Ecuadorian–Peruvian War

Last updated

War of 1941
Part of the Ecuadorian–Peruvian Conflicts
Peru tomando posecion de mar ecuatoriano.jpg
A ship of the Peruvian navy in Ecuadorian waters during the conflict.
Date5 July 1941 – 31 January 1942
Location
Ecuadorian-Peruvian border; Ecuadorian Provinces of El Oro, Loja, Sucumbios, and Oriente
Result

Peruvian victory

Belligerents
Flag of Peru (1825-1950).svg  Peru Flag of Ecuador.svg  Ecuador
Commanders and leaders
Flag of Peru (1825-1950).svg Manuel Prado y Ugarteche
Flag of Peru (1825-1950).svg Eloy G. Ureta
Flag of Ecuador.svg Carlos Alberto Arroyo del Río
Flag of Ecuador.svg Luis Rodríguez
Units involved

Agrupamiento del Norte

  • Group Headquarters
    • 5th Cavalry Regiment
    • 7th Cavalry Regiment
    • 6th Artillery Group
  • Army Tank Detachment
  • 1st Light Infantry Division
    • 1st Infantry Battalion
    • 5th Infantry Battalion
    • 19th Infantry Battalion
    • 1st Artillery Group
    • 1st Engineer Company
    • 1st Antiaircraft Section
  • 8th Light infantry Division
    • 20th Infantry Battalion
    • 8th Artillery Group
    • 8th Engineer Company
  • Army Detachment Chinchipe
    • 33rd Infantry Battalion
  • Army Jungle Division
Cayambe Battalion
Montecristi Battalion
Strength
5 July 1941:
15,723
11 tanks
24 guns (from the Agrupamiento del Norte)
Later on:
68,100
24 tanks
120 guns
132,000 parmilitary and militia
In Amazonia:
5,300
8 guns
In Quito:
12,000
At the beginning of offensive, numbers have been estimated between 15,200 and 30,000.

The Ecuadorian–Peruvian War, known locally as the War of '41 (Spanish: Guerra del 41), was a South American border war fought between 5–31 July 1941. It was the first of three military conflicts between Ecuador and Peru during the 20th century. During the war, Peru occupied the western Ecuadorian province of El Oro and parts of the Andean province of Loja. Although the Ecuadorian–Peruvian War occurred during World War II, it was not part of the conflict; Ecuador and Peru were neither affiliated with nor supported by the Allies or the Axis.

South America A continent in the Western Hemisphere, and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere

South America is a continent in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It may also be considered a subcontinent of the Americas, which is how it is viewed in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking regions of the Americas. The reference to South America instead of other regions has increased in the last decades due to changing geopolitical dynamics.

Ecuador Republic in South America

Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador, is a country in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland. The capital city is Quito and the largest city as well.

Peru republic in South America

Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.

Contents

A ceasefire agreement between the two countries came into effect on 31 July 1941. Both countries signed the Rio Protocol on 29 January 1942, and Peruvian forces subsequently withdrew. The enmity over the territorial dispute continued after 1942 and concluded following the Cenepa War of 1995 and the signing of the Brasilia Presidential Act agreement in October 1998. [1]

Rio Protocol

The Protocol of Peace, Friendship, and Boundaries between Peru and Ecuador, or Rio Protocol for short, was an international agreement signed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 29, 1942, by the foreign ministers of Peru and Ecuador, with the participation of the United States, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina as guarantors. The Protocol was intended to finally resolve the long-running territorial dispute between the two countries, and brought about the official end of the Ecuadorian–Peruvian War of 1941-1942. Nevertheless, the Protocol was incomplete, and war broke out between Peru and Ecuador twice more, in 1981 and in 1995, before the signing of the Itamaraty Peace Declaration which brought final resolution to the dispute.

Cenepa War

The Cenepa War, also known as the Alto Cenepa War, was a brief and localized military conflict between Ecuador and Peru, fought over control of an area in Peruvian territory near the border between the two countries. The two nations had signed a border treaty following the Ecuadorian–Peruvian War of 1941, but Ecuador later disagreed with the treaty as it applied to the Cenepa and Paquisha areas, and in 1960 Ecuador declared the treaty null and void.

The Brasilia Presidential Act is an international treaty signed by the then President of Ecuador, Jamil Mahuad and President of Peru, Alberto Fujimori which effectively put an end to the Western Hemisphere's longest running territorial dispute.

History

Background/Causes

The dispute between Ecuador and Peru dates from 1840. It revolved around whether Ecuador's territory extended beyond the Andes mountain range to the Marañon (Amazon) river, including the Amazonian basin.

Andes mountain range running along the tu mamide of South America

The Andes or Andean Mountains are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America. This range is about 7,000 km (4,300 mi) long, about 200 to 700 km wide, and of an average height of about 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.

Amazon River longest river in South America

The Amazon River in South America is the largest river by discharge volume of water in the world, and by some definitions it is the longest.

As early as 1829, Peru fought against the Gran Colombia (a large loose state encompassing most of northern South America), of which the disputed lands were a part. After a series of battles, the war ended in what is known as the Battle of Tarqui (or Portete de Tarqui). The Gual-Larrea Treaty was signed on 22 September 1829 ending the war. This treaty, better known as the Treaty of Guayaquil, specified that the Gran Colombian-Peruvian border was to be the same border that had existed between the Spanish colonial viceroyalties of Nueva Granada and Lima.

Gran Colombia Former republic

Gran Colombia is a name used today for the state that encompassed much of northern South America and part of southern Central America from 1819 to 1831. The state included the territories of present-day Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela, and parts of northern Peru, western Guyana and northwestern Brazil. The term Gran Colombia is used historiographically to distinguish it from the current Republic of Colombia, which is also the official name of the former state.

Battle of Tarqui battle

The Battle of Tarqui, also known as the Battle of Portete de Tarqui, took place on the 27 February 1829 at Portete de Tarqui, near Cuenca, Ecuador. It was fought between troops from Gran Colombia, commanded by Antonio José de Sucre, and Peruvian troops under José de La Mar.

Viceroyalty of New Granada Viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire

The Viceroyalty of New Granada was the name given on 27 May 1717, to the jurisdiction of the Spanish Empire in northern South America, corresponding to modern Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela. The territory corresponding to Panama was incorporated later in 1739, and the provinces of Venezuela were separated from the Viceroyalty and assigned to the Captaincy General of Venezuela in 1777. In addition to these core areas, the territory of the Viceroyalty of New Granada included Guyana, southwestern Suriname, parts of northwestern Brazil, and northern Peru.

Subsequently, Ecuador contended that the Pedemonte-Mosquera Protocol was signed in 1830 as a continuation of the Gual-Larrea Treaty. Peru disputes the validity of this and even questions its existence, since the original document cannot be found. Furthermore, Peru argues that the treaties signed with the Gran Colombia were rendered void upon the dissolution of that federation.

During 1859 and 1860, the two countries fought over disputed territory bordering the Amazon. However, Ecuador was in a civil war that prevented diplomatic relations with the rest of Latin America, including Peruvian president Ramón Castilla.

Ramón Castilla president of Peru

Ramón Castilla y Marquesado was a Peruvian caudillo who served as President of Peru three times as well as the Interim President of Peru in 1863. His earliest prominent appearance in Peruvian history began with his participation in a commanding role of the army of the Libertadores that helped Peru become an independent nation. Later, he led the country when the economy boomed due to the exploitation of guano deposits. Castilla's governments are remembered for having abolished slavery and modernized the state.

In 1887, a treaty signed by both nations established that the King of Spain would act as an arbitrator. The resulting Herrera-García Treaty was expected to resolve the conflict permanently. However, the Parliament of Peru would only ratify the treaty after introducing modifications. Ecuador then withdrew from the process in protest at the Peruvian modifications, and the king abstained from issuing a decision.

Salomón–Lozano Treaty

Another dispute was created after the signing of the Salomón–Lozano Treaty in March 1922 by the governments of Colombia and Peru, which at that time was ruled by Augusto B. Leguía. The treaty, which was kept secret, set the boundary between Peru and Colombia as the Putumayo River, with the exception of a small strip of land controlled by the city of Leticia that would connect Colombia to the main flow of the Amazon River. With that, Colombia effectively recognized Peruvian control of the rest of the disputed region south of the Putumayo River.

Following the coup d'état of Leguía by troops under the command of Luis Miguel Sánchez Cerro, the treaty was made public and caused much anger among the Peruvian population, which perceived that the treaty awarded Colombia a section of Peruvian territory. This dispute over the Amazon region controlled by Leticia would eventually cause a short war between Colombia and Peru during 1932 and 1933. The conflict over Leticia, which was populated by both Peruvian and Colombian colonists, was resolved after Sanchez Cerro was assassinated and the new Peruvian president Óscar R. Benavides accepted the Rio de Janeiro Protocol which upheld the Salomón–Lozano Treaty and finally put an end to the border disputes between Colombia and Peru.

The Salomón–Lozano Treaty was unpopular in Ecuador as well, which found itself surrounded on the east by Peru, which claimed the territory as an integral part of its republic. Further adding to Ecuador's problems, the Colombian government now also recognized Peru's territorial aspirations as legitimate.

Preparing for war

An agreement was signed in 1936 which recognized territories in de facto possession by each country. The resulting border is known as the 1936 status quo border line.

However, by 1938 both nations were once again holding minor border skirmishes. That same year, the entire Ecuadorian Cabinet, which was composed of high-ranking army officers who served as advisors for General Alberto Enríquez Gallo (who had taken charge of government after a military coup d'état), resigned from government in order to take command of the Ecuadorian Army. Meanwhile, in Quito, there were public demonstrations of people chanting "Down With Peru! Long Live Ecuador!." [2]

Peru's response to the events taking place in Ecuador was provided by foreign minister Carlos Concha, who stated, "In Peru we have not yet lost our heads. Our country is in a process of prosperous development and the Government heads would have to be completely mad to think of war." [2] The social situation of Peru at that time was undergoing major changes, with the social reforms begun by president Augusto B. Leguia (which were aimed at improving roads, sanitation, industrial development, and promoting the general welfare of Peru's indigenous population) being continued by president General Oscar Benavides. Economically, Peru claimed to be attempting to run on a balanced budget, but Peru still held a large debt in spite of its positive foreign trade. [2] However, despite these claims, Peru also began to mobilize its troops to its border with Ecuador in order to match the Ecuadorian troops which had been deployed to the dispute zone. [2]

On 11 January 1941, alleging that the Ecuadorians had been staging incursions and even occupations of the Peruvian territory of Zarumilla, the Peruvian president, Manuel Prado, ordered the formation of the North Grouping, a military unit in charge of the Northern Operational Theatre.

Forces involved

Ecuador

According to the testimony of Col. Luis Rodríguez, [3] the Ecuadorian forces at the disposal of the Army Border Command in El Oro (Lieutenant Colonel Octavio A. Ochoa) after the incidents of 5 and 6 July were as follows:

Peru

As a result of the rising tensions on the border during 1939 and 1940, the Peruvian President Manuel Prado authorised in December 1940 the creation of the Agrupamiento del Norte (Northern Army Detachment). By July 1941, this unit was ready to begin active military operations.

Peruvian order of battle

Order of Battle, Agrupamiento del Norte, July 1941

Figures for total strength of the Agrupamiento del Norte at the beginning of offensive operations have been put at 11,500 to 13,000 men.

War

The accounts as to which side fired the first shot vary considerably to this day. According to Peru's version Ecuadorian troops invaded Peruvian territory in the Zarumilla province, which started a battle that spread to a zone known as Quebrada Seca (dry creek). But Ecuador's version is that Peru took a series of incidents between border patrols as a pretext to invade Ecuador, with the intention of forcing it to sign a clear border agreement. They argue that the clear disparity of military presence in the region between the two countries supports this version.

The first clashes occurred on Saturday, 5 July 1941.

According to Peruvian accounts, some Ecuadorian troops from the garrison of Huaquillas, a town on the bank of the Zarumilla river, which then served as the status quo line in the extreme left of the Ecuadorian-Peruvian border, crossed into the Peruvian border post at Aguas Verdes, a town directly in front of Huaquillas, and opened fire on a Peruvian patrol. These troops were then followed by some 200 Ecuadorian armed men, which attacked the Police station at Aguas Verdes, to which the Peruvians reacted by sending an infantry company to Aguas Verdes and repulsing the Ecuadorians back across the Zarumilla. The fighting then spread to the entire border area along the Zarumilla river. By 6 July, the Peruvian aviation was conducting air-strikes against the Ecuadorian border posts along the river. [4]

According to Ecuadorian Col. Luis A. Rodríguez, commander of the Ecuadorian forces defending the province of El Oro during the war, the incidents of 5 July started when an Ecuadorian border patrol found some Peruvian civilians, protected by policemen, clearing a patch of land on the Ecuadorian side of the river. Upon seeing the patrol, the Peruvian policemen opened fire, killing one soldier. This was followed by the widespread exchange of fire between troops on the opposing banks of the Zarumilla, while two Ecuadorian officers sent to Aguas Verdes to speak with the Peruvian local commanding officer were told by Peruvian authorities to go back to their lines. [5]

Regardless, the much larger and better equipped Peruvian force of 13,000 men quickly overwhelmed the approximately 1,800 Ecuadorian covering forces, driving them back from the Zarumilla and invading the Ecuadorian province of El Oro. Peru also carried out limited aerial bombing of the Ecuadorian towns of Huaquillas, Arenillas, Santa Rosa, and Machala.

The Peruvian army had at its disposal a company of armor made up of Czech tanks, with artillery and air support. They had also established an air force paratroop detachment in the region and used it to great effect by seizing the Ecuadorian port city of Puerto Bolívar, on 27 July 1941, marking the first time in the Americas that airborne troops were used in combat. [6]

Faced with a delicate political situation that even prompted Ecuadorian President Carlos Alberto Arroyo del Río to keep a sizable part of the Army in the capital, Quito, Ecuador promptly requested a cease-fire, which went into effect on 31 July 1941. Yet, Ecuador still carried out guerrilla attacks upon the Peruvian troops.

As a result of the war, Peru occupied almost the entire Ecuadorian coastal province of El Oro and some towns of the Andean province of Loja, besides driving the Ecuadorians back along the whole line of dispute along the Amazonian border.

Ecuador's government, led by Doctor Carlos Alberto Arroyo del Río, signed the Protocolo de Río de Janeiro on 29 January 1942, and Peruvian forces subsequently withdrew. Nonetheless, during the retreat several attacks were made against the Peruvian military, and a series of lives were lost during the process.

Aftermath

The placement of the border markers along the definitive border line indicated by the Rio Protocol was not concluded when the Ecuadorians withdrew from the demarcation commissions in 1948, arguing inconsistencies between the geographical realities on the ground and the instructions of the Protocol, a situation that according to Ecuador made it impossible to implement the Protocol until Peru agreed to negotiate a proper line in the affected area. Thus, some 78 km of the Ecuadorian-Peruvian border were left unmarked for the next fifty years, causing continuous diplomatic and military crisis between the two countries.

In 1960, Ecuadorian President José María Velasco declared that the Rio Protocol was void. According to the Velasco Administration, the treaty, having been signed under Peruvian military occupation of Ecuadorian soil, was illegal and contrary to Panamerican treaties that outlawed any treaty signed under the threat of force.

However, this proclamation made little international impact (the treaty was still held as valid by Peru and four more countries). Peruvian analysts have speculated that President Velasco used the nullity thesis in order to gather political support with a nationalistic and populist rhetoric.

In 1981, both countries again clashed briefly in the Paquisha War. Only in the aftermath of the Cenepa war of 1995 was the dispute finally settled. On 26 October 1998, representatives of Peru and Ecuador signed a definitive peace agreement (Brasilia Presidential Act).

See also

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History of the Ecuadorian–Peruvian territorial dispute

The territorial dispute between Ecuador and Peru was the source of the longest-running international armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere. This dispute was a consequence of each country's interpretation of what Real Cedulas Spain used to precisely define its colonial territories in the Americas. After independence all of Spain's colonial territories signed and agreed to proclaim their limits in the basis of the principle uti possidetis juris which accepts the Spanish colonial borders of 1810 as the borders of the new republics. Thus the borders of Gran Colombia which included Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela would follow the borders of the Viceroyalty of New Granada, and Peru the Viceroyalty of Peru in 1810. However, Peru was not satisfied with this and tried to set the date of her Uti Possitedis to 1824- a time when Peru was officially independent with territories Peru militarily occupied since 1820. Tumbes and Jaen de Bracamoros, to which Peru had no colonial titles, were territories that declared their independence in 1820 and were militarily occupied by Peruvian patriot forces that convinced the people in these territories to join Peru. Because of this, Peru claims that part of its western territorial borders where it lacks title is derived from free determination of its people in the border areas after independence. In the eastern section known as Maynas or Mainas, which was the sparsely inhabited and entirely Amazon Basin, Peru bases its legal claims on the disputed Real Cedula of 1802. Gran Colombia which declared independence 2 years earlier in 1819 and helped to liberate Peru in the Battle of Junin and Ayacucho bases its rights on the clear and undisputed Real Cedulas of 1717, 1739 and 1740 and declares that the Real Cedula of 1802 is not political in nature, but was meant only for ecclesiastical and military jurisdiction.

Paquisha War 1981 war between Ecuador and Peru

The Paquisha War was a brief military clash that took place between January and February 1981 between Ecuador and Peru over the control of three watchposts. While Peru felt that the matter was already decided in the Ecuadorian-Peruvian War of 1941, Ecuador did not agree with the Rio de Janeiro Protocol. Later in 1998 the Guarantors of the Rio Protocol ruled that the border of the undelimited zone was indeed the line of the Cordillera del Cóndor, as Peru had been claiming since the 1940s.

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Gran Colombia–Peru War 1828-1829 war between Colombia and Peru

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Chile–Peru relations

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Ecuadorian–Peruvian territorial dispute of 1857–60

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Argentina–Peru relations

Argentina–Peru relations are foreign relations between Argentina and Peru. Both countries established diplomatic relations on July 10, 1822. Argentina has an embassy in Lima. Peru has an embassy in Buenos Aires, 3 general consulates and 2 honorary consulates.

The military history of Ecuador spans hundreds of years.

References

  1. Uppsala Conflict Data Program Conflict Encyclopedia, General Conflict Information, Conflict name: Ecuador – Peru, In depth, viewed on 2013-07-15, http://www.ucdp.uu.se/gpdatabase/gpcountry.php?id=126&regionSelect=5-Southern_Americas#
  2. 1 2 3 4 Ecuador-Peru: Second Chaco? Time magazine, 20 June 1938
  3. Col. Luis A. Rodríguez, op. cit.
  4. Luis Humberto Delgado, Las Guerras del Perú. Campaña del Ecuador: Grandeza y Miseria de la Victoria, p. 79. Lima, Ed. Torres Aguirre, 1944.
  5. Col. Luis A. Rodríguez, La Agresión Peruana Documentada, 2nd Edition, pp. 167–168. Quito, Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, 1955.
  6. The paratroopers were dropped from Italian Caproni Ca.111 bomber-transports. Skydiving in Peru by General Alberto Thorndike Elmore