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endeavored also to render the descriptions of important towns, harbors, monuments of art, natural curiosities and every other subject that would admit of it, as graphical as possible. It is to be regretted, however, that the materials for such descriptions are in most cases wanting.
From the manner in which the work has been prepared, it would have been impossible to have referred on each page to the different authors from whom the information was derived. The language of others is seldom used, each article being commonly the result of a comparison of all that was read upon
the subject. It is believed, however, that a much larger portion of the information has been derived from original sources than is common in works of this nature. Mexico was given almost entirely on the authority of Humboldt. In Buenos Ayresand Chili we have relied chiefly on the valuable documents furnished to our government by the commissioners, who were sent to those countries in 1817, to collect information.* Brazil is described_principally from Mawe. Most of the countries of Europe have been given on the authority of the New Edinburgh Gazetteer, and the latest editions of Hassel and Cannabrich. In Asia we have derived considerable assistance from Murray's Historical account of discoveries in Asia, and the description of Hindoostan was principally taken from the interesting article in that work. The recent discoveries in Africa, particularly those of Belzoni in Egypt and Nubia, will be found noticed in their proper places. The regions within the Arctic circle have of late been rendered peculiarly interesting from the discoveries made by Capt. Parry in 1819, a particular notice of which is given under the head of Polar Regions. The account of our own country was principally the result of investigations made by the author during the last year in the preparation of arti
Note. Since the sheets containing South America were printed, the government of the United States has acknowledged the independence of Mexico, the republie of Columbia, Buenos Ayres, Chili and Peru.
cles for the third edition of Morse's Universal Gazet. teer. The documents consulted in those investigations are too numerous to be mentioned in this place. A catalogue of them is annexed to the preface of the Gazetteer.
The Statistical Tables and General Views at the close of the volume, it is believed, will be found an interesting addition to the work. They contain much valuable information in a narrow compass, and the comparison of the facts which they present will be a very profitable exercise for the student. The knowledge which we obtain from the comparison of such facts is of the most solid and substantial character. To facilitate the study of the tables Remarks and Questions are annexed. The Remarks are intended to explain every thing which needs explanation, and to point out the comparisons which will lead to the most interesting results. The questions are designed to show the manner in which the tables are to be studied; and they are generally so framed as not to require that the numbers should be committed to memory. It has been commonly supposed that the study of statistics must necessarily be dry, but if it is conducted in the manner which is here pointed out, it is believed that it will prove as interesting as it is profitable.
It was originally the intention of the Author to have inserted a System of Ancient Geography in this volume, but upon more mature consideration he has concluded to reserve it for publication in a separate form.
The Atlas which accompanies this work, except the part relating to the United States, is principally a reprint of the latest edition of Arrowsmith.
Boston, Sept. 1822.
RISE AND PROGRESS OF GEOGRAPHY.
GEOGRAPHY is a term, * derived from the Greek language,
and literally signifies a description of the earth. It treats of the nature, figure, and magnitude of the earth; the situation, exteot, and appearance of different parts of its surface; its productions and inbabitants.
The time when attention was first paid to the pleasing and useful study of geography, is unknown. It seems to be the general opinion, that the Greeks, who were the first cultivators of this science in Europe, received it either from the Egyptians or Babylonians; but it cannot be determined to which of these two nations belongs the honor of having invented it.
Geography was very imperfect in its beginning, and has advanced slowly towards its present degree of perfection. The true tigure of the earth was unknown to its first inhabitants, and the earliest opinion seems to have been that, which would most naturally result from the first information given by the senses. It was considered as a large circular plane; and the heavens, in which the sun, moon, and stars appear daily to move from east to west, were supposed not to be elevated to a very great height above it, and to have been created solely for its use and ornament. It is not known who first rejected this erroneous hypothesis, and shewed that the figure of the earth is spherical; but it seems to have been done at a time of remote antiquity.
It appears that the situation of places was first determined according to climates; and that geographers were then guided, in tixing on the climates, by the form and colour of certain animals, which were to be found in different countries. The appearance of Negroes, or what they called Ethiopians, and of the larger sized animals, as the rhinoceros and elephant, suggested to them the northern and southern limits of the torrid zone. A different and more scientific method was used by the Egyptians and Babylonians, who determined the situation of places, or their distance from the equator, by observing the length of their longest and shortest days. And these observations were made with a species of sun-dial, having a stilus or gnomon, erected perpendicularly upon a horizontal plane, by wbich the length of the shadow of the goomon, in proportion to its height, might be measured.
It may be conjectured that travelling, soon after it began to be much practised in the world, gave rise to a kind of geography.
* l'ewrpapie, from yñ the earth, and ypáow to describe.
Some, who had performed journies, made a rough sketch or description of their routes, for the information of others who might afterward wish to travel. The earliest specimen of this kind, of which we have an account, is that of Sesostris, an Egyptian king and conqueror, who, as Eustathius relates," having traversed great part of the earth, recorded his march in maps, and gave copies of his maps not only to the Egyptians, but to the Scythians, to their great astonishment." Some have imagined that the Jews made a map of the Holy Land, when they gave the different portions to the nine tribes at Shiloh ; for Joshua tells us, that they were sent to walk through the land, and that they described it in seven parts in a book.
Homer was first distinguished among the Greeks for his knowledge of the different nations of the earth, and the countries they inhabited. He has described so many places, and with such a deaccuracy, that Strabo considered him as first
the geographers of ancient times.
A taste for the sciences led Thales, the father of Grecian philosophy, into Egypt, where he lived with the priests. On his return, he taught his countrymen that the earth is globular, and may be divided into five zones, by means of five parallel circles, viz. the equator, the two tropics, and the two polar circles; and that the equator is cut obliquely by the ecliptic, and perpendicularly by the meridian. Thus he made them acquainted with the principal circles of the sphere.* He also taught them, that the year consisted of 365 days, which he learned from the Egyptians.
ANAXIMANDER, a disciple of Thalės, was the author of the first Grecian map on record, which is mentioned by Strabo. The knowledge of the earth was indeed very limited at that time, as it scarcely extended beyond the temperate zone, and did not even comprise the whole of that. The extent of the representation of the world from east to west was twice as great as from south to north ; hence the reason, why distances on the earth in the former direction were denominated longitude ; and those in the latter, latitude. Maps were afterwards multiplied.
ERATOSTHENES was the first who introduced a regular parallel of latitude. He began it at the straits of Gibraltar; continued it through the island of Rhodes and the bay of Issus ; and extended it to the mountains of India. In drawing this parallel he was regulated by observing where the longest day was 14 hours, which was afterwards found by Hipparchus to be the latitude of 36 degrees.
Eratosthenes soon aster attempted not only to draw other pagallels of latitude, but also to trace a meridian at right angles to these, passing through Rhodes and Alexandria down to Syene and Meroe; and, as the progress he thus made naturally tended to enlarge his ideas, he at last, attempted the much more difficult operation of determining the circumference of the globe, by an actual measurement of an arc of one of its great circles. He knew that the sun,
See Explanation of Terms.
at the summer solstice, was vertical to the inhabitants of Syene, a town on the confines of Ethiopia, under the tropic of Cancer, where they had a well sunk for the purpose of ascertaining the time of the solstice, which would be on the day when the rays of the sun fell perpendicularly on the bottom of the well. He observed by the shadow of a wire set perpendicularly in a hemispherical bason, how far the sun was distant from the zenith of Alexandria at the noon of the same day; and found that distance to be one fiftieth part of a great circle in the heavens. Then Syene and Alexandria being supposed to be under the same meridian, he concluded the distance between them to be the fiftieth part of a great circle upon the earth; and this distance being by measure 5000 stadia, he coneluded the circumference of the earth to be 250,000 stadia.
The map of Eratosthenes appears to have contained little more than the states of Greece, and the dominions of the successors of Alexander, digested from the surveys that had been made.
TIMOCHARIS and ARISTILLUS, who flourished about 300 years before the Christian era, seem to have been the first who attempted to fix the longitudes and latitudes of the fixed stars, by considering their situation with respect to the equator.* One of their observations gave rise to the discovery of the precession of the equinoxes, which was made by HIPPARCHUS about 150
afterward; and he made use of their method in order to delineate the parallels of latitude and the meridians on the surface of the earth ; thus laying the first solid foundation of the science of geography, as we have it at the present time, and uniting it more closely to astronomy.
Although latitudes and longitudes were thus introduced by Hipparchus, it does not appear that any subsequent writers on the subject attended to them before the time of Ptolemy. At the begining of the second Punic war, according to Polybius, when Hannibal was preparing for his expedition against Rome, by crossing from Africa into Spain, and so through Gaul into Italy, the Romans measured or surveyed all these places with the greatest care, Julius Caesar caused a general survey to be made of the whole Roman empire, by a decree of the senate. Three surveyors, who were said to have been very wise men and accomplished philosophers, were appointed to this business, and to each was assigned a different division of the empire. Zenodoxus completed his survey of the eastern part of the empire in 14 years, 5 months, and 9 days; Theodotus finished the northern part in 20 years, 8 months, and 10 days; and Polyclitus, the southern part in 25 years, 1 month, and 10 days. This survey was begun in the year 44, and finished in the year 19, before Christ.
STRABO and PTOLEMY were the most eminent of the ancient geographers. Strabo relates
very little more than he saw himself; he made a vast number of voyages to obtain the information that
* The longitudes and latitudes of the stars were referred to the equator both by Timocharis and Hipparchus; and never uniformly to the ecliptic, till after the precession of the equinoxes was fully established by Ptolemy,