The Ten Cents War, also know as the Peruvian-Chilean War or the War of the Pacific, began with the acquirement of nitrates. The War began in 1879 and ended in 1884 with a peace treaty. Outcomes of the war are still visible today, seeing as Bolivia and Peru both lost territory during the war.
Chile previously had some contracts with Bolivia to have the .
right to obtain nitrates from Boliviaâ€™s Atacama province. At this time nitrates had replaced guano as the highest demanded product of the time. The Bolivians felt that Chilean companies were exploiting their right to acquire nitrates from the desert; therefore in February of 1879 the Bolivian president of the time, Hilarion Daza, revoked the contracts they had with Chile. Chile viewed this act as an insult of and responded by occupying the Bolivian port of Antofagasta, the Chilean colonel and his 500 men met no resistence by Bolivian military and secured his position at that port. The official Chilean declaration of war on Bolivia came shortly after seizing Antofogasta. Peru became involved in the conflict because Chile asked Peru to declare neutrality, which Peru could not do because they had signed an alliance treaty with Bolivia in 1873. After refusing to declare neutrality, Chiles only choice was to declare war on Peru as well, which came on April 2nd of 1879. Thus began the War of the Pacific. .
Chile easily started to occupy the coast of Bolivia, seeing as the Bolivian army was no match for the superior Chilean troops. Chile set their sites on the more powerful Peruvian army/navy and set forth towards Peru. The barren deserts, without water, roads, or centers of population, made it necessary that the belligerent countries struggle for control of the sea. .
Peru had a fair Navy built around two ironclads, the turret monitor, Huascar, with two 300 pound Dalhgren guns and six inches of armor protection , and the steam frigate Independencia with five inches of armour plate and smaller guns.