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Peru

Peru Guide. Peru Country Profile.

Country Profile: Peru.

Fact: Peruvian territory was home to the Norte Chico civilization, one of the oldest in the world, and to the Inca Empire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America.

The Republic of Peru is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean.

The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and established a Viceroyalty, which included most of its South American colonies. After achieving independence in 1821, Peru has undergone periods of political unrest and fiscal crisis as well as periods of stability and economic upswing.

Peru is a representative democratic republic divided into 25 regions. Its geography varies from the arid plains of the Pacific coast to the peaks of the Andes Mountains and the tropical forests of the Amazon Basin. It is a developing country with a high Human Development Index score and a poverty level around 36%. Its main economic activities include agriculture, fishing, mining, and manufacturing of products such as textiles.

The Peruvian population, estimated at 29.5 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Europeans, Africans, and Asians. The main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechua or other native languages. This mixture of cultural traditions has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.

:: Background of Peru ::

Ancient Peru was the seat of several prominent Andean civilizations, most notably that of the Incas whose empire was captured by the Spanish conquistadors in 1533. Peruvian independence was declared in 1821, and remaining Spanish forces defeated in 1824. After a dozen years of military rule, Peru returned to democratic leadership in 1980, but experienced economic problems and the growth of a violent insurgency. President Alberto FUJIMORI’s election in 1990 ushered in a decade that saw a dramatic turnaround in the economy and significant progress in curtailing guerrilla activity. Nevertheless, the president’s increasing reliance on authoritarian measures and an economic slump in the late 1990s generated mounting dissatisfaction with his regime, which led to his ouster in 2000. A caretaker government oversaw new elections in the spring of 2001, which ushered in Alejandro TOLEDO Manrique as the new head of government – Peru’s first democratically elected president of Native American ethnicity. The presidential election of 2006 saw the return of Alan GARCIA Perez who, after a disappointing presidential term from 1985 to 1990, has overseen a robust macroeconomic performance.

:: Geography of Peru ::

Location: Western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Chile and Ecuador
Geographic coordinates: 10 00 S, 76 00 W

Area:
total: 1,285,216 sq km
land: 1,279,996 sq km
water: 5,220 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Alaska
Land boundaries: 7,461 km
Coastline: 2,414 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm

Climate: varies from tropical in east to dry desert in west; temperate to frigid in Andes
Terrain: western coastal plain (costa), high and rugged Andes in center (sierra), eastern lowland jungle of Amazon Basin (selva)

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Nevado Huascaran 6,768 m
Natural resources: copper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash, hydropower, natural gas

Land use:
arable land: 2.88%
permanent crops: 0.47%
other: 96.65% (2005)
Irrigated land: 12,000 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources: 1,913 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 20.13 cu km/yr (8%/10%/82%)
per capita: 720 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards: earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, landslides, mild volcanic activity
Volcanism: Peru experiences volcanic activity in the Andes Mountains; Ubinas (elev. 5,672 m, 18,609 ft), which last erupted in 2009, is the country’s most active volcano; other historically active volcanoes include El Misti, Huaynaputina, Sabancaya, and Yucamane

Environment – current issues: deforestation (some the result of illegal logging); overgrazing of the slopes of the costa and sierra leading to soil erosion; desertification; air pollution in Lima; pollution of rivers and coastal waters from municipal and mining wastes

Environment – international agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography – note: shares control of Lago Titicaca, world’s highest navigable lake, with Bolivia; a remote slope of Nevado Mismi, a 5,316 m peak, is the ultimate source of the Amazon River

:: People of Peru ::

Population: 29,907,003 (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 29.1% (male 4,370,923/female 4,216,364)
15-64 years: 65.2% (male 9,695,270/female 9,574,018)
65 years and over: 5.7% (male 796,631/female 893,757) (2010 est.)

Median age:
total: 26.4 years
male: 26.1 years
female: 26.7 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.193% (2010 est.)
Birth rate: 19 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
Death rate: 6.13 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.93 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.)

Urbanization:
urban population: 71% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.046 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 27.74 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 30.15 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 25.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.03 years
male: 69.14 years
female: 73 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.32 children born/woman (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.5% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 76,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 3,300 (2007 est.)

Nationality: noun: Peruvian(s) adjective: Peruvian
Ethnic groups: Amerindian 45%, mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 37%, white 15%, black, Japanese, Chinese, and other 3%

Religions: Roman Catholic 81.3%, Evangelical 12.5%, other 3.3%, unspecified or none 2.9% (2007 Census)

Languages: Spanish 84.1% (official), Quechua 13% (official), Aymara 1.7%, Ashaninka 0.3%, other native languages 0.7% (includes a large number of minor Amazonian languages), other 0.2% (2007 Census)

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.9%
male: 96.4%
female: 89.4% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2007)
Education expenditures: 2.7% of GDP (2008)