Peru History: Independence Part V

By | December 21, 2021

A comforting fact, however, in the midst of the turbulent history of political factions, is the constant economic-demographic progress within Peru, which is completed with the adjustment of the borders in relations with foreign countries.

As at the time of the conquest, the Indian mass still remained at the basis of Peruvian life; and of this Peru (results in vain efforts made, after the world war in particular, to encourage mass European immigration) tried in recent years both to raise living conditions (in 1927 the last survivals of peonage were abolished, surplus of serfdom), and to promote social assimilation with the dominant Creole race.

What the ancient dominated race revealed itself more and more during the last half century in the demographic structure of Peru, was revealed agriculture in the economic structure: the first of the new nationality was the indefectible basis; base each day larger and more secure than the country’s new economy the second. Territory, after the Spanish conquest and the decay of ancient Inca agriculture, essentially – not to say exclusively – mining, with its extraordinary production of silver, mercury and gold, to which around 1840 was added that of guano and later than saltpetre; Peru in the second half of the nineteenth century gradually returned to agriculture, albeit backward, in the haciendas or large properties no less than in the chacras or small estates. But it was the irrigated crop in particular, which opened up the widest horizons on the subject, with the rich food crops (sugar in particular) and industrial crops (cotton); at the same time that in the mining of precious metals, lords and tyrants for centuries, more and less noble metals were accompanied every day, but more useful and beneficial for a more varied and harmonious economic development of the country (copper, anthracite, oil, etc.). The World War, with its growing demand for sugar and especially cotton on the one hand, copper on the other, gave an extraordinary, albeit temporary and artificial impulse, to the agricultural and mining economy of Peru, whose material progress in the he last half century are indisputable indicators of commercial and financial development. For Peru 1996, please check

In the last thirty years, the economic and financial consolidation was accompanied by the territorial consolidation. It was composed above all thanks to the friendly resumption in 1928 of direct negotiations between the two republics, the bitter semi-century dispute between Peru and Chile for the provinces of Tacna and Arica: the Lima agreement of June 3, 1929 returned Tacna to Peru, while it left Arica to Chile. The question of the borders with Bolivia was also honorably resolved in 1912, establishing in principle (in a direct agreement between the two countries) the border line that largely follows the course of the Río Heath. The same happened in 1927 for relations on the matter between Peru and Brazil. Unsolved, however, until 1933 the border issues between Peru and Ecuador for the high-Amazonian region, rich in rubber, timber and perhaps even gold, located north of the Marañón; although – removed from a previous collective mediation of the three major American states, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, to entrust them to direct negotiations between the two countries concerned – they too were on the way to a solution. Last and most eventful, despite the formal agreements in this regard, remained the dispute between Peru and Colombia for the same high-Amazonian territories so rich in economic promises.

With the Salomón-Lozano treaty of 1927, ratified by Peru the same year and by Colombia in 1928, the former ceded an area of ​​approximately 113,000 sq km to the latter. surface; but on 1 September 1932 bourgeois elements, moving from the Peruvian city of Iquitos (downstream of the Ucayali-Marañón confluent), occupied the Colombian city of Leticia and asked for a revision of the treaty: to settle the conflict, the two states came on 25 May 1933 in Geneva to an agreement.

By virtue of this agreement, a commission of the League of Nations took over the administration of Leticia on 23 June 1933 pending the direct negotiations between the two powers, to be started in Rio de Janeiro in October, had decided its fate. The matter was settled in favor of Colombia.

Independence Part V