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    Colombia: Caribbean Sea coast. Go Now!

    Colombia
    Although most of the people live inland, Colombia also has its share of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea (pictured). Go Now!

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    Ecuador
    The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are home to incredible wildlife, such as the famous Galapagos Turtle and the lesser known, but more common Red Rock or Sally Lightfoot crab (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

  • Chile!

    Chile: Torres del Paine National Park. Go Now!

    Chile
    The Andes dominate much of Chile, including the breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park (pictured). However, the country also hosts the world's driest desert and a thriving metropolis. Begin Your Journey!

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PerúPeru is named after a historic ruler from the region of Panama, whose name was Biru. In the 1500s when the Spanish began exploring south of Panama they named the lands after the ruler in Panama. Later, the term Peru was only applied to the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru and today only to the modern day country.

Introduction:

Peru has been home to incredible culture after incredible culture. While many people are aware of the Incans, the country was also home to the Caral, Chimor, Nazca, and Moche, many of whom left behind impressive monuments and cultures. Although very mountainous through much of the country, the coasts have been a pre-historic highway of influence as cultures have thrived. Even in the Andes Mountains civilizations have thrived, particularly that of the Incans.

These early people who ruled over Peru have come and gone at various times, leaving monuments behind, but also passing on aspects of their cultures and lifestyles to the next people. This cultural growth arguably peaked with the Incans, who controlled a huge area of the Andes Mountains. Their success was based on advanced technology, communication, and infrastructure, but what they spread to their conquered people primarily came in the form of language, dress, jewelry, foods, and technology.

Although the Quechua-speaking Incans dominated the region in nearly every way, they were no match for the Spanish, starting with Spanish diseases and followed by Spanish weapons. The Spanish, like the many civilizations before them, found these lands rich in resources and made the region the center of their exploration and colonization efforts in the greater region.

The heavy influence from Spain led to vast cultural and lifestyle changes. Although many indigenous people survived in the isolated mountains and Amazon River basin, many others were taken over by the Spanish as these groups often intermarried, creating a new culture that was Spanish dominated; today most people speak Spanish and are Catholic. Today nearly half the population today is mestizo, while nearly the other half remains indigenous, primarily claiming to be either Quechua or Aymara.

Due to the division of the ethnic groups, the two cultures, that of the Quechua and other indigenous people in contrast to the culture of the mestizos, grew and developed on separate paths, but with many shared traits. For example, nearly everyone, no matter their ethnicity, converted to Catholicism and the people created many shared foods. While these cultures remain unique and separate in so many ways, they are also merging in many forms, such as religion, but today more noticeably in the form of lifestyle.

In recent decades many people in Peru have moved to cities. These people include both the mestizos and the indigenous people seeking jobs or new opportunities. This is creating a new lifestyle that is becoming more reliant on technology, communication, and transportation in the ever-growing cities. Despite these changes, the historic cultures of the people have managed to survive in the mountains and countryside, keeping Peru a fairly diverse country.

Information for Peru was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks