John V. Quarstein
Director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center
About the lecture:
Chile, Bolivia, and Peru went to war from 1879-1883 over control of the Atacama Desert, which contained vast mineral resources like copper and sodium nitrate (saltpeter). Naval victories at Iquique and Angamos in 1897 gave Chile control of the sea. The Peruvians had purchased ironclads from Great Britain and the US, while Chile’s came from Great Britain. The most famous ship of this war was the Peruvian ironclad Huáscar, built in 1865 by Laird Brothers, England, and captured by the Chileans after a fierce battle on October 8, 1879. Now berthed at Talcahuano, Chile, the vessel has been preserved and is the second oldest ironclad on display in the world.
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$1 for guests
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Capture of Huáscar, 19th century. Thomas Somerscales, artist. National Fine Arts Museum, Santiago, Chile. Public domain.