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Peru History

  • Inca wall painting, Cusco
  • Celebrating the "Sun God" - Inti Raymi Festival

Leaving no written records behind, the history of Peru’s earliest inhabitants has mainly been obtained through the archaeological remains that have been discovered throughout the country. Initially, a hunter-gatherer society, as tribes began to expand toward the coast, the people of Peru became fisherfolk and established agricultural practices. The area was ruled by varying tribal groups before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century with the most famous and powerful tribe being the Inca.

Originally only ruling over the valley of Cusco, the Inca empire went on to conquer many cultures from southern Colombia to Chile. They left behind incredible archaeological sites like Machu Picchu which remains the country’s most popular tourist destination. Amazingly, the Spanish never uncovered Machu Picchu and it remained hidden from the world until American historian Hiram Bingham discovered it in 1911. Despite being the largest empire in pre-Columbian America, the peak of the empire only lasted for around one hundred years when this incredible civilization fell to the Spanish conquest.

Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro arrived in Peru in 1532 establishing the first Spanish town before setting off toward Incan territory. An incredible Spanish cavalry met an Incan people who were weakened both by civil war and by European diseases that had made their way through the continent. Although there were rebellions, the Spanish were able to push the Incan people to retreat and they were never able to recover the power they once held.

The Spanish established Lima in 1535 and the city went on to become the capital of the viceroyalty of Peru growing into an important political, social and commercial hub. Lima was a logical choice for the capital due to its proximity to the coast which meant that settlers could maintain communication with Spain. Spanish immigrants that came to Peru were treated very well while indigenous populations suffered being forced into labour. Despite this, there were some groups who, as a result of geography, were able to inhabit mountain areas with their culture remaining largely intact. 

Peru gained its independence from Spain in 1821 with the help of Simón Bolivár who went on to rule the country. Over the next one hundred years, Peru’s relations with its neighbours were not always stable resulting in wars that greatly impacted the country’s economy as well as loss of territory. The 20th century in Peru was characterized by a series of military dictatorships and coups and the 1960s and 1970s were particularly difficult. While the country began to recover economically during the 1990s, President Alberto Fujimori faced charges of corruption, human rights violations and more and was forced to resign in 2000.

Today tourism is the fastest growing industry in Peru with visitors coming from around the world to discover this fascinating destination. Rich in history and culture with world-famous archaeological sites, travellers have the opportunity to step back in time and discover the immense Inca civilization. A wealth of accessible wilderness and stunning natural landscapes attract ecotourists and there are many possibilities to experience adventure sports like trekking, rafting and mountain climbing. There is also a strong beach culture in Peru which makes it popular amongst those who simply wish to relax and enjoy the sun.



Peru Travel Information

At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to Peru.

Learn about the history and culture of Peru, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Peru's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Peru for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Peru tours today!


Extend Your Trip

After your Peru Vacation Packages, why not consider another of Goway's Latin America tours. These include a large selection of other exciting countries in Central and South America. We offer Chile vacation packages and Easter Island toursEcuador vacation packages which include Galapagos cruises and Brazil tours including Iguassu Falls tours among many others.



Book your Peru tour with Goway! 

LATIN AMERICA by Goway is an exclusive division that specializes in planning and organizing Peru tours and experiences. Choose from a simple city stopover, a small group tour, a cruise on the  Amazon, a lodge stay in the Andes, a Holiday of a Lifetime and much more. We want to be your first choice when next you go globetrotting to Peru.

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