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middle, and the bay of Panama in the north. On the coast of the Caribbean sea is the gulf of Darien, which is separated froin 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 afier passing the southern boundary the range divides into two distinct ridges, which run in a northerly direction, parallel with each other for 200 miles, inclosing between them a longitudinal valley 20 or 30 miles broad, and elevated 9,000 feet above the level of the sea. Between the 2d and 3d degrees of N. lat. the range again divides into three separate chains; the eastern is the chain of Venezuela ; the middle, the chain of Santa Martha, and the western, the proper Andes. 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 which 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 between 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 sinks so low in its progress northward, that its course 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 sun mits exceeding in height all the other mountains of the new world. The lofliest peak is the celebrated Chimborazo, which rises between 1° and 2° S. lat. to the height of 21,440 feet above the level of the sea, and for nearly -5,000 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. BonpJand. These enterprizing travellers attained the beight of 19,300 feet, the highest spot of carth on which man ever trod. They were prevented from advancing farther by a chasm 500 feet wide ; and at the height to which they had already attained, they encountered unusual hardships. The air was intensely cold and piercing, and owing to its extreme tenuity respiration was dithcult. The blood oozed from the eyes, the lips, and gums. One of the party fainted, and all of them felt extreme weakness.
Volcanoes.) Volcanoes are very numerous. Of these the most dreadful on account of the frequency and violence of its eruptions is Cotopaxi, which rises, at the distance of 10 miles S. E. of the
city of Quito, to the height of 18,898 feet ahove the level of the sea. It is the most beautiful of the colossal summits 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 bave risen nearly 3,000 feet above the brink of the crater, cities and towns have been overwhelmed, and the roarings of the volcano bave been heard at the distance of 600 miles. The explosion in January 1803 was preceded by the dreadful phenomenon of the sudden melting of the snow around the mountain. For 20 years before no smoke or vapor, that could be perceived. had issued from the crater; and in a single night the subterraneous fire became so active, that at day-break the external walls of the rope, 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 night, so long as the eruption lasted, the roar of the volcano was beard 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 those between the eastern and western branches flow north into the Caribbean sea.
The Magdalena is the great river of New Grapada. It rises near Popayan, between the parallels of 1° and 2° N. lat. and 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 Airato is a considerable river, which falls into the gulf of Darien, after a northerly course of 2 or 3 hundred 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. lot. forms part of the boundary between New Granada and Pero.
The principal rivers which fall into the Orinoco are the Meta, the Vichada, and the Guaviari, all of which rise on the east side of the chain of Venezuela, and pursue 'an easterly course for sereral hundred miles. "The Meta is 500 miles long and is pavigable for 370 miles. The principal tributaries of the Amazon are the Napo, the Putumayo or Ica, the Yapura and the Negro, all of which rise east of the Andes and pursue a contheasterly 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 low 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 un. 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 Dedicinal 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.
Aniinals. 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 condor 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 1801 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 bandsomely bnilt, 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 Pichincba, 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 city contains 7 churches, a university and numerous convents. The population is about 70,000 ; of which number the whites constitute one sixth part, the Indians another sixth, and the remainder is composed of mestizoe- and casts of different kinds.
Popayan is situated in the Andes under lat 2° 28' N. about 200 miles N. E. of Quito, on an extensive plain, elevated 5,905 feet above the level of the sea, and in the immediate vicinity of the great volcanoes of Purace and Sotora. It is the seat of the royal mint, the annual coinage of which is estimated at a million dollars.
The population is computed at 25,000, of whom one third part are negroes ; one sixth part, Indians; and the remainder whites, mestizoes and mulattoes.
The principal sea ports on the coast of the Caribbean sea are Carthagena and Porto Bello. Carthagena is in lat. 10° 30' N. on a sandy island, artificially connected at the west end with the main land. The harbor is spacious, defended froin every wind, with a sufficient depth of water, and good anchorage, but the entrance is very narrow. The climate is excessively hot and unhealthy, but the advantageous situation of the town has, notwithstanding, made it a place of extensive trade. Its wealth and importance has caus. ed it to be frequently pillaged by the English and French, and during the contest which is now carrying on between Spain and her colonies, it has frequently been taken and retaken by the contending parties. The population is estimated at 24,000. Porto Bello is on the north coast of the isthmus of Darien, in lon. 79° 26' W. It has an excellent harbor, but the situation of the town is unhealthy, being surrounded by mountains which prevent the free circulation of the air. The population is inconsiderable, and consists chiefly of negroes and mulattoes.
The principal ports on the Pacific are Panama and Guayaquil Panama is on the south side of the isthmus of Darien, 65 miles south of Porto Bello, at the bottom of the bay of Panama. It was formerly a place of great trade. Guayaquil is on the west bank of the river of the same name, about 20 miles from its mouth. The river is navigable to the town for vessels of any size, and af fords an excellent harbor.
Canals.] Various plans have been proposed for connecting the Iwo oceans by canals. The small river Chagre, which falls into the Caribbean sea a little west of Porto Bello, is navigable to Cruces, 5 leagues from Panama. The elevation of the country between Cruces and Panama has neyer been accurately asertained, but it is supposed would afford no obstacle to a canal for boats, thongh it would be sholly impossible to construct one for large vesseis. A branch of the Rio Atrato, which falls into the gulf of Darien, approaches within five or six leagues of the Pacific Ocean, and the intervening country is quite level and proper for a canal. Another branch of the Rio Atrato approaches so near to a small river which falls into the Pacific, that a small ca. nal has been actually dug between them, by means of which, when the rains are abundant, cances loalled with cacao pass from sca to sea.
Population and Religion.) The population has never been accurately ascertained, but is computed at 1,800,000. It is composed of Spaniards, Creoles, Indians, mestizoes and negroes. Of these the Indians are the most numerous. The religion is Roman Catholic, as in all the Spanish colonies.
Government.] New Granada, a few years since, was a Spanish colony under the dominion of a viceroy, whose residence was at Santa Fe de Bogota. In 1811, however, a Congress, assembled at Carthagena, declared the country independent. The royal troops afterwards succeeded in re-establishing the authority of the mother country; but the revolutionists have recently again thrown off the yoke, and this country is now united with Caraccas under the title of the Republic of Columbia. The independence of the new republic has never yet been acknowledged by any civilized. nation.
Natural Curiosity.) The Cataract of Tequendama, in the river Bogota, near Santa Fe, is a natural curiosity. This river, after wateriag the elevated plain on which that city stands, breaks through the mountains, and with iwo bounds rushes down a precipice to the astonishing depth of 570 feet. The column of vapor, which rises like a cloud from the shock, is seen from the walks around Santa Fe, 15 miles distant, reflecting the colors of the rainbow in ever varying beauty.
Boundaries and Extent.] Caraccas, including Spanish Guiana, is bounded N. by the Caribbean sea; N. E. by ihe Atlantic Ocean; E. by English Guiana ; S. by Portuguese Guiana, and W. by New Granada. It extends on the coast from the month of the Esequer. bo, in 6°40' N. lat. to Cape de la Vela in lat. 12° N. In the interior it extends as far south as the equator. The number of square miles, according to Hassel, is 511,324.
Divisions.] in 1804 there were five provinces, which are given in the following table, with the population according to the estimate of Depons : Provinces.
Population. Chief Townsa Venezuela, (including Varinas,) 500,000 Caraccas. Maracaibo,
100,000 Maracaibo. Cumana,
Cumana. Spanish Guiana,
34,000 St. Thomas. Margarita island,
728,000 Bays.] The Gulf of Maracaibo in the N.W. is inclosed between two peninsulas, and communicates with the Caribbean sea by a mouth 40 miles wide. The Gulf of Cariaco is formed by a long narrow peninsula which projects from the main land to the sooth of the island of Margarita. The Gulf of Paria, formed by the