It is the story of a fight announced. Also on 5 April 1879, Chile declared war on Peru, ordered the blockade of Iquique and was raised by the naval duel. The dispute would be for control of the sea: who would dominate the maritime scenario won the war. As Dr Meliton Carvajal Admiral Young in his book, the first volume of three that make up what was published in 2004. The epic naval campaign until the battle of Iquique on May 21, 1879, is analyzed in the light of modern strategic concepts, and relies on documentation of unpublished sources, including the Journal of Bitácora del Huascar. In late 1878, Peru was unaware that a war was on the verge. Basadre in his History of the Republic, reports that Manuel Pardo, a former president of Peru, just arrived from Valparaiso, alerted the government about the war was coming. He believed that the grave situation had only two roads, avoid or prepare for it. Nothing was done. On 14 February 1879, the omens were confirmed when Chile occupied Antofagasta and went to war with Bolivia. The Peruvian people, fired by the mainstream media, claimed the war following the treacherous attack. As manifested Basadre, was unknown, the true power of Chile and the dreadful consequences of armed conflict, the ally of Peru, Bolivia, did not because it did not, and never had naval power. Had to be hastily arranged. Peru had entered into a contest that had not wanted nor caused and for which he was not ready. Its political aim was Emergency oust Chile''s territory invaded and eliminate the threat of territorial invasion to Peru. The fate of the war depended on the control of the sea. Iquique, Peru''s first major port from the south, and the center of deposit for shipment of guano and saltpeter, was a strategic area to be disputed. The Chilean navy took 30 days raiding the southern ports and public opinion demanded the break the blockade of Iquique. The Peruvian government ordered the departure of the squadron. The focal point of the drama is the battle of Iquique, with its cargo of light and shadow, of triumph and failure. The saga begins when the fleet set sail from Callao night of May 15 bound for Arica. On May 20 the 1st division under the command of Captain Miguel Grau, sailed from that port to dawn on the 21st at Iquique. Grau, will command the monitor Huascar, William More to the frigate Independence. His instructions: to beat the corvette Esmeralda and Covadonga gun holding the lock. At 6.30 am, the Chilean ships sighted the smoke of the dual Peruvian maneuvered inside the port to better position themselves. The Huascar and Independencia fast approaching, closer distances.
Grau ordered clear for action. At 8.30 the battle is fought. The author argues that the encounter was uneven, as Grau said in its report, the shooting of the Chilean vessels were accurate, but not those of Huascar. Grau Esmeralda decides to attack with the ram. From 11 am Grau gores three times with the spur, in one of the attacks, Arturo Prat, commander of the Esmeralda, falls on the deck of the monitor, and dies with an ax in his head. The latest jab and sink almost instantly part of the Chilean ship. Terrible time, "says Carvajal, terrible for the people of the Emerald, and for the Huascar, who, following the orders of his commander, immediately lowered should the boats to rescue the castaways. On board, the Chilean rescue, shouting: "Commander Bravo Grau! Long live the courageous and gentlemen Peruvians! "To which they answer the officers and crew:" Bravo brave Chilean Esmeralda, just doing our duty! ". There was born the legend of Grau, the Knight of the Seas. Another was the fate of Independence, which was lost in the attempt to spur to the Covadonga; got stranded at the height of peak thickness, in an unmarked rock low on the charts. Condell''s conduct, the commander of the Covadonga, was diametrically opposed: when the ship went down, kept the fire on the unarmed crew. He said the lack of discipline and artillery exercises have caused the loss of independence, although Carvajal was concluded that a combination of chance and the wrong tactics of More, and as is custom at sea, the onus on the commander. There was a lawsuit against More, but the moral burden led him to immolate himself on June 7, 1880 as chief of Arica battery .. He missed the best of the Peruvian navy vessel. The Independence, with equal seaworthy the Huascar, had increased capacity however combative with more firepower could cause a breakdown barrage further consideration in a clash with the APCs. The small screen was just to make the fight at sea. And this campaign will matter little giant the next volume of the Maritime History of Peru. It is the first volume of Book XI of the collection. 996 pages, illus., Maps, drawings, portraits,