|Rep®≤blica del Per®≤
||Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
|Form of government
|Telephone area code
The Republic of Peru is the third largest country in
South America, with an area of 1 285 216 km² it is
more than twice the size of France. It borders Ecuador
in the north, Colombia in the northeast, Brazil in the
east, Bolivia in the southeast, Chile in the south and
the Pacific in the west. Peru is divided into three
large landscapes: coastline (Costa), central Andean
region (Sierra) and the lowlands of the Amazon bordering
to the east.
The Pacific coast of Peru is approx. 2,300 km long
and takes up around 10% of the total national area. In
the northern area it is up to 160 km wide, in the south
it narrows to just under 30 km. It is a desert and
steppe landscape that is crossed by over 50 rivers that
come from the Andes into the Pacific.
The Andean region consists of three mountain ranges
that run approximately parallel to the coast: In the
western Cordillera, which forms the continental divide
between the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean, there is the
highest mountain in Peru, the Huascar®Ęn at 6 768 m. The
volcanic peaks of Yerupaja and Coropuna are almost the
same height. Separated by the valley of the R®™o Marañon,
the mountain ranges of the Central Cordilleras and the
Eastern Cordilleras rise further south. In this area
lies Lake Titicaca at an altitude of 3 812 m, the
southeastern part of which belongs to the neighboring
country of Bolivia. Overall, the Andean region takes up
about a quarter of the area of Peru.
The two large rivers R®™o Marañon and R®™o Ucayali
merge (with numerous other smaller rivers) in the
northeastern lowlands to form the Amazon. The heavily
forested and mountainous forestland (Montaña, up to
about 3 500 m high) connects to the eastern Andean
chain. The Amazon lowlands and Montaña occupy around two
thirds of the country's area.
The capital Lima is located on the Pacific coast.
The climate in Peru is predominantly tropical with
balanced temperatures, which can vary widely depending
on the altitude. There is a dry (May-October) and a
rainy season (November-April). The Pacific coast is
influenced by the cold Humboldt Current, the average
temperatures in Lima on the coast are 23 °„C in January
and 16 °„C in July. The average annual rainfall is less
than 50 mm. The western flanks of the Andes are also
very dry, up to 800 mm annually fall on the plateaus
during the rainy season, partly in the form of heavy
rain. The temperatures decrease with increasing
altitude, the zone of eternal ice begins above 5,000 m.
Up to 3,800 mm of precipitation is measured on the
eastern slopes of the Andes.
Flora and fauna
In the rainy eastern lowlands of the Amazon there is
a rich tropical rainforest. On the eastern slopes of the
Andes (Montaña) there is initially mountain forest at a
height of approx. 1,000 to 2,000 m, which merges into
cloud forest above 2,000 m (up to approx. 3,500 m).
Grasses, dwarf shrubs and upholstery plants grow above 3
500 m. Succulents and thorny shrubs are found on the
low-precipitation western flanks of the coastal
cordillera. In the dry coastal strip, there is
predominantly desert vegetation outside the river
regions and irrigated areas.
Especially in the forested areas of Peru, the
wildlife is very diverse. Typical representatives of the
densely forested lowlands are jaguars, monkeys,
peccaries, tapirs, snakes, caimans and numerous bird
species. The ocelot is considered endangered. In the
highlands of the Andes live Andean bear, various llama
species (such as alpacas, guanacos, vicuñas) and the
condor, which is the largest vulture on earth with a
wingspan of over three meters. The coastal waters of the
Pacific Ocean are very rich in fish due to the
plankton-rich Humboldt Current. Over 1,400 different
species of fish are found here. The population of
seabirds is correspondingly large, including
albatrosses, cormorants, seagulls, pelicans and gannets.
A total of around 27.91 million people live in Peru,
around 70% of them in cities. The largest city is the
capital Lima on the Pacific coast, in whose metropolitan
area around 7.85 million people live. Other cities with
over a million residents are Trujillo, Chiclayo and
Arequipa. Almost half of the entire population lives in
the coastal region, only about 10% in the eastern areas
of the country, the rest in the highlands.
According to COUNTRYAAH, 46% of the Peruvian population are Indians. The
largest ethnic groups are the Quechua and the Aymara,
who mainly live in the highlands. The eastern lowlands
are home to around 250,000 Amazon Indians who belong to
a large number of different ethnic groups. A third of
the total population are mestizo, about 12% whites.
Minorities form blacks, mulattos and Asians.
The official languages are Spanish, Quechua and
Aymara. Quechua is spoken by around 40% of the
population, Aymara especially in the region of Lake
Titicaca. There are also numerous Amazon languages
spoken by small minorities. Religious freedom has
existed in Peru since 1973, over 92% of the population
are committed to the Roman Catholic Church, and about 3%
to the Protestant Church. Traditional religions are also
The population growth rate is 1.1% and life
expectancy averages 70 years. Adequate medical care is
guaranteed in cities, but not in rural areas. School
attendance is compulsory for children from six to 15
years, the literacy rate is around 90%.
According to the 1993 constitution, Peru is a
presidential republic. The head of state and the holder
of the executive with far-reaching powers is the
President (Ollanta Humala since July 2011), who is
directly elected for five years (no direct re-election
possible). The President is Commander in Chief of the
Armed Forces, appoints the Prime Minister (since
February 2014 Ren®¶ Cornejo), who has no executive
powers, and the Cabinet and can dissolve the Parliament.
The parliament (congreso) consists of a chamber with
130 deputies, who are elected for a term of five years.
Peru is divided into 24 districts (Departementos) and
the administrative district of Callao.
Peru has had considerable success in the
macroeconomic area for years. The economic upturn
continued after a slowdown in economic growth caused by
the global financial and economic crisis in 2009 (GDP
growth in 2012: 6.3%). This puts Peru at the top in
Latin America. However, this does not solve the Andean
state's biggest problems: a high number of unemployed
and underemployed people, especially in rural areas, and
the great poverty of the population. Peru's informal
sector is strong and coca bush is an important part of
the shadow economy. Peru is now the world leader in coca
cultivation, ahead of Colombia and Bolivia.
Only 1% of the workforce is employed in agriculture,
which contributes 6% to the gross domestic product
(GDP). Agricultural land can be found mainly in the
river oases in the coastal area (cotton, rice, sugar
cane, fruit) and in the Andean highlands: here, mainly
coffee, potatoes, corn and grain are grown in terraced
fields. In the highlands, the focus of cattle breeding
is (llamas, alpacas, sheep, goats, cattle). Coffee and
cotton are important export goods. Fishing is also an
important area of the economy, since the Humboldt
Stream, rich in plankton, ensures a large wealth of fish
off the coast. In good fishing years, Peru's fish meal
production is the largest in the world. The extraction
of rubber and quinine (from the Chinese bark tree) is
particularly important in forestry.
Peru is rich in mineral resources and their
exploitation is one of the most important economic
sectors. The export of copper, gold, zinc, lead, silver
and oil generates around half of the export earnings.
Oil deposits are mainly found off the northwest coast
and in the Amazon lowlands. Industry generates 38% of
GDP, the most important branches are the food processing
and textile industries, furthermore the steel industry
and the chemical industry. Over 70% of the country's
energy needs are met by hydropower.
The most important trading partners for exports (raw
materials, food, non-ferrous metals, petroleum,
textiles) and for imports are the USA, China, the
countries of the EU and the Andean countries. The main
imports are crude oil, machinery, transport accessories,
food, chemical and pharmaceutical products.
The infrastructure is poorly developed due to the
difficult natural conditions. A total of around 73,000
km of roads are available. The most important
north-south connection with a length of around 3 400 km
is the "Panamerican Highway", the most important
connection inland is the "Carretera Central" from Lima
to the interior. The railway network covers almost 2,300
km and is made up of several independent sections. There
is an international airport near Lima.
Currency is the new sol.