1959 through today
Lima is home to 10 million Peruvians and over 1000 historical sites.
View of Clinica Delgado (hospital) from Lima Peru’s Elias Aguirre (street), Huaca Pucllana filling the foreground. Huacas are commonly located in nearly all regions of Peru outside the deepest parts of the Amazon basin in correlation with the regions populated by the pre-Inca and Inca early civilizations. They can be found in downtown Lima today in almost every district, the city having been built around them. Huaca Pucllana, located in Miraflores district, is an adobe and clay pyramid built from seven staggered platforms. It served as an important ceremonial and administrative center for the advancement of the Lima Culture, a society which developed in the Peruvian Central Coast between the years of 200 AD and 700 AD.
This is the New York Times article that inspired me to remember visiting Huaca Pucllana during our February 2016 tour of Lima, Peru. “3,000 Years of History Are Literally Just Beneath Our Feet.”
experience a glacier of Patagonia
Summer was the season for our visit to the edge of eternal, for now, Patagonian ice fields. Remnants from the last ice age, larger than some (small) countries. The site is surprisingly noisy with sharp, explosive, ice crackles.
More amazing even than the sounds, the dark shading on the ice is volcanic dust from recent eruptions of many cones
Click this link for my series of posts about Chilean fjords and glaciers we visited February 2016.
Little did they know what lay in store….
Pam and I walked from Cheri Down park this morning of February 2020 to Jetty Park where we were fortuitous witnesses to the arrival of the Cunard ship Queen Victoria on an 84-day cruise around South America.
I used my IPhone 7 to capture the event. Understanding the context of a ship’s arrival opens a whole new world. Standing on the pier I researched the voyage.
Here is the list of ports on the itinerary. These include the Caribbean, Central America and many of the same ports visited on the 2016 Oceania cruise Pam and I enjoyed from Lima, Peru to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
|Kings Wharf, Bermuda|
|Port Canaveral, Florida|
|Fort Lauderdale, Florida|
|San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Salvador de Bahia, Brazil|
|Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Buenos Aires, rgentina|
|Puerto Madryn, Argentina|
|Cape Horn, Chile|
|Punta Arenas, Chile|
|Puerto Montt, Chile|
|San Antonio, Chile|
|Callao (Lima), Peru|
|Panama City, Panama|
|Panama Canal, Panama|
|Willemstad, Dutch Antiles|
|Fort Lauderdale, Florida|
|Ponta Delgada, Azores|
Little did they or we know the happy voyage was destined to terminate and return.
Booking our February/March 2016 passage on the Oceania Regatta from Lima, Peru to Buenos Aires, Argentina we started early, Spring 2017. We made two excellent choices: a stateroom with balcony on the port side. Waking each morning we were treated to views of the shoreline. On the morning of February 15, 2016 as we sailed the Chacao Channel toward Puerto Montt I was up 4:15 am before the sun rose to photograph our approach to the city.
I knew a classic 8,701 foot high stratovolcano topped with glaciers, named Orsorno, was out there and, amazingly, appeared on the horizon, seventy five miles distant to the northeast outlined by the gathering dawn. The sky was just brightening from total darkness at this time.
Happy Valentine’s Day with the original Moby Dick
Thinking about the Aran Islands for my posts, “Killeany Bouy” and “Inisheer Welcomes the 2014 Gaeltacht Irish Football champions” brought me back to Isla Mocha.
Herman Melville’s thoughts were in and around this island off the central Chilean coast when he penned “Moby Dick” in the mid-nineteenth century while sitting in the city of Boston. He was brought Moby Dick not only by his own experiences on a whaling ship, almost certainly Melville owned a copy of Jeremiah N. Reynolds’ “Mocha Dick: Or The White Whale of the Pacific: A Leaf from a Manuscript Journal,” an true-life account of adventures around Isla Mocha. Sometime around 1810 Reynolds personally experienced encounters with Mocha Dick after the crew of an Antarctic expedition mutinied, stranding him at Valparaíso, Chile where he remained for two years.
Located 38°21’45.62″S, 73°55’6.91″W, around 8 miles in size north to south, 3.5 miles east to west Isla Mocha is surprisingly simple to find. A ridge of mountains run the north south axis, just 20 miles off the coast, a ship following the coast will find it easily, as I did from the balcony of the Oceania Regatta during a “sea day” of travel between Valparaiso and Puerto Montt.
Since waking that day I was on the lookout for Isla Mocha. In preparation for our month-long cruise around South America every mile of our itinerary was scoured for interesting sights, experiences and information. When I first learned of Isla Mocha (Mocha Island in English) and the connection with Melville reading about it in Boston, just as I was in Ithaca, one of my goals for that day was to catch sight of Isla Mocha as it rose from the horizon.
My goal was made easier for the cloud formation from the island mountains. Here is my first photograph, taken from our balcony on the port side. I chose the port side just for the landward view as the ship progressed southward on the western coast of South America. The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III was tripod mounted with an EF 70-300 f4-5.6L variable lens set to 70 mm. We are northwest of the island with the coast just visible.
Another view with 188 mm focal length. The ship must have turned eastward, as the view progressed the island came closer. It was a fantastic thought to cruise above the subduction zone where the Nazca plate dives beneath the South American Plate. In the distance, on a clear day, the volcanic cones Villarrea and Quertrupillan are visible.
With the island due east, only a few miles away, the lens at 221 mm focal length. A fisherman is having an easier day in a calm sea. The indigenous people told stories of the souls of the dead travelling west to Isla Mocha. Pirates used the island as a resupply base. The fishing boat was the only sign of life.
That was February 14th Valentine’s Day. With Isla Mocha passing into the distance I changed for an evening with Pam. Here we are headed to dinner, somewhere off the coast of Chile’s Lakes (and volcano) region.
Captain Arturo Prat and Chilean Naval Tradition
After reading my last post “Valparaiso Connections VII” why Captain Pratt was so honored by the nation?
On that morning, May 21, 1879 the two Chilean ships blockading Iquique port were surprised by two Peruvian warships from the port of Callao, the monitor Huáscar and armored frigate Independencia.
Arturo Prat commanded the Chilean corvette Esmeralda.
Carlos Condell de la Haza was Covadonga’s commander.
The Chileans are outgunned by the Peruvians in armored ships. Condell fled in the Convadonga, pursued by the Independencia. This was the wiser course and most militarily effective because, following the Convadonga into shallow waters the deeper draft Independencia lost advantage when it ran aground and was lost.
Prat stood ground in the middle of the bay, any canon shots simply bounced off the heavily armored Huascar. The Esmeralda suffered shot after shot until the command of the Huascar, Captain Graf, decided to ram the Esmeralda to force a surrender and safe useless death.
At the first ram to the stern, as the ships were in contact, Prat ordered an attack, “Let’s board, boys.” In the confusion only two seamen joined Prat. One failed to board, Prat and Petty Officer Juan de Dios Aldea attacked. Dios Aldea was mortally wounded. Prat continued to advance alone, to the amazement of the Peruvians, awed at his courage. Prat was gunned down on the deck of the Huascar.
He crew watched in horror. When the Esmeralda was rammed again, this time in the bow, Sublieutenant Ignacio Serrano lead of 10 Chileans to board for an attack with machetes and rifles. They were massacred by the mounted Gatling gun, only Serrano survived.
The example of Prat and his crew is taught today. Arturo Pratt is the most common street name, as well as plazas, buildings. Four major warships were named after him. The current active ship is the frigate FFG 11, the Capitan Prat. The Chilean naval academy is named
Escuela Naval Arturo Prat. His portrait is on the 10,000 peso Chilean note.
Fertile Land and Saltpeter, spoils of war
This is an answer for those of who responded to my last post Valparaiso Connections VI with “what does that desert in Peru have to do with Valparaiso?” It starts with the Plaza Victoria at the end of Pedro Montt Avenue. Victoria, as in victory not Queen Victoria. At the beginning of the 19thcentury this was a beach, the site of several ship wrecks. It was set aside as a gathering place by the Mayor, named Plaza Nueva (New Plaza), for a bullring until bullfights a law banned bullfighting on September 1823. The plaza became a place of public executions and, after Chile’s victory in the Battle of Yungay, a place of celebration, formally renamed for the victory.
The Central Valley of Chile is an exception to the topology north through Lima where agriculture and population centers follow river valleys watered by the Andes and surrounded by waterless wastes. Yungay, is among one of those watered desert valleys. Located 120 miles north of Lima, Peru at about 8,000 feet just below a summit of the Western Andes, remnants of cultures from 10,000 B.C. are proof of agriculture and human settlement. It was near Yungay, on January 20, 1839 (summer in the southern hemisphere) a force of Chilean and Peruvian dissidents called the United Restorative Army defeated a Peru-Bolivian Confederation Army to end the War of Confederation. The resulting split into different countries of Peru and Bolivia weakened a threat to Chile and Argentina, aimed in large part toward the broad and fertile Central Valley of Chile. The desperation in view in my post Valparaiso Connections VI was in large measure a motivation war, this motivation is still powerful today.
The subsequent prosperity allowed reclamation of the land of Plaza Victoria from the sea. For example, in my post Valparaiso Connections V we learned how French immigrants arrived and developed Central Valley wineries in the 19th century. Around the time of the victory Chacobuco Street was built adjacent to the plaza on reclaimed land, the Plaza Victoria was pulled from the sea.
The concrete Lions and bronze statue captured in the above gallery, were elements of a round of enhancements to Plaza Victoria begun 1870.
Here we see from the Regatta bridge a monument to the Heroes of Iquique. The Battle of Iquique, May 21, 1879, is remembered annually as Naval Glories Day (Dia de las Glorias Navales) .
Click this Link for the Fine Art Photography Gallery.
This monument commemorates the destruction of the Chilean warship Esmeralda. At the monument peak is Arturo Prat Chacón, captain of the Esmeralda who perished with his wooden ship. He and the crew were blockading the then Peruvian port of Iquique along with another ship, the Covadonga.
May 1879 was in the initial phase of the War of the Pacific, fought over rich mineral deposits of the Atacama desert. Today, the Chilean flag is over these barren wastes, seen here flying over a roadside memorial to an automobile accident victim. The desert is the backdrop, there are no animals or plants here, only red dirt. NASA uses the Atacama in simulations of the Martian environment.
There are deposits of the mineral saltpeter, mined by large operations. Here is the entrance of a World Heritate site we visited while docked at Iquique.
The mining operation was literally scraping the deposits lying on the ground and processing it into, among other products, nitrogen
fertilizer. At that time the operation was hugely lucrative, employing thousands in very difficult conditions. That is a different story.
Captain Prat faced two armored Peruvian warships, one the iron clad Huáscar. Over the course of four hours the Esmeralda was overpowered and sunk. The Huascar and the 22,500 mountain peak at Yungay, Huascarán, are named for an Inca chief.
The monument honors the bravery of Captain Prat and his crew, all of whom are named on plaques.
After the Huáscar rammed Esmeralda a third time to sink it, the Huáscar captain, Miguel Grau Seminario, rescued Chilean survivors in danger of drowning. In the meantime, the armored Peruvian warship was lured into the shallows and destroyed. Although the blockage on Iquique was lifted Peru lost one of its most powerful ships at the cost to Chile of an older wooden ship.
The defeat and examples of the Esmerelda crew and captain brought a wave of recruits to the Chilean forces. Chile was the victor of the War of the Pacific, vast tracks of the Atacama desert were taken from Bolivia, including the Saltpeter mines, shutting that country off from the Pacific Ocean. There is a connection between these memories and the Training Ship anchored in the harbor, the sixth ship to carry the name, Esmeralda (BE-43).
See my posting Valparaiso Connections V for the more recent history of the Esmeralda.
Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved
Memories of Allende and Italy
Ricardo left a blank between the French Memorial Column of the Parque Italia, seen above. He made of mention of Salvadore Allende Plaza. The above photograph includes a graffiti inscribed corner of the set of steps, a platform and the area in front, a plaza, dedicated to the memory of Allende and named “Plaza del Pueblo Salvador Allende Gossens” on the 100th anniversary of his birth, 2008. The structure was not new, it was called “The People’s Plaza”, the name change was pushed through by Alberto Neumann, communist councilor. So the suppression and torture (see “Valparaiso Connections V”) was not successful in wiping out the ideals, such as they are.
The accomplishments of the Allende Presidency are another matter. The Macroeconomic Populism policies he implemented left the economy in tatters. We have only to look at the current state of Venezuela to see the entirely expected results of this economic model: hyperinflation followed by stagflation and implosion. The reactionary military coup of 1973 was, in the essentials, a rational response and a rescue from economic and social disaster until the reaction itself descended into madness.
The following series of photographs are from a neighboring country, Peru, are an illustration of the pressures the political elites of Chile are negotiating. Taken from the road between the port of Mollendo and the city of Arequipa, on a vast, waterless plain.
Migrants from the Titicaca Region formed a cooperative named “Asociacion Las Caymenos Agro Exportadores”. It is the named scrawled on the small cement brick wall.
Desperate people from rural areas migrate to cities, form associations or regional clubs based on a common origin, and grab land as a group.
In this case, it is property useless for the named purpose, “agricultural export.” What they have is a dream. a dream of the government directing water to the area.
Towards this end, individuals of the group mark out plots using rocks and build structures from concrete brick and metal roofing.
This small patch of water is the basis of their desperate hope.
This is a more consolidate group of migrate squatters on the road called “1S” near the turnoff for Lima and a place named La Reparticion.
Dreams for a better life, offset by desperate circumstances bring us back to Valparaiso and the Parque Italia adjacent to Allende Plaza. The park is a small patch of green, some wonderful trees, with statuary and monuments dedicated to people of Italian heritage.
Beyond the sleeper are statues each on a plinth. The second from the right is a bust of Giovanni Battista Pastene, a gift from the city of Genoa dedicated October 12, 1961. Pastene was the first governor of Valparaiso (the region, not the city) in the 16th century. He came to Honduras in his own ship, enter the service of Pizzaro and, as master of the ship Conception, was a maritime explorer.
The Italian refugee collectivity of Valparaiso presented this column, in 1936, surmounted by a bronze sculpture of the Capitoline Wolf feeding the infant founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. It is a copy of an ancient statue kept on Capitoline Hill, Rome, Italy.
The wife of Allende was of Italian heritage, Hortensia Bussi. The
Fire Brigade Sesta Compagnia di Pompieri Cristoforo Colombo, operates today from Independence Avenue.
Here we have a gathering of friends, sharing the shade and beverages on this Saturday summer morning.
Click this link for the next posting in this series Valparaiso Connections VII.
A Deeper Understanding
Trundled along within our bubble, the Mercedes tour bus proceeded up Avenue Montt when Ricardo pointed out this statue for ridicule. A depiction of the Chilean national bird, the Condor, porteños derisively call it “The Chicken,” and in truth the wingspan is undersized. From the vantage of the above photograph, the statue form does capture an impression of soaring among the hills of Valparaiso. Keep in mind, beyond those hills is Aconcagua, the highest mountain of the western hemisphere, home to Condors.
A reason for writing multiple Varparaiso “connection” posts is to better understand the jumbled impressions from that day. In a previous post I coined the term Varparasians for natives of the city. I found in researching this post the residents, as for Buenos Aires, call themselves porteños (people of the port). This cast iron statue speaks to the contributions of French immigrants to the city and nation.
Here the view is south towards (what I believe is) Cerro Florida (Florida Hill). France Avenue continues, beyond the monument, following a steep and winding path up the hills, at the crest intersecting with German Avenue. Adjacent, on the right, is Park Italia where we’ll visit in part VI. Above a cast iron basin, at each corner of the commemorative column base is a female mask, above them a gold band inscribed (from the) “The French of Valparaiso” with 1810 – 1910 to denote the centennial. A condor with outspread wings surmounts the column.
The artist, Nicanor Plaza, born in Santiago, Chile was living in Florence, Italy at the time of this commission. He was a natural choice for the commission. Trained in Chile and Paris, Plaza taught for the Academy of Fine Arts of Santiago. It is of cast iron, produced by the French company Val Osne, an art foundry dating back to 1835. The owner, Jean Pierre Andre Victor, invented a cast iron ornamental technique originally used to produce street furniture.
From 1854 to 1895 immigration from France burgeoned, from a country total of 1,654 to 8,266. This cohort is credited with developing the vineyards of the Central Valley, still famous today. The Chilean president Augusto Pinochet descended on his father’s side from an 18th-century French Breton immigrant from Lamballe and his mother was a descendant from 17th century immigrants, partially Basque. Pinochet’s legacy can only be attributed to himself and the ruling Junta. What is of concern is (1) Pinochet was protected against prosecution throughout his life. (2) The same people who protected him still hold power. A case in point is the Esmeralda, still in service.
I took this photograph at dawn from our stateroom balcony, it is the
Esmeralda, a four-masted top sail schooner, from Spain, christened May 12, 1953. From 1973 to 1980 it was a floating torture chamber where up to 100 persons were subjected to hideous treatment by the Pinochet regime. Protests erupt wherever it docks in a foreign port yet it remains in service. A relatively small part of the puzzle, yet it serves as an unacknowledged monument to the failure of Chile’s ruling elite to come to terms with the recent past.
Click for my Fine Art Gallery.
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