Bombardment of Valparaíso
The Bombardment of Valparaíso on 31 March 1866 too place during the Chincha Islands War, when a Spanish fleet shelled, burned and destroyed the undefended port of Valparaíso
- 1 Background
- 11 Attempts at mediation
- 2 Bombardment
- 3 Painting
- 4 Additional information
- 41 See also
- 42 Notes
- 43 Sources
- 5 External links
After the humiliating defeat at the Battle of Papudo and the indecisive Battle of Abtao, Rear Admiral Casto Méndez Núñez was ordered to take punitive action against South American ports When the Chilean government ordered that vessels supplying or communicating with the Spanish fleet should not be allowed to enter Chilean ports, Méndez Núñez's first target became the most important and undefended Chilean city of Valparaíso
Attempts at mediation
Efforts to mediate were initially steered by European diplomats whose countrymen were most affected by the initial blockade of Chilean ports and by the threat of bombardment High-level contacts took place intensively in late 1865 and early 1866 between London, Paris and Madrid A formula to resolve the conflict appeared, at one stage, to have been secured In the final two weeks, the United States was especially active The American minister to Chile, General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick and the US Naval Commander John Rodgers who was at port commanding a US naval squadron composed of the ironclad monitor USS Monadnock and the steamers Powhatan, Tuscarora and Vanderbilt attempted a last-minute settlement with the Spanish Admiral To that effect they enlisted the cooperation of the commander of the British Pacific Station, Rear Admiral Joseph Denman, who had under his command two warships: HMS Sutlej and HMS Leander The British commander, despite coming under great pressure from British merchants in the city, later changed his mind and decided to enforce a strict neutrality, refusing the cooperation of his ships
Ultimately, all the attempts at mediation failed, as the chief condition of Admiral Méndez Núñez was the proper salute to the Spanish flag, the return by the Chileans of the captured Schooner Covadonga and the immediate payment of a crippling indemnity The talks broke over the matter of the flag salute When General Kilpatrick threatened to defend the port with the US squadron and attack the Spanish fleet, Admiral Méndez Núñez famously responded with, "I will be forced to sink , because even if I have one ship left I will proceed with the bombardment Spain, the Queen and I prefer honor without ships than ships without honor" Consequently the Spanish Admiral, notwithstanding the protest of the diplomatic corps, gave notice on March 27 to all neutrals to evacuate the city
At 7 am on March 31, the Spanish fleet took positions in front of their targets It consisted of the Numancia, Resolución, Villa de Madrid, Blanca, Vencedora and the Paquete del Maule The frigate Berenguela remained behind to guard against the possible escape of the merchant fleet At 810 AM, the Numancia discharged two shots as final notice and to give opportunity for the people still in town to take cover The bombardment itself started at 9 am and lasted for three hours without fire being returned, as Valparaíso was totally defenseless
The Spanish bombarded the town unhindered The loss in public and private property was estimated at $1,000,000, and in merchandise at $9,000,000, huge sums at the time One recent account suggests that in today's money the losses amounted to the equivalent of around $224,000,000 
The action created an international scandal While the Spanish were heavily criticized for attacking an unarmed city, so too was the British government for not employing its own naval force to protect the lives and property of its own nationals Most of the losses were actually endured by British merchants, and a large argument developed in the British Parliament when news arrived in May 1866
James McNeill Whistler, who was on board the American ships, painted his famous "Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Valparaíso Bay" the night before the bombardment It shows the Chilean merchant fleet at their moorings waiting to be destroyed
- ^ NY Times Bombardment of Valparaíso and Gallao sic
- ^ "BOMBARDMENT OF VALPARAISO; OFFICIAL REPORT BY ADMIRAL CASTO MEMDEZ NUNEZ Curious Statement Regarding the Course of Gen Kilpatrick and Commodore Rogers" New York Times 10 May 1866 Retrieved 2 January 2010mw-parser-output citecitationmw-parser-output citation qmw-parser-output id-lock-free a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-free amw-parser-output id-lock-limited a,mw-parser-output id-lock-registration a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-limited a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-registration amw-parser-output id-lock-subscription a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-subscription amw-parser-output cs1-subscription,mw-parser-output cs1-registrationmw-parser-output cs1-subscription span,mw-parser-output cs1-registration spanmw-parser-output cs1-ws-icon amw-parser-output codecs1-codemw-parser-output cs1-hidden-errormw-parser-output cs1-visible-errormw-parser-output cs1-maintmw-parser-output cs1-subscription,mw-parser-output cs1-registration,mw-parser-output cs1-formatmw-parser-output cs1-kern-left,mw-parser-output cs1-kern-wl-leftmw-parser-output cs1-kern-right,mw-parser-output cs1-kern-wl-rightmw-parser-output citation mw-selflink
- ^ a b c "CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA; The War Between Spain and Chili Bombardment of Valparaíso by the Spanish Fleet Remarkable Manifesto Issued by the Spanish Admiral Failure of Gen Kilpatrick's Attempt at Mediation The Spanish Admiral Inflexible on a Point of Etiquette Details and Incidents of the Bombardment Over Eight Million Dollars Worth of Property Destroyed, The Principal Losses Sustained by Foreigners THE CHILIAN WAR Details of the Bombardment of Valparaise by the Spanish Fleet PERU PANAMA The Uncle Sam in Possession of the Spanish Fleet--Miscellaneous CENTRAL AMERICA A Fillibuster Expedition" New York Times 2 May 1866 Retrieved 2 January 2010
- ^ "VALPARAISO; Official Report to the Chillan Government on tire Bombardment by the Spanish Fleet" New York Times 16 May 1866 Retrieved 2 January 2010
- ^ Own, Our 6 May 1866 "SOUTH AMERICA; From the Seat of War--Great Preparations and "Great Expectations"--The Grand Movement of the Allied Fleet Again Delayed -- Paraguayan Spies and their Stories--The War Beginning to Affect the Finances of the Argentine Confederation THE BOMBARDMENT OF VALPARAISO Letter from an Americal Naval Officer" New York Times Retrieved 2 January 2010
- ^ a b Woods, David 2011 The Bombardment of Paradise Geneva: WTA Publishing p 268 ISBN 978-2-8399-0800-9
- ^ "Indeed, the bombardment of Valparaiso might even be described as a Spanish victory over Britain" Mayo, John: British Merchants and Chilean Development, 1851-1886 Boulder: Westview Press, 1987, ISBN 081337278X, p 83
Sourcesmw-parser-output refbeginmw-parser-output refbegin-hanging-indents>ulmw-parser-output refbegin-hanging-indents>ul>li,mw-parser-output refbegin-hanging-indents>dl>ddmw-parser-output refbegin-100
- Barros Arana, Diego 1884–1902 Historia Jeneral de Chile in Spanish I-XVI Santiago, Chile: Rafael Jover
- García Martínez, José Ramón 1997 "La Campaña del Pacífico 1862-1866" PDF Revista de Marina in Spanish Retrieved 1 January 2010
- López Urrutia, Carlos "Chile: A Brief Naval History" Historical Text Archive Retrieved 1 January 2010
- "The War with Spain of 1865–1866" Archived from the original on 2007-12-31 Retrieved 2 January 2010
- "Guerra del Pacífico - 1864–1865 Conflicto de España contra Chile y Perú" Historia y Arqueologia Marítima in Spanish Retrieved 2 January 2010
- "España y la Guerra del Pacífico" in Spanish Archived from the original on 2009-12-11 Retrieved 2 January 2010
- "Liberation of the Chinchas" Archived from the original on March 12, 2008 Retrieved 2 January 2010
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