Pacific, War of the

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

War of the Pacific, 1879–84, war between Chile and the allied nations, Peru and Bolivia; also called the Chile–Peruvian War. The trouble began when President Hilarión Daza of Bolivia rescinded (Feb., 1879) the contract that had given a Chilean company the right to exploit nitrate deposits in Atacama, a province of Bolivia. In reprisal Chile took the port of Antofagasta, and two weeks later war was formally acknowledged. Peru, bound since 1873 by a defensive alliance to Bolivia, refused to promise to remain neutral, and Chile declared war on Peru. At the end of 1879, Chile had not only won Atacama and the Peruvian province of Tarapacá, but by the capture of Huáscar, a Peruvian ironclad warship, had gained control of the sea. Although the presidents of Peru and Bolivia, Mariano Ignacio Prado and Hilarión Daza, respectively, were replaced by other leaders, no change occurred in the war; by coordinated sea and land attacks the Chilean conquest continued. During 1880, Chilean forces took Tacna and Arica and, after an invasion by sea and the victories of Chorillos and Miraflores (Jan., 1881), made a triumphal entry into Lima. Although the Peruvian leader Andrés Avelino Cáceres, aided by Miguel Iglesias, gallantly fought a guerrilla campaign, Peru and Bolivia were thoroughly vanquished. The Treaty of Ancón (Oct., 1883) restored peace between Peru and Chile; a truce at Valparaíso (Apr., 1884) was signed between Bolivia and Chile, but a definitive treaty was not agreed upon until 1904. Chile acquired Atacama, Bolivia's only coastal territory, now called Antofagasta. Peru also had to cede Tarapacá to Chile and surrendered control of the provinces of Tacna and Arica, their disposition to be decided by plebiscite after 10 years. This provision led to the Tacna-Arica Controversy.