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Military records (militares) identify individuals who served in the military or who were eligible for service.
Most young men were required to serve in or register for military service in Peru. Evidence that an ancestor actually served may be found in family records, biographies, census, notarial records, civil registration, and church records.
Military records begin about 1550 and give information about an ancestor’s military career, such as promotions, places served, pensions, and personal conduct. In addition, these records usually include information about an ancestor’s age, birthplace, residence, occupation, physical description, and family members. Many military records in Peru provide very few details about individuals other than officers.
Military records include:
- Muster rolls (listas de revistas)
- Personnel files (hojas de servicio)
- Lists of officers and commissions of officers (estado mayor y expedientes personales)
- Pay records (certificado)
- Pension records (pensiones)
- Naval records (marina)
- Military parish records ( capellanías)
- Military orders (cofradias y confraternidades)
- Soldier enlistments (filiaciones)
- Awards and service ( méritos y servicios)
For the colonial period, you can find military records in the National Military Archive in Segovia (Archivo General Militar de Segovia) and the National Archive of Simancas (Archivo General de Simancas), both in Spain. (See Peru Archives and Libraries.)
Records of military service in Peru were kept by the Ministry of War (Ministerio de Guerra) and Ministry of the Navy (Ministerio de Marina). Old records have been collected at the National Archives, Historical Military Archives (Archivo Histórico Militar), and the National Library in Lima. Current records are scattered through several archives, kept by the agency that created the records. The Family History Library has few military records from Peru and no naval records.
Military records can be of great value to your research. For most family research, however, they are difficult to access. Other sources, such as church records and civil registration, are more easily available and contain much of the same information. The few Peruvian military records that have been microfilmed are unindexed.
Muster rolls and foundation books give the soldier’s name, birthplace, year of birth, religion, personal description, and his date of induction. These records also include remarks.
The library has the following military records for Peru:
- Hojas de Servicios Militares de America: Virreinato de Perú, 1788–1800 (Records of Military Service in America: Viceroyalty of Peru, 1788–1800). Madrid: Servicio Nacional de Microfilm, 1971. (FHL film 1156346–51).
- Documentos militares de Arequipa, Perú, 1777–1919 (Military Documents of Arequipa, Peru, 1777–1919). Arequipa: Convento de la Merced, 1990. (FHL film 1563431 items 5–6.)
To use Peruvian military records, you will have to determine the specific unit your ancestor served in. If the records of your ancestor do not provide this information, it may be possible to learn which units were in the area where he lived. To do this, you must know at least the town where the individual was living when he was of age to serve in the military.
Peru was involved in the following military actions:
1530s Conquest of the Inca Empire
1539–69 Conflicts with Pizarro and his lieutenants, civil disorders and Indian rebellions
1819–26 Battles and defeat of the Royalist forces of the Viceroy. (The last battle was fought in Ayacucho in 1824.)
1829 Battle of Portete de Tarqui
1834 Battle of Cangallo was fought to oppose the rule of Luis José de Orbegozo
1836–39 War with Chile
1839–41 War with Bolivia (and Ecuador)
1859 War with Ecuador
1879–83 War of the Pacific with Chile
1895 Piérola led revolt
1922–33 Peruvian-Colombian conflict over the area of Trapecio Amazonico
1941–42 Peruvian-Ecudorian border conflict. The Peruvian forces invaded the Province of El Oro.
For more historical information about the Peruvian military wars and campaigns, see:
- Villanueva, Victor. 100 años del Ejército Peruano: frustraciones y cambios (100 Years of Peruvian Army: Frustrations and Changes). Lima: Editorial Juan Mejía Baca, 1972. (FHL book 985 M2v.)
- Barra, Felipe de la. Asuntos militares (Military Affairs). Lima: Comisión Nacional del Sesquicentenario del Perú,197–. (FHL book 985 M29b.) The library has volumes 2–6.
Additional military histories are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under:
PERU - MILITARY HISTORY