Peru is a country in South America, next to Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and
Chile. Peru is famous because this country had the Inca Empire. The official name of
Peru is “Republica del Peru”.
Area: The area of Peru is approximately 1.28 million sq. km. (496,225 sq. mi.). Peru has
25 regions and its Capital is Lima.
Terrain: The three principal regions are “Costa” Western coastal plains, “Sierra” central
rugged mountains (Andes), and “Selva’ eastern lowlands with tropical forests.
Climate: The weather in the “Costa” is hot, arid and mild; In the “Sierra” from temperate
to frigid and in the Selva is tropically warm and humid.
Population: 28 million (UN, 2005) approximately
Ethnic groups: Peru has Indian, Mestizo, White, Black, Japanese, Chinese, and others.
Most Peruvians are "mestizo". This term usually refers to a mixture of Amerindians and
Peruvians of European descent.
Languages: Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara and a large number of minor.
Spanish is used by the government and the media and in education and commerce.
Amerindians who live in the “Sierra” Andean highlands speak Quechua. The people who
live in the “Selva” the eastern side of the Andes and in the tropical lowlands adjacent to
the Amazon basin speak Aymara.
The majority of Peruvians are Roman Catholic but there a short group of Peruvians who
still have traditional religion of the Incas. The religion of Peru is an inheritance of the
Spanish conquest, for this reason, it is a mainly Catholic country. The native religion
before the Spanish conquest was based on the cult of the Sun, the Pachamama (Mother
Earth) and elements of nature, have also been present. Nowadays, Peru has different
religions which are influence of North America and Europe like Jehovah’s Witnesses,
Mormons, Adventists, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Hare Krishnas. Religious
activity in Peru is important, and for many people, one of the "centers of energy" in the
world is the city of the Cusco.
Under the 1993 constitution of Peru, primary education is free and compulsory. Peru has
Public schools and Private Schools but the 83% of Peru's students attend public schools
at all levels.
School enrollment has been rising sharply for years, due to a widening educational effort
by the government and a growing school-age population. The illiteracy rate is estimated
at 12.5% (17.4% for women), 28.0% in rural areas and 5.6% in urban areas. Elementary
and secondary school enrollment is approximately 7.7 million.
Peru has 4 universities, 39% public and 61% private.
Peru was one of the major centers of artistic and architecture expression in America,
where pre-Inca cultures, such as Chavin, Paracas, Wari, Nazca, Chimu, and Tiahuanaco
developed high-quality pottery, textiles, jewelry and sculpture. The Incas made
extraordinary achievements in architecture. The mountain town of Machu Picchu and the
buildings at Cuzco are excellent examples of Inca architectural design.
The representative music of Peru is from the Andes. The Andean musicians use the quena
and the zampona which are wind instruments. With the Spanish conquest, the Peruvians
started to use instruments like harps, guitars, lutes and others.
Peru has popular celebrations as a result of Peruvians traditions and legends. Each
celebration gathers music, dances, meals and typical drinks. Furthermore, Peruvians has
traditional religious celebrations like Christmas, Corpus Christi or Holy Week.
Peru has dances of native origin which are dances related to the agricultural work,
hunting and war. One of the most representative Andean dances is the wayno or huayno.
The huayno is a “salon dance”. It is danced by couples and in closed spaces.
The dance which can be considered the national dance of Peru is the Marinera Nortena.
In this dance we can see a man’s courting a young woman.
Peru is best known as the heart of the Inca Empire, but it was home to many diverse
indigenous cultures long before the Incas arrived. Peru was once part of the great Incan
Empire and later the major vice-royalty of Spanish South America. It was conquered in
between 1531 and 1533 by Francisco Pizarro. On July 28, 1821, Peru proclaimed its
independence, but the Spanish were not finally defeated until 1824. For a hundred years
thereafter, revolutions were frequent; a new war was fought with Spain in from 1864 to
1866, and an unsuccessful war was fought with Chile from 1879 to 1883 (the War of the
The principal presidents of Peru were José Luis Bustamente y Rivero, Gen. Manuel A.
Odria, Manuel Prado y Ugarteche, Fernando Belaúnde Ferry, Gen. Juan Velasco
Alvarado, Gen. Francisco Morales Bermudez, Alberto Fujimori, , Alejandro Toledo and
Alan García Perez.