Peru History

Early history

According to andyeducation, Peru has been around since the 9th millennium BC at the latest. Inhabited BC, the oldest known American civilization originated around 3000 BC. in the Norte Chico region. Peru later developed into the center of several cultures, including the Chavín, Chimu, and Nazca.

In the 12th century AD, the Quechua-speaking Inca settled around Cuzco, and in the mid-15th century they had conquered a well-organized empire that encompassed most of today’s Peru and Ecuador as well as parts of Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Colombia included. Your fortress city of Machu Picchuis probably the most extraordinary ruin on the American continent. Around 1530, the empire was weakened by the civil war between Atahualpa and Huáscar (both of whom were appointed as heirs to their father Huayna Capac).

The Spanish conquest of Atahualpa had defeated Huascar and controlled the Inca Empire when the Spaniard Francisco Pizarrolanded on the coast of Peru with a small group of adventurers. Atahualpa agreed to meet with Pizarro in Cajamarca. After the Inca ruler rejected Spanish sovereignty and converted to Christianity, he was arrested. Although the Incas raised an enormous ransom in gold and silver for his release, he was executed by the Spaniards in mid-1533. At the end of 1533 Pizarro had conquered the Inca capital Cuzco and the empire fell apart. In 1535 Pizarro founded Lima, which in 1542 became the center of Spanish rule in South America.

From 1536 to 1544, Atahualpa’s successor, Manco Capac, was in chargeseveral unsuccessful uprisings against the Spaniards. Pizarro forced the locals to work in mines, on the lands of the Spanish landowners and in the small textile factories (obrajes).

The new laws of 1542 designed to reduce the abuses of this encomienda system caused a revolt by Gonzalo Pizarro in 1544. He defeated the Spanish viceroy Blasco Núñez Vela, but was defeated by Pedro de la Gasca in 1548 and later executed. However, the new laws were never applied in favor of the local population.

Francisco de Toledo, the viceroy from 1569 to 1581, improved the administration, struck a rebellion under the Inca Tupac Amaru and moved the locals to new villages. The viceroyalty of Peru was expanded to include all of South America ruled by Spain except Venezuela. In addition, the production of silver and gold was increased during this period. Lima was the administrative, religious, economic and cultural center of the viceroyalty.

In the 18th century, Peru was drastically reduced with the creation of the viceroyalty of New Granada and a viceroyalty centered in Buenos Aires. As a result, Lima lost control of significant mineral resources and trade routes. At the same time the government in Peru was reformed, but the Spaniards retained almost complete control of the Viceroyalty, the indigenous peoples and Creoles (people of Spanish descent who were born in Peru) remained powerless and poor. Led by a man who called himself Tupac Amaru in reference to his alleged Inca ancestors, the aborigines began an uprising in 1780, but were defeated in 1783. There were a few other unsuccessful uprisings in the early 19th century.


The ideas of the French Revolution and the conquest of Spain by Napoleon I in 1808 led to strong independence movements in all of the South American colonies held by Spain, except Peru. Peru’s loyalty to Spain can be explained by the relatively large number of Spanish residents, the concentration of Spanish power in Lima and the efficiency of the government in Peru. As a result, independence from Peru (1821) was fought for mainly by non-Peruvians, especially José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar.

After San Martin ended Spanish rule in Chile in 1818, he conquered the Peruvian port of Pisco in 1820. Shortly thereafter, the Viceroy evacuated Lima and on July 28, 1821, San Martín proclaimed Peru’s independence. However, the Spanish troops remained inland from Peru. Bolívar took over the leadership of the liberation movement in 1822 and in 1824, together with Antonio José de Sucre and Andrés Santa Cruz, secured Peru’s independence through victories in the battles of Junín and Ayacucho.

Santa Cruz left Peru in 1828 to rule Bolivia. In the period that followed, several military leaders tried to control Peru. Taking advantage of these conflicts, Santa Cruz united Bolivia and Peru in a confederation in 1836. Concerned about the power of this new state, Chile intervened militarily, after the Battle of Yungay (1839) the confederation was dissolved again. Peru continued to be torn by civil unrest until General Ramón Castilla took power and held the presidency from 1844 to 1850 and from 1855 to 1862. Under Castilla, Peru enjoyed stability and an economic boom.

Late nineteenth century

A republican constitution was passed in 1860 and remained in force until 1920. After Castilla, Peruvian politics became unrest again. The main problems were corruption, increasing foreign debt and Spain’s attempt to regain control of Peru. Claiming that Peru failed to meet its financial obligations, Spain occupied the Guanean Chincha Islands in 1863. Supported by Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador, Peru defeated the Spaniards at Callao in 1866. An armistice was signed in 1871 and Spain recognized Peru’s independence in 1879. Meanwhile, President José Balta led(1868-72) carried out an expensive public works program. As part of this program, Peru’s first railway line between Mollendo and Arequipa was built. By the time the country’s first civilian president, Manuel Pardo (1872-1876) implemented economic reforms, Peru’s external debt had already increased dramatically.

In 1873 Peru entered into a secret defense alliance with Bolivia, which led to war with Chile in 1879. Chile hit the allies hard and by the Treaty of Ancón(1883) Peru had to give up the province of Tarapacá and let the provinces Arica and Tacna be administered by Chile for 10 years before a referendum was to be held. This was followed by the Tacna-Arica controversy, which was not resolved until 1929 and repeatedly sparked tensions. Peru was almost bankrupt after the war. President AA Cáceres (1886-90) formed a consortium of foreign investors to organize guano mining and the railroad. Foreign influence in Peru grew stronger in the period that followed.

Peru History

You may also like...