Campaign of Tarapacá
Once the naval superiority was achieved, the troops of the Chilean army began the occupation of the Peruvian province ofTarapacá.
On 2 November 1879 at 7:15 began the naval bombardment and disembarkment at the small port of Pisagua and the Junin Cove, –some 500 km North of Antofagasta. At Pisagua, several landing waves Chilean troops attacked beach defenses held by Allies, and took the town. By the end of the day, the Chilean army were ashore and moving inland(p172-)
From Pisagua the Chileans marched south towards the city of Iquique with 6,000 troops and defeated on 19 November 1879 the 7,400 allied troops gathered in Agua Santa in Battle of San Francisco/Dolores. Bolivian forces retreated to Oruro and the Peruvians to Tiliviche. Four days later, the Chilean army captured Iquique without resistance.
A detachment of 3,600 Chilean soldiers, cavalry and artillery, was sent to face the Peruvian forces in the small town of Tarapacá. Peruvian forces started a march towards Arica to find Bolivian troops led by Hilarion Daza coming from Arica southwards, but in Camarones Daza decided to return towards Arica.
Chileans and Allies met on 27. November 1879 in the Battle of Tarapacá, where the Chilean forces were defeated, but the Peruvian forces, unable to maintain the territory, retreated further north toArica by 18 December 1879.
About the importance of the campaign Bruce W. Farcau wrote:
- "The province of Tarapacá was lost along with a population of 200,000, nearly one tenth of the Peruvian total, and an annual gross income of ₤ 28 million in nitrate production, virtually all of the country's export earnings."(p119)
giving Santiago not only an economic bonanza but also a diplomatic asset.
Downfall of President Prado in Peru and President Daza in Bolivia
The Peruvian government was confronted with widespread rioting in Lima because of the disastrous handling of the war to date.
On 18 December 1879 the Peruvian President Mariano Ignacio Prado suddenly took a ship from Callaoto Panama, allegedly with six million pesos in gold, supposedly to oversee the purchase of new arms and warships for the nation. In a statement in the newspaper El Comercio he turned over the command of the country to Vice President La Puerta. After a putsch and more than 300 deadNicolás de Piérola overthrew La Puerta and took power in Peru on 23 December 1879.
Back to Arica from the aborted expedition to Iquique, on 27 December 1879 Daza received a telegram from La Paz informing him the army had overthrown him. He departed to Europe with $500,000. In Bolivia General Narciso Campero became president.
Bolivia's president Campero remained in office until the end of the war, but Pierola was recognized as president only by his occupation of Lima.
Election of Domingo Santa Maria in Chile
During the Bolivian tax crisis of 1879, Chile voted a new Congress on schedule and in 1881 Domingo Santa Maria was elected as President of the Republic. He assumed the office on September 18, 1881 A new Congress was elected in on schedule in 1882