Peru is a very old country. The earliest inhabitants arrived there about 15,000 years ago. Societies emerged on the west coast more than 5,000 years ago and began to spread inland. These included the Chavín, the Moche, and the Nasca. One of the most important Peruvian cultures was the Inca, who lived in Peru around 600 years ago. Their capital, Cusco, is still a major city today. The Inca also built Machu Picchu, a famous and mysterious ancient city in the Andes. They thrived for centuries before being conquered by the Spanish in 1532. The people of Peru are a mix of many different cultures, including Indians, Spaniards and other Europeans, descendants of African slaves, and Asians. Most people lived in the countryside. But now, more than 70 percent live in cities. Most Peruvians follow the Catholic religion introduced by the Spanish. Spanish is the official language of Peru, and over 84% of the Peruvians speak this language. The government administration in Peru, the Peruvian educations system, and the media of the country use Spanish as the principal means of communication.