Peruvian territory was home to the Norte Chico civilization, one of the oldest in the world, and to the IncaEmpire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and established a Viceroyalty, which included most of its South American colonies. After achieving independence in 1821, Peru has undergone periods of political unrest and fiscal crisis as well as periods of stability and economic upswing.
Peru is a representative democratic republic dividedinto 25 regions. Its geography varies from the arid plains of the Pacific coast to the peaks of the Andes mountains and the tropical forests of the Amazon Basin. It is a developing country with a high Human Development Index score and a poverty level around 36%. Its main economic activities include agriculture, fishing, mining, and manufacturing of products such as textiles.
The Peruvianpopulation, estimated at 29.5 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Europeans, Africans, and Asians. The main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechua or other native languages. This mixture of cultural traditions has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.-------------------------------------------------
The earliest evidences of human presence in Peruvian territory have been dated to approximately 9,000 years BCE. The oldest known complex society in Peru, the 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 suchas Cupisnique, Chavin, Paracas, Mochica, Nazca, Wari, andChimú. In the 15th century, the Incas emerged as a powerful state which, in the span of a century, formed the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. Andean societies were based on agriculture, using techniques such as irrigation and terracing; camelid husbandry and fishing were also important. Organization relied on reciprocity and redistribution because these societies had nonotion of market or money.
In 1532, a group of conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro defeated and captured Inca Emperor Atahualpa. Ten years later, the Spanish Crown established the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included most of its South American colonies. Viceroy Francisco de Toledoreorganized the country in the 1570s with silver mining as its main economic activity and Amerindian forcedlabor as its primary workforce. Peruvian bullion provided revenue for the Spanish Crown and fueled a complex trade network that extended as far as Europe and the Philippines. However, 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 andpartitioned the Viceroyalty of Peru. The new laws provoked Túpac Amaru II's rebellion and other revolts, all of which were defeated.
In the early 19th century, while most of South America was swept by wars of independence, Peru remained a royalist stronghold. As the elite hesitated between emancipation and loyalty to the Spanish Monarchy, independence was achieved only after the military campaigns ofJoséde San Martín and Simón Bolívar. During the early years of the Republic, endemic struggles for power between military leaders caused political instability. National identity was forged during this period, as Bolivarian projects for a Latin American Confederationfoundered and a union with Bolivia proved ephemeral. Between the 1840s and 1860s, Peru enjoyed a period of stability under the...