession of Spain, the commerce between Peru and Brazil increased. Iquitos developed in the 1880's, thanks to the rubber "boom". Today, we can see this testimony in several remaining buildings. It's in 1936 that began the oil exploitation.

Today we can find important projects for the exploitation of forest and oil resources.