Chilean Navy Day

21 May 2020  Thu

May 21 is Navy Day in Chile. This public holiday commemorates the Battle of Iquique that took place on May 21, 1879 during the War of the Pacific.

The War of the Pacific was a large military campaign between Chile and allied Peru and Bolivia. The war out broke due to the new taxes that Bolivia imposed on a Chilean mining company. Chile protested against the taxes and declared war on Bolivia. Peru was also involved in the war since it signed a treaty of alliance with Bolivia.

The Battle of Iquique was one of the navy battles of the War of the Pacific. It occurred on May 21, 1879 off the port of Iquique that at that time belonged to Peru. Although the battle was won by Peru, the Chilean historians consider the battle as one of the most important factors that led to the victory in the war.

The day of the Battle of Iquique became a holiday in 1905 as Naval Glories Day. Nowadays the holiday is known as Navy Day. Central Bank of Chile issued a 50 Peso Note in 1975 to commemorate the War of the Pacific at the Battle of Iquique in 1879.

The obverse of the banknote depicts the effigy of Arturo Prat - the military man has excelled in all aspects of his life and was killed in combat at the young age of 31. The reverse side of the bill, we can find a frigate belonging to the liberating expedition, portrayed by the famous Thomas Jacques Somerscales, a highly prestigious English painter.

Image Courtesy: colnect

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