By: Juan Augusto Palao Iturregui
Peru is located in Western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Chile and Ecuador. It has an area of 1,285,216 sq. km, slightly smaller than Alaska. The border countriesare: Bolivia 1,075 km, Brazil 2,995 km, Chile 171 km, Colombia 1,800 km, Ecuador 1,420 km and it has a coastal line 2,414 km.
The climate varies from tropical in the east to dry desert in the west; temperate to frigid in the Andes. The terrain in western coastal is plain (costa), high and rugged Andes in the center (sierra) and eastern lowland jungle of Amazon Basin (selva). The elevation extremesrange from zero m in the Ocean to 6,768 m to Nevado Huascaran in its highest point:
The more outstanding natural resources are: copper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash, hydropower, natural gas. As far as land use Peru has arable land 2.88%; permanent crops 0.47% and other 96.65% (2005).
Current environmental issues are: deforestation (some theresult of illegal logging); overgrazing of the slopes of the costa and sierra leading to soil erosion; desertification; air pollution in Lima; pollution of rivers, lake Titicaca and coastal waters from municipal and mining wastes. Peru shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake, with Bolivia; a remote slope of Nevado Mismi, a 5,316 m peak, is the ultimate source of the Amazon RiverPeru has signed Environment International Agreements like: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but notratified: none of the selected agreements
At one time Peru was the homeland of several prominent Andean civilizations, with the Incas certainly the most notable.
The incredible Incas built astonishing mountain temples, palaces and other buildings, all with no mortar; they constructed almost 10,000 miles of roads, engineered functional bridges and built aqueducts to transport their water.
At thezenith of the Inca's influence in 1532, the Spanish conquerors arrived in their quest for gold and other riches; they executed the proud, but over-matched indigenous Indians and their leaders, captured their cities - and in a brief period of time this innovative and powerful culture was scattered to the wind and all but destroyed.
For almost three hundred years Peru functioned as Spanish, but inthe early 19th century, native discontent and colonist revolts brought calls of independence, localized uprisings, and then, civil war in 1821, with the Spanish finally defeated in 1824.
Over the next century, or so, Peru suffered through many wars, some with neighbors; brutal dictatorial rule, military coups and the subsequent political upheaval that comes with the territory.
In 1980, Perufinally returned to democratic leadership, but even today, the new presidential administration is hampered by allegations of corruption and mismanagement.
Regardless, the future is surely bright in this one-time "Land of the Incas," as Peru has an abundant supply of natural resources, enormous agricultural potential and some of the most stunning tourism venues on the planet.
Peru is home to one ofthe most impressive archaeological and tourist sites in the world, Machu Picchu. This Inca city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers unique insights into the lives of the Inca people. Machu Picchu is located 2,430 m. above sea level in a tropical mountain jungle.
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