Pre Inca: We know that the history of Peru began when the first settlers arrived in Peru 20,000 years ago. It is thought that they arrived from the north via the isthmus of Panama in search of new lands. They were hunter-gatherers, as shown by the cave art at Toquepala (Tacna, 7600 BC).
The Inca: The Inca Empire (1200 – 1500 AD) was the most important civilization in South America. Settled in the high and middle zones of the Vilcanota River valley, the empire represented the culmination of an ancient process of cultural development that began over 5,000 years ago.
Colonial: Inca and European cultures clashed when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 16th century. In 1532, Francisco Pizarro’s troops captured the Inca King Atahualpa in Cajamarca, an event that marked the decline of the Inca Empire.
Contemporary: Modern Peru During the 1970s, Peru was governed by a military dictatorship led by General Juan Velasco. The military administration nationalized oil and the media and reformed agrarian bases, radically changing ownership of agricultural lands.
Peruvian cuisine, considered among the best in the world, inherited its innovation, mix and flavors from Peru’s history. Its culinary fusion developed over a long process of cultural exchange between the Spanish, Africans, Chinese, Japanese and Italians, among others. The dishes became more and more varied as races mixed and migrants landed at the port of Callao.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES
There are over a dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Peru. Machu Picchu is perhaps the most well-known, but other sites throughout the country are each spectacular in their own right.