Political History of Peru

A political overview of 500 years of Peru's history from Spanish rule to today

Since Francisco Pizarro conquered the Inca Empire in 1532, Peru had a turbulent history with many ups and lots of downs. The country has seen many rulers and forms of government from Spanish conquistadores and viceroys to freedom fighters and caudillos to civilian and military presidents to dictators and right, center and left presidents.

Below you find an overview of the political developments in Peru over the past 500 years which hopefully not only summarizes the facts but explains the complex contexts allowing you to understand today’s political structure and the causes for Peru’s current political, economic and social problems.

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Spanish rule in Peru (1533 - 1824)

Political History of Peru
After the Italian explorer and navigator Christopher Columbus on its way to find a new route to India and the Spice Islands set foot on the Caribbean islands of San Salvador (October 1492) and Hispaniola (December 1492) claiming the islands for the King and Queen of Spain (who had sponsored the trip), it took the Spaniards less than 50 years to ...

Independence of Peru (1821 - 1824)

Political History of Peru
When Napoleonic France invaded and occupied Spain during the Peninsular War (1807 – 1814) installing Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother, on the Spanish throne, aspirations for independence from Spain developed in the Spanish South American territories mainly fueled and supported by personalities from the wealthy, respected and aristocratic upp...
After independence Peru had a hard time with the transition from the feudal society imposed by the Spanish Viceroyalty to a self-governed democratic Republic.

War of the Pacific (1879 - 1884)

Political History of Peru
The War of the Pacific, also known as Saltpeter War or Ten Cents War, arose from a dispute between Chile and Bolivia over valuable mineral deposits in the Atacama Desert.

Aristocratic Republic (1884 - 1930)

Political History of Peru
After the War of the Pacific, the war expenditures, the loss of revenue from the Tarapaca region and a devastated country led to political instability with different civilian and military forces aiming for power and near bankruptcy which was averted by Peru accepting a proposal from its creditors giving them the right to control the railroads fo...

Peru from 1930 to 1968

Political History of Peru
After President Augusto B. Leguía settled the Tacna-Arica dispute with Chile in 1929 resulting in the Peruvian loss of Arica and angering extreme nationalists, and with the Great Depression in full swing draining foreign investment from Peru, his eleven-year dictatorship ended with being removed from office in a military coup.

Military Regimes in Peru from 1968 to 1980

Political History of Peru
As we have seen so far, since independence Peru’s political scene was characterized by presidents, civilian governments and parties reflecting the - in comparison to the population - few oligarch elements of Peruvian society with the military being always prominent and regularly seizing power. While both of these groups profited immensely in tim...

Instability in Peru from 1980 to 1990

Political History of Peru
After General Francisco Morales moved the Velasco's revolution into a more conservative "second phase" reviving the country's economy by denationalizing certain industries, opening the mining sector to private investors and encouraging foreign investment, he presided over the return to a civilian government under a new democratic constitution. I...
There are two main rebel groups operating in Peru, both leftist: The Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and the Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru (Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement).
In the 1990 elections, voters concerned about the disastrous economic situation, inflation, the increasing threat from Peru's terror groups, drug trade and corruption, chose relatively unknown Alberto Fujimori, the son of Japanese immigrants and an agricultural-engineer-turned-politician, as president.
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Latest Content...

Latest Video

National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History - Lima, Peru.mp4

National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History - Lima, Peru.mp4

Founded in April 1826, the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru (MNAAHP) is Peru's oldest state museum. On display is a wide range of perfectly preserved pre-Hispanic ceramics, textiles, metals, organic materials and lithic's. Objects of historic-artistic value are exhibited. The documentary, photographic and bibliographic collections tell...
Submitted by: Tintin
02 July 2021

Long Reads...

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    The Jeweled Frog and the Condor

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    The colorful Fabrics and Textiles of Peru

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  • Peruvian Personalities & Founders

    Francisco Pizarro González (1474-1541)

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