* * * Peru Introduction Peru - Background: Ancient Peru was the seat of several prominent Andean civilizations, most notably that of the Incas whose empire was captured by the Spanish conquistadores 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.
In 1998, El Nino's impact on agriculture, the financial crisis in Asia, and instability in Brazilian markets undercut growth.
And 1999 was another lean year for Peru, with the aftermath of El Nino and the Asian financial crisis working its way through the economy.
Political instability resulting from the presidential election and FUJIMORI's subsequent departure from office limited growth in 2000.
The downturn in the global economy further depressed growth in 2001.
President TOLEDO, who assumed the presidency in July 2001, is working to reinvigorate the economy and reduce unemployment.
Economic growth in 2002 is projected to be 3 to 3.5%. Almost half of the people are Quechua Indians, and nearly one-third are mestizos (mixed Indian and Spanish ancestry); the remainder are Aymara Indians and persons of Spanish ancestry.