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Peru has a long and fascinating history, with human habitation dating back to as early as the eighth millennium B.C., and several distinct Peruvian cultures emerging by 1500 B.C.



History and Politics

The Inca Empire was the most prominent pre-colonial civilization. What began as a small community in the Cusco Valley in the mid-1400s, had expanded into an empire stretching from Colombia down to Argentina within the century. However, when the Spanish arrived in the mid-1500s, a civil war between two Inca rulers had just ended, and the empire was not as strong as it had been.

The Spanish easily conquered the northern areas and continued down to Cusco. Although the Inca civilization put up a strong fight, the Spanish eventually conquered their lands, forcing them to retreat. In addition to the fighting, the Spanish also brought with them a myriad of European diseases that decimated the Inca population. However, they left behind an incredible archaeological legacy.


Population: 32.5 million (2019 est.), 42nd largest population in the world

Total area: 1,285,216 sq km. Peru is a large country, in the top 20 in the world,

GDP (official exchange rate): $225.2 billion (2018 est.)

Landscape and culture

Peru is a large country, in the top 20 in the world, with an incredible variety of landscapes. It sits in the western part of South America and shares its borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and the Pacific Ocean. Travelers can visit beautiful beaches on the northern Pacific coast, hike through snow-capped mountains, visit one of the deepest canyons in the world, and venture into the wonders of the Amazon rainforest.

These incredible landscapes are enhanced by the interesting cultures of Peru’s local people. The Quechua and Aymara people are the two main indigenous cultures of Peru. They speak their native languages and have preserved their cultures so that travelers who visit Peru will see how these locals live during their day to day lives. 

Visitors to Peru will also be delighted with Peruvian cuisine, which is becoming world famous. The diverse mix of cultures has created a delicious and diverse cuisine including the fresh flavours of ceviche, cuy (guinea pig) in the Andes, tasty soups made from locally grown quinoa, potatoes and corn, and rich coffee and chocolate.