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History of Peru

Sited in the central and western portion of South America, Peru is bordered by both Ecuador and Colombia to the north; Brazil and Bolivia to the east; and with Chile to the south—with the Pacific Ocean to the west.


  • Area: 1.28 million sq. km. (496,225 sq. mi.)
    Being the third-largest country in South America, Peru is roughly five times larger than the United Kingdom, and four times bigger than Italy.
  • Capital, and the largest city in Peru: Lima (8.5 million in the metropolitan area)
  • Major cities, in order of population: Arequipa (836,859), Chiclayo (757,452), Trujillo (751,960), Iquitos (452,757), Piura (450,363), Chimbote (423,381), Cusco (420,030), Huancayo (336,054), Tacna (298,044).
  • Terrain: Arid coastal plains to the west; rugged Andean mountains in the central region; with lowlands to the east, and tropical forests comprising the Amazon basin.
  • Climate: Costal areas, mild and arid; in the Andes, it ranges from temperate to frigid; in jungle lowlands, humid and warm (of course).


  • Nationality: Peruvian
  • Ethnic groups: Indigenous: 45%; mixed background (“mestizo”): 37%; European: 15%; African, Japanese, Chinese, and other: 3%
  • Population (2011): 29.8 million (30% of whom live in the metropolitan area of Lima-Callao)
  • Annual population growth rate (2011): 1.14%
  • Religions: Roman Catholic: 81%; other: 19%
  • Languages: Principal language: Spanish, although Quechua, Aymara, and other indigenous languages have official status, too.
  • Education: Years compulsory: 11. Attendance, by age: 6–11, 92%; 12–16, 66%. Literacy rate: in urban areas: 96%; in rural areas: 80%.
  • Health: Life expectancy (as of 2007): Males – 68 years; Females – 72 years.


  • Type: Constitutional republic
  • President: Ollanta Humala (July, 2011)
  • Independence: July 28, 1821
  • Constitution: December 31, 1993
  • Executives: President, two vice presidents, and a Council of Ministers led by a president of the Council of Ministers (prime minister)
  • Administrative divisions: 25 regions (sometimes called departments), subdivided into 195 provinces and 1,834 districts
  • Political parties: Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana (APRA), Popular Christian Party (PPC), Peruvian Nationalist Party (PNP), Peru Posible (PP), Popular Action (AP), National Solidarity (SN), Union for Peru (UPP), Somos Peru (SP), National Restoration (RN), and Force 2011
  • Right to vote: Universal and mandatory for citizens, 18 to 70 years of age


  • GDP (2010): US$154 billion
  • Annual growth rate: 8.8% in 2010; 6.9% in 2011; 5% in 2012 (anticipated growth rate)
  • Per capita GDP (2010): $5,224
  • Natural resources: Copper, gold, silver, zinc, lead, iron ore, fish, petroleum, natural gas, and forestry
  • Manufacturing (2010): 15.0% of GDP. Types: food and beverages, textiles and apparel, nonferrous and precious metals, non-metallic minerals, petroleum refining, paper, chemicals, iron and steel, fishmeal, footwear, chemicals, paper, machinery, furniture.
  • Agriculture (2010): 7.5% of GDP. Products: coffee, cotton, asparagus, paprika, artichokes, sugarcane, potatoes, rice, banana, maize, poultry, milk, fruits, others.
  • Other sectors, by percentage of GDP (2010): Services (55.6%), mining (6.2%), construction (6.7%), fisheries (0.3%)
  • Trade (2010 Government of Peru customs statistics): Exports: US$35 billion: gold, copper, fishmeal, petroleum, zinc, textiles, apparel, asparagus, coffee, others. Major markets: U.S. (16.3%), China (15.5%), Switzerland (11.0%), Canada (9.5%), Japan (5.1%), Germany (4.3%), Chile (3.9%), and Spain (3.3%). Imports: US$27.9 billion: petroleum and petroleum products, vehicles, plastics, steel, telephones, wheat, soy oil and soy products, corn, chemicals, commercial machinery, processed food, electronic goods. Major suppliers: U.S. (19.5%), China (16.8%), Brazil (7.4%), Ecuador (5.0%), Japan (4.5%), Colombia (4.6%), and Mexico (3.8%).


  • Landlines: 3.2 million (2010)
  • Mobile phones: 29.1 million (2010)
  • Radio: 72.1% (Census 2007)
  • Television: 61% (Census 2007)
  • Internet users: 9.2 million (2009)
  • Internet country code: .pe
  • Time zone: GMT-5


  • Airports: 201 in total (2009); 57, paved runways; 144, unpaved runways (mostly airstrips).
  • Major airports:
    • Lima: International airport, “Jorge Chavez”
    • Arequipa: International airport, “Teniente FAP. Alfredo Rodriguez Ballon”
    • Cusco: International airport, “Alejandro Velasco Astete”
    • Trujillo: Airport, “Cap. FAP. Carlos Martinez de Pinillos”
    • Tacna: Airport,“Coronel FAP. Carlos Ciriani Santa Rosa”
  • Railways: 1,989 km of railway tracks in Peru (total in 2008); 1,726 km, standard gauge; 263 km, narrow gauge
  • Roads: 78,829 km of roads in Peru (total in 2004); 11,351 km, paved; 67,478 km, unpaved
  • Waterways: 8,808 km of waterways in Peru (total in 2008)
  • Main ports: Callao, Paita, Salverry, Chimbote, Pisco, and Ilo (on the Pacific); Iquitos and Pucallpa (in the Amazon basin)

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