Peru Children’s Encyclopedia

By | December 21, 2021

Wealth, but only from export

After the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire, for centuries Peru was considered the richest country on earth: it produced silver, gold and other metals, precious woods, very fine wool. But these natural riches, today as then, are largely exported and enjoyed in other countries, and Peru is struggling to start a solid development, also hampered by geographical conditions

Three countries

The territory of Peru is formed by a strip between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes, with a very hot and arid climate, but important for fishing and very populous (here is the capital Lima); from an Andean region – the highest peak is Nevado Huascarán, 6,768 m – with a subequatorial climate mitigated by the altitude, where there are few arable lands and vast mineral resources (silver and other metals) and where the Inca monuments standwhich attract international tourism; and finally a portion of the Amazon rainforest, to the east, with a hot-humid climate, sparsely inhabited and rich in oil. The Amazon River originates on the eastern side of the Andes like many of its tributaries, and from the city of Iquitos you can sail to the Atlantic Ocean. Inland navigation is highly developed, including on Lake Titicaca. Links between the three regions are difficult and economic integration is poor.

The population, half made up of Indios who speak languages ​​such as Quechua and Aymara, does not have good living conditions: one in two Peruvians is considered poor.

Lots of history

Home to ancient settlements, the territory of present-day Peru was subdued in the 15th century by the Incas, who created a vast empire. Their dominion was destroyed within a few years by the Spanish conquest, initiated by Francisco Pizarro in 1532. In the throes of the conquistadors, the country was restored to order by the Crown in the 1770s. Rich in mineral resources, it became the scene of a systematic exploitation of the Indians, reduced to a servile state. Between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Peru entered a phase of decline, to which the depletion of deposits and the drastic decline of a population decimated by inhumane living and working conditions and disease contributed. For Peru history, please check

In 1821 José de San Martín proclaimed the independence of the country, leaving the leadership to Simón Bolívar who remained there until 1826. Since then, for almost half a century it was the military who ruled Peru. In the 1980s, a massive penetration of foreign capital began, primarily from the United States, which exercised a growing influence on internal balances. Between the early years of the twentieth century and the end of the thirties, Peru was subjected to civil and then military dictatorships, which were opposed by the American People’s Revolutionary Alliance (APRA), which became one of the main political forces in the country.

In the second half of the twentieth century, Peru saw conservative forces, military juntas, moderate and democratic groups, reforming and nationalist generals take turns in government, through elections but also repeated coups d’état. All against the backdrop of sharp social conflicts and the development of a strong guerrilla movement and terrorism. In the nineties the country found relative stability with Alberto Fujimori, who inaugurated a neoliberal policy which, at least in economic terms, gave important results. Accused of corruption and heavily contested, Fujimori withdrew from political life in 2000. The 2001 elections brought Alejandro Toledo to the government.

Peru history