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Ancient 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. FUJIMORI won reelection to a third term in the spring of 2000, but international pressure and corruption scandals led to his ouster by Congress in November of that year. A caretaker government oversaw new elections in the spring of 2001, which ushered in Alejandro TOLEDO as the new head of government; his presidency has been hampered by allegations of corruption.


Western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Chile and Ecuador

Geographic coordinates:

10 00 S, 76 00 W


total: 1,285,220 sq km
land: 1.28 million sq km
water: 5,220 sq km

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:

territorial sea: 200 nm
continental shelf: 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

Land use:

arable land: 2.88%
permanent crops: 0.47%
other: 96.65% (2005)

Irrigated land:

12,000 sq km (2003)

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


28,302,603 (July 2006 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) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 25.3 years
male: 25 years
female: 25.5 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.32% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

20.48 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

6.23 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

-1.01 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 30.94 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 33.49 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 28.27 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 69.84 years
male: 68.05 years
female: 71.71 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.51 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.5% (2003 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

82,000 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

4,200 (2003 est.)


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 81%, Seventh Day Adventist 1.4%, other Christian 0.7%, other 0.6%, unspecified or none 16.3% (2003 est.)


Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara, and a large number of minor Amazonian languages


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 87.7%
male: 93.5%
female: 82.1% (2004 est.)

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Peru
conventional short form: Peru
local long form: Republica del Peru
local short form: 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; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations


18 years of age; universal and compulsory until the age of 70; note - members of the military and national police may not vote

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)
elections: last held 8 April 2001 (next to be held 9 April 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - PP 26.3%, APRA 19.7%, UN 13.8%, FIM 11.0%, others 29.2%; seats by party - PP 47, APRA 28, UN 17, FIM 11, others 17

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (judges are appointed by the National Council of the Judiciary)

Economy - overview:

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 percent per year during the period 2002-2005, with a stable exchange rate and low inflation. 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, the TOLEDO administration remained unpopular in 2005, and unemployment and poverty have stayed persistently high. Economic growth will be driven by the Camisea natural gas megaproject and by exports of minerals, textiles, and agricultural products. Peru is expected to sign a free-trade agreement with the United States in early 2006.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$169.5 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$71.65 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

5.8% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$6,100 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 8%
industry: 27%
services: 65% (2003 est.)

Labor force:

9.06 million (2005 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 9%
industry: 18%
services: 73% (2001)

Unemployment rate:

8.7% in metropolitan Lima; widespread underemployment (2005 est.)

Population below poverty line:

54% (2003 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 0.8%
highest 10%: 37.2% (2000)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

49.8 (2000)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

1.6% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

18.6% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $21.87 billion
expenditures: $22.47 billion; including capital expenditures of $1.8 billion for general government, but excluding private enterprises (2005 est.)

Public debt:

41.8% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

coffee, cotton, sugarcane, rice, potatoes, corn, plantains, grapes, oranges, coca; poultry, beef, dairy products; fish


mining and refining of minerals; steel, metal fabrication; petroleum extraction and refining, natural gas; fishing and fish processing, textiles, clothing, food processing

Industrial production growth rate:

6.6% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

22.68 billion kWh (2003 est.)

Electricity - consumption:

21.09 billion kWh (2003)

Oil - production:

120,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption:

157,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - exports:

49,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:

370 million bbl (2005 est.)

Natural gas - production:

560 million cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

910 million cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

247.1 billion cu m (2005)

Current account balance:

$241 million (2005 est.)


$15.95 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

copper, gold, zinc, crude petroleum and petroleum products, coffee

Exports - partners:

US 29.5%, China 9.9%, UK 9%, Chile 5.1%, Japan 4.4% (2004)


$12.15 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

petroleum and petroleum products, plastics, machinery, vehicles, iron and steel, wheat, paper

Imports - partners:

US 30.3%, Spain 11.5%, Chile 7.2%, Brazil 5.4%, Colombia 5.2% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$15.34 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$30.18 billion (30 June 2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

$491 million (2002)

Currency (code):

nuevo sol (PEN)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

2,049,800 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

4,092,600 (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: adequate for most requirements
domestic: nationwide microwave radio relay system and a domestic satellite system with 12 earth stations
international: country code - 51; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); Pan American submarine cable

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 472, FM 198, shortwave 189 (1999)

Television broadcast stations:

13 (plus 112 repeaters) (1997)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

205,532 (2005)

Internet users:

4.57 million (2005)


246 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 54
over 3,047 m: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 20
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 3 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 192
1,524 to 2,437 m: 22
914 to 1,523 m: 59
under 914 m: 111 (2005)


1 (2005)


gas 388 km; oil 1,557 km; refined products 13 km (2004)


total: 3,462 km
standard gauge: 2,962 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 500 km 0.914-m gauge (2004)


total: 78,672 km
paved: 10,314 km (including 276 km of expressways)
unpaved: 68,358 km (2003)


8,808 km
note: 8,600 km of navigable tributaries of Amazon system and 208 km of Lago Titicaca (2005)

Merchant marine:

total: 4 ships (1000 GRT or over) 38,954 GRT/62,255 DWT
by type: cargo 3, petroleum tanker 1
foreign-owned: 1 (US 1)
registered in other countries: 14 (Panama 14) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Callao, Iquitos, Matarani, Pucallpa, Yurimaguas; note - Iquitos, Pucallpa, and Yurimaguas are on the upper reaches of the Amazon and its tributaries

Military branches:

Army (Ejercito Peruano), Navy (Marina de Guerra del Peru; includes Naval Air, Naval Infantry, and Coast Guard), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea del Peru; FAP)

Disputes - international:

Chile and Ecuador rejected Peru's November 2005 unilateral law to shift the axis of their joint treaty-defined maritime boundary along the parallel of latitude to an equidistance line which favors Peru; organized illegal narcotics operations in Colombia have penetrated Peru's shared border; Peru does not support Bolivia's claim to restore maritime access through a sovereign corridor through Chile along the Peruvian border

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

IDPs: 60,000 (civil war from 1980-2000; most IDPs are indigenous peasants in Andean and Amazonian regions) (2005)

Illicit drugs:

until 1996 the world's largest coca leaf producer; cultivation of coca in Peru fell 15% to 31,150 hectares between 2002 and the end of 2003; much of the cocaine base is shipped to neighboring Colombia for processing into cocaine, while finished cocaine is shipped out from Pacific ports to the international drug market; increasing amounts of base and finished cocaine, however, are being moved to Brazil and Bolivia for use in the Southern Cone or transshipped to Europe and Africa