Peru represents a unique lifestyle that incorporates the rich historical influences of numerous cultures around the world. Peru lies on the site of the ancient Inca civilization, a highly skilled empire who ruled for over 300 hundred years until the early 16th century. The Inca civilization eventually fell to Spanish conquest which then introduced European influences to the area as well. Eventually, the Peruvians gained independence by defeating Spanish forces in the 1820's. Through these events, each of these groups contributed to the diversity of the customs, language, foods, arts and overall Peruvian culture that survives today.
One of the most obvious Inca influences is the Quechua language, which is still spoken by many Amerindians who reside in the area. Quechua was used by the Incas in their time and is now recognized as an official language of the country, along with Spanish.
Music was very prevalent in the Incan society and still carries much importance. Many percussion instruments that were used by the Incas are still in used in composition today. With Spanish conquest, string instruments were also introduced to the area which contributed to the further development of the arts in Peru.
Literature The first writing of the Peruvian culture dates to the 16th century, after the Spanish conquest. Garcilaso de la Vega, the son of an Inca royalty and a Spanish conqueror, wrote about the history of the Inca civilization. In more recent years, poetry has become very popular in the area, producing world-renowned writers including Cesar Vallejo.
Spanish conquest also brought over animals such as chickens and lambs, adding to the Peruvian diet. These meats have become staples in many Peruvian dishes along with rice, potatoes, and fish. A variety of Peruvian peppers, or aji, are also commonly used. These new foods aided in developing Peru's reputation for great dishes.