Peru (Spanish: Perú; Quechua and Aymara: Piruw), officially the Republic of Peru (Spanish: República del Perú), is a country on the west coast of South America. It is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east by Peru, Bolivia to the southeast, Chile to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
For the main article on this topic, see History of Peru.
Before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, Peru was the heart of the Inca empire, of which Cuzco was the capital. Between the conquest in 1572 and independence in 1821, the country was governed by Spain. From that time on, Peru was governed alternately by military and civilian governments. Dictators and democratic governments also alternated.
Between 1836 and 1839 Peru formed a confederation with Bolivia. From 1864 to 1866, Peru waged war with Spain over the Peruvian guano islands (the Ballestas Islands). Spain had occupied one of these islands, but Peru did not agree. Peru won in this war, thanks in part to the help of Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile.
Peru waged a war with Bolivia against Chile between 1879 and 1883, the so-called Saltpeter War. Chile invaded the coastal strip of Peru and occupied the desert, where a lot of precious salt could be found. Peru lost this war and had to cede two provinces to Chile.
From 1980 to 1992, the Peruvian population suffered from the violent actions of the Maoist terrorist movement Shining Path, which aimed to overthrow the existing order. The brutal arbitrariness that accompanied this has cost the lives of at least 30,000 people and caused an estimated 29.5 billion euros in material damage. The Shining Path manifestation was the biggest drag on Peru's development in the twentieth century, until the leadership was imprisoned in 1992.
Peru has three landscape forms. The first is the Amazon lowland, La selva. High temperatures (above 23 °C) and a lot of precipitation prevail in the tropical rainforest. The rainforest is divided into lowlands below 700 meters and cloud forest from 700 meters. The cloud forest has a subtropical climate with heavy rainfall from November to March. In the summer months the rainforest has the most sun. The selva occupies about half the area of the country, but less than 10% of the population lives here.
In the lowlands there are two different seasons. First of all, there is the dry season (from April to October), with temperatures above 35°C. During these months, the water level of the rivers drops and the roads are in reasonable condition. The rainy season runs from November to March. During this period it rains hard at least once a day. The muddy roads make overland travel difficult in these areas.
The second landscape form is La costa, the coastal area. La costa consists mainly of stone and sandy desert (the Atacama) and is sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the foothills of the Andes. It is cool (average 14 °C), except in the north. The hottest months are December, January and February. It almost never rains there. From May to mid-September there is a persistent fog (garúa) which makes it impossible to swim. Because the Humboldt Current (or Peru Current), a cold sea current in the Pacific Ocean, cools the water strongly. The coastline is 2000 km long, from Chile to Ecuador.
Due to urbanization - and especially the growth of the population of the capital Lima - about half of the country's population lives there. Agriculture can only be practiced in the valleys of the Andean rivers, where irrigation is possible.
The Sierra near Cuzco
Finally, there is La sierra, the mountainous country between the coastal strip and the jungle. It has an inaccessible relief with low or relatively low temperatures. Nevertheless, the majority of the population lived here from time immemorial. This has become less due to urbanization, but the area is still home to about 40% of all Peruvians, the vast majority of whom are Indian. Here the warmest months are also the rainy months: December to April. The Highlands of Bolivia are the second highest plain in the world after the Tibetan Highlands. There is also Lake Titicaca. The rainy season is between December and March. Peru has a total of 37 mountain peaks that cross the border of 6000 meters. The highest is the Nevado Huascarán (6768 m).
The Amazon River rises in the Peruvian Andes and flows into Northern Brazil. The river is about 6000 km long, 713 km of which is in Peru. The catchment area extends over an area of six million square kilometers. The rivers with the longest length within Peru are the Ucayali (1771 km), the Marañón (1414 km) and the Putumayo (1380 km). Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world at 3812 m and with an area of 8340 km², it is the second largest lake in South America after Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. The border with Bolivia runs right through the lake. Other large lakes in Peru are Lake Junín and Lake Parón.
Peru has a number of volcanoes. The main volcanoes in Peru are the Ampato, the Misti, the Ubinas, the Coropuna, the Chachani and the Sabancaya.
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