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General Operations Command of the Amazon and Fifth Naval Zone

Our east Amazonian history is closely related with the Amazon River discovery on February 12, 1542, when Gonzalo Pizarro's expedition left Cusco to Quito and Francisco de Orellana sailed for the first time in its waters, facing on his journey to the coñiapuyaras or great ladies, the hardened amazons. On August 26, 1542, Orellana embarked on a trip to Europe aboard the San Pedro and Victoria brigantines, the latter built on the journey to the mythical country of Canela. The king of Spain would grant his discoverer the government of Nueva Andalucia as the Amazonian was historically denominated.

The Amazon, vast geographical area of ​​exceptional ecological characteristics, with 60 thousand kilometers of navigable rivers, enormous natural resources and fabulous forest wealth, almost unknown during the viceroyalty. In 1827 a report by the British naval officer Henry Lester Maw tells of a trip from the Pacific to the Atlantic. In 1832, Sebastián Martins, President of the Departmental Board of Junín, presented to the navigation government of the Huallaga River, to establish a shipyard in a place near the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañón rivers. But it was Ramón Castilla who on April 20, 1845 ordered important explorations in the Amazon in which Major Francisco Carrasco, a notable figure in the Peruvian Fluvial Navy history, intervened. This naval officer joined the French Francis de Castelnau in 1846 an expedition composed of 4 canoes and 2 rafts, was the clarion of the feat undertaken by the Navy in the incorporation of the Amazon east to Peru.

On January 7, 1861, Marshal Ramón Castilla, in his second government, ordered that in the coastal province of Loreto establish a factory, a construction step, a nautical college and then a dam and a brick factory. Castilla also ordered that two vapors of 300 and 15 tons be built in London, a steam engine for the factory and two smaller vapors. On the same date, the Military Maritime Department of Loreto was established by a General Commander, with a fixed residence in the area. Commander Fernando Romero Pintado says in his book Iquitos and the Naval Force of the Amazon the following: a great deal of responsibility and the hard task of leading to the promotion and aggrandizement of the larger and more backward region of the armed forces were handed over to a body of the peruvian armed forces.

Rear Admiral Ignacio Mariátegui Tellería was appointed General Commander, meanwhile, commanders Federico Alzamora, Manuel Ferreyros and, lieutenant commander Abel Raygada were commissioned to London, to inspect and command, the Morona and Pastaza vapors of 500 tons of registration each one and a load capacity of 150 tons, the British shipyard Samuda Brothers. In this same shipyard the small vessels Napo and Putumayo of 60 tons of registry were erected in steps, which were enfardelados and marked in pieces to transport them aboard Arica ship to the Amazon. Samuda Brothers also committed to build a floating iron dam with a lifting capacity of 500 tons. The material corresponding to the Naval Factory was transported by the brand new Brigantine Prospero.

On January 5, 1864, was established the naval establishment of Iquitos, which has a close relationship with the efforts of the Navy and which today has historical continuity in its men and women, and in the works carried out by the Navy. Institution in this region of the motherland.

The Italian sage Antonio Raimondi expressed in 1869: Iquitos, which was a miserable ranchería of indigenous people six years ago, today is a flourishing and full of life. Here is one of the miracles that steam makes. Whoever knew Iquitos in 1862 would not know it today. Where there were a few ranches, mostly made with simple palisades, today you can see comfortable and neat houses. We have the answer: the Navy did it.

The fiscal crisis that preceded the War of 79 affected the functioning of the Naval Post Office; before, on August 27, 1872, a serious fire in Iquitos affected a large part of the city and Navy properties. In September 1877 the Naval Post Office collapsed.

The fact was rooted in the administrative mess of the country, but Loreto survived and achieved a fleeting prosperity due to the exploitation of rubber, which collapsed in 1914, when the Asian rubber born of Peruvian seedlings and seeds replaced it in European markets.

On February 24, 1886, the government requires a report on the Fluvial Department of Loreto, the Board is headed by Captain Federico Alzamora, two years later it is ordered by Supreme Resolution to contract in England the construction of two vapors, the Loreto popular feeling suggests the names Távara and West, pioneer Ensign in the presence of the Navy in the Amazon, naval martyrs killed on August 14, 1866 in the Amazon Odyssey. In 1894, the French-built Cahuapanas boat arrived and, in 1895, the America boat (the first of its name, since America immortalized in 1911 arrived in Iquitos on May 11, 1905). The Amazon launch joined the flotilla in 1897.

In 1900, the Naval Factory was leased by the State to a civilian contractor, Ensign Oscar Mavila Ruiz, who had a relevant performance of 4 years after the actions of Angoteros (June 28, 1903) and Torres Causano (28 of July 1904), expressed at that time: "All of them (the boats Cahuapanas, Amazonas, Francisco Pizarro, Iquitos and Urubamba) that the government has for its service in the rivers of the East are of terrible seafaring conditions and no military [...] The first step that must be taken is to finish off all existing material and acquire apparent boats to safeguard our sovereignty in that section of territory. "

The sailors persisted with patriotic effort in their own, the Lieutenant Junior Grade Germán Stiglich Álvarez realized very important explorations in the rivers Pachitea, Ucayali, Amazonas, Serjalí, Misahua, Pichis, Urubamba, Manú, Inambari, Tambopata, etc., it should be highlighted an episode in the explorations of the remarkable Stiglich when he says he crossed the Fitzcarrald isthmus, dragging a canoe of 11 meters in length and one ton of weight. The Naval hydrographic ship in the Amazon takes its name.

On July 10, 1911 and up to the 13th of the same month, the combat of La Pedrera occurred on the Caquetá River, whose right margin had been occupied by Colombian soldiers. In this victorious action stood Lieutenant Manuel Clavero.

In 1924, the Itaya Fluvial Base and Hydro-Air was created, which also initiated a stage that could be considered the heir to the Naval Factory of Iquitos and the precedent of the Industrial Service, since repairs were also made to our river units and specialized workshops were available. .

In 1950, the Santa Clotilde Naval Base was established on the left bank of Nanay River, the country was headed by President Manuel A. Odría and the Minister of the Navy, Rear Admiral Roque A. Saldías, thus giving continuity to the work undertaken during 1924.

The General Operations Command of the Amazon and Fifth Naval Zone, today fulfills its mission through the Command of the Fleet of Fluvial Units, the Amazon Infantry Battalion No. 1, the Group of Special Operations North East and the Aeronaval Squadron of the Amazon, which permanently protect the fluvial and strategic interests of our Amazon, demonstrating its high degree of readiness and operability, carrying the message of peace and development, exercising control of fluvial traffic and guarding sovereignty through the gunboats, naval detachments and logistic transport helicopters.

The Amazon Infantry Battalion N ° 1. composed by discipline men that makes them capable of operating in all terrain types and, therefore, in the Amazon, exerts its dissuasive presence in the Putumayo and Amazon rivers, through the border naval detachments of Gueppi, Estrecho, Santa Rosa and Chimbote, which have all the amenities in their facilities so that they can fulfill their mission, which is to strengthen control of fluvial traffic and prevent and combat the actions of armed elements of narco-terrorism on our border with Colombia.   

Within the dynamics of the Naval Force of the Amazon is the work done by the Service of Hydrography and Navigation of the Amazon, linked to environmental sciences in the Amazon river area, conducting hydrographic studies in navigable rivers, raising and disseminating letters and developing nautical signage.

The surveillance and security function of human life in the rivers is intense and is under the responsibility of the Harbor Authority of Iquitos, a unit that exercises functions of River Police, controlling and protecting natural resources and wealth, as well as any activity that is developed in the fluvial area.

The actions developed to combat drug trafficking in the region have been enhanced by the creation of the Rivers Operations Academy, under the responsibility of the General Directorate of Captaincies and Coastguards, which since 1998 has had a modern infrastructure, where staff is trained naval and other military institutions in operations and logistical support for the fight against illicit drug trafficking in coastal zones.

The Iquitos community, and the Peruvian East, highlights the Institution work that carries out through the Civic Action, which is carried out by the rivers, aboard the BAP Morona Hospital Ship and the Ucayali, Amazonas, Marañón and Loreto, carrying the peruvian message, providing medical attention, delivering food and medicine, providing knowledge for the best use of the Amazon potential. Activities are also carried out that are multiplying effects for development and that are translated into the training of the inhabitants who work in the different Navy bodies, such as in the modern workshops of the Marine Industrial Services - Iquitos, Industrial Complex - reopened on Friday May 5, 2006- is dedicated to the construction and naval repair, which has become very important in recent years for the execution of civil works, industrial maintenance and metalworking, becoming a strategic center and of great perspectives for the sustained development of the region and, therefore, the nation.