History Podcasts

The People of Peru - History

The People of Peru - History

Peru

Peru's urban and coastal communities have benefited much more from recent economic growth than rural, Afro-Peruvian, indigenous, and poor populations of the Amazon and mountain regions. The poverty rate has dropped substantially during the last decade but remains stubbornly high at about 30% (more than 55% in rural areas). After remaining almost static for about a decade, Peru's malnutrition rate began falling in 2005, when the government introduced a coordinated strategy focusing on hygiene, sanitation, and clean water. School enrollment has improved, but achievement scores reflect ongoing problems with educational quality. Many poor children temporarily or permanently drop out of school to help support their families. About a quarter to a third of Peruvian children aged 6 to 14 work, often putting in long hours at hazardous mining or construction sites.

Peru was a country of immigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but has become a country of emigration in the last few decades. Beginning in the 19th century, Peru brought in Asian contract laborers mainly to work on coastal plantations. Populations of Chinese and Japanese descent - among the largest in Latin America - are economically and culturally influential in Peru today. Peruvian emigration began rising in the 1980s due to an economic crisis and a violent internal conflict, but outflows have stabilized in the last few years as economic conditions have improved. Nonetheless, more than 2 million Peruvians have emigrated in the last decade, principally to the US, Spain, and Argentina.

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1990200020102017
Population, total (millions)27.7930.7734.0136.71
Population growth (annual %)1.50.91.11.2
Surface area (sq. km) (thousands)9,984.709,984.709,984.709,984.70
Population density (people per sq. km of land area)3.13.43.74
Income share held by lowest 20%7.77.17.2..
Life expectancy at birth, total (years)77798182
Fertility rate, total (births per woman)1.81.51.61.6
Adolescent fertility rate (births per 1,000 women ages 15-19)24171210
Contraceptive prevalence, any methods (% of women ages 15-49)..74....
Births attended by skilled health staff (% of total)99999998
Mortality rate, under-5 (per 1,000 live births)8665
Prevalence of underweight, weight for age (% of children under 5)........
Immunization, measles (% of children ages 12-23 months)89969089
Primary completion rate, total (% of relevant age group)..97....
School enrollment, primary (% gross)103.7100.398.6101.4
School enrollment, secondary (% gross)99101102113
School enrollment, primary and secondary (gross), gender parity index (GPI)1111
Prevalence of HIV, total (% of population ages 15-49)........
Environment
Forest area (sq. km) (thousands)3,482.703,478.003,473.003,470.70
Terrestrial and marine protected areas (% of total territorial area)......6.5
Annual freshwater withdrawals, total (% of internal resources)1.61.51.4..
Urban population growth (annual %)1.51.41.31.3
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita)7,6038,2437,7887,604
CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita)15.6617.3715.7215.12
Electric power consumption (kWh per capita)16,10916,99115,27015,546

The Strange Case Of The Paracas People Of Peru: Mysterious Origin, Mysterious End

Most information about the lives of the Paracas people comes from excavations at the large seaside Paracas site, south of Lima, and first investigated by the Peruvian archaeologist Julio Tello in the 1920s. They are thought to have developed as a cohesive group around 1200 BC, or earlier…

Carbon 14 and DNA testing of the Paracas have not been carried out as of yet, so the questions of how old this culture is, and where they came from is unclear.

Their most obvious physical and social characteristic was cranial deformation, mainly of the royal classes. No one can adequately explain why this process was practiced, or where it came from.

As compared to a normal human skull, some of the Paracas ones are truly curious, and there may be evidence that the original Paracas generations had naturally elongated skulls…but from what genetic source?

Their demise as a distinct society may have been the result of genocide. While the Paracas culture developed in this region between about 1200 BC and 100 BC, the Topará culture is thought to have invaded from the north at approximately 150 BC. The two cultures then supposedly coexisted for one or more generations, both at this site and in the nearby Ica Valley, and their interaction played a key role in the development of the Nazca culture and ceramic and textile traditions.

The rise of the Nazca coincided with the disappearance of elongated skulls. Thus, one may surmise that the royal bloodline of the Paracas may have met with a tragic end at the hands of the warrior Nazca.

Here Sr. Juan Navarro, owner and director of the Paracas History Museum holds a 2 year old elongated skull, one of the last of the Paracas, who died 2000 years ago and was of the royal blood line.

Artist Marcia K. Moore is doing an amazing job of 3D modeling the Paracas, bringing these ancient and enigmatic people back to life…

Two upcoming 2014 tours that will include visits to Paracas are the following:


Ancient Civilizations of Peru

The first Peruvians, organized in bands and clans, were hunters and gatherers. The hunting of South American Camelids in the high Andean zones (especially Guanacos) and the fishing and collection of seafood on the coast of the Pacific Ocean (taking advantage of the biological richness of the Humboldt Current) were their primary economic activities. They also made tools of carved stone.
The progressive discovery of agriculture (Archaic Period) permitted a more and more sedentary economy. The agricultural cycles, dominated by astronomer-priests, endowed these priests with great power. Because of this, it is believed that the first complex organizations were of a theocratic type. The first temples arise in the central and north-central coast, and in the central mountain range. With them, the Andean Civilization begins.

Origins of the Peruvian Culture

Peruvian culture is a great mix of components from distinct ethnic groups which inhabited and inhabit what is currently the territory of Peru, the most important are the aboriginal and Creole or Spanish block, followed by the Afro-Peruvian and Asiatic blocks and in smaller measure the Italo-Peruvian, all this is encouraged by the three main natural regions, that is to say the coast, the jungle, and the mountains. It is because of this that the Peruvian culture is considered a Mestiza culture and this is amply demonstrated in its gastronomy which is recognized for its variety of dishes, drinks, and desserts, and the dances like the Marinera, the Festejo, the Tondero, the Huayno, the Huaylas, the Wititi, the Diablada, and the Huayruros among others.

Early Regional Cultures

Towards the year 200 B.C. civilization has evolved to more complex political forms. Agriculture becomes extensive, constructing great irrigation systems over the deserts of the north and central coast and ingenious subterranean aqueducts on the south coast. The societies of the Moche, Nazca, Recuay, Cajamarca, Vicus, Lima and Tiahuanaco (with its capital in a great ceremonial center of the same name in northern Bolivia) are the most known and successful of this period. The majority of them seem to have been ruled by sophisticated warrior-elites who supported the production of artistic objects of great quality, which are considered some of the most important works of Pre-Columbian American art (especially the Moche, Nazca, and Recuay pottery the Nazca textiles, the Moche jewelry, and the Tiahuanacan stone art).

Candelabro de Paracas – Ancient Peru

List of the main early Peruvian cultures where the history is seen from start to finish.

  • Chavín Culture
  • Paracas Culture
  • Pucara Culture
  • Nazca Culture
  • Mochica Culture
  • Recuay Culture
  • Cajamarca Culture
  • Vicús Culture
  • Lima Culture
  • Tiahuanaco Culture
  • Chimu Culture
  • Huari Culture
  • Chincha Culture
  • Chancas Culture
  • Chancay Culture
  • Lambayeque Culture
  • Chachapoya Culture

About the most Ancient Cultures of Peru

Cupisnique Culture (900 B.C. – 200 B.C.)

The Cupisnique culture of the north coast of Peru extends from Virú to Lambayeque. It has to do with a coastal culture contemporaneous to the Chavín culture and which precedes the Moche culture. This culture is located in the region of La Libertad, 600 km to the north of the city of Lima, although it is not known with certainty which was its main center. Various vestiges of this culture exist, which extend along the north coast of the country and reach as far as the region of Piura. The Cupisnique ceramics show anthropomorphic, zoomorphic and phytomorphic figures. In sculpture, their sculpted heads worked in relief represent feline heads. They would constitute a version of the Chavín nailed heads.

Chavín Culture (1000 B.C. – 200 B.C.)

The Chavín culture develops starting from the ceremonial center of Chavín de Huántar, in the mountains of the region of Ancash. Chavín is 300 km to the north of the city of Lima. It is one of the most important and ancient cultures of the Pre-Inca past. This culture is based on agriculture and develops textile making, pottery, metallurgy, and works in stone. It is considered the “Womb of Andean civilization” it extended from Lambayeque to Palpa (Ica) on the coast and from Cajamarca to Ayacucho in the mountains. In the Chavín Temple sculptures are found nailed to the walls with the form of human heads, a mix of feline and man. The Chavín Culture achieved a great mastery of stone, recording, and sculpting anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures. On the other hand, their ceramics are of a dark gray color, with a tendency to equal the color of the stone (monochrome: only one color), in globular form (round), stirrup-necked with only one mouth and decorations of felines like the jaguar.

Paracas Culture (400 B.C.– 200 A.D.)

The Paracas culture developed during the period denominated the Early Horizon. It was discovered by the archaeologist Julio C. Tello, who, on finding the site of Cabezas Largas, believed he had discovered the place of origin of the great cultures of the south. Paracas was divided into two periods, “Paracas Cavernas,” and “Paracas Necropolis.” Studies later than those of Tello demonstrated that the development of this culture had been longer and more complex. In the second phase of Paracas, we can find villages, one of them in the area of Cerro Colorado, and the other in Arenas Blancas. Paracas was the antecedent of the Nazca culture, which developed years later in that area. The men of Paracas dedicated themselves to hunting, fishing and fledgling agriculture (Lima beans, cotton, and corn). They are famous for their fine cloaks, funerary bundles, and cranial trepanations. Paracas was a local civilization of solid southern tradition. Its influence extended from Cañete in the North to the valley of Yauca in Arequipa to the South. Its main center could be the site of Peña de Tajahuana, in the Ica Valley, 300 km to the south of the city of Lima.

Vicús Culture (100 B.C. – 400 A.D.)

The Vicús culture or style occupied the zone of Alto Piura, in the north of Peru, 1050 km to the north of the city of Lima and was discovered by clandestine excavators (“grave robbers”), at the end of the decade of the 1950s, in the area of Frías, in the province of Ayabaca. In the following decade, studies done in the area of Cerro Vicús were able to locate the most extensive cemetery of this style. It is calculated that during the years in which it was clandestinely exploited more than two thousand tombs would have been profaned, whose contents, more than 40 thousand specimens would have passed for the most part into collections in foreign countries. Its ceramics are characterized by their solid and rustic appearance, as well as their realistic sculptural tendency. The metal objects in the Vicús style have very particular characteristics, as they utilized techniques for working with gold, whose area of diffusion corresponds to the basin of Alto Piura.

Moche Culture (0 – 600 A.D.)

It is the most known and admired culture of ancient Peru, having developed during the period considered the Early Intermediate. Towards the year 200 of our time, the dominion of Moche arose on the north coast, which lasted until the year 600, centering itself around the valleys of Moche and Chicama, where great ceremonial centers are found in addition to vast works of irrigation. Its origins are found in the formative cultures of the region, like those of the Jequetepeque river valley. In textiles, their techniques were varied and in addition to that mentioned before they also utilized twilled fabric, double fabric, and gauze. In other areas, the Mochica ceramics were basically dichromatic (red on cream), unusually of an orange color, and very few in smoky transparent black. The most representative are their Huaco portrait vessel sculpted ceramics, which according to the investigator Anne Marie Hocquenghem are real portraits of individuals or representations of characters with precise functions. On the other hand, regarding metallurgy, the origin of the raw materials used by the Moche is unknown however, it is estimated that the gold and silver were exploited from alluvial deposits and from the ore bodies of the region. The inhabitants of the coast were expert metallurgists, having developed techniques like metal beating, hammering, and soldering. In addition to laminating and soldering the metal, they discovered how to solder and inlay it.

Cajamarca Culture (200 A.D. – 1300 A.D.)

In 1948, the investigator Henry Reichlin divided the Cajamarca culture into five stages, according to the influence they held, from Chavín to the Incas. The first phase of Cajamarca happened during the Early Intermediate, located in the Chondorko hills, near the Baños del Inca in Cajamarca. It dealt with a type of association of independent states, which maintained economic relationships with neighboring cultures, like Lambayeque and Chimú. The following phases of the Cajamarca culture had influence from the Wari and the Incas. The territory of Cajamarca covered three large areas: the high basin and the valleys of Chancay, Lambayeque, Chayama, and Chotano. The Pre-Inca center of Cajamarca was located in the area occupied today by the provinces of Cutervo, Chota, Santa Cruz, Hualgayoc, San Miguel, Celendín, Contumazá, San Pablo, San Marcos, Cajabamba and Cajamarca, in the region of Cajamarca and in Huamachuco and Otuzco in the region of La Libertad. Regarding architecture, six distinct types of settlements in Cajamarca have been recognized. The prototype of the settlements of the Cajamarca culture is Cerro Nivel, located in the Pampa de la Culebra, 13 kilometers from the city of Cajamarca. The central part of this site is composed of united groups of enclosed fields, built on terraces. In another area, their ceramics were one of the most significant elements of the material culture of the men of Cajamarca. The changes in their artistic tendencies can be inferred from the changing political situations, which affected the makers just as much as the users. The Cajamarca vessels have decorations of geometric figures, with a rounded base, colored black, red, and white over an orange base, or over the natural background of the clay.

Nazca Culture (0 – 800 A.D.)

This local culture emerged as a process of continuation of the Paracas tradition. It began around the first years after Christ and continued in an independent form for approximately 800 years, the time when it received the Huari influence Kawachi was the capital of the Nazca society, located 49 km from the current city of Nazca in the basin of the Rio Grande and 500 km to the south of Lima. The most amazing thing about the Nazca are the lines and figures which were discovered in 1926 by Toribio Mejía Xesspe, a disciple of Julio C. Tello, and later rediscovered by the anthropologist Paúl Kosok in 1939, which are found located in the pampas of San Jose de Socos, between kilometers 419 and 465 of the southern Pan-American highway in an extension of 500 square kilometers it is speculated that it had to do with an enormous calendar-observatory constructed in a period of 800 years to mark the solstices and the equinoxes. In other areas, their textiles maintain the Paracas style, they kept making embroidered cloaks the materials employed are cotton and wool. With respect to their ceramics, they were finely developed and very well decorated, characterized mainly by being polychromatic (the use of various colors). They utilized up to 8 colors with a predominance of ocher, Indian Red, yellow ocher, black and dark gray. The Nazca worked primarily with gold. The most common technique was hammered and cut gold utilized to make garments for important characters and priests. Later on, they used copper and the technique of casting.

Tiwanaku Culture (100 A.D. – 1000 A.D.)

The Tiwanaku or Tiahuanaco culture is found in the high Bolivian plane or the Collao mesa, a territory of great altitude, from 3800 to 4000 meters above sea-level. It has to do with a culture which developed in a rugged territory, where the climatic conditions are extremely tough. Agriculture is restricted to the most restricted tubers however, investigations have demonstrated that the Tiwanaku culture formed a powerful state, as in the center of Tiwanaku, near Lake Titicaca, more than 4 square kilometers of domestic remains have been found, which suggests that there were between 20 and 40 thousand inhabitants. The architectural complex of Tiwanaku is located 20 kilometers to the south of Lake Titicaca. It is an urban center composed of administrative and religious buildings which surround semi-sunk plazas and platforms. At the center of this complex is found the building of Kalasasaya. Other buildings are the Semi-subterranean Pavilion, Keri Cala, Putuni, Laka Kollu and the pyramids Akapana, Pumapunku and Wila Pukara, which served as residences for the priestly elite. In other matters the Tiwanaku style of ceramic presents symmetric details, it is realistic and has a combination of the colors black, ocher, red, white and gray. The most common type of vessel is the “kero,” decorated on one of the sides with a face of apparently human form, presented in bas-relief.


Name and language

Fabricação de flechas. Aldeia do Samuel. Foto: Arno Vogel, 1978.

The Ashaninka belong to the Aruak (or Arawak) linguistic family. They constitute the main component of the sub-Andean Aruak group, also comprising the Matsiguenga, Nomatsiguenga and Yanesha (or Amuesha). Despite the existence of dialect differences, the Ashaninka reveal substantial cultural and linguistic homogeneity.

Throughout their history the Ashaninka have been indentified by various names: Ande, Anti, Chuncho, Pilcozone, Tamba, Campari. However they are best known by the term &lsquoCampa&rsquo or &lsquoKampa&rsquo. This name is frequently used by anthropologists and missionaries to designate the Ashaninka exclusively or the sub-Andean Aruak generically, with the exception of the Piro and the Amuesha.

Ashenĩka is the self-denomination of the people and may be translated as &lsquomy relatives&rsquo, &lsquomy people&rsquo, &lsquomy nation&rsquo. The term is also used to designate the good spirits who live &lsquoabove&rsquo (henoki).


Túpac Amaru II

José Gabriel Túpac Amaru, aka Túpac Amaru II, was one of the most important leaders of indigenous Peruvians during Spanish rule. Amaru was a descendant of the last Inca Ruler, also named Túpac Amaru. However, he was educated in Europe and held several positions within the Spanish-led government. He used his position as Marquis of Oropesa and later governor to campaign for more rights for Peru’s native peoples. Unfortunately, his first attempts at reform fell through. Following that defeat, he organized and led the first major native uprising against the colonial government in 1780.

It failed. The regime executed him and his family. But while the rebellion was unsuccessful, it inspired the native and mestizo populations of Peru. It also influenced the eventual wars for independence that finally unseated Peru’s Spanish rulers


4. Music And Dance Keep Peruvian Culture Alive

Music and dance are extremely important in Peruvian culture. Each region has its own unique style of music and dance.

Peru’s rich musical heritage consists of instruments and styles passed down by the Incas, the Spanish, and even African slaves. Tiny flutes and mini guitars feature prominently in the area’s music, and today, Peruvians incorporate new instruments with folk instruments. If you want an authentic Peruvian experience — if you want to get to the heart of Peru — you must spend some time listening to the country’s music.

Peruvians also take dance very seriously. Peru’s blend of cultures is quite evident in the country’s traditional dances. For thousands of years, dance was associated with war, agriculture, hunting, and even work.

Alpaca meat is a Peruvian staple. Photo Credit: Retire Early and Travel


Pozuzo today

Pozuzo is home to around 8,000 people, many of them descendants of the first German and Austrian settlers. The town is know for its welcoming, environmentally friendly and self-sustainable community.

Locals tend to work in the cattle farming, agriculture and experiential and ecological tourism industries. Pozuzo still preserves its German architecture in buildings like the Schafferer Museum, where visitors can learn about the town’s history and the lifestyle of the first settlers through old pictures, clothes, belongings and artefacts used by the first settlers. Other buildings that have kept their European structure are the San Jose Church built in 1875 and which still holds parts of Sunday mass in German language, the William I bridge built in 1877 and the old cemetery where the first colonists are buried.

In Pozuzo you’ll still find traditional German restaurants that offer a variety of dishes, from frittatensuppe (sliced pancake soup) and schnitzel to käsekuchen (cheesecake) and strudel. Like in lots of German towns, Pozuzo has its own craft breweries that can easily compete in taste with Peruvian local beers.

Sports like mountain cycling, biking and canoeing are some of the activities that can be done in the area, as well as birdwatching the rare Andean gallito de las rocas, Peru’s national bird.

Every July 25, Pozuzans celebrate Colonists’ Day, a festivity that commemorates the arrival of the first settlers.


Social Beliefs And Customs In Peru

Lima, Peru. Image credit: Simon Mayer/Shutterstock

The social beliefs and customs of Peru are diverse and depend on a number of factors. Because of the history and widespread practice of Catholicism, religion has a significant influence over many of the social beliefs today. Sundays are primarily reserved for attending church service and having a family get together in the afternoon for lunch.

The culture here is relatively conservative and patriarchal. In most households, men typically work to support the family while women stay home to tend to domestic responsibilities, although in recent years women do participate in the labor force, particularly in Lima.

Other social customs involve how people interact with each other. Upon greeting a new acquaintance or colleague, most individuals hug and kiss on the left cheek. Some people, particularly in a professional setting, will simply shake hands. When arriving for a social function, the norm is that Peruvians show up anywhere from a half hour to an hour late. This is a common practice and locally referred to as operating on Peruvian time.


Interesting Facts About Peru

Peru is one of 17 mega-diverse countries in the world, with nearly 90 distinct microclimates throughout the country.

This unique diversity of climates is not home to thousands of different species of plants, birds, reptiles, and other mammals. You can even find some amazing beaches scattered around the country.

One interesting fact about Peru is that it’s rich in natural resources, including gold, copper, silver, natural gas, coal, and phosphate.

The Peruvian people are proud of their national identity, which is reflected in their many festivals throughout the year.

Here are some quick general facts about Peru:

  • Lima is the capital city of Peru
  • Peru has a population of 33 million people
  • Peru has 3 official languages, Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara
  • Peru’s official currency is the Nuevo Sol

With so many tourist attractions in Peru, the country attracts thousands of newcomers every year who wish to see all the beauty the country has to offer.

Facts About Peruvian People

The Peruvian people are a unique blend of Indigenous, Spanish, and African ethnicities.

Preceding the arrival of the Spanish in 1532, Peru was populated by nearly 50 + unique indigenous groups. Some of these groups included the Aymara, Inca, Achuar, and Shipibo.

An estimated 25% of Peru’s population identified themselves as being of Indigenous descent.

Many indigenous groups perished during the Spanish colonization due to disease and war, much of their cultural heritage has survived in the form of music, dance, art, and architecture.

Learn more about Latin American history and it’s fascinating people.

Did you know?

  • Peru’s Indigenous population is an integral part of their cultural heritage.
  • Peruvian Shamanism has been practiced for 3,000 years.
  • Peruvian shamanism traces its roots as far back as the Incan Empire
  • The cost of living in Peru is less than other countries in South America.

Shamans are holistic healers who are said to possess ancient sacred knowledge about the energies of Mother Earth and the Cosmos.

The spiritual practice of shamanism focuses on healing a person’s energy field through the aid of plants and various meditative practices.

Peruvian shamanism is an easily identifiable aspect of their cultural heritage.

Peruvian Architecture

Peru’s landscape is painted with architectural masterpieces of the Incas and colonial buildings.

Incan architecture is the most culturally significant architecture in Peru today. The Incan citadel of Machu Picchu is the most recognized feature of Incan architecture.

Throughout the colonial period, baroque and renaissance architectural styles were incorporated, while maintaining much of the original Incan architecture.

The city of Cusco retained its grid-like street pattern and open plazas designed by the Incas.

The mythical zeal of Peru’s architecture draws countless visitors to the country each year. The Indigenous Nazca culture of Peru created the famous Nazca lines.

The Nazca Lines are a series of geoglyphs carved into the ground. Located roughly 150 miles south of the Capital, these lines depict various plants, animals, and shapes.

The Nazca lines are over 2,000 years old and can only be fully viewed from the air or space.

To learn more about South American cultures, please read…

Having been studied by researchers for nearly 80 years, these lines still remain a mystery. The Nazca lines were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

Agriculture in Peru

Peru is home to 90 distinct micro-climates, which contribute to its agricultural success.

Some of the agricultural commodities grown in Peru are potatoes, asparagus, maize, rice, corn, coffee, and sugarcane. Peru also provides half of the World’s supply of quinoa.

Due to Peru’s infrastructural challenges, synthetic fertilizers are used despite the abundance of natural fertilizer in the form of guano, which is bat and seabird excrements.

Did you know?

  • Peru’s agriculture contributes nearly 11% to its GDP
  • Peru’s unique climate contributes to its vast array of diverse produce
  • Potatoes were first cultivated in Peru between 8,000 and 5,000 BC

Today Peru’s unique climate allows farmers to grow over 4,000 different species of potatoes. Common types of potatoes include Yellow, pink, white, the purple potato, and sweet potato.

There are over 55 variety of corn, which includes yellow, white, black, and purple corn.

25,000 different species of plants grow in Peru, of which 4,400 are actively used by the population.

Peruvian Food Facts

Peru’s cuisine garners International recognition and the nations agricultural practices have remained virtually unchanged in 2,000-years.

As a result, chefs from around the Globe fly to Peru to learn about Peruvian culinary secrets about growing and cooking their own ingredients.

One interesting fact about Peru is that it offers a wide variety of produce from the high altitudes regions of the desert to the lowlands of the Amazonian rainforest.

Peru’s culinary delights have been heavily influenced by European and immigrant cultures throughout the centuries.

Pisco Sour, Cuy, and Ceviche are National Peruvian dishes.
The Peruvian people are passionate about their culinary heritage.

Many of Peru’s traditional culinary dishes have been inspired by Spanish colonizers dating back to the 16th century as well as subsequent immigrant migrations.

The Cuy or Guinea Pigs are served crispy with head, legs, and eyes intact. Ceviche is fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, spiced with aji, or chili peppers.

Many of Peru’s traditional dishes and drinks were created by non-Peruvians.

Festivals in Peru

Peruvian festivals held throughout the year celebrate their cultural heritage.

There are numerous celebrations throughout the year, some are major festivals, while others are more obscure.

The festivals of Fiesta de la Candelaria celebrates the Virgin of Candelaria, the patron saint of the town of Puno.

It’s the largest festival in Peru. The Festival Internacional de la Vendimia is an agricultural celebration where a queen is chosen to stomp the first grapes of the seasons’ harvest ceremoniously.

Peruvian festivals encompass religious, agricultural, and marital celebrations.

The Fiesta de las Cruces is the most important Peruvian celebration.

Celebrated during May, this festival is not limited to one specific town or village, it’s celebrated throughout Peru.

This festival has religious roots whose origins are said to have focused on searching for the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.

Traditionally, it’s not a Peruvian celebration however, the Peruvian people incorporate their own cultural identity into the celebrations.

Similar to other celebrations, music, dance, and even bullfighting are incorporated into the festival.


Uros people of Peru and Bolivia have distinctive genetic ancestries

Despite the fact that the Uros today share many lineages with the surrounding Andean populations, they have maintained their own divergent genetic ancestry.

The Uros are a self-identified ethnic group, about 2,000 of whom live in Peru, many of them on artificial floating islands on Lake Titicaca. Another 2,600 individuals live beside lakes and rivers of Bolivia. According to some anthropologists, the Uros are descendants of the first settlers of the Altiplano — the Andean plateau — yet their origin has been subjected to considerable academic debate. Those from Peru have long claimed to descend from the ancient Urus (Uruquilla speakers), using their differentiated ethnic identity to assert rights and prerogatives for their use of Titicaca’s natural resources. The Uros have historically been the target of discrimination by the pre-Inca, Inca and the Spanish, and this continues today. Some people have alleged that the Uros disappeared a long time ago and that the new islanders have conjured up an ancient heritage in order to attract tourists and receive special recognition and rights.

“We have found a concrete connection to the distinctive past for the Uros,” said Fabricio R. Santos, professor at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil, the leading coauthor of the paper.

“When we shared this information with the Uros people, they were quite enthusiastic about the news,” said Professor Ricardo Fujita of the Universidad San Martin de Porres, Lima, Peru, coauthor of the paper.

“We were excited to observe some Y lineages only found among the Uros,” said Professor José R. Sandoval at the Universidad San Martin de Porres, Lima, Peru, first author of the paper and a Peruvian Aymara born on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

“The timing of human settlement in the Andean Altiplano is one of the great mysteries of our species’ worldwide odyssey — a vast, high-altitude plain that seems utterly inhospitable, yet it has apparently nurtured a complex culture for millennia,” said Spencer Wells, Genographic Project director and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. “This significant new study reflects the importance of the Genographic team’s careful, patient work with the members of the indigenous communities living in this remote corner of the mountainous South American terrain, and sheds light on how our species has adapted to disparate ecosystems since its relatively recent exodus from an African homeland less than 70,000 years ago.”

Representatives of the Genographic Project, which uses advanced, multi-locus DNA analyses to help answer fundamental questions about human origins, collaborated with 388 indigenous people from Peru and Bolivia, including Peru’s Los Uros community and Bolivia’s Uru-Chipaya and Uru-Poopó communities, swabbing their cheeks to collect DNA samples.

Researchers then analyzed Y-chromosome and mitochondrial-DNA data to infer genetic relationships among the Uros and their neighboring populations. The project leaders compared the Uros’ haplotype (genetic lineages) profiles with those of eight Aymara-, nine Quechua- and two Arawak-speaking populations from the western region of South America.

The Andean highlands are home to a vast indigenous population of several million, mostly Aymaras and Quechuas. The Uros are a minority group that consider themselves descendants of the ancient Urus, who are generally recognized as the first major ethnic group to have settled in the Andes, specifically the Lake Titicaca watershed. As a result of successive invasions by Aymara populations and the Incas, an increasing proportion of the Uros became confined to floating islands and small villages around the lake.

Today, the Uros of Peru and Bolivia are also known as Qhas Qut suñi, which means “people of the lake” in the ancient Uruquilla language. Their economy was originally based on aquatic resources, especially fishing, bird hunting and gathering of bird eggs. Using the lake’s reeds for construction of islands, houses and handicrafts for tourism, the Uros have become a fascination to visitors, and the Altiplano is now Peru’s second most important tourist destination.

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