The Republic of Peru
Peru is legendary among world travellers looking for exciting new experiences. Stunningly endowed in both natural and man-made attractions, the country offers much more than most trips can even hope to take in…
National name: República del Perú
President: Ollanta Humala (2011)
Prime Minister: Rosario Fernandez (2011)
Area: 496,222 sq. mi.
Population: 29,164,883 (2009)
Capital and largest city: Lima: 7,600,000
Other large cities: Arequipa, 939,800; Callao, 648,000; Trujillo, 1,287,000; Chiclayo, 951,000
Monetary unit: Nuevo Sol
Languages: Spanish, Quéchua, Aymara, and other native languages
Ethnicity/race: Indian 45%, mestizo (mixed Indian and European ancestry) 37%, white 15%, black, Japanese, Chinese, and other 3%
Religion: Roman Catholic
Literacy rate: 85%
Peruvian Economic Summary
GDP/PPP (2009 est.): $130.8 billion; $4,469 per capita. Real growth rate: 1.8%
Inflation: 3.35% (2011)
Arable land: 3%.
Agriculture: coffee, cotton, sugarcane, rice, wheat, potatoes, plantains, coca; poultry, beef, dairy products, wool, fish
Labour force: 7.6 million (1996 est.); agriculture, mining and quarrying, manufacturing, construction, transport, services.
Industries: mining of metals, petroleum, fishing, textiles, clothing, food processing, cement, auto assembly, steel, shipbuilding, metal fabrication
Natural resources: copper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash.
Exports: $14.4 billion (f.o.b., 2011): copper, zinc, fishmeal, crude petroleum and byproducts, lead, refined silver, coffee, cotton
Imports: $10.3 billion (c.i.f., 1997): machinery, transport equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum, iron and steel, chemicals, pharmaceuticals.
Major trading partners: U.S, Japan, U.K., China, Germany, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela
Geography of Peru
Peru is the third largest country in South America. It has an area of 1,285, 215 Km2. It borders to the north with Ecuador and Colombia, to the south with Chile, to the east with Brazil and Bolivia and to the west with the Pacific Ocean. It is divided into 3 well-defined regions that go from north to south. La Cordillera de los Andes crosses along Peru. It hides an important part of the Pre-Columbian mysteries of the past. The Coast is a desertic fringe with a warm weather. It is approximately 3 000 km long. Several rivers go along the Coast (around 50). These rivers form fertile valleys where the main cities are settled. In this region, we can find important cities such as: Lima, Trujillo and Arequipa. The Coast has the greatest economic activity of the country. The main exporting industries are located in this region. Although it is mainly desertic, the main valleys are quite fertile. Cotton, sugarcane and grapes are the most important plantations that later will become exporting products for Peru. Fishing is also a very important activiy in this country. It generates a high percentage of the exportation incomes of the country. The Pacific Ocean is rich in sea resources and this is well-exploited by the exporters. The Highlands is the territory of Cordillera de Los Andes. Located between the Coast and the Jungle. This region has an approximate height of 3000 m.a.s.l. It has an astonishing beauty and it is made up by several snow capped mountains and through them rivers run irrigating great valleys. The scenery, in this region, is really spectacular. Its topography is ideal to practice different adventure tourist activities. The Jungle is the richest region in biological resources in Peru and maybe in the world . It covers 2/3 of Peru. It is mainly made up by a dense vegetation and an abundant population of animal life. This region has a great appealing for the ecologists around the world.
History of Peru
Peru was once part of the great Incan empire and later the major vice-royalty of Spanish South America. It was conquered in 1531–33 by Francisco Pizarro. On July 28, 1821, Peru proclaimed its independence, but the Spanish were not finally defeated until 1824. For a hundred years thereafter, revolutions were frequent; a new war was fought with Spain in 1864–66, and unsuccessful war was fought with Chile from 1879 to 1883 (the War of the Pacific).
Peru emerged from 20 years of dictatorship in 1945 with the inauguration of President José Luis Bustamente y Rivero after the first free election in many decades. But he served for only three years and was succeeded in turn by Gen. Manual A. Odria, Manuel Prado y Ugarteche, and Fernando Belaúnde Terry. On Oct. 3, 1968, Belaúnde was overthrown by Gen. Juan Velasco Alvarado. Velasco nationalized the nation’s second-biggest bank and turned two large newspapers over to Marxists in 1970, but he also allowed a new agreement with a copper-mining consortium of four American firms. In 1975, Velasco was replaced in a bloodless coup by his premier, Gen. Francisco Morales Bermudez, who promised to restore civilian government. In elections held on May 18, 1980, Belaúnde Terry, the last previous civilian president and the candidate of the conservative parties that have traditionally ruled Peru, was elected president again.
Peru’s fragile democracy survived this period of stress. In 1985, Belaúnde Terry was the first elected president to turn over power to a constitutionally elected successor since 1945. Alberto Fujimori won the 1990 elections. Citing continuing terrorism, drug trafficking, and corruption, Fujimori in April 1992 dissolved Congress, suspended the constitution, and imposed censorship. A new constitution was approved in 1993. In Jan. 1995 fighting flared once again along part of the disputed border with Ecuador, as it had in 1941 and 1981. In April, President Fujimori was reelected, and his party (Change 90–New Majority) obtained a majority in the legislature.
In Dec. 1996, Tupac Amaru rebels seized control of the diplomatic compound of the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Lima, holding 72 hostages. The standoff continued until April when government forces successfully stormed the residence, freeing the hostages. In the months that followed Fujimori came under fire for his increasingly authoritarian style. In 1997, the disastrous effects of El Niño caused the failure of the fish harvest and a severe drought in Peru. In May 1999, the presidents of Ecuador and Peru signed a treaty ending the nearly 60-year border dispute involving a stretch of Amazon jungle. The two countries have fought three wars and numerous smaller skirmishes over the border.
Peru is a country with a great variety of climates. Its geography, specially the imponent “Cordillera de los Andes” makes it possible to find very extreme and varied climates. In Peru seasons are opposite to those of Europe.
Summer starts in December and runs through till April. Winter runs from June to September. In the coast we can find temperatures that range from 12°C during winter up to 24°C during summer. November through May are the warmest months, with the rest of the year cooler. From May through November Lima becomes cloudy and foggy, with very slight precipitations of rain called “garúa “. If you are going to travel by the coast during the summer, light clothing is recommended. During the winter the best options are jumpers and coats, since in the winter the temperature is generally cool.
In the HIGHLANDS, temperature varies between 10°C and 16°C. In the seasons of strong rains (December to March), it is better not to travel by land because of the danger of the “huaycos” mud slides, precipitations of water and mud that can devastate whole towns. In the MOUNTAINS, temperature varies extremely from day to night. The climate in this region is usually dry. In order to travel in the MOUNTAINS it is recommended to bring light clothing for the day and warm clothing for cold nights.
In the JUNGLE we find that the climate is more uniform with temperatures that vary from 22°C to 26°C. and heavy rains are characteristic of this region throughout the year. The climate is generally is humid and warm. In order to travel in this area, very light and impermeable clothing, for heavy rains are recommended.