Is this how the Atacama maritime strip was taken from Bolivia? | News

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Although many versions and documents indicate that Bolivia had access to the sea since its founding as a country in 1825, currently this nation does not have it because it was taken from it in the War of the Pacific or Saltpeter in 1879.


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Chile faced Bolivia and its ally, Peru, in a confrontation that lasted until 1883, the war took place in the Pacific Ocean, in the Atacama desert and in the Peruvian mountains and valleys. As a result, Chile took the Atacama maritime strip from Bolivia.

The confrontation between the three neighboring nations occurs after the Bolivian administration, headed by HilariĆ³n Daza, decided to impose a tax on the Chilean company CompaƱƭa de Salitres y Ferrocarril de Antofagasta (CSFA). Chile said that it was a violation of the border treaty signed in 1874 in which the prohibition of imposing new increases or taxes was established.

Bolivia loses its maritime strip at the hands of Chile after a confrontation that lasted at least four years. Photo: ECHSP

By the 19th century, Chile had an export economy based on saltpeter fields that extended through the Atacama desert and south of Peruvian territory. When Bolivia established the tax, Chile decided to invade the territory after arguing the violation of the treaty.

Chile was the winner of this clash of forces, for this reason it moved its border to the north and took some 120,000 square kilometers of territory and 400 kilometers of coastline from Bolivia, according to historian estimates.

After these events, Bolivia signed an indefinite truce agreement with Chile in 1884, thus ending the war between the two nations and accepting the annexation to Chile of the province of Antofagasta (Department of the Litoral).

According to the 1904 Treaty, the Chilean territory extends to the border with Peru and that of Bolivia does not reach the sea.

For its part, Bolivia points out that this treaty is "profoundly unfair and unsupportive and that it is based on the advantageous position of one country that defeated the other", for this reason it demands a corridor at least 10 kilometers wide that extends from its border with Chile to the Pacific, plus a piece of the coast in which to develop its industrial and commercial activityā€.

Faced with Chile's position of denying the space to the Bolivian sea, the country filed a judicial process before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2013, the decision of which was known on October 1, 2018. The verdict indicates that Chile has no obligation to negotiate sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean with Bolivia. Bolivia asserted that it will continue the struggle for a sovereign access to the sea.

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