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metalinvader665

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The Chilean Coat of Arms, where the title of this AAR comes from
Hello there, Paradoxians, welcome to my first AAR. This is an AAR about the South American nation of Chile with hopefully interesting depth to it.

This game will be played using a custom modification based off of the latest version of Pop Demand Mod. The main changes are some messing with the life ratings, but more noticably I'm giving all Latin American nations the same starting tech as Spain to make the early game more exciting on everyone's behalf. Constant save game editing and console will be performed for flavour's sake. No actual cheating, however.

The overall goal of this AAR is to establish Chilean control over Latin America, but also to engage in imperialism in the Pacific within a rough framework of Chilean history and historical writings. Naturally, Chile will become a Great Power in the process, and I'm shooting for a #4 finish at the very least.

I'd appreciate comments on this attempt, especially from Chileans/Argentinians or anyone familiar with the names that will be coming up. I'm deeply interested in Latin American history (which started based on my many Victoria II games in Latin America, imagine that), so I'd love feedback as I'm not well versed in it.

So then, let's begin.

Table of Contents

Chapter I (1836)

Chapter II (1836 - 1840)

Chapter III (1840 - 1849)

Chapter IV (1849 - 1857)

Chapter V (1857 - 1859)

Chapter VI (1859 - 1867)

Chapter VII (1867 - 1881)

Chapter VIII (1881 - 1883)

Chapter IX (1883 - 1899)

Chapter X (1899 - 1908)

Chapter XI (1908 - 1934)

Chapter XII and Epilogue (1934 - 1936)

Bonus Section I - State of the World 1908
 
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Chapter I - In the Year 1836...


Chile soon after start, right next to rival nation Argentina

This is the Republic of Chile in 1836, having recently emerged from the Chilean Civil War of 1829-30 between Conservative and Liberal factions. The nation itself is less than 20 years old, having declared independence in 1818. Clearly the young nation has a long way to go in terms of many things. The Civil War has left the Conservadores in power, and they govern the nation under President José Joaquín Prieto, though many insiders note his Interior Minister Diego Portales is likely the most powerful man in the government.

Chile is fairly isolated against the coast, but the winds of colonisation are slowly reaching into the rugged Chiloé Archipelago and the Los Lagos region even at this early date. The local Mapuche tribes are not amused, and will certainly cause problems for the time being.




Population wise, the Chileans are centered around the capital city of Santiago and the Valparaiso Region. The Los Rios Region is growing as well. But it's still fairly empty when compared to the countryside of the Old World, and even places like the North American East Coast or even the coast of Brazil. Surely it would do better more populated. The majority of people are of South Andean stock, a regional culture shared amongst Chileans, Peruvians, and Bolivians. The second largest minority are Native Americans, mainly of the Mapuche people and related tribes.

Enterprising Chilean politicians suggested encouraging immigration from Europe to the beautiful countryside. Reluctantly, President Prieto agreed to offer incentives for the poor huddled masses of Europe to move to Chile. Despite misgivings, many politicians believe this policy will likely be a success in terms of immigrant attraction and Chile will see a major demographics shift.

Other politicians were disturbed at the lack of literacy amongst Chileans. To create a successful republic in the vein of the United States, a literate populace was needed. These men approached President Prieto to ask the ever-powerful Catholic Church to assist them in improving literacy. The Church was happy to oblige them, and agreed to assist in education programs throughout the country, though with the poor infrastructure, it could take decades to see the result.

Some other concepts floated by Prieto's associates were reforming the bureaucracy to assist in tax and tariff collection, helping recruit more officers and soldiers to the understaffed Chilean Army, and assisting entrepreneurs. These would have to wait for the time being, though both Prieto and most politicians realised these areas of national focus may change at a moments notice.


The state of the economy right after President Prieto's budget

The Chilean economy is fairly dismal. A net loss every day would quickly lead to state bankruptcy, which President Prieto hoped to avoid. High tariffs were instituted and taxes raised on the poor and middle classes to help keep the economy afloat until further development could occur. An increase in educational and administrative spending was in order as well. Prieto's budget was widely praised by many members of his cabinet and the Congreso Nacional, though it was cautioned it would need frequent tweaking to truly help Chile in the long run.


The extra research is rather time-consuming, but for sure it will be worth it

While Chile was fairly backwards compared to Europe's finest, not to mention the United States, it was on par for the region with outdated but effective methods of industrial, trade, and military technology. A burgeoning cultural scene was developing in Latin America, of which Chile hoped to be a key part of. However, it was suggested to President Prieto that a harbour should be built in Valparaiso to establish it as an important node of trade between the growing populations on the Pacific Coast of North America and the Atlantic Coast. To do so, extra research had to be done, but President Prieto and Interior Minister Portales were sure it was worth the effort.

The technological parity in the region would also be good for the tensions with the Bolivians that made war seem almost certain at the moment.


El Presidente Marshal Santa Cruz, an enemy of Chile

In foreign affairs, the recent instability to the north in Peru weighs heavily on everyone's mind. Bolivian President Andrés de Santa Cruz has manipulated the situation to create a unified state he dubs the Peru-Bolivian Confederation. If he succeeds, he will impose his iron will on the Peruvians as well as destabilise the balance of power in South America, not to mention disrupt Chilean trade. The Minister Portales is strongly supporting intervention to protect Chilean economic and political interests, as well as to assist her Peruvian allies.


No greater benefit can a nation have

But aside from the dreary thoughts of war, the dreams of the Chileans and indeed, many Europeans and Americans, were provoked by the discovery of gold and silver in the region around La Serena. Sure to make the Chilean economy prosper, Minister Portales made certain the government took a share of the wealth, much of which was used to make certain news of the discovery spread to the furthest corner of the world.


The people who will build Chile's future are arriving every day

And indeed it worked, with people coming from places as diverse as Britain, Russia, Turkey, and the United States to seek out wealth and start a new life in the young Chilean Republic. Immigration was even outstripping that of the United States and far exceeding other destinations such as Brazil or Argentina. While many people in Chile disliked the newcomers, of whom few could speak Spanish and the ones who did spoke it with a strange accent, both they and the government had difficulty denying it was good for the economy and thus Chile's future.



But this initial period of must come to an end. The obscene economic tariffs the Confederation levied upon Chilean wheat was bad enough, but former Chilean President Ramón Freire has attempted to regain control over Chile by invading the island of Chiloé, using a ship and arms from Marshal Santa Cruz of the Confederation. Though he was quickly arrested, this intolerable act has convinced the Chilean government that the Peru-Bolivian Confederation must fall.

Preview:
The Chileans must rush to stop the Peru-Bolivian Confederation from consolidating its might and dominating South American both militarily and economically. This next war will decide the fate of the Confederation as well as who's to hold power in the region--Chile or Peru-Bolivia. Will Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz's forces be victorious over the young Chilean Republic's army?

Next Chapter - Showing Our Force - The War of the Confederation
 
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MondoPotato

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Nice introduction! I've never actually played Chile before, so I'm looking forward to reading how the game goes.
 

metalinvader665

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Chapter II - Showing Our Force: The War of the Confederation


The nations involved. Clockwise: Argentine Confederation, South Peru, Peru-Bolivian Confederation, North Peruvian loyalists, Peruvian rebels, Chile[1]

The War of the Confederation was Chile's first war against an external foe, not counting the War of Independence against Spain. The Chileans stood facing the Peru-Bolivian Confederation. However, their ally Ramón Castilla was leading a rebellion to liberate his nation from Marshal Santa Cruz. These two nations were united in the United Restorative Army.

Meanwhile, ambitious Argentine leader Juan Manuel de Rosas had started his own campaign against the Confederation to punish Santa Cruz's support for his political enemies, and hopefully seize the strategic Tarija Region along the way. Minister Portales and Rosas refused to assist each other despite fighting the same enemy.

In early 1837, Confederation forces under José Ballivián invaded Chile. The Chilean Army, still short-staffed in both men and officers, held off on engaging the Confederation Army until a recruiting drive could be finished and staff headquarters organised. But eventually orders were given to attack.

On the warm summer's day of February 16, 1837, the Chilean Army met the Confederation Army in the desert outside of the city of Copiapo. Having to ration water and food due to the climate, poor supply lines, and hostile locals, the Confederation Army was woefully unprepared for the surprise attack of the Chileans, and within two hours of chaotic gunfire were routed back into Bolivia. With luck, the Confederation offensive would die before it could truly begin, and the Rosas's forces would clear the way into Bolivia.


caption - A fair first battle for the Chilean Army

The initiative was taken, and the Chileans rushed into the Antofagasta region, where they crushed the remnants of the Confederation Army. The province was placed under occupation, but cracking the main Confederation forts in the region was difficult due to a shortage of artillery. This led to the sieges dragging on for months, but eventually the Chileans were on the move again, and this time they sought to seize the entire Antofagasta region, and from then on the War of the Confederation had two goals: One, defeat Marshal Santa Cruz, and two, annex Antofagasta into Chile, as it was rightfully Chilean land.



The Great Powers had better things to do than sit around watching South American dictators fight it out. Instead, the Irish Question weighed heavily on many people's minds, and France in particularly sought to weaken Great Britain by freeing Ireland from their yoke. Nothing could be resolved, and on December 23, 1837, it escalated into a major war between the Great Powers of Europe.

The War of the Confederation continued regardless of Europe's dealings. Argentina managed to capture Tarija with little interference from the Confederation, and with their major goal succeeded, they signed peace with the PBC. On September 19, 1838, the Confederation's capital La Paz was captured by the Chilean soldiers, effectively concluding their phase of the War. Negotiations for peace continued until November 28, 1838, when the Confederation agreed to restore Peru as well as to hand over the Antofagasta Region.



Shortly after, Marshal Santa Cruz was officially deposed as President of Bolivia, and South Peru and North Peru were re-united under Peruvian President Agustín Gamarra. With that, the Confederation was officially extinct, not to be revived. Both Chile and Argentina could breathe a sigh of relief, as neither Peru nor Bolivia could challenge their might alone. However, both Peru and Bolivia had a certain dislike of the Chileans after this war--for Bolivia, it was the loss of her connection to the Pacific, and for Peru, it was the economic competition and the fear of Chilean nationalism. If the Chileans had annexed Antofagasta with no reservations, what was to stop them from claiming ports like Iquique or Arica?

Domestic dealings during the two war years were little paid attention to, as the war required the focus of most branches of the government. But what was revealed to the Chilean public after the war would be great news for the nation--an alliance with the Brazilian Empire. Diplomatic wrangling had been ongoing with the Brazilians, as Rosas's strength and ambition was feared by many. Brazil and Chile both shared a common enemy and had no forseeable conflicts in the future. Though many disliked the Brazilian monarchy and desired a republican form of government in Brazil, such an alliance was necessary for the future of Chile. Another alliance was signed with Paraguay, surprisingly powerful for such a small nation and an enemy of both Bolivia and Argentina.

After the War of the Confederation, life returned to normal in Chile. Peacetime was quiet with little to distract aside from noisy immigrants who couldn't speak Spanish. But in 1840, the elites demanded an election in Chile. The three parties, the Conservadores, Liberales, and Partido Nacional, lined up candidates to run for office.

Preview
The 1840s are bringing great prosperity to Chile. But her neighbours and the rest of the world are plunged into a state of brutal warfare? How can Chile benefit from this violence?

Next chapter - Prosperity in a Violent World - The 1840s


[1] - The Peruvian flag is anachronistic here, yes. The intention was to separate the Confederation North Peru from the Peruvian rebels.
 
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Vicky2Gamer

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First time poster, long time lurker... And you actually dragged me out of the darkness with this great AAR, I like your style of writing! Also nice that you have doubled your population, that's what I always feel I miss in my South America games (excluding Brazil).

Looking forward to the next update!
 

Tommy4ever

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Nice start, you've got an enjoyable writing style and seem to have real passion for Chilean history. Will be following this :).
 

thekinguter

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Go for the Patagonia. We had de jure claims on it until we ceded them to Argentina.

Viva Chile!
 

metalinvader665

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I've been having some issues with my internet lately (stupid college internet), so bear with me here. I'm also slightly changing the format of the AAR to make it easier on me/get updates out faster, but it isn't too different. Don't worry about this dying, I've got the next two chapters written up on my computer already.

First time poster, long time lurker... And you actually dragged me out of the darkness with this great AAR, I like your style of writing! Also nice that you have doubled your population, that's what I always feel I miss in my South America games (excluding Brazil).

Looking forward to the next update!

Half the fun of South America is watching immigrants flow in once you tweak your nation a bit. I always try to beat the actual country in terms of historic population.

Glad this could be your first post here.

Nice start, you've got an enjoyable writing style and seem to have real passion for Chilean history. Will be following this :).

Thanks, this is the first real writing that I've ever done that I've posted online. I love South American history, it's never covered much in US schools, unfortunately. Of course, I love history in general, so...

Go for the Patagonia. We had de jure claims on it until we ceded them to Argentina.

Viva Chile!

Oh yes, we are indeed going for Patagonia, and I'm taking all of it, Argentina be damned.
 

metalinvader665

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Chapter III: Prosperity in a Violent World - The 1840s


The three candidates - (left to right) - Bulnes, Pinto, Montt

The elections of 1841 were not imagined to be particularly contentious. The Conservative Party was strongly favoured to win, and war hero Manuel Bulnes was the favoured Conservative candidate, though Diego Portales' protege Manuel Montt was also frequently suggested by many in the party. The main Liberal opposition was former president Francisco Antonio Pinto. Suffrage in the elections was limited to just under 10,000 of the wealthy landowners and aristocracy of Chile, but some electors were willing to vote for a certain candidate provided they were paid enough.



To ensure electoral success and his nomination, Manuel Bulnes was one of the prime backers of completing Valparaiso Harbour. In early summer of 1840, it was opened in a grand ceremony.

With this new harbour and the emergence of Chilean power in the region, Valparaiso became a growing city that was in time to rival the best of American cities such as Boston and New York. Immigration to the city accounted for the majority of Chilean immigration for the next several decades, though many immigrants later migrated to other Chilean cities.



Despite everyone's belief the Conservatives would win, Francisco Antonio Pinto's Liberales pulled off an impressive victory. Some blamed bribes from the lower classes to the electors, and threatened violence over the election results. However, both Montt and Bulnes conceded defeat to avoid a repeat of the 1829 Civil War.



The recent immigration programs have been incredibly successful, and President Pinto's attempts at increasing it even more so. It is believed that in late 1840 that the Chilean population passed 3 million, though cynics would point out that many of them were poor immigrants who could barely speak Spanish and had no tie to Chilean culture.



Newspapers like the El Diario del País were not highly regarded amongst the educated in Chile, but they still existed regardless. Aside from the Oriental Crisis ongoing in Egypt, news of superstar feline musician Piano Cat found its way to the paper. His performance in Santiago was well attended and praised, though some conservatives (and likely those allergic to cats) questioned why public funds should have been used to promote a strange cultural icon like him. President Pinto's associates shrugged, and told critics if they wanted someone else, they could feel free to write someone like teenage hearthrob pianist Franz Liszt a letter and ask him to tour Santiago next summer. [1]



The Irish question resulted in one of the greatest wars Europe has seen since the age of Napolean, and also the destruction of both Austria and the Ottoman Empire as world powers. In Mexico, the country has fallen into chaos after the success of the Texas Revolution, with both Rio Grande and Yucatan declaring their independence. Both states are allowed to as the Mexican central government has little control over the country and the military more interested in installing and/or removing dictators from office. In South America, a Paraguayan attempt to reclaim the Chaco has met with utter failure as the nation is decisively defeated by the Argentines. As for the Chilean alliance with Paraguay, President Pinto was not certain that preserving the alliance of his predecessor Prieto was worth it, and with Minister Portales's death, there was no one to stop him, either.



Another potrait of President Francisco A. Pinto

The election of 1844 was more competitive after the Liberal Party's shocking victory in 1840. This time the Conservatives nominated Manuel Montt against the incumbent President Pinto. With Montt as their sole candidate instead of the split between him and Bulnes, the Conservatives proceeded with hope they could win. Pinto was re-elected in 1844 by a slightly smaller margin, but his liberal party was still riding high on their success.



The great Irish War ended in 1846 in the independence of Ireland as a constitutional monarchy in personal union with the King of France Louis Philippe I. The new Irish government immediately worked to end the growing potato famine that had started earlier in 1845 under English mismanagement. Though some feared a repeat could happen due to the island being overpopulated, many in the Americas breathed a sigh of relief that they wouldn't have to deal with a horde of Irish immigrants. The predicted sale of "No Irish need apply" signs never happened.



While Chile stayed at peace and prospered, unlike most of the world, her neighbour to the north Peru had grown increasingly violent. The Peruvians wished to annex the jungles of eastern Ecuador as part of some desire of territorial integrity. In the upcoming elections of 1849, the desire to protect Ecuador weighed heavily on everyone's minds, not to mention other issues with Peru such as the constant rivalry with them.

Preview
The Chileans attempt to build a modern nation while war with Peru to the north and the Mapuche Indians to the south looms. Can Chile defeat both of these foes while rising to dominance over South America?

Next chapter - Expansion of Power

[1] One of the best newspaper articles in Heart of Darkness.
 

Juan_de_Marco

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Oeeeh Exciting. Early loss for the British could spell more defeats for them - less economy, less ships able to maintain, loss of prestige means lower ranking for goods, in combination with the doctrine of laps generating lots of militancy in heavily populated india could lead to early and often revolutions.

And of course I'd like to see where you take Chile from here - can you play 'democratic' and 'vassalize' the other south americans or will you go for the jingoist 'i'll take the land myself'? (but please continue to incorporate world updates. Cool to see PDM as well!)
 

Tommy4ever

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Impressed to see the British beaten and the Irish getting their independence. How much has your population grown already? I saw you've passed 3 million, but can't remember the starting point.
 

metalinvader665

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Posting a new chapter hopefully tonight or tomorrow.

Oeeeh Exciting. Early loss for the British could spell more defeats for them - less economy, less ships able to maintain, loss of prestige means lower ranking for goods, in combination with the doctrine of laps generating lots of militancy in heavily populated india could lead to early and often revolutions.

And of course I'd like to see where you take Chile from here - can you play 'democratic' and 'vassalize' the other south americans or will you go for the jingoist 'i'll take the land myself'? (but please continue to incorporate world updates. Cool to see PDM as well!)

Indeed, I don't think I wrote much about it, but there was a failed attempt in the 1850s by the British to retake Ireland that resulted in the Franco-Irish alliance smacking them down and Britain falling to #3 or #4 in the ranking. AI Britain is a paper tiger.

Gameplan-wise, I'm not going for any further wars except against Argentina and anyone who breaks free from the eventual sphere I'm hoping to. Basically the US way of dealing with Latin America.

Impressed to see the British beaten and the Irish getting their independence. How much has your population grown already? I saw you've passed 3 million, but can't remember the starting point.

At this point it's tripled. Chile starts with just under 300K pops (so about 1.2 million "actual" population). Immigration can be ridiculous if you tweak it right.
 

MondoPotato

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Yeah, it looks like PDM gives you a lot more early immigration than vanilla Vic2 does. Given that it's difficult for the USA to achieve its historic population levels early on, I figure this is a good thing.
 

metalinvader665

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I think I'm gonna drop the "Preview" section--it seems to encourage a lot of unnecessary procrastination. That being said...

Chapter IV - Expansion of Power - Montt's Presidency and the War of the Pacific

The elections of 1848 were an open field, with President Pinto stepping down due to advanced age. Manuel Montt was nominated as President by the Conservadores, while veteran soldier José María de la Cruz was nominated by the Liberales. With Montt's insistence on creating a powerful Chilean nation, as well as collapse of liberal support in key regions like Santiago, he was able to claim victory in the election.


President Manuel Montt Torres

Naturally the first step in increasing Chilean power was to build up Chilean industry. Many workers who had come over from Europe were disappointed to find no jobs in Chilean industry, for the only real industry in Chile was some large-scale wine production. President Montt opened up a variety of industries under government control, as well as assisted groups of foreign capitalists in building up Chilean industry. Though many liberals were not pleased and had doubts as to the long-term success of Montt's industries, the results were hopeful in the short term, ending much unemployment and boosting Chilean revenue.


An early photograph showing the Chilean Army during the operation

For centuries the Chilean government had claimed Araucania and the lands to the south, but was never able to gain control over the lands due to the fierceness and strength of the indigenous Mapuche people. President Pinto had declared several punitive expeditions against the Mapuche tribes before, but they were only able to evict the Mapuche from the northernmost parts of Araucania. President Montt had promoted settlement of Germans in the region throughout his presidency. Following several attacks on German colonists in the region by the Mapuche, President Montt declared that Araucania was to be incorporated into the Chilean state.

But yet there was a desire for more land, more power, something that would lead Chile directly into war against her neighbour and former ally Peru.

A Bolivian-produced map of the main areas of the War of the Pacific, propaganda included

Saltpeter and guano had become an important resource in that time, with Chilean and Peruvian companies competing over the rights to this resource used primarily to produce fertiliser. Chile had become a world leader in fertiliser production by the 1850s, mostly produced by small-scale manufacturers, and relied on both Chilean and Peruvian resources. When the Peruvian government chose to nationalise their mines, among other grievances, the Chilean government was forced to declare war on Peru. [1]



The initial campaign was swift and deadly. Within three months, all important cities in southern Peru had fallen and the Chilean Army was quickly advancing into Peru. By the end of 1852, the important southern city of Arequipa had fallen as well.



The decisive engagement came in late June of 1853 in the Battle of Chilca. South of Lima in the town of Chilca, the Chileans engaged the majority of the Peruvian Army. Though the Peruvians had better weaponry in their French-produced rifles, the Chilean Army outnumbered them by a healthy amount as well as had superior leadership, tactics, and cavalry usage. The Chilean Army routed the Peruvians, driving many of them into the Pacific Ocean. A few days later, Lima was occupied and the War of the Pacific was effectively won by the Chileans.



In late 1853, the Chileans signed peace with the Peruvians. It was a harsh peace--The entire Arequipa region, along with Arica and Iquique, was to be ceded to Chile. Peru was also forced to dismantle many of their military ports and fortifications under Chilean guidance. The Chilean newspapers were abuzz in joy over their nation's defeat of their northern rival, and Chilean prestige in the world skyrocketed. The Chilean Army paraded victoriously in Santiago and Valparaiso, and Chilenisation of the regions was to begin in full force. While it hoped Arica and Iquique could easily be incorporated, many politicians feared that the Arequipa region would be especially difficult to incorporate into the Chilean nation, so several brigades of the Chilean Army were permanantly posted there to prevent nationalist revolts. [3]

Following the elections of 1853, where Montt won a second term, Chile prospered for several years at the cost of occasional resistance in the conquered regions. Not too much of note occured domestically around that time. [4]

Notes
[1] - A gross simplification of what happened in reality, and probably too early for it to plausibly happen. But storytelling comes first over reality in this case.
[2] - I regret not writing much on this, but the War of the Pacific in this game was a tad less interesting than I thought it would be. Still other wars to come, though, don't worry.
[3] - Chile historically received Tacna at the end of the War of the Pacific, but in-game Tacna is in Arequipa state. I decided to take the whole state, because why not? It also has cattle RGOs, which unlike every other South American nation, Chile lacks.
[4] - I didn't even have the next four years in my notes due to laziness, so next update starts at the end of 1857.
 
Last edited:

Tommy4ever

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Thats a really big military victory for Chile. Shouldn't be too much land to integrate in if you have your military at hand in the region. Will be interesting to see if the Peruvians and Bolivians come back looking for vengeance, and potentially with new friends ....

You'll have to make sure you keep at least either Brazil or Argentina sweet.
 

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I'm picking it here , good job!
 

metalinvader665

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Chapter V - Our Force Proven - The War of the Bankers

With the total defeat and humiliation of Chile's worst rival Peru, the country could turn her attention towards domestic matters. Immigration was continuing to flow inwards, the economy was healthy (including the initial government industries), and Chile was widely regarded as a regional power.
Though the Chilean military was weaker than Brazil's or Mexico's, in terms of cultural achievements, global prestige, and industrial strength, she surpassed anyone in Latin America. Some would call Chile a great power, but Chile hadn't yet grown into that title.



State bankruptcies were common in the 19th century, particularly in Latin America where many nations struggled for cash. Argentina was one of them, and in 1857 they declared bankruptcy. As Chilean investors had poured millions into the development of the nation, some sought recompense for their lost funds through warfare.

Faced with a struggling Chilean economy in the wake of the War of the Pacific and Peruvian patriots in the conquered lands, President Montt was forced to engage in gunboat diplomacy and in early 1858 an ultimatum was sent to the Argentine government seeking repayment of various debts they owed Chilean investors, some dating as far back as the War of the Confederation. As Argentine President Justo José de Urquiza refused such requests, a crisis was brewing in the South.


President José Joaquín Pérez

But elections were fast approaching, and President Montt chose to step down. To confront the approaching crisis, Liberals and Conservatives agreed to nominate one man for President, José Joaquín Pérez, a former diplomat who had served in Mexico, the United States, and France. Perez was thus elected unanimously with only complaints from the most radical liberals and nationalists.



Despite the brewing crisis and breakdown in relations with Chile's neighbour, Santiago had become a city of major renown, and many viewed 1858 a particularly nostalgic year in the capital. Though Santiago was smaller than the seaport of Valparaiso at this time, it was viewed as the culturally superior city in the eyes of the world.



And indeed, 1858 was an eventful year. Fresh out of the American Civil War, the United States chose to fulfill Manifest Destiny and conquer Mexico, whose power had been rising in recent years. [1] During the conflict, the US signed the Oregon Treaty with Britain to secure their northern flank at the cost of handing over Okanagan Territory, which many Americans hoped would become a state.

But back in South America, the War of the Bankers, as it was called, began on May 3, 1858, following a suspicious border incident in the Andes involving an Argentinian patrol. While the Argentine men were quickly detained, the Chilean government took it as a reason to declare war.


State leaders in the War of the Bankers. Left to Right - President of Chile José Joaquín Pérez, President of Argentina Justo José de Urquiza, Emperor of Brazil Pedro II de Braganza, President of Peru Pedro Diez Canseco

Within days of the war declaration, Brazil joined forces with the Chileans to force President of Argentina Urquiza to repay the war debts as well as assert dominance in the region. Peru, Argentina's ally against the rising Chilean threat, joined in as well. The War of the Pacific still stung in the memories of many Peruvians.



The first major battle of the war was also one of its most decisive. For most of June, Chilean forces had raided into Argentina and occupied parts of it while awaiting news on the approaching Argentine Army. On July 13, the Argentinian forces crossed the border, and two days later met the Chilean Army at Puente Alto outside of Santiago. Though Argentina held the best ground and had superior French-built weapons, the Chileans once again proved victorious with their better cavalry tactics as well as artillery use. Many artillery batteries were manned by Aimara Indians from the conquered regions in the north, and they became legends in the country for their surprising skill.

Following this victory, President Perez issued one order to the army--capture Buenos Aires. The army took this to heart, and blazed a trail across Argentina, seizing key cities throughout the Pampas.


Emperor Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, an enemy of Chile

But the war was to be tragically cut short when the French Empire under Napoleon III intervened in the war in the favour of their ally Argentina to protect French interests in the area. [2] While the Chilean government protested to the United States to stop this violation of the American Monroe doctrine, there was no response and the French were allowed to interfere in domestic affairs.

Still, Perez refused to allow Louis Napoleon's threats to cow him. Giving up the cause of the War of the Bankers would cause a major loss of Chilean prestige worldwide. If Chile was determined to stand amongst the Great Powers, she must prove herself in the face of the French.

Throughout the rest of 1858, more battles occured throughout Chile as both Argentine and Peruvian raiders attempted to somehow defeat the Chilean behemoth. Raiders in the Coquimbo Region plundered the ever important silver mines, which caused massive losses in the Chilean economy. Peruvians defeated a brigade of new recruits near Puno before themselves being defeated by a larger Chilean force. Many veterans of the War of the Pacific fought each other again in that battle.


Great Power at last

This act of defiance in the face of the French led to many deeming Chile a great power by the end of 1858. Time would tell if the nation could hold onto that status.



It seems the world cannot stay at peace for too long. French involvement in South America led to a second British attempt to reconquer Ireland, sparking another grand conflict in Europe. Locally, Ecuador attempted to regain their lands lost to Peru that draws them into conflict with Argentina and Bolivia, who have remained neutral in the War of the Bankers thus far.



However, Brazil bore the full brunt of the French intervention. With key cities in the North and Pernambuco occupied, the Brazilian government was desperate for help. The French offered kind terms--status quo ante bellum, with a wink that if the Chilean government didn't agree to it, things could get a lot worse. Staring down the barrel of a rifle, the Chileans signed peace with their main army less than 60 kilometers outside of Buenos Aires. The campaign and the War of the Bankers had failed, but Chile had gained respect from nations like the United States and Great Britain.

[1] - I didn't even know you could have the Civil War before the Mexican American War, that doesn't make too much sense.
[2] - I had expected this to happen with the French being at "Friendly" with Argentina, but I hoped they wouldn't notice or they'd be inefficient in helping out Argentina. Oh well.
 

Tommy4ever

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The Emperor blocking Chilean ambitions is frustrating, but your rise was always going to draw the attention of the Great Powers eventually. Now its time to hunker down and look towards Chile's internal development.
 

rapscallion945

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Looks nice, consider me subbed. Are you thinking of working your way up the pacific coastline to Panama?