THE CHILE-PERUVIAN WAR 1879-1882 Belligerents : Chile.
Cause : After the blockade and bombardment of their ports by a Spanish squadron in 1865, on account of their sympathy with Peru in a quarrel with Spain, the Chileans were impressed with the necessity of possess ing an adequate fleet to defend their long coast line. Ships were obtained and officers trained, so that Chile became well equipped for any future encounter.
The authorities of Bolivia seized the effects of the Chilean Nitrate Company at Antofogasta.
Occasion : Five hundred soldiers were despatched to protect Chilean interests. The force landed and marched inland. Bolivia declared war on March rst, Peru on April 5, 1879.
Course of the War : The Chileans occupied every port on the Bolivian coast, and engaged the Peruvian fleet. The Huascar, a Peruvian ironclad, after other ships had been destroyed, did great damage under four successive commanders, but after severe fighting was forced to surrender off Angamos, and the Peruvian navy ceased to exist. After several engagements on land the Chileans succeeded in taking possession of the Bolivian sea board and the Peruvian province of Tarapaca.
Fighting continued in 188o when, in spite of daring resistance, the Peruvians were defeated at all points.
Lima was occupied on January 17, 1881, and Callao surrendered on January i8th. The last engagement took place in September 188z, and a small army of occupation was left in Peru.
Political Result : The Treaty of Peac s not ratified till April 1884.
Peru ceded to Chile th province of Tarapaca. The provinces of Tacna and Arica were placed under Chilean authority for ten years, after which they were to decide their own future government. Chile, how ever, eventually evaded compliance with this agree ment and retained forcible possession of the provinces. Chile retained possession of the Bolivian seaboard, thus cutting off Bolivia from access to the Pacific.
Remarks : The aggressive attitude of Chile was a cause of complaint with the neighbouring states, and nearly led on more than one occasion to further conflict. By a Treaty signed in 1905, however, Bolivia at last ceded all claims to a seaport and strip of coast. Chile, except for a civil war in 1891, is distinguished among the South American States by its freedom from revo lution and serious political unrest.