THE NAME PISCO COMES FROM THE REGION ICA IN PERU
There are different stories that tell how exactly the name "Pisco" came about. Common to all of them is the geographical origin around the Peruvian port city of Pisco in the Ica Valley.
Whether the name derives from old clay vessels, which were produced in the area very early on and were called "Piskos", or from the designation of origin of traded goods "de Pisco" - originating in the Peruvian port city of Pisco - is controversial among historians.
In any case, "Pisco" in Quechua (the language of the indigenous people of Peru) means "bird". The region around the port city of Pisco is populated by large flocks of birds because of its high fish abundance, so these flying "piscos" probably gave the city of Pisco its name.
Further informaion about the origin of the name Pisco can be found on Wikipedia or very detailed in the article about the origin of Pisco on the blog of "Cocktailwelten".
PISCO HAS BEEN PRODUCED FOR CENTURIES
The historian Lorenzo Huerto dates the first production of distilled grape must (Pisco) in the region around the port city of Pisco in the Ica Valley to the late 16th century. The first concrete records of a distilled spirit in the city of Pisco date back to Sir Francis Drake in 1580.
This makes Pisco one of the most traditional spirits on the South American continent.
PERU AND CHILE ARGUE ABOUT THE "NATIONALITY" OF PISCO
The city of Pisco belonged to the Spanish Empire at the time of the first production of Pisco, and was administered in the viceroyalty of Peru.
After independence from the Spanish crown (Chile in 1818 and Peru in 1821), the region became embroiled in disputes over the borders of the newly independent states. In the course of the wars the Chileans also conquered the city of Pisco.
Until today both Chile and Peru claim the origin of the distillate Pisco for themselves.