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About Puerto Prado, Amazonas, San Francisco
We will be working in Puerto Prado, Amazonas, and San Francisco, three communities in the Loreto region of the Peruvian Amazon.
The people living in the three communities are the Kukama (Cocama), an original culture of the Amazon Rainforest. They thrived in the rainforest for hundreds of years before the Spanish explorers arrived. The Kukama first encountered explorers in 1549 during a Spanish expedition led by Juan de Salinas down the Ucayali river. Western diseases ravaged the population in the following decades. The population of Kukama fell to as few as 800 individuals by 1700. Slowly the population began to recover. However, they endured colonial rule, epidemics, and forced servitude until the early 20th century. Today, 15,000-18,000 Kukama descendants remain, with most living in the upper Amazon region of Peru.