« AnteriorContinuar »
leagues south of Porto Cabello. All the produce from the intes rior, which is shipped at Porto Cabello, passes through this town. The population is 8,000.
Maracaibo is on the western bank of the lake of the same name, ncar its ouiet. The harbor has a bar at its mouth, over which vessels drawing more than 12 feet of waier cannot pass. The population is 25,000, more than half of whom are whites.
Cimana is situated near the mouth of the gulf of Cariaco, on an arid and sandy plain, about a mile from the sea. The houses are low and lightly built on account of the fregnent earthquakes, one of which, in 1797, destroyer four fifths of ihe city. The inhabitants, 18,000 in number, are principally engaged in commerce, navigation and the fisheries. Barcelona, 10 leagues west of Cumana, on the small river Neveri, abont 3 miles from its mouth, is surrounded by extensive plains which abound with horned cattle. The population is 14.000, half of whom are whites.
St. Thomas, the chief town in Spanish Guiana, and capital of the new republic of Columbia, is regularly laid out on the south bank of the Orinoco, 90 leagues from its mouth, and contains 7,000 inhabitants.
Inland Navigation.) By means of the Orinoco and its tributary streams, all the country south of the mountains enjoys an easy communication with the sea. This river forms a natural channel for the conveyance to the ocean, of the cattle and produce raised on the banks of the Apura and its wide spreading branches. By means of the Meta also, a navigable communication is opened into New Granada, almost to the very foot of the Andes. The flour, and other productions of an extensive district near Santa Fe de Bogota, are conveyed to market by the Orinoco in preference to the Magdalena. The navigation of the Orinoco is somewhat difficult on account of the islands and rocks with which it abounds, but there is no insurmountable obstacle till you arrive at the cataracts of Atures, 30 leagues above the mouth of the Meta.
Population. The population in 1901, according to the estimate of Depons, was 728,000, of whom about 136,000 were whites, 218,000 negro slaves, 291,000 freed men, and the remainder Indians. In 1822 the whole population may be estimated at more than 1,000,000, without including the tribes of independent Indians.
Indians.] Mosť of the Indian tribes in this country have been brought into subjection to the Spaniards, and have become partially civilized by the labors of the Catholic missionaries. They are allowed to live in villages by themselves, and to be governed by magistrates of their own choice. The principal Indians remaining unsubdued are the Goahiros, who occupy a tract along the coast to the west of the Gulf of Maracaibo, exteriding for more than 30 leagues. They are about 30,000 in number, and often make inroads into the neighboring settlements. They trade with the English of Jamaica, from whom they receive arms and clothing The Guaraunos. who inhabit the islands formed by the mouths of the Orinoco, are about 8,000 in number. Their inde
pendence is secured by the nature of their country, which during one part of he jaar is inundated, and in the other so infested with insects as to be uninbabitable to all except the natives. The Caribs occupy the coast of spanish Guiana, beineen the mouths of the Essequebo and the Orinoco. They have been troublesome neighbors to the Spaniards, but it is supposed might be subdued without much difficulty. Besides these tribes, all the country on the Orinoco above the cataracts of Alures, and indeed all the immerise tract between the sources of the Orinoco and those of the Amazon, are inhabited by nations of savages, who have hitherto resisted all the efforts of the Spaniards 10 civilize or subdue them.
Religion. The religion is Roman Catholic, and the number of priests was formerly excessively numerous, but of late years military distinctions, and the honors and emoluments of civil life have drawn away great numbers of the young men from the clerical office. The donation of lands and other property to convents and churches, was formerly carried to such an extent as very seriously to affect the prosperity of the country, and the government was obliged to interfere and prohibit it.
Government.] Previous to the late revolution Caraccas was a colony of Spain, and the government was entrusted to a captaingeneral, who resided at Caraccam. In 1811 the inhabitants revolted from the Spanish yoke, and declared themselves independent The mother country, however, afterwards succeeded in estabJishing her authority, but the revolutionists bave recently again expelled the royal troops, and Caraccas is now united with New Granada under one government, and the whole country is styled the Republic of Columbia. Its independence, however, has not yet been acknowledged by any civilized nation.
Education. Under the old government the system of educa. tion was wretched in the extreme. Scarcely, any provision was made for the establishment of schools, and those which were established were conducted on the narrowest principles. So late as the year 1803 there was no printing press in the whole country. Within a few years new modes of thinking and more liberal prin. ciples have prevailed. Works in foreign languages, particularly the French and English, are now imported and read with great avidity.
Commerce 1 The principal exports are cacao, indigo, tobacco, coffee and cattle. The imports are manufactured goods of almost every description. The contraband trade is carried on to such an extent by the foreign colonies in the neighborhood, that it is impossible, from the custom-house returns, to form any estimate of The real value of the imports or exports. The Duich in Curacoa have been engaged in this trade for nearly two centuries, and the English have recently prosecuted it very extensively from Trinidad,Jamaica, and Guiana ; and such are the facilities afforded by the vicinity of these colonies, by the long extent of coast, and by the navigation of the Orinoco, that the government find it wholly impossible to suppress it.
Island.) The island of Margarita lies off the northern coast, in lat. 11° N. and lon. 64o W. and is separated from the continent b} a strait eight leagues wide. It contains 350 square miles. The soil is sandy and unfit for cultivation. The population is estimate ed at 4,000, of which number 5,500 are whites, 2,000 Indians, and 6,500 slaves and free people of color. Assumption, the capi tal, stands near the centre of the island. The principal port is Pampatar, on the S. E. side of the island, and it is here at all the fortifications are erected, which are deemed necessary for the defence of the island.
Situation and Boundaries.) Guiana is a large tract of country, extending on the coast from the mouths of the Orinoco to the mouth of the Amazon, a distance of 1,100 miles. It is bounded N. by Caraccas, from which it is separated by the river Orinoco; E. by the Atlantic Ocean ; S. by Brazil, from which it is separated by the rivers Amazon and Negro; and W. by New Granada, from which it is separated by the rivers Cassiquiari and Orinoco.
As the Negro and Orinoco unite by means of the Cassiquiari, this whole tract is a real island, entirely separated by water from the rest of the continent." .:
Face of the country.] The coast of Guiana is rendered almost inaccessible by dangerous banks, rocks, quicksands and bogs, with prodigious bushes so closely internoven as to be impenetrable. Along the sea shore, and for a considerable way into the interior, the country presents an extensive and uniform plain, of unequalled fertility. It is covered with thick forests, even to the water's edge, and the coast is so low and dat, that nothing is seen at first but the trees, which appear to be growing out of ibe water As you advance into the interior, towards the sources of the rivers, the country rises into mountains, covered with immense forests, and interspersed with rich and fertile vallies.'
Climate The climate is milder than that of any tropical country inhabited hy Europeans. Though situated in the torrid zone, the heats are tempered by cooling breezes, which regulardy blow from the sea, from 10 o'clock in the morning to six in the evening. The nights are damp and foxgy. The year is divided into two dry and two wet seasons. The long rainy season 'commences about the middle of April, and continues till the first of August, and is succeeded by the long dry season, which lasts till the middle of November. The second wet season begins about the middle of November, and continues till the end of January; the short dry season then commences, and continues till the middle of April; and thus is completed the revolution of the year. The range of the thermometer on the sea coast, during the dry season, which is reckoned the hottest, is from 84o to 90°, but in general
it is confined between 73 and 84. In the interior it seldom rises above 80, and during the night frequently falls as low as 50 or 60.
Rivers.] All the rivers west of the mountains are tributaries of the Orinoco and the Amazon. They traverse ap uncultivated couutry, the greater part of which has never yet heen explored. The principal rivers which fall directly into the Atlantic, beginning in the north, are the Essequebo, the Demerara, the Berbice, the Coruntine, the Surinam, the Maroni, or Marawina, the Oyapok and the Aruary All these rise in the mountains, and are generally navigable for some distance into the interior.
Soil and Productions. The soil is surprisingly fertile, and overspread with the most luxuriant vegetation, abounding in the finest woods, in all the tropical fruits, and in an infinite variety of both rare and useful plants. The low country, during the rainy season, owing to its extreme flatness, is usually covered with water to the depth of two feet, which so enriches the soil, that in some places 30 crops of rice may be raised in succession, while in the West India islands the richest lands never yield more than two successive crops, Cultivation is as yet confined to the immediate vicinity of the coast, and the banks of the navigable rivers which fall directly into the Atlantic, all of which are lined with plantations of coffee, sugar, cacao, cotton and indigo.
Animals. Guiana abounds in a variety of wild animals and beasts of prey. Of the latter, the most powerful and ferocious is the jaguar, which grows to a large size, and frequently attacks borses and cows. Many of the domestic animals of Europe, such as the ox, the hog, the sheep, &c. have been imported from the old continent, but they do not appear to thrive. The oxen and sheep have degenerated in size and quality. Owing to the heat and moisture of the climate, insects and reptiles are produced in great abundance, and are excessively troublesome to the inhabitants.
Divisions. The coast of Guiana is divided between five different European nations, as follows:
1. Spanish Guiana, extending from the mouths of the Orinoco to the mouth of the Essequebo. It forms one of the provinces of the captain-generalship of Caraccas.
2. English Guiana, extending from the Essequebo to the Cor. antine, and embracing the three districts of Essequebo, Dernerara and Berbice, each of which extends along the banks of the river of the same name.
3. Dutch Guiana or Surinam, extending from the Corantine to the Marawina. It formeriy extended west to the Essequebo, but during the late war in Europe, the British took possession of all that is now included in English Guiana, and this part was ceded io them by the treaty of Paris in 1814.
4. French Guiana, which formerly extended from the Marawina to the Aruary, but at the Congress of Vienna, in 1815, the Oyapok was made the boundary.
5. Portuguese Guiana, which occupies the rest of the coast from Oyapok to the Amazon.
The whole western part of the country, extending as far south as the equator, is considered as belonging to Spanish Guiana. The boundaries, however, between the different divisions, in the interior, are not accurately determined, and there is no necessity for determining them at present, because the white settlements do not extend far from the sea coast, the interior being occupied by warlike Indians.
Chief Towns.] Georgetown, formerly Stabroek, the capital of the district of Demerara, in English Guiana, is on the east bank of Demerara river, about a mile froin its mouth. The town is built on a flat strand, very little elevated above the level of the water. The houses are of wood, seldom above two stories high, and stand on low brick foundations. The population is estimated at 8,500, of which number 1,500 are whites, 2,000 free people of color, and 5,000 negroes.
New Ainsterdam, the capital of the district of Berbice, in Eng. lish Guiana, is on the river Berbice, about a mile from its mouth, at the point where it is joined by the river Canje. The town is intersected by canals, which are filled and emptied at every tide, by which means all the filth is carried away before it has time to stagnate a d render the air unhealthy.
Paramaribo, the capital of Surinam or Dutch Guiana, is on Surinam river about 18 miles from its mouth. It is handsomely laid out, all the streets being perfectly straight, and lined with orange, tamarind and lemon trees. The trade of the town is very Aourishing. The population is estimated at 20,000, of whom 2,000 are Dutchmen, 3,000 Jews, 4,000 free people of color and 11,000 slaves.
Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana, is on the north point of an island of the same name, at the mouth of the river Cayenne, It has a large and convenient port defended by a castle, and contains 1500 inhabitants.
Population.) Spanish Guiana contains 34.000 inhabitants, of whom 20,000 are civilized Indians. Portuguese Guiana is considered as a part of Brazil. The population of the three remaining divisions is given in the following table.
Whites. Free blacks. Slaves. Total. English Guiana, 4.160 5,380 102,201 111,741 Dutch Guiana,
5,000 5,000 51,937 62,000 French Guiana,
10,748 12,449 Inilians.] The principal tribes of Indians in the neighborhood of the colonists are, the Caribs, who inhabit the coast hetween the Esseqyebo and the Orinoco; the Worrows, who live al-o on the coast, between the Demerara and the Suriņam; the Arrowanks, who live behind the Worrows at the distance of 20 or 30 leagues from the sea; and the Accawarus, who inhabit the country around the sources of the Essequebo, the Demerara and the Berbice. Besides these, there are numerous tribes fariher in the interior, who are but little known.
Runaway negroes. ? From the earliest times the Dutch colonies have been exposed to depredations from runaway ne.