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article imageReview: ‘Huáscar’ — Shrine to the glory of Peruvian and Chilean Navies Special

By Igor I. Solar     Jan 6, 2014 in Travel
Talcahuano - The warship “BAP Huáscar” was built in the UK in 1864 and served in the Peruvian Navy until her capture by the Chilean Navy in the War of the Pacific. It is now a floating museum and memorial to national navy heroes in the port of Talcahuano, Chile.
The Peruvian Navy Ship “BAP Huáscar” was built in 1864 in Birkenhead, UK, serving the Navy of Peru for 14 years until 1879 when it was captured by the Chilean Navy at the Battle of Angamos. The ironclad battleship, considered by Chile as a major trophy of the War of the Pacific (1879 – 1883) against the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, actively served in the Chilean Navy until it was decommissioned in 1897.
Peru named the armored ship “Huáscar” in honor of one of the sons of Huayna Capac, brother of Atahualpa, the last Inca Emperor of Pre-Hispanic Peru.
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. Visitors are transported from the dock to the ship  a short distan...
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. Visitors are transported from the dock to the ship, a short distance away, on a raft which is pulled hand-over-hand by sailors.
On this ship the two greatest heroes of the Peruvian and Chilean Navies gave their lives in battle. In May 1879, Captain Arturo Prat, commander of “Esmeralda” (1855) was the first to board the Huáscar’s deck and advance towards to command tower after his ship was rammed by the Huáscar during a battle in the Chilean port of Iquique. Prat was hit by a bullet and died (aged 31).
Five months later in October 1879, Peruvian Admiral Miguel Grau, the Huáscar’s commander, died in battle when the Peruvian warship was finally captured in Angamos. The capture of the Huáscar was instrumental in securing maritime control by the Chilean Navy, marked the end of the naval campaign of the Pacific War, and was the prelude to the occupation of Lima and the decisive triumph of the Chilean forces over the Peru–Bolivia alliance.
Ironclad Huascar floating museum.  Huáscar is impeccably maintained. She has been repainted in the ...
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. Huáscar is impeccably maintained. She has been repainted in the standard Victorian livery with a black hull, white turret and upper structures, and yellow masts and funnel.
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. Visitors have free access to the whole ship including decks and th...
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. Visitors have free access to the whole ship including decks and the various officer and crew quarters.
The ship is now berthed at the Chilean Navy Base of Talcahuano, about 530 kilometres south of Santiago, where she serves as a floating museum. The historic ship is the second-oldest ironclad warship afloat in the world after "HMS Warrior" (1860), also a floating museum in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. Memorial plaque on the main deck of Huascar. It reads:  Homage of ...
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. Memorial plaque on the main deck of Huascar. It reads: "Homage of the Chilean Navy to Peruvian Admiral Miguel Grau fallen on defense of his country on 8 October, 1879"
Huáscar is impeccably maintained. She has been repainted in the standard Victorian livery with a black hull, white turret and upper structures, and yellow masts and funnel. The old brigantine is small; it measures about 67 meters long, with beam of 10.9 m, draught of 5.7 m. and 1,190 tons of displacement.
Visitors are transported from the dock to the ship, a short distance away, on a raft which is pulled hand-over-hand by sailors. Once on board, visitors have free access to the whole ship including the various officer and crew quarters. Artifacts are all kept in their original locations. One can see the very basic facilities where about 180 crew members ate and slept as well as the more sophisticated staterooms for the 22 officers, of which Captain Grau’s is the most elaborate.
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. Crew facilities showing table and several utensils used in everyda...
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. Crew facilities showing table and several utensils used in everyday activities.
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. The officers  dining-room is spacious and nicely decorated.
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. The officers' dining-room is spacious and nicely decorated.
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. Admiral Miguel Grau s stateroom is beautifully furnished. His pict...
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. Admiral Miguel Grau's stateroom is beautifully furnished. His picture is shown over the elaborated headboard.
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. Officer s meeting room.
Ironclad Huascar floating museum. Officer's meeting room.
Also on display are letters from Navy authorities to the commanding officers’ widows, valuable pieces of navigation equipment from the era, and large charts showing the movements of the ships in the most relevant battles.
For the benefit of visitors, on the shore close to where Huascar is moored, there is an exhibit of one of the three "Fénix" (Spanish for Phoenix) capsules that were built for the rescue of the 33 miners trapped for 69 days about 610 meters underground in the 2010 Copiapó mining accident. The Fénix capsule was invented by risk and rescue expert Rodrigo Reveco, and built by ASMAR (Shipyards and Arsenals of the Chilean Navy).
One of the three  Fénix  capsules that were built for the rescue of the 33 miners trapped for 69 da...
One of the three "Fénix" capsules that were built for the rescue of the 33 miners trapped for 69 days about 610 meters underground in the 2010 Copiapó mining accident.
Huáscar is open to visitors Tuesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Admission: CLP 1,000 (about USD 2,00).
More about Huascar, Peru, Chile, War of the Pacific, Floating Museum
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