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History of Peru

History of Peru

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The history of Peru spans several millennia, extending back through several stages of cultural development in the mountain region and the coastal desert.
About 15,200 years ago, groups of people are believed to have crossed the Bering Strait
Bering Strait
The Bering Strait , known to natives as Imakpik, is a sea strait between Cape Dezhnev, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia, the easternmost point of the Asian continent and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, USA, the westernmost point of the North American continent, with latitude of about 65°40'N,...

 from Asia and survived as nomads, hunting, gathering fruits and vegetables and fishing in the sea, rivers and lakes. Peruvian territory was home to the Norte Chico civilization
Norte Chico civilization
The Norte Chico civilization was a complex pre-Columbian society that included as many as 30 major population centers in what is now the Norte Chico region of north-central coastal Peru...

, one of the six oldest in the world, and to the Inca Empire
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

, the largest state in Pre-Columbian
Pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

 America. It was conquered by the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 in the 16th century, which established a Viceroyalty
Viceroyalty of Peru
Created in 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish colonial administrative district that originally contained most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima...

 with jurisdiction over most of its South American domains. The nation declared independence
Independence of Peru
The Peruvian War of Independence was a series of military conflicts beginning in 1809 that culminated in the proclamation of the independence of Peru by José de San Martín on July 28, 1821. During the previous decade Peru had been a stronghold for royalists, who fought those in favor of...

 from Spain in 1821 butt consolidated only after the Battle of Ayacucho
Battle of Ayacucho
The Battle of Ayacucho was a decisive military encounter during the Peruvian War of Independence. It was the battle that sealed the independence of Peru, as well as the victory that ensured independence for the rest of South America...

, three years later.

Pre-Columbian cultures



Hunting tools dating back to more than 11,000 years have been found in the caves in Pachacamac, Telarmachay, Junin and Lauricocha. Some of the oldest civilizations appeared circa
Circa
Circa , usually abbreviated c. or ca. , means "approximately" in the English language, usually referring to a date...

 6000 BC in the coastal provinces of Chilca
Chilca
Chilca was a rocket launch site in Peru at , near to Lima. Chilca was in service from 1974 and 1983 and was mainly used for launching Arcas and Nike rockets....

 and Paracas
Paracas
Paracas may refer to:* Paracas culture, an important Andean society that existed in Peru between approximately 750 BC and 100 AD* Paracas Peninsula, located in the Ica Region of Peru* Paracas Bay, located in the Pisco Province of the Ica Region in Peru...

, and in the highland province of Callejón de Huaylas
Callejón de Huaylas
The Santa Valley is a inter-andean valley in the Ancash Region in the north-central highlands of Peru. Due to its location between two mountain ranges it is known as Callejón de Huaylas —Alley of Huaylas—, whereas Huaylas refers to the name of the territorial division's name during the Viceroyalty...

. Over the following three thousand years, inhabitants switched from nomadic lifestyles to cultivating land, as evidence from sites such as Jiskairumoko
Jiskairumoko
Jiskairumoko is a pre-Columbian archaeological site south east of Puno, Peru. The site lies at 4,115 meters , in the Aymara community of Jachacachi, adjacent to the Ilave River drainage, of the Lake Titicaca Basin, Peru...

, Kotosh
Kotosh
Kotosh is an archaeological site near Huanuco containing a temple of the Late Archaic period. The site gave name to the Kotosh Religious Tradition, which existed in Peru in 2300—1200 BCE, i.e. in the Late Archaic period...

, and Huaca Prieta
Huaca Prieta
Huaca Prieta is the site of a prehistoric coastal settlement in the Chicama valley, Peru. Consisting of a huge midden mound, it was first excavated by Junius B. Bird in 1946–1947. The site is the remains of a pre-pottery culture that lived here from 3,100–1,300 BCE. The remains include a number of...

 demonstrates. Cultivation of plants such as corn
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 and cotton
Gossypium
Gossypium is the cotton genus. It belongs to the tribe Gossypieae, in the mallow family, Malvaceae, native to the tropical and subtropical regions from both the Old and New World. The genus Gossypium comprises around 50 species , making it the largest in species number in the tribe Gosssypioieae....

 (Gossypium barbadense) began, as well as the domestication of animals such as the wild ancestors of the llama
Llama
The llama is a South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since pre-Hispanic times....

, the alpaca
Alpaca
An alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of to above sea level, throughout the year...

, and the guinea pig
Guinea pig
The guinea pig , also called the cavy, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Despite their common name, these animals are not in the pig family, nor are they from Guinea...

. Inhabitants practiced spinning
Spinning (textiles)
Spinning is a major industry. It is part of the textile manufacturing process where three types of fibre are converted into yarn, then fabric, then textiles. The textiles are then fabricated into clothes or other artifacts. There are three industrial processes available to spin yarn, and a...

 and knitting
Knitting
Knitting is a method by which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth or other fine crafts. Knitted fabric consists of consecutive rows of loops, called stitches. As each row progresses, a new loop is pulled through an existing loop. The active stitches are held on a needle until another loop can...

 of cotton and wool, basketry
Basket weaving
Basket weaving is the process of weaving unspun vegetable fibres into a basket or other similar form. People and artists who weave baskets are called basketmakers and basket weavers.Basketry is made from a variety of fibrous or pliable materials•anything that will bend and form a shape...

, and pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

.

As these inhabitants became sedentary, farming allowed them to build settlements and new societies emerged along the coast and in the Andean mountains. The first known city in all of the Americas was Caral
Caral
Caral was a large settlement in the Supe Valley, near Supe, Barranca province, Peru, some 200 km north of Lima. Caral is the most ancient city of the Americas, and is a well-studied site of the Caral civilization or Norte Chico civilization.- History :...

, located in the Supe Valley 200 km north of Lima. It is the oldest city in America and was built in approximately 2500 BC.

What is left from the civilization, also called Norte Chico
Norte Chico
Norte Chico or Near North Coast ranges over five river valleys north of present-day Lima: the Chancay River, the Huaura River, Supe River, Fortaleza River and Pativilca River....

, are about 30 pyramidical structures built up in receding terraces ending in a flat roof; some of them measured up to 20 meters in height. Caral is one of six world centers of the rise of civilization.

In the early 21st century, archeologists have discovered new evidence of ancient pre-Ceramic complex cultures. In 2005 Tom D. Dillehay and his team announced the discovery of three irrigation
Irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

 canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

s that were 5400 years old, and a possible fourth that is 6700 years old, all in the Zaña Valley in northern Peru, evidence of community activity to support improved agriculture at a much earlier date than previously believed. In 2006, Robert Benfer and a research team discovered a 4200-year-old observatory
Observatory
An observatory is a location used for observing terrestrial or celestial events. Astronomy, climatology/meteorology, geology, oceanography and volcanology are examples of disciplines for which observatories have been constructed...

 at Buena Vista
Buena Vista
Buena Vista, meaning "good view" in Spanish, may refer to:*Buena Vista , a Walt Disney trademark*Buena Vista Social Club , a Cuban music club plus an album and film inspired by the club...

, a site in the Andes several kilometers north of present-day Lima
Lima
Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima...

. They believe the observatory was related to the society's reliance on agriculture and understanding the seasons. The site includes the oldest three-dimensional sculptures found thus far in South America. In 2007 the archeologist Walter Alva
Walter Alva
Walter Alva , full name is Walter Alva Alva, is a Peruvian archaeologist, specializing in the study and excavation of the prehistoric Moche culture. Alva is noted for two major finds: the tomb of the Lord of Sipan and related people in 1987, and 2007.-Early life and education:Alva was born on 28...

 and his team found a 4000-year-old temple with painted murals at Ventarrón
Ventarron
Ventarrón is the site of a 4,000-year old temple with painted murals, which was excavated in Peru in 2007 in the Lambayeque region on the northern coast, north of Peru's capital of Lima...

, in the northwest Lambayeque
Lambayeque Region
Lambayeque is a region in northwestern Peru known for its rich Moche and Chimú historical past. The region's name originates from the ancient pre-Inca civilization of the Lambayeque.-Etymology:...

 region. The temple contained ceremonial offerings gained from exchange with Peruvian jungle societies, as well as those from the Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

an coast. Such finds show sophisticated, monumental construction requiring large-scale organization of labor, suggesting that hierarchical, complex cultures arose in South America much earlier than scholars had thought.


Many other civilizations developed and were absorbed by the most powerful ones such as Kotosh, Chavin
Chavin
Chavin may refer to:* Chavín culture, an early culture of the Andean region, pre-dating the Moche culture in Peru* Chavín de Huantar, an archaeological site built by the Chavín culture* Chavin, Indre, a commune of the Indre département in France...

, Paracas, Lima
Lima
Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima...

, Nasca, Moche
Moche
'The Moche civilization flourished in northern Peru from about 100 AD to 800 AD, during the Regional Development Epoch. While this issue is the subject of some debate, many scholars contend that the Moche were not politically organized as a monolithic empire or state...

, Tiwanaku
Tiwanaku
Tiwanaku, is an important Pre-Columbian archaeological site in western Bolivia, South America. Tiwanaku is recognized by Andean scholars as one of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire, flourishing as the ritual and administrative capital of a major state power for approximately five...

, Wari
Wari
Wari may refer to:*Wari', Amerindian nation**Wari’ language, spoken by Wari'*Wari culture, Middle Horizon civilization that flourished in Peru*Wari Empire, political formation that emerged around AD500 in Peru...

, Lambayeque
Lambayeque Region
Lambayeque is a region in northwestern Peru known for its rich Moche and Chimú historical past. The region's name originates from the ancient pre-Inca civilization of the Lambayeque.-Etymology:...

, Chimu, Chan Chan
Chan Chan
The largest Pre-Columbian city in South America, Chan Chan is an archaeological site located in the Peruvian region of La Libertad, five km west of Trujillo. Chan Chan covers an area of approximately 20 km² and had a dense urban center of about 6km²...

, and Chincha
Chincha
The Chincha were a Native American people of the Andes. They are discussed by Maria Rostworowski de Diez Canseco in "History of the Inca Realm" and by Justo Caceres Macedo in "Prehispanic Cultures of Peru"...

, among others. The Paracas culture
Paracas culture
The Paracas culture was an important Andean society between approximately 800 BCE and 100 BCE, with an extensive knowledge of irrigation and water management. It developed in the Paracas Peninsula, located in what today is the Paracas District of the Pisco Province in the Ica Region...

 emerged on the southern coast around 300 BC. They are known for their use of vicuña
Vicuña
The vicuña or vicugna is one of two wild South American camelids, along with the guanaco, which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes. It is a relative of the llama, and is now believed to share a wild ancestor with domesticated alpacas, which are raised for their fibre...

 fibers instead of just cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

 to produce fine textile
Textile
A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, or other material to produce long strands...

s—innovations that did not reach the northern coast of Peru until centuries later. Coastal cultures such as the Moche
Moche
'The Moche civilization flourished in northern Peru from about 100 AD to 800 AD, during the Regional Development Epoch. While this issue is the subject of some debate, many scholars contend that the Moche were not politically organized as a monolithic empire or state...

 and Nazca
Nazca
Nazca is a system of valleys on the southern coast of Peru, and the name of the region's largest existing town in the Nazca Province. It is also the name applied to the Nazca culture that flourished in the area between 300 BC and AD 800...

 flourished from about 100 BC to about AD 700: the Moche produced impressive metalwork, as well as some of the finest pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

 seen in the ancient world, while the Nazca are known for their textiles and the enigmatic Nazca lines
Nazca Lines
The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. They were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The high, arid plateau stretches more than between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana about 400 km south of Lima...

.

These coastal cultures eventually began to decline as a result of recurring el Niño floods and droughts. In consequence, the Huari and Tiwanaku
Tiwanaku
Tiwanaku, is an important Pre-Columbian archaeological site in western Bolivia, South America. Tiwanaku is recognized by Andean scholars as one of the most important precursors to the Inca Empire, flourishing as the ritual and administrative capital of a major state power for approximately five...

, who dwelt inland in the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 became the predominant cultures of the region encompassing much of modern-day Peru and Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

. They were succeeded by powerful city-state
City-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

s, such as Chancay
Chancay
Chancay is a small city in the Lima Region of Peru. Its population is 26,958....

, Sipan
Sipán
Sipán is a Moche archaeological site in northern Peru that is famous for the tomb of El Señor de Sipán , excavated by Walter Alva and his wife Susana Meneses. It is considered to be one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the last 30 years, because the main tomb was found intact...

, and Cajamarca
Cajamarca
Cajamarca may refer to:Colombia*Cajamarca, Tolima a town and municipality in Tolima DepartmentPeru* Cajamarca, city in Peru.* Cajamarca District, district in the Cajamarca province.* Cajamarca Province, province in the Cajamarca region....

, and two empires: Chimor
Chimor
Chimor was the political grouping of the Chimú culture that ruled the northern coast of Peru, beginning around 850 AD and ending around 1470 AD. Chimor was the largest kingdom in the Late Intermediate period, encompassing 1,000 km of coastline...

 and Chachapoyas culture
Chachapoyas culture
The Chachapoyas, also called the Warriors of the Clouds, were an Andean people living in the cloud forests of the Amazonas region of present-day Peru. The Incas conquered their civilization shortly before the arrival of the Spanish in Peru. When the Spanish arrived in Peru in the 16th century, the...


These cultures developed relatively advanced techniques of cultivation
Tillage
Tillage is the agricultural preparation of the soil by mechanical agitation of various types, such as digging, stirring, and overturning. Examples of human-powered tilling methods using hand tools include shovelling, picking, mattock work, hoeing, and raking...

, gold and silver craft, pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

, metallurgy
Metallurgy
Metallurgy is a domain of materials science that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their intermetallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys. It is also the technology of metals: the way in which science is applied to their practical use...

, and knitting
Knitting
Knitting is a method by which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth or other fine crafts. Knitted fabric consists of consecutive rows of loops, called stitches. As each row progresses, a new loop is pulled through an existing loop. The active stitches are held on a needle until another loop can...

. Around 700 BC, they appear to have developed systems of social organization that were the precursors of the Inca
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

 civilization.

Not all Andean cultures were willing to offer their loyalty to the Incas as the Incas expanded their empire, and many were openly hostile. The people of the Chachapoyas culture
Chachapoyas culture
The Chachapoyas, also called the Warriors of the Clouds, were an Andean people living in the cloud forests of the Amazonas region of present-day Peru. The Incas conquered their civilization shortly before the arrival of the Spanish in Peru. When the Spanish arrived in Peru in the 16th century, the...

 were an example of this, but the Inca eventually conquered and integrated them into their empire.

Inca Empire (1438–1532)




The Incas
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

 built the largest empire and dynasty of pre-Columbian America
Pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

. The Tahuantinsuyo—which is derived from Quechua
Quechua languages
Quechua is a Native South American language family and dialect cluster spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from an original common ancestor language, Proto-Quechua. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably...

 for "The Four United Regions"—reached its greatest extension at the beginning of the 16th century. It dominated a territory that included (from north to south): Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, part of Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

, the northern half of Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, and the north-west part of Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

; and from east to west, from Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 to the Amazonian forests
Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest , also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America...

 and Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of 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....

.

The empire originated from a tribe based in Cuzco, which became the capital. Pachacuti was the first ruler to considerably expand the boundaries of the Cuzco state. His offspring later ruled an empire by both violent and peaceful conquest.

In Cuzco, the royal city was created to resemble a Cougar; the head, the main royal structure, formed what is now known as Sacsayhuaman. The Empire's administrative, political, and military center was located in Cuzco. The empire was divided into four quarters: Chinchasuyo, Antisuyo, Contisuyo, and Collasuyo.

Quechua
Quechua languages
Quechua is a Native South American language family and dialect cluster spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from an original common ancestor language, Proto-Quechua. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably...

 was the official language, imposed on the citizens. It was the language of a neighbouring tribe of the original tribe of the empire. Conquered populations—tribes, kingdoms, states, and cities—were allowed to practice their own religions and lifestyles, but had to recognize Inca cultural practices as superior to their own. Inti, the sun god, was to be worshipped as one of the most important gods of the empire. His representation on earth was the Inca ("Emperor").

The Tahuantinsuyo was organized in dominions with a stratified society, in which the ruler was the Inca. It was also supported by an economy based on the collective property of the land. In fact, the Inca Empire
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

 was conceived like an ambitious and audacious civilizing project, based on a mythical thought, in which the harmony of the relationships between the human being, nature, and gods
Inca mythology
Inca mythology includes many stories and legends that are mythological and helps to explain or symbolizes Inca beliefs.All those that followed the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire by Francisco Pizarro burned the records of the Inca culture...

 was truly essential.

Many interesting customs were observed, for example the extravagant feast of Inti Raymi which gave thanks to the God Sun, and the young women who were the Virgins of the Sun, sacrificial virgins devoted to the Inti. The empire, being quite large, also had an impressive transportation system of roads to all points of the empire called the Inca Trail
Inca road system
The Inca road system was the most extensive and advanced transportation system in pre-Columbian South America. The network was based on two north-south roads with numerous branches. The best known portion of the road system is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu...

, and chasquis, message carriers who relayed information from anywhere in the empire to Cuzco.

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site located above sea level. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is northwest of Cusco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for...

 (Quechua: Old Peak; sometimes called the "Lost City of the Incas") is a well-preserved pre-Columbian Inca ruin located on a high mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley, about 70 km (44 mi) northwest of Cuzco. Elevation measurements vary depending on whether the data refers to the ruin or the extremity of the mountain; Machu Picchu tourist information reports the elevation as 2,350 m (7,711 ft)[1]. Forgotten for centuries by the outside world, although not by locals, it was brought back to international attention by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham III
Hiram Bingham III
Hiram Bingham, formally Hiram Bingham III, was an academic, explorer, treasure hunter and politician from the United States. He made public the existence of the Quechua citadel of Machu Picchu in 1911 with the guidance of local indigenous farmers...

, who rediscovered it in 1911 and wrote a best-selling work about it. Peru is pursuing legal efforts to retrieve thousands of artifacts that Bingham removed from the site.

Although Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site located above sea level. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is northwest of Cusco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for...

 is by far the most well-known internationally, Peru boasts many other sites where the modern visitor can see extensive and well-preserved ruins, remnants of the Inca-period and even older constructions. Much of the Inca architecture and stonework found at these sites continues to confound archaeologists. For example, at Sacsayhuaman, in Cuzco, the zig-zag-shaped walls are composed of massive boulders fitted very precisely to one another's irregular, angular shapes. No mortar holds them together, but nonetheless they have remained absolutely solid through the centuries, surviving earthquakes that flattened many of Cuzco's colonial constructions. Damage to the walls visible today was mainly inflicted during battles between the Spanish and the Inca, as well as later, in the colonial era. As Cuzco grew, Sacsayhuaman's walls were partially dismantled, the site becoming a convenient source of construction materials for the city's newer inhabitants. Today we not only do not know how these stones were shaped and smoothed, lifted on top of one another (they really are very massive) or fitted together by the Incas; we also don't know how they started got the stones to the site in the first place. The stone used is not native to the area, and most likely came from mountains many miles away.

Conquest of Peru (1532–1572)



The etymology of Peru: The word Peru may be derived from Birú, the name of a local ruler who lived near the Bay of San Miguel
Bay of San Miguel
The Bay of San Miguel is located on the Pacific coast of Darién, a district of eastern Panama. Bay is located at . It is fed by the Tuira River. At its southern end is Cape Garachiné , and at its northern end is Punta San Lorenzo ....

, Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

, in the early 16th century. When his possessions were visited by Spanish explorers in 1522, they were the southernmost part of the New World yet known to Europeans. Thus, when Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

 explored the regions farther south, they came to be designated Birú or Peru.

An alternative history is provided by the contemporary writer Inca Garcilasco de la Vega, son of an Inca princess and a conquistador. He says the name Birú was that of a common Indian happened upon by the crew of a ship on an exploratory mission for governor Pedro Arias de Ávila, and goes on to relate many more instances of misunderstandings due to the lack of a common language.

The Spanish Crown
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 gave the name legal status with the 1529 Capitulación de Toledo, which designated the newly encountered Inca Empire
Inca Empire
The Inca Empire, or Inka Empire , was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century...

 as the province of Peru. Under Spanish rule, the country adopted the denomination Viceroyalty of Peru
Viceroyalty of Peru
Created in 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish colonial administrative district that originally contained most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima...

, which became Republic of Peru after independence.

When the Spanish
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 landed in 1531, Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of 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....

's territory was the nucleus of the highly developed Inca civilization. Centered at Cuzco
Cusco
Cusco , often spelled Cuzco , is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cuzco Province. In 2007, the city had a population of 358,935 which was triple the figure of 20 years ago...

, the Inca Empire extended over a vast region, stretching from northern Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

 to central Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

.

Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

 and his brothers were attracted by the news of a rich and fabulous kingdom. In 1532, they arrived in the country, which they called Peru. (The forms Biru, Pirú, and Berú are also seen in early records.) According to Raúl Porras Barrenechea
Raúl Porras Barrenechea
Raúl Porras Barrenechea was a Peruvian historian. He was born in Pisco, Peru on March 23, 1897 and died in Lima, Peru on September 27, 1960. He was a teacher at the Anglo-Peruvian School. As a student during the 1950s Mario Vargas Llosa worked with Porras for four and one-half years and learned a...

, Peru is not a Quechua
Quechua languages
Quechua is a Native South American language family and dialect cluster spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from an original common ancestor language, Proto-Quechua. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably...

n nor Caribbean
Caribbean Spanish
Caribbean Spanish is the general name of the Spanish dialects spoken in the Caribbean region. It closely resembles the Spanish spoken in the Canary Islands and Andalusia....

 word, but Indo-Hispanic or hybrid.

In the years between 1524 and 1526 smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

, introduced from Panama and preceding the Spanish conquerors swept through the Inca Empire. The death of the Incan ruler Huayna Capac
Huayna Capac
Huayna Capac was the eleventh Sapa Inca of the Inca Empire and sixth of the Hanan dynasty. He was the successor to Tupac Inca Yupanqui.-Name:In Quechua, his name is spelled Wayna Qhapaq, and in Southern Quechua, it is Vaina Ghapakh...

 as well as most of his family including his heir, caused the fall of the Incan political structure and contributed to the civil war
Inca Civil War
The Inca Civil War, the Inca Dynastic War, the Inca War of Succession, or, sometimes, the War of the Two Brothers was fought between two brothers, Huáscar and Atahualpa, sons of Huayna Capac, over the succession to the Inca throne. The war followed Huayna Capac's death in 1527, although it did not...

 between the brothers Atahualpa and Huáscar
Huáscar
Huáscar Inca was Sapa Inca of the Inca empire from 1527 to 1532 AD, succeeding his father Huayna Capac and brother Ninan Cuyochi, both of whom died of smallpox while campaigning near Quito.After the conquest, the Spanish put forth the idea that Huayna Capac may have...

. Taking advantage of this, Pizarro carried out a coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

. On November 16, 1532, while the natives were in a celebration in Cajamarca
Cajamarca (city)
- Education :Cajamarca is home to two universities. is a public university while Universidad Privada Antonio Guillermo Urrelo is a private one, additionally another 4 universities have branches in town , Universidad San Pedro, , Universidad Los Angeles, ....

, the Spanish in a surprise move captured the Inca Atahualpa
Atahualpa
Atahualpa, Atahuallpa, Atabalipa, or Atawallpa , was the last Sapa Inca or sovereign emperor of the Tahuantinsuyu, or the Inca Empire, prior to the Spanish conquest of Peru...

 during the Battle of Cajamarca
Battle of Cajamarca
The Battle of Cajamarca was a surprise attack on the Inca royal entourage orchestrated by Francisco Pizarro. Sprung on the evening of November 16, 1532, in the great plaza of Cajamarca, the ambush achieved the goal of capturing the Inca, Atahualpa, and claimed the lives of thousands of his...

, causing a great consternation among the natives and conditioning the future course of the fight. When Huáscar was killed, the Spanish tried and convicted Atahualpa of the murder, executing him by strangulation.

For a period, Pizarro maintained the ostensible authority of the Inca, recognizing Túpac Huallpa
Tupac Huallpa
Túpac Huallpa , original name Auqui Huallpa Túpac, was a puppet Inca Emperor of the conquistadors in 1533, during the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire led by Francisco Pizarro.-Life:...

 as the Sapa Inca after Atahualpa's death. But the conqueror's abuses made this façade too obvious. Spanish domination consolidated itself as successive indigenous rebellions were bloodily repressed. By March 23, 1534, Pizarro and the Spanish had refounded the Inca city of Cuzco as a new Spanish colonial settlement.

Establishing a stable colonial government was delayed for some time by native revolts and bands of the Conquistadores (led by Pizarro and Diego de Almagro
Diego de Almagro
Diego de Almagro, , also known as El Adelantado and El Viejo , was a Spanish conquistador and a companion and later rival of Francisco Pizarro. He participated in the Spanish conquest of Peru and is credited as the first European discoverer of Chile.Almagro lost his left eye battling with coastal...

) fighting among themselves. A long civil war developed, from which the Pizarros emerged victorious at the Battle of Las Salinas
Battle of Las Salinas
The Battle of Las Salinas was a military conflict and decisive confrontation between the forces of Hernando and Gonzalo Pizarro against those of rival conquistador Diego de Almagro, on April 26, 1538, during the Conquest of Peru...

. In 1541, Pizarro was assassinated by a faction led by Diego de Almagro (El Mozo), and the stability of the original colonial regime was shaken up in the ensuing civil war
Civil war
A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic, or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly-united nation state....

.


Despite this, the Spaniards did not neglect the colonizing process. Its most significant milestone was the foundation of Lima
Lima
Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima...

 in January 1535, from which the political and administrative institutions were organized. The new rulers instituted an encomienda system
Encomienda
The encomienda was a system that was employed mainly by the Spanish crown during the colonization of the Americas to regulate Native American labor....

, by which the Spanish extracted tribute from the local population, part of which was forwarded to Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 in return for converting the natives to Christianity. Title to the land itself remained with the king of Spain. As governor of Peru, Pizarro used the encomienda system to grant virtually unlimited authority over groups of native Peruvians to his soldier companions, thus forming the colonial land-tenure structure. The indigenous inhabitants of Peru were now expected to raise Old World
Old World
The Old World consists of those parts of the world known to classical antiquity and the European Middle Ages. It is used in the context of, and contrast with, the "New World" ....

 cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

, poultry
Poultry
Poultry are domesticated birds kept by humans for the purpose of producing eggs, meat, and/or feathers. These most typically are members of the superorder Galloanserae , especially the order Galliformes and the family Anatidae , commonly known as "waterfowl"...

, and crops for their landlords. Resistance was punished severely, giving rise to the "Black Legend
Black Legend
The Black Legend refers to a style of historical writing that demonizes Spain and in particular the Spanish Empire in a politically motivated attempt to morally disqualify Spain and its people, and to incite animosity against Spanish rule...

".

The necessity of consolidating Spanish royal authority over these territories, led to the creation of a Real Audiencia (Royal Audience). The following year, in 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru
Viceroyalty of Peru
Created in 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish colonial administrative district that originally contained most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima...

 (in Spanish, Virreinato del Perú) was established, with authority over most of Spanish-ruled South America. (Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

, Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, Panamá
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 and Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 were split off as the Viceroyalty of New Granada
Viceroyalty of New Granada
The Viceroyalty of New Granada was the name given on 27 May 1717, to a Spanish colonial jurisdiction in northern South America, corresponding mainly to modern Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela. The territory corresponding to Panama was incorporated later in 1739...

 (in Spanish, Virreinato de Nueva Granada) in 1717; and Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

, and Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

 were set up as the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata
Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata
The Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, , was the last and most short-lived Viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire in America.The Viceroyalty was established in 1776 out of several former Viceroyalty of Perú dependencies that mainly extended over the Río de la Plata basin, roughly the present day...

 in 1776.)

In response to the internal strife plaguing the country after Pizarro's death, Spain finally sent Blasco Núñez Vela
Blasco Núñez Vela
Blasco Núñez Vela y Villalba was the first Spanish viceroy of Peru, from May 15, 1544 to January 18, 1546. He was charged by King Charles I with the enforcement of the controversial New Laws, which dealt with the failure of the encomienda system to protect the indigenous people of America from the...

 to be Peru's first viceroy in 1544. He was later killed by Pizarro's brother, Gonzalo Pizarro
Gonzalo Pizarro
Gonzalo Pizarro y Alonso was a Spanish conquistador and younger paternal half-brother of Francisco Pizarro, the conqueror of the Inca Empire...

, but a new viceroy, Pedro de la Gasca
Pedro de la Gasca
Pedro de la Gasca was a Spanish bishop, diplomat and the second viceroy of Peru, from April 10, 1547 to January 27, 1550....

, eventually managed to restore order. He captured and executed Gonzalo Pizarro.

A census taken by the last Quipucamayoc indicated that there were 12 million inhabitants of Inca Peru; 45 years later, under viceroy Toledo, the census figures amounted to only 1,100,000 Indians. Historian David N. Cook estimates that their population decreased from an estimated 9 million in the 1520s to around 600,000 in 1620 mainly because of infectious disease
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

s. While the attrition was not an organized attempt at genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

, the results were similar. Scholars now believe that, among the various contributing factors, epidemic
Pandemic
A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that is spreading through human populations across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic...

 disease
Disease
A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...

 such as smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 (unlike the Spanish, the Amerindians
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 had no immunity to the disease) was the overwhelming cause of the population decline of the American natives. Inca cities were given Spanish Christian names and rebuilt as Spanish towns centered around a plaza
Plaza
Plaza is a Spanish word related to "field" which describes an open urban public space, such as a city square. All through Spanish America, the plaza mayor of each center of administration held three closely related institutions: the cathedral, the cabildo or administrative center, which might be...

 with a church or cathedral facing an official residence. A few Inca cities like Cuzco retained native masonry for the foundations of their walls. Other Inca sites, like Huanuco Viejo, were abandoned for cities at lower altitudes more hospitable to the Spanish.

Viceroyalty of Peru (1542–1824)



In 1542, the Spanish Crown created the Viceroyalty of Peru
Viceroyalty of Peru
Created in 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish colonial administrative district that originally contained most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima...

, which was reorganized after the arrival of Viceroy Francisco de Toledo in 1572. He put an end to the indigenous State of Vilcabamba
Vilcabamba, Peru
Vilcabamba was a city founded by Manco Inca in 1539 and was the last refuge of the Inca Empire until it fell to the Spaniards in 1572, signaling the end of Inca resistance to Spanish rule.- History :...

, executed Tupac Amaru I
Túpac Amaru
Túpac Amaru, also called Thupa Amaro , was the last indigenous leader of the Inca state in Peru.-Accession:...

. He also sought economic development through commercial monopoly and mineral extraction, mainly from the silver mines of Potosí
Potosí
Potosí is a city and the capital of the department of Potosí in Bolivia. It is one of the highest cities in the world by elevation at a nominal . and it was the location of the Spanish colonial mint, now the National Mint of Bolivia...

. He reused the Inca mita
Mita (Inca)
Mit'a was mandatory public service in the society of the Inca Empire. Historians use the hispanicized term mita to distinguish the system as it was modified by the Spanish, under whom it became a form of legal servitude which in practise bordered slavery.Mit'a was effectively a form of tribute to...

, a forced labor program, to mobilize native communities for mining work. This organization transformed Peru into the principal source of Spanish wealth and power in South America.

The town of Lima
Lima
Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima...

, founded by Pizarro on January 18, 1535 as the "Ciudad de Reyes" (City of Kings), became the seat of the new viceroyalty. It grew into a powerful city, with jurisdiction over most of Spanish South America. Precious metals passed through Lima on its way to the Isthmus of Panama
Isthmus of Panama
The Isthmus of Panama, also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien, is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America. It contains the country of Panama and the Panama Canal...

 and from there to Seville, Spain.By the 18th century, Lima had become a distinguished and aristocratic colonial capital, seat of a university and the chief Spanish stronghold in the Americas.

Nevertheless, throughout the eighteenth century, further away from Lima in the provinces, the Spanish did not have complete control. The Spanish could not govern the provinces without the help of local elite. This local elite, who governed under the title of curaca, took pride in their Incan history . Additionally, throughout the eighteenth century, indigenous people rebelled against the Spanish. Two of the most important rebellions were that of Juan Santos Atahualpa
Juan Santos Atahualpa
Juan Santos Atahualpa was a leader of an indigenous rebellion in the Andean jungle provinces of Tarma and Jauja, near what was then Spanish Peru in the mid 18th century....

 in 1742 in the Andean jungle provinces of Tarma and Jauja, and Rebellion of Tupac Amaru II
Túpac Amaru II
Túpac Amaru II was a leader of an indigenous uprising in 1780 against the Spanish in Peru...

 in 1780 around the highlands near Cuzco.

At the time, an economic crisis was developing due to creation of the Viceroyalties of New Granada
Viceroyalty of New Granada
The Viceroyalty of New Granada was the name given on 27 May 1717, to a Spanish colonial jurisdiction in northern South America, corresponding mainly to modern Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela. The territory corresponding to Panama was incorporated later in 1739...

 and Rio de la Plata
Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata
The Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, , was the last and most short-lived Viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire in America.The Viceroyalty was established in 1776 out of several former Viceroyalty of Perú dependencies that mainly extended over the Río de la Plata basin, roughly the present day...

 (at the expense of its territory), the duty exemptions that moved the commercial center from Lima
Lima
Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima...

 to Caracas
Caracas
Caracas , officially Santiago de León de Caracas, is the capital and largest city of Venezuela; natives or residents are known as Caraquenians in English . It is located in the northern part of the country, following the contours of the narrow Caracas Valley on the Venezuelan coastal mountain range...

 and Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

, and the decrease of the mining and textile productio. This crisis proved favorable for the indigenous rebellion of Tupac Amaru II and determined the progressive decay of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

In 1808, Napoleon invaded the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 and took the king, Ferdinand XVII, hostage. Later in 1812, the Cadíz Cortes, the national legislative assembly of Spain, promulgated a liberal Constitution of Cadiz
Spanish Constitution of 1812
The Spanish Constitution of 1812 was promulgated 19 March 1812 by the Cádiz Cortes, the national legislative assembly of Spain, while in refuge from the Peninsular War...

. These events inspired emancipating ideas between the Spanish Criollo people
Criollo people
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...

 throughout the Spanish America. In Perú, The Creole rebellion of Huánuco arose in 1812 and the rebellion of Cuzco arose between 1814 and 1816. Despite these rebellions, the Criollo
Criollo people
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...

 oligarchy in Perú remained mostly Spanish loyalist, which accounts for the fact that the Viceroyalty of Peru
Viceroyalty of Peru
Created in 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish colonial administrative district that originally contained most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima...

 became the last redoubt of the Spanish dominion in South America.

Wars of independence (1810–1824)

sick man

Peru's movement toward independence was launched by an uprising of Spanish-American landowners and their forces, led by José de San Martín
José de San Martín
José Francisco de San Martín, known simply as Don José de San Martín , was an Argentine general and the prime leader of the southern part of South America's successful struggle for independence from Spain.Born in Yapeyú, Corrientes , he left his mother country at the...

 of Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 and Simón Bolívar
Simón Bolívar
Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Yeiter, commonly known as Simón Bolívar was a Venezuelan military and political leader...

 of Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

. San Martín, who had displaced the royalists of Chile after the Battle of Chacabuco
Battle of Chacabuco
The Battle of Chacabuco, fought during the Chilean War of Independence, occurred on February 12, 1817. The Army of the Andes of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata led by General Captain José de San Martín defeated the Spanish force led by Rafael Maroto...

, and who had disembarked in Paracas
Paracas Peninsula
The Paracas Peninsula is a desert peninsula within the boundaries of the Paracas National Reservation, a marine reserve which extends south along the coast. The only marine reserve in Peru, it is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site....

 in 1819, led the military campaign of 4,200 soldiers. The expedition which included warships was organized and financed by Chile which sailed from Valparaíso
Valparaíso
Valparaíso is a city and commune of Chile, center of its third largest conurbation and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region...

 in August 1820. San Martin proclaimed the independence of Peru in Lima on July 28, 1821, with the words "... From this moment on, Peru is free and independent, by the general will of the people and the justice of its cause that God defends. Long live the homeland! Long live freedom! Long live our independence!".

Still, the situation remained changing and emancipation was only completed by December 1824, when General Antonio José de Sucre
Antonio José de Sucre
Antonio José de Sucre y Alcalá , known as the "Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho" , was a Venezuelan independence leader. Sucre was one of Simón Bolívar's closest friends, generals and statesmen.-Ancestry:...

 defeated Spanish troops at the Battle of Ayacucho
Battle of Ayacucho
The Battle of Ayacucho was a decisive military encounter during the Peruvian War of Independence. It was the battle that sealed the independence of Peru, as well as the victory that ensured independence for the rest of South America...

. Spain made futile attempts to regain its former colonies, such as at the Battle of Callao
Battle of Callao
The Battle of Callao occurred on May 2, 1866 between a Spanish fleet under the command of Admiral Casto Méndez Núñez and the fortified battery emplacements of the Peruvian port city of Callao during the Chincha Islands War...

, and only in 1879 finally recognized Peruvian independence.

Territorial disputes (1824–1884)


After independence, Peru and its neighbors engaged in intermittent territorial disputes.

A short-lived attempt to reunite Peru and Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 was made during the period 1836–1839 when the Peru-Bolivian Confederation
Peru-Bolivian Confederation
The Peru–Bolivian Confederation was a short-lived confederate state that existed in South America between 1836 and 1839. Its first and only head of state, titled Supreme Protector, was the Bolivian president, Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz....

 came into existence, severe internal opposition led to its demise in the War of the Confederation
War of the Confederation
The War of the Confederation , was a conflict between the Peru-Bolivian Confederation on one side and Chile, Peruvian dissidents and Argentina, on the other, fought mostly in the actual territory of Peru and which ended with a Confederate defeat and the dissolution of the...

.

Peru embarked on a railroad building program. Henry Meiggs
Henry Meiggs
Henry Meiggs , was a promoter/entrepreneur and railroad builder. He was born in Catskill, New York. He came to New York City in 1835 and began a lumber business, but was ruined by the Panic of 1837. He restarted his business, this time in Brooklyn, but again met with failure...

 built a standard gauge line from Callao
Callao
Callao is the largest and most important port in Peru. The city is coterminous with the Constitutional Province of Callao, the only province of the Callao Region. Callao is located west of Lima, the country's capital, and is part of the Lima Metropolitan Area, a large metropolis that holds almost...

 across the Andes to the Interior, Huancayo; striking for Cuzco he built the line but also bankrupted the country.

In 1879, Peru entered the War of the Pacific
War of the Pacific
The War of the Pacific took place in western South America from 1879 through 1883. Chile fought against Bolivia and Peru. Despite cooperation among the three nations in the war against Spain, disputes soon arose over the mineral-rich Peruvian provinces of Tarapaca, Tacna, and Arica, and the...

 which lasted until 1884. Bolivia invoked its alliance with Peru against Chile. The Peruvian Government tried to mediate the dispute by sending a diplomatic team to negotiate with the Chilean government, but the committee concluded that war was inevitable. Chile declared war on April 5, 1879. Almost five years of war ended with the loss of the department of Tarapacá and the provinces of Tacna and Arica, in the Atacama region.

Originally Chile committed to a referendum for the cities of Arica and Tacna to be held years later, in order to self determine their national affiliation. However, Chile refused to apply the Treaty, and both countries could not determine the statutory framework. In an arbitrage that both countries admitted, the USA decided that the plebiscite was impossible to take, therefore, direct negotiations between the parties led to a treaty (Treaty of Lima
Treaty of Lima
The Treaty of Lima solved the dispute between Peru and Chile regarding the status of the Chilean administered territories of Tacna and Arica. According to the Treaty, the Tacna-Arica Territory was divided between both countries; Tacna being awarded to Peru and with Chile retaining sovereignty over...

, 1929), in which Arica
Arica
Arica is a city in northern Chile. "Arica" may also refer to:Places* Arica and Parinacota Region, Chile* Arica Airport , Chile* Arica, Amazonas, town in Colombia* Rio Aricá-açu, tributary of the Cuiabá River south of Cuiabá, BrazilOther...

 was ceded to Chile and Tacna
Tacna
- Rail :Tacna is served by a cross-border standard gauge railway to Arica, Chile.It is also the location of the National Railway Museum of Peru.-Air:Tacna is served by the Crnl. FAP...

 remained in Peru. Tacna returned to Peru on August 29, 1929. The territorial loss and the extensive looting of Peruvian cities by Chilean troops left scars on the country's relations with Chile that have not yet fully healed.

Following the Ecuadorian-Peruvian War
Ecuadorian-Peruvian war
The Ecuadorian–Peruvian War was a border war fought between July 5, 1941 and July 31, 1941, the first of three military conflicts that occurred between these two South American nations during the 20th century....

 of 1941, the Rio Protocol
Rio Protocol
The Protocol of Peace, Friendship, and Boundaries between Peru and Ecuador, or Rio Protocol for short, was an international agreement signed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 29, 1942, by the foreign ministers of Peru and Ecuador, with the participation of the United States, Brazil, Chile, and...

 sought to formalize the boundary between those two countries. Ongoing boundary disagreements
History of the Ecuadorian-Peruvian territorial dispute
The territorial dispute between Ecuador and Peru was the source of the longest-running international armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere...

 led to a brief war in early 1981 and the Cenepa War
Cenepa War
The Cenepa War , also known as the Alto Cenepa War, was a brief and localized military conflict between Ecuador and Peru, fought over control of a disputed area on the border between the two countries...

 in early 1995, but in 1998 the governments of both countries signed a historic peace treaty that clearly demarcated the international boundary between them. In late 1999, the governments of Peru and Chile likewise similarly implemented the last outstanding article of their 1929 border agreement.

Aristocratic Republic (1884–1930)


After the War of the Pacific
War of the Pacific
The War of the Pacific took place in western South America from 1879 through 1883. Chile fought against Bolivia and Peru. Despite cooperation among the three nations in the war against Spain, disputes soon arose over the mineral-rich Peruvian provinces of Tarapaca, Tacna, and Arica, and the...

, an extraordinary effort of rebuilding began. The government started to initiate a number of social and economic reforms in order to recover from the damage of the war. Political stability was achieved only in the early 1900s.

In 1894, Nicolás de Piérola
Nicolás de Piérola
H.E. Don Jose Nicolás Baltasar Fernández de Piérola y Villena was a prominent Peruvian politician, the Finance Minister and twice President of the Republic of Peru .-Early years:Nicolás de Piérola was born and educated in the southern Peruvian city of Arequipa...

, after allying his party with the Civil Party of Peru to organize guerrillas with fighters to occupy Lima, ousted Andrés Avelino Cáceres
Andrés Avelino Cáceres
Andrés Avelino Cáceres Dorregaray was three times President of Peru during the 19th century, from 1884 to 1885, then from 1886 to 1890, and again from 1894 to 1895...

 and once again became president of Peru in 1895. After a brief period in which the military once again controlled the country, civilian rule was permanently established with Pierola's election in 1895. His second term was successfully completed in 1899 and was marked by his reconstruction of a devastated Peru by initiating fiscal, military, religious, and civil reforms. Until the 1920s, this period was called the "Aristocratic Republic", since most of the presidents that ruled the country were from the social elite.

During Augusto B. Leguía
Augusto B. Leguía
Augusto Bernardino Leguía y Salcedo was a Peruvian politician who twice occupied the Presidency of Peru, from 1908 to 1912 and from 1919 to 1930.-Early life:...

's periods in government (1908–1912 and 1919–1930, the latter known as the "Oncenio" (the "Eleventh"), the entrance of American capital became general and the bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

 was favored. This policy, along with increased dependence on foreign investment, focused opposition from the most progressive sectors of Peruvian society against the landowner oligarchy.

In 1929, Peru and Chile signed a final peace treaty, the Treaty of Lima
Treaty of Lima
The Treaty of Lima solved the dispute between Peru and Chile regarding the status of the Chilean administered territories of Tacna and Arica. According to the Treaty, the Tacna-Arica Territory was divided between both countries; Tacna being awarded to Peru and with Chile retaining sovereignty over...

 by which Tacna returned to Peru and Peru yielded permanently the formerly rich provinces of Arica and Tarapacá, but kept certain rights to the port activities in Arica and decisions of what Chile can do on those territories.

The alternation between democracy and militarism (1930–1979)


After the worldwide crisis of 1929, numerous brief governments followed one another. The APRA
American Popular Revolutionary Alliance
The Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana is a centre-left Peruvian political party.At the legislative elections held on 9 April 2006, the party won 22.6% of the popular vote and 36 out of 120 seats in the Congress of the Republic...

 party had the opportunity to cause system reforms by means of political actions, but it was not successful. This was a nationalistic movement, populist and anti-imperialist, headed by Victor Raul Haya de la Torre
Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre
Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre was a Peruvian political leader who founded the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance political movement.-Life:Haya de la Torre was born in the northern Peruvian city of Trujillo...

 in 1924. The Socialist Party of Peru, later the Peruvian Communist Party
Peruvian Communist Party
The Peruvian Communist Party is a communist party in Peru. It was founded in 1928 by José Carlos Mariátegui, under the name Partido Socialista del Perú . In 1930 the name was changed to PCP...

, was created four years later and it was led by Jose C. Mariategui
José Carlos Mariátegui
José Carlos Mariátegui La Chira was a Peruvian journalist, political philosopher, and activist. A prolific writer before his early death at age 35, he is considered one of the most influential Latin American socialists of the 20th century...

.

Repression was brutal in the early 1930s and tens of thousands of APRA followers (Apristas) were executed or imprisoned. This period was also characterized by a sudden population growth and an increase in urbanization. According to Alberto Flores Galindo, "By the 1940 census, the last that utilized racial categories, mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s were grouped with whites, and the two constituted more than 53 percent of the population. Mestizos likely outnumbered Indians and were the largest population group." During World War II, Peru was the first South American nation to align with the United States and its allies against Germany and Japan.

In the mid-20th century, Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre
Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre
Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre was a Peruvian political leader who founded the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance political movement.-Life:Haya de la Torre was born in the northern Peruvian city of Trujillo...

 (founder of the APRA), together with José Carlos Mariátegui
José Carlos Mariátegui
José Carlos Mariátegui La Chira was a Peruvian journalist, political philosopher, and activist. A prolific writer before his early death at age 35, he is considered one of the most influential Latin American socialists of the 20th century...

 (leader of the Peruvian Communist Party
Peruvian Communist Party
The Peruvian Communist Party is a communist party in Peru. It was founded in 1928 by José Carlos Mariátegui, under the name Partido Socialista del Perú . In 1930 the name was changed to PCP...

), were two major forces in Peruvian politics. Ideologically opposed, they both managed to create the first political parties that tackled the social and economic problems of the country. Although Mariátegui died at a young age, Haya de la Torre was twice elected president, but prevented by the military from taking office. During World War II, the country rounded up around 2,000 of its Japanese immigrant population and shipped them to the United States as part of the Japanese-American internment program.

President Bustamante y Rivero
José Bustamante y Rivero
José Luis Bustamante y Rivero was a lawyer, writer, politician, diplomat, President of Peru from 1945 to 1948 and President of the International Court of Justice in The Hague from 1967 to 1969.- Early years :...

 hoped to create a more democratic government by limiting the power of the military and the oligarchy. Elected with the cooperation of the APRA, conflict soon arose between the President and Haya de la Torre. Without the support of the APRA party, Bustamante y Rivero found his presidency severely limited. The President disbanded his Aprista cabinet and replaced it with a mostly military one. In 1948, Minister Manuel A. Odria
Manuel A. Odría
Manuel Arturo Odría Amoretti was the President of Peru from 1948 to 1956.Manuel Odría was born in 1897 in Tarma, a city in the central Andes just east of Lima. He graduated first in his class from the Chorillos Military Academy in 1915. He joined the army and as a lieutenant-colonel was a war...

 and other right-wing elements of the Cabinet urged Bustamante y Rivero to ban the APRA, but when the President refused, Odría resigned his post.

In a military coup on October 29, Gen. Manuel A. Odria
Manuel A. Odría
Manuel Arturo Odría Amoretti was the President of Peru from 1948 to 1956.Manuel Odría was born in 1897 in Tarma, a city in the central Andes just east of Lima. He graduated first in his class from the Chorillos Military Academy in 1915. He joined the army and as a lieutenant-colonel was a war...

 became the new President. Odría's presidency was known as the Ochenio. He came down hard on APRA, momentarily pleasing the oligarchy and all others on the right, but followed a populist
Populism
Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social...

 course that won him great favor with the poor and lower classes. A thriving economy allowed him to indulge in expensive but crowd-pleasing social policies. At the same time, however, civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

 were severely restricted and corruption
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

 was rampant throughout his régime.

It was feared that his dictatorship would run indefinitely, so it came as a surprise when Odría allowed new elections. During this time, Fernando Belaúnde Terry
Fernando Belaúnde Terry
Fernando Belaúnde Terry was President of Peru for two non-consecutive terms . Deposed by a military coup in 1968, he was re-elected in 1980 after eleven years of military rule...

 started his political career, and led the slate submitted by the National Front of Democratic Youth. After the National Election Board refused to accept his candidacy, he led a massive protest, and the striking image of Belaúnde walking with the flag was featured by newsmagazine Caretas
Caretas
Caretas is a weekly newsmagazine published in Lima, Peru, renowned for its investigative journalism. It was founded in October 1950 by Doris Gibson and Francisco Igartua....

the following day, in an article entitled "Así Nacen Los Lideres" ("Thus Are Leaders Born"). Belaúnde's 1956 candidacy was ultimately unsuccessful, as the dictatorship-favored right-wing candidacy of Manuel Prado Ugarteche
Manuel Prado Ugarteche
Manuel Prado y Ugarteche was a Peruvian banker and political figure. Son of former president, Mariano Ignacio Prado, he was born in Lima and served as the President of Peru twice, from 1939 until 1945 and again between 1956 and 1962...

 took first place.

Belaúnde ran for president once again in the National Elections of 1962, this time with his own party, Acción Popular (Popular Action). The results were very tight; he ended in second place, following Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre (APRA), by less than 14,000 votes. Since none of the candidates managed to get the Constitutionally-established minimum of one third of the vote required to win outright, selection of the President should have fallen to Congress; the long-held antagonistic relationship between the military and APRA prompted Haya de la Torre to make a deal with former dictator Odria, who had come in third, which would have resulted in Odria taking the Presidency in a coalition government.

However, widespread allegations of fraud prompted the Peruvian military to depose Prado and install a military junta, led by Ricardo Perez Godoy. Godoy ran a short transitional government and held new elections in 1963, which were won by Belaúnde by a more comfortable but still narrow five percent margin.

Throughout Latin America in the 1960s, communist movements inspired by the Cuban Revolution
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

 sought to win power through guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

. The Revolutionary Left Movement (Peru)
Revolutionary Left Movement (Peru)
Revolutionary Left Movement , was a Marxist group founded in Peru in 1962 by Luis de la Puente Uceda and his group APRA Rebelde, a splinter-group from the APRA which had rallied the government in the 1950s and 1960s...

, or MIR, launched an insurrection that had been crushed by 1965, but Peru's internal strife would only accelerate until its climax in the 1990s.

The military has been prominent in Peruvian history. Coups have repeatedly interrupted civilian constitutional government. The most recent period of military rule (1968–1980) began when General Juan Velasco Alvarado
Juan Velasco Alvarado
Juan Francisco Velasco Alvarado was a left-leaning Peruvian General who ruled Peru from 1968 to 1975 under the title of "President of the Revolutionary Government."- Early life :...

 overthrew elected President Fernando Belaúnde Terry
Fernando Belaúnde Terry
Fernando Belaúnde Terry was President of Peru for two non-consecutive terms . Deposed by a military coup in 1968, he was re-elected in 1980 after eleven years of military rule...

 of the Popular Action Party (AP). As part of what has been called the "first phase" of the military government's nationalist program, Velasco undertook an extensive agrarian reform program and nationalized the fish meal industry, some petroleum companies, and several banks and mining firms.

General Francisco Morales Bermúdez
Francisco Morales Bermúdez
Francisco Morales Bermúdez Cerruti is a Peruvian general who came to power in Peru in 1975 after deposing his predecessor, General Juan Velasco. His grandfather and all his original family were from the old Peruvian department of Tarapacá, which is now part of the Chilean territory...

 replaced Velasco in 1975, citing Velasco's economic mismanagement and deteriorating health. Morales Bermúdez moved the revolution into a more conservative "second phase", tempering the radical measures of the first phase and beginning the task of restoring the country's economy.
A Constitutional Assembly was created in 1979, which was led by Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre
Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre
Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre was a Peruvian political leader who founded the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance political movement.-Life:Haya de la Torre was born in the northern Peruvian city of Trujillo...

. Morales Bermúdez presided over the return to civilian government in accordance with a new constitution drawn up in 1979.

Democratic restoration and elections (1979–present day)


During the 1980s, cultivation of illicit coca was established in large areas on the eastern Andean slope. Rural insurgent movements, like the Shining Path
Shining Path
Shining Path is a Maoist guerrilla terrorist organization in Peru. The group never refers to itself as "Shining Path", and as several other Peruvian groups, prefers to be called the "Communist Party of Peru" or "PCP-SL" in short...

  (Sendero Luminoso, SL) and the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement
Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement
The Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement was a Marxist revolutionary group active in Peru from the early 1980s to 1997 and one of the main actors in the internal conflict in Peru...

 (MRTA) increased during this time and derived significant financial support from alliances with the narcotraffickers, leading to the Internal conflict in Peru
Internal conflict in Peru
It has been estimated that nearly 70,000 people died in the internal conflict in Peru that started in 1980 and, although still ongoing, had greatly wound down by 2000. The principal actors in the war were the Shining Path , the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement and the government of Peru.A great...

.

In the May 1980 elections, President Fernando Belaúnde Terry
Fernando Belaúnde Terry
Fernando Belaúnde Terry was President of Peru for two non-consecutive terms . Deposed by a military coup in 1968, he was re-elected in 1980 after eleven years of military rule...

 was returned to office by a strong plurality. One of his first actions as President was the return of several newspapers to their respective owners. In this way, freedom of speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

 once again played an important part in Peruvian politics. Gradually, he also attempted to undo some of the most radical effects of the Agrarian Reform initiated by Velasco, and reversed the independent stance that the Military Government of Velasco had with the United States.

Belaúnde's second term was also marked by the unconditional support for Argentine
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 forces during the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

 with the United Kingdom in 1982. Belaúnde declared that "Peru was ready to support Argentina with all the resources it needed." This included a number of fighter planes and possibly personnel from the Peruvian Air Force
Peruvian Air Force
The Peruvian Air Force is the branch of the Peruvian Armed Forces tasked with defending the nation and its interests through the use of air power...

, as well as ships, and medical teams. Belaunde's government proposed a peace settlement between the two countries, but it was rejected by both sides, as both claimed undiluted sovereignty of the territory. In response to Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

's support of the UK, Belaúnde called for Latin American unity.

The nagging economic problems left over from the previous military government persisted, worsened by an occurrence of the "El Niño" weather phenomenon in 1982–83, which caused widespread flooding in some parts of the country, severe droughts in others, and decimated the schools of ocean fish that are one of the country's major resources. After a promising beginning, Belaúnde's popularity eroded under the stress of inflation, economic hardship, and terrorism.
In 1985, the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance
American Popular Revolutionary Alliance
The Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana is a centre-left Peruvian political party.At the legislative elections held on 9 April 2006, the party won 22.6% of the popular vote and 36 out of 120 seats in the Congress of the Republic...

 (APRA) won the presidential election, bringing Alan García to office. The transfer of the presidency from Belaúnde to García on July 28, 1985, was Peru's first exchange of power from one democratically elected leader to another for the first time in 40 years.

With a parliamentary majority for the first time in APRA's history, Alan García started his administration with hopes for a better future. However, economic mismanagement led to hyperinflation
Hyperinflation
In economics, hyperinflation is inflation that is very high or out of control. While the real values of the specific economic items generally stay the same in terms of relatively stable foreign currencies, in hyperinflationary conditions the general price level within a specific economy increases...

 from 1988 to 1990. García's term in office was marked by bouts of hyperinflation, which reached 7,649% in 1990 and had a cumulative total of 2,200,200% between July 1985 and July 1990, thereby profoundly destabilizing the Peruvian economy.

Owing to such chronic inflation, the Peruvian currency, the sol
Peruvian sol
The sol, was the currency of Peru between 1863 and 1985. It had the ISO 4217 currency code PEH. It was subdivided into 10 dineros or 100 centavos.-History:...

, was replaced by the Inti in mid-1985, which itself was replaced the nuevo sol
Peruvian nuevo sol
The nuevo sol plural: nuevos soles; currency sign: S/.) is the currency of Peru. It is subdivided into 100 cents, called céntimos in Spanish. The ISO 4217 currency code is PEN. It is most commonly referred to just as sol...

 ("new sun") in July 1991, at which time the new sol had a cumulative value of one billion old soles. During his administration, the per capita annual income of Peruvians fell to $720 (below the level of 1960) and Peru's Gross Domestic Product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 dropped 20%. By the end of his term, national reserves were a negative $900 million.

The economic turbulence of the time acerbated social tensions in Peru and partly contributed to the rise of the violent rebel movement Shining Path
Shining Path
Shining Path is a Maoist guerrilla terrorist organization in Peru. The group never refers to itself as "Shining Path", and as several other Peruvian groups, prefers to be called the "Communist Party of Peru" or "PCP-SL" in short...

. The García administration unsuccessfully sought a military solution to the growing terrorism, committing human rights violations which are still under investigation.

Concerned about the economy, the increasing terrorist threat from Sendero Luminoso and MRTA, and allegations of official corruption, voters chose a relatively unknown mathematician-turned-politician, Alberto Fujimori
Alberto Fujimori
Alberto Fujimori Fujimori served as President of Peru from 28 July 1990 to 17 November 2000. A controversial figure, Fujimori has been credited with the creation of Fujimorism, uprooting terrorism in Peru and restoring its macroeconomic stability, though his methods have drawn charges of...

, as president in 1990. The first round of the election was won by well-known writer Mario Vargas Llosa
Mario Vargas Llosa
Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa, 1st Marquis of Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian-Spanish writer, politician, journalist, essayist, and Nobel Prize laureate. Vargas Llosa is one of Latin America's most significant novelists and essayists, and one of the leading authors of his generation...

, a conservative candidate who went on to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010, but Fujimori defeated him in the second round. Fujimori implemented drastic measures that caused inflation to drop from 7,650% in 1990 to 139% in 1991. Faced with opposition to his reform efforts, Fujimori dissolved Congress in the auto-golpe of April 5, 1992. He then revised the constitution; called new congressional elections; and implemented substantial economic reform, including privatization of numerous state-owned companies, creation of an investment-friendly climate, and sound management of the economy.

Fujimori's administration was dogged by several insurgent groups, most notably Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), which carried on a terrorist campaign in the countryside throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He cracked down on the insurgents and was successful in largely quelling them by the late 1990s, but the fight was marred by atrocities committed by the both Peruvian security forces and the insurgents: the Barrios Altos massacre
Barrios Altos massacre
The Barrios Altos massacre took place on 3 November 1991, in the Barrios Altos neighborhood of Lima, Peru. Fifteen people, including an eight-year-old child, were killed, and four more injured, by assailants who were later determined to be members of Grupo Colina, a death squad made up of members...

 and La Cantuta massacre
La Cantuta massacre
The La Cantuta massacre, in which a university professor and nine students from Lima's La Cantuta University were abducted by a military death squad and "disappeared", took place in Peru on 18 July 1992 during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori...

 by Government paramilitary groups, and the bombings of Tarata
Tarata bombing
The Tarata bombing was a terrorist attack in Lima, Peru, on July 16, 1992, by the Shining Path guerrilla group. The blast was the deadliest Shining Path bombing during the Internal conflict in Peru and was part of a larger bombing campaign in the city....

 and Frecuencia Latina
Frecuencia Latina bombing
The Frecuencia Latina bombing was a terrorist attack in Peru in June 1992 against Frecuencia Latina, a private television network. Shining Path insurgents attacked the network installations, killing three people.-See also:*List of terrorist incidents, 1992...

 by Shining Path
Shining Path
Shining Path is a Maoist guerrilla terrorist organization in Peru. The group never refers to itself as "Shining Path", and as several other Peruvian groups, prefers to be called the "Communist Party of Peru" or "PCP-SL" in short...

. Those examples subsequently came to be seen as symbols of the human rights violations committed during the last years of violence. With the capture of Abimael Guzmán
Abimael Guzmán
Manuel Rubén Abimael Guzmán Reynoso , also known by the nom de guerre Presidente Gonzalo , a former professor of philosophy, was the leader of the Shining Path during the Maoist insurgency known as the internal conflict in Peru...

 (known as President Gonzalo) in September 1992, the Shining Path received a severe blow which practically destroyed the organization.

In December 1996, a group of insurgents belonging to the MRTA
MRTA
MRTA stands for:* Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement of Peru * Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand...

 took over the Japanese embassy in Lima
Japanese embassy hostage crisis
The Japanese embassy hostage crisis began on 17 December 1996 in Lima, Peru, when 14 members of the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement took hostage hundreds of high-level diplomats, government and military officials and business executives who were attending a party at the official residence of...

, taking 72 people hostage. Military commandos stormed the embassy compound in May 1997, which resulted in the death of all 15 hostage takers, one hostage, and 2 commandos. It later emerged, however, that Fujimori's security chief Vladimiro Montesinos
Vladimiro Montesinos
Vladimiro Ilyich Montesinos Torres was the long-standing head of Peru's intelligence service, Servicio de Inteligencia Nacional , under President Alberto Fujimori. In 2000, secret videos, which he had recorded, were televised that showed his bribing an elected congressman to leave the opposition...

 may have ordered the killing of at least eight of the rebels after they surrendered.

Fujimori's constitutionally questionable decision to seek a third term and subsequent tainted victory in June 2000 brought political and economic turmoil. A bribery scandal that broke just weeks after he took office in July forced Fujimori to call new elections in which he would not run. The scandal involved Vladimiro Montesinos, who was shown in a video broadcast on TV bribing a politician to change sides. Montesinos subsequently emerged as the center a vast web of illegal activities, including embezzlement, graft, drug trafficking, as well as human rights violations committed during the war against Sendero Luminoso.

In November 2000, Fujimori resigned from office and went to Japan in self-imposed exile, avoiding prosecution for human rights violations and corruption charges by the new Peruvian authorities. His main intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos
Vladimiro Montesinos
Vladimiro Ilyich Montesinos Torres was the long-standing head of Peru's intelligence service, Servicio de Inteligencia Nacional , under President Alberto Fujimori. In 2000, secret videos, which he had recorded, were televised that showed his bribing an elected congressman to leave the opposition...

, fled Peru shortly afterwards. Authorities in Venezuela arrested him in Caracas in June 2001 and turned him over to Peruvian authorities; he is now imprisoned and charged with acts of corruption and human rights violations committed during Fujimori's administration.

A caretaker government presided over by Valentín Paniagua took on the responsibility of conducting new presidential and congressional elections. The elections were held in April 2001; observers considered them to be free and fair. Alejandro Toledo
Alejandro Toledo
Alejandro Celestino Toledo Manrique is a politician who was President of Peru from 2001 to 2006. He was elected in April 2001, defeating former President Alan García...

 (who led the opposition against Fujimori) defeated former President Alan García.

The newly elected government took office on July 28, 2001. The Toledo Administration managed to restore some degree of democracy to Peru following the authoritarianism and corruption that plagued both the Fujimori and García governments. Innocents wrongfully tried by military courts during the war against terrorism (1980–2000) were allowed to receive new trials in civilian courts.

On August 28, 2003, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Peru)
The Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in 2001 after the fall of president Alberto Fujimori, to examine abuses committed during the 1980s and 1990s, when Peru was plagued by the worst political violence in the history of the republic...

 (CVR), which had been charged with studying the roots of the violence of the 1980–2000 period, presented its formal report to the President.

President Toledo was forced to make a number of cabinet changes, mostly in response to personal scandals. Toledo's governing coalition had a minority of seats in Congress and had to negotiate on an ad hoc
Ad hoc
Ad hoc is a Latin phrase meaning "for this". It generally signifies a solution designed for a specific problem or task, non-generalizable, and not intended to be able to be adapted to other purposes. Compare A priori....

 basis with other parties to form majorities on legislative proposals. Toledo's popularity in the polls suffered throughout the last years of his regime, due in part to family scandals and in part to dissatisfaction amongst workers with their share of benefits from Peru's macroeconomic success. After strikes by teachers and agricultural producers led to nationwide road blockages in May 2003, Toledo declared a state of emergency that suspended some civil liberties and gave the military power to enforce order in 12 regions. The state of emergency was later reduced to only the few areas where the Shining Path was operating.

On July 28, 2006 former president Alan García became the current President of Peru. He won the 2006 elections after winning in a runoff against Ollanta Humala
Ollanta Humala
Ollanta Moisés Humala Tasso is a Peruvian politician and the President of Peru. Humala, who previously served as an army officer, lost the presidential election in 2006 but won the 2011 presidential election in a run-off vote...

.

In May 2008, President García was a signatory to the The UNASUR Constitutive Treaty of the Union of South American Nations. Peru has ratified the treaty.

On June 5, 2011, Ollanta Humala was elected President in a run-off against Keiko Fujimori
Keiko Fujimori
Keiko Sofía Fujimori Higuchi is a Peruvian Fujimorista politician, daughter of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori and Susana Higuchi. She served as First Lady, from 1994 to 2000, after her parents divorced, becoming the youngest First Lady in the history of the Americas...

, the daughter of Alberto Fujimori and former First Lady
First Lady
First Lady or First Gentlemanis the unofficial title used in some countries for the spouse of an elected head of state.It is not normally used to refer to the spouse or partner of a prime minister; the husband or wife of the British Prime Minister is usually informally referred to as prime...

 of Peru, in the 2011 elections, making him the first leftist president of Peru since Juan Velasco Alvarado
Juan Velasco Alvarado
Juan Francisco Velasco Alvarado was a left-leaning Peruvian General who ruled Peru from 1968 to 1975 under the title of "President of the Revolutionary Government."- Early life :...

.

See also

  • History of the Americas
    History of the Americas
    The history of the Americas is the collective history of the American landmass, which includes North and South America, as well as Central America and the Caribbean. It begins with people migrating to these areas from Asia during the height of an Ice Age...

  • History of Latin America
    History of Latin America
    Latin America refers to countries in the Americas where Romance languages are spoken. This definition, however, is not meant to include Canada, in spite of its large French-speaking population....

  • History of South America
    History of South America
    The history of South America is the study of the past, particularly the written record, oral histories, and traditions, passed down from generation to generation on the continent in the Earth's western hemisphere and southern hemisphere. South America has a history that spans a wide range of human...

  • List of Presidents of Peru
  • Politics of Peru
    Politics of Peru
    Politics of the Republic of Peru takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Peru is both head of state and head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is...

  • Spanish colonization of the Americas
    Spanish colonization of the Americas
    Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

  • Timeline of Peruvian history
    Timeline of Peruvian history
    This is a timeline of Peruvian history. To read about the background to these events, see History of Peru.This timeline is incomplete; some important events may be missing...


Further reading

  • Bonilla, Heraclio. "The New Profile of Peruvian History", Latin American Research Review Vol. 16, No. 3 (1981), pp. 210–224 in JSTOR
  • Jacobsen, Nils. Mirages of Transition: The Peruvian Altiplano, 1780-1930 (1996)
  • Keith, Robert G. Conquest and Agrarian Change: The Emergence of the Hacienda System on the Peruvian Coast (1979)
  • Means, Philip Ainsworth. Fall of the Inca Empire and the Spanish Rule in Peru: 1530-1780 (1933)
  • Miller, Rory. Region and Class in Modern Peruvian History (1987)
  • Pike, Frederick B. The Modern History of Peru (1967)
  • Thurner, Mark. History's Peru: The Poetics of Colonial and Postcolonial Historiography (University Press of Florida; 2010) 302 pages; a study of Peruvian historiography from Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (1539–1616) to Jorge Basadre (1903–80).

External links