In 1908 a program of economic reform was instituted by President Augusto Leguía y Salcedo. After his first term, from 1908 to 1912, Leguía traveled in the United Kingdom and the United States, where he learned methods of banking and finance, which he later applied in Peru, and made many friends in the business community. He regained the presidency in 1919 by means of a military coup and thereafter ruled as virtual dictator. Leguía preserved the country’s old class organization. However, he brought material progress to Peru, broadened education, and improved labor conditions.
In 1924, during Leguía’s rule, some exiled Peruvian intellectuals founded the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA), which Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre led for more than 40 years. APRA called for basic reforms—especially in the conditions of the Native Americans. Leguía banned APRA, but the alliance managed nevertheless to become the most influential of Peru’s political parties.
Leguía stayed in power until 1930, when the world depression ended the flow of foreign investments. He was deposed and jailed by an army revolt. On April 9, 1933, a new constitution was adopted. Shortly thereafter Leguía’s successor, Luis Sánchez Cerro, was assassinated.
The next chief executive, General Óscar Raimundo Benavides, followed the new pattern of harsh political rule combined with marked economic advances. When the APRA won the election of 1936, Benavides ignored the results and extended his own term in office. In 1939, in controlled elections, he installed Manuel Prado as president. Prado was forced, however, to make concessions to the powerful reform sentiment fostered by APRA. "Peru" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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