Depending on precipitation and altitude, the flora is very diverse.
In Montana there are up to 2000 m of mountain forests and up to 3500 m of evergreen cloud forests, which are typical of the tropical mountain vegetation.
In the hot and humid Selva below 1000 m, they change into a species-rich tropical rainforest that covers the entire Amazon region. In the Andes above 3500 m, there is high mountain vegetation, with dwarf shrubs, tufted grasses, perennials and cushion plants.
In the arid regions on the western slopes of the Andes, succulents and thorn bushes still thrive, while in the coastal region only the most sparse desert vegetation can be found.
In terms of population composition, Peru, like Bolivia, has a population of almost 50% of indigenous peoples. The majority of the indigenous peoples belong to the Quechua, who formed the state-supporting stratum in the Inca Empire, and the Aymará. Around a quarter of a million indigenous peoples who belong to around 50 ethnic groups live in the Selva.
Another third of Peruvians are mestizo, another 12% are white.
The population distribution is very uneven. Half of the Peruvians live on 10% of the country’s area in the Costa. Another 40% live in the Sierra, and only one in ten Peruvians lives in the Selva.
The majority of Peruvians live in cities, almost a third in the metropolitan area of Lima alone.
Despite high infant and child mortality rates, the population is growing by 2% annually. The population of Peru is therefore young.
Since the mid-1990’s, signs of economic recovery have been increasing in Peru, the results of which, however, mostly only benefit a small elite (Fig. 7). As a result, the developing country continues to face serious problems. Bitter poverty and violence as a result of an extremely unequal distribution of property determine everyday life. Slums grow around the cities and large parts of the country are terrorized by guerrilla groups.
A third of the workforce works in agriculture.
Cotton, sugar cane, rice, maize, vegetables, tobacco and wine are grown in the river oases of the Costa.
The second important cultivation area are the Andean highlands and valleys. Today, as in the times of the Incas, small hillside terraces determine the image of the settlement areas. Above all, they ensure the self-sufficiency of the indigenous people who live under poor conditions with potatoes and grain (subsistence farming).
Llamas, alpacas, sheep and goats are bred on the high mountain pastures.
The illegal coca fields are also located in Montana. Along with Bolivia and Colombia, Peru is one of the most important cocaine producers and exporters. The sales of the cocaine business, controlled by criminal organizations, are estimated at more than US $ 2 billion.
Fishing and processing are among the main industries in the country. The nutrient-rich Humboldt Current off the Peruvian coast was one of the most fish-rich waters on earth. The fishing grounds are very sensitive. Due to overfishing and in years when the El Ninho phenomenon occurs, the good catches are increasingly missing.
Peru is extraordinarily rich in natural resources. In addition to oil, copper, lead and silver, iron ore, zinc, gold, bismuth, molybdenum, tungsten, tin and mercury are mined as the most important export goods and foreign exchange sources.
The industry experienced a modest boom in the 1990’s.
The textile and food industries, followed by the chemical and steel industries, are among the most important branches of industry that mainly process domestic raw materials.
In terms of transport, the country is poorly developed. The most important road connections are the Carretera Panamericana, a 3400 km long section of which runs along the coast, and the 800 km long Transandenstrasse.
Less than 500 years ago the greatest Indian high culture experienced its heyday in the Inca Empire. The heartland of the Inca Empire, which stretched from what is now Ecuador in the north to far into the Chilean southern Andes, was Peru. Its capital, Cuzco, was in the Peruvian highlands. This name means “navel” in the Quechua language. This underlines the outstanding importance of this largest city in South America at the beginning of the 16th century. The Inca Empire was a perfectly organized central state with up to 12 million residents. At its head was the Inca, who is considered the son of the sun god.
Impressive cultural monuments still remind of the Inca empire, which was smashed in 1533 with the conquest of Cuzco by gold-hungry Spaniards under PIZARRO.
Peru was a Spanish colony for almost 300 years. It was not until 1821 that the Argentine general JOSÉ DE SAN MARTIN proclaimed independence after defeating the army of the Spanish viceroy in Lima.
From then on, Peru experienced a very eventful history.