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Bolognesi, Francisco (1816–1880)

Bolognesi, Francisco (1816–1880)

Francisco Bolognesi (b. 1816; d. 1880), Peruvian national hero and military commander in charge of the defense of the Peruvian garrison in Arica during the War of the Pacific (1879–1883). Together with Alfonso Ugarte, Bolognesi is considered the premier military hero. Both died in the battle of Arica (1880) and are credited with heroic self-sacrifice in defense of Peru. However, the battle and the war resulted in sound defeats for the Peruvian army. This legacy is a cornerstone of official Peruvian nationalism.

Bolognesi was typical of those military officers who were trained during the struggles among military chieftains during the mid-nineteenth century in Peru, as opposed to the professional military cadre that appeared in the 1890s. Bolognesi supported General Ramón Castilla against Generals José Rufino Echenique and Manuel Ignacio Vivanco in 1853–1858. He studied artillery in Europe and became commander general of artillery in 1862. During the War of the Pacific he led the Third Division in the battles of San Franciso, Tarapacá, and Arica. Outnumbered by Chilean forces in Arica he refused to surrender and rallied his soldiers to "fight until firing the last bullet."

See alsoWar of the Pacific .


Jorge Basadre, Historia de la República del Perú, vol. 5 (1963).

Additional Bibliography

Cayo Córdoba, Percy. Francisco Bolognesi Cervantes. Lima: Editorial Brasa, 1996.

                                          Alfonso W. Quiroz

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