Battle of Papudo (1865)

Painting of the Battle of Papudo by Thomas Somerscales, from the late 1800s. Original in the collection of the National Library of Chile.

Location Valparaíso, Chile

In the mid-1800s, Spain began having ideas of retaking the South American colonies that had gained independence earlier in the century. Chile welcomed the Spanish back with open arms, and dual-wielded pistols. The resulting Chincha Islands War should have given the Spanish enough reason to just scrap the whole thing, but they persisted. On 26 November, 1865, the Chilean brig Esmeralda (18 guns) ambushed the Spanish schooner Virgen de Covadonga (3 guns). In a short fight that lasted no more than thirty minutes, Esmeralda overwhelmed the Spanish, inflicting four dead and twenty-two wounded, plus disabling their guns, for minor damage and no casualties in return. Covadonga surrendered and was taken into the Chilean Navy. The Battle of Papudo convinced Ecuador and Bolivia to join Chile and Peru in the War against Spain, which fizzled out the following year, with Spain signing separate treaties with each of the combatants.