Peru is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peruvian territory was home to the Norte Chico civilization, one of the oldest in the world, and to the Inca Empire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the country 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 presidential representative democratic republic divided into 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 medium Human Development Index score and a poverty level around 40%. Its main economic activities include agriculture, fishing, mining, and manufacturing of products such as textiles. The Peruvian population, estimated at 28 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.
Machu Picchu (Quechua: Machu Pikchu, "Old Peak") is a pre-Columbian Inca site located at 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, about 70 km (44 mi) northwest of Cusco. Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", Machu Picchu is probably the most familiar symbol of the Inca Empire. It was built around the year 1450 and abandoned a hundred years later, at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Forgotten for centuries by all except for a few locals, the site was brought to worldwide attention in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, an American historian. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction, it was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
Machu Picchu was built in a classic Inca architectural style of polished dry-stone walls. Its primary buildings are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows located in what is known by archaeologists as the Sacred District of Machu Picchu. There are concerns about the impact of tourism to the site as its visitors reached 400,000 in 2003. On September 2007, Peru and Yale University reached an agreement regarding return of artifacts removed from Macchu Picchu in the early 20th century by Hiram Bingham. (more...)
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Amantaní is an island on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. According to a 1988 census, it has a population of 3,663 Quechua speakers divided among about 800 families. The island is circular and about 9.28 km² in size. It has two mountain peaks, Pachatata (Father Earth) and Pachamama (Mother Earth), with ancient Inca and Tiwanaku ruins on top of both. The hillsides, are terraced mostly worked by hand and planted with wheat, quinoa, potatoes, and other vegetables. Livestock, including alpacas, also graze the slopes. (more...)
The Battle of Miraflores occurred on January 15, 1881 in the Miraflores District of Lima, Peru. It was an important battle during the War of the Pacific that was fought between Chile and the forces of Peru. The Chilean army led by Gen. Manuel Baquedano defeated the army commanded by Nicolas de Pierola guarding the second defensive line of the Peruvian capital city. Two days later, Lima, the capital city of Peru was occupied by Chilean troops. Gen. Baquedano's forces marched into Lima triumphant, while Peru's president and his officers fled into the interior, leaving the country without any government. Although the fall of Lima, the war continued between the occupation army and the troops of Andres Caceres for another three years. During the occupation of Lima, Peru's National Library was set on flames, while a number of other monuments were ransacked by Chilean forces and taken as war trophies. (more...)
- July 19, 1991 - The Nuevo Sol was introduced as the official currency to replace the Inti.
- July 27, 1995 - A new unicameral 90-seat Congress was created.
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