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Peru - facts for kids

Peru is a country in northwestern South America. The narrow coastal strip, where many of the cities lie, has some fertile river valleys, but is mainly desert. Snow covers the tall peaks of the Andes mountains, which border the coastal strip (see Andes). Between the ranges of the Andes are plateaus (high plains). At 12,500 feet above sea level, on the Peru-Bolivia border, lies Lake Titicaca, which covers 3,260 square miles.

Peru - facts for kids and adults: The map

Peru - facts for kids: The map shows the location of Peru in the northwestern part of South America on the Pacific Ocean

East of the Andes, the land slopes down to a thickly-forested plain. Many rivers, which join the mighty Amazon River in the northeast, flow across this plain (see Amazon). The plain has a tropical hot, wet climate. In contrast, the mountains are cool and the coastal region is dry. Temperatures along the coast are not high, because of cool winds that blow from the sea. These winds are cooled as they pass over the cold Humboldt Current, a cold stream of ocean water flowing along the coast.

Peru - facts for kids and adults: Machu Picchu Peru - facts for kids and adults: festival

Peru - facts for kids:

Machu Picchu is a well-preserved Inca city in Peru. Probably built in the 1400's, the city was unknown for several hundred years before it was discovered

Peru - facts for kids:

Recalling the past glories of the Inca civilization of South America, these Peruvians are wearing Inca headdresses during a festival

The mountains of Peru contain many minerals, including bismuth, copper, iron ore and gold. More than half of the people live in the mountain region. The rest live mainly along the coast. Only a few Amerind tribes (South American Indians) live on the hot plains. About half of Peru's people are Amerinds. Most of the rest are people of mixed European and Amerind ancestry.

Peru - facts for kids and adults: An old Peruvian farmer Peru - facts for kids and adults: Peruvian women work in the fields

An old Peruvian farmer wears warm clothes to protect him against the cool mountain climate

Peruvian women work in the fields

The mountain Amerinds rear cattle, llamas and sheep. Some work in the mines. The coastal people work on small farms or on plantations, growing cotton and sugar for export. Guano, sea-bird droppings, is collected from Peru's offshore islands. It is a valuable fertilizer. Peru was part of the Inca empire from about the 1100s until it was conquered by Spain in the 1530s (see Incas). After several uprisings, Peru became independent in 1824. An army of Colombians and Venezuelans, led by Simon Bolivar, a Venezuelan revolutionary, overthrew the Spaniards. Later in the 1800s, Peru had minor wars with its neighbors and with Spain. Mainly under military rule since then, Peru has had much internal unrest.

Facts and Figures. Area: 496,223 square miles. Population: 29,496,000. Capital: Lima. Money Unit: Nuevo Sol (PEN) Labor force: 65% rural; 35% urban. Exports: copper, cotton, fish, iron ore. Imports: chemicals, foodstuffs, machinery.

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