Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean.
Peruvian territory was home to the Norte Chico civilization, one of the oldest in the world, and to the Inca Empire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and established a Viceroyalty, which included most of its South American colonies. After achieving independence in 1821, Peru has undergone periods of political unrest and fiscal crisis as well as periods of stability and economic upswing.
Peru is a representative democratic republic divided into 25 regions. Its geography varies from the arid plains of the Pacific coast to the peaks of the Andes mountains and the tropical forests of the Amazon Basin. It is a developing country with a high Human Development Index score and a poverty level around 31%. Its main economic activities include agriculture, fishing, mining, and manufacturing of products such as textiles.
The Peruvian population, estimated at 29.5 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Europeans, Africans, and Asians. The main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechua or other native languages. This mixture of cultural traditions has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music
Daily Mail Online: Meteorite blasts across skies of Peru leaving forest fires in its wake
Blazing with the fury of a mini-sun this amazing video shows the moment a suspected meteor streaked across the sky over the city of Cusco in Peru.
It was captured blasting through the upper levels of the atmosphere at 2pm yesterday afternoon, leaving an irredescent trail in its wake.
Astonished residents watched as the impressive natural phenomena eventually disappeared over the horizon.
Experts believe it may have caused forest fires to the south of the city, which have been ravaged by drought.
Local officials and the National Police are currently trying to determine where the meteorite may have landed and are speaking to farmers south of the city.
The meteorite fell in the south of the Imperial City, between the districts of San Sebastian and San Geronimo.
Cusco is the gateway to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. The Inca trail attracts tens of thousands of tourists every year, with entry restricted to 200 new travelers each day.
Peru last saw a meteorite fall in September 2007 near the border with Bolivia.
The basketball-sized meteorite left an impressive crater that was 44ft in diameter. Fragments of rock tested positive for iron, nickel and cobalt with traces of iridium.
It was dated as about 4.5billion years old and formed around the same time as our Solar System.
Meteorites are fragments of rock and sometimes metal that survive the fall to Earth from space. Most are fragments left over from the collision of two asteroids.
Captured by Earth's gravitational force, they are accelerated to speeds of over 11.2 kilometres per second.
They can vary in size from a fraction of a millimetre to larger than a football pitch. It is believed a meteorite six miles across wiped out the dinosaurs 65million years ago.
Hundreds of meteorites fall to Earth each year but only a handful are recovered.