Various explanations of ceviche’s origin exist, with Peruvian nationalism favoring a Pre-Hispanic origin. According to some historic sources from Peru, ceviche originated among the Moche, a coastal civilization that began to flourish in the area of current-day northern Peru nearly 2000 years ago. The Moche apparently used the fermented juice from the local banana passionfruit.Recent investigations further show that during the Inca Empire, fish was marinated with chicha, an Andean fermented beverage. Different chronicles also report that along the Peruvian coast prior to the arrival of Spaniards, fish was consumed with salt and ají.
Nevertheless, most historians agree that ceviche originated during colonial times in the area of present-day Peru.They propose that the predecessor to the dish was brought to Peru by Andalusian women of Moorish background who accompanied the Conquistadors and that this dish eventually evolved into what nowadays is considered ceviche. The Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio further explains that the dominant position that Lima held throughout four centuries as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru allowed for popular dishes such as ceviche to be brought to other Spanish colonies in the region and to eventually become a part of local cuisine by incorporating regional flavors and styles.
The Peruvian origin of the dish is widely agreed upon, supported by chefs including the Chilean Christopher Carpentier and the Spaniard Ferran Adrià, who in an interview stated, «Cebiche was born in Peru, and so the authentic and genuine [cebiche] is Peruvian.»