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The Guano Age in Peru

After gaining its independence from Spain in 1824, Peru experienced a boom as a result of demand for guano as a fertiliser. As John Peter Olinger details, the boom came to an end when it was replaced by nitrate as the preferred fertiliser, and Chile seized Peruvian nitrate deposits in the War of the Pacific from 1879-84.

Chinese coolies working the Guano deposits on the Chincha Islands
Chinese coolies working the Guano deposits on the Chincha Islands

In 1880 the first economic boom of modern Peruvian history came to a devastating end in the War of the Pacific, in which Peru and Bolivia were defeated by Chile.

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