Peru: The amazing mix of cultures

00:42 Pinky Orange 0 Comments




Long before the Spanish arrived to Peru there were many beautiful and interesting civilizations spanning across what is now Peru some notable civilizations when the Spanish arrived were the Huancas and the Incas.
When the Spanish arrived in 1530 they went on a conquest through religion, culture and ideologically warfare leading to the displacement of the traditional ways of life of the indigenous people and placing their minds and hands in chains. Though it is evident that the Spanish failed in wiping out these traditions due to the fact that these traditions form an important part of what makes Peru today, the culture of the indigenous people live on through languages like Quechu, Aymara and through the amazing varieties of dialects and languages of the jungle. Also through art, music( woodwind instruments), dance, festivals and food these all highlight indigenous ways of life.
Another thing to note is the Afro-Peruvian community of Peru a large community this is important to Peru in the modern age but it was not always so. When Francisco Pizzaro arrived to Peru in the 1530’s he brought with him African slaves that were common in European countries at the time. One notable slave was Juan Valiente, this of course was not his real name and it is thought that he was born in 1505 in Northwest Africa and was enslaved by the Portuguese before being bought by Alonso Valiente a conquistador who became rich after conquest of the Aztec people. Juan Valiente acquired his name when he was baptized and he was taken to Spain.  When Juan Valiente returned to Mexico he made a deal with his owner a deal that would let him participate as a conquistador in the New World in exchange profits would go to Alonso Valiente. Now in 1534 he now joined Pedro de Almagro’s expedition to Peru, it is said that 200 people of African ancestry took part in this and with disastrous consequences as many died from starvation and harsh weather conditions of the Andes but Juan survived.   This did not deter Juan from continuing he later joined Diego de Almagro’s expedition to Chile in 1535 where he rose to captain of the infantry and in 1546 he helped found the capital of Santiago de Chile for this he was awarded an estate and in 1550 he was the only person of African ancestry to be awarded an encomienda where indigenous people worked the land. Juan was killed in the Battle of Tucapel in 1553, a battle that was fought by Spanish and the Mapuche (indigenous people of what is now known as Chile). 
Now after the conquest and when the Spanish had a firm grip of Peru, most Afro-Peruvian slaves were used in agriculture while indigenous people were forced to work in gold and silver mines.   Due the death of the indigenous people due to the harsh working conditions and disease Afro slaves were then forced to work in the mines.


Eventually Afro Peruvians were allowed to buy their freedom but for most this was a really regulated kind of freedom and most joined the military or worked as domestic housekeepers. 
When Peru gained its independence in 1824 it did not give the freedom and justice to the Afro-Peruvian nor did it give the same to the indigenous people who had suffered many decades of abuse and neglect. This would all change however in 1854 with a rebellion that was led by Ramon Castilla who became president and finally abolish slavery later in1854. 


Afro-Peruvian culture is alive today in Peru once again we see their influence in the food, dances, festivals, art and music. Musica Criolla is a popular kind of music that has a lot of influence from the Afro-Peruvian community.
It is important to note another Afro-Peruvian who is well known even around the world and his name was San Martin de Porres born in Lima in 1579 a son of a Spanish nobleman: John de Porres and former slave known as Anna. He entered the Dominican clergy in 1601 and became working with the poor and the sick. There are many legends to his time in the monastery from levitation, passing through locked doors and guiding animals. He passed away in 1639 and it was not till 1962 Pope John XXIII made him an official saint.


The Chinese and Asian communities are also an integral part to Peru and also have a long history when Peru eventually abolished slavery it was hard for the now free Afro-Peruvians  as many lived in poverty and the work they left behind was filled by Chinese or Asian immigrants who mostly worked in guano mines. The movement of Chinese or Asian people in Peru varies hugely for example during times of hardship in countries like China, Singapore and Malaysia for example more would come to Peru while many leave to work in other countries.


The Asian influence can found especially in food for example Chifa a Peruvian/Asian dish created by these immigrants.
There are many influential immigrations and people that have made Peru what it is today and all of them have a unique quality that makes the country even better. 

Now since I am English I would like to point out that British-Peruvians are the fifth biggest group to settle in Peru after the Spanish, Italians, Germans and the Swiss. Between 1860 and 1950 it is estimated that 1900 British people settle in Peru many were skilled and some worked in the saltire mines in Tacna. Due to poverty and Gen. Juan Velasco Alvarado (A Peruvian dictator) in the 60’s and 70’s many British Peruvians fled the country and this was also the case when Alan Garcia caused a collapse in the Peruvian economy. 


One cultural aspect that is evident today in Peru is the famous Inca Kola a popular fizzy drink in Peru. Inca Kola was created by Joseph Robinson Lindley (1859-1932) who was born in Doncaster Yorkshire and he moved to Rimac, Lima Peru in 1910 where he created Inca Kola.
All cultures are diverse, beautiful and should be given respect especially in this ever changing world. Peru is making progress on that part and I hope to see it improve a lot more in the future.

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