60 Amazing and Interesting Facts about Peru | Amazing Facts 4U
Land & Geography
- The official name of Peru is the Republic of Peru. Peru is the only country whose name in English can be typed on a single row of a normal keyboard.
- Peru has a population of about 30 million people. Peru is the third largest country in South America after Brazil and Argentina.
- It is located in the central part of the continent bordered by Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, Chile to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
- The capital city of Peru is Lima which is home to more than a quarter of Peru’s population. It was established in 1535 by Spanish.
- Peru contains the second largest segment of the Amazon rainforest after Brazil. A remote slope of Nevado Mismi, a 5,316 m peak, is the ultimate source of the Amazon River
- Amazingly the Peruvian Amazon covers 60% of the country.
- Peru shares borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Chile and Bolivia.
- Lake Titicaca located along Peru’s border with Bolivia is the largest lake in South America It is also the highest navigable lake in the world with a surface elevation of 3,812 meters. It is home to the Uros people. Amazing thing is they live on floating islands even today.
- Cotahuasi Canyon in the Arequipa region is considered one of the world’s deepest canyon at 3,535 meters (11,597 feet) deep, twice as deep as the Grand Canyon USA.
Flaura & Fauna
- Amazingly it is home to 25,000 plant species – 10% of the world’s total – and close to 5,000 species of fish and animals.
- In fact it ranks first in the world in terms of distinct fish species (2,000 species, or 10% of world total), second in bird species (1,816 species) and third place for both amphibians and mammals (332 and 460 species respectively).
- It has 3532 species of butterfly, and 3500 species of orchids.
- Peru has 84 of the 103 ecological zones in the world.
- The Huascarán National Park in Peru has 27 peaks over 6000 m (19,685 ft) above sea level. The highest of these is El Huascarán at 6768 m (22,204 ft).
- Tara is a Peruvian tree from which tannin is produced for the production of dyes.
- Potatoes have been cultivated in the Andes for at least 7000 yrs. It is originally from the Southern area of Peru, and amazingly there are over 3,000 different varieties. When the Spanish conquered the Inca Empire, the first thing they exported to Europe was the potato, where it was quickly adopted as a cheap, easy to grow food crop.
- The Tomato is originally from Peru, and it is a close relative of the Potato. It was first domesticated in Mexico.
- Peru grows more than 55 varieties of corn, and you can just about find it in any color including yellow, purple, white and black.
- Amazing thing Peru grows more than 55 varieties of corn, and you can just about find it in any color including yellow, purple, white and black.
- The finest cottons in the world, Pima and Tanguis are Peruvian.
- Peru has 1625 types of orchids of-which 425 can be found growing naturally close to Machu Picchu. The Inkaterra Hotel in Machu Picchu has South America’s largest privately owned collection at 500 varieties.
- The purest and rarest form of chocolate was discovered in Peru in 2009 by two mining officials working in northern Peru. The cluster of trees they found turned out to grow “Pure Nacional” cacao beans which was thought to have gone extinct!
- The oldest occupation of man in the America’s is traced back to the sacred City of Caral-Supe, north of the capital Lima. The 626 hectare (1546 acre) site dates back to 5000 years.
- Modern day Peru has been home to many ancient civilizations, the largest and wealthiest of these was the Incas who’s empire ruled for over 100 years until the Spanish arrived in the 16th century.
- At the time that the Spanish conquered Peru, the Inca Empire was the largest empire in the world, and yet experts still believe that they had no formal system of writing!
- The Inca Empire was centered around highlands of the Andes mountain range and the civilization’s capital city Cusco and mountain top citadel Machu Picchu are popular with visiting tourist to this day.
- The Incas created a highway and road system in Peru with over 18,000 miles of roads. The Incas performed successful skull surgeries. They were the first to cultivate the potato in Peru.
- The Incas used a dry masonry method to construct buildings without mortar using stones fit so perfectly together that nothing can slip between them and it proved to be extremely resistant to earthquakes.
- The Incas administered intelligence tests to Incan children and based on their results they were either taught a trade or sent to school to become administrators or part of the nobility.
- During Inca empire couple would not consider to be married unless they had exchanged sandals.
- Peruvian independence was declared in 1821, and remaining Spanish forces were defeated in 1824. After a dozen years of military rule, Peru returned to democratic leadership in 1980.
Places / Architecture
- The Geoglyphs of Nazca desert was uncovered in 1927, when the Peruvian pilot, flying over the desert valley in southern Peru saw that the ground was lined by long lines and ornamented with pictures of animals. These geometric patterns appeared on the Nazca even during the Nazca civilization. It dates back to pre-Columbian civilizations, II-IV century BC.
- Cusco in Peru was the most important city in the whole of the Inca Empire, and governed as far north as Quito in Ecuador and as far south as Santiago in Chile.
- Peru’s Macchu Pichu was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, along with the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal.
- Machu Picchu was built in the 1450s but was abandoned after a century. It lay undiscovered for nearly 400 years in the Amazon Jungle until Hiram Bingham the Anerican Explorer stumbled upon it in the wilderness of the Andes in 1911.
- Caral, just 114 miles north of Lima, is the oldest discovered city in the Americas (between 2600 BC and 2000 BC).
- The National University of San Marcos is the oldest in the American continent and was founded on the 12th of May of 1551. Harvard University, the oldest university in United States, in contrast, was founded only in 1636.
- Amongst the deepests canyons in the world are Cotahuasi (3600 meters / 11,810 ft) and Colca (3400 meters / 11,150 ft), both near Arequipa, Peru’s second biggest city. Incidentally, the Grand Canyon in Colorado, USA, is only 1600 meters ( 5,300 ft ) deep.
- Peru is home to the highest sand dune in the world. Cerro Blanco located in the Sechura Desert near the Nazca Lines measures 3,860 feet (1,176 meters) from the base to the summit.
- Peru is a surfer’s paradise, thanks to the twin towns of Chicama and Mancora near Trujillo city. Chicama boasts the world’s longest left-handed wave measuring 4km, while Mancora lays claim to hosting the largest left-handed point break in the world.
- Amazingly Peru is the only country with place names that begin with a double-Q (Qquea, Qquecquerisca and Qquero are all places in Peru).
- The highest city in the world – La Rinconada in Peru – located at an altitude of 5099 meters above sea level. It is home to 30,000 people, most of which is occupied by gold mining. Many miners work for free for a month, and on the last day they are allowed to take as much ore as they can carry on their shoulders.
People Customs & Culture
- Peru has three official languages – Spanish, Quechua and Aymara. Both Quechua and Aymara were derived from ancient Incan languages. Today, roughly 84% of the population speaks Spanish, 13% speaks Quechua, while just 1.7% speaks Aymara.
- Peru celebrates its independence from the Spanish Empire over three separate days, collectively called Fiestas Patrias (“Patriotic Holidays” in Spanish). These three days are called the ‘Countrymans Day’ (June 24), the ‘Peruvian Independence Day’ (July 28) and the following day (July 29) to celebrate Peru’s armed forces and national police. The whole country shuts down in celebrations.
- Most Peruvians follow the Catholic religion introduced by the Spanish.
- More than 50 percent of Peruvians live in poverty. The poverty line for a family of four is $300 month. Per capita income is $3,500 a year. About 60 percent of Peruvians earn less than $190 a month.
- Because of the rampant poverty, Lima has a large number of pueblos jovenes, or shantytowns, where residents live without running water or electricity. Villa El Salvador is by far the largest, with slightly fewer than 400,000 people.
- Unemployment in Peru is so out of control that it can’t be measured. In Villa el Salvador, the unemployment rate is estimated to be up to 75 percent.
- The postal service in Peru is extremely unreliable. Your mailed letter may or may not get to its destination, and if it does, it could take a month.
- Cuy (Guinea pig) is a traditional meat used in Peruvian meals, it is estimated that 65 million guinea pigs are consumed in the country each year.
- In Peru, it is tradition to give friends and family yellow underpants on New Year’s Eve.
- People drink frog juice, or blended frog smoothies. It is believed to be ultimate “health food”.
- The currency of Peru is the Nuevo Sol.
- Peru is the world’s second-greatest fishing nation: only China has a higher annual catch.
- Peru is extremely rich in natural mineral reserves. It is the third largest producer of all-important copper, fifth largest producer of gold, and leads the world in silver production. It is also the third largest producer of tin and zinc, and ranks fourth among lead producing countries.
- Antamina is the biggest cooper-zinc mine in the world and Camisea is the second biggest gas reserve.
- Peru is the world’s largest exporter of asparagus, with 1,20,000 metric tons.
- Peru is the world’s second-largest producer of cocaine.
- The inventor of the first modern rocket propulsion system was a Peruvian named Pedro Paulet.
- The world’s worst soccer riot occurred in 1964 during a Peru v Argentina match in Lima after an unpopular decision by the referee. It ended with 300 fans killed and more than 500 injured.
By Amazing Facts 4U Team