Unraveling the Origins of the Name "Peru" and its Connection to Inca History

Unraveling the Origins of the Name "Peru" and its Connection to Inca History

How Peru Got its Name
Discover the intriguing history behind Peru's name with our detailed exploration. Uncover the various theories that trace its roots from Quechua words to pre-Inca civilizations, illustrating the complex tapestry of this country's identity.

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The origin of Peru's name is a subject of some debate and intrigue. The word "Peru" was not used by the Incas themselves and is not of Quechua origin, which was the language of the Incas​1​. This suggests that the name came from outside the Incan civilization. Garcilaso de la Vega, a noted chronicler, remarked that even 70 years after the Spanish conquest, the indigenous population did not use the name Peru, instead, they referred to their land as Ttahuatin-Suyu​2​.

One theory suggests that the name "Peru" is derived from a Quechua word signifying a "land of abundance", which would be a nod to the economic wealth and resources of the Inca civilization that once dominated the region​3​. Another hypothesis links the name to the Pre-Inca civilization of "Viru", located in the north of present-day Peru. According to this theory, when the first European explorers arrived, the natives might have referred to their land by this term​4​.

Despite the varied accounts, it is evident that the name Peru has external origins and was adopted by the Spanish during their conquests. The exact etymological roots may be obscure, but these theories provide a glimpse into the fascinating history of how this South American country got its name.

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