Peru

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Template:Otheruses Template:Portal Template:Peru infobox The Republic of Peru, (Spanish: República del Perú), or Peru, is a country in western South America, bordering Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the east, south-east and south, Chile to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Peru is rich in cultural anthropology, and is well-known as the cradle of the Inca empire.

Contents

History

Main article: History of Peru

Peru was home to various Pre-Inca cultures and later, to the Inca Empire. Francisco Pizarro landed on the Peruvian coast in 1532, and by the end of the 1530s Peru became a Viceroyalty and a major source of gold and silver for the Spanish Empire. Peru declared its independence from Spain on July 28, 1821 thanks to an alliance between the Argentine army of José de San Martín, and the Neogranadine Army of Simón Bolívar. Its first elected president, however, was not in power until 1827. From 1836 to 1839 Peru and Bolivia were united in the Peru-Bolivian Confederacy, dissolved only after an internal conflict. Between these years, political unrest did not fade away, with the Army as an important political force. In 1879, Chile declared war against Bolivia in response to the fact that Bolivia had changed the tax rules regarding Chilean business activities in the Bolivian province of Antofagasta. Since Peru had made a secret political alliance with Bolivia prior to this conflict, Peru was obliged to declare war against Chile. This was referred to as the War of the Pacific which lasted from1879 until 1883 with Chile's victory. The war ended with the loss of the department of Tarapacá and the provinces of Tacna and Arica. After the Chilean occupation ended, Peru was engulfed by internal political strife and civil war. Political stability was achieved only during the early years of the 1900s. In 1929 Peru and Chile signed a peace treaty (Treaty of Ancon) by which Tacna was to be returned to Peru and Peru yielded permanently the rich province of Arica, although keeping certain rights to the port activities in Arica. It is said that the country received its name from a Spanish pronunciation of the Belu river. [1]

Regions

Main article: Political division of Peru

Peru's territory is divided successively into regions (25) (Spanish: regiones; singular: región), provinces (180) and districts (1747).

The Lima Province, located in the central coast of the country, is unique in that it doesn't belong to any of the twenty-five regions. The city of Lima is located in this province, which is also known as Lima Metropolitana (Metropolitan Lima).

Until 2002, Peru was divided into 24 departments (departamentos) plus one constitutional province (Callao), and many people still use this term when referring to today's regions, although it is now obsolete.

Current Peruvian regions are:

Geography

Main article: Geography of Peru

File:Pe-map.png
Map of Peru

Peru is located in Western South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean, between Chile and Ecuador. It also shares borders with Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia.

The western coastal plains (costa) are separated from the eastern lowland jungle of the Amazon Basin (selva) by the high and rugged Andes in the center (sierra). On the border with Bolivia lies Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake at 3821 m.

A land rich in cultural heritage and a variety of natural environments, harbors 84 of the 118 known life zones of the earth. Peru is a land rich in minerals, and its three types of land (Costa, Sierra y Selva) proportionate wonderful sights.

Peru's various Geography permits the development of various activities, such as: (In the Costa)Surfing, Sandboard, 4*4 and sandbuggy, (In the Sierra) alpinism, rafting, rappelling, downhill and rally, and in the Selva you can enjoy hard excursions.

Politics

Main article: Politics of Peru

The current president is Alejandro Toledo, leader of Perú Posible. This governing party is, with 45 seats, the largest in the 120-seat parliament.

The second and third largest parties are in opposition; respectively Partido Aprista Peruano (short: PAP, 28 seats), which is led by Alan García Pérez, and Unidad Nacional (short: UN, 17 seats), which is led by Lourdes Flores Nano.


Economy

Main article: Economy of Peru

File:Lima centre.jpg
Pedestrian street leading to Lima's Plaza de Armas (main square).

The Peruvian economy has become increasingly market oriented, with major privatizations completed since 1990 in the mining, electric/power, and telecommunications industries. Thanks to strong foreign investment and the cooperation between the former Fujimori administration, the IMF, and the World Bank, growth was strong in 199497 and inflation was brought under control. In 1998, El Niño's impact on agriculture, the financial crisis in Asia, and instability in Brazilian markets undercut growth. And 1999 was another lean year for Peru, with the aftermath of El Niño and the Asian financial crisis working its way through the economy. Lima did manage to complete negotiations for an Extended Fund Facility with the IMF in June 1999, although it subsequently had to renegotiate the targets. Pressure on spending grew in the run-up to the 2000 elections. Growth up to 2004 has been driven by construction, investment, domestic demand, and exports to different world regions. Peru's economy is one of the better-managed in Latin America. Over the next few years, the country is likely to attract both domestic and foreign investment in the tourism, agriculture, mining, petroleum and natural gas, and power industries.

According to The Economist, the Peruvian economy achieved the sixth largest growth worldwide in 2005. It has taken steps to consolidate a possible free trade agreement with United States of America; both countries wait for the approval of the terms by their respective congresses. Peru currently has a free trade agreemente with the Andean Community, which is composed of: Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela. It also holds free trade agreements with many of the countries in Mercosur as well as Thailand, and during the recent APEC, Peru voiced intentions to sign free trade agreements with China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. It is also pushing for a free trade agreement with the European Union.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Peru
File:Aqp1yp.jpg
Arequipa Second largest city in Peru

Peru is one of only three countries in Latin America whose largest population segment is comprised of unmixed Amerindians - the other two being Bolivia and Guatemala, where almost half of all Peruvians are Amerindian, or 45 percent of the total population. The two major indigenous ethnic groups are the various Quechua-speaking populations, followed closely by the Aymará, as well as several dozen small Amerindian ethnic tribes scattered throughout the country beyond the Andes Mountains and in the Amazon basin. Mestizos, a term that denotes people of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry, constitute around 37% of the people.

Amerindians who live in the Andean highlands speak Quechua and Aymara and are ethnically distinct from the diverse indigenous groups who live on the eastern side of the Andes and in the tropical lowlands adjacent to the Amazon basin.

Language

File:Sanisidro 12.jpg
Buildings in San Isidro, Lima's largest financial district

Peru has two official languages - Spanish and the foremost indigenous language, Quechua. Spanish is used by all coastal Peruvians, the government, the media, and in education and formal commerce; although there is an increasing and organized effort to teach Quechua in public schools.

The major obstacle to the diffusion of the usage and teaching of Quechua is the almost absolute lack of fluidly available material written in the Quechua language, namely books, newspapers, software, magazines, technical journals, etc. Importantly, non-governmental organizations as well as state sponsored groups are involved in projects to edit and translate major works into the Quechua language; for instance, in late 2005 a superb version of Don Quixote was presented in Quechua. Nevertheless, these books are just collectors items as they have no natural readership. Significantly, most of the native speakers of Quechua are illiterate. Thus, Quechua, along with Aymara and the minor indigenous languages, remains essentially an oral language.

Painting and Sculpture

File:Rainbow at Cuzco's Plaza.jpg
Rainbow at Cuzco's Plaza

The art of Peru was shaped by the melting between Spanish and Amerindian cultures. During pre-Columbian times, Peru was one of the major centers of artistic expression in The Americas, where Pre-Inca cultures, such as Chavín, Moche, Paracas, Huari (Wari), Nazca, Chimu, and Tiahuanaco developed high-quality pottery, textiles, jewelry, and sculpture. Drawing upon earlier cultures, the Incas continued to maintain these crafts but made even more impressive achievements in architecture. The mountain town of Machu Picchu and the buildings at Cuzco are excellent examples of Inca architectural design.

Peru has passed early 20th century brought "indigenismo," expressed in a new awareness of Indian culture. Since World War II, Peruvian writers, artists, and intellectuals such as Cesar Vallejo and Jose Maria Arguedas have participated in worldwide intellectual and artistic movements, drawing especially on U.S. and European trends.

During the colonial period, Spanish baroque fused with the rich Inca tradition to produce mestizo or creole art. The Cuzco school of largely anonymous Indian artists followed the Spanish baroque tradition with influence from the Italian, Flemish, and French schools. Painter Francisco Fierro made a distinctive contribution to this school with his portrayals of typical events, manners, and customs of mid-19th-century Peru. Francisco Lazo, forerunner of the indigenous school of painters, also achieved fame for his portraits. Peru's 20th-century art is known for its extraordinary variety of styles and stunning originality.

In the decade after 1932, the "indigenous school" of painting headed by Jose Sabogal dominated the cultural scene in Peru. A subsequent reaction among Peruvian artists led to the beginning of modern Peruvian painting. Sabogal's resignation as director of the National School of Arts in 1943 coincided with the return of several Peruvian painters from Europe who revitalized "universal" and international styles of painting in Peru. During the 1960s, Fernando de Szyszlo, an internationally recognized Peruvian artist, became the main advocate for abstract painting and pushed Peruvian art toward modernism. Peru remains an art-producing center with painters such as Fernando de Szysslo, Gerardo Chavez, Jose Tola, Alberto Quintanilla, and Jose Carlos Ramos, along with sculptor Victor Delfin, gaining international stature. Promising young artists continue to develop now that Peru's economy allows more promotion of the arts.

File:Punta Sal, Peru.jpg
View of the beach in Punta Sal, Tumbes Region

Folklore and Music

Peru is home to thousands of dances of pre Inca, Andean and mestizo origin. The southern Andean region is famous for the Huayno and Cusco for its Muliza.

Arequipa is the proud creator of the famous Yaravi Arequipeño (sang by many brothers of the Andes) and the Pampeñas. The Huaylas is a happy the dance of the central Andes.

The coast has a different feel to the Andean, more rhythm yet it just as melancholic and interesting. Coastal have big Romany gypsy music and African influences, along other more romantic tunes like the well know Peruvian Valse; probably representing the ethnical coastal mix of Perú and especially Lima.

Commonly known Peruvian Valse tunes are: Alma Corazon y Vida, Odiame, Mi Propiedad Privada, El Plebeyo, La Flor de La Canela and Devuelveme El Rosario de Mi Madre, some of which are sang by Caribbean artists in the Bolero or Salsa version.

Out of the resulting mix most coastal rhythms is sang and played by duos of Creole guitars, the Peruvian Cajon and spoon rhythms. African derived rhythms like the Festejo or Landó are common in the black communities of the southern coast. Music with a strong African influence is known as Afro Peruvian.

Chabuca Granda is widely considered as the most important composer of Coastal Creole music, with such songs as La Flor de La Canela, Fina Estampa, and José Antonio. Susana Baca is a renowned singer and composer of Afro Peruvian music. She won a Grammy award in 2002 for her album Lamento Negro.

The central and north coast Trujillo, Lambayeque and Piura; are most famous for guitar hymns like the piuran Tondero, the Limeñan Zamacueca, the Resbalosa and the bands of Marinera.

The Amazon has its own music. Chicha Music from the Amazon is unique since it mixes and intermingles Cumbia, Huayno and the tragic Peruvian Valse.

Lima is famous for the Señor de los Milagros Procession and Bullfighting, which takes place in Plaza de Acho (the oldest bullfighting venue of the Americas). Considered the largest procession in South America, congregating devotees from all over the country, the Señor de los Milagros or Lord of Miracles Procession takes place during October. During the whole month, known as the mes morado -or purple month-, minor observations in honour of the patron (whose colour is purple) are celebrated. The main event occurs the 18th: dressed in purple habits, hundreds of thousands of devotees sing and pray while accompanying the image on its 24-hour route from the Nazarenas temple to La Merced church in the Barrios Altos district.

File:Cumbemayo aqueduct.JPG
Cumbe Mayo Aqueduct (1500 B.C.) near Cajamarca, Peru

Sports

Soccer: The most popular Peruvian sport is soccer (World Cup appeareances: 1930,1970,1978,1982 two Copa America tournaments). Although the National team has not been very successful, most of the population of Peru follow the World Cup tournament on television. Soccer legends from Peru include Hugo Sotil, Cesar Cueto, and Teofilo Cubillas, Peru's best striker in World Cup Finals with 10 goals. Current renowned players include midfielder Nolberto Solano (Newcastle United since 1998, with a 2-year parenthesis in Aston Villa), and strikers Claudio Pizzaro (Bayern Munich) and Jefferson Farfán (PSV Eindhoven).

Volleyball: Other popular sport is Women’s Volleyball (Silver medal in Seoul 1988 Olympic Games and 14 times South American champion).

Surfing: Sofia Mulanovich, Women’s World Surf Champion in 2004 and 2005.

Sailing: Peru is the only country of the region that has won for six consecutive years the world Cup in the Sunfish Class. In addition, Peru has won the Central American, South American & Caribbean Championships for the same category. In the Optimist Class, it was three times World Champion in Team-Racing in 1997, 1998, and 1999.

Shooting: Peruvian shooters have won 3 of Peru's 4 olympic medals. Edwin Vásquez won Peru's only gold medal in London 1948 Olympic Games, while Francisco Boza (Los Angeles 1984), and Juan Giha (Barcelona 1992) both won silver medals.

International rankings

Miscellaneous topics

External links

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