The Peruvian Amazon  is almost always in the national news, but not always for the right reasons. The area has many environmental problems, including pollution , logging,  the plundering and loss of flora and fauna  and finally, desertification. But what does the Amazon mean to Peru and, in turn, Peru to it?
Peru is classified as an Andean country, yet the Amazon jungle takes up more than 60% of the country. And its reach was once far greater, between 13-16% of the total size of the Amazon. During colonial times , the viceroyalty of Peru continued to lose land with the advance of the Portuguese, resulting in the treaties of Tordesillas  and San lldefonso . The creation of new regions, such as New Granada  and Río de la Plata,  also affected the size of the Peruvian Amazon. Further territory was lost during wars fought against Gran Colombia , Colombia  and Ecuador . A further blow was dealt during the Acre war,  between Brazil and Bolivia, in which Peru’s borders were moved, violating terms set out in the earlier treaties.
Despite the large presence of the Amazon, only 13% of Peruvians live there, while 30% of Peruvians live in Lima, on the coast. A large percentage of the Peruvian population are descendants from more than 60 existing Amazon ethnicities,  speaking a range of languages, yet for the large majority, the Peruvian Amazon is an unknown and exotic place.
For those indigenous communities  who have inhabited the Amazon for the last 12,000 years the jungle is far from unknown. They have a vast knowledge of the terrain and have adapted successfully to their environment and its resources. It is almost laughable to speak of Franciso de Orellana’s  “discovery” of the Amazon,  an event that can be seen as the beginning of the occupation of indigenous land and the riches that they offered.
Since the Inca Empire attempts have been made to conquer the people of the Amazon  and the Antisuyu,  the eastern part of the once Inca Empire, with results that are still disputed today. But it was the arrival of Catholic missionaries during the Spanish conquest, under Jesuit  and Franciscan  supervision that, along with exploration of the jungle, brought Christianity to the Amazon’s indigenous people and occupation. With the beginnings of independence and consolidation of territory in the region, occupation of the Amazon zone became less important until the middle of the XIX century when the government of Castilla  once again began to colonise the region, in particular the central jungle.
Colonisation of the jungle had a brief rest bite during Peru’s war with Chile, but started up again soon after at the beginning of the XX century. This time, however, it was driven by two principle aims: finding routes through the jungle to navigable rivers and use of the Amazon’s resources both in the central jungle and in the low lands, where rubber fever  had taken hold.
Government interest in the area remained intermittent (for example, Fernando Belaúnde  and his “March towards the East”) until the 1970s with the discovery of oil in Loreto. The oil boom lasted until the end of the decade. Nevertheless the exploration for oil has not stopped and with numerous oil wells in operation, a future oil boom in the area is predicted. 
What this brief history of the Peruvian Amazon shows is that the area has always been seen as a free-for-all, a territory without an owner, ripe for colonisation and exploited on a whim. The original inhabitants of the Amazon have practically no rights,  especially with regard to land ownership  (this being one of the reasons behind the Bagua  clashes in 2009), even in the eyes of their own government. Long-term mining and oil extraction in the area have failed to benefit the local population. In short, people do not know all there is to know and all they should know about the Amazon.
But news on the Peruvian Amazon is not all bad. There is a great deal of potential and resources that, if wisely used, could bring great benefits not only to the communities that live there but also to the country as a whole. According to Wikipedia, the Peruvian Amazon is home to the second largest variety of bird species in the world. And is a habitat for one of the largest collections of butterflies and ferns. Four of Peru’s national reserves are found in the Amazon as well as three national parks and nature reserves.
la región amazónica de América del Sur es, probablemente, la de mayor biodiversidad en el planeta y esa riqueza de especies es más antigua de lo que pensaban hasta ahora los científicos, de acuerdo con uno de los artículos que se enfoca en el lento levantamiento de la Cordillera de los Andes. […] se remonta a más de 65,5 millones de años
It is also essential to mention the Amazon River , the deepest, longest and most extensive river in the world and collector of water in the immense basin to which it gives its name. Despite the rush by many to vote  it one of the seven natural wonders  of the world, the daily reality is that the average Peruvian is blind to the Amazon and what lies within, and government policy does little to encourage otherwise. Juan Ochoa comments on this in his blog  [es]:
hemos planteado, en este espacio, el necesario acercamiento a las realidades culturales de nuestros hermanos amazónicos. Que la selva no sea un agregado del Perú, un acápite, un bosquecillo poblado por analfabetos tiraflechas. No. Aquí planteamos que nuestra selva sea considerada la mitad más uno del Perú, que el río Amazonas se convierta en el símbolo peruano del mundo, que las culturas étnicas selvícolas sean apreciadas no con ojos occidentales y que el Perú se enorgullezca de ser tan amazónico como patria del pisco, del ceviche y de los Incas.
And as César Álvarez Falcón, in his blog, states  [es],
La gran paradoja del Perú radica en el hecho de que es un país con gran riqueza natural y cultural, y a la vez presenta una secular pobreza estructural en todos sus aspectos. El Desarrollo Sostenible no debe ser ajeno a la realidad, porque la actividad extractiva, sin responsabilidad social ni ambiental, asociada a una gran biodiversidad, puede provocar impactos negativos con efectos no solo en la degradación de los recursos naturales sino en la disminución crítica de las condiciones de vida de la población.
To write this post I was in part guided by “The Peruvian Amazon” by Alberto Chirif y Carlos Mora, published in the XII volume of the History of Peru, published by Juan Mejía Baca in 1980.
The map in this post comes from the blog giselamf05 . The other photos are mine.