Tuesday, November 06, 2007

These Books Are 126 Years Overdue


The Jerusalem Post notes an amazing little book story in tomorrow's edition. It seems that during something called "The War of the Pacific," 1879-1883, some of Chile's soldiers looted the library in Lima, Peru.

The books are finally being sent back to Peru:


Chile on Tuesday returned 3,778 books that its military had taken from Peru's national library - more than 126 years overdue.

The volumes, written in Greek, Latin, French and Spanish, some with full-page colonial-era maps, dated from the 16th to 19th centuries. Chile shipped the books, most in excellent condition, to Peru this week via DHL, where they'll be returned to Lima's national library.
It's great to see that so many of the books are still in excellent condition. Now someone needs to talk to the DHL corporate people about a golden opportunity to cut the perfect television commercial (assuming they don't lose the books in shipment, of course).

8 comments:

  1. I've never heard of books as war booty before!

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  2. The other name of that war is the Guano Wars. It was fought over bird poop, which is a key ingredient in fertilizer. Bolivia and Peru ganged up on Chile (I think I remember this right) and Chile won. As part of the spoils, Chile got Bolivia's waterfront territory. Bolivia is now landlocked (along with Paraguay), but maintains a navy in Lake Titicaca. The navy looks like a small fishing fleet. Bolivia is still ticked off about the war, over 125 years later.

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  3. I hadn't thought of it that way, Sylvia, but the thought does put a smile on my face...in a weird sort of way, I imagine. It sounds like the country was being pretty well looted of its valuables.

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  4. Thanks for the reminder of the "correct" name for that war, Factotum. I hadn't made the connection. That was one of the strangest reasons to go to war that I remember studying...but, now that I think about it, it's sort of like going to war for oil, isn't it?

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  5. You think they might waive the fines, Carrie? :-)

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  6. Definitely like going to war over oil -- and with gas at $5 a gallon in some places in California and apples at $3/lb for the first time in my life, I think it's a good reason to go to war.

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  7. Good reason, or not, factotum, I suspect it will be the "hidden cause" of many a war to come.

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