The Pacific War (1879-1884) between Chile and the Union of Peru and Bolivia is best known to military and naval historians as a conflict that occurred at the height of technological change that preceded modern warfare. The war was fought over the precious resources of saltpeter and guano located in the arid Atacama Desert.
The Pacific War was the result of a dispute between Bolivia and Chile over sovereignty over the mineral-rich coastal region of the Atacama Desert. Although the three countries cooperated in the war in the Chincha Islands, disputes soon emerged over the mineral-rich provinces of Tarapaca, Tacna and Arica in Peru and Antofagasta in Bolivia. After five years of war, in April 1884, the conflict ended with the Treaty of Ancona, which gave the Chileans control of the Peruvian provinces of Tacna and Arica, beginning a long struggle for sovereignty.
Faced with the possibility of a protracted war, the Chileans launched punitive expeditions in 1881 and 1882 to crush Peruvian resistance. Although the Chileans now controlled the seals, they did not know whether to strike at the heart of Peru, as they had done in the 1836 Peru-Bolivian Confederation War, or to gnaw through enemy territory.
Faced with the possibility of an invasion, Bolivia, retreating on the Altiplano, accepted a truce in which the Atacama ceded to Chile. Peru tried to mediate, but when Bolivia declared a state of war, the situation worsened. Then, on March 14, at a meeting with foreign powers in Lima, Bolivia declared a state of war with Chile.
While Peru tried to mediate between the two countries, Bolivia declared war on Chile and expected its ally Peru to join it. Chile, on the other hand, suggested that Peru remain neutral and declared war on Peru and Bolivia in April 1879 after Peru had declared its alliance with Bolivia. In April 1879, Chile officially learned that Peru had secretly signed an alliance with a promise to help Bolivia if it went to war with Chile.
The war started over a nitrate tax dispute between Bolivia and Chile, which involved Peru due to its alliance with Bolivia. Bolivia, allied with Peru, declared war on Chile on March 1, but the Bolivian troops on the coastal territory were easily defeated, due in part to Dasas’ military incompetence. Chile’s declaration of war seemed foolhardy, since the combined Peruvian and Bolivian divisions outnumbered Chile by two to one, and the Peruvian fleet had four battleships—including two high-ranking monitors and therefore unseaworthy—compared to Chile’s two.
After the war, the dispute over Puna de Atacama escalated until 1899, when both Chile and Argentina claimed the former territories of Bolivia. The war fought over Chile’s claims to Bolivian coastal territory in the Atacama Desert ended in Chile’s victory, which resulted in the country gaining a significant portion of the resource-rich territories of Peru and Bolivia. While Chile benefited enormously from the Pacific War, Peru and Bolivia suffered greatly.
But historians point to deeper causes of the war, such as Chile and Peru’s interest in the nitrate business, longstanding rivalry between Chile and Peru, and political and economic differences between Chile, Peru and Bolivia. Conversely, some Chilean historians believe the treaty was aggressive towards Chile, sparking a war meant to control Bolivia’s Salitrera from Peru and was hidden in Chile by Chile, perusing the urgency of the event, arguing that War is the only option. , as a diplomatic attempt to contain a possible escalation of tensions was called off by then-Bolivian President Hilarion Daza, who also seized property and expelled thousands of Chileans living in Bolivia, as well as a secret 1873 signing between Bolivia The existence of a mutual defense treaty with Peru.
In Bolivia, the war in the Pacific is an open wound, the product of Chile’s betrayal, which deprived Bolivia of the Antofagasta region, its access to the Pacific, and, after the armistice agreement of April 1884, its dignity as a nation. Chile, for its part, stated that it was not a question of returning any part of the Pacific coast of Bolivia, stating that wars of conquest were normal at the time, that the area was racially and culturally fully assimilated to Chile, and that Bolivia must accept the outcome of the war as a fait accompli.
However, despite the decision of The Hague in favor of Chile, border and territorial disputes between the three countries remain unresolved, all products of the war in the Pacific. While Peru and Bolivia continue to look back and ponder the consequences of the war, Chile clearly wants to move forward and work to build good relations with its neighbors. Relations between Peru and Bolivia (within the Andean Community) and between Peru and Chile (within the Pacific Alliance) are stable and positive.
In fact, the complex relationship between Peru, Bolivia, and Chile cannot be understood without understanding how the war affected the national histories of these three countries and the geopolitical realities of an already complex region. In Chile this is ignored, but in Peru it is a source of anti-Chilean sentiment. However, Peru’s defeat in the Pacific War, territorial losses, the widespread looting of Peruvian cities by Chilean forces, and the inhuman and barbaric treatment of civilians left Chile with deep scars and resentments that persist to this day.
After two more years of Peruvian and guerrilla resistance, the war between Chile and Peru officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ancona in October 1883.
War of the Pacific (1879–1884), an important conflict resulting from a long-running border dispute in which Chile opposed Bolivia and Peru. Then, in 1874, after years of bitter discussions that threatened to provoke war, La Paz and Santiago resolved the issue by forcing Chile to renounce its claims to the southern part of the desert, in exchange for which La Paz promised not to raise taxes on any Chilean a company operating in what was once disputed territory. The Pacific War, also known as the Saltpeter War or the Dime War, arose out of a dispute between Chile and Bolivia over precious mineral deposits in the Atacama Desert. A resource war broke out in February 1879 when the Chilean military landed at Antofagasta in Bolivia.
Peruvian historian Basadre says that one of the reasons Peru signed the treaty was to prevent a Chilean-Bolivian alliance against Peru, which would have given Bolivia the region of Arica (prior to the war, almost all Bolivian trade passed through the Peruvian ports of Arica) and moved Antofagasta to Chile. the Chilean government directly and officially asked Laval whether there was a defensive alliance that would oblige Peru to help Bolivia in the war with Chile, and whether Lima intended to abide by the agreement, Laval could no longer intimidate and answered in the affirmative to both questions.