The current port city of Callao was born urbanistically at the end of the 18th century, after the great earthquake and tsunami of 1746, subsequently building the largest urban landmark of the port: the Real Felipe Fortress, a military construction on which the city will grow. The Constitution jirón has traces of colonial origin, as evidenced by Ignacio de Roo's plan from the late 18th century. This street was originally called “Calle de la Derecha”, so called because of its somewhat more regular and straight configuration than its parallel ones such as Independencia, La Mar, La Libertad, it consisted of around 11 streets and connected the Real Felipe Fortress with the old fort of San Miguel or also called Castillo del Sol, a type of fort built as a strategic point in case of eventual combat.
It is presumed that the name change occurred in the context of the National Convention of 1855, with Ramón Castilla being president of the Constituent Assembly, who promulgated a new Constitution in 1856, replacing that of 1839. This Constitution was more liberal than the previous one. It was the cause of the uprising and confrontation between liberal and conservative leaders, the latter represented by Mariano Ignacio de Vivanco. With Right Street being parallel to the sea, this was part of the scene in which the fiercest fights took place between both leaders and in allusion to the triumph of the government of the Convention represented in the promulgation of its constitution of 1856, it is changed the name of the street from “Derecha” to “Constitución”, probably encouraged by José Gálvez Egúsquiza, future hero of the Combate Dos de Mayo. It was Gálvez, who in 1857 urged the government of Castile to grant Callao the title of “Constitutional Province of Callao”, due to his intervention and tireless support for the government.
En el plano topográfico de L. Mariani levantado en 1855 y corregido por Mariano Paz Soldán en 1862 el trazo de la calle Constitución confluye con la calle denominada Alameda (de la 8 a la 11), la misma que desembocaba en la antigua Plaza de Acho del Callao, hoy Plaza Garibaldi. De sus casi 11 calles, las más importantes son las 3 primeras, debido a la calidad arquitectónica de sus edificaciones. La importancia de estas calles se expresa en la calidad singular de su arquitectura, en la que destaca la cuadra 3, una de las que conservaba casi todas sus edificaciones tradicionales, de importante factura, destacando su balconería y grandes puertas, razón por la que se le declaró Ambiente Urbano Monumental, mediante Resolución Suprema N° 2900-72-ED del 28 de diciembre de 1972.
ELVIRA MILAGROS VALENZUELA SALDAÑA
Historiadora de la Dirección de Patrimonio Histórico Inmueble
Ministerio de Cultura del Perú