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Culture of Peru

The Peruvian culture is based on a mixture of the customs of pre-Spanish cultures in Peru and the later colonization by Spain after the defeat of the Inca Civilization by Francisco Pizarro.

Influences on the Culture of Peru

As you will see farther down this page, there were an amazing number of ancient cultures in Peru. Each left its mark on the succeeding culture in its area. It would be impossible trace all the influences of those ancient cultures as well as more recent influences.

We'll look at just one example from Colonial Spanish influence on current Peru culture>

Religious Culture - the Virgenes

Following the Spanish conquerors, the Roman Catholic religion permeated Peruvian culture, in many cases drawing its precepts directly from Spain; in other cases mixing with ancient beliefs and traditions to form local customs and celebrations.

When traveling in Peru, you notice that nearly every region has its "Virgen" or virgin Mary image that is special and sacred to that area. Was this exclusive to Peruvian culture?

Gabriele, author of Tenerife-Holiday-Home-Insider.com, an excellent web site on Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain makes this interesting observation:

The Tenerife culture definitely has Peruvian connections

The Virgen de Candelaria Festival of Lima is one.  

The Black Virgin cult from Peru derives from the Black Madonna of Candelaria of the biggest of all Canary Islands. Black Madonnas appeared by the the latest by the middle of the XVI century all over South America and even Europe. 

Spanish missionaries, monks and other church members introduced the statues for cults. It all happened after the former Tenerife Guanche goddess Chaxiraxi had been turned into a powerful Catholic idol which helped to create peace in a mixed ethnic group population.

A Brief Look at the Culture of Peru Reflected in its Food and Language

The cuisine representative of the culture of Peru

is as varied as the locale; however, Lima is known as the culinary capital of the Western world precisely because it takes the best of the many regional foods and presents them as a real delight in the many fine restaurants available.

Although many languages were spoken in the past in Peru, the Spanish conquerors established Spanish as Peru's official language. Other languages are spoken still; however, the majority of Peruvians speak Spanish only. You can get the most out of your visit to Peru by learning some words and phrases in Spanish. Resources are available on the net.

For a idea of the varied background of Peruvian Culture and its roots, take a look at the following timeline and the MANY cultures which have left their impact on modern culture of Peru.

Cultures of Peru Timeline

The following table appears courtesy of Wikipedia.

Period -
(most recent first)
Dates Cultures 
Late Horizon 1476 CE - 1534 CE Inca
Late Intermediate 1000 CE - 1476 CE Huari, Chimu, Chincha, Cajamarca, Piura, Chancay, Chachapoyas, Chiribaya, Chucuito,
Huaman Huilca, Ilo, Qotu Qotu, Pacacocha, Palli Marca, Piura, Sican, Tajaraca, Huaylas, Conchucos, Huamachuco, Rucanas, Chanka, Aymara nations, Ayabaca, Bracamoros, Huancabambas, Tallan culture, Huarco, Ichma, Parinacota, Cuntis, Chinchaycochas, Huarochiri, Kheswas, Tarmas, Paltas, Camanas
Middle Horizon 600 CE - 1000 CE Huari, Tiwanaku, Piura
Early Intermediate  200 CE - 600 CE Moche, Nazca, Lima, Tiwanaku, Pichiche, Piura.
Early Horizon 900 BCE - 200 CE Chavin, Cupisnique, Late ChiripaParacas, Pichiche, Sechura
Initial Period 1800/1500 BCE - 900 BCE Early Chiripa, Kotosh, Toril (The Cumbe Mayo aqueduct was built c. 1000 BCE.)
Period VI 2500 BCE - 1500/1800 BCE Norte Chico (more recent findings at Caral may update these dates), Casavilca, Culebras, Viscachani, Huaca Prieta
Period V 4200 BCE - 2500 BCE Honda, Lauricocha III, Viscachani
Period IV 6000 BCE - 4200 BCE Ambo, Canario, Siches, Lauricocha II, Luz, Toquepala II
Period III 8000 BCE - 6000 BCE Arenal, Chivateros II, Lauricocha I, Playa Chira, Puyenca, Toquepala I
Period II 9500 BCE - 8000 BCE Chivateros I, Lauricocha I
Period I ? BCE - 9500 BCE Oquendo, Red Zone (central coast)

Readers of this page will also enjoy more Inside-Peru information at:

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