Immigration to Peru started with the arrival of Spanish settlers during the Colonial Period. Peru is a multiethnic nation formed by the combination of different groups over five centuries. Amerindians inhabited Peruvian territory for several millennia before Spanish Conquest in the 16th century. Spaniards and Africans arrived in large numbers under colonial rule. Many people from European backgrounds mixed with the Amerindians or Asians creating an entirely new demographic group called "mestizos".
In 2005, the UN put the number of immigrants in Peru at 42,000, which accounted for less than 1% of its population. However, a more recent report from the Peruvian Directorate of Migrations has put the number at 64,303. The largest group of foreign residents is from Argentina, which accounts for about 14% of the total with over 9000 Argentineans living in Peru. Immigrants from the United States make up just over 9% of the total with 5,800 US citizens now residing in Peru. Other large groups of immigrants in Peru include Chileans, Bolivians, Colombians, Brazilians Spanish and Chinese. The majority of foreign residents in Peru live in Lima, with other communities found in Cusco and Arequipa.