Tacna–Arica Dispute

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Tacna-Arica Dispute

Tacna-Arica Dispute, a diplomatic confrontation between Chile and Peru arising out of the War of the Pacific (1879–1884). The Treaty of Ancón (1883) specified that Chile could occupy the provinces of Tacna and Arica until 1894, when a plebiscite would determine their status. The winner would retain the two provinces; the loser would receive a monetary indemnity. Unfortunately, the treaty did not specify the conditions under which the two nations would conduct the plebiscite. The government in Santiago, hoping to retain sovereignty over the disputed territory, utilized this issue to refuse to hold the election, infuriating Peru, which felt despoiled. Peru repeatedly sought the intervention of others in the Pan-American movement, a strategy Chile successfully defeated. When the Pan-American Union could not force Santiago to cooperate, Peru contemplated using force. Meanwhile, Chile attempted to convert the Peruvian population to its own cause. Failing in its attempt to win over the Peruvians, Chile then tried to populate the disputed territory with Chilean citizens while simultaneously attempting to repress its Peruvian residents. In 1929, during the Carlos Ibáñez administration, Chile and Peru signed the Treaty of Lima and finally settled the dispute: Chile retained Arica, while Peru won Tacna. The resolution of this dispute ended the animus between Santiago and Lima but infuriated Bolivia, which remained without a seacoast.

See alsoArica; Ibáñez del Campo, Carlos; Tacna.


William J. Dennis, Tacna and Arica: An Account of the Chile-Peru Boundary Dispute and the Arbitrations by the United States (1931).

William F. Sater, Chile and the United States: Empires in Conflict (1990), pp. 76-78, 94, 96-97, 101.

Additional Bibliography

Fernández Valdés, Juan José. Chile y Perú: Historia de sus relaciones diplomáticas entre 1879 y 1929. Santiago de Chile: ADICA: RIL Editores, 2004.

Novak, Fabián. Las conversaciones entre Perú y Chile para la ejecución del Tratado de 1929. San Miguel [Peru]: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Instituto de Estudios Internacionales, Fondo Editorial, 2000.

                                          William F. Sater