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Chile-Peru relations

Chile-Peru relations refers to interstate relations between the Republic of Chile and the Republic of Peru. Chile and Peru have a long shared history since times of the Inca Empire in the 15th and 16th century and followed by the Viceroyalty of Peru. In the 19th century both countries becamed independent and fought 2 wars with each other that lead to the anexation of Peruvian Tarapaca by Chile and created a strong an anti-Chile resentment in Peru.

Historical relations

Rule under Inca Empire and Spain

In the 1470s the Inca Empire conquered all of Chile north of Maule River. After the conquest of Peru by Francisco Pizarro, Pedro de Valdivia lead an expedition from Peru to Chile that ended with the creation of Kingdom of Chile, which was placed under the judisdiction of the Viceroyalty of Peru. During the colonial era Chile was a poor and problematic province of the Viceroyalty of Peru; it was sparsely populated, there was no large large mines and the Arauco War with the Mapuches slowed down economic development. The Viceroyalty of Peru had to finance the defence of Chile, for example the construction of the Valdivian fort system. Many young officers made career as governors of Chile and were later appointed as viceroys of Peru, such as Ambrosio O'Higgins and Agustin de Jauregui y Aldecoa.

Independent nations

Chile and Peru had excellent relations at the time of independence, and a recent independent Chile and it's liberation hero Bernardo O'Higgins actively participated in the liberation of Peru with the Liberation Expedition launched in Valparaiso towards Lima. Chile was a staunch ally of Peru aganst Spain the 1864–1866 war over the Chincha Islands, and the Chilean port of Valparaiso was even bombed by Spain during the conflict. Nevertheless, in 1873 Peru signed a secret defensive pact with Bolivia in which it agreed to help that nation in case of foreign attack. The moment came in 1879, when the War of the Pacific began. Peru refused to be neutral and Chile declared war on both Peru and Bolivia. Chile won a decisive victory, and even reached Lima and proceeded to occupy Peru for a few years.

In 1883, Chile and Peru signed the Treaty of Ancon in which Peru handed over the Province of Tarapaca. Peru also had to hand over the departments of Arica and Tacna. These would remain under Chilean control until a later date, when there would be a plebiscite to decide which nation would maintain control over Arica and Tacna. Chile and Peru, however, were unable to agree on how or when to hold the plebiscite, and in 1929, both countries signed the Treaty of Lima, in which Peru gained Tacna and Chile maintained control of Arica.

Relations have remained sour because of the war. In 1975, both countries were in the brink of war, only a few years before the centennial of the War of the Pacific. The conflict was fueled by ideological disputes: Peruvian General Juan Velasco was a left-winger while Chilean General Augusto Pinochet was a right-winger. Velasco, backed by Cuba, set the date for invasion on August 6, the 150th independence anniversary of Bolivia, and the proposed date when Chile intended to grant this country with a sovereign corridor north of Arica, in former Peruvian territory, transfer not approved by Peru. However, he was successfully dissuaded from starting the invasion on that date by his advisor, General Francisco Morales Bermudez, whose original family was from the former Peruvian (currently Chilean) region of Tarapaca. Velasco later fell ill and was deposed by a group of generals who proclaimed Morales Bermudez president on August 28.

Morales Bermudez assured the Chilean government that Peru had no plans for an invasion despite its tremendous military superiority. Tensions mounted again when a Chilean spy mission in Peru was discovered. Morales Bermudez was again able to avert war, despite pressure from Velasco's ultranationalist followers.

Recent years (1990-2008)

Relations between the two nations have since mostly recovered. In 2005, the Peruvian Congress unilaterally approved a law, which increased the stated sea limit with Chile. This law superceeded the Peruvian supreme decree 781 for same purpose from 1947, which had autolimited it's maritime border to geographical parallels only. Peru's position was that the border has never been fully demarcated, but Chile disagreed reminding on treaties in 1952 and 1954 between the countries, which supposedly defined seaborder. The border problem has still not been solved. However, Chile's Michelle Bachelet and Peru's Alan Garcia have established a positive diplomatic relationship, and it is very unlikely any hostilities will break out because of the dispute.

Nevertheless, in early April 2007, Peruvian nationalistic sectors, mainly represented by left wing ex-presidential candidate Ollanta Humala decided to congregate at 'hito uno' right at the border with Chile, in a symbolic attempt to claim sovereignty over a maritime area known in Peru as Mar de Grau (Grau's Sea) just west of the Chilean city of Arica. Peruvian police stopped a group of nearly 2,000 people just 10 klms from the border, preventing them from reaching their intended destination. Despite these incidents, the presidents of both Chile and Peru have confirmed their intentions to improve the relationships between the two countries, mainly fueled by the huge amount of commercial exchange between both countries private sectors.

On January 16, 2008, Peru formally presented the case to the International Court of Justice, in which the Peruvian state demanded Chile. Now the court will continue on process and it's spected for the Court to give it's veredict in what experts expect to be in no less than 7 years.

List of controversies


Arica y Parinacota controversy. The approved law for creation of the Chilean Arica y Parinacota Region, didn't mention parts of the official border with Peru. This problem was later solved by the Chilean Constitutional Court, that declared the border topic of the law null.

Arica, Chile, called "The South Star" by Peruvian nationalists (not an official claim)

Bolivian access to the sea. See Atacama border dispute.

Chilean-Peruvian Maritime Dispute of 2006 that involves the sea border line between the two nations [*]

Culture (about the origin)



Pisco Sour


Cueca dance


Francisco Bolognesis death

Books taken from Peru's National Library as war-loot during War of the Pacific.

A loan given to Peru by Chile to finance its independence war.

Delay of Chilean documental about the War of the Pacific after protest from Peru.

Illegal immigration to Chile from Peru.

Racism against these immigrants.

Statues and other articles that the Peruvians consider that the Chilean taken from Lima as war loot.

Huascar monitor, captured by Chile.

Military myths about sunken Peruvian submarines in Valparaiso.

Videos about tourism in Lima shown in LAN Chile

Lucchetti's industrial complex in a protected swamp

Peruvian Aerocontinente's corruption scandal (related to drug money).

See also

Argentina-Chile relations

War of the Confederation

Case Concerning Maritime Delimitation between the Republic of Peru and the Republic of Chile (Peru v. Chile)

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Chile-Peru relations