Home Information of Peru History

The first inhabitants of Peru were hunters and gatherers. The first villages were built around 5000 BC. These grew into cities. The oldest known city is Caral (3200 BC). The first culture with a big impact was the Chavin culture (1800 BC-300 BC).. They developed the trade, various crops, textiles, stone and metal processing. The Chavin culture lost its power and the subsequent 500 years there were no cultures of great influence or special achievements. From the years 100 to 700 there were the Moche and Nazca cultures. Both are known for their exceptional pottery. The Moche left a number of pyramids and Nazca the gigantic drawings in the desert. Other cultures that have emerged in that time are the Lima, Tiahuanaco (Bolivia) and Gallinazo. The Huari were the first real conquerors in the Andes. The Huari are perhaps less well known than the Incas but they ruled 4 times as long (600-1000). The Huari military was well developed. They took the culture and religion of the Tiahuanaco culture. The main god of Tiahuanaco is the creator Viracocha. The buildings of Tiahuanaco are made of gigantic stones that fit perfectly. The empire of the Tiahuanaco / Hauri included a large proportion of Peru and parts of Bolivia and Chile. The empire probably felt down due to different climatic reasons. A new period of smaller autonomous regions started including the Chimu and Kuelap.

The Inca empire existed eventually less than a century. The Incas were one of the tribes in the Cusco valley. From 1438 began the growth of the kingdom that finally become the greatest kingdom in the Andes. The Incas took over much from earlier civilizations, such as architecture, religion, taxes and the administrative system. The Incas also took in the culture of their conquered territories. The language of the Incas, Quechua, was spoken by each citizen and is still one of the official languages of Peru. The Inca Empire was divided into four areas of which Collasuyo included much of Peru, whole Chili, a piece of northern Argentina and Bolivia.

The Incas built roads and built aqueducts, terraces, temples and forts. Also large cities sprung up in the plains. As many as 43 different nations were subjected by the Incas. In 1527, however, a civil war started within the Inca empire. The two brothers Huascar and Athualpha had a power struggle. Many people died in this period of smallpox. This disease came from Europe and the Incas had no immunity to smallpox. This was what weakened the Inca empire.

Francisco Pizarro succeeded in 1533 with a handful of soldiers to conquer the Inca empire. The Spaniards had better weapons, more experience and they could count on help of the local people who were against the Incas. The army of the Inca leader Athualpa was strong, it consisted of 80,000 persons. But a trick managed by the Inca Athualpha managed to capture Pizarro. Already captured Athualpha gave his troops the order to kill his brother Huascar, but eventually Athualpha himself was killed by the Spaniards. The Spaniards then put another Inca on the throne, Manco. He worked some time with the Spaniards, but then attacked them. In 1536 he conquered Cusco but it later lost to the Spaniards. Manco and his followers retreated into the mountains where they were finally conquered in 1572.

Spaniards & independence
From 1542 to 1824 Peru was ruled by Spain. They found a large number of cities including the capital Lima today. The Peruvian people came however in 1821 revolted against the Spaniards, which in 1824 led to an independent republic.

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