The presence of Jews in Peru dates back to the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. The new world proved inhospitable to these Iberian Jews, however, many of whom were forced to convert by the Peruvian Inquisition, which was established in 1570. As a result of this persecution, there is little reliable data on the country’s Jewish population until the Inquisition’s end in the early 19th century, after which Peru enjoyed an influx of German and Russian Jews. In 1870 the "Hebrew Charitable Society” the country’s first Jewish organization, was founded in Lima, and by the turn of the century the preexisting community was bolstered by a further wave of Jewish immigration from Turkey. As time went by, Jewish immigration continued, with many of the newcomers moving to cities such as Arequipa, Trujillo, Cusco, Abancay, Huanuco, Piura and Chiclayo in search of business opportunities.
During the 1920s and 30s, several communal organizations were established to represent the growing community, including the "Sephardic Charitable Society” the "Israelite Union of Peru,” the "Zionist Organization of Peru" and the "Israelite Society of Mutual Relief of the Jews.”
In the forties, all of Peru’s organized Jewish communities came under the roof of the "Asociación Judía del Perú”, which serves as the representative body of all Peruvian Jewry and which oversaw the establishment and maintenance of cemeteries, old age homes, school and other institutions. By the 1950s, most of the country’s Jews had migrated to Lima and, over the course of the next several decades, many of them moved to the United States, Israel and Argentina.