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 Hisp...

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 S...
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 ai...

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...

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 e...

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 secto...
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 Albe...
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Peru Event Calendar

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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...

  • Peru Info

    Peruvian Economy

    The Peruvian economy is an emerging, social market economy highly dependent on foreign trade and classified as an upper…
  • Peruvian Legends, Myths & Tales

    The Jeweled Frog and the Condor

    By a quiet pond, at the side of a cloud-topped mountain in Peru, lived a small green frog and his large green family.…
  • Peruvian Archaeology

    History of Peruvian Archaeology

    The story of the origins and development of Peruvian archaeology begins with the earliest Spanish contact in 1524, and…
  • Peruvian Archaeology

    The colorful Fabrics and Textiles of Peru

    Europe’s first knowledge of Peruvian textiles was acquired following the Spanish invasion of Peru in 1532, when the…
  • Peruvian Personalities & Founders

    Francisco Pizarro González (1474-1541)

    Francisco Pizarro, a peasant from Spain, was one of the least well-equipped conquerors in history. However, in the name…