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Peruvian Society

Peruvian Society

Peruvian society is a multi-ethnic community which developed over a period of five centuries. Learn more about it.

Peru (Piruw in Quechua and in Aimara) is on the western coast of South America, between Equator, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile. The geography of Peru is a mosaic of landscapes that stretches from the Pacific coast to the Amazon rainforest and which covers the valleys and high peaks of the Andes. Peru is one of the countries with the highest biological diversity in the world.

Ancient Peru was the birthplace of Andean civilization: Since 3,200 B.C., different civilizations have lived in the area: Cara-Supe, Chavin Nazca, and of course the Incan Empire, have all left a fundamental mark on Peruvian culture and Peruvian customs.

Peruvian society is a multi-ethnic community which developed over a period of five centuries. Today, 29 million people live in Peru, making it the fifth most populated country in South America. 55% of the population lives in coastal areas, where most of the biggest cities are. Cities such as Lima (the country's capital), Trujillo, Chiclayo and Ica are on the coast. About 35%of Peruvians live in the mountains in cities such as Cusco (ancient capital of the Incan Empire), Cajamarca and Arequipa. Finally, about 10%of the population lives in the jungle, with Iquitos as its urban center.

The language of Peru is Spanish, although there is a significant percentage of Quechua speakers, especially in the south.

The Peruvian economy is based on the exportation of agriculture, fishing, mining and textile manufacturing. The country's economic growth has inspired a large interior migration movement toward the cities, where it is easier to find work, which has created the phenomenon known as “Pueblos jóvenes” (young towns), neighborhoods made up of immigrants from the country side or from areas outside of cities.

Peruvian society maintains many traditions that have existed since pre-Hispanic times, and many others that reflect the mestizo character of this community. Here we find traditions such as los Reyes Magos (the three wise men), the festival of Apu and the men dressed in black, and carnaval.

Famous Peruvians include writers such as the Nobel Prize for literature winner Mario Vargas Llosa and Alfredo Bryce Echenique, the fashion designer Norka Peralta, the two-time world surfing champion Sofia Mulanovich, Miss World 2004 Maria Julia Mantilla, and of course the various soccer players that play for European teams such as Jefferson Farfan and Claudio Pizarro.