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República del Perú
Republic of Peru
Flag of Peru Republic of Peru: Coat of Arms
( National Flag) ( Seal of Peru)
National motto: None
Location of Peru
Official languages Spanish (main)1
Capital and largest city Lima
President Alejandro Toledo Manrique
Prime Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
- Total
- % water
World ranking: 20th
1,285,220 km²
- Total ( 2005)
- Density
World ranking: 39th
-GDP PPP year
-GDP PPP per capita

5,388 million (47th)
$ 5,556 (99th)
HDI ( 2003) 0.762 ( 79th) – medium
- Declared
From Spain
28 July 1821
Currency Nuevo Sol (S/.)
Time zone UTC -5
National anthem " Somos libres, seámoslo siempre" "We are free, may we always be so"
Internet TLD .pe
Calling Code 51
Member UN, CAN, SCN, APEC, others.
1 Quechua, Aymara and other regional languages are also recognized in the areas where they are predominant.
The Republic of Peru, ( Spanish: República del Perú pron. IPA [re'pu.βli.ka del pe'ru]), or Peru, is a country in western South America, bordering Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the east, south-east and south, Chile to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Peru is rich in cultural anthropology, and is well-known as the cradle of the Inca empire.

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Painting and Sculpture
Folklore and Music
International rankings

History - Contents

Peru was home to various Pre-Inca cultures and later, to the Inca Empire. Francisco Pizarro landed on the Peruvian coast in 1532, and by the end of the 1530s the Viceroyalty of Peru encompassed all of Spain's territories in South America. The Viceroyalty was a major source of gold and silver for the Spanish Empire. Lima was one of the two most important cities in Spain's empire in America, the other being Mexico City. Peru declared its independence from Spain on July 28, 1821 thanks to an alliance between the Chilean/Argentinian army of José de San Martín, and the Neogranadine Army of Simón Bolívar. Its first elected president, however, was not in power until 1827.From 1836 to 1839 Peru and Bolivia were united in the Peru-Bolivian Confederacy, dissolved due to internal conflicts and a war with Chile country that opposed to this union as a menace to its future as a nation. Between these years, political unrest did not fade away, with the Army as an important political force.In 1851, president Ramon castilla abolished slavery of black people, being the first country in giving freedom to the black in America. In 1854, the ship Amazonas circunavigated the planet, this was the first expedition of its class in Southamerica.In 1866, Spain organized a naval expedition in order to take control on its former colonies of Peru, Bolivia and Chile. Chile and Bolivia did not have a strong naval force as Peru had it, so, Peruvian Navy went in defense of Chile and Bolivia signing a defense military pact. These three countries together fought two naval combats with the Spanier Navy in chilean seas. Then, the port of Valparaiso was bombarded and destroyed by the Spaniers. The next target was the Peruvian capital city, Lima. The army, navy and population of Peru organized the defense of the country. In this opportunity, Chile and Bolivia couldn't go to help Peru fighting against Spain, as they said because lack of resources to fight. In May 2, 1866 the combat began. After many hours of cruel combats and thousand of deads, the Spaniers suffered many losses and escaped to the Phillipines with its fleet serously damaged. The same year Spain accepted, after more than 65 years, that it had lost their colonies forever.In 1868, the Peruvian Congress declared that no more enemies and dangers will manace the future of Peru, and declared the end of the army and navy forces trying to convert the country in a free army one. But, economic reasons brought Chile and England together in order to take the rich territories of the Atacama desert under English control and production. This territories were rich in nitrates, a commodity to produce powder and fertilizers, converting England in the biggest producer in the world. in 1872 Chile and England signed a secret pact in which Chile would be armed and support to fight a war against Peru, in order to take physical control of the Atacama desert.In 1879, Chile declared war first against Bolivia in response to the fact that Bolivia had changed the tax rules regarding Chilean business activities in the Bolivian province of Antofagasta. Since Chile refused, in 1872, to continue with the defense pact with Peru and Bolivia, Chile accused also Peru to have a pact to act against Chile, accusation that was denied by the Peruvian Government since the pasct was originally to be signed as well by Chile and Peru did no have an army to attack another country. Peru attempted to find a peacefull solution to the conflict. Chile rejected this, and declare war against both nations.Inmediately Peru tried to reorganized the defense of the country and sent military missions to England and France in order to aquire armament and battleships. England asked France and other European countries to set a military ban against Peru and Chile, however secretely England continued giving Chile thousands of fusiles, canions, weapons, battleships, logistics, and monetary help to support the war against Peru. Until october 1879 the war was almost in favor of Peru, despite the fact that Peru did not count with any support from foreing countries and was fighting with obsolete armament. Peruvian battleships got overused and were destroyed by the almost new and well mantained Chilean navy battleships. Peru and Chile fought a cruel war for almost 5 years during which any country realized that this was a war between Peru against Chile armed and supported by England, as was denounced just in 1881 by France and in 1883 by the USA. When the true was brought to light, England and Chile tried to finish the war since Peru never capitulized. Peru was defeated but the consignation was no to give up until the last Peruvian were killed. Then a treaty was signed in which Peru gave Chile the control of the provinces of Tacna, Arica and the department of Tarapaca, in the Atacama desert with the supervision of england and the USA, just for 10 years, at the end of which it would be returned to Peru and Peru would receive a war compensation, however this never happened. it was until 1929 when the final treaty was signed in which Peru gave the Atacama region to Chile since the Peruvian population had been reduced to its minimun expression due to assessinations and deportation, and chilean population was increased with migration, giving this situation a clear rigt of the people to choose being part of Chile.This war is referred to as the War of the Pacific which lasted from 1879 until 1884. The war ended with the loss of the department of Tarapacá and the provinces of Tacna and Arica, in the Atacama region.After the war was ended, a extraordinary effort of reconstruction began. Political stability was achieved only during the early years of the 1900s. In 1929 Peru and Chile signed a final peace treaty (Treaty of Ancon) by which Tacna was to be returned to Peru and Peru yielded permanently the rich provinces of Arica and Tarapaca, although keeping certain rights to the port activities in Arica and decitions of what Chile can do on those territories.Dring world war II, Peru aligned to the Unites States and its allies in the war against Germany and Japan. in 1943 the Peruvian navy destroyed a German submarine that had arrived to the port of Callao to get supplies. Also another German battleship was sunk in 1944.Between 1941 and 1995 there were a series of three wars between Peru and Ecuador over the control of the territory in the northern part of modern-day Peru. Disputes over the territory originated as far back as colonial times but actual wars between those two countries started in 1941.The dispute officially ended in 1998, when Peru was awarded all of the disputed territory. It is said that the country received its name from a Spanish pronunciation of the Belu River. [1]

Subdivisions - Contents

Huayna Picchu
Huayna Picchu
Peru's territory is divided successively into regions (25) (Spanish: regiones; singular: región), provinces (180) and districts (1747).The Lima Province, located in the central coast of the country, is unique in that it doesn't belong to any of the twenty-five regions. The city of Lima is located in this province, which is also known as Lima Metropolitana (Metropolitan Lima).Until 2002, Peru was divided into 24 departments (departamentos) plus one constitutional province (Callao), and many people still use this term when referring to today's regions, although it is now obsolete.Current Peruvian regions are:
  • Amazonas
  • Ancash
  • Apurímac
  • Arequipa
  • Ayacucho
  • Cajamarca
  • Callao
  • Cusco
  • Huancavelica
  • Huánuco
  • Ica
  • Junín
  • La Libertad
  • Lambayeque
  • Lima
  • Loreto
  • Madre de Dios
  • Moquegua
  • Pasco
  • Piura
  • Puno
  • San Martín
  • Tacna
  • Tumbes
  • Ucayali
Map of Peru. Ioannem Ianssonium. (1647)
Map of Peru. Ioannem Ianssonium. (1647)

Politics - Contents

The current president is Alejandro Toledo, leader of Perú Posible, he was elected with 53% of the votes in second ballot in the 2001 election defeating former socialist president Alberto Fujimori. This governing party is, with 45 seats, the largest in the 120-seat parliament.The second and third largest parties are in opposition; respectively Partido Aprista Peruano (short: PAP, 28 seats), which is led by Alan García Pérez, and Unidad Nacional (short: UN, 17 seats), which is led by Lourdes Flores Nano. During the 1980s, political instability, mainly due to insurgency and economic crisis, was the main issue in Peru. After the government of president Fujimori during the 1990s, the reforms have changed the country.The next presidential election will be held on Sunday April the 9th 2006, and more than 16 million Peruvians will be able to vote worldwide.

Economy - Contents

Pedestrian street leading to Lima's Plaza de Armas (main square).
Pedestrian street leading to Lima's Plaza de Armas (main square).
The Peruvian economy has become increasingly market oriented, with major privatizations completed since 1990 in the mining, electric/power, and telecommunications industries. Thanks to strong foreign investment and the cooperation between the former Fujimori administration, the IMF, and the World Bank, growth was strong in 1994– 97 and inflation was brought under control. In 1998, El Niño's impact on agriculture, the financial crisis in Asia, and instability in Brazilian markets undercut growth. 1999 was another lean year for Peru, with the aftermath of El Niño and the Asian financial crisis working its way through the economy. Lima did manage to complete negotiations for an Extended Fund Facility with the IMF in June 1999, although it subsequently had to renegotiate the targets. Pressure on spending grew in the run-up to the 2000 elections. Growth up to 2005 has been driven by construction, investment, domestic demand, and exports to different world regions. Peru's economy is one of the better-managed in Latin America. Over the next few years, the country is likely to attract both domestic and foreign investment in the tourism, agriculture, mining, construction, industry, petroleum and natural gas, and power industries.It has taken steps to consolidate a possible free trade agreement with United States of America by April 2006; both countries wait for the approval of the terms by their respective congresses. Peru is negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with Chile, Mexico and Singapur which may be finished between March and April 2006. Peru currently has a free trade agreemente with the Andean Community, which is composed of Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela. It also holds free trade agreements with many of the countries in Mercosur as well as Thailand, and during the recent APEC summit, Peru voiced intentions to sign free trade agreements with China, Japan, South Korea. It is also pushing for a free trade agreement with the European Union. All these negotiations will broadly expand the markets in which the Peruvian products are traded. Peru has a great export potential in agricultural products (coffee, asparagus, paprika, artichokes, bananas, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, tropical fruits-such as oranges, lemons, limes, papayas, pineapples, peaches, coconuts, sugar, cotton, potatoes -where it is originally from- flowers, avocadoes, olives, mangoes, apples, grapes, ethanol -byproduct of sugar cane), textiles and clothing, shoes, petroleum derivatives (gasolines, light oil, plastics, synthetic fibers, etc), natural gas, minerals (copper, gold, molibdenum, silver, zinc, plumbum, antimonium, etc), as well as fish and seafood products (oil fish, tuna, shrimp, Peruvian King crab, etc), tourism, and manufacturing (electrical and electronic equipment and machinery, automobiles, assembly parts for equipment, hydraulic pumps, ships, small aircraft, sub-assemblies, etc). In 2005 Peruvian exports reached US$ 17.1 billion (an increase of 34.6% compared to 2004) and it is expected to grow 35% for this year reaching US.5 billion at the end of 2006. Also, the economy has shown a healthy grow in all its sectors (energy, construction, commerce, fishing, manufacturing, tourism, etc) in 2005 growing over 6.67% (one the fastest growth rates in Southamerica) and it is projected to grow a strong 7% for 2006 considering that commodity prices, which Peru is a great producer, will have an estimated increment of 25% on average. Unfortunately poverty in Peru is still very high, with a rate of 51,6% of the total population, however the poverty rate is being reduced slowly and it is expected to be reduced to 25% of population in 15 years.For the next five years (until 2010) the Peruvian government has registered over US$ 10 billion in private investment (both domestic and foreign) in the mining and energy sectors, as well as investments of US$ 15 billion in other sectors such as industry, commerce, tourism, seafood and agriculture, which will keep the economy growing at healthy levels of 5% or more, anually. It is possible that with the Free Trade Agreement with the USA these levels of investment will sky rocket developing and transforming the country in a few years.

Demographics - Contents

Arequipa is Peru's second largest city
Arequipa is Peru's second largest city
Peru is one of three countries in Latin America whose largest population segment is comprised of unmixed Amerindians - , where almost half of all Peruvians are Amerindian, or 45 percent of the total population. The two major indigenous ethnic groups are the various Quechua-speaking populations, followed closely by the Aymará, as well as several dozen small Amerindian ethnic tribes scattered throughout the country beyond the Andes Mountains and in the Amazon basin. Mestizos, a term that denotes people of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry, constitute around 37% of the people, and 15% of white European ancestry, with the majority of them living in Peru's largest cities such as Trujillo, Arequipa and Lima.Amerindians who live in the Andean highlands speak Quechua and Aymara have a rich culture which was part of the Inca Empire, the most advanced agricultural civilization in the world. In the low lands of the Amazon Jungle thousand of indigenuos population are dispersed around thousands of square miles of inexpugnable jungles, and 3 big cities ( Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado and Pucallpa) with a population of almost one million and an area larger than the US states of Texas and West Virginia combined

Geography - Contents

Peru is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia on the north, Brazil to the east, and Bolivia and Chile to the southeast and south, respectively. To the west lies the Pacific Ocean. Eastern Peru consists mostly of the moist tropical jungles of the Amazon Rain Forest, the largest on Earth. In the southeast along the border with Bolivia lies Lake Titicaca- the highest navigable lake in the world. The Altiplano plateau is a dry basin located along the slopes of the Andes in southeastern Peru. Along the border with Chile,the Atacama Desert is the driest place on the planet. The Pacific Ocean is home to a large amount and variety of fish life. The Sechura Desert is located in northwestern Peru along the Pacific coastline. The main rivers of the Peru include the Ucayali, Marañon, Amazon (which is formed by the confluence of the Marañon and the Ucayali), Putumayo, Pastaza, Napo, Jurua, and the Purus.The largest cities include Lima (the capital and the economic and cultural center), Arequipa, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Callao (a suburb of Lima), Piura, Iquitos, Chimbote, Huancayo, Cusco (the capital of the ancient Inca Empire), Pucallpa, and Cajamarca.

Language - Contents

Buildings in San Isidro, Lima's largest financial district
Buildings in San Isidro, Lima's largest financial district
Peru has two official languages - Spanish and the foremost indigenous language, Quechua. Spanish is used by all coastal Peruvians, the government, the media, and in education and formal commerce; although there is an increasing and organized effort to teach Quechua in public schools.The major obstacle to a more widespread use of the Quechua language is the lack of modern media which use it: for example books, newspapers, software, magazines, technical journals, etc. However, non-governmental organizations as well as state sponsored groups are involved in projects to edit and translate major works into the Quechua language; for instance, in late 2005 a superb version of Don Quixote was presented in Quechua. Despite this work an even more fundamental problem remains: most of the native speakers of Quechua are illiterate. Thus, Quechua, along with Aymara and the minor indigenous languages, remains essentially an oral language. Until more work is done in terms of teaching written Quecha, it is unlikely to rival Spanish as the major language of the country.

Painting and Sculpture - Contents

Rainbow at Cuzco's Plaza
Rainbow at Cuzco's Plaza
The art of Peru was shaped by the melting between Spanish and Amerindian cultures. During pre-Columbian times, Peru was one of the major centers of artistic expression in The Americas, where Pre-Inca cultures, such as Chavín, Moche, Paracas, Huari (Wari), Nazca, Chimu, and Tiahuanaco developed high-quality pottery, textiles, jewelry, and sculpture. Drawing upon earlier cultures, the Incas continued to maintain these crafts but made even more impressive achievements in architecture. The mountain town of Machu Picchu and the buildings at Cuzco are excellent examples of Inca architectural design.Peru has passed early 20th century brought "indigenismo," expressed in a new awareness of Indian culture. Since World War II, Peruvian writers, artists, and intellectuals such as Cesar Vallejo and Jose Maria Arguedas have participated in worldwide intellectual and artistic movements, drawing especially on U.S. and European trends.During the colonial period, Spanish baroque fused with the rich Inca tradition to produce mestizo or creole art. The Cuzco school of largely anonymous Indian artists followed the Spanish baroque tradition with influence from the Italian, Flemish, and French schools. Painter Francisco Fierro made a distinctive contribution to this school with his portrayals of typical events, manners, and customs of mid-19th-century Peru. Francisco Lazo, forerunner of the indigenous school of painters, also achieved fame for his portraits. Peru's 20th-century art is known for its extraordinary variety of styles and stunning originality.In the decade after 1932, the "indigenous school" of painting headed by Jose Sabogal dominated the cultural scene in Peru. A subsequent reaction among Peruvian artists led to the beginning of modern Peruvian painting. Sabogal's resignation as director of the National School of Arts in 1943 coincided with the return of several Peruvian painters from Europe who revitalized "universal" and international styles of painting in Peru. During the 1960s, Fernando de Szyszlo, an internationally recognized Peruvian artist, became the main advocate for abstract painting and pushed Peruvian art toward modernism. Peru remains an art-producing center with painters such as Fernando de Szysslo, Gerardo Chavez, Jose Tola, Alberto Quintanilla, and Jose Carlos Ramos, along with sculptor Victor Delfin, gaining international stature. Promising young artists continue to develop now that Peru's economy allows more promotion of the arts.
View of the beach in Punta Sal, Tumbes Region
View of the beach in Punta Sal, Tumbes Region

Folklore and Music - Contents

Hundreds of years of ethnic and cultural mixing has created a rich musical landscape across Peru. Typical instruments include the Andean flute and pan-pipes ( Quena and Zampoña), the Cajon drum used in Afro Peruvian music, and the traditional Spanish guitar. Peru is home to thousands of dances of pre Inca, Andean and mestizo origin. The southern Andean region is famous for the Huayno.Arequipa is the proud creator of the famous Yaravi, a melancholy style of a capella singing that evokes the solitude of the mountains. Probably the most well known song of this style is "El Condor Pasa", a traditional Peruvian song popularized in the United States by the folk duo Simon & Garfunkel and featured in the movie " The Graduate". The original composition consists of a Yaravi, followed by an inca " pasacalle" and a Huayno fugue, three traditional inca rhythms. The Huaylas, by contrast, is a cheery, rhythmic style from the central Andes.The coast has a different feel to its music than its Andean counterpart. Primarily Spanish in origin, coastal culture combines traditional European rhythms such as the flamenco and the waltz with Creole, African and Gypsy influences to create the wide range of styles we hear today. Lima's most well known musical style is the Vals Peruano (Peruvian Waltz), popularized by the great Chabuca Granda. She is widely considered the most important composer of Coastal Creole music, with such songs as La Flor de La Canela, Fina Estampa, and José Antonio. Other commonly known Vals Peruano tunes are: Alma Corazon y Vida, Odiame, Mi Propiedad Privada, El Plebeyo, and Devuelveme El Rosario de Mi Madre, some of which are sung by Caribbean artists in the Bolero or Salsa version.Afro Peruvian music is most commonly performed by duos of Creole guitars, the Cajon and spoon rhythms. African derived rhythms like the Festejo or Landó are common in the black communities of the southern coast. Susana Baca is a renowned singer and composer of Afro Peruvian music. She won a Grammy award in 2002 for her album Lamento Negro.The Marinera is the National Dance of Peru, named in honor of the marines who fought against the Chilean military in the War of the Pacific. Among Peruvians of the coast, it is considered as traditional and representative as the Tango is to Argentina. Many people take classes and look forward to the annual Marinera Festival held in the city of Trujillo every July, with thousands in attendance. Lambayeque and Piura are also known for their marineras and tonderos.Lima is famous for the [[Se�or de los Milagros Procession]] and Bullfighting, which takes place in Plaza de Toros Acho (the oldest bullfighting venue of the Americas). Considered the largest procession in South America, congregating devotees from all over the country, the Se�or de los Milagros or Lord of Miracles Procession takes place during October. During the whole month, known as the mes morado -or purple month-, minor observations in honour of the patron (whose colour is purple) are celebrated. The main event occurs the 18th: dressed in purple habits, hundreds of thousands of devotees sing and pray while accompanying the image on its 24-hour route from the Nazarenas temple to La Merced church in the Barrios Altos district.
Cumbe Mayo Aqueduct (1500 B.C.) near Cajamarca, Peru
Cumbe Mayo Aqueduct (1500 B.C.) near Cajamarca, Peru
Peruvian cuisine, for years unnoticed abroad, has recently exploded onto the world gastronomic scene. The Economist magazine, for example, reported in a January 2004 article that Peru could "lay claim to enormous biodiversity. Peru's many climate zones make it possible to grow a wide range of crops. Potatoes and hot peppers from the Andes, fish and seafood from the Pacific Ocean, mangoes and limes from the coastal valleys, bananas and manioc from the Amazon jungle: a chef's only problem is abundance of choice. In addition, Peruvian cuisine's Incan and Spanish roots have been influenced by sizable immigrant populations such as African, Cantonese, Italian, Japanese, who have added their own ingredients and traditions to the mix.No visitor should leave Lima without trying one of the many wonderful restaurants. The best are mainly located in the neighborhoods of Miraflores, San Isidro or Chacarilla. Peru is mainly known for its cebiche (fish cooked with lemon and red chili pepper) and its excellent seafood, but other typical food include creole (called "criolla"), chinese-peruvian (called "chifa") which are also first-class.

Sports - Contents

Soccer: The most popular Peruvian sport is soccer (World Cup appeareances: 1930,1970,1978,1982 two Copa America tournaments). Although the National team has not been very successful, most of the population of Peru follow the World Cup tournament on television. Soccer legends from Peru include Hugo Sotil, Cesar Cueto, and Teofilo Cubillas, Peru's best striker in World Cup Finals with 10 goals. Current renowned players include midfielder Nolberto Solano (Newcastle United since 1998, with a 2-year parenthesis in Aston Villa), and strikers Claudio Pizarro, Paolo Guerrero (Bayern Munich) and Jefferson Farfán (PSV Eindhoven).Volleyball: Other popular sport is Women’s Volleyball (Silver medal in Seoul 1988 Olympic Games and 14 times South American champion).Surfing: Sofia Mulanovich, Women’s World Surf Champion in 2004 and 2005.Sailing: Peru is the only country of the region that has won for six consecutive years the world Cup in the Sunfish Class. In addition, Peru has won the Central American, South American & Caribbean Championships for the same category. In the Optimist Class, it was three times World Champion in Team-Racing in 1997, 1998, and 1999.Shooting: Peruvian shooters have won 3 of Peru's 4 olympic medals. Edwin Vásquez won Peru's only gold medal in London 1948 Olympic Games, while Francisco Boza (Los Angeles 1984), and Juan Giha (Barcelona 1992) both won silver medals.

International rankings - Contents

  • Reporters without borders world-wide press freedom index 2004: Rank 116 out of 167 countries (2005)
  • UN Human Development Index 2005: Ranked 79 out of 177 countries. Up 6 places from 85 in 2004.
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