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Peru:
Geography

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Background
Definition
Ancient Peru was the seat of several prominent Andean civilizations, most notably that of the Incas whose empire was captured by the Spanish conquistadors 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. Nevertheless, the president's increasing reliance on authoritarian measures and an economic slump in the late 1990s generated mounting dissatisfaction with his regime, which led to his ouster in 2000. A caretaker government oversaw new elections in the spring of 2001, which ushered in Alejandro TOLEDO as the new head of government - Peru's first democratically elected president of Native American ethnicity. The presidential election of 2006 saw the return of Alan GARCIA who, after a disappointing presidential term from 1985 to 1990, returned to the presidency with promises to improve social conditions and maintain fiscal responsibility.
Location
Definition
Western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Chile and Ecuador
Geographic coordinates
Definition
10 00 S, 76 00 W
Map references
Definition
South America
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 1,285,220 sq km
land: 1.28 million sq km
water: 5,220 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than Alaska
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 7,461 km
border countries: Bolivia 1,075 km, Brazil 2,995 km, Chile 171 km, Colombia 1,800 km, Ecuador 1,420 km
Coastline
Definition
2,414 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
varies from tropical in east to dry desert in west; temperate to frigid in Andes
Terrain
Definition
western coastal plain (costa), high and rugged Andes in center (sierra), eastern lowland jungle of Amazon Basin (selva)
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Nevado Huascaran 6,768 m
Natural resources
Definition
copper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash, hydropower, natural gas
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 2.88%
permanent crops: 0.47%
other: 96.65% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
12,000 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
1,913 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 20.13 cu km/yr (8%/10%/82%)
per capita: 720 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, landslides, mild volcanic activity
Environment - current issues
Definition
deforestation (some the result of illegal logging); overgrazing of the slopes of the costa and sierra leading to soil erosion; desertification; air pollution in Lima; pollution of rivers and coastal waters from municipal and mining wastes
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake, with Bolivia; a remote slope of Nevado Mismi, a 5,316 m peak, is the ultimate source of the Amazon River


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