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PERU republic with its capital in Lima, is the third largest country in South America, and has a diverse geography including coast, sierra (mountain) and selva (jungle) regions.  The coastal area is the most important economically as it forms the core of Peru's industrial and commercial base (extending 3,080 kilometers along the Pacific Ocean, it is more than twice the lenght of California's coastline).  The coastal territory contains on tihrd of Peru's proven national oil reserves, as well as a significant amount of natural gas reserves.  Peru's principal reserves of copper, silver, lead and zinc are located in the sierra region, and the selva region producessome two-thirds of Peru's oil as well as harbors tremendous timber reserves.

With a total estimated population of 24 million, Peru is the fourth most pupulated country in South America.  Only 30% of Peruvians live in rural areas, while some 70% reside in urban areas.  One-third of the Peruvian work force is based in Lima and its vicinity.  Peru's most populous cities outside of Metropolitan Lima include Arequipa (800,000), Trujillo (500,000) Chiclayo (400,000) and Cuzco (300,000).
Ethnic division coincide with the aforementioned geographic regions. The coastal population is mostly mestizo, with a small percentage of whites of European descent.  Quechuan highlanders, whose heritage dates back to pre-Columbian civilizations live in the Andes, and Amerinds form a different background inhabit the jungles.  The official language of Peru is Spanish, but in the areas where native population predominates, Quechua, Aymara and other pre-colonial languages continue to be spoken.

When the Spanish landed in 1531, Peru was the nucleus of a highly developed Incan civilizaton.  Centered at Cuzco, the Incan empire extended over a vast region from what is now northern Ecuador to central Chile.  In search of Incan wealth, the Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro arrived in the territory after the Incas had fought a debilitating civil war and easily conquered the weakened people.

Jose de San Martin of Argentina and Simon Bolivar of Venezuela led Peru's independence movement, which culminated with a declaration of independence from Spain on July 28, 1821.  In December 1824, Gen.Antonio Jose de Sucre defeated the Spanish troops at Ayacucho, ending Spanish rule in South America.  Following attempts to regain its former colonies, Spain ultimately recognized Peru's independence in 1879.
By Karl Bieberach--our good friend...
LIMA, during the years of colonial conquest, was an administrative center of the Spanish empire.  Founded in 1535 on the banks of the Rimac River, the original layout of the city was designed by the Spanish Conquistador, Francisco Pizarro.  As it was during colonial times, Lima remains the economic and cultural, as well as political capital of Peru.

In a spontaneous movement toward urbanization by the nation's populance, Lima has grown tremendously over the last few years.  Census figures put the city's current population at 7,200,000 persons, although unofficial estimates place the figure above 8 million at present.

Lima is served by the Jorge Chavez International Airport. located approximately 45 minutes (20miles) from the MIraflores District, where the
JW Marriott Hotel is situated.  International service to Lima is provided by 22 airlines, includinf 5 of Europe's most important carriers (Alitalia, AIr France, Lufthansa, KLM and Iberia).  Regular service to Lima from the USA is provided by a number of US and Latin American carriers, including frequent daily non-stops from Miami, New York/Newark, Dallas, Atlanta and Houston.
Lima's Cathedral and Main Plaza