A Peruvian Cross of Military Merit; Knight
A Peruvian Cross of Military Merit; Knight - Three-piece construction, silver gilt and bronze with green and white enamels, 52.3 mm x 79 mm inclusive of its wreath suspension, original ribbon, hanger with vertical pinback, enamel chipping evident on the wreath on the obverse, residue present on the wreath suspension, gilt wear overall on the arms, very fine. Footnote: The cross was created in February 1949 and is awarded to military for outstanding service in the defence of the country. Coronel Francisco Bolognesi Cervantes (1816-1880) had a long, distinguished military career, retiring in 1871 as Commander-in-Chief of the Artillery. When war broke out in 1878 between Peru and Bolivia on the one hand, and Chile on the other, Bolognesi returned to active service and in April 1880 was charged with the defence of the town of Arica. In May, Arica was surrounded by Chilean forces who outnumbered the defenders three to one. When the Chileans demanded his surrender, he replied with words that have entered the Spanish language – “Tengo deberes sagrados que cumplir y los cumplire hasta quemar el ultimo cartucho" (I have a sacred duty to accomplish, and I will fulfil it until I burn the last cartridge"). On June 7th, the Chileans captured Arica; Colonel Bolognesi lost his life that day but became a national hero.