Peru Geography and History


The country is divided into three completely different regions: the desert-like lowlands lying on the coast and up to 150 km wide ; the more than 6,000 m high double ridge of the Andes, which runs through the country from northwest to southeast and which makes up almost half of the national territory, and the Amazon lowlands in the east.

The desert landscape directly behind the coast was created by the influence of the Humboldt Current. It brings the cold water of the South Pole region northwards along the coast of South America. The current moving below the surface of the water cools the air masses coming from the west over the Pacific. The moisture it contains is only given off in the form of fog over the sea and so there is too little rainfall on the land behind the coast. To farm in this desert landscape, rice, sugar cane, bananas and cotton must be grown in oases that only get their water from the rivers of the Andes that flow into the Pacific. An expansion of the cultivation area is therefore practically impossible on the coast. If climate change continues, this could hit Peru hard, because the melting of the Andean glaciers would endanger the water supply to the areas on the coast. This would especially affect the capital’s population Hard to hit Lima, as almost a third of Peruvians now live here. Visit for Peru a journey through time.

The most fertile cultivation areas are on the plateaus enclosed by the Andes double ridge, overgrown with sparse forests or tufted grasses. Thanks to its proximity to the equator, agriculture can be carried out on sloping terraces up to an altitude of 4,200 m. The Indians who live here grow potatoes, maize, beans and vegetables for their own needs or raise llamas and sheep. In the south, the ridges of the Andes are further apart and offer space for Lake Titicaca on the extensive plateau. On the east side of the Andes, tropical rainforest is already growing, which becomes the Amazon lowland spreads out. This primeval forest area, which is also known as “Selva”, is difficult to access and is only sparsely populated. The oil and wood industry, as well as the transformation of forest into farmland and pasture land, are changing the face of this region.


The river oases, the coastal region and especially the Andean highlands were already around 20,000 to 10,000 BC. Settled. 3200 BC The first high culture can be found in Sechin Bajo, 370 km north of the capital, with step-shaped pyramids, processional streets and enclosed courtyards. The numerous incised drawings depicting hybrid creatures between caimans and humans were made by the population around 1,700 BC. Chr. Made. Until the Incas founded and steadily expanded their empire around 1200, numerous other advanced cultures were to be found in Peru, including the Chavin and the Nazca-Kulur, of which the Nazca Lines are still todayare preserved that form strange figures. The Incas founded the capital of their empire on the plateau at 3,400 m, which also included the states of Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. Cuzco became the largest city in the pre-colonial period. When the city was burned down by the Spanish in 1535, 200,000 people lived here. After the conquest of South America by the Spaniards under Francisco Pizzaro was completed, they founded the Spanish viceroyalty of Peru which reached from today’s Panama to the very south of the continent. After 300 years of Spanish rule, in which the Indians were enslaved, there were repeated uprisings, but these were suppressed. It was not until July 28th, 1821 that Peru could proclaim its independence after the invasion of the Argentine General San Martín. The last battle for the country’s independence took place at Avacucho in 1824. General Sucre managed to finally defeat the Spaniards. During the Republican era that followed, however, the country still did not settle down. Disputes with neighboring countries over the definition of national borders continued until the year 2000. Since 2006, Dr. Alan García Pérez President. The government is trying to maintain a stable situation in the country, but is repeatedly prevented by the terrorist activities of the Maoist “Sendero Luminoso” (Shining Path).


Peru was the heartland of the Incas ‘ sphere of influence, stretching along the coastal regions from Colombia via Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia to Argentina and Chile.

The center was Cuzco. The Inca Empire was probably founded around 1200 AD by Manco Capac. Originally, the term “Inka” was reserved for the regent, the son of the sun god Inki, and his closest relatives.

In the 15th century this small Indian tribe succeeded in expanding their sphere of influence to an area of ​​more than 2,000,000 square kilometers. In 1533 the Spanish conquerors destroyed this high culture. The technical features such as irrigation systems, trunk roads and bridges are particularly noteworthy. The remains of the fortified cities with extensive temples and palaces still arouse our admiration today.

Flora and fauna

The natural division of the country into three completely different regions also results in very different vegetation and fauna. While many species of fish can be found directly on the coast, including a wide variety of sea ​​birds attract (cormorants, pelicans, seagulls and boobies), the desert begins right behind it, where plants can only thrive in the oases and in the foggy zones. In the highlands, of course, you will find mainly the farm animals of the highland Indians such as llamas and alpacas, but also flamingos and condors.

On richest is the region of the rainforest. Armadillos, sloths, anteaters, tapirs, monkeys, parrots, caimans, snakes, freshwater dolphins and big cats such as puma and jaguar are at home here. The government has now recognized the importance of its natural treasures and in May 2008 founded its own ministry for the environment.

Peru Geography and History

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