Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Morro Solar

The Morro Solar of Chorrillos was the scene of a battle, was once an exclusive beach resort in the 
1800s and nowadays is home to an observatory, some monuments and the exclusive Regatta’s club.
Peru Pepo
The Morro Solar as seen from Miraflores

Jutting out into the Pacific Ocean, the Morro Solar can be seen all along the city’s coast. It’s history began as home to Peru’s indigenous - as the settlement of Armatambo, long since destroyed and forgotten. After the conquest the area around the hill became known as Chorrillos and country retreats were built by Viceroyals. Later during Peru’s struggle for independence Chorrillos was used as a port - an alternative to the Spanish controlled Callao. Chorrillos eventually became more developed, the sea-front malecon was built and connections to elsewhere by road and train were constructed. Still, Chorrillos was little more than a fashionable seaside resort with large residences owned by the wealthy - the area around the Morro Solar had some of the nicest beaches
When Chile invaded Peru for it’s mineral wealth in the War of the Pacific, they were determined to reach Lima to ensure complete capitulation. Peru had amassed a huge army that was positioned across the desert from Chorrillos to San Juan. A series of battles took place in which the superior tactics of the Chileans saw a Peruvian defeat and the end of the war. One of these battles took place on the Morro Solar, now home to monuments to the dead. Defeat on the Morro Solar lead to the destruction of Chorrillos as Chilean troops burned and pillaged their way unopposed towards Lima.
Today, as well as monuments of the battle you will find hundreds of radio towers serving the whole southern half of Lima, the height of the Morro, of course, being an ideal place to transmit from. The radio towers are accompanied by the Planetary Observatory, the first in Peru, made by engineer Víctor Estremadoyro.

More high-tension steal towers form the shape of a huge cross where the morro meets the sea. The cross, lit up during the night and shining across the ocean, was built to welcome Pope John Paul II on his visit to the country. Next to the cross there is also a statue of the Virgin Mary that is regularly visited by devoted Catholics.

At the base of the Morro Solar is the exclusive Regattas Club, where if you have the money to pay the yearly fee, you have access to various club facilities. Away from the ocean but also at the base you will find the other extreme,
invasions - homes built with no permission out of cheap available materials. Near here you will find the cevicheria Sonia and below, on the beach, a pier, fishing boats and more restaurants - continuing the area’s fishing and sea-ferring history.

Chile returns Peru’s historic books

Realising that the new found mineral wealth on the pacific coast lay entirely in Bolivian and Peruvian hands, and sparked by Bolivia’s plan to tax Chilean companies extracting it, Chile launched an invasion against the two nations. After their successful land grab in the south, Chilean troops continued up the coast, burning down towns and massacring thousands. When they reached Lima, all resistance was put down and troops began ransacking Peruvian national treasures - Lima having been the centre of the Spanish empire in the new world.

Some of the many things taken were tens of thousands of books. Now, 126 years later, Chile has decided to return those books most obviously of Peruvian origin. The announcement was made some months ago, and yesterday the 3,788 books arrived in Peru’s National Library. The books, some even from the 1500s and 1600s, bare the emblems of Spanish Peru and the Library of Lima. Books from after the formation of the republic bare Peruvian emblems. Chile’s director of the National Office of Libraries, Archives and Museums said that these were the books that were obviously not Chilean property and should be returned. The antique texts are written in Spanish, Latin, Greek and French.

At the same time, Chilean businesses have been asked to create a fund to be used to return more stolen Peruvian books to their home. Of the thousands of books stolen from Peru many are now in private hands and these are the ones that Peru now hopes to have returned. Miguel Altahus of the Universidad Católica states his opinion that “the private sector should help by creating a fund under Chilean law to offer to buy books that private individuals might have and want to return”.

War of the Pacific at About Com.

Called the Guerra del Pacifico, this 1879-1883 conflict involved Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and resulted in Chilean annexation of valuable disputed territory on the Pacific.

Glorias Navales
Chile annually celebrates the naval victories of the War of the Pacific on May 21. The Battle of Iquique and the capture of the iron monitor Huáscar were major turning points in the war with Peru and Bolivia.
"No era was more traumatic for Peru than the War of the Pacific and its aftermath, in which Peru and Bolivia squared off against their southern neighbor, Chile. It had an impact on the solidity of central government and the shape of local societies well into the 20th century."
War of the Pacific 
"War of the Pacific, Spanish GUERRA DEL PACÍFICO (1879-83), conflict involving Chile, Bolivia, and Peru, which resulted in Chilean annexation of valuable disputed territory on the Pacific coast. It grew out of a dispute between Chile and Bolivia over control of a part of the Atacama Desert that lies between the 23rd and 26th parallels on the Pacific coast of South America."
War of the Pacific
"The War of the Pacific, sometimes called the Saltpeter War in reference to its original cause, was fought between Chile and the joint forces of Bolivia and Peru, from 1879 to 1884."
War of the Pacific
"...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."
War of the Pacific, 1879-83
"Chile's borders were a matter of contention throughout the nineteenth century. The War of the Pacific began on the heels of an international economic recession that focused attention on resources in outlying zones."

Chile: War of the Pacific

Chile's borders were a matter of contention throughout the nineteenth century. The War of the Pacific began on the heels of an international economic recession that focused attention on resources in outlying zones. Under an 1866 treaty, Chile and Bolivia divided the disputed area encompassing the Atacama Desert at 24° south latitude (located just south of the port of Antofagasta) in the understanding that the nationals of both nations could freely exploit mineral deposits in the region. Both nations, however, would share equally all the revenue generated by mining activities in the region. But Bolivia soon repudiated the treaty, and its subsequent levying of taxes on a Chilean company operating in the area led to an arms race between Chile and its northern neighbors of Bolivia and Peru.

Fighting broke out when Chilean entrepreneurs and mine-owners in present-day Tarapacá Region and Antofagasta Region, then belonging to Peru and Bolivia, respectively, resisted new taxes, the formation of monopoly companies, and other impositions. In those provinces, most of the deposits of nitrate--a valuable ingredient in fertilizers and explosives--were owned and mined by Chileans and Europeans, in particular the British. Chile wanted not only to acquire the nitrate fields but also to weaken Peru and Bolivia in order to strengthen its own strategic preeminence on the Pacific Coast. Hostilities were exacerbated because of disagreements over boundary lines, which in the desert had always been vague. Chile and Bolivia accused each other of violating the 1866 treaty. Although Chile expanded northward as a result of the War of the Pacific, its rights to the conquered territory continued to be questioned by Peru, and especially by Bolivia, throughout the twentieth century.

War began when Chilean troops crossed the northern frontier in 1879. Although a mutual defense pact had allied Peru and Bolivia since 1873, Chile's more professional, less politicized military overwhelmed the two weaker countries on land and sea. The turning point of the war was the occupation of Lima on January 17, 1881, a humiliation the Peruvians never forgave. Chile sealed its victory with the 1883 Treaty of Ancón, which also ended the Chilean occupation of Lima.

As a result of the war and the Treaty of Ancón, Chile acquired two northern provinces--Tarapacá from Peru and Antofagasta from Bolivia. These territories encompassed most of the Atacama Desert and blocked off Bolivia's outlet to the Pacific Ocean. The war gave Chile control over nitrate exports, which would dominate the national economy until the 1920s, possession of copper deposits that would eclipse nitrate exports by the 1930s, greatpower status along the entire Pacific Coast of South America, and an enduring symbol of patriotic pride in the person of naval hero Arturo Prat Chacón. The War of the Pacific also bestowed on the Chilean armed forces enhanced respect, the prospect of steadily increasing force levels, and a long-term external mission guarding the borders with Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. In 1885 a German military officer, Emil Körner, was contracted to upgrade and professionalize the armed forces along Prussian lines. In subsequent years, better education produced not only a more modern officer corps but also a military leadership capable of questioning civilian management of national development.

After battling the Peruvians and Bolivians in the north, the military turned to engaging the Araucanians in the south. The final defeat of the Mapuche in 1882 opened up the southern third of the national territory to wealthy Chileans who quickly carved out immense estates. No homestead act or legion of family farmers stood in their way, although a few middle-class and immigrant agriculturalists moved in. Some Mapuche fled over the border to Argentina. The army herded those who remained onto tribal reservations in 1884, where they would remain mired in poverty for generations. Like the far north, these southern provinces would become stalwarts of national reform movements, critical of the excessive concentration of power and wealth in and around Santiago.

Soon controlled by British and then by United States investors, the nitrate fields became a classic monocultural boom and bust. The boom lasted four decades. Export taxes on nitrates often furnished over 50 percent of all state revenues, relieving the upper class of tax burdens. The income of the Chilean treasury nearly quadrupled in the decade after the war. The government used the funds to expand education and transportation. The mining bonanza generated demand for agricultural goods from the center and south and even for locally manufactured items, spawning a new plutocracy. Even more notable was the emergence of a class-conscious, nationalistic, ideological labor movement in the northern mining camps and elsewhere.

Prosperity also attracted settlers from abroad. Although small in number compared with those arriving in Argentina, European immigrants became an important element of the new middle class; their numbers included several future manufacturing tycoons. These arrivals came from both northern and southern Europe. People also emigrated from the Middle East, Peru, and Bolivia. Although most immigrants ended up in the cities of Chile, a minority succeeded at farming, especially in the south. In the early twentieth century, a few members of the Chilean elite tried to blame the rise of leftist unions and parties on foreign agitators, but the charge rang hollow in a country where less than 5 percent of the population had been born abroad.