— First thing that most people say whenever they think of Peru, or...
"Cuzco, Machu Picchu".
— The thing for which Peru is most known among tourists.
Peru, or Republic of Peru (República del Perú in Spanish) is a country in western South America, it's the third largest country in South America (after Brazil and Argentina), also, it's among the countries with most variety in natural regions and subclimates in the world. How many you ask? There are somewhere over 100 subclimates subdivided in three natural regions: the coast, formed mainly by deserts and small valleys, the Andes mountains, and the jungle (the Amazon rainforest). Its population surpasses 29 million, with its capital and largest city, Lima, encompassing 9 million inhabitants, diversified between the indigenous populations and the mestizos, with a small percentage of Blacks, Asians and Europeans. Religiously however, it is mostly Catholic with a growing number of Evangelical congregations. Peru has two official languages: the Spanish, the most spoken one; and the Quechua, the most spoken of the indigenous languages. There are however, many other indigenous languages like the Aymara and the various languages of the people of the Amazon Forest.
Precolumbine Period The territory of Perú was home to many of the ancient cultures of América like the Norte Chico civilization, which built the most ancient city in the American Continent (About 5000 years old) most known as Caral, and various others. The Precolumbine history, so called to alude the time before the arrival of Europe, is studied in six stages, with three general divisions of time. It must be noted that the term Horizon arose to denote a time when a culture had hegemony or primacy over the others contemporany to it, and therefore, set a trend amongst them. While such thing could be done by conventional conquest, they are not synonimous. One of the major discussions is the apparent lack of writing amongst the Peruvian cultures until the end of the Precolumbine period. Aside from the Quipus, which were knotted cords that served for logistics and accounting, there have been two speculated ways of writing, one of them being beanform marks found in some places and the other bein the Tocapus, symbols found in the clothes of the higher ranked members of society and which are thought to be a hieroglyphical way of writing.
- The Archaic Period:
- Initial Period: Ranges through prehistory, covering the Caral civilisation and diverse foundings such as Toquepala and Kotosh.
- The Early Horizon: Covers the time of the Chavin hegemony upon other cultures, such as the Paracas and its decadence.
- The Classical Period
- The Early Intermediate: Ranges between the decadence of Chavin and the rise of the Wari, the Nazca, the Moche and other cultures appeared in this period.
- The Middle Horizon: Spans the rise and fall of the Wari Empire in Perú, features other cultures such as the Chachapoyas.
- The Postclassical Period
- The Late Intermediate: Houses the time between the fall of Wari and the victory of the Inca Confederacy upon the Chancas, which would eventually lead to the Inca Empire, the cultures that appear are, amongst others, the Tiawanaco, the Chimu and The Inca Confederacy.
- The Late Horizon: Follows the rise of the Inca Empire, lead by Pachacutec, and its eventual expansion, which would be called the Tawantinsuyu and would eventually cover most of the northern territory of Chile, the coast and mountains of Perú as well as parts of the forests, Ecuador, and parts of Colombia and Bolivia; it ends with the capture of Atahualpa and his execution by Francisco Pizarro the 26th of July of 1533.
- The Habsburg Period: Also known as the Austrian period, it had the greatest parallels to the Middle Ages and even to the Roman Empire itself in its way to rule. The Habsburgs, having experiences with running empires before, used indirect rule, the influence of the Catholic Church and alliances with the local nobility to keep the Empire together, which they managed to at the cost of the Peninsular holdings being eclipsed by the American kingdoms they ruled, on the flip side, Hispanic America was left out of much of the modern changes that were happening in Europe at the time and only recieved it by hand of the Jesuit order.
- The Bourbon Period: The French period, it paved the way to the modernisation of the American Kingdoms, creating more territorial divisons to better manage the Empire such as the Viceroyalties of Rio de la Plata, Nueva Granada and the captaincies general of Cuba, Phillipines, Chile, Venezuela, Guatemala, Yucatan and others. Like its parallel in Versailles, the period marked an age of cultural and intellectual flourishment. It also started the tendency of centralisation of power that would eventually lead to various problems ahead.
- Michael Bentine. Although born in England, comedian, author and TV presenter Bentine was a Peruvian citizen through his father. He was bilingual in Spanish and never forgot his roots in this country, fronting appeals in the UK for aid after natural disasters in Peru. He visited frequently, and, as a member of the family that founded Peru's first airline company, was familiar with the country, its strengths and weaknesses, and worked tirelessly to raise awareness of its existence outside South America.
The Peruvian flag
The tradition says that the Libertador San Martín dreamed the first flag of Perú after seeing the flamingos of the coast, the red hoist and fly stripes symbolize the blood of Peru's fallen freedom fighters, and the white central stripe represents peace.