History.- There is evidence of the existence of human colonies in Peru dating back to thousands of years ago. However, except for certain isolated ruins, little is known about these ancient inhabitants. The first indication of Peruvian culture emerged around 1,200 B.C. It spread through most of Peru. This early culture in combination with the oldest Andean archeological stratum, gave rise the oldest preceding element of the Pan-Peruano cultural unit, the Chavin Culture.
It has been considered the oldest and most important culture of the Pre-Inca past, since it served as the foundation for various groups and cultures that developed in different stages. Those of the Intermediate Period (for instance, the Mochica and Nazca cultures), were followed by the Intermediate Horizon (such as the Tiahuanaco and Wari cultures, during the 5th Century). This, in turn was followed by the Late Intermediate period (represented by the Chimu, Chincha and Chancay cutures and ended with the Inca expansion or Late Horizon period (11th Century).
At that time, Tupac Kusi Wallpac, also known as Huascar, was the legitimate monarch. His brother, Atahualpa, led a revolution and defeated Huascar, taking power. In this historical frame, 120 Spaniards, on horseback and armed with rifles and cannons, were able to put an end to the Tahuantinsuyo Empire. On November 15th, 1532, Inca Atahualpa fell in an ambush in the Cajamarca Square and was taken prisoner by the Spaniards.
In the beginning of the conquest of Peru, the Spaniards founded different cities. Many of them were located on ancient Inca urban locations. In 1535, Hernando Pizarro was in charge of the Pachacamac Sanctuary. He founded the capital to the Vicerroyship. As of January 18th of the same year, it started to be referred to as the City of Kings, or more formally "The very noble, very worthy and very loyal City of Kings of Peru " . At the start of the Republic, the former House of Viceroys became the House of Government of the Republic of Peru. Several government agencies also carried out their functions there.
Tupac Amaru II's rebellion took place in 1780. It took two years to put an end to it. When Argentina and Chile became independent, General Jose de San Martin disembarked in Pisco on September 8th, 1820 and entered Lima on July 9th, 1821. He declared Peru's independence on July 28th in the main square. However, the Spaniards continued to ocuppy the Andean region and were even able to take Lima once again in 1823. They were finally defeated in Ayacucho by Simon Bolivar. Peru suffered incessant civil wars, revolutions and coups d'etat during its Republican period. Increasing economic difficulties and the war against Chile (1879 - 1883) fostered chaos in the country. The situation became somewhat stable during the following military and civil governments.
A new constitution was declared in 1979, by order of which general elections took place in May of 1980. Guerrilla activities intensified during this decade (Shining Path) due to which the government was forced to declare a state of emergency. During the decade of the 90s under the government of President Alberto Fujimori, this movement was completely eradicated. He also set up a new governent, annuled the different Government Branches and organized the writing of a new Constitution.
Culture.- Peru 's Pre-Colombine heritage is the richest in South America . Its presence intermingles with the Spanish cultural heritage and becomes manifest in the language, religion and government. Archeological excavations have discovered monumental pre-Colombine remains. Colonial architecture can be seen in many Peruvian cities, as well as artistic manifestations which result from ethnic mixtures. Pre-Inca and Inca art as well as architecture and music are priceless. Ancient instruments are still used in Latinamerican folk music. It is a culture that still treasures the customs and folklore of its ancestors. Writers representative of our literature date back to colonial times.
Museums.- Museums in the country offer Peruvian art and archeological artifact exhibits.The most important ones include: the Art Museum, Rafael Larco Herrera Archeological Museum, the Nation's Museum and the Congress Museum. We should also highlight the importance of the National Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, located in Lima in addition to others located in Arequipa, Cuzco, Huancayo, Chiclayo, and Trujillo.