Perú has always an important role in the history and development of South America. Starting with the rise of the Inca Empire with its capital in Cuzco, later the Spanish established the seat of the Viceroy for South America in Lima. The port of Callao was the most important on the continent, and the principal link of communication with Spain. It was from here that the Conquistadores landed and then traveled to what would later be Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador.
Not very many people are aware of this, but a good part of South America is not in the Southern Hemisphere at all. Of the 13 countries that make up the continent, five of them are entirely north of the Equator, and three have territory there. In fact one of those countries, Ecuador, gets its name from the Equator which passes just a few miles to the north of its capital, Quito.