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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.
Snil 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, te autiful timber for ship-building, valuable dye-woods, and pedicinal 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 abun. dant. In the mountains are found stags, bears, rabbits and moun. tain 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 enormons size and much dreaded for their conrage 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 built, on a spacious fertile plain, elevated more than 8,000 feet above the level of the sea, and contains about 30,000 inhabe 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 9,51.0 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° 23' 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 from 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 caused 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 affords an excellent harbor.
Canals.] Various plans have been proposed for connecting the two oceans by canals. The small river Chagre, which falls into the Caribhean 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 never been accurately asertained, but it is supposed would afford no obstacle to a canal for boats, thoitgh it would be vholly impossible to construct one for large vessels. 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 ncar to a small river which fails into the Pacific, that a small canal has been actually dug between them, by means of which, when the rains are abundant, cances loaded with cacao pass from scą 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 watering 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 Esequen. 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 sqnare miles, according to Hassel, is 511,324.
Divisions.) In 1804 there were five provinces, wbich are given in the following table, with the population according to the estimate of Depons : Provinces.
Chief Towns Venezuela, (including Varinas,) 500,000 Caraccas. Maracaibo,
100,000 Maracaibo. Cumana,
80,000 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 laod to the south of the island of Margarita. The Gulf of Paria, formed by the main land on the west, and the island of Trinidad on the east; iš 25 league long by 15 broad, and every where affords anchorage and protection for the largest vessels. It receives the waiers from several of the mouths of the Orinoco, and communicates with the ocean by two outlets, one at the N. W. point of the isiand of Trinidad, and the other at the S. W. point of the same island.
Face of the country.) The northern part of the country is mondtaipous, being occupied by the chain of Venezuela, a branch of the Andes which comes from New Granada, and afier proceeding for some distance in a northeasterly direction, at last turns to tre east, and runs along the coast, continually diminishing in height till it terminates on the gulf of Paria, opposite the island of Trinidad. The whole country south of the mountains consists of immense plains, which stretch out for hundreds of miles in length and width, comprehending nearly the whole country watered by the Orinoco and its branches. The district along the banks of the Orinoco in the lower part of its course, extending 200 leagues from its mouth, and in some places 30 leagues broad, is annually overflowed in the rainy season, and nothing is then discoverable but here and there a billock, and the tops of the tallest trees:
Lakes. / Lake Maracaibo in tlie N.W. is 200 miles long and 70 broad, and communicates with the gulf of Maracaibo through a narrow strait, which is well defended by strong forts. It is easily navigated by vessels of the greatest burden. A large lake, called lake Parinia, is frequently laid down on the maps a little to the east of the sources of the Orinoco,but its dimensions and even its existence have never been ascertained.
Rivers. The numerous small rivers which rise on the northern declivity of the chain of Venezuela fall directly into the Caribbean sea, and are generally navigable only for a few miles. All the rivers which rise on the southern declivity of the same chain are tributaries of the Orinoco, except the Guarapiche, which falls into the gulf of Paria.
The Orinoco, the great river of this country, has already been described. Its principal tributaries are 1. the Curoni, a large river from the south, the navigation of which is obstructed by falls one league from its mouth; 2. the Apura, which rises on the borders of New Granada, to the south of Lake Maracaibo, and after pursuing an easterly course for 170 leagues, during which it receives from the north numerous navigable and wide spreading branches, discharges itself impetuously into the Orinoco through many mouths ; 3. the Meta, which rises in New Granada, on the eastern declivity of the mountains, not far from Santa Fe de Bogola, and flowing N. E. joins the Orinoco 30 leagues below the cataracts of Atures.
Climate.] The towns on the coast, which enjoy a regular land and sea breeze, and those near and on the mountains have a milder climate than would be expected from their tropical situation. The temperature of the city of Caraccas is delightful
throughout the year. The rainy season lasts from April to No. vember, and during this period all the rivers are in a state of inundation, and the low plains become temporary lakes.
Soil and Productions.) No country in America can be compared with Caraccas in the fertility, of its soil, and the variety and richness of its productions. All sorts of colonial produce are raised here in greater abundance than in any of the West Indies, and of a far superior quality. The cacao of Caraccas brings a price in commerce twice as great as that of the Antilles; tbe indigo is inferior to none but that of Guatimala; the tobacco is said to be worth as inuch again as the best which Virginia or Maryland affords; the coffee would rival that of Mocha if the same care were used in its preparation. Besides these articles, cotton and the sugar cane are successsully cultivated; the forests yield dyewoods, gums, rosins, medicinal plants, and beautiful timber for ihe cabinet maker and shipwright. The plains to the south of the mountains are covered with immense herds of mules, oxen and horses. The pearl fishery was formerly carried on in the siraits between the island of Margarita and the main, but it is now abandoned, the bank having been exhausted.
Chief Towns.] Caraccas, the capital, is situated among the mountains near the northern coast, in a valley elevated 2,900 feet above the level of the sea. . It is regularly laid out, and contains a university, and several churches, hospitals and monasteries, The population in 1802 was estimated at 42,000, of whom one fonrth were whites, and the rest negroes, In.lians and mulattoes. In consequence of its elevation the city enjoys a delightful temperature throughout the year, but this advantage is counterbalanced hy its exposure to earthquakes. one of which, in March 1812, destroyed many houses and buried 12,000 persons in the ruins.
La Guayra, ihe port of Caraccas, is on the coast, 7 miles north of the city, in an unhealthy situation, being surrounded by lofty mountaios which exclude the breeze. The harbor, though more frequented than any other on the coast, is open to the wind and continually agitated by the surge of the sea, which renders loading and uploading extremely inconvenient, and sometimes impossible. It is regarded merely as a shipping place for the capital, and is well defended with forts and batteries. The population is 6,000, of whom iwo thirds are in the garrison and the guaboats. The road to Caraccas passes over a lofty mountain, on the summit of which are two forts.
Porto Cabello, situated on a peninsula 30 leagues west of Caraccas, is the commercial emporium of a considerable district. Its harbor is one of the best in America, being deep, spacious, completely protected from the surge of the sea and from every wind, and well defended by several forts. The inhabitants, 7,500 in number, are principally employed in commerce and navigation, and have been heretofore extensively engaged in the contraband trade with Curacoa and Jamaica.
Valencia is delightfully situated in a beautiful and fertile plain bear the western bank of a lake of the same name, about st