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Tuesday 25th June
Peru Information - Page 2
Early civilizations in Peru included the Chavin (1500-300 BC), the Moche (200 BC-700 AD) and the Chimu Kingdom (900-1450 AD). The Inca Empire developed much later, reaching its peak in the early sixteenth century.

In 1520 the Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro arrived in Peru. Within fifteen years the Spanish had conquered the Incas and founded Lima. Lima became the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru which controlled the region for nearly three hundred years.

Peru's independence was achieved by the South Americans, Jose de San Martin (who freed Argentina and Chile) and Simon de Bolivar (who freed Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela). The Spanish finally surrendered in 1826 but did not recognize Peru's independence until 1879.

Since independence there have been periods of instability in the country and alternation between military and civilian rule.

Economic reforms were carried out by President Fujimori in the 1990s. Fujimori spent ten years as president but left office following political and financial scandals. Alejandro Toledo, elected in July 2001, worked to reduce unemployment. The economy grew by almost six percent a year between 2002 and 2006. Growth continued in 2007 and 2008 but fell slightly in 2009 with the global financial crisis; expansion resumed in 2010.

Peru's main industries are fishing and mining (copper, silver, gold, iron ore, lead and zinc). Other industries include petroleum, natural gas, steel, metal fabrication, textiles, clothing and food processing.

Agricultural products are cotton, maize, rice, potatoes, beans, coffee, sugarcane, plantains, grapes and coca. Cattle, poultry, goats, sheep, alpacas, llamas and vicunas are reared.

The services sector earns the highest percentage of the country's Gross Domestic Product. Tourism is of importance to the economy. Tourist attractions include Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Lima and Lake Titicaca. (2011)

Peruvian art and craft, weaving, carving, pottery and metallurgy, date back thousands of years. Perhaps the best known works of art are from the Inca civilisation that reached its peak in the early sixteenth century.

Peruvian music also has a long history. Musical instruments have been found at the site of the city of Caral, built between 2627 BC and 2000 BC. Flutes and cornets made from animal bones show the importance of music in this early society. Flutes, along with drums, rattles and small harps, are still used in traditional Peruvian music today. "Mestizo" music also uses these instruments with the addition of guitars, fiddles and horns.

Football and volleyball are favourite sports in Peru. Basketball and tennis are also played. Other sports available include deep-sea fishing, rock climbing and mountain bike riding.

Roman Catholic holidays are celebrated. Other days commemorated include Independence Day - 28 July (1821).

News from Peru is available from Newslink.

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