Interesting facts about Peru?
- The word Peru is derived from Birú, the name of a local ruler who lived near the Bay of San Miguel, Panama, in the early 16th century. When his possessions were visited by Spanish explorers in 1522, they were the southernmost part of the New World yet known to Europeans. Thus, when Francisco Pizarro explored the regions farther south, they came to be designated Birú or Peru;
- There are almost 4,000 native varieties of Peruvian potatoes. Potatoes have been cultivated in the Andes for at least 7000 years;
- The earliest evidences of human presence in Peruvian territory have been dated to approximately 9,000 years BCE. The oldest known complex society in Peru, the Norte Chico civilization, flourished along the coast of the Pacific Ocean between 3,000 and 1,800 BCE;
- The primary language of Peru is Spanish. However, the languages of the Quechua people, who are the descendants of the Incas and the Aymara, are also fairly common in some areas;
- The median age in Peru is 25. The average life expectancy is at an all-time high of 70 years, a vast improvement from 1960, when it was 48 years. In the Andes, the life expectancy is 55;
- Peru, unlike other equatorial countries, does not have an exclusively tropical climate. The costa has moderate temperatures, low precipitations, and high humidity, except for its warmer, wetter northern reaches. In the sierra, rain is frequent during summer, and temperature and humidity diminish with altitude up to the frozen peaks of the Andes. The selva is characterized by heavy rainfall and high temperatures, except for its southernmost part, which has cold winters and seasonal rainfall;
- Peru is an active member of several regional blocs and one of the founders of the Andean Community of Nations. It is also a participant in international organizations such as the Organization of American States and the United Nations.