Alternate History

Day 257 – April 4, 2012

Travelling to other parts of the world tends to broaden a person’s perspective regarding…

…culture (Cold is the enemy…really?)
…cuisine (Why, sure, I’ll try some durian);
…language (Why would I want to cancel my order?); and
…things to see (The Moon is upside-down ?!?)

However, it can also broaden and expand a person’s knowledge of history.

Time to play a game of word association.

Please tell me what is the first thing that comes to your mind when I say, “1941“.

I will take a stab in the cyber-dark and say that the overwhelming majority of you answered one of the following three items:

a) The attack on Pearl Harbor, which happened on December 7 of that year. This event prompted the United States’ entry into World War II.
b) A video arcade game featuring WW II bombers. This game prompted the entry of many quarters by kids in the 1980s.
c) A movie directed by Steven Spielberg and starring John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Christopher Lee (among others). This film features a scene that ends with the entry of a ferris wheel into the Pacific Ocean (and all done without CGI).

What I am postulating is that none of you thought of was the war between Peru and Ecuador fought in the month of July during the year of 1941.

I only found out about this conflict courtesy of a walk I took in a nearby park. In that park, I saw this obelisk.

Obelisk in park in suburb of Lima, Peru

Obelisk in park in suburb of Lima, Peru

This four-sided structure has plaques on each side.

Plaque honoring those who served in Peru-Ecuador war in 1941

Plaque to honor and plaque to dedicate

The top plaque reads “The army of Peru in tribute to fallen soldiers during the campaign with Ecuador in 1941”.

The bottom plaque is from the 1999 dedication of the monument from the city of La Molina to the combat heroes of 1941.

According to the Wikipedia article I linked to above, the 1941 conflict between these two neighboring South American countries dates back to 1840 and it revolved around a border dispute. From 1938 to the war’s start, Peru and Ecuador mobilized their forces to the border and the occasional skirmish broke out.

Plauqe honoring the Navy in Peru-Ecuador 1941 war

Honoring the Navy

The Peru-Ecuador War had a skirmish that goes by the name of the Zarumilla Campaign. The Peruvian Navy took part in that campaign (and I’m guessing in other battles also). For that reason, the plaque above honors the Peruvian Navy.

Plaque honoring National Police during 1941's Peru-Ecuador war

Honoring the National Police

This plaque honors the National Police of Peru and it reads “For the institutional heroes and martyrs who sacrificed themselves in defense of national sovereignty during the military campaign of 1941”

The previous three plaques all honor groups of people. The last plaque to be pictured also honors a group (the Peruvian Air Force), but it is unique in that it also honors a single man.

Plaque honoring Jose Quinones Gonzalez

Plaque honoring Jose Quinones Gonzalez

The plaque reads “The Peruvian Air Force / In tribute to national hero / Captain Jose A Quinones and fallen heroic victors in the conflict with Ecuador in 1941.”

You have read about Jose Quinones Gonzales previously in this blog as he is the gentleman featured on the 10 nuevo soles bill.

During the latter part of the war, while flying over an Ecuadorian anti-aircraft battery, Quinones’s plane sustained damage. He is considered a national hero for his sacrifice by crashing his plane into the Ecuadorian position.

Looking at this obelisk, it made me realize how narrow my view of the world actually is. Whenever I heard of the year 1941, I always thought of Europe and Asia at war with the Allies fighting the Axis powers in the global conflict known as World War II. The year 1941 also meant Pearl Harbor. That’s what I was taught in schools. That’s what I thought the whole globe thought of if asked about the year MCMXLI.

Turns out, the world is a great deal larger than I thought.

What else is out there?


About sinpolaris

sinpolaris is the psuedonym of a guy who likes to write.

Posted on April 25, 2012, in Difference, Peru and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I must admit . . . you’re amazing. I enjoy reading your blog! Hope all is well.

  1. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy « Sin Polaris

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