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At the Port of Talcahuano, Chile.

New set of photos taken in several dates year 2014 and 2015

Career (Peru)

Name: Hu?scar

Ordered: 4 August 1864

Builder: Lairds, Birkenhead, England

Launched: 7 October 1865

Commissioned: 8 November 1866

Fate: Captured by Chile at the Battle of Angamos on 8 October 1879

Career (Chile)

Acquired: 8 October 1879

Decommissioned: 1897

Reinstated: 1934

Status: Museum ship

General characteristics

Displacement: 1,180 long tons (1,199 t)

Length: 66.9 m (219 ft)

Beam: 10.9 m (35.8 ft)

Draught: 5.7 m (18.7 ft)


1 x steam engine, 1500 hp (1120 kW), single screw

Sail plan: Brigantine

Speed: 12 knots (22.2 km/h)

Complement: 170


? 2 x 10" (254 mm), 300 lb (136 kg) Armstrong guns in a single Coles turret

? 2 x 4.75" (120 mm), 40 lb (18 kg) Armstrong guns

? 1 x 12 lb (5 kg) cannon

? 1 x .44 cal Gatling gun

? Armoured ram bow


? 4.5" (114 mm) iron belt (amidships), tapering to 2.5" (64 mm) (prow and bow)

? 5.5" (140 mm) iron turret

Hu?scar is a 19th-century small armoured turret ship of a type similar to a monitor. She was built in Britain for Peru and played a significant role in the battle of Pacocha and the War of the Pacific against Chile before being captured and commissioned with the Chilean Navy. Today she is one of the few surviving ships of her type. The ship has been restored and is currently commissioned as a memorial ship. She is named after the 16th-century Inca emperor, Hu?scar.

History as a warship

Hu?scar was ordered by the government of Peru from John Laird Sons & Company in 1864 for the war against Spain. Lairds had extensive experience of these advanced ships, designing and building the Laird Rams. She was launched in Birkenhead on 7 October 1865.

Commanded by Chilean Captain Jos? Mar?a Salcedo, who had supervised construction on behalf of the Peruvian Navy, she left for Peru on 20 January 1866 on a trip that saw some trouble: a month-long wait at Brest, a minor collision with the ironclad Independencia on 28 February, refusal of service by neutral countries, a month of repairs at Rio de Janeiro, insubordination by Independencia's commander and the capture and sinking of the Spanish brigantine Manuel. When she finally arrived in port at Ancud in allied Chile to join the rest of the combined fleet on 7 June, it was too late for her to participate in the conflict.

Under Captain Lizardo Montero, Hu?scar prepared at Valpara?so to participate in a late 1866 expedition to fight the Spanish fleet at the Philippines. However Montero, with several other Peruvian officers, objected to plans for Rear Admiral John R. Tucker ?formerly a commander of Confederate warships during the American civil war ? to be in command of the fleet, and requested to be relieved. Captain Salcedo took back command of Hu?scar, but the expedition was eventually cancelled.

On February 1868, Captain Miguel Grau took command of Hu?scar and would remain until 1876, becoming her longest-serving commander. His long years aboard the ironclad would prove very valuable later and he would also become Peru's most renowned naval officer.

Peruvian Civil War (1877)

Hu?scar participated in the Peruvian Civil War of 1877. Seized in port in Callao by rebels led by retired Captain Germ?n Astete, she was used to harass, sabotage and disrupt government forces and shipping lanes. During these actions foreign shipping was also affected, leading to British intervention.

On 29 May 1877, she fought the inconclusive Battle of Pacocha against two British vessels, the frigate HMS Shah and the corvette HMS Amethyst, commanded by Admiral de Horsey. This battle saw the first use in anger of the newly invented self-propelled torpedo which, at the time, had just entered limited service with the Royal Navy. The HMS Shah gave accurate fire from a mast-mounted Gatling gun, forcing the Hu?scar to withdraw.

Hu?scar surrendered to the government after almost one month in rebel hands. Although controlled by rebels at the time, popular and press pressure on the Peruvian government resulted in a formal diplomatic protest to the British government for its attack on the Hu?scar; the British Parliament, on the other hand, came close to censuring Admiral de Horsey for his failure to capture her.

Hu?scar gained fame in Peru, and would later reach legendary status.

War of the Pacific (1879-1884)

Hu?scar participated in the War of the Pacific, initially in the service of Peru. Once again under the command of Captain Miguel Grau, she became famous for daring harassment raids on Chilean ports and transports. As a result, during the opening months of the war, the ground invasion was delayed for almost six months until the Chilean fleet could find and stop Hu?scar.

On 21 May 1879, Hu?scar led the lifting of the Chilean blockade of Iquique. During the battle, Chilean Captain Arturo Prat was killed on Hu?scar's deck while leading a boarding party from the corvette Esmeralda. After sinking the corvette by repeated ramming, Hu?scar then rescued the survivors before continuing pursuit of a fleeing enemy ship.

Determined to avenge the sinking of Esmeralda and to secure the logistic lines needed for the invasion of Per?, the Chileans committed every possible unit to hunt down Hu?scar. During the next 137 days Hu?scar not only evaded the confrontation with the enemy fleet but made the coast unsecure for Chilean transport ships. Its biggest prize was Chilean transport ''R?mac'' (1872) with 260 men of a cavalry regiment.

On 8 October 1879, Hu?scar was captured by the Chilean Navy at the Battle of Angamos, during which Rear Admiral Grau and 32 men of the crew (of total 204 men) were killed.
Hu?scar then entered the service of the Chilean Navy. At Arica she fought an inconclusive duel with the Peruvian monitor Manco C?pac (formerly USS Oneota) while participating in the bombardment of the city ?where her new commander Manuel Thomson was killed? and she also aided in the blockade of Callao.

After the war, in 1885 and 1887, Hu?scar was renovated, including renewal of boilers, new screw design, and all-new steam engines to move gun and artillery turrets.

On May 1888, as part of a ceremonial division commanded by Rear Admiral Luis Uribe, Hu?scar brought the bodies of the officers from Esmeralda from their graves at Iquique to a new burial place at Valpara?so. Notably, these were the same officers killed on Hu?scar's deck at the Battle of Iquique; Rear Admiral Uribe had been the Executive Officer aboard Esmeralda and a survivor of the battle.

Chilean Civil War (1891)

Hu?scar participated in the 1891 Chilean Civil War between government and congress. Undergoing major maintenance work at the onset of the war, she was seized and towed out of Valpara?so by the rebel-leaning Navy, and readied for action within three days.

Commanded by Captain Jos? Mar?a Santa Cruz, she participated in the takeover of the port city of Taltal by the rebels, ran escort duty for convoys and protected rebel-held ports. She returned once more to the port of Iquique, this time to bombard the port city held by government forces.

After almost eight months of fighting, the war ended with the government's surrender.


Hu?scar went on serving the Chilean Navy until a boiler explosion in 1897 at the Talcahuano military harbour resulted in her decommissioning. Partially repaired, she later served as the first submarine tender in the Chilean Navy from 1917 to 1930.

In the early 1930s Hu?scar was taken in hand for reconditioning as a heritage ship.

Recommissioned in 1934, Hu?scar was now armed with two 8-inch guns, three 4.7 inch guns and four 47mm guns. The 1,870-ton ironclad now wore the flag of the Port Admiral at Talcahuano.

As late as 1949 she was listed in Jane's Fighting Ships as a coast defense ship; the photograph of Hu?scar in that year's edition dated from 1938.

History as a memorial ship

When she was recommissioned in 1934, Hu?scar was the oldest vessel of the Chilean Navy. Between 1951 and 1952, work was undertaken with the aim to completely restore her to her 1878 condition and declare her a shrine to the glory of both the Peruvian and Chilean navies.

She became a floating museum and a memorial, displaying many objects and relics recovered from Navy warehouses or donated by private citizens from the Talcahuano and Concepci?n area, including:

? A shrine with portraits of the three commanders that lost their lives on her deck, set in the commander's quarters.

? A portrait gallery in the boilers room.

? A prayer room, duly authorized by the Archbishop of Concepci?n

Between 1971 and 1972, a second restoration phase was undertaken at the Chilean Navy drydock in Talcahuano: the hull was completely repaired, and engines rebuilt according to original blueprints obtained in England. Since then, a strict maintenance program ensures survival and preservation for future generations.

In 1995, the World Ship Trust conferred the Maritime Heritage Award on the Chilean Navy for its restoration of Hu?scar.

Hu?scar is berthed at the port of Talcahuano, Chile. The Talcahuano Naval Base and Shipyards were devastated by the 2010 Chile earthquake and the resulting tsunami; although Hu?scar was at the base then, she survived with no apparent damage and reopened to visitors in March 2011.


The Hu?scar is one of the few early-ironclad-era warships to survive, and one of the few still afloat. The Hu?scar remains highly regarded in both Peru and Chile, being considered as the tomb of the Chilean Captains, Arturo Prat and Manuel Thomson, and the Peruvian admiral Miguel Grau.

Username Registered surveychile
Shipowner Chilean Navy
Ship manager
IMO Number
Type of ship Iron Clad
Year of build and builder 1866 Lairds, Birkenhead, England
Date 15 April 2014
Place Bay of Talcahuano, Chile.
Added on 21/08/2015
Dimension 1200 x 900
viewed 933