The Incas of Peru were conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century and subsequent Spanish colonial settlement made Peru the most important of the Spanish viceroyalties in South America. On 28 July 1821 Peru declared its independence, but it was not until after a war which ended in 1824 that the country gained its freedom. In a war with Chile (1879–83) Peru’s capital, Lima, was captured and she lost some of her southern territory. Tacna, in the far south of the country, remained in Chilean control from 1880 until 1929. In 1924 Dr Victor Raul Haya de la Torre founded the Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana to oppose the dictatorial government then in power. The party was banned between 1931 and 1945 and between 1948 and 1956 its leader failed regularly in the presidential elections but it was at times the largest party in Congress. The closeness of the 1962 elections led Gen. Ricardo Pérez Godoy, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, to seize power. A coup led by Gen. Nicolas Lindley Lopez deposed him in 1963. There followed, after elections, a period of civilian rule but the military staged yet another coup in 1968. In 1978–79 a constituent assembly drew up a new constitution, after which a civilian government was installed. However, Peru was plagued by political violence for nearly 20 years between the early 1980s and the late 1990s with 69,000 people killed by Maoist Shining Path insurgents, the smaller Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement and government forces. On 6 April 1992 President Alberto Fujimori suspended the constitution and dissolved the parliament. A new constitution was promulgated on 29 Dec. 1993. But while Peru has enjoyed stability and economic growth, there was still rule by autocracy which put some politicians above the law. Embroiled in a bribery and corruption scandal, President Fujimori’s discredited administration came to an end in Nov. 2000 with his resignation while out of the country.
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