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Ancient Peru was the seat of several prominent Andean civilizations, most notably that of the Incas whose empire was captured by the Spanish conquistadores in 1533. Peruvian independence was declared in 1821, and remaining Spanish forces defeated in 1824. After a dozen years of military rule, Peru returned to democratic leadership in 1980, but experienced economic problems and the growth of a violent insurgency. President Alberto Fujimori's election in 1990 ushered in a decade that saw a dramatic turnaround in the economy and significant progress in curtailing guerrilla activity. Nevertheless, the president's increasing reliance on authoritarian measures and an economic slump in the late 1990s generated mounting dissatisfaction with his regime. Fujimori won reelection to a third term in the spring of 2000, but international pressure and corruption scandals led to his ouster by Congress in November of that year.
Location: Western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Chile and Ecuador
Climate: Varies from tropical in east to dry desert in west; temperate to frigid in Andes
Borders: Bolivia 900 km, Brazil 1,560 km, Chile 160 km, Colombia 1,496 km (est.), Ecuador 1,420 km
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Peru is a large, mountainous country on the Pacific coast of South America. It has borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and the Pacific Ocean. The Sierra contains the Andes, with peaks of over 6000m (20,000ft). The Selva, an area of fertile, subtropical uplands, lies between the Andes and the jungles of eastern Peru. Peru offers diversity: history, archaeology, sports, beaches, mountains, medicinal springs, nature, fantastic landscapes, friendly people and music. Tumbes and Piura are the most northerly Peruvian coastal departments and are major beach, surfing, sporting and deep-sea fishing centres. Lima, the capital, is an ancient Spanish city founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535 and known as the ‘City of Kings’. The city’s splendid museums, galleries and monuments are juxtaposed with modern suburbs. Cusco, situated 3360m (11,024ft) above sea level, was once the capital of the Inca Empire. Remains of the granite stone walls of the Inca Palace and temples can still be seen. Peru’s most famous archaeological site is Machu Picchu, the ‘Lost City of the Incas’, and the final destination of the famous three-day Inca Trail.

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