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Peru (/pəˈr/ (About this soundlisten); Spanish: Perú [peˈɾu]; Quechua: Piruw Republika [pʰɪɾʊw]; Aymara: Piruw Suyu [pɪɾʊw]), officially the Republic of Peru (Spanish: About this soundRepública del Perú ), is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is an extremely biodiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.

Peruvian territory was home to several ancient cultures, ranging from the Norte Chico civilization in the 32nd century BC, the oldest civilization in the Americas, to the Inca Empire, the largest and most sophisticated state in pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and established a Viceroyalty that encompassed most of its South American colonies, with its capital in Lima. Peru formally proclaimed independence in 1821, and following the military campaigns of José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar, and the decisive battle of Ayacucho, Peru secured independence in 1824. In the ensuing years, the country enjoyed relative economic and political stability, which ended shortly before the War of the Pacific with Chile. Throughout the 20th century, Peru endured armed territorial disputes, coups, social unrest, and internal conflicts, as well as periods of stability and economic upswing. Alberto Fujimori was elected to the presidency in 1990; his government was credited with economically stabilizing Peru and successfully ending the Shining Path insurgency, though he was widely accused of human rights violations and suppression of political dissent. Fujimori left the presidency in 2000 and was charged with human rights violations and imprisoned until his pardon by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in 2017. Even after the president's regime, Fujimori's followers, called Fujimoristas, have caused political turmoil for any opposing faction in power, even causing Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to resign in March 2018.

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Regions of Peru

The regions of Peru (Spanish: Regiones del Perú) are the first-level administrative subdivisions of Peru. Since its 1821 independence, Peru had been divided into departments (Spanish: departamentos) but faced the problem of an increasing centralization of political and economic power in its capital, Lima. After several unsuccessful decentralization attempts, departments were replaced by regions and regional governments elected on November 20, 2002.

Under the new arrangement, the former 24 departments plus the Callao Province have become regions. The province of Lima has been excluded of this process and does not form part of any region. Unlike the earlier departments, regions have an elected government and have a wide array of responsibilities within their jurisdiction. Under the 2002 Organic Law of Regional Governments (Spanish: Ley Orgánica de Gobiernos Regionales), there is an ongoing process of transfer of functions from the central government to the regions. A 2005 referendum for the merger of several regions failed to get the necessary electoral support. (more...)

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Arequipa city
Photo credit: Valentín Ramírez

The city of Arequipa is the capital of the Arequipa Region in southern Peru. With a population of around 800,000 it is the second most populous city of the country. Arequipa lies in the Andes mountains, at an altitude of 2,380 meters (7740 feet) above sea level, overseen by the snow-capped volcano El Misti. The city has many colonial-era Spanish buildings built of sillar, a pearly white volcanic rock, from which it gets the nickname La Ciudad Blanca ("The White City"). (more...)

Selected battle

Contemporary engraving of the Battle of Cajamarca, showing Emperor Atahualpa surrounded on his palanquin.

The Battle of (or Massacre at) Cajamarca (November 16, 1532) was a surprise attack on the Inca royal entourage orchestrated by Francisco Pizarro. Sprung in the evening in the great plaza of Cajamarca, the ambush claimed the lives of thousands of Incas and achieved the goal of capturing Emperor Atahualpa. The confrontation at Cajamarca was the culmination of a months-long struggle involving espionage, subterfuge, and diplomacy between Pizarro and the Inca via their respective envoys. Atahualpa had received the invaders from a position of immense strength. Encamped along the heights of Cajamarca with legions of battle-tested troops fresh from their victories in the civil war against his half-brother Huáscar, the Inca felt they had little to fear from Pizarro's tiny army, however exotic its dress and weaponry. In a calculated show of goodwill, Atahualpa had lured the adventurers deep into the heart of his mountain empire where any potential threat could be met with a show of force. (more...)

In this month

  • December 24, 1971 - Flight LANSA 508 crashes en route from Lima to Pucallpa killing all crew members and all but one of 87 passengers.

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Main square in Lima

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