Peruvian Civil War of 1856–1858

The Peruvian Civil War of 1856–1858, also known as the Arequipa Revolution of 1856, was one of the largest and most violent in Peru.[1][2] It was the third internal conflict in 19th century Peru (after the Peruvian Civil War of 1834 and Peruvian Civil War of 1843–1844). It was fought between the Liberals (supporters of Ramón Castilla) and the Conservatives (who opposed Castilla). It followed the Peruvian Liberal Revolution of 1854. 3,000 people were killed on both sides.[3][4]

Peruvian Civil War of 1856–1858
TomadeArequipa.JPG
Capture of Arequipa
Date1856–1858
Location
Peruvian coast
Result Liberal victory
Belligerents
Liberals Conservatives
Commanders and leaders
Ramón Castilla
Miguel de San Román
Manuel Ignacio de Vivanco
José Rufino Echenique
Miguel Grau (Navy)
Strength
10,000-11,000 soldiers and 3 pieces of artillery 8,000-10,000 soldiers
Casualties and losses
5,000-6,000 killed and wounded 7,000 killed and wounded

CausesEdit

The main cause was the enactment of the Constitution of 1856, enacted on October 19 of that year, by the national Convention (Congress) that had been established in the previous year. One of the new principles of the constitution was the suppression of the death penalty. The Constitution of 1856 introduced free education, specifically primary school education; it reduced the age to be a representative of the people to 28 years. Congress became strong and almost single-chambered, since there were no differences between deputies and senators.[5]

The Grand Marshal Ramón Castilla, Provisional President of Peru at the time, was opposed to the Constitution because it was very limiting to the authority of the President of the Republic. The Constitution re-established the Vice Presidents and created the Cabinet. Furthermore, it reduced the presidential term from 6 to 4 years. Despite this, Ramón Castilla signed the Constitution on October 18, 1856.[5]

There was also great discontent in the country over the high stipends of the members of the National Convention, as well as the excessive expenditure on slave manumissions. According to the 1825 Census there were 15 thousand slaves in Peru, and 25 thousand had been manumitted. Another criticism was that the elections for the National Convention had been dominated by freedmen and illiterate people, while public servants from the previous regime were excluded. This is due to threats against the Catholic Church (La Compañía de Jesús was not allowed entry), and because Castilla himself had restored the Indigenous Tribute under the name of General Contribution in March 1855.[5][6]

There were numerous individuals that were opposed to Castilla’s government, and proof of this are the uprisings in: Arequipa (July, 1855), Islay (March, 1856), Chincha (April 14, 1856), Nauta (June 30, 1856), Trujillo (August 15, 1856), Tacna (September 22nd, 1856), Ayacucho, Ancash, and other places. In Lima there was an uprising from General Fermín Del Castillo, which failed, and he was then forced into exile.[5][7]

The Uprising of ArequipaEdit

On October 31, 1856 the conservative uprising in Arequipa began, with a popular movement headlined by Domingo Camino and Diego Masías y Llosa, who two years prior had supported the rebellion against Echenique. They invited Manuel Ignacio de Vivanco, who returned from exile in Chile, to lead the movement. Within a few days, 500 men were armed. The government sent the BAP Loa and the BAP Ucayali to Arica, where they unloaded 2 squadrons of men on horseback, and half of an infantry battalion. They took in political prisoners accused of conspiring in Arica, and imprisoned them in the Highlander and Caupolicán pontoons. They also brought the Grand Marshal Miguel de San Román to take command of the forces, and intimidate the surrender of Arequipa on November 16.[8][9][6]

Siege of ArequipaEdit

Siege of Arequipa
DateJune 1857 – March 1858
Location
Arequipa, Peru
Result Decisive conservative victory
Belligerents
  Conservatives   Liberals
Commanders and leaders
  Ramón Castilla
  Miguel de San Román
  Manuel Ignacio de Vivanco
Strength
7,000 men 1,800 soldiers
2,000 militiamen
Casualties and losses
2,000 dead and wounded 3,000 dead

After eight months of siege and failed peace efforts promoted by the Chilean Minister Ramón Irarrázabal, the constitutional army of Ramón Castilla assaulted the city of Arequipa, which was the last redoubt of the revolutionary movement promoted by General Manuel Ignacio de Vivanco, after the seizure of the city and the subsequent subjugation of the rebel Apurímac frigate culminated the bloodiest civil war that Peru suffered in its entire republican history.

The Uprising of the MarinesEdit

On November 16, the frigate Apurímac, anchored in Arica, was rebelled against by two Young officers who were in favor of Vivanco. They were the Second Lieutenant Lizardo Montero and the Second Lieutenant Miguel Grau. They took advantage of the fact that the commander of the ship, Captain José María Salcedo, was ashore in the house of the English Consul. The first act of the rebel marines was to release the political prisoners held in the Caupolicán and Highlander in Arica.[10][6][11]

The Apurímac marched north and rebelled on the Province of Islay at the Loa. The captain of the Port of Islay, Emilio Días Seminario, Grau’s half-brother, joined the rebel side. There it was San Román, with the Generals Diez Canseco and Lerzundi, plus 180 armed officers, retreating towards Tacna. But, on the 19th they encountered the rebel Colonel Broousset, who, with only 20 men on horseback and 15 infantry, dispersed them, and San Román fled to Puno.[10][6][11]

Castilla declared the ships pirates so that any foreign squadron, (French or English) could attack them. A naval division was formed under the command of Captain Ignacio Mariátegui, consisting of the Tumbes and the Ucayali to recover the Apurímac. But, offshore the Tumbes rebelled with its commander, the Lieutenant Commander Federico Alzamora, and disembarked to the approaching forces that were under the command of Colonel Mariano Ignacio Prado in the Chincha Islands. Rear Admiral Domingo Valle Riestra was appointed General Commander of the Rebel Squadron, which had 78 officers, including five naval captains; it was a general uprising of the navy. Ricardo Palma was also appointed Accountant General of the Rebel Army. Since the frigate Amazonas was traveling to Hong Kong, the government of Castilla was left with only the steamer Ucayali.[10][6][11]

The Apurímac and the Loa attacked Arica on November 27, as the government garrison, composed of 100 men, refused to provide them food. They took the port, and caused 18 deaths, but after supplying their provisions, they withdrew.[10][6][11]

The rebel fleet took the Chincha Islands on December 28, where they also captured the steamer Izcuchaca. They began to sell guano, which financed the uprising, although the contracts that the government had with French, English, and American traders were not interrupted. The rebels sold guano to Valparaíso merchants, friends of Vivanco. The Convention declared this act as a theft of national property, and whoever traded with them to be criminals. In addition, this empowered the Executive to deal with the diplomats of Great Britain and France to give their assistance, if necessary, on the custody of the islands’ guano supply. With the money from the guano, the rebels bought weapons, and two steamers in Chile: the Volcán, which they called Arauco, and the Peytona, rechristened as the Lambayeque.[12][10][6][11]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Dixon, Jeffrey S. (2015). A guide to intra-state wars : an examination of civil, regional, and intercommunal wars, 1816-2014. Meredith Reid Sarkees. Washington DC. ISBN 978-1-5063-1798-4. OCLC 932054698.
  2. ^ Basadre, Jorge (1970). Historia de la Republica del Peru, 1822-1933. Ed. universitaria. OCLC 746280646.
  3. ^ Nineteenth Century Death Tolls. Fuente: Singer, Joel David (1972). The Wages of War. 1816-1965. Nueva York: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
  4. ^ Sociedad de Amigos de la Ilustración (1860). Revista del Pacífico. Literaria y Científica. Tomo II. Valparaíso: Imprenta y librería del Mercurio de Santos Tornero, pp. 505.
  5. ^ a b c d Basadre, Jorge (1970). Historia de la Republica del Peru, 1822-1933. Ed. universitaria. OCLC 746280646.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Paz Soldán y otros, "Historia General de Arequipa".
  7. ^ Dixon, Jeffrey S. (2015). A guide to intra-state wars : an examination of civil, regional, and intercommunal wars, 1816-2014. Meredith Reid Sarkees. Washington DC. ISBN 978-1-5063-1798-4. OCLC 932054698.
  8. ^ Dixon, Jeffrey S. (2015). A guide to intra-state wars : an examination of civil, regional, and intercommunal wars, 1816-2014. Meredith Reid Sarkees. Washington DC. ISBN 978-1-5063-1798-4. OCLC 932054698.
  9. ^ Valdivia, Juan Gualberto (1958). Las revoluciones de Arequipa : Crónica. Ediciones Populibro. OCLC 492942919.
  10. ^ a b c d e Basadre, Jorge (1970). Historia de la Republica del Peru, 1822-1933. Ed. universitaria. OCLC 746280646.
  11. ^ a b c d e Dixon, Jeffrey S. (2015). A guide to intra-state wars : an examination of civil, regional, and intercommunal wars, 1816-2014. Meredith Reid Sarkees. Washington DC. ISBN 978-1-5063-1798-4. OCLC 932054698.
  12. ^ Sociedad de Amigos de la Ilustración (1860). Revista del Pacífico. Literaria y Científica. Tomo II. Valparaíso: Imprenta y librería del Mercurio de Santos Tornero, pp. 505.

BibliographyEdit

  • Basadre, Jorge. "Historia de la República del Perú"
  • Valdivia, Juan Gualberto. "Las revoluciones de Arequipa"
  • Paz Soldán y otros, "Historia General de Arequipa"

Portrayals in fictionEdit