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Ecuador-Peru [Guayaquil] War - 1863

After the conquest of the inca dominions, the kingdom of Quito was made a presidency of the viceroyalty of Peru, and remained under Spanish rule from 1533 to 1822. It was one of the most productive of the Spanish colonies. An attempt was made in 1809 to overthrow the Spanish power, and Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela, together with the rest of Spanish South America, then engaged in efforts towards independence. In 1820 Guayaquil succeeded in throwing off Spanish control, and the battle of Pichincha (22 May 1822) finally put an end to the domination of the mother country.

In the immediate post-independence period 1820-1870, there were frequent inter-state wars in Latin America, however, failed to strengthen States or improve their internal cohesion. State institutions were weak, national sentiment was sparse and fragmented domestic scene, attenuated further by wars in the Ecuadorian case. The territory was incorporated into the republic of Colombia, on the disruption of which in 1831 it became an independent republic under the name of Ecuador. But a series of civil wars ensued, lasting almost without intermission for more than 20 years.

The independence of Peru was declared July 28, 1821, when San Martin was proclaimed protector. He afterward became unpopular, and in Feb. 1824, Bolivar was made dictator. The Spaniards maintained the contest with great obstinacy, and it was not until their defeat at Ayacuoho that they were finally expelled. Bolivar resigned the dictatorship in 1825, after having matured his plans for separating the S. and 8. E. provinces to form a new republic which adopted his name. A revolution took place in 1826, when the constitution adopted by Bolivar was abolished, and a new one framed, founded upon that of the United States. In 1836 Santa Cruz, president of Bolivia, taking advantage of an invitation from some disaffected parties in Peru, entered the country with an army, and succeeded in reducing it after several sanguinary engagements.

Santa Cruz was proclaimed supreme protector, and N. Peru, S. Peru, and Bolivia were united in one confederation. The protector's troops were defeated at Yungay in 1839, and the confederation brought to a close, when Peru and Bolivia returned to their previous forms of government. A congress assembled, and Gamarra, who then governed provisionally, was appointed president. Gamarra was killed in battle in Bolivia in Nov. 1841, and Menendez, President of the council of state, succeeded im, but was forcibly deposed in Aug. 1842, by Gen. Forico. A series of civil wars now ensued, and the country passed successively into the hands of Vidal, Figuerola, and Vivanco.

Gen. Don Ramon Castilla brought these struggles to an end in 1844, and replaced Menendez in power; when, a congress being called to choose a president in accordance with the constitution, Castilla himself was elected. He took possession of the government, April 1, 1845, and for 6 years order and peace were maintained. In 1851 Gen. Bufino Jose Echenique was elected president. His government was accused of the grossest frauds, and Castilla took advantage of the dissatisfaction of the people to stir up a revolution in the south.

In 1852 a quarrel arose with Peru, whose government was accused of openly favoring a revolutionary expedition under Gen. Flores against Ecuador. Desultory hostilities continued for six years, and in 1858 Guayaquil was blockaded by sea and land. Guayaquil was the chief port of Ecuador. A dispute with Peru, a not very scrupulous neighbor, about some waste lands on the frontiers, led to the blockade of the ports of Ecuador, in spite of the offers of mediation of New Granada and Chili (November, 1858). After several battles, Castilla gained a complete victory over Echenique's troops near Lima in the early part of 1855. The effects were decisive, and Peru was placed at his disposal.

Castilla was not allowed to enjoy his power long in peace, for Vivanco incited an insurrection against him, and gained over the commanders of all the ships of war except a small steamer which was protected by the mole of Callao, and another which happened to be in China at the time. The fleet threatened to take Callao, and Castilla, alarmed for its safety, raised a force of nearly 400 Europeans and North Americans under the command of an artillery officer named Smith, who had already taken part in all the battles that had placed the president in authority.

This force garrisoned the fort of Callao, and repulsed Vivanco's attack with such severe loss that he retired to Arequipa, a place which had always been attached to him. His fleet kept possession of the sea, and at one time held the Chincha islands.

On 24 January 1858, two American vessels, the Lizzie Thompson and Georgiana, were captured while loading guano on the coast of the province of Arequipa, by a small steamer of Castilla's; and several other ships were subsequently seized under similar circumstances.

Arequipa was taken by assault by Castilla in March, 1858, after a most obstinate and gallant defence, in which Vivanco had about 3,000 of his men killed and wounded. Though slavery was abolished in Peru by the charter of independence, it still existed until Castilla freed the slaves by proclamation in 1855. When the Spaniards conquered the country, they subjected the Indians to a capitation tax, which, although the revolutionary battles had been mainly fought and won by them, was still continued till they were freed by Castilla.

In 1857 the Ecuadorian government signed an agreement for the payment of a debt with British creditors, giving in concession Amazonian territories belonging to Peru. The protest was unanimous and Peruvian President Castilla ordered the blockade of the Gulf of Guayaquil, the same that was carried out by a squadron commanded by Rear Admiral Ignacio Mariategui. The blockade began on November 4, 1858, and would last more than a year.

The naval blockade of Marshal Castilla and occasional Peruvian operations on its coastline caused few casualties as they encountered little resistance allying with the regional government of Franco , transmitting to the people of Guayaquil vision that Peruvians defended the central power. There was no explosion of nationalism, only the imposition of presidential centralism of Garcia Moreno to prevent a civil war rather than fear of a foreign war, rejecting claims in the Peruvian Treaty Mapasingue. In September, 1859, President Robles was compelled to quit the country, and in the same year Guayaquil was almost totally destroyed by fire, and Quito laid in ruins (March 22) by an earthquake.

In 1859 and 1860 the port of Guayaquil was blockaded by a Peruvian force, and in the latter year Castilla landed troops and proclaimed Franco, a minion of his own, president of Ecuador; but the new ruler, having no means of enforcing his authority except those supplied by his ally, was shortly afterward obliged to leave the country.

Ecuador was the victim of deep infighting that led to President Castilla to decide the occupation of the port of Guayaquil, disembarking Peruvian forces in that port in mid-November 1859. On January 25, 1860 the Treaty of Mapasingue, which ended the conflict was signed.

All efforts to overthrow Castilla's government having failed, an attempt was made to assassinate him while riding in the streets of Lima in August 1860. Three months afterward a better planned attempt was made by the conspirators, and a company of soldiers led by their officers succeeded in entering his house early in the morning. Castilla, being aroused by his wife, managed to escape in his shirt to the street, when the soldiers who had been brought to assassinate him turned, by the order of a friend of Castilla, and shot their officers on the spot.

The year 1862 expired leaving the commerce of the Guayaquil market still prostrated, in consequence of the shocks it received since the year 1859. The new year should have undoubtedly opened more favourably, but as the rainy season sets in during the first few months, paralysing everything, hopes were entertained for the second half-year, but these unfortunately disappeared when war broke out with the neighboring republic of New Granada, inasmuch as the military preparations caused a total paralysis of industry and agriculture, placing the country again in a state of complete prostration from which it would gradually recover when peace continues.

The government of Garcia Moreno's conservative government faced Arboleda, who crossed the border in Ecuadorian territory to pursue the liberal rebels Mosquera. Then General Flores Garcia Moreno received orders to attack Mosquera, who had won power in Bogota and wanted to join his new confederation Ecuador. The subsequent Treaty of Pinsaqu (30 December 1863) made no reference to any possible annexation to Colombia, which suggests that the argument Flores was nothing more than a justification for entering and changing the border.

Garcia Moreno, elected president of Ecuador in 1861, tendered his resignation March 23, 1864; but it was refused by the assembly. An unpopular measure of Moreno's was the concluding a concordat with the see of Rome, which gave the care of public education to the priests, and restricted the toleration of creeds hitherto enjoyed. He was forced to revise and modify the measure. He assumed the dictatorship Aug. 30, 1864, and perpetrated many cruelties in his efforts for the prevention of civil war.



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