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Evidence of Settlement in Peru Dates Back Thousands of Years but, Except for Some Scattered Ruins, Little is Known of These Early People. In about 1250 BC Groups Such as the Chavín, Chimú, Nazca, and Tiahuanaco Migrated into the Region From the North. The Chimú Built the City of Chan Chan About 1000 A-D, Ruins Which Remain Today.

Inca Empire  
The Incas, Sometimes Called People of the Sun, were Originally a Warlike Tribe Living in a Semiarid Region of the Southern Sierra. From 1100 to 1300 the Inca Moved North into the Fertile Cusco Valley. From There They Overran the Neighboring Lands. By 1500 the Inca Empire Stretched From the Pacific Ocean East to the Sources of Paraguay and theAmazon River and From the Region of Modern Quito in Ecuador South to the Maule River in Chile. This Vast Empire was a Theocracy, Organized Along Socialistic Lines and Ruled by an Inca, or Emperor, Who was Worshiped as a Divinity. Because the Incas Realms Contained Extensive Deposits of Gold and Silver, it Became in the Early 16th Century a Target of Spanish Imperial Ambitions in the New Continent.

In November 1995 Anthropologists Announced the Discovery of 500 Year Old Remains of Two Inca Women and One Inca Man Frozen in the Snow on a Mountain Peak in Peru. Scientists Concluded that the Trio was Part of a Human Sacrifice Ritual on Ampato, a Sacred Peak in the Andes Mountain Range. Artifacts From the Find Unveiled New Information About the Inca and Indicated the Use of Poles and Tents Rather Than Traditional Stone Structures. The Arrangement of Doll-Size Statuettes Dressed in Feathers and Fine Woolens Provided Clues About Inca Religious and Sacrificial Practices.

Spanish Rule  
In 1532 the Spanish Soldier and Adventurer Francisco Pizarro Landed in Peru with a Force of About 180 Men. Conditions were Favorable to Conquer, Because theEmpire was Debilitated by a Just-Concluded Civil War Between the Inheritors to the Inca Throne, Atahualpa and Huascar, Each of Whom was Seeking to Control the Empire. This Internal Dissension, Plus the Terror Inspired by Spanish Guns and Horses—Unknown to the Native People Until then Made it Relatively Easy for Only a Handful of Spaniards to Conquer This Vast Empire.

The Spaniards Met Atahualpa, the Victorious Brother in the Civil War, and His Army at a Prearranged Conference at Cajamarca in 1532. When Atahualpa Arrived, the Spaniards Ambushed and Seized Him, and Killed Thousands of his Followers. Although Atahualpa Paid the Most Fabulous Ransom Known to History—a Room Full of Gold and Another Full of Silver—for his Freedom, the Spaniards Murdered him in 1533.
The Spanish Destroyed Many of the Irrigation Projects and the North-South Roads That had Knit the Empire Together, Speeding the Disintegration of the Empire. By November 1533 Cuzco had Fallen with Little Resistance. In addition, the Native Population Declined Rapidly as a Result of new Diseases Brought by the Spaniards, Diseases to Which the Natives had no Immunity. Members of the Inca Dynasty Took Refuge in the Mountains and were Able to Resist the Spaniards for About Four Decades. However, by 1572 the Spaniards had Executed the Last Inca Ruler, Tupac Amaru, Along with his Advisers and his Family.

In 1535 Pizarro Founded on the banks of the Rímac River the Peruvian Capital City of Ciudad de los Reyes (Spanish for "City of the Kings"; Present-Day Lima). Subsequently, Disputes Over Jurisdictional Powers Broke Out Among the Spanish Conquerors, and in 1541 a Member of One of the Conflicting Spanish Factions Assassinated Pizarro in Lima.

The Inca civilization Had Unified What are Now Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia and Created an Integrated Society. The Spanish, Whose Main Aims Were Plundering and the Conversion of Native Tribes to Christianity Stopped the Development of the Native Civilization. The Spaniards Treated the Inca Ruthlessly, Using Their Labor to Produce the Minerals Needed in Spain. The Result was the Creation of aMental and Physical Gap Between the Inca and the European Population, a Gap that has Endured for More Than 400 Years.

The Spanish Introduced a System of Land possession Consisting of European Landlords and Native Workers. This system Succeeded in Solidly Establishing a Privileged and Wealthy-Landed Aristocracy Early in the Colonial Period. Little was Done to Educate the Masses of People. As a Result, Colonial Peru Was a Divided Society, Consisting of a Small Class That Owned the Land and Controlled Education, Political, Military, and Religious Power, and of a Large, Mostly NativeClass (About 90 Percent of the Total Population) That Remained Landless, Illiterate, and Exploited.

In 1542 a Spanish Imperial Council Promulgated Statutes Called New Laws for the Indies, Which Were Designed to Put a Stop to Cruelties Inflicted on the Native Americans. In the Same Year Spain Created the Viceroyalty of Peru, Which Involved all Spanish South America and Panama, Except What Now is Venezuela.

The First Spanish Viceroy Arrived in Peru in 1544 and Attempted to Enforce the New Laws, but the Conquerors Rebelled and, in 1546, Killed the Viceroy. Although the Spanish Government Crushed the Rebellion in 1548, the New Laws were Never Put into Effect.

In 1569 the Spanish Colonial Administrator Francisco de Toledo Arrived in Peru. During the Uninterrupted 14 Years he Established a Highly Effective, Although Harshly Repressive, and System of Government. Toledo’s Method of Administration Consisted of a Government of Spanish Officials Ruling Through Lower-Level Officials Made up of Native Americans Who Dealt Directly with the Native Population. This System Lasted for Almost 200 Years.

Revolts for Independence In 1780 a Force of 60,000 Native Americans Revolted Against Spanish Ruler Under the Leadership of Peruvian Patriot José Gabriel Condorcanqui, Who Adopted the Name of an Ancestor, the Inca Tupac Amaru. Although Initially Successful, the Uprising was Crushed in 1781. The Spanish Tortured and ExecutedCondorcanqui and Thousands of his Fellow Revolutionaries. The Spanish Suppressed Another Revolt in 1814.

Subsequently, However, Opposition to Imperial Ruler Grew Throughout Spanish South America. The Opposition was Led Largely by Creoles, People of Spanish Descent Born in South America. Creoles Grew to Resent the Fact That the Spanish Government Awarded all Important Government Positions in the Colonies to Spaniards Born in Spain, Who were Called Peninsular.

Freedom From Spanish Ruler, However, was Imported to Peru by Outsiders. In September 1820 the Argentine Soldier and Patriot José de San Martín, Who had Defeated the Spanish Forces in Chile, Landed an Invasion Army at the Seaport of Pisco, Peru. On July 12, 1821, San Martín’s Forces Entered Lima, Which Had Been Abandoned by Spanish Troops. Peruvian Independence was Proclaimed Formally on July 28, 1821. The Struggle Against the Spanish was Continued Later by the Venezuelan Revolutionary Hero Simon Bolívar, Who Entered Peru with his Armies in 1822. In 1824, in the Battles of Junín on August 6, and of Ayacucho on December 9, Bolívar’s Forces Routed the Spanish.
A Succession of Rulers After the Independence Brought Few Institutional Changes to Peru Aside From the Transfer of Power. Whereas Before Independence Peninsulares Held the Important Government Posts, After Independence Creoles Monopolized Power. The Economic and Social Life of the Country Continued as Before, with Two Groups–Europeans and Native People–Living Side by Side but Strongly Divided. In 1822The Leaders of the Colonies Joined Together and Created a Centralized Government Consisting of a President and a Single-Chambered Legislature. However, Spain's Refusal to Allow Peruvian-Born Citizens a Voice in the Colonial Administration,Spain had Done Little to Prepare Peru for Democracy.

The Following Years Independence was Extremely Chaotic. Bolívar Left Peru in 1826, and a Series of Military Commanders Who had Served Under Him Ruled Over the Nation. Andrés Santa Cruz Served until 1827, When he Was Replaced by José de La Mar, Who was in Turn Supplanted by Agustín Gamarra in 1829. Gamarra Ruled until 1833. In the Meantime Santa Cruz Had Become President of Bolivia, and in 1836 he Invaded Peru, Establishing a Confederation of the Two Countries that Lasted Three Years. After That, Gamarra Took Power Again.

The country, However, Enjoyed no Peace Until 1845, When Ramón Castilla, Seized the Presidency. Fortunately, he Proved to be an Able Ruler, Who During his Two Terms in Office (1845 to 1851 and 1855 to 1862) Initiated Many Important Reforms, Including the Abolition of Slavery, the Construction of Railroads and Telegraph Facilities, and the Adoption in 1860 of a Liberal Constitution. Castilla Also Began Exploitation of the Country’s Rich Guano and Nitrate Deposits, Which were Highly Valued as an Ingredient in Fertilizer. In 1864 These Deposits Involved Peru in a War with Spain, Which had Seized the Guano-Rich Chincha Islands. Ecuador, Bolivia, and Chile Aided Peru, Defeating the Spanish Forces in 1866. The Resulting Treaty of 1879 Constituted the First Formal Spanish Recognition of Peruvian Sovereignty.

In 1873 Peru Signed a Secret Defensive Alliance with Bolivia, the Purpose of Which was to Defend Bolivia's Nitrate Interests Against Chile. When a Quarrel Arose Between Chile and Bolivia Over the Atacama Nitrate Fields Along the Disputed Border of the Two Nations, Peru was Drawn into the War of the Pacific, Fighting Against Chile on the Side of its Ally, Bolivia.

Chile Defeated its Opponents, Occupied Lima, and, Under the Treaty of Ancon (1884), was Awarded Peru's Nitrate Province of Tarapacá. Chile Also Occupied the Provinces of Tacna and Arica. A Plebiscite was Supposed to Decide Ten Years Later Which Country Would Get These Provinces, but the Dispute Did Not End Until 1929, with Chile Keeping Arica and Peru Regaining Tacna.




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