Spain ruled Peru for nearly 300 years. During this time, thousands of colonists arrived from Spain to seek their fortune. When the Spanish conquerors came, they never imagined, not even in their wildest dreams, that they would find what they did. “So much wealth!! Gold, silver, ornaments”, says Jorge, “and they just kept amassing the wealth of Peru ever since!” Soon after the conquest, the king of Spain appointed a governor to enforce Spanish laws and customs. The Indians had to become Christians and take Spanish names. Whole families were forced to work on plantations and in mines. And Peru quickly became one of Spain’s most profitable colonies.
“When the Spaniards took over, they tried to wipe out all the customs of the Inca but they could not do so”, says our friend. Today, the Inca culture survives, first of all in the language called Quechua, which today is still widely spoken. It is so widely spoken that in 1975, it became an official language of Peru along with Spanish. The culture also survives in the ‘poncho’ and other clothing style, in the elaborate textile woven by the Indians of the highlands, in the farming methods and most of all, in the traditional meat-less diet (at least among the Indians in the highlands and on the coast).
“When the Spaniards took over, they tried to wipe out all the customs of the Inca but they could not do so…”