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Heather Van Law
History of Peru
Food in Peru
Peru is a country in South America that is bordered by the countries of Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador(Countryreports.org). The capital of Peru is
and it is the fifth most populated in Latin America (countryreports.org). The total population is about This large population is scattered through out the different land zones in Peru.
Peru has a population of about 28,674,757 people (countryreports.org). These people are scattered through out the three different land zones.
81 % of the entire population is Roman Catholic (“Peru Religion”).
Therefore, catholic practices are incorporated heavily into Peruvian culture.
One citizen states that “Bishops, priests, and other clergy members participate actively in local events” (“Catholicism and Community”).
This participation of the church in everyday activities makes the Peru culture unique when compared to other countries, such as the United States.
History and Economy
After they declared independence from Spain in 1821 Peru had a period of military rule. Peru then attempted to return to a democratic leadership in 1980 ("Peru"). After many economic struggles
was elected president in 1990. He created a turnaround in the economy, increasing trade and even decreasing guerrilla activity ("Peru"). After Fujimori’s presidency Alejandro Toledo Manrique entered office, followed by the current chief of state
Alan Garcia Perez
("Peru"). Perez was a president before but led a disappointing term, currently he is encouraging more economic growth in Peru.
coffee, a main export of Peru
Peru’s economy has grown in recent years as the number of exports increased dramatically from 1990-2007. Copper, gold, zinc, crude petroleum, coffee, potatoes, asparagus, textiles, and fishmeal are main exports of Peru (
Although these exports help bring money to Peru and provide jobs, the unemployment rate is still a staggering 8.4% (
Peru also struggles with oil consumption, and therefore must import more and more oil to support its people.
However, in recent years the economy has been growing steadily. Between 2007-2008 it represented a 9% growth rate and reduced national poverty rate by about 15% (
Despite this growth Peru continues to struggle with employment rates, inflation, and illegal drugs.
Peru is divided into three different zones, although rain forest covers over half of its land area (countryreports.org). These zones are the western coastal plain, center Andes, and eastern lowland jungle of the
. Due to the variety in Peru, they have many natural disasters. Earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides,flooding and even mild volcanic activity plague the inhabitants each year(countryreports.org).
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History of Peru
The land of South America was first populated by a group of hunter-gatherers around 2500 B.C. (“Overview”).
Afterwards, not many large civilizations flourished in the land.
Although there were civilizations in this era, none were able to fully control both the highland and coastal areas as the Chavín people were.
Their capital was most likely Chavín de Huacar, where some of the oldest buildings in South America can be found.
Their temple was thought to be the center of their world, and was centered around th
e main points of the solstice.
After the Chavín people fell around the beginning of the Christian millennium, a series of civilizations like the Gallinazo, Mochica, Paracas, Nazca, and Chimú rose and fell.
The most accomplished of these civilizations were the Mochica and Chimú.
The Mochica made accomplishments in irrigation, art, pottery, metalwork, and pyramids.
The Chimú, on the other hand, built great cities (their capital Chan Chan was the largest city of the time) that contained symmetrical designs and an irrigated oasis surrounding the city.
Before the Incans, some other civilizations that existed include the Tiwanaku (Tiahuanaco), Wari (Huari), Chupachos, and the Lupacas, but none were as powerful as the Incans (“Expanded History”).
The Incans began as a small ethnic group known as the Quechuas, and were as technologically advanced as the Mochica and Chimú before them, one prime example of this being the site at
Over time, their three main emperors, Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, Topa Inca Yupanqui, and Huayna Capac, the Incans gradually expanded and absorbed their neighbors (“Machu Picchu”).
The Incans at their peak included parts of Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina.
However, events were set in motion that would contribute to the Incan collapse even before Pizarro and his forces landed in 1532.
After the emperor Huayna Capac died without naming a successor, the Incan empire was split between who would take over as the next ruler.
As a result, much of the highly prized Incan unity was sacrificed, and thus the Incans did not have as powerful of a military force as possible.
Also, before Pizarro began making his conquests in Peru, the diseases that he and his men brought from Spain such as smallpox began to spread through the civilization killing many, as the diseases were new to America (“Machu Picchu”).
The only thing left for the collapse was the arrival of a certain Spanish conquistador.
and a force of 180 men landed in Peru in 1531, making conquests all the way to the capital of Cusco, where he met with the ruler Atahualpa and demanded silver for ransom.
They were soon granted their wish, and Atahualpa was executed soon after.
The Spanish crown soon began executing several systems of control in their new, powerful colony.
They created the encomienda system, in which the conquistadors were rewarded with rights to native laborers and the products of their labor.
This system was later replaced with the hacienda system, where they received land instead of actual labor (León).
The center of
, Lima, Peru, soon grew as a source of the exploitation of the workers there, which soon led to several uprisings.
Fight for Independence
The first main rebellion was led by Jose Gabriel Condorcaqui in 1780, who called himself Tupac Amaru II (after the late Incan emperor).
However, this rebellion was quickly shut down and Condorcaqui was executed in 1781 (“Expanded History”).
Although this rebellion was not successful, it was the beginning of a very long, arduous struggle against the Spanish crown.
This process was complicated because of the strong conservative hold that the viceroys had over the colonists.
the help of Jose de San
Martin, Peru was finally able to gain her independence.
After helping his homecountry Argentina to acquire independence in 1814, and later Chile in 1817, San Martin turned to Peru, where he landed in 1820.
He declared Peru independent from Spain on July 28, 1821.
With the help of Simon Bolivar Palacios, the Spaniards were defeated at the Battle of Junin in August 1824, and the Battle of Ayacucho in December 1824 (“Expanded History”).
Spain, however, did not surrender its forces until 1826, and even then they did not recognize Peru’s
independence officially until 1879 (León).
1200 ad: Incans build their empire in South America
1520 ad: Francisco Pizarro leads his Peru expedition
1530 ad: Peru becomes a Spanish colony
1535 ad: Lima, Peru is founded1780 ad: Tupac Amaru leads the mestizos in a revolt against Spain
1781 ad: Spaniards crush the uprising and execute Amaru1810 ad: Napoleon overthrows the king of Spain
1820 ad: Jose de San Martin from Argentina frees Peru from Spain by invading Peru
1821 ad: Peru declares independence from Spain
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Music in Peru
Music in Peru today is a combination of many different sounds and styles. The main source of the music was dated back from the ancient Inca civilization. The Incans used any materials they could find to make music such as metals, canes, bones, sea shells, and sometimes even mud. (Peru Music Ancient Music to the Music of Today)
exposed to more musical instruments, which we still use today, such as the guitar, violin, and the harp. Today the more common
instruments are the harps, lutes, guitars, bandurrias and vihuela (which are both stringed instruments). The national instrument of Peru is the charango, which is a small lute. (Peru)
This instrument is used in the Andean Peruvian music, which is also the native music in Peru.
Almost every major musician in Peru plays either the Huayno or the Marinera style of music. (Peru Music Ancient Music to the Music of Today) The Huayno style of music combines both the traditional folk music with the more modern urban dance music. The Huayno originated in the Andes Mountains. This style of music has the high vocals accompanied by the harp making a very unique sound. The Marinera name came from the Marina de Guerra del Peru, the Peruvian navy. (Peru Music Ancient Music to the Music of Today) One of the more popular bands in Peru is called
or Black Peru. Peru Negro was made the national ambassadors of Peru because they preserved the black culture in Peru. Their first album was dedicated to Ronaldo Camois de la Colina who originally formed Peru Negro. (Peru Negro)
Festivals and Dances
Peru’s culture has many religions and therefore celebrates over 3,000 festivals, fiestas, and holidays. One of the major holidays celebrated in Peru is Christmas. However,
the Christmas celebrated in Peru is very similar to how we celebrate Christmas here. On Noche Buena, known to America as Christmas Eve, they come together with family, exchange gifts, and have a grand buffet with turkey, paneton (cake), and hot chocolate. Also in some cities of Peru, mainly Cusco, they have
which are when the wealthier give hot chocolate to the poor. After mid-night the children go to bed parents have their own parties. Men drink beer and dancing starts beginning. Sometimes these parties will last until 5 or 6 in the morning. (Christmas in Peru)
The fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria is celebrated in the town of Puno for 18 days. Over 200 groups of musicians and dancers come to celebrate the Mamacha Candelaria. For the first nine days of the festival churches are decorated and banquets are held and there are fireworks displays. The main event is held on February 2, where the virgin is carried throughout the town as the troupes of musician and dances start performing in the city.
Diablada, the dance of the demons, is the main dance of the festival. This was
allegedly thought of by a group of miners trapped down a mine who resigned their souls to the Virgen de la
Candelaria. (Virgen de la Candelaria Festival)
One of the more traditional known festivals is the festival of
Every year since 1960 there is a national contest of the Marinera in the city of Trujillo.
This dance is an elegant and stylized reenactment of a man’s courting to a young woman.
(Festival of Marinera Norteña: traditional Peruvian
There are several dances preformed in Peru such as the Kashua, Wayno, and the Yaravi. The Kashua and the Wayno are both representative Andean dances. (The Culture of Peru)The Kashua is usually danced in groups in the country or open spaces and also involves a communal character. The Wayno, on the other hand, is a couples dance. This dance is considered a “salon ball” and is danced in closed spaces. The Yaravi is danced to very slow music to add drama and feeling to the atmosphere. Women sing at the highest notes possible and normally don’t have any instruments playing. The Yaravi is sung more than it is danced. Songs are normally about sadness, pain, and melancholy. (Peruvian Music)
Sports in Peru
The most popular sports in Peru are soccer and
along with cockfighting and racing. Futbol, or as America calls it: soccer is very important to the Peruvians.
Soccer was first introduced to Peru by the English sailors in the 19th century. In 1927 the official national Peruvian soccer team was created.
Their national team nick names are
translating to the red and white ones. (Peru National Football Team)
In 1970, 1978, and 1982 the Peruvian soccer team qualified for the Mexican cup and it was broadcasted nationally. (Peru Soccer)
More recently, tennis basketball, and bull fighting have been getting more and more popular. Bull fights happen in almost every city at any time of the year. In Lima there is one of the oldest bullfighting plazas in the world, called the Plaza de Acho. There they have had
the Feria del Señor de los Milagros
since 1946. This event normally takes place during the months of October and November. The contestants are fighting to win the
Oro, which translates to Scapular of Gold.
(Peru Bull Fights)
Followed by fishing; Peru’s location has numerous flora and fauna which is considered a paradise for fishermen. Other sports featured in Peru are mountain trekking mountaineering, surfing, white water rafting and mountain biking. The lush jungles and highlands in Peru are perfect for the athletic mountain trekkers.
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Food In Peru
Popular Food and Drink
The diet of Peruvians differs greatly from any other culture. To begin with,
the main foods of a Peruvian diet include rice, beans, fish, and a variety of tropical fruits (Peru-eating).
Corn is another very important piece to the Peruvian diet, considering that the vegetable is native to the country (Peru-eating).
An enjoyed dish of the Peruvians is soup, which is very common in their diet as well. A soup contains nearly all of their favorite foods. Potatoes, corn, beans, fish, peppers, rice, fruits, and even fish are contained in soup dishes. This is a good way for the Peruvians to use all of their resources and have a well balanced diet.
Another common food is Cebiche which is mostly found on the coast and is raw fish seasoned with lemon and vinegar (Peru-eating). The fish is very nutritious and is eaten for its vitamins and nutrients as well as the flavor that the natives love.
Some foods are seen as strange to us but are part of other cultures daily lives.
is a common dish and is eaten in many areas of Peru (Customs).
A typical main dish would be Papa a la Huancaina. Most main dishes include some kind of
which is Spanish for potatoes.
A typical dessert would be
Arroz con Leche
. Others desserts include some kind of milk, a lot of times rice, and can be sugary sweet like common desserts in America but can also have different flavors that may not seem like dessert to other individuals. A dessert for example may be more spicy than sweet.
Fruit, vegetable, and fish stands line the streets which say a lot about the focus of a Peruvian diet (Peru-eating). They incorporate many natural grown plants, which contributes to a diet that is more healthful than that of Americans.
Meals, Customs, and Meal Times
Peruvians also have different mealtime customs and expectations. For example, it is expected to eat all of the food offered to you. If not this courtesy is nonexistent, it may offend the cook (Peru-eating). One may call it a strange expectation; however, it is found rude if both hands are not above the table at all times. Hands are not the only thing closely observed. It is also found rude to rest your elbows on the table (Customs).
Like many cultures, Peruvians eat a breakfast lunch and dinner. Some have a pre-dinner at around 6:00 and dinner at around 8:00 PM.
At these meal times the family is expected to eat together at the table; however, for if some reason a family member can not stay, it is not completely obligatory (Peru-eating).
Peruvians enjoy having company for dinner and if one is invited over it is considered a semi-formal occasion. Nice clothing and a small gift is a common courtesy of a dinner guest (Food). Though a dinner invite is semi-formal, meals are occasions for laid-back conversation (Customs).
Food is generally purchased daily rather than making a grocery run once a week in America. They purchase their food either from corner markets or large open markets. They also often bid and bargain rather than paying a set in stone price (Customs).
There are a variety of restaurants in Peru and it is not hard to find a place to eat out. It is also not hard to find a meal that will fit an individual’s budget because there is a wide variety of prices and value of food (Restaurants).
Picanterias make all of the spicy, native foods available. Since spicy food is the native food, a picanteria will give you the true culture experience of Peru (Restaurants).
Chicherias are restaurants that provide Quso Kapiche which is a dish prepared mostly in November and December. It is a stew that contains beans, potatoes, garlic, butter, milk, and very hot chili peppers (Restaurants).
A common drink ordered at a Peruvian restaurant would be chichi de jora. It is prepared from fermented corn (Restaurants).
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