Ancient Peru was the seat of several prominent Andean civilizations, most notably that of the Incas whose empire was captured by the Spanish conquistadors in 1533.
Note - Iquitos, Pucallpa, and Yurimaguas are on the upper reaches of the Amazon and its tributaries
Government Type: Constitutional Republic
Chief of state: President Ollanta Humala Tasso (since 28 July 2011)
First Vice President Marisol ESPINOZA Cruz (since 28 July 2011)
Note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
Note: Prime Minister Oscar VALDES Dancuart (since 11 December 2011) does not exercise executive power; this power rests with the president.
Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
Elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for nonconsecutive reelection); presidential and congressional elections last held on 10 April 2011 with runoff election held on 6 June 2011 (next to be held in April 2016)
Legal system: civil law system
Land Boundaries:total: 7,461 km
Climate:Varies from tropical in east to dry desert in west; temperate to frigid in Andes
Terrain:Western coastal plain (costa), high and rugged Andes in center (sierra), eastern lowland jungle of Amazon Basin (selva)
Ancient Peru was the seat of several prominent Andean civilizations, most notably that of the Incas whose empire was captured by the Spanish conquistadors in 1533. Peruvian independence was declared in 1821, and remaining Spanish forces defeated in 1824. After a dozen years of military rule, Peru returned to democratic leadership in 1980, but experienced economic problems and the growth of a violent insurgency.
President Alberto FUJIMORI's election in 1990 ushered in a decade that saw a dramatic turnaround in the economy and significant progress in curtailing guerrilla activity. Nevertheless, the president's increasing reliance on authoritarian measures and an economic slump in the late 1990s generated mounting dissatisfaction with his regime, which led to his ouster in 2000.
A caretaker government oversaw new elections in the spring of 2001, which ushered in Alejandro TOLEDO as the new head of government - Peru's first democratically elected president of Native American ethnicity.
The presidential election of 2006 saw the return of Alan GARCIA who, after a disappointing presidential term from 1985 to 1990, returned to the presidency with promises to improve social conditions and maintain fiscal responsibility.
Source: The world factbook www.cia.gov
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