The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







The Republic of Peru (Spanish: Perú; Quechua, Aymara: Piruw) 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.

República del Perú
Flag of Peru
(National Flag) (National Coat of Arms )
National motto: Libertad y Orden
(Spanish: Liberty and Order)
Location of Peru
Official languages Spanish, Quechua, Aymará
Capital and largest city Lima
President Alejandro Toledo Manrique
Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero Costa
 - Total
 - % water
World ranking: 20th
1,285,220 km²
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
World ranking: 39th
 - Declared
From Spain
July 28, 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


Main article: History of Peru

Before the Spanish arrived, 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 Peru became a Viceroyalty and a major source of gold and silver for the Spanish Empire. Peru declared its independence from Spain on July 28, 1821 thanks to an alliance between the Argentine army of José de San Martín, and the Neogranadine Army of Simon Bolivar. 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 only after an armed conflict with Chile and Argentina. Between these years, political unrest didn't fade away, with the Army as an important political force. Once again, between 1879 and 1883, Peru and Bolivia made an alliance and fought against Chile in the War of the Pacific. After the war (and with the loss of the province of Tarapaca), political stability was achieved, during the early years of the 1900s; until Augusto Leguia and his dictatorship arrived.


Main article: Political division of Peru

Peru's territory is divided into 25 regions (Spanish: regiones; singular: región). These regions are subdivided into provinces, which are composed of districts. There are 180 provinces and 1747 districts in Peru.

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), and many people still use this term when referring to today's regions, although it is now obsolete.


Main article: Geography of Peru

Map of Peru

Peru is located in Western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean , between Chile and Ecuador. It also shares borders with Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia.

The western coastal plains (costa) are separated from the eastern lowland jungle of the Amazon Basin (selva) by the high and rugged Andes in the center (sierra). On the border with Bolivia lies Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake at 3821 m.


Main article: Politics of Peru

The current president is Alejandro Toledo, leader of Perú Posible. 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: Apra, 28 seats) and Unidad Nacional (17 seats), which is led by Lourdes Flores Nano .


Main article: Economy of Peru

The Peruvian economy has become increasingly market oriented, with major privatizations completed since 1990; in the mining, electricity, and telecommunications industries. Thanks to strong foreign investment and the cooperation between the Fujimori government the IMF and the World Bank, growth was strong in 199497 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. And 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.


Main article: Demographics of Peru

Peru is one of only three countries in the Americas where indigenous people constitute the majority of the population — the other two being Bolivia and Guatemala — where almost half of all Peruvians are Amerindian, or 45 percent of the total population. The two major indigenous ethnic groups are the Quechua, 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. Peruvians of European descent make up about 15% of the population. The remaining 3% is constituted by Afro-Peruvians, and persons of Japanese and Chinese descent. Small numbers of Arab Peruvians, mostly of Lebanese and Syrian origin, also reside.

Most of Peru's population (about 40% percent) lives in the Costa (coastal area), while 36% live in the Sierra and only 12% in the Amazon rainforest. Almost one third of the nation's population lives in the Lima and Callao Metropolitan Area.

Peru has two official languages--Spanish and the foremost indigenous language, Quechua. Spanish is used by the government and the media and in education 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.


Main article: Culture of Peru

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