|Ordered:||30 June 1852|
|Awarded:||23 October 1854|
|Builder:||William Pitcher, Northfleet, England|
|Laid down:||December 1854|
|Launched:||26 June 1855|
|Commissioned:||18 September 1855|
|Fate:||Sunk, 21 May 1879|
|Tons burthen:||854 77⁄94 tons bm|
|Beam:||32 ft (9.8 m)|
|Depth of hold:||18 ft (5.5 m)|
|Sail plan:||Full-rigged ship|
|Speed:||8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) (under steam)|
Construction of the ship was authorized on 30 June 1852 by President Manuel Montt and the Minister of War and Navy José Francisco Gana. Chilean naval officer Robert Winthrop Simpson and shipbuilder William Pitcher of Northfleet, England, signed a contract for her construction, at a total cost of £23,000, on 23 October 1854.
Her hull was of wood, and coppered. She was 210 ft (64 m) in length overall (excluding the bowsprit), with a beam of 32 ft (9.8 m) and a depth of 18 ft (5.5 m). Four coal-fired boilers powered two horizontal condensing steam engines rated at 200 indicated horsepower (150 kW), which gave the ship a speed of up to 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) under power. The single propeller could be decoupled and raised when under sail. The ship's complement was 200.
Her original armament of twenty 32-pounder guns was replaced in 1867-68 with twelve Armstrong rifled 40-pounders and four Whitworth smoothbore 40-pounders.
On 21 May 1879, during the War of the Pacific, Esmeralda engaged the Peruvian ironclad Huáscar in the Battle of Iquique. Despite the material superiority of the Peruvian ship the battle lasted for over three hours. The captain of Esmeralda, Arturo Prat was killed while leading an attempt to board the enemy vessel and Huáscar eventually sank Esmeralda.
Museum Corbeta Esmeralda
The museum corresponds on the representation of 1:1 scale of the major departments in Esmeralda.
- Campos Arizabalo, Pedro (2009). "La Gloriosa Esmeralda : Algunas Precisiones Históricas" [The Glorious Esmeralda: Some Historical Clarifications] (PDF). Revista de Marina (in Spanish and English). Chile (3): 287–299. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Corbeta Esmeralda (Armada de Chile)". bentos.cl (in Spanish). 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Corvette Esmeralda". rutaschile.com. 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "The "Esmeralda"". Chilean Navy. 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Corvette Esmeralda Museum" (PDF). Museo Corbeta Esmeralda. 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- Ablaza, Kendra (22 May 2011). "Corbeta Esmeralda Museum Opens In Iquique". The Santiago Times. Retrieved 23 July 2012.