Navy Day in Chile in 2020

Navy Day in Chile in 2020
Sinking of the Esmeralda during the battle of Iquique. Image by Thomas Somerscales
  How long until Navy Day?
This holiday next takes place in 339 days.
  Dates of Navy Day in Chile
2020Chile Thu, May 21National Holiday
2019Chile Tue, May 21National Holiday
2018Chile Mon, May 21National Holiday
2017Chile Sun, May 21National Holiday
2016Chile Sat, May 21National Holiday
  Summary
Commemorates Battle of Iquique. Annual speech by President to Congress

When is Chilean Navy Day?

Also called Navy day, this holiday is always celebrated on May 21st.

In Chile, it is known as 'Día de las Glorias Navales' and marks the date of the battle of Iquique on May 21st 1879.

History of Chilean Navy Day

The battle took place during the War of the Pacific between Chile and Peru.

The town of Iquique in the north of Chile was under Peruvian control. Chile had blockaded the port with two ships. In response, Peru sent two ships to break the blockade.

The Peruvian ships were more modern and the battle soon ended with defeat for the Chilean navy.

At first glance, this may not seem to be a great basis for a holiday celebrating the glories of the navy, but during the battle, great courage was shown by the captain of one of the Chilean ships, Arturo Prat.

Prat's bravery inspired many Chileans and following his death, there was a large rise in the number of men enlisting in the navy. The legacy of Prat's heroism can be said to have led to the eventual victory of Chile in the War of the Pacific.

How is Chilean Navy Day celebrated?

Nowadays Prat is still considered to be a national hero, and his name adorns many squares and streets across towns and cities in Chile and his portrait appears on the 10,000 Chilean peso banknote.

The day is marked by parades and speeches and marks the start of parliament when the President of Chile will give the annual State of the Nation address.

On this day, most shops and businesses will be closed and there will be a reduced public transport service.

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