The Spanish Empire
conquered the region in the 16th century and established a viceroyalty
that encompassed most of its South American territories, with its capital in Lima
. Higher education started in the Americas with the official establishment of the National University of San Marcos
in Lima in 1551. Peru formally proclaimed independence in 1821, and following the foreign military campaigns of José de San Martín
and Simón Bolívar
, and the decisive battle of Ayacucho
, Peru completed its independence in 1824
. In the ensuing years, the country enjoyed relative economic and political stability
, which ended shortly before the War of the Pacific
(1879–1884) with Chile. Throughout the 20th century, Peru endured armed territorial disputes, coups, social unrest, and internal conflicts
, as well as periods of stability and economic upswing. In the 1990s
, the country implemented a neoliberal economic model
which is still in use to this day. Since then, Peru has experienced a constant economic growth and a decrease in inequality
An alternative history is provided by the contemporary writer Inca Garcilaso de la Vega
, son of an Inca princess and a conquistador
. He said the name Birú
was that of a common Amerindian who was happened upon by the crew of a ship on an exploratory mission for governor Pedro Arias de Ávila
, and went on to relate more instances of misunderstandings due to the lack of a common language.
Prehistory and Pre-Columbian Peru
The earliest evidences of human presence in Peruvian territory have been dated to approximately 12,500 BCE
in the Huaca Prieta
Andean societies were based on agriculture, using techniques such as irrigation
husbandry and fishing were also important. Organization relied on reciprocity
because these societies had no notion of market or money.
The oldest known complex society in Peru, the Caral/Norte Chico civilization
, flourished along the coast of the Pacific Ocean between 3,000 and 1,800 BCE.
These early developments were followed by archaeological cultures that developed mostly around the coastal and Andean regions throughout Peru. The Cupisnique
culture which flourished from around 1000 to 200 BCE
along what is now Peru's Pacific Coast was an example of early pre-Inca culture.
earrings depicting warriors, made of turquoise and gold (1–800 CE)
The Chavín culture
that developed from 1500 to 300 BCE was probably more of a religious than a political phenomenon, with their religious centre in Chavín de Huantar
After the decline of the Chavin culture around the beginning of the 1st century CE, a series of localized and specialized cultures rose and fell, both on the coast and in the highlands, during the next thousand years. On the coast, these included the civilizations of the Paracas
, and the more outstanding Chimu
The Moche, who reached their apogee in the first millennium CE, were renowned for their irrigation system which fertilized their arid terrain, their sophisticated ceramic pottery, their lofty buildings, and clever metalwork.
The Chimu were the great city builders of pre-Inca civilization; as loose confederation of walled cities scattered along the coast of northern Peru, the Chimu flourished from about 1140 to 1450.
Their capital was at Chan Chan
outside of modern-day Trujillo
In the highlands, both the Tiahuanaco
culture, near Lake Titicaca
in both Peru and Bolivia
and the Wari culture, near the present-day city of Ayacucho
, developed large urban settlements and wide-ranging state systems between 500 and 1000 CE.
The citadel of Machu Picchu
, an iconic symbol of pre-Columbian Peru
In the 15th century, the Incas
emerged as a powerful state which, in the span of a century, formed the largest empire
in the pre-Columbian Americas
with their capital in Cusco
The Incas of Cusco originally represented one of the small and relatively minor ethnic groups, the Quechuas
. Gradually, as early as the thirteenth century, they began to expand and incorporate their neighbors. Inca expansion was slow until about the middle of the fifteenth century, when the pace of conquest began to accelerate, particularly under the rule of the emperor Pachacuti
Under his rule and that of his son, Topa Inca Yupanqui
, the Incas came to control most of the Andean region, with a population of 9 to 16 million inhabitants under their rule. Pachacuti also promulgated a comprehensive code of laws to govern his far-flung empire, while consolidating his absolute temporal and spiritual authority as the God of the Sun who ruled from a magnificently rebuilt Cusco.
From 1438 to 1533, the Incas used a variety of methods, from conquest to peaceful assimilation, to incorporate a large portion of western South America, centered on the Andean
mountain ranges, from southern Colombia
to northern Chile
, between the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Amazon rainforest in the east. The official language of the empire was Quechua
although hundreds of local languages and dialects were spoken. The Inca referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu
which can be translated as "The Four Regions" or "The Four United Provinces." Many local forms of worship persisted in the empire, most of them concerning local sacred Huacas
, but the Inca leadership encouraged the worship of Inti
, the sun god and imposed its sovereignty above other cults such as that of Pachamama
The Incas considered their King, the Sapa Inca
, to be the "child of the sun
Conquest and colonial period
Atahualpa (also Atahuallpa), the last Sapa Inca
, became emperor when he defeated and executed his older half-brother Huáscar
in a civil war sparked by the death of their father, Inca Huayna Capac. In December 1532, a party of conquistadors
(supported by the Chankas
as Indian auxiliaries
) led by Francisco Pizarro
defeated and captured the Inca Emperor Atahualpa in the Battle of Cajamarca
. The Spanish conquest of Peru was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of the Americas
. After years of preliminary exploration and military conflicts, it was the first step in a long campaign that took decades of fighting but ended in Spanish victory and colonization of the region known as the Viceroyalty of Peru
with its capital at Lima
, which was then known as "La Ciudad de los Reyes" (The City of Kings). The conquest of Peru led to spin-off campaigns throughout the viceroyalty as well as expeditions towards the Amazon Basin as in the case of Spanish efforts to quell Amerindian resistance. The last Inca resistance was suppressed when the Spaniards annihilated the Neo-Inca State
, capital of the Inca Empire
The indigenous population dramatically collapsed overwhelmingly due to epidemic diseases introduced by the Spanish as well as exploitation and socioeconomic change.
Viceroy Francisco de Toledo
reorganized the country in the 1570s with gold and silver mining as its main economic activity and Amerindian forced labor
as its primary workforce.
With the discovery of the great silver and gold lodes at Potosí
(present-day Bolivia) and Huancavelica
, the viceroyalty flourished as an important provider of mineral resources. Peruvian bullion
provided revenue for the Spanish Crown and fueled a complex trade network that extended as far as Europe and the Philippines
The commercial and population exchanges between Latin America
and Asia undergone via the Manila Galleons
transiting through Acapulco, had Callao
at Peru as the furthest end point of the trade route in the Americas.
In relation to this, Don Sebastian Hurtado de Corcuera
, governor of Panama
was also responsible for settling Zamboanga City
in the Philippines, which now speak a Spanish Creole
by employing Peruvian soldiers and colonists.
Because of lack of available work force, African slaves
were added to the labor population. The expansion of a colonial administrative apparatus and bureaucracy paralleled the economic reorganization. With the conquest started the spread of Christianity
in South America; most people were forcefully converted to Catholicism
, with Spainish clerics believing like Puritan divines of English colonies later that the Native Peoples "had been corrupted by the Devil, who was working "through them to frustrate" their foundations.
It only took a generation to convert the population. They built churches in every city and replaced some of the Inca temples with churches, such as the Coricancha
in the city of Cusco. The church employed the Inquisition
, making use of torture to ensure that newly converted Catholics did not stray to other religions or beliefs, and monastery schools, educating girls, especially of the Inca nobility and upper class, "until they were old enough either to profess [to become a nun] or to leave the monastery and assume the role ('estado') in the Christian society that their fathers planned to erect" in Peru.
Peruvian Catholicism follows the syncretism
found in many Latin American countries, in which religious native rituals have been integrated with Christian celebrations.
In this endeavor, the church came to play an important role in the acculturation
of the natives, drawing them into the cultural orbit of the Spanish settlers.
By the 18th century, declining silver production and economic diversification greatly diminished royal income.
In response, the Crown enacted the Bourbon Reforms
, a series of edicts
that increased taxes and partitioned the Viceroyalty
The new laws provoked Túpac Amaru II's rebellion
and other revolts, all of which were suppressed.
As a result of these and other changes, the Spaniards and their creole
successors came to monopolize control over the land, seizing many of the best lands abandoned by the massive native depopulation. However, the Spanish did not resist the Portuguese expansion of Brazil
across the meridian. The Treaty of Tordesillas
was rendered meaningless between 1580 and 1640 while Spain controlled Portugal
. The need to ease communication and trade with Spain led to the split of the viceroyalty and the creation of new viceroyalties of New Granada
and Rio de la Plata
at the expense of the territories that formed the Viceroyalty of Peru
; this reduced the power, prominence and importance of Lima as the viceroyal capital and shifted the lucrative Andean
trade to Buenos Aires
, while the fall of the mining and textile production accelerated the progressive decay of the Viceroyalty of Peru.
Eventually, the viceroyalty would dissolve, as with much of the Spanish empire, when challenged by national independence movements at the beginning of the nineteenth century. These movements led to the formation of the majority of modern-day countries of South America in the territories that at one point or another had constituted the Viceroyalty of Peru.
The conquest and colony brought a mix of cultures and ethnicities that did not exist before the Spanish conquered the Peruvian territory. Even though many of the Inca traditions were lost or diluted, new customs, traditions and knowledge were added, creating a rich mixed Peruvian culture.
Two of the most important indigenous rebellions against the Spanish were that of Juan Santos Atahualpa
in 1742, and Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II
in 1780 around the highlands near Cuzco.
The economic crises, the loss of power of Spain in Europe, the war of independence in North America
, and native uprisings all contributed to a favorable climate to the development of emancipation ideas among the Criollo
population in South America. However, the Criollo oligarchy in Peru enjoyed privileges and remained loyal to the Spanish Crown. The liberation movement started in Argentina
where autonomous juntas were created as a result of the loss of authority of the Spanish government over its colonies.
After fighting for the independence of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, José de San Martín
created the Army of the Andes
and crossed the Andes in 21 days
. Once in Chile, he joined forces with Chilean army General Bernardo O'Higgins
and liberated the country in the battles of Chacabuco
On 7 September 1820, a fleet of eight warships arrived in the port of Paracas
under the command of General José de San Martin and Thomas Cochrane
, who was serving in the Chilean Navy. Immediately on 26 October, they took control of the town of Pisco
. San Martin settled in Huacho
on 12 November, where he established his headquarters while Cochrane sailed north and blockaded the port of Callao
. At the same time in the north, Guayaquil
was occupied by rebel forces under the command of Gregorio Escobedo. Because Peru was the stronghold of the Spanish government in South America, San Martin's strategy to liberate Peru was to use diplomacy. He sent representatives to Lima urging the Viceroy
that Peru be granted independence, however all negotiations proved unsuccessful.
San Martín proclaiming the independence of Peru. Painting by Juan Lepiani
The Viceroy of Peru, Joaquín de la Pazuela
named José de la Serna
commander-in-chief of the loyalist army to protect Lima from the threatened invasion by San Martin. On 29 January, de la Serna organized a coup
against de la Pazuela, which was recognized by Spain and he was named Viceroy of Peru. This internal power struggle contributed to the success of the liberating army. In order to avoid a military confrontation, San Martin met the newly appointed viceroy, José de la Serna, and proposed to create a constitutional monarchy
, a proposal that was turned down. De la Serna abandoned the city, and on 12 July 1821 San Martin occupied Lima and declared Peruvian independence on 28 July 1821. He created the first Peruvian flag. Upper Peru
(Bolivia) remained as a Spanish stronghold until the army of Simón Bolívar
liberated it three years later. José de San Martin was declared Protector of Peru. Peruvian national identity was forged during this period, as Bolivarian projects for a Latin American Confederation
floundered and a union with Bolivia
Simon Bolivar launched his campaign from the north, liberating the Viceroyalty of New Granada
in the Battles of Carabobo
in 1821 and Pichincha
a year later. In July 1822, Bolivar and San Martin gathered in the Guayaquil Conference
. Bolivar was left in charge of fully liberating Peru while San Martin retired from politics after the first parliament was assembled. The newly founded Peruvian Congress
named Bolivar dictator of Peru, giving him the power to organize the military.
With the help of Antonio José de Sucre
, they defeated the larger Spanish army in the Battle of Junín
on 6 August 1824 and the decisive Battle of Ayacucho
on 9 December of the same year, consolidating the independence of Peru and Alto Peru. Alto Peru was later established as Bolivia
. During the early years of the Republic, endemic struggles for power between military leaders caused political instability.
From the 1840s to the 1860s, Peru enjoyed a period of stability
under the presidency of Ramón Castilla
, through increased state revenues from guano
However, by the 1870s, these resources had been depleted, the country was heavily indebted, and political in-fighting was again on the rise.
Peru embarked on a railroad-building program that helped but also bankrupted the country.
In 1879, Peru entered the War of the Pacific
which lasted until 1884. Bolivia invoked its alliance with Peru against Chile. The Peruvian Government
tried to mediate the dispute by sending a diplomatic team to negotiate with the Chilean government, but the committee concluded that war was inevitable. Chile declared war on 5 April 1879. Almost five years of war ended with the loss of the department of Tarapacá
and the provinces of Tacna
, in the Atacama region. Two outstanding military leaders throughout the war were Francisco Bolognesi
and Miguel Grau
. Originally Chile committed to a referendum for the cities of Arica and Tacna to be held years later, in order to self determine their national affiliation. However, Chile refused to apply the Treaty, and neither of the countries could determine the statutory framework. After the War of the Pacific, an extraordinary effort of rebuilding began. The government started to initiate a number of social and economic reforms in order to recover from the damage of the war. Political stability was achieved only in the early 1900s.
Later, in 1941, Peru and Ecuador
fought the Ecuadorian–Peruvian War
, after which the Rio Protocol
sought to formalize the boundary between those two countries. In a military coup on 29 October 1948, General Manuel A. Odría
became president. Odría's presidency was known as the Ochenio
. He came down hard on APRA, momentarily pleasing the oligarchy and all others on the right, but followed a populist
course that won him great favor with the poor and lower classes. A thriving economy allowed him to indulge in expensive but crowd-pleasing social policies. At the same time, however, civil rights
were severely restricted and corruption
was rampant throughout his regime. Odría was succeeded by Manuel Prado Ugarteche
. However, widespread allegations of fraud prompted the Peruvian military to depose Prado and install a military junta, led by Ricardo Pérez Godoy
. Godoy ran a short transitional government and held new elections in 1963, which were won by Fernando Belaúnde Terry
who assumed presidency until 1968. Belaúnde was recognized for his commitment to the democratic
process. In 1968, the Armed Forces, led by General Juan Velasco Alvarado
, staged a coup against Belaúnde. Alvarado's regime undertook radical reforms aimed at fostering development, but failed to gain widespread support. In 1975, General Francisco Morales-Bermúdez
forcefully replaced Velasco, paralyzed reforms, and oversaw the reestablishment of democracy.
Peru engaged in a brief successful conflict with Ecuador in the Paquisha War
as a result of territorial dispute between the two countries. After the country experienced chronic inflation
, the Peruvian currency, the sol
, was replaced by the Inti
in mid-1985, which itself was replaced by the nuevo sol
in July 1991, at which time the new sol had a cumulative value of one billion old soles. The per capita annual income of Peruvians fell to $720 (below the level of 1960) and Peru's GDP
dropped 20% at which national reserves were a negative $900 million. The economic turbulence of the time acerbated social tensions in Peru and partly contributed to the rise of violent rebel rural insurgent movements, like Sendero Luminoso
(Shining Path) and MRTA
, which caused great havoc
throughout the country. Concerned about the economy, the increasing terrorist threat from Sendero Luminoso and MRTA, and allegations of official corruption, Alberto Fujimori
assumed presidency in 1990. Fujimori implemented drastic measures that caused inflation to drop from 7,650% in 1990 to 139% in 1991.
Faced with opposition to his reform efforts, Fujimori dissolved Congress in the auto-golpe
("self-coup") of 5 April 1992. He then revised the constitution; called new congressional elections; and implemented substantial economic reform, including privatization of numerous state-owned companies, creation of an investment-friendly climate, and sound management of the economy. Fujimori's administration was dogged by insurgent
groups, most notably the Sendero Luminoso, who carried out terrorist campaigns across the country throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Fujimori cracked down on the insurgents and was successful in largely quelling them by the late 1990s, but the fight was marred by atrocities committed by both the Peruvian security forces and the insurgents: the Barrios Altos massacre
and La Cantuta massacre
by Government paramilitary groups, and the bombings of Tarata
and Frecuencia Latina
by Sendero Luminoso. Those incidents subsequently came to symbolize the human rights
violations committed in the last years of violence.
During early 1995, once again Peru and Ecuador clashed in the Cenepa War
, but in 1998 the governments of both nations signed a peace treaty that clearly demarcated the international boundary between them. In November 2000, Fujimori resigned from office and went into a self-imposed exile
, avoiding prosecution for human rights violations and corruption charges by the new Peruvian authorities.
21st century, and political turmoil
Since the end of the Fujimori regime, Peru has tried to fight corruption while sustaining economic growth.
In spite of human rights progress since the time of insurgency, many problems are still visible and show the continued marginalization of those who suffered through the violence of the Peruvian conflict.
A caretaker government presided over by Valentín Paniagua
took on the responsibility of conducting new presidential and congressional elections. Afterwards Alejandro Toledo
became president in 2001 to 2006.
On 28 July 2006, former president Alan García
became President of Peru after winning the 2006 elections
. In May 2008, Peru became a member of the Union of South American Nations
. In April 2009, former president Alberto Fujimori
was convicted of human rights violations and sentenced
to 25 years in prison for his role in killings and kidnappings by the Grupo Colinadeath squad
during his government's battle against leftist guerrillas in the 1990s.
On 5 June 2011, Ollanta Humala
was elected president. During his presidency, Prime Minister Ana Jara
and her cabinet were successfully censured
, which was the first time in 50 years that a cabinet had been forced to resign from the Peruvian legislature.
In 2016, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
was elected, though his government was short lived as he resigned
in 2018 amid various controversies surrounding his administration. Vice president Martín Vizcarra
then assumed office in March 2018 with generally favorable approval ratings.
Alan García was involved in the Operation Car Wash
scandal and as police tried to arrest him, he committed suicide on 17 April 2019. Later that year, in July, police arrested Alejandro Toledo in California. Amid the crisis, on 30 September 2019, President Vizcarra dissolved the congress, and elections were held
on 26 January 2020. The first case of COVID-19
was confirmed on 6 March 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic in Peru
, most Peruvians were under a stay-at-home order
by president Martin Vizcarra
. However, an economic crisis triggered by the Pandemic led to his removal from the presidency
, seen by many as a coup by congress
, and the far-right government of Manuel Merino
, the new president, received a lot of backlash. Protests
sprang across the country, and after 5 days, Merino resigned. He was replaced by Francisco Sagasti
. Sagasti led a provisional, centrist government, and enforced many of Vizcarra's former policies. Elections
were held on 11 April 2021, and Pedro Castillo
of the Free Peru
party won the first round, followed closely by Keiko Fujimori
Government and politics
The Peruvian government is separated
into three branches:
- Legislature: the unicameral Congress of Peru, consisting of 130 members of Congress (on a basis of population), the President of Congress, and the Permanent Commission;
- Executive: the President, the Council of Ministers, which in practice controls domestic legislation and serve as a Cabinet to the President, consisting of the Prime Minister and 18 ministers of the state;
- Judiciary: the Supreme Court of Peru, also known as the Royal Audencia of Lima, composed of 18 justices including a Supreme Justice, along with 28 superior courts, 195 trial courts, and 1,838 district courts.
Regions and territories
A map of Peru's region and departments
The Governor constitutes the executive body
, proposes budgets
, and creates decrees, resolutions
, and regional programs.
The Regional Council, the region's legislative body
, debates and votes on budgets, supervises regional officials, and can vote to remove the governor, deputy governor, or any member of the council from office. The Regional Governor and the Regional Council serve a term of four years, without immediate reelection. These governments plan regional development, execute public investment projects, promote economic activities, and manage public property.
Provinces, such as the province of Lima
, are administered by a municipal council
, headed by a mayor
The goal of devolving power to regional and municipal governments was among others to improve popular participation. NGOs
played an important role in the decentralization
process and still influence local politics.
Military and law enforcement
Peru has the fourth largest military in Latin America. Peru's armed forces—the Armed Forces of Peru
—comprise the Peruvian Navy
(MGP), the Peruvian Army
(EP), and the Peruvian Air Force
(FAP), in total numbering 392,660 personnel (including 120,660 regulars and 272,000 reservists) as of 2020.
Their primary mission is to safeguard the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.
Their functions are separated by branch:
- The Peruvian Army is made up of the Chief of Staff, two Control Bodies, two Support Bodies, five Military Regions and six Command Rooms.
- The Peruvian Air Force was officially created on May 20, 1929 with the name of Peruvian Aviation Corps. Its main function is to serve as the country's air defense. It also participates in social support campaigns for hard-to-reach populations, organizes air bridges during disasters, and participates in international peace missions. Its four major air bases are located in the cities of Piura, Callao, Arequipa and Iquitos.
- The Peruvian Navy is in charge of the country's maritime, river, and lake defense. It is made up of 26,000 sailors. Personnel are divided into three levels: superior personnel, junior personnel and seafarers.
The military is governed by both the Commander in Chief
, Ministry of Defense
, and Joint Command of the Armed Forces
(CCFFAA). The CCFFAA has subordinates to the Operational Commands and Special Commands, with which it carries out the military operations that are required for the defense and the fulfillment of the tasks that the executive power provides.Conscription
was abolished in 1999 and replaced by voluntary military service
The National Police of Peru
is often classified as a part of the armed forces. Although in fact it has a different organization and a wholly civil mission, its training and activities over more than two decades as an anti-terrorist
force have produced markedly military
characteristics, giving it the appearance of a virtual fourth military service with significant land, sea and air capabilities and approximately 140,000 personnel. The Peruvian armed forces report through the Ministry of Defense, while the National Police of Peru reports through the Ministry of Interior.
Since the end of the crisis in Peru
in 2000, the federal government has significantly reduced annual spending in defense.
In the 2016—2017 budget, defense spending has constituted 1.1% of GDP ($2.3 billion), the second lowest spending relative to GDP in South America following Argentina
More recently, the Armed Forces of Peru have been used in civil defense
. In 2020, Peru used its military personnel and even reservists to enforce the strict quarantine
measures placed during the COVID-19 pandemic
Peru is located on the central western coast of South America
facing the Pacific Ocean
. It lies wholly in the Southern Hemisphere
, its northernmost extreme reaching to 1.8 minutes of latitude or about 3.3 kilometres (2.1 mi) south of the equator
, covers 1,285,216 km2
(496,225 sq mi) of western South America. It borders Ecuador
to the north, Brazil
to the east, Bolivia
to the southeast, Chile
to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The Andes
mountains run parallel to the Pacific Ocean; they define the three regions traditionally used to describe the country geographically.
(coast), to the west, is a narrow plain, largely arid except for valleys created by seasonal rivers. The sierra
(highlands) is the region of the Andes; it includes the Altiplano
plateau as well as the highest peak of the country, the 6,768 m (22,205 ft) Huascarán
The third region is the selva
(jungle), a wide expanse of flat terrain covered by the Amazon rainforest
that extends east. Almost 60 percent of the country's area is located within this region.
The country has fifty-four hydrographic basins, fifty-two of which are small coastal basins that discharge their waters into the Pacific Ocean. The other two are the Amazon basin, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean, and the endorheic
basin of Lake Titicaca
, both delimited by the Andes mountain range. In the second of these basins, the giant Amazon River begins, which, with its 6872 km, is the longest river in the world, with 75% of the Peruvian territory. Peru contains 4% of the planet's freshwater.
Most Peruvian rivers originate in the peaks of the Andes and drain into one of three basins
. Those that drain toward the Pacific Ocean are steep and short, flowing only intermittently. Tributaries of the Amazon River
have a much larger flow, and are longer and less steep once they exit the sierra
. Rivers that drain into Lake Titicaca are generally short and have a large flow.
Peru's longest rivers are the Ucayali
, the Marañón
, the Putumayo
, the Yavarí
, the Huallaga
, the Urubamba
, the Mantaro
, and the Amazon.
The combination of tropical latitude, mountain ranges, topography variations, and two ocean currents (Humboldt
and El Niño
) gives Peru a large diversity of climates. The coastal region has moderate temperatures, low precipitation, and high humidity, except for its warmer, wetter northern reaches.
In the mountain region, rain is frequent in summer, and temperature and humidity diminish with altitude up to the frozen peaks of the Andes.
The Peruvian Amazon
is characterized by heavy rainfall and high temperatures, except for its southernmost part, which has cold winters and seasonal rainfall.
Because of its varied geography and climate, Peru has a high biodiversity with 21,462 species of plants and animals reported as of 2003, 5,855 of them endemic
and is one of the megadiverse
Peru has over 1,800 species
of birds (120 endemic
), and 500 species of mammals
and over 300 species of reptiles
The hundreds of mammals include rare species like the puma
and spectacled bear
. The Birds
of Peru produce large amounts of guano
, an economically important export. The Pacific
holds large quantities of sea bass
, and shellfish
, and is home to many sharks
, sperm whales
, and whales
Peru also has an equally diverse flora
. The coastal deserts produce little more than cacti
, apart from hilly fog oases
and river valleys that contain unique plant life.
The Highlands above the tree-line known as puna
is home to bushes, cactus
, drought-resistant plants such as ichu
, and the largest species of bromeliad
– the spectacular Puya raimondii
Buildings in Lima's financial district of San Isidro
seaport, Peru's main export outlet.
The economy of Peru is the 48th largest in the world (ranked by Purchasing Power Parity
and the income level is classified as upper middle
by the World Bank.
Peru is, as of 2011, one of the world's fastest-growing economies owing to an economic boom experienced during the 2000s.
It has an above-average Human Development Index
of 0.74 which has seen steady improvement over the last 25 years.[clarify]
Historically, the country's economic performance has been tied to exports, which provide hard currency
to finance imports and external debt payments.
Although they have provided substantial revenue, self-sustained growth and a more egalitarian distribution of income
have proven elusive.
According to 2015 data, 19.3% of its total population is poor, including 9% that lives in extreme poverty.Inflation
in 2012 was the lowest in Latin America
at only 1.8%, but increased in 2013 as oil and commodity prices rose; as of 2014 it stands at 2.5%.
The unemployment rate has fallen steadily in recent years,[clarify]
and as of 2012 stands at 3.6%.
account for 53% of Peruvian gross domestic product
, followed by manufacturing
(22.3%), extractive industries
(15%), and taxes (9.7%).
Recent economic growth has been fueled by macroeconomic
stability, improved terms of trade
, and rising investment and consumption.
Trade is expected to increase further after the implementation of a free trade agreement with the United States
signed on 12 April 2006.
Peru's main exports are copper, gold, zinc, textiles, and fish meal; its major trade partners are the United States
, and Chile
Peru is a multiethnic nation
formed by successive waves of different peoples over five centuries. Amerindians
inhabited Peruvian territory for several millennia before the Spanish Conquest
in the 16th century; according to historian Noble David Cook, their population decreased from nearly 5–9 million in the 1520s to around 600,000 in 1620 mainly because of infectious diseases
The 2017 census for the first time included a question on ethnic self-identification. According to the results, 60.2% of the people identified themselves as mestizo
, 22.3% identified themselves as Quechua
, 5.9% identified themselves as white
, 3.6% identified themselves as black
, 2.4% identified themselves as Aymara
, 2.3% identified themselves as other ethnic groups, and 3.3% didn't declare their ethnicity.
Spaniards and Africans arrived in large numbers under colonial rule, mixing widely with each other and with indigenous peoples. After independence, there was gradual immigration from England
, and Italy
Peru freed its black slaves in 1854.
Chinese and Japanese arrived in the 1850s as laborers following the end of slavery, and have since become a major influence in Peruvian society, forming one of the largest populations of Asians
in Latin America.
With about 31.2 million inhabitants in 2017, Peru is the fourth most populous country in South America
The demographic growth rate of Peru declined from 2.6% to 1.6% between 1950 and 2000; with the population being expected to reach approximately 42 million in 2050.
According to the 1940 Peruvian census, Peru had a population at the time of seven million residents.
As of 2017, 79.3% lived in urban areas and 20.7% in rural areas.
Major cities include the Lima metropolitan area
(home to over 9.8 million people), Arequipa
, and Huancayo
; all reported more than 250,000 inhabitants in the 2007 census
There are 15 uncontacted
Amerindian tribes in Peru.
According to the Peruvian Constitution of 1993, Peru's official languages
and, in areas where they predominate, Quechua
and other indigenous languages. Spanish is spoken natively by 82.6% of the population, Quechua by 13.9%, and Aymara by 1.7%, while other languages are spoken by the remaining 1.8%.
is used by the government and is the mainstream language of the country, which is used by the media and in educational systems and commerce. Amerindians who live in the Andean highlands speak Quechua and Aymara and are ethnically distinct from the diverse indigenous groups who live on the eastern side of the Andes and in the tropical lowlands adjacent to the Amazon basin
Peru's distinct geographical regions are mirrored in a language divide between the coast where Spanish is more predominant over the Amerindian languages, and the more diverse traditional Andean cultures of the mountains and highlands. The indigenous populations east of the Andes speak various languages and dialects. Some of these groups still adhere to traditional indigenous languages, while others have been almost completely assimilated into the Spanish language. There has been an increasing and organized effort to teach Quechua in public schools in the areas where Quechua is spoken. In the Peruvian Amazon, numerous indigenous languages are spoken, including Asháninka
, and Aguaruna
Amerindian religious traditions continue to play a major role in the beliefs of Peruvians. Catholic festivities like Corpus Christi
, Holy Week
sometimes blend with Amerindian traditions. Amerindian festivities from pre-Columbian remain widespread; Inti Raymi
, an ancient Inca festival, is still celebrated, especially in rural communities.
The majority of towns, cities, and villages have their own official church or cathedral and patron saint
Peru's literacy rate is estimated at 92.9% as of 2007; this rate is lower in rural areas (80.3%) than in urban areas (96.3%).
Primary and secondary education are compulsory
and free in public schools.
Peru has a life expectancy
of 75.0 years (72.4 for males and 77.7 for females) according to the latest data for the year 2016 from the World Bank
Many of the Peruvian toponyms
sources. In the Andes communities of Ancash
, Quechua or Aymara names are overwhelmingly predominant. Their Spanish-based orthography, however, is in conflict with the normalized alphabets of these languages. According to Article 20 of Decreto Supremo No 004-2016-MC
(Supreme Decree) which approves the Regulations to Law 29735, published in the official newspaper El Peruano on 22 July 2016, adequate spellings of the toponyms
in the normalized alphabets of the indigenous languages must progressively be proposed with the aim of standardizing the naming used by the National Geographic Institute (Instituto Geográfico Nacional, IGN)
. The National Geographic Institute realizes the necessary changes in the official maps of Peru.
During this period, most art focused on religious subjects; the numerous churches of the era and the paintings of the Cusco School
Arts stagnated after independence until the emergence of Indigenismo
in the early 20th century.
Since the 1950s, Peruvian art has been eclectic
and shaped by both foreign and local art currents.
Peruvian art has its origin in the Andean civilizations
. These civilizations rose in the territory of modern Peru before the arrival of the Spanish
. Peruvian art incorporated European elements after the Spanish conquest and continued to evolve throughout the centuries up on to the modern day.
depicting the Decapitator, gold with turquoise and chrysocolla
inlays. Museo Oro del Peru, Lima
Peru's earliest artwork came from the Cupisnique
culture, which was concentrated on the Pacific coast, and the Chavín culture, which was largely north of Lima
between the Andean mountain ranges of the Cordillera Negra
and the Cordillera Blanca
. Decorative work from this era, approximately the 9th century BCE, was symbolic and religious in nature. The artists worked with gold, silver and ceramics
to create a variety of sculpture and relief carvings. These civilizations were also known for their architecture
and wood sculpture.
Between the 9th century BCE and the 2nd century CE, the Paracas
Cavernas and Paracas Necropolis
cultures developed on the south coast of Peru. Paracas Cavernas produced complex polychrome and monochrome ceramics with religious representations. Burials from the Paracas Necropolis also yielded complex textiles
, many produced with sophisticated geometric patterns.
Between the 9th and 13th centuries CE, the military urban Tiwanaku
empire rose by the borders of Lake Titicaca
. Centered around a city of the same name in modern-day Bolivia, the Tiwanaku introduced stone architecture and sculpture of a monumental type. These works of architecture
and art were made possible by the Tiwanaku's developing bronze
, which enabled them to make the necessary tools.
The Inca Civilization
, which united Peru under its hegemony in the centuries immediately preceding the Spanish conquest, incorporated into their own works a great part of the cultural legacy of the civilizations which preceded it. Important relics of their artwork and architecture can be seen in cities like Cusco
, architectural remains like Sacsahuamán
and Machu Picchu
and stone pavements that united Cusco with the rest of the Inca Empire.
began to define themselves from the ateliers
founded by monks
, who were strongly influenced by the Sevillian Baroque School. In this context, the stalls of the Cathedral
choir, the fountain of the Main Square of Lima
both by Pedro de Noguera
, and a great part of the colonial production were registered. The first center of art established by the Spanish was the Cuzco School
that taught Quechua
artists European painting styles. Diego Quispe Tito
(1611–1681) was one of the first members of the Cuzco school and Marcos Zapata
(1710–1773) was one of the last.
Painting of this time reflected a synthesis of European and indigenous influences, as is evident in the portrait of prisoner Atahualpa, by D. de Mora or in the canvases of the Italians Mateo Pérez de Alesio
and Angelino Medoro, the Spaniards Francisco Bejarano and J. de Illescas and the Creole J. Rodriguez.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Baroque
Style also dominated the field of plastic arts
The term Peruvian literature not only refers to literature produced in the independent Republic of Peru, but also to literature produced in the Viceroyalty of Peru
during the country's colonial period, and to oral
artistic forms created by diverse ethnic groups that existed in the area during the pre-Columbian period
, such as the Quechua
, the Aymara
and the Chanka
is a popular lime marinated seafood dish which originated in Peru.
Due to the Spanish expedition and discovery of the Americas, the explorers started the Columbian Exchange
which included food unheard of in the Old World, including potato
, and maize
. Modern indigenous Peruvian food often includes corn, potatoes, and chilies
. There are now more than 3,000 kinds of potatoes grown on Peruvian terrain, according to Peru's Instituto Peruano de la Papa.
Modern Peruvian cuisine
and Spanish food
with strong influences from Chinese, African, Arab, Italian, and Japanese cooking.
Common dishes include anticuchos
, and pachamanca
. Peru's varied climate allows the growth of diverse plants and animals good for cooking.
Peru's diversity of ingredients and cooking techniques is receiving worldwide acclaim.
Peruvian cuisine reflects local practices and ingredients—including influences from the indigenous population including the Inca
and cuisines brought in with colonizers and immigrants. Without the familiar ingredients from their home countries, immigrants modified their traditional cuisines by using ingredients available in Peru. The four traditional staples of Peruvian cuisine are corn
and other tubers
) and legumes
). Staples brought by the Spanish include rice
and meats (beef, pork and chicken). Many traditional foods—such as quinoa
, chili peppers
, and several roots and tubers
have increased in popularity in recent decades, reflecting a revival of interest in native Peruvian foods and culinary techniques. It is also common to see traditional cuisines being served with a modern flair in towns like Cusco
, where tourists come to visit. Chef Gaston Acurio
has become well known for raising awareness of local ingredients.
Peruvian music is dominated by the national instrument
, the charango
. The charango is member of the lute
family of instruments and was invented during colonial times
by musicians imitating the Spanish vihuela
. In the Canas and Titicaca
regions, the charango is used in courtship rituals, symbolically invoking mermaids
with the instrument to lure the woman to the male performers. Until the 1960s, the charango was denigrated as an instrument of the rural poor. After the revolution in 1959, which built upon the Indigenismo
movement (1910–1940), the charango was popularized among other performers. Variants include the walaycho
, and the larger and lower-tuned charangon
While the Spanish guitar
is widely played, so too is the Spanish-in-origin bandurria
. Unlike the guitar, it has been transformed by Peruvian players over the years, changing from a 12-string, 6-course instrument to one having 12 to 16 strings in a mere four courses. Violins
, also of European origin, are also played.
While the Peruvian film industry has not been nearly as prolific as that of some other Latin American countries, some Peruvian movies produced enjoyed regional success. Historically, the cinema of Peru began in Iquitos
in 1932 by Antonio Wong Rengifo (with a momentous, initial film billboard
from 1900) because the rubber boom
and the intense arrival of foreigners with technology to the city, and thus continued an extensive, unique filmography, with a different style than the films made in the capital, Lima.
Peru also produced the first animated 3-D film in Latin America
, Piratas en el Callao
. This film is set in the historical port city of Callao
, which during colonial times had to defend itself against attacks by Dutch and British privateers seeking to undercut Spain's trade with its colonies. The film was produced by the Peruvian
company Alpamayo Entertainment, which made a second 3-D film one year later: Dragones: Destino de Fuego
In February 2006, the film Madeinusa
, produced as a joint venture between Peru and Spain and directed by Claudia Llosa
, was set in an imaginary Andean village and describes the stagnating life of Madeinusa performed by Magaly Solier
and the traumas of post-civil war Peru.
Notes and references
- ^ a b
In Peru, other languages have been officially recognized as legitimate autochthonous languages. In each of these, Peru's official name (Spanish: República del Perú, pronounced: [reˈpuβlika ðel peˈɾu]) is as follows:
- ^ The 2017 National Census included, for the first time, a question of ethnic self-identification that was addressed to people aged 12 and over considering elements such as their ancestry, their customs and their family origin in order to visualize and better understand the cultural reality of the country.
- ^ The question about religion included in the 2017 National Census was addressed to people aged 12 and over.
- ^ The government in each department is referred to as "regional" governments despite being departments.
- ^ a b "Perú: Perfil Sociodemográfico" (PDF). Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática. p. 231.
- ^ a b Shugart, Matthew Søberg (September 2005). "Semi-Presidential Systems: Dual Executive and Mixed Authority Patterns" (PDF). Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2008. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
- ^ a b Shugart, Matthew Søberg (December 2005). "Semi-Presidential Systems: Dual Executive And Mixed Authority Patterns". French Politics. 3 (3): 323–351. doi:10.1057/palgrave.fp.8200087. ISSN 1476-3427. OCLC 6895745903. Only in Latin America have all new democracies retained a pure presidential form, except for Peru (president-parliamentary) and Bolivia (assembly-independent).
- ^ "Perú: Estimaciones y Proyecciones de Población Total, por Años Calendario y Edades Simples, 1950–2050" [Peru: Estimates and Projections of Total Population, by Calendar Years and Simple Ages, 1950-2050] (PDF) (in Spanish). National Institute of Statistics and Informatics. September 2009.
- ^ a b c d "Peru". International Monetary Fund.
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- ^ Human Development Report 2020 The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 15 December 2020. pp. 343–346. ISBN 978-92-1-126442-5. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
- ^ Quechua name used by government of Peru is Perú (see Quechua-language version of Peru Parliament website Archived 30 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine and Quechua-language version of Peru Constitution but common Quechua name is Piruw
- ^ "Perú: País megadiverso" [Peru: Megadiverse country] (PDF) (in Spanish). Servicio Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 June 2014.
- ^ "World Economic and Financial Surveys, World Economic Outlook October 2015" (PDF). www.imf.org.
- ^ a b "Human Development Reports, Peru". hdr.undp.org. United Nations. 2016.
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- ^ Porras Barrenechea, Raúl. El nombre del Perú. Lima: Talleres Gráficos P.L. Villanueva, 1968, p. 83.
- ^ Raúl Porras Barrenechea, El nombre del Perú, p. 84.
- ^ Raúl Porras Barrenechea, El nombre del Perú, p. 86.
- ^ Vega, Garcilasco, Commentarios Reales de los Incas, Editorial Mantaro, Lima, ed. 1998. pp. 14–15. First published in Lisbon in 1609.
- ^ Raúl Porras Barrenechea, El nombre del Perú, p. 87.
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