The Pre-Columbian Era
Peru’s history dates back to over 9,000 years ago with the first inhabitants of the region. The most famous of these were the Incas who dominated the area until the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. The Incas built a vast empire that stretched from modern-day Ecuador to Chile, and their legacy can still be seen today in the form of Machu Picchu and other archaeological sites.
The Arrival of the Spanish
In 1532, the Spanish conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro arrived in Peru and quickly overthrew the Inca Empire. The Spanish ruled over Peru for the next 300 years, exploiting the country’s resources and forcing the indigenous people to work in mines and on plantations.
The Fight for Independence
Peru finally gained its independence from Spain in 1821, following a series of battles led by South American liberator Simón Bolívar. The country struggled to establish a stable government in the years that followed, but eventually settled into a democratic system in the 20th century.
The Rise of Terrorism
In the 1980s and 90s, Peru was plagued by terrorism from groups such as the Shining Path and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement. The violence led to thousands of deaths and left the country deeply scarred. However, in the early 2000s, the government launched a successful crackdown on the groups, bringing an end to the conflict.
Today, Peru is a thriving democracy with a rapidly growing economy. The country is known for its rich history, stunning scenery, and delicious cuisine. Visitors can explore the country’s ancient ruins, hike through the Andes mountains, or relax on its beautiful beaches.
Some Tips for Traveling in Peru
1. Learn Some Spanish
While many people in Peru speak English, it’s always helpful to know some Spanish. This will make it easier to communicate with locals and navigate the country.
2. Try the Food
Peruvian cuisine is some of the best in the world, with dishes like ceviche, lomo saltado, and ají de gallina. Don’t be afraid to try new things!
3. Visit Machu Picchu
No trip to Peru is complete without a visit to Machu Picchu. This ancient Inca city is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.
4. Take Altitude Sickness Seriously
Many parts of Peru are at high altitude, which can cause altitude sickness. Make sure to drink plenty of water and take it easy for the first few days to acclimate to the altitude.
5. Be Mindful of Your Belongings
Like any tourist destination, Peru has its share of pickpockets and thieves. Keep an eye on your belongings and be cautious in crowded areas.
Peru’s history is long and complex, but it’s also fascinating and unique. From the Incas to the Spanish to the modern-day democracy, the country has undergone many changes over the centuries. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for an adventure, Peru is a destination that should be on your bucket list.