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 12 months 1879 marked the start of 1 of the longest, bloodiest conflicts of nineteenth-century Latin the USA. The battle 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 incorporated one of many first examples of using naval torpedoes. On land, huge armies utilizing the main sleek weapons—breech-loading rifles, Gatling weapons, and steel-barreled artillery—clashed in battles that left millions of guys useless at the battlefields. ultimately, the fighters made over their respective army institutions, developing a lot wanted, civilian-supported offer, transportation, and clinical devices. Chile finally prevailed. Bolivia misplaced its seacoast in addition to priceless 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 bargains the definitive research of the conflict's naval and armed forces campaigns. Andean Tragedy not just locations the struggle in a very important overseas context, but additionally explains why this devastating clash ended in a Chilean victory. (20080801)

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By the early 1870s numerous Chile-based companies mined not only guano but also, increasingly, nitrates from the Atacama. 35 Believing itself to be the victim of greedy Chilean capitalists, the Bolivian legislature decided to protect their nation’s economic future by seeking more control of its desert resources. It began by nullifying Melgarejo’s 1866 pact. Normally, the Chileans would have responded aggressively, but the Chilean government, feeling threatened by Peru’s recent naval rearmament program and Argentine territorial demands, considered it prudent to resolve peacefully its dispute with Bolivia.

At the war’s onset, the patriotic or naive immediately volunteered for military service, but once the martial fever broke, the respective governments reverted to the traditional practice of press-ganging the unwary, the unimportant, and the unlucky. Traditionally the press-gangs harvested first the criminals, the idlers, and the beggars. And after they had exhausted this source, the recruiters focused on the Indians of Peru and Bolivia as well as the three nations’ rural and urban working class and their artisans; the gente decente (those with money) appeared exempt from the draft.

Rioting ensued in which a Santiago mob defaced a statue erected in honor of Argentina and threatened Bilbao’s person. Pinto faced a serious dilemma: the economic depression of the 1870s had forced him to reduce substantially the size of the army as well as decommission various warships. Hence the president lacked the economic as well as military means to prosecute a war with Argentina. With Daza making menacing noises to the north, the Moneda wanted to avoid fighting on two fronts: Pinto offered to strike a deal with the Argentines.

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