New York. Illinois. Maine. Kansas. All of these states have Peru in common.
It turns out Peru’s influence on the United States is bigger than we might have thought, since there are at least 13 cities, towns, and communities in the US that share a name with the Latin American country.
In some cases, early European settlers got inspiration from the mountainous landscapes of Peru to name new land. For example, Peru, New York, got its name because Quaker settlers thought the mountains in the area resembled those of the land of the Incas, according to the township’s website. Settler Jon Cochran founded present-day Peru, New York, in 1795, while the country of Peru was declared in 1821. Other cities like Peru, Illinois, and Peru, Indiana were founded after the country of Peru was declared an independent nation.
While Peruvians are the 11th largest Latino population in the United States, it’s unclear if there’s a sizable Latino community in these cities. Some notable Peruvians — because they also probably call themselves that, right? — are singer Cole Porter and President Barack Obama’s maternal grandmother, Madelyn Dunham. Cities like Peru, Nebraska, do have a relationship with the country of Peru. In 2011, Peru, Nebraska, was featured in a documentary-style ad campaign for the country of Peru that featured surfing champion Sofia Mulanovich and tenor Juan Diego Flores.
If you can’t book a ticket to Inca land, maybe you can hop in the car and visit your closest Peru.