The country of Peru derives its name from a Quecha Indian word meaning "land of abundance." The country is a tropical land and its northern tip touches the equator. Nonetheless the climate of the land is affected by the extreme elevation of parts of the land and the southwest winds which touch its Pacific shoreline. National unity has been problematic for although only 600 miles separate the city of Iquintos - on the upper Amazon - from Lima (the capital city. The Andes Mountains made it a very difficult trip before the advent of the airplane. Since the Wright brothers incredible invention the country has found it possible to unite.
The oldest civilization yet found in the Americas has been found in Peru. Hunting tools dating back 11,000 years have been found in Peruvian caves. Many developed civilizations - starting in 6,000 BC have been found in the coastal province of Chica Al Paracas and in the highland province of Callejon de Huuaylos. The Early Peruvians changed from a nomadic existence to cultivating land over a period of three thousand years. The first city known in the Americas is Card which was built about 2,500 B.C. It is a city which marks the beginning of developed civilization. The early inhabitants built irrigation canal about 5,400 years ago. An observatory dating back 4,200 years was found north of the current day Lima ((the capital city of Peru). Card # 1 shows natives at the Pre - Inca ruins of Cuzco dancing and celebrating.
Smaller civilizations were absorbed by more powerful ores. After coastal flooding the coastal towns gave way to the Huari who dwelt in the Andes, They developed powerful city - states which developed into an empire known as the Inca Empire. The Inca Empire which began around 1438 A.D. was the largest empire in pre - Columbian America. Most of the peoples of the area were willing to be absorbed into the empire with some exceptions which the Incas eventually subdued. The emperor Pachacutec is comparable to Alexander the Great (of Greece) or Julius Caesar ((of Rome, or Genghis Khan (Mongol emperor) in that he expanded the empire greatly. Worship of the sun - god became the state religion.
The most well preserved of the large Inca structures is Machu Picchu which is Quechan for "old peak". Cards #2 and #3 offer views of the site which is the best known internationally of the many other ancient site in Peru. Card #2 offers a view of the winding curved roads leading to the structures and card #3 offers a view of the ancient site from the air. Machu Picchu was known only to the local inhabitants until 1911 when an American archaeologist stumbled upon it. Today hundreds of thousands make the journey to see the sunset over the towering monuments.
Spanish ships landed in Peru in 1531. Francis Pizarro and brothers had hear rumors of an incredibly rich kingdom in the area. They gave Peru its name. A smallpox epidemic took pale between 1524. 1526 which preceded the Spanish landing. A civil war began at time. Pizarro executed a coup d’état taking advantage of the turmoil. They captured he Inca leader Atahualp and that caused consternation amongst the natives. At first the Spanish maintained the ostensible authority of the Incas. Spanish domination became all too evident and there were several rebellions which were brutally crushed. Under Spanish ruled forced labor was instituted on the indigenous people. Card #4 shows an indigenous descendant in full native dress.
Card #5 offer a view of a street in the city of Lima which was founded by the Spanish in 1538. Emperor Charles the 5th of Spain created a coat of arms for the city. There were factions among the Spanish rulers of the city, yet the city gained prestige when the "National University of San Mateo" was established there in 1551. Lia became a trading center for the Spanish colonizers. And his population expanded greatly. Unfortunately earthquakes were to rack the city in 1681 and this caused an outbreak of disease and lack of food. Piracy was another negative. Yet the colonizers managed to keep the buccaneers under control
Peru eventually broke free from the Spanish Empire. Jose de San Martin lead a struggle between 1820 - 1828 .and the famed Simon de Bolivar was to lead a successful struggle for independence. Once the rebels captured Lima the population was asked to take an oath of independence, Indigenous peoples had suffered greatly under the colonizers. Modern day Peruvians must deal with this history much as we of the U.S.A. must deal with the legacy of slavery and the Jim Crow era.
If you have the finances and health you can travel to Peru and see its historical treasures for yourself. If not, why not pick up some Peruvian cards at the net postcard chow you attend and get a "taste" of the fabled land. As always, happy hunting.