Imágenes de página

Lains, and pursuing a direction a little north of east completely across the continent, Jischarges its waters under the equator by a muoth 180 m ies wide, after a course of more than 4,000 miles. The tide flows up 400 miles, and the river is navigable to the very fort of the Andes.

'Thr principal branches from the south are, 1. The Ucayale, which from its size and the length of its course is well entitled to be considered the main stream. it is formed by the junction of iwo large rivers, the Apurimac and the Beni, the last of which rises in the Andes near Lake Titicaca between 17o and 18° S. lat. and running towards the north is joined by the Apurimac, near latitude 10° S. The united stream, under the name of Ucayale, then continues a northerly course of nearly 1,000 miles, and joins the Amazon in 4° 25' S. lat. 2. The Madeira, is the principal tributary of the Amazon. It rises in the Andes in Buenos Ayres between 19° and 20° S. lat. and passes under various names into Brazil, where it is joined by numerous other rivers, and makes its way in a northeasterly direction to the Amazon, into which it falls after a course of more than 2,000 miles. 3. i'he Tocantins, which discharges itself into the Amazon near its mouth, after a northerly course of about 1500 miles. Its principal tributary, the Araguay, rises between the parallels of 18° and 19° S. lat. The other principal tributaries of the Amazon from the south are the Jutay, the Juruay, and the Puros, which join it between the Ucayale and the Madeira; and the Tapajos and Xingu, which join it between the Madeira and the Tocantins. The principal rivers which fall into the Amazon on its northern bank, beginning in the west, are the Napo, the Pulumnyo or Ica, the Japura and the Negro. The Negro is remarkable for sending off a branch towards the north, which under the name of Cassiquiari falls into the Orinoco, and thus uoites the Amazon with that mighty stream. All the rivers which rise on the eastern declivity of the Andes between the parallels ot' 2° N. lat. and 20° S. lat. are tributaries of the Amazon. Not a single brook rises in all this distance which does not contribute to swell its waters. The valley of the Amazon is thus more than 1500 miles long from north to south; from east 10 west it is more than 2,000, and its area may be estimated at 3,000,000 square miles, comprehending nearly half of South America.

The Plata is a very broad stream, formed hy the Uruguay and the Parana, which unite near lat. 34o S. It is more properly the mouth or estuary of these two rivers, as it is no where less than 30 miles broad, and at its entrance into the ocean between the parallels of 35° and 36°, expands to the width of 150 miles.' The Uruguay, the eastern branch of the Piata, rises on the western declivity of the Andes of Brazil, and pursuos a southwesterly course of more than 1,000 miles, for the last 200 of which it is navigable. The Parana, or western branch of the Plata, is formed by the union of several small streams which rise on the western declivity of the Andes of Brazil, between 18° and 21° S. lat. It runs on the whole in a southwesterly direction for about 1000 miles, till it re

ceives the Paraguay from the north, when it turns to the south,.' and after a further course of 500 miles joins the Uruguay. The Paraguay is formed by several streams which rise between the parallels of 130 and 14° S. lat. on the southern declivity of the Andes of Chiquitos, near the head waters of the Tapajos, the Xingu, the Tocantins and other tributaries of the Amazon. It runs a southerly course through nearly 14 degrees of latitude, and joins the Parana under the parallel of 27°: The Pilcomayo and the Vermejo,' the principal western branches of the Paraguay, both rise in the Andes between 20° and 23° S. lat. and pursue a southeasterly course of more than 1,000 miles. The Salado, the principal western branch of the Parana, rises in a branch of the Aodes' under 24° S. lat. and after a southeasterly course of 800 miles joins the Parana at Santa Fe. The Saladillo is a considerable stream which rises in the interior of Buenos Ayres, and joins the La Plata about 50 miles from its mouth, afier a southeasterly course of several hundred miles. The valley of the Plata thus includes the extensive country bounded west by the Andes of Chili, north by the Andes of Chiquitos, and east by the Andes of Brazil, embracing more than two thirds of Buenos Ayres and the southern part of Brazil, and covering an area of about 1,200,000

square miles.


Situation and Extent.] New Granada is bounded N. by the Caribbean sea ; E. by Caraccas, Spanish Guiana and Brazil ; S. by Peru; W. by the Pacific ocean, and N. W. by Guatımala, in : North America, with which it is connected by the isthmus of Darien. It extends on the coast of the Pacific from lat. 9° N. to 3° 25' S. and on the coast of the Caribbean sea from 72° 30' to. 82° 30' W. lop. The area is about ,1400,000 square miles.

Divisions.] New Granada is divided into 24 provinces, which are under the jurisdiction of three audiences, as follows : I. Audience of Panama.

12. Novita. 1. Veragua.

13. Rapasa. 2. Panama.

14. Popayan. 3. Darien.

111. Audiente of Quito II. Audience of Santa Fe.

15. Barbacoa. 4. Choco.

16. Pastos. 5. Zinu.

17. Atacames. 6. Cartbagena.

18. Quito 7. Santa Martha.

19. Riobamba. 8. Merida.

20. Guayaquil. 9. San Juan de los Llanos. 21. Macas. 10. Santa Fe.

22. Cuenca. 11. Antioquia.

23. Loja.

24. Jaen de Bracamoros Bays.] The principal bays on the coast of the Pacific ocean are the gulf of Guayaquil in the south, the bay of Choco in the

middle, and the bay of Panama in the north. On the coast of the Caribbean sea is the gulf oi Darien, which is separated from the bay of Panama by the isthmus of Darien.

Mountains.] The Andes come from Peru and proceed along the coast of the Pacific ocean, through the whole extent of this country, from south to north Soon after passing the southern boundary the range divides into two distinct ridges, which run in a northerly direction, parallel with each other for 200 miles, inelosing between them a longitudinal valley 20 or 30 miles broad, and elevated 9,000 feet above the level of the sea. Betiveen the 20 and 3d degrees of N. lat. the range again divides into three separate cbains; the eastern is the chain of Venezuela ; the middle, the chain of Santa Martha, and the western, the proper Aniles. The chain of Venezuela runs in a northeasterly direction towards the southern extremity of the lake of Maracaybo; where it divides into two branches, one of av bich.proceeds on the west side of the lake, and terminates near Cape de la Vela on the Caribbean sea ; the other continues a northeasterly direction and winds along the whole northern coast of Caraccas. The chain of Santa Martha is the loftiest of the three. It forms the dividing ridge beiween the waters of the Rio Magdalena and those of the Rio Cauca, and often rises beyond the limits of perpetual snow. The western chain separates the waters of the Rio Cauca from those of the Pacific ocean. Its highest elevation is scarcely 5,000 feet, and it .sioks so low in its progress porthward, that its bourse can scarcely be traced into the isthmus of Darien.

The loftiest summits of the Andes are immediately.south of the equator, in the two ridges in the province of Quito. These ridges rise above the valley included between them like two walls, and are beset with colossal summits exceeding in height all the other mountains of the new world. The loftiest peak is the celebrated Chimborazo, which rises between 1° and 20 S. lat. to the height of 21,440 feet above the level of the sea, and for nearly 15,000 feet from its top is covered with perpetual snow. This vast mountain presents a most magnificent spectacle from the shores of the Pacific ocean, after the long rains of winter, when the air is remarkably transparent. Its enormous circular summit is then seen projected upon the deep azure blue of the equatorial sky, towering with commanding majesty over the whole chain of the Andes. In 1797 it was ascended by Humboldt and M. Bonpland. These enterprizing travellers attained the height of 19,300 feet, the highest spot of earth on which man erer trod. They were prevented from advancing farther by a chasm 500 feet wide ; and at the height to which they had already attained, thev encountered unusual hardships. The air was intensely cold and piercing, and owing to its extreme tenuity respiration was dillicult. The blood oozed from the eyes, the lips, and gums. One of the party fainted, and all of them selt extreme weakness.

Volcanoes.) Volcanoes are very numerous. Of these the most dreadful on account of the frequency and violence of its eruptions is Colopaxi, which rises, at the distance of 40 miles S. E. of the


city of Quito, to the height of 18,898 feet ahove the level of the

It is the most beautiful of the colossal summils of the Andes, being a perfect cone, covered with an enormous layer of snow, and shining at sunset with dazzling splendor. The most remarkable eruptions took place in the years 1698, 1738, 1742, 1744, 1766, 1768 and in 1803. In some of these the flames have risen nearly 3,000 feet above the brink of the crater, cities and towns have been overwhelmed, and the roarings of the volcano have been heard at the distance of 600 miles. The explosion in January 1803 was preceded by the dreadful phenomenon of the suddeo melting of the snow around the mountain. For 20 years before no smoke or vapor, that could he perceived, bad issued from the crater; and in a single night the subterraneous fire became so active, that at day-break ihe external walls of the cone, heated by the action of the flames, appeared naked The melted snow desended in an impetuous torrent on the neighboring plains, sweeping down every obstacle, and involving in destruction all that was exposed to its fury. Humboldt, who was at this time at the port of Guayaquil, 150 miles distant, mentions, that day and nigbi, so long as the eruption lasted, the roar of the volcano was heard like the continued discharge of cannon.

Rivers.] All the rivers which rise east of the Andes are tributaries of the Orinoco and the Amazon; those which rise west of the Andes fall into the Pacific Ocean; and thuse between the eastern and western branches flow north into the Caribbean sea.

The Magdalena is the great river of New Granada. It rises pear Popayan, between the parallels of 1° and 2° N. lat. add pursuing a northerly course between the eastern and middle branches, of the Andes, falls into the Caribbean sea, after a course of 1,000 miles, for 600 of which it is navigable. . The Cauca rises, also near Popayan, and pursuing a northerly course of about 500 miles between the middle and western branches of the Andes, falls into the Magdalena. The Alrato is a considerable river, which falls into the guif of Darien, atter a northerly course of 2 or 3 bundred miles. The Guayaquil, which falls into the gulf of the same name, is navigable for 120 miles. The Tumbez, a small river which falls into the gulf of Guayaquil in 3° 25' S. lat. forms part of the boundary between New Granada and Pern.

The principal rivers which fall into the Orinoco are the Meta, the Vichaug, and the Guaviari, all of which rise on the east side of the chain of Venezuela, and pursue an easterly course for sev. eral hundred miles. The Meta is 500 miles long and is navigable for 370 miles. The principal tributaries of the Amazon are the Napo, the Putumayo or Ico, the Yapura and ihe Negro, all of wbich rise east of the Andes and pursue a southeasterly course.

Face of the country. The country inclosed between the ridges , of the Andes consists of elevated plains, as we have already mentioned. On the east of the Andes there are lo's plains extend. ing on a dead level for hundreds of miles towards the Orinoco


and the Amazon, and watered by the tributaries of those rivers. On the coasts the land is low, in some places marshy, and in others sandy.

Climate.] The climate varies according to the elevation. On the coasts and in the low country it is excessively hot and healthy. The elevated plains between the double ridge of the Andes, although directly under the equator, in the centre of the torrid zone, enjoy a temperate and steady climate ; and it is chiefly in these delightful spots that the European colonists have fixed their abode.

Soil and Productions.] The soil of this country is fertile in all the richest productions of the temperate and torrid zones. The low plains produce in abundance sugar cane, coffee, cacao, cotton, tobacco, beautiful timber for ship-building, valuable dye-woods, and medicinal plants of various kinds. Flowers and fruits are also found in inexhaustible variety. Maize, wheat, and all the European plants and vegetables are cultivated by the Spaniards on the high plains, as successfully as in New Spain.

Animals.] The animals of this country are various and abundant. In the mountains are found stags, bears, rabbits and mountain cats; while the sultry plains and forests produce tigers or jaguars, which are extremely fierce; lions, though of a small size, besides leopards, tiger-cats, monkeys, &c. There are also scorpions, alligators, vipers, and snakes, some of which are of enormous size and much dreaded for their courage and agility, The condar is the largest bird, and is frequently known to sieze and fly away with lambs. Cattle have multiplied to such an extent in the low snd extensive plains as to be troublesome from their numbers

Minerals. This kingdom is extremely rich in minerals, particularly in gold, the amount of which for the year 1301 was £507,000. The silver procured here is also remarkably pure. Platina, that valuable mineral, was for a long time thought to be peculiar to this country. Lead and copper are also found, though little sought after: emeralds and other precious stones are sent to Europe, and salt is obtained in great quantity.

Chief towns.] Santa Fe de Bogota, the capital, is on the small river Bogota, a tributary of the Magdalena. It is handsomely built, on a spacious fertile plain, elevated more than 8,000 feet above the level of the sea, and contains about 30,000 inhab., itants.

Quito is situated in the Andes, almost under the equator, at the distance of about 100 miles from the coast of the Pacific, Ocean It is built on the side of the volcanic mountain of Pichincha, at an elevation of 9,510 feet above the level of the sea. Owing to the elevation, the temperature is here mild and delightful throughout the year; but there are frequently dreadful tempests of thunder and lightning, and more dreadful earthquakes. In 1797 an earthquake suddenly changed the face of the whole district in which the city is situated, and in the space of a second, forty thousand persons were burled into eternity. The ciiy contains 7 churches,

« AnteriorContinuar »