History in Peru
Some of the oldest civilizations appeared circa 6000 BC in the coastal provinces of Chilca and Paracas, and in the highland province of Callejón de Huaylas.
The Paracas culture emerged on the southern coast around 300 BC. The Moche and Nazca flourished from about 100 BC to about 700 CE (christian era, post the birth of christ): The Moche produced impressive metalwork, as well as some of the finest pottery seen in the ancient world, while the Nazca are known for their textiles and the enigmatic Nazca lines.
Around 700 BC two empires, the Chimor and Chachapoyas culture, appear to have developed systems of social organization that were the precursors of the Inca civilization.
The Incas created the vastest dynasty of pre-Columbian America it dominated a territory that included from north to south Ecuador, part of Colombia, the northern half of Chile, and the north-west part of Argentina; and from west to east, from Bolivia to the Amazonian forests and Peru.
When the Spanish landed in 1531, Peru's territory was the nucleus of the highly developed Inca civilization. Centered at Cuzco, the Inca Empire extended over a vast region, stretching from northern Ecuador to central Chile.
Spanish domination consolidated itself as successive indigenous rebellions were bloodily repressed. By March 23, 1534, Pizarro and the Spanish had refounded the Inca city of Cuzco as a new Spanish colonial settlement.
The necessity of consolidating Spanish royal authority over these territories, led to the creation of a Real Audiencia (Royal Audience). In 1542, the Viceroyalty of Peru was established, with authority over most of Spanish-ruled South America.
Peru's movement toward independence was launched by an uprising of Spanish-American landowners and their forces, led by José de San Martín of Argentina and Simón Bolívar of Venezuela. San Martín, who had displaced the royalists of Chile after the Battle of Chacabuco, and who had disembarked in Paracas in 1819, led the military campaign of 4,200 soldiers. The expedition which included warships was organized and financed by Chile which sailed from Valparaiso in August 1820. San Martin proclaimed the independence of Peru in Lima on July 28, 1821.
Still, the situation remained changing and emancipation was only completed by December 1824, when General Antonio José de Sucre defeated Spanish troops at the Battle of Ayacucho. Spain made futile attempts to regain its former colonies, such as at the Battle of Callao, and only in 1879 finally recognized Peruvian independence.
After independence, Peru and its neighbours engaged in intermittent territorial disputes.
A short-lived attempt to reunite Peru and Bolivia was made during the period 1836–1839 when the Peru-Bolivian Confederation came into existence, severe internal opposition led to its demise in the War of the Confederation.
Following the Ecuadorian-Peruvian War of 1941, the Rio Protocol sought to formalize the boundary between those two countries. In late 1999, the governments of Peru and Chile likewise similarly implemented the last outstanding article of their 1929 border agreement.
During World War II, Peru was the first South American nation to align with the United States and its allies against Germany and Japan.
The military has been prominent in Peruvian history. Coups have repeatedly interrupted civilian constitutional government. The most recent period of military rule (1968–1980) began when General Juan Velasco Alvarado overthrew elected President Fernando Belaúnde Terry of the Popular Action Party .
A Constitutional Assembly was created in 1979, which was led by Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre. Morales Bermúdez presided over the return to civilian government in accordance with a new constitution drawn up in 1979.
Democratic restoration and elections (1979–present day)
During the 1980s, cultivation of illicit coca was established in large areas on the eastern Andean slope. Rural terrorists movements, like the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, SL) and the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) increased during this time and derived significant financial support from alliances with the narcotraffickers, leading to the Internal conflict in Peru.
In the May 1980 elections, President Fernando Belaúnde Terry was returned to office by a strong plurality. One of his first actions as President was the return of several newspapers to their respective owners. In this way, freedom of speech once again played an important part in Peruvian politics. Gradually, he also attempted to undo some of the most radical effects of the Agrarian Reform initiated by Velasco, and reversed the independent stance that the Military Government of Velasco had with the United States.
Belaúnde's second term was also marked by the unconditional support for Argentine forces during the Falklands War with the United Kingdom in 1982. Belaúnde declared that "Peru was ready to support Argentina with all the resources it needed." This included a number of fighter planes and possibly personnel from the Peruvian Air Force, as well as ships, and medical teams. Belaunde's government proposed a peace settlement between the two countries, but it was rejected by both sides, as both claimed undiluted sovereignty of the territory. In response to Chile's support of the UK, Belaúnde called for Latin American unity.
The nagging economic problems left over from the previous military government persisted, worsened by an occurrence of the "El Niño" weather phenomenon in 1982–83, which caused widespread flooding in some parts of the country, severe droughts in others, and decimated the schools of ocean fish that are one of the country's major resources. After a promising beginning, Belaúnde's popularity eroded under the stress of inflation, economic hardship, and terrorism.
In 1985, the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA) won the presidential election, bringing Alan García to office. The transfer of the presidency from Belaúnde to García on July 28, 1985, was Peru's first exchange of power from one democratically elected leader to another for the first time in 40 years.
On July 28, 2006 former president Alan García became the current President of Peru. He won the 2006 elections after winning in a runoff against Ollanta Humala.
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