History of Chilean Navy Day

Navy Day is a Chilean national holiday (Spanish: Día de las Glorias Navales, literally Day of Naval Glories) celebrated on May 21 each year.

The day was selected to commemorate the Battle of Iquique, which occurred on Wednesday, May 21, 1879 during the War of the Pacific.



History of Chilean Navy Day

The battle took place during the War of the Pacific between Chile and Peru.

The town of Iquique in the north of Chile was under Peruvian control. Chile had blockaded the port with two ships. In response, Peru sent two ships to break the blockade.

The Peruvian ships were more modern and the battle soon ended with defeat for the Chilean navy.

At first glance, this may not seem to be a great basis for a holiday celebrating the glories of the navy, but during the battle, great courage was shown by the captain of one of the Chilean ships, Arturo Prat.

Prat’s bravery inspired many Chileans and following his death, there was a large rise in the number of men enlisting in the navy. The legacy of Prat’s heroism can be said to have led to the eventual victory of Chile in the War of the Pacific.

Enjoy this Virtual Tour of the Museo Corbeta Esmeralda, a replica or the Arturo Prat’s battle ship.