Peru Brief History

Peru Brief History

According to Computerannals, Peru’s cultural heritage stretches back thousands of years. Once upon a time, there were powerful high cultures such as chavin, moche, paracas, nasca and of course inkas, all of which left interesting traces and influenced the cultural heritage. Peru is the country most strongly associated with the Inca Empire. Here was once the “Navel of the World” as their capital Cusco was called. Most of the Inca’s high culture was destroyed during the Spanish conquest of this mighty kingdom, but there are still many interesting places connected to the Inca left to visit. One of them is one of the world’s foremost sights, Machu Pichhu, “The Forgotten City”. The nature lover has a lot to enjoy on a tour of the country. Even those looking for excitement and adventure will find this in Peru.

During my four-week tour of Peru, I managed to visit several of the places I had long dreamed of and which gave me unforgettable memories for life. Several of Peru’s major attractions are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. I visited Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Nasca, Colca Canyon, Cordillera Blanca and Lake Titicaca, among others. The nature experiences were many and I saw condors, I walked in the shadow of the country’s highest and was in the Amazon, visited the islands Taquile and Amantani in Lake Titicaca etc. The cultural experiences were of the highest class with the Sun Festival in Cusco, the meeting with Urusians at Lake Titicaca, visits to the Inca kingdom’s former capital Cusco etc.

Peru history in brief

Peru history, older

People’s arrival in the “New World” is of a relatively late date. Researchers believe that the American continent was populated by people migrating across the frozen Bering Strait from Siberia. All human remains in Peru can be attributed to Homo sapiens.

Peru’s earliest inhabitants were nomadic hunters and gatherers who roamed the country in small groups. They hunted giant anthills and saber-toothed tigers, animals that have long since become extinct. The people lived in caves. The oldest human finds are estimated to be up to 20,000 years old. The oldest traces of human settlements in Peru are at least 12,000 years old. New excavations in the Supe River valley north of Lima show that the first prominent culture in the country developed from 3,100 to 1,800 BC around a city called Caral. Culture is the earliest known example of urban development in America.

About 4,000 years before Christ, humans began to plant crops using simple farming methods and became more settled. The first cotton plantations can be traced to 3,000 BC.

One of the larger and more important cultures from the pre-Columbian period, 10,000 BC to 1500 AD, in Peru is Chavin de Huantar, named after the place of the same name. It existed from about 850 BC to 300 BC and had its range in northern Peru. Their most important symbolic image was a stylized jaguar and the culture is therefore often called the “jaguar worshipers”. The ruins of their impressive, largely underground, temples can still be seen.

During the years 100 to 700 AD, the two strongest cultures were Moche and Nasca. Moche had its centers near the city of Trujillo and Nasca near the city of the same name. The mysterious Nascal lines from this period still baffle scientists. Their mystery is still unsolved.

From 700 to 1100 AD, Wari (Huari) culture dominated. Wari was the first strong militant culture in Peru. It was influenced by the Tiahuanaco religion on Lake Titicaca. The ethnic groups defeated by Waris were forbidden to continue with their own traditions or to carry on their own oral traditions.

In the 11th century, the heyday of the Chimú Empire began along the coasts of northern Peru and southern Ecuador. The culture, which is considered the foremost to date in America, was crushed by the great power of the Inca people.

According to legend, the Inca Empire was born on Solön in Lake Titicaca when the creator god Viracocha created the first Incas; Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, whom he sent to earth to help the people of the earth.

Scientists have found the first traces of the Inca Empire from the end of the 12th century AD. However, their heyday began as late as 1438 when Pachacuti was crowned an Inca. He was called “The Great Reformer”. Under his leadership, tribes were incorporated through conquests and the empire expanded in all directions. Shortly before the arrival of the Spaniards in the Inca Empire, the brothers Huascar and Atahualpa fought for power. Their father had divided the Inca Empire into two parts with Cusco and Quito as capitals. Atahualpa defeated his brother and was appointed dictatorial Inca. He was captured by the Spaniards on November 16, 1532 in the city of Cajamarca. Atahualpa tried to regain his freedom by paying a large ransom in gold and silver. He was not released as promised but was brought to justice and sentenced to death by the Spaniards. Atahualpa was executed by garrison in July 1533, thus the Inca Empire was largely defeated. Thereafter, the Spaniards began the looting and destruction of Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire, home to the finest temples and administrative buildings. Most of it was destroyed, but even today you can see the remains of the impressive buildings, such as the Coricancha Temple. In 1536, the Incas made one last major attempt, which was close to success, to defeat the Spaniards.

Immediately after the conquest of the Inca Empire, Spanish colonization began. They found huge amounts of silver in Peru which they shipped to the motherland. The silver contributed to Europe’s industrialization. For the Indians, Spanish colonization was a disaster. The Inca Empire’s supply system collapsed. Wars, new diseases brought by the Europeans, and slave labor resulted in the Native American population declining from about 12 million to about 2 million in just 50 years.

The Spaniards seized the best agricultural land and formed large estates on which the Indians were forced to work. Large sugar and cotton plantations were established on the coast. Slaves from Africa were bought for them. Large cities with beautiful squares and magnificent churches were built around the country. The capital of the ancient Inca Empire became Lima, founded by the conqueror Francisco Pizarro. Among the greedy conquistadors, power struggles broke out and several of them were murdered, including Pizarro himself (1541). His coffin can now be seen in Lima’s large cathedral.

The next 200 years, which meant a great deal to Spain’s economic development, were relatively quiet in the ancient Inca Empire. The Spaniards lived a rich and good life while the Native American population continued to live in slave-like conditions. Several revolts against the Spanish rule were started and culminated in what was started by the Inca descendant Túpac Amaro II in the 1780s. However, all revolts were crushed by the Spaniards and their leaders were cruelly executed.

At the beginning of the 19th century, a strong dissatisfaction arose among the Spanish-speaking population against its limited freedom and high taxation from the mother country. Thoughts of revolution began to sprout. José de San Martín, who liberated Argentina and Chile, captured Lima in 1821 and proclaimed an independent Peru. Simon Bolivar, who liberated Venezuela and Colombia, met de San Martín for deliberations in the city of Guayaquil. As a result, de San Martín withdrew and left Latin America to settle in France. Simon Bolivar continued the struggle for freedom with his General Sucre, and on July 28, 1821, Peru declared independence. However, the definitive end of Spanish colonial rule in South America did not come until 1824 after the Battle of Ayacucho.

The first period after independence was marked by many civil strife between different local military leaders. It was not until the 1850s that the situation stabilized under the leadership of President Ramón Castilla. During his tenure, slavery was abolished in Peru.

After independence, Peru has been at war with Spain (1866), and Chile in the so-called Pacific War (1879 – 1883) and Ecuador (1941). After the war with Ecuador, a border dispute arose over an area in the Amazon. That dispute was not resolved until the end of 2000.

Towards the end of the 19th century, foreign investors began to invest in Peru on an increasing scale, which led to steady economic growth. During the number of governments until the First World War, Peru experienced political stability and good economic times.

During the First World War, exports fell and after social unrest and political instability, the military seized power.

History of Peru, modern 1900 – 1999


Return to civilian rule and new constitution. President Augusto Leguía ruled the country


President A Leguía is overthrown by the military
The revolutionary popular alliance APRA is founded


APRA leaders lose presidential election by a narrow margin
APRA launches an armed uprising, which is crushed and the party banned until 1945


War against Ecuador over land in the Amazon


APRA enters the government


APRA members mutinate in the navy. The party is banned again. The military takes power


Power alternates between military junta and democratically elected governments. The period was dominated by General Manuel Odría’s dictatorship during the years 1948 – 1956

1963 – 1968

Exports improved and provided economic growth, mainly on the coasts. The gaps between “modern Peru” and the poor highland regions widened. Two percent of the landowners controlled 70% of the arable land. The influx of the poor into the cities increased and the peasants who did not leave the highlands began to resist


Fernando Belaúnde Terry wins the presidential election. He decided to implement a land reform, which was stopped by APRA and conservative MPs


A military junta led by General Juan Velasco Alvarado seized power.
The junta implemented a comprehensive land reform and the largest properties were handed over to employees to farm in cooperative form. Several foreign companies were nationalized


General Francisco Morales Bermúdez, and other conservative soldiers, become new leaders of the military junta that carried out economic austerity measures in cooperation with the IMF after Alvarado’s reform program weakened and contributed to large foreign debt and high inflation


Coca cultivation was banned if it was processed into cocaine


Parliamentary democracy was re-established and Belaúnde Terry returned to power. He pursued a neoliberal policy of privatizing state-owned enterprises and dividing agricultural cooperatives into private entities. During his reign, the economic crisis increased and was accompanied by a social crisis, which laid the groundwork for guerrilla activity. Now Sendero Luminoso was founded, The Shining Path, which launched a revolutionary campaign of violence in the Maoist spirit


Tupac Amaro was founded by some revolutionary left-wing groups that sympathize with Cuba


The APRA party won the election and formed a government. Their leader Alan García Pérez will be the new president. His policies initially led to good economic development but later led to hyperinflation and large deficits in central government finances.


President García announced that the private banks would be nationalized


The presidential election was won by Alberto Fujimori, who introduced a tougher economic austerity package than the right and the IMF proposed, the so-called “Fuji shock”. Among other things, it led to half a million government employees losing their jobs


Inflation fell from 7500% in 1990 to 57%
After inquiring about the support of the military conducted Fujimori a constitutional coup in April, and the constitution was suspended, Parliament dissolved, the Supreme Court members were deposited and journalists were imprisoned during the autumn arrested most of the leaders of the guerrilla movement Sendero Luminoso
In November, members were elected to a congregation that would write a new constitution


The new constitution approved in a referendum
Several leaders in the guerrilla movement Tupac Amaro arrested


Alberto Fujimoro won again in presidential election
Drew Fujimoro through a law granting amnesty for all human rights violations committed by the military since 1980


Fujimoro pushed through a decision in parliament that allowed him to be re-elected president for a third time, despite this violation of the constitution The
Tupac Amaro guerrillas occupied the Japanese ambassador’s residence and took over 500 people hostage

New revelations came that the military was involved in the cocaine trade

Peru Brief History

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