Arturo Prat

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Arturo Prat Chacón.jpg
Arturo Prat Chacón


Born April 3, 1848
Died May 21, 1879
Wife Carmela Carvajal Briones
Religion Catholic

Flag of Chile.png Chile

Painting of the Patriotic and Heroic Act of Prat.

Arturo Prat Chacón (1848-1879) was a Chilean marine, military and lawyer who fought in the War of the Pacific and is now considered the maximum naval hero of the Chilean Nation.

He died in the 21st of May 1879 during the Naval Battle of Iquique[1] in which his old corvette called La Esmeralda was less powerful than the Peruvian Huáscar Monitor. Prat and his crew in a patriotic act, never surrendered and when the Esmeralda was sinking, Prat and few men boarded the Huáscar, he said "Let's board guys!", once he boarded he got killed by the Peruvian crew.

Miguel Grau, who was the Captain of the Huáscar knew Prat from the Chincha Islands War (1864-1866) where Chile and Peru were allied against Spain and both marines fought together. Grau allowed the remaining Chileans of The Esmeralda to arrive to the Huáscar and let them go once the battle ended.

Grau also sent a letter to Prat's wife, Carmela Carvajal, sending her condolences, and Grau also sent Prat's stuff to her (Prat's sword, diary and wedding ring). Miguel Grau is remembered as the Gentlemen of the seas because of this chivalrous act.

The Patriotic heroism of Arturo Prat inspired hundreds of Chileans to join the War against Peru and Bolivia in which Chile won and the city where Prat died (Iquique) got conquered by Chile.[2]

One of the most remembered phrases of Prat is "Boys, the contest is uneven! Our flag has never been lowered before the enemy, I hope that this is not the occasion to do it. While I am alive, that flag will wave in its place, and I assure you that if I die, my officers will know how to fulfill their duty. Long live Chile!" The flag was never lowered, even when the ship sank.

Today the 21st of May is a holiday in which the Heroic Act is remembered. There are plenty of places named after him in Chile, including: 144 streets, a province, a town, an Antarctic Station, a University, a Naval Academy, unities of the Chilean Navy, and many more.

Prat is not only considered a hero, but also an honest, respectful, responsible, honorable, virtuous person who loved his family, his wife and his country. He was a Catholic and also a Spiritist.

In 1985 the Naval Academy of Japan paid tribute to those who considered the top 3 heroes in world naval history and the chosed ones were: the English Admiral Horatio Nelson (hero of Trafalgar), the Japanese Admiral Togo (hero of Tsushima) and the Chilean Captain Arturo Prat Chacón (hero of Iquique).[3]

See also