With an area of 1,285,215 square km, Peru is the third-largest country in South America after Brazil and Argentina, ranking it amongst the world's 20 largest nations.
Peru also holds sway over the sea up to 200 miles from the Peruvian coast and has territorial rights to an area of 60 million hectares in the Antarctic. Peru is divided into 24 departments, plus the Constitutional Province of Callao. Lima is the capital of Perú.
- 25.662.000 inhabitants.
- Urban: 72,3 %
- Rural: 27,7 %
Peru is a nation of mixed ethnic origins. Throughout its history, Peru has been the meeting ground for different nations and cultures. The indigenous population was joined 500 years ago by the Spaniards.
As a result of this encounter, and later enriched by the migration of African blacks, Asians and Europeans, Peruvian man emerged as the representative of a nation whose rich ethnic mix is one of its leading characteristics.
- Spanish: 80,3%
- Quechua: 16,2%
- Other languages: 3,0%
- Foreign languages: 0,2%
As part of its rich cultural tradition, Peru features many different languages. Although Spanish is commonly spoken across the country, Quechua is a major legacy of the Inca empire, and is still spoken with regional dialects in many parts of Peru.
In addition, other languages are spoken such as Aymara (in Puno) and a startling variety of dialects in the Amazon jungle, which are divided up into 15 linguistic families and 43 different languages.
Currency. The official currency in Peru is the Nuevo Sol (S/.), which is divided into 100 centimos. The currency includes coins for 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimos and 1, 2 and 5 sol coins. There are bills in the denomination of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 soles.
Government.Peru is a democratic republic. The president and members of Congress are elected every five years by universal suffrage. The current constitutional president of Peru is Alejandro Toledo Manrique (2001-2006).
Roman Catholic: 89%
Other religions: 4%
Peru is a naturally religious country: a diversity of beliefs and freedom of worship can be seen from the wide range of festivals and rituals that feature both Catholic fervor and the mysticism of age-old pre-Hispanic cultures.
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