The Project Gutenberg eBook, Spanish America, Vol. II (of 2), by Sir Richard Henry Bonnycastle

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Title: Spanish America, Vol. II (of 2)

Author: Sir Richard Henry Bonnycastle

Release Date: February 25, 2016 [eBook #51300]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



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Project Gutenberg has the other volume of this work.
Volume I: see





Western Hemisphere,



"Such of late
Columbus found the American, so girt
With feathered cincture, naked else and wild
Among the trees, on iles and woody shores—
----In spirit perhaps he also saw
Rich Mexico the seat of Montezume,
And Cusco in Peru, the richer seat
Of Atabalipa, and yet unspoil'd
Guiana, whose great city Geryon's sons
Call El Dorado."—           Paradise Lost.



Printed by A. Strahan,
New-Street-Square, London.

[Pg iii]





Captain Generalship of Caraccas, Boundaries and ExtentPage 1
              Political and Territorial Divisions, Government2
Discovery, History2
Description of the Features, &c. of the Country8
Province of New Andalusia18
—— New Barcelona18
Features, Climate, &c.25
Province of Venezuela and Coro43
—— Maracaybo58
—— Varinas65
—— Spanish Guiana69
Government of the Island of Margarita73
Viceroyalty of Peru75
Extent and Boundaries75
Political and Territorial Divisions, Government, &c.76
Discovery, History, &c.83
Intendancy of Truxillo120
—— Tarma126
—— Lima130[Pg iv]
—— Guancavelica134
Intendancy of Guamanga138
—— Cuzco140
—— Arequipa147
Viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres or La Plata, Boundaries and Extent155
Political and Territorial Divisions, Government, History, Discovery, &c.156
Features, Climate, &c.161
Commerce and Resources167
Government of Los Charcas or Potosi171
—— Paraguay195
History, Discovery, &c.195
—— Tucuman204
—— Cuyo or Cujo215
—— Buenos Ayres220
History, &c.220
Climate, Features, &c.222
Captain Generalship of Chili230
Extent and Boundaries230
Political and Territorial Divisions and Government231
Discovery, and History231
Climate, Features, &c.245
Continental Provinces of Chili264
Province of Copiapo265
—— Coquimbo265
—— Quillota267
—— Aconcagua269
—— Melipilla270
—— Santiago271
—— Rancagua272
—— Colchagua273
—— Maule274
—— Itata276
—— Chillan276
—— Puchacay277
—— Huilquilemu279
Insular Chili282
Archipelago of Chiloe283[Pg v]
Araucania or Indian Chili287
Islands on the Coasts of Spanish South America294
Plate and Description of comparative Altitudes of the Mountains301
List of Works on or relating to Spanish America, quoted in this publication, &c.305
Table of the Latitudes and Longitudes of the principal Places311
Summary of the Population319
Wealth and Revenue320

[Pg vi]


Pages 27, line 18, for Angelo read Antonio.
28,      10, for converziones read conversaziones.
82,      22, for omomum read amomum.
127,      3,  from bottom, for Tarmu read Tarma.
164,      8, for Uraguay read Uruguay.
182,      11,  from bottom, for Neustra read Nuestra.
250,      4,  from bottom for Totten read Tolten.
251,      3, for Caquil read Caguil.
278,      2 and 4, for Lautro read Lautaro.

[Pg 1]




Caraccas is a name taken from that of a tribe of Indians, and given to a country which includes New Andalusia, or Cumana, with Margarita, Barcelona, Venezuela, or Caraccas Proper, Maracaybo and Coro, on the coast of the Caribbean sea, Varinas and Spanish Guiana in the interior.


It is bounded on the north by the Caribbean sea, east by the Atlantic, south by Peru and Dutch Guiana, and west by the kingdom of Santa Fé or New Granada; its extent may be computed from the twelfth to the eighteenth degrees of north latitude, and occupies a space extending over a surface equal to 48,000 square leagues.

[Pg 2]


The Caraccas are subdivided into seven provinces; viz. New Andalusia or Cumana; Barcelona, Venezuela or Caraccas Proper, containing Venezuela and Coro, Maracaybo, Varinas and Guiana, with the detached government of the island of Margarita; the whole of these are under the particular superintendence of an officer of the highest rank, who is styled captain-general of the provinces of Venezuela, and the city of Caraccas. The population amounts to nearly one million, of whom sixty thousand are slaves, and about one-ninth Indians.


The coast of this country was originally discovered by Columbus in 1498, during his third expedition. Several adventurers succeeding in exploratory voyages on this part of the continent, the Spanish government came to the determination of endeavouring to place colonies on its soil. These being chiefly ill conducted, and managed by priests unacquainted with the manners and customs of the natives, did not succeed, and it was found necessary to endeavour to subdue the inhabitants by force. When this was partially effected, and Spanish settlers were placed in some security, the management of the new colonies was entrusted to the care of the Welsers, a German mercantile company. These people exercised, for a length of time, an uncontrolled sway over the unfortunate Indians and the colonists. Their excess of punishment and their fraud becoming at last notorious, the king of Spain deprived them of their power, in 1550, and appointed an officer of the crown to administer justice to the oppressed.

This office, under the title of captain-general of the Caraccas, has subsisted ever since, and with some few variations in the territorial divisions, and some abridgments of the authority of the person[Pg 3] who fills it, it existed in the same form, until the year 1810. At this period, the mother country, subdued in part by the victorious arms of the French nation, had no time to attend to the situation of her transatlantic colonies. Engaged in destructive and terrible struggle herself, she little knew of the events which were taking place in the Americas, or if she did know them, was unable to assist those subjects devoted to her cause, or to quell the insurgent and ambitious. Taking advantage of the shackled state of the resources of Spain, the disaffected raised the standard of rebellion, and formed a junta suprema (a congress, or supreme council) in Caraccas. At first they published their acts in the name of Ferdinand the Seventh; but soon, however, on the arrival of Miranda with some troops, declared themselves independent of the mother country, and appointed Miranda to the chief command. Spain now placed their ports in a state of nominal blockade.

They have since been daily engaged in hostile measures, and junta has succeeded to junta, royal power to insurgent government, and vice versa, with little interval up to the present moment. The Caraccas may indeed be styled the focus of the Spanish American revolution. Numerous and bloody actions have taken place between the Spanish troops and the Caraccanians, Miranda has been beheaded, and the captain-general has reinstated himself.

Don Simon Bolivar, a native of the country, possessing much property and considerable influence, has been the great leader of this revolt, styling himself president and commander in chief of the united provinces of Venezuela. Obtaining from the congress of a neighbouring state (New Granada) an army of 600 men, he marched against Monteverde, the captain-general who had beheaded Miranda and punished his colleagues, and meeting with few obstacles to surmount entered[Pg 4] the city of Caraccas as conqueror, on the 4th August, 1813. The captain-general fled, and refusing to treat with the insurgents, as derogatory to the honour of the master he represented, remained quiet until he received from Spain a reinforcement of 1200 men; he then attacked the city, but was repulsed with the loss of nearly his whole army, and himself severely wounded. In discussing the historical facts relating to South America in general, we have entered more at large upon this subject. At present Bolivar occupies the lower parts of the Orinoco, having made the town of Angostura his head-quarters.

We have chosen the description of the kingdom of Peru as the proper place to give detail of the general historical facts relating to the whole of South America, as it was in that kingdom that the Spanish government first took a consolidated form; we shall, therefore, at present recur to the metropolis, description, and political divisions of the captain-generalship we are now engaged in treating of.


The city of Caraccas, or as it is written by the Spaniards, Caracas, is the metropolis of this vast region, and has given its name, within a late period, to the whole government. It is situated in 10° 30' 15" north-latitude, and 67° 4' 45" west longitude, the highest square being elevated 2903 feet above the level of the sea, at the commencement of a fine plain or valley, which extends nine miles to the eastward, and has nearly the same breadth, through which runs the river Guayra; the site of the town is an uneven ground with a steep slope; it was founded by Diego de Losada, in 1567, and called Santiago de Leon de Caracas, in order to have a permanent settlement in the neighbourhood of some gold mines, which were imagined to be very productive. The ground is so precipitous, that the few carriages which the inhabitants pos[Pg 5]sess are little used. The Anauco, the Catache, and the Caraguatu, three small streams, run through the city from north to south; the second of these furnishes the water used by the labouring classes, the rich inhabitants having that useful fluid brought from a stream about three miles off, supposed to possess peculiar medicinal qualities.

The streets of Caraccas are straight, wide, and intersect each other at right angles; the houses very handsome and spacious; there are some fine squares, and a handsome cathedral, with eight churches and five convents. This city is the seat of the metropolitan, archbishop of Caraccas, and contains a royal audience, which governs the civil affairs of the captain-generalship, and of which court the officer holding the reins of government is always president, it being in fact a sort of legislative council, composed of the governor and great state officers. The number of inhabitants of this celebrated town are stated not to exceed 20,000 at present, owing to the tremendous loss sustained by the earthquake in 1812, and to the recent sanguinary events which have taken place. The theatre of Caraccas holds from fifteen to eighteen hundred persons, and is well frequented; the female part of the audience occupy the pit, and are separated from the men. The pleasantest part of the year is during the months of November and December, when the air is cool, and the mornings very fine, but the evenings are foggy and damp. During the months of June and July, the nights are beautiful and serene; in fact, the climate during the whole year is so good, that this city may be said to enjoy a perpetual spring.

This state of the atmosphere is finely contrasted with the dreary and savage appearance of the mountains in the neighbourhood, the tremendous precipice of the Silla, or Saddle, and the confused appearance of the country on the right of the plain; which plain, called Chacao, is highly culti[Pg 6]vated in many parts, and affords the principal objects of subsistence to the town. In it grows the plantain, the orange, the apple, the apricot, the coffee-tree, the sugar-cane, the pine-apple, the strawberry, vine, peach, quince, maize, corn, vegetables, rice, &c. and in this fertile valley, numerous herds of cattle abound, it having been computed that forty thousand head are annually brought to the market, for the purpose of being salted, and of immediate consumption.

The only inconvenience felt during this eternal spring is from the effects of certain winds, which cause the weather to prove occasionally inconstant, and produce low nervous fevers, and other disorders incident to a variable atmosphere. The yellow fever sometimes, though rarely, extends its ravages to this place, and once lasted (in the year 1696) for sixteen months, and in 1802 was fatal to the garrison newly arrived from Europe.

The season of periodical rain lasts during the months of April, May and June; but hail is seldom or ever known oftener than once in four or five years.

This capital, placed in so charming a climate, compared to many others in the same latitude, has bean subjected to a scourge, which no beauty of situation, or salubrity of the air, can ever compensate. In the year 1812 the whole city was nearly destroyed by an awful earthquake. On the 26th of March, in that year, the population of Leon de Caraccas amounted to fifty thousand souls; in a short space, even in the passing of a moment, these devoted people were reduced to thirty eight thousand, and as if an enormous mine had been exploded under the city, the earth was upheaved to a tremendous height, and twelve thousand persons were swallowed up, or perished amid the ruins of their houses.

The survivors have been ever since busily engaged in repairing the damages, and rebuilding the[Pg 7] city, which is now rapidly advancing to its former state, and the population annually increasing.

La Guayra, a small town situated on the coast of the Spanish Main, is the port of Caraccas, in 10° 36' 19" north latitude, and 67° 6' 45" west longitude, at the foot of the chain of mountains which terminate abruptly in precipices on the coast, and which form the sides of the valley in which the capital is built. From the city to the port, it requires a journey of two hours on the mules of the country, which are very safe and swift. The road is kept in excellent repair, and is fortified by draw-bridges, thrown over the natural clefts, and by small batteries. The harbour itself is rather a roadsted than a haven, and contains a newly formed mole, protected by strong batteries. The wall of rocks rise perpendicularly from the back of the town, and forbid all access, excepting by the regular road. At La Guayra the sea is always agitated, and the vessels are laden and discharged with much difficulty; so much so, that mules are not embarked, the mulattoes and negroes carrying the cacao and other merchandizes to the vessels, by wading into the water.

The flat space on which La Guayra stands is only about 900 feet in breadth, from the precipice at the back to the sea, and the whole aspect of the place is arid, gloomy and unpleasant.

This town is surrounded on the sea side by works and batteries, some of which are very strong, and contain within their limits two streets, parallel to each other, with 8000 inhabitants.

It may be said, that this port is one of the hottest places in Spanish America; the yellow-fever had, however, only commenced its destructive ravages within ten or twelve years, before which time, it was unknown; some are of opinion, that it was brought there after the port was opened to foreign commerce, by the seamen from the United States; others, that it was caused by the overflow[Pg 8]ing of the river Guayra, which filled the cellars and deep places with water, that soon became stagnant, and exhaled putrid effluvia. However it may be, the inhabitants and strangers who reside at La Guayra, have suffered dreadfully of late years from this disorder.

The annual amount of the commerce of this port, which is the principal one of the province, has been estimated (in peaceable times) to arise to the sum of 346,600l., in the exportation of cacao, indigo, cotton, coffee and hides; and the importations of European and other goods to 511,700l. sterling in the same period.


The coast of Caraccas which extends for an immense length, is exceedingly rocky and mountainous, affording views of some of the most tremendous precipices in the world, that near the capital, called the Precipice of the Silla, being of the height of 8000 feet above the sea, which washes its base.

The chain of the Andes, traversing the whole territory in the direction of its shores, elevates itself the most in the western parts; and is lost in the sea opposite to the great island of Trinidad, which is itself very mountainous.

The average height of the Cordillera of Caraccas may be estimated at 4500 feet, though it occasionally exceeds 8000; its breadth varies from ten to twenty leagues, and it forms some extensive and beautiful valleys. Owing to this elevation of the land, the heat is not so insupportable as might be imagined from its situation; along the coast it is very great; but ascending gradually into the higher regions, the traveller finds it sensibly diminish, and observes with delight, the vegetable productions of different countries, concentrated in[Pg 9] a small space. The great valley or plain of the Orinoco bounds the Cordillera to the south, and far from possessing those elevated lands which characterise the southern portion of the New World, Nature has here spread the country into immense flats, or savannahs, known by the name of Los Llanos (the Plains).

In these plains innumerable herds of cattle are fed, attended by the slaves or servants of the owners, who reside in the towns and villages. These people, living entirely in the desert, have become little better than so many wandering savages; they pass the greater part of their time on horseback, and are said to infest the roads on the borders of the savannahs with their robberies. The heat in the valley of the Orinoco is intense, the thermometer rising even to 115°.

The seasons are divided into rainy and dry, the rainy season lasting from March to November, not however, without ceasing, as there are many days in that period, in which no rain falls; during the time of incessant rain, it does not descend in drizzling misty showers, but comes with such volume and rapidity, that streams, which have been dried to their very channels, now assume in the short space of a few hours, the appearance of large rivers; the plains bordering the Orinoco, and its tributary streams, are inundated by seas of fresh water extending three or four hundred miles in length.

Rivers.—There is no country in the world which possesses more numerous rivers than Caraccas, most of which rise in the Andes and its dependent branches; every valley is traversed by its river; the ridge which divides the provinces as it were into two distinct portions, furnishes abundance of sources on both its declivities. Those which arise on the northern side of this ridge, run from south to north, and fall into the bosom of the Spanish main. Of these the Manzanares, Tuy,[Pg 10] Guiges, Tocuyo, Aroa, Yaracuy, Unara and Neveri, are the largest.

The southern flank and main chain of the Andes afford rivers which traverse the great Llanos in a southern direction, and swell, by their junction with the Orinoco, the majestic body of that grand river; of these, the Mamo, Pariagou, Pao, Chivita, Zoa, Cachimamo, Arauca, Capanaparo, Sinaruco, the Apura and the Meta, are the principal; and the Parima, Siaba, Joa Parana and the Cassiquiari, fall into this river on its southern bank, the latter forming a communication with the still more majestic stream of the Maranon.

The Orinoco, or Oronoco, is not only amongst the largest, but the finest of South American rivers, and is chiefly distinguished by its very singular and intricate course. Its sources are not well known, but according to La Cruz, it rises in a small lake called Ipava, in 5° 5' north-latitude, and thence winding upon itself, enters the lake of Parima to the south-east, and issues by two outlets towards the north and south; on the western shores of the lake; receiving the Guaviara, it bends north, then north-east, and embracing the Meta, the Apura, the Arauca, and the other large streams above-mentioned, with thousands of smaller ones, falls into the Atlantic ocean, by numerous estuaries, opposite the island of Trinidad, its chief mouth being considerably to the south-east of that island. This noble river communicates with the Maranon, and it is supposed, that a stream called the Siaba flows from the south-west of the lake Parima into the Negro, and that to the south-east of the same lake, the Rio Blanco, or Parima, joins the Rio Negro also, this last communicating with the Maranon by means of the Joa Parana.

The river Cassiquiari, long conjectured to be a strong branch of the Orinoco, but now known to be an arm of the Negro, communicates also with the Amazons, its streams having been visited by[Pg 11] M. de Humboldt, who encountered great perils in the undertaking, by the force of the current and other obstacles. The whole country for 300 miles was a complete desert, in which the ants and mosquitoes were so exceedingly troublesome as almost to deter the traveller from proceeding. He entered the Orinoco, by the Cassiquiari in 3° 30' north-latitude, and mounted the current of the great river as far as Esmeraldas, the last Spanish settlement in that quarter. The mouths of the Orinoco are very dangerous to navigators; the largest is six leagues in width, and seven of them are navigable for large vessels. The isles formed by these are of very great extent, and are inhabited by the Guaraounos and Mariusos Indians. On the banks of the Orinoco the magnificence of the scenery is beyond description. Forests of the greatest extent are filled with aromatic trees, which diffuse the most delightful odour; birds of every singular variety of beautiful plumage are everywhere observed, and hordes of monkeys follow the astonished traveller. Passing these forests, enormous plains extend their verdant surfaces further than the eye can reach, and the cataracts of the Orinoco give their name to the whole Cordillera, and are represented to be the most tremendous that have ever been observed; but no good description of these falls has yet been given, though they constitute the only outlets from the country situated on the east of the Andes to the vast plains of the Maranon. These cataracts are at Maypura and Atures, two villages in about 6° north-latitude, near the great bend of the river.

The periodical inundation of the Orinoco begins in April and ceases in August; in October the flood is low, arriving at its shallowest point in February; the rise is equal to thirteen fathoms at the distance of ninety leagues from the ocean. The mouth of the great estuary is in 8° 30' north-latitude, and 59° 50' west longitude.

[Pg 12]

The caymans, or alligators, are very numerous, and very formidable throughout its whole length, which may be estimated at about 1250 miles.

Indians.—On the banks of the Orinoco the Indian tribes are not numerous, consisting only of from 500 to 2000 warriors each; of these, the Caribs are the most powerful as well as the most formidable. The Otomacs follow them, and all are nearly in the same state of nature. In this part of the Caraccas, the total number of the natives cannot be accurately ascertained; but in the province of New Andalusia, they amount to 24,000, and in the two provinces of Barcelona and Cumana to 60,000. In Cumana they live almost wholly under the missionaries in little towns or amongst the Europeans, each mission containing about five or six hundred. In the province of Barcelona, the Indian villages contain from two to even three thousand inhabitants. The Guaraounoes, who inhabit the islands of the Orinoco, are independent of the Spaniards, and amount to about six thousand.

To the north of the Orinoco, there are few natives in a state of absolute barbarism; it is only to the south of this river that the efforts of missionaries have been ineffectual.

The provinces of New Andalusia and Barcelona contain fourteen tribes, the Chaymas, Guayquerias, Pariagotoes, Quaquas, Araucas, Caribbees, Guaraounoes, Cumanagotoes, Palenkas, Piritoos, Tomoozas, Topocuares, Chacopatas, and Guarivas.

The Guayquerias, who are civilized Indians residing at Cumana and Araya, amount to 2000.

The Chaymas, the Caribs of the Savannahs, and the Cumanagotoes, are the most numerous. A few, and only a few, of the savages of the islands of the Orinoco, who build their huts on trees, have been formed into missions on the left bank of the Orinoco. These four last possess languages which are the most universal in this part of the world, the Cumanogoto language prevailing in the western[Pg 13] part of the captain-generalship, and the Caribbean and Chayman in the southern and eastern districts.

The missions are not always formed of the same tribe, but often consist of families of different nations, speaking different languages; they all cultivate the land, their huts are all erected in the same style, and they have all a common field for the uses of the community, and are governed by fixed laws; the magistrates are chosen from among themselves, and each village is superintended in its religious and civil affairs by a monk.

The Chaymas were reduced to subjection in the seventeenth century, by Francisco of Pamplona, a monk who had been the captain of a ship; and the oldest mission bears its date from 1660. Of these there are at present twenty-five, containing 15,000 souls. They suffered much from 1681 to 1720 from the Caribs, who burnt the settlements.

In stature, the natives of this tribe are short, being not more than five feet two inches, their body thick, with broad shoulders and flat chest, their colour a dull brown, and they are of a melancholic temperament.

They have a great aversion to European clothing, and remain naked whilst in their houses, but when obliged to go out, they put on a vest with sleeves, which reaches almost to the knees; the women wear this habit without the sleeves, and both sexes use a narrow bandage tied round the loins: they also carefully eradicate the hair from the chin, and are a neat people, keeping their persons, houses and utensils very clean.

Their language, as well as those of the Caribs and Cumanagotoes, has each had a dictionary composed for the use of the missionaries; no word begins with l, and it is destitute of f, b and d.

The Pariagotoes are mixed with the Chaymas, in the missions; and exist in the villages on the banks of the Caroni. They speak a language peculiar to themselves.

[Pg 14]

The Guaraounoes build their huts on the trunks of the mangrove and palm trees, to raise them above the waters in the great inundations of the Orinoco; as we before observed, they are independent, with the exception of a very few, who have been converted by the monks. Sir Walter Raleigh describes them under the names of Aroottes, Trititivas and Warawites. They make their bread of the flour extracted from the palm tree, which they cut down for this purpose, just previous to the appearance of the flowers.

Five or six hundred of this race quitted the islands a short time ago, and formed two villages on the north and south banks of the great river, twenty-five leagues distant from the sea, where they live independent of the missionaries. They are of a middle size, and very strong, and are able to run on the mud of the marshes, where no other Indians can walk. These people are the pilots of the Orinoco, possessing a perfect knowledge of its navigation, and are concerned in the clandestine commerce carried on from Trinidad.

The Guayquerias will be described in speaking of the town of Cumana which they chiefly inhabit.

A tribe called the Quaquas are mixed with the Chaymas in the missions, and inhabit an immense tract of country as far as the main Cordilleras of the Andes.

The Cumanagotoes, to the amount of 26,000, live in the west of Cumana, in the missions of Piritoo. The chief mission of the Piritoos (so called on account of a thorny palm of which pipes are made) was founded in 1556, and was named La Conception.

In this country, the Caribbees are spread over a great extent, existing also in French Guyana, and in Trinidad; and the Guarivas, as well as many others, are Carib tribes. A few missions are found in the great plains, in which some of these peo[Pg 15]ple are settled. The Caribs are distinguished in the Caraccas by their great size.

A tribe on the banks of the Orinoco, named the Otomacs, raise their dead at the end of twelve months, and place the bones in a general burying place; they cover their grain, fish, vegetables, &c., with earth, to preserve them, and devour their food mingled with the soil in which it has lain. The substances become quite hard in these pits, by the incrustations of the soil, and some of them are said to eat a pound and a half of the earth in a day. The Indians of all these tribes, who prefer a wandering life to the subjected state of their brethren in the missions, are frequently attacked in the night by the monks and their followers, and made prisoners. When the missionaries give the young people to the converted Indians as slaves, in which capacity they remain until of an age to marry, in consequence of this, the mission Indians frequently instigate the priests to attack these unfortunate people, being eager to possess them. Those who are thus taken are called Poitos, and in general consist only of children, torn with unrelenting severity from the arms of their terrified parents. The motive assigned by the monks for such arbitrary measures, is the hope of their ultimate conversion.

Lakes—The lakes of Caraccas are chiefly those of Valencia and Maracaybo. Maracaybo is a body of water of an oval form, lying in a north and south direction, and communicating with the gulf of Venezuela by a very narrow channel. In length it is 150 miles, in breadth 90, and 450 in circumference; its waters being always fresh, excepting when violent storms force the salt waters of the gulf into it. There is generally a considerable undulation on its surface, and in some winds, particularly those from the north, the waves rise to a great height. The depth of this lake is very profound, and it is navigable for vessels of the greatest burthen.

[Pg 16]

The produce of the interior is conveyed by the rivers which feed it, to the town of Maracaybo, and thence shipped for Europe or the adjoining colonies; and the various sorts of fish, common to the American rivers, are to be found in this lake.

The shores in the immediate vicinity of its waters, are unhealthy, owing to the vapours arising in the night after the great heat of the day.

When the Spaniards first landed in this country, they observed several villages built in the lake, which is the mode adopted by the Indians at present, considering this plan as the healthiest.

The appearance of one of these little towns amid the waters, caused the Spanish adventurers to name it Little Venice, or Venezuela, which title was afterwards transferred to the whole province in the neighbourhood. Four of these villages still remain, and are under the government of a monk, who has a church, and the spiritual charge of these people.

The principal employment of the Indians of these towns is fishing and catching the aquatic birds which frequent the lake.

To the north-west of Lake Maracaybo, is a vein, or mine of mineral pitch, (used by mixing it with grease, to grave vessels,) which is of such an inflammable nature, that during the hot weather, and particularly at night, corruscations are seen arising from its surface, which have the appearance of quickly repeated lightnings. The Indians and Spaniards, who navigate the vessels and canoes of the lake, called them St. Antony's Lanthorns, or the Lanthorns of Maracaybo, as they serve them to steer by during the dark nights, so prevalent in the torrid zone.

The lake of Valencia, which though not so extensive as the last we have described, is far more beautiful and useful. Its banks are fertile and healthy, and clothed with the most luxurious vegetation. It is situated three miles from the city of[Pg 17] Valencia, and eighteen from the sea, from which it is separated by inaccessible mountains; the lake of Valencia is of an oblong form, stretching north-east and south-west, and is forty miles in length and twelve in breadth, in a valley surrounded by very high and steep land, excepting on the west.

This extraordinary lake receives the waters of twenty rivers, and has no visible outlet. It has been diminishing for twenty years, and its waters are still receding, leaving behind them a rich and productive soil, but at the same time an unhealthy air; and the cultivators are in some parts under the necessity, from the want of water, of drawing off the neighbouring streams to irrigate their plantations.

The eastern side is laid out in tobacco grounds, which occupy 15,000 people, who are paid by the crown; and the islands in which it abounds are highly fertile, the largest called Caratapona, being well populated.

The woods near this lake are famous for the diversity and beauty of the birds, and its waters furnish fish, and the guanas, or edible lizard, which are considered as a very delicious food; of these, two species are common to the lake. The water of Lake Valencia is not so good for drinking as that of Maracaybo, being thick and nauseous.

This lake bears the Indian name of Tacarigua, as does a bay or lake on the coast, which is situated a league and a half from the mouth of the river Tuy, of a circular form, and is twenty-one miles in length from the sea on the north-east to the south-east, it abounds in fish, and is remarkable for the great number of alligators it contains.

The lake of Parina, or Paranapitinca, in Guiana is said to be an oblong sheet of water, 100 miles in length, and 50 broad, in an island of which is a rock of glittering mica, celebrated as having been the seat of El Dorado, a supposititious city, the[Pg 18] streets of which were paved with gold, alluded to by Milton in his Paradise Lost.

"And yet unspoil'd Guiana
Whose great city Geryon's sons
Call El Dorado."

This lake is in 3° 40' north latitude, and 45° 20' west longitude, and gives birth to a large river, called Rio Blanco, or Parima, which we have before spoken of.


This province, which is also known by the names of Cumana and Paria, is bounded on the north by the Caribbean sea; on the east by the Atlantic ocean; west by Barcelona, and south by Spanish Guiana, or the river Orinoco.

The government of Cumana usually includes the adjacent province of New Barcelona. We shall therefore describe these two under the same head, mentioning however the distinct boundaries of—


Which is limited on the north by the Caribbean sea; east by Cumana; west by Venezuela, or Caraccas Proper, and south by Guiana and the Orinoco.

The great extent of the territory of Cumana and Barcelona, its being washed on two of its sides by the ocean, and by the broad expanse of the Orinoco on the third, render it one of the most important governments of the captain-generalship.

History, &c.—The eastern part of New Andalusia is famous as having been the scene of the first continental discoveries of Columbus. The mouths of the Orinoco and the adjacent shores of Paria were visited by him during his third voyage. The[Pg 19] first land discovered during this expedition, was however not the continent, but the island of Trinidad, which was so named because the admiral had vowed to give the appellation of the Trinity to the first land he should see, and also because three mountains were observed at the same moment. This happened on Tuesday, 31st July, 1498, and having but one cask of water left, he landed at Punta de la Playa, where he procured the necessary supply.

On the 1st of August, whilst plying between Cape de la Galera (the first cape they made) and Punta de la Playa, he discovered the main land twenty-five leagues distant; but imagining it another island, he named it Isla Santa. The channel between Trinidad and Isla Santa was named Boca del Sierpe, and the next day he sailed into the lower channel, and called it Boca del Drago. They were so styled on account of the furious hissing noise which the current of an immense river made in rushing towards the ocean. He coasted the supposed island until Sunday, the 5th of August, when he anchored and went on shore. Soon afterwards he took some of the natives into his ship, and landing further to the west, by the direction of these people, discovered that the supposed island was part of an immense continent, and that the natives called it Paria.

Being informed that pearls were found in great abundance among some islands to the west, he steered in that direction, and discovered the islands of Margarita, or of Pearls, Cubagua, and Los Testigos, or the Witnesses, &c. On the 16th of August he stood to the north-west, and anchored on the coast of Hispaniola soon afterwards.

The admiral was followed by Ojeda, in 1499, who traced the coast as far as Cape de la Vela, entering several ports to procure information. Christoval Guerra, accompanied by Pedro Nino, who[Pg 20] had been with Columbus on this coast, obtained a licence to explore the continent and islands for gold and pearls. They procured plenty of the latter in the bay of pearls, between Margarita and the main, and visited the coasts of Venezuela and Coro.

Having got 1200 ounces of very fine pearls, these adventurers sailed back, along the shore to the gulf of Paria, whence they stretched over for Spain, in which country they arrived on the 6th of February, 1500.

Vicente Yanez Pinzon having discovered the mouth of the great Maranon in 1500, sailed northwards from it, and explored the estuary of the Orinoco, and the coast of Paria, from which he sailed for St. Domingo, having first laden his vessels with Brazil wood.

The report of the arrival of Guerra, with such a valuable cargo, soon spread over the whole kingdom of Spain; and expeditions were fitted out in every part for the American continent. Charles the Fifth gave these adventurers permission to enslave the Indians who should resist them; in consequence of this, avarice and rapacity soon made a dreadful havoc among these unfortunate people; a complaint of these proceedings at last reached the royal audience of St. Domingo, which court immediately took measures to punish the offenders. They appointed Juan Ampues, to the government of the country, who landed on the coast of Curiana, in 1527, with an armed force.

The mildness of his measures gained him the affections of the Indians, and the cacique of the Curiana nation took the oath of allegiance to Spain, on the 26th of July, 1527.—This governor laid the foundation of the city of Coro.

At this time the company of the Welsers, a German establishment of Augsburgh, having advanced great sums to Charles the Fifth, that Emperor granted them, at their earnest request, the[Pg 21] sovereignty of the province of Venezuela from Cape Vela, to Maracapna, and with unlimited boundaries to the south. Their power did not last long, and Juan Perez de Tolosa was appointed governor, with the rank of captain-general. New laws were made, and the Indians were declared free from involuntary servitude; as soon as a nation or tribe was subjected, a town was built, and a hundred Europeans were sent to colonize it. The laws of the repartimientos and encomiendos were established, and every thing went on properly at first, but the settlers abusing their authority over the natives, these laws were repealed, and Spanish America was declared a kingdom united to the Spanish crown. The council of the Indies was formed at Madrid, the legislative functions were declared to be vested solely in the king, aided by this council, and the executive was to belong only to officers appointed by the court; accordingly, on the 4th of September, 1519, this act was decreed and promulgated, since which Caraccas has been governed by a captain-general, and subordinate officers.

In treating of Cumana we must not omit mentioning the history of the visit paid to this coast by Las Casas, the bishop of Chiapa in Guatimala. Bartolemeo de Las Casas who was born at Seville in 1474, and when only nineteen years of age, accompanied his father and Columbus to the west Indies, returning to Spain after an absence of five years, took the habit of a monk, and again embarked with Columbus to Hispaniola; on the settling of Cuba, he was appointed rector of Zaguarama, where he strenuously objected against reducing the Indians to servitude, at the same time relinquishing his own share in the partition of these people among the whites. Meeting with great opposition, on account of his determined resistance to the oppression of the aborigines, he set out for Spain in 1516, for the purpose of laying the grievances, under which the newly-discovered nations[Pg 22] laboured, before the King. Ferdinand promised that new laws should be made, but death prevented his resolves from being put into execution; Las Casas then applied to Cardinal Ximenes the regent, and that minister sent out three commissioners to enquire into the circumstances of the case. These three persons were monks of St. Jerome, and were accompanied by a lawyer of great abilities, and Las Casas, who was granted the title of "Protector of the Indians."

On their arrival at St. Domingo, these commissioners finding it impossible to do away with the enslavement of the Indians at once, they adopted some salutary measures to better their condition. Las Casas remonstrated with them, but found his efforts useless, and as he had made all the planters his enemies, he saw himself under the necessity of retreating to the protection of the convent from the effects of their malignity. He again set out for Spain, with a determination not to abandon the cause in which he had embarked. Ximenes being on his death-bed, and the Emperor Charles the Fifth having appointed his Flemish ministers to the chief offices of state, Las Casas was obliged to endeavour to interest them in his favour; in this he succeeded, and they recalled the monks of St. Jerome, and appointed a judge to examine the complaints of the Indians with ample powers to redress them.

But Las Casas here tarnished the glory he would otherwise have enjoyed unsullied. To carry his favourite scheme the more certainly into execution, he proposed that a certain number of negroes should be purchased from the Portuguese in Africa, to replace the Indians who were to be liberated. His plans, unfortunately for the poor Africans, were adopted, and ever since that period these degraded people have suffered the most galling servitude, which it is now the delight of an Englishman to know, that his nation have stepped forward[Pg 23] to put a lasting stop to; and the reign of the Prince Regent, would, independent of the brilliant events which have rendered it immortal, have been remembered, to the remotest ages by this magnanimous act alone. The emperor Charles granted a patent to one of his Flemish courtiers, containing the exclusive right of sending 4000 negroes to the West Indies; this patent was sold to Genoese merchants for 25,000 ducats, and these people have the odium of being the first who brought this abominable traffic to a regular form. Las Casas proposed also to send mechanics and labourers to Hispaniola with the negroes, who should be allowed an advance to go thither; but the bishop of Burgos, who was the great enemy of Columbus and his followers, defeated this project, as well as every other that Las Casas offered.

Fearful that he should not succeed in relieving the Indians in the new settlements, he requested from the Emperor the grant of a district, then unoccupied, from the gulf of Paria to Cape de la Vela, thus including Cumana, Barcelona, Venezuela, Coro, and Maracaybo. In his memorial, he proposed settling this country with a colony of priests, husbandmen, and labourers; he engaged in two years, to instruct the natives in the arts of social life; to civilize 10,000 of them, and that at the end of that time, the king should derive a revenue of 15,000 ducats, which was to increase to 50,000 in ten years. After much difficulty, in consequence of the opposition of the meddling bishop, this extent of coast was granted to him, with liberty to extend it indefinitely into the interior. He sailed from Spain with 200 followers in 1521. Many of these left him at Puerto Rico, others died, and he landed on the coast of Cumana, with a few only who still adhered to him; here he found the country in a state of great agitation from a recent invasion of the Spanish islanders, who had attacked the natives, for the purposes of[Pg 24] procuring slaves and gold. He was obliged to go over to Hispaniola to procure a reinforcement, and during his absence, the Indians attacked the colony he had planted, destroyed many of the people, and forced the remnant to take refuge in the little isle of Cubagua.

This isle they soon abandoned, and not a Spaniard was then left in any part of the continent from Paria to Darien. Las Casas, mortified beyond every thing, by the failure of his splendid schemes, shut himself up in the Dominican convent at Hispaniola. Here he devoted himself to the performance of religious duties, still keeping in mind the great object of his ambition. The sufferings of the Indians increasing daily, and a chapter of his order at Chiapa in New Spain, having made him their messenger to Europe, on some important affairs, he once more revisited Madrid in 1542, and took a favourable opportunity of pleading the cause of the injured Indians before Charles V. He also composed a treatise, which he called "A Brief Relation of the Destruction of the Indians;" in which was painted, in the most pathetic and forcible manner, the enormities which had taken place in every country of the New World which the Spaniards had visited.

This work created the most lively sensations throughout Europe, and such a general abhorrence of the cruel measures of the adventurers, that the Spanish court thought fit to adopt some measures to silence the universal clamour. New regulations were adopted, some of which tended to ameliorate the condition of the unfortunate Americans; and Las Casas was elevated to the dignity of bishop of Chiapa, in order to afford every relief in the power of the church to bestow.

He returned to America in 1544, and continued in this see until 1551, exerting himself in every possible manner to attain the object of his wishes; in which he succeeded greatly, but his health fail[Pg 25]ing in 1551, he resigned his bishopric, and once more revisited his native country; in the same year, and for five years subsequent to his return, he lived in Madrid, still exerting all his influence to consolidate the measures which had been taken for the prosperity of the people to whom he was so much attached; at last nature became worn out, and this indefatigable, and benevolent man, closed his career in 1556, in the 92d year of his age.

Besides the work alluded to above, he wrote several others, among which, is a "General History of the Indies," of which Antonio de Herrera is said to have availed himself in the compilation of his celebrated history of the New World.


The provinces of Barcelona and Cumana are extremely mountainous; the first branch from the main chain of the Andes running through these districts, and terminating in the ocean at the gulf of Paria.

This ridge gives birth to the rivers which flow into the Orinoco on the south, and into the Caribbean sea on the north, and contains some highly picturesque and singular scenery; the most noted parts of which will be hereafter described.

The climate of this government varies according to the situation of its districts, on the high land of the mountains, or in the valleys or plains of the interior.

Capitals.—The chief town of New Andalusia is Cumana, where the governor of the two provinces usually resides. The chief town of New Barcelona, is Barcelona.

Cumana is situated in 10° 27' 52" north latitude, and 64° 9' 47" west longitude, a mile from the battery of the Boca, or mouth of the harbour, between which and the town extends a great plain, called El Salado. The port is formed by the[Pg 26] fine river Manzanares, which runs through the town. East of the city is another extensive plain, and north of it a rocky mass, on which stands the citadel of St. Antonio. The city occupies the space between the citadel, the river Manzanares, and another smaller stream called the Santa Catalina, and the plains which surround it are highly cultivated; that towards the sea having an Indian suburb and gardens filled with sapotes, mameis, plantains, &c. The suburb is divided into three parishes; on the east is that of Sarritos, on the south-east, St. Francisco, and the great town of the Guayqueria Indians. Cumana is one of the oldest cities of the continent, and was built by Gonzalo Ocampo in 1520.

In the city of Cumana are no very remarkable buildings, owing to the fatal effects of the last earthquake. There is only one parish church and two convents, but additions are daily making to it, which will render it a fine town.

This city is remarkable for the purity and healthiness of its climate, on account of the heat being moderated by the sea-breezes; the most fatal disorders are fluxes, which carry off numbers of children annually, owing to the great use they make of green indigestible fruits. The women, particularly the Indians, are very prolific, which in some measure compensates for the loss annually experienced of the younger branches of society. The population of Cumana amounts at present to 16, or 17,000 souls, of which, two-fifths are Indians of the Guayqueria, Chayma, and other tribes. Of these, the Guayquerias are the most noted tribe not only of Cumana, but of Caraccas; they are a branch of the Guarounoes, who inhabit the swampy island, at the mouth of the Orinoco; but they have now become so incorporated with the Spaniards, that for the last century they have spoken the Spanish language only. When Columbus was on this coast, his people saw these Indians[Pg 27] fishing with long poles pointed at one end, and tied to a cord at the other; demanding of them the name of their country, they immediately replied Guiake, which signified pointed stick; the sailors thought this was the name of the tribe, and accordingly called them Guaikerias, which name they have since retained.

These people, who also inhabit the islands, show to Europeans with pride the Punta de la Galera, so called, because Columbus's vessel touched there, as well as port Manzanillo, where they swore fidelity in 1498 to the whites, which vow they have never violated. The Guayquerias are the pilots of the coast of Cumana, and their suburb is composed of rows of uniform low buildings disposed into the form of streets, which have a very neat appearance.

On a naked rock which commands the city, 100 feet above the level of the sea, is the castle of St. Antonio, which commands the place. There is also another fort in ruins, on the south-west; and the entrance into the port is defended with inconsiderable batteries, but the military positions of Cumana are of little importance, as the citadel is commanded by a part of the same rock on which it stands; the chief defence of this post being a thick wood of the cactus, whose thorny shoots defy admission into its recesses.

The entrance of the harbour of Cumana is highly picturesque, the city rising out of the plain backed by the citadel, its rocks and groves, the plantations of cocoa-nuts, cassias, capers, and arborescent mimosas; the shores covered with alcatras or brown pelicans, egrets, and flamingoes. The beauty of the river, and the clear blue of the sky, contrasted with the dark and gloomy appearance of the mountains in the interior, conspire to afford a landscape of the most captivating character.

The European inhabitants, and the descendants of Europeans, are noted for their great politeness and hospitality to strangers; they are chiefly occu[Pg 28]pied in commercial enterprize, this and Barcelona being ports where much trade is carried on. The manner and customs of these people is nearly allied to those of their brethren in the other great cities of Spanish America. One of the most singular of their customs is that of passing most of their evenings sitting on chairs placed in the river.

In this city, the first question in a morning is, "Is the water cool?" Their conversaziones are carried on in the rivers where the evening parties are mostly spent in talking about the weather, the news, and in smoking. All the inhabitants of the town it is said can swim, and the children pass the greater part of their time in the water. The alligator is not dangerous at Cumana, as they are seldom seen, and are only of the smallest kind; the chief fear that the women have whilst bathing is from the dolphin, which sometimes comes up the river and spouts like the whale.

The port of Cumana is formed by the gulf of Cariaco, and its harbour by the river Manzanares. The gulf of Cariaco is thirty-eight miles in length and sixty-eight in breadth, with excellent anchoring ground; and the ocean is always smooth and unruffled from Porto Cabello to the point of Paria; so much so, that the coasting vessels are not decked; the only danger in the port of Cumana being a shoal, called Morro Roxo, half a mile in breadth and very steep on all sides.

This city has been repeatedly shook by subterrene convulsions; and the natives have a tradition that the gulf of Cariaco was formed by an earthquake, just before the third voyage of Columbus. In 1530, the whole coast was shaken, and the city, then called New Toledo, suffered by having its fort at the mouth of the river destroyed; an immense rent was made in the coast, from which asphaltum and water issued.

These shocks were very frequent towards the[Pg 29] end of the 16th century, the sea often rising fifteen or twenty fathoms. On the twenty-first of October, 1766, the city was overthrown, and numbers of persons perished; the tremblings of the earth continued hourly for fourteen months; but in 1767, the inhabitants incamped in the streets, when the shocks only took place once a month; a great drought had happened in 1766, but during 1767, the rains were so continual, that the harvest was very abundant. In this memorable earthquake the ground opened and threw out hot water.

In 1794, they experienced another tremendous convulsion, and on the 14th of December, 1797, four-fifths of the city were utterly destroyed, the earth heaving up with loud subterraneous noises; but the people got into the streets in time, and a small number only perished of those who sought for refuge in the churches. Half an hour before this happened, there was a strong sulphureous smell near the castle, and a loud noise under the ground; flames were seen to rise from the banks of the river, and in several other places. These flames are frequently observed near the city on the plains, they do not burn the herbage, and issue from no apparent crevices, the people calling them the soul of the tyrant Aguirra, who took part in a revolt against Ursua, governor of Omaguas, and styled himself "the traitor." He descended the Amazons, and reached the island of Margarita by the rivers of Guiana.

Though so continually exposed to this dreadful calamity, the inhabitants of Cumana are in a measure insensible to it, as they imagine that it never occurs but at particular intervals, and that they have always sufficient notice by the state of the weather and other occurrences.

The neighbourhood of Cumana is infested with the rattle snake, the coral vipers, centipedes, &c.

Farms and country-seats adorn the banks of the Manzanares; at a little distance from the city these[Pg 30] are beautifully situated, amid groves of cactus, tamarinds, brazilletoes, the enormous ceiba, palms, &c., and the soil is so rich for pasturage, that excellent milk and butter are produced.

Near Cumana the most noted mountains are the Cerro or chain of the Brigantin, about eighteen miles distant, the highest summit of which has a flat top, and is elevated more than 5000 feet above the sea, and the sides of this chain are nearly perpendicular, the country about it being a mere desert.

The inhabitants of Cumana attempted to cross these mountains with a road, but found it impracticable, and the passage to the plains of the interior lies over a part of the chain, known by the name of the Imposible, over which a new road is carrying on, the present one being very steep. This chain is continued to the extremity of the gulf of Cariaco, and forms the barrier between it and the ocean.

On the peninsula formed by this gulf are the salt works of Araya, which have been successively worked by most of the European nations who possess colonies in the West Indies. The Dutch were however expelled in 1605, when a fort or battery was built to prevent their return, and the mere or lake which these salt-works consist of, was overflowed by the sea in the great hurricane in 1726, which also destroyed the battery; but pits or reservoirs have been since dug, and the sea dyked out, so that great quantities of salt are still procured.

The consumption of this article in forming tasajo, or salted provision, amounts, in Barcelona and Cumana, to 9 or 10,000 fanegas (each 400lbs.) annually, of which the salt marsh or grounds of Araya, furnish 3000 fanegas, and the sea the rest.

The Indians use very little salt with their food, but the creoles and negroes live almost entirely on salted meat and fish. Salt being a royal[Pg 31] monopoly, the revenue derived from Araya is considerable.

A small village is established on the peninsula of Araya, where the Indians keep large flocks of goats. This strip of land was the first place where the Spaniards began to found a town; and it contains springs and masses of petroleum; this substance existing also on its coasts, at Cape de la Brea, Punta Soto, and Guararitto. A stream of naptha issues from the bed of the sea, near these shores, and forms a visible spot, 1000 feet in diameter, among the weeds, with which the beach is covered.

Nueva Barcelona, the chief town of the province of the same name, is situated in a plain on the left bank of the river Neveri, half a league distant from the sea, in 10° 10' north latitude, and 64° 47' west longitude; ten leagues by land from Cumana.

This city was founded in 1636, by Juan de Urpin, who had been a canon, doctor, and counsellor of laws in St. Domingo, and a private soldier in the fort of Araya; he gave the name of New Catalonia to the province, which was afterwards changed to that of the city. It is meanly built, though it has a regular appearance; the streets are very dirty in the rainy season, and very dusty in the hot weather; and the immense quantity of hogs bred in this place renders the town disgustingly dirty, from the filth which they spread over the footways; and it was not till the year 1803, that some measures were taken to put a stop to this nuisance.

Barcelona contains one parish church and a convent of Franciscans, with a population of 14,000 souls, half whites and half mulattoes and negroes.

Such is the trade in live and dead cattle in this city, that the inhabitants have not turned their attention to the cultivation of the land, though excellently suited for cotton, cacao, and maize. Barcelona is the emporium for the contraband goods[Pg 32] of Trinidad, and from hence they are dispersed through all the inland provinces.

The value of this trade has been computed at 400,000 dollars annually. Hides, tallow, oxen, mules, jirked and salted beef, form the great commercial articles of this port; this trade is chiefly carried on with the Havannah and West India Islands.

In the jurisdiction of Barcelona, which declared itself independent in the year 1811, commence those immense plains that stretch with those of Caraccas, as far south as the Orinoco. They are covered with excellent pasturage, and feed innumerable herds of cattle and mules, which are mostly kept on the banks of the rivers. Such immense quantities were killed before the breaking out of the present commotions, that the trade was at one time very considerable, the inhabitants of Barcelona being noted for their skill in salting meat; but just after the first symptoms of this struggle, the plains became infested with robbers, who deprived the owners of their beasts, and greatly lessened the value of the trade.

The other towns of Cumana are chiefly missionary establishments seated near the rivers, and on the great plains, the greater part of the country being yet in a state of nature. Of these towns the principal one is Cumanacoa, twelve leagues distant from Cumana, on a plain surrounded with lofty mountains, which was founded in 1717, by Domingo Arias, on his return from the Guaripiche river, where some Frenchmen had attempted to plant a colony; it was at first called San Baltazar de las Arias, but soon lost that appellation, for its present one. The climate of this place is mild, and even cold, although it is not more than 630 feet above the sea, owing probably to the abundance of rain, to the frequency of thick fogs, and to being surrounded by humid forests.

The dry season begins here in the winter sol[Pg 33]stice, and lasts till the vernal equinox. Light showers are frequent in April, May and June; the dry weather again commences, and lasts to the end of August, when the winter rains set in, which only cease in November; and during this interval, the country is deluged with water.

The environs of Cumanacoa are very fertile, and are chiefly cultivated with tobacco, with which article it supplies the whole province. Indigo is also grown here and in this town; the population amounts to about 2300 souls.

The road from Cumana over the Imposible, through the forest, to Cumanacoa, passes by the mission of St. Fernando, of the Chayma Indians. It is described as highly picturesque. The forest consists of trees, whose trunks are of the largest dimensions, and which are clasped in every direction by creeping or parasitical plants, of which the lianas reach to the very summits of the trees, and pass from one to another, at the height of more than a hundred feet, displaying beautiful festoons of dark green leaves, intermixed with the most fragrant and splendid flowers. Under these arcades, which scarcely admit the rays of the sun, the traveller proceeds, viewing, at intervals only, the deep blue of the sky. The parrots, macaws, and innumerable tribes of birds of the most brilliant plumage, are continually hovering about, and here the oriole builds his bottle-shaped and pendant nest. The screaming of the parrots actually drowns the roar of small cataracts which here and there fall from the rocky mountains.

On quitting this forest path to go to St. Fernando, the country is open for a short space, and the road is now lined with the bamboo or guadua, whose elegant form, agitated by the slightest winds, strikes the European traveller with the most agreeable sensations. We shall describe the village of St. Fernando, as a type of all the[Pg 34] other missionary settlements, which are too numerous to name.

The huts of the Indians are built of mud or clay, strengthened by the stems of the lianas, and are disposed into streets, very wide and straight, and crossing each other at right angles, the whole appearing very neat. The gardens are either in, or at a short distance from the village, and each family possesses one which they cultivate, together with a large plot of ground, common to all, and called the conuco, at which the grown-up young men and women are obliged to work one hour in the morning and one in the evening. In the missions near the coast, this conuco is generally an indigo or sugar plantation, the profits of which are divided by the priest, for the support of the church and the village.

The great square of San Fernando is situated in the centre of the village; in it is placed the church, the priest's house, and the Casa del Rey, or king's-house, destined for the accommodation of travellers. The priest governs the people in their spiritual and temporal affairs, but the parish officers are always chosen from among the Indians; a matter of necessity, as no whites are to be found in these settlements. They have their governor, alguazil, mayor and militia officers, and the company of archers have their colours, and perform their exercise at stated periods, shooting at a mark.

The villages in which the Europeans or Creoles are settled, and in which Indians are occasionally found occupying a distinct part, are called doctrinas, and differ entirely from the missions. Of these there are many on the side of the country nearest the coast, the missions being mostly in the interior.

Near Cumanacoa, is the great mountain called Tumiriquiri, where an enormous wall of rock rises out of the forest, and is joined on the west by the Cerro de Cuchivano, where the chain is broken[Pg 35] by an enormous precipice more than 900 feet in width, filled with trees, whose branches are completely interlaced with each other. The Rio Juagua traverses this crevice, which is the abode of the jaguar, or American tiger, of a very formidable size, being six feet in length. They carry off the horses and cattle in the night from the neighbouring farms, and are as much dreaded as the most ferocious of the feline race are in the East Indies. Two immense caverns open into this precipice, from which flames occasionally rush out that may be seen in the night at a great distance.

The great mountain of Tumiriquiri is situated on the road to Caripe, the chief mission of the Chaymas, which passes over the summit of a lower part of the chain, which bears the general name of the Cocollar. From the summit of this last chain, at more than two thousand feet in height, the eye wanders over the immense plains which reach towards the banks of the Orinoco, in the ravines alone of which can be distinguished any trees, and these but thinly scattered; the remainder of the surface is covered with an uniform coat of long waving grass, intermixed with flowering shrubs.

From this point the traveller ascends towards the Tumiriquiri; the road is partly traversed on horseback, but soon becomes too steep and slippery for these animals.

The round summit of the Tumiriquiri is covered with turf, and is elevated more than 4400 feet above the ocean. This elevation gradually diminishes towards the west by a ridge of steep rocks, and is interrupted at the distance of a mile by an immense crevice, which descends towards the gulf of Cariaco. Beyond this two enormous peaks arise, the northernmost of which, named the Cucurucho of Tumiriquiri, is more than 6500 feet in height, surpassing that of the Brigantin with which it is connected. These peaks are covered with mahogany, javillo, and cedar trees, of an enormous size, whose shades are[Pg 36] frequented by tigers and other wild beasts, which are hunted now and then for the sake of their beautiful skins. The view from the summit of this mountain is very fine; the chain which extends from west to east is seen in all its forms; its ridges running parallel to each other at short distances, form longitudinal valleys, intersected by crevices worn by the waters in their passage to the Orinoco or the sea. The sea bounds the prospect on the north, and the immeasurable plains form its horizon on the south. The rivers Colorado and Guaripiche rise in the chain of the Cocollar, and mingle their streams near the east coast of Cumana. The Colorado at its mouth is very broad, and the Guaripiche more than twenty-five fathoms deep; and between this river and the Areo which falls into it, are some springs of petroleum. Beyond Tumiriquiri the road descends the mountains towards Caripe, by the mission of San Antonio across savannahs strewed with large blocks of stone, over a thick forest lying on two steep ridges called Los Yepes and Fantasma, into a valley in which are the missions of San Antonio and Guanaguana, which are separated by the rivers Colorado and Guaripiche. Guanaguana valley is divided from that of Caripe, by a ridge called the Cuchillo de Guanaguana, which is difficult to pass, the path being often only fourteen inches broad and extremely slippery, as the slope is covered with grass.

These paths are traversed on mules, whose footing is so sure, that accidents rarely occur. The height of the Cuchillo is about 3430 feet, and the descent to Caripe is by a winding path through a forest; and as the valley is high, the journey is short and easy. Here the climate is mild and delightful, but in the valley of Guanaguana it is hot and unwholesome; so great is the difference which is experienced in this country in passing from one side of a mountain to the other. The height of the convent of Caripe, in which the missionary monks[Pg 37] reside, is 2575 feet above the sea, in 10° 10' 14" north-latitude; and this appears to be the only high valley of Cumana, which is well inhabited.

The convent is seated on a delightful plain, backed with an immense wall of perpendicular rocks, covered with plants; the ceiba and palms show their gigantic and elegant forms, numberless springs gush out on every side, and it is difficult to imagine a more picturesque spot than that which these priests have chosen. The cultivation of the valley adds to the natural beauty of the scene, as the gardens of the Indians are filled with plantains, papaws, and all the fruit-bearing plants common to the tropical regions.

The conuco or common plantation contains maize, the sugar cane, culinary plants, and coffee trees. Near this valley is the cavern of the Guacharo, three leagues from the convent towards the west. This cave gives its name to the range of mountains in which it is situated. The cavern is pierced in the face of the perpendicular side of the lofty Guacharo mountain, the access to its mouth being rather difficult, on account of the numerous little torrents which cross the valley. Its entrance is towards the south, and forms an arch eighty feet broad, and seventy-two high, surmounted with rocks, covered by gigantic trees; festoons of creeping plants throw themselves across the chasm, and variegate the scene with the beautiful and vivid tints of their flowers; a river issues from the vault which continues at the same height as at its entrance for a considerable distance; and arums, heliconias and palms, follow the banks of the stream for thirty or forty paces into the interior. It is not necessary to use torches for 430 feet from the mouth, as the grotto keeps the same direction, and forms but one channel from south-east to north-west; when the day-light fails, the hollow murmuring sound of a vast number of nocturnal birds, inhabiting the recesses of the cave, may be distin[Pg 38]guished; advancing further by the help of lights the whole rock is seen covered with the nests of these birds, which are called Guacharoes, and are of the size of a fowl, with a crooked bill, feathers of a dark bluish grey, mixed with specks of black, the head, wings and tail, being studded with large white heart-shaped spots edged with black; the spread of the wings is three feet and a half; its eye, which is blue and small, cannot endure the light of day, these birds quitting the cavern only at night in search of the fruits on which they exist; their nests are seen by fixing a torch at the end of a pole, and are generally on the very highest parts of the arch.

The Indians enter this cave once a year to destroy the young for the sake of a layer of fat, with which the abdomen is covered. These people construct temporary huts at the mouth of the cavern, and melt the fat in pots of clay, over brushwood fires; this fat is called the butter of the guacharo, is transparent, half liquid, without smell, and so pure as to keep more than a year without becoming rancid; the monks purchase this oil of the natives for culinary purposes. Notwithstanding this annual destruction of the birds, their numbers do not sensibly diminish, as it is conjectured that other guacharoes re-people the grotto from neighbouring caves, which are inaccessible to man.

The river which runs through the cave, is from twenty-eight to thirty feet in width, and can be traced into the recesses for a considerable distance, the cave preserving its altitude and regular form for 1458 feet; farther than this the river forms a small cascade over a hill covered with vegetation; and surrounded with stalactites; after this ascent the grotto contracts its height to forty feet, still preserving the same dimensions; here the bottom is covered with a black mould on which plants, deposited accidentally by the birds, have vegetated; their characters are however so much changed by want of light and air that it is impossible to recog[Pg 39]nise the species. Beyond this spot the cries of the birds were so shrill and piercing that no persuasions could induce the Indians to proceed, and M. De Humboldt was obliged unwillingly to return.

This subterraneous river is the source of the Rio Caripe, which joining the river Santa Maria a few leagues distant, is navigable for canoes, and falls into the river Areo under the name of Canno de Terezen.

The forests of this and of every other part of Cumana are peopled with numerous tribes of monkeys, of which the araguato is the most common and singular; it is three feet in height from the top of the head to the tail, with a reddish brown bushy coat of fur which covers its whole body, being very fine on the belly and breast; its face is of a blackish blue, and covered with a delicate wrinkled skin; the beard long, and its eye, voice and gait, denoting melancholy; when domesticated they have not that vivacity which most monkeys are celebrated for; on the rains, or any sudden change of weather approaching, the howling noises made by this creature are beyond conception dismal, and add, during a storm, to the horrors of the uninhabited wilds in which the traveller finds himself alone, and unprotected.

Near Cumana, at the farther end of the gulf of Cariaco, is the little town of Cariaco, in the middle of a large plain filled with plantations, huts and groups of cocoa and palms; on a hill behind this town, at some distance, and named Buenavista, may be seen the range of mountains which stretch towards the east under the names of Sierra de Paria and Areo; from this hill it is said the most extensive view is to be had which can be seen on the coast of Cumana.

The town of Cariaco is small and very unhealthy, owing to the great heat of the climate, the humidity arising from the surrounding plains[Pg 40] and the exhalations from the shallow mere or lake Campona.

The number of inhabitants of this town amounted in 1800 to 6000, and the population is on the increase. Its chief commerce is in cotton of a fine quality; Cumana and Barcelona exported 18,000 quintals of this article in 1800, of which the town of Cariaco furnished six or 7000. Cacao is also attended to, but the cultivation of this plant does not flourish. The sugar cane has of late become an object of much speculation at Cariaco, where considerable quantities of it are now grown.

From Cariaco the gulf stretches to Cumana, its northern shore being naked, dry, and rocky, while the south coast is covered the whole way with plantations of cocoa nut trees; and between Cumana and Cariaco is the small village of Mariguitar, seated in the midst of these plantations.

Eastward of Cariaco the range of mountains continue to bend towards the promontory of Paria; they contain in their bosom, a short distance from Cariaco a large lake, four or five leagues in diameter, called Putacuao, which communicates with the river Areo. These mountains are visited only by the Indians, and are haunted by the great boa serpent. This part of Cumana, as well as all the country lying towards the east, is nearly uninhabited by Europeans, but a new town has lately been founded at Punta de Piedra, opposite Spanish harbour in Trinidad; and people are daily forming settlements along the coast and in the fertile valleys of the interior; of which, Concepcion del Pao, forty-five leagues south of Barcelona, fifty-five from Cumana, and twenty-eight south-east of Caraccas, has lately been raised to the rank of a city, and contains 2300 persons, mostly proprietors of cattle and land in the northern plains of the Orinoco.

The provinces of Barcelona and Cumana contain about 100,000 inhabitants, of which the Indians compose more than one-half, 24,000 in[Pg 41]habiting New Andalusia alone, without including the Guaraounoes of the islands of the Orinoco; and who, as it were, command the mouths of this fine river, which extend along the sea-coast for more than sixty leagues. These mouths are very numerous, but seven of them only are navigable. The first of these is twelve leagues south of the mouth of the Rio Guaripiche, and is called Grande Manamo. The second is two leagues south-east of the first, and is named Canal de Pedernales; on the east of it is the island Guarispa, and three leagues south-west is Isla del Soldado, at the south entrance of the gulf of Paria; these two channels are too shallow for large vessels.

The third is called Capure, and is a branch of the second, detaching itself about seven leagues inland.

The fourth is Macareo, six leagues south of Capure, navigable for schooners and brigs, and the principal outlet between Guiana and Trinidad, its mouth being opposite Erin river in that island.

The fifth is called Maruisas, from the tribe which dwell on its shores; it is twelve leagues south of the fourth entrance, but is little frequented.

Eighteen leagues farther is a branch of the Maruisas, which is the sixth mouth, and is navigable for small vessels.

Eight leagues south of this is the Boca de los Navios, or grand mouth of the Orinoco, which is navigable for large ships.

The rivers of Cumana and Barcelona which fall into the Caribbean sea, beginning from the west are chiefly, the Unare, which bounds the provinces of Venezuela and Barcelona. It is navigable for six leagues from the sea, as far as the village of San Antonio de Clarinas. Its whole course from the mountains is about thirty leagues from south to north; the small river Ipire joins this last at about half its course from the interior.

[Pg 42]

The next river eastward of any consequence is the Neveri, on which Barcelona is built. The Indian name of the stream is Enipricuar; it is infested with crocodiles, but by means of this river which rises in the mountains of the interior, the port of Barcelona carries on its trade in cattle and skins.

The animals are brought from the plains behind the mountains by three days' journey, so easy is the road, whilst it requires eight or nine days to reach Cumana by a similar route, on account of the steepness of the Brigantin and Imposible; this has greatly facilitated commercial speculation, and will one day render New Barcelona an important place.

In 1800, eight thousand mules were embarked at Barcelona for the West India Islands, and it is computed that the plains of the government of Caraccas furnished annually 30,000 of these animals to the Spanish, English, and French islands. Barcelona has been lately fortified, by having a small fort erected on an eminence on the right bank of the Neveri, about 400 feet above the sea. But this is commanded on the south by a more lofty hill. The distance by sea between Cumana and Barcelona is twelve leagues, but by land considerably more, and over a most difficult road.

At Cumana the river Manzanares, which is only navigable for canoes beyond the town, is noted only for having its shores lined with the most fruitful plantations. Beyond Cumana, the mountains approach so near the coast, that they leave no room for any streams of importance to flow; and therefore proceeding round the point of Paria, and verging towards the Orinoco, the next river we find, of any consequence, is the Guaripiche which flows into the Atlantic by a broad mouth just above the first estuary of the Orinoco; this river rises in the interior as has been before mentioned.

Of the rivers which join the Orinoco and flow[Pg 43] through the plains of Cumana, the Mamo, the Pao, and the Suara are the largest; and on the banks of these are some newly erected settlements.


The government of Venezuela comprehends Venezuela, or Caraccas Proper and Coro.

It is bounded on the north by the Caribbean sea; east by Barcelona; west by Maracaybo and Varinas; and south by the great plains of Varinas, and the Orinoco.

This extensive government was named Venezuela from the towns inhabited by Indians which were seen by the Spaniards on the lake Maracaybo, having a resemblance to Venice.

In 1801 the population of Venezuela, including Varinas, amounted to 500,000 persons.

The soil of Venezuela is fertile, and yields in abundance all the products of the West Indies, besides many others, which those islands do not possess. Its most noted commercial article is cacao, which is inferior to none in the Americas; vanilla, maize, indigo, cotton, sugar, tobacco and coffee, are a few of the richest objects of cultivation; wild cochineal, dyewoods, medicinal drugs, gums, resins, balsams, sarsaparilla, sassafras, liquorice, squills, storax, cassia and aloes, here find that climate the most favourable to their growth; and the immense plains in the interior feed multitudes of cattle, horses and mules, and in the valleys and mountains, sheep and deer are numerous. All kinds of game are found in this country, the rivers of which also abound with fish.

The climate of Venezuela is modified according to the situation of its districts in the mountains, on the coast or on the plains; on the coast and in the plains a scorching heat prevails, accompanied in the latter with deluges of rain. In the mountain[Pg 44] valleys the air is in general pure and mild, and in some elevated parts even cold.

These mountains, which form a part of the great branch extending from the west to the gulf of Paria, divide the lands of the coast from the plains of the valley of the Orinoco. Their surface is rent in every direction by the force of subterraneous convulsions; it is on these mountains that the climate is so singularly altered that a traveller may observe the fruits of the tropics luxuriating at a short distance from those of Europe. To the south of this chain the Llanos or plains, which stretch to the Orinoco are inhabited solely by herds of cattle tended by mulattoes, who are as nearly in a state of nature as the beasts they guard.

On the plains of Venezuela, the rainy season commences in April, and continues till November. The rains fall oftener in the morning than in the evening, and on an average generally occupy three hours of each day; during which period, the plains nearest the rivers are converted into lakes of immense extent.

For about a century after this country was subdued by the Spaniards, all their thoughts were turned towards its mineral productions, and the pearl fishery on its coasts. But being disappointed in their expectations of finding immense riches from these sources, they at last turned their attention to the cultivation of the soil. They first planted cacao trees, and so abundant were the profits which this labour yielded, that cacao alone occupied their fields till a very late period. About the year 1774 indigo plantations appeared, and immense plains, hitherto desert, were soon covered with this plant, which was speedily followed by cotton, sugar, tobacco, coffee, &c., but notwithstanding the aptitude of the soil, and the genial nature of the climate, agriculture still languishes in these fine regions, partly from want of enterprise,[Pg 45] and active industry, and partly from a too great confidence in the prolific nature of the soil.

Besides the articles before mentioned, the forests of Venezuela produce every species of timber fit for the purposes of the joiner, the cabinet-maker, the carpenter, or the shipwright. Cedar is used for their door-posts, window-frames, tables, &c. Black, red, and yellow ebony are common. Mahogany, brasiletto, and all sorts of ornamental woods are abundant, so much so that the workman would be puzzled in his choice of the finest; but the immense forests which overspread the chain of mountains, remain unexplored, and continue to be the receptacles of ferocious animals and venomous reptiles.

The lakes of Venezuela are not numerous, for we can hardly give that appellation to the sheets of water produced by the periodical swell of the Orinoco, or the rains, and which are generally without any depth; the lake of Valencia has been already described.

The rivers of Venezuela are more numerous than in any other part of Spanish America. Every valley has its stream, and though many of them are not of sufficient size to be navigable, yet all afford ample supplies of water to irrigate the plantations on their banks. The principal of these, which run from the mountains of Caraccas and Coro into the Caribbean sea, are the Guiges, Tocuyo, Aroa, Yaracuy, and the Tuy.

The Guiges falls into that sea sixteen leagues west of the city of Coro; the Tocuyo discharges its waters twenty-five leagues east of the Guiges or Gaigues; its source is fifteen leagues south of the town of Carora, at the distance of nearly one hundred miles from the ocean; and it is navigable as far as the village of Banagua, at the distance of forty leagues from its mouth; its banks furnishing abundance of timber of the largest size, and fit for every kind of building. The Aroa rises in the[Pg 46] mountains, west of the town of St. Felipe, and enters the ocean near Burburata bay. The Yaracuy is another river which enters the Caribbean sea, near the latter; and the Tuy discharges itself into the sea, thirty leagues east of La Guayra; it rises in the mountains of St. Pedro, ten leagues from the capital, and being joined by the Guayra, becomes navigable, and serves to transport the produce of the cultivated plains or valleys of Aragoa, Tacata, Cua, Sabana, Ocumara, Santa Lucia and Santa Teresa, through which it passes, and which particularly abound in cacao of the best quality.

The rivers which rise on the southern side of the chain, and flow to the Orinoco, are the Guarico, which receives some of the branches of the Apure, and then following a course parallel to that river, enters the Orinoco a short distance eastward of it. The islands formed by the junctions of the Apure and Guarico are three in number; the first, near the town of St. Fernando de Apure, is called Isla de Blanco; the second, which is very large, and is north of the Indian town of Santa Barbara, is named Isla del Apurito; and the third, which is between the mouths of the Guarico and Apure, is the Isla de las Garzitas. The Guarico, which is a very fine river, is joined near its confluence with the Orinoco, by the Rio Mancapra, which flows through the plains of Calabozo. The Iguane, the Cachivamo, and several others which fertilise the vast uninhabited plains of the Orinoco, flow into that river west of the junction of the great Apure. Most of these swell in the month of April, and continue to overflow their banks during three or four months, covering the low lands in their neigbourhood; they abound in alligators and fish. The Portughuesa, which is formed by the union of the two rivers, the Pao and the Barquisimeto, flows through the greater part of Venezuela, and joins the Apure forty miles north-west of its mouth.

[Pg 47]

Commerce.—The relation of the commercial undertakings of these provinces will necessarily comprehend those of all the governments of Caraccas, the produce of each being nearly the same.

The settlement of the Dutch at Curaçoa, in 1634, first roused the inhabitants of Caraccas to exert their minds in agricultural pursuits: cacao and hides were soon exported in sufficient quantities to answer the purposes of carrying on an exchange trade with the Dutch for such articles of European produce as were necessary to the colonists of Venezuela. This trade became so brisk, that the mother country thought it time to interfere; edicts were issued to suppress it, and two vessels were freighted from Spain with merchandise for the colony, for which enormous duties were charged: the Dutch accordingly commenced a contraband trade, and so greatly undersold the Spanish merchants, that they were left until 1700, in quiet possession of the traffic. From 1700 to 1730, the merchants of Spain endeavoured to revive their speculations, but the activity of the Hollanders was so great, that they were undersold in every article; at this period, the annual produce of the Caraccas in cacao alone was 65,000 quintals (of 1600 ounces to each quintal); the exports through the royal custom houses amounted to 21,000, so that the Dutch received the remaining 44,000 quintals in their smuggling vessels. The court of Madrid viewing this decrease of its revenues, resolved to put a stop to the intercourse of the foreigners by forcible methods, and confiscations of property, fines and punishments were inflicted on every person discovered engaging in commerce with the Dutch. Notwithstanding these measures, the contraband trade still continued, and the means taken not being found to answer the proposed end, it was at last suggested that a company should be created to monopolize the whole export and import[Pg 48] trade of the captain-generalship. This was accordingly done, and such was the vigilance of the members of this company, that the unlawful trade was soon destroyed, and they succeeded by their constant supplies, and by purchasing every article which could be turned to account, in giving complete satisfaction to the colonies. In 1742, this mercantile body, known by the appellation of the Caraccas and Guipuscoa Company, obtained an exclusive grant of the monopoly of the trade; but in consequence of the discontent which this concession raised in the minds of the colonists, a board was appointed, composed of an equal number of members of the company and of planters, the governor-general being president; this board was to regulate the prices at which the planters and company should respectively exchange their merchandise, at the same time permitting the cacao growers to export one-sixth of their cacao to Spain, on their own account in the company's ships. To prevent all irregular supply, ten armed vessels were built, carrying 86 guns and 518 men, and 102 men were equipped on shore, to guard the harbours.

Immense warehouses were constructed at the different ports, and advances of money without interest were made to the cultivators. Flourishing villages arose in every direction, and the land was converted from immense marshes and forests to smiling plantations. In 1735, 65,000 quintals of cacao were only exported, whilst in 1763, the amount of this article increased to 110,650 quintals. Cattle multiplied rapidly in the vast plains on the south, and hides were added to the other objects of the export trade. From this time the duties paid at the various custom houses, was so great, that Caraccas was no longer supplied with remittances from Mexico, to defray the expences of its government. But with all these advantages, which lasted only a short time, the directors of the company assumed powers foreign to the intentions[Pg 49] under which their grant was conferred, they became corrupt; and such was the state of the trade from the abuses they daily committed, that, in 1778, the court of Madrid opened the ports of Venezuela and Spain reciprocally to each other. New regulations were adopted, and the trade of the colony gradually increased till 1796, when it experienced a check from the operations of the maritime warfare so vigorously carried on by Great Britain at that period. At present it is not in a very flourishing state, owing to the dreadful struggle which has existed between the mother country and her colonies.

Capital.—The capital of Venezuela is Caraccas, which is also the metropolis of the captain-generalship, and has already been described. Coro is the principal place of the province of that name, and is situated in 11° north-latitude, and 72° 30' west-longitude, on an isthmus which divides the gulf of Venezuela or Maracaybo, from the Caribbean sea: it was founded in 1527, and was the second settlement made by Europeans on this coast.

Coro was considered, for a long while, the capital of Venezuela, till in 1576, when the governor transferred his residence to Leon de Caraccas, since which time no person of high rank, excepting the bishop, remains at Coro.

This city is placed on a dry sandy plain, covered with Indian figs or plants of the cactus family; it is supplied with fruit and vegetables from some fertile plains three leagues distant.

The inhabitants, who amount to 10,000, are in general not rich, possessing little activity or enterprise; many of them pride themselves, on account of being descended from the conquerors of the country. Some trade is carried on among them with the West India islands in mules, hides, goats, coarse pottery ware, cheese, &c. which are all brought from the interior. Their chief commer[Pg 50]cial relations are with Curaçoa, from which island, they are distant only a day's sail.

Coro contains but few negroes, as the laborious work is performed by the Indians who inhabit the suburbs. Such is the scarcity of water, that the city is supplied from a distance of two miles, by means of mules and asses, laden with that necessary aliment.

The streets of Coro are regular, but the houses are mean, and the city is not paved, its public buildings being a church, and a small convent of Franciscans. The local government is lodged in a council, of which the commandant of the place is president.

Its port lies open from north to north-east and neither its accommodations, nor the commodities it trades in, are sufficient to render it a place of much resort.

The peninsula, which lies to the north of Coro, is called Paragoana, and the isthmus is about a league in width, from which the peninsula stretches from south-west to north-west for twenty leagues. It is inhabited by people of colour and Indians, who breed great quantities of cattle on it, which they ship off clandestinely to Curaçoa, that island being supplied from this place with meat and vegetables, by open boats, which cross over daily.

Coro is 80 leagues west of Caraccas, 65 north of Maracaybo, and 33 north-west of Barquisimeto.

The next place of note in the government of Venezuela, is Porto Cavello, or Puerto Cabello, 30 leagues north-east of Caraccas, in 10° 20' north latitude, and 69° 11' west longitude. It lies in a fine harbour, in the Golfo Triste, near Curaçoa, to the neighbourhood of which island it owes its importance.

Burburata, a village and harbour, a league to the east of Porto Cavello, was originally the port of Venezuela, and was founded for that purpose in 1549. The harbour of Puerto Cabello, being well adapted for carrying on a contraband trade with Bur[Pg 51]burata, its shores were soon settled by fishermen, and many Dutch smugglers erected huts there. Such was the boldness and enterprising spirit of these people, that all the efforts of the Spaniards were unable to check them, and they continued their unlawful trade under the eyes of the local authorities. When the Guipuscoa company obtained their final charter, they ejected the most troublesome of these people by force, built a town, a wharf, and forts for its defence; and they also erected immense warehouses, some of which still remain.

The site of this town was a small peninsula, the neck of which was almost under water; this isthmus was cut through, a canal formed, and the town detached from the suburbs.

The exterior buildings are by far the most numerous, they are however built very irregularly, and the island town is chiefly occupied by the forts and warehouses; the communication between the two being by a bridge over the canal, at the end of which is placed a gate that is always closed at night.

The population of this town amounts to about 8000, their sole employment being navigation and commerce, and their principal connection is with the continental harbours and the islands. About 60 vessels are employed in the coasting, and four or five in the European trade. It is the place of resort for ships requiring repair, and some vessels are built here; and it may also be said to be the entrepôt of eastern Venezuela.

The climate is very hot and unhealthy, which prevents its becoming a place of importance.

Puerto Cabello is supplied with water by canals from a river a league to the west, and distributed to the public in cisterns, built at proper distances.

It has one parish church near the harbour, and two hospitals, one for the soldiers, and one for[Pg 52] private persons; and the local authority is vested in the hands of the commandant.

This place was attacked by the English in 1743, but they lost many men, and were obliged to relinquish the undertaking.

Porto Cavello is 30 leagues from La Guayra by sea, 48 by land, from Caraccas, following the road through the towns of Valencia, Maracay, Tulmero, Victoria and San Pedro.

Carora, an inland town, in 10° north latitude, lying on the Morera river, is 110 miles north-east of Gibraltar, on the lake Maracaybo, and contains a population of 6200 souls, resembling in its commerce, inhabitants, &c.—

Tocuyo, a large town, in 9° 35' north latitude, and 70° 20' west longitude, seated in a fine valley between two ranges of high mountains. The city of Tocuyo is very regularly built, the streets being all wide and straight, containing a church, chapel and two monasteries.

In this city, the climate is very fine and wholesome, owing to the vicinity of high mountains, but the air is occasionally cold. The inhabitants who amount to 10,200, are in general artizans, traders, graziers, and agriculturists.

The wheat of Tocuyo is reckoned the best in the province, and furnishes flour to many towns of the interior. Manufactories of woollens are also established, in which coverlids, blankets, &c., are made, and sent to Maracaybo, and even as far as Carthagena. Tanneries and taweries supply work to a great part of the inhabitants, who work up as much of the raw materials as they can find hands to do, and export the rest. Salt from the salt ponds of Coro affords a lucrative article of traffic to the merchants of this town. Tocuyo is 90 leagues south-west of Caraccas, and 20 north of Truxillo.

Guanara, on a river of the same name, that flows into the Portughuesa, which furnishes the[Pg 53] inhabitants with excellent water, and fertilizes the land by its overflowings; on the western parts of this stream, the country is very fruitful; and on the south and east are the immense plains of Varinas.

The chief wealth of the people of Guanara consists in cattle, of which they possess immense herds. They supply the provinces of Caraccas with vast numbers of oxen and mules, and export their surplus by Coro, Puerto-Cavello, or Guiana.

This city consists of a number of streets disposed in an uniform and regular manner, and the houses, though not sumptuous, are well built. The church is large, handsome, and much adorned, and there is a very good hospital. The image of Nuestra Senora de Comoroto, which is supposed to have a particular virtue, attracts a great concourse of devotees from the neighbouring provinces, and renders Guanara a lively place; it is 93 leagues south-west of Caraccas, in 8° 14' north latitude, and 69° 54' west longitude.

Barquisimeto, which contains a population of 11,300 souls, is situated in 8° 55' north latitude, and 66° 55' west longitude; 120 miles west-south-west of Caraccas, 450 north-north-east of Santa Fé, 45 north-north-east of Tocuyo, 80 miles south of Valencia, and 175 north-west of Calaboza, on a small river of the same name, which joins the Portughuesa. It was founded in 1552, after the surrounding country had been reduced, and is one of the oldest cities of Venezuela; being placed on a plain at such an elevation, that it enjoys every cool breeze from the river, and owing to this happy situation, the great heat of the climate becomes supportable. The north-east winds are the most constant, and whenever these do not blow, the thermometer rises to 82° and 84° of Fahrenheit.

The inhabitants pasture the plains with herds of cattle, and find this a lucrative occupation, and an[Pg 54] easy method of making use of their time; but they also cultivate the valleys, which produce cacao of an excellent quality, owing to the periodical overflowing of the stream; and the sides of the mountains are now planted with coffee-trees, which only require a little more care to be of the purest quality. The houses of Barquisimeto are well built, and the streets are on a wide, regular, and good plan. Its church is a handsome structure, and the luxury of its ornaments, as well as the general aspect of the city, show the ease and affluence in which the inhabitants, who are mostly Europeans and their descendants, live.

The city is governed by a lieutenant-governor, and common council.

Victoria is situated on the road leading from Caraccas to Puerto Cavello, six leagues east of Tulmero. It was founded by the missionaries, and for a long time consisted wholly of Indians, till the fruitful nature of the valley of Aragoa drew a number of whites to it. The lands were soon cultivated, and Victoria was covered with houses instead of huts.

The principal ornament of this place is a handsome church, so large that it might well be termed a cathedral; the number of inhabitants of the town is about 8000.

Tulmero is another town in the same fertile valley at six leagues distance west of the latter, and two from Maracay. This town is modern, well built, and the residence of a number of tobacco, coffee, indigo, cacao, &c., planters, but has been peculiarly the abode of the officers appointed to the administration of the tobacco farm; it is embellished with a handsome church and neat private buildings, and is governed by a lieutenant; a vicar also resides here, for the direction of ecclesiastical affairs.

The population is about 8000 souls.

Maracay, forty miles south-west of Caraccas, is also seated in the same rich vale of Aragoa, and is[Pg 55] a beautiful new town famous for the excellent chocolate made in its neighbourhood. The inhabitants who are mostly descendants of Biscayan Spaniards, have been computed to amount to 8500, who cultivate indigo, cacao, cotton, coffee and grain.

Valencia in 10° 9' north latitude, and 68° 25' west longitude, sixteen miles south-west of Caraccas, was founded in consequence of Faxardo, one of the conquerors having greatly praised the surrounding country; it was first built by Villacinda in 1555, with the view of establishing a port near the capital; but Alonzo Diaz Moreno afterwards preferred a scite more distant from lake Tacarigua (now Valencia), and he accordingly removed the colony half a league west of the lake to a beautiful plain, where the air was pure and the soil fertile.

The population of this city is said to be about 8000 souls, mostly creoles, of good families, with some Biscayans and Canarians; the streets are wide and well paved, and the houses built like those of Caraccas, but not of stone. This town has a beautiful square, in which the church, a very pretty structure, stands. In 1802 another church was built and dedicated to Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria; and the Franciscans have a monastery which has also a neat church.

The inhabitants were formerly noted for their indolence, but have lately become active and industrious, and the situation of the place is peculiarly favourable for trade, being separated from Puerto Cavello by only ten leagues of good road. Every commodity landed at that port for the consumption of the provinces of the interior passes through Valencia, which necessarily causes much traffic. The adjacent country produces every sort of provision and fruits in great abundance, and the plains feed immense herds of cattle, with sheep, horses and mules, so that its markets are well supplied. Near it is the lake of Valencia, which has been described already.

[Pg 56]

Valencia, with the towns of Victoria and Barquisimeto, suffered very much from the earthquake which overthrew Caraccas, La Guayra, Merida and the villages of San Felipe and Maiqueta, on the 26th of March, 1812.

Ocumara, though only a village, is celebrated for having a very fine port, the entrance to which has a battery for eight pieces of cannon. Ocumara is five leagues east of Porto Cabello; the port is excellent and well sheltered, with fine moorings. The village is about a league distant from the anchoring place on a small river of the same name, which, after fertilizing a fine valley, enters the sea at the foot of the fort. Between this bay and La Guayra are the bays of Choroni, Puerto, La Cruz, Los Arecifes and Catia, and between Ocumara, or Seinega de Ocumara are the bays of Turiamo, Burburata, and Paranego, from all of which the inhabitants of the coasts export their produce to La Guayra, Porto Cavello, or the West Indies, as each of these afford fine anchoring places for vessels. In the bay of Burburata there is a village, formerly a place of consequence, but principally of note for the number of mules which it exports.

San Carlos was formerly a missionary village, which owes its present beauty to the luxuriancy of the surrounding country; it is twenty-eight leagues south-south-west of Valencia, in 9° 20' north latitude; the climate is very hot, but owing to the prevalence of the north-east wind it is much ameliorated. The inhabitants amount to 9500, composed of Spaniards from the Canaries, and Creoles, and are engaged in rearing cattle, horses and mules, which form their chief riches; the quality of the soil is so good that it gives an exquisite flavour to the fruits, particularly to its oranges, which are celebrated throughout the province.

Indigo and coffee are the chief articles cultivated at San Carlos, and the town is large, handsome, and well laid out.

[Pg 57]

Araura on the shore of the river Acarigua is north-north-east of Truxillo, in a fertile country, where numerous herds of cattle are reared, and cotton and coffee are cultivated; this town, which was, till lately, a missionary village, contains a fine square, a handsome church, and several streets of well built houses.

Calaboso was also a mission until lately; it was formed into a town for the sake of those Spanish owners who wished to be near their cattle which roam on the vast plains of the same name.

It is situated between the rivers Guarico and Orituco, which unite their waters four or five leagues below the town, and then flow into the Apure.

The number of inhabitants in this new town is 4800, and it has 116 settlements in its jurisdiction, containing 1186 free Indians, 3100 people of colour, and 943 slaves. It is fifty-two leagues south of Caraccas, and about the same distance from the Orinoco, in 8° 40' north latitude.

San Juan del Pao is also inhabited by the proprietors of the cattle on the plains, and consists of a church and several handsome streets on the Pao, which runs into the Orinoco. It contains 5400 souls, and is fifty leagues south-west of Caraccas, in 9° 20' north latitude.

San Luis de Cura, in 9° 45' north latitude, twenty-two leagues south-west of Caraccas, and eight leagues south-east of Lake Valencia, possesses 4000 inhabitants, and a miraculous image of the Virgin, to which votaries are constantly flocking.

St. Sebastian de los Reyes in 9° 54' north latitude, twenty-eight leagues south-south-west of Caraccas, and in a hot climate, contains 3500 souls.

St. Felipe or Cocorota, in a very fertile soil, where cacao, indigo, coffee, cotton and sugar are cultivated, contains 6800 inhabitants, and is well built. It stands in 10° 15' north latitude, 50 leagues west of Caraccas, 15 leagues north-west of Valen[Pg 58]cia, and seven leagues north-west of Nirgua; which place was built in the early periods of the conquest, on account of its mines; but it is now in a decaying state, and is inhabited only by Sambos, or the race springing from the Indians and negroes; their number amounts to 3200. This town is in 10° south latitude, 48 leagues west of Caraccas.

Besides the above, there are several other smaller towns, and some very large villages in this government, which are too numerous to describe.

The country of Venezuela is not famous for mines of gold or silver, though some gold has occasionally been found in the streams, which rush from the mountains; the pearl fishery of its coasts will be described in treating of the island of Margarita.


Maracaybo, or Maracaibo, surrounds the lake of the same name. It is bounded on the west by Santa Marta, in New Granada; on the east by Coro and Venezuela; on the north by Santa Marta, and the gulf of Maracaybo; and on the south by Merida and Santa Marta. Owing to the great extent of the lake, this province extends but a short distance inland to the east and west, its length being about 100 leagues.

The soil of Maracaybo is unfruitful on the banks of the lake. The east shore is dry and unhealthy, and on the west shore the land does not begin to be fertile for more than twenty-five leagues south of the city. South of the lake the country may vie with the richest lands of South America.

In this province the population is estimated at about 100,000 souls.

It was from the Indian towns built on posts of iron wood on the lake of Maracaybo that the Spaniards gave the country the name of Venezuela, or Little[Pg 59] Venice. This country was long unknown after the conquest. Ampues, who was governor at Coro, had engaged all the neighbouring nations of Indians, by his conciliatory measures, to swear allegiance to Spain, when, in 1528, Alfinger and Sailler, who had been sent, with 400 followers, to assume the government, under the authority of the company of the Welsers, landed at Coro. Unfortunately for the Indians, they dispossessed Ampues of his government, and began to search in every direction round the lake for gold; finding that their hopes of suddenly acquiring riches from this source were not likely to be realised, Alfinger took the resolution of penetrating into the interior, to pillage the Indian towns, and make prisoners of as many as he could, in order to sell them for slaves. The Indian villages about the lake were soon destroyed; carnage and havoc spread around; the natives were sold to the merchants from the islands, and the whole province was a scene of horror and devastation. Alfinger did not long survive this inhuman conduct, he met his fate in a valley, six leagues from Pamplona, in Merida, the natives killing him there in a skirmish in 1531.

Two other German agents succeeded him, and continued the same barbarous conduct towards the Indians, which coming to the knowledge of the king of Spain, they were formally dispossessed: but it is asserted that the traces of the crimes they committed are visible to this day. Four villages of Maracaybo were all that escaped, and are yet standing, the iron wood on which they are founded becoming like a mass of stone from the petrifying quality of the water. These villages are situated on the east part of the lake, at unequal distances from each other, and have a church, which is also built in the water on piles, and to which the inhabitants of all the villages resort.

Several small rivers empty themselves into this[Pg 60] lake: but as the country is uninhabited, excepting by Indians, and immediately on the shores, nothing is known with accuracy concerning them, the savage Goahiros from La Hacha preventing all access on the western side, and keeping the settlers continually in alarm.

The lake is navigable for vessels of any burden, but this advantage is sometimes rendered useless by a dangerous sand-bank across the narrow entrance, on which vessels drawing twelve feet water will occasionally ground.

Near the borders of the lake, on the west, are the only parts of this province which are cultivated, where, notwithstanding the heat of the climate, and the insalubrity of the air, some whites have fixed their habitations to cultivate cacao, and other plants. These settlers are much scattered, and have a chapel placed in the centre, to which they all occasionally resort.

The climate of the province is in general hot and unhealthy, excepting in the southern parts which border on the snowy mountains of Merida.

Its chief town is the city of Maracaybo, in north latitude 10° 30', and west longitude 71° 46', on the western side of the narrow or strait which leads into the lake at about six leagues from the sea, on a sandy soil, and in a dry hot climate. In July and August the air is so heated, that it seems as if it issued from a furnace: but the most usual preventative for the ill effects of this abominable climate is constant bathing in the lake. Thunderstorms, hurricanes, and earthquakes, are common in this country.

The city is built with some taste, but disfigured by having most of its houses covered with reeds. The principal part of the town is on the shore of a small gulf, a league in length, which extends towards the broad part of the lake on the south, and the other part is built on the neck to the north,[Pg 61] where the lake is only three leagues in width. The place where the town begins is named Maracaybo Point; that where the gulf commences Aricta Point; opposite to which is Point Sta. Lucia.

Maracaybo was founded in 1571 by Alonzo Pacheco, an inhabitant of Truxillo, who gave it the name of New Zamora. It contains one parish church, a chapel of ease, and a convent of Franciscans and is supplied with water from the lake, which at times is brackish near this place, when the strong breezes, especially in March, impregnate it with salt from the spray of the sea.

The population consists of about 24,000 persons, owing to the number of emigrants who fled hither from St. Domingo. The great families, or people of rank, are about thirty. The whites, or Europeans and Creoles, apply themselves to agriculture, commerce, the fisheries and navigation, and live very comfortably. The slaves and freemen are composed of negroes and mulattoes, who exercise all the laborious trades and handicrafts, and the number of slaves is about 5000.

The best schooners which sail on the Spanish Main are built at this city, which possesses peculiar advantages for ship-building. Though the air is so hot, and the land so arid, yet the natives enjoy a good state of health, and live to an old age, owing, most probably, to the custom of frequent ablutions, as the children may be said to live in the water, and most of the people pass their time in navigating the lake. The young people are celebrated for their wit and ingenuity: but the charge of a want of probity in their dealings with strangers is brought against these people. The females are sprightly and modest, and are extremely fond of music; the notes of the harp resounding through the streets of an evening. The great object of veneration at Maracaybo is an image[Pg 62] of the Virgin, denominated Chiquinquira, the name of a village in New Granada, from whence she was brought.

A temple was dedicated to her worship in 1586, and immediately a fountain rose up under the altar where she was placed; miraculous virtues were communicated to its waters, and this image has procured a lasting reputation in the surrounding country.

The mariners of the lake invoke this holy shrine in all their undertakings, and it is placed in the chapel of ease of St. Juan de Dios. Three forts protect the harbour of Maracaybo. This place was plundered by Michael de Basco, and Francis Lolonois, in 1667, when they sailed up the gulf of Venezuela, with eight ships and 660 men; they entered the strait, stormed and took the fort of La Barra which defended it, and putting to death the garrison consisting of 250 men, they then advanced to Maracaybo; on their arrival there, the inhabitants abandoned the city, and removed their most valuable goods.

Here they remained a fortnight reveling in drunkenness and debauchery, and then proceeded to Gibraltar, which the people of Maracaybo had newly fortified; after a severe contest, this place was also taken, but proved a barren triumph, which so exasperated the Buccaneers, that they set fire to the place, and threatened Maracaybo with the same fate; the poor inhabitants collected as much property as they could, and ransomed the city, but not before it had been gutted of every thing.

Soon after this, Henry Morgan a Welsh adventurer attacked Porto Bello, and succeeding in his expedition, fitted out in 1669, a fleet of fifteen vessels, manned with 960 men, with which he sailed to Maracaybo, silenced the fort of the Strait, reached the city, and found it deserted; but following the people to the woods, he discovered[Pg 63] their treasures; he then sailed to Gibraltar, which was desolate; while engaged in torturing the people he had made prisoners, in order to make them produce their hidden treasures, he learnt that three Spanish men of war, had arrived at the entrance of the lake. Summoning all the impudence he was master of, Morgan sent an order to the commander of the vessels to ransom the city. The answer was, as might be expected, a denial, and direction to surrender himself immediately; to this he replied, that if the admiral would not allow him to pass, he would find means to do so; accordingly dividing his plunder among his vessels, that each might have a share to defend, he sent a fire-ship into the enemy's fleet, and having burnt two, and captured a third ship, he made a show of landing men to attack the fort, which being thus put off its guard, Morgan passed the bar with his whole armament, without sustaining the slightest damage.

Maracaybo is the seat of the governor of the province, who enjoys the same salary, and exercises the same authority as the governor of Cumana. This district was at one time under the jurisdiction of the governor of Merida, but since that province has been annexed to the viceroyalty of New Granada, and since the province of Varinas has been formed out of part of Venezuela and part of Maracaybo, the latter has been made a distinct government.

On the east side of Maracaybo Lake are several small towns, of which Paraute, Las Barbacoas, Gibraltar, and San Pedro, are the most considerable places.

Paraute is eighty miles south of Coro, and is a small place on the banks of the lake.

Las Barbacoas is situated a short distance farther south, and seventy-five miles south of Coro.

Gibraltar, in 10° 4' north latitude, and 67° 36' west longitude, is 100 miles south-east of Maracaybo, on the eastern banks of the lake; it is a very[Pg 64] old town, famous for the production of a particular sort of tobacco, called tobacco of Maracaybo, from which the best sort of snuff, vulgarly called Maccabaw, is made.

The country in the vicinity of this town is well watered with rivers, and consequently grows excellent cacao. Cedars of immense size are found in its woods, but the climate is very hot and insalubrious, especially during the rainy season, when the merchants and planters retire to Maracaybo or Merida.

San Pedro is a short distance south of Gibraltar, and also on the banks of the lake. The other places being mere villages, or scattered plantations, are not worth mentioning.

Truxillo, on the confines of Merida, in 8° 40' north latitude, twenty leagues north of Merida, 105 south-west of Caraccas, and thirty west of Guanara, is in a country producing sugar, cacao, indigo, coffee, &c., and in which wheat is cultivated in great abundance, and forms the chief article of the commerce of the inhabitants, who also carry the above fruits, sweetmeats, cheese, woollens, &c. to Maracaybo, by means of the lake, which is only twenty-five leagues distant, but the route to which lies across the desert and unhealthy plains of Llonay.

The inhabitants of Truxillo are an active and an industrious race; and at present amount to 7600 souls, though the city, which is one of the oldest on the continent, was formerly also one of the best peopled, until it was destroyed and sacked by Francis Gramont, the Buccaneer, who, in 1678, traversed the province of Venezuela, with a small band of followers, attracted by the riches of this place.

The scite of Truxillo is between two mountains, and it contains a good parish church, a chapel of ease, two monasteries, a convent of Dominican nuns, and an hospital.

[Pg 65]


Varinas, the next province of Caraccas, divides the territories of this government from those of the kingdom of New Granada.

It is bounded on the north by the provinces of Maracaybo and Venezuela, east by the plains of Caraccas and the Orinoco, west by Merida and New Granada, and south by Juan de los Llanos, or Casanare.

This province was formed in the year 1787, by separating the southern districts of Venezuela and Maracaybo, when it was also constituted a distinct government. The chief has the title of governor, and his functions are the same as those of Cumana and Maracaybo, in the civil, military and ecclesiastical departments.

In order to defend this new province, a militia was raised in 1803, and a garrison allotted to the city of Varinas, consisting of seventy-seven men. The chief products of this extensive country are tobacco, well known in the European markets, and cattle, sugar, coffee, cotton, indigo; and all the fruits of the torrid zone, find here a soil adapted to each; and their qualities are unrivalled.

The commodities of Varinas are exported chiefly by water to Guiana; the place of embarkation being at a spot called Tocunos, five leagues below the city.

The most remarkable features of this country are the extensive plains, of which it is mostly composed, and which are covered with a luxuriant herbage, feeding innumerable herds of cattle, flocks of sheep, and droves of mules and horses; these are either used in the province, or exported by means of the Great Orinoco.

Varinas is intersected by numerous large and navigable rivers, which occasionally inundate and fertilize its plains. Of these, the Apure, the Portu[Pg 66]guesa, the Guanarito, the Bocono, Guanapalo, the Arauca, the Capanaparo, the Sinaruco, and the Meta, are the most noted.

The Apure rises in one of the ridges that diverge from the eastern branch of the Andes in New Granada, in the province of Santa Fé; its length is 170 leagues, of which forty are from north-east to south-east, and the rest from west to east, where it joins the Orinoco by a number of mouths, after having received many very fine rivers, which will one day serve to render the carrying on of the trade from the eastern district of New Granada, and the countries bordering on the Atlantic extremely easy. These rivers are the Tinaco, San Carlos, Cojeda, Agua Blanca, Acarigua, Areyaruo, Hospicia, Abaria, Portuguesa, Guanare, Tucapido, Bocono, Masparro, La Yuca, the Santo Domingo, Paguay, Tisnados, &c., which all come either from the mountains of Granada, or those of Venezuela, and mingle their waters with the Apure, in the immense plains of Varinas.

The Santo Domingo, and Portuguesa, are the largest of these streams, almost the whole of which unite above Santiago, and form a great body of water, which enters the Apure twelve leagues below that place, and twenty leagues north of the Orinoco. This immense quantity of water gives such an impulse to the Apure, that it forces the Orinoco before it for the space of four miles, although the latter river is there a league in width. The shock of the meeting of these two noble rivers is so great, that it occasions a great agitation in the middle of the Orinoco, forming dreadful eddies and whirlpools, at which the most dextrous Indians shudder. For the space of three leagues after the stream of the greater river has regained its force, the waters of the Apure are still distinguishable by their bright and crystal appearance, after which they are lost in the muddy current of the Orinoco. The exportation of cattle by way of Guiana takes[Pg 67] place along the banks of these two rivers, on account of the excellent pasturage which they every where afford. All the traders of the eastern portion of Caraccas, are induced by the easy means of conveyance afforded by so many confluent streams, to send their coffee, cotton and indigo to Guiana, instead of sending them on the backs of mules to Caraccas, or Porto Cavello, and traveling 300 miles in a country often almost impassable, from the inundations of the rivers.

The Arauca is a river nearly as large as the Apure, and which rises in the mountains of Santa Fé, a short distance south of the sources of the latter, with which it holds a parallel course, through a country inundated by the Apure, and communicates with it near the Orinoco by several branches before it enters that river, thus forming some large and fertile islands.

The Rio Capanaparo rises in the marshy country south of the Arauca, and enters the Orinoco, south of the latter river by two mouths, at some distance from each other.

South of this is another named the Sinaruco, which also rises in the marshes, and receives an accession to its waters from the overflowings of the Apure and the Arauca, entering the Orinoco between the Capanaparo and the Meta.

The Meta is a noble river, which rises in the mountain ridge opposite to Santa Fé de Bogota, and flowing through the province of Juan de los Llanos, and the district of Casanare, it receives many other large rivers, and enters the Orinoco, thirty leagues below the cataracts of Ature, and 125 leagues from Santo Tomé of Guiana. The Meta receives the Pachiquiaro, the Upia, the Cravo, and the Pauto in Juan de los Llanos, and the Ariporo, the Chire, and the Casanare (a fine river into which flow several others) in the province or district of Casanare. The Meta also receives several smaller streams in Varinas, and[Pg 68] seems destined to form vast commercial relations between the kingdom of New Granada and the government of Caraccas.

When the annual fleet of galleons was put a stop to, the government issued orders that all the interior produce of New Granada should be carried to Carthagena, and forbid every article, excepting coarse cottons and flour to be exported by way of the Meta, which considerably retarded the progress of the settlers in Varinas, the Llanos, and Guiana, and put a stop to the cultivation of many articles too bulky to be carried over such bad roads as those which descend to the Magdalena and the Cauca.

The banks of the Meta are inhabited chiefly by Indians, of which the Guahibos tribe occupies the country near the Orinoco; and in Juan de los Llanos, the missionary villages, are very numerous on both banks of the stream.

The capital of Varinas is the city of Varinas in 7° 40' north latitude, and 100 leagues south-east of Caraccas. It is a neat little place in a tolerable climate, with one church, and an hospital. Its inhabitants amount to about 6000, the governor of the province residing here.

The other towns of most consequence are San Jayme, St. Fernando de Apure, and San Antonio. St. Jayme is situated on the west bank of the Portuguesa, above its junction with the Guanaparo and the Apure in 7° 50' north latitude on a sand hill. The town is so environed with water for three months, that the inhabitants cannot leave their houses but in canoes; it is seventy-five leagues south of Caraccas.

St. Fernando de Apure is erected on the south bank of the Apure, near its junction with the Portuguesa. This town is well built, in a hot but healthy climate, and contains about 6000 inhabitants, whose occupation consists in rearing mules[Pg 69] and cattle, and their property is in large commons, lying south of the city.

San Antonio is situated on the north bank of the Apure, just above where it divides itself into several branches to join the Arauca, in about 7° 30' north latitude, with a village called Bancolargo on the opposite bank of the river. South of this town and between the Capanaparo and the Sinaruco, the country is inhabited by tribes of wild and independent Indians, who allow no settlements to be made among them.

The whole province of Varinas on its western and northern parts is covered with farms and small villages, mostly situated on the banks of the different rivers.

A road leads from the plains of Calobozo, in Venezuela, through St. Fernando de Apura, and across the rivers to the junction of the Meta with the Orinoco.

This province has lately become the scene of contests between the Spanish troops and the insurgents; particularly in the vicinity of the Apure.


This immense province extends from the frontiers of Juan de los Llanos and Quixos, in New Granada to the frontiers of British, French and Portuguese Guiana. It is bounded on the north by the Orinoco and the plains of Cumana, Barcelona, and Caraccas; on the east by unknown lands between the settlements of the English and French; west by the Orinoco and the provinces of New Granada; and south by the Portuguese possessions.

It has been computed to be 1000 leagues in circumference; but this vast extent is inhabited chiefly by warlike and savage tribes of Indians, who forbid all access into the interior. The population of those parts which are occupied by the Spaniards,[Pg 70] their descendants, and the mission Indians, is computed at 34,000, this population being confined mostly to the banks of the Orinoco.

The precise boundaries of this country cannot be laid down, on the west it is said to extend to the western mouth of the river Yapura, proceeding thence almost due north. On the east it has, from Cape Nassau, a shore of thirty leagues to the mouth of the Orinoco; thence along that river to the Rio Portuguesa, an extent of more than 400 leagues. The Portuguese territories on the south, were formerly bounded by a line passing under the equator, but they have since acquired more settlements to the north in the western parts of Guiana.

The population of Spanish Guiana is thus divided; 19,400 Indians, under the care of missionaries; 8000 creoles, mulattoes, &c. scattered in the settlements, and the remainder in the capital; the villages being more frequent at from fifty leagues from the Atlantic to about 130 up the Orinoco.

Guiana is subdivided into Upper and Lower Guiana, the capital being the point of separation. The most southern fort of the Spaniards is that of San Carlos, on the Rio Negro, in 1° 53' north latitude.

Upper Guiana comprehends all the country west of the Caroni river; few plantations are seen there, though the soil is rich beyond imagination. Lower Guiana is east of the Caroni, or in the space bounded by the sea on the east, the Orinoco on the north, the Caroni on the west, and the Essequibo on the south; than which, a more fertile soil cannot be found, watered by numerous rivers, whose periodic overflowings deposit a slime as prolific as the Nile; but this fine district is nearly a waste, harbouring anthropophagical tribes, of whom the Caribs are the most formidable, as well as sanguinary.

The riches of the few Spaniards and creoles settled in this province, consists in cattle, of[Pg 71] which the missionary Franciscans alone possess more than 150,000 head.

The trade of Guiana consists entirely in the export of cattle and mules, with some tobacco, cotton, and indigo, and in 1803 they had thirty-four small vessels employed in trading to Trinidad and the neighbouring Spanish ports.

In the history of the discovery of Guiana much obscurity prevails; but Martin Silva, in 1568, obtained a patent to conquer some tribes to the westward of the present limits. After penetrating through Venezuela, his people deserted him; when he returned to Spain, and collected new followers. Silva then attempted to cross the country from the coast between the Maranon and Orinoco, but he and his followers were slain and devoured by the Caribs. The missionaries, Pizarro's brother, and Diego Ordaz, also attempted to enter and explore Guiana, but were all frustrated by the natives.

Sir Walter Raleigh also twice tried to reach the pretended city of Manoa, or El Dorado, which is supposed to have been situated in lake Parima, and whose streets were paved with gold; which marvellous story had most probably its origin in an Indian village, built on an island whose soil contained mica, which glittering, and appearing splendid in the sunshine, deceived the adventurers who had observed it.

In later times the Spaniards have endeavoured to conquer these regions, but have always been unsuccessful; one of them has had the courage to cross the greater part of the country in the dress of an Indian; and from his researches, the direction of the ranges of mountains has been ascertained. Humboldt, also contrived to go a great distance along the chain of the cataracts, but was prevented from exploring the sources of the Orinoco and the celebrated lake of Parima by the Guayecas, a race of Indians who, though of very diminutive stature, display the utmost courage and activity in defending their[Pg 72] possessions. These people resist all persuasion to become the converts of the monks who had visited their frontiers, and equally defy the armed force which generally accompanies these priests.

The rivers flowing through Guiana, which are best known, are the Orinoco, into which, on the north, the Caroni, the Aruy, the Caura, and several smaller ones empty themselves; on the west the Suapure, the Sippapu, &c., join that stream, while on the south the Guaviare, the Ynritta and the Atabapo also add to the magnificence of its course. The Rio Negro also flows through a part of Guiana, and forms, by means of the Cassiquiari, a junction between the Maranon and the Orinoco, thus constituting Guiana an immense island detached in every direction by a broad expanse of water from the continent of South America.

The Yapura and the Uapes run through the southern or continental parts of this province, and join the Maranon.

Many large rivers issue from, or rise near lake Parima and the interior; of which Rio Branco and the Siaba are the most noted, but as the lake itself, and all the surrounding country are as unknown as the internal parts of Africa, it will be useless to repeat names that are gathered from maps, often imaginary, and generally erroneous.

The capital of Guiana is Santo Tomé, or Angostura, (the strait, so called, because situated in a narrow part of the Orinoco;) it was originally built in 1586, nearer the sea, at the distance of fifty leagues from the mouth of the river, but having suffered successively from the invasions of the English, French and Dutch, it was removed, in 1764, to its present scite, ninety leagues from the Atlantic, on the right bank of the river, at the foot of a small mountain. Opposite the city is a village and fortress on the left bank of the Orinoco.

This place was built for the defence of the passage of the Strait, and is called Port Rafael. Between this port and the city is the island Del[Pg 73] Medio, a low rocky islet, covered during the floods. The channel lies between this shoal and the town, the river being 200 feet broad at low water. Santo Tomé is the seat of government, the bishop and governor of Guiana residing in it, but its buildings are said to be mean, and its appearance unworthy of a better title than that of a large village.

The other towns of Guiana are also no better than villages, and it has many forts near the Portuguese boundaries.


This island, which is about thirty leagues in circumference, forms a government separate from that of Cumana, on whose shores it lies, and dependant on the captain-general of Caraccas. It lies in north latitude 10° 56', and in 64 and 65 degrees west longitude.

It was first discovered by Columbus in 1498. The pearls found on the coasts of this and the neighbouring isle of Cubagua, soon rendered it famous, and the fishery was carried on at the expence of vast numbers of Indians who lost their lives in the undertaking.

The possession of Margarita is an object of some consequence to the Spaniards, as it is separated from the continent by a straight only eight leagues wide, and to windward of all the best ports of Caraccas. It forms the channel through which all vessels coming from Europe, or windward, to Cumana, Barcelona and La Guayra, must pass, though it is not navigable in its whole breadth, the rocky island Coche between it and the continent, leaving only a narrow pass of two leagues, but which is seldom dangerous, owing to the general calmness that reigns in this part of the Caribbean sea.

[Pg 74]

In this island there are only three ports, Pampatar on the east-south-east; Pueblo de la Mar, a league to leeward of the preceding, and Pueblo del Norte on the north side.

The population of Margarita has been estimated at 14,000 persons, consisting of 5500 whites, 2000 Guayqueria Indians, and 6500 Castes. The pearl fishery formerly constituted their principal occupation, and is still attended to by the Indians, who also take numbers of turtles and fish, the latter of which they salt and export. They fabricate cotton stockings, and hammocks of a very superior quality. Fowls, turkeys, and all kinds of poultry are exported to the continent by the lower classes, and the island is celebrated for its beautiful parrots and other curious birds, which are so much esteemed that scarcely any trading vessel leaves the place without carrying away some of them. Along the coast of Margarita the land is in general rocky and very steep, but the interior is fertile, producing maize and fruits, and covered with groves; its climate, though very hot, is wholesome, the greatest inconvenience experienced by the inhabitants being a want of good fresh water.

The capital of this government is the city of Asuncion, situated in the centre of the island, and which, excepting its being the chief place, is otherwise unimportant.

This island has lately been the scene of some sanguinary actions between the insurgents and the Spanish troops under General Morillo; the latter having been defeated in a severe battle, was obliged to retire to the adjacent continent. The chief scene of these operations was near the port of Pampatar.

[Pg 75]


The viceroyalty of Peru is far from being the largest, or the richest of the Spanish American governments, as since the dismemberment of several of its most important provinces it has become of very little comparative importance; to its name is however attached the most interesting recollections, and as the empire of its Incas was formerly the most renowned, the history of its conquest the most extraordinary, and its ancient splendour the greatest, we have judged it proper to place the general outline of the most important historical relations regarding ancient and modern South America, with the particular description of those of Peru.


Peru is bounded on the north by the southern provinces of Quito, Maynas, Jaen de Bracamaros, and Guayaquil; on the west by the Pacific Ocean; on the east, by the Portuguese possessions, and the provinces of Buenos Ayres; and on the south, by the government of Chili and the viceroyalty of La Plata. It was formerly the most extensive kingdom of South America, but in the year 1718 the provinces of Quito in the north, as far as the river Tumbez, were annexed to the government of New Granada, and in 1778, Potosi, and several other of its richest districts on the east were annexed to the viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres; its present extent is therefore from the Rio Tumbez, in 3° 30'[Pg 76] south latitude, to the chain of Vilcanota, in 15° south latitude, or 690 geographical miles, while along its coast this length maybe prolonged to 375 more; its medial breadth, not including the Pampas del Sacramento, is nearly eighty, so that its area may be estimated at 33,630 square leagues, or according to Humboldt, only at 30,000.

Its eastern settlements bound on Colonna, or the land of the Missions, the Pampas del Sacramento, and the savage nations of the Pajonal, a vast steppe covered with long grass.


Peru is divided into seven intendancies, viz. Truxillo, Tarma, Huancavelica, Lima, Guamanga, Arequipa and Cuzco, each of which is governed by an intendant, nominated by the viceroy, a nobleman of the highest rank, who is sent from Spain, and whose appointment is one of the first consequence in Spanish America.

The population of Peru may be estimated at 1,300,000, of which 130,000 are whites, 240,000, mestizoes, and the remainder Indians and negroes, the latter of whom are in very small numbers.

The missionary lands to the east have not been included in this statement; of them we shall have occasion to speak hereafter.

In Peru the revenue is derived from the duties on imports, exports, gold, silver, tobacco, liquors, the capitation tax on the Indians, taxes on the clergy, &c. It is said to amount to 1,083,000l. annually, and it remits, in prosperous times, to Spain for the royal coffers, 216,600l., to Panama, 70,000l., to Valdivia in Chili, 3750l., and to the island of Chiloe a similar sum to defray the expences of their several administrations. The net revenue of the colony,[Pg 77] after defraying these sitaudos, or remittances, does not amount to more than is sufficient to settle the expenses of its own internal government.

The salary of the viceroy is 12,600l. a small sum, but which is assisted by the monopoly of certain manufactures, by grants, and by the colonial situations and titles he can confer.

Peru is the seat of two royal audiences, that of Lima and that of Cuzco. The audience of Lima was established in 1543, and is composed of a regent, eight oidores or judges, four alcaldes, and two fiscals, the viceroy being president. It is divided into three chambers, and is the superior court of appeal for the whole government. The royal treasury is the next great office of state, composed of the viceroy, the regent of the council, the dean of the tribunal of accounts, and other officers, and the revenue appeals are determined by the tribunal of accounts.

Commerce.—The commerce of Peru is important, and on account of the number of fine ports along its coast, it may be styled the maritime province of the South American states.

The trade flows through three channels; by the straits of Magellan from Europe, through the North Pacific from India and Mexico, or Guatimala; and through the interior with the southern provinces of Chili and Buenos Ayres. Since the trade was unshackled in 1778, its exports and imports have doubled, and the principal branch of its commerce is that carried on round Cape Horn.

The exports of Peru are chiefly gold, silver, brandies, sugar, pimento, cinchona, salt, vicuna wool, coarse woollens, and other trifling manufactures.

Its imports are European goods, linens, cottons, woollens, silks, iron, hardware, superfine cloths, mercury, wax, paper, glass, medicines, wines,[Pg 78] liqueurs, books and furniture: from Buenos Ayres it receives Paraguay tea, live stock and provisions, and from the other internal provinces, coca leaf, indigo, tallow, cacao, timber, cordage, pitch and copper.

Chili also supplies Lima with grain and fruits in immense quantities, and salted meat, soap, wine, copper, saffron, &c.

The ports of Peru which are most frequented, are those named Arica, Ilo, Iquique, and Quilca, in the intendancy of Arequipa, and Pisco, on the south of Lima; Chancay and Guacho in Lima; and Guanchaco, Pacasmayo, and Payta, in Truxillo, on the north.

With the southern ports, the trade is in wine, brandy, iron, dried fruits, copper, tin, lead, &c.; with the northern, in wool, cotton, leather, chocolate, rice and salted fish.

To the Rio de la Plata, the exports are maize, sugar, brandy, pimento, indigo and woollens; these exports are said to amount to 2,000,000 dollars annually, and the imports from that government, to 860,000, consisting in mules, sheep, hams, tallow, wool, coca leaf, Paraguay tea and tin; and 20,000 mules arrive annually from Tucuman, for the service of the Peruvian mines. A great trade is also carried on with Guayaquil and Guatimala, but with Panama it is almost nothing.

From the Philippine islands, muslins, tea, and other East Indian goods, are imported, amounting to 270,230 dollars annually, in return for about 2,790,000, exported to Asia, in silver and gold.

The produce of the mines of Peru, including those of Chili, is about 1,730,000l. annually, whilst the value of European goods imported, is nearly 2,492,000l. in the same period; and the value of the agricultural produce exported, of Peru and Chili, is 866,000l.

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In this country the population is much scattered, and composed of castes who have the greatest distrust of each other, the Indians being the most numerous, and leading a life of indolence and apathy; the natural resources of this fine region are unheeded; and its commerce, far from being restricted by the government, suffers only from the inactivity of its inhabitants.

Mines.—The mines, which in general are very rich, are very ill worked, and often abandoned from trivial causes; and the quicksilver necessary to obtain the metal from the ore, is procured in insufficient quantities, no exertions being made to clear the mines of that valuable substance, which exists in the greatest profusion in the country.

The mines which produce the greatest quantity of valuable metals, are those of Lauricocha, the province of Tarma, commonly called the mines of Pasco in the Cerro de Bombon, or high-table-land, in which is the small lake De los Reyes, to the south of the Cerro de Yauricocha; those of Gualgayoc, or Chota, in Truxillo, and the mines of Huantajaya.

The mines of Pasco were discovered by Huari Capac, an Indian, in 1630; they alone furnish two millions of piastres annually, and are at an elevation of more than 13,000 feet above the level of the sea; the metalliferous bed appears near the surface, the shafts being not more than from 90 to 400 feet in depth; water then makes its appearance, and causes great expence in clearing it. The bed is 15,747 feet long, and 7217 feet in breadth, and would produce, if worked by steam, as much as Guanaxuato in Mexico; its average annual produce is however 131,260 lbs. troy.

Gualgayoc and Micuipampa, commonly called Chota, were discovered in 1771, by Don Rodriguez de Ocaño a European; but in the time of the[Pg 80] Incas, the Peruvians worked some silver vein, near the present town of Micuipampa.

Immense wealth has been discovered at Fuentestiana, at Comolache and Pampa de Navar; at the last of which, wherever the turf is moved, for more than half a square league, sulphuretted and native silver, in filaments, are found adhering to the roots of the grasses, and it is also occasionally discovered in large masses.

All the mines in the partido of Chota, comprehended under the name of Gualgayoc, have furnished the provincial treasury of Truxillo, with 44,095lbs. troy of silver annually; these minerals are richer than those of Potosi, and are discovered mostly at the height of 13,385 feet.

The mines of Huantajaya are surrounded with beds of rock salt, and are celebrated for the quantity of native masses of silver they produce. They are situated in the partido of Arica, near the small port of Yquique, in a desart destitute of water, and furnish an annual supply of from 42 to 52,000lbs. troy. Two masses, which were discovered here lately, weighed, one, two, and the other eight quintals.

Gold was formerly procured by the Incas in the plains of Curimayo, north-east of the city of Caxamarca, at more than 11,154 feet above the sea. It has also been extracted from the right bank of the Rio de Micuipampa, between Cerro de San Jose, and the plain called Choropampa, or the Plain of Shells; so named, on account of a vast quantity of petrified sea shells, found there, at the absolute height of more than 13,123 feet.

At present, the Peruvian gold comes partly from Pataz and Huilies, in Tarma, and is extracted from veins of quartz, traversing primitive rock, and partly from washings established on the banks of the Maranon Alto, in Chachapoyas.

Cobalt, antimony, coal and salt, exist in this[Pg 81] country; but as they are, with the exception of the latter, chiefly found in the mountain regions, the high price of carriage prevents their useful qualities from being brought into general use.

The coinage of gold and silver in the royal mint of Lima, between 1791 and 1801, amounted to 5,466,000l. or 1,113,000l. per annum; of which 3450 marcs were gold, and 570,000 silver.

The number of gold mines and washings worked in Peru is about 70, and the number of silver mines 680, which includes all the different works on the same spot. Of quicksilver, four mines exist, with four of copper, and twelve of lead.

Emeralds and other precious stones are found in this country, with obsidian, and the stone of the Incas, a marcasite capable of the highest polish.

Climate, Features, &c.—The climate of Peru is singularly various. The mountains which extend on the west side of America, cause a division of this country into three distinct parts, the maritime valleys, the barren summits, and the plains or uplands between the ridges. The chain of the Andes, arresting the clouds, which dissolve on the mountain districts into rain and vapours, accompanied with storms of thunder and lightning, whilst between 5° and 15° south latitude, on the coast, rain is unknown, and the dry winds from the Antarctic constantly pervade this region, from the desert of Atacama to the gulf of Guayaquil, a distance of 400 leagues. In this tract, the houses are covered only with mats, sprinkled with ashes, to absorb the night dews, and the soil, being moistened only by these dews, is rather sandy and barren.

On the uplands vegetation nourishes, and to the height of 10,000 feet, the Sierra or High Peru, enjoys a climate composed of a mixture of perpetual spring and autumn. Beyond 14,000 feet, the Sierra is covered with eternal snows, and[Pg 82] consequently an everlasting winter reigns in its neighbourhood.

The cultivation of these different tracts is little attended to; along the coast, desarts of thirty or forty leagues in extent are frequent; and the immense forests which cover the maritime plains, prove that the inhabitants are not numerous; these forests contain acacias, mangle trees, arborescent brooms and ferns, aloes, and other succulent plants, cedars, cotton or ceiba trees of gigantic growth, many kinds of ebony, and other useful woods, ten or twelve species of palms, and the maria, an enormous tree used in ship building. These forests are thickest at the distance of seven or eight leagues from the coast, and the trees then become covered with parasitical plants, which reach to their very top, mixing their beautiful and lively flowers with the dark green foliage, so peculiar to the tropics.

In the forests and in the plains of the coast, are found the cabbage palm, the cocoa nut, the cacao nut, the cotton shrub, the pine apple, canna, amomum, turmeric, plantain, sugar cane, &c., on the sides of the Andes, and in its great plains, are the precious cinchona, coffee tree, the cardana alliodora, a large tree, whose leaves and wood emit an odour resembling garlic. Twenty-four species of pepper, five or six of capsicum, and several of potato, tobacco and jalap exist in Peru, and the green and hot houses of Europe owe most of their beautiful flowers and plants to this country.

The llama, the guanuco, the vicuna, and the alpaca, or the different species of American camel, find their native climate in the cold districts of Peru; the jaguar, the cougar or puma, and several other wild animals, inhabit the thick forests; while the elk, the ant-bear, deer, monkeys, the great black bear of the Andes, and armadillos, &c., are very numerous. The woods abound in beautiful birds, the rivers in fish and alligators, and numerous[Pg 83] tribes of reptiles infest the warm districts of the coast, in which venomous insects are also common.

The mountains of Peru do not yield in height to those of Quito, the great chain of the Andes dividing itself into several parallel branches, forming as in Quito, long and narrow valleys, near its summits; it is very precipitous towards the east, and seems to form a natural barrier between the kingdoms of La Plata and Peru. It here gives birth to the Maranon, the Guallaga, the Tunguragua, and a variety of smaller rivers, which either lose themselves in these or in the Pacific Ocean.


The history of Peru in the remote ages is not so clearly ascertained as that of Mexico; traditions were not handed down to posterity as in that country by symbolical paintings, but were remembered only by means of the quippus, a knotted string of different colours, or by the priests who were brought up from their youth in temples, where the history of the nation was one of the objects of the care of their elders in their instruction.

Although it is doubtful which nation had advanced to the greatest state of civilization, it is certain that the Mexicans had the most correct chronological notions; and accordingly, the æras of their early history are the most to be depended on. From what country the ancient Peruvians migrated is not known; they were however of a character widely different from the Mexicans, and have been conjectured by some authors to have come from the south-east.

They remained for a length of time without any decided form of government, until they were subdued by a tribe who were said to have come from an island in a great lake to the south of Peru. These people were warlike and totally different in their manners from the Peruvians, who were merely[Pg 84] tribes of wandering inoffensive savages. According to some authors Manco Capac, and Mama Oello his wife were the conquerors of Peru, appearing on the banks of lake Chucuito, clothed in flowing garments, and whiter than the natives whom they came amongst; they gave themselves out as children of the sun, sent by that divinity to reclaim and instruct mankind. Awed by the presence of these people, the rude savages followed them till they settled at Cuzco, where they founded a town, afterwards the capital of Peru. Persuading the tribes who wandered over the country to collect around them, Manco Capac, instructed the men in agricultural and other useful arts, while Mama Oello taught the females to weave and spin. After securing the objects of primary importance, those of providing food, raiment and habitations for his followers, Manco Capac turned his attention towards framing laws for their government, in order to perpetuate the good work he had begun. He constituted himself their sovereign and high priest, enacted a law that no one but his descendants were to fill this post, that they were to be held sacred, and looked upon as inferior only to the planet from whom they sprung.

At first his territories embraced only a few leagues in extent round the capital, but these were rapidly enlarged from the mild and beneficent effects of his patriarchal government.

He was now styled by his subjects Capac, or rich in virtue; he founded the temple of the sun at Cuzco, which was to be served only by virgins of royal descent. This monarch lived among his people for a number of years and then suddenly disappeared. His successors increased the boundaries of their territories by the force of their arms, and by the greater force of persuasion, backed by the mildest exercise of their royal functions.

These monarchs were styled Incas, and were distinguished by a peculiar dress and ornaments, which[Pg 85] none of their subjects dared to assume; they were adored by the Peruvians, who looked upon them as the sons and vicegerents of the divinity they worshipped. This unbounded power of the Incas was unaccompanied by any ill effects, as their attention was uniformly exerted for the good of their subjects, in extending the benefits of civilization, and knowledge of the arts introduced by their founder.

It seems highly probable that such a person as Manco Capac existed, and that he introduced the measures we have related, but it is also most probable that he was accompanied by followers who carried his dictates into effect among the rude Peruvians, and therefore the supposition that these people were conquered by a superior and warlike tribe from the south, is by no means improbable, as at the present day, there exist several tribes in the southern forests, who are more civilized than the modern Peruvians, and who have successfully resisted the invasion of the Spaniards. The successor of Manco Capac, who died in the latter end of the twelfth or beginning of the thirteenth century, was his son Sinchi Roca, or the brave, who extended his dominions sixty miles south of Cuzco. The third Inca was Lloque Yupanqui, who further extended the territories of Cuzco and reduced several tribes; the fourth was Maita Capac, who also added to the empire, and erected several splendid edifices; the fifth, Capac Yupanqui, was another conqueror; the sixth, Inca Roca, subdued many small districts; the seventh was named Yahuar Huacac; the eighth, Inca Ripac, and who had an army of 30,000 men; he conquered many provinces, and obliged the chief of Tucuman to pay him homage; the ninth was Inca Urca, who was deposed after he had reigned eleven days; he was succeeded by Pachacutec, who subdued Jauja, Tarma, and other provinces; the eleventh was Yupanqui, who carried his conquests to the river Maule, in Chili, and over the Mojos far to the[Pg 86] east of the Andes; the twelfth, Tupac Yupanqui, conquered several districts in Quito; and the thirteenth, Huayna Capac, subdued the kingdom of Lican or Quito, and established himself in the capital. His history has been related in the historical description of that province. On his death-bed he divided Quito and Peru between his sons; but Inti Cusi Hualpa, or Huascar, was declared Inca; he fought a bloody battle with his brother Atahualpa, and was taken prisoner, on which Atahualpa or Atabalipa, invested himself with the regal fillet, and was proclaimed fifteenth Inca of the Peruvians. On his being killed by Pizarro, Manco Capac was crowned by permission of that general, but revolted from the allegiance he had vowed to Spain, and retiring to the mountains, is supposed to have died about 1553. The seventeenth and last of the Incas, was Sayri Tupac, who resigned his sovereignty to Philip the Eleventh of Spain, and died a christian, leaving only one daughter, who married Onez de Loyola, a Spanish knight, from whom descend the Marquesses of Oropesa and Alcanises. Manco Capac, the Second, left several children, one of whom, Tupac Amaru, was the oldest, and was beheaded by the Spaniards, on pretence of his having assumed the imperial fillet.

The discovery of Peru by the Europeans takes its date from the latter end of the reign of Huana Capac in 1524, when three inhabitants of the city of Panama entered into an association for the purpose of exploring the continent south of the isthmus of Darien. Don Francisco Pizarro of Truxillo, Don Diego Almagro of Malagon, and a priest named Hernando de Luque, were at that time among the richest people of Panama, and proposed to themselves the employment of their fortunes in one common stock, to discover and conquer new countries on the south, after the model of Cortez in Mexico, with whom Pizarro had served, and to whom he was related. Having[Pg 87] obtained permission from Pedro Arias de Avila, the governor of Terra Firma, Pizarro fitted out a vessel, in which he embarked in the port of Panama with 114 men.

About fifty leagues from the harbour, he discovered a small barren district, named Peru, and from this now unknown spot, the celebrated country we are describing received its name. Beyond Peru, he explored another district, which he called El Pueblo Quemado. The Indians of that country were so resolute, that Pizarro was obliged to return to the coast of Panama. In the mean time Almagro fitted out another vessel and sailed in search of Pizarro, as far as the Rio San Juan, a hundred leagues south of Panama, but not meeting with him, he returned and landed on the coast of Pueblo Quemado, where finding certain indications that he had been there, Almagro landed his men, who were immediately attacked by the natives, and forced to retire to their ship and put to sea; in this action Almagro lost an eye. Following the shore to the north, he found Pizarro at Chinchama, near the Isla del Rey, in the gulf of Panama; they had now by their junction an armed force of 200 men, and again resumed their expedition, and sailed to the south, with their two vessels attended by three large canoes. They suffered very much in their attempts to land on the coast from the barren nature of the country, and from contrary winds and currents, as well as from the native tribes.

Having lost several men from famine and the constant attacks of the Indians, Almagro was dispatched to Panama for recruits and provisions. He soon rejoined Pizarro with twenty-four men and good supplies; they therefore advanced to the coast of Tacames, beyond the river San Juan, which had hitherto been the extent of their voyages; here they found a better peopled country and plenty of provision; and the natives, who were[Pg 88] still hostile, were observed to wear ornaments of gold. Almagro was therefore detached a second time to Panama to procure more men, and Pizarro remained at the Isla Gallo, near the shore of Barbacoas, to await his return; in which island his men suffered great hardships from the want of food. On the arrival of Almagro at Panama, he found the governor, Pedro de los Rios, adverse to the plan, and he was not allowed to raise any recruits, while an order was sent to Gallo, for those to return who wished not to engage in such a dangerous enterprise. In consequence of this measure, the party of Pizarro was reduced to twelve men, who were the whole that chose to abide the issue of the voyage. They retired with their leader to a small uninhabited isle, named Gorgona, at a greater distance from the coast, and seventy miles nearer Panama. This isle abounding with rivulets, the little band lived more comfortably than they had done at Gallo, and waited with great anxiety for a supply of provisions from Panama, which at last arrived in a small vessel.

With this assistance, Pizarro and his faithful twelve, embarked on board the vessel, and putting themselves under the guidance of the pilot, Bartolomeo Bruye of Moguer, they reached with great labour, (from the adverse currents,) the coast of a district named Mostripe, on which they landed and advanced a short way up the river Amatape, which flows into the gulf of Payta, where they procured some Peruvian camels or sheep, and took some of the natives to answer as interpreters in their future progress.

Leaving this place, Pizarro sailed for the port of Tumbez on the south side of the bay of Guayaquil, where he had learnt that a rich monarch who existed in the interior had a fine palace. At Tumbez, three of his followers left him, and were afterwards slain by the Indians. Procuring the information he wanted, Pizarro returned to[Pg 89] Panama, having spent three years in these discoveries, and from being the richest was now reduced to be the poorest of the colonists of Tierra Firma. In concert with Almagro, in the latter end of 1527, Pizarro raised some money, and was sent to Spain to beseech the king to forward the further discovery of the country, and to name a governor, which office he solicited for himself. His demands were complied with, and he returned to Panama, accompanied by his brothers Ferdinand, Juan and Gonzalo.

Besides these, he brought with him Francisco Martin de Alcantara, his uncle, and as many men as he could procure; he was assisted in raising these men, by a supply of money from Cortez.

On his arrival in Panama, in 1530, a violent dispute broke out between Almagro and himself, the former complaining that he had unjustly procured the title of governor of Peru. Pizarro was obliged to soothe him, by assuring him that he would renounce all pretensions to that office, if Almagro could procure the consent of the Spanish monarch. Almagro being appeased by this concession, exerted himself at first, to the utmost, in forwarding the expedition, but owing to the jealousy he still entertained of the Pizarros, he at last endeavoured to thwart their efforts, and Pizarro sailed without him, with three small vessels, carrying 180 soldiers, thirty-six of whom were horsemen in February 1531; contrary winds obliged the general, after a voyage of thirteen days, to land 100 leagues more to the north than he intended, and the place of disembarkation was named the Bay of St. Mateo, from whence the troops had to undergo a long and painful march, crossing rivers and other obstacles; they at last reached Coaque, a place in Tacames on the sea-side, where they procured fresh provision. After subduing the natives of this town, Pizarro sent one of the ships which had sailed along the coast, to Panama, and the other to Nicaragua, with about 24,000 or 25,000[Pg 90] ducats worth of gold, which he had seized. This was destined for Almagro and others, in order to procure a farther reinforcement, with which he was gradually supplied, the first who joined him being Benalcazar, from Nicaragua. He then continued his march along the coast, and met with scarcely any resistance, until he attacked the Isle of Puna, in the bay of Guayaquil. Six months expired before he could reduce this island to subjection, and from hence he went to Tumbez, where, on account of the disease which raged among his men, he remained three months longer.

From Tumbez, he advanced in May 1532, to the river Piura, and close to its mouth founded the first Spanish colony in Peru, to which he gave the name of San Miguel, having subdued all the curacas or chiefs in the vicinity. While engaged in founding this city, the general received a message from Huascar, the reigning Inca, informing him of the revolt of Atahualpa, and requesting his assistance in establishing the empire in the hands of its lawful sovereign. Placing a garrison in San Miguel, Pizarro determined to penetrate into the interior, under the guidance of the Inca's messengers; his disposable force consisting at this time, of sixty-two horsemen and 102 foot soldiers, twenty of whom were armed with cross-bows, and three only carrying matchlocks, with two small field-pieces. The Peruvian ambassador directed his march towards the province of Caxamarca, in which Atahualpa then was. On his route he received messengers from the usurper with costly presents, requesting also his assistance.

Pizarro informed these people, that his views were entirely pacific, and that he meant merely to assist in reconciling the difference between the brothers. On his arrival, after a distressing march at Caxamarca, he was shown a house, in which himself and troops were to repose. This building,[Pg 91] which was very extensive, was formed into a square, in which stood a temple and a palace, and the whole was surrounded with a strong rampart.

Atahualpa, immediately after the Spaniards had taken possession of their quarters, paid their general a visit, accompanied with an immense train of courtiers and warriors.

Father Vicente Valverde, the chaplain to the army, and bishop of Peru, advanced to meet the usurping Inca, holding in one hand his breviary, and a crucifix in the other, and commenced a long harangue, in which he set forth the necessity of his immediately embracing the Christian religion, related its forms, and told him that the king of Spain, had received a grant from the pope of all the regions in the New World, ending with desiring him to be baptized, to acknowledge the supremacy of the pope, and the authority of the king of Castile, promising in their names, that the general would favour his claims to the empire of Peru, if he submitted, but denouncing war and vengeance if he refused.

The reply of Atahualpa, to such parts of this speech as he could be made to comprehend, was temperate; he said, "he was lord of the territories he had succeeded to by the laws of his country, that he could not conceive how a foreign priest could pretend to dispose of his dominions; he declared he had no intention to renounce the religion of his fathers, and he wished to know where the Spaniards had learnt all the wonderful things which Valverde had been relating;" the bishop answered, "in the book he held," on which Atahualpa requested it from him, and turning over a few leaves, and placing it to his ear, threw it on the ground, saying, "it is silent, it tells me nothing." Valverde turning to the Spanish troops, immediately exclaimed, "To arms! to arms! Christians! the Word of God is insulted, avenge this profanation on these impious dogs." Pizarro[Pg 92] being of opinion that the numbers of the Peruvians would overpower him if he waited their attack, gave the signal of assault, advancing at the head of his band to the charge, he pushed directly for the litter in which Atahualpa was borne, the people who carried it were repeatedly slain, and as repeatedly replaced by others, anxious for the honour of rescuing their sovereign. Pizarro at last cut his way through the crowd to the unfortunate prince, and seizing him by the long hair of his head, he dragged him from his seat. In doing this, several soldiers cutting down the people who supported the golden litter, and a sword glancing off, wounded Pizarro in the hand, but regardless of the pain, he held fast his rich prize in spite of the multitude of Peruvians who surrounded him.

As soon as the monarch was secured beyond redemption, universal panic seized his army, and they fled in every direction, night alone putting a period to their pursuit, by the cavalry; 4000 Indians fell in this memorable battle, which decided the fate of a mighty empire; not a single Spaniard was killed, and the plunder of the Indian camp was immense. This action took place on the 10th of November 1532.

The captive Inca finding he had no chance of escape, offered a ransom, which was to be so great a quantity of gold, that it would fill the apartment in which he was confined, as high as he could reach. This chamber was twenty-two feet in length, and sixteen in breadth, and a line was drawn around the walls, to indicate the height to which the treasure was to rise; and Pizarro, acceding to this proposal, the Inca immediately dispatched emissaries to Cuzco, to procure the ransom; with these messengers two Spanish officers were sent, to see that the gold in the treasury of Cuzco was sufficient to answer the demand, as some doubts had been shown by the Europeans on that subject. On their route, they met the captive Inca Huascar, es[Pg 93]corted by a party of Atahualpa's troops; conferring with Huascar, they discovered that he possessed treasures to a much greater amount; but as they were concealed, he alone knew where they were; he informed the officers, that if Pizarro would reinstate him in his dignity, he would give three times as much gold as his brother, and promised to swear allegiance to the Spanish king.

Soto and Barco, the two officers, told him it was out of their power to return to Caxamarca, as they were ordered to go to Cuzco, but that they would faithfully relate all that had passed to the general, when they had executed their mission; this they did, but in the interval, the whole conference had been detailed to Atahualpa, who foreseeing, that if Pizarro once got possession of the enormous treasures of Huascar, he should become of no importance, ordered his emissaries to kill his unfortunate brother; and as his will was a law, the order was speedily carried into execution.

Whilst these events were passing, Almagro arrived from Panama, with a large reinforcement, to the great joy of the Spaniards; the treasure from Cuzco also arrived, and consisted of golden utensils and ornaments, used in the temples of the Sun; these, excepting a few which were reserved as curiosities, were melted down; a fifth was set aside for the king; 100,000 dollars were distributed to the followers of Almagro; and the remainder, amounting to 1,528,500 dollars, an enormous sum in those times, was divided among Pizarro and his troops, each horseman receiving 8000 dollars, and each foot-soldier 4000.

After this ransom was paid, instead of releasing his prisoner, Pizarro, who was alarmed on one hand by the exaction of an equal share of the ransom by the troops under Almagro, and on the other by the accounts of large armies forming in the interior determined to kill Atahualpa, which fate that monarch hastened, by professing his con[Pg 94]tempt of the general, on account of his want of learning. The Inca seeing and admiring the method which the Europeans had of communicating their ideas by writing, was for a long time unable to conceal his astonishment and doubts, whether it was not managed by evil spirits; accordingly he directed a soldier to write the name of God on his thumb nail, and showed it to every Spaniard he saw, in order to observe whether they all gave a similar account of its meaning.

At length he showed it to Pizarro, who blushing, acknowledged that he was ignorant of the art of writing, which was an acquirement that most of his nation possessed. From that time the Inca, who now clearly saw the whole mystery, looked upon the general, as a person of low birth, less instructed than the meanest of his soldiers, and not having the address to conceal his sentiments, forfeited any good opinion which Pizarro might have had for him. A mock trial was instituted, and the Inca formally arraigned, before the self-constituted tribunal, which consisted of Pizarro, Almagro, and two assistants; he was charged by Philipillo, an Indian, who had been to Spain with Pizarro, with attempting to seize the empire of Peru from his natural sovereign; with putting him to death; with idolatry; permission and encouragement of human sacrifices; with having many wives; with waste and embezzlement of the royal treasure, and with inciting his subjects to take up arms against the Spaniards.

Witnesses were examined, to whom Philipillo served as an interpreter, and gave their evidence as he pleased. On these charges the Inca was condemned to suffer death, by being burnt alive. Valverde signed the warrant, and attended the monarch to the stake, which was immediately prepared. Actuated by the fear of a cruel death, and tormented by the infamous bishop, Atahualpa consented to be baptized, in hopes of obtaining a re[Pg 95]lease from so dreadful a punishment. Valverde crossed and confessed his royal victim, baptized him, and then led him to be strangled!

On the death of Atahualpa, his son was invested with the royal insignia by Pizarro, who hoped to retain the Indians in subjection, by the command he held over their sovereign.

Quizquiz, a Peruvian general, had made head in a province named Xauxa, so that it was necessary for Pizarro to march against him; this was accordingly done; and Hernando de Soto, moving forward with a strong advanced guard, Quizquiz retreated, being unable to withstand Soto; but that leader followed him, and obliged the Peruvians to retreat on Quito.

So great was the fame of Pizarro's conquests at this time, that numerous bodies of troop joined him from Tierra Firma, Guatimala, &c., and he was now enabled to take the field with 500 men, besides leaving sufficient garrisons in the conquered towns. He accordingly hastened his march on Cuzco, the capital, in the route to which he met Paulu Inca, a brother of Atahualpa, who had been solemnly invested with the regal fillet by the Peruvians. He told the Spanish general that he had a large army at Cuzco, who were ready to submit to his orders. On the arrival of the Spaniards they were however attacked very vigorously by the Peruvians, and a battle ensued which lasted till night.

The next day the general entered the metropolis without opposition, where he found an immense booty; his thoughts were now turned on colonizing the country, and placing such a force in Cuzco as should insure a permanent settlement there; this he effected with much difficulty, as many of his followers were determined to return to Spain in order to enjoy in their native country the fruits of their hard-earned wealth.

San Miguel the first town built by the Spaniards being poorly garrisoned, Pizarro now sent Benal[Pg 96]cazar with ten horsemen to reinforce the place. This officer receiving complaints from the neighbouring Indians of the exactions and vindictive proceedings of the Peruvians at Quito, took with him a number of soldiers who had then arrived from Panama and Nicaragua to subdue that country; his success was complete. Quito and Cuzco the two capitals being now reduced Fernando Pizarro was dispatched by his brother to Spain, to lay an account of the proceedings of the Spanish Army before the king, carrying with him an immensely valuable present in gold and silver. He was favourably received, Pizarro was confirmed in his government and a further addition of seventy leagues to the south made to his territories; on Almagro was conferred the government of the countries 200 leagues south of the limits prescribed to Pizarro, who was created Marquess of Atavillos.

While the negotiations were going on, Alvarado the governor of Guatimala had landed on the Peruvian coast with a large force, and gone into the interior with the intention of dispossessing Almagro of his command, and Pizarro of the possession of Cuzco, but marching against the army of the former who was employed in reducing the provinces between Quito and Peru, his men refused to fight their brethren, and the leaders after much parleying became reconciled; Alvarado promising to deliver over his troops to the two generals for a stipulated sum, which was honourably paid him by Pizarro. These troubles being at an end, Pizarro founded the city of Lima, on the 18th of January, 1533, and transferred the colonists he had placed in Xauxa thither.

While he was thus employed Almagro having heard of the king's grant, determined to take possession of Cuzco, which he considered within his limit; in this attempt he was defeated by the municipal body of that place, and Pizarro arriving in good time, put a stop to his further proceedings.[Pg 97] It was then agreed that Almagro should have 500 men, and proceed southward, conquering such countries as he deemed expedient, in which he was to be assisted by every means in Pizarro's power; this was the commencement of the conquest of Chili.

After the departure of Almagro on this scheme, Pizarro resumed his task of giving a regular form to his government, by making the necessary distributions of land to the colonists who were continually arriving, by instituting courts of justice, and by founding towns, &c. Manco Capac the reigning Inca revolted at this period, and entered, with Philipillo and others, into a conspiracy to exterminate the armies of Pizarro and Almagro; he obtained possession of Cuzco, which was not taken from him until after eight days hard fighting, and with the loss of Juan Pizarro, who was killed by a stone.

The brothers of Pizarro, who was at Lima, had much difficulty to maintain possession of the capital; all communication between them and the governor being cut off, and the place was vigorously besieged by Manco Capac and his brothers Paullu and Villaoma, for eight months, during which time the Spaniards lost many men. Almagro hearing of these disasters, thought this a convenient time to assert his old pretensions to the government of Cuzco, and accordingly marched from the frontiers of Chili to that place in 1537. He was met by the Inca, who under pretence of making overtures to him, drew him into a snare, from which he narrowly escaped, with the loss of several of his men.

The brothers of Pizarro finding they had now a new enemy to withstand, prepared Cuzco to undergo a formidable siege; but having lost six hundred men during the attacks of the Peruvians, they were surprised by the troops of Almagro who forced them to submit, and declared himself governor of the place, imprisoning Fernando and Gonzalo Pizarro,[Pg 98] and quartering Philipillo, who was taken prisoner in the ambush of the Inca.

Manco Capac finding that Almagro was too strong to be easily ejected, retired to the mountains, but his brother Paullu remaining at Cuzco, was raised to the throne of Peru by Almagro. It was some time before all these untoward tidings reached the ears of the new Marquess Pizarro; he first heard of the attack of the city by the Inca, and imagining it to be a trivial affair, detached small parties at different periods to the assistance of his brothers; none of these reached their destination, being always cut off by the Peruvians in the narrow and difficult passes of the mountains. Some few of these people escaping from the massacre, which always took place on their being surprised, returned to Lima, and related the fate of their companions to the Marquess, who recalling all his outposts, nominated Alvarado to the command of the army, and sent him towards Cuzco, with 500 men; but being closely invested at Lima by the Peruvians, under Titu Yupanqui, a brother of Manco Capac, he sent off all his vessels to Panama, fearful that the troops might otherwise desert, and by these ships he implored assistance from the governors of New Spain and the West Indies.

Alvarado, after a harassing march, and fighting severe battles with the Peruvians, halted near the bridge of Abancay on the Apurimac; at which place he was met by a messenger from Almagro, insisting on his acknowledging the title he bore to the government of Cuzco. An unsatisfactory reply being sent, Almagro advanced to attack the army under Alvarado, and by dint of bribery, corrupting the greater part of it, obtained a bloodless victory on the 12th of July, 1537.

Pizarro hearing nothing of his general, and receiving a strong reinforcement from Hispaniola, marched from Lima with 700 men to relieve his brothers at Cuzco from the Peruvians, not having[Pg 99] yet heard of the usurpation of Almagro. Having marched twenty-five leagues, he received the intelligence of the death of one of his brothers, the imprisonment of the other two, and of the determined opposition of Almagro; this news so much alarmed him that he immediately returned to Lima, and dispatched a messenger to Cuzco to treat with Almagro; but that officer instead of returning an answer marched to within twenty leagues of Lima, where he was met by Pizarro who seemed earnest to heal the breach amicably; but after various endeavours to obtain this end, he found it necessary to have recourse to force; and Almagro, finding himself unable to cope with him, retreated to Cuzco, whither Ferdinand Pizarro pursued him: a dreadful battle then took place near that city, on a plain called Salinas or Cachipampa, in which Almagro was defeated and taken prisoner, and was soon afterwards brought to trial and beheaded.

This important affair being settled, the marquess dispatched troops in all directions to conquer and subdue those provinces which remained under the domination of the Indians. In these expeditions, and in settling the affairs of his government, Pizarro was fully occupied for two years, during which time he was much distressed by the mutinous conduct of the Almagrian party, who at last assassinated him on the 26th of June, 1541.

Soon after the untimely death of Pizarro, Vaca de Castro was appointed governor, while the court of Madrid were employed in taking measures to put a stop to the contentions of the colonies. He was removed to make room for Blasco Vela, who was nominated the first viceroy of Peru, and who landed at Tumbez in the month of February, 1543. The conduct of this viceroy increased the disaffection and contention of the colonists, many of whom siding with Gonzalo Pizarro, chose him as their leader. After various actions with the royal troops, Gonzalo at last utterly defeated[Pg 100] them in a pitched battle, in which the viceroy was slain.

Upon this occasion Gonzalo Pizarro was advised to assume the sceptre of Peru, but he chose to treat with Spain. During the interval which elapsed before the return of his ambassadors, Pedro de la Gasca, a priest, was sent over as president: finding he could not persuade Pizarro to any terms, he gave him battle, in which the latter was taken, and being brought to trial by the president, was beheaded on the 10th of April, 1548.

After this action, Gasca set himself about to reform abuses, and render the government more stable; he was occupied in this work till 1550, when wishing to return to a private station, he quitted Peru, and entrusted the command of the presidency to the royal court of audience, till the pleasure of the king should be manifested.

After the departure of Gasca, till the arrival of the second viceroy, Mendoza, Peru continued to be in a state of continual ferment, which lasted more or less until his death. The next viceroy was the Marquess de Canete, who arrived in Lima in July 1557. He was succeeded in July 1560, by the Conde de Neiva, who, dying suddenly, was replaced by Lope Garcia de Castro with the title of president, until Francisco de Toledo arrived from Spain, to assume the viceregal government, who had been only two years in Peru, when he attacked Tupac Amaru, the son of Manco Capac, who had taken refuge in the mountains. A force of two hundred and fifty men was detached to Vilcapampa under Martin Garcia Loyola, to whom the Inca surrendered himself, with his wife, two sons, and a daughter, who were all carried prisoners to Cuzco.

This unfortunate prince was brought to trial for supposed crimes, and at the same time, all the sons of Indian women by the Spaniards, were committed to confinement, under the charge of endeavouring to assist Tupac Amaru, in overturning[Pg 101] the Spanish government. Many of these poor people were put to the torture, others were banished, and all the males who were nearly related to the Inca, or who were capable of succeeding to the throne, were ordered to live in Lima, where the whole of them died.

Tupac Amaru was sentenced to lose his head; previous to the execution, the priests baptized him in the prison, from whence he was led on a mule to the scaffold, with his hands tied, and a halter about his neck, amid the tears of his people. Thus ended the line of the emperors of Peru; than whom, a more beneficent race of monarchs, in a barbarous state, has never been known.

The viceroy, Toledo, after continuing sixteen years in Peru, amassed a large fortune and returned to Spain, when falling under royal displeasure, he was confined to his house and his property sequestered, which preyed so much on his mind, that he died of a broken heart. Martin Garcia Loyola, who had made Tupac Amaru prisoner, married a Coya, or Peruvian princess, daughter of the former Inca Sayri Tupac, by whom he acquired a large estate; but being made governor of Chili, he was slain in that country by the natives.

After the death of Tupac Amaru, the royal authority was gradually established as firmly in Peru as in the other Spanish colonies, and that country has continued to be governed by viceroys appointed by the Spanish king, up to the present time. The only event of any particular importance, which has occurred till very lately, was the insurrection of the natives in 1781, under Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui, a descendant of, and styling himself Tupac Amaru. He was born in Tongusuca, a village of Tinta, and had been carefully educated by his family at home; on the death of his father, he petitioned the Spanish court to restore him the title of Marquess of Oropesa, which had been[Pg 102] granted to Sayri Tupac, his ancestor; but finding his request unattended to, retired to the mountains, and giving himself out as the only and true sovereign of Peru, the Indians flocked to his standard, especially those in the neighbourhood of Cuzco, who had suffered severely from the tyranny of the corregidor Arriaga.

With every mark of the most profound submission, they bound the imperial fillet on his brow, and he was proclaimed Inca by the title of Tupac Amaru the Second: collecting an immense army he appeared before the walls of Cuzco, and in the beginning of his campaign, he protected all ecclesiastics and people born in America, vowing vengeance solely against the European Spaniards; but his followers, elevated by the success which every where attended them, began a war of extermination against all but Indians, the consequences of which were dreadful, and will ever be remembered in Peru.

His brother Diego, and his nephew Andres Condorcanqui, favoured this disposition of the Indians, and committed enormities which it was out of the power of Tupac Amaru to repress. This insurrection lasted two years, and he made himself master of the provinces or districts of Quispicanchi, Tinta, Lampa, Asangara, Caravaja and Chumbivilca; but was at last surprised and taken prisoner with all his family, and a short time after this event, they were all quartered in the city of Cuzco, excepting Diego, who had escaped.

So great was the veneration of the Peruvians for Tupac Amaru, that when he was led to execution, they prostrated themselves in the streets, though surrounded by soldiers, and uttered piercing cries and execrations as they beheld the last of the children of the sun torn to pieces.

Diego surrendered voluntarily, and a convention was signed between him and the Spanish general, at the village of Siguani, in Tinta, on the 21st of January, 1782; from which time he lived peace[Pg 103]ably with his family, but was taken up twenty years afterwards on suspicion of being concerned in a revolt that happened at Riobamba, in Quito, in which great cruelty was exercised against the whites. His judges condemned him to lose his head, and since that period, Peru has been in a state of profound tranquillity, though now surrounded by states torn with the most dreadful convulsions.

Having now related the principal occurrences concerning the history of Peru, we shall give a concise description of the people of that kingdom; and in so doing, shall be led to the general relation of the manner in which the vast continent of Spanish America has been governed, and to a summary of the history of the present struggle.

The Peruvians, at the time they were discovered by Pizarro, had advanced to a considerable degree of civilization; they knew the arts of architecture, sculpture, mining, working the precious metals and jewels, cultivated their land, were clothed, and had a regular system of government, and a code of civil and religious laws. The lands were divided into regular allotments, one share being consecrated to the sun, and its products appropriated to the support of religious rites; the second belonged to the Incas, and was devoted to the support of the government, and the last and largest share was set aside for the people. These were cultivated in common, no person having a longer title than one year to the portion given him.

In their agricultural pursuits they displayed great diligence and ingenuity, irrigating their fields, and manuring them with the dung of sea fowls procured from the islands on the coast; they also turned up the earth with a sort of mattock formed of hard wood. In the arts of architecture they had advanced far beyond the other nations of America. The great temple of the sun at Pachacamac, with the palace of the Inca, and the fortress, were[Pg 104] so connected together as to form one great building half a league in circuit, and many ruins of palaces and temples still existing, prove the extent of the knowledge and perseverance of these people.

The immense obelisks of Tiahuacan, and the town of Chulunacas, with the mausolea of Chachapoyas, which are conical stone buildings supporting large rude busts, are among the most singular, though unfortunately the least known of the Peruvian remains; and are equally curious as the great military roads with their accompanying palaces or posts; together with the buildings still existing in the province of Quito, which have already been described.

Their skill in polishing stones to form mirrors, in sharpening them to serve as hatchets and instruments of war, was as admirable as the ingenuity they displayed in all their ornamental works of gold, silver and precious stones.

In the religion of the Peruvians few of those sanguinary traits which so forcibly marked the character of the worship of the Mexicans were found; they adored the Sun as the supreme Deity, under whose influence they also acknowledged various dependent gods; and instead of offering human victims on the altars, they presented to that glorious luminary a part of the productions of the earth, which had come to life and maturity through his genial warmth, and they sacrificed as an oblation of gratitude some animals before his shrine, placing around it the most skilful works of their hands.

Next to the sun they beheld their Incas with the greatest reverence, looking upon them as his immediate descendants and vicegerents upon earth. The system universally adopted by these patriarchal kings, bound the affections of their people more firmly to them, than even this their supposed divine legation; and as they never intermarried with their subjects, they were kept at so great a distance that their power was unbounded. The only sanguinary feature displayed in the Peruvian rites,[Pg 105] was in their burials; as, on the death of the Incas, or of any great curaca or chief, a number of his servants and domestic animals were slain and interred around the guacas or tumuli, that they might be ready to attend them in a future state, in which these people fully believed. When Huana Capac, the greatest of the Incas, was buried, 1000 victims were doomed to accompany his body to the tomb.

In ancient Peru the only very large city was Cuzco or Couzco; every where else the people lived in villages or in scattered habitations: and as the palaces of the Incas and their fortresses, which were built in all parts of the country, were rarely surrounded with the houses of the natives, very few distinct towns remain.

The ancient Peruvians had traditions concerning a deluge, in which their ancestors were all drowned, excepting a few who got into caves in the high mountains; they also adored two beings named Con and Pachacamac, who created the race of Peruvians in an extraordinary manner; and they asserted that Pachacamac dwelt amongst them till the Spaniards came, when he suddenly disappeared.

But the Peruvians of the present day are a very different people from their progenitors, as they are timid and dispirited, melancholy in their temperament, severe and inexorable in the exercise of authority, wonderfully indifferent to the general concerns of life, and seeming to have little notion, or dread of death. They stand in awe of their European masters, but secretly dislike and shun their society, and they are said to be of a distrustful disposition, and though robust and capable of enduring great fatigue, yet they are very lazy. Their habitations are miserable hovels, destitute of every convenience or accommodation, and disgustingly filthy; their dress is poor and mean, and their food coarse and scanty; their strongest propensity is to spirituous liquors, and to that they sacrifice all other[Pg 106] considerations, but which is unmixed with any love for gaming: they follow all the external rites of the catholic religion, and spend large sums in masses and processions.

Soon after the conquest of America, the country and the Indians were parcelled out into encomiendas, a sort of feudal benefices which were divided among the conquerors, and the priests and lawyers who arrived from Spain; the holder of this property was obliged to reside on his estate, to see the Indians properly instructed in religions duties, and to protect their persons. In return the natives were bound to pay the encomendero a certain tribute, but they were not reduced to absolute slavery. This system was variously modified and changed by the successors of Charles V. who introduced it, till the reign of Philip V. when it was entirely abolished on account of the continual complaints which were made to that sovereign of the exactions of the Spaniards, and their total neglect of the Indians.

This plan was followed by one still more fatal, that of the repartimientos; according to which the governor or judge of the district was directed to supply the Indians in his department with cattle, seed corn, implements of agriculture, clothes and food at a fixed price. The abuses attendant on such a system were enormous, and so grievously were the natives afflicted that it at last was abolished in 1779. Spanish America was incorporated to the crown of Castile by Charles V. on September 14th, 1559, at a solemn council held in Barcelona; but notwithstanding this decree declared that the white inhabitants of America were to have no personal controul over the Indians, the greatest enormities were still committed.

In Caraccas the natives were enslaved, and carried to the plantations in the West Indies, from which they were not freed till after the repeated remonstrances of Las Casas, Montesino, Cordova and others; these remonstrances gave rise to the[Pg 107] establishment of the royal audiences and the council of the Indies; the jurisdiction of the latter extending to every department; all laws and ordinances relative to the government and police of the colonies originate in it, and must be approved by two-thirds of the members; all the offices, of which the nomination is reserved as a royal prerogative, are conferred on this council, and to it every person employed in Spanish America is responsible.

It receives all dispatches, &c., and is in fact the government of the Indies.

Since the establishment of this council, the royal audiences or superior tribunals, and the regular succession of viceroys and captain-generals, the Americas have been governed, if not with less rigour, at least with more beneficial results to the Indians. They are left to manage their own concerns as they please, and no one can interfere in the disposal of their property. In Peru alone they are subjected to the mita, a law obliging them to furnish certain quotas for the mining operations, but for which they are well paid, and generally become resident miners; they are not under the controul of the inquisition, and pay no other tax than a capitation tribute, which is very moderate, and rather a mark of vassalage or distinction from the other classes, than a burden.

In their towns the Indians are always the magistrates, and they are allowed to enter into holy orders: but no Spaniard or white is permitted by the law to intermarry with them or to settle in their towns, the Indians always residing in a distinct quarter from the Europeans, and other castes. The Indians and their descendants are the only people in this part of the world who can endure the unwholesomeness and fatigues attendant on the mining operations, as the Spaniards and Negroes sink under the toil in a short time; but the number of Indians has decreased since the conquest to an alarming extent from the ravages of the small[Pg 108]-pox, and from the fatal effects of intoxicating liquors, though according to the statements of late travellers this branch of the population is again on the increase, probably owing to the general introduction of vaccination, and to the gradual abolition of the mita in most of the governments.

The total population of Spanish America is reckoned at about 15,000,000, of which three millions are Creoles, or the descendants of European whites, 200,000 are Spaniards, and the rest are Indians, negroes, and the mixed descendants of these and the whites, the Indians bearing the greatest proportion, as Peru alone contains 600,000; but the negroes are not very numerous, and exist principally in the provinces of Caraccas and New Granada.

Till the end of the last century the ports of Spanish America were shut against the whole world, the commerce of the country being carried on exclusively by two or three large ships called galleons from Manilla, and by an annual fleet to Spain; but these vessels falling continually into the hands of enemies, and generally containing all the treasure on which the Spanish court relied, they were at last abolished, and special licences were granted by some of the governors to carry on a trade with the Antilles, and in 1797 the court of Madrid was obliged to open some of the ports. Urged by extreme necessity Cisneros the Viceroy of La Plata in 1809, declared the port of Buenos Ayres free to all nations in alliance with Spain.

The power of Spain was maintained for a long while in her trans-Atlantic colonies, by a very small number of Spanish troops, who acted with the national militia on any unforeseen disturbances; the most profound tranquillity reigned in these happy regions till the year 1797, with the exception of the revolt of Tupac Amaru in 1780, and some other trifling occurrences. Three prisoners of state, who had been banished from Spain for revolutionary crimes, arrived at La Guayra, the port of Caraccas,[Pg 109] in the first mentioned year; by dint of argument these men gained over the soldiers by whom they were guarded, and they were permitted to hold forth the doctrines at that time so dangerously afloat in Europe, to the people who came from all parts to hear them, and finding many admirers among the creoles and mestizoes, formed at last the daring plan of revolutionizing the country.

These men, instead of remaining to head the revolt, retired to the islands in the Caribbean sea, on which active measures being taken by the government the plot was discovered; several who were concerned in it were executed, and others banished. Previous to this, in 1781, some reforms and additional taxes which were introduced in New Granada created such dissatisfaction that 17,000 men collecting themselves together marched against the city of Santa Fé de Bogota exclaiming "Long live the King, but death to our bad governors," but this insurrection was soon quelled by politic measures.

After the disturbances in 1797, the country was again tranquil, until the period when Napoleon Buonaparte, assuming upon the numerous victories which the French troops had gained, grasped at the sceptre of Europe. After subduing, in part, the mother country, and depriving the king of his liberty, he dispatched his emissaries in every direction to America; these men were, in general, of acknowledged talents, and endeavoured by every means in their power, under assumed characters, to widen the breach which had gradually been opening between Spain and her colonies.

The Americans, instigated by such advisers, and finding themselves cut off from all communication with Spain, now intent solely on her own preservation, were dubious how to act; but the mass of the people resisted all idea of throwing off their allegiance, and would not consent to their country being under French controul. Accordingly, they established juntas in Caraccas, New Granada and[Pg 110] Buenos Ayres, in imitation of similar acts on the part of their Spanish brethren.

In Caraccas and other places, Ferdinand the Seventh was proclaimed with all due solemnity, and when it was announced in July 1808, that Joseph Buonaparte had usurped the throne of Spain, 10,000 of the inhabitants of Caraccas flew to arms, surrounded the palace of the captain-general, and demanded the proclamation of their sovereign; this he promised to do next day, but such was their ardour, that they proclaimed him immediately themselves. In Buenos Ayres, the viceroy, Liniers, receiving intelligence of the events in the peninsula, in July 1808, exhorted the people in the name of Buonaparte to remain quiet; but Xavier Elio, the governor of Monte Video, accused him of disloyalty, and separated his government from that of Buenos Ayres; and this officer afterwards ineffectually endeavoured to persuade that city to acknowledge the title of viceroy, which he had received from the mother country.

In Mexico, the news of the Spanish affairs was not known, till the 29th July 1808, when a junta was immediately established; and the city of La Paz in Charcas, in the beginning of 1809, formed a similar junta for its government; but the viceroys of Buenos Ayres and Peru opposed this motion, and both sent armies to quell the insurrection, in which they were successful.

In Quito a junta was established on the 10th of August, 1809, but the viceroys of Peru and New Granada, with the greatest promptitude, detached a force against this city, which compelled the insurgents to abandon their project. At this time affairs wore a serious aspect in America; numerous adventurers appeared on her shores, eager to enrich themselves on the spoils of Spanish power. The partizans of revolution in Caraccas, the coast of which was more accessible to emissaries from Europe, formed themselves into a junta suprema, assumed the[Pg 111] reins of government, but still published their acts in the name of the Spanish monarch. At Buenos Ayres a similar measure was taken; in Chili, the junta was organized in September, and an insurrection breaking out in the town of Dolores, near Guanaxuato in Mexico, the whole continent was now in a state of alarm and tumult.

In the mean time these proceedings were related to the council of the regency in Spain, which determined that body to take such active steps as their circumstances enabled them to do, and the coasts of the captain-generalship of Caraccas were declared in a state of vigorous blockade. From this period, the revolt in that province and the northern parts of New Granada, became daily more alarming; General Miranda was the commander of the Venezuelan army, in which capacity he achieved one victory, the result of which can never be forgotten in the Caraccas. The inhabitants of Valencia were for the royal cause, and though of very inferior force, resisted the insurgent party in two actions, in the first of which they were victorious, but in the second were subdued.

The 4th of July 1811, was the day on which the congress of Venezuela proclaimed themselves the representatives of the free provinces of Caraccas; and the little village of Mariara, close to the beautiful lake of Valencia, saw the first blood that was spilt in the civil war of these unfortunate countries. On the return of the king to his throne, on which he was placed by the glorious and ever-memorable conduct of the British and Spanish troops commanded by the Duke of Wellington; he issued a decree on the 4th of June 1814, announcing to the Spanish Americans, his arrival in his kingdom, ordering them to lay down their arms, and promising oblivion of the past; to enforce this mandate, he also sent General Morillo from Cadiz with a well equipped army of 10,000 men. This army landed on the coast of Caraccas in April 1815; but the insurgents not[Pg 112] paying attention to His Majesty's commands, the general immediately commenced active measures. From Campano, where he landed, he proceeded to Margarita, from thence to Caraccas, and in the following August he besieged Carthagena.

Previous to his arrival, Boves, a Spaniard by birth, but a person of low rank, collected a handful of men, attached to the royal cause, and although destitute of assistance from the Spaniards, who were besieged in Puerto Cabello, he found means to raise a large body of troops in the interior, and seeking the insurgent army commanded by Bolivar, he fought several battles with them, in all of which his band was victorious, so that he was enabled to overthrow the new government established at Caraccas.

This valiant individual, following the career he had so fortunately begun, dispersed the army of the independents in every direction, but was killed in storming their last strong-hold, at the moment of victory.

On the arrival of General Morillo he found the province free from the independent troops, and therefore commenced his march for Carthagena, joined by the natives of the country who had formed the army of Boves, and who assisted him materially in taking Carthagena, and re-conquering the revolted provinces of New Granada.

Castello and Bolivar were at this time the leaders of the independent forces in this country, but dissensions occurring between them, Carthagena was supplied with only 2000 troops; the siege lasted from August to the 5th of December, 1815, when the governor and garrison evacuated the place, and the royal army took possession of it, but 3000 persons perished through famine during this siege.

General Morillo now advanced through the provinces of New Granada to the city of Santa Fé de Bogota, which place he entered in June, 1816,[Pg 113] remaining in it till the following November: during his stay the leaders of the insurgents, and all who had been criminally engaged, were imprisoned, shot or exiled. From this period Bolivar, who had gone to Jamaica, turned his attention again towards Venezuela, planned an expedition to assist the people of Margarita, and joining Borion, an affluent native of Curaçoa, assembled the emigrants from Venezuela, and part of the garrison which had evacuated Carthagena.

Borion was appointed commander of the naval forces, and sailing from Aux-Cayes they landed in the beginning of May 1816, at La Margarita.

From this island Bolivar proceeded to Campano, five leagues west of the city of Cumana, of which he dispossessed the royal forces, and having armed many light troops who joined him, again embarked and proceeded to Ocumare; landing at this port he issued a proclamation, enfranchising all slaves, but was soon afterwards defeated by the royalists in a severe and hard fought action, after which he retired to Aux-Cayes, from whence he again brought new reinforcements in December 1816, to Margarita. On this island he published another proclamation, convoking the representatives of Venezuela to a general congress, and went afterwards to Barcelona, where he organised a provisional government.

At this place he repulsed the royalists under Generals Real and Morales, with great loss, but in the month following, on the 7th of April, 1817, the city of Barcelona was taken by the Spanish troops, and Morillo received an addition of 1600 men from Spain, in the month of May; since this period the actions between the Spanish troops and the insurgents have been frequent; the congress of Venezuela has been established by Bolivar, and again overthrown by Morillo; the islanders of Margarita have repulsed the Spanish forces, and at this moment the army of the Independents is con[Pg 114]centrated near the shores of the Orinoco, and the Spanish troops are in possession of the capital and all the principal towns.

While these events were going on in Caraccas, the congress of Buenos Ayres declared its independence. The town of Monte Video was taken possession of by the Portuguese, and the march of insurrection spread itself into the remote government of Chili. Mina, who had been concerned in the Caraccas revolution, undertook an expedition against New Spain, in which, after sometimes repulsing, and at others being repulsed, by the Spanish generals, he was at last taken prisoner and beheaded at Mexico.

The United States have ejected the adventurers who had established themselves on Amelia Island in the government of East Florida, and it appears, that the revolutionary cause is only successful in Buenos Ayres and Venezuela, in both which provinces, it cannot however be said to be established, as a large Spanish army occupies part of one, and the Portuguese troops have partial possession of the other. In New Granada, Florida, Quito, Peru and Mexico, the insurgents have very little sway, and in the islands of Puerto Rico and Cuba they are unknown; consequently the colonies of Spain, so far from being wrested from her, are still under her dominion; and it appears extremely probable, that they will remain so.

Recurring to the subject of the kingdom, which it is the primary object of this section to describe, we must now treat of its capital, a city which, from its former as well as from its present importance, may well justify its pretensions to be the metropolis of Spanish South America.

Capital.Lima is situated in 12° 2' 25" south latitude, and 77° 7' 15" west longitude, in the spacious and fertile valley of Rimac, whence by corruption, the name Lima is derived. This city was formerly called Ciudad de los Reyes, and was founded by Pizarro, on the 18th of January, 1535.[Pg 115] The name of the valley was derived from that of an idol of the Peruvians, who was called by way of distinction Rimac, "he who speaks." This city is an archbishopric, the rental of which is valued at 30,000 dollars.

The scite of Lima is very advantageous, as it commands a view of the whole valley in which it lies. A river of the same name washes the walls of the town, over which there is an elegant and spacious bridge of stone. On the north are the vast mountains of the Cordillera of the Andes, from which some branches extend towards the city; those of St. Christoval and Amancaes being the nearest. At the end of the bridge is a gate of noble architecture which leads into a spacious square, the largest in the place, and beautifully ornamented. In the centre of this square is a fine fountain with bronze figures; the form of the city is triangular, its base lying along the banks of the river. This base is two-thirds of a league in length, whilst the perpendicular may be estimated at two-fifths of a league, the whole being surrounded with a brick wall, flanked with thirty-four bastions; it is entered by seven gates and three posterns. Opposite to the river is the suburb of St. Lazarus; and its streets, like those of the city, are broad, regular, parallel, and crossed at right angles; they are also well paved, and the drains are supplied from the river, thus rendering the place exceedingly clean. The number of streets has been stated at 355.

Towards the east and west within the walls are many fruit and kitchen gardens, and most of the principal houses have gardens watered by canals. The city abounds with churches, chapels, convents, nunneries, colleges, and hospitals, and it has a noble university founded in 1576. All the churches are magnificently decorated, and are in general large, and adorned with paintings of value.

The viceroys of Peru usually reside at Lima and[Pg 116] keep their court there, giving public audience every day, for which purpose there are three fine rooms in the palace. The tribunals of account, of justice, of the treasury, &c., are also held there, which, with the royal mint, the court of the municipal body, and the police, afford employment to numbers of persons, and render Lima the most lively and magnificent place in South America.

The viceroy's palace, formerly a fine structure, but which was damaged by the great earthquake in 1687, the city prison, the archiepiscopal palace, the council house, and the cathedral, stand in the great square, and occupy three sides of it.

In the suburbs, as well as in most parts of the city, the houses are of wood-work, interlaced with wild canes and osiers, both within and without, plastered over with clay and white washed; the fronts being painted to imitate stone. Most of the houses are only one story high with a flat roof, covered on the top with slight materials to keep out the wind and sun, as it never rains violently in this part of Peru, and the rafters which support the roofs are carved and decorated within side, and covered with clay on the outside. This mode of building has been adopted, in consequence of the destructive effects of the earthquakes which have so often devastated Lima.

On solemn festivals, or on the entrance of a new viceroy, the riches and pomp displayed in this city are astonishing, the churches being loaded with massive plate, consisting of tables, candlesticks, statues of saints of solid silver, the holy vestments and chalices covered with gold, diamonds, pearls and precious stones, and even on the common days of office, the decorations of the churches is richer than can be seen at the most splendid catholic festival in Europe.

Luxury in dress and splendid retinues are the prevailing passion of the gentry and people of Lima, so that the public walks and malls are crowded with[Pg 117] carriages. The dress of the ladies is extremely rich; and even those of low rank never appear without bracelets, rosaries, and gold images about their necks and arms. The white females are in general of a middling stature, handsome, of a very fair complexion, with beautiful dark hair and bright eyes; they are naturally gay, sprightly and without levity in their outward behaviour, though taxed with vicious propensities; and all the women of Lima have a great fondness for music: the dress of the men is also very superb, but they are said to be in general fonder of gallantry than of following any useful avocations, though they occasionally show great ardour for the acquisition of knowledge.

The theatre of Lima is a neat building, but the performers are said to be very wretched; coffee-houses were only established here in 1771, cock-fighting and bull-baiting are the favourite amusements of the populace, who are also greatly addicted to gaming.

In Lima the number of inhabitants has been estimated at 54,000, the monks and clergy being 1390, the nuns 1580, the Spaniards at 17,200, with 3200 Indians, and 9000 negroes, the rest being mestizoes and other castes.

The rich priests, proprietors of estates, military and civil officers, physicians, lawyers and artizans, compose a body of 19,000, and the remaining 35,000 are slaves, domestics and labourers; but the population has declined since the erection of the viceroyalty of La Plata.

The climate of this city is agreeable, and though the variation of the four seasons is perceptible, yet they are all moderate; spring begins in November, winter in June or July, when the south winds cease, and this season continues, with the intervention of a second spring or autumn until November; rain is seldom or ever known at Lima, tempests rarely happen, and the inhabitants are strangers to thun[Pg 118]der and lightning; but they are infested with vermin and insects during the summer months, and are always subject to the recurrence of earthquakes, several of which have nearly ruined the city at different times in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries; the one which happened in 1746, being the most tremendous and destructive, and which took place on the 28th of October at half after ten at night, continuing for many weeks. The city was nearly destroyed, numbers of the inhabitants perished, and the port of Callao was submerged by the sea; twenty-four vessels were lying in the harbour, nineteen of which were sunk, and a frigate, and three others carried up by the rise of the waves into the country a considerable distance from the beach; out of 4000 people, the number which escaped at Callao was only 200, while at Lima 1300 were buried under the ruins, and numbers wounded and maimed.

In Lima, the most common disorders are malignant, intermittent, and catarrhous fevers, pleurisies and constipations. The small-pox was formerly very fatal; but in 1802, a merchant vessel, the Santo Domingo de la Calzada, put into Callao, in a voyage from Spain to Manilla; a philanthropic individual in Spain had sent some vaccine matter on board of this ship for the Philippines; but as the small-pox was raging at that time in Lima, Don M. Unanue, the professor of anatomy, hearing of this precious cargo, and instantly availing himself of it, vaccinated his patients, which he performed with the greatest success, and since that period, the Jennerian system having been followed, the virulence of the small-pox gives way.

The great wealth of the citizens of Lima is mostly derived from the mines in the internal provinces, but agricultural pursuits are much followed, and the pastures in the vicinity feed multitudes of horses, mules and cattle. The ancient Peruvians[Pg 119] had rendered the valley of Rimac very fertile by intersecting it with small canals, and this plan has been adopted by the Spaniards who irrigate their spacious fields of wheat and barley, their meadows, plantations of sugar-cane, olives, vines, as well as their gardens, which are thus rendered very productive, but the frequent earthquakes having tended to alter the good quality of the soil, it consequently requires much care to manage.

Bread, butter, milk, beef, mutton, pork, poultry, &c., are all excellent in Lima, and the place is plentifully supplied with fish from the bay of Callao, and the adjacent villages, as well as from the river Lima. The wines used in this city are generally the produce of Chili and the southern provinces, from which the brandies are also brought; most of the European and dried fruits are also supplied by Chili, but no manufactures are carried on in the place itself, as it depends entirely on being the emporium of the commerce of Peru with Chili, New Granada, Guatimala and New Spain.

The port of Lima is Ballavista or Callao, the former name being that of the new town which was founded at the distance of a quarter of a league from the remains of Callao, which had been totally destroyed by the earthquake in 1746. At the present port there is a fort named San Fernando, with a garrison to protect the bay, which, on the south-west is fenced by a barren island called San Lorenzo. Here all the vessels anchor about two leagues from Lima; and the harbour of Callao is one of the finest in the South-Sea, the anchorage being deep, but the ocean always tranquil, and the largest vessels lying in perfect safety.

The river Rimac or Lima, discharging itself into the sea here, furnishes an abundant supply of fresh water for the vessels, and every thing can be procured of which a ship may be in need; as in Callao it may be said that the productions of the four[Pg 120] quarters of the world are exchanged for each other; the ships from Europe meeting those from the East Indies, from Africa, and from the northern shores of America.

Callao is situated in 12° 3' 42" south latitude, and 77° 14' west longitude, at about five English miles distance from the city of Lima.


This province is the most northerly of those in Peru, it is bounded by the river Tumbez and Guayaquil, on the north-west; Jaen de Bracamoros on the north-east; the Lauricocha or Tunguragua on the north; the Rio Guallaga and Pampas del Sacramento on the east; the Pacific on the west; and the province of Tarma on the south; containing within its limits seven jurisdictions; viz. Sana, Piura, Truxillo, Caxamarca, Chachapoyas, Llulia, and Chiloas and Pataz.

The province of Truxillo along the coast, has a climate in which excessive heat predominates; whilst in the interior it varies according to the high or low situation of the districts, from temperate to frigid. The first district of Truxillo, towards the north, is Piura, through which passes the road from Guayaquil to Lima; the whole country from the northern borders of Piura to Lima being named the Valles. The climate of Piura is hot, though not unhealthy; but the greater part of the country is uninhabited. The chief towns are Piura, Tumbez, the frontier of New Granada, Sechura and Payta; and it contains 11,000 inhabitants, in 26 settlements.

Piura, the capital, is situated in south latitude, 5° 11' and in 80° 36' west longitude. It was the first Spanish settlement in Peru, and was founded in the year 1531, by Pizarro, who built the first church in it. The city then stood in the valley of Targasala, near the sea, and was called[Pg 121] San Miguel de Piura, but was removed, on account of the unhealthiness of its situation, to its present scite, on a sandy plain. The houses are constructed of bricks, or cane and wood-work, and have generally only one story. The corregidor, and an officer employed in collecting the royal revenue, reside here and at Payta alternately, and the town contains about 7000 inhabitants. It has an hospital and church; the climate is hot and dry, but not unwholesome, and water is sometimes scarce in the heats of summer. It is 25 miles south-south-east of Payta, its port; 208 north-north-west of Truxillo; 480 north-north-west of Lima, and seven from the ocean; and its territory is fertile, and produces some cotton, sugar, maize and has extensive woods of Sarsaparilla.

Tumbez is situated in 3° 6' south latitude, and 80° 6' west longitude, 280 miles north of Truxillo, and 62 leagues N. of Piura, on the Rio Tumbez, which discharges itself into the bay of Guayaquil, opposite the isle of Santa Clara. It is seated a short distance from the mountains, in a sandy plain, and consists of about 70 houses, scattered without any order, in which there are about 150 families, mostly mestizoes and Indians, and along the banks of the river there are many farms, where they continually employ themselves in rural occupations.

Tumbez was the place where the Spaniards first landed in 1526, and where they were astonished at the immense temples and palaces they every where observed, no vestiges of which now remain. The road from this town to Piura is extremely unpleasant, owing to its running along the sea-coast, and being only passable at low water in some points. The village of Amotape, the only inhabited place on the road, is 48 leagues from Tumbez, after which the way lies over a sandy desert, where even the most experienced guides occasionally lose their way; and as no water is to be procured here, it is necessary to carry that article in skins[Pg 122] on the backs of mules; near the last stage is a deposit of mineral tar, which is exported to Callao, for the purposes of ship-building.

Sechura is the last town of Piura on the south; it is situated on the banks of the river Piura, a league from the ocean, and 180 miles north-north-west of Truxillo, in 5° 32' 33" south latitude. It contains about 200 houses, with a handsome brick church, and the inhabitants, who are all Indians, compose about 400 families, being chiefly employed in fishing, driving mules, or guiding passengers to Morrope, across the desert of Sechura, which is a waste of sand extending 30 leagues, of difficult and dangerous passage.

Payta, or San Miguel de Payta, in 5° 5' south latitude, and 80° 50' west longitude, was founded by Pizarro. It is a small place, consisting of mud houses, having a church and chapel, with the corregidor's house built of stone. The number of inhabitants is inconsiderable, and the town is noted only for its port, which is the chief place at which the ships from New Spain touch, on their voyage to Lima. Southward of this town is a high mountain, called the Silla de Payta; the soil of the surrounding country is barren and sandy, and there being no river, the inhabitants have to fetch their fresh water from Colan, a village in the bay, four leagues to the north, the Indians of Colan being obliged to send one or two balsa loads every day. The occupations of the inhabitants of Payta, who are whites and mulattoes, is chiefly in landing the cargoes of goods sent from Panama and Lima.

The bay of Payta is famous for its fishery, in which the Indians of the surrounding villages are constantly employed; a miserable battery mounting eight guns, defends this harbour and town, which has been repeatedly taken and plundered by the English; and Lord Anson's squadron pillaged and burnt it, in the year 1741.

The principal rivers of Piura are the Tumbez,[Pg 123] the Catamayu, and the Piura; in this district a branch of the Andes turns towards the coast, and under the name of Sierra de Pachira, forms Cape Blanco, and the Punto de Purma.

Sana is the next district of Truxillo, and extends about 75 miles along the sea-coast. Its soil is level, and, excepting in the desert of Sechura, fertile; the heat is however at times insupportable.

The town of Sana is in a state of decay, in consequence of an inundation which almost destroyed it, and it was sacked by Davis, the English adventurer, in 1685. The river Sana runs through the town, which has obtained the name of Miraflores, on account of the beautiful flowers in its neighbourhood, as well as for being situated in a fertile and pleasant valley. Sana is 80 miles N. of Truxillo. Morrope, Lambayeque and St. Pedro are the other most noted towns of this district, which contains 22 settlements.

Morrope consists of about 60 or 70 houses, and contains 160 families of Indians. It is seated on the banks of the river Pozuelos, 105 miles north-west of Truxillo.

Lambayeque, in 6° 40' south latitude, 79° 56' west longitude, is at present the capital of Sana, in a pleasant and fertile spot, containing about 1500 houses. The inhabitants, who amount to 8000, consist of Spaniards, mestizoes and Indians. The parish church of stone is elegant and much ornamented, and the river Lambayeque runs through the town, and fertilizes its environs. Some wine is made here, and the poorer classes manufacture coarse cottons. The road to Lima passes through this place, which is 95 miles west-north-west of Truxillo.

St. Pedro contains 120 Indian families, thirty families of whites, and twelve of mulattoes. It stands on the river Pacasmayo, and its environs produce grain and fruits in abundance. St. Pedro is twenty leagues from Lambayeque on the high road,[Pg 124] and stands in 7° 25' 49" south latitude. The Andes elevate their crests on the west of the districts of Piura and Sana.

The jurisdiction of Truxillo, extends twenty leagues along the coast, and as far in the interior, being composed throughout of beautiful valleys. In its climate there is a sensible difference between winter and summer, the former being attended with cold, and the latter with excessive heat.

The country is extremely fruitful, abounding with sugar canes, maize, fruits and vegetables; also with olives and vineyards: the parts nearest the Andes produce wheat, barley, &c., so that the inhabitants export corn to Panama.

On the coast the sugar cane is cultivated with success. The chief town of the district is Truxillo, which is also the capital of the whole province, and stands in 8° 8' south latitude, and 78° 53' west longitude, 480 miles south of Quito, 268 north-north-west of Lima, in a pleasant situation surrounded with gardens, groves and delightful walks. It was founded in 1535, by Pizarro, at the distance of half a league from the sea, on the banks of a small river; the houses which are chiefly of brick, have a very neat appearance, but are low on account of the frequency of earthquakes; an intendant and the bishop of Truxillo reside here. The inhabitants amount to 5800, and consist principally of rich Spaniards, some Indians, mestizoes and mulattoes; the greatest luxury in this city is that of equipages, few of the Europeans being without a carriage.

A revenue office for the province of Truxillo is established in this town, and it also contains a cathedral, several convents, a college, hospital and two nunneries.

Truxillo is surrounded with a low brick wall, flanked by fifteen bastions; and carries on its commerce by means of its port of Guanchaco, which is about two leagues to the northward, and is the only[Pg 125] good harbour on the coast from Callao to Tumbez. Chocope and Biru are the most noted places of this district.

Chocope contains sixty or seventy white families, and twenty or thirty of Indians. It has a fine brick church, eleven leagues north of Truxillo.

Biru in 8° 24' 59" south latitude, contains about seventy families of whites, creoles and Indians, and its situation is pleasant on the high road to Lima, in a fertile vale, well watered with small canals.

The district of Caxamarca lies to the eastward of that of Truxillo, and extends an immense distance between two parallel branches or crests of the Andes. It is extremely fertile, producing corn, fruits and all kinds of esculent vegetables, as well as cattle, sheep and hogs; with the latter of which a thriving trade is carried on with the lowland districts. There are also the celebrated silver mines of Gualgayoc or Chota, near Micuipampa, the galleries of which are above 13,287 feet higher than the sea. The Indians of this extensive district manufacture cotton for sails, bed-curtains, quilts, hammocks, &c., and the chief town is Caxamarca, celebrated as having been the point from which Pizarro carried on his operations, and for being the place where Atahualpa was strangled. The palace of Atahualpa is now inhabited by the family of the Astorpilcos, the poor but lineal descendants of the Incas. It is seated in 8° south latitude, and 76° 10' west longitude, seventy miles from the ocean, on the western slope of the Andes, at the height of 9021 feet.

Micuipampa is celebrated for its silver mines, its height above the sea being 2296 feet more than that of the city of Quito.

Chachapoyas is the next district towards the east and north of Caxamarca situated on the eastern slope of the Andes, and embracing an immense extent of country, in a warm climate.

[Pg 126]

It is very thinly inhabited; but the Indians are ingenious in manufacturing cottons, to which they give beautiful and lasting colours.

Chachapoyas and Llulia bound the government of Juan de Bracamoros in Quito. The chief town is Juan de la Frontera, or Chachapoyas, in 6° 12' south latitude, and 72° 28' west longitude.

East of Chachapoyas is the district of Llulia and Chiloas, a low, warm, moist country, covered with forests, so that the greater part is uninhabited.

The principal commodity of this country is tobacco and fruits; and the river Moyobamba flows through the district in its course to join the Guallaga. The chief town of this district is Moyobamba, 300 miles north of Lima, in 7° south latitude, and 76° 56' west longitude; and some gold washings exist on the banks of the Moyobamba.

The last jurisdiction of the Intendancy of Truxillo is that of Pataz, including Huamachucho; its situation on the slope and summit of the mountains causes it to enjoy different climates, favourable for many kinds of grain and fruits; but the chief occupation of the inhabitants is in working the mines of gold with which it abounds, and its great commerce consists in exchanging gold for silver coin. The chief towns are Caxamarquilla and Huamachucho, both of little note excepting for the gold washings in their neighbourhood.


Comprehends several minor districts, of which Caxatambo, Huamalies, Conchucos, and Huailas, are the principal. It is bounded by Truxillo on the north, the Pacific on the east, the Apurimac on the west, and Lima and Guanca-Velica on the south.

On the sea-coast its climate is hot, but in the interior it varies, according to the height of the land.

We shall not follow the minute divisions of this[Pg 127] province, as we have done those of Truxillo, on account of its being the boundary between New Granada and Quito, merely describing the chief towns and the country in their neighbourhood.

Tarma contains the sources of the Xauxa and Guallaga rivers, the former of which falls into the Apurimac. The Juaja or Xauxa rises in the little lake of Chinchay Cocha, in about eleven degrees south latitude, and after a long and precipitous course, it throws itself into the small river Mantura, by which it joins the Apurimac. The Guallaga rises a short distance north of the Xauxa, in a little lake, called Chiguiacoba, on the opposite side of the mountains, which form the Cerro de Bombon, whence it flows north, receiving several rivers, till it passes the town of Guanuco, when it becomes very rapid, and receives the Monzon from the west, in 9° 22' south latitude, after which, it follows its original course, and becomes more tranquil. At 7° 10' it receives the Moyobamba, and after this, four dangerous rapids present themselves before it reaches Ponquillo at the foot of the mountains. Its breadth is now 1200 feet, and running through the province of Maynas; at 5° 4' south latitude, it falls into the False Maranon, being 450 yards wide, and 34 deep.

At the confluence, the Guallaga is divided into two branches, and a lake is formed half a league in breadth and 70 fathoms deep. During the course of a league, the two rivers seem of equal force, but at length, the Tunguragua overcomes the Guallaga. The banks of this fine river are clothed with beautiful trees, enlivened with a great variety of birds, and one tree produces a sort of tallow or grease, which is used by the natives for the same purposes as candles.

Besides these, the beautiful river Pachitea rises in Tarma, in 10° 46', on the east-side of the Andes, first running east, then north, and called the Pozuzo at its confluence with the Mayro, where it forms[Pg 128] a fine haven, from which there is a direct and open navigation to the Maranon, which it joins in 8° 46' south latitude.

The Lauricocha or False Maranon, also rises near Caxatambo in this province; but as this river has been already spoken of, it is merely necessary to observe, that the lake in which it rises, is near the city of Guanuco, in 11 degrees south latitude, from which it directs its course southwards towards Xauxa, forming a circle, when, after precipitating itself over the east-side of the Andes, it flows northwards, through Chachapoyas to Jaen de Bracamoros, and thence to the Ucayale or True Maranon. The course of the Lauricocha is about 200 leagues from Lauricocha lake to Jaen, and about 150 from thence to its junction with the Ucayale. The intendancy of Tarma contains many gold and silver workings, particularly the celebrated mines of Yauricocha, in the Cerro de Bombon.

The chief towns of Tarma are Tarma, Huamalies, Huialas, Caxatambo, Conchucos, Guanuco and Pasco.

Tarma is 103 miles east-north-east of Lima, in 11° 35' south latitude, and 75° 17' west longitude, in a temperate climate, and surrounded by a large district, in which the soil is every where fertile, excepting on the higher mountains, where it is very cold. The land is chiefly applied to feeding cattle, but many veins of silver of great importance being found and worked in the district, agriculture is neglected. Of these mines, the Yauricocha, two leagues north of Pasco, the Chaupimarca, Arenillapata, St. Catalina, Caya Grande, Yanacanche, Santa Rosa, and Cerro de Colquisirca, are the most productive; there are however many others, which are either unworked, or produce but feebly. The city of Tarma contains 5600 inhabitants.

Huamalies is 150 miles east of Truxillo, and is the chief town of a jurisdiction of the same name,[Pg 129] situated in the centre of the Cordilleras, commencing at the distance of 240 miles north-east of Lima, and mostly situated in a cold climate extending 120 miles.

The towns are chiefly inhabited by Indians, who apply themselves to weaving, and manufacture a great quantity of serges, baizes, and stuffs, with which they carry on a considerable trade, and there is a silver mine, named Guallana, in this district.

Huialas is the chief place of a district in the centre of the Andes, beginning fifty leagues from Lima, in the same direction as Conchucos. The low parts produce grain and fruit, and the upper abound in cattle and sheep, which form the great branch of its trade. Some gold is found in the mines of this district.

Caxatambo is also the chief town of a district commencing thirty-five leagues north of Lima, and extending twenty leagues partly among the mountains, so that the climate is various, but the whole district is very fertile, producing abundance of grain. The Indians manufacture baize, and work some silver mines, of which those of the towns of Caxatambo and Chanca are the most productive.

Conchucos, the chief place of a district or partido of the same name, beginning forty leagues north-north-east of Lima, and extending along the centre of the Andes, is noted for its cattle and grain, and for the great number of looms worked by the Indians. It contains also the mines of Conchucos, Siguas, Tambillo, Pomapamba, Chacas, Guari, Chavin, Guanta and Ruriquinchay.

Guanuco is the chief town of a partido, commencing 120 miles north-east of Lima, in a mild and pure climate, with a fertile soil producing excellent fruits. This town is 120 miles north-east of Lima, in 9° 59' south latitude, and 75° 56' west longitude, and was founded in 1539, under the name of Leon de Guanuco; the first inhabitants being those who favoured the royal party in the wars[Pg 130] between Pizarro and Almagro. It was formerly a large city, but is now a small village, containing the remains of a palace of the Incas, a temple of the sun, the ruins of the houses built by the conquerors, some marks of the great road from Cuzco to Quito, a church and three convents.

Pasco is on the borders of the small lake de los Reyes, and is chiefly noted as being the place in which the office of the provincial treasury is held, and from which the mines of the Cerro de Bombon or Yauricocha are named.


This province contains several districts; it is bounded on the north by Truxillo, east by Tarma and Guancavelica, west by the Pacific, and south by Arequipa.

Its principal districts are Chancay, Huarachiri, Lima, Canta, Canete, Ica, Pisco and Nasca.

Lima is the seat of the royal audience, which was established in 1542, and contains one archbishopric and four bishoprics in its jurisdiction, viz. those of Truxillo, Guamanga, Cuzco, and Arequipa.

The revenue of the archbishop of Lima is 30,000 dollars per annum; he has, besides the above bishops, those of Panama, Maynas, Quito, and Cuença, as suffragans.

In this province rain is seldom or ever known to fall on the west of the Cordillera of the Andes, which runs along its eastern side; on the sea-coast it is very hot, but as the land rises towards the interior, the air becomes cooler and milder.

The wealth of the province consists chiefly in the produce of the mines of Tarma, which are worked by proprietors in Lima; but agricultural pursuits are not neglected, and the whole vale may be said to be cultivated.

Lima is noted as being the place where the[Pg 131] grains of Europe were first planted, as Maria de Escobar, the wife of Diego de Chaves, carried a few grains of wheat to Lima, then called Rimac, shortly after the conquest. She sowed these grains, and the produce of the harvests she obtained, was distributed for three years among the colonists; so that each farmer received twenty or thirty grains. It increased rapidly, but in 1547, wheat bread was still a luxury in Cuzco that was hardly to be obtained. Some idea may be formed of the difficulty in procuring articles of utility or luxury in the early periods of the settlement of these countries, from the circumstance of Benalcazar, the conqueror of Quito and Popayan, purchasing a sow at Buza, for a sum equal to 166l. sterling, which sow was killed for a feast; the riches of the conquerors must consequently have been immense. In the middle of the 16th century, two hogs were worth 300l.; a camel from the Canaries, 1400l.; an ass, 320l.; a cow, 50l.; and a sheep, 8l. The camels that were introduced both in Peru and Caraccas, did not thrive, and their utility was superseded in the former country by the vicunas, llamas, &c.; and in both by mules.

The chief town of the intendancy of Lima is Lima, which being also the capital of Peru has been already described. The other towns of most note are Guara, Guarachiri, Chancay, Canta, Canete, Ica, Pisco and Nasca.

Guara consists of a single street containing 200 houses, and many Indian huts, with a parish church and convent, and is chief town of a district of the same name, which is covered with plantations of sugar canes, corn, maize, &c. At the south end of Guara stands a large tower and fortified gate, which protects a stone bridge, under which flows the river Guara, and separates the suburb of the Indians from the town. Guara is in 11° 3' 36" south latitude, near the Pacific Ocean. This town lies on the high road to[Pg 132] Lima from Truxillo, and on this road are many magnificent remains of the tambos, or palaces of the Incas.

Guarachiri is the chief place of a partido, commencing in the Andes, six leagues east of Lima, in which the valleys and lower grounds are the only inhabited parts; and these being very fertile, produce wheat, barley, maize and other grain in great abundance.

The high mountains of Guarachiri, and the neighbouring district of Canta, contain excellent coal, but on account of the difficulty and high price of carriage, it cannot be used in Lima; cobalt and antimony have also been found in Guarachiri, which likewise contains several silver mines of which that of Conchapatu is the most noted.

This town is situated in 11° 55' south latitude, and 76° 18' west longitude, 50 miles east of Lima.

Chancay, in 11° 33' 47" south latitude, is also the chief town of a district lying in the valley north of Lima, having the river Passamayo running through it, and fertilizing its plantations; the chief growth of which is maize, for the purpose of fattening hogs for the market of Lima. Chancay is fourteen leagues from Guara and twelve from Lima, on the high road from Tumbez; the distance from Tumbez to Lima being 264 leagues. Chancay contains about 300 houses, and many Indian huts, with a large population, most of the inhabitants being very rich.

Canta is the chief town of a jurisdiction of the same name, beginning five leagues north-north-east of Lima, terminating on the district of that city, and extending above thirty leagues to the north, over the eastern branch of the Andes; so that its climate differs according to its situation, on the tops, sides, or valleys of the Cordillera. It supplies the markets of Lima with fruits; the upper plains affording pasturage for innumerable flocks of sheep, which belong to the rich inhabitants of the capital of Peru.

[Pg 133]

Canete is the chief place of a district of the same name, commencing six leagues south of Lima, and extending along the coast for about thirty leagues; the climate is the same as that of Lima, and the soil being watered by several small streams, produces vast quantities of wheat, maize and sugar canes; these plantations are mostly the property of the inhabitants of Lima. At a place called Chilca, ten leagues south of Lima, saltpetre is found in great quantities: the Indians of this district trade with the capital in poultry, fish, fruits and vegetables.

Ica, Pisco and Nasca compose a jurisdiction bordering on Canete and extending sixty leagues along the coast, but interspersed with sandy deserts. Great quantities of wines are made in this district, which is fertile wherever the lands can be irrigated from the rivers. Brandy is also an object of export, chiefly to Guamanga, Callao, Guayaquil and Panama. Olive plantations are numerous, as well as those of maize, corn and fruit trees. The country round Ica is noted for abounding in carob trees, with the fruit of which vast numbers of asses are fed. The Indians on this coast live by fishing, their salted fish being eagerly sought after in the interior.

The town of Ica or Valverde is situated in a valley, and contains about 6000 inhabitants, its principal commerce consisting in glass, wine and brandy; it stands in 13° 50' south latitude, and 75° 28' west longitude, 140 miles east-south-east of Lima.

Pisco was formerly situated on the shore of the South-Sea, but in 1687, an earthquake, accompanied by an inundation, destroyed the old town, and it was rebuilt by the inhabitants a quarter of a league further inland. It contains about 300 families, most of whom are mestizoes, mulattoes and negroes; the whites being the least predominant: the road of Pisco is a fine anchoring ground, capable of holding a large navy, and sheltered from[Pg 134] the south-east and south-west winds, which are the most violent in this quarter. Pisco is 118 miles south-south-east of Lima, in 13° 46' south latitude, and 76° 9' west longitude.

Nasca has a fine harbour, but the town is in a state of decay; the surrounding country is fertile in vines and sugar canes, and is watered by a river of the same name. Nasca is 190 miles south-east of Lima, in 14° 48' south latitude, and 75° 6' west longitude.


This province lies almost entirely in the mountains, and is bounded on the north by Tarma, east by Lima, west by Cuzco, and south by Guamanga.

The climate of this country is in general cold, owing to the high situation of the land which is surrounded by the lofty peaks of the Andes; its districts are chiefly those of Xauxa and Angaraes, the latter of which is about seventy-two miles in length from east to west, and twelve in width, of a very irregular figure, being bounded by the Cordillera on the west; this district produces wheat, maize and other grains, although its climate is in general cold, being temperate only in the valleys; in these are cultivated the sugar-cane, some fruits and herbs, and a strong grass which serves for fuel in the ovens in which the quicksilver is extracted; from the sale of this fuel great emolument is derived when the mines are in work. The district abounds in cattle, and as mercury is found in it, it also produces various earths used in painting. The head waters of some of the streams which join the Apurimac are in this jurisdiction, which contains about thirty Indian villages.

The intendancy of Guancavelica is chiefly of note on account of the mercury mines it contains, there being only one silver mine of any importance. The quicksilver of Peru is only found near Val[Pg 135]divui in the district of Pataz, near the great Nevado de Pelagato; in the district of Conchucos, to the east of Santa; in the district of Huamalics, to the south-east of Guarachuco, at the Banos de Jesus; in the district of Guialas near Guaraz, and near Guancavelica; of all those places Guancavelica is the only one which has ever produced that useful mineral in great abundance, the principal mine being situated in the mountains of Santa Barbara, south of the town of Guancavelica at the distance of more than a mile; it was discovered by the Indian Gonzalo de Abincopa, in the year 1567; but appears to have been known in the time of the Incas, who used cinnabar in painting themselves, and they are said to have procured it in this neighbourhood. The mine was opened in September 1570; it is divided into three stories, named Brocal, Comedio and Cochapata, the last of which the government forbid to be worked, the bed containing red and yellow sulfuretted arsenic or orpiment, which was the cause of many deaths.

This mine is free from water, and contains galleries cut in the solid rock at an immense expence. There has been extracted from it up to the year 1789, 1,040,452 quintals, or 136,573,162 pounds troy, being 4 or 6000 quintals annually; 50 quintals of tolerable mineral containing and yielding by distillation eight or twelve pounds of mercury. The cinnabar is found in a bed of quartz freestone of about 1400 feet in thickness, in strata and in small veins, so that the metalliferous mass averages only from 196 to 229 feet in breadth. Native mercury is rare, and the cinnabar is accompanied with red iron ore, magnetic iron, galena and pyrites, the crevices being frequently variegated with sulphate of lime, calcareous spar, and fibrous alum, and the bottom of the mine is 13,805 feet above the level of the sea. This mine employed seven thousand Peruvian camels, or alpacas, and llamas in carrying the ore[Pg 136] to the furnaces of the town; which animals were governed by dogs trained for the purpose.

Carelessness, or rather the avidity of the overseers destroyed this celebrated mine for a time, as this being the only royal mine in Spanish America, these men were anxious to obtain as much profit and credit as they could by sending great quantities of the mineral to the royal office. The gallery of the Brocal, which was the uppermost, was supported by pillars of the rock containing the ore; as the mineral became scarcer in the body of the mine, these pillars were thinned, and at last cut away, so that the roof fell in and hindered all communication with the other parts. At present, it is said, some attempts are making, owing to the dearth of mercury from China, to re-open the gallery; but the silver works of Peru are mostly supplied from small veins which are found in other parts of the same chain of mountains, near Silla Casa; these veins generally traverse alpine limestone, are full of calcedony, and although thin, they cross and form masses, from which the Indians, who are allowed to work them, are said to obtain 3000 quintals annually by merely uncovering the surface.

The chief town of this intendancy is Guancavelica, thirty miles north-west of Guamanga, in 12° 45' south latitude, and 74° 46' west longitude. It was founded, in 1572, by the viceroy Toledo, and stands in a breach of the Andes, being one of the largest and richest cities of Peru. The temperature of the air at Guancavelica is very cold, and the climate changeable, as it often rains and freezes on the same day, in which there are tempests of thunder, lightning and hail.

The houses are generally built of tufa found near a warm spring in the neighbourhood, and there is a dangerous torrent near the city, which is crossed by several bridges. This town was founded on account of the quicksilver mines of[Pg 137] Santa Barbara, from the working of which the inhabitants derived all their subsistence.

In this intendancy with its dependencies of Castro Vireyna and Lircay there is one mine of gold, eighty of silver, two of quicksilver, and ten of lead.

Guancavelica is 12,308 feet, and the neighbouring mountain of Santa Barbara 14,506 feet, above the level of the sea.

The number of its inhabitants is now only 5200, probably owing to the abandonment of the mine.

The other towns of most note are Xauxa and Castro Vireyna.

Xauxa or Jauja is the chief town of a district on the southern extremity of Tarma, reaching to about forty leagues from Lima, in the spacious valleys and plains between two parallel chains of the Andes. The river Xauxa runs through this district, in which there are several pretty towns or large villages well inhabited by Spaniards, Indians and Mestizoes.

The soil produces plenty of wheat and other grains, together with a great variety of fruits, and the city is on the great road of the mountains to Cuzco, Paz, and La Plata; it borders on the east, as well as the district of Tarma with the country between the Andes and the Apurimac, inhabited by fierce and wild Indians, some of whom have made inroads into these jurisdictions; the missionaries have however succeeded in establishing villages amongst them, the nearest being the town of Ocopa.

Castro-Vireyna is the chief town of a district of the same name, which lying on the Cordillera, has a very various climate, and produces the fruits of the tropic and temperate regions.

On its great plains, which are in the highest and coldest parts, are numerous flocks of the Vicuna, or Peruvian sheep, whose wool is the chief article of commerce.

[Pg 138]

This animal prefers the coldest and highest parts of the Andes, and is rarely seen north of the line; they formerly were very numerous in all the mountains of Peru, till they were so much hunted for the sake of their fleeces, that they are now caught with great difficulty, and are only to be seen wild in the most inaccessible parts of the southern Andes.

The town of Castro Vireyna is 125 miles south-east of Lima, in 12° 50' south latitude, and 74° 45' west longitude.


Is bounded on the north by Guancavelica and the uncultivated countries on the banks of the Apurimac, east by the same and Cuzco, west by Lima, and south by Arequipa.

It contains several fine districts, of which Guanta, Vilcas-Guaman, Andagualas, Parina Cocha and Lucanas are the chief, with that of Guamanga itself.

The capital is Guamanga, situated in 12° 50' south latitude, and 77° 56' west longitude, in a wide and beautiful plain, watered by a fine river, and having a healthful climate. The buildings are of stone, and are equal to any in Peru, and the city is decorated with fine squares, gardens and walks, which render it a very pleasant residence. The soil in the surrounding district is fertile in grain and fruit, the chief articles of commerce being cattle, hides and sweetmeats, with the produce of several mines; sixty of gold, 102 of silver, and one of quicksilver, having been wrought in this and the dependent district of Lucanas.

Guamanga was founded by Pizarro in 1539, and is the see of a bishop, whose annual revenue is 8000 dollars.

This city has three churches, one for the whites,[Pg 139] and the others for the Indians; as well as the cathedral, several chapels and convents, and a university, with a good revenue, in which the study of divinity, philosophy and law is followed. The number of inhabitants is 26,000, including Spaniards, mestizoes, mulattoes and Indians.

Guamanga is also called San Juan de la Victoria, in memory of the precipitate retreat which Manco Capac made from Pizarro, when the armies were drawn up for battle, and Pizarro founded the town in order to keep up the communication between Lima and Cuzco. About three leagues from Guamanga is the town of Anco; the territory around which is infested with jaguars and reptiles. Anco stands in 13° 14' south latitude, and 73° 10' west longitude.

Guanta is the chief town of a jurisdiction of the same name, and is twenty miles north of Guamanga, in 12° 30' south latitude, and 74° 16' west longitude; the district begins four leagues from Guamanga, and stretches for thirty leagues north-north-west of it. It enjoys a temperate climate, and is very fertile, but its mines, which were formerly very rich, are abandoned.

In an island formed by the Tayacaxa or Xauxa grows the coca or betel nut in great plenty, in which, and with the lead produced in the mines, the commerce of Guanta consists. It also carries on a trade with the capital, which it supplies with corn and fruits.

Vilcas Guaman is a district south-east of Guamanga, beginning six or seven leagues from that city and extending above thirty leagues; Vilcas Guaman or Bilcas is the chief town, in which is a church, built on the ruins of a Peruvian fortress.

The climate is temperate and the district furnishes vast quantities of cattle. The chief commerce is in woollens, &c., manufactured by the Indians, and which they carry to Cuzco.

[Pg 140]

East of Guamanga, and verging to the south, is the district of Andagualas with its town of the same name. This district extends along the valley or plain between two branches of the Andes for about twenty-four leagues.

It is the most populous partido of Guamanga, having large plantations of sugar-canes belonging to the inhabitants of the capital. The river Pampas which runs into the Apurimac, and several others flow through this territory, contributing greatly to its fertility; and the number of its inhabitants is about 12,000.

Parina Cocha and Lucanas are districts lying between that part of the chain of the Andes which stretches down in a circular form towards Arequipa; they abound in mines of silver and gold, and though in a cold climate, produce grain, herbs and fruits in abundance. The chief towns of these districts have the same names excepting that of the first, which is called Pausa.

In the mountains are found herds of huanucos or Peruvian camels, and the plains and valleys are filled with sheep, goats and cattle, in consequence of which most of the inhabitants are drovers or woollen manufacturers.

In the former district which contains 11,300 inhabitants dispersed in thirty settlements; there is the lake of Parina Cocha seven leagues in length and one in width, in which a white bird of the name of Panuira breeds. This name has been corrupted to Parina, and the word cocha or lake being added, has given rise to the designation of the department.


Cuzco contains a number of partidos or districts lying on the west of the great Apurimac, and on the eastern Cordillera of the Andes; it is bounded[Pg 141] on the north by the Apurimac and the Andes of Cuzco, on the west by unconquered countries, east by Tarma, Guancavelica, and Guamanga, and south by Arequipa and the viceroyalty of La Plata, the boundary line of which runs between the lake Chucuito or Titicaca and along the chain of Vilcanota, and bounds the district of Paucartambo on the south.

The capital of this extensive province is the celebrated city of Cuzco, which has a peculiar jurisdiction around it, over which its magistrates exercise their authority. This district extends only two leagues, but in it the climate is various, and on the highlands the cold is intense, though in general the temperature is mild. It contains, with the partido of Carahuasi, nineteen mines of silver.

The city of Cuzco or Couzco is situated in 13° 25' south latitude, and 71° 15' west longitude, on uneven ground in the skirts of mountains watered by the small river Guatanay, its north and west sides are surrounded by the mountains of Sanca, and on the south it borders on a plain, in which are several beautiful walks.

Cuzco was originally founded by Manco Capac and his consort Mama Oello, who were supposed to have reigned in the 12th or 13th century. He divided it into high and low Cuzco, the former having been peopled by the Peruvians whom he assembled, and the latter by those whom his consort had prevailed upon to leave their wandering mode of life. The first tract forms the north, the latter the southern divisions of the city; here he founded a temple of the sun and appointed his daughters to serve as priestesses.

The Spaniards who took possession of Cuzco, under Pizarro, in October 1534, were astonished at the extent and splendour of the city, the magnificence of the temples and palaces, and the pomp and riches which were every where displayed. Cuzco was besieged by Manco Capac the[Pg 142] Second, who took it, but was soon driven out by the Europeans, and afterwards blockaded the place for eight months; in this and the subsequent contest between the followers of Pizarro and Almagro, Cuzco suffered very much, great part of the city having been destroyed.

On the mountain which surrounds the north part of this celebrated city, are the remains of the fortress of the Incas, by which it appears that they intended to encompass the mountain with a wall, constructed in such a manner, that the ascent would have been impracticable, though it could be easily defended within. It was strongly built of freestone, and is remarkable for the immense size of the stones, as well as for the art with which they are joined. The internal works of the fortress itself are in ruins, but great part of the wall is standing. A subterraneous passage of singular construction led from this fort to the palace of the Incas, and with these ruins, are the remains of a paved causeway which led to Lima.

One of the stones designed for the wall lies on the ground near it, and is so large that it has obtained the name of Cansada, alluding to the apparent impracticability of bringing such a mass from the quarries, by a people unacquainted with machinery, or even by those who are.

Most of the houses of Cuzco are covered with red tiles, and built of stone; their interior is spacious, and those of the rich highly decorated; the mouldings of the doors being gilt, and the ornaments and furniture of the most costly kind.

The cathedral is a noble building of stone, and is erected on the spot where the Spaniards rescued the place from the Inca Manco Capac the Second; it is served by three priests, one for the Indians, and two for the whites; Cuzco also contains six parish churches, and nine convents, one of which, the Dominican, is built on the spot where[Pg 143] stood the Temple of the Sun, the stones of that building serving to erect its church, the altar being paced on the same ground where the golden image of the luminary was formerly fixed. These convents contain hospitals for the sick Indians and whites. There are also four nunneries, and the government of the city consists of a corregidor and alcaldes, who are chosen from the first people in the place.

There are four hospitals, two universities, and a college, the latter being for the children of Indian caciques; and the courts are those of the royal audience, revenue, inquisition, cruzada, &c.

The bishop of Cuzco is suffragan of the archbishop of Lima, and enjoys a revenue of 24,000 dollars annually.

This city contains 32,000 inhabitants, of whom three-fourths are Indians, who are very industrious in the manufacture of baize, cotton and leather, and have a great taste for painting. It formerly contained many Spanish families, but at present the Indians and castes prevail.

Quispicanchi is a district of Cuzco, beginning close to the city, and extending thirty leagues from east to west, and thirty-five from north to south, producing maize, wheat and fruits. Part of this district borders on the forests inhabited by independent Indians, and which contain great quantities of coca or betel.

The chief town is Urcos, 12 miles south of Cuzco, and the partido has 26 other settlements, which only contain 7200 inhabitants.

Abancay is another district and town of Cuzco, extending about 26 leagues east and west, and fourteen broad, and commencing four leagues north of the capital. It forms, on its northern boundary, an extended chain of mountains covered with snow. Its climate is in general hot, so that it contains great plantations of sugar canes, in which[Pg 144] fine sugar of a superior whiteness is made. It has seventeen villages or towns, the chief of which, Abancay, is seated in a fertile and spacious valley, 60 miles north of Cuzco, in 31° 30' south latitude, and 72° 26' west longitude, on the river Abancay, over which is thrown one of the largest bridges in Peru. In this province is the valley Xaquijaguana, in which Gonzalo Pizarro was taken prisoner by Pedro de la Gasca. The river Abancay joins the Apurimac, which runs through this district; the junction being to the north of the town.

On the north of Abancay, and on the east of the Cordillera, named the Andes de Cuzco, the Vilcamaya, Urubamba, or Quillabamba river, at about 12° 30' south latitude, throws itself into the Apurimac, which, having pursued a north-west course through Cuzco, Quispicanchi and Abancay, suddenly turns, after meeting the Vilcamayo, to the north-east; and on the eastern shores of the Apurimac are the small towns Vilcabamba, Urubamba and Calca.

The Andes de Cuzco divide the valley of the Vilcamayo from that of the Paucartambo river.

The district of Paucartambo begins eight leagues east of Cuzco, and is of great extent, having indefinite bounds on its northern, western and southern sides. It is mostly uninhabited, its chief town of the same name lying in 72° west longitude, and nearly in the same latitude as Cuzco, between the Andes de Cuzco and the chain of Vilcanota, which separates it from La Plata. The river Paucartambo takes its rise in this chain, and flows northerly, to meet the Apurimac, which it enters in 10° 45' south latitude, after a course of 200 miles. The junction is only a short distance south of that of the Beni, with the Apurimac; and the country in the vicinity of these mouths, is inhabited by several independent tribes of Indians. West of Paucartambo, and between it and the river Beni,[Pg 145] is the country called Chunchos, also peopled by warlike tribes.

The inhabitants of Paucartambo amount to 8000, dispersed in eleven settlements.

Calcaylares is another district, beginning four leagues west of Cuzco, and between it and Paucartambo. The climate is exceedingly fine, and the chief town is Calca, above mentioned.

Chilques y Masques is also a district at the distance of seven or eight leagues south-east of Cuzco, and extending above thirty leagues, noted for its producing abundance of grain, and feeding great quantities of cattle and sheep; but it is chiefly inhabited by Indians, who manufacture coarse woollens.

The jurisdiction of Cotabamba begins twenty leagues south-west of Cuzco, and extends thirty leagues between the rivers Abancay and Apurimac, which are separated from each other by a ridge of mountains. It abounds in cattle, and the temperate parts produce maize, wheat and fruit.

There are also several gold and silver mines; but most of them are abandoned. Its chief place is an unimportant town named Cotabambas.

The district of Tinta, or Canas y Canches, commences fifteen or twenty leagues from Cuzco, and extends in breadth and length about twenty leagues; the Cordillera dividing it into two parts, the highest being called Canas, and the lowest Canches. The latter yields all kinds of grains and fruits, while the former feeds numerous flocks and herds; and in the valleys between the mountains, 20 or 30,000 mules, are annually pastured from the neighbouring provinces. There is also a great fair for mules at Tinta, which draws people from all parts of Cuzco. In Canas is the mine of Condonoma, formerly noted for yielding much silver.

Tinta is the chief town on the west of the Vilcamayo river, at sixty miles distance south of Cuzco.

[Pg 146]

The district of Aymaraez commences forty leagues south-west of Cuzco, and is bounded on the north-west and west by Andahuailas; east by Cotabamba, west by Parinacocha, and south by Chumbivilcas.

It is 120 miles long from north to south, and 26 miles from east to west, full of mountains; the Andes here taking a circuitous turn towards the coast, in the southern part of this district, their summits frequently entering the limits of perpetual congelation. Its valleys are productive in grain and sugar, and afford sustenance to numerous herds of cattle, and it is intersected by three rivers, which unite and form the Pachachaca, that flows into the Abancay, and is crossed by no less than 40 bridges of ropes and wood.

Numerous veins of gold and silver in its mountains are not worked owing to the poverty of the inhabitants, of whom it contains 15,000. There are fifty settlements in Aymaraez, and lake Chinchero is in this district.

The jurisdiction of Chumbivilcas begins forty leagues south-east of Cuzco, and extends about thirty leagues. It is chiefly noted for feeding large herds of cattle, and contains many unworked mines.

Lampa the last district of the intendancy, commences thirty leagues south of Cuzco, and is of great extent among the mountains, but its climate being cold, it produces little else than pasturage for numerous herds of cattle; but this district contains many valuable silver mines, and the chief town is Lampa, ninety miles south of Cuzco, in 14° 55' south latitude, and 81° 44' west longitude.

Lampa is bounded by the chain of Vilcanota, which separates it from Asangara on the east, in the kingdom of La Plata, and whose crests also constitute a part of the barrier between the viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres and the kingdom of Peru.

The last great division of the Peruvian territories towards the south, is—

[Pg 147]


Which is bounded on the north by those of Lima, Guamanga, and Cuzco; on the east, by Cuzco and the viceroyalty of La Plata; on the west by the South Sea or Great Pacific Ocean; and on the South by the desert of Atacama in the viceroyalty of La Plata.

It contains several districts, of which Arequipa, Camana, Condesuyos, Cailloma, Moquehua, and Arica, are the most important.

The district of Arequipa Proper, contains the capital of the intendancy, also called Arequipa, which is situated 217 leagues south-east of Lima, sixty south-west of Cuzco, and fifty north of Arica, and is the last town of any note in Peru. The city of Arequipa stands in 16° 16' south latitude, and 71° 58' west longitude, in the valley of Quilca, twenty leagues from the Pacific. It is one of the largest towns in the Peruvian government, containing 24,000 inhabitants, and was founded in 1539 by order of Pizarro in a bad situation, but was soon afterwards removed to its present scite. This town is well built, most of the houses being of stone and vaulted, and are much decorated on the outside. It is watered by the Rio Chilé, which is conducted by sluices over the neighbouring fields, and by canals through the city, serving at once for convenience and cleanliness. The climate of Arequipa is remarkably good, though frost is sometimes known, but the cold is never intense, or the heat troublesome. The surrounding district, which is about sixteen leagues in length, and twelve wide, is always clothed with verdure, and presents the appearance of a perpetual spring, its plantations producing sugar, wheat, maize, and potatoes, and it carries on also a commerce with the neighbouring provinces in wine and brandy.

The port of Arequipa is Aranta, at twenty[Pg 148] leagues distance, the harbour of which is deep, but difficult of access.

Arequipa is the see of a bishop, who enjoys a revenue of 16,000 dollars. This bishopric was erected on the 20th July 1609.

The public buildings consist of a cathedral with a parish-church for the Indians, six convents, a college, seminary, hospital, and three nunneries, with the revenue office, &c.

This city has been repeatedly devastated by earthquakes, which have four times totally ruined it; and a volcano in its vicinity, named Guayna Patina, contributed to destroy the devoted town by a tremendous eruption, on the 24th of February 1600.

The district of Camana lies along the shore of the South Sea, north of Arequipa, and is very large, but contains many deserts, extending on the east to the chain of the Andes. Its temperature is nearly the same as the former, excepting on the mountains, where it is cold. It contains many old silver mines, but these being neglected, its chief trade consists in supplying the mines of the neighbouring district with asses and other beasts of burthen. The principal town of the same name is seventy miles north-west from Arequipa, on the river Camana near its confluence with the South Sea.

The next district to the north and bounding Lima, is Condesuyos de Arequipa, extending about thirty leagues. It is chiefly inhabited by Indians who breed the cochineal insect, with which they supply the woollen manufactures of the adjacent districts. Condesuyos abounds in gold and silver mines, but they are unworked.

Ocona is situated in this district, and is a port on the Pacific, ninety-six miles west-north-west of Arequipa, in sixteen degrees south latitude, on the Rio Ocona, which rises in the interior, and receives a small river flowing from lake Parina Cocha.

[Pg 149]

Caylloma is the next jurisdiction bounding the kingdom of La Plata on the east, and Cuzco on the north; it lies entirely among the Cordilleras of the Andes, which here divides its western branch into several ramifications, approaching very near the South Sea. Caylloma is famous for containing a very high mountain of the same name, and the sources of the Apurimac or Genuine Maranon, which rises in a small lake formed by the curvature of the chain of the Andes, and flows through a long valley made by two parallel ranges of the same mountains, which divide its bed from that of the Vilcamayo on the east. The source of the Apurimac is in about 16° 10' or 20' south latitude.

Caylloma contains, several badly worked mines of silver; but the cold is so intense, owing to the great height of the Andes, that the inhabitants who have settled in it, are obliged to have recourse to the neighbouring districts for grain, fruits, &c.; and the country abounds with wild asses and beasts of prey.

Caylloma, the principal place, is a village on the eastern range of the Andes, at the silver mines of the great mountain of the same name. It contains an office for receiving the king's-fifths, and for selling the quicksilver necessary in the extraction of the metals.

South of Arequipa, at the distance of forty leagues, lies the district of Moquehua, at sixteen leagues from the Pacific. This jurisdiction extends forty leagues to the south, in a fine climate and fertile soil, adorned with large vineyards, producing great quantities of wine and brandy, which constitute its whole commerce, and with which it supplies all the provinces, as far as Potosi on the Andes by land carriage, and by sea to Lima; and the fruits of Moquehua are also numerous and good, among which are olives of excellent quality.

[Pg 150]

The chief town of the same name is principally inhabited by Spaniards and mestizoes, who are in general opulent; it is seventy miles south of Arequipa, in 17° 20' south latitude, and 70° 56' west longitude.

The most southerly district of the intendancy of Arequipa, and the last of the kingdom of Peru, is Arica; it is bounded on the north by Arequipa and Moquehua, west by the Pacific, east by the Cordillera and Charcas, and south by the desert and province of Atacama in the kingdom of La Plata. It is eighty-two leagues in length, north-west and south-east; and sixteen wide, east and west; composed of valleys commencing from the Andes and running to the Pacific. The ranges separating these valleys are arid and unfruitful, while the vales themselves grow maize, wheat, &c. Long-pepper is also cultivated, and a thriving trade is carried on with this, and with cotton, sugar, olives, wines, and brandies. The mountains feed numerous herds of cattle, and are famed for the vicunas, llamas, &c.; but the climate is hot, and in the higher parts inclement.

The chief town is Arica, in 18° 26' south latitude, and 70° 18' west longitude, 210 miles north-west of La Plata, and 270 north-west of Atacama, in a beautiful valley on the shore of the Pacific, with a good port, much frequented by the coasting vessels. It was formerly a large place, but having been destroyed by an earthquake in 1605, and sacked by the English in 1680, most of the inhabitants removed to Tacna twelve leagues distant, where the climate is better. Near the small port of Yquique are the celebrated silver mines of Huantajaya already mentioned.

Having now treated of the known provinces of Peru, we shall give some account of those countries which lie on the east of the Andes, between the intendancies and the frontier of Portuguese America.

[Pg 151]

By the most recent authorities it appears that the viceroyalty of La Plata is supposed to extend to the frontiers of Jaen de Bracamoros and Maynas in New Granada; but as it is not distinctly stated where its limits in this quarter are, it will be better to follow the old boundary of Peru, on the north-east and east.

Within the confines of that extensive territory, lying between the Andes, the Guallaga, the Maranon, or Ucayale, and the western frontiers of the Portuguese settlements, are several immense tracts of land, known by the names of Pampas del Sacramento; Colonna, or the Land of the Missions; Chunchos, &c.

The Pampas del Sacramento, in their restricted sense, include all the country between the Guallaga on the east, Maynas on the north, the Ucayale on the west, and the Apurimac on the south.

It consists of immense plains, and was so called by the Jesuits; but it is now usual to give the same name to the whole country denominated the Land of the Missions, and extending from the Ucayale to the Portuguese limits, bounded only by the Amazons on the north, and embracing 8000 square leagues. The Jesuit missionaries succeeded in establishing several villages among the numerous nations who inhabit this region, through which flows the Ucayale. Father Girval is the most recent traveller in this great steppe, and the information he has given concerning the country, is not uninteresting.

Embarking on the lake of the Great Cocama, at the junction of the Guallaga and Tunguragua, in Maynas, he went to the confluence of the true and false Maranons, near St. Joachin de Omaguas, (a Spanish fort, at the distance of 180 miles from St. Pablo de Omaguas, the most westerly Portuguese settlement.) Having two canoes with 14 Omaguan Indians to row them, he soon passed into the Ucayale, which he ascended with great[Pg 152] resolution, frequently meeting with little fleets of canoes, manned by unknown tribes, from whom it required all his address to escape; and after 14 days' rowing, there appeared on the west a chain of mountains, running south-east and north-west.

In two days after this, he reached the little settlement of Sariacu, among the Panos, then the habitation of Anna Rosa, an Italian lady, educated at Lima; passing this, he reached the river Manoa, which he ascended, with the view of seeing if a passage could be had to Maynas, but it was found almost impracticable, on account of the thick forests, and the precipices; therefore again descending the Maranon, he arrived at the missions of Maynas, after an absence of four months.

In this voyage, Father Girval found that there existed several singular tribes of Indians, of whom the Conibos were nearly as fair as Europeans, but that they were discoloured by the bites of mosquitoes, and by painting their skins. Their customs were much the same as those of the other American Indians, in a state of nature.

In the second voyage of Girval, in 1791, he was unaccompanied by any soldier or white person; and again ascending the Ucayale, found the Casibos, a fierce tribe on the eastern banks, but the Conibos still appeared to be the principal navigators of this part of the stream, and were the most humane; the sound of their rude flutes indicating peace, and a desire to show hospitality.

After passing the Conibos, they met the canoes of the Panos, and sixty of these accompanied him to Anna Rosa's village, where he found that she had built a little convent, and that the tribe obeyed her as their chief, with great devotion.

In twenty days' navigation from Sariacu, in the latitude of Tarma, he found the Piros, whose country produces a species of cinnamon, and in which a settlement has since been made.

Father Girval is said to have passed 400 miles[Pg 153] up the Genuine Maranon, from its confluence with the Tunguaragua; to have discovered twenty-five tribes, and to have partly persuaded the Piros, the Chipeos, the Panos, and the Conibos, to become Christians.

He found the worship of most of these tribes to consist in the adoration of the moon, and evil spirits. In war they always choose a chief noted for his courage and capacity, and make prisoners of the women and children of their enemies, slaying the men. Some tribes were gentle and humane, while others resembled tigers more than human beings; of these the Casibos, and Carapochas, were anthropophagi.

The Capaguas, a tribe on the Mague, were said to cook and eat their dead, and yet to be one of the most humane of the savages on the Maranon.

The Pampas del Sacramento are divided from Peru by a lofty chain of mountains, from which they appear so level as to resemble the ocean; they are covered with trees and verdure, and produce balsams, oils, gums, resins, a sort of cinnamon, cacao, cascarilla, and many other excellent drugs, spices, &c.

In these vast levels the trees are very lofty, and form impenetrable forests unexplored by man, in which wander all the animals peculiar to the torrid climate of America. The heat is very great, and is accompanied with much humidity, and thick fogs, so that till the forests could be cleared, the Pampas would not be a desirable residence for Europeans; the missionaries have nevertheless been very active in founding villages in the most accessible parts, several of which now exist, and new communications are opened constantly with Peru.

South of the Pampas del Sacramento is a district named Montana Reale, through which runs a chain east from the Andes, named the Cerro de la Sal, which gives birth to the Pachitea, and several[Pg 154] other rivers, and divides their streams from the Perene, and some others which flow into the Apurimac; a branch from this Cerro, runs to the north, under the name of Sierra de San Carlos, and separates the Maranon, after receiving the Beni, from the Pachitea. There are some missions in this country, on the banks of the Pachitea, but it is in general inhabited only by the Mayros, a fierce nation, and several other wandering tribes.

The land of the Missions, or Colonna, now included in the Pampas, is that territory on the Amazons, through which flow the Cassiquin and the Yvari, part of which serves as the boundary of Brazil; the Yutay, the Yurba, and several other large rivers, joining the Maranon, and of which little, or in fact, nothing is known.

Chunchos is a district between the Beni and the Paucartambo, in which are many wandering tribes, who are very imperfectly known, and whose country forms the barrier between Brazil and Peru.

We shall conclude the description of this viceroyalty, by some few remarks upon the language of the natives, &c.

The number of dialects totally differing from each other, which are spoken by the Indian inhabitants of this kingdom, is very great, and it was the same during the time of the Incas; to remedy which inconvenience, those sovereigns instituted a general language, which they ordered all the chiefs who came to their courts to speak; it was called the Quichuan, or language of the Incas; and was that which prevailed in the capital; and so unbounded was the power of these princes, that the Quichuan was soon learnt, even in the most remote provinces, and continues to the present day to be the general tongue of the Peruvians, who are averse to making any efforts to obtain a knowledge of the Spanish; so that the priests consider it as indispensably necessary to become acquainted with[Pg 155] the Quichuan, in order to retain the Peruvians in their power.

The sounds b, d, f, g, r, are wanting, but the language is harmonious, and its grammar as variegated and artificial as the Greek. A work has been published at Lima on this subject; and great pains have been used to render it well known.

At the time of the conquest, Peru was named by its inhabitants Tavantin-suyu, or the Four Parts. That on the east, in which was Cuzco, was named Colla-suyu, or the east part; that of the west or coast, Chinchay-suyu; that of the north, Anti-suyu; and that of the south Conti-suyu; which titles, with some alterations, were retained till very lately, in the best maps. The names of most of the principal places, are still Quichuan; and so little is the Spanish language and power spread in this country, the first of their conquests, that upwards of sixty unsubdued nations or tribes, are said to exist within its territories; though these have been greatly straitened by the formation of the new government, of which it now becomes necessary to give a description.



This government is the most extensive and one of the richest kingdoms of the New World. It is bounded on the north by the vast steppe of the Amazons, or, according to some authorities, by that noble river itself; on the east the territories of the Portuguese and the Atlantic ocean are its limits; on the west it is divided by the Andes from Peru and Chili, having also a province bor[Pg 156]dering on the South Sea; and on the south its bounds are the Pampas and Patagonia.

From Cape Lobos in the Atlantic to the most northerly settlements on the Paraguay its extent may be estimated at 1600 miles; and from Cape St. Antony, the mouth of the Plata, to the Andes of Chili, its breadth is at least 1000 miles.


This country was erected into a viceroyalty in 1778, and at that time several provinces were added to it from Peru and Chili. At present it is divided into five governments, Los Charcas, Paraguay, Tucuman, Cuyo, and Buenos Ayres, which are again subdivided into departments and districts.

The whole is governed by a viceroy, whose title is at present disputed, by the capital being in possession of the insurgent government; and the ecclesiastical affairs of the country are under the guidance of the archbishop of La Plata, in Charcas, who has six suffragans.

Its population is estimated at 1,100,000 Creoles and Spaniards: but the Indians have not been numbered.


The Spaniards claim the honour of first discovering this country. Juan Dias de Salis, having sailed from Spain with two ships, in 1515, to explore Brazil, arrived at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, and took formal possession of the land: but, deluded by the friendly appearance of the Indians, and being off his guard, he was slain, with the few attendants who had landed with him. In 1526, Sebastian Cabot, then in the Spanish service, also endeavouring to make the coast of Brazil, entered the same river, and discovered an island, which he called St. Gabriel; advancing about 120[Pg 157] leagues, he found a fine river flowing into the great stream, this he named St. Salvador, and causing his fleet to enter this river, disembarked his men, and built a fort, in which he left a garrison, while he proceeded farther up, and also discovered the Paraguay. Having procured much silver from the Indians, particularly the Guaranies, who brought the metal from the eastern parts of Peru, he imagined that mines existed in the country he was in, and accordingly gave the name of River of Silver, or Rio de la Plata, to the great stream he had sailed up.

The Spaniards soon came to a determination of colonizing this valuable acquisition, and to prevent any interference on the part of the other nations of Europe, Don Pedro de Mendoza was sent from Spain, and founded the city of Buenos Ayres, in 1535. From the early times of the colonization of this country till the establishment of a viceroyalty, the government was dependent on that of Peru; though the chief of Buenos Ayres had the title of captain-general. Buenos Ayres continued for a long time almost unknown, all the inhabited parts of the kingdom lying at a distance from the ocean, and by the restrictions put upon its commerce having no other communication with Europe than by the annual flota from Spain, it languished in indigence and obscurity: but the resources of so extensive and so fertile a territory could not remain for ever concealed; as the population, and, consequently, in an agricultural country, the riches increased, the constant remonstrances of the people at last opened the eyes of the Spanish government to the importance of the colony, a relaxation took place in the system of commercial monopoly which had been hitherto rigorously adhered to, and at last, in order to put a stop to a contraband trade that had been carried to an alarming height, register ships were allowed to sail under a licence from the council of the In[Pg 158]dies at any time of the year. The annual flota dwindled away from 15,000 to 2000 tons of shipping, and, in 1748, they sailed for the last time to Cadiz, after having carried on, for two centuries, the trade of Spanish America.

The register ships now supplied the market with European commodities at a cheaper rate, and at all times of the year; and Buenos Ayres became from that time a place of importance.

Other relaxations in the mercantile system followed soon after: in 1774 a free trade was allowed between several of the American ports, and in 1778 seven Spanish sea-ports were declared free, to which in 1788, five others were added, and these were allowed an open trade to Buenos Ayres, and the ports of the Pacific.

The city and the captain-generalship was now advancing with rapid strides into political importance; this was rendered stable by the erection of the government into a viceroyalty in 1778; and since that time its trade has progressively increased.

Previous to this epoch, not more than fifteen registered vessels traded to South America, and these not oftener than once in two or three years; but in 1778, their number at once augmented to 170. They kept gradually increasing till 1797, when the memorable war began between Spain and Great Britain, and a death blow was given to the commerce of Spanish America, for in 1798, it was calculated, that three millions of hides were rotting in the warehouses of Buenos Ayres and Monte Video, for which no vent could be had, so active and vigilant were the British cruizers. Various causes have since contributed to fluctuate the commerce of this government; sometimes it has risen to an amazing height, whilst at others, owing to foreign causes, or to its own internal convulsions, it has been totally at a stand.

Nothing of any material moment occurs in the[Pg 159] political history of Buenos Ayres, till the year 1806; when there appeared a British squadron in the Rio de la Plata, from which a body of troops was landed for the purpose of taking the capital; and this object General Beresford accomplished in a very spirited manner. He had not however had possession of the city for more than six weeks, when he was assailed by such a superiority of force, that his garrison were obliged to surrender on the 12th of August. Reinforcements arriving under Sir Home Popham, from the Cape of Good Hope, Fort Maldonado at the mouth of the La Plata was taken, and Monte Video unsuccessfully besieged. Other troops commanded by Sir Samuel Auchmuty, coming to the assistance of their companions, Monte Video was eventually taken by storm, and here the combined forces waited for a further succour, to resume the attempt on the capital. In May, 1807, these succours arrived, under General Whitelocke, who assumed the chief command, and was joined on the 15th of June by General Crawford. The army now amounting to 8000 men sailed up the river, and disembarking below the capital, marched towards it. But no sooner had they entered the place, than they were assailed from all quarters, with a tremendous fire of grape and musquetry. The subsequent results are well known; a convention was entered into, and the British troops evacuated the territories of the viceroyalty.

When Sir Samuel Auchmuty took Monte Video, the people of Buenos Ayres were in a state of ferment. They assembled an extraordinary junta, and deposed their viceroy, Sobremonte, placing in his seat, Don Santiago Liniers, a French emigrant, who had headed the military force, which retook the metropolis, on the 12th August, 1806. This man had sunk himself by a propensity for gambling into a state of great obscurity; but when the British landed in the country, his superior military[Pg 160] talents, at once placed him above the inactive and ignorant Spanish officers, who composed the army of the viceroyalty, and by his success in retaking the capital, the populace looked upon him as the only man fit to guide them to repel the second attack, which they were in constant expectation of; thus rose Liniers to the highest station, which could be obtained in a country, where a very short time before, he had been unknown. But his reign lasted not long, attempting to thrust on the people the yoke of Buonaparte, they began to doubt his sincerity; and aided By Xavier Elio, who had been dispatched from the junta of Cadiz, to assume the viceregal title, and who had succeeded in getting possession of Monte Video, they became turbulent.

To quell this spirit, Liniers sent an expedition against Monte Video; but while this was going on, Don Josef de Goyeneche arrived from Spain, to endeavour to mediate between the newly formed parties. He caused the inhabitants of Buenos Ayres to proclaim Ferdinand the Seventh; advising at the same time, that a junta should be immediately formed. So powerful were his measures, that on the 1st of January 1809, the people rose in all parts of the city, and demanded the establishment of a junta. They were however dispersed, and the leaders punished by the troops who remained faithful to Liniers.

But this temporary triumph was not of long continuance, as in August, 1809, Cisneros, the new viceroy, arrived from Spain, and Liniers was deposed by the junta, which now solemnly declared their rights. Liniers was then exiled to Cordova, but the spirit of insurrection had spread itself too widely by this time to admit of the new viceroy continuing long in the exercise of his functions; commotion succeeded to commotion, and on the 26th of May, 1810, a provisional government assembled itself; deposed the new viceroy and sent him to Spain; against this measure the interior provinces[Pg 161] and Monte Video protested. Liniers formed an army in the neighbourhood of his retreat, and in Potosi another assembled under General Nieto. To check these, a force marched from Buenos Ayres; Liniers and Nieto were defeated, and themselves and six of their principal officers beheaded.

This violent measure did not extinguish the loyal feelings of the natives of the kingdom; a force was put in motion in Paraguay, under the governor Velasco, who was however taken prisoner and sent to Buenos Ayres, but Monte Video still remained firm in her allegiance to Spain, and repelled every attempt of the new government. Since this period Monte Video has been taken possession of by the Portuguese. Buenos Ayres, though threatened with a counter-revolution, still retains its provisional government; the mines of Potosi are in the hands of the viceroy of Peru; the greater part of Paraguay is quiet, and the spirit of insurrection is chiefly confined to the capital; which furnishes a great number of privateers that much annoy the Spanish merchant vessels trading to Peru and the coasts of the Pacific. It would be endless to recount the different actions which have taken place between the royal troops and the insurgents, or between the city of Monte Video and that of Buenos Ayres; but the latter have been generally victorious, and the privateers of this new government still dare to show their flag in the Pacific, and to keep the coasts of Chili and Peru in constant alarm.


Buenos Ayres presents on its eastern territories a tract of land so nearly level that many of its principal rivers, unable to roll themselves forward with sufficient impetus, form large shallow lakes, and it has been calculated that the great Paraguay in its course southward does not fall above one foot[Pg 162] in height between the 18th and 22d degrees of south latitude.

These immense levels are covered with a strong and luxuriant herbage, which pastures innumerable herds of half-wild horses and cattle. No hill or swelling rises in this expanse to a greater elevation than 600 feet above the plain, so that if placed on one of these eminences, the eye wanders over a space resembling the ocean, uninterrupted, save by the dark spots formed here and there by the grazeing cattle, or by the travelling waggons and escorts.

But on the west the viceroyalty offers a very different scene, a vast chain of mountains, whose summits are lost in the frozen regions of the air, elevate their eternal barriers between the plains of the La Plata, and the kingdoms of Peru and Chili. From this the main chain of the Andes, a secondary Cordillera, branches out between 15° and 20° of south latitude, and traversing the province of Chiquitos, it appears to, and in fact does connect the Andes of Peru and Chili with the mountain country of Brazil and Paraguay.

From it flow, on the north, the rivers that empty themselves into the Maranon, whilst its southern flank supplies the streams which swell the La Plata. This chain, named the Cordillera of Chiquitos, has not been explored by any scientific traveller, and being inhabited by savage nations, its structure and disposition are almost unknown.

The next remarkable features of this interesting country are its lakes and rivers. In the flat plains of La Plata the Los Xarayes is formed by the collected waters of the torrents which flow, during the rainy season, from the mountains of Chiquitos, and the Paraguay swelling over its banks at that period, inundates an expanse of flat land under the 17° of south latitude to an extent of 330 miles in length, and 120 in breadth; but when the waters of the Paraguay abate, this lake becomes a marsh infested with multitudes of alligators. Its banks swarm with jaguars, pumas, monkeys, stags, &c. and with venomous[Pg 163] reptiles and insects. It is never navigable for any other vessels than canoes and small barks, in which the Portuguese cross it from their settlements in Cuyaba. Besides this lake there are many others of great size, formed in a similar manner, such as Aguaracatay, in the 25th degree, Ypoa in the 26th degree, and Neembuco in the 27th degree of south latitude.

There are also several smaller ones which are formed by the inability of the rivers to continue their course without inundating the land in the vicinity of their banks to find an outlet; these are permanent, but generally of no depth, such as Mandiha in 25° 20', Ypacary in 25° 23', and the Iberi between the 20th and 29th degree of south latitude.

This last lake gives rise to three rivers which fall into the Great Parana; viz. the Sta. Lucia, the Batela and the Corrientes from its south-west extremity, and to the Mirinay, which taking a south-east course falls into the Uruguay.

Lake Iberi is shallow and filled with aquatic plants, but is diversified with islands, on which feed deer and other animals; these islands are unlike the plain surrounding the lake, being in general covered with wood, and many settlements have been made on its banks, which are in beautiful situations, supplied with plenty of game, and fish, and it overflows twice a year.

Titicaca or Chucuito is not only among the largest but the most remarkable lakes of La Plata. It is situated between the two Cordilleras of the Andes, in the north-west part of Los Charcas, and being formed by the surrounding mountains, has no outlet, and is in some parts from 420 to 480 feet in depth: its circumference is about 240 miles, containing many islands, of which Titicaca the largest, is three leagues long and one wide, and is famous as having been the supposed residence of Manco Capac.

This lake is navigable for the largest vessels, but[Pg 164] is subject to dreadful storms owing to the tremendous gusts of wind which rush from the Andes.

The rivers of Buenos Ayres are innumerable, but the largest and the most noted is the Rio de la Plata, which may be termed the great channel by which the south-eastern part of America is drained. This noble stream is the conjunct flood of the Paraguay, the Pilcomayo, the Parana, the Uruguay, and a multitude of minor rivers which rise either in the Andes or the mountains of Brazil.

It was first discovered by Juan de Salis in 1515, who sailed up as far as an island in 34° 40' south latitude. The distance from the confluence of the Parana and Paraguay to the mouth of the La Plata is 600 miles; but if the length of any of the three great streams is added, the La Plata will not yield in magnitude of course to the Amazons or to the Orinoco.

The Paraguay is generally supposed to be the original river; this stream rises in 13° south latitude in the mountains, forty leagues north of the Portuguese town of Cuyaba, and on the opposite side of the chain in which rises the Arinos, a broad navigable river flowing into the Maranon. The sources of the Paraguay are very numerous, forming, soon after their issue, large rivers, and successively joining into one stream, under the name of the Paraguay. In 16° 24' south latitude, seven leagues from Villa Bella, the Jauru flows into this river, and is noted as being the point where a fine marble pyramid is erected, which was brought from Lisbon, and denotes, by several inscriptions, that this place is the boundary of Brazil and Spanish America. From its sources to this point the Paraguay has a navigation interrupted only by one fall; and the lofty chain of mountains in which this river rises, are terminated seven leagues below the pyramid, in south latitude 16° 43' by a point called Morro Excalvado. East of this cape all is marsh; nine leagues further south, the Rio Nuevo[Pg 165] joins the Paraguay; this river was only discovered in 1786. In 17° 33' the west or Spanish banks of the great river again become mountainous, and three leagues to the south of his parallel there is a deep break in the chain which forms the mouth of lake Gaiba, which is connected with another named Uberava; six leagues and a half below the mouth of the Gaiba, and opposite the mountain bank the St. Lourenço or Porrudos enters the Paraguay from Brazil. This river receives several very large ones, such as the Cuyaba, the Paraiba, the Jaquari, and the Itaquiri. The Itaquiri rises near the great Parana in Brazil, and allowing only for a short portage, canoes actually circumnavigate the country included between the Parana and the Paraguay.

The mountains continue on the western banks under different names; on the eastern bank the river receives the Taquari by many estuaries, the largest of which is in 19° 15' south latitude, and 54 degrees west longitude. Five leagues lower, and on the same side, the Embotetieu or Mondego, flows into the Paraguay, one league below the mouth of which two high capes front each other, and here, at the foot of the mountain, on the west, is Fort Nueva Coimbra, the last and southernmost Portuguese settlement on the Paraguay, which, after bounding the possessions of the two nations from the pyramid of Jaura, becomes wholly a Spanish river, after passing Bahia Negra, a large inlet eleven leagues south of Coimbra.

Thence the river continues to south latitude 21°, where, on the west bank, on a hill named Miguel Josef, the Spaniards have a station with four pieces of cannon, named Fort Bourbon, and previous to reaching this fort, the little river Guirino flows into it from the east. In south latitude 21° 22' the river forms two channels by passing an island, and the banks are here high on both sides, the interior being very mountainous. At this point the great inundations of the river which com[Pg 166]menced at the mouth of the Jaura, and have received the name of Lake Los Xarayes terminate.

During the rainy season, the channel of the Paraguay is here confounded with those of its tributary streams, in such a manner that it is difficult to find. The banks of the river continue high; and in 22° 5' south latitude, it receives a large river from the west, and twenty leagues south of this, the Corientes joins its streams.

The Xexuy flows into it from the east in 24° 11'; from thence the Paraguay runs southwards for thirty-two leagues to the city of Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay.

Six leagues below Asuncion, the first mouth of the great Pilcomayo joins the main river, its second mouth being fourteen or sixteen leagues lower. In the intermediate space on the eastern side several small rivers join, and on one of them, the Tibiquari, at 20 leagues south-east of Asuncion is Villa Rica, a fine Spanish town. The Rio Vermelho enters the west bank of the Paraguay in 26° 50' on which, in the interior, is the town of Salto. The stream of the Paraguay, being now augmented by the Pilcomayo, proceeds with increased rapidity and volume to 27° 25', where the immense body of waters, (much larger than itself) of the Parana join it, and their united streams take the name of the Rio de la Plata, and continue their course by an immense channel to the south, forming several islands, and receiving many noble streams, till it has passed the thirty-fourth degree of south latitude, when it begins to take an easterly course, and after receiving the great Uruguay or River of the Missions above Buenos Ayres, it flows with a steady and majestic course, and by an immense estuary into the Atlantic ocean. The cape Santa Maria on the north, and St. Antonio on the south side of its mouth are 180 miles distant from each other, in 35° 30' south latitude; but the navigation of this fine river is interrupted by banks, rocks and islands,[Pg 167] and is rendered dangerous by violent winds, which, sweeping with great velocity over the plains, cause perfect hurricanes in the La Plata. It is even said that the storms are more frequent than at sea, and it requires very little nautical knowledge to know that they must be infinitely more dangerous than on that element. The water of the ocean is fresh at a great distance from the La Plata, owing to the rapidity with which that river discharges itself.

The other noted streams and features of Buenos Ayres will be noticed in the description of the different provinces.


Since the attachment of several of the Peruvian provinces to this government, the commerce and resources of the country are greatly enlarged and altered. From being merely an agricultural state, it has now become possessed of some of the richest mines in America. The districts which supply the most considerable quantities of the precious metal are Potosi, Changata, Porco, Oruro, Chucuito, La Paz and Carangas, and the mountains of Anauca, near Carabaya, and Asangara, north-east of lake Titicaca, were celebrated in the first years of the conquest for their gold mines.

The annual produce of the mines of Buenos Ayres is estimated at 882,000l., including those of Caylloma in Arequipa, which are said to be attached to the government of La Plata. This produce is nearly all silver. The quantity that has annually paid the fifth being in fine gold 2200 marcs, and in fine silver 414,000 marcs, or 4,212,400 piastres. Its contraband trade in these metals has also been estimated at 67,000 marcs, most of which passes to Europe by the Rio de la Plata, while in Peru, by the Amazons and the South[Pg 168] Sea, the same unlawful trade carries away 100,000 marcs.

The trade of Buenos Ayres consists in these metals, and in exports of salt beef, tallow, fine furs, sea wolf-skins, wool, sheep-skins, flour, oil, copper, hides, &c.; to the interior provinces of Peru it sends Paraguay tea, swan skins, negro slaves, thread, &c., in exchange for sugar, cacao, cinnamon, rice, indigo, cotton, oil, pimento, wax, baize, woollen goods, quicksilver, &c.

From Europe La Plata receives linens, woollens, silks, cottons, hats, iron, &c., and the imports may be estimated, in average years, at 758,400l., whilst its exports amount, in agricultural produce, to 434,000l., and in gold and silver to 1,183,400l., thus forming a total of 1,617,400l. sterling. It formerly remitted 700,000 piastres, at 4s. 4d. each, to the royal coffers: but since the late struggle its expences have been so great in maintaining the insurgent cause, that it can hardly defray them; especially since the viceroy of Peru has taken possession of the richest mines for the king.

Capital.—The capital of this viceroyalty is the city of Buenos Ayres, containing a population of sixty thousand souls, or, according to Estalla, of forty thousand, of whom the greater part are creoles. This city is situated in 34° 35' south latitude and 57° 24' west longitude, on the south side of the Rio de la Plata, adjoining to a small river, from which the plain it is built on, gently ascends. It was founded in 1535 by Don Pedro de Mendoza, who gave it the name of Buenos Ayres, on account of its fine climate, but was abandoned soon after, and not rebuilt until 1582, after which it speedily increased and was erected into a bishopric in 1620, and into the capital in 1776. Buenos Ayres is well fortified, and its streets are straight, handsome, and clean, being paved on each side. The principal square is very large, and contains the residence of the governor, and the houses are[Pg 169] built of brick or chalk, consisting generally of two stories, with a tiled roof. The cathedral is a spacious and elegant structure, and there is a church appropriated for the Indians, with several convents, chapels, &c.

The distance from Cape Santa Maria, the entrance of the La Plata, to Buenos Ayres, is 200 miles: but the navigation is very dangerous, owing to rocks and shallows. In consequence of these dangers, large vessels generally come to an anchor every night in sailing up, and on the most moderate days it is necessary to be very vigilant, owing to the sudden effects of the blasts from the plains. After arriving within three leagues of the city, the cargoes are put into light vessels, and the ships go to the bay of Barragan, about twenty-four miles below, to refit and wait for freights.

The principal streets of this town are the Calle de la Santa Trinidada, and the Calle de San Benito. The former runs almost the whole length of the city, and is occupied by the richer classes, who have also splendid villas in the country; almost every house has a garden both before and behind, and many have balconies latticed for odoriferous shrubs and flowers. The interior of the houses display great wealth, but not much cleanliness; and in summer they cover their floors with fine Indian matting, and in winter with carpets.

The gardens are watered by small canals, and there is generally a large basin or reservoir in each, from which water is conducted by pipes into the houses. That part of the city inhabited by the negroes and castes has a very mean appearance, and, being very dirty, presents a great contrast to the external show of the other parts. The churches are covered with cupolas and steeples, which give them a handsome look, and the town-hall is a fine building in the great square; the convents, nunneries, the hospital for men, that for women, and those for foundlings and orphans, being edifices of[Pg 170] stone, of a beautiful whiteness, which is quarried in the plains near the city.

Buenos Ayres is well supplied with provisions, particularly with fish and flesh; there is no place in the world where butcher's meat is better, more plentiful, or cheaper; and it is frequently distributed to the poor, as the merchants often buy the animal for the sake of the hide alone. Poultry is dear, a couple of fowls costing as much as an ox. Buenos Ayres was taken by the British in 1806, but retaken after six weeks by the inhabitants; the subsequent events have been already noticed. Its port is the great outlet for all the produce of the interior, and, in times of war, much of the produce of Peru and Chili pass to Europe by it, as well as Vicuna wool from the Andes, copper from Coquimbo, gold from Chili, silver from Potosi, and from Paraguay, the finest tobacco, sugars, cotton, yellow wax and threads. The commerce carried on with Peru is chiefly returned in mules and cattle, with matté, or Paraguay tea. Goods are conveyed in covered waggons over the vast plains to Mendoza in one month; from this place they cross the ridges of the Andes on mules to Santiago, a distance of eighty leagues; and thence in carts to Valparaiso, a distance of thirty leagues, which occupies fifteen days more.

The climate of the city of Buenos Ayres is hot during the summer season, and during the winter so much cold is felt that water generally freezes slightly: but if this happens often the season is reckoned very severe. The north and east winds are the most common; a north-east wind always brings heat, and a south-east cold; and these winds are generally violent, and when the westerly winds begin they blow with extreme force, and are known by the name of Pamperos, from their having their origin in the great Pampas or plains. The atmosphere is very moist, and those rooms which have a southern aspect are always damp, as the[Pg 171] walls to the south are covered with moss, and the roofs with long bushy grass, which grows nearly three feet high, and which requires to be cleared away occasionally to prevent its injuring the houses. During summer rains are common, and are often accompanied with dreadful thunder and lightnings. In the year 1793, the electric fluid struck the city of Buenos Ayres in thirty-seven different places by which nineteen persons were killed.

This city is a bishop's see, suffragan of the archbishop of Charcas.

A court of royal audience for the eastern provinces of Buenos Ayres was erected here soon after the establishment of the viceregal form of government, but at present is superseded by other regulations which the independent government have adopted.


This government is one of the recent acquisitions of Buenos Ayres, and in point of mineral produce is the most valuable of its territories. It is bounded on the north by the chain or Cordillera of Vilcanota, which separates it from the Peruvian provinces, and by countries inhabited by wandering tribes; on the east it has the mountains of Arequipa, the Pacific ocean and the Chilian Andes; on the west the governments of Paraguay and Buenos Ayres; and on the south that of Buenos Ayres.

Its most noted districts are Lampa, Carabaya, Ansangaro, Chucuito, Paucar-Colla, Pacajes, Omasuyos, Larecaja, La Paz, Sicasica, Oruro, Paria, Carangas, Porco, Chayanta, Charcas Proper, Pilaya, Cochabamba, Pomabamba, Tomina, Atacama, Lipes, Amparaes, Apolabamba, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Tarija, Chiquitos, Moxos and Chacos, the last three being countries inhabited[Pg 172] by independent tribes, among whom there are a few missionaries and settlements.

This immense tract is covered with deserts, forests, vast plains and rivers, and its most populous parts are those which are called Provincias de la Sierra, and which lie on or near the Andes. The Inca Capac Yupanqui subjected these provinces to his sceptre; his son Inca Roca continued the conquests of his father, and greatly extended the dominions of Peru on the east, till he became master of all the nations as far as the place where the city of La Plata was afterwards built.

After the conquest of the western parts of Peru by the Spaniards, they turned their attention towards reducing the remote tribes. In 1538 Gonzalo Pizarro marched at the head of a body of troops from Cuzco, and advancing to Charcas, was opposed with such spirit by the natives, that it was not till after great efforts that they were subdued; this was the commencement of the Spanish colonization of La Plata; and the different conquests, and the descriptions of the numerous districts of this government will be treated of in describing their chief towns.

The capital of Charcas is Chuquisaca, or La Plata, in 19° 40' south latitude, and 66° 46' west longitude, in a small plain surrounded with mountains. In summer the temperature of the air is very mild, nor is there any very great difference throughout the year; but in winter, which commences in September and lasts till March, rains are very frequent, and are accompanied with thunder and lightning.

This town was erected into a bishopric in 1551, and in 1608 was raised to the metropolitan dignity. It was founded by Pedro Anzures, in 1539, by order of Gonzalo Pizarro, on the scite of the Indian town of Chuquisaca; which name it now generally bears, it having received its other appel[Pg 173]lation of La Plata, in consequence of the number of silver mines in its vicinity.

The houses are generally two stories high, and covered with tiles; they are large, convenient, and have beautiful gardens, in which grow all sorts of European fruits. The cathedral is also large and well ornamented, and there is a parish church appropriated solely for the Indians, who live in the suburbs, and amount to about 3000.

Besides these there are five convents, each of which has a handsome church, two nunneries, an university, and two colleges.

The greatest evil attending the situation of this city is the want of water, which is only scantily supplied by the public fountains, dispersed in different places.

Chuquisaca is famous as being the seat of the Royal Audience of Los Charcas, which is the supreme court of Buenos Ayres, and has the viceroy for its president; it was erected in 1559.

The magistracy of this city are chosen from among the first nobility, and consist of a corregidor, regidores, and alcaldes, who govern the district attached to the town, which includes a very large space around it, and contains, amongst others, the celebrated city and mines of Potosi.

The inhabitants of La Plata are computed at 14,000.

In the district surrounding the capital, and which is called Charcas, are several rivers, which form from their united streams the Pilcomayo. The names of these rivers are the Tarapaya, that runs from Porco; the Potosi, which is employed in washing the ores in the mines of that name; and the Cachimayo, which passes near La Plata; after the junction of this last, the united stream flows through the districts of Pilaya, Paspaya, and Tomina, from whence it enters Chaco, and runs 80 leagues as far as the Llanos de Manso, after which its channel is through thick forests to the[Pg 174] south-east, and it enters the Paraguay, south of the city of Asuncion, in between 25° 40' and 26° 20' south latitude, by two mouths, after a course of 600 miles. Its banks are inhabited by independent nations, who are so warlike, that the Jesuits in vain sought for a passage by this stream, from Peru to Paraguay.

The city of Potosi, included in this jurisdiction, is in 19° 47' south latitude, and 67° 22' west longitude, east-south-east of Lima in Peru, in a country inclosed by the mountainous district of Porco; the climate is cold, and the environs very barren, the valleys being destitute of wood, the sides of the hills covered only with moss, and their summits capped with eternal snows. A few vicunas are now and then seen grazing in this elevated and desolate region, which would never have been frequented by man, had it not happened, that Diego Hualca, an Indian peasant, was pursuing some wild goats, and arriving at a very steep place, laid hold of a small shrub to prevent himself from falling, but the shrub being unable to support his weight, was torn up by the roots, and disclosed to the astonished hunter, a rich mass of silver, lumps of which adhered to the earth, that came away with the plant. The Indian who lived at Porco, made use of this inexhaustible fund of riches for a length of time, but his good fortune could not remain long concealed, as his friend Guanca, observing a considerable change in his manner of living, became anxious to investigate the cause, and pressing Hualca constantly to know the reason, he at last disclosed the mystery. They however kept their secret for some time, till Hualca, refusing to show his friend the manner of purifying the metal, the latter related the whole affair to Villaroel, his master, who also resided at Porco. Villaroel accordingly proceeded to the vein, on the 21st of April 1545, and procuring the necessary assistance, the mine was immediately opened.

[Pg 175]

The city of Potosi was founded in a narrow glen, on the river of the same name, on the south side of the mountain which contains the mines, in the year 1547. A royal mint was established in 1562, and so rapidly did its population increase, that in 1611, the town contained 160,000 inhabitants, but from various causes, the population of this city since that time has continually decreased, and at present it consists only of about 30,000 souls. Potosi has a mint, six convents, two nunneries, a college and an hospital; and its inhabitants are still chiefly concerned in the working of the mines, and consist of whites, mestizoes, and Indians, for the latter of whom there are six curates and chapels in the city and its district. The city of Potosi is 45 miles west-south-west of La Plata.

The celebrated mines of Potosi are in the same mountain on which the city is built. This mountain is three miles in circumference, and is of a sharp conical figure, rising to the height of 4360 feet above the plain, and is known by the name of Hatun Potocsi; its summit is crowned by a bed of porphyry, which gives it the well defined conical form it possesses. This famous mine has caused the destruction of thousands of human beings, for in the latter end of the 16th century, 15,000 Indians were constantly forced to work in it; but at present, there are not more than 2000 miners, who are well paid, and usually work from choice alone; 15,000 llamas and 15,000 asses, are constantly employed in carrying the ore to the amalgamation works in the city. The mint of Potosi coined in 1790, 299,246 piastres of gold, and 3,293,173 of silver, or 886,620l. sterling. From the discovery of these mines, till the year 1803, they have supplied 1,095,500,000 piastres, or 237,358,334l. sterling, which has paid the royal duties; and this also only includes silver, consequently the gold and smuggled metals must have swelled the total furnished by the works to a much[Pg 176] greater amount. At present, the minerals are poor, and their abundance only causes the Spaniards to work them; but according to Helms, if they were properly managed, they would still produce from twenty to thirty millions of dollars yearly. The mountain is perforated by about 300 rude shafts; and the numerous furnaces which surround it, form at night a very singular spectacle. Potosi is distant from its metropolis, Buenos Ayres, 1873 miles across a road, which for 400 miles, lies over a rocky mountainous country, very difficult to pass.

The annual produce of this mountain at present, is not more than five or 600,000 marcs of silver (each marc being two-thirds of a pound). The richest shafts or workings are in the north-side of the mountain, and are named, La Descubridora, Del Estaño, La Rica, and La Mendieta, their direction running south.

Other causes occasionally conspire to render the vicinity of these mines more populous than the mere riches they contain; as some hot medicinal baths are found here, called Don Diego, to which many people from the neighbouring towns resort; there is also a great concourse of peasants and merchants to the city, to supply it with provisions, &c., with which articles the district around it is totally unprovided.

The district of Tomina begins about eighteen leagues south-east of La Plata, and borders eastward on the Chiriguanos, a nation of independent Indians; it is twenty-four leagues in length from north to south, and seventy in circumference, containing a mountainous country, in the valleys of which there are some sugar plantations, and in its higher parts, it feeds large and small cattle and horses. The climate is in general hot, and in some of the valleys excessively so.

The rivers which water Tomina are small and unite into one stream, named El Dorado, and it is separated from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, by the[Pg 177] Rio Grande, which joins the Mamore. There are some small lakes in this province, two of which are in a district, named Mayocaya.

In this province, the inhabitants who are mostly Indians, amount to 12,000, and the town of the same name, is fifty-five miles east of La Plata, in 19° 10' south latitude, and 65° 46' west longitude, but is inconsiderable; the vicinity of the warlike Indians, rendering the province an insecure place of abode.

The town of Porco or Talavera de la Puna, in 19° 40' south latitude, and 67° 56' west longitude, is the capital of the province of Porco, which commences on the west side of the town of Potosi, and extends twenty leagues.

The coldness of its situation, amid the high ridges of the Andes, occasions a scarcity of fruits and grain; but it abounds with fine cattle, and the mountain of Porco in this province is celebrated, as having been the place from whence the Incas of Peru drew the greater part of their silver, and was the first mine worked by the Spaniards after the conquest; the district still producing great quantities of that metal, particularly at Tomahave, and the mines of the Porco mountain, which are twenty-three leagues from Chuquisaca.

The inhabitants amount to 22,000.

Thirty leagues south of La Plata, lies the province of Chichas y Tarija; it is a very fertile territory, and produces wheat, maize, oil, wine and fruits; it also contains excellent pastures, abounds in cattle, and has several gold and silver mines. The river Tipuanis, which flows on its eastern side, carries much gold in its sand, which the natives employ themselves in collecting.

The greatest extent of this province is thirty-five leagues, and the eastern parts are only separated from the independent tribes, by the above mentioned river. Its chief town is San Bernardo de[Pg 178] Tarija, which was founded by Don Francisco de Toledo, to repel the incursions of the warlike Indians, and to defend the high road to Tucuman, in 1591. It has four convents and a college, formerly belonging to the Jesuits; in one of its convents, a cross is adored, which it is pretended, was found by the conquerors of Peru in a cave in this country; and that it was made by one of the Apostles, who had preached the Gospel to the Peruvians.

Joining Tarija, and on the south-west, is the province of Lipes which extends 35 leagues.

Its capital of the same name is 150 miles south-south-west of Potosi, in 21° 40' south latitude, and 68° 16' west longitude.

The climate of this country is excessively cold, and its chief commerce consists in the produce of its mines, of which it possesses two of gold, one of silver, and one of copper.

The silver mine of St. Christoval de Acochala was formerly the most valuable in Peru, but at present is not worked owing to the want of hands. Lipes abounds in cattle, and with vicunas, alpacas and llamas, the high chain of the Andes pervading this province.

Amparaes or Yamparaes is a district to the east of La Plata, and bounds the province of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Its productions are chiefly grain in its warm plains, and cattle on its high lands and cold districts.

Oruro, or San Felipe de Oruro, is a city thirty leagues north-west of La Plata, and capital of a jurisdiction or province of the same name. The greater part of this country lying on the Andes is exceedingly cold and barren, producing only herbage for the pasture of cattle and sheep, with numerous herds of Peruvian camels. It contains many gold and silver mines which were formerly very famous, but most of them have been abandoned, though the mountains of Popo still yield much sil[Pg 179]ver. The capital has five convents, and four churches, and is a populous place, with a revenue office for collecting the duties on the metals.

Pilaya y Paspaya, or Cinti, is a province lying forty leagues south of La Plata and bounded on the north by Tomina and Pomabamba, on the east by the Chiriguanos Indians, and on the west and south by Porco and Chichas. Its length is about thirty leagues and its width forty, and this province is intersected in all directions, by the Cordillera, among whose breaches and valleys its inhabitants are settled. They are dispersed in different estates, and amount to 12,000. The climate in the valleys is moderately hot, and the soil very productive. The grapes of this district are made into wine and brandies, which are much esteemed in the neighbouring provinces, and the river San Juan which rises in Lipes, pervades this country. The Toropalca and the Cinti also fertilise the valleys through which they run, and the Supas and Agchilla form, by their united streams, the Paspaya which divides the province from Pomabamba, and runs into the Pilcomayo.

The towns of Pilaya and Paspaya were destroyed by the incursions of the Indians from the east, so that the corregidor resides on an estate in the fertile valley of Cinti; but there are some abundant lead mines in the settlement of Pototaca.

The province of Chayantas begins fifty leagues north-west of La Plata, extending for about forty leagues. This district is famous for its silver mines, of which it contains three, with one of copper, one of tin, and two of lead; and the Rio Grande which flows through it deposits auriferous particles in its bed. The cattle in this province are barely sufficient to feed the inhabitants, who are not numerous.

Adjoining to Chayantas is the province of Paria, which is bounded by that of Pacajes on the north, on the north-east, by Oruro, east and south-east by[Pg 180] Porco, south-west by Lipes, and west by Caranjas. It contains several silver mines, and, lying among the mountains, is of a cold temperature.

There are also some salt mines in it, and a small lake from which that article is extracted.

A rapid river rising in lake Chucuito, runs through this province, and is called the Desaguadero, or drain, forming a lake four leagues long and two wide. The river ends in this basin, which has given rise to various conjectures concerning the manner in which the water finds a vent, as the lake is always of the same level; but in one part of it is a whirlpool which sucks down any rafts that get within its vortex. In the year 1748 this singular lake rose to a great height.

The inhabitants of Paria amount to 10,000, and employ themselves in farming; and the cheeses of this district are much sought after.

Its capital of the same name is 210 miles north-west of La Plata, in 18° 50' south latitude, and 68° 20' west longitude.

The province of Caranjas commences 70 leagues west of La Plata, and extends above 50 leagues on the west bank of Lake Paria. The Andes pervading this district, the climate is very cold, and it produces no grain, but has abundant pastures for cattle, vicunas, &c. There are also many silver mines, two of which are very productive, and one of copper is worked.

A singular silver ore is found in the mines of Turco, which consists of beautiful fibres, penetrating the mass of stone in which they are contained. In the sandy desert parts of Caranjas that extend towards the Pacific are discovered lumps of native silver, which are called Papas, or potatoes, because they are dug out of the ground like that root.

These lumps have the appearance of melted silver, and many of them have been found weighing as much as 150 marcs, and more than a foot in length. The capital of this province, which[Pg 181] is not populous, is a small town of the same name, on a rivulet which flows into the southern extremity of Lake Paria.

The city of Oropesa is the capital of a province named Cochabamba, of about 40 leagues in extent, which is bounded by Sicasica on the north-west, La Paz on the west, Chayantas on the south, and Charcas, or La Plata, and Santa Cruz de la Sierra on the east, and lying 50 leagues south-east of Plata. It possesses one gold mine, and several of silver, but they are not productive. The chief wealth of this province is in its agricultural produce, as it is fertilized by so many rivers and streams, that it yields immense harvests of grain, &c. From this circumstance it has obtained the appellation of the granary of Peru. The climate is in general mild and healthful.

The Rio Grande is its principal river, which rises in the Andes, west of the district of Sicasica.

Oropesa, the capital, is a very considerable place; it is seated on a small river, which is one of the streams of the Rio Grande, in a beautiful and fertile valley; and the chief occupation of its inhabitants, consists in supplying the neighbouring provinces with fruits and grain. It is 150 miles north-west of La Plata, in 18° 15' south latitude, and 67° 6' west longitude.

The province of Sicasica is a very extensive tract, of nearly a hundred leagues in length, and contains some silver mines, two of which are worked. The far greater part of this district lies among the mountains, and it has Cochabamba to its west, Oruro to the south, Paria to the east, and La Paz to the north. Those parts which consist of plains or valleys, are extremely hot, and produce great quantities of coca or betel, with which the neighbouring provinces are supplied. The mountains feed large herds of cattle, and flocks of vicunas, guanucos, &c.; and, the capital is Sicasica, 40 miles north-north-west of Oruro.

[Pg 182]

Pomabamba is a province bounded on the north by Tomina; east by the lands of the independent tribes; west by Porco and Amparaes, and south by Pilaya y Paspaya. It is about 24 leagues in length, and has no other town than its capital, the inhabitants being dispersed in their plantations.

Its population is only 3000 souls, who gain a scanty subsistence from their farms, which are often plundered by the Chiriguanos Indians. It has the river Parapeti on the north, and the Rio Nuevo on the east, which separates it from the Indian territories.

The capital of the same name is on the shore of the Parapeti, in 19° 55' south latitude, and 64° 8' west longitude, nine miles east of La Plata.

The province of La Paz lies north of Sicasica, and consists only of a small district round the city of the same name, in the vicinity of the western Cordillera of the Andes. The produce of this country is barley, coca or betel, and papas. It is chiefly noted for the city of La Paz, or Chuquiavo, or Pueblo Nuevo, which was first founded by Mayta Capac, the fourth Inca, who subdued this country; but the Spaniards thinking this an advantageous place, as a post between Arequipa and La Plata, built the city under the presidency of Pedro de la Gasca, who ordered Alonzo de Mendoza to place it midway between Cuzco and Charcas, and to call it Neustra Senora de la Paz, in memory of the public tranquillity being settled by the defeat of Gonzalo Pizarro and his adherents. Accordingly a valley in the country, called Las Pacasas, was pitched upon, in which the city was begun, on the 8th of October 1548, the place abounding in cattle, grain, &c.

This city is in 17° 15' south latitude, and 68° 25' west longitude, and 120 miles east-south-east of Arequipa; 288 south-east of Cuzco; 612 south-east of Lima; and 234 west of Santa Cruz de la[Pg 183] Sierra, on a fine river, which flows through the valley.

The adjacent Cordillera, which is only 12 leagues distant, is very high, and one of its summits, called Illimani, is covered with perpetual snow, which exposes the district to so cold a climate, that hard frosts, storms of hail, &c., are not uncommon. But the city is not subject to these, enjoying a salubrious air, and considerable heat.

The unequal ground on which La Paz is seated, the snow-clad mountains, the fertile valleys and the fine river give peculiar charms to its scenery. The inhabitants in the district around the city are mostly confined to the valley, as the higher grounds are covered with forests which afford shelter to bears, jaguars, pumas, &c.

They find some gold in the river, when it is increased by the melting of the snow, which forces large masses of rock from the mountain of Illimani. In 1730, an Indian discovered in this stream a lump of gold of such size, that it was bought for 12,000 piastres, and sent to the king.

La Paz has a fine cathedral and four churches, four convents, a college, three nunneries, and an hospital, and contains 20,000 inhabitants, who are chiefly engaged in trading in Paraguay tea. A late traveller represents it to be an elegant and clean place.

It is a bishop's see, whose revenues are very considerable.

This city had formerly the five following provinces or districts under its jurisdiction, and its bishop still holds ecclesiastical sway over them; viz. Omasuyos, Pacages, Laricaxas, Chucuito and Paucarcolla.

The district of Omasuyos begins at the gates of La Paz, and extends 20 leagues, being bounded on the west by lake Chucuito or Titicaca. Its climate is very cold, so that it produces little corn; but its pastures feed a great number of cattle; and[Pg 184] it has four gold mines. It is chiefly inhabited by Indians. Near the borders of this province is the town or village of Tiahanuaco, in which are colossal pyramids and gigantic figures cut out of stone; and these, though much injured by the weather, are highly singular, and are conjectured to have existed before the times of the Peruvian Incas. This place is thirty-six miles north-west of La Paz, in south latitude 17° 17' and very near the south-east coast of lake Titicaca.

Unfortunately no traveller has given a detailed account of these images, which are supposed to be the most ancient and singular in America.

Pacajes is bounded on the north by Chucuito and the great lake; north-east, by Omasuyos; east, by La Paz and Sicasica; south, by Oruro, Paria and Carangas, and south-west and west, by the Peruvian province of Arica, which is separated from it by the lofty chain of the Andes.

Its length from the bridge over the river Desaguadaro, which divides it from Chucuito to the province of Paria, is fifty-six leagues, and its greatest width forty. From the neighbourhood of the Andes, its climate is cold, and its soil not very productive. Its inhabitants are dispersed in small settlements, and consist chiefly of Indians, who are employed in tending cattle and sheep, with which it abounds.

There were formerly several mines of silver and emeralds, but they are not worked at present. A mine of talc supplies the whole of Peru with plates of that substance to serve instead of window glass for the churches and houses.

Including Tiahanuaco, there are fifteen settlements in Pacajes, which has a capital of the same name, eighty miles south-west of La Paz, in a variable climate, and whose chief commerce consists in the sale of cattle to the neighbouring towns.

Laricaxas, north of La Paz, is a district which extends 240 miles from east to west, and 75 from[Pg 185] north to south; it bounds that of Carabaya on the north, and most of its products are the same as those in that province. It contains many gold mines, the metal found in which is of a superior fineness, and four of these mines are in work. The mountain of Sunchuli in this province is celebrated as having been the situation of a gold mine which was discovered in 1709, and was worked with immense profit till 1756, when it was inundated by a spring which suddenly burst in it, and all attempts to get the water under have since proved in vain.

Chucuito commences twenty leagues west of La Paz, and borders the western shore of lake Titicaca. The extent of this province from north to south is about twenty-eight leagues, its climate, from the high mountains of which it is composed, is cold, and its chief trade consists in the cattle which are pastured in its elevated plains.

The Andes in this province contain many veins of silver, but none of them are worked at present, and the great lake Chucuito takes its name from this district; it is supplied with water from ten or twelve large rivers, and has no other outlet than by the Desaguadero, which flows from it into lake Paria, and is there lost. It abounds with fish, though its waters are bitter and brackish, and numbers of geese and other wild fowl frequent its shores, which are covered with strong flags or rushes of which the bridges in the country are constructed.

It contains many islands, one of which, Titicaca, was formerly a mountain, but was levelled by the Incas. This island gave the lake one of its names, Titicaca signifying Leaden Mountain; and Manco Capac having first appeared here, the succeeding Incas raised a temple of the sun in memory of the event.

This temple was one of the most splendid in the empire, and contained the greatest riches, owing[Pg 186] to the obligation which all the Peruvians were under of visiting it, and depositing an offering on the shrine. On the conquest of the country by the Spaniards it is said all these riches, and even the walls of the temple itself, were thrown into the lake.

Towards the south part of the lake the banks approach each other, and form a bay, which terminates in the Rio Desaguadero, or the Drain, and over this river is a bridge of rushes, invented by Capac Yupanqui, the fifth Inca, in order to transport his army across the stream, which is between eighty and one hundred yards in breadth, flowing with an impetuous under current, though its surface is smooth. The Inca caused four large cables to be made of the long grass which grows on the high Paramos or deserts of the Andes, two of these were stretched across the stream, bundles of dry rushes or flags from the borders of the lake were laid across them, and fastened together; on these the other two cables were laid, and they were again covered with other bundles of flags, smaller than the first and firmly fastened together in such a manner as to form a level surface, and over this marched the Peruvian army to the conquest of Charcas.

This bridge, which is five yards broad, and one and a half above the river, is repaired or rebuilt, as circumstances require, every six months, in pursuance of a law made by the Incas, and followed up by the Spanish government, on account of its great utility.

The island Titicaca contains several settlements, and, among others, that of Copacavana, celebrated for its sanctuary of Nuestra Senora de Copacavana. The island produces fruits, flowers and vegetables, pastures much cattle, and in its woods are found wild rabbits and pigeons.

The Indians navigate this lake on balsas or rafts, supported by inflated skins, and carry on by[Pg 187] this means a considerable commerce with the towns on the banks.

Chucuito, a small town on the banks of the lake, is the capital of this province, which contains, as do the shores in general, many settlements, villages and towns.

Paucarcolla, the last of the old provinces of La Paz, is bounded on the north-east by the lake; east by the same and Chucuito; north by Lampa; west by Moquehua in Peru; and south by Pacajes and Arica, also in Peru. It is eighty-six leagues long, and twenty-eight broad, and is watered by several streams flowing into the lake, of which the Rio Suches and the Taraco are the largest.

The climate is generally cold, and in the parts bordering on Lake Titicaca are cultivated Peruvian bark, papas, barley, &c. The chief occupation of the inhabitants consists in breeding cattle, sheep, pigs and llamas, and there are many vicunas, deer, partridges and lake fowl, which are caught or killed by the natives; the lake also supplies fish, and by means of it the Indians carry dressed hides, thread, &c., and take in exchange wines, brandies and other commodities from the adjacent districts. They fabricate their clothing and other articles from the wool of the Peruvian camel, and carry on a considerable traffic in that article.

The capital was formerly the present settlement of the same name, but it was transferred to that of Huancane, till the discovery of the mines of Laicacota, when that large village became the chief town; since that time it has again changed, and is now seated at Puna, from whence the whole province is sometimes called.

Cancharani and San Josef, two mountains in this district, contain rich veins of silver, which have been worked with great effect; on the north of these is the mountain Del Azogue, or of quicksilver, which was formerly worked to such advantage[Pg 188] that it exceeded the produce of the celebrated mines at Guancavelica: but the government suspended the operations at this place from some political motives.

The furnaces in the mines of this province are supplied by the natives, who breed cattle, with cow-dung, to serve as fuel, which is used instead of wood, on account of the scarcity of that article, and proves a good substitute.

The inhabitants of this province amount to more than 26,000 souls, dispersed in fifteen settlements and towns.

Paucarcolla, the old capital, is situated on the banks of Lake Titicaca, and inhabited by a few Spanish families. The Inca Yupanqui, third emperor of Peru, added this place to his territories, the natives submitting voluntarily.

Puna, the present capital, stands on the shores of the lake in 16° 20' south latitude, 70° 26' west longitude, and is a rich and populous place, containing many illustrious families, with a beautiful church for the whites, and another for the Indians. The mines in the neighbourhood of this town were among the richest in Peru, but were abandoned on the death of their owner, who built the Spanish church. It is, however, said, that the rich mines of Salcedo or Laycacota are again in work. Puna is fourteen miles north-west of Chucuito.

The remaining districts towards the Peruvian frontier, and which were under the jurisdiction of the audience of Cuzco, until the formation of the new kingdom of Buenos Ayres, are Asangaro, Carabaya and Lampa.

Asangaro or Asangaro y Asila, is bounded on the north-east and east, by Carabaya, south-east and south by Laricaxa, south-west by Paucarcolla and lake Chucuito, and west and north-west by Lampa. It is sixty miles in length and as many in breadth, containing about 3000 inhabitants.

As it lies almost entirely on the Andes, which[Pg 189] are here very high, its climate is cold, and the soil produces little else than grass to pasture the cattle, in which its trade consists. Papas, quinoas, and canaguas, grow plentifully in its plains; of the two last, the natives make an intoxicating liquor common in Peru, called chica, which is nearly the same as the spirit procured in Mexico from maize; and chica is also the principal beverage of the Indians inhabiting the Andes.

The chief towns of the same name are mere villages, but near Asila is a lead mine, which has been very productively worked; and in the parts of this province bordering on Carabaya, there are several silver mines, three of which are worked.

Carabaya is bounded on the north by the Peruvian frontier, east by the country of the independent Indians, and west and south by Asangara. The extreme parts of this province are sixty leagues from Cuzco, and its greatest extent is more than fifty leagues; but lying in a mountainous region, its climate is generally cold, though some of its valleys enjoy heat enough to mature the coca or betel; and it abounds in grain, vegetables, and rich pastures, which feed numerous herds of cattle. Carabaya contains silver and gold mines in great numbers, one of the former and two of the latter being in work.

The river which separates it from the Indian countries, contains much gold in its sand; and the Indians of Peru are said to come down in companies to this river, in order to collect sufficient metal to pay the capitation tax.

In the village of Poto is an office for collecting the royal duties on the mines, and the most famous lavaderos or washing places, are San Juan del Oro, Pablo Coya, and Monte de Anauca, two leagues from Poto.

The greatest gold mine is that of Aporama; the metal being twenty-three carats fine.

Carabaya, or San Juan del Oro, is the capital of[Pg 190] this province, 150 miles south-east of Cuzco, in 14° 40' south latitude, and 69° 36' west longitude.

Lampa is bounded on the north and west by the Peruvian frontier, and on the south and east by Chucuito and Asangaro. It lies on the ridge named the Chain of Vilcanota, which separates Buenos Ayres from Peru; and its climate, though generally cold, is healthy. It carries on a considerable trade in cattle; and its silver mines are very numerous, but only two are worked to advantage.

The capital is a town of the same name, ninety miles south of Cuzco; in the vicinity of which are the richest mines of the province.

This town is in 14° 55' south latitude, and 81° 44' west longitude.

Pucara, a village in this province, is remarkable as containing the ruins of a fort built by the Peruvians, having two large stone reservoirs within it; some of the stones of which are three yards long and two broad, and not far from this fort is a fountain of warm water.

Having now described the northern and Andean districts or provinces of Charcas or La Plata, we must turn to those which lie on the coast of the Pacific, on the east, and those towards Paraguay on the west.

The viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres enjoys the advantage of possessing a province on the shores of the Great Southern Ocean, which, though at present nearly desert, may one day become of great importance. This province named Atacama, is bounded on the north by Arica in Peru, on the west by the Pacific or South Sea, on the north-east by Lipes, south-east by the government of Tucuman, and south by Copiapo, in the kingdom of Chili. It is divided into High and Low Atacama, and is of great extent, some parts of it being very fruitful, but intermixed with deserts, particularly towards the south, where there is an im[Pg 191]mense tract of untenanted land, which divides La Plata from Chili. The sea-coast of this province, is noted for the numerous fisheries established on it, and which supply a large fish, called Tolo, that forms the chief food of the inland districts of La Plata during Lent.

The inhabitants of Atacama are chiefly Indians, those who live in the settlements, amounting only to 2500.

Its chief town is Atacama, in a barren plain, surrounded by the lofty summits of the Cordillera, which are uninhabited, owing to the intense cold. This town is a small place, 100 miles from the South Sea, and 120 leagues from La Plata, in 23° 30' south latitude, and 69° 30' west longitude.

Crossing towards the east from this western boundary of Buenos Ayres, we find the provinces of Apolabamba, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Chiquitos, Moxos and Chacos.

Apolabamba is bounded on the east by the province of Moxos, and on the west by Carabaya, commencing about sixty leagues from Cuzco in Peru, and extending eighty leagues from south-west to north-east. The country is mountainous, and intersected with rocks and precipices, consequently the roads are very rugged and difficult.

The principal cultivation consists in rice, maize, plantains, &c., which are the common food of the inhabitants. In the plains or valleys, some cacao and cotton are raised, but more grows wild than in plantations, and the forests are numerous and filled with wild beasts and monkeys of every kind. The people carry their produce to La Paz, where they procure what is necessary for their comforts.

Apolabamba is a newly planted colony, and consists mostly of settlements of Indians, who have been converted by the Franciscan missionaries. Seven villages are in a flourishing condition, and in order to defend these from the incursions of the[Pg 192] surrounding tribes, the inhabitants are formed into a militia, governed by a Spanish officer.

Santa Cruz de la Sierra is a very large province including several districts; it is, as its name indicates, a mountainous country, and little inhabited by Spaniards, the chief places being the missions, which were first planted by the Jesuits. It borders on, or rather contains in its government, the countries of the Chiquitos, Guaranis, and other tribes, among whom a few missions are settled.

Its climate is warm, and the chief trade of its settlers consists in honey and wax.

The capital is Santa Cruz de la Sierra, eighty or ninety leagues east from La Plata. It was originally built farther to the south near the Cordillera of the Chiriguanos and was founded in 1548 by De Chaves; but the city having been destroyed, it was rebuilt on its present scite: it is however a place of little importance, though erected into a bishopric in 1605, the chapter consisting only of the bishop, dean, and archdeacon. The usual residence of the bishop is at Mizque Pocona, which is the chief town of a large district of the same name. This latter city, which is 100 miles south-south-west from Santa Cruz, is a small place in a valley about eight leagues in circumference, producing all kinds of grain and fruits, and in a warm climate; the woods and mountains affording large quantities of honey and wax, which constitutes a principal branch of the trade of the place.

There is also a lake two leagues in extent near this town, and the district of Mizque is the most populous part of the province.

The Rio Grande de La Plata is the finest river of Santa Cruz; it rises in some small lakes on the south, and running through the province into that of Moxos, enters the Piray by a broad mouth, and forms a good port at Pailas, north of the capital.

The province of Chiquitos lies to the north and[Pg 193] east of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and embraces an immense extent of territory, which reaches to the Brazilian frontier on the Paraguay.

It was first colonized by the Jesuits who began their missionary establishments in this country towards the close of the seventeenth century, and their success was so great that in 1732 they had seven settlements, each containing more than 600 families. The Indians who inhabit Chiquitos are small-sized, active and brave, and have always resisted the endeavours of the Portuguese to carry off members of their community to slavery; many of them live peaceably in the missions, but others lead a wandering life amid the mountains and plains of their native land.

The forests in this country produce the cinchona, or Jesuit's bark, and many other useful substances; and the great inundation of the Paraguay, called Lake Xarayes, extends through the western parts of this province, which is also celebrated for containing the third great branch of the Andes, that leaves the main body between 15° and 20° of south latitude, and crossing the provinces of the Sierra sweeps round Chiquitos, between 15° and 23°, stretching from La Paz, Potosi and Tucuman, through Moxos, Chiquitos and Chaco, towards the government of the mines, and of St. Pablo in Brazil. The highest summits of this chain appear to be between 15° and 20° of south latitude, giving rise to many rivers which flow either into the La Plata or the Maranon.

San Josef de Chiquitos, the chief settlement of this province, is thirty-six miles north-west of Santa Cruz; and south of the Chiquitos Indians, are another tribe, named the Chiriguanos, whom the missionaries have in vain attempted to convert; they are the terror of the western provinces of Buenos Ayres, and are continually at war with the Chiquitos. In their country flows the river Parapiti, which rising near Cochabamba in 18° south latitude,[Pg 194] is first called Conderillo, and receiving smaller rivers, assumes the name of Parapiti, and passing through a large lake it turns to the north; having pursued hitherto a south-east course into this lake, which is in 19° 50' south latitude. It is now called St. Miguel, and still running north assumes the name of Sara, and being joined by the united streams of the Piray and Plata, as well as several others from the province of Santa Cruz, it becomes a broad river, and in 14° south latitude, is called the Mamore, till 10° south latitude, when it leaves Peru or La Plata, and entering the Portuguese territories becomes the Madera, continuing under that name to south latitude, 3° 15', and 60° 40' west longitude, when it discharges its immense stream into the Maranon, after a course of 1400 miles.

Moxos or Mojos is an extensive territory bounded by the Portuguese government of Matto Grosso on the east, Cuzco and the Peruvian provinces on the west, and Chiquitos and Santa Cruz on the south. It extends on each side of the Mamore, and is chiefly inhabited by warlike and wandering tribes of Indians, who forbid access to its interior. This country contains the lake Rogagualo, a large body of water of an oval figure, formed by an arm of the Rio Beni, which rises near La Paz on the west side of the Andes, in 18° south latitude, and flowing north, enters the Ucayale, their united streams joining the Apurimac. The banks of the Beni have many settlements of the missionaries. This lake empties itself into the Mamore by a channel called De la Exaltacion, thus forming an immense island of the country lying between the Maranon on the north, the Madera and Mamore on the east, and the Beni and Ucayale on the west. From lake Rogagualo three other rivers take their rise and flow into the Amazons on the north; viz. the Jutay, the Juruay and the Puros.

There are several missionary villages in the pro[Pg 195]vince of Moxos: but the country is still under the power of the aborigines.

Chacos is another large territory, bounded by Chiquitos on the north; Paraguay on the east; the great plains of Manos on the south; and Tucuman and Tarija on the west. It is of immense extent, and chiefly inhabited by tribes of wandering Indians, having on its east the great chain of mountains on the banks of the Paraguay, and contains the great Rio Pilcomayo, which flows into the Paraguay near Asuncion.

The Jesuits made several attempts to colonise Chaco, but did not succeed, and little is known concerning its products or features.

The adjoining government to Los Charcas, which has now been described as fully as the nature of the work would admit, is,—


Paraguay is a very extensive government of Buenos Ayres, which is bounded by Chiquitos, Chacos, and Tucuman on the north-west and west; on the north it extends to Lake Xarayes; north-east and east it bounds the Portuguese territories; and south-east and south it is limited by the Parana, which separates it from the missions of Guayra in Buenos Ayres, its jurisdiction ending in the south of the city of Asuncion, in 26° 48' south latitude, and it is divided from Tucuman, or the Llanos de Manso, by the river Paraguay.


The history of this province commences with its discovery by Sebastian Cabot, in 1526, who sailed up the Parana. This navigator was the son of a Venetian pilot, who was much employed in England, and by some accounts is said to have been born at Bristol, in 1477, and having been brought[Pg 196] up to the same profession, went with his father, John Cabot, to the discovery of Newfoundland, and from thence to Florida. They had the honour of being the first navigators who saw the continent of America, Columbus not having discovered it till a year afterwards. Sebastian, after this voyage, made another to Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, in the service of Henry VII. of England, and reached the coast of Brazil, but was hindered from exploring it by the timidity of his coadjutor Sir Thomas Pert.

Owing to some opposition on his return to England, he went to Spain, and offered his service to the king; his request was graciously attended to, and on account of his great skill, he was appointed pilot-major of the kingdom, an office of great honour in those days. In 1524, the Spanish merchants entered into a treaty with Cabot, to command an expedition to the Moluccas, which was to pass through the newly-discovered streights of Magalhaens. He undertook this voyage, and proceeded to the coast of Brazil, coasting it southward from the bay of Todos los Santos, till he arrived at the river La Plata, where he landed three of his chief officers, who had mutinied, on a desert island, and being unable, from want of provisions and the bad behaviour of his crew, to proceed farther to the south, he sailed thirty leagues up the river, and discovered an island, which he called San Gabriel; three leagues higher up he saw a large river, and named it San Salvador; here he landed his people, and built a fort, from which advancing in his boats he discovered another river, thirty leagues distant, called Zarcacana by the natives, on the banks of which he constructed another fort, and named it Santi Spiritûs.

He afterwards explored the river Parana, and sailing up it entered the Paraguay, where he found the natives tilling the ground. These people opposed his landing and in a skirmish with them[Pg 197] he lost twenty-five men who were killed and three who were taken prisoners. Cabot wintered, however, in this country, and was joined by another adventurer, Jayme Garcia, who had been sent from Europe to explore the river, and returning together to the fort Santi Spiritûs, they dispatched a vessel with an account of their discoveries to Spain.

So long were the ministry in sending the necessary supplies to Cabot, that, tired of waiting, he returned to Spain, after an absence of five years, in the year 1531: but not being well received at court, he continued a few years in the Spanish service, and returned to England in the latter end of the reign of Henry VIII. In the following reign he was made grand pilot of England, with a pension of 166l. 13s. 4d. per annum; a sum in those times equal to 1000l. at present.

During the reign of Edward, and that of Philip and Mary, many privileges were granted to Cabot; he was made governor of the Russian company, and had the management of the expedition which sailed under Sir Hugh Willoughby to the North Seas.

The variation of the compass was first observed by this celebrated man, though Ferdinand Columbus in the life of his father, printed at Venice, in Italian, in 1571, asserts, that the admiral first noticed it on the 14th of September 1492. Cabot published a large map of his discoveries in North America, which was hung up in the gallery at Whitehall. He also wrote an account of his voyage in the North American seas, in Italian, which was printed at Venice in 1583 in one volume folio; and is very scarce.

Juan de Ayolas followed up the discoveries of Cabot in Paraguay, having had a commission, troops, and stores given him, in 1536, for that purpose, by Don Pedro de Mendoza, the first governor of Buenos Ayres.

[Pg 198]

By the orders of Ayolas, Juan de Salinas founded the city of Asuncion, but the conquest of the natives being attended with much difficulty, and Ayolas and his party having been murdered by them, Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, the second governor of Buenos Ayres, undertook their subjugation in person. He had arrived with 400 men to take the chief command, in case of the death of Ayolas, and finding that this event had happened, he collected all the settlers in Buenos Ayres, and detaching Irala, who had acted as governor before his arrival, into the interior, with ninety men, to report on the state of the country, was so satisfied with what he had seen, that he set out with 200 Spaniards, and 1200 Guarani Indians, and entered Paraguay; but meeting with reverses, owing to the mutinous conduct of his troops, who were corrupted by Irala, he was forced to return, when he was deposed and sent to Spain; Irala then assumed the chief command, and by his conduct soon reduced the natives, and rendered the Spanish settlements secure.

The Indians were parcelled out to the conquerors, and in 1547, the city of Asuncion was erected into a bishopric.

Much cruelty was practised towards the unfortunate natives, till the arrival of the first bishop of Paraguay, in 1554, who brought with him laws and regulations for their protection; but however wise and humane these ordinances were, they did not totally restrain the colonists from ill using their vassals; and it being found that Paraguay and the territories then discovered, were not sufficient to supply Indians enough to work in the plantations, Parana or Guayra was conquered, and the city of Ciudad Real being founded, 40,000 of the natives were reduced to slavery; and in a few years after, the Spanish power was extended over Chiquitos, on the left of Paraguay, where 60,000[Pg 199] of the natives were compelled to labour for the profit of their employers.

The year 1556 was a new era for the aborigines, as in that epoch the Jesuits made their appearance in Paraguay, and taking a method directly contrary to that of the conquerors, they reduced the natives by the arts of persuasion alone. They showed them how industry would conduce to their comfort; and having, by an uniform course of mildness and conciliation, reclaimed them from their native woods and wandering way of life, they settled them in towns and villages, which soon increased and flourished under their guidance.

The number of these settlements was astonishing, and so completely had these priests gained the affections of the natives, that their government and power was absolute and unlimited. The principal missions of the Jesuits, or rather the Jesuit government, was not however in Paraguay, but in Uruguay, an immense district of Buenos Ayres, on the south of the Parana; and in describing that country, some further account of their possessions will be given.

Their order being expelled from the Spanish dominions, in 1767, the countries they possessed in South America were divided into governments, and priests of other orders were appointed to take charge of the ecclesiastical affairs.

Climate, productions, features, &c.—The climate of Paraguay is in general moist and temperate, though in some parts it is cold, and white frosts are common in those places in July and August.

The temperate parts abound with all kinds of grain, beans, pease, melons, cucumbers, and European vegetables; asparagus is found wild, and there is a remarkably fine sort of vine, of which good and healthy wine is made, magueys, sugar-cane, maize, from which the Indians make their favourite drink; potatoes, a fruit resembling the[Pg 200] almond, which produces an excellent oil; the European fruits; tobacco, and cinchona, or Jesuit's bark, sarsaparilla, rhubarb, jalap, sassafras, guiacum, dragon's blood, cupay, whose oil is used in medicine, nux vomica, vanilla, cacao, the timbabi, supplying a fine yellow gum, which is run into moulds, and formed into beads, necklaces, crosses, &c. Cedar, the curi or pine, from whose red knots, which contain a varnish, the Indians make images; the algarrobo, or carob tree, which is converted into bread, and the Paraguay tea or matté, a plant which rises about a foot and a half high, with slender branches, and leaves something like those of senna; of this there are two kinds, one called Paraguay, the other Caamina, or Yervacamini, which last sells for one-third more than the other.

So useful is this western tea, that the mines would stand still, if the owners were to neglect to supply the workmen with it; and every person in Peru, Chili, and Buenos Ayres, consider themselves wretched, if not able to procure it; two millions of piastres worth of this herb, being sold from the province of Paraguay every year. It is infused and made nearly in the same way as Chinese tea, excepting that the branches are put in with the leaves, and that it is drank out of the vessel it is made in, through a silver or glass pipe, as soon as possible; as if it stays too long, it is supposed not to be good. The smell, and colour of this drink, is nearly as fine as that of the best Indian teas.

The pomegranate, peach, fig, lemon and orange, flourish in Paraguay, as do the cocoa-nut and other palms. The native fruits have among them the jujuba, the chanar, the yacani, the quabira, from which candles are made for the churches; the quembe yielding a delicious pulp; the mammon growing on the trunk of a tree, and resembling a melon; the tatay, having a fruit like the mulberry; the alaba, with a delicious fruit; the anguay, whose[Pg 201] pips are of a rich violet colour and triangular shape, are used by the Indian women for necklaces; the tarumay resembling the olive; the molle, yielding a fragrant gum; the bacoba, banana, anana, manioc, the cotton tree, which grows to a great size and is very common; the zevil, whose bark is used in tanning; the ceibo, with flowers of a purple colour; the izapa, whose leaves distil a copious supply of water; the ant-tree, which is the chosen resort of these insects; the umbu, with an immense and spreading head; the willow; the ambay, used in striking fire; the arucuy, a shrub yielding a strong scarlet dye; indigo, cochineal, nacalic, whose beautiful yellow is used by dyers and painters, and reeds of great size, besides an infinite number of other trees and plants, all useful in their kind, and an immense assemblage of beautiful flowers.

The wild animals of Paraguay are chiefly found in the mountain regions bordering on the Great River, and on Brazil, where the forests are of impenetrable thickness. The jaguar, the puma or the cougar, and the black bear, are large and very fierce, destroying the cattle whenever they are exposed to their ravages. The ant-bear is a common animal, feeding principally on ants, which it catches, by placing its long tongue on their nests; and the tapir, the water-pig, or capibara, the river-cavies, and various other amphibious animals, frequent its numerous rivers. Mosquitos and other venomous insects are the great plagues of this fine country, and about twenty kinds of serpents, of which, the rattle-snake is the most common, and the boa constrictor the largest, frequent its woods and plains.

In Paraguay, the bird tribes are also very numerous, and possess the charms of song and beauty of plumage, in a degree equal, if not superior to those of any part of South America. Of these, nine different kinds of the humming-bird alone have been enumerated.

[Pg 202]

But the largest bird seen in the plains of Paraguay, is the great cassowary or American ostrich, remarkable for its immense size, fine plumage, and swift motion.

The fertility of Paraguay is proverbial, and though no mines are worked in it, it is one of the most opulent governments of Buenos Ayres, on account of its various vegetable productions, and the immense herds of horses, mules, cattle and sheep, which pasture on its extensive plains.

Of this government, the southern parts are those which are best known and most inhabited; the northern bordering on the Brazilian frontiers, and reaching to the great inundation of the Paraguay, have been little explored, and are tenanted only by the aborigines and wild animals.

The great features of this country are the numerous rivers, swamps, lakes, plains and woods, with which it abounds. Its largest and most noted rivers being the Paraguay, the Parana, the Porrudos, Mbotely, Tobati, Ipane Piray in the north parts, and in the south the Cañabe and Tibiquari, the latter of which, divides the government from that of Buenos Ayres.

Commerce.—The trade of Paraguay consists in the export of its tea, tobacco, sugar, cotton, hides, tallow, wax, honey, cattle, horses, mules, wool, leather, &c. It is chiefly carried on by the river Paraguay; the journey to Buenos Ayres by land, being seldom performed excepting by couriers, who are then obliged to wade and swim over many rivers, and are exposed to the attacks of the wandering Indians, even the navigation of the Great River not being free from them; the Payaguas tribe often collecting sixty or seventy canoes, with five or six men in each, armed with long lances and clubs, who attack any vessel unprovided with the means of making resistance.

Peace has been made with these people, but they sometimes commit depredations, and the[Pg 203] whole government is surrounded by nations equally inveterate and ferocious; on the west are the Tobas and Moscobies, on the south the Abipones, on the north the Guaycurus or Mbayas, and the Panaguas; but the east is free from any immediate neighbours of this description, though on the distant mountains in this quarter called Yerva, are the Monteses, who give great trouble to the people employed to collect the tea, which grows spontaneously in their vicinity. The Monteses also greatly annoy the Portuguese, who are constantly at variance with them. This tribe pushed its way lately across Cuyaba, and part of Matto Grosso, in Brazil, to make an incursion into the head settlements of Moxos, in order to open a path to plunder the country of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and La Paz.

These unsubdued Indians frequently attack the settlements of Paraguay, which has obliged the inhabitants to form a militia in order to repel their aggressions, which are always sudden, and at times when they are least expected. The forts of Paraguay are nineteen in number, and are generally near the river, which is also furnished with guard boats.

The number of Indian villages of the missions is very considerable; they are governed by magistrates, chosen from among themselves, and generally consist of stone or mud houses covered with tiles, having a large square in which is the priest's house, and a good church, the number of inhabitants in each being seldom less than 600, and often exceeding 2000, and the total population of Paraguay is estimated at 97,480 Indians and Spaniards or whites, of which the latter do not form much more than a twentieth part.

The only towns of importance are the capital, Asuncion, Villarica, Curuguaty, Concepcion and Neembucu.

Asuncion, or Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion, the[Pg 204] capital, is situated on an angle made by the eastern bank of the river Paraguay, eighteen miles above the first mouth of the Pilcomayo, and forty-eight above that of the second, in 59° 35' west longitude, and 24° 47' south latitude; it was originally a small fort, built in 1538, which soon became a town, and was erected into a bishopric in 1547. Its population consists of 500 Spanish families, and several thousand Indians and mestizoes.

The adjacent country is rich and fertile, and the climate temperate; the trees around it are always in bloom, foliage, or fruit, and the rich pastures in its neighbourhood nourish abundance of cattle. It exports hides, sugar, tobacco and Paraguay tea; but the boats which trade to this place from the city of Buenos Ayres, take two or three months to ascend the river La Plata, though the only difficulty in navigating it is from the force of the descending current, as the winds generally blowing from the south are favourable for the passage.

Villarica is 100 miles north-east of Asuncion, in 25° 48' south latitude, and 56° 31' west longitude, and was founded in 1576, and contains 3000 inhabitants.

Concepcion, in 23° 23' south latitude, and 57° 16' west longitude, contains 1550 inhabitants, and was built in 1773.

Curuguaty, in 24° 28' south latitude, and 56° 54' west longitude, contains 2250 inhabitants, and was founded in 1715.

Neembucu was built in 1779, in 26° 52' south latitude, and 58° 11' west longitude, and is peopled by 1730 souls.


The third government of Buenos Ayres is that of Tucuman, which is bounded on the north-east by Chichas and Lipes in Charcas, north-west and west by Atacama, west and south-west by Cuyo,[Pg 205] or Cujo, south-east by the Pampas or territories inhabited by the Aucaes, Huarcas, or Pampas, Pihuenches, Puelches, Uncos and other unconquered tribes which wander over the plains and mountains adjacent to Chili. On the south-east, it has the jurisdiction of Santa Fé in Buenos Ayres, and on the east it has the uncultivated Llanos de Manso and the country of Chacos or Chaco Gualamba.

Its extent is from 22° to 33° 10' south latitude, its length 370 leagues, and its breadth 190 leagues from east to west.

Tucuman was united to the empire of Peru, in the reign of Vira Cocha, the eighth Inca, by the desire of the inhabitants, who probably intimidated by the conquest of the adjacent country of Charcas, sent messengers to beg to be admitted under the Peruvian government.

The Spaniards conquered this country after finishing the subjugation of Peru, and Diego de Roxas was the first discoverer in 1543, but it was not subdued till the president Pedro de la Gasca, sent Juan Nuñez de Prado in 1549, to establish settlements in Tucma or Tucuman. The inhabitants proving of a mild and peaceable nature, the expedition was unattended with any bloodshed, and four cities were immediately founded, namely, Santiago del Estero, San Miguel del Tucuman, Nuestra Senora de Talavera, and Cordova de la Nueva Andalucia; but these being found insufficient in so large a territory, Rioja, Santa, and Jujui or Xuxui were soon afterwards added; the Spaniards then divided it into three provinces, which they named after the nations they found in it, viz. Juries on the east, Diaguiras on the west, and Comichingones to the south; of which the Comichingones Indians dwelt in caves.

Climate, Features, &c.—The climate of Tucuman is hot in those parts farthest from the main chain and branches of the Andes, but in general[Pg 206] the seasons are regular and the soil prolific and good; and as an instance of the healthiness of some parts of the country, it is stated that Louisa Truxo, a negress, lived to the amazing age of 175, and was living on the 5th of October, 1780.

It produces all sorts of grain, esculent plants and fruits in abundance, with plenty of excellent pasture for the innumerable herds of cattle, mules, and horses it contains.

The forests, which overspread a great part of it, contain good timber for building, and which forms one great article of its trade, supplying Santa Fé, Buenos Ayres and its own towns with boards which are conveyed in carts drawn by oxen. It also supplies the timber so necessary in the mining operations at Potosi, and so dear is a peculiar hard wood of which axles for the wheels and engines are made, that 2000 dollars are given for a large axle, owing to the great labour and expence of transport. Box trees, laurels, pines, dragon trees, walnuts, palms and cedars, are a few of the useful plants of Tucuman; and cotton, vines, tobacco, cacao, cochineal, indigo and flax are also cultivated, but none of these articles enter into its export trade, which chiefly consists of cattle and timber; honey and wax are also plentifully produced in the forests.

In Tucuman, the desert places and woods abound with all kinds of game and wild animals, as pumas, jaguars, ant bears, bears, wild hogs, elks, deer, hares, rabbits, armadillos, guanucos, vicunas, and many other kinds. The American ostrich or cassowary frequents the plains, and innumerable birds are seen in its woods, &c. The immense boa, called in this country ampolaba, destroys the smaller animals which come within its reach, and appears, when lying among the grass, like the huge trunk of an old tree; besides the boa, there are also rattle-snakes, vipers and other reptiles common to warm climates.

[Pg 207]

In the rivers and lakes are found abundance of fish, tapirs, cavies, water-pigs, and other amphibious animals.

The great chain of the Andes, which borders and sends forth branches into Tucuman, is so high in some parts as to reach the regions of eternal snow; in it there are several mines, which were formerly worked by the Spaniards, and there remain striking vestiges of the mining operations carried on by the Peruvians.

The rivers of Tucuman are numerous, the principal ones being the Vermejo, the Salado, the Xuxuy, the Dulce and the Quarto. The Vermejo, or Rio Grande, rises near Casabinda, and flows with a stately stream into the La Plata, near Corrientes. The Salado takes its waters from many streams which flow down from the mountains of Tucuman, in south latitude 24°, and chiefly from those of the valley of Calchaqui, where it receives a large stream which comes from the south-west; it then runs into the valley of Huachipas, which name it takes, but soon changes it for that of Charomores, from a place so called; it then flows westward, and is called Pasage; as being in the road from Buenos Ayres to La Plata, it must be here crossed by travellers with some risk, owing to the rapidity of its current; it then is called De Balbuena, from passing through the settlement of that name, and is joined near this place by the Rio Piedras, and passes down through the district of Santiago del Estoro, from whence it runs eighty leagues, under the name of Salado, and loses itself eighty-six miles north-north-west of the city of Santa Fé, in a lake named El Mar Chiquito. The Chacos, or Dulce, runs by the side of this river, after it passes through Salta, and at last falls into it. Its whole course is 200 leagues, and it formerly reached Santa Fé, where it formed a peninsula with an arm of the La Plata, but having opened itself new channels by its great swellings, it now loses itself[Pg 208] in the lake, which is the case with almost all the rivers of this province, as they generally form large sheets of water, from which they rarely issue.

The numerous lakes in this province are generally shallow, and produced by the overflowing of the rivers: but they have the singular quality of being mostly saline, particularly those in the neighbourhood of the Rio Vermejo.

There is in these vast plains through which the rivers pass an immense tract of land, the soil of which is saturated with fossil salt. It extends to the south of Buenos Ayres, and is about 700 miles in length by 150 in breadth. It is said that in this extent, which reaches to the Rio Vermejo, there is not a river, well or lake whose waters are not brackish. All the rivers which flow through it to the La Plata are fresh until they cross this waste, after which they become salt till they enter the great stream. Even the Pilcomayo and Vermejo, although they have a free course, have always a salt taste when the waters are low. This substance appears in the greatest abundance between Santa Fé and Cordova, and the salt quality of the soil reaches to St. Jago del Estero, where the whole ground is covered with a white incrustation even to the foot of the Cordillera.

Natural saltpetre is also collected in this part of the country, after a shower the ground being whitened with it. Chaco contains many salt lakes, and to the south-west of Buenos Ayres, they are found at from 400 to 450 miles distance. To these, journeys are frequently made with carts, in order to collect the fine crystallized grains which cover their banks.

The cattle of this country cannot subsist without this substance; they devour with avidity the salted clay they find in the ditches; and when this happens to fail, as is sometimes the case in Paraguay, they perish in the course of a short time.

[Pg 209]

From Buenos Ayres, the great road to Potosi and Lima passes through Tucuman. In 1748, regular stages were built all the way, post-houses were erected, and relays of horses and carriages provided.

The method of travelling is in covered waggons drawn by oxen or horses, in which the traveller can recline, and must necessarily exercise much patience: but the silver and gold from the mines, as well as all kinds of merchandize, are conveyed along this road on the backs of mules. Its extent from Buenos Ayres to Potosi, is 1617, or according to some accounts, 1873 miles, 400 of which are over the elevated chains of the Andes, and are impassable for the waggons; from Potosi to Lima the route continues 1215 miles more, and passes over the highest ridges of the mountains, where the traveller undergoes all sorts of danger and privations, and is exposed to the utmost extremes of heat and cold.

About the distance of 500 miles from Buenos Ayres, the country is one plain, covered only with cattle, horses and mules, and stretching to the horizon; the land then begins insensibly to rise, and in 500 miles more, the road lies over the branches of the chain of Chiquitos, to the town of Salta, where the grand and snow-covered tops of the central Andes present themselves. The thick woods of Tucuman are then lost; but the swarms of locusts, crickets, ants, mosquitoes, toads, frogs, serpents, and alligators, also disappear, the traveller having now entered the temperate region; the road then winds amid abrupt and frightful precipices and chasms, and sometimes with so narrow a footway that the mules can scarcely move.

The path is here indented with deep holes, in which the animals place their legs, and thus prevent the danger of slipping over the precipices; at other places where the road inclines at a great slope, these sagacious creatures place themselves[Pg 210] with their fore and hind feet close together, and inclining forward, as if about to lie down, they slide with inconceivable velocity to the bottom.

These mountains in some parts are traversed at the bottom of narrow and perpendicular clefts, where, if the animal falls, his rider must infallibly be crushed.

The passage of the many torrents and rivers is also another difficulty; across those which are shallow, very large and high horses are used, which are trained for the purpose; over the deeper ones, rope bridges are thrown; and it is only in summer that this journey can be attempted, as the swelling of the rivers and the winter torrents render them impracticable. Even in summer, when the snow in the higher regions suddenly melts, the torrents are swoln to such a degree, and dash with such force from the mountains, that many an unhappy traveller perishes.

Mules constitute the great commerce of Tucuman; these animals are bought in Cordova, Santa Fé and Buenos Ayres, and being fattened during the winter in the valleys and plains, are driven to Peru, where they sell for twelve or seventeen dollars each, 50,000 being thus sold every year, and with them are driven from 14 to 16,000 cows. It also sends soap wrapped in hides to Peru; but the importation of all articles is subject to a toll, on passing the Peruvian frontier, the produce of which is applied to the pay of the troops, the repair of the forts, and the defence of the frontier against the unsubdued Indians; for there is not a government in all America so liable to the incursions of these tribes as Tucuman, as they surround it on the east and south; for which reason its population has not much increased, the settlers being continually liable to lose their property from these irruptions. Of the forts built for the protection of the government, there are at present thirteen;[Pg 211] and the amount of the population, including the converted Indians, is 100,000.

That singular order, the Jesuits, had some missions in Tucuman, and formed about 24,000 of the natives into a militia, to repel the invasions of the Chaco Indians, of whom the Mataguayos are the most warlike; but the Indians of Tucuman at present are under the care of the monks of St. Francis, and are employed in cultivating maize, cotton, tobacco, &c., for their use, and those of the towns.

The capital and chief towns of this government are Tucuman, Cordoba, Rioxa, Jujuy, Santiago, Londres, and Salta, with thirty-eight other towns and villages, and ten missions.

Its capital, Tucuman, or San Miguel del Tucuman, is in 26° 49' south latitude, and 64° 36' west longitude, 1170 geographical miles in a direct line from Lima, 462 south of La Plata, and 200 miles east of Copiapo, in Chili; it was founded by Diego de Villaroel, in 1685, but placed in another situation, its present site, by the then governor, in 1680, on account of an inundation which swept away the church and houses. It is in a pleasant plain, though much in want of water, having a mild climate, producing abundance of fruits and grain, and containing a cathedral, a convent of Franciscans, one of La Merced, and a college, which was built by the Jesuits.

It has a trade in mules, but its principal traffic consists in oxen for the travelling waggons, and in the waggons themselves; there are also some unworked silver mines in its neighbourhood.

San Miguel is the see of a bishop who resides at Cordova. The bishopric is that of Tucuman, and was erected in 1570. In the jurisdiction which surrounds it, is found a tree, named Quebracho, on account of its great hardness, which often breaks the axe, and becoming, when steeped[Pg 212] in water, as solid as stone. The salt river, Sali is about a league south of this city.

Cordoba, or Cordova de la Nueva Andalucia, is in 31° 30' south latitude, 63° 15' west longitude, 156 leagues from Buenos Ayres, at the foot of the Andes, and was founded, in 1550, by Juan Nuñez de Prado. The river Primero, so called because it is the first of five, is in its vicinity, and a hill of some height adjoins it, so that, although in the plain, the water easily passes off.

This city approaches a square form, with many good houses, a large but irregular cathedral, three convents, and two colleges. Few places of the same extent display equal wealth, the Spaniards and Creoles being noted for their industry. The chief trade is to the fair at Salta, in mules, where they are sold for Peru, and the town of Cordova contains many slaves, who weave and make their own cloths.

The bishop and chapter also reside here.

Wine and grain are brought from Mendoza in Cuyo, brandy in leathern bags from St. Juan de la Frontera, and meat and fruits are abundantly supplied in the neighbourhood. Cordova is the capital of a province or district of the same name, extending about 100 leagues in length, and seventy in breadth, intersected by a chain of mountains, and celebrated for its woollen manufactures.

The mountains which traverse this province are covered with perpetual snow, and at Ramauso, sixty miles from Cordova, they branch out, and are so far from each other that a saline plain, seventy miles in length, extends to Tucuman, in which nothing grows but the salsola kali, nearly four yards in height, amid the white incrustations of fossil salt.

The decayed city of St. Jago del Estero is in this plain, 650 miles north-north-west of Buenos Ayres, in 27° 46' south latitude, and 65° 12' west longitude, on the banks of the Dolce, which is[Pg 213] large and navigable, and affords great variety of fish. It contains about 300 houses, or 500 families, of mulattoes and mestizoes, of a dark yellow complexion and sickly appearance, from the great heat of the climate; as surrounded on one side with the plain, and on the other with deep forests; the place suffers from a stagnation of the air. The women are subject to goitrous swellings, which much disfigure them, though they are generally handsome when not afflicted with this disease; and the country near the woods produces wheat, rice, barley, and all sorts of fruits, particularly figs and raisins; the forests supplying game, but are infested with jaguars and beasts of prey.

Rioxa, or Todos Santos de Rioja, is a small city, founded, in 1591, by Juan Ramirez de Velasco, on a plain of great extent, bounded on the west by the mountains, in which the inhabitants breed some cattle.

Its territory produces cotton, grain and vines, but the soil is poor.

This city contains a parish church, three convents and an ancient college of the Jesuits, being in 29° 12' south latitude, and 70° west longitude, 240 miles west-south-west of St. Jago del Estero.

Xuxuy, or Jujuy, or San Salvador, is twenty leagues north of Salta, 174 miles north of Santiago del Estero, in 23° 5' south latitude, and 66° 2' west longitude, and is the chief place of a district of the same name on the frontier of Peru. This town is seated at the foot of a high mountain of the eastern Andes, contains about 300 houses, and is the most northerly city of Tucuman. Near it the river Xuxui, being joined by several others, flows towards the La Plata, after forming the Vermejo in Chaco.

Londres, or London is a village which was formerly founded by Juan de Zuriata, in honour of[Pg 214] Mary Queen of England, in 1555, on the event of her marriage with Philip II.

It is in 19° 12' south latitude, but is at present of little importance.

Salta, or San Miguel de Salta, is a city and district of this government, from which the cattle trade with Peru is carried on.

This city stands in 24° 17' south latitude, and 64° 1' 30" west longitude, and was founded, in 1582, by Don Gonzalo de Obreu y Figueroa, under the name of San Clemente de la Nueva Sevilla, but was afterwards changed to its present scite in the beautiful valley of Lerma, which is five leagues in circumference, and through which passes a river, on whose shore the city stands, having a fine bridge over it.

It contains 400 houses, and 500 men capable of bearing arms, who have hitherto defended the city against the Indians, though it has no walls. In it are one church, two chapels, four convents, and a college which belonged to the Jesuits, the inhabitants being chiefly Spaniards and their slaves. Its environs are very fertile, abounding in wheat, rye and vines, with pastures for the cattle exported from this place to Peru; and its commerce consists in corn, meal, wine, cattle, salt meat, fat hides and other commodities, which are sent to all parts of Peru. The cattle and mules of Tucuman also go from this place, which is situated on the high road from Buenos Ayres to Potosi.

It is computed that the number of mules fattened in the valley of Lerma amount, during the months of February and March, when the annual fair is held, to 60,000, and besides these, there are generally 4000 horses and cows.

The natives are subject to a species of leprosy, and nearly all the women, after they have attained the age of 20, have the coto, or goitrous swelling in the throat, which disfigures them very much, and which they take great pains to conceal.

[Pg 215]

Salta is fifty miles south of Xuxui, and the river which washes the town runs east, and enters the Vermejo.


Cuyo was formerly a Chilian province; it is bounded on the north by Tucuman, on the east by the Pampas or deserts of Buenos Ayres, on the south by Patagonia or Terra Magellanica, and on the west by the Andes, which separate it from Chili; it is comprehended between the twenty-ninth and thirty-fifth degrees of south latitude, and extends about 111 leagues from north to south, its breadth being nearly 110.

Climate, Features, &c.—In this extensive tract, the climate is variable, during the summer months those parts which do not lie on the high Andes are excessively hot, and the winter is very cold. Storms of thunder and hail are also common, and in the parts nearest Chili, these storms are of short continuance, but very violent.

The soil consists of arid plains, fertile valleys, and desert highlands; but those parts, which are the most barren, become extremely fertile, if irrigated by drawing over them the waters of the numerous rivers in which it abounds.

Fruits and grains of Europe arrive at perfection much sooner in Cujo than in Chili, and the vines produce a rich and delicious wine.

The history of this province is uninteresting; the aborigines, of whom there are few remaining and who are called Guarpes, were conquered by the Peruvian Incas; and on the road over the Andes to Chili, are still to be seen some tambos or military stations of the Inca Yupanqui.

The Spaniards who explored Cuyo were under the command of Francisco de Aguirre, who was sent by Valdivia from Chili, but returned without effecting any thing of importance.

[Pg 216]

In 1560, Don Garcia de Mendoza sent Pedro Castillo to conquer this country; he subdued the Guarpes and founded two cities.

The principal rivers in this extensive province are the San Juan, the Mendoza, and the Tunujan. The San Juan rises in the Chilian Andes, and washes the walls of St. Juan de la Frontera. The Mendoza also rises in the same chain, and the two, after receiving several smaller streams, and running twenty-five and thirty leagues, lose themselves in the chain of lakes called Guanasache, which extends more than fifty leagues from north to south, and also receives the Tunujan.

In these lakes, according to some maps, the great Rio Colorado rises, which flows into the Atlantic, in about 40° south latitude.

The eastern part of Cujo is watered by several rivers, but of them very little is known, as these parts are mostly immense plains, in which the herbage is of such a height as to conceal the cattle and animals that feed in them. Unlike the savannahs of the Orinoco and the La Plata, they possess lofty and beautiful trees; of these a species of cocoa palm is the most singular, its leaves and branches commence from the ground, and though they bear some resemblance to those of the cocoa-nut, they are hard and sharp like the aloe, and the tree, which never exceeds eighteen feet in height, bears a fruit also resembling that of the cocoa, but containing no kernel or edible substance.

Its trunk is very large, and consists of several concentric layers, each of which to the heart, are finer as they approach the centre, and from a yellow decrease by shades to a perfect white. Of these fibrous coats, the natives make cloth which is strong and flexible, but not so soft as that of flax. The other trees of Cujo are those which are peculiar to the warm regions of Chili and La Plata; of them, the cactus family bear a large proportion, and the nopal or opuntia feeds[Pg 217] the cochineal insect, of which, however, none are exported.

The animals of Cujo are similar to those of Buenos Ayres, or Tucuman, as jaguars, cougars or pumas, wild swine, deer, &c. The jaguars grow to a great size, even as large as an ass, and their skin, like that of the African tiger, is beautifully variegated with white, yellow and black. The natives hunt them for their skin, arming themselves in these encounters with long lances of hard wood; but they seldom attack the animal singly, three Indians usually composing the hunting party, and exerting all their address and courage to kill it. The cold parts of this province abound with vicunas, llamas, &c.

Alligators, iguanas, and other amphibious animals, frequent the lakes and rivers, which are abundantly supplied with fish.

Birds are as numerous in Cuyo as in Paraguay, from the great condor to the beautiful little picaflor, or humming-bird. Ostriches, or rather cassowaries, frequent the plains, and are so fleet in their half-running half-flying motion, that the swiftest horse is soon tired of the pursuit.

The insect and reptile tribes are as numerous as in the other warm tracts of America, and only disappear as the land elevates itself towards the cold regions of the air. Large grass-hoppers, or locusts, are so abundant in the plains, that they frequently cover several miles of country, destroying every green thing they settle on.

The northern parts of Cuyo furnish gold and silver, but the mines of these metals have been till lately unworked, owing to the poverty, or rather want of numbers of the inhabitants. Its mountains also yield lead, sulphur, coal and gypsum, while the lakes and plains furnish salt.

In the neighbourhood of St. Juan de la Frontera, the hills are wholly composed of strata of white marble of a beautiful grain. It is used by the in[Pg 218]habitants in making fine lime, and in building bridges over the small canals, with which they irrigate their fields.

In this country, through which the road from Buenos Ayres to Chili passes, besides the tambos or military posts of the ancient Peruvians, there are several singular monuments of a far more ancient date. These are however very imperfectly known; but one of them, on a low range of hills, between Mendoza and La Punta, has been repeatedly visited. It consists of a large stone pillar or obelisk, 150 feet in height, and twelve in diameter, on which are curious marks, supposed to resemble eastern characters; and near a river is another stone, containing the same characters, the figures of several animals, and the print of a foot, of which, the Spanish priests have availed themselves, to impress their converts with the idea, that it was the work of one of the Apostles, who left this mark as a token of his mission.

The commerce of Cuyo is of little importance, consisting chiefly in wines, brandy, and dried fruits, which it sends to Buenos Ayres, Cordova, &c. Its European fruits, grapes, figs, pears and apples, are much sought after, and the wool of the vicuna is sent for exportation to Buenos Ayres; its beautiful fawn colour, gloss and softness, rendering it of great value in Spain.

Whatever commercial relation is established between the viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres and the kingdom of Chili, the goods must pass through Cuyo; the passage over the Andes being in this government, which, although exceedingly difficult, will one day render it an important district, especially should the trade of China or the east embrace the southern and western shores of America.

The capital of Cujo is the city of Mendoza, in 33° 25' south latitude, and 69° 47' west longitude, in a plain at the foot of the Andes, the environs[Pg 219] being adorned with plantations, which are watered by means of canals.

It contains four convents, a college, formerly established by the Jesuits, and a church.

A silver mine having been opened in its vicinity, named Uspallata, the number of inhabitants of Mendoza is constantly increasing; at present, they amount to about six thousand, who are employed in these works, or in carrying on a productive trade with Buenos Ayres, in fruits, wool, and wine. The river Mendoza flows by this town, which is fifty leagues from Santiago in Chili, and the district around it contains two silver, one copper, and one lead mines.

The next town of note in Cujo, is San Juan de la Frontera, forty-five leagues north of Mendoza, in 33° 25' south latitude, and 68° 55' west longitude near the Andes, from which circumstance it is also called San Juan de la Cordillera. The neighbourhood of this city, which is washed by the river San Juan, has some gold mines; but its principal trade consists in sending wine, brandy, fruits, and vicuña-wool to Buenos Ayres; the pomegranates of San Juan being greatly esteemed for their size and flavour.

Its population is nearly the same as that of the capital, which it resembles in regard to the number of its public edifices.

Besides these two cities, Cuyo contains the towns of San Luis de Loyola, or De la Punta, Jachal, Vallofertil, Mogua, Concorto, Leonsito, Calingarta, and Pismanta.

San Luis de Loyola is the great thoroughfare for the commerce between Chili, Cujo, and Buenos Ayres; it is situated sixty-two leagues east of Mendoza, and has a church, convent, and college, of the late order of Jesuits. The inhabitants amounting to about 200.

The other towns are of little note or importance, and are at present mere villages.

[Pg 220]

The fifth and last division of the viceroyalty of La Plata, is—


Which is bounded on the north by the government of St. Paul, in Brazil; on the north-west by the river Parana, which divides it from Paraguay; on the west by the plains of Tucuman; on the east by the Portuguese frontier, which passes south through lake Mini; on the south-west, by the Atlantic Ocean, and the line of demarcation between it and the independent tribes; on the south-east by Cuyo, and on the south, by an imaginary line, passing through the Pampas or Patagonia.

History, &c.—The history of this government is that of the viceroyalty; the most extraordinary part of it being that which relates to the subjugation of the Indians by the Jesuits, who established their principal stations in the country, embraced by the Parana on the north, the Uruguay on the east; and the La Plata on the west and south.

The road for these missionaries was prepared by Alvar Nuñez de Vaca, in 1541, who conquered the country, and named it Vera. Two monks of the order of St. Francis accompanied the governor in his expedition, and laboured very hard to convert the natives, which they succeeded so well in, that others of the same order were soon established in the country, in which they erected chapels and villages. Of these monks, Father Luis de Bolaños was the most zealous; he stayed fifty years among the Guaranies, and made himself master of their language; at last, bent down with age and fatigue, he went to welcome the arrival of some Jesuit brothers, who came to assist him in his labours; these were with difficulty admitted into the country, owing to the aversion of the natives to have any other pastor than the venerable Bolaños. From this time the Jesuits laboured so effectually[Pg 221] to convert the Indians, that in a very short period, the greater part of the country was in their power; they extended their dominion over Paraguay, and organized the Indians into a well disciplined body of militia, by which means they kept all persons, whether Spaniards or Portuguese, out of their territories.

From Paraguay and Parana, they drew such great revenues, by making their converts work at stated periods in the plantations, &c., that they were enabled not only to supply every thing necessary for the comfort of the people from Europe, but were also enabled to send immense sums to the superiors of their order. The Indians were studiously kept in ignorance of the Spanish language; they were instructed in all sorts of useful arts, and sedulously trained to the fatigues of a military life, being formed into large bodies of cavalry and infantry, and well supplied with arms and ammunition.

Some hundred thousand of Americans were already under the power, and infatuated in their subjection to these fathers, when in 1750, the courts of Madrid and Lisbon, entered into a treaty for the purpose of definitively fixing the boundaries of their respective possessions in the western world.

Commissions were appointed in 1752, to carry this treaty into execution, when on account of the representation of the Jesuits, who were unwilling to allow the new Portuguese limits, a war ensued between the two countries, and the Indians taking an active part against the Portuguese, the court of Lisbon began to entertain suspicions of the real motive of the Jesuits, in forming such extensive governments in America.

From this time, their influence in Europe began to decrease; a trial was instituted against one of the order in France, by some of the merchants concerned in speculations at Martinique which had involved the society in debt; on this trial, their[Pg 222] constitution and books were examined, and found to contain matter so dangerous to the interests of the kingdom, that it was declared necessary to suppress their order in France, and in the year following, the king of Portugal being assassinated, it was resolved to expel the Jesuits from that kingdom.

This was followed by their expulsion from Spain and Naples, in 1767, and in 1773 Pope Clement XIV. totally abolished the society.

They were exiled from America soon after, and the care of the nations they had converted was given to priests of other orders, but chiefly to the Franciscans, and their government placed in the hands of civil officers, in the same manner as in other parts of America.

On their expulsion from the territories on the banks of the Parana there were discovered in thirty settlements alone, no less than 769,590 horses, 13,900 mules, and 271,540 sheep.

Climate, Features, &c.—The climate of Buenos Ayres is variable according to the situation of the districts on the great Pampas or plains, the heat in summer being scorching, whilst at Buenos Ayres, and in the mountains of Parana or Guayra, the winter is cold.

Nearly the whole of the southern, western, and some of the northern parts of this government consist of wide spread plains, on which immense herds of cattle are fed; the road from the capital to Cuyo lying over one of these levels, called the Pampas, which are of an extent that would equal the size of a great European kingdom. On this plain the cattle range unowned and unvalued, being only hunted down occasionally for the sake of their hides and tallow; wild horses also abound in these deserts, and wander about in such troops that travellers are surrounded by them for three weeks together; sometimes they are observed in innumerable quantities passing over the road at full speed for hours at a[Pg 223] time, and on these occasions it requires great exertion to prevent being trampled down by them; but the same road is often travelled without one of these creatures being seen.

The plains also abound in cassowaries, partridges, geese, ducks, deer and other game, and are uninhabited by man.

No stages are fixed upon the route to Chili, as it is impossible in parts of it which are covered with sands to preserve a regular tract, and it is also infested with the predatory incursions of the surrounding Indians, the method of travelling is therefore in covered carts, made as commodious as possible, drawn by oxen, and accompanied with horses and mules to carry the baggage and goods; merchants and others performing this journey, set out in companies, and generally in the evening two hours before sun-set, travelling all night till an hour after sun-rise in the morning, after which they rest during the heat of the day, to partake of the provisions they bring with them, or the game they procure on the journey.

In this course their whole dependence is on the compass, which guides them across the vast steppe, and the travelers are exposed to the dangers of being murdered by the Indians, of sinking under the scorching noon-day heat, or of dying for want of water, of which none is to be had, but by mere chance, besides what they carry with them in skins.

The rains which fall in this plain are of short continuance but in great quantity, and when these happen, the conductors never fail to replenish their water bags; but from these rains the caravan becomes drenched through, and not unfrequently the goods and property of the passengers are spoilt.

The westerly winds or pamperos are another source of inquietude to the persons undertaking this fatiguing journey; they sometimes blow with such violence that it becomes utterly impossible[Pg 224] to proceed, as the carriages would inevitably be overturned.

In this government the mountainous parts are chiefly those situated to the north-west of the river Uruguay, and which border on the Portuguese frontiers; they are little known, and are inhabited only by tribes of savage and warlike Indians, who set the missionaries at defiance.

The rivers of Buenos Ayres are the great La Plata already described, the Parana, the Uruguay, and many others of less note, but generally very large.

The Parana rises in the province of Minas Geraes to the south of the city of Joas del Rey, in Brazil, in some lofty mountains, and runs from north-east to west for 300 leagues, when it joins the Paraguay, receiving in its course innumerable streams; at the distance of 125 leagues from its mouth it has two falls of a tremendous nature, which render it necessary for the boats that navigate it to be carried a short distance over-land. The Parana is a considerable river before it enters the Spanish territories, and after passing the frontiers of Brazil in about 24° 40' it flows in a south-west course through the colonies of the Jesuits, in a country of incomparable fertility and of a delightful aspect. It seldom overflows its banks, owing to the breadth and depth of its channel, and it is much more rapid than the Paraguay as it flows from higher ground: at its junction with the Paraguay it is nearly two miles broad, and incloses innumerable islands, which are overflowed in the annual inundations; but it is not navigable in its whole extent, on account of the two falls and several rapids.

This river was always supposed (and is still conjectured by some geographers) to be the main stream of the great La Plata.

The third great river of Buenos Ayres is the Uruguay, which rises about the 28° of south latitude, in the Portuguese province of Rio Grande,[Pg 225] among the chain of mountains that run along the coast of the Atlantic. Its course is at first to the west, along a high valley, which is separated from the Parana by an elevated ridge, and it receives so many smaller streams that at eighty miles from its sources it is a large river. The great declivity of the ground over which it has passed gives it so much strength, that after emerging from the mountains it overflows the plain to such an extent, that it requires half an hour's time to cross it in a ten-oared boat, though the current is not very strong. After leaving the mountains at the distance of 690 miles from its mouth it flows through a desert country for a considerable length, and then turning to the south it receives an increase from numberless streams, and enters the La Plata, in the 34° of south latitude.

The banks of the Uruguay are romantic and fertile, after it quits the desert and turns southerly: but it is generally a rapid stream, though navigable for vessels two hundred miles from the La Plata; beyond this it can only be ascended by canoes or rafts, as it is interrupted by frequent falls and rapids.

On the southern confines of Buenos Ayres, the plains are drained by the Saladillo, the Hueyque Leuva or Colorado, and the Desaguadero which descend from the Andes of Cuyo: but of these rivers very little is known.

The chief town of this government is Buenos Ayres, which, being the metropolis of the viceroyalty, has been already described.

Monte Video is the next city of note in this province; it is situated on the north side of the La Plata, in a small bay twenty leagues west of Cape Santa Maria, in 34° 54' 48" south latitude, and 56° 14' 30" west longitude, and has its name from a mountain that overlooks the place, and on which is a light-house that has a good view to leeward. Monte Video is a very recent town, and was[Pg 226] erected on account of its harbour being one of the best on the coast.

It stands on a gentle elevation at the end of a small peninsula, and is completely enclosed with fortifications. The harbour, which is the best in the La Plata, is shoal, and exposed to the north-east winds.

This city is tolerably well built, the houses being generally of one story. The great square contains the cathedral, which is a handsome edifice, the town-house, and the public prison: but the streets are unpaved, and consequently either always dusty or muddy, and the inhabitants experience great inconvenience from the want of water, the spring which furnishes the place being two miles distant.

Its climate is moist; in summer the heat is very great, and the sky is frequently overcast by dreadful storms of thunder, lightning and heavy rain: but the winter is cold, and the air, during the months of June, July and August, keen and piercing.

The vicinity of this city presents an agreeable landscape of hill and valley, interspersed with small rivers; but it wants trees, and so scarce, indeed, is wood, that almost all the houses of Monte-Video are floored with brick. The inhabitants do not attend to the cultivation of the fertile country that surrounds them, their principal property consisting in the numerous herds which feed in the plains towards the Portuguese frontier.

The population of this city is between 15,000 and 20,000 souls, consisting of Spaniards, creoles and slaves.

Its commerce consists in exporting hides, tallow and salted beef; the hides and tallow being sent to Europe, and the salt beef to the Havannah and the West Indies.

Monte-Video was taken by the British in their expedition against Buenos Ayres, and was delivered up by treaty to its ancient masters; since[Pg 227] which time it has declared its adherence to the cause of the mother country, and its citizens have had several conflicts with the insurgent government of Buenos Ayres. At present it is garrisoned and held by the Portuguese.

Santa Fé is the third city of Buenos Ayres; it is seated at the confluence of the Salado with the La Plata, about ninety leagues north-west of the metropolis. It is of a square form, surrounded with a wall, and tolerably fortified, to preserve it from the attacks of the Indians, who have pillaged it several times, always massacreing the inhabitants. It contains a church and convent. The environs abound in game, and the soil being fertile produces corn, wine and fruits. It is the channel through which the Paraguay tea is sent to Peru, and is, on that account, of considerable importance.

Maldonado ranks as the fourth town of this government. It is situated on the same shore of the La Plata as Monte-Video, in 34° 50' south latitude, and 55° 36' west longitude, 100 miles west of Buenos Ayres, and nine leagues west of Cape Santa Maria, at the entrance of the river, and is a small place, chiefly noted as having a harbour, in which vessels trading to Buenos Ayres sometimes refit.

Las Corrientes, near the confluence of the Parana and Paraguay, on the east bank of the La Plata, 100 leagues north of Santa Fé and 250 of Buenos Ayres, is a small town well situated for the trade between Paraguay, Peru and Buenos Ayres. It contains a church, three convents, and a small population, who are formed into a militia, to defend the place against the Indians. This city is in 27° 32' south latitude, and 57° 50' west longitude. The trade carried on from this place with the capital is by means of the river, in fine tobacco, sugar, yellow wax, Paraguay tea, cotton, cloth and thread.

[Pg 228]

Colonia del Sacramento, in 34° 22' south latitude, and 57° 52' west longitude, was formerly a place of some importance, as, the small tract of country surrounding it, which is thirty-three miles north-east of Buenos Ayres on the opposite bank of the La Plata, having been colonized by the Portuguese, in 1678, they built a city on it. It was taken from them in 1684, they however recovered it, but were again driven out in 1704, and it was not restored till the peace. In 1706, it was besieged a third time by the Spaniards, with 800 troops and 1500 Indians by land, and with four vessels by sea, but they could make no impression, so strongly was it fortified. It was however taken in 1762, but restored at the subsequent peace; the Spaniards still viewing it with a jealous eye, took it for the last time in 1777, when they destroyed the city and fortifications. Its only importance, at present, consists in its having a tolerable harbour or bay, formed by the river, and it is said, that the Portuguese have again recently occupied it.

The above are the principal towns of this extended government, which contains many others, most of them are however either missionary or military stations; the former abounding on the banks of the Parana and Uraguay, while the latter are chiefly on the north-west, towards the Llanos de Manso and Tucuman, and on the east towards the Portuguese frontier.

The provinces of this government have not been enumerated, they are little known, and many of them are only divisions of the missions, such as Guarania, which extends along the south shores of the Parana, and contains about thirty villages of the Guaranis Indians. On the south-east of Buenos Ayres, the country is named Tuyu; it however contains no Spanish settlements of any importance, and seems to be a tract crossed by a chain of mountains, which divide it from the coast of the Atlantic; much has been written concerning the Abipons, who occupy the north-west corner of[Pg 229] this government; they appear to be a tribe consisting of about 5000 souls, who are of a very warlike disposition, frequently disturbing the settlements. Their language is distinct from that of the neighbouring nations, and they exist by the chase, preferring the flesh of the jaguar or American tiger to any other animal, and retire to the islands and high trees, when the annual inundations commence in their country. The Patagonians on the southern frontier have also excited much curiosity; but it seems to be proved beyond a doubt, that they are merely a race of Indians of a stature rather above the middling size, and that they do not differ in their general habits from their neighbours.

The limits of this work will not permit any farther description of the Indian nations who inhabit and surround Buenos Ayres. Of many of them, the Spanish settlers know nothing more than the names, and of the rest, it is observed, that the more the settlements spread, the less the Aborigines are seen, and the thinner their numbers become; most probably owing to the new diseases they acquire, and the more wandering and uncertain life they are obliged to lead; not so the Indians who settle in the missions, their life becoming one of peace and tranquillity, their wants being supplied by their own labour, and not being constantly exposed to the burning sun or chilling rains of the southern regions, their numbers continually increase; and though the Spaniards formerly used very harsh methods, to convert them either to their faith or their profit, it cannot be denied, that they have within the last century, wiped that blot from the historic page, and with a few exceptions, have conduced very materially to the welfare of a race, remarkable for their general inaptitude and unwillingness to assist in bettering their own condition.

Having therefore detailed every subject con[Pg 230]cerning the extensive governments of the viceroyalty of La Plata, which has been deemed interesting or novel, with the exception only of particular descriptions of the animals which are peculiar to it, and to the other southern regions of America, it now remains for us, only to treat of the last great political division of the Spanish colonies in that country, and in so doing, we shall give a more extended account of some of the most singular zoological objects; as they are equally common to the territory about to be treated of, as to Buenos Ayres.

The kingdom of Chili will therefore now engage our attention.


The kingdom of Chili or Chilé is the last and most southerly of the governments which compose the empire of Spanish America.


It extends between the 24° and 45° of south latitude, and comprises the continent bounded by the ocean on the west, and the Andes on the east; and the islands on its coasts. Its greatest length being about 1260 miles, and its greatest breadth 300. The extent has been estimated to be equal to 22,574 square leagues.

It is bounded on the north by La Plata, and from Peru it is separated by the desert and province of Atacama; on the east it is bounded by the Buenos Ayrean provinces of Tucuman and Cuyo, and by Terra Magellanica, or Patagonia; on the west, the Southern Pacific washes its shores; and on the south, the unconquered and desert countries of Terra Magellanica complete its limits.

[Pg 231]


Chili is governed by a Spanish officer, appointed by the court of Madrid, and holding the title of Captain General of the kingdom of Chili, having under his orders all the inferior governors of departments and military posts; he is likewise commander in chief of the Chilian forces, and president of the court of royal audience of Santiago.

The country he governs is divided into continental and insular partidos, or departments, over which intendants or lieutenants preside.

The continental part, or Chili Proper, is divided into thirteen partidos, which extend from the twenty-fourth degree to the thirty-seventh degree of south latitude, and are named Copiapo, Coquimbo, Quillota, Aconcagua, Melipilla, Santiago, Rancagua, Colchagua, Maule, Itata, Chillan, Puchucay, and Huilquilemu; from the thirty-seventh degree to the islands of Chiloe, the country is chiefly under the power of three native tribes, the Araucanians, the Cunches, and the Huilliches.

Insular Chili, comprehends the archipelagoes of Chiloe, and Chonos or Guaytecas, and the Andean part of Chili is inhabited also by independent tribes.


The origin of the native inhabitants of Chili is involved in impenetrable obscurity. They had traditions respecting their ancestors, which were so vague and uncertain as not to merit notice; so that nothing can be advanced concerning the history of Chili, prior to about the middle of the fifteenth century.

In the year 1450, the country was occupied by[Pg 232] fifteen independent tribes, governed by caciques or ulmens; they were named Copiapins, Coquimbans, Quillotans, Mapochians, Promaucians, Cures, Cauques, Pencones, Araucanians, Cunches, Chilotes, Chiquilanians, Pehuenches, Puelches, and Huilliches. The Peruvians were at this period governed by the Inca Yupanqui, who having extended his empire to the borders of their country, was ambitious to possess a territory, of which his subjects gave a highly favourable report. He accordingly moved southward to Atacama, and dispatched Sinchiruca, a Peruvian prince, from thence with a large army, to the northern territories of Chili; this general reduced the Copiapins, Coquimbans, Quillotans, and Mapochians, but was interrupted in his career by the Promaucians, who defeated his forces in a sanguinary battle.

From henceforward the Peruvians were foiled in all their attempts to proceed southward, and a fort being erected on the Rapel river, the four first tribes became tributaries to the Incas. Though the Peruvian form of government was never introduced into their territories, which were still presided over by the Ulmens or caciques.

On the arrival of the Spaniards at Cuzco, the Chilese were mostly an agricultural nation, subsisting on the plants their labour had brought to perfection; they had aqueducts to irrigate their fields, and they turned up the soil with a rude sort of plough, which they pushed forwards by a handle opposed to the breast. The Peruvian camels were used as beasts of burden, and these people made bread, fermented liquors, and boiled or cooked their victuals in earthen pots of their own manufacture.

The Chilese lived in large or small villages, and they knew and practised the laws and rights of hereditary property; they had also advanced so far in the knowledge of some of the useful arts, that they were able to form hatchets and implements[Pg 233] of copper, vases of marble, and they worked mines of gold, silver, copper, tin and lead.

Their religion consisted in the acknowledgement of a Supreme Being, whom they named Pillan, from pilli, the soul; and for whom they had also names equivalent to the Great Being, the Thunderer, the Eternal, the Creator, the Omnipotent, &c.

Pillan was said to be the king of Heaven, the lord of all the inferior spirits, who were both males and females, and whose offices consisted in guiding the destinies of man in battle, in peace, &c.; and in producing harvests; each person had his attendant spirit or genius, who protected them from Guecebu the evil one.

Being extremely independent in their notions, their ulmens or caciques had no power to impose contributions on the people they governed, and were merely sages or warriors who guided the tribes in council or in the field.

No temples were erected in Chili, the Great Being and his subordinate agents were invoked in times of need, and on occasions of great distress sacrifices of animals and offerings of fruits were made. As well as their neighbours, the Peruvians, they had a tradition of a great deluge, in which only a few persons were saved.

They had words to express units, tens, hundreds, and a thousand, with all the intermediate numbers, and preserved the memory of transactions by the Pron, a bunch of threads of several colours, resembling the Peruvian quippus.

In treating of the Araucanians, we shall give some further account of a people, who, though they had not attained the degree of civilization acquired by their northern neighbours, were, nevertheless, very far from being in a state of barbarism, and who are probably the only American nation, surrounded by European colonies, who have hitherto retained the same customs, manners, lan[Pg 234]guage and independence which they possessed before the conquest of the New World, as the Spaniards have scarcely made more progress in subduing them than their predecessor, the Inca Yupanqui, did.

From the determination of Almagro to conquer the country possessed by the Peruvians south of Cuzco, in consequence of the reports constantly received by himself and Pizarro, of the riches it contained, may be dated the discovery of Chili by Europeans.

Don Diego de Almagro de Malagon having collected a force of 570 Spaniards, and 15,000 Peruvians, set out from Cuzco, in the year 1535, attended by Paullu Inca, and choosing the road of the mountains, reached the province of Copiapo in Chili, after a march in which they had to contend with the Indians at every step; this, together with the inclemencies of the weather, the rugged nature of the road, and the winter overtaking them on the summit of the Andes, caused the death of 150 of the Spaniards and 10,000 of the Peruvians.

On the arrival of the army in Copiapo, Paullu Inca obliged the natives to deliver up all the gold in their possession, which amounting to the value of 500,000 ducats, he presented to Almagro.

The natives every where received the Spaniards with respect, amounting almost to adoration, as they imagined the new comers were a divine race sent by their gods to govern them, till after the arrival of Rodrigo Orgonez, with a reinforcement from Peru, when two of the soldiers committing acts of violence near the river Huasco, were slain by the people.

This, the first blood shed on either side, so irritated the Spaniards, that Almagro ordered the ulmen, his brother, and twenty of the chief people to be brought before him, when warning the natives to beware of similar transgressions, he committed his unfortunate victims to the flames; but[Pg 235] the army disapproving of this cruel step, the affairs of Almagro soon became unprosperous.

At this juncture, Juan de Rada arrived with fresh troops from Peru, and with the letters of the king appointing Almagro governor of the territory south of that claimed by Pizarro. The Inca Paullu having reinforced his army with the Peruvian garrisons in Chili, Almagro penetrated as far south as the Rapel or Cachapoal, the boundary between the Independent Chilians and the Peruvian colonies: at this place the Inca endeavoured to persuade the general not to hazard an attack, as he was convinced, from what the Peruvians had experienced for a hundred years, that it would be unavailing; but Almagro persisted, a battle was fought, the Promaucians were victorious, and the Spaniards, disgusted with the event and with their general, returned to Peru, to which Almagro marched by the coast road through the desert of Atacama, and arrived near Cuzco, in 1538, with little loss; his subsequent history has been already related.

After the defeat and death of Almagro, Pizarro, wishing to extend his conquests, ordered Pedro de Valdivia to undertake an expedition to Chili with 200 Spaniards, a numerous body of Peruvians, women, monks and European quadrupeds, in order to settle such districts as he might deem proper.

Valdivia departed from Cuzco in 1540, and pursued the mountain road, taking the precaution of passing it in summer, on his arrival in Copiapo, so far from receiving the hospitable reception which Almagro met with, his army was attacked by the natives with great resolution, but as they had been too long in subjection to the Peruvians to be able to afford an effectual resistance, Valdivia soon reduced Copiapo, Coquimbo, Quillota and Melipilla, and with little loss arrived in the country of Mapocho, now called Santiago, where he laid[Pg 236] the foundation of the city of Santiago, on the 24th of February, 1541.

The Promaucians assembling some forces to attack the Spaniards, Valdivia set out from Santiago to repel them, and left the new city in the care of Alonzo de Monroy; he was no sooner gone than the Mapochians attacked the place, and burning the settlement, forced the inhabitants to retire into the fort, but the commandant was relieved after a desperate siege by the return of Valdivia, who, hastening to the town, attacked the Mapochians and utterly defeated them.

During this attack a woman named Iñez Suarez killed several chieftains who were prisoners in the fort, with an axe; as she perceived they were about to take advantage of the distressed state of the Spaniards.

The Mapochians continued at intervals to annoy the colony for six years, after which being utterly defeated they destroyed their crops and habitations and retired to the mountains.

Valdivia being harassed by the natives as well as by the mutinous conduct of his men, sent messengers to Peru for succour, and to show the riches of the country he caused the bits, spurs and stirrups of his two messengers to be made of gold; but they were intercepted in their route by the Copiapins, from whom they did not escape till after a length of time, and arriving in Peru where Vaca de Castro was governor, who immediately dispatched succours by sea and land to Valdivia; with this assistance he reduced some of the surrounding tribes and founded Serena or Coquimbo, in 1544.

In 1545 he entered into a treaty with the Promaucians, who thenceforward became allies of the Spaniards, and in 1546 he passed the river Maule and reduced the natives from that river to the Itata; here he was however attacked by the Indians, and forced to retreat to Santiago, from whence, hearing[Pg 237] of the civil wars in Peru, he went to that country, leaving Francisco Villagran governor in his absence.

Valdivia acted so meritoriously under De Gasca in Peru, that after Gonzalo Pizarro was subdued the president sent him back to Chili, with the title of Governor, abundance of stores, and two ships filled with soldiers.

The Coquimbans and Copiapins having revolted, the governor sent Francisco Aguirre against them, who succeeding in his expedition, rebuilt the city of Coquimbo, in a more convenient place in 1549.

Nine years from this period were passed in constant exertion by the governor, before he could consider his power as fully settled in the northern provinces of Chili; when having distributed the lands and Indians among his followers, he turned his arms against the southern portion of his government, and after a march of 250 miles, arrived at the bay of Penco or Concepcion, where he founded the city of Concepcion, on the 5th of October, 1550. No sooner had he colonized this settlement, than the toqui or chief of the Araucanians, attacked him with an army of 4000 men; but after a battle of several hours, Aillavalu, the toqui, was slain, and the Araucanians forced to retreat. In the following year, 1551, Valdivia was attacked in Concepcion, by Lincoyan, the new toqui, or general of the Araucanians, but they retreated, after displaying much valour.

Valdivia now occupied himself in strengthening his post, and having received succours from Peru, he marched into Arauco, where, arriving at the river Cauten, he founded the city of Imperial, after which he traversed the country to the territory of the Cunches, in which he founded the town of Valdivia; and satisfied with his success, returned to St. Jago, having fought several battles with the natives, in which his troops were always victorious.

He now dispatched Aguirre, with 200 men to[Pg 238] conquer Cuyo and Tucuman, and returning with fresh troops into Araucania, he built the city of La Frontera; and having effected this object, retired to Concepcion, and dispatched a messenger to Spain, with an account of his conquests, a solicitation of the government, and of the title of Marquess del Arauco, and he sent Francisco de Ulloa by sea, to explore the Straits of Magellan, by which he hoped to carry on a communication with the mother-country, independent of Peru.

Occupied with these affairs, he did not perceive the increasing power of the Araucanians, who having deposed Lincoyan, elected Caupolican, a warlike chief, to the supreme command of their army.

Caupolican then attacked the fort of Arauco, which the Spaniards abandoned in the night; he also compelled them to evacuate Tucapel, both of which he destroyed. Valdivia immediately collected what force he could, marched against him, but sending an advanced guard of ten horsemen to reconnoitre, they were cut off, and their heads fixed in the road through which the Spanish army was to pass. This army arrived in sight of the Araucanians, on the 3d of December, 1553, when a fierce contest immediately commenced. The Araucanians were put to flight, but in their confusion, a young chief who had been baptized and employed as page to Valdivia, suddenly deserted the Spanish army, and brandishing a lance, called out to his countrymen to turn and follow his example; this so encouraged the enemy, that they immediately commenced a fresh attack, with such success, that the Spaniards and their Promaucian allies were cut to pieces, only two of the latter escaping.

Valdivia retired with his chaplain to a convenient spot, and having received absolution, prepared himself for death. He was soon taken prisoner, and his late page, begging that he might be spared,[Pg 239] was on the point of obtaining his release, when an old Ulmen, indignant at the fate of his countrymen who had fallen in the battle, put an end to the conference, and the existence of Valdivia by a blow with his war-club.

On the news of the defeat and death of the governor arriving at Concepcion, Villagran was appointed to the chief command, and marching with a force against the Araucanians, he was defeated by Lautaro, the page before mentioned, and losing 700 men, was forced to retreat to Concepcion, which place he abandoned and proceeded to St. Jago. By his wise measures and resolute conduct, as well as by the dreadful ravages of the small-pox which had been communicated to the Araucanians, the Spanish possessions were once more established, but battles were constantly fought between the natives and the settlers, which though they generally terminated in favour of the Europeans, were the means of their losing many settlements, and Lautaro the toqui, was slain in 1556, in an action with Villagran.

In 1557, the viceroy of Peru sent Don Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza his son to Chili, with a great force of cavalry, infantry and shipping. The new governor landed on an island in the bay of Concepcion in April; here he remained during the winter, making overtures of an amicable nature to the Araucanians, but not receiving a determinate answer, he landed 150 men at Monte Pinto, and erected a strong fort to command the harbour; this place was immediately attacked by the Araucanians, under Caupolican, when a tremendous battle ensued, in which the army of the toqui were defeated.

Don Garcia then proceeded into Arauco, where he fought another desperate action, and defeating the Araucanians, marched to the southward, through the province of the Cunches, a tribe hitherto unsubdued. In this expedition, they dis[Pg 240]covered the Chiloe Islands, and returning from thence, he marched through the country of the Huilliches, and founded the town of Osorno.

About this time, Caupolican the great toqui or general, was taken prisoner, impaled, and shot to death with arrows, but his son was elected to the chief command, and exasperated by the cruel death of his father, attacked the Spanish forces under the officer who had slain Caupolican; in this attack, the young chief was victorious, and immediately besieged Imperial, in which he was however foiled.

Many battles occurred in 1559, the last of which was peculiarly favourable for the Spanish cause, all the best leaders of the Araucanians being slain in it.

Don Garcia now rebuilt the cities which had been destroyed; sent Castillo to conquer Cuyo, and at last, embarked for Peru, in which country he had been advanced to the viceregal rank.

Villagran who had been to Spain returned to Chili, with the title of governor, but meeting with reverses, his spirits sunk, and dying soon after, he left his son Pedro as governor; at which period, the Araucanians were once more getting the better of the Spaniards, who founded the town of Castro, in Chiloe, in the year 1566.

In 1567, the court of royal audience was established in the city of Concepcion, their first act was to depose Quiroga, who had dispossessed the younger Villagran in his government, and to appoint Ruiz Gamboa, to the command of the army.

The natives had now become exceedingly powerful under the conduct of a Mestizo, named Alonzo Diaz, who had been raised to the rank of toqui by the name of Paynenauca, and who had been joined by the Chiquillanians and the Pehuenches. This chief fought many actions with the Spanish troops, but was at last taken prisoner and beheaded.

[Pg 241]

On his death, Cayancura was elevated to the dignity of toqui. In his time, the Araucanians besieged the fort of Arauco, and being defeated, the toqui resigned his command to Nangoniel his son, who was killed in attacking another fortress.

Cadaguela was then unanimously proclaimed general, and in his time, the English under Sir Thomas Candish landed on the coast of Chili, and endeavoured to enter into negociations with the natives; but being attacked by Molina, the corregidor of Santiago, they were forced to reimbark, after losing several men.

Several chiefs succeeded Cadaguela, each of whom were engaged in desperate actions with the Spaniards. In 1593, Don Martin Loyola, nephew of the celebrated founder of the order of Jesuits, having married the daughter of Sayri Tupac, the last Inca of Peru, was appointed governor of Chili; he was slain five years after his arrival, on the 22d of November 1598, by Paillamachu the toqui, in whose country he had imprudently ventured with too small an escort. On this event which had been previously planned, the whole Araucanian country, with the Cunches and Huilliches, their allies, suddenly rose, and put to death every Spaniard who had the misfortune to be without the forts; the towns of Osorno, Valdivia, Villarica, Imperial, Canete, Angol, and Arauco, were all attacked, and Conception and Chillan were burnt.

Amid all these misfortunes, the Dutch landed in the Chiloe Islands, plundered Chiloe, and put the Spanish garrison to the sword; but landing in an island where the Araucanians were posted, these people attacked them and killed twenty-three of their men, mistaking them for Spaniards.

All the Spanish cities above-named, were also taken by Paillamachu the toqui, and the Spaniards were completely expelled from the territories of the Araucanian confederacy.

[Pg 242]

Luis Valdivia, a Jesuit, who had been employed in converting the Chilese, finding it impracticable to prevail on the Araucanians to listen to him, went to Spain, where he instigated the emperor to take measures to procure a peace; and returning to Chili, in 1612, this zealous missionary nearly effected the object he had taken so much trouble about, and in a short time peace was about to be proclaimed between the Spaniards and the Indians, when an unforeseen circumstance occurred, which rendered the war more active than before.

Battle succeeded battle, with no extraordinary result on either side, till the Dutch made a second attempt on the islands, in which they were repulsed as before, the natives again mistaking them for Spaniards.

Some wars took place after this, till the arrival of Don Francisco de Zuniga, Marquess of Baydes, who assumed the government in 1640. By his exertions, the preliminaries of a peace were arranged and finally settled on the 6th of January 1641, between Lincopichion, the Chilese general, and the Marquess, by which the two nations mutually agreed to suspend all hostilities, and the Araucanians, on their part, engaged to prevent any foreign power whatever from landing in their territories. In 1643, the Dutch made a third and last attempt to colonize this country, by building two forts, and taking possession of Valdivia; but being deprived of provisions by the Cunches, and hearing that a powerful army of Spaniards and Araucanians were marching against them, they evacuated Chili.

The peace thus happily settled, lasted until 1655, when war again broke out with all its former fury, being carried on by both parties for ten years with equal spirit. At the end of this period, Meneses a Portuguese noble, who held the reins of government, again persuaded the turbulent natives to consent to a peace. This was more lasting than the[Pg 243] former, and the history of Chili presents nothing worthy of notice till the commencement of the eighteenth century, when the inhabitants of the islands of Chiloe revolted, but were soon quelled. The famous war of the succession happening in Europe at this epoch created much internal discussion in the Spanish colonies; several governors were removed for favouring the Bourbon party, but when a prince of that house was at last placed on the Spanish throne, the ports of Chili were filled with French ships, and from 1707, to 1717, many persons of that nation settled in the country.

About this time, the Araucanians began to show some symptoms of an inclination to break the treaty, and in 1722, they elected Vilumilla their toqui or war-chief. So actively did this chief employ himself, that he gained to his party, nearly the whole of the Indians from Peru to the river Biobio, causing them to agree to rise against the whites, at a certain moment, which was to take place when they should see the watch-fires on the mountains: accordingly on the 9th of March 1723, these fires blazed from Copiapo to Itata, but from some reason, which has not been related, the natives of the northern provinces did not join, and his scheme was put into execution by the Araucanians only, who took some places, and then made overtures of peace.

The year 1742 was famous for the arrival of Don Josef Manso, the new governor, who collected all the scattered colonists, and placed them in several cities which he founded, and which are now the capitals, and chief towns of the different provinces.

His successors continued this line of conduct, and in 1753, several new towns were built, and Don Domingo Rosa sent a colony to occupy the island of Juan Fernandez, which had remained uninhabited till that time.

[Pg 244]

In 1770, the governor, Don Antonio Gil Gonzago, created a new war, by endeavouring to force the Araucanians to live in towns, giving them materials to build with, appointing workmen to assist them, and sending a force to compel them to do so, and entering into a treaty with the Pehuenches, he attacked them on all sides. The Pehuenches were defeated, and instead of becoming the eternal enemies of their conquerors, they have since that time been their most faithful allies. The Spanish governor being thwarted by these warlike people in all his schemes, a peace was resorted to after a dreadful battle in 1773, and on this occasion the Araucanians insisted on being allowed to retain a resident agent at Santiago, which was granted.

A native of Ireland, Don Ambrosio Higgins, was appointed captain-general of Chili, in 1787, and being still at peace with the natives, this governor built several new towns, opened the mines, and encouraged commerce and agriculture.

In his government, the regular militia of Chili, amounted to 15,856 men. The veteran troops, or royal guard, was 1976 men; and beside these, each city has an armed force, with a local militia, the former being kept in constant pay.

Since the year 1792, several governors have presided over Chili, and nothing material occurs in its history, until 1810, when a partial revolution took place. Spain being overrun by the French armies, the creoles of this country judged it a favourable moment to throw off their allegiance, and accordingly, being the most numerous, they effected their object with little trouble. Since that period, the royal armies have subjected the kingdom, which has been thrown into fresh convulsions by the appearance of San Martin, with a detachment from the insurgent force of Buenos Ayres; at present the government is decidedly Spanish, though the capital and several strong[Pg 245] places are occupied by the revolutionists, but very little is known concerning what particular cities, towns and forts they hold.


The climate of Chili is probably superior to that of any other country in Spanish America, as the air is remarkably salubrious, the inhabitants being troubled with few contagious diseases, and the extremes of heat and cold are not felt in continental Chili. The spring commences in September, summer in December, autumn in March, and winter in June. From September till March, south-east or south winds prevail, during which time the sky is clear and serene, but the north and north-west winds regularly occasion rain, and chiefly occur during the remaining months.

A singular circumstance attends the difference of climate between the countries lying on the eastern and western sides of the Chilian Andes; for though the winter is the rainy season of Chili, at that time Tucuman and Cuyo enjoy their finest weather. In the northern districts of Chili rain seldom falls; whilst in the southern parts and in the isles it is frequent. The Chilian Andes being very high, and many of them entering the regions of eternal snow, the lands lying in their neighbourhood are subject to occasional frosts, and the mountains themselves are impassable from April to November, on account of the frequent and overwhelming snow storms.

The want of rain in the northern provinces is supplied by abundant dews, and fogs are common on the coasts, but they are never of long continuance. On the whole it may be stated, that the climate of this country is temperate, and favourable for bringing forward the productions of its fertile soil.

This soil yields by cultivation all the grains com[Pg 246]mon to Europe, and in the most uncultivated parts, is covered with a profuse and luxuriant vegetation. The crops are usually from sixty to eighty for one; but in the rich valleys, this proportion is greatly exceeded; but the sea-coast being the least productive, the harvests there do not give more than forty or fifty to one.

The grains most commonly sown are maize, wheat, barley and rye. Hemp and flax give abundant returns, but are not so much attended to.

European fruit trees find a genial clime in Chili, and in the southern provinces are woods of apple and quince trees, of several miles in extent, from which fruit of excellent quality is gathered. Pears, cherries, peaches, of which there are fourteen sorts, some weighing sixteen ounces; oranges, lemons and citrons, melons, &c., are every where to be seen in the fields growing without culture, and each in their kind yielding delicious fruit. Vines grow wild in the forests, and those which are planted give a red wine not inferior to the produce of any European vintage.

The olive trees thrive exceedingly, some of them reaching to a great height, and being three feet in diameter.

In the northern provinces the tropical fruits and plants grow in the greatest abundance; of these the sugar cane, the cotton plant, the banana, the pine apple, the manioc, jalap, pimento, indigo, contrayerva, tobacco, sarsaparilla, guiacum, cassia, tamarinds, pepper, canello, or white cinnamon, cocoa nut and date are the most common.

Besides the plants common to the other kingdoms of America, and the luxuriancy with which all kinds of European herbs, trees, grains and fruits, grow in Chili, this country has a long catalogue of vegetables peculiar to itself.

The plains, the valleys, and the lower mountains, are covered with beautiful trees, and with an herbage so high that it conceals the sheep which graze[Pg 247] in it, and 3000 species of non-descript plants were collected by an able naturalist, who has enumerated the properties of some of them; of these the most singular are, a large strawberry, which is cultivated for the table, and also grows wild; the madi yielding a fine oil; relbun, a species of madder; panke, which gives a good black dye; the cachan-lahuen, a balsam equal to that of Peru; and the viravira, useful in intermittent fevers. Various kinds of creeping plants, whose flowers afford the most beautiful decorations to the gardens and forests; and the puya, whose bark is used for the same purposes as cork.

Ninety-seven kinds of trees are found in the Chilian forests, of which thirteen only shed their leaves; so that an everlasting verdure presents itself; of those resembling the European, the cypress, pine, oak, laurel and cedar, are varieties of the same kinds. The other most curious ones are the theige or Chili willow, which yields a great quantity of manna; the floripondio, whose flowers diffuse so great a fragrance that one is sufficient to perfume a garden; the Chilian orange, whose wood is esteemed by turners, on account of its fine yellow colour; the boighe, or white cinnamon, resembling the cinnamon of Ceylon, and esteemed a sacred tree by the Araucanians, who always present a branch of it to the embassadors, on concluding a peace. The luma, a myrtle which grows to the height of forty feet, and whose trunk affords the best wood for the coachmakers of Peru; the quillia, from whose bark a soap is manufactured; the palma Chilensis, or Chilian cocoa nut, whose fruit, though resembling that of the tropic nut, is not larger than an apple; the gevuin, which is a sort of walnut tree, and the pihuen, a sort of fir or pine, which is the most beautiful tree in Chili. Its trunk is generally eighty feet in height, and eight in girth; the limbs which branch from it begin at half its height, and leave it alternately[Pg 248] by fours, decreasing in length as they approach the top. The fruit, like that of the pine, is very large, and has two kernels, which in taste nearly resembles the chestnut; a gum, used as frankincense, exudes from the bark; and its timber is highly useful.

Chili is as singular in its landscape as any, and perhaps more so than most other parts of America, as on the east it is shut out from La Plata by the Andes, which, rising to an enormous height, has its surface covered with pinnacles, which are in general volcanic. This Cordillera scarcely ever depresses itself in its course through the country, till it approaches Peru; and it seems probable that it attains a greater elevation in this kingdom than in Quito; no actual measurement has however been made of its highest summits, though they are well known by name. The Chilian Andes are about 120 miles in breadth, taking a direction from the Archipelago of Chonos to the frontiers of Tucuman, and consisting of an uninterrupted chain of ridges, constantly losing themselves in the snowy regions of the air; their sides are interspersed with fruitful valleys and dreadful precipices, and give birth to rivers, exhibiting the most beautiful and the most terrific features of nature.

The roads leading from Chili to Tucuman and Cuyo are not more than eight or nine in number, of which that leading from Aconcagua to Cuyo is the best. It is bordered on one side by the deep beds of the Chilé and the Mendoza rivers; on the other by lofty and impracticable precipices; and is so narrow that in many places the rider is obliged to descend from his mule and proceed on foot; nor does a year ever pass without some of those animals being precipitated into the thundering streams below.

The precipices which accompany this route occasionally open and display beautiful and fertile plains. In these places are seen the tambos of the[Pg 249] Incas, only one of which has been destroyed. This road requires eight days to pass in good weather, but in winter it is totally impracticable. That portion of the Andes between the 24° and 33° south latitude is wholly desert, and the remainder, as far as the 45°, is inhabited by the Chiquillanes, Pehuenches, Puelches, and Huilliches, tribes who are in amity with the Araucanians.

The Chilian Andes form three parallel ridges, the centre being the most elevated, and flanked by the others at 20 or 30 miles distance, and they are connected by transversal branches.

The highest mountains of this chain are the Manflos, in 28° 45' south latitude, the Tupungato, in 33° 24', the Descabezado, in 35°, the Blanquillo, in 35° 4', the Longavi, in 35° 30', the Chillan, in 36°, and the immense Corcobado, in 43°; and it is said that all of these are more than 20,000 feet above the level of the sea, the lowest part of the chain being in the province of Copiapo.

This Cordillera has no fewer than fourteen volcanoes, in a constant state of eruption, and a much greater number discharging only smoke. Fortunately for the inhabitants, these are, with the exception of two, all situated on the very ridge of the Andes, and thus cover only a small space in their immediate vicinity with the devastating effects of the heated substances which are thrown from them. The greatest eruption ever known in this country was on the 3d of December 1760, when the volcano Peteroa burst forth by a new crater, and rent asunder a mountain in its vicinity.

It formed a lake by stopping up the passage of a considerable river, and was heard throughout the whole country.

The two volcanoes which are not on the ridge of the Andes, are that at the mouth of the river Rapel, which is inconsiderable, and ejects only vapour; and that of Villarica, near a lake of the same name in Arauco.

[Pg 250]

Villarica is so high, that its summit is covered with snow, and may be seen at 150 miles distance. Its base, which is fourteen miles in circuit, is covered with thick forests, and many rivers flow from it; and though in a constant state of activity, its eruptions are never very violent. Although the Chilese seldom suffer from the obvious effects of these volcanoes, their country is subjected to earthquakes, caused, in all probability, by the struggle in the bosom of the earth amid the combustible materials which are striving to vent themselves.

These earthquakes generally occur three or four times a year, but they are seldom of material consequence, and are not dreaded as in Peru and Caraccas. Since the arrival of the Spaniards only five violent shocks have occurred, in 1520, 1647; 1657, in 1730, when the sea rose over the walls of Concepcion, and in 1751, when that city was destroyed by the ocean; but only seven persons perished who were invalids and unable to move. These shocks are usually preceded by a noise under ground, which gives sufficient warning to the people to leave their houses, and as the earth rarely opens, few buildings are overthrown; and the towns are erected with such broad streets, and with such spacious courts and gardens behind the houses, that even should these fall, the people are safe.

Rivers.—Chili possesses more than 120 rivers, but as the distance from the Andes to the sea, is in no instance more than 300 miles, none of them are very large: they are however of great importance to the country, by affording the means of irrigating the fields, and of internal navigation.

The finest rivers are the Maule, the Cauten, the Tolten, Valdivia, Chaivin, Rio Bueno, and the Sinfondo.

The only lake of importance is that of Villarica, or Laquen, which is 72 miles in circumference.[Pg 251] Sheets of fresh and salt water are common throughout Chili. In the marshes of the maritime ports are the Lakes Bucalemu, Caguil, and Bogerecu, which are salt, and from twelve to twenty miles in length. Salt springs are common in Coquimbo and Copiapo, and in the latter province is the Rio Salado, which, rising in the Andes, runs into the Pacific, and leaves a fine crystallized salt on its banks, which is so pure as not to need any preparation for use.

Mineral springs and thermal waters also are common.

Mines.—The mineral kingdom is not less rich in Chili than the vegetable one is. It produces all the known semi-metals; they are, however, neglected by the Spaniards, with the exception of mercury, so necessary for the refining of gold and silver: but the government having forbidden the two richest mines of quicksilver to be worked, that substance is only procured in a small quantity.

Lead is found in all the silver mines, and in various parts it is worked for its own value, in others on account of the silver it always contains. In the provinces of Copiapo, Coquimbo, Aconcagua and Huilquilemu are rich iron mines, and the sands of the rivers and sea yield this metal abundantly.

Tin is also plentiful in the sandy mountains; and mines of copper are scattered over the whole country, the richest being between the 24° and 36° south latitude; the ore usually containing gold. The copper mines of Coquimbo and Copiapo have been long known; they are said to amount to more than 1000, all of which are in constant work; and the richest mine of this metal was that of Payen, which the Spaniards were forced to abandon by the natives; lumps of pure copper were found in it, weighing from fifty to one hundred pounds; and it is said that the mine at Curico, recently discovered, is equally rich, its ore consisting of gold and copper in equal propor[Pg 252]tions, and having an uncommonly brilliant and beautiful appearance.

The silver mines are usually discovered in the highest and coldest parts of the mountain-country, on which account it has been found necessary to abandon several very rich veins. The most celebrated are those of Coquimbo, Copiapo, Aconcagua and Santiago. In these the metal is found pure, as well as in ores mineralized with arsenic and sulphur.

Uspallata, in the 33° south latitude, is the most productive. It is situated eight leagues north-west of Mendoza in Cuyo, and yields from forty to sixty marks per quintal. Gold is found, not only in the silver, copper and lead ores, but there is hardly a mountain in the kingdom which does not contain some of this precious metal; and it is found in the plains, and in the beds of the rivers. The most important mines and washings of gold in Chili being at Copiapo, Huasco, Coquimbo, Petorca, ten leagues south of Chuapa, Ligua, near Quillota, Tiltil, Llaoin, Putaendo, Yapel, or Villa de Cuscus, Caen, Alhue, Chibato and Huillipatagua, and all but the three last have been wrought ever since the conquest.

The quantity of gold and silver produced annually in Chili amounts, excluding that which is sent clandestinely out of the country, to the value of 357,000l. sterling annually; and there were 721,000 piastres of gold, and 146,000 of silver, coined at the mint of Santiago in 1790: but since that period the plain of Uspallata has yielded a greater proportion of silver. The contraband silver exported from Chili is as three to two on that which pays the fifth; the annual average of the fine gold and silver which receives the royal stamp in Chili being 1,737,380 piastres, or 376,432l. sterling, of which 10,000 marcs are gold, and 29,700 silver: but the administration con[Pg 253]sumes the revenue of Chili, which, therefore, never remitted any sum to the royal coffers.

Population.—The population of this extensive country is composed of Europeans, creoles, Indians, mestizoes and negroes; of these the creoles are by far the most numerous in the Spanish provinces. The country is in general thinly inhabited; the whites living in towns, and the independent Indians roaming in their native woods and mountains, it is not probable that the Spanish part contains more than 800,000 inhabitants including all the classes. The creoles are a well-made, brave and industrious race, and have a frankness and vivacity peculiar to themselves; being in general possessed of good talents, but which are not cultivated, owing to the want of proper places of education.

The other classes are much the same as in other parts of Spanish America; and the peasantry, though of European origin, dress in the Araucanian manner; and, dispersed over an extensive country, are perfectly free from restraint; they therefore lead contented and happy lives.

The general language is Spanish, excepting on the borders of Arauco, where the ancient dialect, the Chili-dugu, or Chilese tongue, is cultivated by all classes. The females of Chili are as luxurious in their dress and equipages as those of Lima: but are noted for their kindness and hospitality towards strangers; and this virtue is practised in its greatest extent by all the inhabitants of the Spanish portion. In short the Chilians appear to be the most frank, courteous and generous people of Spanish America.

Animals.—The animal kingdom is not so various as the vegetable in this country; the indigenous species amounting only to about thirty-six; of these the vicuna, resembling the animal of the same name in Peru, is a sort of camel, which lives in the highest regions of the Andes; its body[Pg 254] is the size of a large goat with a long neck, round head, small straight ears and high legs. Its coat is of a fine dirty rose-coloured wool, which will take any dye, and is used for manufacturing a variety of cloths; they live in flocks on the highest heaths of the Andes, and are so timid, that they are taken by stretching a line across their path, to which pieces of cloth are tied, these fluttering in the wind terrify the vicunas, who stand still and suffer themselves to be caught. This animal has never been domesticated in Chili, but is chiefly sought after for its wool and flesh, the latter being esteemed equal to veal.

The Chilihueques, or Araucanian sheep, which resemble the European sheep, were employed as beasts of burden by the natives, who now use them for the sake of their fine wool, and they are a variety of the former.

The guanuco is another species of the American camel, exceeding the last in size; its length from the nose to the tail being about seven feet, and its height in front four feet three inches; many of them are however much taller; the body is covered with long reddish hair on the back and whitish under the belly; its head is round, the nose pointed and black, the tail short and turned up, and the ears straight. They live during the summer in the mountains, but quit them on the approach of winter for the plains in which they appear in herds of two or three hundred. They are hunted by the Chilians, whose horses are unable to keep pace with them, but the young being more feeble are generally taken.

The Indians, who are excellent horsemen, sometimes get near enough to throw the laqui between their legs, and thus take them alive. This laqui is a strip of leather five or six feet long, to each end of which is fastened a stone of two pounds weight, the huntsman holding one of these in his hand, and whirling the other, slings the string at[Pg 255] the animal in so dexterous a manner that the stones form a tight knot round his legs. They have also longer strips of leather with a running noose at the end, which they carry coiled on their saddles, one end being made fast to them, and thrown with so sure an aim that the noose falls over the animal's head and neck, the rider then turning round, puts his horse into a full gallop, and such is the irresistible force with which he moves, that the game is compelled to follow. In this manner the Peons of Buenos Ayres, who are the natives of Paraguay that take charge of the immense herds of cattle roaming on the plains, catch them when they have occasion for their hide or carcass. The guanuco is naturally gentle, and is soon domesticated; it is used for the same purposes as the llamas and alpacos of Peru, which are only varieties of this animal. They resemble the camel in several particulars, having reservoirs in their stomachs for water, they can go for a long while without food, are very docile, kneel in order to discharge or receive their burdens, and have hoofs so firm as not to require shoeing, with such thick skins that they are rarely galled. Their step is slow but sure, even in the steepest parts of the mountains, and they pass the greater part of the night in ruminating, when they sleep folding their legs under them.

The females produce one young one at a time, and are five or six months in gestation. Their cry is like that of a horse, and to defend themselves they eject their saliva. The period of existence of these singular animals is about thirty years.

Chilihueques were much used as beasts of burden before the introduction of mules, but these animals have now nearly superseded them, from their greater strength. The llama and alpaco, are not known in the Chilian Andes, and the three species we have described, though evidently of the same[Pg 256] genus, never copulate with each other, and are seldom observed in the same place.

The puda is a kind of wild goat of the size of a half grown kid, with brown hair, the male having small horns; these creatures come down in very numerous flocks from the mountains as soon as winter approaches, in order to feed in the plains; they are then killed in great numbers by the inhabitants for food, and caught for domestication, to which state they are very easily brought, and are said to be very fond of playing with children.

The guemul inhabits the most inaccessible parts of the Andes. It resembles the horse in some particulars and the ass in others, but is not the produce of either, and is most probably another variety of the Peruvian camel.

The vizcacha is an animal resembling the rabbit and the fox. It is larger than the latter, and its fur being very fine and soft, is used for the manufacture of hats. The cuy, is another species of rabbit, but much smaller, not exceeding the size of the field mouse, and it is occasionally domesticated.

The armadillo, of which there are three kinds, in Chili, the four banded, the eight banded, and the eleven banded; the eight banded being common in the valleys of the Andes, and are of various sizes, from six to thirteen inches in length, covered with a thick bony defensive armour which is so minutely jointed that they can roll themselves up as the English hedge-hog does. The armadilloes are elegant and inoffensive little animals.

The degu, is a kind of dormouse; and the maulin wood-mouse is exactly like a mouse, but so large that it resists the attacks of the dogs; and there are several other kinds of mice peculiar to the country, all of which differ in their habits, and in other points from the European animals of the same name.

The pagi, or Chilian puma, is nearly the same[Pg 257] as the puma, or cougouar of La Plata, and the mitzli of Mexico; it is named the American lion by the Spaniards, but it resembles that creature only in its shape and roar, having no mane.

The hair on the upper part of the body is ash-coloured with yellow spots, and very long, and the belly is dusky white. Its length, from the nose to the root of the tail, is about five feet; and its height, from the sole of the foot to the shoulder, near two feet three inches. The ears are short and pointed, the eyes large, the mouth wide and deep, and well furnished with sharp teeth; the paws have each five toes, armed with very strong claws, and the tail is upwards of two feet long.

The female is less than the male, of a paler colour, carries her young three months, and brings forth two cubs at a time. It inhabits the thickest forests and the most inaccessible mountains, from whence it issues to attack the domestic animals roaming in the plains, preferring the flesh of the horse to any other. Its mode of seizing its prey is similar to that of the tiger; and it is not uncommon for this formidable creature to carry off two horses at a time, as they are often linked together in the pasture. It kills one, and dragging it along obliges the other to follow by lashing it with its tail.

The pagi is said never to attack man unless provoked, but it has been proved, by several intelligent travellers, that the lions and tigers of America are sometimes as ferocious and destructive as those of Africa.

The guigna, and the colocola, are two species of wild cats which inhabit the woods.

The culpeu is a large fox resembling the European wolf. It is said always to approach man, and stopping at a short distance, looks at him very attentively for some time, and then retires. Owing to this singular propensity the animal is frequently shot; and the race is much thinned.

The American, or Brazilian porcupine is an in[Pg 258]habitant of the Chilian forests, in which there are several animals resembling the weasel, ferret, martin, &c.

Many species of amphibious creatures are contained in the rivers of Chili, of which the coypu, is a water rat, as large as and resembling the otter in its habits and form; and the guillino is a species of the castor, or beaver.

The shores of Chili throng with marine animals. The sea lion, the sea wolf, the chinchimen, or sea cat, a very formidable kind of otter, the lame, or elephant seal, which is frequently twenty-two feet in length and a proportionate bulk; and many other kinds are killed by the natives for the sake of the oil they afford.

In Arauco the lakes are said to contain a species of hippopotamus, as large as a horse; and the European quadrupeds which have been imported by the Spaniards, thrive exceedingly. Chili has also animals similar to the hare and the fox, but peculiar to itself.

Horses, asses, mules, cattle, sheep, goats, swine, dogs, cats and even mice have been introduced into Chili by the Europeans, and the first cat was given to Almagro by Montenegro, who received six hundred pieces of silver for it.

The horses of Chili are fine, strong, and very active. Those bred in the plains are the fleetest, whilst those in the mountains are the best for draught. These noble animals are necessary to the very existence of the Chilians, as they never perform any journey on foot, and would be unable to catch their cattle without them.

Chilian asses are stronger and taller than the European asses, from which they are derived; they exist chiefly in a wild state, and are hunted for their skins.

The cattle are also large, excepting near the coasts, where the herbage is not so luxuriant; and so numerous are these useful beasts, that many persons have 12,000 head on their estates. They[Pg 259] require no care, and enough are usually killed at Christmas to serve for salt provision for the rest of the year, and for exportation.

Sheep, in this country, are equal to those of Spain, and are chiefly kept for the sake of their wool only.

Goats have multiplied astonishingly, and are hunted, in the mountains, for their skins.

The birds of Chili are as numerous as in Mexico, the known species inhabiting the land amounting to 135, and the aquatic to far more.

Parrots, swans, flamingoes, whose beautiful feathers are prized by the Indians for head dresses; wild geese, ducks, pigeons, turtle-doves, plovers, curlews, divers, herons, kites, falcons, blackbirds, crows, woodpeckers, partridges and European domestic fowls are common.

An eagle named calquin, measures ten feet and a half from the extremity of one wing, when extended, to that of the other.

The penguin inhabits the southern shores and islands; the alcatraz or brown pelican is as large as a turkey-cock, and may be constantly seen on the rocks and islets in the sea.

Humming-birds are very common in the fields and gardens; of which, three species, the little, the blue-headed, and the crested, are peculiar to Chili. Thrushes and other birds of song are very plentiful, and enliven the dreary woods with their varied notes.

The jacana is a kind of water-hen, about the size of a magpie, with a spur on each wing.

The piuquen or bustard, is larger than that of Europe, and nearly white, inhabiting the great plains; this bird lays two eggs larger than those of a goose, and is easily tamed.

The cheuque, or American ostrich, is sometimes seen in the plains of Chili, but chiefly inhabits that part of Araucania on the east of the Andes[Pg 260] and the valleys of those mountains, and exactly resembles the cassowary of La Plata.

Its stature is equal to that of a man, its neck being two feet eight inches long, with legs of the same height; the plumage of the back and wing is generally dark grey, the other parts of the body being white, though some are seen all white, and others all black; and it has not the callous substance on its wings or breast as the African ostrich has, but it is equally voracious.

The note of this bird is a shrill whistle, and the female lays from forty to sixty eggs, in a careless manner, on the ground at a time; they are good eating, and as large as those of the eastern ostrich.

The feathers are very beautiful, and by their great quantity on the wings, hinder the bird from rising; its motion is a quick run, in which it is so much assisted by the wings, which are eight feet in length, that it outstrips the fleetest horse. The Indians make plumes, parasols, and many beautiful ornaments of the feathers, which are highly valued.

There are also several kinds of owls, falcons, and vultures peculiar to this country, but the largest, as well as the most extraordinary of the winged tribe, is the condor or manque; its wings when extended, measuring from fourteen to sixteen feet; its body is covered with black feathers, excepting the back, which is white, the neck is encircled with a white ruff, projecting an inch beyond the other feathers, and the head is covered with short thin hairs; the irides of the eyes are of a reddish brown, and the pupils black. The beak is four inches long, very broad and crooked, white towards the point, and black at the base. The legs are short, and the feet are furnished with four strong toes, the hindmost being two inches long, with one joint and a black nail an inch in length; the middle toe has three joints, is six inches long, and has a crooked whitish nail of two inches; the other toes are shorter, and each armed with very[Pg 261] strong talons. The general figure of the bird is that of an eagle, but the female is smaller than the male, has no ruff, but only a small tuft at the back of the neck, and builds her nest on the highest cliffs, laying two white eggs larger than a turkey's.

These immense eagles frequently carry off sheep and goats, and even calves, when they are separated from the cows. When they attack a calf, it generally happens, that several condors pounce upon it at once, tear out its eyes, and rend it in pieces. The peasants have several methods of taking and killing this bird, which possesses such strength, that it is rarely shot, owing to the great velocity with which it ascends into the higher regions of the air.

The coasts of Chili and its rivers abound with many kinds of shell-fish common to the American seas, and others which are found on these shores alone. Oysters, craw-fish, crabs, lobsters, &c., are in great abundance, and the bays, harbours, and creeks swarm with fish, no less than seventy-six different species having been enumerated; and all the rivers beyond the thirty-fourth degree of south latitude are remarkable for containing fine trout, &c.

Insects are as numerous as the former; the lanthorn fly, glow-worms, &c., illuminating the forest and plains during the dark nights, and the fields and gardens glittering in the day-time with thousands of the most beautiful butterflies. The wild bees produce so much wax, that the churches are supplied with tapers from the collections of that useful substance made in the woods.

Mosquitoes, gnats, and venomous flies are not known in Chili; but a great spider is found near Santiago, whose body is as large as a hen's egg, and covered with soft brown hair, the legs are long and large, and armed with great fangs; though it is innoxious and lives under ground. Scorpions of a small size are also found in the Lower Andes and on the shores of the rivers, but they are said[Pg 262] not to be dangerous. The reptiles of Chili consist only of sea and fresh water turtles, two kinds of frogs, the land and water toad, aquatic and terrestrial lizards, and one kind of serpent, but none of them are venomous.

Commerce.—The external trading relations of this country are carried on by the straights of Magellan with Europe, and by the Pacific with Peru, particularly with the port of Callao; with Peru it trades in fruits, preserves, grain, vegetable productions and copper, to the annual amount of 700,000 piastres, from which traffic it derives a net profit of 200,000 piastres.

From Europe it receives linens, woollens, hats, steel, mercury, and most articles of European manufactures, in return for which Chili sends gold, silver, copper, vicuna wool and hides; and this trade is said to amount annually to 1,000,000 of piastres.

Between La Plata and Chili there is an internal traffic in favour of the former for Paraguay tea, &c. But the internal commerce of the Chilian provinces is trifling. The inhabitants make ponchos, a sort of loose cloak universally worn, and principally manufactured by the Indians, stockings, carpets, blankets, saddles, hats, cloths, &c., which are chiefly used by the peasantry, the richer class employing European goods. These with grain, wine, brandy and leather, form the chief articles of home consumption and trade. On the whole the present state of commerce in Chili is not very flourishing, owing to the few inhabitants in proportion to the extent of the country.

A late traveller has given for the united exportation and importation of Peru and Chili, the following average, viz. for the importation 11,500,000 piastres: for the exportation in agricultural produce 4,000,000 of piastres, and for the exportation of gold and silver 8,000,000; or 2,491,670l. sterling for the importations, and 2,600,000l. sterling for the exports, leaving a clear profit of 108,330l.

[Pg 263]

Capital.—The metropolis of Chili is the city of Santiago, founded by Pedro de Valdivia, in 1541, in an extensive valley inclosed on the east by the Andes; on the west by the hills of Prado and Poanque; on the north by the river Colina, and on the south by the Mapocho or Tepocalma, which flows on the northern side of the city. It was first called Nueva Estremadura, but soon changed its name to that which it now bears, and its situation is the most delightful that can be imagined, in the midst of a fertile and abundant country, and in a serene and temperate climate.

Santiago stands fifty-five miles from its port of Valparaiso, in 33° 26' south latitude, and 70° 44' west longitude. Its population is supposed to exceed 36,000 souls, many of whom are people of noble descent, and whose families enjoy exalted stations in the colonies. They are in general robust, well made, and active; the women are handsome, elegant in their manner, and graceful in their conversation. More than one half are creoles, and in the other moiety, the Indians bear the largest proportion.

The streets are very wide, paved, and built in straight lines forming small squares at intervals, each house having its garden, and though they are built low, yet they are in general convenient and well finished. The river is conveyed by small canals into the gardens, and the chief square, which is in the centre of the town, has a magnificent fountain. This square contains the palace of the captain-general, the court of the Royal Audience, the town-hall, the prison, the bishop's palace and the cathedral.

The suburbs are separated from the city by the river, over which a fine stone bridge is thrown, and are bounded by a hill, from the top of which the whole plain is descried. Besides the cathedral there are four parish churches, nine monasteries, four colleges, an university, several chapels, seven[Pg 264] nunneries, a house for orphans, an hospital, and many other public buildings; the cathedral was planned and commenced by two English architects, but finished by Indians whom they had taught. It is a fine building, and is 384 feet in length. The mint is also a fine stone structure, and was built by an artist from Rome.

The governor of Chili and the bishop reside in Santiago, which being also the seat of the royal mint, and of all the public offices, renders it a place of great wealth and gaiety.

It is frequently subject to earthquakes, which are however seldom very destructive. The Araucanians destroyed Santiago in 1602, but they have not disturbed its tranquillity of late, having been driven by the increasing white population of Chili to the more mountainous regions.

Santiago is the see of the bishop of Chili, primate of the kingdom, whose revenues are very considerable; this bishopric was erected by Paul IV. in 1561, its immediate jurisdiction extends over all the provinces of Peru, from the river Maule.

The capital being the centre of all the internal traffic, and having rich mines in its neighbourhood, contains more shops than any other Chilian town; but these shops are confined to a particular quarter of the city, and are stored with every kind of goods. It is asserted, that the population and commerce of Santiago and its port are increasing very rapidly, owing to the number of vessels trafficking in the Pacific, and by late writers this population is made to amount to between 40 and 50,000.


Spanish Chili, or that part of the country which is colonized by Europeans, lies between the 24° and 36° 10' south latitude, and is divided into thirteen, or according to some accounts into fifteen partidos, or departments.

[Pg 265]

These having been already named, we shall give a slight sketch of each, with its capital and chief towns.

The first in proceeding from the north, southwards, is the partido, or—


Which is bounded on the north by the deserts of Atacama, on the east by the Andes, on the west by the Pacific, and on the south by Coquimbo; its extent being about 100 leagues from north to south.

This province is celebrated for its mines of gold and copper; it also furnishes fossil salt, sulphur and lapis lazuli.

The great Volcano del Copiapo is on its south-east boundary, and it contains the rivers Salado, Copiapo, Castagno, Totoral, Quebradaponda, Guasco and Chollai. Copiapo is seldom subject to earthquakes, and little or no rain falls in it, the want of which is supplied by heavy dews, and the many streams with which it abounds; no part of Chili is richer in minerals than this, and turquoises and other gems are also found in it.

The capital is Copiapo, on the river of the same name, and which has a port at the mouth of the Copiapo, which is the best on the coast. The city itself is twelve leagues from the sea, the houses being irregularly built, and containing about 400 families, in 26° 50' south latitude, and 70° 18' west longitude.

At the mouth of the Guasco river is also a port of the same name, in 27° 20' south latitude, but it is a mere village, as is the case with most of the other towns of Copiapo.


The second partido is that named Coquimbo; it is bounded on the north by Copiapo, east by the[Pg 266] Andes, on the west by the Pacific, south-east by Aconcagua, and south-west by Quillota. It is forty-five leagues in length, and forty in breadth.

This country is similar to Copiapo; it also is extremely rich in gold, copper and iron, and produces wine, olives, and every kind of European fruit, as well as several tropical plants. The rivers are the Coquimbo, Tongoi, Chuapa and Limari; and the volcanoes Coquimbo and Limari are on its western frontier.

The climate is mild, and the air pure and healthy. The great copper mine of Coquimbo, is situated on the Cerro-verde, a hill which rises from the plain in a conical form, and serves for a land-mark to the port.

The capital is La Serena, or Coquimbo, which is pleasantly situated on the river of the same name, in 29° 52' south latitude, and 71° 19' west longitude. It was the second town built by Valdivia, in 1544, and stands about a mile from the sea, commanding a fine prospect of the ocean, the river and the country, which presents a landscape of the most lively appearance. This city is large but not very populous, the families who inhabit it amounting to only 4 or 500, consisting of Spaniards, creoles, mestizoes, and a few Indians.

The streets are wide, straight, and intersect each other at right angles, so as to form squares and spaces for gardens; every house having its garden, which are well filled with fruit trees and esculent vegetables. Besides the parochial church, there are three convents, a town-house, and a college which formerly belonged to the Jesuits. Its port is also called Coquimbo, and is at the mouth of the river, two leagues from the city; here, and at Tongoi, which is twenty-two miles to the south, in 30° 17' south latitude, and is a small harbour formed by the estuary of the Rio Tongoi, vessels load for Peru with copper, hides, tallow, fruit, &c. The bay of Coquimbo is the only good one on its[Pg 267] coast; ships lie very safely in it, and are defended from all winds by several islands which are near it. Coquimbo has been taken several times by English cruizers.


This partido is bounded on the north by Coquimbo, south by Aconcagua and Melipilla, south-east by Santiago, west by the ocean, and north-east by the Andes. Its length from north to south is twenty-five leagues, and its width from east to west twenty-one.

The climate is mild, and the inhabitants cultivate grain of all kinds, vines and fruits, and feed immense herds of cattle. Gold and copper-mines are extremely numerous, and the natives manufacture rope, cords and thread; and these with soap and copper, constitute their principal articles for trade; the number of inhabitants is said to be about 14,000.

The rivers of Quillota are the Limache, the Aconcagua, the Longotoma, the Chuapa, and the Ligua. Its harbours are El Papudo, Quintero, La Herradura, Concon, La Ligua and Valparaiso.

This district contains the city of Quillota, and the towns of Valparaiso, Plaza, Plazilla, Ingenio, Casa-Blanca, and Petorca.

The capital, Quillota, or St. Martin de la Concha, is situated in 32° 50' south latitude, and 71° 18' west longitude, in a fine valley on the banks of the river Aconcagua. It has a parish church, three conventual churches and a college formerly belonging to the Jesuits, but is not a place of much note; the towns of Valparaiso and Petorca drawing away most of the settlers.

Valparaiso is situated in 33° south latitude, and 71° 38' west longitude, 225 miles north of Concepcion, and sixty north-west of Santiago; and was formerly a very small village, with a few warehouses, which[Pg 268] the merchants of the metropolis erected for their goods, in order to ship them for Callao. Its only residents were the servants who had charge of the merchandize, but in process of time, the excellence of the harbour drew many foreign vessels to it, and the merchants built themselves houses, since which it has gradually increased, and is now large and populous. Its situation is inconvenient for the purposes of building, as it stands at the foot of a mountain, so near to its cliffs, that many houses are erected in the breaches and on the acclivities.

Valparaiso has a parish church, a convent of Franciscans, and one of Augustins, but very few monks, and the churches of the convents are small and badly built. It is inhabited chiefly by whites, mestizoes and mulattoes who are engaged in the trade carried on with Peru and Europe; and the governor of this city is nominated by the king, being dependent only on the captain-general of Chili.

The ships from Peru all touch here, and take in wheat, tallow, Cordovan leather, cordage and dried fruits: many of these vessels making three trips to Lima during the summer, which lasts from November until June. Valparaiso is well supplied with provisions from Santiago and Quillota, and there is such abundance of game in its vicinity, that the markets are always well stocked with it; the partridges are so numerous in March, and three or four months after, that the muleteers knock them down with sticks without going out of the road. This circumstance is by no means singular, as it is observed, throughout America, that the birds of this species are remarkably stupid, and suffer themselves to be easily taken. The rivers of the country around Valparaiso, as well as the coasts, are very indifferently stocked with fish, which is not so plentiful in the northern as in the southern districts of Chili.

The harbour is every where free from rocks and[Pg 269] shoals, except to the north-east, where there is a rock within a cable's length of the shore, and this is dangerous, as it never appears above water.

When the north winds set in, which usually happens towards the end of summer, they blow directly into the bay, and causing a very high sea, render it necessary for vessels to have good hold with their anchors towards the north-north-east, as they are, otherwise, liable to be driven on shore. Three miles from this port is a pleasantly situated and flourishing little town named Almendral.

The last town of importance in Quillota is Petorca, between the rivers Longotoma and Qualimari, in 31° 45' south latitude and 76° 50' west longitude, which is very populous, on account of the number of miners who resort to work in the mines of its neighbourhood; but it is said, that of late the gold has been found to be so much alloyed with silver and other metals, that the works are not in so flourishing a condition as they were, though it has been one of the most productive undertakings in the kingdom. In the country around this town, which is near the Andes, the sides of the mountains produce palm trees of very large size, and the small cocoa not is found amongst them. The merino sheep bred here, yield a wool from which excellent saddles, much esteemed in Peru, are made; and which form an extensive branch of Chilian commerce.


Is bounded on the north by Quillota, east by the Andes, west by Quillota, and south by Santiago. It is about the same extent as Quillota, and is a level and well watered district, producing a great quantity of grain and fruits. In the mountains which bound, and may be said to belong to it, are the famous silver mines of Uspallata, with several of copper.

[Pg 270]

Its chief rivers are the Longotoma, the Ligua, the Chilé, and the Aconcagua; the latter of which is a very fine stream which waters, in its progress to the sea, from the Andes, the great valleys of the province and those of Curimon, Quillota, and Concon, forming numerous branches as it passes them. It enters the ocean in 33° south latitude. In this district is the high road leading to St. Juan de la Frontera, in Cuyo, by which the treasure and commodities are carried to Buenos Ayres. It is traversed, by the people employed in this traffic, only from November to April and May, the tambos and the other houses which have been erected by the government, are stored with meal, biscuit, hung beef, and fuel, during the winter, for the couriers who are obliged to go once a month for the mails from Europe, and who are frequently detained by heavy falls of snow.

The inhabitants of the partido of Aconcagua amount to about 8000.

Its capital is San Felipe, on the river Aconcagua in 32° 48' south latitude, which contains several convents, a college built by the Jesuits, and a parochial church. South-west of this city, and on the central ridge of the Andes, is the volcano of Aconcagua.

The village of Curimon, near the Andes, is noted for having a convent of Franciscans who are extremely strict in their rules.


Is bounded on the north by Quillota, east by Santiago, south by the river Maypo, which divides it from Rancagua, and on the west by the Pacific.

Its sea coast is of little extent, and its breadth, from east to west, is about twenty-five leagues; its principal produce being wine and grain.

The chief rivers are the Maypo, the Maypocha, and the Poanque.

[Pg 271]

The chief town is Melipilla, or St. Josef de Logrono, in 33° 28' south latitude, and 70° 7' west longitude, not far from the Rio Maypo, in a beautiful situation and fertile territory, but thinly inhabited, owing to its vicinity to the metropolis. It contains a parish church, two convents, and a college founded by the Jesuits.

St. Francisco de Monte, in which is a convent of Franciscans, and the port of St. Antonio, at the mouth of the Maypo, both of which are inconsiderable places, are the only other towns of any note in this province.


Is bounded by Aconcagua on the north, the Andes on the east, Melipilla on the west, and the Rio Maypo on the south.

It is twenty-one leagues long and twenty-six wide. The gold mines of this district are chiefly in the mountains, and can be only worked during the summer; but they are said to amount to 234, besides five lavaderos, or washing places, in the mountain of Guindo, and some other veins near Tiltil. Santiago also possesses many silver, several copper and tin, and one lead mine. The most celebrated of the first are those of Lampa. Jasper has been lately found in the settlement of Montenegro, of which the people make vases, jars, pitchers and other articles.

Santiago is watered by the Mapocho, Colina, and Lampa rivers, besides many beautiful rivulets. It also contains Lake Pudaguel, which is about three leagues in length.

No part of Chili surpasses this district in fertility. It produces immense quantities of corn, wine, and fruits; the peaches are particularly fine, and of a very large size.

The whole mass of the Andes, on its eastern borders, seems filled with metallic substances,[Pg 272] which are washed down by the rivers, the sands of many containing gold.

The capital has been already noticed by its being the metropolis of Chili.


Is bounded on the north by the Maypo, which separates it from Santiago and Melipilla; east by the Andes; west by the Pacific, and south by the Cachapoal, which river divides it from Colchagua. Its length, from east to west is about forty leagues, and its breadth, from north to south, thirteen.

The country is fertile and is inhabited by about 12,000 persons of all the different castes, who live in a very dispersed manner in small farms and settlements, and are not numerous.

It has several gold mines, and the mountainous parts contain fine rock crystal; near its northern border are some good medicinal springs and baths, which are resorted to by the inhabitants of the metropolis.

Rancagua is watered by the Maypo, Codagua, Cochalan and Cachapoal, or Rapel, near the mouth of which is a small volcano, and several smaller rivers which are of great benefit to the plantations, rendering them very productive.

There are also some large lakes, which as well as the rivers contain fish in abundance. The two most celebrated of these are Acaleu and Bucalemu, the first is six miles in circuit, near the centre of the province; and the latter, near the sea, is from six to seven leagues in length; near this is a smaller one, from which much salt is obtained.

Its capital is Rancagua, or Santa Cruz de Triana, a small town situated in 34° 18' south latitude, and 70° 42' west longitude, on the north shore of the river Cachapoal, and fifty-three miles south of Santiago. It has a parish church, a convent of Franciscans and another of Mercedarii. A town[Pg 273] named Algue, has been recently built, eight leagues, from the capital towards the sea-coast, on account of a very rich gold mine discovered in its neighbourhood.


Is situated between the Cachapoal on the north, the Andes on the east, the Pacific on the west, and the Teno river on the south. Near the Andes its breadth is twenty-five leagues, but on the coast it does not exceed fourteen, while its length, from east to west, is forty-three.

Its climate is temperate, the soil fertile, and, being well watered by numerous rivers, produces grain, wine and fruits. Here are several gold mines, and it is not wanting in other metallic substances. This province was formed out of part of the country of the Promaucians, who vigorously repelled the attempts of the first conquerors: but having been compelled to make peace they have ever since been the faithful allies of the Spaniards, and the enemies of the people of Arauco.

Their name signifies the Nation of the Country of Delight, in the Chilese language, as they were so called by the other tribes, on account of the beauty of the territory they inhabited.

The principal rivers are the Rio Claro, Tinguiririca, Chimbarongo, Teno and Nilahue, and it contains several lakes, of which Taguatagua and Caguil are the largest; the former is noted for the abundance of water-fowl which frequent numerous beautiful islands in it, and for its trout. This lake is fourteen leagues from Santiago, on the shore of the Tinguiririca. Caguil is small, and full of fish.

The capital and chief towns are St. Fernando, Rio Clarillo, Roma, Malloa, Topocalma and Navidad.

St. Fernando, the capital, is in 34° 18' south la[Pg 274]titude, near Rio Tinguiririca; it was built in 1742, and contains about 1500 families, with a parish church, a Franciscan convent, and a college, with a handsome church built by the Jesuits.

Topocalma is a port at the mouth of the river of the same name, which passes near the city of Santiago, and discharges itself into the ocean in 33° 31' south latitude.

Rapel is a settlement near Lake Rapel, a sheet of water formed by the sea. This village is noted for having a hill in its vicinity in which is a singular cavern, consisting of a single vault, fifteen yards long, and from three to four wide, to which there is a natural door-way two yards high. The other towns are of no note.


This partido is bounded on the north by Colchagua, on the east by the Andes, on the south-east by Chillan, south-west by Itata, and on the west by the Pacific. It is forty-four leagues in length, and forty in breadth, and, like the preceding, having formed part of Promaucia, is a delightful country, abounding in grain, fruits, cattle, sea and river fish, salt and gold; and the cheese made in Maule is esteemed the best in Chili.

It is watered by many rivers, of which the Lantue, Rioclara, Panque, Lircay, Huenchullami, Putugan, Achiguema, Longavi, Loncamilla, Purapel, Mataquito, Liguay and Maule are the largest.

The inhabitants of this fine province are mostly Promaucian Indians, who are tributary to the Spaniards, and live in villages governed by their ulmens or caciques.

The great volcano of Peteroa is on its eastern border, amid the Andes, and is the most dreadful of all Chilian volcanoes. Its greatest eruption[Pg 275] happened on the 3rd of December, 1760, when it formed itself a new crater. Peteroa is 105 miles south-south-east of Santiago, 192 north-east of Concepcion, in 34° 53' south latitude; and 60° 49' west longitude.

The capital of this district is Talca, or St. Augustin, founded, in 1742, in 35° 13' south latitude, and 71° 1' west longitude, 193 miles north-north-east of Concepcion, and 105 south of Santiago, on the shore of the river Maule. In its vicinity to the east is a fort to restrain the incursions of the Indians, and to the north-east is a small hill, which furnishes abundance of amethysts, and another which consists of a singular cement sand, known by the name of talca.

Its population is considerable, owing to the rich mines of gold in the mountains, and to the low price of provisions, which has induced many families to leave the other towns, and settle in Talca. It contains a parish church, two monasteries, and a college built by the Jesuits, and in its immediate neighbourhood are two chapels of ease.

Maule contains several other towns, and large villages of Indians. Curico, Cauquenes, St. Saverio de Bella Isla, St. Antonio de la Florida, and Lora, are the principal ones.

Curico, or San Josef de Buena Vista, was built in 1742, on a fine plain at the foot of a hill, from which there is a good view, in 34° 14' south latitude, and has a parish church and two convents.

Cauquenes was built also in 1742, in 35° 40' south latitude, between the rivers Cauquenes and Tutuben. It has a church and convent.

St. Saverio and Florida were founded in 1735, the first in 35° 4', and the second in 35° 20' south latitude.

Lora, near the mouth of the Mataquito river, is a large village of the Promaucians, a courageous, robust and warlike race; and it is governed by an ulmen or chief.

[Pg 276]

The port of the province is Asterillo, a small bay between the Maule and the Metaquito rivers: but the province of Maule is now said to be divided into three parts; the part southward of the river Maule being named the partido of Cauquenes, that on the north Maule, and on the north-east, some lands in Colchagua having been annexed, it is called the partido of Curico, with the town of that name for its capital.


Is bounded by Maule on the north, Chillan on the east, the Pacific on the west, and Puchacay on the south. From east to west its length is twenty leagues, and its breadth from north to south eleven.

The river Itata intersecting this department, it had its name from it, and the only other stream of note is the Lonquen.

The fertility of Itata is such that it produces the best wine in Chili; which wine is called Concepcion, from its being made on the estates of persons belonging to that city. The sands of the rivers above-named, contain gold, and some is also found in its mountains.

The capital of Itata is Coulemu, in 36° 2' south latitude, but it is merely a small place founded in 1743.


Is bounded on the north by Maule, east by the Andes, west by Itata, and south by Huilquilemu. Its length is twelve leagues, and breadth twenty-five, and the whole district till it reaches the Andes is a plain, in which immense flocks of sheep are fed, that are highly esteemed on account of their fine wool. The soil being very fertile produces corn and fruits in abundance.

[Pg 277]

Its chief rivers are the Cato, Nuble, and Chillan, and on its eastern border is the great volcano, which bears the name of the district.

The capital, St. Bartolomeo de Chillan, was founded in 1580 on the river of the same name, in 36° south latitude, and has been frequently disturbed and destroyed by the inroads of the Araucanians; in the year 1751 it was destroyed by an overflow of the Chillan, and in consequence, it was removed to its present scite, which is a short distance from where it first stood, and less exposed to the inundations of the river in winter. This city has a numerous population, one parish church, three convents, and a college founded by the Jesuits, 75 miles north-east of Concepcion.


Is bounded on the north by Itata, on the east by Huilquilemu, on the west by the ocean, and on the south by the river Biobio, being twelve leagues in extent from north to south, and twenty-three from east to west.

Puchacay is noted for the abundance of gold found in it, and for the fertility of its soil; its large wild and garden strawberries are much sought after for making preserves.

The Lirquen the Andalien, and the Biobio are its finest rivers.

The capital is Gualqui, founded in 1754, upon the north shore of the Biobio, in 36° 44' south latitude, and in which the Intendant or prefect usually resides; but the city of Concepcion is the most important town in the province.

Conception, or Penco was founded by Valdivia in a valley on the sea-coast in 36° 47' south latitude, and 73° 9' west longitude; at the commencement it flourished very much, owing to the predilection which the founder had for it, and to the quantities of gold discovered in its vicinity, but after the bat[Pg 278]tle of Mariqueno in 1554, Villagran the governor abandoned the place and it was burnt by Lautaro the Araucanian toqui; it was however rebuilt in November 1555, but Lautro returning with a great force took it, slew the inhabitants, and once more destroyed the town; Don Garcia de Mendoza restored it and fortified it so strongly that it was enabled to resist a siege by the Indians for fifty days; but Concepcion was doomed to be again taken and burnt by them in 1603.

The consequence of the harbour to the Spaniards, and the necessity of having a strong town on the frontier, caused it to be once more rebuilt, and as every means to increase its natural strength was taken, it soon became formidable enough to defy the Indians. This city continued to increase till 1730, when it was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake and inundation.

It was again rebuilt, but in 1751 another earthquake, attended with a still more dreadful inundation, destroyed it totally. The inhabitants fled to the hills, and continued in an unsettled state for thirteen years, when they resolved to build their favourite city a league from its former scite, in a beautiful valley named Mocha. Concepcion was erected into a bishopric after the total destruction of the city of Imperial in 1603.

The corregidor of Penco is commander of the army on the Araucanian frontier, and assembles the militia when ordered out at this place. There are also several public offices in Concepcion, viz. the royal treasury for the payment of the troops; the camp master general's office, &c. The royal audience was first established there in 1567, but was afterwards removed to Santiago.

Besides the palace of the captain-general who is obliged to reside at Concepcion occasionally, it contains a cathedral, convents of all the religious orders established in Chili, a nunnery, a college[Pg 279] founded by the Jesuits, public schools, and a seminary for the nobility.

The inhabitants amount to about 13,000; and the climate of this city is delightful, the temperature being always mild.

The bishop of Concepcion has a jurisdiction extending over all the islands and continental settlements of the Spaniards south of the province of Santiago; but what renders this city of the greatest importance, is its bay, which is one of the best in Spanish America. Its length from north to south is about three leagues and a-half, and the breadth from east to west three. In the mouth of it lies the island of Quiriquina, forming two entrances, of which that on the east is the best, being two miles broad.

In the bay are three anchoring grounds, that named Talcaguana is the most frequented by all vessels, as they lie secure from the north winds. It has a small town at its termination two leagues from the capital, and to which it gives its name; the two other roads are not so well sheltered from the north winds, and have not such good bottom as Talcaguana. The tides rise six feet three inches, but the water is smooth, and the current is scarcely felt. Though this celebrated harbour is so good, yet it is necessary to have an experienced pilot to conduct a ship into it, as there are several reefs and shoals off the entrance.


Huilquilemu is the thirteenth and last department of Continental Chili, and is bounded by Chillan on the north; by the Cordillera of the Andes on the west, Puchacay on the east, and the Biobio on the south.

The rivers Biobio, Puchacay, Itata, Claro, Laxo, and Duqueco are its chief streams, and the first named may be said to be the boundary between the[Pg 280] Spanish possessions and the country of the Araucanian confederacy. It rises in the Andes near the volcano of Tucapel, and runs into the Pacific, a short distance south of the city of Concepcion, where at a league above its mouth it is four leagues in breadth. The Biobio may be forded on horseback in summer, but in winter it is deep, and generally navigated with balsas or rafts. On the northern and southern shores of this river, the Spaniards have constructed a chain of frontier forts to restrain the Indians; these works are generally strongly built, and well furnished with arms, ammunition, provisions, and a competent garrison of cavalry, infantry, and artillery.

The principal forts are Arauco, where the commanding general resides, Santajuana, Puren, Los Angelos, Tucapel, Yumbel, Santabarbara, St. Pedro, Nascimiento and Colcura.

Huilquilemu is rich in gold, which is procured by washings in the numerous streams flowing from the Andes; its plains are very fertile, and yield grains and fruits in great plenty, and an excellent muscadel wine is made from the vines grown in its settlements.

The Indians are of the same tribe with those of Itata, and having been long accustomed to defend their country against the Araucanians; they are warlike and courageous.

The capital is Estancia del Rey, or St. Luis de Gonzaga, lately built near the Biobio in 36° 45', south latitude. It has a parish church, and a college erected by the Jesuits. The other places of Huilquilemu, are mostly small villages, and it contains the four frontier forts, Yumbel, Tucapel, Santa Barbara and Puren.

The Spaniards possess no other part of Chili on the continent, in proceeding to the south of the Biobio river, till the 39° 58' of south latitude, where they hold the city of Valdivia and the country in its vicinity, but as their tenure is by no means[Pg 281] certain without the walls of the town, it cannot be called a province.

Valdivia is situated on the banks of the river of the same name, in south latitude 40° 5', west longitude 80° 5', at three leagues distance from the sea.

This city was founded in 1551, by Pedro de Valdivia, who gave it his name, and amassed much gold in its vicinity, which tempted many Europeans to settle in it, so that it soon became a place of importance.

In 1599, it was surprised by the toqui Paillamachu, who entered it at night with 4000 men, slew the greater part of the garrison consisting of 800 soldiers, burnt the town, and carried the inhabitants into captivity. It was, however, soon rebuilt more strongly, and resisted all the attacks of the Araucanians, but was taken by the Dutch in 1640, who abandoned it soon after.

On the arrival of the Spanish fleet which had been fitted out to attack the Dutch garrison, they found Valdivia deserted, and therefore set immediately about adding to its fortifications, erecting four new forts on both sides of the river, towards the sea, and one on the north on the land front.

These precautions have prevented it from falling into the hands of the natives or foreigners, but it has been twice nearly destroyed by fire.

This town contains a college built by the Jesuits, several convents, a parochial church, and a royal hospital; and is governed by a military officer, nominated from Spain, who has a strong body of troops under his orders. The fortress is provisioned, by sea, from the ports of Chili, and the troops are paid by the treasury of Peru.

All the rivers in the vicinity of Valdivia contain much gold dust in their sands, and the plains furnish fine timber.

Its harbour is formed by a beautiful bay made by the river, which is navigable for large vessels a[Pg 282] considerable distance from its mouth. The island of Manzera, lying in the entrance of the stream, divides it into two channels, which are bordered by steep mountains and strongly fortified.

The Spaniards not possessing any other settlements important enough to excite notice on the main land, towards the south, we shall pass to the description of their island territories in this quarter.


No part of America has more islands on its coasts than Chili has, and many of these being inhabited, they form a political as well as a natural division of the kingdom.

The following are the chief Chilian Isles:—

The three Coquimbanes, Mugillon, Totoral and Pajaro, which lie off the coast of Coquimbo, and are each six or eight miles in circumference, but are uninhabited.

Quiriquina, at the entrance of the harbour of Concepcion, and Talca, or Santa Maria to the south of the harbour, which are two islands of about four miles in length, noted for the abundance of shell fish and sea wolves found on their coasts. In Santa Maria there are also fine springs, and many wild horses and hogs, the latter of which feed on the wild turnips which cover its valleys.

Mocha, in 38° 40', is more than sixty miles in circumference, and lies off the coast of Araucania; is not inhabited, but is very fertile, and was formerly settled by some Spaniards; at present it is frequented by the whalers from the United States and England, who begin fishing here, as it is well supplied with wild hogs; but the most important of the Chilian group are the isles comprised in the—

[Pg 283]


Which is an assemblage of islands, forty-seven in number, situated in a great bay or gulf, near the southern extremity of Chili, and extending from Cape Capitanes to Quillan, or from 41° 50' to 44° south latitude, and from 73° to 74° 20' west longitude.

Of this group thirty-two have been colonized by the Spaniards or Indians, and the rest are untenanted. The largest of those which are inhabited is Chiloe, or Isla Grande, which in former times was called Ancud, but has since given its present name to the whole group.

Chiloe is situated at the entrance of the gulf of Chiloe, or Ancud, having its western shore opposed to the continent, and forming a channel, which is about three miles broad at the north entrance, and twelve leagues at the south.

It lies between 41° 30' and 44° south latitude, being about sixty leagues in length and twenty in its greatest breadth.

The climate of this, and of all the others, is mild and salubrious, and the extremes of heat and cold are unknown. Unlike the northern provinces of Chili, the rains in Chiloe are so frequent that it is only in the autumn they discontinue, and that but for a short time. The air is, therefore, humid, and grain and fruits are not so abundantly produced as on the continent. The corn raised in Chiloe is however fully sufficient for the consumption of the inhabitants; and barley, beans and pease thrive very well. The vegetables principally cultivated, are cabbages and garlic; but the gardens do not produce much fruit; apples and some other hardy plants being the only ones which arrive to perfection.

Horses and cattle are bred in considerable numbers, as are sheep and swine; and in the two latter the commerce of the islanders principally consists.

[Pg 284]

Deer, otters and foxes are natural to the soil, and there is no want of game.

The seas around, and the streams which flow into them, swarm with fish of every kind; and the forests furnish abundance of timber fit for every purpose.

This group of islands was first discovered by Don Garcia de Mendoza, in his march to the south of Chili. In 1563, Don Martin Ruiz Gamboa was sent to conquer them with 60 men, and with this trifling force he subjected the Indians, amounting, it is said, to as many thousands. He founded the town of Castro and the port of Chacao in Chiloe. The Chilotes, or native Indians, remained quiet for a long time, but at last threw off the yoke of Spain; and Don Pedro Molina was then sent with a strong force from Concepcion, and soon reduced them to their former obedience. They are descendants of the Chilese of the continent, but far from resembling them in their warlike bent, are extremely timid and docile. The Chilotes are remarkable for their ingenuity, and are particularly capable of carrying on the trades of carpenters, joiners, cabinet-makers and turners. Their manufactures of cloths, linen and woollen, display much taste, and are dyed with beautiful colours.

The Chilotes are the best sailors in South America; their little barks, or Piraguas, are very numerous in the seas surrounding their island, and being navigated with sails as well as oars, give a lively appearance to the shores. In these barks, which only consist of a few planks sewed together and cauked with moss, they make voyages to Concepcion.

Besides the Chilotes, there are several other natives of different tribes in the islands, who have accompanied the missionaries from the neighbouring continent, and the Indian inhabitants of the Archipelago are said to amount to 11,000, divided into seventy-six settlements or districts, each[Pg 285] governed by a native chief. The number of persons of Spanish descent is about the same, dispersed in farms, in small settlements, and in four towns.

The commerce of the Archipelago is carried on by a few vessels from Peru and Chili, which bring wine, brandy, tobacco, sugar, Paraguay tea, salt and European goods, and take in return red cedar and other boards, timber of different kinds, ponchos or cloaks manufactured by the Indians, hams, dried and salted fish, toys and ambergris; but their trade will probably never be very thriving, as the navigation of the numerous straits formed by the islands, is extremely difficult and dangerous for large vessels.

All the islands are mountainous and full of craggy and precipitous rocks, covered with impenetrable thickets, which render cultivation difficult, except in the valleys and on the shores; the interior is therefore seldom inhabited; on Chiloe there are forty settlements or townships, which are mostly on the coast. These townships have each their church or chapel, but the houses are very much dispersed.

Earthquakes are as frequent in these islands as on the mainland, and it does not appear by any means improbable, from the conic formation of most of the mountains, and their scorified appearance, that they are the produce of some dreadful internal convulsion, which has disrupted them from the adjacent continent, on which is the lofty snow-capped summit of the great Corcobado, and several active volcanoes; the range of the Cordillera approaching close to the coast in these latitudes.

In 1737, the Archipelago suffered very much from the effects of an earthquake, and the islands of the Guaytecas group to the south, were covered with ashes which destroyed the vegetation for thirteen years.

The continent opposite to the northern ex[Pg 286]tremity of Chiloe, has some Spanish settlements in the country of the Canches and Huilliches, small but independent tribes; these settlements are said to be three in number, of which Fort Maullin, opposite to Chaco Bay in Chiloe is the chief, and the Spaniards are engaged in forming communications from this settlement to Valdivia; as the sea is rendered almost innavigable during the winter by the frequent and dreadful storms. Pedro de Agueros, gives the names of twenty-four islands on the east of the Great Chiloe, which are inhabited, but as so little is known concerning this group, and as several contradictory statements have been made about them, the mere names are uninteresting.

The capital is Castro, in 42° 40' south latitude, on the eastern shore of the island of Chiloe, upon an arm of the sea, and was founded in 1566, by Don Martin Ruiz de Gamboa.

The houses, as is the case with all the rest in the province, are of wood, and are inhabited by about 150 persons; it has a parish church, a convent of Franciscans, and another of Mercedarii, in which only two or three monks reside. This city was overthrown by an earthquake soon after its foundation, since which it has never been in a flourishing state; it is 180 miles south of Valdivia.

The other towns are the port of Chacao or Chaco, in the middle of the north coast of Chiloe, and opposite to Port Maullin, which has a tolerable anchorage, but is difficult of access.

San Carlos is on the Bahia del Rey, and was built In 1767, on account of the difficulties attending the entrance to Chaco. It is in 41° 57' south latitude, and 73° 58' west longitude, and is the most populous and flourishing town in the province, containing 1100 inhabitants. The harbour is good, but subject to tremendous squalls and hurricanes; and the town is fortified, and has a regular garrison;[Pg 287] and from the advantages of its harbour, the governor and council always reside at San Carlos.

The other islands have each one settlement and a missionary church on them, excepting Quinchuan, which has six; Lemui and Llachi, each four, and Calbuco three, but none of any material consequence.

South of the Islands of Chiloe is the Archipelago of Guaytecas and Chonos, lying in a large gulf or inlet of the continent, from 44° 20' to 45° 46' south latitude; they are comprehended by the Spaniards within the province of Chiloe, but are uninhabited, being a mere mass of granite rocks, covered with thick forests.

Some of these, namely, Tequehuen, Ayaupa, Menchuan and Yquilao, the Indians of Chiloe visit periodically, and put cows in them, for the sake of the pasture, which is luxuriant.

Having now concluded the description of that part of Chili inhabited by Spaniards, and their descendants, we shall give a slight sketch of the country, reaching from the Biobio river to Fort Maullin; and which, on account of its being the territory of the Araucanians and of nations in confederacy and identified with those people, in manners and language, it may be proper to give the general name of Araucania.


Extends from the river Biobio in 36° to the south of Chiloe, in the 45° of south latitude, exceeding 420 miles in breadth, and also occupying from the 33° to the 45° south latitude, both the central and eastern ridges of the Andes. The nations who inhabit this extensive tract are the Araucanians, possessing the country between the Biobio and the Valdivia rivers, the Pacific and the Andes; the[Pg 288] Puelches, who inhabit the western flanks of the Cordillera and its central valleys; and still farther north, on the Andes, adjoining Cuyo, the Pehuenches and the Chiquillanes, their territory lying as far north as the thirty-third degree of south latitude, or opposite to Santiago, the capital of Chili, and extending indefinitely to the east.

South of the Valdivia river, and as far as the forty-fifth degree, are the Cunches on the sea coast, and the Huilliches in the plains, near the western declivity of the Andes, which mountains are also occupied in this quarter by the Puelches.

All this country, to the north of the archipelago of Chiloe, is fertile and pleasant, consisting mostly of wide plains, agreeably diversified with mountains. That part which lies on the Andes possesses some beautiful valleys, but as the chain attains a great elevation the climate is cold. In these valleys, towards the east, salt and sulphur is plentiful; and the precious metals are by no means rare. Near Valdivia, immense quantities of gold were formerly found in the sands of the rivers and in alluvious grounds, but they are not worked at present, as the Spaniards are kept from those places by the natives.

In Araucania the vegetables and animals are the same as those of Spanish Chili; but the rivers and sea abound with fish in greater quantities than in the latter country.

The Araucanian nation is the most considerable and the most noted of all those which have been named as inhabiting Indian Chili; the others resemble them in their customs and persons, but are in a more savage state; we shall therefore only describe these extraordinary people, whose history forms so prominent a feature in the affairs of Chili. They are of a middling stature, well made, and of a strong muscular form and martial appearance. Their colour is the same as that of the other native American tribes, only rather clearer, and they have[Pg 289] round faces, small eyes, and small feet; and many of their women are said to be beautiful. Accustomed to a hardy life; and breathing a pure air, these people live to an advanced age, and are not subject to many disorders. In character they are haughty, free, patient under fatigue, and very intrepid in danger; but are fond of strong liquors, which causes them to commit crimes.

Their dress consists of clothes fitted close to the body, and ponchos, or cloaks, which are made of cotton, and are so beautifully worked that they are sometimes worth a hundred and fifty dollars.

Their heads are girt with embroidered wool, in which is placed plumes of ostrich, flamingo and other beautiful feathers. The women wear a robe of woollen stuff, descending to the feet, and tied round the waist with a girdle, over which they put a small cloak. The hair is allowed to grow long, and is formed in tresses ornamented with a kind of false emerald and other gems; necklaces, bracelets, and rings on every finger, complete the female toilet. The national colour, which is worn by both sexes, particularly among the lower classes, is greenish blue.

These people never inhabit towns, but dwell in huts, occasionally placed near each other, though oftener dispersed on the banks of the rivers and in the plains; these habitations descend from father to son, and are not removed, except in case of absolute necessity. The cottages are remarkably neat, and are proportioned to the size of the family; they are surrounded with trees, under whose shades their repasts are made in summer; and the rich people display much plate on these occasions. At their marriages, funerals, and feasts, the utmost profusion of provision appears; and at these times fermented liquors are given in such quantities that they often occasion feuds.

Polygamy is practised by these people, every man having as many wives as he can maintain, it being[Pg 290] deemed reproachful to remain unmarried. Instead of the husband receiving a portion with his wife, he pays a considerable sum to the parents for their permission to wed her; after he has obtained which, he carries off his bride without any further ceremony, excepting giving a feast to her relations. The first wife is regarded as the head of the family, the others being under her orders in respect to the management of the house; each wife has a separate apartment where she prepares food for her husband every day, and all present him once a year with a poncho or embroidered cloak, but the women are in general condemned to the laborious occupations.

Both sexes practise daily ablutions in the rivers, and are excellent swimmers.

Oratory is held in the highest esteem by these people; and their language, which is the ancient dialect of Chili, is very soft, harmonious, and rich. Molina in his description of Chili has given a full account of it, and says that it differs essentially from all the languages of the American tribes.

The government of that part of Chili inhabited by this nation is singular; they divide the territory into four parallel provinces, the maritime, the plains, the foot of the Andes, and that which lies on the sides of these mountains; each province is separated into five districts, and these are again subdivided into nine other portions.

The four provinces are governed each by a toqui or general, subordinate to whom are the Apo Ulmens; and on these, as far as military affairs are concerned, the Ulmens are dependent, each subdivision having its Ulmen or Cacique. All these magistrates have distinctive badges; the toqui a hatchet; the Apo Ulmen a silver-headed rod encircled by a ring; and the Ulmen a rod with a silver head; and these dignities are hereditary. The whole are occasionally combined in a general council, which meets on a plain; the chief occasion to assemble this council being to elect a supreme toqui for the command of the army when it is[Pg 291] about to take the field; and any native is eligible to this appointment.

Their wars are terrible, and as they are excellent horsemen, the Araucanian cavalry is very formidable, their arms being swords and lances; those of the infantry, clubs and pikes; their onset is furious, but always conducted with order, and though swept down in rants by the cannon, they close with their Spanish enemies, and fighting hand to hand, are frequently victors in spite of the superiority of European discipline and arms.

After a great victory they sacrifice a prisoner to the manes of their warriors who have fallen in battle; and this ceremony is said to be attended with some disgusting circumstances, such as the toqui and chiefs sucking the blood from the panting heart of the victim, which is cut for that purpose from his breast.

These people have always resisted the attempts of the English and Dutch to land on the shores of Chili; they were seen by Sir Francis Drake in his celebrated voyage round the world, in some of the islands near the coast, and subsequently they drove the Dutch from several points on which they had landed.

They have hitherto frustrated all the attempts of the Spaniards to conquer their country, and being in strict alliance with the surrounding nations, keep the Europeans at defiance.

The Araucanians are said to wander over the Andes with the Puelches, in order to attack the convoys of merchandize and the travellers going from Buenos Ayres to Chili through the Pampas; and have even penetrated in the disguise of friendly Indians, as far as Buenos Ayres itself.

We shall conclude this account of Spanish America with a short description of a Spanish settlement formerly made in the Straits of Magalhaens, and of the islands on the coasts of South America belonging to or claimed by that power.

[Pg 292]

The Straits of Magalhaens and others in their vicinity being at present, though it is to be hoped that the voyage now performing by order of the British Government will not long allow them to remain so, the only passage from the Atlantic into the Pacific Ocean, it may not be uninteresting to state that they were discovered by Ferdinand Magalhaens a Portuguese navigator, who having turned his mind to the circumstance of the extreme probability of there being a communication between the two oceans which had in vain been sought for by Columbus and his followers, offered to conduct an expedition to explore the southern part of America for this purpose.

Meeting with a denial from his own court, he went to Madrid, where, from his known talents and previous voyages, he received the utmost favour; a fleet was fitted out, and, being placed under his orders, Magalhaens sailed from the Guadalquivir on the 10th of August 1519, and discovering the coast of Patagonia, proceeded along its shores to the south, where the land bearing away to the west, the admiral followed it, till he found his squadron in the straights that now bear his name, through which he passed, and entered the great South Sea on the 28th of November, 1520; proceeding through it till he discovered the Ladrones, and in one of those isles was killed in a skirmish with the natives; after which, one of his ships only arrived in Spain by way of the Cape of Good Hope, on the 7th of September, 1522, having been absent three years and twenty-seven days; and having had the honour of being the first to circumnavigate the globe.

Sir Francis Drake, following Magalhaens by the same route into the South Sea, and taking much treasure and many ships from the people of Chili, Peru and Mexico, it was determined by the Spanish court that the newly discovered passage should be explored and fortified. With this view[Pg 293] Sarmiento, the best naval officer in the service, was selected in Peru to pass the Straits from the South Sea into the Atlantic; he accordingly performed this voyage; and so plausible were the representations he made to the cabinet of Madrid, that Philip II. ordered twenty-three ships to be fitted out, with 3500 men, under Don Diego de Valdez, and Sarmiento with 500 veterans was directed to settle and fortify such positions as he deemed the best.

It was more than two years before this fleet arrived at its destination: but as soon as it entered the straits, Sarmiento built a town and fort at the eastern entrance, which he named Nombre de Jesus and in which he left 150 men; fifteen leagues farther to the west he erected another fortress, in the narrowest part of the straits, and In 53° 18' south latitude, where he built his principal town, which he called Ciudad del Rey Felipe. This was a regular square, with four bastions, and is said to have been excellently contrived. In it was placed a garrison of 400 men and thirty women, with provisions for eight months: but on the return of Sarmiento into the Atlantic he was taken by an English ship.

The garrison, for want of succour, fell a prey to disease and famine, and on January the 7th, Sir Thomas Candish found only one Spaniard, out of twenty-three who had remained alive, which were all that had escaped of the whole colony; the twenty-two others had set out to find their way to the Rio de la Plata over land: but as they were never heard of, it is conjectured they must have perished miserably in the deserts of Patagonia.

Thus ended this seemingly well-ordered expedition; since which time the Spaniards have not attempted to resume the colony; finding that the straits were too wide to fortify, and that other passages existed to the south, which were equally good for the purposes of the navigator.

[Pg 294]


Commencing the description of the Spanish South American islands from the coasts of Chili, our attention is first led to the islands of Juan Fernandez, three in number; the largest, which alone properly bears that appellation, is in 33° 40' south latitude, and 80° 30' west longitude, distant from Chili 110 leagues, and was discovered by a Spaniard, who gave it his name, in 1563. This island was so much spoken of by navigators in early times that it was supposed to be a terrestrial paradise. It is, however, in fact, merely a small spot, rising out of the ocean to a considerable height, not more than four leagues in length from east to west, and generally mountainous, but there are some fine valleys and plains, which are full of trees and herbage. The hills towards the north are also covered with large woods, but those on the south are destitute of timber; every place is, however, overspread with coarse grass, which grows to the height of six feet. Among all the species of trees there are few of the tropical kinds, owing to the coldness of the climate; for being surrounded by the sea, it is even cooler here than on the coast of Chili, under the same parallel: but the European and American fruits peculiar to these latitudes flourish and grow abundantly.

Juan Fernandez has been the abode of several English navigators in the voyages round the world, and into the Pacific, from the circumstance of its being excellently adapted as a place of shelter and refreshment to squadrons or vessels cruizing against the trade of Peru and Chili; but the government of the former country made a settlement here in 1750, which completely prevented all vessels from[Pg 295] touching here excepting those belonging to powers in amity with Spain. Its western side is composed of cliffs rising perpendicularly out of the sea, but the north-west point is the first anchoring place, and here the Spaniards have a guard-house and battery. About half a mile east north-east of this is the great bay, where the anchorage is close to the shore; and in this bay is seated the village or principal settlement; in a fine valley between two high hills. A battery of five guns on the right commands the road, and there is another on the left, with seven embrazures to the anchorage, and seven towards the town.

In this village the houses amount to about forty; but there are several dispersed over different parts of the island. Each house has a garden, with grape vines, fig, cherry, plum and almond trees, and plenty of vegetables.

The officer who commands at this island is sent from Chili, in which government it is included, and the island is called La de Tierra by the Spaniards, on account of its lying nearer the shore of Chili than the next largest, which is distinguished by the name of Mas-afuera, or the farthest, and is 80 miles west from Juan Fernandez, in 80° 46' west longitude, and 33° 45' south latitude. This last is very high and mountainous, and at a distance appears one hill; its form is triangular, and seven or eight leagues in circuit; the southern part is much the highest, and on the north end are some clear spots, but the rest is covered with wood. Several parts of the coasts of this isle afford good anchorage, but the bottom is generally deep; and it abounds in goats, which are easily caught and afford a good supply of fresh provision. On the south-west point of the island is a pierced rock, which proves a good mark for the anchorage on the western shore.

Mas-afuera contains plenty of wood and fresh water, falling in cascades from the high ground of the interior; but these articles cannot be procured without difficulty, on account of the rocky nature[Pg 296] of the shore causing the surf to beat violently. Several birds, and amongst these large hawks, are seen on the land, and hovering over the fish which abound on the shores, and may be easily caught. Sea wolves, seals, and other aquatic animals, are also very common.

Off the south-western extremity of Juan Fernandez is a small uninhabited isle, or rather rock, named Isla de Cabras, or Isle of Goats.

These islands are noted for having been the residence of two persons whose adventure gave rise to the novel of Robinson Crusoe. The one was a Mosquito Indian left there by the Buccaneers, and the other Alexander Selkirk, a Scotchman, also left there by his ship, and who lived four or five years on Juan Fernandez, subsisting upon the goats he caught, which were introduced into the islands by Fernandez, the discoverer, who settled and died in La de Tierra.

In proceeding to the north from these, the next isles of any consequence off the coasts of Peru, are those named St. Felix and St. Ambrose; but these are mere rocks of some extent and very high, on which innumerable seals and marine animals are found. They are not more than five miles in circumference, and are four leagues and a half distant from each other, between 26° 19' and 26° 13' south latitude, and between 79° 41' and 79° 26' west longitude.

On the coast of Peru, opposite the town of Pisco are the Isles of Lobos, or the Sea Wolves, where numbers of seals and other aquatic animals may be caught; they are also, however, mere rocks; north-north-west of these rocks is the small isle of Sangallan in 13° 45' south latitude, famous for seals and sea wolves, and north of this are the isles Chinca, Pachacamac, and St. Lorenzo, all small, but the latter of which is famous as forming the road of Callao, being the place where the Dutch fortified themselves in 1624, when they made an attempt against Lima.

[Pg 297]

North of these are the Farellones de Huara, which are dangerous rocks, and the isles de Saint Martin, de Santa, and de Chao, also very small, and close to the coast of Peru.

The next are the Lobos de Mar, formerly the resort of the Buccaneers, and the Lobos de Tierra, the first sixteen leagues from the shore, and the latter close to it; they are twelve miles from each other, in 6° 25' and 6° 45' south latitude, but are unimportant.

North of these, in the gulf of Guayaquil, is the large island of Puna already mentioned.

The next on the coast of New Granada is Salengo, a small isle near Cape Santa Elena, and still further is La Plata, the place where Sir Francis Drake divided his plunder, and is a very small isle close to the coast, in 1° 10' north latitude, which is followed at a considerable distance on the shore of Atacames, by the Isla del Gallo, a small uninhabited spot, furnishing good wood and water, in 2° 28' south latitude, and 76° 47' west longitude.

The next is Gorgona, in 3° 36' south latitude, and 77° 52' west longitude, 10 miles in circumference, and eighteen from the coast; opposite to these, but at a great distance from the land, are the Gallapagos or Tortoise Islands, but as they are uninhabited, and more than 110 leagues from the land, a description will take us beyond the limits we have prescribed to the work.

From Plata there are no isles of any consequence on the coast, till those which lie in the bay of Panama, occur, but they have already been mentioned in the description of the isthmus.

Crossing to the western side, and beginning at the northern boundary of Panama, we find several groups of rocky islets on the shores of that province, but none of them are of sufficient size or importance to merit a detail of their figure or qualities; passing therefore along the northern shore, the island of Baru, or Varu, presents itself near the southern part of that which Carthagena is built. It is large, fertile, and inhabited; its length is[Pg 298] about sixteen miles, and breadth three, in 10° 12' north latitude, and 75° 25' west longitude.

Off the coast of Caraccas are several large islands, of which Aves, Rocca, Orchilla, Blanca, Tortuga-Salada, Margarita, Cubagua, Cocke, Los Testigos, and some others belong to the Spaniards, and are included within the limits of the captain-generalship of Caraccas. Aves and Rocca, are barren and uninhabited rocks; Orchilla or Horchilla, is a small cluster, in 12° north latitude, and 65° 20' west longitude, the largest isle being in the form of a crescent, and is low, excepting on the east and west capes, which are very hilly; on this part the trees and verdure abound, whilst the other sides are barren and salt. The only animals on it are goats and lizards, and it contains but little fresh water; Blanca, or Blanquilla, in 11° 56' north latitude, and 64° 40' west longitude, is also desert, but higher and more rocky than the former.

Tortuga-Salada is in 10° 53' north latitude, and 65° 18' west longitude, ninety-five miles east-north-east of La Guayra on the main land, and forty-eight west of Margarita, being about thirty miles in circumference, and abounding in salt ponds. The southern part contains some fresh-water springs, and is well covered with trees, but the rest is barren, naked and full of salt-pools, for which reason it was much frequented by vessels of all nations, in order to take in cargoes of that substance, but the Spaniards have lately laid these pools under water; this island is, however, still used by foreign vessels in time of peace, and on it are some goats which have multiplied very much. Margarita has been already noticed; its western side is a noted sea-mark, on account of a cape in 64° 26' west longitude, named Cape Macanao, the mountains of which are 3500 or 4000 feet in height above the sea.

Cubagua, Coche, Los Testigos and Los Frayles, are small uninhabited islands in the neighbourhood of Margarita, but were formerly noted for their[Pg 299] pearl fishery, and they were first discovered by Columbus. On Cubagua a town was founded soon after by Ojeda, who named it New Cadiz; but no vestiges of it now remain. At that time the coast from Paria to Cape Vela, was named Costa de las Perlas, the Coast of Pearls, the first Spaniards who landed on this shore, finding the natives every where decorated with those valuable jewels. So actively was the trade carried on in these islands, that at the conquest, Coche alone furnished to the value of 1500 marks a month; and the King's annual fifth amounted to 15,000 ducats; til 1530, the pearl fishery averaged yearly 173,000l., while the American mines furnished only during the same period, 434,000l. sterling. But this fishery diminished rapidly afterwards, and was entirely at an end before 1683.

The destruction of the oysters contributed to this decay, as well as the cutting and setting diamonds which had become common in the 16th century. At present the Indians are the only persons concerned in this traffic, and they sometimes procure a few pearls, but they are generally of the seed kind, and they sell them at Cumana for five shillings a dozen.

The island of Cubagua is full of small deer, which are of a brownish red on the back, white under the belly, and beautifully spotted, some of them are quite white; the Guayqueria Indians frequently land on the island to kill them for the sake of the venison and skins.

Nearer the coasts of Caraccas, and between La Guayra and Cumana, in the bays of Mochima and Santa Fé, are some extraordinary islets named Caraccas and Chimanas the former being three, and the latter eight in number, but they are nearly barren rocks, some of which, as Picua, Picuita, Caraccas, and Boracha which is the largest, rise to the height of 930 feet above the surrounding ocean. On one of them are large wild goats, which were originally left there by a family who settled on it[Pg 300] from the continent; but the father outliving his children, and becoming rich enough to purchase slaves, he brought two blacks from Cumana, who murdered him, and living on the produce of the farm, were undiscovered in so lonely a spot, for a length of time; but by some accident the affair becoming known, they were taken to Cumana, where one was beheaded, and the other turned public executioner in order to save his life.

Between Cape Unare and Barcelona are the two Piritoo islands, which are low and covered with herbage, but are uninhabited and of small size.

In the channel between the British island of Trinidad and Cape Paria are several small and desert isles which are of little importance; and descending further to the south, the islands of the mouths of the Orinoco present themselves, inhabited by a fierce and warlike tribe of Indians, named the Guarounoes.

No island of any importance occurs on the Spanish coast of South America, till we reach the mouth of the La Plata, where the island of Lobos, Wolves, in south latitude 35° and fifteen miles south-west of Cape Santa Maria, is found; it is small and chiefly noted for the quantity of sea-wolves, seals and other marine animals which are taken on it.

The Falkland or Malouin Islands, on the east of the Straits of Magellan, are at present possessed by the Spaniards, as they have a fort and barracks on the eastern one, which they have named Soledad; here all the male criminals from Peru and Buenos Ayres are sent for life; vessels sail with these convicts, and with provisions at stated seasons, but as no woman ever accompanies them, Soledad cannot be named a Spanish colony; and it is even doubtful, whether in the present state of the government of Buenos Ayres, they continue to send their delinquents to this banishment.

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The accompanying plate represents the elevations which some of the most noted summits attain in Mexico or New Spain, contrasted with the altitudes of the higher peaks of the Southern Andes in Quito, Merida, Santa Marta and Caraccas; by which it will be readily seen, that the northern range of the Cordillera of the Andes, is not very inferior in height to that part of the chain which has been considered, till very lately, to reach an elevation unequalled by any other mountains in the world.

Recent enquiries, and the researches of zealous travellers and geographers, have not only disclosed the fact, that the Asiatic summits rival and surpass those of Peru, but have also made it questionable whether the continuation of the Andean chain, south of Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, &c. is not far superior in altitude to those celebrated peaks.

It is true, that the Cordillera sinks very much after it has passed the confines of Peru, and that it continues to lower its lofty crest in running through the vast deserts of Atacama, in the kingdom of La Plata, and the upper districts of Chili; but no sooner has it passed these provinces, than it again assumes the same majestic form, and continues it in three parallel ridges, as far as the forty-fifth degree of south latitude, beyond which scarcely any thing[Pg 302] is known of this enormous chain, excepting that its height is very great till it loses itself in the ocean of the south, opposite to Cape Pilares, the western entrance of the Straits of Magalhaens.

From its quitting Copiapo, the most northerly province of Chili, till it arrives opposite to the great island of Chiloe and the archipelago of Guaytecas, is the space in which the Cordillera is conjectured to attain an elevation superior to that of the equatorial ridges of Popayan and Quito; as in this space are the lofty peaks of the Descabezado, the Tupungato, Blanquillo, Manflos, Longavi, Chillan, and the Corcobado or Gibbous mountain; all of which rise so far superior to the lower limits of perpetual congelation, that not only Molina, but other travellers have imagined they must be higher than the equinoctial range, though unfortunately all those who have had the opportunity of seeing them, have either been ignorant of the methods of determining their altitudes, or have been engaged in such active employments as to have precluded them from making any other than slight and general observations.

One of the most curious circumstances attendant on the scenery of the Cordillera of the Andes, and which is, from local causes, in a great measure peculiar to those mountains, is the extreme regularity with which the inferior term of congelation or lower limit of perpetual snow, is described on their heads; this feature has therefore been introduced into the drawing, and that in such a manner as to show by the scales placed on its sides, the various heights at which the phenomenon takes place, in the different latitudes the mountains are situated in.

Some of the principal cities, towns and volcanoes, and a few of the most extraordinary scenes in the Andes, have also been introduced, and a scale of miles has been adapted to the right hand, as well as a scale of feet to the left, in order to afford every facility to the reader of the work, in forming just notions of the singular situations of those objects, which may be better done in a graphic manner, than by any description; but as the immediate object of this plate is to exhibit comparative magnitude, on a determinate scale, it is with this view only that it has been constructed, no regard having been paid to the effect as a drawing.

In the centre is introduced the Mountain island of Socorro, one of the Revillagegido group, off the western coast of New Spain, which attains a great elevation[Pg 303] for so small a spot, and is remarkable as being nearly on the same parallel as the volcanic summits of Popocatepetl or the Smoky Mountain, Citaltepetl, or Pico de Orizaba, or the Starry Mountain; Iztaccihuatl, or the White Woman; Nauhcampatepetl, or Cofre de Perote, or the Square Mountain; the Volcan de Xorullo and the Volcan de Colima, on the continent, and as being itself evidently the produce of an ancient eruption.

Comparative Altitudes of Mountains and Towns

[Pg 304]

The ensuing list will be found to contain an enumeration of most of the works which may be referred to as the best authorities for the early and modern history, &c. of the Spanish colonies in the western world.

[Pg 305]


Account of the Expedition to the Mississippi, and to the interior of New Spain, by Zebulon Montgomery Pike, 1810.

Acosta, Historia Natural y moral de las Indias, 1591 and 1603.

A Journey through Peru, from Buenos Ayres on the great Rio de la Plata, by Potosi, to Lima, 8vo. in German, by Helms, Dresden, 1798.

Alcedo's Dictionary (Geographical and Historical) of America and the West Indies, edited by Thompson, 5 vols. 4to. 1810. London.

Alzate, Don J. A. Descripcion de las Antiguedadas de Xochicalco. Mexico. 1791.

Anquetil, Precis de l'Histoire Universelle, 12 vols, Paris, 1801.

Anson's Voyage round the world.

Astronomical, Barometrical and Trigonometrical Observations in the Equinoctial Regions of America, from 12° of south latitude to the 41° of north latitude, by M. de Humboldt, in French, 2 vols. Paris.

Aublet, Histoire des Plantes de la Guyane Francoise.

Aurora ó Correo Politico-economico de la Havanah.

Azara, Voyage dans l'Amerique Meridionale de Juin, 1781 jusqu'a 1801. 4 vols Translation, 1809, 8vo.

Azara, Don Felix de, Essais sur l'Histoire Naturelle des Quadrupedes du Paraguay, 2 vols. Paris, 1801.

Bancroft's Natural History of Guiana.

Beauchamp, Histoire de la Conquete et des Revolutions du Perou, 2 vols. Paris, 1801.

Bernal Diaz, Historia de la Conquista del Mexico.

[Pg 306]

Berenger, Collection Abregée des Voyages autour du Monde, 9 vols. Paris, 1789-90.

Biggs' History of Miranda's attempt to Revolutionize South America, 8vo. 1 vol.

Borda, Voyage de la Flore.

Boturini's Bernaducci, Historical Essay on New Spain.

Bougainville, Voyage autour du monde.

Bouguer, Figure de la Terre, 1 vol. 4to. Paris, 1749.

Buffon, Histoire Naturelle, 54 vols. Aux Deux Ponts, 1785-90.

Carli, J. R. Comte de, Lettres Americaines, 2 vols. Boston, 1788.

Cateri, 1697.

Cardenas, Historia de la Florida.

Chappe d'Auteroche, Voyage en Californie.

Cronica del Peru, por Piedro de Cieca de Leon, 1554.

Charlevoix, Histoire du Paraguay.

Churruca, Apendice a la Relacion del Viage al Magellanes, 1790.

Clavigero, Storia Antica di Messico.

Colnett's Voyage to the South Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, 4to. 1 vol.

Condamine, Voyage a l'Equateur. Paris, 1745.

Comentarias Reales de los Incas, por Garcilasso de la Vega.

Cook's Voyages round the World. 7 vols.

Correspondence du Ferd. Cortez avec Charles V. sur la Conquete du Mexique. Francfort, 1775.

Cosme Bueno, Descripcion del Peru.

Cronica Serafica de Queretaro, 1792. Mexico.

Dampier's Voyages, 4 vols. 8vo. London, 1729.

Depons, F., Voyage a la Terre Firme dans l'Amerique Meridionale, 1801-4, 3 vols. Paris, 1806.

Des Marchais, les Voyages de, par Labat, 4 vols.

Dobrizhoffer, de Abiponibus. Vienna, 1784.

Due Antichi Monumenti di Architettura Messicana Illustrati, da Pietro Marques. Rome, 1804.

Du Pratz, Voyages dans la Louisiane, 3 vols. Paris, 1758.

El Viajero Universal, por Estalla. Madrid, 1796.

Equiara, Bibliotheca Mexicana.

Equinoctial Plants of America, 2 vols. folio, (French) by Humboldt.

Essai sur la Geographie des Plantes, &c. par Humboldt.

[Pg 307]

Falkner's Patagonia.

Fernandez or Hernandez, Nova Hispania.

Feyjoo, Relacion de la Ciudad de Truxillo, 1763.

Fleurieu, Voyage de l'Isis, dans 1768 et 1769.

Forbes' Oriental Memoirs, containing Observations on parts of South America, 4 vols.

Frezier, Voyages de, 2 vols. 12mo. 1717.

Gap's Voyage of Lewis and Clarke to the Pacific, 8vo.

Gage, on Spanish North America, 1655, folio.

Galleano Viage al Estrecho de Magellanes.

Gazetta de Literatura de Mexico, a periodical publication. Mexico.

Gemelli Carreri, Giro del Mondo. Naples, 1699. 6 vols.

Gilij, Saggio di Storia Americana, or Storia di Terra Firma, 4 vols. 1780. Rome.

Gomara, Conquista de Mexico, 1553, folio. Medina del Campo.

----, Cronica General de las Indias, 1553, folio.

Grynæi, Novus Orbus, 1555.

Gumilla, Orinoco Illustrada.

Henderson's account of the British Settlements of Honduras.

Herrera Descripcion de las Indias Occidentales. Madrid, 1730.

History of Chili, by Molina, English translation, 2 vols.

Historia de la Nueva Espana escrita por Don Hernando Cortez y aumentado por Lorenzana.

History of the Settlements of the Europeans in the East and West Indies, by Raynal, 8 vols.

Historia del Nuevo Mundo, Girolamo Benzoni.

Horn de Originibus Americanus, 1699.

Humboldt's Political Essay on New Spain, 4 vols. 8vo. London.

Humboldt's Personal Narrative of Travels in America, 3 vols. 8vo. London.

---- Tableau de la Nature, 2 vols. Paris.

---- Monographie de la Melastomas, rhexia, &c. 2 vols. folio, Paris.

---- Observations sur la Zoologie, &c., 2 vols. 4to. Paris.

---- Vues des Cordilleres, &c., 1 vol. folio, Paris.

---- Researches, 2 vols. 8vo. London.

[Pg 308]

Jeffreys on the Spanish West India Islands, 1762, 4to. London.

Journal of Andrew Ellicott, Commissioner for determining the Boundaries of Ohio and Mississippi, &c.; 1803.

Kerr's Collection of Voyages and Discoveries.

Knox's Collection of Voyages.

Koster's Travels in Brazil.

La Florida del Inca, Madrid, 1723.

La Guia de Forasteros (Annual Almanac of Mexico); Mexico.

Labat's Voyages to the West Indies, 6 vols. 8vo.

Laet, Orbis Novus, 1633.

Lavaysse (Dauxion), Voyage aux Isles de Trinidad, de Tabago, de la Marguerite, et dans diverses Parties de Venezuela, 2 vols. Paris, 1813.

Leblond (J. P.), Voyage aux Antilles et à l'Amerique Meridionale, 1797 et 1802, 2 vols. 8vo. Paris. 1813.

Ledru, Voyage aux Isles de Teneriffe, Porto Rico, &c.; 1796-1798; 2 vols. Paris, 1810.

Lettre de Monsieur Godin.

Lockman's Travels of the Jesuits.

Malte Brun, Precis de la Geographie Universelle; 3 vols. and 2 vols. of maps, Paris, 1810.

Mawe's Travels in the Interior of Brazil, and Account of the Revolution in Buenos Ayres; 4to.

Marchand, Voyage autour du Monde, 1790-2; 5 vols. 4to. Paris, 1798-1800.

Marieta, Historia eccleslastica, 1596.

Memoirs of the Jesuits concerning California, 3 vols, 4to. Madrid, 1757.

Mercurio Peruiano (a literary periodical work), Lima.

Michaux, Voyage a l'ouest des Monts Alleghany, 1804.

Munorz, Historia del Nuevo Mundo.

Notes on the Viceroyalty of La Plata; London.

Noticia de la California del Padre Fray Miguel Venegas, 1757.

Oexemelia's (Oliver) History of the Bucaniers, 1686.

[Pg 309]

Origen de los Indios del Nuevo Mundo por P. Garcia, Valencia, 1610.

Observaciones sobre el Clima de Lima, por el Doctor Don Hipolito Unanue, Lima, 1806.

Oviedo, Historia natural de Indias.

Pauw, Recherches Philosophiques sur les Americains, 1769.

Perouse (La), Voyage autour du Monde, 1785-1788, redige par M. L. A. Millet-Mureau, 4 vols. Paris, 1798.

Perez de Roxas, Historia de Cinaloa.

Pinckard's Notes on the West Indies, 2 vols.

Pinkerton's Modern Geography, 2 vols. 8vo.

Piedrahita (Lucas Fernandez, el Obispo), Historia General de las Conquistas del Nuevo Reyno de Granada.

Poterat (Marquis de), Journal d'un Voyage au Cap de Horn, au Chili, au Perou, &c., 1795-1800, Paris, 1815.

Purchas' Pilgrim; a collection of curious voyages, in 5 vols.

Raynal, Histoire Politique et Philosophique des Etablissemens et du Commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes, 10 vols. et Atlas, Geneva, 1780.

Relations des diverses Voyages curieux, par M. M. Thevenot.

Robertson's History of America.

Robin, Voyage dans l'interieure de la Floride occidentale, &c., 1802-1806, 3 vols.

Ruiz (Hyp.) y Jose Pavon, Flora Peruviana, 3 vols. Madrid, 1798—1802.

Semple's Sketch of the present State of the Caraccas.

Sir Francis Drake's Voyages, London, 1653, 4to.

Skinner on Peru.

Solis, Historia de la Conquista de Mexico y de Nueva Espana, por Josse, 3 vols.

Solorzano Pereira, de Indiarum jure.

Southey's History of Brazil, 4to.

Stedman's History of Surinam.

Thou (I. A. de), Universal History, 1543-1610; 16 vols. London, 1734.

Torquemada, Monarquia Indiana, 3 vols. folio. 1615.

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Touron, Histoire Generale de l'Ameriquedepuis sa decouverte, 14 vols. Paris, 1768-1770.

Tuckey's Maritime Geography.

Ulloa and Juan's Voyage to South America, 2 vols. 8vo. (English translation.)

Unanue, Guia Politica del Peru (periodical).

Vater, Inquiries into the Population of the New Continent (German).

Vancouver's Voyage round the World.

Vida del Padre Fray J. Serro, Mexico, 1787.

Vida del Almirante Colon por Fernando Colon.

Vidaurre, Compendio del Chili, 8vo. Bologna, 1776.

Volney, Tableau du Climat et du Sol des Etats Unis.

Voyage a la Recherche de La Perouse, par M. D'Entrecasteaux.

Voyage au Perou, 1791-1794, par les P. P. Manuel Sobreviella, et Narcisso y Barcel, 2 vols. with an Atlas, in 4to. Paris, 1809.

Vue de la Colonie Espagnole de Mississippi, en 1802, Paris, 1803.

Wafer's Description of the Isthmus of Darien, 1699.

Walton's Present State of the Spanish Colonies, 2 vols. London.

Wilcocke's History of the Viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres, 1806.

Ydea de una Nueva Historia General de la America Septentrional, por Boturini.

Zarate, Histoire de la Conquete du Perou; Paris, 1742.

Zoega, de Origine et usu Obeliscorum.

[Pg 311]



Places.Government or Situation.Latitude north or south.Longitude west of Greenwich.Number of Inhabitants.
   D. M. S.D. M. S.
AbancayPeru13 30   0 S.72 26   0
AcapulcoNew Spain16 15 29 N.99 48 184000.
Aconcagua, or San FelipeChili32 48   0 S.
ActopanNew Spain20 19 30 N.98 49   02750 families of Indians, and 50 families of whites and castes.
Adais, or Adayes FortNew Spain32   9   0 N.93 35   0
Aguas CalientesNew Spain22   2   0 N.101 51 30500 families of whites, and many castes; famous for its hot springs impregnated with copper.
AguatulcoNew Spain15 44   0 N.
Alangi, or El AngelNew Granada 8 12   0 N.80 40   0
AlausiNew Granada 2 12   0 N.78 39   0
AlbuquerqueNew Spain29 35   0 N.79 40   06000.
AlmaguerNew Granada 1 56   0 N.76 54   0
AlvaradoNew Spain18 40   0 N.96 36   0
AmapallaGuatimala13 12   0 N.87 55   0
AmatiquesGuatimala15 23   0 N.89   0   0
AmparaesLa Plata19 12   0 S.67   3   0
AncoPeru13 14   0 S.73 10   0
AndahuailasPeru13 25   0 S.73   4   0
Antonio de BejarNew Spain29 50   0 N.101   0   02000.
Antonio de los CuesNew Spain18   3   0 N. Populous, and an ancient Aztec fortress.
Antonio de la FloridaChili33 39   0 S.71 41   0
ApalachiaFlorida29 43   0 N.84 28   0
Apurimac, source ofPeru16 10 or 20 S. Near the city of Arequipa.
ArchidonaNew Granada 0 45   0 S.76 48   0700.
ArequipaPeru16 16   0 S.71 58   024,000.
AricaPeru18 26   0 S.70 18   0
ArispeNew Spain30 36   0 N.108 58 157600.
AsuncionLa Plata24 47   0 S.59 35   0500 white families, and several thousands of Indians and mestizoes.
AtacamaLa Plata23 30   0 S.69 30   0
Atrato, mouths ofthe Gulf of Darien 8   2   0 N.77   6   0Rises in the mountains of Choco, and runs 95 leagues.
AtunxauxaPeru11 45   0 S.75 48   0
AvilaNew Granada 0 44   0 S.76 25   0300.
Austria, San Felipe deCaraccas10 31   0 N.63 41   0250 families.
BabahoyoNew Granada 1 47   0 S. Populous.
BaracoaCuba21   4   0 N.76 10   0
Baranca del MalamboNew Granada11 40   0 N.74 30   0
BarbacoasNew Granada 1 42   0 S.78   8   0
BarcelonaCaraccas10 10   0 N.64 47   014,000.
BarquisimetoCaraccas 8 55   0 N.66 55   011,300.
BatabanoCuba22 43 19 N.82 25 41
BayamoCuba20 46   0 N.76 55   0
BorjaNew Granada 4 28   0 N.76 24   0
Buenos AyresLa Plata34 35 26 S.57 24   060,000.
BugaNew Granada 2 58   0 N.
CadizCuba23   2   0 N.79 55   0
CalabozoCaraccas 8 40   0 N.4800.
CaliNew Granada 3 15   0 N.73 16   0
CallaoPeru12   3 42 S.77 14   0
CampecheNew Spain19 50 45 N.90 30 306000.
CarabayaLa Plata14 40   0 S.69 36   0
CaraccasCaraccas10 30 15 N.67   4 4520,000.
CariacoCaraccas10 30   0 N.63 39   06500.
CaroraCaraccas10   0   0 N. 6200.
CarthagenaNew Granada10 26 36 N.75 26 4525,000.
CarthagoNew Spain 9   5   0 N.83   0   0
CarthagoNew Granada 4 46   0 N.  5 or 6000.
Casas GrandesNew Spain33 30   0 N. Near the Rio Gila.
CastroChiloe42 40   0 S. 150.
CastrovireynaPeru12 50   0 S.74 45   0
CaxamarcaPeru 8   0   0 S.76 10   0Celebrated for the palace of the Incas it contains, which is at present inhabited by some of their descendants. Population 2000.
Cayman Grande Isle, east pointCaribbean Sea19 19   0 N.80 38 49
Caymanbrack, east pointCaribbean Sea19 40   0 N.79 47 22
Cerro de Axusco, mountainNew Spain19 15 27 N.99 12 30
Chachapoyas or Juan de la FronteraPeru 6 12   0 S.72 28   0
ChancayPeru11 33 47 S Populous.
Chiapa RealGuatimala17   0   0 N.93 23   0500 families.
Chiapa de los IndiosGuatimala17   5   0 N.93 53   020,000.
ChihuahuaNew Spain28 50   0 N.104 29 4511,600.
ChillanChili35 56   0 S.Populous
CholulaNew Spain19   2   6 N.98   7 4516,000.
Cholula, Pyramid ofNew Spain19   2   6 N.98 12 15
Chuquisaca or La PlataLa Plata19 40   0 S.66 46   014,000.
CinaloaNew Spain26   0   0 N.106   0   09500.
Coche, Isle of east capeCaribbean Sea10 45   0 N.63 51 38
Cofre de Perote, mountainNew Spain19 28 57 N.97   8 34
Colchagua or San FernandoChili34 18   0 S. 1500 families
Colonia del SacramentoLa Plata34 22   0 S.57 52   0
Comayaguaso or ValladolidGuatimala14 30   0 N.88 19 0
Concepcion del PaoCaraccas 8 42   0 N.65 10   02300.
ConcepcionChili36 47   0 S.73   9   013,000.
ConcepcionLa Plata23 23   0 S.57 16   01550.
CopiapoChili26 50   0 S.70 18   0400 families.
Coquimbo or La SerenaChili29 52   0 S.71 19   0500 families of whites, &c., and some Indians.
CordovaNew Spain18 50   0 N.96 56   0800 families.
CordovaLa Plata31 30   0 S.63 16   05500.
CoroCaraccas11 24   0 N.69 40   010,000.
Corientes, CapePacific20 25 30 N.105 38 45
CoulemuChili36   2   0 S.
CuençaNew Granada 2 53 49 S.79 14 4020,000.
CumanaCaraccas10 27 52 N.64   9 4716,800.
Cumana, port ofCaraccas10 28   0 N.64   9 45
CumanacoaCaraccas10 16 11 N. 2300.
CuruguatyLa Plata24 28   0 S.56 54   02250.
CuzcatlanGuatimala13 40   0 N.89 20   05000.
CuzcoPeru13 25   0 S.71 15   032,000.
DurangoNew Spain24 25   0 N.103 34 4512,000.
Fort BuenavistaNew Spain27 45   0 N.110   7 15
Fort del AltarNew Spain31    2   0 N.111 45 45
Fort del PassageNew Spain25 28   0 N.103 12 15
Fort Passo del Norte} New Spain32    9   0 N.104 42 45
GibraltarCaraccas10    4   0 N.67 36   0
Gracias a DiosGuatimala14 30   0 N.90   6   0
GranadaGuatimala11 15   0 N.86 15   0
GuadalaxaraNew Spain21    9   0 N.103    2 1519,500.
GualquiChili36 44   0 S. 
GuamangaPeru12 50   0 S.77 56   026,000.
GuanaraCaraccas 8 14   0 N.69 54   012,000.
GuanaxuatoNew Spain21   0 15 N.100 54 4570,600.
GuancavelicaPeru12 45   0 S.74 46   05200.
GuantaPeru12 30   0 S.74 16   0
GuanucoPeru 9 59   0 S.75 56   0Near the sources of the False Maranon.
GuarochiriPeru11 55   0 S.76 18   0
GuatimalaGuatimala14 28   0 N.92 40   019,000.
GuaxacaNew Spain17 30   0 N. 24,000.
GuayaquilNew Granada 2 12   0 S.79   6   010,000.
GuayraCaraccas10 36 19 N.67   6 458000.
HachaNew Granada11 28   0 N.72 46   0
HambatoNew Granada 1 14   0 S.78 25   09000.
HavannahCuba23   9 27 N.82 22 5325,000.
HondaNew Granada 5 16   0 N.72 36 15
JaenNew Granada 5 25   0 S. 4000.
Janos or Yanos, fortNew Spain 106 45 15
Ica or ValverdePeru13 50   0 S.75 28   06000.
Jorullo VolcanoNew Spain 101   1 30
Juan de los LlanosNew Granada 3   0   0 N.73 26   0
Juan Fernandez, IslePacific33 40   0 S.80 30   0110 Leagues from the coast of Chili.
Iztaccihuatl, volcanoNew Spain19 10   0 N.98 34 45
LambayequePeru 6 40   0 S.79 56   08000.
LampaLa Plata14 55   0 S.81 44   0
La PazLa Plata17 15   0 S.68 25   020,000.
Las CorrientesLa Plata27 32   0 S.57 50   0
LatacungaNew Granada 0 55 14 S.78 16   012,000.
LimaPeru12   2 25 S.77   7 1554,000.
LipesLa Plata21 40   0 S.68 16   0
LondresLa Plata19 12   0 S. Founded in honour of Mary Queen of England.
LoxaNew Granada 4   0   0 S.79 14   010,000.
MacasNew Granada 2 30   0 S.78   5   01200.
Magdalena, mouths ofCaribbean Sea11   0   0 N.74 40   0Main Channel.
MaldonadoLa Plata34 50   0 S.55 36   0
MaracayboCaraccas10 30   0 N.71 46   024,000.
Maranon, Mouths ofAtlantic Ocean 0 30   0 S.47 40   0
49 25   0
MariquitaNew Granada 5 16   0 N.74   6   0300.
Mas-afuera, Isle,Pacific Ocean33 47   0 S.80 41   0
MayobambaPeru 7   0   0 S.76 56   0
MelipillaChili33 28   0 S.70   7   0
MendozaLa Plata33 25   0 S.69 47   06000.
MercaderesNew Granada 1 45   0 N. Limit of the Conquests of the Peruvian Incas to the north.
MeridaNew Granada 8 10   0 N.73 45   011,000.
MexicoNew Spain19 25 45 N.99   5 15137,000.
MompoxNew Granada 9 19   0 N.74 11   0
MoquehuaPeru17 20   0 S.70 56   0Populous.
Monte VideoLa Plata34 54 48 S.56 14 3020,000.
MontereyNew Spain36 36   0 N.121 51   6700.
Moran-mineNew Spain20 10   4 N.98 25 45
NascaPeru14 48   0 S.75   6   0
NataNew Granada 8 35   0 N.81   6   0
NeembucuLa Plata26 52   0 S.58 11   01730.
Nevado de Toluca, mountain New Spain19 11 33 N.99 25 23
NeyvaNew Granada 3 10   0 N.74 16   0
NicoyaGuatimala10 42   0 N.85 53   0
NirguaCaraccas10   0   0 N.3200.
OcanaNew Granada 7 50   0 N.73 26   0
OmoaGuatimala15 50   0 N.89 53   0
Orinoco, mouths of Atlantic 8 30   0 N.59 50   0Boca de los Navios or Great Estuary.
OropesaLa Plata18 15   0 S.67   6   0
OtabaloNew Granada 0 15   0 N.77 56   015,000.
PamplonaNew Granada 6 30   0 N.71 36   0
PanamaNew Granada 9   0 30 N.79 19   0
PariaLa Plata18 50   0 S.68 20   0
PasquaroNew Spain 101 19 456000.
PaytaPeru 5   5   0 S.80 50   0
PensacolaFlorida30 28   0 N.87 12   0
Perdido, mouth ofMexican Gulf30 26   0 N.87 26   0Boundary between the United States and Florida.
Petatlan hillNew Spain17 32   0 N.101 28 30
PetorcaChili31 45   0 S.76 50   0Populous.
Pico de Orizaba, mountain ofNew Spain19   2 17 N.97 15   0
Piedra BlancaNew Spain21 33   0 N.105 27 30
PiscoPeru13 46   0 S.76   9   0300 Families.
Piura, or San MiguelPeru 5 11   0 S.80 36   07000. The oldest city of South America.
PomabambaLa Plata19 55   0 S.64   8   0
PopayanNew Granada 2 28 38 N.76 31 3025,000.
Popocatepetl, mountainNew Spain18 59 47 N.98 33   0
PorcoLa Plata19 40   0 S.67 56   0
PoreNew Granada 5 40   0 N.72 13   0500.
Porto BelloDo.10 27   0 N.79 26   0
PotosiLa Plata19 47   0 S.67 22   030,000.
Puebla de los AngelosNew Spain19   0 15 N.98   2 3067,800.
Puerto CabelloCaraccas10 20   0 N.69 11   08000.
Puerto RicoPuerto Rico18 29   0 N.66   0   >0Populous.
PunaLa Plata16 20   0 S.70 26   0Populous.
Punta del Ana Nueva, or Mission of Santa CruzNew Spain37   9 15 N.122 23 38440.
QueretaroNew Spain20 36 39 N.100 10 1535,000.
QuillotaChili32 50   0 S.71 18   0
QuitoNew Granada 0 13 27 S.78 10 1570,000.
Rancagua, or Santa Cruz de TrianaChili34 18   0 S.70 42   0
Real de Rosario mineNew Spain23 30   0N. 106   6 155600.
Real de los Alamos mineDo.27   8   0 N.109   3 157900.
RealexoGuatimala12 45   0 N.87 30   0
RiobambaNew Granada 1 20   0 S.78 30   020,000.
Rio Bravo del Norte, mouth ofGulf of Mexico25 55   0 N.97 30 55
Rio de la Plata, mouth ofAtlantic35 30   0 S.55   6   0Cape Santa Maria, 180 miles north of the South Cape, St. Antonio.
RiojaLa Plata29 12   0 S.70   0   0
SalamancaNew Spain20 40   0 N.100 54 45
SaltaLa Plata24 17   0 S.64   1 30
Saint Mary's River, mouth ofAtlantic30 35   0 N.81 41   0Boundary between the United States and Florida.
SantanderNew Spain23 45 18 N.98 12   8
San Antonio CapeCuba21 55   0 N.84 56   7
San AugustinFlorida29 58   0 N.81 40   04000.
San Bernardo de TarijaLa Plata22 14   0 S.65 20   0
San BlasNew Spain21 32 48 N.105 15 33
San CarlosChiloe41 57   0 S.73 58   01100.
San CarlosCaraccas 9 20   0 N. 9500.
San Diego missionNew Spain32 39 30 N.117 18   01560.
San Felipe, or CocorataCaraccas10 15   0 N. 6800.
San Francisco missionNew Spain37 48 30 N.122 36 45820.
San Josef missionNew Spain23   3 25 N.109 40 53
San Juan del RioNew Spain 99 52 15
San Juan missionNew Spain33 29   0 N.117   5   11000.
San Juan de la FronteraLa Plata33 25   0 S.68 55   56000.
San Joan del PaoCaraccas 9 20   0 N. 5400.
San Juan de PastoNew Granada 1 15   0 N.76 46   07000.
San Lazaro, mountainNew Spain24 47   0N. 112 21   0
San Lucas, capeNew Spain22 55 23 N.109 50 23
San Luis de CuraCaraccas 9 45   0 N. 4000.
San Luis de GonzagaChili36 45   0 S.
San Luis de ZacatecasNew Spain23   0   0 N.101 34 4533,000.
San Miguel de IbarraNew Granada 0   5   0 N.77 40   010,000.
San SalvadorGuatimala13 40   0 N.89 20   05000.
San Sebastian de los ReyesCaraccas 9 54   0 N. 3500.
San Sebastian del Oro, or La PlataNew Granada 2 50   0 N.75   0   0
Santa Barbara, missionNew Spain34 26   0 N.119 45 151090.
Santa BuenaventuraNew Spain34 17   0 N.119 25 15940.
Santa FéNew Spain36 12   0 N.104 52 453600.
Santa Fé, or BogotaNew Granada 4   6   0 N.78 30   030,000.
Santa Fé de AntioquiaNew Granada 6 48   0 N.74 36   0
Santa MartaNew Granada11 19   2 N.74   4 30
SantiagoChili33 26   0 S.70 44   036,000.
Santiago del EsteroLa Plata27 46   0 S.65 12   0500 Families.
Santo ToméCaraccas 8   8 11 N.63 54   2 6 or 8000.
SechuraPeru 5 32 33 S. 400 Families.
Silla de Caraccas mountain, highest-peakCaraccas10 31 15 N.64 40 55
SisalNew Spain21 10   0 N.89 59 30Port of Merida de Yucatan.
SoconuscoGuatimala15 28   0 N.94 36   0
Socorro, IslePacific18 48   0 N.110   9   0
SuchitepequeGuatimala14 44   0 N.93 36   01480.
TabascoNew Spain18 34   0 N.93 36   0
TacamesNew Granada 0 52   0 N.62   0   0
Talca, or San AugustinChili35 13   0 S.71   1   0Populous.
TarmaPeru11 35   0 S.75 17   05600.
TascoNew Spain18 35   0 N.99 28 45
TehuantepequeNew Spain16 20   0 N.95   1   02600 Families ofIndians and 50 of Whites.
TeneriffeNew Granada10   2   0 N.74 30   0
TezcucoNew Spain19 30 40 N.98 51   0
TiahuanacoLa Plata17 17   0 S. Famous for some singular monuments.
TimanaNew Granada 2 12   0 N.74 46   0
TocaymaNew Granada 4 16   0 N.74 59   0700.
TocuyoCaraccas 9 35   0 N.70 20   010,200.
Todos los SantosNew Spain23 26   0 N.110 18   0
ToluNew Granada 9 32   0 N.75 30   0
TominaLa Plata19 10   0 S.65 46   0
Tres Marias Isle south cape of the east islePacific26 16   0 N.106 17 30
TrinidadCuba21 48 20 N.80   0 52
TruxilloGuatimala15 51   0 N.86   8   0
TruxilloPeru 8   5 40 S.79 19 135800.
TruxilloCaraccas 8 40   0 N. 7600.
TucumanLa Plata26 49   0 S.64 36   0
TumbezPeru 3 26   0 S.80   6   0
TunjaNew Granada 5   5   0 N.72 56   0400.
Ucayale, junction of, with the False MaranonNew Granada 4 55   0 S. Forms the Maranon.
ValdiviaChili40   5   0 S.80   5   0Populous.
ValenciaCaraccas10   9   0 N.68 25   08000.
ValladolidNew Spain19 42   0 N.100 52   018,000.
ValparaisoChili33   0 30 S.71 38 15Populous.
VarinasCaraccas 7 40   0 N. 6000.
VelezNew Granada 5 50   0 N.73 16   0
Vera CruzNew Spain19 11 52 N.96   8 4516,000.
Vera paz, or CobanGuatimala15 50   0 N.91 14   0
Villa del FuerteNew Spain26 50   0 N.108 13 15
Villa del PrincipeCuba21 17   0 N.77 45   0
Villa RicaLa Plata25 48   0 S.56 31   03000.
XalapaNew Spain19 30   8 N.96 54 4513,000.
Xagua, Boca deCuba 80 34   7
XuxuiLa Plata23   5   0 S66   2   0

[Pg 319]

To this table it will not be uninteresting to add a summary of the population, &c., of the governments of Spanish America.

 Inhabitants.    Inhabitants.
New Spain 6,500,000, of which its capital, Mexico, has 137,000
Guatimala 1,200,000, "         " Guatimala 19,000
Cuba 550,000, "         " Havannah 25,000
Puerto Rico 136,000, "         " Puerto Rico, very populous.
Floridas uncertain, "         " San Augustin,
New Granada 1,800,000, "         " Santa Fé de Bogota 30,000
Caraccas 900,000, "         " Caraccas 20,000
Peru 1,300,000, "         " Lima 54,000
Chili 800,000, "         " Santiago 36,000
Buenos Ayres or La Plata 1,100,000, "         " Buenos Ayres 60,000
Making 14,286,000.

To which may be added 50,000 more for Cuba, as according to the latest enquiries that island possesses a population of 600,000 souls; thus there will be a total known population of 14,336,000, and allowing for the inhabitants of the Floridas, and the unnumbered Indians of the kingdom of La Plata, the actual number of persons existing under the government of Spain in the Americas, will not fall short of fifteen millions, while the Portuguese subjects in Brazil amount only to 3,300,000, of whom one million and a half are negroes, one million are Indians and the rest whites.

Of the above total of 14,336,000 souls, there are 3,000,000 whites born in the country, 200,000 Europeans, and the remaining 11,136,000 are Indians, negroes and mixed races, or castes, of which the Indians bear by far the greater proportion, the negroes in Caraccas amounting to 54,000, in Cuba to 212,000; the other states having comparatively very few slaves.

The spaces which this mass of people occupy, in the different governments, have been thus calculated:

  Square leagues.
New Spain extends over a surface equal to 118,748
Guatimala 26,152
Cuba and Puerto Rico 6,921
Floridas 8,555
New Granada 64,520
Caraccas 47,856
Peru 30,390
Chili 22,574
Buenos Ayres or La Plata 143,014

Making an extent of country equal to 468,730 square leagues; whilst Great Britain, which has a population of 12,596,800 souls, occupies a space equal only to 87,502 square miles.

[Pg 320]

The Mines of the empire of Spanish America furnish annually in gold and silver in—

  £ Sterling.
New Spain to the value of 5,030,800
New Granada 507,000
Peru and Chili 1,730,000
Buenos Ayres or La Plata 882,000

Making a total of 8,149,800l. sterling; to which may be added more than another million for the contraband trade.

The Commerce of these countries annually averages in—

  £ Sterling.
Importations 12,826,500
Exportations of agricultural produce 6,500,000
Exportations of gold and silver 8,149,800

And the annual Revenue is equal to nearly eight millions of pounds sterling.

[Pg 321]



Printed by A. Strahan,
New-Street-Square, London.



Transcriber's Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected and hyphenation has been standardised.

The use of accents has been standardised for names, to ensure compatibility with the index, but other variations in spelling and punctuation remain unchanged.

The errata have been implemented.



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