Updated: Oct 12, 2021
The history of Peru spans 10 millennia, extending back through several stages of cultural development in the mountain region and the lakes. Peru was home to the Norte Chico civilization, the oldest civilization in the Americas
The Inca, the last "pristine" tribe, that is indigenous and not derivative from other civilizations, originated from a tribe based in Cusco and built the largest, most advanced empire and dynasty of pre-Columbian America. The Inca Empire lasted for about 100 years from 1438 to 1532, spoke mostly Quechua, and most of the still existing tribes descended from them.
There are 51 indigenous peoples in Peru, not including about 20 uncontacted tribes which live in the most remote, uncontacted regions of the Amazon rainforest. They include the Kakataibo, Isconahua, Matsigenka, Mashco-Piro, Mastanahua, Murunahua (or Chitonahua), Nanti and Yora. Sadly, their land is being rapidly destroyed by outsiders.
By far the most numerous are the indigenous people are from the highland, the Quechua, who comprise an estimated 83.1 per cent of the indigenous population according to the 2007 Census of Indigenous Communities. The Aymara population of some 500,000 is concentrated in the southern highland region near Puno.
Lowland indigenous groups include Achuar, Aguaruna, Asháninka, Huambisa, Quechua and Shipibo. Most of those tribes go back to the pre-Columbian era.
The Asháninka are members of the Arawak linguistic group, inhabit the Peruvian Amazonian rainforests.
The total number of indigenous Peruvians living in the Amazon basin is estimated at 350,000 and those are the caretakers and rediscoverer of the heirloom Chili Pepper plants Aji Charapita which was thought of extinct for over 50 year, and is one of the rarest and now most expensive chili peppers in the world. Outside of Peru is this pepper only at #CharapitaFarms fresh available (www.charapitfarms.com) .
In the 1970s and 1980s, the land of the Asháninka were exploited for the production of sugar and palm oil, for cattle ranching and forestry, by gold prospectors and a new wave of colonists. In addition, almost 700,000 hectares of forest have been destroyed to provide extra coca-growing areas.
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