The department of Madre de Dios is located in the southeast of the country. To the north it borders with Ucayali, to the south and to the west with Puno and to the east with Brazil and Bolivia. Its territory covers areas of high jungle and jungle, with a tropical, hot and humid climate and rains from November to April. Its average temperature is 25°C.
It has an area of 78,403 square kilometers and its population is barely around 92,024 inhabitants.
Its capital is Puerto Maldonado, in the province of Tambopata.
There are indications of the presence of human beings before the conquest and the emergence of the Inca empire, since ancient remains such as petroglyphs have been found in the rivers of Palotoa, Shinkebenia and Urubamba. In the Pantiacolla mountain range, at the headwaters of Madre de Dios, there are also petroglyphs and ancient remains that attract archaeologists.
It is estimated that the first populations of Madre de Dios must have appeared thousands of years ago and it is believed that the Arawaks or their ancestors, the proto-Arawaks, arrived via migration, deriving many ethnic groups from there, later relating to the Incas and the Spanish. . Some tribes, like the Machiguengas, survive to this day.
What is known today as Madre de Dios, was part of the ancient Inca empire, in the region known as Antisuyo. However, little is known about its formation exactly. Some chronicles of the Inca Garcilazo de la Vega have even been questioned due to the contradictory data that exists. However, historians agree that the conquest of this region was difficult for the Incas as they had to face battle-hardened tribes who knew the area and decimated different conquering armies.
During the colony, expeditions were carried out with tragic results for the adventurers who died at the hands of the different tribes. It was not until 1567, commanding 250 men, that Juan Alvarez Maldonado came quite close to what is now Madre de Dios. Later, in 1861, Colonel Faustino Maldonado covered it in its real magnitude, reaching the border with Brazil.
On December 26, 1912, the Department of Madre de Dios was created and Puerto Maldonado was designated as the capital.
Despite being a department with few inhabitants, in Madre de Dios there are their own meals, made from the food provided by the place.
The best known are the patarashca, a fish wrapped in a banana leaf cooked on the grill; the motelo soup, prepared with turtle meat and served in its own shell; muchangue, made with turtle eggs, accompanied by boiled green plantains; timbuche or chilcano, broth based on small fish such as pomfret, sapamana, mojarreta or gusasaco; tachacho, grilled plantain served with pieces of chicharrón mixed with chopped onion.
To drink they are typical of the region in mazato, a fermentation based on cassava and chapo, a mixture of very ripe banana with milk.