End of the War of the Pacific

Rise of the Southern Cone

South America 1883.1105

End of the War of the Pacific

War of the Triple Alliance, War of the Pacific, rise of Chile, Argentina, and Brazil (5 November 1883)

Historical Map of South American nations

By 1883, Chile was the clear victor in the War of the Pacific, occupying all the important Peruvian and Bolivian ports and successfully invading the Peruvian Sierra. Peru accepted defeat in October, ceding Tarapacá to Chile; although the Chilean occupation of Tacna and Arica would remain a source of contention until 1929. Bolivia - which had lost its entire Pacific coastline - would only agree to a truce at first, refusing to sign a formal peace treaty until 1904.

Main Events

Montero's mutiny

In Arequipa, thousands of troops mutinied against the authority of Peruvian President Nicolás de Piérola; they were joined the following month by Rear Admiral Lizardo Montero, who, on 6 November, proclaimed himself provisional president of Peru in succession to the deposed García Calderón. General Andrés Avelino Cáceres - commander in the central highlands - soon rose in his support, forcing Piérola to resign the presidency at Tarma and go into exile.

Mapuche uprising

In response to Chilean government seizures of their land, a number of Mapuche chiefs organized an uprising in Araucanía in 1881. The revolt began prematurely on 3 November, alerting the Chilean authorities and allowing settlers to take refuge in the forts. The rebel Mapuche made successive attacks against the forts in the region, but were beaten back and dispersed when Chilean reinforcements arrived.

Proclamation of Montán

General Miguel Iglesias, Peruvian commander in the north, issued the Proclamation of Montán, insisting that Peru would need to make peace with Chile in order to survive. In January 1883, Iglesias was appointed Regenerating President of the Republic by the Assembly in the North and granted the authority to negotiate a peace treaty with Chile. However, Iglesias's presidency was not recognized in southern and central Peru, where Montero continued as provisional president.

Treaty of Mexico City

Following a preliminary agreement signed in New York City on 12 August 1882 under the arbitration of the United States, Guatemala and Mexico signed a final boundary treaty in Mexico City on 27 September. By the terms of the treaty, Guatemala renounced its claim to the territory of Chiapas and agreed to the partition of Soconusco. The Suchiate River was set as the boundary between the two countries, with measurement and demarcation work completed in 1902.

Cáceres's resistance

General Andrés Avelino Cáceres and Rear Admiral Lizardo Montero rejected the Peruvian government's signing of the Treaty of Ancón, continuing the fight against Chile in southern Peru. Chile responded by capturing Arequipa and deposing Montero on 24 October 1883, before advancing on Lake Titicaca to cut Bolivian support to Cáceres. Nonetheless, Cáceres continued resisting until the withdrawal of Chilean forces in June 1884 obliged him to accept the Treaty of Ancón as a fait accompli.

Treaty of Ancón

Chile and Peru signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship in the Ancón District near Lima, Peru, bringing an end to Peru's formal involvement in the War of the Pacific. Under the terms of the treaty, Peru ceded the Department of Tarapacá to Chile and Chile would remain in occupation of Tacna and Arica for ten years, after which their fate would be decided by a plebiscite. The plebiscite was never held, leading to a lengthy dispute between the two countries which would only be resolved in 1929.

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