Man and Land in Peru

Man and Land in Peru

Man and Land in Peru

Man and Land in Peru

Excerpt

Peru is not one land, but many. It is a land of jungles and mountains, rivers and deserts, fertile valleys and barren rocks. Its people are selvatic tribesmen who hunt and fish and reap the wild harvest of the Amazon rain forests. They are also sturdy Indian agriculturists and herdsmen--descendants of the once mighty Incas and their subjects--inhabitants of the lofty, wind-swept Andes. They are bronze-skinned mestizo miners, policemen, taxi drivers, and city laborers. They are white Spanish-American lawyers and doctors; bankers and entrepreneurs; career officers in the armed forces; priests and politicians. The people of Peru are all these things and more. And their cultures, coexisting, span ten thousand years of human history.

It is somewhat difficult--at least to North Americans--to think of Peru as a modern nation. Its rich past looms too large, overshadowing the present: the fabulous Inca Empire; Pizarro's daring conquest; the lavish colonial era; the winning of independence under the gallant and idealistic leadership of San Martín and Bolívar. But of the republic, of contemporary Peru, little is beard. Even the travel books hark ever back to the ruins of bygone ages, neglecting the present except, perhaps, for reports on night life in Lima and the quality of the hotels. So the typical tourist makes the rounds of bars and ruins, visits the "quaint" Indian fairs, and returns home, oblivious to the truly momentous social drama currently being enacted.

What is happening in Peru today is not easy to describe, because it is not a simple occurrence. It is a complex metamorphosis. To put it briefly, and inadequately, the nation is moving toward industrialization.

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