Whilst many museums are dedicated to the triumphs of war, Bolivia is one of the few countries in the world which commemorates a defeat. This small museum on Calle Jaén is aimed at educating visitors about one of Bolivia’s most devastating moments in history.
Museo del Litoral Boliviano was created in 1978 to commemorate the centenary of the Pacific War against Chile, a battle that cost Bolivia not only a huge part of its country, but its access to the Pacific ocean. The museum features artifacts from the 1884 war consisting mainly of historical maps with the original borders of that time, photography, banners, portraits of places and people involved in the war and items such as flags and weapons that were rescued during the confrontation.
The museum is spread over two levels with two rooms on the first floor and two on the second. The first downstairs room is the “War Room” dedicated to the war’s most significant events. The second downstairs room, the “Living Room” features Bolivia’s national heroes. On display are Bolivian army uniforms and photographs of the main warriors including Colonel Eduardo Abaroa, Johnny Rivers Pinto and Genoveva, as well as pictures of Puerto de Mejillones, the Topáter Bridge and Pier Antofagasta; the most significant landmarks of the war.
Upstairs can be found a large collection of weapons and military uniforms including outfits used by Colonel Ildefonso Murguía and Colorados of Bolivia as well as portraits, paintings and photographs of the war’s main advocates.
Ever since signing a contract in 1904, Bolivia has sought to regain its former lands and ocean access. It is still a sore point in the country’s history and one which is hotly debated to this very day.
If you’re interested in Bolivia’s military past and want to learn more about this tragic event in the country’s history, don’t hesitate to visit Museo del Litoral Boliviano.
Entry into the museum is Bs 4 ($1 US).