Imágenes de página

access for vessels of any size, and as it opens towards the west, is protected from the northerly and southerly winds. It is visited chiefly for the metals furnished by the mines in the vicinity, the surrounding country being barren. 2. Coquimbo or La Seruna, in lat. 29o 54, on the south bank of the river Coquimbo, within half a league of the coast. Its harbor is a fine capacious bay, easy of access, and protected from all winds, as well as from the swell of the sea.

It is the chief port of the mining country, and the richest of the copper mines are in its vicinity. 3. The port of Valdivia, in lat. 39° 50', is one of the safest, strongest, and most capacious harbors on the western coast of America; but there is no cultivated territory, or civilized population in its vicinity to make it of much importance at present. The city of Valdivia is nine miles from the coast, on the south bank of a river of the same name.

Roads.] The high ridges, which everywhere separate the vallies of Chili from each other, are passable only for mules. At present there are but three carriage roads in the whole country; two of these run from Santiago to Valparaiso, and the third from Santiago to Conception. Except these there is not another road, on which a carriage can travel with safety, out of the particular valley to which it belongs. The commerce with the provinces of Buenos Ayres is carried on through the passes of the Andes. The pass most frequented is that of Putaendo or Uspallata, on the road between Santiago and Mendoza. The distance between these two cities is 300 miles, and common carriers usually perform the journey in seven or eight days. The pass of Putaendo, and most of the others, are utterly impracticable for mules in the winter, but during that season they are continually passed on foot. Population.] According to a census, taken about the year

1812, the population is 1,200,000, exclusive of independent tribes of

With a trifling exception, the whole of this population is situated in the country north of the river Biobio ; and if from this portion of Chili, is deducted all that dry, unproductive district to the north of the river Juncal, which, except a few vicuna hunters, has not an inhabitant upon it, it will appear that this population is concentrated between the rivers Juncal and Biobio, on a territory of about 100,000 square miles, making 12 to a square mile. What portion of the 1,200,000 are Indians, cannot be exactly ascertained. In almost every valley there is a town of submissive Indians, and there are besides about 50,000 held in slavery. Mestizoes are numerous in the vicinity of all the Indian towns, and the Huasos or peasantry are all of this mixed class. There are very few negroes, not more than 1,000 in all the country

Government.] Chili was formerly a Spanish colony, under the dominion of a viceroy. In 1810, during the troubles in Spain, the people took the government into their own hands; but in 1814 the Spanish troops from Peru invaded the country, and re-estabished the royal authorily. lp 1817, however, the revolutionists,

added by an army from Buenos Ayres under General San Martin, defeated the royal troops, and restored the independence of the country. The declaration of independence is dated February 12th, 1818. The supreme authority, at present, is in the hands of a director, who is absolute. It is expected, however, that a congress will soon be called, and a government organized on republican principles.

Religion and Education.) The Roman Catholic is the established religion, and the church is very rich. There are said to be about 10,000 monks and nuns in Chili; and the religious institutions with which they are connected, hold nearly one third of the landed property of the country, besides about ten million dollars in money, lent out at an interest of five per cent. per annum. There are two bishoprics in Chili; that of Santiago, comprehending the territory north of the river Maule; and that of Conception, including the rest of the country, from the Maule to the southern boundary. Very little attention has been paid to education. Previous to the revolution there was no printing press in the country.

Army and Navy.) The army, in 1818, consisted of 8,400 regular troops, besides militia. The navy consisted of one vessel of 52 guns; one of 36 ; two of 22; one of 18; and one of 14. These vessels have all been recently purchased, and manned by foreign seamen, chiefly Americans and English. Indeed it is said, that there is not a sailor to be found among all the natives of Chili.

Revenue) The whole amount of the revenue for the year 1817, according to the official statements of the government, was 2,177,967 dollars; and the expenditure during the same period was 2,119,595 dollars. More than two filths of the revenue was derived from forced loans, and from tines and confiscations imposed on the property of royalists. The expenses of the new government, in time of peace, it is supposed will not exceed half a million dollars.

Commerce.) While Chili was a Spanish colony, European goods, to the amount of more than a million of dollars, were sent from the mother country, in exchange principally for gold and silver. From the opening of the ports by the revolutionists in February 1817, to July 1818, the imports into Chili in British vessels amovoted to about $1,800,000; and in vessels belonging to citizens of the United States, 10 about $1,300,000. The imports consisted of arms, ammunition, iron, furniture, tobacco, and of French, India, and British manufactures, particularly the latter. The exports were gold, silver, copper, tin, wheat, hemp, hides, peltry, tigs, raisins, &c.

Araucanians. The Araucanians are a warlike tribe of Indians, inhabiting the territory included between the river Biobio, in lat. 36° 50', and the river Tolten in lat. 39°, and extending from the Andes to the Pacific. They are courteous, hospitable, humane, brave, patient of hardship, and enthusiastic lovers of liberty. The Spaniards for more than two centuries, have in rain endear

ored to subdue them. From the first incursions of the Spaniards, their history furnishes a long list of batties evincive of the most determined valor, a valor not surpassed at Thermopylae or Marathon. In the last war, which was concludeil by a most terrible battle in 1773, the Spaniards expended 1,700,000 dollars, but to no purpose; the Araucanians are now absolutely independent, and keep a resident minister at St. Jago.

Islands. There are 47 islands in the Archipelago of Chiloe or Ancud at the southern extremity of Chili. Of these, 32 are peopled by the Indians and Spaniards, and the rest are uninhabited. Chiloe, which is by far ihe largest and gives its name 10 the whole groupe, lies under the parallel of 43° S. lat. and is separated from the continent by a channel, in some places only a mile broad. The native Indians, called Chilotes, are remarkably ingenious, docile, and submissive to the Spaniards. They have a strong aitachment to a sea-faring life, and make excellent sailors. Though ihe navigation of the Archipelago is very dangerous, on account of the currents, they venture teariessly into this perilous sea in frail boats callerl piraguas, without either keel or deck. The principal articles of commerce furnished by these islands are lumber and fish, the former of which is sent in the form of boards, to Lima and Valparaiso.

The islands of Juan Fernandez are two small islands, lying about 110 leagues from the coast of Chili,in lat. 33° 40' N.and lon. 78° 52' W. They are at present uninhabited, but are celebrated as the solitary residence for several years of Alexander Selkirk, a Scotch saiior, from whose adventures De Foe wrote the popular novel of Robinson Crusoe.


Situation and Extent.) Patagonia is bounded N. by Buenos Ayres; E. by the Atlantic Ocean; S. by the straits of Magellan, which separate it from Terra del Fuego; and W. by Chili and the Pacitic Ocean. On the Atlantic coast it reaches as far north as Cape Lobos in lat. 37° 30' S. and on the Pacific as far as the southern boundary of Chili in lat. 43° S. The number of square miles, according to Hassel, is 491,000.

Face of the country.] The interior of Patagonia has been very imperfectly explored, being occupied by hostile Indians. The Andes pass through the whole length of the country from north to south, parallel with the western coast, at the distance of from 200 to 300 miles. The northern part of the country easi of the Andes consists of immense plain-, which may be regarded as a continuation of the pampas of Buenos Ayres.

Rivers.] The principal rivers are the Rio Colorado and the Rio Negro or Cusu Leuve. The Colorado is formed by a number of streams which rise in Buenos Ayres, on the eastern declivity of the Andes, between 30° and 39° s. lat. and after a

course of about 1,000 miles, generally to the southeast, it falls into the Atlantic ocean between the parallels of 39° and 40°.

The Rio Negro, or Cusu Leuvu is formed by a number of streams which rise in the Andes between 35° and 38° S. lat. It pursues an easterly course, and being joined by several branches, the principal of which is the Sanquel from the north, falls into the Atlantic near the parallel of 41. S. lat.

Inhabitants.] Patagonia is inhabited by two principal nations of Indians, the Moluches, and the Puelches. The Moluches occupy all the tract west of the Andes, and an extensive district east of the mountains. The Puelches inhabit the rest of the country, extending along the Atlantic coast and a considerable distance into the interior. Both these nations are subdivided into three or four tribes. The northern tribes of the Puelches are called by the Spaniards the Pampas, because they claim the immense plains of that name. They are of a roving disposition, and frequently attack and harass the Sp-nish settlements, as well as the travellers who pass from Buenos Ayres to Mendoza over the Pampas. The Tehuelhets, the most southern tribe of the Puelches, inhabit the coast of the straits of Magellan. They are very strong, well made, and warlike,and of extraordinary stature. Several of them are seven and an half feet high, and the usual height of those seen by the Spanish navigators in 1786 was from six and an half to seven feet.

Straits of Magellan.] The straits of Magellan, which separate Patagonia from Terra del Fuego, are 300 miles long, in some places several leagues broad, and in others not half a league. The navigation of these straits is dangerous in the extreme, both on account of the violence of the currents and the tempestuous weather, so that ships bound to the Pacific ocean universally prefer the passage around Cape Horn.


Terra del Fuego, or the land of fire, is a large island, separated from Patagonia by the straits of Magellan. The face of the country is represented as dreary and inhospitable. It is inhabited by savages, about whom little is known. Statenland is a small island, 30 miles long by 12 or 15 broad, lying east of Terra del Fuego, and separated from it by the straits of Le Maire. It is barrep and desolate, but the English have a small settlement upon it.

Falkland islands consist of two large islands, with a great pumber of small ones surrounding them, lying between 51° and 52°30' S. lat. and intersected by the meridian of 60° W. lon. The climate is so inhospitable, and the soil so barren, that they seem wholly unfitted for the habitation of men. The British attempted a set: tlement in 1764, but in 1774 they were ceded to Spain.

South Georgia, or New Georgia, in lat. 54° 30' S. and lon. 37° W: is a desolate island, inaccessible during a great part of the year,

op account of the ice with which it is surrounded. It is visited by the English and Americans, for the purpose of taking seals and sea elephants, which were formerly very numerous.

The Gallapagos islands lie in the Pacific Ocean, on both sides of the equator, between lon. 89° and 92° W. about 200 miles from the western coast of South America. They are very numerous, but only nine are of any considerable size. Albemarle, the largest, is 65 miles long and 45 broad. Many of the islands are well wooded, and abound in fine turtles.

Bermudas, or Somers' islands, are a cluster of small islaods in the Atlantic,belonging to the English, in number about 400,but for the most part so small and barren, that they have neither inbabitants nor name. They are about 200 leagues from cape Hatteras in North Carolina, and the north point of the group is in lat. 32° 24' N. lon. 63° 28' W. The principal island' is St. George, on which there is a town containing 300 houses. The population of the whole group is 10,381, of whom 5,462 are whites and 4,919 blacks. The Bermudas contain from 10,000 to 12,000 acres of poor land, of which nine parts in 10 are either wholly uncultivated, or reserved in woods for a supply of timber for building small ships, sloops, and shallops for sale ; this being one principal occupation of the inhabitants. The air is so salubrious that invalids from the United States frequently go thither for the recovery of their health


Situation and Extent.) Europe is bounded on the N. by the Arctic or Frozen Ocean; E. by Asia, from which it is separated towards the north by the Ural mountains, and towards the south by the sea of Azoph, the Black sea, the sea of Marmora, and the Grecian Archipelago ;* on the S. by the Mediterranean, which separates it from Africa;, and on the W. by the Atlantic Ocean. Its greatest length, from eape St. Vincent at the southwestera extremity, to the Ural mountains, is about 4,000 miles, and from cape Matapan, at the southern extremity of Turkey, in lat. 36 23' N, to the North cape in lat. 71° 11', N. it is 2,400 miles broad. The area is estimated by Hassel at 3,387,019 square miles.

* The intermediate boundary, from the Ural mountains to the sea of Azoph is variously represented by geographers. The line which approaches nearest to a natural boundary begins on the sea of Azopb, at the mouth of the Don, and follows up that river to the point where it approaches nearest to the Volga ; then acros to the Volga, and up that river to the mouth of the Kama, one of its branches, whose head waters rise in the Ural mountains; the boundary would therefore be completed by pursuing it along the Kama to its source.

« AnteriorContinuar »