THE PERU MALL
To the World from Peru

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.

The Peruvian population, estimated at 28 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Africans and Spaniards. The main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechua and 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.

Area
1,285,216 sq km (496,225 sq miles).

Population
27,148,101 (2003).

Population Density
21.1 per sq km.

Capital
Lima. Population: 7,748,528 (2002).

Geography
Peru is a large, mountainous country on the Pacific coast of South America. It has borders with Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south. The Pacific Ocean lies to the west. There are three natural zones, running roughly north to south: Costa (Coast), Sierra (the Highlands) and Selva (Amazonian rain forest). The Costa region, which contains Lima (the capital), is a narrow coastal plain consisting of large tracts of desert broken by fertile valleys. The cotton, sugar and rice plantations and most of the so-far exploited oil fields lie in this area. The Sierra contains the Andes, with peaks over 6000m (20,000ft), most of the countrys mineral resources (silver, zinc, lead, copper and gold) and the greater part of its livestock. The Selva, an area of fertile, subtropical uplands, lies between the Andes and the border with Brazil. Sections of a proposed international highway are at present being built through it, with some sections already in use. The Amazonian jungle has vast natural resources. The absence of land communications, however, left the area largely uncharted until full-scale oil exploration began in 1973. The population is largely Indian and Mestizo with a noticeable influence from African, Chinese and European (mainly Spanish) settlers.

Language
Spanish and Quechua are the official languages. Aymar is spoken in some areas of the region of Puno. Many other dialects exist in the jungle regions. English is spoken in major tourist areas.