The port of Iquique, c. 1880-1890s

Exploring the Hispanic-Anglosphere…

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These images from the NT Tyntesfield collection were kindly provided by David Hogg, author of the book My dear uncle William:Tyntesfield letters (Bristol: David J. Hogg, 2012)

Author: Manuel Llorca-Jaña

Iquique is a port-city, currently part of the north of Chile, in the Tarapacá region. But it was not always Chilean. It was taken from Peru by Chile, after the end of the Pacific War (1879-1884), a military conflict in which Chile beat both Peru and Bolivia. Before 1879 it was part of the Peruvian Republic, created in 1821, after independence from Spain, and before independence it was part of the Viceroyalty of Peru. Before the nineteenth century, though, it was not known as Iquique, but as Tarapacá port, Ique-Ique, or Icaiza.  Regarding the economic consequences of this conflict, after the Pacific War, Chile became a near monopolist center of natural nitrate in the world, since most deposits were in the provinces taken from Peru and Bolivia. One of the exit ports for this nitrate was Iquique, a trade in which British commercial houses had a protagonist role, including John Thomas North, Antony Gibbs & Sons, J. D. Campbell, Balfour Williamson, Gildemeister & Co., well before the Pacific War. Thus, these pictures show mainly nitrate ships’ movement in the port from the early days of the nitrate trade. They also provide a panoramic view of the city and its port, the main local church (built on a metal-frame that the Peruvian government had acquired in England through a letter of credit provided by Antony Gibbs & Sons), the custom, and some warehouses (including those of Gibbs & Sons). The British presence in the area, which started in the 1820s, was not only connected to the nitrate trade, but also to other economic activities such as railways, construction and public utilities (e.g. urban lighting).

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Sources and Suggested Reading:  Cavieres, Eduardo (1999). Comercio chileno y comerciantes ingleses. 1820-1880, Editorial Universitaria, Santiago; Donoso, Carlos (2003). “El puerto de Iquique en tiempos de administración peruana”, Historia. Vol. 36, pp. 123-158; Donoso, Carlos (2006).”Chilenos en el iquique peruano”, Boletín de la Academia Chilena de la Historia; Vol. 72, pp. 215-243; González, Sergio (2014). “¿Especuladores o industriosos? la política chilena y el problema de la propiedad salitrera en tarapacá durante la década de 1880”, Historia. No 47, vol. 1, pp. 39-64; O’Brien, Thomas (1982). The nitrate industry and Chile’s crucial transition: 1870-1891, New York, New York University Press; Ostojic Peric, Hrvoj (2013). “Enciclopedia de Iquique. Siglo XIX”. Editorial Pino Oregón, Iquique; Rojas, Gonzalo (1991-1992). “La Casa comercial Gibbs & Co. y sus inversiones en Chile entre las décadas de 1920 y 1940”, Historia, Vol. 26, pp. 259-295.

How to cite: To cite from this page, please use any style (Chicago, Harvard, etc). Our preferred citation form is: Manuel Llorca-Jaña, The port of Iquique, c. 1880-1890s’, Exploring the Hispanic-Anglosphere, an online exhibition – The Hispanic-Anglosphere: transnational networks, global communities (late 18th to early 20th centuries), project funded by the AHRC and the University of Winchester in partnership with the National Trust, [, accessed – please add the date of your visit].

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