The Second Pacific War , in foreign sources known as Niter War ( Spanish Guerra del Salitre ), Guan War ( Spanish Guerra del Guano ) or simply the War for Guano and Saltpeter ( Spanish Guerra del Guano y el Salitre ) - the war of Chile (at support of Great Britain ) against Peru and Bolivia with the aim of seizing deposits of nitrate in foreign territory. Having gained dominance at sea, the Chileans won and seized territories with deposits.
|Second Pacific War|
|date||February 14, 1879 - October 20, 1883|
|A place||South America|
|Cause||Chile's desire to seize saltpeter deposits in the Peruvian and Bolivian parts of the Atacama Desert|
|Changes||Antofagasta moved from Bolivia to Chile . Tarapaca and Arica and Parinacota passed from Peru to Chile . Tacna temporarily moved from Peru to Chile (until 1929 )|
Background and Reasons
On February 14, 1878, the National Assembly of Bolivia passed a law abolishing tax exemptions for Chilean companies that extract saltpeter in Bolivia. At the same time, a tax recount was envisaged from 1874.
This caused a protest from the Chilean government. In response, the Bolivian authorities threatened to confiscate Chilean enterprises. In turn, the Chilean authorities sent a warship to the coast of Bolivia in December 1878.
In February 1879, the Bolivian government announced the confiscation of the Chilean Compania de Salitres y Ferrocarril de Antofagasta. After that, Chilean President Anibal Pinto ordered the capture of the Bolivian city of Antofagasta , in which most of the inhabitants were Chileans. On February 14, 1879, Antofagasta was captured by a Chilean detachment of 200 people.
In response to this, on March 1, 1879, Bolivia declared war on Chile. On April 6, Peru, which had concluded a secret treaty of mutual military assistance with Bolivia since 1873, also declared war on Chile.
The course of hostilities
The beginning of the war
Chilean forces gradually expanded control over the western regions of Bolivia. Due to the impassability of many areas of the Atakama and Tarapak deserts, the supply of the armies of both opponents was carried out mainly by sea. Therefore, the struggle for supremacy at sea was of particular importance.
On April 5, 1879, the Chilean squadron blocked the Peruvian port of Iquique . As a result, the Peruvians were deprived of the opportunity to help their Bolivian allies. But then, on May 16, the Chilean commander sent the main forces of his squadron to search for the Peruvian fleet in Callao . Near Iquique there were only two old Chilean ships. The Peruvians took advantage of this, and on May 21, the Peruvian monitor "Huascar" sank one of them, the Esmeralda corvette .
But the biggest success of the Huascar monitor was the capture on July 23, 1879 of the Rimac steamer, on board of which there was a Chilean cavalry regiment.
On October 8, 1879, a battle took place near Cape Angamos Peruvian monitor "Huascar" and Corvette "Union" with Chilean ships. The Union was able to escape, but the Huascar was captured by the Chileans.
The battle at Cape Angamos completely changed the balance of naval forces, since the remaining Peruvian ships were completely inferior to the Chilean. The Chilean fleet dominated the sea and, despite the fact that the Peruvian-Bolivian army was 80 thousand people, and the Chilean only 30 thousand, the support of the fleet greatly simplified the task of the Chilean army.
In November 1879, the Chilean landing operation began to capture the Peruvian province of Tarapaca. An expeditionary force of 9,500 was to land in the Peruvian ports of Pisagua and on Junin Beach north of Iquique. On the morning of November 2, 1879, a Chilean squadron of 19 ships approached Pisagua. With the support of naval guns, 4890 people landed and Chileans drove the Peruvians from the coast of the losing about 330 people dead and wounded. 2175 Chileans landed on Junin Beach. Combining both parts of the expeditionary force, Chilean general Erasmo Escala the troops moved deep into the province of Tarapaca, where in the area of Mount San Francisco in the area of Dolores there was a combined Bolivian-Peruvian army. 7400 Bolivians and Peruvians opposed 6000 Chileans. But against the 34 modern Chilean guns, the Allies could only set 18 old cannons.
On November 19, the Peruvian-Bolivian troops under the command of Ladislao Espinara attacked the positions of the Chilean avant-garde . But the Chileans who turned to counterattack threw off the Peruvian column, Espinar died. Then the reserve Chilean division approached and the Bolivians took to flight. Losses on both sides were relatively small (220 killed by the Allies and 60 from the Chileans), but the Bolivians left the Chileans their camp with all the supplies.
However, a Chilean detachment (3,000 foot soldiers with 10 cannons) sent to pursue the retreating, under the command of Colonel Eleutherio Ramirez, on November 27, faced a larger Peruvian detachment (4,200 men) under the command of Andres Cáceres in the town of Tarapaca . This battle ended in the defeat of the Chileans, who lost 516 soldiers killed, 176 - wounded, 60 - prisoners and lost all guns.
Meanwhile, on November 23, the Chileans captured the city of Iquique, and, despite the failure in Tarapac, they advanced north.
On December 21, the Peruvian president of La Puerta was overthrown as a result of the military rebellion of Nicholas Pierola . Power passed to Pierola. In Bolivia, at the end of December 1879, the Council of State ousted President Hilarion Dasu and appointed Narcissus Campero to this post on January 19, 1880.
The Chilean command at the same time planned a complete capture of the southern regions of Peru right up to Arequipa . 18 ships left Pisagua to the north and in the small port of Ilo on February 26, 1880, the landing of an expeditionary force of 9.5 thousand people began. The resistance of the Peruvians in Ilo was rather weak.
On March 7, 2148, Chilean soldiers under the command of Colonel Orosimbo Barbosa landed at the port of Mollendo and began to advance towards Arequipa. But it was unsuccessful.
On March 8, Chilean forces marched towards Mokegua , cutting off the paths linking Arica to central Peru. On February 25, Arica was also blocked from the sea, although in mid-March the Peruvian Union corvette, which delivered ammunition and food to the blocked garrison, was able to break the blockade.
On March 17, 1880, Chilean troops under the command of Manuel Bakedano occupied Mokegua and turned towards Tacna . In the Los Angeles area, they defeated the Peruvian troops on March 22 opening the road to the south.
Peruvians and Bolivians were forced to concentrate all their forces for the defense of the cities of Arica and Tacna. The commander of the combined army of 5,800 Peruvians and 4,200 Bolivians was Bolivian President Narcissus Campero. There were fewer Chilean troops, but they had superiority in artillery.
On May 26, 1880, a battle broke out in the vicinity of Tacna . The Peruvian-Bolivian army was defeated. When the Chilean forces entered Tacna, robberies, killings and violence began on its streets.
The battle of Tacna completely changed the situation in southern Peru. Chileans controlled a significant part of the Peruvian coast from Iquique to Ilo. The remnants of the Peruvian troops retreated towards Arequipa, and the Bolivians retreated to the Andes .
On May 28, Chileans appeared in the vicinity of Arica. From the sea, the city was blocked by the Chilean squadron. Arica was defended by 1819 Peruvians. It was decided to defend Arica "to the last bullet."
On June 5, Arika's bombardment from land and sea began. It lasted two days. On June 7, 1880, the Chileans launched an assault on Arica and one by one they captured all the fortifications. During the assault on Arica, the Chileans lost 474 people, and the Peruvians - 1000 people. Part of the Peruvian prisoners was shot.
On June 17, 1880, Peruvian President Pierola announced the mobilization of all men aged 16 to 60 years. October 22, with the mediation of the US government in Arica, peace negotiations began between representatives of Chile, Peru and Bolivia, which ended on October 27 to no avail.
The Chilean command began preparations for a campaign on Lima . The number of the Chilean army was brought up to 42 thousand people. On November 18, Chileans landed on the Paracas Peninsula, captured the port of Pisco on November 20, captured Ica on November 23, and then expanded the occupied bridgeheads, conducting reconnaissance in the direction of Lima.
On January 12, 1881, the Chileans launched an offensive in the direction of Lima and on January 13 launched an attack on the Peruvian fortifications. Thus began the battle at the heights of San Juan . By evening, the first line of defense of Lima was broken and the Peruvians retreated to the second line. Losses of Chileans amounted to about 5 thousand people, and Peruvians - 8 thousand people
On January 14, a one-day truce was concluded for the evacuation of foreign citizens from Lima. To ensure this evacuation, English and Italian marines landed in Chorrillos.
On January 15, Chileans launched an assault on the second Peruvian defensive line. The battle of Miraflores took place , in which the number of killed and wounded among the Chileans was 2124 people, among the Peruvians - about 3000.
January 17, the Chilean troops of General Bakedano entered Lima, and also occupied the port of Callao. But Peruvian President Pierola, who fled to Ayacucho, was preparing to continue the war.
In February 1881, the well-known lawyer Francisco Garcia Calderon was proclaimed interim president of Peru under the control of Chileans. He was allowed to maintain his own armed forces of 400 people. Convened in Chorrillos near Lima, advocated for peace with Chile. On September 28, 1881, Calderón was removed from office and deported to Chile, and Rear Admiral Lizardo Montero Flores became the new interim president of Peru.
But the Peruvians gathered in the mountains, wishing to continue the struggle, who were called "highlanders" ("montoneros"). Their main group was led by Andres Cáceres , a participant in the battles near Lima, who had 3,500 soldiers and hundreds of volunteers. President Pierola did not enjoy authority among them, and he decided to leave Peru. November 28, 1881 military leaders of various groups proclaimed Cáceres "head of state."
In December 1881, the Chileans launched an operation against the forces of Cáceres. But Cáceres, promptly warned by Lima's underground patriotic organizations, managed to avoid a meeting with the enemy. On February 5, 1882, the Chileans clashed in Pukar with the main forces of Cáceres and lost 78 people killed and 38 wounded.
Peruvian partisans attacked Chilean convoys and small groups of soldiers. On July 9, 1882, Cáceres forces (300 soldiers and 1,000 militias) attacked the Chilean garrison in the town of Concepcion (77 soldiers), while other Cáceres troops attacked the positions of the Chilean divisions in Markavay and Pukara.
In the north of Peru, on July 13, 1882, Peruvians, under the command of Miguel Iglesias of about 1000 people, attacked the Chilean battalion (400 people) in San Pablo, forcing him to retreat to the railway station in Trujillo. But the arrival of reinforcements allowed Chileans to regain control of the northern regions of Peru. After that, Iglesias began to advocate peace with Chile, and on August 31, 1882, he issued a manifesto on the start of negotiations with the enemy.
On December 30, 1882, the assembly convened in Cajamarca created an interim government, and then on January 1, 1883 approved Iglesias as interim president of Peru, as opposed to Cáceres.
In the spring of 1883, the Chilean command sent 6,500 soldiers against the Cáceres group, numbering 3,200 soldiers. On July 10, 1883, a battle took place near the city of Uamachuko , in which Cáceres’s forces were defeated, losing up to 1,400 people only killed, and he himself was wounded. Chileans had only 56 killed.
End of War
October 20, 1883 in the district of Ancon near Lima Iglesias signed a peace treaty with the Chileans. According to him, the district of Iquique was annexed to Chile, for which Peru received monetary compensation. The question of the ownership of the Peruvian territories captured by Chileans with the cities of Arica and Tacna was postponed for 10 years, after which a plebiscite should be held there. In 1884, Chilean troops were withdrawn from the rest of Peru.
On April 4, 1884, an armistice agreement was signed in Valparaiso with Bolivia, according to which Bolivia completely ceded to Chile the coastal province of Antofagasta , for which it received compensation of 300 thousand pounds and the right to free transit through northern Chilean ports. The peace treaty between Chile and Bolivia was signed in 1904. In memory of the loss of Antofagasta on the naval flag of Bolivia , now used only on the river fleet, a large star remained.
On June 3, 1929, with the help of international arbitration, a new Chilean-Peruvian treaty was signed, after which the province of Tacna again became part of Peru, and Arica remained Chilean.
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- War for saltpeter
- book "Coast of Bolivia and the USA"
- Map of Bolivia and Peru in 1833
- Tesis of Patricio Ibarra Cifuentes , Universidad de Chile, 2009
- Caliche: the conflict mineral that fuelled the first world war in The Guardian by Daniel A. Gross, 2 June 2014