About Peru for Kids
Peru is a country of about 27 million people on the western coast of the continent of South America. At about twice the size of Alberta, it is the third largest country in South America.
Peru shares its border with Ecuador to the north and Chile to the south. Other countries that share borders with Peru are Colombia (NE), Brazil (E) and Bolivia (SE). The western side of the country is next to the Pacific Ocean.
Peru has three main land areas: 1) the Sierra; 2) La Costa; and 3) the Selva.
The Sierra of the Andes Mountains has tall peaks and steep valleys. This area has many earthquakes, landslides, and flash floods. The main goods of this region are potatoes, cereals and vegetables, and people living here make a living by cattle-raising, mining and weaving.
The coast, La Costa, has the largest cities and is where most people in Peru live. It is mostly desert, but is crossed by more than 40 rivers that run down from the Andes Mountains. These rivers provide people with the water necessary to grow crops such as cotton, rice and fruit on the irrigated land. Sugar, wine and metallic minerals are important products from this area.
Peru's third important area is called the Selva. It is a thick tropical rainforest that grows near the waters of the Amazon River below the eastern slopes of the Andes. This part of the country is so hard to get into that only the most hardy travelers and explorers try to enter. The largest city in the Selva is Iquitos. Even though 400,000 people live here, the only way to travel to Iquitos is by air or by boat up the Amazon. Most of the thousands of types of plants and animals in the rainforest here were not widely known until recently. This area produces wood, as well as rubber, rice, fruit, coffee, tea, petroleum and natural gas.
Did you know? The northern tip of Peru touches the Equator.
In the Southern Hemisphere, summer is from December to March. This is the wet season everywhere in Peru, but the height of the Andes Mountains make some parts of the country drier or cooler than others.
The Costa is quite hot and humid during the summer months, but is cool during the rest of the year. The western slopes of the Andes are very clear, warm, and dry for most of the year. Higher in the mountains, the night-time temperatures become much colder. The eastern side of the Andes and the Amazon basin have very heavy rains during the wet season, which lasts from January until April.
There are about 27 million people living in Peru. More than half (54%) of these people are native to the land. About a third (32%) are Mestizo or mixed Spanish and Native, and about one out of ten are European or Spanish descent. One in fifty people (2%) are of African or Asian descent.
Most of the minority groups of people live in the city of Lima and along the coast. These people moved here from Asia (China, Japan), Africa (west African coast), Europe (Spain, Italy, England, Germany, France, Switzerland, Israel, Poland, Belgium and Yugoslavia), North America (United States) and the Middle East (Arabia).
The capital city of Peru is Lima. It is located on the central coast of Peru and has a population of over 7 million people.
The two important languages of Peru are Spanish and Quechua. Quechua is the language of the Inca people. Spanish is the main language of normal business and everyday life in most of Peru. Quechua is commonly spoken in the Andes and in the area of Lake Titicaca in the south of Peru.
There are more than 70 native languages spoken in the Amazon region (Selva.)
The people of Peru depend on natural products such as fish and fish products, gold, copper, zinc, oil and oil products, lead, coffee, sugar, cotton for their living.
Many people who live outside of cities in rural areas produce their own food and other goods to provide for their needs.
Peru is ruled by a democratic government, similar to ours in Canada. Leaders are elected or chosen by the people. The head of government is the President, who is elected every five years.
Laws are made by the Congress, made up of 120 elected members from around the country. Everyone between 18 and 60 years old vote to elect members to the Congress, although people in the military and police are not allowed to vote.
Credit where credit's due: While some minor modifications have been made, the information on this page comes from Lethbridge teacher Oscar Tavernini, whose website you can visit by clicking HERE. If you are looking for Grade 3 Alberta Social Studies resources on Peru, please check out the amazing work Mr. Tavernini has done.