Republic until present times
Biginning of the republic
Independence officially begins on July 28, 1821, but will really be effective from 1824. The biginnings of the republic are confused and agitated. Ramón Castilla, the elected president in 1845, organizes the political and economic life, proclaimed the abolition of slavery and the death penalty and restore peace in the country.
In 1854 began a period of great prosperity for 25 years with the extraction and export of the famous guano (excrement of seabirds), one of the best fertilizer in the world. But overexploited and mismanaged, the main economic resource of the state quickly runs out, leading the country to an inevitable economic crisis.
A century of instability
Chile declared war on Bolivia by a disagreement over treaty for saltpeter and guano exploited by Anglo-Chilean companies in the Atacama desert on the coast of Bolivia.
Under a treaty of alliance with Bolivia, Peru enters the conflict. Chile is the big winner of the Pacific War (1879-1883), Bolivia lost its coastal provinces and sea access and Peru two provinces in the south.
At the end of the war, Peru again found prosperity in the late nineteenth century through the rubber boom, however marked by many social conflicts. Wealth and power are still in the hands of a few. As elsewhere in Latin America, the State chooses to import products from Europe rather than promote local industry. Then the different governments are inspired from German, Spanish and Italian totalitarian fascism.
In 1941, a disagreement over the boundaries of the northern border with Ecuador leads to a conflict that has lasted eight months and reappears 50 years later in 1995.
During the 60s, governments try to modernize the country without success. Numerous disturbances appear throughout the country and Marxist guerrillas emerge.
The agrarian reform - 1969
In 1968, General Juan Velasco Alvarado took power in a coup d'etat and established the following year the great agrarian reform that his predecessors were unable to start: the expropriation of more than 5,000 landowners and the distribution of 11 million hectares to agricultural cooperatives.
But farmers are not ready to handle these cooperatives, mismanagement caused a crisis in the agricultural sector and the members of each cooperative divided lands among them.
The deadliest earthquake in Peru
On Sunday May 31, 1970, an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck central Peru. In coastal cities like Chimbote, 80 to 90% of homes are destroyed, but the Cordillera Blanca is the most affected, Huaraz is destroyed to 97%. A glacier Huascaran (the highest mountain in the country) slides down the slope, carrying huge rocks that buried the town of Yungay and its 20,000 inhabitants. In total 66,000 were missing and 20,000 were killed.
80s - The dark years
In 1980, again restores democracy with President Fernando Belaunde. The same year, the Maoist guerilla insurgent organization Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), officially the Peruvian Communist Party, led by Abimael Guzman, a former philosophy professor, declares war on the Peruvian state, creating a state of terror in the Andes since 1983. The group, allied with drug traffickers, kills thousands of farmers and public authorities who refuse to join his cause or not to accept extortion.
Shortly after, another terrorist organization inspired by leftist guerrillas, the Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru MRTA, specializing in kidnappings, car bomb attacks and assassinations appears.
In 2000, the Truth and Reconcilation Commission estimate of the number of deaths caused by these internal conflict was 69,280.
Against these terrorists, the reaction of President Belaúnde is quite fearful, confronted with a major economic crisis due to mismanagement in the previous decade, the fall of the metal's price and the impact of a strong El Niño phenomenon affecting the north of the country.
In 1985, the new president Alan García Pérez, a young man of 36 years, undertakes risky reforms to try to way out of the country crisis, such as declaring a limit on debt repayment equal to 10% of the gross national product and nationalise the banking and insurance industries. After two years of growth, foreign investors withdraw and an unprecedented crisis occurs. Despite replace the Peruvian currency "sol" to "inti", inflation already high before his government reached a record of 7,649% in 1990. Terrorism is on its peak point and there is suspicion of generalized corruption, causing his escape to Paris in 1992 where he took refuge until 2001.
90s - the great change
The counterpart of economic growth is falling wages, unemployment rising and an the emergence of informal economy that continues twenty years later.
The Chino (Chinese) as population call him, also holds a total war against terrorism and in 1992 achieved imprison almost all leaders and hundreds of guerilleros from both terrorist movements.
Congress hampering the government's ability to enact economic reforms, en April 1992 Fujimori with the support of the military carried out a auto-coup, amending the constitution to give more power to the president. His government begins to improve the road network, promotes the tourism and project social plans. With the support of the lower social classes, he was reelected in 1995 thanks to its excellent economic performance and stop terrorism.
1990, Alberto Fujimori a professor, son of Japanese immigrants, won the elections against the famous writer Mario Vargas Llosa (Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010).
Under the influence of the IMF, Fujimori enacted wide-ranging neoliberal reforms, known as Fujishock to control inflation and replace country's currency with the "Nuevo Sol".
Its neoliberal policy is working, stabilizing the economy and encouraging the return of the foreign investors, including reaching a record growth of 13% in 1994.
In December 1996, 14 members of the MRTA (Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru) took hostage in the Japanese ambassadorial residence in Lima during a social gathering, nearly 600 high-level diplomats, government and military officials and businessmen. The crisis lasts four months.
After being held hostage for 126 days, the 140 remaining dignitaries were freed on 22 April 1997, in a raid by Peruvian Armed Forces commandos, during which one hostage, two commandos, and all the MRTA militants died. This operation is considered one of the most successful in rescuing hostages, but reports have since emerged alleging that a number of the insurgents were summarily executed after surrendering.
The operation took the name Chavin de Huantar in reference to the tunnels dug to carry the residence, inspired by the underground passageways made 3.000 years ago by the Chavin culture in the Andes.
2000 - the great scandal
Fujimori was elected for the third time, despite a slowdown in growth and rumors of corruption.
A month later, his faithful adviser Vladimiro Montesinos, also hex-head of the National Intelligence Service, accustomed to film their private meetings, was caught in his own trap when a TV station broadcast Montesinos bribing opposition congressman Alberto Kouri offering him US$15,000 for his defection to Fujimori's party. Hundreds of videos were found in his house, revealing a national network of corruption including many congressmen, media owners, journalists and businessmen.
The fugitive Montesinos was arrested a year later in Venezuela and was sentenced to 15, 20 and 25 years imprisonment respectively for corruption, arms trafficking with Colombian FARC, extortion and executions during the war against terrorism, among other things. Previously, Fujimori gave an indemnity of US$ 15 million for length of service.
Fujimori's exile and return
Two months later, Fujimori attends the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Brunei and instead of returning to Peru, traveled to Japan, where he received Japanese citizenship as a child of Japanese. From Tokyo, Fujimori submitted his presidential resignation via fax, on 17 November.
Still adored by much of the population, especially in rural areas, Fujimori decided to run in the elections in 2006 and return to Peru. As soon arrived in Santiago de Chile, he was arrested and extradited to Peru. Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison accused of human rights abuses because of his too radical methods in the struggle against terrorism groups, assassinations of suspected terrorists perpetrated by a secret police and embezzlement of US$ 600 million of state funds.
Credited by many Peruvians as the savior of Peru to end with terrorism, bringing stability and establishing the basis of the current economic growth and the first social benefits, for others it is a totally corrupt dictator who violated human rights.
2000 - 2010 - Peru's growth
After the flight of Fujimori, Valentín Paniagua was named Interim President.
In 2001, Alejandro Toledo was elected as the first "cholo" (popular term that designates an Indian) American president. During his term, there were no significant reforms, continued economic growth initiated by Fujimori, several international economic agreements were signed and poverty in the country was substantially reduced, however characterized by numerous social movements.
García 2, the return
Alan García returned from France in 2001. Despite suspicions of corruption and his disastrous economic policy in the years 85-90 bringing the country to the brink of ruin, running again for president, but was defeated by Toledo.
However won the elections in 2006 against the nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala.
The campaign slogan was: I was wrong the first time, now I have the experience. It must be recognized that his second term was positive with impressive economic growth (an average of 10%), social progress and continuity in the poverty reduction, which low from 54% in 2000 to 31% in 2010. However, as during the previous mandate, strikes are multiplied, nine million Peruvians who are still in poverty feel abandoned and even consider an offense the advertisements of Peruvian economic growth.
The "Lava Jato" scandal - Odebrecht
A powerful Brazilian construction company is at the heart of the biggest corruption in Latin America. In 2016, the United States Department of Justice unveiled details of 10-year mega corruption with many leaders from 12 countries paying huge sums to secure local contracts.
Many former presidents are under investigation, such as Toledo, Garcia and Humala (his successor).
Toledo, based in the USA, is currently under judicial supervision at home pending his extradition to Peru.
On April 17, 2019, the police came to Alan García's home to notify him of his indictment. At the age of 69, the former President shot himself in the head upon arrest.
2011 - Shift to the left
During the 2011 election campaign, all candidates agreed on a particular theme: Peru's economic growth has been impressive over the last ten years, but social progress are still insignificant. Each candidate had its own solution and finally, the nationalist Ollanta Humala wins the election against Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former president.
Considered by many to be a Marxist, former army officer with a troubled past, friend of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, Humala defended for years a complete change of the neoliberal system, nationalization of large enterprises and the renegotiation of recent international trade agreements.
However, two months before the election, his speech changed completely, ensuring continuing economic growth, swearing on the Bible will not change the constitution or pretend to rule for life.
2016 to 2021 - 5 Presidents in 5 years
Pedro Kuczynski - 2016 to 2018 (1 year 1/2)
Better known as PPK, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Godard is the son of a German / Polish doctor and a Franco-Swiss artist, he is cousin to the filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. Economist by profession, studied at the conservatory in Switzerland and in the United Kingdom, then studies in Oxford (England) and Princeton (USA).
He also caught up in the Odebrecht corruption case, he resigned and in 2019 escaped 3 years in preventive prison, transformed into house arrest pending trial.
Martin Vizcarra - 2018 to 2020 (2 1/2 years)
An engineer by training and vice-president of PPK, Martin Alberto Vizcarra Cornejo takes over when the latter resigns.
During his mandate, a scandal broke out with suspicions of corruption for the construction of a hospital when he was regional governor of Moquegua (south of the country) 3 years earlier. The congress presents a motion to request the vacancy for moral incapacity, pushing him to resign.
Manuel Merino - November 2020 (5 days)
Following Vizcarra's resignation, Manuel Arturo Merino de Lama, then president of the congress, was appointed head of the country. Voices are raised considering this appointment as a coup d'état.
He will give up 5 days later.
Francisco Sagasti - 2020 to 2021 (8 months)
Barely appointed president, Francisco Rafael Sagasti Hochlausler is making major changes in the management of the police. This upheaval is widely criticized.
Unlike Vizcarra, much criticized for its management of the pandemic, Sagasti is doing everything possible to deliver vaccines.
His short term ends with the elections scheduled for May 2021.
José Castillo - since July 2021
This rural elementary school teacher and trade unionist, seduced the working class with his Marxist speech, proposing the expropriation of wealthy families to distribute property to the most deprived, the nationalization of big companies and his slogan hits the mark: "no more people in a rich country". A whole part of the population begins to dream of a prosperous life, while the middle and wealthy classes are frightened with the fear of a new Venezuela ruined in a few years.
José Pedro Castillo Terrones narrowly wins against Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of the former president.
The day after his investiture, the peruvian stock market collapses, the dollar rises every day. Very quickly, Castillo calms things down, talks with big companies, reassures investors, there is no question of destroying the country's economic system and 2 months later, everything calms down.