The Peru Portal
The Peru Portal
Republic of Peru
República del Perú (Spanish)
12°2.6′S 77°1.7′W / 12.0433°S 77.0283°W / -12.0433; -77.0283
ISO 3166 codePE

Peru (/pəˈr/ pə-ROO; Spanish: Perú [peˈɾu]; Quechua: Piruw [pɪɾʊw]; Aymara: Piruw [pɪɾʊw]), officially the Republic of Peru (ES-pe - República del Perú.ogg), is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the south and west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon River. Peru has a population of over 32 million, and its capital and largest city is Lima. At 1,285,216 km2 (496,225 sq mi), Peru is the 19th largest country in the world, and the third largest in South America.

Peruvian territory was home to several cultures during the ancient and medieval periods, and has one of the longest histories of civilization of any country, tracing its heritage back to the 10th millennium BCE. Notable pre-colonial cultures and civilizations include the Caral-Supe civilization (the earliest civilization in the Americas and considered one of the cradles of civilization), the Nazca culture, the Wari and Tiwanaku empires, the Kingdom of Cusco, and the Inca Empire, the largest known state in the pre-Columbian Americas. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and Charles V established a viceroyalty with the official name of the Kingdom of Peru 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 has a population that includes Mestizos, Amerindians, Europeans, Africans and Asians. The main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechuan languages, Aymara, or other Indigenous languages. This mixture of cultural traditions has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music. (Full article...)

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The Battle of Ollantaytambo (Spanish: Batalla de Ollantaytambo, IPA: [baˈtaʎa ðe oʎantajˈtambo]) took place in January 1537, between the forces of Inca emperor Manco Inca and a Spanish expedition led by Hernando Pizarro during the Spanish conquest of Peru. A former ally of the Spaniards, Manco Inca rebelled in May 1536, and besieged a Spanish garrison in the city of Cusco. To end the stand-off, the besieged mounted a raid against the emperor's headquarters in the town of Ollantaytambo. The expedition, commanded by Hernando Pizarro, included 100 Spaniards and some 30,000 Indian auxiliaries against an Inca army more than 30,000 strong.

There is some controversy over the actual location of the battle; according to some, it took place in the town itself, while Jean-Pierre Protzen and John Hemming argue that the nearby plain of Mascabamba better matches the descriptions of the encounter. In any case, the Inca army managed to hold the Spanish forces from a set of high terraces and flood their position to hinder their cavalry. Severely pressed and unable to advance, the Spaniards withdrew by night to Cusco. Despite this victory, the arrival of Spanish reinforcements to Cusco forced Manco Inca to abandon Ollantaytambo and seek refuge in the heavily forested region of Vilcabamba, where he established the small independent Neo-Inca State which survived until 1572. (Full article...)

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Stone bridge over the Rímac River
Stone bridge over the Rímac River
Photo credit: Ericbronder

The Rímac River runs through the Peruvian capital of Lima and is the city's main source of water. One of the oldest bridges spanning the river is the Puente de Piedra (Stone Bridge) built out in stone masonry in the early 17th century. The bridge is still in use and connects the two districts that comprise the Historic Center of Lima: Rímac and Lima Cercado. (more...)

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Naval battle of Angamos

The Battle of Angamos (8 October 1879) was an important struggle in the War of the Pacific, where the Peruvian ironclad Huáscar was surrounded and captured by the Chilean Navy. The captain of the ironclad, Peruvian Admiral Miguel Grau, was killed in the combat. After this battle, the Peruvian Navy was unable to prevent the invasion of its territorial sea. The seas were cleared for the invasion of Peru and Bolivia. (more...)

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Areas where Shining Path was active in Peru

The internal conflict in Peru is an ongoing armed conflict between the Government of Peru and the Maoist guerilla group Shining Path and its remnants. The conflict began on 17 May 1980, and from 1982 to 1997 the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement waged its own insurgency as a Marxist–Leninist rival to the Shining Path.

As fighting intensified in the 1980s, the Peruvian government had one of the worst human rights records in the Western Hemisphere; Peru experienced the most forced disappearances in the world during the period while the Peruvian Armed Forces acted with impunity throughout the conflict, sometimes massacring entire villages. It is estimated that there have been between 50,000 and 70,000 deaths, making it the bloodiest war in Peruvian history, since the European colonization of the country. The high death toll includes many civilian casualties, due to deliberate targeting by many factions. The Indigenous peoples of Peru were specifically targeted by killings, with 75% of those killed speaking Quechuan as their native language. Since 2000, the number of deaths has dropped significantly and recently the conflict has become dormant. (Full article...)

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Peruvian-born American author Carlos Castaneda

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Anonymous Cuzco School painting, 17th century

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