Of course we think of Machu Picchu when we think of Peru, but there is so much more to discover when we look more closely at the country. We've got lots of interesting facts for you below, as well as Peru flag printables, flag colouring pages and some useful worksheets.
The extraordinary Ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu, the Andes, Peru
A Little Geography...
- Peru is on the western coast of South America and borders Ecuador and Columbia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia on the east, and Chile to the south.
- Peru's coastline on the Pacific Ocean stretches for 2,400km, starting just south of the equator.
- The Republic of Peru is South America's third largest country after Brazil and Argentina. Extending over 1.25 million sq km, it is twice as large as France.
- Over 50% of the population live on the coastal strip, where less than 2% of the annual rainfall occurs.
- The Andes mountains, which run from north to south parallel to the coast, are the second highest range after the Himalayas.
- The Montana Amazonian rainforest in the north and east covers around 70% of the country.
- Lima, the capital city, is home to 8 million over a quarter of the country's 30 million people.
A Little History...
- At its peak, the Inca Empire in the 15th century CE was the largest in South America, with territory from southern Columbia to central Chile.
- The Inca built huge palaces from massive stone blocks without using mortar to glue them together!
- Machu Picchu, the Incan mountain city and Unesco Heritage site, was only rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham.
- Cuzco, which was the Incan capital, means "navel", because the city was the centre of the Inca world.
- In 1532 Francisco Pizzaro, with a force of just 168 conquistadors, defeated an Incan army which is thought to have numbered somewhere between 40,000 and 80,000 soldiers.
Peru on map of South America. We have a printable version of this map, here.
And Some Interesting Facts...
- Spanish is spoken by 80% of the population. Quechua is the most commonly spoken Amerindian language.
- The Chincha Islands are home to colonies of cormarants and boobys, producing mountains of bird droppings! Although is sounds nasty, this "guano" is used for crop fertilizer.
- The Lima to Huancayo railway line climbs to over 4,800 metres. It was the world's highest railway until 2006.
- Manu Biosphere Reserve is 2 million hectares and home to 10% of the world's species of birds. It was named the most biodiverse place on earth for amphibians and reptiles in 2014.
- The Yanacocha gold mine in northern Peru is the world's second largest and has produced gold worth $7bn over its lifetime.
- The Nazca lines, a series of carved lines and figures (including animals like the monkey pictured above), cover an area of 80 km in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. The lines are believed to have been created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 AD and are so large that you can only tell what they are from the sky!
- The highest sand dune in the world, the Cerro Blanco, measures over 2000 metres high and is an ideal place for sandboarding.
- Potatoes originate in the High Andes. There are said to be over 3800 varieties in Peru!
- Lake Titicaca, which borders onto neighbouring Bolivia in the south east, is the highest navigable lake in the world, and was a sacred place for the Incas.
- Colca Canyon near Arquepia is over twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. The steep canyon is 4160 metres deep and provides great views of the rare Andean condor with a wingspan over 3 metres.
- Vicunas, a small wild relative of the llama and alpaca, are prized for producing the world's finest wool. They live in a protected zone on the slopes of Colca.
- The Estadio Monumental stadium in Lima, home of top club Universitario, is the largest in South America, with a capacity of 80,093.
- Peru is the world's largest fresh asparagus exporter.
- Ceviche, a fish or seafood dish cured with lime juice, is popular on the coast whilst roast cuy or guinea pig is traditional food in the mountains!
- Mario Vargas Llosa, Peru's most famous writer who won the Noble Prize for Literature in 2010, was once a lecturer at King's College London.
Children in the Andes, Peru. A smile is a smile all over the world!
The Peruvian Flag
The flag of Peru was adopted in 1825 and consists of a red, white and red tricolour with the state emblem in the central white stripe.
Our Peru Resources
Print out these bookmarks for Peru, with the Peruvian flag. We have colour and black and white versions available.
Use this fact-finding worksheet to start off your studies on Peru, and to compare it with other South American countries, perhaps.
The Peruvian flag might be one of the most difficult to colour in, but we've a colouring page here if you want to give it a go!
Here's a fun way to learn the flag of Peru! Just print, cut out (with the help of our cutting guides, which adapt for the age of your child) and put back together again!
We've got the flag of Peru in five different sizes in the pdf file below, to print for your projects or to display.
Discover the location and capital city of Peru with our guided worksheet, or test the kids on where they are with our blank location worksheet!
We have highlighted Peru on this outline map of South America, which marks the countries and their capital cities.