Peruvian History, Culture & Traditions

Instructor: Matthew Helmer

Matt is an upcoming Ph.D. graduate and archaeologist. He has taught Anthropology, Geography, and Art History at the university level.

Peru is a South American country rich in history, culture, and tradition. In this lesson, I highlight how Peru's millennia of history has contributed to one of the most unique and fastest growing countries in the world today.


Having spent the better part of six years living and researching in Peru, I am continually enamored by the country's deep cultural and historical roots. From the Amazonian rain forest, to the high Andes, to the arid Pacific coast, Peru's rich and varied landscape has contributed to civilizations spanning over 5,000 years leading up to the present day.

Peru: Over 10,000 Years of History

Caral, one of the oldest monuments in Peru.
Inka Empire

Peruvian Culture: A Blend of Traditions

Inti Raymi festival at the Inka capital of Cusco.
Inti Raymi Festival, Peru
Inti RaymiQuechua

Lomo Saltado, a Peruvian dish with diverse historical influences.
Lomo Saltado

Peruvian Politics: A Developing World Power

As a developing country, Peru's politics are mired with a colonial legacy mixed with poverty, inequality, and civil war. Despite this, Peru's bounty of natural resources have helped the country to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world based on its GDP. Peru's white Hispanic elite still control most of the country's wealth and resources, while indigenous Andeans continue to live in marginalized conditions. Yet, in Peru's rural areas, indigenous communities still embrace the ancient practice of reciprocity, and have strong community ties.

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