Travels in Peru:

Amazing Andes (12 days)
Cross-Country biking in the Cordillera Blanca

Inca Trail (11 days)
Cross-country biking in Peru

Quick Facts:


Official Name:

Republic of Peru (República del Perú)




1,285,220 km² / 496,222 sq mi


Official langugage: Spanish. Quechua, Aymara and other indigenous languages are co-official in the areas where they are predominant.


Nuevo Sol (PEN)

Population figure:

July 2007 estimate: 28,674,757


Peru is a multiethnic nation formed by the combination of different ethnic groups over five centuries. These include Indios, Spanish, African, English, Italian, French, German among others.


89% Catholics, 6.7% Evangelicals, 2.6% of other denominations

Government type:

Presidential representative democratic republic


The oldest archaeological site in Andean Peru is that of Caral, dated to around 3,200 BC. Several different cultures evolved, before in the 15th-century, the Incas emerged as a powerful state. In 1532, a group of conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro defeated Inca Emperor Atahualpa and imposed Spanish domination. In 1542 the Spanish Crown established the Viceroyalty of Peru with jurisdiction over most of its dependencies in South America. The country was reorganized in the 1570s under the leadership of Viceroy Francisco de Toledo with silver mining as the basic economic activity and Indian forced labor as the primary workforce. Bullion produced this way provided considerable revenues for the Spanish Crown and fueled a complex trade network controlled by merchants from Lima which extended to Europe and other parts of the world. By the 18th-century, Royal income from silver production had diminished considerably due to widespread smuggling and tax evasion. Taxes were increased and the viceroyalty was partitioned in order to create the viceroyalties of Nueva Granada and R?o de la Plata. The new laws alienated various social groups and provoked revolts, but all of them were defeated. Independence was proclaimed by Jos? de San Mart?n in 1821. During the mid-19th century, Peru enjoyed several years of stability. Per? was defeated by Chile in the War of the Pacific and lost parts of its territory. Economical depressions and military coups were problems Peru had to face in the 20th century.

Geography and climate

The Andes mountain range runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean, dividing the country in three geographic regions. The costa (coast), to the west, is a narrow plain most of which is arid except for a number of valleys created by seasonal rivers. The sierra (highlands) comprises the Andes themselves, its territory combines massifs, canyons and plateaus. It includes the highest point of the country, Huascar?n mountain at 6,768 meters above sea level, as well as the Altiplano plateau. The selva (jungle), to the east, is a wide expanse of flat terrain covered by the Amazon rainforest extending up to the border with Brazil. Nearly 60% of national territory is in this region. Climate is influenced by proximity to the Equator, the presence of the Andes and the cold waters of the Humboldt Current. The combination of this factors make for a wide climate diversity ranging from the dryness of the coast to the extreme cold of mountain peaks to the heavy rainfall of the Amazon Basin. The varied geography and climate of Peru account for its high biodiversity with 21,462 species of plants and animals reported, 5,855 of them endemic. For their preservation, the Government has established several protected areas.

This article is partly based on a free article of the encyclopaedia Wikipedia and is subject to GNU-licence for free documentation. A list of authors is available on Wikipedia


Intakt-Reisen GmbH & Co. KG