Facts about Peru

World Facts Index > Peru > Arequipa, Cusco, Lima

PeruAncient Peru was the seat of several prominent Andean civilizations, most notably that of the Incas whose empire was captured by the Spanish conquistadors in 1533. Peruvian independence was declared in 1821, and remaining Spanish forces defeated in 1824. After a dozen years of military rule, Peru returned to democratic leadership in 1980, but experienced economic problems and the growth of a violent insurgency. President Alberto FUJIMORI's election in 1990 ushered in a decade that saw a dramatic turnaround in the economy and significant progress in curtailing guerrilla activity. Nevertheless, the president's increasing reliance on authoritarian measures and an economic slump in the late 1990s generated mounting dissatisfaction with his regime, which led to his ouster in 2000. A caretaker government oversaw new elections in the spring of 2001, which ushered in Alejandro TOLEDO as the new head of government - Peru's first democratically elected president of Native American ethnicity. The presidential election of 2006 saw the return of Alan GARCIA who, after a disappointing presidential term from 1985 to 1990, returned to the presidency with promises to improve social conditions and maintain fiscal responsibility.

Geography of Peru

Western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Chile and Ecuador
10 00 S, 76 00 W
total: 1,285,220 sq km
water: 5,220 sq km
land: 1.28 million sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than Alaska
Land boundaries:
total: 5,536 km
border countries: Bolivia 900 km, Brazil 1,560 km, Chile 160 km, Colombia 1,496 km (est.), Ecuador 1,420 km
2,414 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200 NM
territorial sea: 200 NM
varies from tropical in east to dry desert in west; temperate to frigid in Andes
western coastal plain (costa), high and rugged Andes in center (sierra), eastern lowland jungle of Amazon Basin (selva)
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Nevado Huascaran 6,768 m
Natural resources:
copper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash, hydropower, natural gas
Natural hazards:
earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, landslides, mild volcanic activity
Environment current issues:
deforestation (some the result of illegal logging); overgrazing of the slopes of the costa and sierra leading to soil erosion; desertification; air pollution in Lima; pollution of rivers and coastal waters from municipal and mining wastes
Geography - note:
shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake, with Bolivia; a remote slope of Nevado Mismi, a 5,316 m peak, is the ultimate source of the Amazon River

More Geography

Population of Peru

29,180,900 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 30.9% (male 4,456,195/female 4,300,233)
15-64 years: 63.7% (male 9,078,123/female 8,961,981)
65 years and over: 5.3% (male 709,763/female 796,308)
Median age:
25.3 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
30.94 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.84 years
male: 68.05 years
female: 71.71 years
Fertility rate:
2.51 children born/woman
noun: Peruvian(s)
adjective: Peruvian
Ethnic groups:
Amerindian 45%, mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 37%, white 15%, black, Japanese, Chinese, and other 3%
Roman Catholic 90%
Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara, and a large number of minor Amazonian languages
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90.9%
male: 95.2%
female: 86.8% 


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Peru
local long form: Republica del Peru
Government type:
constitutional republic
Administrative divisions:
25 regions (regiones, singular - region) and 1 province* (provincia); Amazonas, Ancash, Apurimac, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Callao, Cusco, Huancavelica, Huanuco, Ica, Junin, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Lima, Lima*, Loreto, Madre de Dios, Moquegua, Pasco, Piura, Puno, San Martin, Tacna, Tumbes, Ucayali
28 July 1821 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 28 July (1821)
31 December 1993
Legal system:
based on civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal and compulsory until the age of 70; note - members of the military may not vote
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Alan GARCIA Perez (since 28 July 2006); First Vice President Luis GIAMPIETRI Rojas; Second Vice President Lourdes MENDOZA del Solar (since 28 July 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Alan GARCIA Perez (since 28 July 2006); First Vice President Luis GIAMPIETRI Rojas; Second Vice President Lourdes MENDOZA del Solar (since 28 July 2006)
note: Prime Minister Yehude SIMON Munaro (since 14 October 2008) does not exercise executive power; this power is in the hands of the president
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a nonconsecutive reelection).
Legislative branch:
unicameral Congress of the Republic of Peru or Congreso de la Republica del Peru (120 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (judges are appointed by the National Council of the Judiciary)


Peru's economy reflects its varied geography - an arid coastal region, the Andes further inland, and tropical lands bordering Colombia and Brazil. Abundant mineral resources are found in the mountainous areas, and Peru's coastal waters provide excellent fishing grounds. However, overdependence on minerals and metals subjects the economy to fluctuations in world prices, and a lack of infrastructure deters trade and investment. After several years of inconsistent economic performance, the Peruvian economy grew by more than 4% per year during the period 2002-06, with a stable exchange rate and low inflation. Growth jumped to 7.5% in 2007, driven by higher world prices for minerals and metals. Risk premiums on Peruvian bonds on secondary markets reached historically low levels in late 2004, reflecting investor optimism regarding the government's prudent fiscal policies and openness to trade and investment. Despite the strong macroeconomic performance, underemployment and poverty have stayed persistently high. Growth prospects depend on exports of minerals, textiles, and agricultural products, and by expectations for the Camisea natural gas megaproject and for other promising energy projects. Upon taking office, President GARCIA announced Sierra Exportadora, a program aimed at promoting economic growth in Peru's southern and central highlands.

$219.6 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 27%
services: 65%
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
9.06 million
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture, mining and quarrying, manufacturing, construction, transport, services
7.6% in metropolitan Lima; widespread underemployment
revenues: $21.87 billion
expenditures: $22.47 billion
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 14.5%
hydro: 84.7%
other: 0.8% 
nuclear: 0%
mining and refining of minerals; steel, metal fabrication; petroleum extraction and refining, natural gas; fishing and fish processing, textiles, clothing, food processing
coffee, cotton, sugarcane, rice, wheat, potatoes, corn, plantains, coca; poultry, beef, dairy products, wool; fish
copper, gold, zinc, crude petroleum and petroleum products, coffee
Export partners:
US 31.1%, China 10.8%, Chile 6.6%, Canada 5.9%, Switzerland 4.6% 
petroleum and petroleum products, plastics, machinery, vehicles, iron and steel, wheat, paper
Import partners:
US 18.2%, China 8.5%, Brazil 8%, Ecuador 7.4%, Colombia 6.1%, Argentina 5.1%, Chile 5.1%, Venezuela 4.1% 
nuevo sol (PEN)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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