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Country in west central South America, bounded on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil and Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The area of Peru, including several offshore islands, is 1,285,216 sq km (496,225 sq mi), making it third in size (after Brazil and Argentina) of South America countries. Lima is the country’s capital and chief commercial center.
Peru may be divided into three main topographical regions: The coastal plain, the sierra, and the Montana.
The coastal plain is an arid, elongated stretch of land extending the entire length of the country and varying in wild from about 65 to 160 km. (about 40 to 100 mi) it is a northern extension of the Tacoma Desert of Chile. The plain has few adequate harbors. Most of the desert is so dry that only10 of the 52 rivers draining the Andean slopes to the Pacific Ocean have sufficient volume to maintain the flow across the desert and reach the coast. However, the coast is the economic center of Peru. Most of the Nation’s leading commercial and export crops grow in the 40 oases of the region.
The sierra, an upland region with towering mountain ranges of the Andes, lofty plateaus, and deep gorges and valleys. The main range is the Cordillera Occidental; other ranges include the Cordillera Oriental, the Cordillera Central.
The sierra, which covers 30 percent of the country’s land area, traverses the country from southeast and northwest.
Several of the highest peaks in the world are located in the various sierra cordilleras and plateaus, notably Huascaran (6,768 m/22,205 ft), the highest in Peru. Lake Titicaca is in the southeast.
In the northeast the sierra slopes downward to a vast, flat tropical jungle, the selvas, extending to the Brazilian border and forming part of the Amazon Basin. The mountain attains a maximum width of about 965 km (about 600 mi) in the north and constitutes some 60 percent of the Peruvian land area; it is covered with thick tropical forests in the west and with dense tropical vegetation in the center and east.
Peru has three main drainage systems. One comprises about 50 torrential streams that rise in the sierra and descend steeply to the coastal plain. The second comprises the tributaries of the Amazon River in the mountain region. The third principal feature is Lake Titicaca, which drains into Lake Poopo in Bolivia thought the Desaguadero River

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