Peruvian History, decisive dates
by Abraham Nowitz
Human settlement, based on marine resources and rudimentary floodplain agri- culture, appears on the Peruvian coast.
Period 3000–1800 BC
First known urban settlement of the Americas established on the coast at Caral. Simple cotton textiles appear.
Irrigation agriculture appears on the coast, together with maize cultivation and pot- tery. Settlements move inland to control supply of water.
Early Horizon Period
Chavín culture rises on strategic trans-Andean trade route. Innovations in textiles, metallurgy, and stone carving appear.
Early Intermediate Period
300 BC–AD 600
Nazca and Moche cultures flourish on the south and north coasts, developing distinctive ceramic styles. The Nazca lines are drawn on the southern desert and the Moche build huge adobe pyramids. El Niño weather events provoke collapse of the Moche civilization.
Middle Horizon Period
Wari people initiate terrace agriculture in the central highlands, and the Tihuanaco develop intensive raised-field cultivation on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The Sicán culture thrives in the Lambayeque Valley, producing superb gold, silver, and cop- per objects.
Late Intermediate Period
Numerous regional cultures emerge; most important are the Chimú, the Chachapoyas, the Ica, the Huanca, and the Incas. The Chachapoyas people build the huge walled citadel of Kuélap; successive kings of Chimú build the adobe city of Chan Chan, the capital until the Inca conquest.
The Inca Empire
According to later Inca mytho-history, Pachacutec launches an imperial expansion across a vast swathe of the Andes. The Incas absorb the crafts and technologies of assimilated peoples, and deploy their own genius for agricultural engineering, architecture, and large-scale organization.
The death of Huayna Capac leaves the empire divided between his sons, Huascar and Atahualpa. Civil war erupts, and Atahualpa emerges victorious.
The Spanish Conquest
Spanish conquistadors arrive in Tumbes and march to meet Atahualpa at Caja- marca. The Inca emperor is tricked and captured, and offers a huge ransom in ex- change for his life.
The Spaniards execute Atahualpa, then march on Cusco and loot the city’s trea- sures. Manco, another son of Huayna Capac, is installed as puppet ruler.
Francisco Pizarro founds Lima, which will later become the seat of the Spanish Viceroyalty.
Manco rebels against the Spanish, but is defeated at Sacsayhuamán. The following year he retreats to Vilcabamba.
Diego de Almagro, Pizarro’s original partner, leads an opposing faction. Civil war breaks out. Almagro is defeated and garroted.
Pizarro is assassinated by Almagro supporters.
Manco is murdered by Almagrist allies at Vitcos.
Viceroy Francisco de Toledo invades Vilcabamba and executes Manco’s son, Tupac Amaru, ending Inca resistance. Toledo establishes reducciones, the forced resettlement of native populations, formalizes the encomienda system, whereby Indians provide tribute to their Spanish masters, and co-opts the mita, an Inca taxation-through-labor system.
A Catholic campaign to stamp out native religions results in many indigenous be- liefs and rites being given a Christian veneer.
The War of the Spanish Succession in Europe sees the Habsburg dynasty replaced by the Bourbons, who try to improve the economy and reduce corruption.
Charles III ascends the throne of Spain and opens up trade in Peru.
The powerful Jesuit Order, influential in securing fairer treatment of natives, is ex- pelled from the New World.
Indigenous rebellion against the Spanish led by José Gabriel Condorcanqui, known as Tupac Amaru II, who is defeated and executed in 1781.
Viceroy Teodoro de Croix institutes reforms, setting up a court to deal with indige- nous claims.
An indigenous uprising led by Mateo García Pumacahua captures Arequipa and wins Creole support before being put down by royalist troops.
After liberating Chile, the Argentinian General José de San Martín invades Peru, helped by the recently formed Chilean navy under British command.
San Martín enters Lima and proclaims Peruvian independence on July 28, although royalists still control most of Peru.
Independence armies headed by General José de Sucre crush royalist forces at the Battle of Ayacucho.
Bolívar presidency, after which a period of turmoil ensues, with 35 presidents in 40 years.
First guano and nitrate fertilizer contracts with Britain, which come to control Pe- ru’s economy.
Lima–Callao railroad inaugurated.
President Ramón Castilla abolishes slavery and “Indian tribute” taxation.
Spain attacks the port of Callao, failing in a last desperate bid to recover her strate- gic colony.
Spain recognizes Peruvian independence.
Foreign debts bankrupt Peru.
War of the Pacific over nitrate deposits in southern Tarapacá province begins.
Chile occupies the provinces of Tacna, Arica, and Tarapacá.
Chileans sack Lima and occupy Peru.
Treaty of Ancón cedes Arica and Tarapacá to Chile.
Hiram Bingham announces discovery of Machu Picchu.
Exiled Victor Raúl Haya de la Torre founds Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Amer- icana (APRA).
Haya de la Torre is allowed back to Peru to contest elections, but is defeated. Numerous apristas are killed in the subsequent uprising.
Border war with Ecuador ends in victory for Peru, cementing its control over the Upper Amazon.
Military coup brings General Manuel Odría to power.
Another military coup heads off probable APRA election victory.
President Fernando Belaúnde initiates modest land reform, but is swept from power in another military coup.
General Juan Velasco introduces land reforms and nationalization. Quechua is recognized as the second language.
Massive earthquake strikes northern Peru, killing 75,000–80,000 people.
Second major El Niño event of the 20th century.
Centrist policies follow a palace coup by General Francisco Morales Bermúdez, but economic woes pile up.
Belaúnde returns to power in democratic elections. Terrorist organization Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) becomes a serious threat.
Third major El Niño event causes disastrous flooding.
APRA takes power for the first time, under youngest-ever president Alán García. His policies cause hyperinflation, shortages, and chaos, while nationwide terrorist violence spirals out of control.
Unknown Alberto Fujimori defeats novelist Mario Vargas Llosa to win presidency.
Fujimori suspends Congress and Constitution and introduces tough economic and anti-terrorist measures. Sendero Luminoso leader Abimael Guzmán is cap- tured.
Border clashes lead to major military conflict with Ecuador, ending in ceasefire. Fujimori is re-elected, and his supporters gain a majority in Congress.
Members of armed Tupac Amaru hostage-taking group killed after four-month siege at Japanese ambassador’s residence. All but one of 72 hostages survive.
Peace treaty with Ecuador leads to final settlement of border dispute.
Fujimori wins third term amidst widespread charges of vote-rigging. Leaked videos of high-level bribery trigger mass protests. Fujimori flees to Japan and faxes his resignation.
Outsider politician Alejandro Toledo wins elections and takes office as first elected indigenous president of Peru. His term is marred by strikes, protests, and the rise commodities, and vigorous economic growth.
Alán García achieves political resurrection, claiming to have learned from disas- trous mistakes in the 1980s and promising economic stability; he narrowly wins a second term.
Ex-president Fujimori is extradited from Chile. Sentenced in Lima, he receives six years in prison for abuse of power and faces more serious human rights charges. In August an 8.0-magnitude earthquake hits the coastal region of Ica, killing more than 500 people.
Fast economic growth brings only limited benefits to the poor. Protests in Bagua province lead to around 50 deaths.
Leftwing nationalist Ollanta Humala wins the presidency but leaves market-friendly economic policy intact.
Liberal economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski wins the presidency