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How Migration Impacted Peru’s Culture


Peru is the third-largest country in South America and borders Colombia to the north together with Ecuador, Chile to the South, and Bolivia together with Brazil to the east. As per the 1973 census, the population for the country was 22 million people and the capital city of the country, Lima, was carrying a third of this population. The land for this country is divided into three major geographical parts namely; the sierra also known as the highlands of the Andes mountains, the costa which is a region found along the South Pacific, and the selva also known as jungle found in the east (Packel, 2009).

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The history of this country can be traced back to about twenty thousand years before Christ, a time when the territory started to be inhabited by gatherers and hunters. Several people have come up with different ideas concerning the actual origin of the American man (Spanish language school, 1998). Most historians believe that the first people to inhabit America came from Asia thirty thousand years ago during the period of the ice age. But this raises the question as to whether the American culture is native or came about as a result of the Asian migration. A section of these people migrated and came to settle in the Andean region and that time is estimated to be about twenty thousand years ago. At the time of the conquest, there was much difficulty and trauma for both the indigenous natives and the coming European governors. This period gave a signal of a radical transformation in the make-up of the society and the Peruvian inhabitants’ beliefs. At this time governance was dominated by Vice Regency who organized and managed governance politically and working under Spain’s authority.

The period was an epoch of big campaigns of evangelization and doctrinisation that in the long run caused Peru to be a genuine Spanish colony. There were various rebellions but these rebellions never succeeded. The most ancient culture in Peru is believed – by historians – to be the Chavin culture that was there about 1000 years before Christ. From there, People in South America came up with a diverse culture.

Impact of Migration and Immigration on Culture

The citizens of Peru started migrating to the United States of America during the early twentieth century. At this time, the numbers migrating were small but kept on increasing as time went by and in the last twenty years, Peru has been recorded to be having more of its people in the United State than any other country in the world.

The country’s economic and social crises are the causes of the internal migration from rural areas within the country to the urban centers and also the immigration to the United States of America. Unemployment is on the rise, the rate is more than fifty percent, and this has exposed several people to unfavorable conditions in which they are unable to meet the life’s basic needs and some of those who are employed might be under chronic underemployment. The situation causes them to move to the United States. More so, the existence of a political climate that is not stable in the country and especially the threats of terrorism from the terrorist groups cause people to move out of the country. The major attraction to the United States is the stable political and economic environment. The job opportunities available in the United States encourage these people to migrate. In this new home, their children can also access formal education in a way that they can afford. Most of these immigrants have relatives or friends who have established themselves in the United States and these people act as intermediaries in their transition to a new culture (Packel, 2009).

The upper class Peruvians in the United States benefited much because they were able to move their capital and business skills on the whole. However, such a group has encountered several problems in the process of assimilation. Even if these people are financially stable, they do not possess either the political or economic powers they would have enjoyed while in Peru. However, as a reason of their background, they seem not to associate with the United State’s middle-class people, the people with whom they have the same status. However, these people tend to compensate by becoming members of comparatively exclusive associations that engage in social gatherings like holidays parties among others.

Considering the middle class, they only started getting in the United States in Large numbers in 1970s. This group has not had difficulties like the upper class in the process of assimilation. Because of this, they have been referred to as the “the children of success”. Just like the upper class, they were aware of the American cultural practices before migrating. However, the distinguishing factor in terms of their assimilation is that this particular class did not lose any privileges. The group tries to retain a powerful cultural and religious identity through taking part in church and other societal activities.

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The Peruvian lower class came last in terms of seeking to benefit from the American opportunities and have undergone immigration in rising populations from the middle of the 1980s. The group has encountered so much hardship because of their lack of adequate formal education which caused them to have problems in learning the English language and therefore had turned to hold strongly on to their original culture, that is, the home culture. These group generally resides in urban areas associated with poverty and have much strain in sending back some money to their people at home in Peru. Many people who belong to this group and stay back in Peru have recently made a move to go and stay in urban centers in Peru in order for them to learn or make improvements on their communication skills before migrating to the United States of America.

Current minority issues in Peru

The minority group here under consideration is a group of people called the Afro-Peruvians. They basically live in the southern coastal part of the country and played a major role in terms of giving a special blend of language, religion, and cultural heritage of Peru. This group came about as a result of the movement of slaves in to Peru during the sixteenth century. Most of these people came in through Brazil and Caribbean and at that time they had already lost grip of their original heritage, which was the African heritage. Even after slave trade being abolished, the Afro-Peruvians stayed with little sense of cultural identity until the mid twentieth century, at the time when there was a reaffirmation of Afro-Peruvian culture with the coming out of dance and theatre groups. These groups were stirred to trace their African roots. Currently, the Afro-Peruvians are being struck by the urban poverty and the associated problems of drug abuse. The unfavorable association between these people and the native people in the urban centers that have been there in the past can, to a degree, be explained by the marginalized state of affairs of the two groups. The Afro-Peruvian Movement has not been strong and any successful as it is the case with the same movements in Colombia and Brazil but anti-racism groups have been formed in the Lima city.

In spite of the high intensity of black faction identity, the Afro-Peruvians are not formally identified as an independent cultural group and possess no special rights as a group. Since there are no efforts that are being carried out as opposed to what the neighboring countries are doing, the presence of the Afro-Peruvians is not being completely identified by the Peru’s statistical instruments causing this group to remain officially too small to be seen and always deprived (Minority Rights Group International, 2008).

Women and development

Women in society are in most cases discriminated against and often treated as a weaker sex. For in instance, the women who migrated to seek jobs were exposed to low paying jobs and even to sexual harassment, thus having lower opportunities than men. However, women in Peru are devising means to employ in order for their presence to be felt in all aspects of life. With the advancement of the standard life in this country, these women are acquiring more formal education and also advancing in other fields of life.

As already considered, Peru is a country with diverse ethnicity. Other races are there alongside the native people of Peru. This is to suggest that women in this country originate from varied races and make a representation of cultural variety.

Women are seeking to improve their status through setting up several women organizations. These organizations help them to fight for their rights. An example is the Women’s Information and Documentation Center. This is an organization set up in 1979 and its work is to try to do away with the gender bias and bring equality in the Peruvian society. Another example is the Center of Indian Culture. The work of this organization is to try to uplift native Peruvian women in fields of life including problems related to education, culture, and health among other problems. More so, Peruvian women are acquiring achievements in several other fields such as beauty and modeling among other fields (Maps of, 2009).


Maps of (2009). Women of Peru. Web.

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Minority Rights Group International. (2008). World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples – Peru: Afro-Peruvians, Web.

Packel, J. (2009). Peruvian Americans. Web.

Spanish language school. (1998). Peru History. Web.

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