Andean Tragedy: Fighting the War of the Pacific, 1879-1884 by William F. Sater Ph.D. MA AB

By William F. Sater Ph.D. MA AB

The yr 1879 marked the start of 1 of the longest, bloodiest conflicts of nineteenth-century Latin the United States. The conflict of the Pacific pitted Peru and Bolivia opposed to Chile in a fight initiated over a festering border dispute. The clash observed Chile’s and Peru’s armored warships vying for keep an eye on of sea lanes and integrated one of many first examples of using naval torpedoes. On land, huge armies utilizing the main smooth weapons—breech-loading rifles, Gatling weapons, and steel-barreled artillery—clashed in battles that left hundreds of thousands of guys lifeless at the battlefields. finally, the combatants remodeled their respective army institutions, growing a lot wanted, civilian-supported provide, transportation, and clinical devices. Chile eventually prevailed. Bolivia misplaced its seacoast in addition to worthy nitrate and copper deposits to Chile, and Peru used to be pressured to cede mineral wealthy Tarapaca and the province of Arica to the victor. Employing the first and secondary resources of the international locations concerned, William F. Sater deals the definitive research of the conflict's naval and army campaigns. Andean Tragedy not just locations the warfare in a vital foreign context, but in addition explains why this devastating clash ended in a Chilean victory. (20080801)

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The incident so inflamed both Chile and Bolivia that they set aside their own squabbles to repel the Spanish invasion. Pending a final solution, the border was drawn on the twenty-fourth parallel. Eventually, Peru’s coastal batteries in Callao drove Madrid’s fleet from South American waters but only after it had seriously damaged Chile’s principal port, Valparaíso. With peace restored to the Pacific, a new Bolivian government under Gen. Mariano Melgarejo tried again in 1866 to solve the boundary issue.

Consequently, beginning in the 1860s Santiago and La Paz began to press their claims to this potential economic bonanza: Bolivia demanded the land down to the twenty-fifth parallel south latitude, and Chile, the territory north to the twenty-third parallel south latitude. Anxious to assert its sovereignty, Santiago’s minions occupied Mejillones in 1861, replacing the ousted Bolivian officials with Chileans who issued rights to mine the guano in the disputed area. In 1863 Bolivia’s legislature, eager to assert its claim to the desert, gave the president, Gen.

The Chilean contingent commanded by Col. Emilio Sotomayor quickly occupied Antofagasta, the principal city and port of Bolivia’s littoral. Within hours of landing, the Blanco Encalada and the O’Higgins took up positions off Bolivia’s ports of Cobija, Tocopilla, and Mejillones. By the end of the month, two thousand Chilean soldiers, some of them militiamen from newly mobilized guard units, garrisoned Antofagasta, Cobija, and Tocopilla. It quickly became clear to Colonel Sotomayor that if he wished to defend Antofagasta against a possible Bolivian counterattack, he had to occupy some of the towns located in the interior.

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