Peru: what to know?

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Peru is a South American country with borders with several other countries and the Pacific Ocean. It is home to the Amazon and Lake Titicaca. The population is diverse, with Spanish and Quechua as official languages. The economy relies on natural resources and agriculture. Peru has a rich history, including the Inca empire and a struggle for independence from Spain. The country has experienced political turmoil, including a Maoist guerrilla group, but has since returned to democracy.

Peru is the third largest South American country, bordered to the west by the South Pacific Ocean and sharing borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile. Peru is the source of the Amazon, the river that carries the most water any other. The Amazon begins in Iquitos at the intersection of Rio Ucayali and Rio Marañón. Peru shares Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, with Bolivia.

The estimated population of Peru in the summer of 2007 was 28,64,757, the fifth largest in South America. The population is 45% Amerindian, 37% mestizo (a mix of Amerindian and white), and 15% white. The official languages ​​are Spanish and Quechua, the language of the Inca empire. XNUMX% of the population is Roman Catholic.

The largest city in Peru is the capital, Lima with 8,180,000 in the greater metropolitan area. Arequipa and Truijillo are the second and third largest with populations of 837,300 and 725,200 respectively.

With less than 3% of land available for agriculture, Peru looks to its natural resources, such as ore, oil, timber, natural gas, and fish, to serve its economy. Textiles and agricultural products such as coffee and asparagus also play a role,

Peru was home to the Inca empire, one of the major civilizations of South and Central America before the Spanish conquests. The Inca empire was centered in Cuzco, Peru and was ruled by an emperor, and is known today by the city of Machu Picchu. Francisco Pizarro led the Spanish conquest in 1532, befriending and then killing Emperor Atahualpa.

The Peruvian independence movement was led by José de San Martin and Simón Bolivar. Peru’s independence from Spain was declared in 1821 and won in 1824. The day of the declaration, July 28, 1821, is celebrated in Peru as National Independence Day. After a turbulent century – which included a long dictatorship – a president was elected in 1945. But subsequent years included military takeovers and coups.

Shining Path, a Maoist guerrilla organization, entered the scene in 1980, attempting to overthrow the Peruvian government. Nearly 70,000 died in clashes between this rebel group, another group – Tupac Amaru, and the government over the next two decades. If actress Cameron Diaz had read a little Peruvian history, she wouldn’t have shown up in Peru in June 2007 with a hip bag emblazoned with a Maoist quote.
Democracy returned, and by September of 1992, The Shining Path was well on its way to becoming history. But scandals and other problems continued to plague the presidency. In 2007, the president was Alan Garcia, who also held the position in 1985-1990.

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