Peru is a nation in western South America. Its official name is the Republic of Peru. Ecuador and Colombia border it on the north, Brazil on the east, Bolivia on the southeast, Chile on the south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west and south. Peru is a megadiverse nation with habitats ranging from the dry plains of the Pacific coastline area in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains reaching from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon basin rainforest with the Amazon River in the east. Lima, Peru's capital and biggest city, with a population of 34 million people. Peru is the 19th biggest nation in the world and the third-largest in South America, with 1.28 million km2 (0.5 million mi2).
Several ancient civilizations lived in Peruvian land. From the Caral-Supe civilization, which began in 3500 BCE and is one of the five cradles of civilization, to the Inca Empire, the largest known state in the pre-Columbian Americas, the territory now encompassing Peru has one of the longest histories of civilization of any country, dating back to the 10th millennium BCE.
In the 16th century, the Spanish Empire conquered the area and built a viceroyalty that included most of its South American lands, with Lima as its seat. Higher education in the Americas began in 1551 with the formal foundation of the National University of San Marcos in Lima. Peru declared independence in 1821, and after the foreign military operations of José de San Martin and Simón Bolvar, as well as the critical battle of Ayacucho, Peru achieved freedom in 1824. In the years that followed, the nation experienced political turmoil before entering a period of relative economic and political stability as a result of guano harvesting. Later, the Pacific War (1879–1884) with Chile caused a crisis in Peru, from which the aristocracy took power via the Civilista Party. Throughout the twentieth century, the nation saw coups, social unrest, and internal wars, as well as times of peace and economic growth. The nation embraced a neoliberal economic strategy in the 1990s, which is still in use today. Peru enjoyed a period of consistent economic expansion and poverty reduction throughout the 2000s commodities boom.
Peru is a sovereign state organized into 25 regions that are governed by a representative democratic republic. Peru has a high degree of human development, ranking 82nd on the Human Development Index, with an upper middle-income level. It boasts one of the most wealthy economies in the area, with an average growth rate of 5.9 percent, and one of the world's highest industrial growth rates, with an average of 9.6 percent. Its primary economic activities include mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and fishing, as well as other rapidly emerging industries such as telecommunications and biotechnology. The nation is a member of The Pacific Pumas, a political and economic association of Latin American Pacific coast countries that share shared tendencies of good development, strong macroeconomic foundations, better governance, and openness to global integration. Peru ranks high in social freedom; it is an active member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Pacific Alliance, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the World Trade Organization; and it is regarded as a middle power. Mestizos, Amerindians, Europeans, Africans, and Asians make up Peru's population. Although Spanish is the most widely spoken language, a considerable proportion of Peruvians speak Quechuan, Aymara, or other Indigenous languages. This blending of cultural traditions has produced a broad range of manifestations in domains like art, gastronomy, literature, and music.