RPP: Chile to return books, documents and manuscripts sacked during War of the Pacific

The Chilean government plans to return to Peru more than 100 books, documents and manuscripts taken during the 1879-1883 War of the Pacific, when Chilean forces sacked the Peruvian capital of Lima, Radio Programas reported Wednesday.

Ambassador Martín Irigoyen, undersecretary of foreign cultural policy in Peru’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, said President Michelle Bachelet’s government has issued a supreme decree to pave the way for the handover of 41 volumes taken from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, 12 from the Housing Ministry, 21 volumes from Peru’s southern army command and 32 manuscripts.

Irigoyen announced the repatriation of books and documents in an appearance before a congressional sub-commission formed to document and seek the return of cultural heritage stolen from Peru during the 19th century conflict with Chile.

The sub-commission, headed by Congressman Rafael Vásquez Rodríguez, also heard testimony from Peruvian historian Miguel de Althaus, who has spearheaded efforts to locate books sacked by Chile from Peru’s National Library. Althaus explained to lawmakers the difficulty of recovering the thousands of volumes stolen from Peru some 125 years ago, given that so many of the books have landed into private hands. He suggested Peru launch a campaign appealing to private collectors to return the books as donations.

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