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Peru, which lies on the Pacific shores of South America, has an extensive religious history that can be divided into three periods: Inca, colonial, and national. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, the Incan Empire (Tawantinsuyu) spanned most of western South America. Inca religion was a state religion centered at the Temple of the Sun in Cuzco. As the Inca Empire expanded, new deities from conquered peoples were incorporated into the pantheon of gods and goddesses, while Incan religious beliefs and practices were implemented in conquered territories. The primary deity or creator god for the Inca is called Viracocha. The god's first offspring was the Sun; he created the moon, stars, earth, and human beings.

Although the Spaniards arrived in ...

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