Peru is a land of great variety, not only in the landscape
but also in the people themselves.
Peru people come from many backgrounds.
Unlike most countries of the modern world where most of the individual tribes with their languages and customs have long been absorbed into the mainstream culture, in Peru various Indian tribes and cultures still flourish.
In most western countries, where the individual tribes were relegated to reservations and largely absorbed into a standard culture, in Peru there are a number of Amerindian tribes that maintain much of their culture, including the language.
One of the main reasons
for the slow progress towards a common denominator which eventually
could be called Peruvian is the difficult and remote terrain that has
kept communities in the Andes mountains and in the remote jungle
regions of the eastern Selva from interacting easily.
During the last half of the 20th century, however, many of the barricades separating the distinct sections of the country of Peru began to come down.
Peru over the centuries
was inhabited by many distinct tribal groups with their
own languages and cultures.
Under several dominating civilizations, large areas were brought under the control of one or another ruling tribe.
The Incas are the biggest example, with their territory dominating an area from what is now Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador and into the region of Colombia.
Still, there were many remote tribes, mostly in the nearly impenetrable forests of the upper Amazon jungle to the east of the Andes Mountains.
One of the turning points
of the history of the Peruvian people was the invasion of the
Spanish conquerors led by Francisco
Incursions had been made over the course of the years of attempts at exploring Peru in search of gold, and the contact with the Spaniards brought diseases, which wiped out large portions of the native population, including the chief Inca.
His death came at a crucial time when Pizarro was intent on conquering
the Incas, and the infighting among the Incas themselves added to the
weakened and doomed empire.
With the Spanish Conquerors came slaves to run their plantations as well as other imported groups such as Chinese, Japanese, and Europeans to work mines and farms, harvest the forests, and later to build railroads and other infrastructure.
These various groups mixed with the Amerindian native population to form the Peruvian people today.
What is the racial breakdown of the Peruvian people
That's a little hard to
say, as the census done by the government does not keep
track of the racial differences.
By most estimates, though, the country is split mainly between two groups:
Peru is also inhabited by
a significant number of citizens of African, Chinese,
Japanese, and European descent who have immigrated for various reasons,
Over recent history, there has been frequent intermarriage.
It is not uncommon in the cities of Peru to see blonde hair and blues eyes side by side with Afroamericans, Amerindians, and Orientals.
Over half of the Peru people live in the coastal strip of
Peru, about one-third in the mountains,
and the remaining 10-15 percent in the vast plains and jungles
east of the mountains.