Pre-Inca Civilizations

The arrival of the first man on the American continent is subject to debate within the scientific community. It is considered that America was populated by Asian immigrants in 13,500 BC, across the Beringian land bridge, the passage between eastern Siberia and Alaska now covered by the sea and known as the Bering Strait. In those times during the last glacial period, ocean levels dropped about 150 meters / 500 ft (due to the concentration of frozen water increasing great ice sheets), causing a connection between Asia and North America.

The Man of Lauricocha (10,000 ac) is considered the first human remains in Peru, found in the eastern slopes of the Andes in the cavern of Lauricocha 3,900 meters (12,800 ft) a.s.l., near the city of Huánuco (central Peru).

The oldest urban center in the Americas appears in Caral 200 km (124 mi) north of Lima on the Peruvian coast, dating 3,000 BC.

Chronology of the major pre-Inca civilizations in Peru:

Inca Empire From (1,200 to 1,533)

According to legend Manco Capac and his sister (and wife) Mama Occllo born from the foam of Lake Titicaca. Their father, Inti or Sun God, gave them a gold staff with the mission to found the capital of the future empire in the place where the sacred staff sank into the earth, which happened in the valley of the Huatanay river in Qosqo (navel of the world – Cuzco in Spanish).

Historically, there is no certainty about the origin of the Incas. The most commonly accepted hypothesis is the displacement of the elites of the Tiahuanaco civilization from the Titicaca Lake to the north to escape sudden invasions.

Spanish Conquest (1526 – 1572)

In 1526, the Spanish arrived in Peru. Led by Francisco Pizarro, Spanish colonists made their appearance just after a long civil war between two rival Inca kings, which served to weakened the Inca’s defenses. A series of clashes over the next several decades ended with the Spanish execution of the last Inca leader, Túpac Amaru, in 1572.

The Spanish forced natives to mine for silver and mercury, for almost no pay. Natives were also coerced to convert to Catholicism. In many cases, whole tribes were driven far from their homes.


By the 18th century, many Peruvians had both European and indigenous ancestors, creating an ethnicity known as mestizos. The Spanish had also imported slaves from Africa, and the slaves and their descendants developed their own subculture within Peru. These new generations of Peruvian natives came to increasingly resent Spain’s governance.

In 1808, Spain’s control over South America weakened when Napoleon ousted King Charles IV from the Spanish throne. Jose de San Martín of Argentina and Simón Bolívar of Venezuela both contributed their forces to help liberate Lima from Spanish control. By 1824, Peru was an independent nation. Political stability, however, did not come quickly. After Peru gained independence, a series of military leaders took control. The first president was not elected until 1872.

Republic until Present Times

It wasn’t until the 1990s that Peru became the true constitutional republic it is today. Throughout much of the 20th and 21st centuries, Peru has grappled with political struggles. One of the most dramatic of which was the Fujimori Regime.

In 2001, Peru got its first true taste of independence and stability as the nation’s leadership came full circle with the election of Peru’s first indigenous president, Alejandro Toledo. The governmental stability and economic growth Peru now enjoys is the result of hard work, a tenacious society, and centuries of effort.