Battle of Yungay

Battle of Yungay

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Yungay
partof =the "Chilean-Confederation war"

caption =
date = January 20, 1839
place = Yungay, Ancash Region, Peru
result = United restorative army victory Peru-Bolivian Confederation dissolved
combatant1 =flagicon|Peru-Bolivian Confederation Peru-Bolivian Confederacy
combatant2 =flagicon|ChileChile
flagicon|Peru Peru
commander1 =flagicon|Peru-Bolivian Confederation Andrés de Santa Cruz
commander2 =flagicon|Chile Manuel Bulnes
flagicon|Peru Agustin Gamarra
strength1 = 6,000
strength2 = 5,400
casualties1 =
casualties2 =
The Battle of Yungay was the final battle in the Chilean-Confederation War, taking place on January 20, 1839. It brought about the end of the Peru-Bolivian Confederacy.


The first Chilean incursion into Peruvian territory during the war between Chile and the Peru-Bolivian Confederacy ended in retreat and surrender when they were surrounded by an army under the command of Supreme Protector Andrés de Santa Cruz. A Chilean admiral named
Manuel Blanco Encalada hastily signed the Treaty of Paucarpata on November 17, 1837, in an attempt to broker a peace between the two nations.

Upon his return, however, the Chilean Parliament rejected the truce and organized a second sortie under General Manuel Bulnes, with expatriate Peruvians under General Agustín Gamarra serving as reinforcements.

Andrés de Santa Cruz, the Bolivian general, responded immediately. Following the Battle in the Buin River, Santa Cruz attempted to deliver a final blow to the Chilean expedition to cement Confederation's dominance in the region.

The Armies and their Comparative Situations

Both armies had approximately 6,000 men, although the numbers favored slightly the side of the Confederation and Santa Cruz. The Chilean Expedition, on the other hand, suffered the decimation of some battalions by plagues during its occupation of Lima, the capital of the North-Peruvian Republic. Comparably equipped, the main difference was in the preparation of the troops, the knowledge of the terrain, and the obvious differences between invaders and defenders.

* The Army of the Confederation was made up of veterans of internal battles from both Peru and Bolivia. It was generally supported by the population of Peru and possessed strong supply lines thanks to the site of the battle. General Andrés de Santa Cruz was regarded as a resourceful tactician and a capable leader.

* The Chilean Expedition had the experience of Manuel Bulnes and the Peruvian defectors, and a well-trained army. They hoped to dissolve the Confederation and reestablish an independent Peru. On the other hand, it was not popular with the locals and was hampered due to disease, bad morale, and some less experienced units.

Protector Santa Cruz was not seeking to obliterate the Expedition's army, but rather to force Bulnes to sue for peace, and surrender to a superior Peruvian force. Bulnes had other plans however, knowing that returning empty-handed was not an option after the failure of the previous force under Manuel Blanco Encalada.

The Battle

Following the battle in Buin, (January 5,1839,) Santa Cruz advanced to capture and occupy Yungay, intending to cut the Chilean supply lines and strangle the Chilean Expedition.

General Bulnes, aware of the situation, prepared his Army for open combat against the Confederates. Meanwhile, the Chilean Navy closed the naval front. Santa Cruz knew that it would be easy for the Chilean Expedition to escape the country if the battle was not favorable to them.

The Battle of Yungay began on January 20, 1839. The Confederates, having assumed positions at the base of Cerro Pan de Azúcar, ("Sugar Bread Hill",) were forced uphill by a massive Chilean assault. Hand-to-hand combat throughout the day decided the battle in favor of the Chileans, who cleared the hill and routed the Confederate Army. Towards the end of the battle, Santa Cruz was forced to admit defeat.


The Battle of Yungay brought as a consequence the end of the Peru-Bolivian Confederacy, with the Chilean Expedition reoccupying Lima in April. On August 25, 1839 General Agustín Gamarra assumed the Presidency of Peru, officially declaring the dissolution of the Confederation and the Union of the North and South Peru. Santa Cruz was exiled, first to Guayaquil, Ecuador, then to Chile and finally to Europe, where he died in Beauvoir, France, on September 25, 1865. He was 72.


*es icon [ The birth of the Confederation]

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