||Peru’s original inhabitants
date back as far as 12,000 B.C. with cave dwellers. Years later,
farming slowly was introduced, and cotton and vegetables were
planted on Peruvian soil. As time grew on, cultures advanced
and introduced more types of crops for farming, as well as weaving
for blankets and clothing using palm leaves and bark from its
trees. Throughout this time, various cultures came and disappeared,
such as Salinar, Nazca, and Wari
(Huari). However, as early as the 1400s, the Inca empire controlled
the territory of what is now Peru, as well as further north and south.
The Incas were an advanced and well-organized culture for their time.
This organization led them to become such a powerhouse in South America.
In the 1500s, Spanish conquista
dor Francisco Pizarro explored the
Incan empire and the area known as Machu Picchu. He certainly was
attracted to all the riches of these people. Therefore, he returned
to Spain to acquire men for another journey to this continent. After
returning in 1533, he captured and executed the emperor Atahualpa.
Pizarro founded Lima, but was assassinated not much later. The Incas
also suffered with a beheading of leader Manco Inca in 1572. This
put a close on the powerful empire.
Lima was quiet peaceful for a while, although a short rebellion
occurred by the Indians against the colonials. Peru remained under
Spanish influence until the country was freed by two leaders: Simon
Bolivar and Jose de San Martin in 1824.
Peru went to war with Ecuador over a border dispute in 1941. The
1942 treaty of Rio de Janeiro ceded the area north of the Río
Marañón to Peru but was contested by Ecuador.
In 1965 other uprisings occurred led by the National Liberation
Army; these uprisings carried through until the 1980s. In 1990,
Alberto Fujimori was elected President and in 1992, the Tupac Amaru
Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) leaders were
captured. These events
did not allow for any peace for Peru to ensue.
Fujimori was re-elected, despite the people’s troubles with
constant poverty. However, a treaty was finally signed with Ecuador
in 1998 over the border dispute. In November 1999, Peru and Chile
settled their territorial dispute as well, over the important trade
bottleneck of Arica.
In April 2000, Alejandro Toledo, an Andean Indian, gave President
Alberto Fujimori the election run of his life. Just before the election,
Toledo filed a letter with the election board to bring attention
to the corruption in Peru’s elections. This brought a response,
however, the election office decided it needed time to correct the
problems Toledo pointed out. Toledo instructed his followers to
write 'No To Fraud' across their ballots and withdrew from the election.
Therefore, Fujimori was victorious but resigned in November and
fled to Japan following charges of corruption against his intelligence
Toledo won a tight race and in June 2001 became the country's first
indigenous president. However, his presidency has been full of problems
andal, manifestations by the citizens, and public outrage against
him. In May 2003, the government declared a state of emergency when
teachers, farmers and government workers went on strike for a month.