Battle of San Juan and Chorrillos

The Battle of Chorrillos, also known as the Battle of San Juan and Chorrillos, was the first of the two battles of the Lima Campaign during the War of the Pacific, and was fought on January 13, 1881. This battle is really a group of a smaller, yet fierce confrontations at the defensive strongholds of Villa, Chorrillos, San Juan, Santa Teresa and Morro Solar. The Chilean army led by Gen. Manuel Baquedano inflicted a harsh defeat to the Peruvian army commanded by the Supreme Chief Nicolás de Piérola. The Chilean triumph eliminated the first defensive line guarding Lima, and almost obliterated the Peruvian army defending it.

An important role was played by the Chinese slaves which were liberated by the Chilean army. As quoted from Mary Turner's "From chattel slaves to wage slaves: dynamics of labour bargaining in the Americas" Many Chinese saw the Chilean liberation as an opportunity to avenge years of abuse from the plantation owners; in Pacasmayo 600 to 800 Chinese forced labourers looted the sugar estates and this scene was repeated in the Chicama, Lambayeque and Cañete Valleys. The Chinese also fought alongside the Chileans in the battles of San Juan-Chorrillos and Miraflores, and there was also rioting and looting by non-Chinese workers in the coastal cities. As Heraclio Bonilla has observed; oligarchs soon came to fear the popular clashes more than the Chileans, and this was an important reason why they sued for peace.

Prior to the occupation of Lima there were fires and sackings by demoralized Peruvian soldiers in the towns of Chorrillos and Barranco; as quoted by Charles de Varigny "rendía incondicionalmente. La soldadesca (peruana) desmoralizada y no desarmada saqueaba la ciudad en la noche del 16, el incendio la alumbraba siniestramente y el espanto reinaba en toda ella."

At the end of the battle, the town of Chorrillos was burned to the ground by the Chilean army trying to eradicate the Peruvian defenders garrisoned there. During the night, abuses were committed to civilians by drunk soldiers.

Despite of this result, another battle had to be fought in order to the Chilean army could enter into the Peruvian capital city at Miraflores, two days later.

Read more about Battle Of San Juan And Chorrillos:  Prologue, The Attacking Plan and Defensive Layout, Aftermath

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