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^^?>H rs, '47 



















18 76. 


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by 

Harper & Brothers, 

In the Office of the Libi-aiian of Congress, at Washington. 










"Among the Bceues which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in 
sublimity the primeval forests nndefaced by the hand of man; whether those of 
Brazil, where the powers of Life are predominant, or those of Terra del Fuego, 
where Death and Decay prevail. Both are temples filled with the varied produc- 
tions of the God of Nature : no one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and 
not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body."— Dakwin's 
Journal, p. 503. 


This volume is one result of a scientific expedition to 
the equatorial Andes and the river Amazon. The expedi- 
tion was made under the auspices of the Smithsonian In- 
stitution, and consisted of the following gentlemen besides 
the writer: Colonel Staunton, of Ingham University, Le-^ 
roy, N. y. ; F. S. Williams, Esq., of Albany, IST. Y. ; and 
Messrs. P. V. Myers and A. Bushnell, of Williams College. 
We sailed from JSTew York July 1, 1867; and, after cross- 
ing the Isthmus of Panama and touching at Paita, Peru, 
onr general route was from Guayaquil to Quito, over the 
Eastern Cordillera ; thence over the Western Cordillera, 
and through the forest on foot to Napo ; down the Rio 
Napo by canoe to Pebas, on the Maranon ; and thence by 
steamer to Para.* 

Nearly the entire region traversed by the expedition is 
strangely misrepresented by the most recent geographical 

* Another division, consisting of Messrs. H. M. Myers, R. H. Forbes, 
and W. Gilbert, of Williams College, proceeded to Venezuela, and after 
exploring the vicinity of Lake Valencia, the two former traversed the llanos 
to Pao, descended the Apure and ascended the Orinoco to Yavita, crossed 
the portage of Pimichin (a low, level tract, nine miles wide, separating the 
waters of the Orinoco from those of the Amazon), and descended the Negro' 
to Manaos, making a vogage by canoe of over 2000 miles through a little- 
known but deeply -interesting region. A narrative of this expedition was 
published by D. Appleton and Co., under the title of Life and Nature under 
the Tropics. 

xii Pkeface. 

works. On the Andes of Ecuador we have little besides 
the travels of Humboldt ; on the Napo, notliing ; while the 
Maranon is less known to North Americans than the Nile. 
Many of the following pages first appeared in the New 
York Evening Post. The author has also published 
"Physical Observations on the Andes and the Amazon" 
and " Geological Notes on the Ecuadorian Andes " in the 
American Journal of Science, an article on the great earth- 
quake of 1868 in the Rochester Democrat, and a paper On 
the Valley of the Amazon read before the American Asso- 
ciation at Salem. These papers have been revised and ex- 
tended, though the popular form has been retained. It 
has been the effort of the writer to present a condensed 
but faithful picture of the physical aspect, the resources, 
and the inhabitants of this vast country, which is destined 
to become an important field for commercial enterprise. 
For detailed descriptions of the collections in natural his- 
tory, the scientific reader is referred to the various reports 
of the following gentlemen, to whom the specimens were 
committed by the Smithsonian Institution : 

Volcanic Rocks Dr. T. Steriy Hunt, F.R.S., Montreal. 

Plants Dr. Asa Gray, Cambridge. 

Land and Fresh-water Shells. M. Crosse, Paris, and Thomas Bland, Esq., 
New York. 

Maiine Shells Rev. Dr. E. R. Beadle, Philadelphia. 

Fossil " W.M.Gabb, Esq., Philadelphia. 

Hemiptera Prof. P. R. Uhler, Baltimore. 

Orthoptera S. H. Scudder, Esq., Boston. 

Hymenoptera and Nocturnal 

Lepidoptera Dr. A. S. Packard, Jr. , Salem. 

Diurnal Lepidoptera Tryon Reakirt, Esq., Philadelphia. 

Coleoptera George D. Smith, Esq., Boston. 

Phalangia and Pedipalpi Dr. H. C. Wood, Jr., Philadelphia. 

Fishes Dr. Theodore Gill, Washington. 

Reptiles Prof. E. D. Cope, Philadelphia. 

Pjreface. xiii 

Birds John Cassin, Esq..* Philaddphia. 

Bats Dr. H. Alien, Philadelphia. 

Mammalian Fossils Dr. Joseph Leidy, Philadelphia. 

Many of the type specimens are deposited in the mu- 
seums of the Smithsonian Institution, the Philadelphia 
Academy of Natural Science, tlie Boston Society of Nat- 
ural History, the Peabody Academy of Science, and Vas- 
sar College ; but the bulk of the collection was purchased 
by Ingham University, Leroy, New Yoi'k. 

The Map of Equatorial America was drawn with great 
care after original observations and the surveys of Hum- 
boldt and Wisse on the Andes, and of A_zevedo, Castelnau, 
and Bates on the Amazon.f The names of Indian tribes 
are in small capitals. Most of the illustrations are after 
photographs or drawings made on the ground, and can be 
relied upon. The portrait of Humboldt, which is for the 
first time presented to the public, was photographed from 
the original painting in the possession of Sr. Aguirre, Qui- 
to. Unlike the usual portrait — an old man, in Berlin — 
this presents him as a young man in Prussian uniform, 
traveling on the Andes. 

We desire to express our grateful acknowledgments to 
the Smithsonian Institution, Hon. William H. Seward, and 
Hon. James A, Garfield, of Washington ; to Cyrus W. 
Field, Esq., and William Pitt Palmer, Esq., of New York ; 
to C. P. Williams, Esq., of Albany ; to Eev. J. C. Fletcher, 

* This eminent ornithologist died in the midst of his examination. Mr. 
George N. Lawrence, of New York, has identified the remainder, including 
all the hummers. 

t We have retained the common orthography of this word, though Ama- 
zons, used by Bates, is doubtless more correct, as more akin to the Brazil- 
ian name Ajnazonas. 

xiv Preface. 

now United States Consul at Opoi-to ; to Cliaplain Jones, 
of Philadelphia ; to Dr. William Jameson, of the Univer- 
sity of Quito ; to J. F. Reeve, Esq., and Captain Lee, of 
Guayaquil ; to tlie Pacific Mail Steamship, Panama Rail- 
road, and South Pacific Steam Navigation companies ; to 
the officers of the Peruvian and Brazilian steamers on the 
Amazon ; and to the eminent naturalists who have exam- 
ined the results of the expedition. 


In 1873 the author made a second expedition across 
South America, in company with Mr. H. Walter Webb 
and Mr. E. I. Frost, of the School of Mines, New York. 
The general route was up the Amazons from Para to 
Yurimaguas, thence over the Andes to the Pacific coast 
and down to Lima. Among the side excursions was a trij) 
to Lake Titicaca, by the way of Arequipa. 

The main objects of the journey were scientific. The 
large collections in natural history have added many new 
species to science, and thrown light upon the distribution 
of tropical forms. The special study of the physical feat- 
ures of the Maranon region — a vast and interesting coun- 
try, most rudely laid down in existing maps — has resulted 
in the careful chart appended to this volume, which, as it 
is based upon actual surveys, it is believed will prove a 
valued contribution to geographical science. Much labor 
was also expended in obtaining facts illustrating the com- 
mercial resources and possibilities of the Valley of the 

Preface. xv 

Amazons, a subject which is destined to arrest the atten- 
tion of enterprising men and nations. 

This edition has been prepared by adding to the narra- 
tive of the expedition of 1867 a description of a more 
southerly route, with such fresh observations as would 
most likely interest the practical man. To swell the vol- 
ume with scientific details would defeat the purpose of 
the work, which is to present a popular yet accurate pict- 
ure of the fairest and most promising part of our south- 
ern continent. For elaboi-ate papers the naturalist is re- 
ferred to the Proceedings of the Philadelphia, Boston, and 
Salem societies. Some of the following chapters, abbre- 
viated, have already appeared in the Scientific American, 
Independent, Evening Post, Engineering and Mining 
Journal, and Annals and Magazine of Natihral History. 

Special thanks for extraordinary favors are due to Sr. 
Pinienta Bueno, of Para; to Mr. Meiggs, of Lima; to Wil- 
liam R. Garrison, Esq., of New York ; to the Pacific Mail 
Steamsliip Company; to Mr. Wettermann, of Chachapoyas; 
and to Doctor Gait, Captain Rochelle, and other members 
of the Peruvian Hydrographical Commission, under Admi- 
ral Tucker. Tlie Map of the Maranon and several pages 
derive their chief \alue, if not their existence, from the 
generous contributions most courteously furnished by this 



Guayaquil. — First and Last Impressions. — Climate. — Commerce. — The 
Malecon. — Glimpse of the Andes. — Scenes on the Guayas. — Bodegas. — 
Mounted for Quito. — La Mona. — A Tropical Forest Page 2'> 


Our Tambo. — Ascending the Andes. — Camino Real. — Magnificent Views. — 
Guaranda. — Cinchona. — The Summit. — Chimborazo. — Over the Andes. — 
Chuquipogyo the Wretched. — Ambato. — A Stupid City. — Cotopaxi. — The 
Vale of Machachi. — Arrival at Quito 40 


Early History of Quito. — Its Splendor under the Incas. — Crushed by Spain. 
— Dying ijow. — Situation. — Altitude. — Streets. — Buildings 5G 

Population of Quito. — Dress. — Manners. — Character. — Commerce. — Agii- 
ciilture. — Manufactures. — Arts. — Education. — Amusements. — Quito La- 
dies 68 

Ecuador. — Extent. — Government. — Religion. — A Protestant Cemetery in 
Quito. — Climate. — Regularity of Tropical Nature. — Diseases on the High- 
lands 85 

Astronomic Virtues of Quito. — Flora and Fauna of the Valley of Quito. — 
Primeval Inhabitants of the Andes. — Quichua Indians 97 

Geological History of South America. — Rise of the Andes. — Creation of the 
Amazons. — Characteristic Features of the Continent. — Andean Chain. — 
The Equatorial Volcanoes 114 


The Volcanoes of Ecuador. — Western Cordillera. — Chimborazo. — Iliniza. — 
Corazon. — Pichincha. — Descent into its Crater 127 


The Volcanoes of Ecuador. — Eastern Cordillera. — Imbabura. — Cayambi. — 
Antisana. — Cotopaxi. — Llanganati. — Tunguragua. — Altar. — Sangai . 143 

xviii Contents. 


The Valley of Quito.— Riobamba.— A Bed of "Fossil Giants. "—Chillo Ha- 
cienda. — Otovalo and Ibarra. — The Great Earthquake of 1868.. .Page 152 

"The Province of the Orient," or the Wild Napo Country. — The Napos, 
Zaparos, and Jivaros Indians. — Preparations to cross the Continent. . 164 


Departure from Quito. ^ — Itulcachi. — A Night in a Bread-tray. — Crossing the 
Cordillera. — Guainani. — Papallacta. — Domiciled at the Governor's. — An 
Indian Aristides. — Our Peon Train. — In the Wilderness 177 

Baeza. — The Forest. — Crossing the Cosanga. — Curi-urcu. — Archidona. — Ap- 
pearance, Customs, and Belief of the Natives. — Napo and Napo River. 187 


Afloat on the Napo. — Down the Rapids. — Santa Rosa and its Mulish Al- 
calde. — Pratt on Discipline. — Forest Music. — Coca. — Our Craft and Crew. 
— Storm on the Napo 200 


Sea-cows and Turtles' Eggs.— The Forest.— Peccaries.— Indian Tribes on the 
Napo. — Anacondas and Howling Monkeys. — Insect Pests.— Battle with 
Ants. — Barometric Anomaly. — First View of the Amazons. — Pebas. 215 


Down the Amazons.— Steam on the Great River. — Loreto.— San Antonio. — 
Tabating.i. — Brazilian Steamers. — Scenery on the Amazons. — Tocantins. 
— Fonte Boa. — Ega. — Rio Negro. — Manaos 230 

Down the Amazons. — Serpa. — Villa Nova. — Obidos. — Santarem. — A Col- 
ony of Southerners. — Monte Alegre. — Porto de Moz. — Leaving the Am- 
azons. ^Breves.— Para River. — The City of Para. — Legislation and Cur- 
rency. — Religion and Education. — Nonpareil Climate 247 


The River Amazons.— Its Source and Magnitude. — Tributaries and Tints. 
—Volume and Current.— Rise and Fall. — Navigation. — Expeditions on 
the Great River 264 


The Valley of the Amazons. — Its Physical Geography. — Geology.— Climate. 
—Vegetation 280 


Life withiti the Great River. — Fishes. — Alligators. — Turtles. — Porpoises 
and Manaiis 29.'j 


Life around the Great River. — Insects. — Reptiles. — Birds. — Mam- 
mals Page 300 


Life around the Great River. — Origin of the Red Man. — General Character- 
istics of the Amazonian Indians. — Their Languages, Costumes, and Hab- 
itations. — Principal Tribes. — Mixed Breeds. — Brazilians and Brazil.. 315 


How to Travel in South America. — Routes. — Expenses. — Outfit. — Precau- 
tions. — Dangers 325 

In Memoriam 334 



The Navigation and Commercial Resources of the Amazons. — Volume of 
the Great River and its Tributaries. — Natural Wealth. — Sailing Craft and 
Steamers 339 

Para: its Situation, Climate, Industry, and Commerce 358 


Up the Amazons. — A Thousand Miles on the Great River. — Sceneiy. — 
Santarem. — Manaos. — Value of Labor and Productions. — Duties and 
Freights 364 


Up the Amazons. — From the Rio Negro to the Andes. — The Great Wilder- 
ness. — Steam on the Maranon. — The Birmingham of the Amazons. — 
Price of Labor and Food. — Survey of the Maranon 376 


Routes over the Andes. — A Polar Expedition at the Equator. — A Tramp 
through the Forest. — Moyobamba and the Manufiicture of Straw Hats. — 
Crossing the Cordillera 385 

Over the Andes. — Chachapoyas. — The Heart of the Andes. — Cajamarca and 
its Relics of Atahuallpa. — Arrival at the Pacific. — The City of Lima. 396 


Over the Andes by Rail. — The Desert of Islay. — The City of Arequipa. — 
The Summit. — Puno and Lake Titicaca 412 

XX Contents. 


The Commerce of Peru. — Her Vast Possibilities. — The Present Source of 
. her Wealth Page 430 

The Silver-mines of Peru: Cerro de Pasco. — Hualguayoc. — Puno. — Chi- 
lete. — Ancachs 440 

The Railways of Peru. — Henry Meiggs and his Enterprises 444 

The Aborigines on the Andes and the Amazons 454 

Game on the Amazons; or, Friends and Foes in the Animal Kingdom.. 474 

The Valuable Woods in the Valley of the Amazons 488 

The Fruits of the Amazons, Edible and Medicinal 509 

Brazilian Drugs, Dyes, Gums, and Textile Plants 522 


The Palms of the "Amazons, Fan-leaved and Feathery 534 

The Geological Structure of the Amazons Valley 551 

On the Condors and Humming-birds of the Equatorial Andes 564 


Cotopaxi: The First Ascent of the Great Volcano 574 

Medical Notes on the Upper Amazons 580 


A New Route for Tourists: Up the Amazons and over the Andes 615 

APPENDIX A. — Barometrical Measurements across South Amer- 
ica 622 

APPENDIX B. — Vocabularies from the QufcHUA, Zaparo, Yagua, 

AND Campas Languages 624 

APPENDIX C. — Commerce of the Amazons 628 

APPENDIX D. — Hydrographical Observations 633 

INDEX 637 


View of Lima, from > „ . . 
, „ , , , „ ft rontispiece. 
the Cathedral Steps. ^ 

Cathedral of Guayaquil Page 27 

Equipped for the Andes 37 

Ascending the Andes 42 

Quito from the North 61 

Water-carriers 62 

Street in Quito 63 

Capital at Quito 66 

Indian Dwellings 78 

Washerwomen 83 

Ecclesiastics 88 

Profiles of Ecuadorian Volcanoes 123 

Crater of Pichincha 135 

Humboldt in 1802 156 

Ibarra 158 

Napo Peon 184 

Autograph of an Indian 185 

Papaya-tree 202 

Trapiche, or Sugar-mill 208 

Our Craft on the Napo 211 

Hunting Turtle-eggs 217 

A Howler 223 

Kitchen on the Amazons 238 

Natives on the Middle Amazons. 241 

A Siesta 244 

Manaos 248 

Para 255 

Fruit-peddlers 259 

Igarape, or Canoe-path 265 

Coca-plant 293 

Iguana 305 

Toucans 307 

Brazilian Hummers 309 

Capybara 310 

Jaguar 311 

Native Comb 317 

Diagi-am showing the Pall of the 
Amazons along its Course from 

Borja to Para Page 341 

Teotonio Palls, Madeira River... 344 
Compensation of Floods in the 

Amazons Basin 352 

Amazonian Craft 353 

Plan of Callao and Lima 404 

A Lima Lady 406 

Bridge over the Rimac in Lima.. 409 

Sand-dune 414 

Arequipa, Peru, and the Volcano 

ofMisti 417 

Cathedral of Puno 424 

View of Sorata across Lake Titi- 

caca 426 

Balsa Navigation on Lake Titi- 

caca 429 

Guano Islands 435 

Henry Meiggs 446 

Verrugas Bridge, Oroya Railway 450 

Monolithic Gate-way 455 

Remaining End- walls of the Tem- 
ple of the Sun, Cuzco 457 

Section of a Burial-tower at Sil- 

lustani 458 

Quichua Woman, Cerro de Pasco. 459 

Aymara Woman, Puno 460 

Aymara Men, Puno 461 

Maue' Indian 464 

Conibo and Shipibo Indians,* 

Ucayali River 467 

Hunting with the Blow-gun 475 

The Pira-rucii 479 

An Army of Eciton Ants 486 

Deposits in the Amazons Valley. 489 
A Giant of the Forest 491 

In this cut the Conibos are stauding, and the Shipibos sitting. 



Leaves and Flowers of the Ce- 

dro Page 493 

Leaves, Fiuit, and Flower of Ma- 

9:uanduba 501 

Leaves, Nut, and Flower of Sapu- 

caya 503 

Pine-apple 509 

Caju Nut 611 

Abacate Pear 511 

Guava 512 

A Bunch of Cocoa-nuts 516 

Cacao Page 518 

Mandioca 519 

Branch of the India-rubber-tree. 529 
Palms on the Middle Amazons... 535 
Assai Palm {Euterpe oleraced).. 540 

The Vegetable-ivory Plant 549 

Diagram of Route from the Am- 
azons Valley to the Pacific 

Ocean 553 

Map of Equatorial America End. 

The Maranon and its Tributaries " 







Guayaquil. — First and Last Impressions. — Climate. — Commerce. — The 
Malecon. — Glimpse of the Andes. — Scenes on the Guayas. — Bodegas. — 
Mounted for Quito. — La Moua. — A Tropical Forest. 

Late in the evening of the 19th of July, 1867, the steam- 
er " Favorita" dropped anchor in front of the city of Guay- 
aquil. The first view awakened visions of Oriental splen- 
dor. Before us was the Malecon, stretching along the riv- 
er, two miles in length — at once the most beautiful and the 
most busy street in the emporium of Ecuador. In the cen- 
tre rose the Government House, with its quaint old tower, 
bearing aloft the city clock. On either hand were long 
rows of massive, apparently mai'ble, three-storied buildings, 
each occupying an entire square, and as elegant as they 
were massive. Each story was blessed with a balcony, the 
upper one himg with canvas curtains now rolled up, the 
other protruding over the sidewalk to form a lengthened 
arcade like that of the Rue de Rivoli in imperial Paris. 
In this lower story were the gay shops of Guayaquil, filled 
with the prints, and silks, and fancy articles of England 
and France. As this is the promenade street as well as the 
Broadway of commerce, crowds of Ecuadorians, who never 
do business in the evening, leisurely paced the magnificent 
arcade ; hatless ladies sparkling with fire-flies* instead of 

* The Pyrophorus noctilucus, or " cucujo," found also in Mexico and the 
West Indies. It resembles our large spring-beetle. The light proceeds from 
two eye-like spots on the thorax and from the segments underneath. It feeds 

26 The Andes and the Amazon. 

diamonds, and far more brilliant than koh-i-noors, swept 
the pavement with their long trains ; martial music floated 
on the gentle breeze from the barracks or some festive hall, 
and a thousand gas-lights along the levee and in the city, 
doubling their number by reflection fi'om the river, beto- 
kened wealth and civilization. 

We landed in the morning to find our vision a dissolving 
view in the light of the rising sun. The princely mansions 
turned out to be hollow squares of wood-work, plastered 
within and without, and roofed with red tiles. Even the 
" squares" were only distant approximations ; not a right 
angle could we find in our hotel. All the edifices are 
built (very properly in this climate) to admit air instead 
of excluding it, and the architects have wonderfully suc- 
ceeded ; but with the air is M^afted many an odor not so 
pleasing as the spicy breezes from Ceylon's isle. The ca- 
thedral is of elegant design. Its photograph is more im- 
posing than Is^otre Dame, and a Latin inscription tells us 
that it is the Gate of Heaven. But a near approach re- 
veals a shabby structure, and the pewless interior is made 
hideous by paintings and images which certainly must be 
caricatures. A few genuine works of art imported from 
Italy alone relieve the mind of the visitor. Excepting a 
few houses on the Malecon, and not excepting the cathe- 
dral, the majority of the buildings have a tumble-down ap- 
pearance, which is not altogether due to the frequent earth- 
quakes which have troubled this city; while the habitations 
in the outskirts are exceedingly primitive, floored and wall- 
ed with split cane and thatched with leaves, the first story 
occupied by domestic animals and the second by their own- 
ers. The city is quite regularly laid out, the main streets 

on the sugar-cane. On the Upper Amazon we found the P. clarus, P.pellu- 
cens, and P. tuberrulatns. At Bahia, on the opposite coast, Darwin found 
P. lummosus, the most common luminous insect. 

The City of Guayaquil. 


running parallel to the river. A few streets are rudely 
paved, many are shockingly filthy, and all of them yield 
grass to the delight of stray donkeys and goats. A num- 
ber of mule-carts, half a dozen carriages, one omnibus, and 
a hand-car on the Malecon, sum up the v^^heeled vehicles of 
Guayaquil. The population is twenty-two thousand, the 
same for thirty years past. Of these, about twenty are 
from the United States, and perhaps twenty-five can com- 
mand $100,000. No foreigner has had reason to complain 

Cathedral of Guayaquil. 

that Guayaquilians lacked the virtues of politeness and hos- 
pitality. The ladies dress in excellent taste, and are pro- 
verbial for their beauty. Spanish, Indian, and Negro blood 
mingle in the lower classes. The city supports two small 
papers, Los Andes and La Patria, but they are usually 
issued about ten days behind date. The hourly cry of the 
night-watchman is quite as musical as that of the muezzin 
in Constantinople. At eleven o'clock, for example, they 
sing '■^Ave Maria purisima ! las once han dedo, noche 
clara y serena. Viva lajpatria /" 

28 Thk Andes and the Amazon. 

The full name of the city is Santiago de Guayaquil.* It 
is so called, first, because the conquest of the province was 
finished on the 25th of July (the day of St. James), 1633 ; 
and, secondly, after Guayas, a feudatory cacique of Atahu- 
allpa. It was created a city by Charles V., October 6, 1535. 
It has suffered much in its subsequent history by fires and 
earthquakes, pirates and pestilence. It is situated on the 
right bank of the River Guayas, sixty miles from the ocean, 
and but a few feet above its level. Though the most west- 
ern city in South America, it is only two degrees west of 
the longitude of Washington, and it is the same distance 
below the equator — Orion sailing directly overhead, and 
the Southern Cross taking the place of the Great Dipper. 
The mean annual temperature, according to our observa- 
tions, is 83°. There are two seasons, the wet, or invierno, 
and the dry, or verano. The verano is called the summer, 
although astronomically it is winter; it begins in June 
and terminates in November.f The heavy rains come on 
about Christmas. March is the rainiest mouth in the year, 
and July the coldest. It is at the close of the invierno 
(May) that fevers most abound. The climate of Guaya- 
quil during the dry season is nearly perfect. At daybreak 
there is a cool easterly breeze ; at sunrise a brief lull, and 
then a gentle variable wind ; at 3 p.m. a southwest wind, 
at first in gusts, then in a sustained current ; at sunset the 
same softened down to a gentle breeze, increasing about 7 
P.M., and dying away about 3 a.m. Notwithstanding heaps 
of filth and green-mantled pools, sufficient to start a pes- 

* The ancient name was Culenta. 

t The continuity of the dry season is broken by a rainy fit commencing a 
few days after the autumnal equinox, and called el Cordonazo de San Fran- 
cisco. "Throughout South America (observes Mr. Spruce) the periodical al- 
ternations of dry and rainy weather are laid to the account of those saints 
whose ' days' coincide nearly with the epochs of change. But if the weather 
be rainy when it ought to be fair, or if the rains of winter be heavier than or- 
dinary, the blame is invariably laid on the moon." 


tilence if transported to New Tork, the city is usually 
healthy, due in great part, no doubt, to countless flocks of 
buzzards which greedily wait upon decay. These carrion- 
hawks enjoy the protection of law, a heavy fine being im- 
posed for wantonly killing one.* It is during the rainy 
season that this port earns the reputation of being one of 
the most pestiferous spots on the globe. The air is then 
hot and oppressive, reminding the geologist of the steaming 
atmosphere in the carboniferous period ; the surrounding 
plains are flooded with water, and the roads, even some of 
the streets of the city, become impassable ; intolerable mus- 
quitoes, huge cockroaches, disgusting centipedes, venomous 
scorpions, and still more deadly serpents, keep the human 
species circumspect, and fevers and dysenteries do the work 
of death. 

The Guayas is the largest river on the Pacific coast ; and 
Guayaquil monopolizes the commerce of Ecuador, for it is 
the only port. Esmeraldas and Peylon are not to be men- 
tioned. Through its custom-house passes nearly every im- 
port and export. The green banks of the Guayas, covered 
with an exuberant growth, are in strong contrast with the 
sterile coast of Peru, and the possession of Guayaquil has 
been a coveted prize since the days of Pizarro. Few spots 
between the tropics can vie with this lowland in richness 
and vigor of vegetation. Immense quantities of cacao — 
second only to that of Caracas — are produced, though but 
a fraction is gathered, owing to the scarcity of laborers, so 
many Ecuadorians have been exiled or killed in senseless 
revolutions. Twenty million poimds are annually export- 
ed, chiefly to Spain ; and two million pounds of excellent 
coffee, which often finds its way into N^ew York under the 
name of " pure Java." There are three or four kinds of 

* The turkey-buzzard, the "John Crow" of the West Indies, is not a social 
bird, though a score are often seen together : each comes and goes by himself. 

30 The Ajides and the Amazon. 

indigenous cacao on tliis coast, all richly deserving the ge- 
neric title Theobroma, or " food for the gods.'' The best 
grows in Esmeraldas, as it contains the largest amount of 
oil and has the most pleasant flavor. But very httle of it 
is exported, because it rots in about six months. The cacao 
de arriha, from up the Kiver Guayas, is the best to export, 
as it keeps two years without damage. Next in order is 
the cacao de abajo, from down the river, as Macliala, Santa 
Rosa, Balao, and Manabi, below Guayaquil. A still richer 
nut is the mountain cacao, but it is never cultivated. It is 
small and white, and almost pure oil. This oil, called ca- 
cao-butter, is used by the natives for burns, sores, and many 
cutaneous diseases. Cacao contributes more to the com- 
merce of tlie republic than any other production of its soil. 
The flowers and fruit grow directly out of the trunk and 
branches. " A more striking example (says Humboldt) of 
the expansive powers of life could hardly be met with in 
organic nature." The fruit is yellowish-red, and of oblong 
shape, and the seeds (from which chocolate is prepared) are 
enveloped in a mass of white pulp. The tree resembles 
our lilac in size and shape, and yields three crops a year — 
in March, June, and September. Spain is the largest con- 
sumer of cacao. The Mexican chocolalt is the origin of our 
word chocolate. Tucker gives the following comparative 
analysis of unshelled beans from Guayaquil and Caracas : 

Guayaquil. Caracas. 

Theobromine 0.63 0.55 

Cacao-red 4.56 6.18 

Cacao-butter 36.38 35.08 

Gluten 2.96 3.21 

Starch 0.53 0.62 

Gum 1.58 1.19 

Extractive matter 3.44 6.22 

Humic acid 8.57 9.28 

Cellulose 30.50 28.66 

Ash 3.03 2.91 

Water 6.20 5.58 

98.38 99.48 

Commerce of Guayaquil. 31 

The coffee-tree is about eight feet high, and has dark green 
leaves, white blossoms, and green, red, and purple berries 
at the same time. Each tree yields on an average two 
pounds annually. 

The other chief articles of exportation are hides, cotton, 
"Panama hats," manufactured at Indian villages on the 
coast, cinchona bark, caucho, tobacco, orchilla weed, sarsa- 
parilla, and tamarinds.* The hats are usually made of the 
" Toquilla" {Oarhcdovica palmata), an arborescent plant 
about five feet high, resembling the palm. The leaf, which 
is a yard long, is plaited like a fan, and is borne on a three- 
cornered stalk. It is cut while young, the stiff parallel 
veins removed, then slit into shreds by whipping it, and im- 
mersed in boiling water, and finally bleached in the sun. 
The same " straw" is used in the interior. The " Mocora," 
which grows hke a cocoa-nut tree, with a very smooth, hard, 
thorny bark, is rarely used, as it is difficult to work. The 
leaves are from eight to twelve feet in length, so that the 
" straws" will finish a hat without splicing. Such hats re- 
quire, two or three months, and bring sometimes $150 ; but 
they will last a lifetime. They can be packed away in a 
vest pocket, and they can be turned inside out and worn, 
the inside surface being as smooth and well finished as the 
outside. " Toquilla" hats are whiter than the " mocora." 

The exports from Guayaquil bear no proportion to the 
capabilities of the country ; Ecuador has no excuse for be- 
ing bankrupt. Most of the imports are of English origin ; 
lard comes from the United States, and flour from Chile, 

The Malecon and river present a lively scene all the 
year round ; the rest of the city appears deserted in com- 

* In 1867 there were exported to Europe of cacao, 197,260 quintals ; cot- 
ton, 10,247 do. ; caucho, 8011 do. ; sarsaparilla, 149 do.; orchilla, 10,247 
packages; quinine, 5000 do. ; tobacco, 2000 do. ; coffee, 1611 do.; tama- 
rinds, 65 bbls. ; sides of leather, 22,514 ; hats, 8397. 

32 The Akdes xnd the Amazon. 

parison. The British steamers from Panama and Payta 
arrive weekly ; Yankee steam-boats make regular trips up 
and down the Guayas and its tributaries ; half a dozen sail 
ing vessels, principally French, are usually lying in the 
stream, which is here six fathoms deep ; and hundreds of 
canoes are ghding to and fro. But the balsas are the 
most original, and, therefore, the most attractive sight. 
These are rafts made of light balsa wood, so buoyant as 
to be used in coasting voyages. They were invented by 
the old Peruvians, and are the homes of a literally floating 
population. By these and the smaller craft are brought 
to the mole of the Malecon, besides articles for exportation, 
a boundless variety of fruits — pine-apples (whose quality 
has made Guayaquil famous), oranges, lemons, limes, plan- 
tains, bananas, cocoa-nuts, alligator pears, papayas, mangos, 
guavas, melons, etc. ; many an undescribed species of fish 
known only to the epicure, and barrels or jars of water 
from a distant point up the river, out of the reach of the 
tide and the city sewers. Ice is frequently brought from 
Chimborazo, and sold for $1 per pound. A flag hoisted 
at a favorite cafe announces that snow has arrived from 
the mountains, and that ice-cream can be had. The mar- 
ket, held every morning by the river side, is an animated 
scene. The strife of the half-naked fishmongers, the cry 
of the swarthy fruit-dealers — " Pinas !" " Naranjas !" etc., 
and the song of the itinerant dulce-peddler — " Tamales !" 
mingled with the bray of the water-bearing donkeys as they 
trot through the town, never fail to arrest the attention of 
every traveler. 

But there is another sight more attractive still — one 
worth a long voyage, for IS^ature nowhere else repeats the 
picture. From the balconies of Guayaquil can be seen on 
a clear day the long, towering range of the Andes. We 
may forget all the incidents in om- subsequent journey, but 

Glimpse of the Andes. 33 

the impression produced by that glorious view is unfading. 
The sun had nearly touched the Pacific when the clouds, 
which for days had wrapped the Cordilleras* in misty robes, 
suddenly rose like a curtain. There stood, in inconceivable 
grandeur, one of the stupendous products of the last great 
I'evolution of the earth's crust, as a geologist would say, 
but, in the language of history, the lofty home of the In- 
cas, made illustrious by the sword of Pizarro and the pen 
of Prescott. On the right a sea of hills rose higher and 
higher, till they culminated in the purple mountains of As- 
suay. Far to the left, one hundred miles northeasterly, 
the peerless Chimborazo lifted its untrodden and unap- 
proachable summit above its fellows — an imposing back- 
ground to lesser mountains and stately forests. The great 
dome reflected dazzlingly the last blushes of the west, its 
crown of snow fringed with black lines, which were the 
steep and sharp edges of precipitous rocks. It was inter- 
esting to watch the mellowing tints on the summit as the 
shadows crept upward : gold, vermilion, violet, purple, were 
followed by a momentary " glory ;" then darkness covered 
the earth, and a host of stars, " trembling with excess of 
light," burst suddenly into view over the peaks of the An- 

Bidding " adios" to our Guayaquilian friends, we took 
passage in one of Captain Lee's little steamers to Bodegas, 
seventy miles xip the river. The Ecuadorian government, 
strange to say, does not patronize these steamers, but car- 
ries the Quito mail in a canoe. The Guayas is a sluggish 
stream, its turbid waters starting from the slope of the 

* Cordillera (pronounced Cor-de-yer-ra), literally a long ridge, is usually 
applied to a longitudinal subdivision of the Andes, as the east and west Cor- 
dilleras inclosing the valley of Quito ; Sierra (from the Spanish for saw or 
Arabic sehrah, an uncultivated tract) is a jagged spur of the Andes ; Cerro, 
"a hog-backed hill. " Paramo (a desert) is the treeless, uninhabited, uncul- 
tivated rolling steppes just below the snow-limit. 


34 The Andes and the Amazon. 

Andes, and flowing through a low, level tract, covered with 
varied forms of vegetable life. Forests of the broad-leaved 
plantain and banana line the banks. The fruit is the most 
common article of food in equatorial America, and is eaten 
raw, roasted, baked, boiled, and fried. It grows on a suc- 
culent stem formed of sheath-hke leaf-stalks rolled over 
one another, and terminating in enormous light green, 
glossy blades nearly ten feet long by two feet wide, so del- 
icate that the shghtest wind will tear them transversely. 
Each tree (vulgarly called " the tree of paradise") produces 
fruit but once, and then dies. A single bunch often weighs 
60 or YO pounds ; and Humboldt calculated that 33 pounds 
of wheat and 99 pounds of potatoes require the same space 
of ground as will produce 4000 pounds of bananas. They 
really save more labor than steam, giving the greatest 
amount of food from a given piece of ground with the 
least labor. They are always found where the palm is ; 
but their original home is the foot of the Himalayas. The 
banana (by some botanists considered a different species 
from the plantain) is about four inches long, and cylindric- 
al, and is eaten raw. The plantain is twice as large and 
prismatic, and uncooked is unhealthy. There is another 
vavietj, platanos de Otaheite, which resembles the banana 
in size and quality, but is prismatic. 

A belt of jungle and impenetrable brushwood intervenes, 
and then cacao and coffee plantations, vast in extent, ar- 
rest the eye. Passing these, the steamer brings you along- 
side of broad fields covered with the low, prickly pine-apple 
plant ; the air is fragrant vsdth a rich perfume wafted from 
a neighboring grove of oranges and lemons; the mango 
spreads its dense, splendid foHage, and bears a golden fruit, 
which, though praised by many, tastes to us like a mixture 
of tow and turpentine ; the exotic bread-tree waves its fig- 
like leaves and pendent fruit ; while high over all the beau- 

Babahoyo. — Hospitality. S5 

tiful cocoa-palm lifts its crown of glory.* Animal life 
does not compare with this luxuriant growth. The steam- 
er-bound traveler may see a few monkeys, a group of galli- 
nazos, and many brilliant, though songless birds ; but the 
chief representative is the lazy, ugly alligator. Large num- 
bers of these monsters may be seen on the mud-bank bask- 
ing in the hot sun, or asleep with their mouths wide open. 
Eight hours after leaving the Malecon we arrived at Bo- 
degas, a little village of two thousand souls, rejoicing in 
the synonym of Babahoyo. This has been a place of de- 
posit for the interior from the earliest times. In the rainy 
season the whole site is flooded, and only the upper stories 
are habitable. Cock-fighting seems to be the chief amuse- 
ment. We breakfasted with the governor, a portly gentle- 
man who kept a little dry-goods store. His excellency, 
without waiting for a formal introduction, and with a cor- 
diality and courtesy almost confined to the Latin nations, 
received us into his own house, and honored us with a seat 
at his private table, spread with the choicest viands of his 
kingdom, serving them himself witli a grace to wliich we 
can not do justice. Much as we find to condemn in tropic- 
al society, we can not forget the kindness of these simple- 
hearted people. Though we may portray, in the coming 
pages, many faults and failings according to a New York 
standard, we wish it to be understood that there is another 
side to the picture ; that there are virtues on the Andes to 
which the North is well-nigh a stranger. " How many 
times (says an American resident of ten years) I have ar- 

* The mango of Asia is superior in size and flavor to that of America. It 
is eaten largely in Brazil by negroes and cattle. The cocoa-palm is also of 
Asiatic origin, and is most abundant in Ceylon. It has a swollen stem when 
young, but becomes straight and tall when mature. The flowers burst into a 
long plume of soft, cream-colored blossoms. It is worthy of remembrance 
that the most beautiful forms of vegetation in the tropics are at the same time 
most useful to man. 

36 The Andes and the Amazon. 

rived at a miserable hut in the heart of the mountains, tired 
and hungry, after traveling all day without any other com- 
panion than the arriero, to receive a warm-hearted wel- 
come, the best, perhaps the only chair or hainmock offered 
to me, the fattest chicken in the yard killed on my account, 
and more than once they have compelled me by force to 
take the only good bed, because I must be tired, and should 
have a good night's rest. A man may travel from one end 
of the Andes to the other, depending altogether on the 
good people he meets." 

At Bodegas travelers take to mules or horses for the 
mountains, hiring one set for Guaranda and another at 
that village for Quito ; muleteers seldom allow their ani- 
mals to pass from one altitude to the other. These arrie- 
ros, or muleteers, form a very important class in Ecuador. 
Their little caravans are the only baggage and express 
trains in the republic ; there is not a single regularly estab- 
lished public conveyance in the land. The arrieros and 
their servants (peons) are Indians or half-breeds. They 
wear a straw or felt hat, a poncho striped like an Arab's 
blanket, and cotton breeches ending at the knees. For 
food they carry a bag of parched corn, another bag of 
roasted barley-meal (mashka), and a few red peppers. 
The beasts are thin, decrepit jades, which threaten to give 
out the first day ; yet they must carry you halfway up the 
Andes. The distance to the capital is nearly two hundred 
miles. The time required is usually eight or nine days ; 
but officials often travel it in four. 

We left Bodegas at noon. It was impossible to start 
the muleteer a moment earlier, though he had promised to 
be ready at seven. Patience is a necessary qualification in 
a South American traveler. In our company were a Jesuit 
priest, with three attendants, going to Riobamba, and a 
young Quito merchant, with his mother — the mother of 

Bound fok Quito. 


only twenty-five children. This merchant had traveled in 
the United States, and could not help contrasting the thrift 
and entei'prise of our country with the beggary and lazi- 


ness of his own, adding, with a show of sincerity, " I am 
sorry I have Spanish blood in my veins." The suburbs of 
Bodegas reminded us of the outskirts of Cairo ; but the 
road soon entered a broad savannah instead of a sandy 

38 The Andes and the Amazon. 

desert. At 3 p.m. we passed through La Mona, a village of 
twenty-five bamboo huts, all on stilts, for in the rainy sea- 
son the whole town is under water. Signs of indolence 
and neglect were every where visible. Idle men, with an 
uncertain mixture of European, Negro, and Indian blood ; 
sad-looking Quichua women, carrying a naked infant or 
a red water-jar on the back ; black hogs and lean poultry 
wandering at will into the houses — such is the picture of 
the motley life in the inland villages. Strange was the 
contrast between human poverty and natural wealth. We 
were on the borders of a virgin forest, and the overpower- 
ing beauty of the vegetation soon erased all memory of the 
squalor and lifelessness of La Mona. Our road — a mere 
path, suddenly entered this seemingly impenetrable forest, 
where the branches crossed overhead, producing a delight- 
ful shade. The curious forms of tropical life were all at- 
tractive to one who had recently rambled over the com- 
paratively bleak hills of ISTew England. Delight is a weak 
term to express the feelings of a naturalist who for the 
first time wanders in a South American forest. The su- 
perb banana, the great charm of equatorial vegetation, 
tossed out luxuriantly its glossy green leaves, eight feet in 
length ; the slender but graceful bamboo shot heavenward, 
straight as an arrow ; and many species of palm bore aloft 
their feathery heads, inexpressibly light and elegant. On 
the branches of the independent trees sat tufts of parasites, 
many of them orchids, which are here epiphytal; and 
countless creeping plants, whose long flexible stems en- 
twined snake-like around the trunks, or formed gigantic 
loops and coils among the limbs. Beneath this world of 
foliage above, thick beds of mimosse covered the ground, 
and a boundless variety of ferns attracted the eye by their 
beautiful patterns.* It is easy to specify the individual 

* Ferns constitute one sixth of the flora of South America; Spruce counted 

A Teopical Forest. 39 

objects of admiration in these grand scenes, but it is 
not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feel- 
ings of wonder, astonishment, and devotion which fill and 
elevate the mind. This road to the Andes is a paradise to 
the contemplative man. " There is something in a tropic- 
al forest (says Bates) akin to the ocean in its effects on the 
mind. Man feels so completely his insignificance, and the 
vastness of nature." The Gennan traveler Burmeister ob- 
serves that " the contemplation of a Brazilian forest pro- 
duced on him a painful impression, on account of the 
vegetation displaying a spirit of restless selfishness, eager 
emulation, and craftiness." He thought the softness, ear- 
nestness, and repose of European woodland scenery were 
far more pleasing, and that these formed one of the causes 
of the superior moral character of European nations. Live 
and let live is certainly not the maxim taught in these 
tropical forests, and it is equally clear that selfishness is 
not wanting among the people. Here, in view of so much 
competition among organized beings, is the spot to study 
Darwin's " Origin of Species." We have thought that the 
vegetation under the equator was a fitter emblem of the 
human world than the forests of our temperate zone. 
There is here no set time for decay and death, but we 
stand amid the living and the dead ; flowers and leaves 
are falling, while fresh ones are budding into life. Then, 
too, the numerous parasitic plants, making use of their 
neighbors as instruments for their own advancement, not 
inaptly represent a certain human class. 

140 species within the space of three square miles. Their limits of growth 
are 500 and 7000 feet ahove the sea. 

40 The Andes and the Amazon. 


Our Tambo. — Ascending the Andes. — Camino Real. — Magnificent "Views. — 
Guaranda. — Cinchona. — The Summit. — Chimborazo. — Over the Andes. — 
Chuquipogyo the "Wretched. — Ambato. — A Stupid City. — Cotopaxi. — The 
"Vale of Machachi. — Arrival at Quito. 

We reached Savaneta at 5 p.m. This little village of 
hardly t"wenty houses becomes the Bodegas, or place of de- 
posit for the mountains six months in the year, for in the 
invierno the roads are flooded, and canoes take the place 
of mules from Savaneta to Babahoyo. Even in the dry 
season the dampness of this "wilderness is so great that the 
traveler's sugar and chocolate are melted into one, and en- 
velopes seal themselves. We put up at a tamho, or -way- 
side inn, a simple t"wo-storied bamboo hovel, thatched with 
plantain leaves without and plastered with cobwebs with- 
in, yet a palace compared ^vith what sheltered us afterward. 
The only habitable part was the second story, which was 
reached by a couple of notched bamboo sticks. A ham- 
mock, two earthen kettles, two plates, and a few calabashes 
constituted the household furniture. The dormitory was 
well ventilated, for two sides were open. Our lodging, 
however, cost us nothing ; travelers only pay for yerha for 
their beasts. Though this has been the royal road to Quito 
for tliree centuries, there is but owQjposada between Guay- 
aquil and Ambato, a distance of one hundred and fifty 
miles ; travelers must carry their own bedding and provi- 

Lea-ving Savaneta at dawn, and breakfasting at a wayside 
hut owned by an old negro, we struck about noon the Rio 
Charriguajaco, dashing down the mountains in hot haste 
for the Guayas. It was refreshing to look uDon living wa- 

Ascending the Audes. 

Up the Andes. 43 

ters for the first time since leaving the hills of our native 
country. Fording this stream we know not how many 
times, and winding through the dense forest in narrow 
paths often blockaded by laden donkeys that doggedly dis- 
puted the passage, we soon foimd ourselves slowly creeping 
up the Andes. We fi-equently met mountaineers on their 
way to Bodegas with loads of potatoes, peas, barley, fowls, 
eggs, etc. They are generally accompanied by their wives 
or daughters, who ride like the men, but with the knees 
tucked up higher. On the shppery tracks wiiich traverse 
this western slope, bulls are often used as beasts of burden, 
the cloven hoofs enabling them to descend with great secu- 
rity. But mules are better than horses or asses. " That a 
hybrid (muses Darwin) should possess more reason, memo- 
ry, obstinacy, social affection, powers of muscular endur- 
ance, and length of life than either of its parents, seems to 
indicate that art has here outdone nature." 

Toward evening the ascent became rapid and the road 
horrible beyond conception, growing narrower and rough- 
er as we advanced. Indeed, our way had long since ceased 
to be a road. In the dense forest, where sunshine never 
comes, rocks, mud, and fallen trees in rapid alternation 
macadamize the path, save where it turns up the bed of a 
babbling brook. In the comparatively level tracts, the 
equable step of the beasts has worn the soil into deep 
transverse ridges, called camellones, from their resemblance 
to the humps on a camel's back. In the precipitous parts 
the road is only a gully worn by the transit of men and 
beasts for ages, aided by torrents of water in the rainy sea- 
son. As we ascend, this changes to a rocky staircase, so 
strait that one must throw up his legs to save them from 
being crushed, and so steep that horse and rider run the 
risk of turning a somersault. It is fearful to meet in a 
narrow defile, or where the road winds around the edge of 

44 The Andes and the Amazon. 

a precipice, a drove of reckless donkeys and mules descend- 
ing the mountain, urged on by the cries and lashes of the 
muleteers behind. Yet this has been the highway of Ecu- 
adorian commerce for three hundred years. In vain we 
tried to i-each the httle village of Camino Real on the 
crest of the ridge ; but the night was advancing rapidly, 
and crawling up such a road by starlight was not a little 
dangerous. So we put up at a miserable tambo, Pogyos by 
name. It was a mud hut of the rudest kind, windowless 
and unfloored; very clean, if it had been left to nature, 
but man and beast had rendered it intolerably filthy. Our 
hostess, a Quichua woman, with tattered garments, and hair 
disheveled and standing up as if electrified, set a kettle on 
three stones, and, making a fire under it, prepared for us a 
calabash of chicken and locro. Locro, the national dish in 
the mountains, is in plain English simply potato soup. Sit- 
ting on the ground, we partook of this refreshment by the 
aid of fingers and w^ooden spoons, enticing our appetites by 
the reflection that potato soup would support life. The 
unkempt Indian by our side, grinning in conscious pride 
over her successful cookery, did not aid us in this matter. 
Fire is used in Ecuador solely for culinary purposes, not 
for warmth. It is made at no particular spot on the mud 
floor, and there is no particular orifice for the exit of the 
smoke save the chinks in the wall. There is not a chim- 
ney in the whole republic. As the spare room in the es- 
tablishment belonged to the women, we gentlemen slept on 
the ground outside, or on beds made of round poles. The 
night was piercingly cold. The wished-for morning came 
at last, and long before the sun looked over the mountains 
we were on our march. It was the same terrible road, 
running zigzag, or " quingo" fashion, up to Camino Real, 
where it was suddenly converted into a vojsX highway. 
We were now fairly out of the swamps of the lowlands. 

Chimbokazo. 45 

and, though under the equator, out of the tropics too. The 
fresh mountain breeze and the chilly mists announced a 
change of climate.* Fevers and dysenteries, snakes and 
musquitoes, the plantain and the palm, we had left behind. 
Camino Real is a huddle of eight or ten dwellings perch- 
ed on the summit of a sierra a thousand feet higher than 
the top of Mount Washington. The views from this stand- 
point compensate for all past troubles. The wild chaos of 
mountains on every side, broken by profound ravines, the 
heaps of ruins piled up during the lapse of geologic ages, 
the intense azure of the sky, and the kingly condor majes- 
tically wheeling around the still higher pinnacles, make up 
a picture rarely to be seen. Westward, the mountains tum- 
ble down into hills and spread out into plains, which, in the 
far distant horizon, dip into the great Pacific. The setting 
sun turns the ocean into a sheet of liquid fire. Long col- 
umns of purple light shoot up to the zenith, and as the last 
point of the sun sinlcs beneath the horizon, the stars rush 
out in full splendor ; for at the equator day gives place to 
night with only an hour and twenty minutes of twilight. 
The mountains are Alpine, yet grander than the Alps ; not 
so ragged as the granite peaks of Switzerland, but with 
rounder heads. The prospect down this occidental slope is 
diversified by deep valleys, landslides, and flowering trees. 
Magnificent are the views eastward, 

"Where Andes, giant of the western star, 
Looks from his throne of clouds o'er half the world. " 

The majestic dome of Chimborazo was entirely uncovered 
of clouds, and presented a most splendid spectacle. There 
it stood, its snow-white summit, unsullied by the foot of 
man, towering up twice as high as Etna. For many years 

* The altitude of 7000 feet is the usual limit of the rain-line on the west 
slope of the Andes. The condensation which produces rain takes place at 
the equator two or three times higher than in our latitude. 

4:6 The Andes and the Amazon. 

it received the homage of the world as the highest point in 
America; but now the Aconcagua of Chile claims the 
palm. Still, what a panorama from the top of Chimbo- 
razo, could one reach it, for the eye would command ten 
thousand square miles ! 

Our road gently winds down the sierra, giving us at ev- 
ery turn sublime ideas of what nature can do in tossing up 
the thin crust of our globe. But sublimity is at a discount 
here — there is too much of it. Suddenly we are looking 
down into the enchanting valley of Chimbo. This ro- 
mantic and secluded spot is one of those forgotten comers 
of the earth which, barricaded against the march of civ- 
ilization by almost impassable mountains, and inhabited 
by a thriftless race, has been left far behind in the prog- 
ress of mankind. Distance lends enchantment to the view. 
We are reminded of the pastoral vales of New England. 
Wheat takes the place of the sugar-cane, barley of cacao, 
potatoes of plantains, and turnips of oranges. Bamboo 
sheds have given way to neatly whitewashed callages, and 
the fields are fenced with rows of aloe. But, drawing 
nearer, we find the habitations are in reality miserable mud 
hovels, without windows, and tenanted by vermin and rag- 
ged poverty. There are herds of cattle and fields of grain ; 
yet we shall not find a quart of milk or a loaf of bread for 
sale. The descent iuto the valley is very precipitous, and, 
after a rain, alarmingly slippery. Mules, drawing their 
legs together, slide down with startling velocity, and follow 
the windings with marvelous dexterity. 

We arrived at Guaranda at 5 p.m. on the third day 
after leaving Bodegas. This is a desolate town of two 
thousand souls, dwelling in low dilapidated huts made of 
the most common building material in the Andes — adobe, 
or sun-dried blocks of mud mingled with straw.* The 

* From adouh, an Egyptian word still used by the Copts ; carried by the 


streets are rudely paved, and pitch to the centre, to form 
an aqueduct, like the sti-eets of old Sychar. The inhabit- 
ants are in happy ignorance of the oiitside world. They 
pass the day without a thought of work, standing on the 
Plaza, or in front of some public office, staring vacantly 
into space, or gossiping. A cock fight will soonest rouse 
them from their lethargy They seem to have no purpose 
in life but to keep warm under their ponchos and to eat 
when they are hungry. Guaranda is a healthy locality, ly- 
ing in a deep valley on the west bank of the Chimbo, at an 
elevation, according to our barometer, of 8840 feet, and 
having a mean temperature slightly less than that of Quito. 
It is a place of importance, inasmuch as it is the resting- 
place before ascending or after descending the still loftier 
ranges, and nduch more because it is the capital of the re- 
gion which yields the invaluable cinchona, or Peruvian 
bark.* This tree is indigenous to the Andes, where it is 
found on the western slope between the altitudes of two 
thousand and nine thousand feet, the species richest in alka- 
loids occupying the higher elevations, where the air is moist. 
Dr. Weddell enumerates twenty-one species, seven of which 
are now found in Ecuador, but the only one of value is the 
the C. succirubra (the calisaya has run out), and this is now 
nearly extinct, as the trees have been destroyed to obtain 
the bark. This species is a beautiful tree, having large, 
broadly oval, deep green, shining leaves, white, fragrant 
flowers, and red bark, and sometimes, though rarely, attains 
the height of sixty feet. A tree five feet in circumference 

Moors to Spain, thence to America ; and from America the word has gone 
to the Sandwich Islands. 

* This celebrated febrifuge was first taken to Europe about the middle of 
the seventeenth century, and was named after the Countess of Chinchon, who 
had been cured of intermittent fever at Lima. Afterward, when Cardinal de 
Lugo spread the knowledge of the remedy through France, and recommend- 
ed it to Cardinal Mazarin, it received the name of Jesuits' Bark. The French 
chemists, Pelletier and Caverton, discovered quinine in 1820. 

is The Andes and the Amazon. 

will yield fifteen hundred pounds of green bark, or eight 
hundred of the dry. The roots contain the most alkaloid, 
though the branches are usually barked for commerce. 
The true cinchona barks, containing quinine, quiuidine, and 
cinchonine, are distinguished from the false by their splin- 
tery-fibrous texture, the latter being pre-eminently corky. 
The cascarilleros begin to hunt for bark in August. Dr. Tay- 
lor, of Riobamba, found one tree which gave $3600 worth 
of quinine. The general yield is from three to five pounds 
to a quintal of bark. The tree has been successfully trans- 
planted to the United States, and particularly to India, 
where there are now over a million of plants. It was in- 
troduced into India by Markham in 1861. The bark is 
said to be stronger than that from Ecuador, yielding twice 
as much alkaloid, or eleven per cent. The quinine of 
commerce will doubtless come hereafter from the slopes 
of the Himalayas instead of the Andes. In 1867 only five 
thousand poimds of bark were exported from Guayaquil. 
The Indians use the bark of another tree, the Maravilla, 
which is said to yield a much stronger alkaloid than cin- 
chona. It grows near Pallatanga. 

We left Guaranda at 5 a.m. by the light of "Venus and 
Orion, having exchanged our horses for the sure-footed 
mule. It was a romantic ride. From a neighboring stand- 
point Church took one of his celebrated views of "The 
Heart of the Andes." But the road, as aforetime, was a 
mere furrow, made and kept by the tread of beasts. For 
a long distance the track runs over the projecting and jag- 
ged edges of steeply-inclined strata of slate, which nobody 
has had the energy to smooth down. At many places on 
the road side were human skulls, set in niches in the bank, 
telling tales of suffering in their ghastly silence ; while here 
and there a narrow passage was blocked up by the skeleton 
or carcass of a beast that had borne its last burden. At 

The Top of the Ajstdes. 49 

nine o'clock we came out on a narrow, grassy ridge called 
the Ensillada, or Saddleback, where there were three straw 
huts, with roofs resting on the ground, and there we break- 
fasted on locro. During our stay the Indians killed a pig, 
and before the creature was fairly dead dry grass was heap- 
ed upon it and set on fire. This is the ordinary method of 
removing the bristles. 

Still ascending, we lose sight of tlie valley of the Chim- 
bo, and find ourselves in a wilderness of crags and treeless 
mountains clothed with the long, dreai-y-looking paramo 
grass called paja. But we are face to face with " the mon- 
arch of the Andes," and we shall have its company the rest 
of the day. The snowy dome is flooded with the gold- 
en light of heaven; delicate clouds of softest hues float 
around its breast ; while, far below, its feet are wrapped in 
the baser mists of earth. We attained the summit of the 
pass at 11 A.M. All travelers strive to reach it early in the 
morning, for in the afternoon it is swept by violent winds 
which render it uncomfortable, if not dangerous. This 
part of the road is called the " Arenal," from the sand and 
gravel which cover it. It is about a league in length, and 
crosses the side of Chimborazo at an elevation of more than 
fourteen thousand feet. Chimborazo stands on the left of 
the traveler. How tantalizing its summit ! It appears so 
easy of access ; and yet many a valiant philosopher, from 
Humboldt down, has panted for the glory and failed. The 
depth of the snow and numerous precipices are the chief 
obstacles ; but the excessively rarefied air is another hin- 
derance. Even in crossing the Arenal, a native of the low- 
lands complains of violent headache, a propensity to vomit, 
and a difficulty of breathing. The Arenal is often swept 
by snow-storms ; and history has it that some of the Span- 
ish conquerors were here frozen to death. The pale yellow 
gravel is considered by some geologists as the moraine of a 


50 The Autoes and the Amazon. 

glacier. It is spread out like a broad gravel walk, so that, 
without exaggeration, one of the best roads in Ecuador has 
been made by Nature's hand on the crest of the Andes. 

It was interesting to trace the different hypsometrical 
zones by the change of vegetation from Bodegas to this 
lofty spot. The laws of the decrease of heat are plainly 
written on the rapid slopes of the Cordilleras. On the hot, 
steaming lowlands of the coast reign bananas and palms. 
As these thin out, tree-ferns take their place. Losing these, 
we found the cinchona bedewed by the cool clouds of 
Guaranda ; and last of all, among the trees, the polylepis. 
The twisted, gnarled trunk of this tree, as well as its size 
and silvery foliage, reminded us of the olive, but the bark 
resembles that of the birch. It reaches the greatest eleva- 
tion of any tree on the globe. Then followed shrubby 
fuchsia, calceolaria, eupatoria, and red and purple gen- 
tians ; aroimd and on the Arenal, a uniform mantle of 
monocotyledonous plants, with scattered tufts of Valeriana, 
viola, and geranium, all with rigid leaves in the character- 
istic rosettes of super-alpine vegetation ; and on the por- 
phyritic and trachytic sides of Chimborazo, lichens alone. 
Snow then covers the last effort of vegetable life.* The 
change in the architecture of the houses indicated, like- 
wise, a change of altitude. The open bamboo huts, shin- 
gled with banana leaves, were followed by warmer adobe 
houses, and these, in turn, by the straw hovels of the 
mountain-top, made entirely of the long, wiry grass of the 

* According to Sir J. Hooker, among the flowers which adorn the slopes 
of the Himalayas, rhododendrons occupy the most prominent place, and 
])rimroses next. There are no orchids, neither red gentians, but blue. Or- 
ganic life ceases .3000 feet lower than on the Andes ; yet it is affirmed that 
flowering plants occur at the height of 18,460 feet, which is equivalent to the 
summit of Chimborazo in point of temperature ! The polylepis (P. racemosa) 
is one of the Sanguisorhacem ; in Quichua it is Sachaquinoa. 

Chuquipogyo. 51 

Leaving the Arenal, we rapidly descended by the usual 
style of road — stone stairs. But down we went, as all the 
goods for Quito, " the grand capital," have done since the 
Spanish Conquest. The old road from Beirut to Damas- 
cus is royal in comparison. The general aspect of the 
eastern slope is that of a gray, barren \\^aste, overgrown 
^\ih.jpaja; but now and then we crossed deep gulleys, 
whose sides were lined with mosses and sprinkled with 
calceolarias, lupines, etc. In our descent we had before us 
the magnificent Valley of Quito, and beyond it the east- 
ern Cordillera. Below us was Riobamba, and far away to 
the right the deep gorge of the Pastassa. Nevertheless, 
this is one of the loneliest rides earth can furnish. Not a 
tree nor human habitation is in sight. Icy rivulets and 
mule-trains are the only moving objects on this melan- 
choly heath. Even " Drake's Plantation Bitters," painted 
on the volcanic cliffs of Chimborazo, would be a relief. 

At last we reached our rude accommodations for the 
night. It was a solitary mud tambo, glorying in the eu- 
phonious name of Chuquipogyo. The court-yard was a sea 
of mud and manure, for this is the halting-place for all 
the caravans between Quito and the coast. Our room was 
a horrid hole, dark, dirty, damp, and cold, without a win- 
dow or a fire. There was one old rickety bedstead, but 
as that belonged to the lady in our party, the rest betook 
themselves to benches, table, and floor. We filled our 
stomachs with an unpalatable potato soup containing 
cheese and eggs, and laid down — to wait for the morning. 
Grass is the only fuel here ; but this is not the chief reason 
why it is so difficult to make good tea or cook potatoes at 
this wretched tambo. Water boils at 190°, or before it is 
fairly hot : it is well the potatoes are small. The mule- 
teers slept with their beasts outside, though the night was 
fearfully cold, for Chuquipogyo lies on the frigid side of 

52 The Andes and the Amazon. 

Chimborazo, at an elevation of over twelve thousand feet 
above the sea. As Johnson said to Boswell, " This is a 
dolorous place." 

Gladly we left this cheerless tambo, though a cold, heavy 
mist was falling as we rode northward, over the seemingly 
endless paramo of Sanancajas. Here, as throughout the 
lughlands of Ecuador, ditches are used for fences ; so that, 
should the traveler wander from the path, he finds himself 
stopped by an impassable gulf. In two hours and a half 
we readied Mocha, a lifeless pueblo under the shadow of 
Carguairazo. Slowly descending from our high altitude, 
we gradually entered a more congenial climate — the zone 
of wheat and barley, till, finally, signs of an eternal spring 
were all around us — ripening corn on one side, and blos- 
soming peas on the other. 

Late in the afternoon the road led us tlirough a sandy, 
sterile tract, till suddenly we came in sight of Ambato, 
beautifully situated in a deep ravine, eight thousand five 
hundred and fifty feet above the Pacific. The city ranks 
next to Quito in beauty. It is certainly an oasis, the green 
foliage of its numerous shade-trees and orchards contrast- 
ing with the barren hills around. It is two degrees warm- 
er than Quito, and is famous for its fruit and fine climate. 
It is the Lynn of Ecuador, the chief articles of manufac- 
ture being boots and shoes — cheap, but of poor quality. 
It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1698. The houses 
are built of sun-dried brick, and whitewashed. The streets, 
with gutters in the centre, are at right angles, and paved, 
and adorned with numerous cypress-looking trees, called 
muce^ a species of willow. The Plaza, which contains a 
useful if not ornamental fountain, presents a lively scene 
on Sunday, the great market-day. The inn is a fair speci- 
men of a public house in Spanish America. Around the 
court-yard, where the beasts are fed, are three or four 


rooms to let. They are ventilated only when opened for 
travelers. The floor is of brick, but alive with fleas ; the 
walls are plastered, but veiled with cobwebs. The furni- 
ture, of primitive make and covered with dust, consists of 
a chair or two, a table, and a bed of boards covered with 
a thin straw mat. There is not a hotel in Ecuador where 
sheets and towels are furnished. The landlords are sel- 
dom seen ; the entire management of the concern is left 
to a slovenly Indian boy, who is both cook and hostler. 
No amount of bribery will secure a meal in less than two 
liours. Ten years ago there was not a posada in the coun- 
try; now there is entertainment for man and beast at 
Guayaquil, Guaranda, Mocha, Ambato, Tacunga, Macha- 
chi, and Quito. Riobamba has a billiard saloon, but no inn. 
Leaving Ambato, we breakfasted at Cunchebaniba, an In- 
dian village of half a dozen straw huts. Thence the road 
for a long distance wdnds through vast deposits of volcanic 
dehris, the only sign of vegetation being hedges of aloe and 
cactus. Arid hills and dreary plains, covered with plutonic 
rocks and pumice dust, tell us we are approaching the most 
terrible volcano on the earth. Crossing the sources of the 
Pastassa, we entered Latacunga,* situated on a beautiful 
plain at the foot of Cotopaxi, seven hundred feet higher 
than Ambato. Its average temperature is 59°. The pop- 
ulation, chiefly Indians, numbers about fifteen thousand. It 
is the dullest city in Ecuador, without the show of enter- 
prise or business. Not even grass grows in the streets — 
the usual sign of life in the Spanish towns. It is also one 
of the filthiest ; and though it has been many times thor- 
oughly shaken by earthquakes, and buried iinder showers 
of volcanic dust, it is still the paradise of fleas, which have 
survived every revolution. Ida Pfeiffer says that, after a 

* This is shortened in parlance to Tacunga. The full name, according to 
La Condamine, is Llacta-cunga, Uacta meaning country, and cunga, neck. 

54 The Andes and the Amazon. 

night's rest in Latacunga, she awoke with her skin marked 
all over with red spots, as if from an eruptive disease. "We 
can certify that we have been tattoed without the night's 
rest. The town has a most stupid and forlorn aspect. 
Half of it is in ruins. It was four times destroyed between 
1698 and 1797. In 1756 the Jesuit church was thrown 
down, tliough its walls were five feet thick. The houses 
are of one story, and built of pumice, widely different from 
the palaces and temples which are said to have stood here 
in the palmy days of the Incas. Cotopaxi stands threaten- 
ingly near, and its rumbling thunder is the source of con- 
stant alarm. 

From Latacunga to Quito there is a very fine carriage 
road, the result of one man's administration — Seiior G. 
Garcia Moreno. For many miles it passes over an unculti- 
vated plateau, strewn with volcanic fragments. The farms 
are confined to the slopes of the Cordilleras, and, as every 
where else, the tumbling haciendas indicate the increasing 
poverty of the owner. Superstition and indolence go hand 
in hand. On a great rock rising out of the sandy plain they 
show a print of the foot of St. Bartholomew, who alighted 
here on a ^ isit — surely to the volcanoes, as it was long be- 
fore the red man had found this valley. Abreast of Coto- 
paxi the road ciits through high hills of fine pumice inter- 
stratified with black earth, and rapidly ascends till it reach- 
es Tiupullo, eleven thousand five hundred feet above the 
sea. This high ridge,* stretching across the valley from 
Cotopaxi to Iliniza, is a part of the great water-shed of 
the continent — the waters on the southern slope fiowing 
through the Pastassa and Amazon to the Atlantic, those 
on the north finding their way to the Pacific by the Rio 
Esmeraldas. At this bleak place we breakfasted on punch 
and guinea-pig. 

* Sometimes called Chisinche. 

Beautiful View. 55 

As soon as we began to descend, the glittering cone of 
Cotopaxi, and the gloomy plain it has so often devastated, 
passed out of view, and before ns was a green valley ex- 
ceedingly rich and well cultivated, girt by a wall of moun- 
tains, the towers of which were the peaks of Corazon and 
Ruminagui. Loathsome lepers by the wayside alone dis- 
turbed the pleasing impression. Three hours more of trav- 
el brought us to the straggling village of Machachi, stand- 
ing in the centre of the beautiful plain, at an altitude of 
nine thousand nine hundred feet. K^ature designed this 
spot for a home of plenty and comfort, but the habitations 
of the wretched proprietors are windowless adobe hovels, 
thatched with dried grass, and notorious for their filth. 

We must needs make one more ascent, for the ridge of 
Tambillo hides the goal of our journey. The moment we 
reached the summit, views unparalleled in the Andes or 
any where else met our astonished vision whithersoever we 
looked. Far away to the south stretched the two Cordil- 
leras, till they were lost in the mist which enshrouded Chim- 
borazo and Tunguragua. Turning to the north, we beheld 
the city of Quito at our feet, and Pichincha and Antisana 
standing like gallant sentinels on either side of the proud 
capital. Beautiful were the towering mountains, and al- 
most as delightful now are the memories of that hour. A 
broad, well-traveled road, gentlemen on horseback clad in 
rich ponchos, droves of Indians bowed under their heavy 
burdens, and long lines of laden donkeys hurrying to and 
fro, indicate our approach to a great city. Winding with 
the road through green pastures and fields of ripening 
grain, and crossing the Machangara by an elegant bridge, 
we enter the city of the Incas. 

56 The Andes ai^d the Amazon. 


Early History of Quito. — Its Splendor under the Incas. — Crushed by Spain. 
— Dying now. — Situation. — Altitude. — Streets. — Buildings. 

Quito is better known than Ecuador. Its primeval his- 
tory, however, is lost in obscurity. In the language of 
Prescott, " the mists of fable have settled as darkly round 
its history as round that of any nation, ancient or modern, 
in the Old World." Founded, nobody knows when, by the 
kings of the Quitus, it was conquered about the year 1000 
by a more civilized race, the Cara nation, who added to it 
by conquest and alliance. The fame of the region excited 
the cupidity of the Incas of Peru, and during the reign of 
Cacha (1475), Huayna-Capac the Great moved his army 
from Cuzco, and by the celebrated battle of Hatuntaqui, in 
which Cacha was killed, Quito was added to the realm of 
the Incas. Huayna-Capac made Quito his residence, and 
reigned there thirty-eight years — the most brilliant epoch 
in the annals of the city. At his death his kingdom was 
divided, one son, Atahuallpa,* reigning in Quito, and Huas- 
car at Cuzco. Civil war ensued, in which the latter was 
defeated, and Atahuallpa was chosen Inca of the whole em- 
pire, 1532. During this war Pizarro arrived at Tumbez. 
Every body knows what followed. Strangled at Caxamar- 
ca, the body of Atahuallpa was carried to Quito, the city of 
his birth, in compliance with his dying wish, and buried 
there with imposing obsequies. Pefounded by Benalcazar 

* The son of his Quito love. The name was first written Atauhuallpa, 
meaning fortunate in war; after the fratricide, he was caWeA Atahvallpa, or 
game-cock. He was the Boabdil of this occidental Granada. He is called 
traitor by Peruvian writers, and is not admitted by them into the list of their 

Spanish Quito. 57 

in 1534, Quito was created an imperial city by Charles Y. 
seven years later. It formed part of Peru till 1710 ; then 
of Santa Fe till 1722 ; and again of Peru till its independ- 
ence. The power of Spain in South America was destroy- 
ed at the battle of Ayacucho, Dec. 9, 1824. La 1830 Ven- 
ezuela separated from Colombia, and Ecuador followed the 
same year. The first Congress was held in Riobamba ; but 
Quito has ever since been the political focus. The first pres- 
ident was General Flores. 

Under the diadem of the Incas, Quito assumed a mag- 
nificence which it never saw before and has not displayed 
since. It was the worthy metropohs of a vast empire 
stretching from the equator to the desert of Atacama, and 
walled in by the grandest group of mountains in the world. 
On this lofty site, which amid the Alps would be buried in 
an avalanche of snow, but within the tropics enjoys an eter- 
nal spring, palaces more beautiful than the Alhambra were 
erected, glittering with the gold and emerald of the Andes. 
But all this splendor passed away with the sceptre of Atar 
huallpa. Wliere the pavilion of the Inca stood is now a 
gloomy convent, and a wheat-field takes the place of the 
Temple of the Sun. 

The colonial history of this favored spot is as lifeless as 
the history of Sahara. Not a single event occurred of 
which even Spain can be proud; not a monument was 
raised which reflects any credit upon the mother country. 
Every thing was prescribed by law, and all law emanated 
from a tribunal five thousand miles distant. There was no 
relation of private life vnth which the government did not 
interfere : what the colonist should plant and what trade 
he should follow ; where he should buy and where he 
should sell ; how much he should import and export ; and 
where and when he should marry, were regulated by the 
" Council of the Indies" and the Inquisition. In the words 

58 The Andes and the Amazon. 

of a native writer, " The great majority of the people knew 
nothing of sciences, events, or men. Their religion con- 
sisted of outward observances, and an imperfect knowledge 
of the papal bulls ; their morality, in asceticism and devo- 
tion to their Idng ; their philosophy, in the subtleties of 
Aristotle ; their history, in the history of the mother coun- 
try ; their geography, in the maps of Spanish America and 
of Spain ; their press, in what sufficed to print bill-heads 
and blank forms ; their commerce, in an insignificant coast- 
ing trade ; their ambition and highest aspirations, in titles 
of nobility ; their amusements, in bull-fights. The arrival 
of a mail was an event of great moment, and with ringing of 
bells was received the cajon de Espana which announced 
the health of the sovereigns. Thus, while Europe was pass- 
ing through the stormy times of Louis XIY. ; while the 
philosophical writings of the illustrious men of those times 
found their way into the remotest corners of the globe; 
while the English colonies of North America conquered 
their independence ; while the Old World was drenched in 
blood to propagate the ideas which the French Eevolution 
had proclaimed, the Presidency of Quito, walled in by its 
immense Cordilleras and the ocean, and ruled by monkish 
ignorance and bigotry, knew as little of men and events as 
we now know of men and events in the moon."* 

From an iron despotism which existed for three centu- 
ries, Quito passed to a state of unbridled licentiousness. 
Without any political experience whatever, the people at- 
tempted to lay the foundation of a new system of govern- 
ment and society. With head and hearts perverted by 
monkish superstition and Spanish tyranny, yet set on fire 
by the French Eevolution, what did they know of liberty ! 

* Geografia de la Repuhlica del Ecuador, por Dr. Villavicencio. This work 
abounds with erroneous and exaggerated statements, but it,is nevertheless a 
valuable contribution to Ecuadorian literature. 

"The Navel of the Wokld." 59 

Endless civil wars have followed independence. " Politic- 
al ambition," says a late United States minister, " personal 
jealousies, impracticable theories, official venality, reckless 
disregard of individual rights and legal obligations, foolish 
meddling and empirical legislation, and an absolute want 
of political morality, form the principal features of their 
republican history."* To-day they tread on the dust of an 
ancient race whose government was in every respect a most 
complete contrast to their own. 

At the foot of volcanic Pichincha, only five hours' travel 
fi-om its smoking crater, lies " the city above the clouds," 
•'the navel of the world," "magnificent Quito." On the 
north is the plain of Rumibamba, the battle-field where 
Gonzalo Pizarro routed the first viceroy of Peru, and the 
scene, two centuries later, of the nobler achievements of La 
Condamine, which made it the classic ground of astronomy. 
On the southern edge of the city rises Panecillo, remind- 
ing one of Mount Tabor by its symmetrical form, and over- 
looking the beautiful and well-watered plain of Turubam- 
ba. On the east fiows the Rio Machangara, and just be- 
yond it stand the Puengasi hills hiding the Chillo valley, 
while the weary sun goes early to rest behind the towering 
peaks of Pichincha. So encircled is this sequestered spot, 
the traveler, approaching by the Guayaquil road, sees only 
a part of it, and is disappointed ; and even when standing 
on Panecillo, with the entire city spread out before him, he 
is not wholly satisfied. Buried between treeless, sombre 
sierras, and isolated from the rest of the world by impass- 
able roads and gigantic cordilleras, Quito ajDpears to us of 
the commercial nineteenth century as useless as the old feu- 
dal towns perched on the mountains of Middle Europe. 

* Four Years among Spanish Americans, by Hon. F. Hassaureh : a truthful 
work, to which we refer the reader for details, especially concerning Ecuado- 
rian life and manners. 

60 The Andes and the Amazon. 

]N"ot a chimney rises above the red-tiled roofs, telling of 
homely hearths beneath. 'No busy hum greets the ear ; 
there are bugles instead of spindles, and jingling church 
bells in place of rattling carriages. The wandering eye 
does not look for a railroad or a telegraph, for even the 
highways, such as they are, seem deserted, and, save the 
music made for soldiers and saints, all is silent. The very 
mountains, too, with their snow-mantled heads, and their 
sides scarred by volcanic eruptions and ruptured by earth- 
quake shocks, have a melancholy look. In the words of a 
great artist, " They look like a world from which not only 
the human, but the spiritual presences had perished, and the 
last of the archangels, building the great Andes for their 
monuments, had laid themselves down to eternal rest, each 
in his snow-white shroud." 

But let us enter. Passing the ruined chapel " Del Senor 
del buen pasaje," and crossing by a substantial stone bridge 
the little Machangara hastening to pay tribute to the Pa- 
cific, we leave behind its the dirty, dilapidated suburbs of 
the capital. Soon we cross another bridge — the Bridge of 
Buzzards — spanning a deep ravine, and gallop through the 
Plaza de Santo Domingo. Very different are the sights 
and sounds from the stir and style of Central Park. The 
scene has a semi-oriental cast^ — half Indian, half Egyptian, 
as if this were the confluence of the Maranon and N^ile. 
Groups of men — not crowds, for there is plenty of elbow- 
room in Ecuador — in gay ponchos stand chatting in front 
of little shops, or lean against the wall to enjoy the sun- 
shine ; beggars in rags or sackcloth stretch forth their lep- 
rous hands for charity; monks in white, and canons in 
black, walk in the shade of immense hats ; shoeless soldiers 
saunter to and fro ; Indians from the mountains in every 
variety of costume cluster around heaps of vegetables for 
sale ; women in red, brown, and blue frocks are peddling 

Quito, feom the Nokth. 


oranges and alligator pears, or bearing huge burdens on 
their heads ; children, guiltless of clothing, and obtuse don- 
keys, wander whithersoever they will ; and water-carriers, 
iilHng their jars at the fountain, start off on a dog-trot. 

"We cross the Plaza diagonally, pass down the Calle de 
San Fernando, up the Calle del Algodon, and through the 
busy Calle del Correo, till we reach the Casa Frances^ op- 
posite the mansion of the late General Flores. This is our 


The Andes and the Amazon. 

hotel — owned by a Frenchman, but kept by an Indian. We 
ride under the low archway, bowing with ill grace, like all 
republicans unaccustomed to royalty, tie our beasts in the 
court-yard, ascend to our spacious quarters on the second 
floor, and, ordering coffee, seat ourselves in the beautiful 
balcony to talk of Quito and Quitonians. 


Quito, though not the highest city on the globe, is two 
thousand feet higher than the Hospice of Great St. Bernard 
on the Alps, which is the only permanent place of abode in 
Europe above six thousand five hundred feet. When Mr. 
Hassaurek was appointed United States Minister to Ecua- 
dor, he thanked Mr. Lincoln for conferring upon him the 
highest gift in his power. The mean result of our numer- 
ous observations with Green's standard barometer places 

Situation of Quito. 


the Grand Plaza nine thousand five hundred and twenty 
feet above the sea, or fifty feet lower than the calculation 
of Humboldt. Water boils at 194°.5. Cuzco and Potosi 
may surpass it in altitude, but there is not a city in the 
world which can show at once such a genial climate, such 
magnificent views, and such a checkered history. It is 
unique likewise in its latitude, lying only fifteen miles be- 
low the equator ; no other capital comes within tlii-ee hun- 
dred miles of the equinoctial line. 

street in Quito. 

Whatever may have been the plan of Quito in the days 
of Huayna-Capac, it is evident that the Spanish fomiders 
were guided more by the spurs of Pichincha than by as- 

64 The Andes ajstd the Amazon. 

tronomy. The streets make an angle of forty-five degrees 
with the meridian, so that not a single public building faces 
any one of the four cardinal points of the compass. Two 
deep ravines come down the mountain, and traverse the 
city from west to east. They are mostly covei'ed by arches, 
on which the houses rest ; but where they are open, they 
disclose as fit representatives of the place of torment as the 
Yalley of Hinnom. The outline of the city is as irregular 
as its surface. It incloses one square mile. Twenty streets, 
all of them straiter than the apostolic one in Damascus, 
cross one another very nearly at right angles. None of 
them are too wide, and the walks are painfully narrow; 
but, thanks to Garcia Moreno, they are well paved. The 
inequality of the site, and its elevation above the Machan- 
gara, render the drainage perfect.* The streets are dimly 
lighted by tallow candles, every householder being obliged 
to hang out a lantern at 7 p.m., unless there is moonshine. 
The candles, however, usually expire about ten o'clock. 
There are three " squares" — Plaza Mayor, Plaza de San 
Francisco, and Plaza de Santo Domingo. The first is three 
hundred feet square, and adorned with trees and flowers ; 
the others are dusty and unpaved, being used as market- 
places, where Indians and donkeys most do congregate. 
All the plazas have fountains fed with pm-e water from 

Few buildings can boast of architectural beauty, yet 
Quito looks palatial to the traveler who has just emerged 

* The following quotation, however, is true to the letter, and will apply 
equally well to Guayaquil and to Madrid — the mother of them both : "There 
is another want still more embarrassing in Quito than the want of hotels — it 
is the want of water-closets and privies, which are not considered as neces- 
sary fixtures of private residences. Men, women, and children, of all ages 
and colors, may be seen in the middle of the street, in broad daylight, mak- 
ing privies of the most public thoroughfares ; and while thus engaged, they 
will stare into the faces of passers-by with a shamelessness that beggars de- 
scription." — Hassaurek. 

The Ectjadokian Capitol. 65 

from the dense forest on the coast, " crossing bridgeless riv- 
ers, floundering over bottomless roads, and ascending and 
descending immense mountains." He is astonished to find 
such elegant edifices and such a proud aristocracy in this 
lofty lap of the Andes. The Indian habitations which gir- 
dle the city have no more architectural pretensions than 
an Arab dwelling. They are low mud hovels, the scene 
witliin and without of dirt and disorder. 

As we approach the Grand Plaza, the centre of the city, 
the buildings increase in size, style, and finish. The ordi- 
nary material is adobe, not only because it is cheap, but 
also because it best resists earthquake shocks. Fear of a 
terrenioto has likewise led to a massiveness in construction 
which is slightly ludicrous when we see the poverty which 
it protects; the walls are often two or three feet thick. 
The ground floor is occupied by servants, whose rooms — 
small enough to be called niches — surromid the paved 
court-yard, which is entered from the street by a broad 
doorway. Within this court is sometimes a fountain or 
flower-plot. Around it are arches or pillars siipporting a 
gallery, which is the passage-way to the apartments of the 
second story. All the rooms are floored with large square 
bricks. With few exceptions, the only windows are fold- 
ing glass doors leading to balconies overhanging the pave- 
ment. The tiled roofs project far over into the street, and 
from these project still further uncouth water-spouts, such 
as used to be seen in Rio Janeiro, but have now been ban- 
ished to the antiquarian museum. Only three or four pri- 
vate residences rise above two stories. The shops are 
small affairs — akin to the cupboards of Damascene mer- 
chants ; half a dozen modern ladies can keep out any more 
customers. The door sei*\'es as entrance, exit, window, and 
show-case. The finest structures cluster aroiind the plazas. 
Here are the public buildings, some of them dating back 


66 The Andes and the Amazon. 

to the times of Philip II. They are modeled after the old 
Spanish style ; there is scarcely a fragment of Gothic ar- 
chitecture. They are built of large brick, or a dark vol- 
canic stone from Piehincha. 

The Government House, which serves at once as " White 
House" and Capitol, is an imposing edifice fronting the 

Palacio de Gobieruo — Capitol. 

Grand Plaza, and adorned with a fine colonnade. On its 
right rises the cathedral ; on the left stands the unpretend- 
ing palace of the nuncio. The former would be called 
beautiful were it kept in repair ; it has a splendid marble 
porch, and a terrace with carved stone balustrade. The 
view above was taken from this terrace. The finest fa§ade 
is presented by the old Jesuit church, which has an elabo- 
rate front of porphyry. The Church of San Francisco, 

The Church of San Feancisco. 67 

built by the treasures of Atahuallpa, discovered by an In- 
dian named Catuna, is the richest. It is surmounted by 
two lofty towers, and the interior is a perfect blaze of gild- 
ing. The monastery attached to it is one of the largest in 
the world, but the greater part of it is in rnins, and one of 
the wings is used as a barrack. Those unsightly, unadorn- 
ed convents, which cling to every church save the cathe- 
dral, have neutralized nearly all architectural effect. 

68 The Andes ajsd the Amazon. 


Population of Quito. — Dress. — Manners. — Character. — Commerce. — Agri- 
culture. — Manufactures. — Arts. — Education. — Amusements. — Quito La- 

QuiTONiANS claim for their capital eighty thousand in- 
habitants ; but when we consider that one fourth of the city- 
is covered with ecclesiastical buildings, and that the dwell- 
ing-houses are but two stories high, we see that there is not 
room for more than half that number. From thirty thou- 
sand to forty thousand is the estimate of the venerable Dr. 
Jameson, who has resided here for a generation.* Census 
taking is as difficult as in Constantinople ; the people hide 
themselves to escape taxation. The women far outnumber 
the men. The white population — a stiff aristocracy of 
eight thousand souls — is of Spanish descent, but not more 
than half a dozen can boast of pure blood. The coarse 
black hair, prominent cheek-bones, and low foreheads, re- 
veal an Indian alliance. This is the goveniing class ; from 
its ranks come those uneasy politicians who make laws for 
other people to obey, and hatch revolutions when a rival 
party is in power. They are blessed with fair mental ca- 
pacity, quick perception, and uncommon civility ; but they 
lack education and industry, energy and perseverance. 
Their wealth, which is not great, consists mainly in haci- 
endas, yielding grain, cotton, and cattle. The Aguirre fam- 
ily is one of the noblest and wealthiest in the city ; their 

* Spanish rhetoric is given to exaggeration. "All their geese are swans." 
A Peruvian assured us that Cuzco contained 200,000 souls. It is, in fact, 
about as large as Quito; Gibbon says 20,000. 


mansion is on the Grand Plaza, facing the Capitol. The 
pure Indiaiis of Quito number perhaps 10,000 ; not all 
those seen in the city are citizens, as many serranos, or 
mountaineers, come in to sell produce. They are the serfs 
that do the drudgery of the republic ; they are the tillers 
of the soil, and beasts of burden. Many sell themselves 
for money in advance, and then are ever kept in debt. 
Excepting a few Zambos (the children of Indians and Ne- 
groes), and a very few foreigners and Negroes, the remain- 
der, constituting the bulk of the population, are Cholos — 
the offspring of whites and Indians. They are not strict- 
ly half-breeds, for the Lidian element stands out most 
prominent. Though a mixed race, they are far superior 
to their progenitors in enterprise and intelligence. They 
are the soldiers, artisans, and tradesmen who keep up the 
only signs of life in Qiuto. " I know not the reason," says 
Darwin, " but men of such origin seldom have a good ex- 
pression of countenance." This may be true on the pam- 
pas, but Quito, where there is every imaginable mixture of 
Indian and Spaniard, is wonderfully free from ugly feat- 
ares. It may be owing to the more peaceful and civilized 
history of this mountain city. 

As to dress, black is the color of etiquette, but is not so 
national as in Madrid. The upper class follow la mode de 
Paris, gentlemen adding the classic cloak of Old Spain. 
This modern toga fits an Ecuadorian admirably ; it favors 
habits of inactivity, preventing the arms from doing any 
thing, and covers a multitude of sins, especially pride and 
poverty. The poncho, so peculiar to the West Coast and to 
the Gauchos of Buenos Ayres, is a piece of cloth of divers 
colors, with a slit in the centre, through \A'^hich the head 
is passed. It is the only variable article of the wardrobe. 
It is an excellent riding habit, and is made of heavy wool- 
en for mountaiia travel, aiid of silk or cotton for warmer al- 

70 The Andes and the Amazon. 

titudes. No gentleman will be seen walking in the streets 
of Quito under a poncho. Hence citizens are "divided into 
men with ponchos, and gentlemen with cloaks. The pan- 
uelon is the most essential article of female gear. It an- 
swers to the mantilla of the mother country, though it is 
not worn so gracefully as on the banks of the Tagus. An- 
dean ladies are not troubled with the distressing fluctua- 
tions in the style of hats ; a bonnet in Quito is as much 
out of place as a turban in New York. When the daugh- 
ter of our late minister resident appeared in the cathedral 
with one, the innovation was the subject of severe remark. 
The Spanish hair is the glory of the sex. It is thick and 
black (red, being a rarity, is considered a beauty), and is 
braided in two long tresses. A silk dress, satin shoes, and 
fancy jewelry complete the visible attire of the belles of 

The ordinary costume of the Indians and Cholos con- 
sists of a coarse cotton shirt and drawers, and silk, cotton, 
or woolen poncho of native manufacture, the females add- 
ing a short petticoat, generally of a light blue or " butter- 
nut" color, belted around the waist with a figured woolen 
belt woven by themselves. The head, arms, legs, and feet 
are often bare, but, by those wlio can afford it, the head is 
covered with a straw or white felt broad-brim, and the feet 
protected by sandals, called aljoargates, made of the fibres 
of the aloe. They are very fond of bracelets and neck- 
laces. Infants are usually swathed from neck to feet with 
a broad strip of cloth, so that they look like live mummies. 

Quitonians put us to shame by their unequaled courte- 
sy, cordiality, and good-nature, and are not far below the 
grave and decorous Castilian in dignified politeness.* 

* "I must express my admiration at the natural politeness of almost ev- 
ery Chileno. We met, near Mendoza, a little and very fat negress, riding 
astride on a mule. She had a goitre so enormous that it was scarcely possi- 

QuiTONIAJSr Chaeactek. 71 

Rudeness, which some Northerners fancy is a proof of 
equality and independence, we never met with, and duels 
and street quarrels are almost unknown. We detected 
none of the touchy sensitiveness of the punctilious Span- 
ish hidalgos. Their compliments and promises are with- 
out end; and, made in the magnificent and ceremoni- 
ous language of Spain,* are overwhelming to a stranger. 
Thus a fair Quitonian sends by her servant the following 
message to another lady : " Go to the Senorita Fulana de 
Tal, and tell her that she is my heart and the dear little 
friend of my soul ; tell her that I am dying for not having 
seen her, and ask her why she does not come to see me ; 
tell her that I have been waiting for her more than a week, 
and that I send her my best respects and considerations ; 
and ask her how she is, and how her husband is, and how 
her children are, and whether they are all well in the fam- 
ily ; and tell her she is my little love, and ask her whether 
she will be kind enough to send me that pattern which she 
promised me the other day."f This highly important mes- 
sage the servant delivers like a parrot, not omitting a sin- 
gle compliment, but rather adding thereto. 

A newly-arrived foreigner is covered with promises: 
houses, horses, servants, yea, every thing is at his disposal. 
But, alas ! the traveler soon finds that this ceremony of 
words does not extend to deeds. He is never expected to 
call for the services so pompously proffered. So long as 

ble to avoid, gazing at her for a moment ; but my two companions almost 
instantly, by way of apology, made the common salute of the country by 
taking off their hats. Where would one of the lower or higher classes in 
Europe have shown such feeling politeness to a poor and miserable object of 
a degraded race?" — Darwin^ s Naturalist's Voyage. 

* The Spanish tongue is the manly son of the Latin, as the Italian is the 
fair daughter ; a language in which, as Charles V. said, ' ' God ought alone 
to be addressed in prayer." It is spoken in America with an Andalusian 
rather than Toledan pronunciation. 

t We are indebted to Mr. Hassaurek for this capital illustration. Every 
lady, married or unmarried, is addressed Senorita, or Miss. 

72 The Ajstdes and the Amazon. 

lie stays in Quito he will not lose sight of the contrast be- 
tween big promise and beggarly performance. This out- 
ward civility, however, is not hypooritical ; it is mere me- 
chanical prattle ; the speaker does not expect to be taken 
at his word. The love of superlatives and the want of 
good faith may be considered as prominent characteristics. 
" The readiness with which they break a promise or an 
agreement (wrote Colonel Hall forty years ago) can onh- 
be equaled by the sophistical ingenuity with which they- 
defend themselves for having done so." The Quitonians, 
who are sensible of their shortcomings, have this standing- 
apology : " Our vices we owe to Spain ; our virtues to our- 

Such is the mutual distrust, partnerships are almost un- 
known ; we do not remember a single commercial firm, 
save a few made up of brothers, or father and son. With 
this moral debility is joined the procrastinating spirit of 
the oriental. Manana (to-morrow), like the BouJcra of 
the Arabs, is the universal winding up of promises. And 
very often, if one promises a thing to-morrow, he means 
the day after that. It is impossible to start a man into 
prompt compliance ; he will not commence a piece of work 
when you wish nor when he promises. No amount of ca- 
jolery, bribery, or threats will induce a Quitonian to do 
any thing or be any where in season. If there were a rail- 
road in Ecuador, every body would be too late for the first 
train. There are only one or two watch-tinkers in the 
great city, and, as may be inferred, very few watches are 
in running order. As a consequence, the people have very 
little idea of time. But this is not the sole reason for their 

* "When speaking of these countries, the manner in which they have been 
brought up by their unnatural parent, Spain, should always be borne in mind. 
On the whole, perhaps, more credit is due for what has been done, than 
blame for that which may be deficient." — Darwin s Journal of Researches, 
p. 158. 

Inbiffeeence of the People. 73 

dilatoriness ; they are indifferent. Nobody seems to want 
to make money (tliough all are in sad need of it) ; nobody 
is in a hurry; nobody is busy save the tailors, who mani- 
fest a commendable diligence. Contempt for labor, a 
Spanish inheritance, and lack of energy, are traits which 
stand out in alto relievo. 

One can form liis own judgment of the spiritless people 
from the single statement which we have from Dr. Jame- 
son, that during the last forty years not ten Quitonians 
have visited the grand crater of Pichincha, though it is 
possible to ride horseback to its very edge. Plenty of gen- 
tlemen by profession walk the streets and cathedral ter- 
race, proud as a Roman senator .under his toga, yet not 
ashamed to beg a cup of coffee at the door of a more for- 
tunate fellow-citizen. Society is in a constant struggle 
between ostentation and want. 

J^ature has done more for Ecuador than for Ecuadori- 
ans. She laid otit this beautiful valley for an Elysian 
field ; " de Quito al Cielo" (from Quito to Heaven) is not 
an empty adage ; and it is painful to look upon tottering 
walls and impassable roads, upon neglected fields and an 
idle population — poor as poverty in the lap of boundless 
natural wealth. The only really live man in the republic 
is the president, Senor G. Garcia Moreno, a man of wide 
views and great energy, standing in these respects liead 
and shoulders above his fellow-citizens. Quito and Quito 
Valley owe nearly all their improvements to this one man. 

It is easy to say what would be the industry of a people 
who spend much of their time repeating traditions of treas- 
ures buried by the Incas, and stories of gold deposits in the 
mountains. Of commerce there is scarcely enough to de- 
serve the name. Quito is an ecclesiastical city, and is near- 
ly supported by Guayaquil. "Without capital, without en- 
ergy, without bu.siness habits, Quitonians never embark 

74 The Andes and the Amazon. 

in grand commercial schemes and industrial enterprises. 
There is not a highway for commerce in any direction, 
only a natural path (called by the innocent natives a road), 
which rises to the altitude of fourteen thousand feet, by 
wliich the beasts of burden pick their way over the Cor- 
dillera. And this is open only six months in the year. 
Should a box designed for Quito arrive at Guayaquil at the 
beginning of the rainy season, it must tarry half a year till 
Nature makes the road passable. 

The xmstable condition of the country does not encour- 
age great undertakings ; all business is periodically para- 
lyzed by revolution. Merchants generally buy their goods 
in Lima, to which city and Guayaquil the fabrics of En- 
gland and France are brought by foreigners in foreign 
ships. The shops of Quito, as we have remarked, are very 
small, without windows, and with only one wooden door. 
The door is double, and is fastened by a ponderous padlock. 
They are open from 7 a.m. till sunset, excepting between 
nine and ten and between three and four, when the stores 
are closed for breakfast and dinner ; the merchants never 
trusting their clerks, even when they have any, which is not 
usually the case. They have no fixed price, but get what 
they can. The majority know nothing of wholesale, and 
refuse to sell by the quantity, fearing a cheat. An Indian 
woman will sell you a real's worth of oranges any number 
of times, but she would object to parting with a dollar's 
worth — her arithmetic can not comprehend it. 

In the portals or arcades of the Aguirre mansion and 
the niincio's palace are the stalls of the haberdashers. Ar- 
ticles are not wrapped in paper ; customers must get them 
home the best way they can. Ladies of the higher class sel- 
dom go out shopping, but send for samples. It is consider- 
ed disgraceful to either sex to be seen carrying any thing 
through the streets of Quito. The common people buy 

Com. — Andean Ageicultuke. 75 

only for immediate wants — a dose of medicine, or a hand- 
ful of potatoes at a time. Nearly all liquids, kerosene as 
well as wine, are sold by the bottle. 

There was no bank in Quito in 1867, but an attempt has 
just been made to establish one. The paper money of 
Guayaquil is often at nine per cent, discount in the capital. 
The currency is silver adulterated with one third of copper. 
The smallest coin, the cale, is worth about two and a half 
cents. Above that are medios (five cents), reals (ten cents), 
two, four, and eight reals. Eight reals make a soft dollar 
($0 SO) ; ten reals, a hard dollar ($1 00). There is no cop- 
per coin — oranges and loaves of bread are sometimes used 
to make change ; and nearly all the gold in circulation are 
New Granada condors and Peruvian onzas. Many of the 
silver pieces have large holes cut in the centre, so that they 
resemble rings. Government set the example (and the peo- 
ple followed) on the plea that it would prevent the export- 
ation of coin. The plan has succeeded, for it does not pass 
out of the valley. 

Nearly the only sign of progress is the late introduction 
of the grape and silk-worm ; and these give so much prom- 
ise of success that the threadbare nobility have already be- 
gun to count their coming fortunes. Husbandry is more 
pastoral than agricultural. Thousands of cattle are raised 
on the paramos, but almost wholly for beef. " A dislike 
to milk (observes Humboldt), or at least the absence of its 
use before the arrival of Europeans, was, generally speak- 
ing, a feature common to all nations of the New Continent, 
as likewise to the inhabitants of China." Some cheese 
(mostly unpressed curd) and a little butter are made, but in 
the patriarchal style. Only one American churn is in op- 
eration ; the people insist upon first boiling the milk and 
then stirring with a spoon. Custom is omnipotent here, 
and its effects hereditary. Milking is done at any hour of 

76 The Andes and the Amazon, 

the day, or whenever milk is wanted. The operation is a 
formidable one to these bull-fighting people. Stopping at 
a hacienda near Pelildo for a drink of milk, we were eye- 
witness of a comical sight. A mild-looking cow was driven 
up to the door ; the woman, evidently the bravest member 
of the household, seized the beast by the horns ; a boy tied 
the hind legs with a long rope, and held on to one end of it 
at a respectful distance ; while the father, with outstretch- 
ed arms, milked into a calabash. 

Agricultural machinery is not in use. The first thresh- 
ing-machine Quito ever saw was made in 1867 by some 
California miners, but it remained unsold when we last saw 
it. The spade is not known ; the nearest approach to it is 
a crowbar flattened at one end. Hoes are clumsy and awk- 
ward. Yankee plows are bought more as curiosities than 
for use. Many a crooked stick is seen scratching the land, 
as in Egypt, which the cattle drag by their horns. Some- 
times a number of sharp-nosed hogs are tied together and 
let into a field, and driven fi-om place to place till the 
whole is rooted up. Corn is planted by making holes in 
the ground with a stick, and dropping in the seed. The 
soil and climate of Ecuador, so infinitely varied, offer a 
home to almost every useful plant. The productions of 
either India could be naturalized on the lowlands, while 
the highlands would welcome the grains and fruits of Eu- 
rope. But intertropical people do not subdue nature like 
the civilized men of the North ; they only pick up a liveli- 

Spanish Americans, hke Castilians on the banks of the 
Tagus, have a singular antipathy to trees. When Garcia 
Moreno made a park of the dusty Plaza Mayor, he was 
ridiculed, even threatened. To plant a fruit or shade tree 
(a thing of foresight and forethought for others) in a land 
where people live for self, and from hand to mouth, is con- 

"Evergreen Quito." — Manufactures. 77 

sidered downriglit folly in theory and practice. A large 
portion of the valley, left treeless, is becoming less favora- 
ble for cultivation. 

Yet, as it is, the traveler is charmed by the emerald ver- 
diire of the coast, and by " evergreen Quito" — more beau- 
tiful than the hanging gardens of Babylon — suspended far 
above the ordinary elevation of the clouds. In the San 
Francisco mai'ket we find wheat, barley, maize, beans, peas, 
potatoes, cabbages, beets, salads, pine-apples, chirimoyas, 
guavas, oranges, lemons, pears, quinces, peaches, apricots, 
melons, and strawberries- — ^the last all the year round. 
Most of these are exotics ; the early discoverers found not 
a cereal grain of the Old World, not an orange or apple, 
no sugar-cane or strawberries.* 

There is but little manufacturing industry in the interior 
of Ecuador, but much more than on the coast. The chief 
articles manufactured are straw hats, shoes, baskets, car- 
pets, embroidery, tape, thread, ponchos, coarse woolen and 
cotton cloth, saddles, sandals, soap, sugar, cigars, aguardi- 
ente, powder, sweetmeats, carved images, paints, and pot- 
tery. Wines, crockery, glassware, cutlery, silks, and fine 
cloth are imported. There are three cotton mills in the 
country; one in Chillo (established by Senors Aguirre in 
1842), another in Otovalo (built by Senor Parija in 1859), 
and a third in Cuenca (1861). The machinery of the Chil- 
lo factory came from England ; that of Otovalo from Pat- 
terson, N". J. The latter was utterly destroyed in the late 
great earthquake, and the proprietor killed. The cotton is 
inferior to that of ISTew Orleans ; it is not " fat," as me- 
chanics say ; the seeds yield only two per cent, of oil. But 
it is whiter than American cotton, though coarse, and can 

* The vase is still shown in which Father Kixi brought the first wheat from 
Europe. It was sown in what is now the San Francisco Plaza, the chief 
mai'ket-place of the city. 

78 The Andes and the Amazon. 

be used only for very ordinary fabrics. The average length 
is five eighths of an inch. One pod will produce on an av- 
erage three pennyweights. The mills of Chillo and Oto- 
valo consume 425,000 pounds annually. The first sugar- 
mill was erected by the Aguirres in 1840 at Nanegal. 

Quito is more than a century behind this age of steam 
and lightning. To form an adequate idea of the mechanic 
and fine arts in that " city of the kings," we must transport 
ourselves to the Saxon period of European civilization. 
Both the material and the construction of the houses would 
craze Sir Christopher Wren: With fine quarries close at 
hand, they must build with mud mixed with stones, or plas- 
tered on wattles, like the Druses of Mount Lebanon. Liv- 

Indiau Dwellings. 

ing on the equatorial line and on the meridian so accurate- 
ly measured by the highest mathematics of France and 
Spain, Quitonians must needs leave out every right angle 
or straight line in the walls, and every square beam and 
rafter. Except on the grand road from Quito to Ambato, 
commenced by President Moreno, there is not a wheel- 
barrow to be seen ; paving-stones, lime, brick, and dirt, are 

Music. — Liteeatuke. 79 

usually carried on human backs. Saint Crispin never had 
the fortitude to do penance in the shoes of Quito, and the 
huge nails which enter into the hoofs of the quadrupedants 
remind one of the Cyclops. There are not six carts in Qui- 
to. If you wish to move, you must coax a dozen Indians, 
who care little for your money or your threats. Horse- 
hire, peonage, and most mechanical work must be paid for 
in advance. Carriages — antique veliicles, of which there 
are two or three in the city — are drawn by mules. The 
first was introduced by Sefior Aguirre so late as 1859, and 
he was fined by the police for the privilege of riding in it. 
Quitonians ai-e not a traveling people, and they are pain- 
fully ignorant of their own country. The most enterpris- 
ing merchant ignores every thing but Quito and the road 
to Guayaquil. 

"We can not praise the musical talent of Spanish Amer- 
icans; their intonation is too nasal, while in their jumpings 
and chirpings they take after the grasshopper, A resident 
Englishman, who has traveled in many countries, and sings 
the songs of nearly every nation, told us he could not re- 
member one of Ecuador. Pianos they have brought over 
the moimtains at great expense ; but they are more at home 
with the guitar. The embroidery and lace, wood carving 
and portrait painting of Quito, are commendable ; but the 
grandeur of the Andes, like the beauty of the Alps, was 
never sketched by a native. 

Ecuador boasts of one University and eleven colleges ; 
yet the people are not educated. Litei-ature, science, phi- 
losophy, law, medicine, are only names. jS^early all young 
gentlemen are doctors of something; but their education 
is strangely dwarfed, defective, and distorted ; and their 
knowledge, such as they have, is without power, as it is 
without practice. The University of Quito has two hun- 
dred and eighty-five students, of whom thirty-five are pur- 

80 The Aistdes and the Ajviazon. 

suing law, and eighteen medicine. ^ There are eleven pro- 
fessors. Thej receive no fees from the students, but an 
annual salary of $300. The library contains eleven thou- 
sand volumes, nearly all old Latin, Spanish, and French 
works. The cabinet is a bushel of stones cast into one cor- 
ner of a lumber-room, covered with dust, and crying out in 
vain for a man in the University to name them. The Col- 
lege of Tacunga has forty-five students ; a fine chemical 
and philosophical apparatus, but no one to handle it ; and 
a set of rocks from Europe, but only a handful from Ecua- 
dor. The College of Eiobamba has four professors, and 
one hundred and twenty students. In the common schools, 
the pupils study in concert aloud, Arab fashion. There are 
four papers in the republic ; two in Guayaquil, one in Cu- 
enca, and one in Quito. El Nacional, of the capital, is an 
ofiicial organ, not a newspaper ; it contains fourteen duo- 
decimo pages, and is published occasionally by the Minis- 
ter of the Interior. Like the Gazeta of Madrid, it is one 
of the greatest satires ever deliberately published by any 
people on itself. There is likewise but one paper in Cuzco, 
El Triumfo del Pueblo. 

The amusements of Quito are few, and not very amus- 
ing. Indo-Castilian blood runs too slowly for merry-mak- 
ing. There are no operas or concerts, no theatres or lec- 
tures, no museums or menageries. For dramas they have 
revolutions ; for menageries, bull-baitings. A bull-bait is 
not a bull-fight. There is no colisemn or amphitheatre ; no 
matador gives the scientific death-wound. Unlike their 
fraternity in the ring of Seville, where they are doomed to 
die, the animals are only doomed to be pothered ; they are 
" scotched, not killed." They are teased and tormented by 
yelling crowds, barking dogs, brass bands, red ponchos, tail- 
pulhng, fire-crackers, wooden lances, and such like. The 
Plaza de Toros is the Plaza de San Francisco. This sport 

Cock-fights. — Quito Ladies. 81 

is reserved for the most notable days in the calendar: 
Christmas, New Year's, Inauguration-day, and Independ- 
ence-day — the 10th of August. 

Cock-fights come next in popularity, and are hoTm fide 
fights. Often the roosters are so heroic that both leave 
their blood in the arena, and never crow again. Little 
knives are fastened to the natural spurs, with which the 
fowls cut each other up frightfully. The interesting scene 
takes place on Sundays and Thursdays, near the Church of 
Santa Catalina, and is regulated by a municipal tribunal. 
The admission fee of five cents, and the tax of two per cent, 
on bets, yield the city a monthly revenue of $100. 

•Other pastimes are carnivals and masquerades. Carnival 
is observed by pelting one another with eggs and sprink- 
ling with water. Whoever invented this prelude to Lent 
should be canonized. Masquerades occur during the holi- 
days, when all classes, in disguise or fancy dress, get up a 
little fun at each other's expense. The monotony of social 
life is more frequently disturbed by fashionable fimerals' 
than by these amusements ; and, as the principal families 
are inter-related, the rules of condolence keep the best part 
of society in mourning, and the best pianos and guitars si- 
lent for at least six months in the year. 

A word about the ladies of Quito. We concur in the 
remark of our minister, Mr. Hassaurek, that " their natural 
dignity, gracefulness, and politeness, their entire self-pos- 
session, their elegant but unaffected bearing, and the choice- 
ness of their language, would enable them to make a cred- 
itable appearance in any foreign drawing-room." Their 
natural talents are of a high order ; but we must add that 
the senoras are imeducated, and are incapable of either 
great vices or great virtues. Their minds, like the soil of 
their native country, are fertile, but uncultivated ; and their 
hearts, like the climate, are of a mean temperature. Pray- 


82 The Andes and the Amazon. 

er-books and French novels (imported, as wanted, for there 
is not a book-store in the city) are the alpha and the omega 
of their literature ; Paris is considered the centre of civili- 
zation. They are comely, but not beautiful ^ Venus has 
given her girdle of fascination to few. Sensible of this, 
they paint. 

Holinski gives his impressions by contrasting the faij* 
Quitonians with the fairer Guayaquilians : " Les yeux vifs 
et ardent, le pied fine et mignon, les teintes chaudes et do- 
rees" distinguisli the latter. In the ladies of the high cap- 
ital there is nothing of this : " Les yeux ne lancent pas de 
flammes, le pied est sans gentillesse, I'cpiderme ne reflete 
pas les rayons du soliel." The ladies on the coast take all 
possible pains to preserve the small size of the foot ; a large 
foot is held in horror. Yon Tschudi once overheard some 
ladies extolling in high terms the beauty of an English 
lady ; all their praise, however, ending with this exclama- 
tion, " But what a foot ! Good heavens ! it is like a great 
boat !" Gibbon is continually talking of beautiful senoras 
and senoritas on the Andes; surely the lieutenant is in 

The ladies of Quito give few entertainments for lack of 
ready money. They spend much of their time in needle- 
work and gossip, sitting like Turkish sultanas on divans or 
the floor. They do not rise at your entrance or departure. 
They converse in a very loud, unmusical voice. "We never 
detected bashfulness in the street or parlor. They go to 
mass every morning, and make visits of etiquette on Sun- 
days. They take more interest in political than in domes- 
tic affairs. Dust and cobwebs are unmistakable signs of 
indifference. Brooms are rarities ; such as exist are besoms 

* "The young ladies of Cuzco are, in general, very beautiful, with regular 
features, fresh olive complexions, bright eyes full of intelligence, furnished 
with long lashes, and masses of black hair plaited in two tails. " — Marhham. 

Seevai^ts.- — -Washekwomen. 83 

made of split stick. Since our return, we have sent to a 
Quitonian gentleman, by request, a package of broom-corn 
seed, wliich, we trust, will be the forerunner of a harvest of 
brooms and cleaner floors in the high city. Not only the 
lords, but also the ladies, are inveterate smokers. Little 
mats are used for spittoons. 


Perhaps Quitonian ladies have too many Indian servants 
about them to keep tidy; seven or eight is the average 
number for a family. These are married, and occupy the 
ground floor, which swarpis with nude children. They are 
cheap, thievish, lazy, and fllthy. No class, pure-blood or 
half-breed, is given to ablution, though there are two pub- 
lic baths in the city. "Washerwomen repair to the Machan- 
gara, where they beat the dirty linen of Quito over the 

84: The Andes and the Amazon. 

smooth rocks. We remember but two or three table-cloths 
which entirely covered the table, and only one which was 
clean. There are but two daily meals ; one does not feel 
the need of more ; they are partaken at nine and three, or 
an hour earlier than in Guayaquil. When two unwashed, 
uncombed cooks bend over a charcoal fire, which is fanned 
by a third unkempt individual, and all three blinded by 
smoke (for there is no chimney), so that it is not their 
fault if capillaries and something worse are mingled with 
the stew, with onions to right of them, onions to left of 
them, onions in front of them, and achote already in the 
pot in spite of your repeated anathemas and expostulations 
— achote^ the same red coloring matter which tlie wild 
Indians use for painting their bodies and dyeing their 
cloth — and with several aboriginal wee ones romping about 
the kitchen, keen must be the appetite that will take hold 
with alacrity as the dishes are brought on by the most 
slovenly waiter imagination can body forth.* The aim of 
Ecuadorian cookery is to eradicate all natural flavor ; you 
wouldn't know you were eating chicken except by the 
bones. Even coffee and chocolate somehow lose their fine 
Guayaquilian aroma in this high altitude, and the very pies 
are stuffed with onions. But the beef, minus the garlic, is 
most excellent, and the dulce unapproachable. 

* We noticed at Riobamba a custom which formerly prevailed also at 
Quito. As soon as the guests have finished, and before they have risen, the 
Indian waiter kneels devoutly do\vn beside the table, and offers thanks in a 
very solemn, touching tone. 

Ecuador. — Gtoveknment. 85 


Ecuador. — Extent. — Government. — Religion. — A Protestant Cemetery in 
Quito. — Climate. — Regularity of Tropical Nature. — Diseases on the High- 

The republic of Ecuador looks like a wedge driven into 
the continent between the Maranon and the Putumayo, 
It has 600 miles of Pacific coast, and an area of about 
two hundred thousand square miles, including the Gala- 
pagos Islands. Peru, however, claims the oriental half, 
drawing her northern boundary from Tumbez through 
Canelos and Archidona ; and she is entitled to much of it, 
for she has established a regular Hne of steamers on the 
Maranon, while the Quito government has not developed 
an acre east of the Andes. Ecuador is hung between and 
upon two Cordilleras, which naturally divide it into three 
parts: tlie western slope, the Quitonian valley, and the 
Napo region. The fluvial system is mainly made up of 
the Napo, Pastassa, and Santiago, tributaries of the Mar- 
anon, and the Mira, Esmeraldas, and Guayaquil, flowing 
westward into the Pacific. There are no lakes proper, but 
the natives enumerate fifty-five lagunes, the largest of 
which, Capucuy, is not over five miles long. 

Yillavicencio tells tlie world that his country has a total 
population of 1,308,042, But Dr. Jameson believes it does 
not exceed 700,000. The government is based on the 
Constitution of 1845, amended in 1853. The president is 
chosen by a plurality of votes, holds his ofiice for four 
years, and has a salary of $12,000. He can not be re-elect- 

86 The Aitoes ajstd the Amazon. 

ed,* nor can he exercise his functions more than twenty-five 
miles from the capital. But the law is often set aside by 
those in power. During the administration of Garcia 
Moreno, prominent citizens were shot or banished by his 
order, without trial by jury. To every plea for mercy the 
stern president replied, that as he could not save the coun- 
try according to the Constitution, he should govern it ac- 
cording to his own views of public necessity. 

Congress assembles on the 15th of September every 
other year, and consists of eighteen senators and thirty 
representatives. The chambers are small, and literally bar- 
ren of ornament. The members sit in two rows facing 
each other, have no desks, and give an afiirmative vote by 
a silent bow. Politics has less to do with principles and 
parties than with personalities. Often it has a financial 
aspect ; and the natural expression on learning of a revo- 
lution is, "Somebody is out of money." The party in 
feathers its nest as fast as possible ; there is scarcely a pub- 
lic officer who is not open to bribery. The party out plots 
a premature resurrection to power by the ladders of cor- 
ruption, slander, and revolution.! Revolution has so rap- 
idly followed revolution that history has ceased to count 
them ; and it may be said of them what Milton wrote of 
the wars of the Saxon Heptarchy, " that they are not more 
worthy of being recorded than the skirmishes of crows and 
kites." The Grand Plaza, the heart where all the great 
arteries of circulation meet and diverge, is where the high 
tides of Quito affairs ebb and flow. 

* Since this was written, Garcia Moreno has been re-elected to the presi- 
dency, and the Constitution revised. Assassinated August 6, 1875. 

t Government has more than once paid its debts by repudiation. Con- 
gress lately voted to pay only seven per cent, of the claims against the state 
which are dated prior to a certain year. Among the sufferers is the vener- 
able Dr. Jameson, a distinguished foreigner, who has served this country* 
faithfully for forty years, first as assayer, then as director of the mint, and 
always by his scientific position. 

The Aumy. — Revenue. 87 

The Supreme Court consists of five judges. Criminal 
cases only are tried by jury; and an attorney is not permit- 
ted to question a witness. There are no penitentiaries : sec- 
ond-class criminals are made to work for the public, while 
political offenders are banished to the banks of the ISTapo, or 
to Peru. Here, as in no other country, every man's house 
is his castle. No search-warrants are allowed ; a policeman 
can be shot dead on the threshold. The person and prop- 
erty of a foreigner are safe ; and no native in the employ 
of a foreigner can be taken by the government for military 
purposes. All, except pure Indians, can vote if over twenty- 
one, and can read and write. A man's signature is without 
value if it lacks his flourish — a custom of Spanish origin. 

The permanent army consists of two regiments. The 
soldiers are mostly half-breeds, and are generally followed 
by their wives. They are poorly paid ; and as they are im- 
j)ressed into the service, they carry out the principle by 
helping themselves wherever they go. In marching, they 
have a quicker step than Northern soldiers. The chief ex- 
penditure of the republic is for the army, about $500,000 ; 
the next is for the payment of the national debt, $360,000. 
Tlie foreign debt is £1,470,374. Ecuadorians claim a rev- 
enue of a million and a half, of which one half is from the 
custom-house, and one fiftieth from the post-office. 

One would suppose that the people who breathe this high 
atmosphere, and enjoy this delightful climate, and are sur- 
rounded by all that is truly grand and beautiful, would have 
some corresponding virtues. But we find that Nature, here 
as every where, has mingled base and noble elements. The 
lofty mountains, bearing in their steadfastness the seal of 
tlieir appointed symbol — " God's righteousness is like the 
great mountains " — look down upon one of the lowest and 
most corriipt forms of republican government on earth ;'^ 

* Asking the late Chilian minister for his view of the rank of the different 

88 The Andes and the Amazon, 

their snowy summits preach sermons on purity to Quitonian 
society, but in vain ; and the great thoughts of God written 
all over the Andes are unable to lift this proud capital out 

of the mud and mire of mediaeval ignorance and supersti- 
tion. The established religion is the narrowest and most 
intolerant form of Romanism. Mountains usually have a 

South American states, he gave us this order : Chile, Brazil, Argentine Re- 
]iubUc, Venezuela, New Granada, Central America, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia. 

Religion. 89 

more elevating, religious influence than monotonous plains. 
The Olympian mythology of the Greek was far superior to 
the beastly worship on the banks of the Nile. And yet at 
the very feet of glorious Chimborazo and Pichincha we see 
a nation bowing down to little images of the rudest sculp- 
ture with a devotion that reminds us of the Middle Ages. 

The belief is called La Fe, or the only true one. The 
oath of a Protestant is not regarded in courts of law. One 
fourth of Quito is covered by convents and churches. The 
convents alone number fifty-seven, and are very extensive, 
sometimes spi'eading over eight or nine acres. The Church 
revenue amounts to $800,000. There are more than four 
hundred priests, monks, and nuns in the capital. The na- 
tive ecclesiastics are notorious for their ignorance and im- 
morality. " It is a very common thing (says Dr. Terry) for 
a curate to have a whole flock of orphan nephews and 
nieces, the children of an imaginary brother." There is 
one ex-president who has the reputation of tying a spur on 
the leg of a game-cock better even than a curate. The im- 
ported Jesuits are the most intelligent and influential cler- 
gy. They control the universities and colleges, and educa- 
tion generally. Active and intellectual, though not learn- 
ed, they have infused new life into the fat indolence of the 
Spanish system. Men of this world rather than the next, 
they have adopted a purely mundane policy, abjured the 
gloomy cowl, raised gorgeous temples, and say, " He that 
cometh unto us shall in no wise lose heaven." Their chief 
merit, however, is the discovery of the turkey and quinine. 

The Protestant in Quito is annoyed by an everlasting 
jingling of bells and blowing of bugles night and day. 
The latter are blowTi every third hour. The bells are struck 
by boys, not rung. A bishop, returning from a visit to 
London, was asked if there were any good bells in En- 
gland. " Very flne," he replied, " but there is not a man 

90 The Andes and the Amazon. 

there who knows how to ring them." Foreign machinery 
is sprinkled with holy water to neutralize the inherent her- 
esy ; but a miller, for example, will charge more for his 
flour after the baptism. 

Lotteries are countenanced by both Church and State, 
and in turn help support them ; we saw one " grand scheme" 
carried out on the cathedral terrace and defended by bay- 

At half past nine in the morning all Quito is on its knees, 
as the great bell of the cathedral announces the elevation 
of the Host. The effect is astonishing. Eiders stop then" 
horses; foot-passengers drop down on the pavement; the 
cook lets go her dishes and the writer his pen ; the mer- 
chant lays aside his measure and the artisan his tool; the 
half -uttered oath {ccmijo !) dies on the lips of the Cholo ; the 
arm of the cruel Zambo, unmercifully beating his donkey, 
is paralyzed ; and the smart repartee of the lively donna 
is cut short. The solemn stillness lasts for a minute, when 
the bell tolls again, and all rise to work or play. Holidays 
are frequent. Processions led by a crucifix or wooden im- 
age are attractive sights in this dull city, simply because 
little else is going on. Occasionally a girl richly dressed 
to represent the humble mother of God is drawn about in 
a carriage, and once a year the figures of the Virgin be- 
longing to different churches are borne with much pomp 
to the Plaza, where they bow to each other like automatons. 

" This is a bad country to live in, and a worse one to die 
in," said Dr. Jameson. But times have changed, even in 
fossil Quito. Through the efforts of our late minister, Hon. 
W. T. Coggeshall, the bigoted government has at last con- 
sented to inclose a quarter of an acre outside the city for 
the subterranean burial of heretics. The cemetery is on 
the edge of- the beautiful plain of Ifiaquito, and on the 
right of the road leading to Guapolo. " What a shame," 

Pkotestant "Dogs." — Climate of Quito. 91 

said a Quitonian lady of position, " that there should be a 
place to throw Protestant dogs !" 

On St. Nathaniel's day died Colonel Phineas Staunton, 
Vice-Chancellor of Ingham University, New York. An 
artist by profession, and one of very high order, Colonel 
Staunton joined our expedition to sketch the glories of the 
Andes, but he fell a victim to the scourge of the lowlands 
one week after his arrival in Quito. We buried him at 
noonday* in the new cemetery, " wherein was never man 
laid," and by the act consecrated the ground. Peace to his 
ashes; honor to his memftry. That 8th of September, 1867, 
was a new day in the annals of Quito. On that day the 
imperial city beheld, for the first time in three centuries, 
the decent burial of a Protestant in a Protestant cemetery. 
Somewhere, mingled with the ashes of Pichincha, is the 
dust of Atahuallpa, who was buried in his beloved Quito at 
•his own request after his murder in Caxamarca. But dear- 
er to us is that solitary grave ; the earth is yet fresh that 
covers the remains of one of nature's noblemen. 

Turn we now to a more delightful topic tlfen the politics 
and religion of Quito. The climate is perfect. Fair Italy, 
with her classic prestige and ready access, will long be the 
land of promise to travelers expatriated in search of health. 
But if ever the ancients had reached this Andean valley, 
they would have located here the Elysian Fields, or the seat 

* This was a new thing under the sun. Qnitonians "bury at dead of night, 
with lanterns dimly burning." The dirges sung as the procession winds 
through the streets are extremely plaintive, and are the most touching speci- 
mens of Ecuadorian music. The corpse, especially of a child, is often carried 
in a chair in a sitting posture. The wealthy class wall up their dead in niches 
on the side of Pichincha, hypothetically till the resurrection, but really for two 
years, when, unless an additional payment is made, the bones are thrown into 
a common pit and the coffin burnt. To prevent this, a few who can afford it 
embalm the deceased. One of the most distinguished citizens of Quito keeps 
his mummified father at his hacienda, and annually dresses him up in a new 
suit of clothes ! 

92 The Andes and the Amazon. 

of " the blessed, the happy, and loiig-Hved" of Anacreon.* 
Ko torrid heat enervates the inhabitant of this favored spot ; 
no icy breezes send him shivering to the fire. Nobody is 
sun-struck ; nobody's buds are nipped by the frost. Stoves 
and chimneys, starvation and epidemics, are imknown. It 
is never either spring, summer, or autumn, but each day is 
a combination of all three. The mean annual temperature 
of Quito is 5 8°. 8, the same as Madrid, or as the month of 
May in Paris. The average range in twenty four hours is 
about 10°. The coldest hour is 6 a.m.; the warmest be- 
tween 2 and 3 p.m. The extremes in a year are 45° and 
70° ; those of Moscow are — 38° and 89°. It is a prevalent 
opinion that since the great earthquake of 1797 the tem- 
perature has been lower. " It was suddenly reduced (says 
the Encycl.Metropolita'na) from 66° or 68° to 40° or 45°"— 
a manifest error. The natives say that since the terremote 
of 1859 the seasons have not commenced so regularly, nor* 
are they so well defined ; there are more rainy days in 
summer than before. It remains to be seen whether the 
late convulsioti has affected the climate. 

The mean diurnal variation of the barometer is only 
.084. So regular is the oscillation, as likewise the varia- 
tions of the magnetic needle, that the hour may be known 
within fifteen minutes by the barometer or compass. Such 
is the clock-like order of Nature under the equator, that 
even the rains, the most irregular of all meteorological phe- 
nomena in temperate zones, tell approximately the hour of 
the day. The winds, too, have an orderly march — the ebb 
and flow of an aerial ocean. No wonder watch-tinkers can 

* In the mountain-town of Caxamarca, farther south, there were living in 
1792 seven persons aged 114, 117, 121, 131, 132, 141, and 147. One of them, 
when he died, left behind him eight hundred living descendants to mourn his 
loss. We confess, however, that we saw very few old persons in Quito. For- 
eigners outlive the natives, because they live a more regular and temperate 

Seasons. — Diseases on the Andes. 93 

not live where all the forces in nature keep time. Nobody 
talks about the weather ; conversation begins with benedic- 
tions or compHments. 

The greatest variations of the thermometer occur in au- 
tumn, and the greatest quantity of rain falls in April.* 
While on the western side of the Andes, south of the equa- 
tor, the dry season extends from June to January, on the 
eastern side of the Cordillera the seasons are reversed, the 
rain lasting from March to November. The climate of the 
central valley is modified by this opposition of seasons on 
either side of it, as also by the proximity of snowy peaks. 
Nine such peaks stand around Quito within a circle of 
thirty miles. The prevailing winds in summer are fi*om 
the northeast ; in the winter the southwest predominate. 

There are only three small drug-stores in the great city 
of Quito. The serpent is used as the badge of apothecary 
art. Physicians have no ofiices, nor do they, as a general 
rule, call upon their patients. When an invalid is not able 
to go to the doctor, he is expected to die. Yellow fever, 
cholera, and consumption are unknown ; while intermittent 
fevers, dysentery, and liver complaints, so prevalent on the 
coast, are uncommon. The ordinary diseases are catarrhal 
affections and typhoid fever. Cases of inflammation of the 
lungs are rare ; more coughing may be heard during a Sun- 
day service in a New England meeting-house than in six 
months in Quito. The diseases to which the monks of St. 
Bernard are liable are pulmonary, and the greater number 
become asthmatic. Asthma is also common in Quito, while 
phthisis increases as we descend to the sea. Individuals 

* The mean annual fall of rain at Quito is 70 inches. 

" Charleston is 45.9 inches. 
" New York is 42.23 " 
" Albany is 40.93 " 

" Montreal is 36 " 

" Madrid is 10. " 

94 The Andes and the Amazon. 

are often seen with a handkerchief about the jaws, or bits 
of plaster on the temples ; these are afflicted with head- 
ache or toothache, resulting from a gratified passion for 
sweetmeats, common to all ages and classes. Digestive 
disorders are somewhat frequent (contrary to the theory in 
Europe), but they spring from improper food and seden- 
tary habits. The cuisine of the country does not tempt 
the stomach to repletion, and the chmate is decidedly pep- 
tic. So the typhoid fever of Quito is due to filth, poor diet, 
and want of ventilation. Corpulency, especially among 
the men, is astonishingly rare. 

According to Dr. Lombard, mountain districts favor the 
development of diseases of the heart ; and contagious dis- 
eases are not arrested by the atmosphere of lofty regions. 
This is true in Quito. But while nervous diseases are rare 
in the inhabited highlands of Europe, in Quito they are 
common. Sleep is said to be more tranquil and refresh- 
ing, and the circulation more regular at high altitudes ; but 
our experience does not sustain this. Goitre is quite com- 
mon among the mountains. It is a sign of constitutional 
weakness, for the children of goitred parents are usually 
deaf and dumb, and the succeeding generation idiots. 
Boussingault thinks it is owing to the lack of atmospheric 
air in the water ; but why is it nearly confined to the wom- 
en? In the southern provinces about Cuenca, cutaneous 
aifections are quite frequent. In the highlands generally, 
scrofulous diseases are more common than in the plains. 
There are three hospitals for lepers ; one at Cuenca with 
two hundred patients, one at Quito with one hundred and 
twelve patients, and one at Ambato. Near Riobamba is a 
community of dwarfs. 

D'Orbigny made a post-mortem examination of some 
Indians from the higliest regions, and found the lungs of 
extraordinary dimensions, the cells larger and more in num- 


ber. Hence the unnatm*al proportion of the trunk, which 
is plainly out of harmony with the extremities. The ex- 
panded chest of the mountaineers is evidently the result of 
larger inspirations to secure the requisite amount of oxy- 
gen, which is much less in a given space at Quito than on 
the coast. This is an instance, observes Prichard, of long- 
continued habit, and the result of external agencies modi- 
fying the structure of the body, and with it the state of the 
most important functions of life. We tried the experiment 
of burning a candle one hour at Guayaquil, and another 
part of the same candle for the same period at Quito. Tem- 
perature at Guayaquil, 80° ; at Quito, 62°. The loss at 
Guayaquil was 140 grains ; at Quito, 114, or 26 grains less 
at the elevation of 9500 feet. Acoustics will also illustrate 
the thinness of the air. M. Godin found (1745) that a nine- 
pounder could not be heard at the distance of 121,537 feet; 
and that an eight - pounder at Paris, at the distance of 
102,664 feet, was louder than a nine-pounder at Quito at 
the distance of 67,240 feet. 

According to Dr. Archibald Smith, the power of mus- 
cular exertion in a native of the coast is greatly increased 
by living at the height of 10,000 feet. But it is also as- 
serted by observing travelers that dogs and bulls lose their 
combativeness at 12,000 feet, and" that hence there can 
never be a good bull-fight or dog-fight on the Sierras. 
This is literally true: the dogs seem to partake of the 
tameness of their masters. Cats do not flourish at all in 
high altitudes; and probably the lion, transplanted from; 
the low jungle to the table-lands, would lose nrnch of his 
ferocity. Still, cock-fights seem to prosper ; and the bat- 
tle of Pichincha was fought on an elevation of nearly 
11,000 feet. Bolivar and the Spaniards, also, fought like 
tigers on the high plain of Junin.* 

* Gibbon states that the temperature of the blood of a young bull in Cuzco 
was 100°; air, 57°. At the base of the Andes a similar experiment resulted 

96 The Andes and the Amazon. 

The sickness felt by some travelers at great elevations 
— violent headache and disposition to vomit — is called veta • 
and the difficulty of breathing from the rarity of the air is 
termed ^wwa. Gerard complained of severe headache and 
depression of spirits at the height of 15,000 feet on the 
Himalayas ; Dr. Barry, in ascending Mont Blanc (15,700 
feet), speaks of great thirst, great dryness and constriction 
of skin, loss of appetite, difficult bi'eathing, tendency to 
syncope, and utter indifference. Baron Miiller, in his as- 
cent of Orizava (17,800 feet), found great difficulty in 
breathing, and experienced the sensation of a red-hot iron 
searing his lungs, and agonizing pains in the chest, fol- 
lowed by fainting-fits and torrents of blood from his 
mouth; Humboldt, in scaling Chimborazo, suffjsred from 
nausea akin to sea-sickness, and a flow of blood fi'om the 
nose and lips ; while Herndon, on the slope of Puy-puy 
(15,700 feet), said he thought his heart would break from 
his breast with its violent agitation. Though ascending 
the Andes to the height of 16,000 feet, and running up 
the last few rods, we experienced nothing of this except a 
temporary difficulty in respiration. We were exhilarated 
rather than depressed. The experience of Darwin on the 
Portillo ridge (14,000 feet) was only "a slight tightness 
across the head and chest." " There was some imagina- 
tion even in this (he adds) ; for, upon finding fossil shells 
on the highest ridge, I entirely forgot the puna in my de- 
light." De Saussure says truly : " The strength is repaired 
as speedily as it has been exhausted. Merely a cessation 
of movement for three or four minutes, without even seat- 
ing one's self, seems to restore the strength so perfectly 
that, on resuming progress, one feels able to climb at a sin- 
gle stretch to the very peak of the mountain." 

in 101° for the blood, air 78°. The lieutenant jocosely adds: "The Span- 
iards have forced the hog so high up on the Andes that he suffers every time 
he raises his bristles, and dies out of place." — Puna has been attributed to 
the presence of .nrsenical vnpnv. 

The Atmosphere of Quito. 97 


Astronomic Virtues of Quito. — Flora and Fauna of the Valley of Quito. — 
Primeval Inhabitants of the Andes. — Quichua Indians. 

Quito, with a position unparalleled for astronomical 
purposes, has no observatory. The largest telescope in the 
city is about five feet long, but the astute professor of nat- 
ural pliilosophy in the Jesuit College who has charge of it 
had not the most distant idea that an eclipse of the sun 
would occur on the 29th of August, and an eclipse of the 
moon fifteen days later. In ancient days this " holy city" 
had within it the Pillar of the Sun, which cast no shadow 
at noon, and a temple was built for the god of light. The 
title of the sovereign Inca was the Child of the Sun ; but 
there was very little knowledge of astronomy, for, being 
the national religion, it was beyond the reach of scientific 

The atmosphere of Quito is of transparent clearness. 
Humboldt saw the poncho of a horseman with the naked 
eye at a horizontal distance of ninety thousand feet. The 
sky is of a dark indigo color; the azure is less blended 
with white because of the extreme dryness of the air. 
The stars stand out with uncommon brilliancy, and the 
dark openings between them the great German compared 
to " tubes through which we look into the remotest depths 
of space." It is true at Quito, as Humboldt noticed at 
Cumana, that the stars do not twinkle when they are more 
than fifteen degrees high; "the soft planetary light" of 
the stars overhead is not mere rhetoric. 

Living under the equatorial line, Quitonians enjoy the 

98 The Andes and the Amazon. 

peculiar privilege of beholding the stars of both hemi- 
spheres, the guiding stars of Ursa Major as well as the 
Magellanic Clouds and Southern Cross, not omitting that 
black spot near the latter, " the unappropriated region in 
the skies reserved by Manager Bingham for deposed Amer- 
ican presidents." 

The zodiacal light here appears in all its glory. This 
strange phenomenon has long puzzled philosophers, and 
they are still divided. It is generally considered to be pro- 
duced by a continuous zone of infinitesimal asteroids. The 
majority place this zone beyond the orbit of the earth, and 
concentric with the sun. But Rev. George Jones, of PhiU 
adelphia, who has spent several years in observing this light, 
including eight months in Quito, considers it geocentric, 
and possibly situated between the earth and its satellite. 
At ISTew York only a short pyramidal light, and this only 
at certain seasons, is to be seen ; but here, an arch twenty 
degrees wide, and of considerable intensity, shoots up to the 
zenith, and Mr. Jones affirms that a complete arch is visible 
at midnight when the ecliptic is at right angles to the spec- 
tator's horizon. We have not been so foi'tunate as to see it 
pass the zenith ; and Professor Barnard contends that it 
never does pass. We may remark that the main part of 
the zodiacal light shifts to the south side of the celestial 
equator as we cross the line. To us the most magnificent 
sight in the tropical heavens is the " Milky Way," especial- 
ly near Sobieski's Shield, where it is very luminous. We 
observed that this starry tract divided at a Centauri, as 
Herschel says, and not at (3, as many maps and globes have 
it. The brightest stars in the southern hemisphere follow 
the direction of a great circle passing through £ Ononis and 
a Crucis. 

Another thing which arrests the attention of the traveler 
is the comparatively well-defined boundary-line between 

Botany oh- the Andes. 99 

day and night. The twilight at Quito lasts only an hour 
and a half; on the coast it is still shorter. Nor is there 
any " harvest moon," the satellite rising with nearly equal 
intervals of forty-eight minutes. 

From the stars we step down to the floral kingdom on 
the Andes, using as our ladder of descent the following 
sentence from Humboldt, at the age of seventy-five : " If I 
might be allowed to abandon myself to the recollections of 
my own distant travels, I woxild instance among the most 
striking scenes of nature the calm sublimity of a tropical 
night, when the stars — not sparkling, as in our Northern 
skies^ — shed their soft and planetary light over the gently 
heaving ocean ; or I would recall the deep valleys of the 
Cordilleras, where the tall and slender palms pierce the 
leafy veil around them, and wave on high their feathery 
and arrow-like branches." 

Father Velasco praises Ecuador as " the noblest portion 
of the New World." Nature has doubtless gifted it with 
capabilities unsurpassed by those of any other country. Sit- 
uated on the equinoctial line, and embracing within its lim- 
its some of the highest as well as lowest dry land on the 
globe, it presents every grade of climate, from the perpet- 
ual summer on the coast and in the Orient to the everlast- 
ing winter of the Andean summits, while the high plateau 
between the Cordilleras enjoys an eternal spring. The veg- 
etable productions are consequently most varied and pro- 
lific. Tropical, temperate, and arctic fruits and flowers are 
here found in profusion, or could be successfully cultivated. 
As the Ecuadorian sees all the constellations of the firma- 
ment, so Nature sm-rounds him with representatives of ev- 
ery family of plants. There are places where the eye may 
embrace an entire zone, for it may look up to a barley -field 
and potato-patch, and down to the sugar-cane and pine- 

100 ■ The Andes and the Ajviazon. 

Confining our attention to the Quito Valley, we remark 
that the whole region from Pichincha to Chimborazo is as 
treeless as Palestine. The densest forest is near Banos. 
The most common tree is the " Aliso" (Betula acuminata). 
"Walnut is the best timber. There are no pines or oaks.* 
The slopes of the mountains, between twelve and fifteen 
thousand feet, are clothed with a shrub peculiar to the high 
altitudes of the Andes, called Chuquiragua. This is a very 
valuable shrub ; the twigs are used for fuel, and the yellow 
buds as a febrifuge. The castor-oil-tree grows naturally 
by the road side, sometimes to the height of twelve feet. 

A very useful as well as the most ordinary plant in the 
valley is the American aloe, or " Century Plant." f It is the 
largest of all herbs. Not naturally social, it imparts a mel- 
ancholy character to the landscape as it rises solitary out of 
the arid plain. Most of the roads are fenced vtdth aloe 
hedges. While the majority of tropical trees have naked 
stems with a crown of leaves on the top, the aloe reverses 
this, and looks like a great chandelier as its tall peduncle, 
bearing greenish-yellow flowers, rises out of a graceful clus- 
ter of long, thick, fleshy leaves. Wlien cultivated, the aloe 
flowers in much less time than a century ; but, exhausted 
by the efflorescence, it soon dies. Nearly every part serves 
some purpose ; the broad leaves are used by the poorer 
class instead of paper in writing, or for thatching their 
huts ; sirup flows out of the leaves when tapped, and, as 

* On the Himalayas are oaks, birches, pines, chestnuts, maples, junipers, 
and willows ; no tree-ferns, bamboos, or palms. 

t The Agava Americana of botanists, cahulla of Ecuadorians, maguey of 
Venezuelans, and 7ne//of Mexicans. It is an interesting fact, brought to light 
by the researches of Carl Neuman, that the Chinese in the fifth century passed 
over to America by way of the Aleutian Islands, and penetrated as far south 
as Mexico, which they called the land oifusung, that being the celestial name 
of the aloe. Terzozomoc, the high-priest of the ancient Mexicans, gave aloe 
leaves, inscribed with sacred characters, to persons who had to journey among 
the volcanoes, to protect them from injury. 

Fruits and Flowers. 101 

they contain much alkali, a soap (which lathers with salt 
water as well as fresh) is also manufactured from them; 
the flowers make excellent pickles ; the flower-stalk is used 
in building ; the pith of the stem is used by bai-bers for 
sharpening razors ; the fibres of the leaves and the roots 
are woven into sandals and sacks ; and the sharp spines are 
used as needles. A species of yucca, resembling the aloe, 
but with more slender leaves and of a lighter green, yields 
the hemp of Ecuador. 

The " crack fi'uit" of Quito, and, in fact, of South Amer- 
ica, is the chirimoya.* Its taste is a happy mixture of 
sweetness and acidity. Hanke calls it " a masterwork of 
Nature," and Markham pronounces it "a spiritualized straw- 
berry." It grows on a tree about fifteen feet high, having 
a broad, flat top, and very fragrant flowers. The ripe fruit, 
often attaining in Peru the weight of sixteen pounds, has 
a thick green skin, and a snow-white pulp containing about 
seventy black seeds. Other pomological productions are 
alligator pears, guavas, guayavas, granadillas, cherries (a 
small black variety), peaches (very poor), pears (equally bad), 
plums, quinces, lemons, oranges (not native), blackberries, 
and strawberries (large, but flavorless).! The cultivation of 
the grape has just commenced. Of vegetables there are 
onions (in cookery, " the first, and last, and midst, and with- 
out end"), beets, carrots, asparagus, lettuce, cabbages, tur- 
nips, tomatoes (indigenous, but inferior to ours), potatoes 
(alsg indigenous, but much smaller than their descendants),:]: 

* Bollaert derives the name from chiri (cold) and muhu (seed). 

t Dr. Jameson has found the following species of Rubus in the valley of 
Quito : macrocarpus, stipularis, glahratus, compactus, glaucus, roscrjiorus, lox- 
ensis, urtic(Bfolius,floribundus, nd nuhigemis. The common strawberry, Fra- 
garia vesca, grows in the valley, as also the Chilensis. 

X Lieutenant Gilliss praises the potatoes of Peru, but we saw no specimens 
in Ecuador worthy of note. The "Irish potato" is a native of the Andes. It 
was unknown to the early Mexicans. It grows as far south on this continent 
as lat. 50°. The Spaniards carried the potato to Europe from Quito early in 

102 The Andes and the Amazon. 

red peppers, peas (always picked ripe, while green ones are 
imported from France !), beans, melons, squashes, and mush- 
rooms. The last are eaten to a limited extent ; Terra del 
Fuego, says Darwin, is the only country in the world where 
a cryptogamic plant affords a staple article of food. 

The most important grains are barley, red wheat, and 
corn, with short ears, and elongated kernels of divers colors. 
Near the coast three crops of corn a year are obtained ; at 
Quito it is of slower growth, but fuller. The sugar-cane is 
grown sparingly in the valley, but chiefly on the Pacific 
coast. Its home is Polynesia. Quito consumes about one 
hundred and fifty barrels of flour daily. The best sells for 
four dollars a quintal. The common fodder for cattle is 
alfalfa, an imported lucerne. There is no clover except a 
wild, worthless, three-leaved species {Trifolium amahile). 
Nearly all in the above list are cultivated for home con- 
sumption only, and many valuable fruits and vegetables 
which would grow well are unknown to Quitonians. As 
Bates says of the Brazilians, the incorrigible nonchalance 
and laziness of the people alone prevent them from sur- 
rounding themselves with all the luxuries of a temperate 
as well as tropical country. 

It would be an endless task to speak of the flowers. It 
must suffice to state that a Synoj>sis Plantarum JEquato- 
riensuim, the life-work of the venerable Professor Jame- 
son, of the University of Quito, has just been published by 
the tardy government. Botanists will find in these two 
small volumes many new species unknown to American 

the sixteenth century. From Spain it traveled to Italy, Belgium, and Ger- 
many. Sir Walter Ealeigh imported some from Virginia in 1586, and plant- 
ed them on his estate near Cork, Ireland. It is raised in Asiatic countries 
only where Europeans have settled, and for their consumption. It is suc- 
cessfully grown in Australia and New Zealand, where there is no native escu- 
lent farinaceous root. Von Tschudi says there is no word in Quichua for po- 
tato. It is called papa by the Napos. 

Floka of South Ameeica. 103 

science, and others more correctly described by one who 
has dwelt forty years among the Andes. The last zone of 
vegetation nearest the snow-line consists chiefly of yellow- 
flowering GomjpositOB. In fact, this family includes one 
fourth of the plants in the immediate vicinity of Quito. 
The next most numerous family is the Labiatoe, and then 
follow Leguminosce and Gentians. Although the Rosacece 
is represented, there is not one species of the genus Hosa 
not even in the whole southern hemisphere. The magnifi- 
cent Befaria, found in the lower part of the valley, is call- 
ed " the Rose of the Andes." Fuchsias may be considered 
characteristic of South America, since they are so numer- 
ous ; only one or two kinds occur in any other part of the 
world. Flowers are found in Quito all the year round, 
but the most favorable months are December and May. 
Yellow is the predominating color. The higher the alti- 
tude, the brighter the hues of any given species. Thus the 
Gentiana sedifolia is a small, light blue flower in the low- 
lands, but on the Assuay it has bright blue petals three 
times as large and sensitive. This accords with Herschel's 
statement : " The chemical rays of the spectrum are power- 
fully absorbed in passing through the atmosphere, and the 
effect of their greater abundance aloft is shown in the su- 
perior brilliancy of color in the flowers of Alpine regions." 
America is plainly the continent of vegetation ; and 
wherever the vegetable element predominates, the animal 
is subordinated. We must not look, therefore, for a large 
amount or variety of animal life in the Ecuadorian for- 
ests. Time was when colossal megatheroids, mastodons, 
and glyptodons browsed on the foliage of the Andes and 
the Amazon ; but now the terrestrial mammals of this trop- 
ical region ai-e few and diminutive. They are likewise old- 
fashioned, inferior in type as well as bulk to those of the 
eastern hemisphere, for America was a finished continent 

104 The Andes and the Amazon. 

long before Europe. " It seems most probable (says Dar- 
win) that the North American elephants, mastodons, horse, 
and hollow-horned ruminants migrated, on land since sub- 
merged near Behring's Straits, from Siberia into North 
America, and thence, on land since submerged in the West 
Indies, into South America, where for a time they mingled 
with the forms characteristic of that southern continent, 
and have since become extinct.* The rise of the Mexican 
table-land split up the New World into two well-defined 
zoological provinces. A few species, as the puma, peccari, 
and opossum, have crossed the barrier ; but South America 
is characterized by possessing a family of monkeys, the 
llama, tapir, many peculiar rodents, and several genera of 

The tapir, the largest native quadruped, is sometimes 
found on the mountains, but never descends into the Quito 
Valley. A link between the elephant and hog, its true home 
is in the lowlands. The tapir and peccari (also found on 
the Andean slopes) are the only indigenous pachyderms in 
Soiith America, while the llamaf and deer (both abound- 
ing in the valley) are the only native ruminants; there is 
not one native hollow-horned ruminant on the continent. 
The llama is the only native domesticated animal ; indeed. 
South America never furnished any other animal service- 
able to man : the horse, ox, hog, and sheep (two, four, and 

* Journal of Researches, p. 132. 

+ The llama, or "mountain-camel," is a beautiful animal, with long, slender 
neck and fine legs, a graceful carriage, pointed ears, soft, restless eyes, and 
quivering lips. It has a gentle disposition ; but when angry it will spit, and 
when hurt will shed tears. We have seen specimens entirely white ; but it 
is generally dark brown, with patches of white. It requires very little food 
and drink. Since the introduction of horses, asses, and mules, the rearing of 
llamas has decreased. They are more common in Peru. The llama, guana- 
co, alpaca, and vicuna were " the four sheep of the Incas :" the first clothing 
the common people, the second the nobles, the third the royal governors, the 
fourth the Incas. The price of sheep's wool in Quito was formerly four cents 
a pound ; it is now twelve. 

Animals and Birds on the Andes. 105 

six-horned), are importations. Of these animals, which ren- 
dered such important aid in the early civilization of Asia 
and Europe, the genera even were unknown in South Amer- 
ica four centuries ago ; and to-day pure Indians with dif- 
ficulty acquire a taste for beef, mutton, and pork. The 
llama is still used as a beast of burden ; but it seldom car- 
ries a quintal more than twelve miles a day. The black 
bear of the Andes ascends as high as Mont Blanc, and is 
rarely found below three thousand five hundred feet. The 
puma, or raaneless American lion, has an immense range, 
both in latitude and altitude, being found from Oregon to 
the Straits of Magellan, and nearly up to the limit of eter- 
nal snow. It is as cowardly as the jaguar of the lowlands 
is ferocious. It is a very silent animal, uttering no cry 
even when wounded. Its flesh, which is very white, and 
remarkably like veal in taste, is eaten in Patagonia. Squir- 
rels, hares, bats (a small species), opossums, and a large 
guinea-pig {Cuye del Monte), are found in the neighbor- 
hood of Quito. 

As only about sixty species of birds are common to North 
and South America, the traveler from the United States 
recognizes few ornithic forms in the Valley of Quito. Save 
the hummers, beautiful plumage is rare, as well as fine 
songsters. But the moment we descend the Eastern Cor- 
dillera into the interior of the continent, we find the feath- 
ered race in robes of richest colors. The exact cause of 
this brilliant coloring in the tropics is still a problem. It 
can not be owing to greater light and heat, for the birds of 
the Galapagos Islands, directly under the equator, are dull.* 

* Mr. Gould, however, holds that the difference of coloration is due to the 
different degrees of exposure to the sun's rays, the hrilliantly-colored species 
being inhabitants of the edges of the forest. Birds from Ucayali, in the cen- 
tre of the continent, are far more splendid than those which represent them 
in countries nearer the sea, owing to the clearer atmosphere inland. But it 
is a fact, at least exceptional to this theory, that the ' ' Cock of the Kock" 

106 The Andes and the Amazon. 

The males, both of birds and butterflies, are the most gaud- 
ily dressed. In the highlands the most prominent birds are 
the condor and the humming-bird. These two extremes in 
size are found side by side on the summit of Pichincha. 
The condor appears in its glory among the mountains of 
Quito. Its ordinary haimt is at the height of Etna. No 
other living creature can remove at pleasure to so great a 
distance from the earth ; and it seems to fly and respire as 
easily under the low barometric pressure of thirteen inches 
as at the sea-shore. It can dart in an instant from the 
dome of Chimborazo to the sultry coast of the Pacific. It 
has not the kingly port of the eagle, and is a cowardly rob- 
ber : a true vulture, it prefers the relish of putrescence and 
the flavor of death. It makes no nest, but lays two eggs 
on a jutting ledge of some precipice, and fiercely defends 
them. The usual spread of wings is nine feet. It does 
not live in pairs like the eagle, but feeds in flocks like its 
loathsome relative, the buzzard. It is said to live forty 
days without food in captivity, but at liberty it is very vo- 
racious. The usual method of capture is to kill an old 
mare (better than horse, the natives say), and allow the bird 
to gorge himself, when he becomes so sluggish as to be 
easily lassoed. It is such a heavy sleeper, it is possible to 
take it from its roost. The evidences in favor of and 
against its acute smelling powers are singularly balanced. 
For reasons unknown, the condor does not range north of 
Darien, though .it extends its empire through clouds and 
storms to the Straits of Magellan. In the Inca language 
it was called ctontur, and was anciently an object of wor- 
ship. The condor, gallinazo, turkey-buzzard, and caracara 
eagle (says Darmn) " in their habits well supply the place 

(Enpicola) on the western side of the Andes (Esmeraldas) is of a richer, 
deeper color than the species on the eastern slope (Napo). In keeping with 
Mr. Gould's theory is the statement by Mr. Bates, that the ixiost gaudy but- 
terflies (the males) flutter in the sunshine. 

BiEDS AND Reptiles of Quito. 107 

of our carrion crows, magpies, and ravens — a tribe of birds 
widely distributed over the rest of the world, but entirely 
absent in South America." The condor appears on the 
gold coins of New Granada and Chile. Of TrochilidcB 
there are hosts. The valley swarms with these "winged 
jewels" of varied hues, from the emerald green of Pichin- 
cha to the white of Chimborazo. They build long, purse- 
like nests by weaving together fine vegetable fibres and 
lichens, and thickly lining them with silk-cotton. In this 
delicate cradle, suspended from a branch, the female lays 
two eggs, which are hatched in about twelve days. The 
eggs are invariably white, with one exception, those of a 
species on the Upper Amazon, which are spotted. The 
young have much shorter bills than their parents. The 
humming-bird is exclusively American : the nearest form 
in the Old "World is the nectarinia, or sunbird. Other 
birds most commonly seen in the valley are : Cyanocitta 
turcosa (Jay), Pcecilothraupis atricrissa, Pheuticxis chryso- 
gaster^ Chlorospingus sxijperciliwris, Buthraupis chlorona- 
ta, Tanagra JDarwini, Dubusia selysia, Buarremon lati- 
nuchios, and B. assimilis. The only geese in the valley are 
a few imported from Europe by Senor Aguirre, of Chillo, 
and these refuse to propagate. 

Reptiles are so rare in the highlands the class can hard- 
ly be said to be represented. During a residence of near- 
ly three months in the Quito Yalley we saw but one snake.* 
ISTevertheless, we find the following sentence in such a re- 
spectable book as Bohn's Hand-book of Modern Geogra- 
phy : " The inhabitants of Quito are dreadfully tormented 
by reptiles, which it is scarcely possible to keep out of the 
beds !" Of frogs there are not enough to get up a choir, 

* Herpetodryas carinatus, which we observed also at Guayaquil and on the 
Mavaiion. We procured two or three species from the natives, and several 
new forms from Pallatanga, on the west slope. 

108 The Andes and the Amazon. 

and of fishes there is but one solitary species, about a fin- 
ger long.* The entomology of Quito is also brief, much 
to the satisfaction of travelers from the insectiferous coast. 
Musquitoes and bedbugs do not seem to enjoy life at such 
an altitude, and jiggersf and flies are rare. Fleas, howev- 
er, have the hardihood to exist and bite in the summe; 
months, and if you attend an Indian fair you will be like- 
ly to feel something " gently o'er you creeping." But fleas 
and lice are the only blood-thirsty animals, so that the great 
Valley of Quito is an almost painless paradise. Of beetles 
and butterflies there are a few species, the latter belonging 
for the most part to the familiar North American genera 
Pyrameis and Colias. At Vinees, on the coast, we found 
the pretty brown butterfly, Anartia Jatrophce, which ranges 
from Texas to Brazil. A light-colored coleopter is eaten 
roasted by the inliabitants. The cochineal is raised in the 
southern part of the valley, particularly in Guananda, at 
the foot of Timguragua, where the small, flat-leaved cac- 
tus {Oj>untia tuna), on which the insect feeds, is exten- 
sively cultivated. The male is winged, but the female is 
stationary, fixed to the cactus, and is of a dark brown col- 
or. It takes seventy thousand to make a pound, which 
is sold in the valley for from sixty cents to $3. The 
best cochineal comes from Teneriffe, where it was intro- 
duced from Honduras in 1835. The silk-worm is destined 
to work a revolution in the finances of Ecuador; Quito 
silk gained a gold medal at the Paris Exhibition. JSTo bees 
are hived in the republic ; the people seem to be content 

* Antelopus l(Bvis at Ambato, and A. longirostris, a new species from An- 
tisana Hacienda, were the only frogs noticed. The little fish is Pi?ne/odes cy- 
clopum (prenadilla of the Spaniards, imba of the Indians), the same that was 
thrown out in the eraptions of Imbabura and Caraguairazo. 

t The jigger, chigoe, or nigua {Pulex penetrans of science) is a microscop- 
ic flea that buries itself under the skin and lays a myriad eggs ; the result is 
a painful tumor. Jiggers are almost confined to sandy places. 

QuicHUA Indiajsts. 109 

with treacle. The Italian species would undoubtedly thrive 
here. The bees of Ecuador, like all the bees of the New 
World, are inferior to those of the Old World. Their cells 
are not perfectly hexagonal, and their stings are undevel- 
oped. They are seldom seen feeding on flowers. Mollus- 
ca in the Quito Valley are not great in number or variety. 
They belong principally to the genera Bulimus, Cyclosto- 
ma, and Helix. The first is as characteristic of the South- 
ern Continent as Helix of the North and Achatina of Af- 

From the animal creation we mount by a short step to 
the imbruted Indian. When and by whom the Andes were 
first peopled is a period of darkness that lies beyond the 
domain of history. But geology and archaeology are com- 
bining to prove that Sorata and Chimborazo have looked 
down upon a civilization far more ancient than that of the 
Incas, and perhaps coeval with the flint-flakes of Cornwall, 
and the shell-mounds of Denmark. On the shores of Lake 
Titicaca are extensive ruins which antedate the advent of 
Maneo Capac, and may be as venerable as the lake-dwell- 
ings of Geneva. Wilson has traced six terraces in going 
up from the sea through the province of Esmeraldas to- 
ward Quito ; and underneath the living forest, which is old- 
er than the Spanish invasion, many gold, copper, and stone 
vestiges of a lost population were found. In all cases 
these relics are situated below high-tide mark, in a bed of 
marine sediment, from which he infers that this part of 
the country formerly stood higher above the sea. If this 
be true, vast must be the antiquity of these remains, for the 
upheaval and subsidence of the coast is exceedingly slow. 

Philology can aid us little in determining the relations 
of the primeval Quitonians, for their language is nearly 
obscured by changes introduced by the Caras, and after- 
ward by the Incas, who decreed that the Quichua, the Ian- 

110 The Andks and the Amazon. 

guage of elegance and fashion three hundred years ago, 
should be the universal tongue throughout the empire* 
Quichua is to-day spoken from the equator to 28° S. (ex- 
cept by the Aymara people), or by nearly a million and a 
half. We found it used, corrupted, however, by Spanish, 
at tlie mouth of the Napo. There are five dialects, of 
which tlie pTirest is spoken in Cuzco, and the most impure 
in Quito. Tlie Indians of the northern valley are descend- 
ants of the ancient Quitus, modified by Cara and Peruvian 
blood. They have changed little since the invasion of Pi- 
zarro. They remember their glory under the Incas, and 
when they steal any thing from a white man, they say they 
are not guilty of theft, as they are only taking what origi- 
nally belonged to them. Some see in their sacred care of 
Incarial relics a lingering hope to regain their political 
life. We noticed that the pure mountaineers, without a 
trace of Spanish adulteration, wore a black poncho under- 
neath, and we were informed by one well acquainted with 
their customs that this was in mourning for the Inca. We 
attended an Indian masquerade dance at Machachi, which 
seemed to have an historical meaning. It was performed 
in full view of that romantic mountain which bears the 
name of the last captain of Atahuallpa. There is a tradi- 
tion that after the death of his chief, Rumiiiagui burned 
the capital, and, retiring with his followers to this Cordil- 
lera, threw himself from the precipice. The masquerade 
at Machachi was evidently intended to keep alive the mem- 

* "History (saysPrescott) furnishes few examples of more absolute author- 
ity than such a revolution in the language of an empire at the bidding of a 
master." The pronvmciation of Quichua requires a harsh, explosive utter- 
ance. Gibbon says the sound of it to him resembled Welsh ur Irish ; that 
of Aymara, English. The letters 6, d,f, jr, and o are wanting in the ancient 
tongue of Quito ; p was afterward changed to h, t to d, v to/, c to g, and ri to o ; 
thus Chim-pu-razu is now Chimborazo. A few words bear a striking analogy 
to corresponding Sanscrit words ; as Ynti, the Inca for sun, and Indra, the 
Hindoo god of the heavens. 

QuiCHiTA Indians. Ill 

ory of the Incas. Three Indians, fantastically adorned 
with embroidered garments, plumed head-dresses, and gold 
and silver tinsel, representing Atahuallpa and his generals, 
danced to music of the rudest kind, one individual pound- 
ing on a drum and blowing on a pipe at the same time. 
Before them went three clowns, or diahlos, with masks, fit 
caricatures of the Spaniards. Like all other Indian feasts, 
this ended in getting gradually and completely di'unk. 
During the ceremony a troop of horsemen, gayly dressed, 
and headed by one in regimentals with a cocked hat, gal- 
loped twice around the Plaza, throwing oranges at the 
people ; after which there was a bull-bait. 

The features of the Quichuans have a peculiar cast, 
which resembles, in D'Orbigny's opinion, no other Amer- 
ican but the Mexican, and some ethnologists trace a strik- 
ing similarity to the natives of Van Diemen's Land. They 
have an oblong head (longitudinally), somewhat com. 
pressed at tlie sides and occiput ; short and very slightly 
arched forehead ; prominent, long, aquiline nose, with large 
nostrils ; large mouth, but not thick lips ; beautiful endur- 
ing teeth ; short chin, but not receding ; cheek-bones not 
prominent ; eyes horizontal, and never large ; eyebrows 
long ; thick, straight, coarse, yet soft jet black hair ; little or 
no beard ; a long, broad, deep, highly-arched chest ; small 
hands and feet ; short stature, seldom reaching five feet, 
and the women still shorter ; a mulatto color (olive-brown 
says D'Orbigny, bronze says Humboldt), and a sad, serious 
expression. Tlieir broad chests and square shoTilders re- 
mind one of the gorilla ; but we find that, unlike the an- 
thropoid ape, they have very weak arms ; their strength 
lies in their backs and legs. They have shrewdness and 
penetration, but lack independence and force. We never 
heard one sing.* Always submissive to your face, taking 

* Their favorite musical instrument is the rondador, a number of reeds of 

112 The Andes and the Amazon. 

off his hat as he passes, and muttering, "Blessed be the 
altar of God," he is nevertheless veiy slow to perform. 
Soured by long ill treatment, he will hardly do any thing 
unless he is compelled. And he will do nothing well un- 
less he is treated as a slave. Treat liim kindly, and you 
make him a thief ; whip him, and he will rise up to thank 
you and be your humble servant. A certain curate could 
never trust his Indian to carry important letters until he 
had given him twenty-five lashes. Servile and timid, su- 
perstitious and indolent, the Quichuans have not half the 
spirit of our Korth American Indians. It has passed into 
a proverb that " the Indian lives without shame, eats with- 
out repugnance, and dies without fear." Abject as they 
are, however, they are not wholly without wit. By a se- 
cret telegraph system, they will communicate between 
Quito and Eiobamba in one horn-. When there was a bat- 
tle in Pasto, the Indians of Eiobamba knew of it two 
hours after, though eighty leagues distant. 

The civilization of South America three centuries ago 
was nearly confined to this Andean family, though they 
had attained only to the bronze period. In the milder 
character of their ancient religion and gentleness of dis- 
position they are strongly distinguished from the nations 
that encircled the vale of Anahuac, the centre of civihza- 
tion on the northern continent. But little of this former 
glory is now apparent. The Incas reached an astronom- 
ical knowledge which astonished the Spaniards, but the 
Quichuans of to-day count vaguely by moons and rains. 
Great is the contrast between the architecture of this cen- 
tury and that in the days of Huayna-Capac. There are 
few Incarial relics, however, in the Yalley of Quito, for 
the Incas ruled there only half a century. The chief 

diflferent lengths tied in a row. The "plaintive national songs" which Mark- 
ham heard at Cuzco are not sung in Ecuador. 

Lnca Glory. 113 

monuments are the tolas or mounds (mostly at Cuenca), 
containing earthen vessels and bronze hatchets and ear- 
rings ; the Inga-pirroa^ or oval fortress, and the Intihu- 
aictt, or temple of the sun, near Canar ; the Tnga-chungana, 
a massive stone resembling a sofa, where the lnca reposed 
to enjoy the delightful prospect over the Valley of Gulan ; 
and remnants of causeways and roads. 


114 The Andes and the Amazon. 


Geological History of South America. — Rise of the Andes. — Creation of the 
Amazon. — Characteristic Features of the Continent. — Andean Chain. — 
The Equatorial Volcanoes. 

Three cycles ago an island rose from the sea where now 
expands the vast continent of South America. It was the 
culminating point of the highlands of Guiana. For ages 
this granite peak was the sole representative of dry land 
in our hemisphere south of the Canada hills. In process 
of time, a cluster of islands rose above the thermal waters. 
They were the small beginnings of the future mountains 
of Brazil, holding in their laps the diamonds which now 
sparkle in the crown of Dom Pedro II. Long protracted 
eons elapsed without adding a page to the geology of 
South America. The Creator seems to have been busy 
elsewhere. Decorating the north with the gorgeous flora 
of the carboniferous period, till, in the language of Hugh 
Miller, " to distant planets our earth must have shone with 
a green and delicate ray," he rubbed the picture out, and 
ushered in the hideous reptilian age, when monstrous sauri- 
ans, footed, paddled, and winged, were the lords of this 
lower world. All the great mountain chains were at this 
time slumbering beneath the ocean. The city of New 
York was sure of its site ; but huge dinotheria wallowed 
in the mire where now stand the palaces of Paris, London, 
and Vienna. 

At length the morning breaks upon the last day of cre- 
ation, and the fiat goes forth that the proud waves of the 
Pacific, which have so long washed the table-lands of 
Guiana and Brazil, shall be stayed. Far away toward the 

Rise of the Andes. 115 

setting sun the white surf beats in long lines of foam 
against a low, winding archipelago — the western outline 
of the coming continent. Fierce is the fight for the mas- 
tery between sea and land, between the denuding power 
of the waves and the volcanic forces underneath. But 
slowly — very slowly, yet surely — rises the long chain of 
islands by a double process; the submarine crust of the 
earth is cooling, and the rocks are folded up as it shrivels, 
while the molten material within, pressed out through the 
crevices, overflows and helps to build up the sea-defiant 
wall. A man's life would be too short to count even the 
centuries consumed in this operation. The coast of Peru 
has risen eighty feet since it felt the tread of Pizarro : sup- 
posing the Andes to have risen at this rate uniformly and 
without interruption, seventy thousand years must have 
elapsed before they reached their present altitude. But 
when we consider that, in fact, it was an intermittent 
movement — alternate upheaval and subsidence — we must 
add an unknown number of millennia. 

Three times the Andes sank hundreds of feet beneath 
the ocean level, and again were slowly brought up to their 
present height. The suns of uncounted ages have risen 
and set upon these sculptured forms, though geologically 
recent, casting the same line of shadows century after cen- 
tury. A long succession of brute races roamed over the 
mountains and plains of South America, and died out ages 
ere man was created. In those pre- Adamite times, long 
before the Incas ruled, the mastodon and megatherium, 
the horse and the tapir, dwelt in the high valley of Quito ; 
yet all these passed away before the arrival of the aborig- 
ines : the wild horses now feeding on the pampas of Bue- 
nos Ayres were imported from Europe three hundred and 
thirty-three years ago.* 

* At Paita, the most western point of South America, there is a raised 

116 The Andes and the Amazon. 

And now the Andes* stand complete in their present 
gigantic proportions, one of the grandest and most sym- 
metrical mountain chains in the world. Starting from the 
Land of Fire, it stretches northward and mounts upward 
until it enters the Isthmus of Panama, where it bows grace- 
fully to either ocean, but soon resumes, under another name, 
its former majesty, and loses its magnificence only where 
the trappers chase the fur-bearing animals over the Arctic 
plains. Nowhere else does Nature present such a continu- 
ous and lofty chain of mountains, unbroken for eight 
thousand miles, save where it is rent asunder by the Ma- 
gellanic Straits, and proudly tossing up a thousand pinna- 
cles into the region of eternal snow. Nowhere in the Old 
World do we see a single well-defined mountain chain, 
only a broad belt of mountainous country traversing the 
heart of the continent. 

The moment the Andes arose, the great continental val- 

beach three hundred feet high. The basal slate and sandstone rocks, dip- 
pins' S. of E. , are covered by conglomerate, sand, and a gypseous formation, 
containing shells of living species. Additional to those described by D'Or- 
bigny we found here Cerithium Ueviuscula, Ostrea gallus, and Arnpidlina Or- 
toni, as determined by W. M. Gabb, Esq., of Philadelphia. Darwin found 
shells in Chile 1 300 feet above the sea, covered with marine mud. President 
Loomis, of Lewisburg University, Pa., informs the writer that in 1853, after 
nearly a day's ride from Iquique, he came to a former sea-beach. "It fur- 
nished abundant specimens of Patella and other shells, still perfect, and 
identical with others that I had that morning obtained at Iquique with the 
living animal inhabiting them." This beach is elevated 2500 feet above the 
Pacific. The same observer says that near Potosi there is one uninterrupted 
mass of lava, having a columnar structure, not less than one hundred miles 
in length, fifty miles wide, and eight hundred feet thick. It overlies a bed 
of saliferous sandstone which has been worked for salt. Fifty feet within a 
mine, and in the undisturbed rock which forms its roof, the doctor found 
fragments of dicotyledonous trees with the bark on, undecomposed, uncharred, 
and fibrous. 

* The name Andes is often derived from anta, an old Peruvian word sig- 
nifying metal. But Humboldt says: "There are no means of interpreting it 
by connecting it with any signification or idea; if such connection exist, it is 
buried in the obscurity of the past. " According to Col. Tod, the northern 
Hindoos apply the name Andes to the Himalayan Mountains. 


Ceeation of the Amazon. 117 

ley of the Amazon was sketched out and moulded in its 
lap. The tidal waves of the Atlantic were dashing against 
the Cordilleras, and a legion of riviilets were busily plow- 
ing up the sides into deep ravines ; the sediment produced 
by this incessant wear and tear was carried eastward, and 
spread out stratum by stratum, till the shallow sea between 
the Andes and the islands of Guiana and Brazil was filled 
up with sand and clay. Huge glaciers (thinks Agassiz), 
afterward descending, moved over the inclined plane, and 
ground the loose rock to powder.* Eddies and currents, 
throwing up sand-banks as they do now, gradually defined 
the limits of the tributary streams, and directed them into 
one main trunk, which worked for itself a wide, deep bed, 
capable of containing its accumulated flood. Then and 
thus was created the Amazon. 

In South America Nature has framed her works on a gi- 
gantic scale. Where else combined do we see a series 
of towering mountains, such a volume of river-water, and 
such wide-spreading plains ? We have no proper concep- 
tion of Andine grandeur till we learn that the top of the 
tallest mountain in North America is nearly a mile be- 
neath the untrodden dome of Chimborazo; nor any just 
view of the vast dimensions of the Amazonian Valley till 
we find that all the United States could be packed in it 
' without touching its boundaries ; nor any adequate idea of 
the Amazon itself till we ascertain that it drains a million 
square miles more than the Mississippi. 

South America is a triangular continent, with its axis, 
the Andes, not central, as in Europe, but l}ang on its ex- 
treme western edge, and in harmony with the well-known 
law that the highest mountains and the grandest volcanoes 
face the broadest ocean. The highlands of Brazil and 

* On this point see Chapter XVII. 

118 The Andes and the Amazon. 

Guiana have neither volcanic nor snow-clad peaks.* Like 
all the dry land which first appeared, these primitive moun- 
tains on the Atlantic border trend east and west. The re- 
sult of this position is a triple river system — the Orinoco, 
Amazon, and La Plata, draining three immense plains — 
tlie llanos of Venezuela, the sylvas of Brazil, and the pam- 
pas of the Argentine Republic. The continuity and extent 
of these vast depressions are more remarkable even than 
the height and length of the mountain chains.f 

Such are the characteristic featm*es of South America ; 
they are not repeated in any other continent.:}: Not one 
feature could be changed without destro}dng those peculi- 
arities of soil and climate which so remarkably distinguish 
South America. Its position on the equator places it in 
the path of the vaporj trade winds, which continually 
sweep over it westward till they strike the Andes, which, 
like a great condenser, roll a thousand streams eastward 
again to feed the mighty Amazon. So effectual is that 
barrier, not a drop of moisture passes it, and the trade wind 
is not felt again on the Pacific till you are one hundred 

* " The interior plateau of Brazil (says Dr. Lund) is composed of horizon- 
tal strata of the transition period, which are nowhere covered with the sec- 
ondary or tertiary formations." The highest point in Brazil is 5755 feet. 
Darwin speaks of "some ancient submarine volcanic rocks (in the province 
of La Plata) worth mentioning, from their rarity on this eastern side of the 
continent." With the exception of the coast of Venezuela, the eastern sys- 
tem is little exposed to earthquakes. 

t These three plains constitute four fifths of all South America east of the 
Andes. The west slope of the Ecuadorian Andes is about 275 feet per mile ; 
on the east it is 125 feet. 

t There is, however, a striking coincidence between the mountain and river 
systems of the northern and southern continents of this hemisphere. Thus, 
The Andes represent the Eocky Mountains. 
" Highland of Guiana represent the Canadian Mountains. 
" Brazil " Appalachian " 

Amazon " Saskatchewan. 

La Plata " Mississippi. 

Orinoco " Mackenzie. 

The Chain of the Andes. 119 

and fifty miles from the coast. Were the Andes on the 
Atlantic side. South America would be turned into a vast 
Sahara. As it is, the interest which attaches to this conti- 
nent, save a few relics of the Incas, is exclusively that of 
pure nature. Nowhere does Nature affect us more deeply 
with the feeling of her grandeur ; nowhere does she ex- 
hibit wilder freaks or more startling contrasts; nowhere 
do we find such a theatre for the free development of veg- 
etable and animal life. 

The long and lofty chain of tlie Andes is certainly on(* 
of the grandest results of the plications and uplifts of the 
earth's crust. While the waves of the Pacific, from Pana- 
ma to Patagonia, submissively kiss the feet of the Andes, 
and the showers that swell the Amazon fall within sight 
of the mariner 'on that peaceful ocean, the Eocky Moun- 
tains are situated five hundred miles from the sea. The 
space west of the Andes does not contain 20,000 square 
leagues, while the country east of it equals 424,600. While 
the compact Andes have an average width of only sixty 
miles,* the straggling mountain system beyond the Missis- 
sippi has the breadth of the Empire State ; but the mean ele- 
vation of the latter would scarcely reach the bottom of the 
Quito Valley. The mountains of Asia may surpass the Cor- 
dilleras in height, but, situated beyond the tropics, and desti- 
tute of volcanoes, they do not present that inexhaustible va- 
riety of phenomena which characterizes the latter. The out- 
bursts of poi-phyry and trachytic domes, so characteristic 
of the high crests of the Cordilleras, impart a physiognomy 
quite distinct from that presented by the mountains of Eu- 
rope. The Andes offer, in the least space, the greatest pos- 
sible variety of impressions.f There is near Huanca, Peru, 

* The width of the chain south of the equator varies with that of the con- 

t ' ' No mountains which I have seen in Hungary, Saxony, or the Pyrenees 

120 The Andes and the Amazon. 

a coal-bed lifted i;p to the enormoiis height of 14,700 feet, 
and on the side of Chimborazo there is a salt spring 13,000 
feet above the sea. Marine shells have not been fonnd in 
Europe above the summit of the Pyrenees, or 11,700 feet ; 
but the Andes can show some a thousand feet higher. A 
strange sight, to see shells once crawling on the bottom of 
the ocean now resting at an elevation twice the height of 
Mount Washington ! 

Beneath the Southern Cross, out of a sea perpetually 
■Swept by fearful gales, rise the rocky hills of Terra del 
Fuego. It is the starting-point of that granite chain which 
winds around the earth in a majestic curve, first northwest- 
erly to the Arctic Sea, thence by the Aleutian and Japan- 
ese Isles to Asia, crossing the Old World southwesterly 
from Cliina to South Africa. 

Skirting the bleak shores of Patagonia in a single nar- 
row sierra, the Andes enter Chile, rising higher and higher 
till they culminate in the gigantic porphyritic peak of Acon- 
cagua. At the boundary-line of Bolivia, the chain, which 
has so far followed a precise meridional direction, turns to 
the northwest, and, at the same time, separates into two 
Cordilleras, inclosing the great table-land of Desaguadero. 
This wonderful valley, the Thibet of the New World, has 
four times the area of New York State, and five times the 
elevation of the Catskill Mountain House. At one end of 
the valley, perched above the clouds, is silvery Potosi, the 
highest city in the world ; at the other stands the once 
golden capital of Cuzco. Between them is Lake Titicaca* 

are as irregular as the Andes, or broken into such alternate substances, mani- 
festing such prodigious revolutions of nature. " — Helms. ' ' More sublime than 
the Alps by their ensemble, the Andes lack those curious and chaiTning details 
of which Nature has been so lavish in the old continent." — Holinski. 

* This lake is the Largest fresh-vs'ater accumulation in South America. It 
has diminished within the historic period. Its sui-fece is 12,79.') feet above 
the Pacific, or higher than the highest peaks of the Pyrenees. 

The Chain of the Andes. 121 

(probably an ancient crater), within which is an island 
celebrated as the cradle of the strange empire of Peru, 
which, though crushed by Pizarro in its budding civiliza- 
tion, ranks as the most extraordinary and extensive empire 
in the annals of American history. The Cordillera, of 
which Sahama, Sorata, and Illimani are the pinnacles, so 
completely inclose this high valley that not a drop of water 
can escape except by evaporation. At the silver mines of 
Pasco the Andes throw off a third Cordillera, and with this 
triple arrangement and a lower altitude, enter the republic 
of Ecuador. There they resume the double line, and sur- 
pass their former magnificence. Twenty volcanoes, pre- 
sided over by the princely Chimborazo and Cotopaxi, rise 
out of a sublime congregation of mountains surroundina: 
the famous valley of Quito. In New Granada there is a 
final and unique display of Andine grandeur : the Cordil 
leras combine just above the equator into one dizzy ridge, 
and then spread out like a fan, or, rather, like the grace- 
ful branches of the palm. One sierra bends to the east, 
holding in its lap the city of Bogota, and, rolling off a thou- 
sand streams to swell the Orinoco, terminates in the beau- 
tiful mountains of Caracas ; the central range culminates 
in the volcanic Tolima,* but is soon lost in the Caribbean 
Sea ; the western chain turns to the left, humbling itself 
as it threads the narrow isthmus, and expands into the 
level table-land of Mexico. You may cross Mexico from 
ocean to ocean in a carriage, but no wheeled vehicle ever 
crossed South America. 

We will now speak more particularly of the Andes of 
the equator. The mountain chain is built up of granite, 
gneissoid, and schistose rocks, often in vertical position, and 

* This is the loftiest summit of the Andes in the northern hemisphere, be- 
ing 18,200 feet. It is also remarkable for being situated farther from the 
sea (120 miles) than any other active volcano. 

122 The Andes and the Amazon. 

capped with trachyte and porphyry.* Large masses of solid 
rock are rarely seen ; every thing is cracked, calcined, or 
triturated. While in Bolivia the Eastern Cordillera shovi^s 
a succession of sharp, ragged peaks, in contrast with the 
conical summits of the Cordillera of the coast, there is no 
such distinction in the Andes of the equator.f The Eastern 
Cordillera has a greater mean height, and it displays more 
volcanic activity. Twenty volcanic mountains surround the 
valley, of which twelve are in the oriental chain. Three 
of the twenty are now active (Cotopaxi, Sangai, and Pichin- 
cha), and five others are known to have erupted since the 
Conquest (Chiles, Imbabura, Guamani, Tunguragua, and 
Quirotoa). The truncated cone of Cotopaxi, the jagged, 
xllpine crest of ruined Altar, and the dome of Chimborazo, 
are the representative forms of the volcanic summits. The 
extinct volcanoes usually have double domes or peaks, while 
the active peaks are slender cones. Antisana and Cayam- 
bi are fashioned after Chimborazo, though the latter is ta- 
ble-topped rather than convex ; Caraguairazo, Quirotoa, Ili- 
niza, Sincholagua, Euminagui, and Corazon, resemble Al- 
tar; Tunguragua, Sangai, Llanganati, Cotocachi, Chiles, and 
Imbabura, imitate Cotopaxi ; Pichincha, Atacatzo, and Gua- 
mani are irregular. The Ecuadorian volcanoes have rarely 
ejected liquid lava, but chiefly water, mud, ashes, and frag- 
ments of trachyte and porphyry. Cotopaxi alone produces 

■ * "As a general rule, whenever the mass of mountains rises much above 
the limit of perpetual snow, the primitive rocks disappear, and the summits 
are trachyte or trappean porphyry."— Humboldt'. In general, " the great 
Cordilleras are formed of innumerable varieties of granites, gneiss, schists, 
hornblende, chloritic slates, porphyries, etc., and these rocks alternate with 
each other in meridional bands, which in the ridges frequently present the ap- 
pearance of a radiated or fan-shaped stracture, and under the plains are more 
or less vertical." — Evan Hopkins, F.G.S. 

t VonTschudi makes the incorrect statement that " throughout the whole 
extent of South America there is not a single instance of the Western Cordil- 
lera being intersected by a river. " Witness the Esmeraldas. 

EcuADOKiAJsr Volcanoes. 123 


10,000 ft. 


10,000 ft. 


10,000 ft. 

124 The Andes and the Amazon. 

pure, foam-like piimice, and glossy, ti'anslucent obsidian,* 
The paucity of quartz, and the absence of basalt, are re- 
markable. Some of the porphyroids are conglomerate, but 
the majority are true porphyries, having a homogeneous 
base. Dr. T. Sterry Hunt calls them porphyroid trachytes. 
They have a black, rarely reddish, vitreous, or impalpable 
base, approaching obsidian, with a specific gravity of 2.59 
in pure specimens, and holding crystals or cr^'stalline grains 
of glassy feldspar, and sometimes of pyroxene and hematite. 
They differ from the Old World porphyries in containing 
no quartz, and seldom mica.f D'Orbigny considers the 
porphyries of the Andes to have been ejected at the close 
of the cretaceous period, and formed the first relief of the 
Cordillera. The prevalence of trachyte shows that the pro- 
ducts have cooled under feeble pressure. 

From the deluges of water lately thrown out have result- 
ed deep furrows in the sides ; and from the prevalence of 
the east wind, which is always met by the traveler on the 
crest of either Cordillera, there is a greater accumulation of 
ashes, and less snow on the west slope. Cotopaxi is a fine 
example of this. In Pichincha, Altar, and Euminagua, 
however, the western wall is lowest, apparently broken 
down.:]; There is no synchronism in the eruptions of Coto- 
paxi and Pichincha. These volcanoes must have independ- 
ent reservoirs, for the former is 3000 feet higher than the 
latter, and only thirty miles distant. The reputed erup- 
tions of Pichincha are dated 1534, 1539, 1566, 1575,1588, 
and 1660 ; that of 1534 resting on the assertions of Checa, 

* It is a singular fact that true trachyte, pumice, and obsidian are wanting 
in the -volcanic Galapagos Islands, only 700 miles west of Pichincha. 

t As many of the crystals are partly fused, or have round angles, the por- 
phyries were probably formed by the melting of a crystalline rock, the base 
becoming fused into a homogeneous material, while the less fusible crystals 
remain imbedded. — Dr. Hunt. 

X In the Galapagos volcanoes the south wall is lowest, while the craters in 
Mexico and Sandwich Islands are lowest on the northeast. 

Volcanoes of Quito. 125 

Garcilazo, and Herrera, indorsed by Humboldt. Except- 
ing tlie traditional eruption in 1534, which probably is con- 
founded with that of Pichincha, Cotopaxi did not open till 
1742 ; then followed the eruptions of 1743, 1744, 1746, 
1766, 1768, 1803, 1851, and 1855. We must mention, how- 
ever, that, since the recent awakening of Pichincha, Coto- 
paxi lias been unusually silent. There is also a remarkable 
coincidence (which may not be wholly accidental) in the 
renewed activity of Pichincha, and the great eruption of 
Mauna Loa, both occurring in March, 1868. It is general- 
ly believed by the natives that Cotopaxi and Tunguragua 
are sympathetic. 

There are fifty-one volcanoes in the Andean chain. Of 
these, twenty girdle the Yalley of Quito, three active, five 
dormant, and twelve extinct.* Besides these are numer- 
ous mountain peaks not properly volcanic. I^owhere on 
the face of the earth is there such a grand assemblage of 
mountains. Twenty-two summits are covered with perpet- 
ual snow, and fifty are over ten thousand feet high.f All 

* The altitudes of the most important Ecuadorian volcanoes are : 

Western Chain. 

Chimborazo, 21,420 feet (Humboldt). 
Caraguairazo, 19, 183 feet (Humboldt). 

It is variously estimated from 15,673 . 

feet to 19,720 feet; 18,000 feet is 

not far from the truth. 
Iliniza, 17,370 feet (Wisse) ; 16,300 

Cotocac/d, 16,440 feet (Humboldt) 

16,409 (Wisse). 
Pichincha, 15,922 feet (Humboldt) 

15,827 (Orton). 

t The snow-limit at the equator is 15,800 feet. No living creature, save 
the condor, passes this limit ; naked rocks, fogs, and eternal snows mark the 
reign of uninterrupted solitude. The following is the approximate limit of 
perpetual snow in different latitudes : 

Eastern Chain. 
Cayambi, 19,64:8 feet (Humboldt), 

19,358 (Wisse). 
Antisana, 19,148 feet (Humboldt) ; 

19,279 (Wisse). 
Cotopaxi, 18,880 feet (Humboldt) , 

18,862 (Wisse). 
Altar, 17,400 feet. 
Sangai, 17,120 feet (Wisse). 
Ttmguragua, 16,579 feet (Humboldt). 
Sincholagua, 16,434 feet (Humboldt). 

0° 16,800 feet. 

27° 13,800 

33° 12,780 

40° 8,300 feet. 

54° 3,700 " 

70° 3,300 " 

126 The Ajstdes ajjd the Amazon. 

of these would be visible from a single stand-point — the 
summit of Cotopaxi. The lofty peaks shoot up with so 
much method as almost to provoke the theory that the In- 
cas, in the zenith of their power, planted them as signal 
monuments along the royal road to Cuzco. The eastern 
series is called the Cordillera real, because along its flank 
are the remnants of the splendid highway which once 
connected Quito and the Peruvian capital.* It can also 
boast of such tremendous volcanoes as Cotopaxi and San- 
gai. The Western Cordillera contains but one active vol- 
cano ; but then it can point to peerless Chimborazo and 
the deep crater of Pichincha. These twenty volcanic 
mountains rise within a space only two hundred miles 
long and thirty miles wide. It makes one tremble to 
think of the awful crevice over which they are placed.f 

The limit appears to descend more rapidly going south of the equator than 
in going north. 

* We traveled over a portion of this ancient road in going from Riobamha 
to Cajabamba. It is well paved with cut blocks of dark porphyry. It is not 
graded, but partakes of the irregularity of the country. Designed, not for 
carriages, but for troops and llamas, there are steps when the ascent is steep. 

t Grand as the Andes are, how insignificant in a general view ! How 
slightly they cause our globe to differ from a perfect sphere ! Cotopaxi con- 
stitutes only jJ^j of the earth's radius ; and on a globe six feet in diameter, 
Chimborazo would be represented by a grain of sand less than Jj of an inch 
in thickness. 

Chimbokazo. 121 


The Volcanoes of Ecuador.— Western Cordillera.— Chimborazo.—Iliniza.— 
Corazon. — Pichincha. — Descent into its Crater. 

Coming up from Peru through the cinchona forests of 
Loja, and over the barren hills of Assuay, the traveler 
reaches Eiobamba, seated on the threshold of magnificence 
— like Damascus, an oasis in a sandy plain, but, unlike the 
Queen of the East, surrounded with a splendid retinue of 
snowy peaks that look like icebergs floating in a sea of 

On our left is the most sublime spectacle in the New 
"World. It is a majestic pile of snow, its clear outline on 
the deep blue sky describing the profile of a lion in repose. 
At noon the vertical sun, and the profusion of light reflect- 
ed from the glittering surface, will not allow a shadow to 
be cast on any part, so that you can easily fancy the figure 
is cut out of a mountain of spotless marble. This is Chim- 
borazo — yet not the whole of it — you see but a third of the 
great giant. His feet are as eternally green as his head is 
everlastingly white; but they are far away beneath the 
bananas and cocoa-palms of the Pacific coast. 

Eousseau was disappointed when he first saw the sea; 
and the first glimpse of Niagara often fails to meet one's 
expectations. But Chimborazo is sure of a worshiper the 
moment its overwhelming grandeur breaks upon the trav- 
eler. You feel that you are in the presence-chamber of 
the monarch of the Andes. There is sublimity in his king- 
ly look, of which the ocean might be proud. 

" All that expands the spirit, yet appals, 
Gathers around this summit, as if to show 
How earth may pierce to heaven, yet leave vain man below. " 

128 The Andes and the Amazon. 

Well do we remember our disappointment as we stood 
before that wonder of the world — St. Peter's. We mount- 
ed the pyramid of steps and looked up, but were not over- 
come by the magnificence. We read in our guide-book 
that the edifice covers eight acres, and to the tip-top of the 
cross is almost five hundred feet ; that it took three hun- 
dred and fifty years and twelve successive artists to finish 
it, and an expenditure of $50,000,000, and now costs $30,000 
per annum to keep it in repair ; still we did not appreciate 
its greatness. We pushed aside the curtain and walked in 
— walked a day's journey across the transept and uj) and 
down the everlasting nave, and yet continued heterodox. 
We tried hard to believe it was very vast and sublime, and 
knew we ought to feel its grandeur, but somehow we did 
not. Then we sat down by the Holy of Holies, and there 
we were startled into a better judgment by the- astounding 
fact that the Cathedral of St. Paul — the largest edifice in 
Great Britain — could stand upright, spire, dome, body, and 
all, inside of St. Peter's ! that the letters of the inscription 
which run around the hase of the dome, though apparently 
but an inch, are in reality six feet high ! Then, for the 
first time, the scales fell from our eyes ; the giant building 
began to grow ; higher and higher still it rose, longer and 
deeper it expanded, yet in perfect proportions ; the colossal 
structure, now a living temple, put on its beautiful gar- 
ments and the robe of majesty. And that dome ! the lon- 
ger we looked at it the vaster it grew, till finally it seemed 
to be a temple not made with hands ; the spacious canopy 
became the firmament ; the mosaic figures of clierubim and 
seraphim were endowed with life ; and as we fixed our eyes 
on the zenith where the Almighty is represented in glory, 
we thought we had the vision of Stephen. Long we gazed 
upward into this heaven of man's creation, and gazed again 
till we were lost in wonder. 

Chimbokazo. 129 

But the traveler needs no such steps to lift him up to 
the grand conception of the divine Architect as he be- 
holds the great white dome of Chimborazo. It looks 
lofty from the very first. Now and then an expanse of 
thin, sky -like vapor would cut the mountain in twain, and 
the dome, islanded in the deep blue of the upper re- 
gions, seemed to belong more to heaven than to earth. 
We knew that Chimborazo was more than twice the alti- 
tude of Etna. We could almost see the great Humboldt 
struggling up the mountain's side till he looked like a black 
speck moving over the mighty white, but giving up in de- 
spair four thousand feet below the summit. We see the 
intrepid Bolivar mounting still higher; but the hero of 
Spanish-American independence returns a defeated man. 
Last of all comes the philosophic Boussingault, and attains 
the prodigious elevation of nineteen thousand six hundred 
feet — the highest point reached by man without the aid of 
a balloon ; but the dome remains unsullied by his foot. Yet 
none of these facts increase our admiration. The mountain 
has a tongue which speaks louder than all mathematical 

There must be something singularly sublime about Chim- 
borazo, for the spectator at Riobamba is already nine thou- 
sand feet high, and the mountain is not so elevated above 
him as Mont Blanc above the vale of Chamouni, when, in 
reality, that culminating point of Europe would not reach 
up even to the snow-limit of Chimborazo by two thousand 
feet.* It is only while sailing on the Pacific that one sees 
Chimborazo in its complete proportions. Its very magni- 

* But Chimborazo is steeper than the Alp-king ; and steepness is a quality 
more quickly appreciated than mere massiveness. "Mont Blanc (says a 
writer in Frazers Magazine) is scarcely admired, because he is built with a 
certain regard to stability ; but the apparently reckless architecture of the 
Matterhorn brings the traveler fairly on his knees, with a respect akin to that 
felt for the leaning tower of Pisa, or the soaring pinnacles of Antwerp " 


130 The Andes and the Amazon, 

tude diminishes the impression of awe and wonder, for the 
Andes on which it rests are heaved to such a vast altitude 
above the sea, that the relative elevation of its summit be- 
comes reduced by comparison with the surrounding moun- 
tains. Its altitude is 21,420 feet, or forty-five times the 
height of Strasl urg Cathedral ; or, to state it otherwise, the 
fall of one pound from the top of Chimborazo would raise 
the temperature of water 30°. One fourth of this is per- 
petually covered with snow, so that its ancient name, Chim- 
purazu — the mountain of snow — is very appropriate.* It 
is a stirring thought that this mountain, now mantled with 
snow, once gleamed with volcanic fires. There is a hot 
spring on the north side, and an immense amount of debris 
covers the slope below the snow-limit, consisting chiefly of 
fine-grained, iron-stained trachyte and coarse porphyroid 
gray trachyte ; very rarely a dark vitreous trachyte. Chim- 
borazo is very likely not a solid mountain : trachytic volca- 
noes are supposed to be full of cavities. Bouguer found it 
made the plumb-line deviate 7" or 8''. 

The valleys which furrow the flank of Chimborazo are 
in keeping with its colossal size. Narrower, but deejDer 
than those of the Alps, the mind swoons and sinks in the 
effort to comprehend their grim majesty. The mountain 
appears to have been broken to pieces like so much thin 
crust, and the strata thrown on their vertical edges, reveal- 
ing deep, dark chasms, that seem to lead to the confines of 
the lower, world. The deepest valley in Europe, that of the 
Ordesa in the Pyrenees, is 3200 feet deep ; but here are 
rents in the side of Chimborazo in which "Vesuvius could 
be put away out of sight. As you look down into the fath- 
omless fissure, you see a white fleck rising out of the gulf, 

* " White Mountain" is the natural and almost uniform name of the high- 
est mountains in all countries ; thus Himalaya, Mont Blanc, Hoemus, Sien-a 
Nevada, Ben Nevis, Snowdon, Lebanon, White Mountains of United States, 
Chimborazo, and Illimani. 

Chimbobazo. 131 

and expanding as it mounts, till the wings of the condor, 
fifteen feet in spread, glitter in the sun as the proud bird 
fearlessly wheels over the dizzy chasm, and then, ascend- 
ing above your head, sails o\'er the dome of Chimborazo.* 
Could the condor speak, what a glowing description could 
he give of the landscape beneath him when his horizon is 
a thousand miles in diameter. If 

"Twelve fair counties saw the blaze from Malvern's lonely height," 

what must be the panorama frotii a height fifteen times 
higher ! 

Chimborazo was long supposed to be the tallest moun- 
tain on the globe, but its supremacy has been supplanted 
by Mount Everest in Asia, and Aconcagua in Chile.f In 
mountain gloom and glory, however, it still stands unrival- 
ed. The Alps have the avalanche, " the thunderbolt of 
snow," and the glaciers, those icy Niagaras so beautiful 
and grand. Here they are wanting.:}; The monarch of 
the Andes sits motionless in calm serenity and unbroken 
silence. The silence is absolute and actually oppressive. 
The road from Guayaquil to Quito crosses Chimborazo at 
the elevation of fourteen thousand feet. Save the rush 

* Humboldt's statement that the condor flies higher than Chimborazo has 
been questioned ; but we have seen numbers hovering at least a thousand feet 
above the summit of Pichincha. Baron Muller, in his ascent of Orizaba, saw 
two falcons flying at the height of full 18,000 feet ; Dr. Hooker found crows 
and ravens on the Himalayas at 16,500 feet ; and flocks of wild geese are said 
to fly over the peak of Kintschinghow, 22, 75G feet. 

t Mount Everest is 29,000 feet, and Aconcagua 23,200. Schlagintweit 
enumerates thirteen Himalayan summits over 25,000 feet, and forty-six above 
20,000. We have little confidence in the estimates of the Bolivian moun- 
tains. Chimborazo has nearly the same latitude and altitude as the loftiest 
peak in Africa, Kilima Njaro. 

t Humboldt ascribes the absence of glaciers in the Andes to the extreme 
steepness of the sides, and the excessive dryness of the air. Dr. Loomis, 
above quoted, mentions indications of glacial action — moraines, and polished 
and striated rocks — on the crest of the Cordillera, between Peru and BoHvia, 
lat. 21° S. 

132 The Andes and the Amazon. 

of the trade wind in the afternoon, as it sweeps over the 
Andes, not a sound is audible ; not the hum of an insect, 
nor the chirp of a bird, nor the roar of the puma, nor the 
music of running waters. Mid-ocean is never so- silent. 
You can almost hear the globe turning on its axis. There 
was a time when the monarch deigned to speak, and spoke 
with a voice of thunder, for the lava on its sides is an evi- 
dence of volcanic activity. But ever since the morning 
stars sang together over man's creation, Chimbo has sat in 
sullen silence, satisfied to look " from his throne of clouds 
o'er half the world." There is something very suggestive 
in this silence of Chimborazo. It was once full of noise 
arid fury ; it is now a comjoleted mountain, and thunders no 
more. How silent was Jesus, a completed character ! The 
reason we are so noisy is that we are so full of wants ; we 
are unfinished characters. Had we perfect fullness of all 
things, the beatitude of being without a want, we should 
lapse into the eternal silence of God. 

Chimborazo is a leader of a long train of ambitious crags 
and peaks ; but as he who comes after the king must not 
expect to be noticed, we will only take a glimpse of these 
lesser lights as we pass up the Western Cordillera, and then 
down the Eastern. 

The first after leaving the monarch is Caraguairazo. The 
Indians call it " the wife of Chimborazo." They are sepa- 
rated only by a very narrow valley. One hundred and sev- 
enty years ago the top of this mountain fell in, and torrents 
of mud flowed out containing multitudes of fishes. It is 
now over seventeen thousand feet high, and is one of the most 
Alpine of the Quitonian volcanoes, having sharp pinnacles 
instead of the smooth trachytic domes — usually double 
domes — so characteristic of the Andean summits. And 
now we pass in rapid succession numerous picturesque 
mountains, some of them extinct volcanoes, as Iliniza, pre- 

PiCHusrcHA, 133 

senting two pyramidal peaks, the highest seventeen thou- 
sand feet above the sea, and Corazon, so named from its 
heart-shaped summit, till we reach Pichincha, whose smok- 
ing crater is only five miles distant in a straight line from 
the city of Quito, or eleven by the traveled route. 

The crown of this mountain presents three groups of 
rocky peaks. The most westerly one is called Eucu-Pi- 
chincha, and alone manifests acti\dty. To the northeast of 
Rucu is Guagua-Pichincha, a ruined flue of the same fiery 
furnace ; and between the two is Cundur-guachana.* Pi- 
chincha is the only volcano in Ecuador which has not a true 
cone-crater. Some violent eruption beyond the reach of 
history or tradition has formed an enormous fimnel-shaped 
basin 2500 feet deep,t 1500 in diameter at the bottom, and 
expanding upward to a width of three fourths of a mile. 
It is the deepest crater on the globe. That of Ivilauea is 
600 feet ; Orizaba, 500 ; Etna, 300 ; Hecla, 100. Vesuvius 
is a portable furnace in comparison. The abyss is girt 
with a ragged wall of dark trachyte, which rises on the in- 
side at various angles between 45° and perpendicularity. 
As we know of but one American besides the members of 
om- expedition (Mr. Farrand, a photographer) who has suc- 
ceeded in entering the crater of this interesting volcano, we 
will give a brief sketch of our visit. 

Leaving Quito in the afternoon by the old arched gate- 
way at the foot of Panecillo, and crossing a spur of the 
mountain, we stopped for the night at the Jesuit hacienda, 
situated in the beautiful valley of Lloa, but nearly ruined 
by tlie earthquake of 1859. On the damp walls of this 
monastery, perched 10,268 feet above the ocean, we found 
several old paintings, among them a copy of the Yisitation 

* Pichincha, in the Inca language, signifies "the boiling mountain ;" Rucu 
means old ; Guagua, young ; and Cundur-guachana, the condor's nest. 
t More accurately, 2527 feet ; Wisse and Moreno made it 2460. 

134 The Andes and the Amazon. 

by Eubens. The sunset views in this heart of the Andes 
were surpassingly beautiful. Mounting our horses at break 
of day, and taking an Indian guide, we ascended rapidly, 
by a narrow and difficult path, through the forest that belts 
the volcano, up to the height of 12,000 feet, emerging grad- 
ually into a thicket of stunted bushes, and then entered the 
dreary paramo. Splendid was the view of the Eastern Cor- 
dillera. At least six dazzling white volcanoes were in sight 
just across the Yalley of Quito, among them table-topped 
Cayambi, majestic Antisana, and princely Cotopaxi, whose 
tapering summit is a mile above the clouds. Toiling up- 
ward, we reached the base of the cone, where vegetation 
ceased entirely ; and, tying our horses to some huge rocks 
that had fallen from the mural cliff above, started off on 
hands and feet for the crater. The cone is deeply covered 
with sand and cinders for about two hundred feet, and the 
sides are inclined at an angle of about 35°. At ten o'clock 
we reached the brim of the crater, and the great gulf burst 
suddenly into view. We can never forget the impression 
made upon us by the sight. We speak of many things here 
below as awful, but that word has its full meaning when 
carried to the top of Pichincha. There you see a frightful 
opening in the earth's crust nearly a mile in width and half 
a mile deep, and from the dark abyss comes rolling up a 
cloud of sulphurous vapors. Monte Somma in the time of 
Strabo was a miniature ; but this crater is on the top of a 
mountain four times the height of the Italian volcano. Im- 
agination finds it difficult to conceive a spectacle of more 
fearful grandeur or such solemn magnificence. It well ac- 
cords with Milton's picture of the bottomless pit. The 
united effect of the silence and solitude of the place, the 
great depth of the cavity, the dark precipitous sides, and 
the column of smoke standing over an unseen crevice, was 
to us more impressive than thundering Cotopaxi or fiery 

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Yesuvius. Humboldt, after standing on this same brink, 
exclaimed, " I have never beheld a grander or more remark- 
able picture than that presented by this volcano ;" and La 
Condamine compared it to " the Chaos of the poets." Be- 
low us are the smouldering fires which may any moment 
sjDring forth into a conflagration ; around us are black, rag- 
ged cliffs — fit boundary for this gateway to the infernal re- 
gions. They look as if they had just been dragged up from 
the central furnace of the earth. Life seems to have fled 
in terror from the vicinity ; even lichens, the children of 
the bare rocks, refuse to clothe the scathed and beetling 
crags. For some moments, made mute by the dreadful 
sight, we stood like statues on the rim of the mighty cal- 
dron, with our eyes riveted on the abyss below, lost in con- 
templating that which can not be described. The pano- 
rama from this lofty summit is more pleasing, but equally 
subhme. Toward the rising sun is the long range of the 
Eastern Cordillera, hiding fi-om our view the great valley 
of the Amazon. To right and left are the peaks of an- 
other procession of august mountains from Cotocachi to 
Chimborazo. We are surrounded by the great patriarchs 
of the Andes, and their speaker, Cotopaxi, ever and anon 
sends his muttering voice over the land. The view west- 
ward is like looking down from a balloon. Those parallel 
ridges of the mountain chain, dropping one behind the oth- 
er, are the gigantic staircase by which the ice-crowned 
Chimborazo steps down to the sea. A white sea of clouds 
covers the peaceful Pacific and the lower parts of the 
coast. But the vapory ocean, curling into the ravines, 
beautifully represents little coves and bays, leaving islands 
and promontories like a true ocean on a broken shore. We 
seem raised above the earth, which lies like an opened map 
below us ; we can look down on the upper surface of the 
clouds, and, were it night, down too upon the lightnings. 

138 The Andes and the Amazon. 

The crater of Picliinclia has a sharp, serrated edge, 
which, happily for Quito, is broken down on the west side, 
so that in the next eruption the volcano will doubtless pour 
its contents into the wilds of Esmeraldas. The highest 
pinnacle is 15,827 feet ; so that the mountain just enters 
the region of perpetual winter. "Water boils at 185°. The 
summit is generally bare, though snow is always found in 
the clefts of the rocks. It is not compact or crystalline, 
but resembles a conglomerate of little hailstones.* Out of 
the mingled snow and pumice-dust rise a few delicate 
flowers, particularly the violet Sida PiGhinchensis, the 
same which we had observed on the side of Chimborazo. 
Think of gay flowers a thousand feet higher than the top 
of Mont Blanc ! 

The first to reach the brink of the crater were the 
French Academicians in 1742. Sixty years after, Hum- 
boldt stood on the summit. But it was not till 1844 that 
any one dared to enter the crater. This was accomplished 
by Garcia Moreno, now President of Ecuador, and Sebas- 
tian Wisse, a French engineer. Humboldt pronounced 
the bottom of the crater " inaccessible, from its great depth 
and precipitous descent." We found it accessible, but ex- 
ceedingly perilous. The moment we prepared to descend 

* The snow on the top of Mont Blanc is like dry dust ; in Lapland, in open 
places, it consists of hexagonal crystals, and is called by the inhabitants 
" sand-snow." The French and Spanish mathematicians, Bouguer, La Con- 
damine, and UUoa, in their story of ascending Piehincha, give a long and 
dreadful account of their suiferings from cold and rarefied air; "whilst eat- 
ing, every one was obliged to keep his plate over a chafing-dish of coals, to 
prevent his food from freezing. " The traveler nowadays finds only a chill- 
ing wind. This rise of temperature, coupled with the fact that La Con- 
damine (17-15), Humboldt (1802), Boussingault (1831), and Wisse (1863) 
give to Quito a decreasing altitude, inclines us to believe, with Boussingault, 
that the Andes are sinking. Since the activity of the volcano in 1868, the 
summit has been so warm that the snow has totally disa])peared. Ice-crean; 
has in consequence risen in price in Quito, as snow must be brought from 
Sincholagua, four days' journey. 


Cratee of Pichincha. 139 

our guide ran away. "We went on without liim, but when 
halfway down were stopped by a precipice. 

On the 22d of October, 1867, we returned to Piehincha 
with another guide, and entered the crater by a different 
route. Manuel, our Indian, led us to the south side, and 
over the brink we went. We were not long in realizing 
the danger of the undertaking. Here the snow concealed 
an ugly fissure or covered a treacherous rock (for nearly 
all the rocks are crumbhng) ; there we must cross a mass 
of loose sand moving like a glacier down the almost verti- 
cal side of the crater ; and on every hand rocks were giv- 
ing way, and, gathering momentum at each revolution, 
went thundering down, leaping over precipices, and jostling 
other rocks, which joined in the race, till they all struck 
the bottom with a deep rumbhng sound, shivered like so 
many bombshells into a thousand pieces, and telling us 
what would be our fate if we made a single misstep. We 
followed our Indian in single file, keeping close together, 
that the stones set free by those in the rear might not dash 
those below from their feet; feeling our way with the 
greatest caution, clinging with our hands to snow, sand, 
rock, tufts of grass, or any thing that would hold for a 
moment ; now leaping over a chasm, now letting ourselves 
down from rock to rock ; at times paralyzed with fear, and 
always with death staring us in the face ; thus we scram- 
bled for two hours and a half, till we reached the bottom 
of the crater. 

Here we found a deeply-furrowed plain, strewn with 
ragged rocks, and containing a few patches of vegetation, 
with half a dozen species of flowers. In the centre is an 
irregular heap of stones, two hundred and sixty feet high 
by eight hundred in diameter. This is the cone of erup- 
tion — its sides and summit covered with an imposing group 
of vents, seventy in number, all lined mth sulphur and 

140 The Andes ajstd the Amazon. 

exhaling steam, black smoke, and sulphurous gas. The 
temperature of the vapor just within the fumarole is 184°, 
water boihng beside it at 189°. The central vent, or chim- 
ney, gives forth a sound like the violent bubbling of boil- 
ing water. As we sat on this fiery mount, surrounded by 
a circular rampart of rocks, and looked iq) at the immense 
towers of dark dolerite which ran up almost vertically to 
the height of twenty-five hundred feet above us, musing 
over the tremendous force which fashioned this awful am- 
phitheatre — spacious enough for all the gods of Tartarus 
to hold high carnival — the clouds which hung in the thin 
air around the crest of the crater pealed forth thunder 
after thunder, which, reverberating fi-om precipice to prec- 
ipice, were answered by the crash of rocks let loose by the 
storm, till the whole mountain seemed to tremble like a 
leaf. Such acoustics, mingled with the flash of lightning 
and the smell of brimstone, made us believe that we had 
fairly got into tlie realm of Pluto. It is the spot where 
Dante's Inferno ought to be read. 

Finishing our observations, and warming our dinner 
over the steaming crevices, we prepared to ascend. The 
escape from this horrid hole was more perilous than the 
entrance, and on reaching the top we sang, with grateful 
hearts, to the tune of " Old Hundred," 

"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow." 

"We doubt whether that famous tune and glorious dox- 
ology were ever sung so near to heaven. 
The second line, 

"Praise him all creatures here below," 

had a strange meaning fifteen thousand feet higli, 

There have been five eruptions of Pichincha since the 
Conquest. The last was in 1660; that of 1566 covered 

"The Field of Stones." Ml 

Quito tliree feet deep with ashes and stones, while boiling 
water and bitumen descended in torrents. In 1867 the 
column of smoke did not rise above the crest of the cra- 
ter, but the volcano has lately been showing signs of activ- 
ity, such as it has not exliibited since the last grand erup- 
tion two centuries ago. On the 19th of March, 1868, de- 
tonations were audible at Quito, and three days after there 
were more thunderings, with a great column of vapor visi- 
ble from Chillo, twelve miles to the east. These phenom- 
ena were accompanied by an unusual fall of rain. Since 
the great earthquake of August 16tli, Pichincha has con- 
tinued to send forth dense colunms of black smoke, and 
so much fine sand that it is not possible to reach the cra- 
ter. The solid products of Pichincha since the Conquest 
have been chiefly pumice, coarse-grained and granular tra- 
chyte, and reddish porphyroid trachyte. The roads lead- 
ing to Quito cut through liills of pumice-dust. On the 
plain of Inaquito and in the valley of Esmeraldas are vast 
erratic blocks of trachyte, some containing twenty-five cu- 
bic yards, having sharp angles, and in some cases a polish- 
ed, unstriated surface. M.Wisse does not consider them 
to have been thrown out of Pichincha, as La Condamine 
and others have judged. It is true, as he says, that tliey 
could not have come out of the present cone at a less an- 
gle than 45°, for they would have hit the sides of the high 
rocky rampart and rolled back again ; and at a higher angle 
they would not have reached their present location. But 
we see no reason why they could not be the upper portion 
of the solid trachyte cone blown into the air at the great 
eruption which cleared out this enormous crater. There is 
a rumvpamba, or " field of stones," around each of the Qui- 
tonian volcanoes. 

Leaving Pichincha, we travel northward along the bat- 
tlemented Andes, passing by the conical mountains of 

142 The Andes a^b the Amazon. 

Yana-urcu and Cotocachi. Yana-iircu, or " black mount- 
ain," is a mass of calcined rocks. Cotocachi (from cotaf 
and cachi, salt) is always snow-clad. On its side is Cuy- 
cocha, one of the highest lakes in the woi-ld (10,200 feet), 
and formed by the subsidence of a part of the volcano. 

Imbabuka. — Cayambi. 143 


The Volcanoes of Ecuador. — Eastern Cordillera. — Imbabura. — Cayambi. — 
Antisana. — Cotopaxi. — Llanganati. — Tunguragua. — Altar. — Saiigai. 

Neak the ouce busy city of Otovalo, utterly destroyed in 
the late earthquake, the two Cordilleras join, and, turning 
to the right, we go down the eastern range. The first in 
order is Imbabura,* which poured forth a large quantity of 
mud, with thousands of fishes, seven years before the sim- 
ilar eruption of Caraguairazo. At its feet is the beauti- 
fid lake of San Pablo, five miles in circumference, and 
very deep. It contains the- little black fish {Pimelodes 
<yycloj)um) already referred to as the only species in the 
valley, and the same that was cast out by Imbabura and 
Caraguairazo. Next comes the square-topped Caj-ambi — 
the loftiest mountain in this Cordillera, being nineteen 
thousand five hundred feet. It stands exactly on the equa- 
tor, a colossal monument placed by the hand of Nature to 
mark the grand division of the globe. It is the only snowy 
spot, says Humboldt, which is crossed by the equator. Beau- 
tiful is the view of Caj^ambi from Quito, as its enormous 
mass of snow and ice glows with crimson splendor in the 
farewell rays of the setting sun. No painter's brush could 
do justice to the prismatic tints which hover around the 
higher peaks. But this flood of glory is soon followed by 
the pure whiteness of death. "Like a gigantic ghost 
shrouded in sepulchral sheets, the mountain now hovers in 
the background of the landscape, towering ghastly through 
the twilight xmtil darkness closes upon the scene." 

* From imba (fish), and hura, to produce. Its name can not be older than 
1691, unless the mountain made similar eruptions before. It has frequently 
ejected water. 

IM The Andes and the Amazon. 

Ten miles farther south is the bare-headed Guamani 
range, over which passes the road to the wild Napo coun- 
try.* The view from the crest is magnificent ; but, like 
every grand panorama, eludes description. As we look 
eastward over the beginnings of the mighty forest which 
stretches unbroken to the Atlantic, the vast ridges, trend- 
ing nortli and south, and decreasing in height as they in- 
crease in distance, seem like the waves of a great ocean 
rollmg toward the mountains. 

Near by stands Antisana in his snowy robe. This vol- 
cano ranks next to Chimborazo in dignity. It has a double 
dome, and an elevation of 19,000 feet. Snow of Dian pu- 
rity covers it for over 3000 feet ; but, judging from the 
enormous streams of lava on its sides, it must have been a 
fierce volcano in ages past. The la\a streams are worthy 
of the great mou-ntain from which they flowed. One of 
them (called "Yolcan d'Ansango") is ten miles long and 
five hundred feet deep, with an average slope of 15°. It is 
a magnificent sight, as seen fi*om the surrounding paramo 
— a stream of dark, ragged rocks coming down out of the 
clouds and snows which cover the summit. The repre- 
sentative products of Antisana are a black, cellular, vitre- 
ous trachyte, a fine-grained, tough porphyroid trachyte, and 
a coarse reddish porphyroid trachyte. An eruption, as late 
as 1590, is recorded in Johnston's Phys. Atlas. Humboldt 
saw smoke issuing from several openings in March, 1802. 

We ascended this volcano to the height of sixteen thou- 
sand feet. On its side is the celebrated hacienda of Anti- 
sana, which, more than sixty years ago, sheltered the great 
Humboldt from the sleet and rain and blast of this lofty 
region. It was a welcome refuge to us, for we had well 
nigh perished with cold on the dreary paramo. It is one of 

* The culminating point of Guamani is Sara-urcu, a volcano which threw 
out a vast quantity of ashes in 1 843 and 1856. 

Antisana. 145 

the highest human habitations in the world, being thirteen 
thousand three hundred feet above the sea, or a thousand 
feet higher than the Peak of Teneriffe.* The mean tem- 
perature is the same as that of Quebec, so that thirteen 
thousand feet in elevation at the equator is equal to 47° 
in latitude. t Here is an extensive corral, inclosing thou- 
sands of cattle, owned by a rheumatic old gentleman, Senor 
Valdevieso, who supplies the beef -market of Quito.:}: A 
desire for beef has alone brought man and his beast to this 
chilly altitude. It is difficult to get a quart of milk, and 
impossible to lind a pound of butter at this hacienda. The 
predominant colors ot ciie cattle are red and black. They 
feed on the wild paramo grass, and the beef is not only re- 
markably cheap, but superior in quality. The lasso is used 
in catching the animals, but not so skillfully as by the 
Gauchos of Rio Plata. It is a singular fact that cattle 
ha\^e followed men over the whole earth, fi-om the coast of 
Africa to the highlands of Antisana. The same species is 
attacked by crocodiles and condors. 

The atmospheric pressure is here so small that they fre- 
quently bleed at the nose and mouth when hunted. We 
have already given oui experience in ascending high alti- 
tudes. We may add that while the pulse of Boussingault 
beat 106 pulsations at the height of 18,600 feet on Chim- 
borazo, ours was 87 at 16,000 feet on Antisana. De Saus- 
sure says that a draught of liquor which would inebriate 

* M. d'Abbadie professes to have visited a village in Abyssinia (Arquiage,^ 
which is 12,4o0 feet above the sea. Potosi stands 13,500 feet. 

t This agrees with Humboldt's calculation that a difference of elevation of 
278 feet produces the same effect on the annual temperature as a change of 
one degree of latitude. According to the experiments of Captain Pullen, the 
minimum temperature of the great depths of the ocean is 35°, and it com- 
mences soon after passing 12,000 feet. 

t The great de'pots of cattle in Ecuador are at the two extremes of eleva- 
tion, the lowlands of St. Elena and the highlands of Antisana. On the slope 
of Cayambi is another extensive cattle estate. 


146 The Andes and the Amazon. 

in the lowlands no longer has that effect on Mont Blanc. 
This appears to be true on the Andes ; indeed, there is very 
little drunkenness in Quito. So the higher we perch our 
inebriate asylums, the better for the patients. 

Near the hacienda is a little lake called Mica, on which 
we found a species of grebe, with wings so short it could 
not fly. Its legs, also, seem fitted only for paddling, and it 
goes ashore only to lay its eggs. It peeps like a gosling. 
Associated with them were penguins (in appearance) ; they 
were so shy we could not secure one. The query is. How 
came they there ? Was this a centre of creation, or were 
the fowls upheaved with the j^ndes ? They could not have 
flown or walked to this lofty lake, and there are no water- 
courses leading to it ; it is surrounded with a dry, rolling 
waste, where only the condor lives. We turn to Darwin 
for an answer.* 

The ragged Sincholaguaf and romantic Ruminagui fol- 
low Antisana, and then we find ourselves looking up at the 
most beautiful and most terrible of volcanoes. This is the 
far-famed Cotopaxi, or more properly Cutu-pacsi, meaning 
" a brilhant mass." Humboldt calls it the most regular 
and most picturesque of volcanic cones. It looks like a 
huge truncated cone rising out of the Valley of Quito, its 
sides deeply furrowed by the rivers of mud and water 
which have so often fiowed out. The cone itself is about 

* The grebe is considered by Messrs. Cassin and Lawrence to be the Podi- 
ceps occipitalis, Lesson (P. calipareus et Ckilensis of Garnot), which occurs 
in large flocks on the coast of Chile and in the Straits of Magellan. It is 
quite different from the P. micropterus of Lake Titicaca. At Morococha, 
Peru, 1 0,600 feet above the sea, Herndon found snipes and ducks. 

t In Brigham's Notes on the Volcanic Phenomena of the Hawaiian Islands, 
this volcano is put down as active, but there has been no eruption in the mem- 
ory of man. Its lithology is represented in our collection by porous, gray, 
granular trachyte, fine-grained, compact trachyte, and dark porphyroid tra- 
chyte. The derivation of Sincholagua is unknown. Ruminagui means the 
face of a rock. Cotopaxi, Sincholagua, and Kuminagui, and Cotopaxi, Pi- 
chincha, and Guamani, form equilateral triangles. 


six thousand feet high. The east side is covered with 
snow, but the west is nearly bare, owing to tlie trade winds, 
which, sweeping across the continent, carry the ashes west- 
ward. Cotopaxi is the loftiest of active volcanoes, though 
its grand eruptions are a century apart, according to the 
general rule that the higher a volcano the less frequent its 
eniptions, but all the more terrible when they 'do occur. 
Imagine Vesuvius on the summit of Mont Blanc, and you 
have the altitude of Cotopaxi. 

The top just reaches the middle point of density in the 
atmosphere, for at the height of three miles and a half the 
air below will balance that above. The crater has nev- 
er been seen by man ; the steepness of the sides and the 
depth of the ashes covering them render it inaccessible. 
The valiant Col. Hall tried it with scaling ladders, only to 
fail. The telescope reveal-s a parapet of scoria on the brim, 
as on Teneriffe. Humboldt's sketch of the volcano, so uni- 
versally copied, is overdrawn. It makes the slope about 
50°, while in truth it is nearer 30°. The apical angle is 
122° 30'.-^- 

Cotopaxi is slumbering now; or, as Mr. Coan says of 
Hilo, it is "in a state of solemn and thoughtful suspense." 
The only signs of life are the deep rumbling thunders and 
a cloud of smoke lazily issuing from the crater.f Some- 
times at night the smoke looks like a pillar of fire, and fine 
ashes and sand often fall around the base, to the great an- 
noyance of the farmers. On the south side is a huge rock 
of porphyry, called the Inca's Head. Tradition has it that 
this was the original summit of the volcano, torn off and 

* MM. Zurcher and Margalli make the slope 55° ! and Guzman, 69° 30' ! ! 
The slope of Mauna Loa is 6° 30'; of Etna, 9°; of Teneriffe, 12° 30'; of 
Vesuvius, 35°. While cinder-cones may have an angle of 40°, lava-cones 
seldom exceed 1 0°. 

t Even this has now (August, 1 869) ceased, save an occasional grumble, 
and the Tacungans are trembling with fear of another eruption. 

148 Thk Andes and the Amazon. 

hurled down by an eruption on the very day Atahuallpa 
was murdered l)y Pizarro. The last great eruption oc- 
curred in 1803, though so late as 1855 it tossed out stones, 
water, and sand. Heaps of ruins, piled up during the lapse 
of ages, are scattered for miles around the mountain, 
among them great boulders twenty feet square. In one 
place (Quinchevar) the accumulation is 600 feet deep. 
Between Cotopaxi and Sincholagua are numerous conical 
hills covering the paramo, reminding one of the mud vol- 
canoes of Jorullo. 

Pumice and trachyte are the most common rocks around 
this mountain, and these are augitic or porphyroid. Ob- 
sidian also occurs, though not on the immediate flank, but 
farther down near Chillo. In plowing, thousands of pieces 
as large as " flints" are turned up. The natives know noth- 
ing about their origin or use ; the large specimens were an- 
ciently polished and used for mirrors. But Cotopaxi is the 
great pumice-producing volcano. The new road up the 
valley cuts through a lofty hill formed by the successive 
eruptions ; the section, presenting alternate layers of mud, 
ashes, and pumice, is a written history of the volcano.* 
The cone itself is evidently composed of similar beds su- 
perimposed, and holding fragments of porphyry and tra- 
chyte. What is Vesuvius, four thousand feet high, to Co- 
topaxi, belching forth fire from a crater fifteen thousand 
feet higher, and shooting its contents three thousand feet 

* Compare the following sections : 
Cotopaxi (near Tiupullo). 

Soil 1 ft. Oin. 

Fine yellow pumice 5 " " 

Compact black ashes, with 

seams of pumice 10 " " 

Fine yellow pumice 1 " G " 

Compact black ashes 12 " " 

Fine yellow pumice 2 " " 

Compact black ashes, with seams of 


VESUVI0S (at Pompeii). 

Soil 3 ft. in. 

Brown incoherent tuff 1 " 6 " 

Small scorise and white la- 

pilli " 3 " 

Brown earthy tuff 4 " 9 " 

Whitish lapiili " 1 " 

Gray solid tuff " 3 " 

Pumice and white lapilli... " 3 " 


The Golden Mountains. ' 141) 

above its snow-bound summit, with a voice of thunder heard 
six hundred miles ! 

Leaving tliis terrible " safety-valve" to the imprisoned 
tires under our feet, we travel along the wooded flanks and 

'.savage valleys of the Llanganati Mountains, whose lofty 
blue ridge is here and there pointed with snow.* It is uni- 
versally believed that the Incas buried an immense quan- 
tity of gold in an artificial lake on the sides of this mount- 
ain during the Spanish invasion, and many an adventurous 
expedition has been made for it. The inhabitants will tell 
you of one Yalverde, a Spaniard, who, from being very 
poor, had suddenly become very rich, which was attributed 
to his having married an Indian girl whose father showed 
him where the treasure was hidden, and accompanied him 
on various occasions to bring away portions of it ; and that 
Valverde returned to Spain, and on his death-bed be- 
queathed the secret of his riches to the king. But since 
Padre Longo suddenly disappeared while leading an expe- 
dition, the timid Ecuadorians have been content with their 
poverty, t 

And now we have reached the perfect cone of Tungura- 
gua, the rival of Cotopaxi in symmetry and beauty.:|: It 
stands 16,500 feet above the Pacific, its upper part covered 
with a splendid robe of snow, while the sugar-cane grows 
in the romantic town of Banos, 10,000 feet below the sum- 
mit. A cataract, 1500 feet high, comes down at three 

. bounds from the edge of the snow to the warm valley be- 
neath ; and at Bafios a hot ferruginous spring and a stream 

* Immediately south of Cotopaxi, the Cordillera consists of paramos sown 
with lakes and morasses, and is rarely covered with snow. Llanganati is 
probably from lldnga, to touch: they touch the sources of nearly all the 
Ecuadorian rivers. 

t The story is doubtless due to the fact that the eastern streams, which 
issue from the foot of this cordillera, are auriferous. 

X From Tunguri, the ankle-joint, alluding to its apical angle. It is a little 
steeper than Cotopaxi, having a slope of 43°. 

150 The Aj^des and the Amazon. 

of ice-water flow out of the volcano side by side. Here, 
too, the fierce youth of the Pastassa, born on the pumice 
slopes of Cotopaxi, dashes through a deep tortuous chasm 
and down a precipice in hot haste, as if conscious of the 
long distance before it, ere it reaches the Amazon and the 
ocean. Tunguragua was once a formidable mountain, for 
we discovered a great stream of lava reaching from the 
clouds around the summit to the orange-groves in the val- 
ley, and blocking up the rivers which tumble over it in 
beautiful cascades. It has been silent since 1780 ; but it 
can afford to rest, for then its activity lasted seven years.* 

Close by rises beautiful Altar, a thousand feet higher. 
The Indians call it Capac-urcu, or the " Chief." They say 
it once overtopped Chimborazo ; but, after a violent erup- 
tion, which continued eight years, the walls fell in. Its 
craggy crest is still more Alpine than Caraguairazo ; eight 
snowy peaks shoot up like needles into the sky, and sur- 
round an altar to whose elevated purity no mortal offering 
will ever attain. The trachyte which once formed the sum- 
mit of this mountain is now spread in fragments over the 
plain of Riobamba. 

Leaving this broken-down volcano, but still the most pic- 
turesque in the Andes, we travel over the rough and rug- 
ged range of Cubillin, till our attention is arrested by ter- 
rific explosions like a naval broadside, and a column of 
smoke that seems to come from the furnace of the Cy- 
clops. It is Sangai, the most active volcano on the globe. 
From its unapproachable crater, three miles high, it sends 
forth a constant stream of fire, water, mud, and ashes.t 

* Spruce asserts that he saw smoke issuing from the western edge in 1 857 ; 
and Dr. Terry says that in 1 832 smoke ascended almost always from the 
summit. Dr. Taylor, of Riobamba, informs the writer that smoke is now 
almost constantly visible. The characteristic rock is a black vitreous tra- 
chyte resembling pitchstone, but anhydrous. 

t La Condamine (1742) adds " sulphur and bitumen." 

Sajstgai. 151 

No intermission has been noticed since the Spaniards first 
saw it three hundred years ago. Strouaboli is the only vol- 
cano that will compare with it. Its ashes are almost al- 
ways falling on the city of Guayaquil, one hundred miles 
distant, and its explosions, generally occurring every hour 
or two^ are sometimes heard in that city. Wisse, in 1849, 
counted 267 explosions in one hour. 

We have now completed the series. What an array of 
snow-clad peaks wall in the narrow Valley of Quito — Na- 
ture's Gothic spires to this her glorious temple ! If ever 
there was a time when all these volcanoes were active in 
concert, this secluded vale must have witnessed the most 
splendid pyrotechnics conceivable. Imagine fifty mount- 
ains as high as Etna, three of them with smoking craters, 
standing along the road between New York and Washing- 
ton, and you will have some idea of the ride down this gi- 
gantic colonnade from Quito to Riobamba. If, as Ruskin 
says, the elements of beautj are in proportion to the in- 
crease of mountainous character, Ecuador is artistically 
beaiiliful to a high degree. 

Here, amid these Plutonic peaks, are the energies of vol- 
canic action best studied. The constancy of the volcanic 
fires is a striking fact. First we have the deluges of sub 
marine lavas, which were poured out long before the Andes 
lifted their heads above the waters ; then alternate porphy- 
ritic strata, f eldspathic streams, and gypseous exhalations ; 
then, at a later day, floods of basaltic lava; next the old 
tertiary eruptions; and, lastly, the vast accumulations of 
boulders, gravel, ashes, pumice, and mud of the present day, 
spread over the Yalley of Quito and the west slope of the 
Cordilleras to an unknown depth beneath the sea. The in- 
cessant eruptions of Sangai, and the frequent earthquakes, 
show that the subterranean energy which heaved the Andes 
is not yet expended. 

152 The Andes and the Amazon. 


The Valley of Quito. — Riobamba. — A Bed of "Fossil Giants." — Chillo Ha- 
cienda. — Otovalo and Ibarra. — The Great Earthquake of 1868. 

The Yalley of Quito has about the same size and shape 
as the basin of Salt Lake, but it is five thousand feet high- 
er.* The two Cordilleras inclosing it are tied by the 
mountain-knots of Assuay and Chisinchi, so that the val- 
ley is subdivided into three basins, those of Cuenca, Am- 
bato, and Quito proper, which increase in beauty and alti- 
tude as we travel north. There are several subordinate 
transversal dikes and some longitudinal ridges, but all the 
basins lie parallel to the axes of the cordilleras — a charac- 
teristic feature of the Andes. The deep valleys on the 
outside flanks are evidently valleys of erosion, but the ba- 
sins between the cordilleras were created with them. 

The first is fifty miles long. It contains the cities of 
Loja and Cuenca,t the former distinguished for its cincho- 
na forests, the latter for Inca graves and mines of precious 
metals. The middle basin (130 miles in length) is covered 
with vast quantities of volcanic debris, the outpourings of 
Cotopaxi, Tunguragua, and Altar, on one side, and of Chim- 
borazo and Caraguairazo on the other. Nothing relieves 

* Compare the table-lands in the Old World : 

Thibet 11,500 feet. 

South Africa 6,000 " 

Mysore (India) 2,880 " 

Spain 2,240 " 

Bavaria 1,770 " 

t The altitude of Loja is 6768 feet ; of Cuenca, 8640 feet. 

RiOBAMBA. 153 

the barrenness of tlie landscape but hedges of century 
plant, cactus, and wild heliotrope, which border the roads. 
AVhirlwinds of sand are often seen moving over the plain. 
The mean temperature is 61°. 5. Here exist, we can not 
say thrive, the cities of Riobamba, Ambato, and Tacunga, 
already noticed. Riobamba,* properly Rayobamba, the 
plain of lightning, was founded at the beginning of this 
century, or shortly after the destruction of the old city. 
Excepting the ecclesiastical buildings, the houses are of 
one story, built of stone plastered with mud, sometimes of 
adobe or bamboo, and the windows are grated like those 
of a prison. As in all Spanish- American towns, the main 
church fronts the great Plaza where the w^eekly fairs are 
held. Save on fair-day, the city is lifeless. Nothing is 
exported to the coast except a few eggs and fowls, lard 
and potatoes. Such is the power of habit, an Indian will 
take a hen to Bodegas and sell it for four reals (50 cents) 
when he could get three for it in Riobamba, and six on 
the road. Another instance of this dogged adherence to 
custom was related to us by Dr. Taylor: The Indians were 
accustomed to bring the curate of a certain village a bun- 
dle of alfalfa every day. A new curate, having no use 
for so much, ordered them not to bring any more. He 
was besieged by five hundred of his wild parishioners, and 
had he not been a powerful man, they would have killed 
him. They told him they were accustomed to bring the 
curate that much of alfalfa, and should continue. 

Old Riobamba (Cajabamba) is situated twelve miles to 
the west. This has been the scene of some of the most 
terrible paroxysms that e\-er shook the Andes. In 1797 a 
part of Mount Cicalfa was throwm down, crushing the city 
at its foot ; hills arose where valleys existed ; rivers disap- 

* According to Villavicencio, Rio (or Ric) is Quichua for road ; bamha is 

154 The Andes and the Amazon. 

peared, and others took their places ; and the very site of 
the city was rent asunder. The surviving inhabitants 
could not tell where their houses had stood, and property 
was so mingled that litigation followed the earthquake. 
Judging fi'om the numerous sculptured columns lying bro- 
ken and prostrate throughout the valley, the city must have 
had a magnificence now unknown in Ecuador. Around 
a coat of arms (evidently Spanish) we read these words : 
Malo mori quam fedari,''''!. would rather die than be dis- 
graced." In the spring of 1868 another convulsion caused 
a lake to disappear and a mountain to take its place. 

Near Punin, seven miles southwest of Riobamba, we dis- 
covered in a deep ravine numerous fossil bones, belonging 
chiefly to the mastodon, and extinct species of the horse, 
deer, and llama. They were imbedded in the middle of 
an unstratified cliif, four himdred feet high, of very com- 
pact silt or trachytic clay, free from stones, and resting on 
a hard quartzoze sandstone. In the bed of the stream 
which runs through the ravine (charged with nitrate of 
soda) are some igneous rocks. The bones were drifted to 
this spot and deposited (many of them in a broken state) 
in horizontal layers along with recent shells. We have, 
then, this remarkable fact, that this high valley was ten- 
anted by elephantine quadrupeds, all of which passed away 
before the arrival of the human species, and yet Avhile the 
land, and probably the sea also, wei-e peopled with their 
present molluscan inhabitants. This confirms the state- 
ment of Mr. Lyell, that the longevity of mammalian spe- 
cies is much inferior to that of the testacea. It is interest- 
ing to speculate on the probable climate and the character 
of the vegetation in this high valley when these extinct 
mammifers lived. The great pachyderm would have no 
difficulty in thriving at the present day at Quito, on the 
score of temperature or altitude. The mammoth once 

Hacienda of Chillo. 155 

flourished in Siberia ; and Gibbon met an elephant on the 
high table-lands of Bolivia that had walked over the Cor- 
dillera at the pass of Antarangua, sixteen thousand feet 
above the sea. Darwin thinks that the climate of the Cor- 
dilleras has changed since the pleistocene period. "It is 
a marvelous fact in the history of mammalia (says this nat- 
uralist) that in South America a native horse should have 
lived and disappeared, to be succeeded in after ages by the 
countless herds descended from the few introduced with 
the Spanish colonists." 

The liigh ridge of Chisinchi, stretching across the great 
plateau from Cotopaxi to Iliniza, sepai-ates the ever-green 
Yalley of Quito from the arid and melancholy valleys of 
Cuenca and Ambato. It rolls out like a rich carpet of em- 
erald verdure between the towering mountains of Pichincha 
and Antisana, Cotacachi and Cayambi. This was the cen- 
tre of the most ancient native civilization after that of Ti- 
ticaca. Here, while the darkness of the Middle Ages Avas 
settling over Europe, dwelt the Quitus, whose origin is lost 
in the mists of fable. Then, while Peter the Hermit was 
leading his fanatic host against the Saracens, the Cara na- 
tion waged a more successful crusade, and supplanted the 
Quitus. Here, tOo, in the bloody days of Pizarro, reigned, 
and was buried, the last of the Incas, ill-fated Atahuallpa. 
To hhn, indeed, it was a more delightful spot than the vale 
of Yilcamayu — the paradise of Peru. 

The Puengasi Hills, running through the valley from 
north to south, partially divide the capital and its vicinity 
from the charming Valley of Chillo, spread out at the foot 
of Antisana. Here is the venerable hacienda of Chillo, 
where Humboldt and Bonpland resided for some time. It 
is owned by the Aguirres, who are grand-nephews of Don 
Carlos Montufar, the companion of the famous travelers. 
The hacienda contains two valuable paintings — an original 


The Andes and the Amazon. 

" Crucifixion" by Titian, and a portrait of the great Ger- 
man from life, as lie appeared in 1802. Tliis latter relic in- 
terested us exceedingly, and, through the kindness of Sr. 

Humboldt in 

Aguirre, we were allowed to photograph it. It represents 
Humboldt in his prime, a traveler on the Andes, dressed 
after the court-fashion of Berlin ; very different from the 

The Gkeat Earthquake. 157 

usual portrait — an old man in his library, his head, thinly 
covered with gray haii-, resting on his bosom. 

Thirty miles north of Quito, near the volcanic Imbabura, 
is the ruined city of Otovalo, a thousand feet lower than 
the capital It was well built, and contained 7000 inhab- 
itants. Quichua was the prevailing language. Its chief 
trade was in saddles, ponchos, straw hats, and fruit. Here 
M-as the cotton factory, or qiointa, of Sr. Pareja. Three 
miles from Otovalo was the enterprising Indian village of 
Cotocachi, at the mountain of the same nanae. It was noted 
for its hand-loom products. A heap of ruins now marks 
the locality. It is a doomed spot, suffering more than any 
other town in 1S59. 

Four miles northwest of Otovalo was the city of Ibarra, 
picturesquely seated on a plain 2000 feet lower than Quito, 
and surrounded with orchards and gardens. It numbered 
nearly 10,000 souls. It was not a commercial place, but 
the residence of landed proprietors. The neighborhood 
produced cotton, sugar, and fruit. A league distant was 
Carranqui, the birthplace of Atahuallpa. And, finally, the 
great valley fitly terminates in the plain of Atuntaqui,""^ 
where the decisive battle was fought which ushered in the 
reign of the Ineas. 

This northern province of Imbabura was the focus of the 
late terrible earthquake. At half past one on Sunday 
morning, August 16, 1868, with scarcely a premonitory sign 
(save a slight trembling at 3 p.m. the previous day), there 
was an upheaving of the ground, and then one tremendous 
shock and rocking of the earth, lasting one minute. In that 
brief moment the rich and flourishing province became a 
wilderness, and " Misericordia !" went up, like the sound of 
many waters, from ten villages and cities. Otovalo, Ibarra. 

* Atuntaqui received its name from the big drum which was kept here in 
the days of Hua3'na-Capac, to give the war-signal. 


The Andes and the Amazon. 

Cotocachi, and Atantaqiii are heaps of ruins. At Otovalo 
6000 perished. After the first shock, not a wall a yard high 
remained. Houses, in some instances, seemed to have been 
cut from their foundation, and thrown ten feet distant. 

The large stone fountain in the Plaza was thrown many 
yards. The cotton factory, which was built on the edge of 
a ravine, was by one stroke reduced to fragments. Such 
was the force of the concussion, the looms smashed each 

The Gee at Eakthquake. 159 

other, the carding-machines were thrown on their sides, and 
the roof, with part of the machinery, was found m the riv- 
er below. The proprietor was killed. Throughout this 
whole region roads were broken up, and vast chasms cre- 
ated crossing the country in all directions. One is 2000 
yards long, 500 yards broad, and 80 yards deep. Large fis- 
sures were opened on the sides of Cotocachi and Imbabura, 
from which issued immense torrents of water, mud, and bi 
tuminous substances, carrying away and drowning hundreds 
of cattle. A caravan of mules going to Chillo with cotton 
bales was found four days after grazing on a narrow strip 
of land, on each side of which was a fearful chasm, while 
the muleteers were killed. 

At Quito comparatively little damage was done. Fif- 
teen lives were lost, and the churches, convents, and many 
private houses are in a state of dilapidation. Domes and 
arches, which are much used because of the scarcity of tim 
ber, were first to fall. 

In the fierceness of the shock, and the extent of the ter 
ritory shaken, the earthquake of August, 1868, is without a 
parallel in the New World. The destruction of life (50,000 
ofiicially reported in Ecuador alone) has not been equaled 
in any other earthquake during this century. The tremor 
was felt over four republics, and from the Andes to the 
Sandwich Islands. The water-wave was felt on the coast 
of New Zealand sixteen hours after it had set a United 
States gunboat on the sand-hills of Arica. In some re- 
spects it is surpassed only by the Lisbon earthquake, which 
reached from Sweden to the West Indies, and from Barba- 
ry to Scotland. The loss of property seems to have been 
greatest in Peru, and the loss of life greatest in Ecuador. 
The commotion seemed to be most violent along the West- 
em Cordillera, though it was felt even on the Napo. 

There are few places where the crust of ©ur planet is 

160 The Andes and the Amazon. 

long at rest. Brazil, Egypt, Russia, and Greenland are 
comparatively free from earthquakes. But had we delicate 
instruments scattered throughout the world, upheaval and 
subsidence would doubtless be detected in every part of 
the so-called terra fir ma. The sea, and not the land, is the 
true image of stability. 

" Time writes no wrinkle on thy azure brow : 
Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now." 

Earthquakes have occurred in every period of geological 
history, and are independent of latitude. The first well- 
known earthquake came in the year 63, and shattered Pom- 
peii and Ilerculaneum sixteen years before they were over- 
whelmed by the first recorded eruption of Vesuvius. The 
most celebrated earthquake, and perhaps the most terrible 
manifestation of force during the human period, was in 
1755. The shock, which seemed to originate in the bed of 
the Atlantic, pervaded one twelfth of the earth's surface. 
Unhappy Lisbon stood in its path. 

An earthquake is a vertical vibration, having an undu- 
lator}^ progression. An example of the simple bomiding 
movement occurred in 1797, when the city of Riobamba, 
in the Quito Valley, was buried under part of a momitain 
shaken down by the violent concussion, and men were toss- 
ed several hundred feet. We saw one massive structure 
which had nearly turned a somersault. The ordinary vi- 
brations seldom exceed two feet in height. The wave- 
movement has a rate of from twenty to thirt}^ miles a min- 
ute, depending on the elasticity of the rock and the eleva 
tions on the surface. "When two undulations cross each 
other, a rotatory or twisting motion is produced. The 
waves are generally transmitted along the lines of primary 
mountain chains, which are doubtless seated on a fracture. 
The Lisbon waves moved from southwest to northeast, or 
pai-allel to th^ mountain system of the Old World ; those 

Earthquakes. 161 

of the United States, in 1843, ran parallel to the volcanic 
chain in Mexico. In South America they roll along the 
Andes. That of 1797 left its tracks along a westerly line 
from I'unguragua through Pelileo and Giiano. It is a lit- 
tle singular, that while the late trembling at Quito seemed 
to come from the north, the great shock in Peru preceded 
that ni Ecuador by three days. Though the origin of 
earthquakes is deep-seated, the oscillation is mostly super- 
ficial, as deep mines are little disturbed. The most damage 
is done where the sedimentary^ plains abut against the hard, 
upturned strata of the mountains. The shock is usually 
brief. That of Caracas lasted fifty seconds, that of Lisbon 
six minutes ; but Humboldt witnessed one in South Amer- 
ica which continued a quarter of an hour. 

Several hypotheses have been advanced to account for 
earthquakes. Rogers ascribes them to billowy pulsations 
in the molten matter upon which the flexible crust of the 
earth floats. Mallet thinks they may be viewed as an un- 
completed effort to establish a volcano. Dana holds that 
they are occasioned by the folding up of the rocks in the 
slow process of cooling and consequent contraction of the 
earth's crust. In this process there would occur enormous 
fractures to relieve the tension ; tilted strata would slip, and 
caverns give way. All this no doubt takes place ; but the 
sudden, paroxysmal heavings incline us to refer the cause 
to the same eruptive impulse which makes Vesuvius and 
Cotopaxi discharge pent-up subterranean vapor and gas. 
The most destructive earthquakes occur when the overlying 
rocks do not break and give vent to the imprisoned gas. 
There is some connection between volcanoes and earth- 
quakes ; the former are, to a certain extent, "safety-valves." 
The column of smoke from the volcano of Pasto suddenly 
disappeared just before the great earthquake at Riobamba. 
In the spring of 1868 Piehincha and Cotopaxi showed signs 

162 The Andes and the Amazon. 

of increasing activity, but in the summer became quiet again. 
Cotocachi and Sangai, 200 miles apart, were awaked simul- 
taneously ; the former, silent for centuries, sent forth dense 
masses of earth and volcanic matter to a distance of many 
miles, covering thousands of acres ; the latter thundered 
every half hour instead of hourly, as before. Still, the 
greatest earthquakes do not occur in the vicinity of active 
volcanoes. Lisbon and Lima (where, on an average, forty- 
five shocks occur annually, and two feai-ful ones in a cen- 
tury) are far distant from any volcanic vent ; likewise North- 
ern India, South Africa, Scotland, and the United States. 

An earthquake is beyond the reach of calculation. Pro- 
fessor Perrey, of Dijon, France, is endeavoring to prove 
that there is a periodicity in earthquakes, synchronous with 
that in the tides of the ocean, the greatest number occur- 
ring at the time of new and full moon.* If this theory be 
sustained, we must admit the existence of a vast subterra- 
nean sea of lava. But all this is problematical. Earth- 
quakes appear independently of the geology of a country, 
though the rate of undulation is modified by the mineral 
structure. Earthquake waves seem to move more rapidly 
through the comparatively undistnrbed beds of the Missis- 
sippi Yalley than through the contorted strata of Europe. 
Meteorology is unable to indicate a coming earthquake, for 
there is no sure prophecy in sultry weather, sirocco wind, 

* Professor Quinby, of the University of Rochester, has, at our request, cal- 
culated the position of the moon at the late earthquake: "August 16th, 1868, 
1 A.M., the moon was on meridian 137° 21' east of that of Quito, or 42° 39' 
past the lower meridian of Quito, assuming the longitude of Quito west of 
Greenwich to be 79°, which it is very nearly. This is but little after the ver- 
tex of the tidal wave should have passed the meridian of Quito, on the suppo- 
sition that the interior of the earth is a liquid mass. The age of the moon 
at that time was 27. 36 days, i.e., it was only about two days before new moon. " 
At the time of the earthquake, 8 a.m., March 22, 1859, the moon was on me- 
ridian 2.'>° 48' east of that of Quito, and was 17.6 days old. Shocks have 
since occurred, March 20th at 8 a.m., and April 10th at 8 a.m., 1869. 

Earthquakes. 163 

and leaden sky. The Lisbon shock came without a warn- 
ing. Sudden changes of the weather, however, often oc- 
cur after an earthquake. Since the great convulsion of 
1797 the climate of the Valley of Quito is said to be much 
colder. A heavy rain often follows a violent earthquake 
in Peru. 

No amount of familiarity with earthquakes enables one 
to laugh during the shock, or even at the subterranean 
thunders which sound like the clanking of chains in the 
realm of Pluto. All animated nature is terror-stricken. 
The horse trembles in his stall ; the cow moans a low, mel- 
ancholy tune ; the dog sends forth an unearthly yell ; spar- 
rows drop from the trees as if dead ; crocodiles leave the 
trembling bed of the river and run with loud cries into 
the forest ; and man himself becomes bewildered and loses 
all capacity. When the earth rocks beneath our feet (the 
motion resembling, in the words of Darwin, " that felt by 
a person skating over thin ice which bends imder the 
weight of his body"), something besides giddiness is pro- 
duced. We feel our utter insignificance in the presence 
of a mysterious power that shakes the Andes like a reed. 
But more : there is an awful sensation of insecurity. " A 
moment (says Humboldt) destroys the illusion of a whole 
life : our deceptive faith in the repose of nature vanishes, 
and we feel transported, as it were, into a region of un- 
known destructive forces." A judgment day seems im- 
pending, and each moment is an age when one stands on a 
world convulsed. 

164 The Andes and the Amazon. 


'.' The Province of the Orient," or the Wild Napo Country. — The Napos, Za- 
paros, and Jivaros Indians. — Preparations to cross the Continent. 

On the eastern slope of the Ecuadorian Andes, between 
the Maranon and its tributary the Putumayo, lies the JSTapo 
country. This almost unknown region has the area of New 
York and New England together. The government of 
Quito, by a sonorous decree in 1854, baptized it " La Pro- 
vincia del Oriente." Peru likewise claims it, but neither 
republic has done any thing to colonize it. A dense pri- 
meval forest, broken only by the rivers, covers the whole 
territory, and is the home of wild races untouched by civ- 
ilization.* There is not a road in the whole province. A 
footpath, open only in the dry season, and barely passable 
then, connects Quito and the Rio Napo. Congress lately 
promised to put Canelos in communication with the capi- 
tal ; but the largest villages in this vast and fertile region — 
Archidona, Canelos, and Macas — still remain isolated from 
the outer world. f Ecuador once appointed a fimctionary 
under the high-sounding title of " Governor of the Orient," 
with a salary of $700 ; but now the Indians are not troub- 
led with any higher official than an alcalde. 

* The boundary-line between Ecuador and Peru is about as indefinite as 
the eastern limit of Bolivia, Brazilians claiming "as far west as the cattle of 
the empire roam." 

t Quito might be made more accessible on the Atlantic than on the Pacific 
side. But Ecuadorians dote on Guayaquil, and refuse to connect themselves 
directly with the great nations of the East. We believe there is a glorious 
future for Quito, when it will once more become a city of palaces. But it will 
not come until a road through the wilderness and a steamer on the Napo open 
a short communication with the wealth of Amazonia and the enterprise of 

Napo Indijlns. 165 

The country is very thinly inhabited. The chief tribes 
are the semi-Christianized Napos (sometimes called Quijos), 
dwelling on the north bank of the Napo; the peaceful but 
uncivilized Zaparos, living between the Napo and Pastassa, 
and the warlike Jivaros, spread over the unexplored region 
between the Pastassa and Santiago. 

These oriental tribes would probably be assigned by 
D'Orbigny to the Antisian branch of the Alpine races of 
South America. Dwelling amid the darkness of primeval 
forests, and on the gloomy banks of mountain torrents, they 
have acquired modifications of character, physical and mor- 
al, which distinguish them from the natives of the high 
and open regions, or the steaming lowlands of the Ama- 
zon. In color, however, they do not appear to us to be en- 
titled to the name of " white men ;" they approach nearer 
to the bronze complexion of the Quichuans than the yellow 
cast of the Brazilians. We see no evidence of that " bleach- 
ing process" resulting from a life under the dense canopy 
of foliage of which the learned French naturalist speaks, 
neither did we perceive the force of his statement that 
the color of the South American bears a very decided re- 
lation to the humidity of the atmosphere. 

The features of the ]S"apo Indians are Quichuan, espe- 
cially the low forehead, squarely- built face, and dull ex- 
pression; but in stature they exceed the mountaineers. 
From a skull in our possession we take the following 
measurements, adding for comparison the dimensions of 
an ancient Peruvian cranium in Dr. Morton's collection : 

Napo. Peruvian. 

Longitudinal diameter 6|^ in. fi.l in. 

Farietal " 5| " 6. " 

Frontal " 4 " 4.7 " 

Vertical " 4i " 5.,'')" 

Capacity 8.V5 cub. in. 83 cub. in. 

Facial angle 70° 81° 

166 The Andes and the Amazon. 

From this it will be seen that the capacity of this indi- 
vidual Napo is 8 cubic inches greater than the average 
bulk (75 cubic inches) of the old Peruvians; a trifle less 
than the average North American (84) ; 10 cubic inches 
less than the European (94) ; and the same as the average 
Polynesian and native African. He has a rounded head, 
somewnat prominent vertex, not an excessive protuberance 
of brain behind — a line through the meatus dividing it 
into very nearly equal parts ; but a narrow front as viewed 
from above, small vertical diameter, quadrangular orbits, 
vertical teeth, and low facial angle. These characters 
place him between the Toltecan and the more barbarous 
tribes of the New World. 

The Napos are nominally subject to the Ecuadorian 
government, which is represented by three or four petty 
alcaldes ; but the Jesuit missionaries, who have established 
a bishopric and three curacies, genei'ally control affairs — 
spiritual, political, and commercial. The Indians of each 
village annually elect one of their number governor, who 
serves without salarj^, and whose only show of authority is 
a silver-headed cane about four feet long. He is attend- 
ed by half a dozen "justices," whose duty it is to supply 
the curate, alcalde, and any traveling hlanco who may 
happen to be in town with daily food at a reasonable rate. 

The religion of the Napos is a mixture of Paganism and 
Christianity. In common with all the other orient tribes, 
they believe in good and evil principles, and in metempsy- 
chosis. They swear in the name of the devil. They bury 
their dead horizontally, in a coffin made of a part of a ca- 
noe, with a lid of bamboo. They are \ery kind to the aged. 
Monogamy is the rule : the usual age of wedlock is sixteen 
or seventeen. The parents negotiate the marriage, and the 
curate's fee is one castellano ($3 50). When a person 
dies they hold an Irish "wake" over the body, and then 

Indian Festivals. 167 

take the widow to the river and wash her. They have 
seven semi-religious feasts in a year. To us they appeared 
to be nothing more than meaningless drunken frolics. 
Attired in their best, with head-dresses consisting of a cir- 
clet of short, richly-colored feathers from the breast of the 
toucan, surmounted with the long tail-feathers of the ma- 
caw, and with necklaces of beads, seeds, and monkeys' 
teeth, they keep up a constant monotonous tapping on 
little drums, and trot around a circle like dogs on a tread- 
mill, stopping only to drink chicha. This is kept up for 
three weeks, when they all start off, with wives and chil- 
dren, for the forest to hunt monkeys for meat. 

Chicha, the favorite drink of all the Andean Indians, is 
here brewed from yuca, not from corn and barley as in 
the Quito Valley. So true is it, as Humboldt remarks, that 
almost every where man finds means of preparing some 
kind of beverage from the vegetable kingdom. The Chi- 
lotans, Darwin informs us, make chicha from a species of 
Bromelia. In every zone, too, we find nations in a low 
degree of civilization living almost exclusively upon a sin- 
gle animal or plant. Thus the Laplander has his reindeer, 
the Esquimaux his seal, the Sandwich Islander his tara- 
root, the Malay his sago-palm, the Napo Indian his yuca. 

Yuca is the staple food in this region. It is more com- 
monly roasted, but is sometimes ground into flour. The 
manufacture of chicha is primitive, and not a little dis- 
gusting. A "bee," usually old women, sit around a wooden 
trough ; each one takes a mouthful of yuca root, and, mas- 
ticating it, throws it into the trough. The mass is then 
transferred to large earthen jars containing water, and left 
to ferment. The liquor is slightly acid, but not intoxica- 
ting unless taken in excess. This is done on feast-da3'S, 
when the poor Indian keeps his stomach so constantly dis- 
tended for weeks that the abdominal protrusion is not only 

168 The Aistdes aot) the Amazon. 

unsightly, but alarming to a stranger. Chicha-drinking 
is a part of the worship of these simple aborigines. They 
seem to think that the more happy they make themselves 
while paying their devotions to the Creator, the better he is 
satisfied. The Jesuits have found it impossible to change 
this method of praise. Here, as among all rude nations, 
an ancient custom is one half the religion. In eating 
meat (usually monkey, sea-cow, and peccari), we observed 
that they did not tear or bite it, but, putting one end of a 
long piece in the mouth, cut off what they could not get 
in, as Darwin noticed among the Fuegians. They keep no 
domestic animals except fowls. 

As to dress, they make use of a coarse cotton cloth, call- 
ed lienzo, woven bythe more enlightened Indians of Qui- 
to, dyeing it a dull brown by means of achote juice. The 
men wear a strip of this around the loins, and the women 
a short skirt. On feast-days, or when musquitoes are thick, 
the men add a little poncho and pantaloons. They do not 
properly tattoo, but color the skin with achote or anatto. 
This substance, which serves so many purposes in this part 
of the world, is the red powder which covers the seeds con- 
tained in the prickly bur of the Bixa orellana. The pig- 
ment is an article of commerce on the Amazon, and is 
exported to Europe, where it is used for coloring butter, 
cheese, and varnish. They have no fixed pattern ; each 
paints to suit his fancy. Usually, however, they draw hor- 
izontal bands from the mouth to the ears, and across the 
forehead ; we never saw curved lines in which higher sav- 
ages, like the Tahitians, tattoo. 

The Napos have the provoking apathy of all the New 
World aborigines. As Humboldt observed of another 
tribe, " their poverty, stoicism, and uncultivated state ren- 
der them so rich and so free from wants of every kind, 
that neither money nor other presents will induce them to 

NapO iNDIAJSfS. 169 

turn three steps out of their ways." They maintain a pass- 
ive dignity in their bearing not seen in the proudest pope 
or emperor. They seldom laugh or smile, even under the 
inspiration of cliicha, and months of intercourse with them 
did not discover to us the power of song, though Villavi- 
cencio says they do sometimes intone fragments of prose 
in their festival orgies. They manifest little curiosity, and 
little power of mimicry, in which wild men generally ex- 
cel the civilized.* The old Spartans were never so la- 
conic. In conversation each says all he has to say in three 
or four words till his companion speaks, when he replies in 
the same curt, ejaculatory style. A long sentence, or a 
number of sentences at one time, we do not remember of 
hearing from the lips of a Napo Indian.f 

The women do most of the work, while their lazy lords 
drink up the chicha and swing in their hammocks, or pos- 
sibly do a little hunting. + They catch fish with bone 
hooks, seines, spears, and by poisoning the water with hour- 
hasco.% This last method is quite common throughout 
equatorial America. Mashing the root, they throw it into 
the quiet coves of the river, when almost immediately the 
fish rise to the surface, first the little fry and then the larger 
specimens. The poison seems to stupefy rather than kill, 

* All savages appear to possess to an uncommon degree the power of mim- 
icry. — Darwin. 

t Gibbon observes of his Indian paddlers on the Mamore' : " They talk very 
little ; they silently pull along as though they were sleeping, but their eyes are 
wandering all the time in every direction. " 

X Some of these feminines, however, have a method of retaliation which 
happily does not exist farther north. They render their husbands idiotic by 
giving them an infusion oifloripondio, and then choose another consort. We 
saw a sad example of this near Eiobamba, and heard of one husband who, 
after being thus treated, unconsciously served his wife and her new man like 
a slave. Floripondio is the seed of the Datura sanguinea, which is allied to 
the poisonous stramonium used by the priests of Apollo at Delphi to produce 
their frantic ravings. 

§ Jacquinia armillaris, an evergreen bush. The Indians on the Tapajos 
use a poisonous liana called timbo (Paullinia pinnata). 

170 The Andes and the Amazon. 

for we observed that some individuals behaved in a most 
lively manner shortly after they were caught. The In- 
dians drink the water with impunity. 

The Napos are not brave ; their chief weapons for hunt- 
ing are spears of chonta wood, and blowpipes ipodaqueras) 
made of a small palm having a pith, which, when removed, 
leaves a polished bore, or of two separate lengths of wood, 
each scooped out with patient labor and considerable sldll 
by means of the incisor teeth of a rodent. The whole is 
smeared with black wax, a mouth-piece fitted to the larger 
end, and a sight made of bone imbedded in the wax. 
Through this tube, about ten feet long, they blow slender 
arrows cut from the leaf-stalks of a palm. These are 
winged with a tuft of silk-cotton (common cotton would be 
too heavy), and poisoned with uran, of which we shall 
speak hereafter. This noiseless gun is universally used on 
the Upper Amazon.* 

The Zaparos in physiognomy somewhat resemble the 
Chinese, having a middle stature, round face, small eyes 
set angularly, and a bi'oad, fiat nose. Their language is of 
simple construction, but nasal and guttural. They have no 
words for numbers above three, but show their fingers ; 
above ten they know nothing. They take to themselves 
single names, not double. They reckon time by moons 
and the ripening of certain fruits. Their name for God is 
Piatzo, but we could not learn that it conveyed any distinct 
idea. They believe the evil spirit, " Mungia," is a black 
spectre dwelling in the woods. They think the souls of 
the good and brave enter beautiful birds and feed on de- 
licious fruits, while cowardly souls become dirty reptiles. 
Polygamy is common. They bury in the sitting postm-e, 

* It is there called zarahatana or gravatana ; by the Peruvians /)acana. It 
corresponds to tlie sumpitan of Borneo. It is difficult to acquire the use of 
the blow-gun, but the natives will kill at the distance of 150 feet. One which 
we brought home sent the slender arrow through the panel of a door. 

The Wild Jivakos. 171 

with the hammock of the deceased wrapped around him. 
The very old men are buried with the mouth downward. 
They make use of a narcotic di'ink called Ayahuasca, 
which produces effects similar to those of opium. The 
Zaparos are pacific and hospitable, but there is little social 
life among them ; they never cluster into large villages, 
but inhabit isolated ranches. Nomadic in their habits, 
they wander along the banks of the Napo, between the 
Andes and the Maranon. They manufacture, from the 
twisted fibre of the chambiri-palm,* most of tlie twine and 
hammocks seen in Eastern Ecuador. Their government is 

The Jivaros, or " Ked Indians" j)ar excellence, are the 
most numerous and the most spirited of the oriental tribes. 
They are brave and resentful, yet hospitable and industri- 
ous. Wliile the Napos and Zaparos live in rude, often 
temporary huts of split bamboo, the warlike Jivaros erect 
houses of hard wood with strong doors. Blood relations 
live together on the communal principle, the women keep- 
ing the rear half of the hoiTse, which is divided by a parti- 
tion. Many Jivaros approach the Caucasian type, the beard 
and lighter skin hinting a percentage of Spanish blood ; 
for this tribe was never conquered by the Incas, nor did it 
brook Spanish avarice and cruelty, but in one terrible con- 
flict (1599) the intruder was swept out of existence. The 
wives of the El Dorado adventurers spent the rest of their 
days in the harems of the Jivaros. These Indians have the 
singular custom and art of compressing the heads of their 
notable captives ; taking off the skin entire and drying it 
over a small mould, they have a hideous mummy which 
preserves all the features of the original face, but on a re- 

*This thorny palm is called tucum in Brazil. The fibres of the budding 
top are used. A woman will twist a hundred yards of twine a day, and make 
• a living by selling hammocks for twenty-five cents a piece. 

172 The Andes and the Amazon. 

duced scale.* They also braid the long black hair of their 
foes into girdles, which they wear as mementoes of their 
prowess. They use chonta-lances with triangular points, 
notched and poisoned, and shields of wood or hide. They 
have a telegraphic system which enables them to concen- 
trate their forces quickly in time of war ; large drums are 
placed on the tops of the hills, and a certain number of 
strokes, repeated along the line, rapidly convey intelli- 
gence to the most distant habitation. 

An odd custom prevails among these wild Indians when 
an addition is made to the family circle. The woman goes 
into the woods alone, and on her return washes herself and 
new-born babe in the river ; then the husband immediate- 
ly takes to his bed for eight days, during which time the 
wife serves him on the choicest dainties she can procure.f 
They have also the unique practice of exchanging wives. 
The Jivaro speech is sonorous and energetic. They do 
not use salt ; so that they distinguish the Napo tribes as 
the " Indians who eat salt." The chief articles manufac- 
tured by them are cotton goods and blowpipes. They trade 
mostly at Can^los and Macas, generally purchasing iron 
implements, such as hatchets and knives. 

Can^los consists of about seventy families of Quichua- 
speaking Indians, and lies on the south bank of the Bobo- 
naza. A trail connects it with Banos, at the foot of Tun- 
guragua. Candles was founded in 1536, and derives its 
name from its situation in the Candla, or American cinna- 
mon forest. The bark of the tree has the flavor of the 

* Bates (ii., 132) speaks of a similar custom among the ancient Mundu- 
rucus : "They used to sever the head with knives made of broad bamboo, 
and then, after taking out the brain and fleshy parts, soak it in bitter vegeta- 
ble oils, and expose it several days over the smoke of a fire, or in the sun. " 

t A like custom existed among some Brazilian and Guiana tribes. It also 
prevailed to some extent among the ancient Cantabrians and Corsicans, the 
Congos and Tartars, and in the Southern French provinces. 

Leaving Quito. 173 

Ceylon aromatic ; but, according to Dr. Taylor, it is cassia. 
Macas, in the days of Spanish adventure a prosperous citv 
under the name of " Sevilla de Oro," is now a cluster of 
huts on the banks of the Upano. *Its trade is in tobacco, 
vanilla, canela, wax, and copal. The Spaniards took the 
trouble to transplant some genuine cinnamon-trees from 
Ceylon to this locality, and they flourished for a time. 

On the 30th of October we left Quito on our march 
across the continent, by the way of the Napo wilderness. 
The preparations for our departure, however, commenced 
long before that date. To leave Quito in any direction is 
the work of time. But to plunge into that terra incognita 
" el Oriente," where for weeks, perhaps months, we should 
be lost to the civilized world and cut off fi*om all resources, 
east or west, demanded more calculation and providence 
than a voyage round the world. 

We were as long preparing for our journey to the Ama- 
zon as in making it. In the first place, not a man in Quito 
could give us a single item of information on the most im- 
portant and dangerous part of our route. Quitonians are 
not guilty of knowing any thing about trans-Andine affairs 
or " oriental" geography. From a few petty traders who 
had, to the amazement of their fellow-citizens, traversed 
the forest and reached the banks of the Napo, we gleaned 
some information which was of service. But on the pas- 
sage down the Kapo from Santa Rosa to the Marafion, a 
distance of over five hundred miles, nobody had any thing 
to say except the delightful intelligence that in all proba- 
bility, if we escaped the fever, we would be murdered by 
the savages. The information we received was about as 
definite and reliable as Herndon obtained respecting any 
tributary to the Lower Amazon : " It runs a long way up ; 
it has rapids ; savages live upon its banks ; every thing 
grows there." From M. Gillette, a Swiss gentleman trad- 

174: The Andes and the Amazon, 

ing at Para in Moyabainba liats, we learned about the 
movements of the Peruvian steamer on the Maranon ; but 
how long it would take ns to cross the mountains and the 
forest, and descend the tiver, we must find out by trial. 

The commissary department was of primal importance. 
As, from all we could learn, we could not depend upon ob- 
taining supplies from the Indians or with our guns,* it was 
necessary to take provisions to last till we should reach the 
Maranon. But how long we should be in the forest and on 
the river, or what allowance to make for i:>robable delays, 
it was impossible to prophesy. The utmost caution and 
forethought were therefore needed, for to die of starvation 
in the wilderness was, for all practical purposes, equivalent 
to falling into the hands of cannibals. As it turned out, 
however, we made a most forti;nate hit, for on arriving at 
Pebas — the first village on the Maranon — we found we 
had ju'st enough solid food left to have one grand jubilee 

For the benefit of future travelers, and for the curiosity 
of others, we give the bill of fare we provided for this jour- 
ney — stomachs, five ; time, forty-two days : 

Flour 100 lbs. 

Corn meal 27 " 

Pea flour 30 " 

Mashka 47 " 

Crackers 100 " 

Rice 50 " 

Sugar 90 lbs. 

Chocolate 25 " 

Dried meatt 47 " 

Salt 10 " 

Lard 10 " 

Cream tartar. ... H " 

Soda 1 lbs. 

Tea 2 " 

Ham 10 " 

Tamarinds 9 " 

Eggs 170. 

Anisado pts. 5. 

To this Ave added by purchase from the Indians a few 
chickens and eggs, five gallons of sirup, and a peck of rice ; 

* The scarcity of game is well illustrated by the fote of Pizarro and his com- 
rades. In returning from their expedition to the Napo country, they nearly 
perished with hunger, living on lizards, dogs, horses, saddles, sword-belts, 
etc., and reached Quito looking more like spectres than men. 

t "Jerked beef," as it is called in South America, consists of thin strips 
cut off the carcass after skinning and dried in the sun. The butchers do not 
distinguish between sirloin and round. 

Preparations foe the Napo Journey. 175 

and on the river we lielped ourselves to a little wild game, 
as fisli, peceari, deer, and turtles' eggs. But these made 
only a drop in the commissary bucket ; had we depended 
upon finding pro^^sions on the road, we must have perished 
from sheer hunger. Game, in the dry season, is exceed- 
ingly scarce. Oiir provisions were packed in kerosene cans, 
a part of which were soldered up to keep out moisture (for 
the Valley of the Napo is a steaniing vapor-bath) and to 
keep out the hands of Indians. More than once have these 
treacherous yet indispensable guides robbed the white man 
of his food, and then left him to his fate ; we lost not a 
pound by theft. A four-gallon keg of aguardiente,* from 
which we dealt out half a gill daily to each man, kept our 
Indians in good humor. 

As we must ascend to the cold altitude of fifteen thou- 
sand feet, and then descend to the hot Valley of the Ama- 
zon, we were obliged to carry both woolen and cotton gar- 
ments, besides rubbei- ponchos to shield them from the i-ain 
by day, and to form the first substratum of our bed at 
night. Two suits were needed in our long travel afoot 
through the forest ; one kept dry for the nightly bivouac, 
the other for day service. At the close of each day's jour- 
ney we doffed every thread of our wearing apparel, and 
donned the reserved suit, for we were daily drenched either 
from the heavens above or by crossing swollen rivers and 
seas of mud. Then, too, as boots would not answer for 
such kind of travel, we must take cdpargates, a native san- 
dal made of the aloe fibre, and of these not a few, for a 
pair would hardly hold together two days. Two bales of 
lienzo, besides knives, fish-hooks, thread, beads, looking- 
glasses, and other trinkets, were also needed ; for the Napo 

* This is the rum of the Andes, corresponding to the cashaga of Brazil. 
It is distilled from sugar-cane. When double-distilled and flavored with anise, 
it is called anisado. 

176 The Andes and the Amazon. 

Indians must be paid in such currenc}^ There lienzo, not 
gold and silver, is the cry. On this we made a small but 
lawful profit, paying in Quito eighteen cents per yard, and 
charging on the river twenty-five. 

An extensive culinary apparatus, guns and ammunition, 
taxidermal and medicinal chests, physical instruments, in- 
cluding a photographic establishment, rope, macheta, axe, 
saw, nails, candles, matches, and a thousand et cwtera, com- 
pleted our outfit. Among the essential et ccetera were gen- 
erous passports and mandatory letters from the President 
of Ecuador and the Peruvian Charge d' Affaires, addressed 
to all authorities on the Napo and the Maranon. They 
were obligingly procured for us b}^ Senor Hui-tado, the 
Chilian minister (then acting for the United States), through 
the influence of a communication from our own govern- 
ment, and were of great value to the expedition,* 

* The following is a copy of the President's order : 


Ministeria de Estado ) Quito a IS de Octubre,) 

en el Despacho del Interior. ] de 1867. / 


A las autoridades del transito hasta el Nape, i a los demas empleados civi- 
les i militares de la provincia del Oriente : 

El Sor. James Orton, ciudadano de los EE. UU. de Ame'rica, profesor de la 
Universidad de Rochester en Nueva-York, i jefe de una comision cientifica 
del Instituto de Smithsonian de Washington, va a la pro-\nncia de Oriente con 
el objeto de esplorarla en cumplimiento de su encargo. S.E. el Presidenta de 
la Repiiblica ordena a U.U. presten al espresado Sor. Orton i su comitiva cu- 
antas consideraciones merecen sus personas, i los ausilios i co-operacion que 
necesiten para verificar su viaje i hacer sus estudios i observaciones. 
Dios gue. a U. U. 

R. Carva.tal. 

Adieu to Quito. 177 


Dqjarture from Quito. — Itulcachi. — A Night in a Bread-tray. — Crossing the 
Cordillera. — Guamani. — Papallacta. — Domiciled at the Governor's. — An 
Indian Aristides. — Our Peon Train. — In the Wilderness. 

Forty miles east-southeast of Quito, on the eastern slope 
of the Eastern Cordillera, and on the western edge of the 
great forest, is the Indian \'illage of Papallacta. From the 
capital to this point there is a path just passable for horses; 
but thence to the Napo travelers must take to their feet. 
Through the intervention of the curate of Papallacta, who 
has great influence over his wild people, but who has wit 
enough to reside in Quito instead of his parish, we engaged 
the Indian governor to send over thirteen beasts and three 
peons to carry our party and baggage to Papallacta. 
Wednesday morning the quadrupeds were at the door of 
our hotel, five of them hestias de silla. These horses, 
judging by size, color, shape, and bony prominences, were 
of five different species. The saddles, likewise, differed 
from one another, and from any thing we had ever seen 
or desired to see. One of them was so narrow and deep 
none of us could get into it ; so, filling up the cavity with 
blankets, we took turns in riding on the summit. By noon, 
October 30th, we had seen our Andean collections in the 
hands of arrieros bound for Guayaquil, whence they were 
to be shipped by way of Panama to "Washington, and our 
baggage train for Napo headed toward the rising sun. So, 
mounting our jades, we defiled across the Grand Plaza and 
through the street of St. Augustine, and down the Camice- 
ria to the Alameda, amid tlie vivas and adeos of our Qui- 


1Y8 The Andes and the Amazon. 

tonian friends, who turned out to see the largest expedition 
that ever left the city for the wild Napo country since the 
days of Pizarro. Few there were who expected to hear of 
our safe arrival on the shores of the Atlantic. 

Crossing the magnificent plain of Inaquito, we reached 
in an hour the romantic village of Guapulo. Here is an 
elegant stone church dedicated to the Virgin of Guada- 
loupe, to which the faitliful make an annual pilgrimage. 
Thence the road led us through the valley of the Guailla- 
bamba (a tributary to the Esmeraldas), here and there 
blessed with signs of intelligent life— a mud hut, and lit- 
tle green fields of cane and alfalfa, and dotted with trees 
of wild cherry and myrtle, but having that air of sadness 
and death-like repose so inseparable from a Quitonian 
landscape. The greater part of this day's ride was over 
a rolling country so barren and dreary it was almost re- 
pulsive. Wliat a pity the sun shines on so much useless 
territory ! 

Just before sunset we arrived at Itulcachi, a great cattle 
estate at the foot of the eastern chain of mountains. The 
hacienda had seen better days, and was poorly fitted to en- 
tertain man or beast. The major-domo, however, managed 
to make some small potato soup, and find us shelter for the 
night. In the room allotted us there were three immense 
kneading-troughs and two bread-boards to match, for a 
grist-mill and bakery were connected with the establish- 
ment. In default of beds, we made use of this furniture. 
Five wiser men have slept in better berths, but few have 
slept more soundly than we did in the bread-trays of Itul- 

The following day we advanced five miles to Tablon, an 
Indian hamlet on the mountain side. Here we waited over 
night for our cargo train, which had loitered on the road. 
This was the only spot in South America where we foimd 

View fkom the Cokdilleka. 179 

milk to our stomachs' content ; ItulcacM, with its herds of 
cattle, did not yield a drop. Our dormitory was a mud 
hovel, without an aperture for light or ventilation, and in 
this dark hole we all slept on a heap of barley. Splendid 
was the view westward from Tablon. Below us were the 
beautiful valleys of Chillo and Puembo, separated by the 
isolated momitain of Halo ; around them, in an imposing 
semicircle, stood Cayambi, Imbabura, Pichincha, Corazon, 
Ihniza, Kmninagui, Cotopaxi, Sincholagua, and Antisana. 
As the sun went down in his glorj^ behind the western 
range, the rocky head of Pichincha stood out in bold re- 
lief, and cast a long shadow over the plain. At this halt- 
ing-place we made the mortifying discovery that the bare- 
legged Indian who had trotted by our side as a guide and 
body -servant, and whom we had ordered about with all the 
indifference of a surly slaveholder, was none other than 
his Excellency Eugenie Mancheno, governor of Papallacta ! 
After this we were more respectful. 

The next morning, our baggage having come up, we 
pushed up the mountain through a grand ravine, and over 
metamorphic rocks standing on their edges with a wavy 
strike, till we reached a polylepis grove, 12,000 feet above 
the sea. We lunched under the wide-spreading branches 
of these gnarled and twisted trees, which reminded us of 
the patriarchal olives in the Garden of Gethsemane, and 
then, ascending over the monotonous paramo, we stood at 
the elevation of 15,000 feet on the narrow summit of the 
Guamani ridge. Some priest had been before us and 
planted a cross by the roadside, to guide and bless the 
traveler on his way. 

Of the magnificent prospect eastward, over the begin- 
ning of the Amazonian Valley, which this lofty point com- 
mands, we have already spoken. There was a wild grand- 
eur in the scene — mountain behind mountain, with deep 

180 The Andes akd the Amazon. 

intervening valleys, all covered with one thick, unbroken 
mass of. foliage. A tiny brook, the child of everlasting 
snows still higher up, murmured at our feet, as if to tell 
lis that we were on the Atlantic slope, and then dashed 
into the great forest, to lose itself in the mighty Amazon, 
and be buried with it in the same ocean grave. The trade- 
wind, too, came rushing by us fresh fi-om that sea of com- 
merce which laves the shores of two worlds. Guamani 
gave us also our finest view of Antisana, its snow-white 
dome rising out of a wilderness of mountains, and present- 
ing on the north side a profile of the human face divine. 

And now we rapidly descended by a steei^, narrow path, 
and over paramo and bog, to a little tambo, where we had 
the luxury of sleeping on a bed of straw. Here we made 
the acquaintance of two Indians from the Napo, who were 
on the way to Quito with the mail — probably half a dozen 
letters. A strip of oloth around the loins, and a short cape 
just covering the shoulders, were all their habiliments. We 
noticed that they never sat down, though a bench was close 
by them ; they would squat for an hour at a time. The 
day following we took our last horseback ride in South 
America. It was short, but horrible. Through quagmire 
and swamp, and down a flight of rocky stairs, in striking 
imitation of General Putnam's famous ride — over rocks, 
too, made wondrously slippery by a pitiless rain, but which 
our unshod Indian horses descended with great dexterity, 
only one beast and his rider taking a somerset — thus we 
traveled two hours, reaching Papallacta at 11 a.m. 

We put up at the governor's. This edifice, the best in 
town, had sides of upright poles stuccoed with mud, a 
thatched roof, and ground floor, on which, between three 
stones, a fire was built for cooker}^ and comfort. Three 
or four earthen kettles, and as many calabashes and wood- 
en spoons, were the sum total of kitchen utensils. A large 


Eating Lice. 181 

flat stone, witli another smaller one to rub over it, was the 
mill for grinding corn ; and we were astonished to see how 
quickly our hostess reduced the grains to an impalpable 
meal. The only thing that looked like a bed was a stiff 
rawhide thrown over a series of round poles running 
lengthwise. This primitive couch, and likewise the whole 
house, the obsequious governor gave up to us, insisting 
upon sleeping with his wife and little ones outside, though 
the nights were cold and uncomfortable. Parents and 
cliildren were of the eartli, earthy — unwashed, uncombed, 
and disgustingly filthy. We found the governor one day 
taking lice for his lunch. Sitting behind his little boy, he 
picked out the little parasites with his nails, and crushed 
them between his teeth with a look of satisfaction. Eating 
lice is an old Indian custom, and imiversal in the Andes. In 
Inca times it was considered an infallible remedy against 
sore eyes. "We have seen half a dozen women sitting on 
the ground in a row, picking out vermin from each other's 
heads. We thought the arrangement was a little unfair, for 
the first in the series had no lice to eat, and the animals 
were left to roam undisturbed in the capillary forest of 
the last. 

Papallacta is a village of thirty dwellings, situated in a 
deep valley on the north slope of Antisana, nearly sur- 
rounded by an amphitheatre of sandstone and basaltic 
precipices. Here, too, is the terminus of the fourth great 
lava stream from the volcano ; it is not mentioned by 
Humboldt. Papallacta is a thousand feet higher than 
Quito, yet vegetation is more tropical. Its name. signifies 
"the potato country," but not a potato could we find here. 
Though Mancheno was governor, he was not really the 
greatest man in Papallacta. This was Carlos Caguatijo ; he 
was the ruling man, for he could read, write, and speak Span- 
ish, while the governor knew nothing but Quichua. Car- 

182 The Andes and the Amazon. 

los, moreover, was a good man ; lie had an honest, Quaker- 
like air about him, and his face reminded us of George 
Washington's. In all his transactions we noticed no at- 
tempt to prevaricate or deceive ; what he promised he per- 
formed to the letter. It was refreshing to meet one such 
upright soul in Ecuador, though we found him not of Cau- 
casian blood, nor dwelling under the tiled roofs of the 
proud capital. The old man was the spiritual father of 
Papallacta, and, in the absence of the curate, officiated in 
the little church. With him, therefore, and not with our 
host the governor, we negotiated for peons to take us 
through the wilderness. 

The journey from Papallacta to the Napo occupied us 
thirteen days, including four days of rest. It was perform- 
ed on foot, for the " road" is a trail. But the untraveled 
reader can have little idea of a trail in a tropical forest : 
fording bridgeless rivers, wading through interminable 
bogs, fens, marshes, quagmires, and swamps, and cutting 
one's way through dense vegetation, must be done to be 
understood. Half the year there is no intercourse between 
Quito and its Oriental province, for the incessant heavy 
rains of summer swell every rivulet into a furious torrent, 
and the path is overgrown and rendered impassable even 
by an Indian. The only time for travel is between No- 
vember and April, for then, though it rains nearly every 
day, the clouds drop down in showers, not floods. But 
even then the traveler must sometimes wait two or three 
weeks beside a swollen river in imminent danger of starv- 
ing, and throughout the journey entertain the comforting 
prospect that his Indians may eat up his provisions to light- 
en their load, or suddenly desert him as they did Dr. Jam- 
eson, There are other routes across South America much 
more feasible than the one we chose; these will be de- 
scribed in Chapter XXIII. But they all yield in interest 

Our Baggage Teain. 183 

to this passage along the equatorial line, and especially in 
the line of history. Who has not heard of Gonzalo Pizar- 
ro and his fatal yet famous expedition into " the land of 
cinnamon ?" How he was led fartlier and farther into the 
wilderness by the glittering illusions of an El Dorado,* till 
the faithless Orellana, deserting him, floated down the 
Napo and made the magnificent discovery of the mighty 
Amazon. Gonzalo, " who was held to be the best lancer 
that ever went to these countries — and all confess that he 
never showed his back to the enemy"- — returned to Quito 
with a few survivors to tell a tale of almost luiparalleled 
suffering. A century elapsed (1639-1637) before any one 
ascended from Para to Quito by way of the Rio Napo; 
this was accomplished by Pedro Teixeii-a. 

An Indian will carry three arrobas (seventy-five pounds) 
besides his own provisions, his provisions for the journey 
consisting of about twenty-five pounds of roasted corn and 
barley-meal. The trunk or bundle is bound to his back 
by withes, which pass across the forehead and chest; a 
poncho or a handful of leaves protects the bare back from 
chafing. All our luggage (amounting to nearly fifteen 
liundred pounds) was divided and packed to suit this 
method of transportation, so that we required twenty In- 
dians. So many, however, of the right kind — for they must 
be athletic young men to endure the fatigues of such a 
journey — could not be furnished by the little village of Pa- 
pallacta, so we were obliged to wait a few days till more 
Indians could be summoned from a neighboring town. 
When these arrived, the little world of Papallacta, men, 
women, and children, assembled in front of the governor's 
house, while Don Carlos sat by our side on a raised seat by 

* The king of this fabulous land was said to wear a magnificent attire fra- 
grant with a costly gum, and sprinkled with gold dust. His palace was of 
porphyry and alabaster, and his throne of ivory. 


The Andes and the Amazon. 

Napo Peon. 

the doorway. A long parley ensued, resulting in this : that 
we should pay one hundred Ecuadorian dollars for the 
transfer of our baggage to Archidona; while Carlos sol- 
emnly promised for the young men that they should start 
the next morning, that they should arrive at Archidona 
within a stipulated time, and that they should not depend 
upon us for an ounce of food. The powerful influence of 
the cm-ate, which we had secured, and the proclamation 

Off for the Napo. 185 

from the president, whicli Carlos read aloud in the ears of 
all the people, together with the authoritative charge of 
Carlos himself, had the desired effect ; not a transportation 
company in the United States ever kept its engagement 
more faitlifully than did these twenty peons — and this, 
too, though we paid them in advance, according to the cus- 
tom of the country. Upon a blanket spread at our feet 
the money was counted out, and Carlos slowly distributed 
it with a grave and reverend air, to every Indian five dol- 

Tuesday morning, November 5th, the peons promptly 
shouldered their burdens, and we, shod with alpargates, 
and with Alpine staff in hand (more needed here than in 
Switzerland), followed after, leaving the governor to sleep 
inside his mansion, and to eat his lice unmolested. On a 
little grassy knoll just outside the town our train halted 
for a moment — the Indians to take their fill of chicba, and 
bid their friends good-by, and we to call the roll and take 
an inventory. Our leader was Isiro, a bright, intelligent, 
finely-featured, stalwart Indian. He could speak Spanish, 
and his comrades acknowledged his superiority with mark- 
ed deference. Ten women and children followed us for 
two days, to relieve the men of their burdens. Their as- 
sistance was not needed in the latter part of the journey, 
for our keen apj^etites rapidly lightened the provision cans. 
Starting again, we plunged at once into the forest, taking 
a northeasterly course along the left bank of a tributary 

* We give below the autograph of this wisest man in all the Oriente : 
"Eecibio del Senor James Orton la suma de centos (100) pesos por 
vente (20) peones hasta Archidona. 


' Papallacta, 4 Nov., 1867.' 

186 The Ajsides and the Amazon. 

to the Coca. The ups and downs of this day's travel of 
twelve miles were foreshadowings of what might come in 
our "views afoot" in South America. We encamped at 
a spot the Indians called Maspa. Herndon says : " The 
(Peruvian) Indians take no account of time or distance ; 
they stop when they get tired, and arrive when God 
pleases."* But our Napo companions measured distance 
by hours quite accurately, and they always traveled as far 
as we were willing to follow. In ten minutes they built 
us a booth for the night; driving two crotchets into the 
ground, they joined them with a ridge-pole, against which 
they inclined a number of sticks for rafters. These they 
covered with palm-leaves, so adroitly put together that our 
roof was generally rain-proof. After ablution and an en- 
tire change of garments, we built a fire, using for fuel a 
green tree called sindloaspi (meaning the wood that burns), 
a special provision in these damp forests where every thing 
is dripping with moisture. The fall of a full-grown tree 
under tlie strokes of a Yankee axe was a marvel in the 
eyes of our Indians. Our second day's journey was far 
more difficult than the first, the path winding up steep 
mountains and down into grand ravines, for we were cross- 
ing the outlying spurs of the Eastern Cordillera. Every 
where the track was slippery with mud, and often we sank 
two feet into the mire. How devoutly we did wish that 
the Ecuadorian Congress was compelled to travel this hor- 
rid road once a year ! At 10 o'clock we reached a lone 
habitation called Guila, where wooden bowls are made for 
the Quito market. Here we procured a fresh Indian to 
take the place of one of our peons who had given out un- 
der his burden. We advanced this day sixteen miles in 
ten hours, sleeping under an old bamboo hut beside a bab- 
bling brook bearing the euphonious name of Pachamama. 

* " Distance is frequently estimated by the time that a man will occupy in 
taking a chew of coca," or 37i minutes. — Herndon. 

Baeza. 187 


Baeza. — The Forest. — Crossing the Cosanga.- — Curi-urcu. — Archidona. — 
Appearance, Customs, and Belief of the Natives. — Napo andNapo River. 

Eight hours' hard travel from Pachamama brought us 
to Baeza. This " Antigua Ciudad," as Villavicencio calls 
it, was founded in 1552 by Don Egilio Ramirez Da- 
valos, and named after the quite different spot where 
Scipio the Younger routed Asdrubal a thousand years be- 
fore. It consists of two habitations, the residence of 
two families of Tumbaco Indians, situated in a clearing 
of the forest on the summit of a high ridge running along 
the right bank of the Coca. This point, about one hun- 
dred miles east of Quito, is important in the little traffic of 
the Oriente. All Indian trains from the capital to the 
province pass through Baeza, where the trail divides ; one 
branch passing on easterly to San Jose, and thence down 
through Abila and Loreto to Santa Rosa ; the other lead- 
ing to the Napo through Archidona. Here we rested one 
day, taking possession of one half of the larger hut — a mere 
stockade with a palm-leaf roof, without chairs, chimney, or 
fire-place, except any place on the floor. We swung our 
hammocks, while our Indians stretched themselves on the 
ground beneath us. The island of Juan Fernandez is not 
a more isolated spot than Baeza. A dense forest, impene- 
trable save by the trails, stretches away on every side to 
the Andes and to the Atlantic, and northerly and southerly 
along the slope of the entire mountain chain. The forest 
is such an entangled mass of the living and the fallen, it is 
difficult to say which is the predominant spirit — life or 
death. It is the cemetery, as well as the birthplace, of a 
world of vegetation. The trees are more lofty than on the 

188 The Andes aotd the Amazon. 

Lower Amazon, and straight as an arrow, but we saw none 
of remarkable size. A perpetual mist seems to hang on 
the branches, and the dense foliage forms dark, lofty 
vaults, which the sunlight never enters. The soil and air 
are always cool, and ne\er dry. Every thing is penetrated 
with dampness. All our M^atches stopped, and remained 
immovable till we reached Para. It is this constant and 
excessive humidity which renders it so difficult to transport 
provisions or prepare an herbarium. The pending branches 
of moss are so saturated with moisture that sometimes the 
branches are broken off to the peril of the passing traveler. 
Yet the climate is healthy. The stillness and gloom are 
almost painful ; the firing of a gun wakes a dull echo, and 
any unlooked-for noise is startling. Scarce a bird or a 
flower is to be seen in these sombre shades. Nearly the 
only signs of animal life visible thus far were insects, 
mostly butterflies, fireflies, and beetles. The only quadru- 
ped seen on our journey to the Napo was a Cercoleptes 
caught by the Indians. The silence is almost perfect ; its 
chief interruption is the crashing fall of some old patriarch 
of the forest, overcome by the embrace of loving parasites 
that twine themselves about the trunk or sit upon the 
branches. The most striking singularity in these tropical 
woods is the host of lianas or air-roots of epiphytous plants, 
which hang down from the lofty boughs, straight as plumb- 
lines, some singly, others in clusters ; some reaching half 
way to the ground, others touching it and striking their 
rootlets into the earth. We found lianas over one hundred 
feet long. Sometimes a toppling tree is caught in the grace- 
ful arms of looping s^j?o^, and held for years by this nat- 
ural cable. It is these dead trunks, standing like skeletons, 
which give a character of solemnity to these primeval 
woods. The wildest disorder is seen along the mountain 
torrents, where the trees, pi'ostrated by the undermining 

Crossing thk Cosanga. 189 

current, lie mingled with huge stones brought down by the 
force of the water. In many places the crowns of stately 
monarch s' standing on the bank interlock and form a sylvan 
arch over the river. 

We left Baeza by the southerly trail for Archidona, 
From Papallacta we had traveled east, or parallel to the 
streams which flow down from the mountains. We were 
now to cross them (and their name is legion), as also the in- 
tervening ridges ; so that our previous journey was noth- 
ing to that which followed. Sometimes we were climbing 
up an almost vertical ascent, then descending into a deep, 
dark ravine, to ford a furious river ; while on the lowlands 
the path seemed lost in a jungle of 'bamboos, till our Indian 
" bushwhackers" opened a passage with their machetas, and 
we crept under a low arcade of foliage. This day we en- 
joyed something unusual in our forest trail — a distant view. 
The path brought us to the verge of a moiintain, whence 
we could look down on the savage valley of the Cosanga 
and upward to the dazzling dome of Antisana ; it was our 
farewell view of that glorious volcano. At the distance of 
twelve miles fi-om Baeza we reached the banks of the Eio 
Cosanga, camping at a spot called Chiniplaya. This is the 
river so much dreaded by Indians and whites traversing 
the ISTapo wilderness. It is fearfully rapid — a very Tigris 
from its source to its junction with the Coca. The large, 
smooth boulders strewn along its bed show its power. 
Here, sixty miles from its origin in the glaciers of Antisana, 
it is seventy-five feet wide, but in the wet season it is one 
hundred yards. The day following we threaded our diffi- 
cult way, a via dolorosa, fifteen miles up the left bank of 
the Cosanga, where we crossed and camped on the oppo- 
site side. The Indians had thrown a log over the deepest 
part of the river, and the rest we forded without much dan- 
ger ; but that very night the rain raised the river to such 

190 The Andes aistd the Amazon. 

a magnitude that the little bridge was carried off. Had we 
been one day later, we might have waited a week on the 
other side of tlie impassable gulf. Between this point 
where we forded and Chiniplaya, fifteen miles below, the 
barometer indicated a fall of five hundred feet. The roar 
of the rushing waters is like that of the sea. In the beau- 
tiful language of Darwin {Journal, p. 316) : " The sound 
spoke eloquently to the geologist ; the thousands and thou- 
sands of stones, which, striking against each other, made 
the one dull, uniform sound, Avere all hurrying in one di- 
rection. It was like thinking on time, when the minute 
that now glides past is irrecoverable So was it with these 
stones. The ocean is their eternity, and each note of that 
wild music told of one more step toward their destiny." 

On account of the heavy rain and the sickness of a peon, 
whom finally we were obliged to leave behind, we rested 
one day ; but on the morrow we traveled fourteen miles, 
crossing the lofty Guacamayo ridge,* fording at much risk 
the deep Cochachimbamba, and camping at a spot (the In- 
dians have a name for almost any locality in the forest) 
called Guayusapugaru. The next day we must have ad- 
vanced twenty miles, besides crossing the furious Hondachi. 
This river was very much swollen by the rains, and it was 
only by the aid of a rope that we made the passage. One 
stout Indian was carried down stream, but soon recovered 

As we had lowered our altitude since leaving Papallacta 
seven thousand feet, the climate was much warmer, and 
vegetation more prolific. Nowhere else between the Andes 
and the Atlantic did we notice such a majestic forest. The 
tree-ferns, ennobled by the tropical sim and soil, have a 

* Humboldt speaks of this as an active volcano, "from which detonations 
are heard almost daily." We heard nothing. It is possible that he meant 

Theough the Wildeeness. 191 

palm-like appearance, but with rougher steins and a usual 
height of fifty feet. Plants akin to our " scouring rush" 
rise twenty-five feet. "We saw to-day the " water tree," or 
huadkuas of the natives, a kind of bamboo, which some- 
times yields between the joints two quarts of clear, taste- 
less water. Late in the evening we reached an old rancho 
called Ouri-urcu (" the mountain of gold") ; but we had 
traveled so far ahead of our cargo-train we did not see it 
again till the next morning. We were obliged, therefore, 
to sleep on the ground in our wet clothes, and put up with 
hard commons — half parched corn, which our Indian guides 
gave us, and unleavened cakes or flour-paste baked on the 
coals. Thence, after a short day's journey of ten miles, we 
arrived at Archidona, by a path, however, that was slippery 
with a soft yellow clay. We were a sorry-looking com- 
pany, soaked by incessant rains, exhausted by perspiration, 
plastered with mud, tattered, and torn ; but we were kindly 
met by the Jesuit bishop, who took us to his own habita- 
tion, where one Indian washed our feet, and another pre- 
pared a most refreshing drink of guayusa tea. We then 
took up our quarters at the Government House, opposite 
the bishop's, sojourning several days on account of our swol- 
len feet, and also on account of a swollen river which ran 
between us and the Napo. Here we made a valuable col- 
lection of birds, lizards, fishes, and butterflies. 

Archidona is situated in a beautiful plain on the high 
northern bank of the Misagualli, two thousand feet above 
the Atlantic. The site is a cleared spot in the heart of an 
almost boundless forest ; and it was a relief, not easily con- 
ceived, to emerge from beneath the dense leafy canopy into 
this open space and look up to the sky and to the snowy 
Andes. The climate is uniform and delightful, the mean 
annual temperature being seventy-seven degrees. Sand- 
flies, however, resembling our " punkies," abound ; and the 

192 The Andes and the Amazon. 

natives are constantly slapping their naked sides, eating the 
little pests as the Papallactans do their lice.* Archidona 
is the largest village in the Napo country, containing about 
five hiindred souls. The houses are of split bamboo and 
palm-thatch, often hid in a plantation of yuca and plan- 
tain. The central and most important structure is the little 
church ; its rude belfry, portico, chancel, images, and other 
attempts at ornament remind us of the fitting words of 
Mrs. Agassiz, that " there is something touching in the idea 
that these poor, uneducated people of the forest have cared 
to build themselves a temple with their own hands, lavish- 
ing upon it such ideas of beauty and taste as they ha\'e, 
and bringing at least their best to their humble altar." 
Founded by Davalos in 1560, Archidona has been a mis- 
sionary station for two hundred years. The people are 
child-like and docile, but the bishop confessed there was no 
intellectual advance. Every morning and evening, at the 
tinkling of a little bell, all Archidona assembled in the 
open porch, where the bishop taught them to sing and pray. 
It was a novel sight to see these children of the forest com- 
ing out of the woods on all sides and running up to the 
temple — for these natives, whenever they move, almost in- 
variably go on a run. The men are tall and slim and of a 
dark red color, and their legs are bent backward at the 
knees. The governor was the only portly individual we 
saw. The women are short, with high shoulders, and are 
very timid ; they seldom stand erect, and with the knees 
bent forward they run sneakingly to church. Their eyes 
have a characteristic, soft, di'ooping look. They carry their 
babes generally on the hip ; not on the back, as in Quito. 
The men are hatless, shirtless, and shoeless ; their only gar- 

* The Chasuta Indians, Hemdou says, eat musquitoes that they catch on 
their bodies with the idea of restoring the blood which the insect has ab- 

Aechidona. 193 

ments are short drawers, about six inches long, and little 
ponchos, both of lienzo, dyed a dark purple with achote — 
the red seeds of the bixa, which the cooks of Qnito use to 
color their soups. All paint their bodies with the same 
pigment. The women wear a frock reaching from the 
waist to the knees ; it is nothing more than a yard or two 
of lienzo wound around the body. The Archidonians are 
the most Christianized of all the Napo Indians, but they 
can not be called religious. Their rites (they can hardly 
be said to have a creed) are the a, h, c, of Romanism, min- 
gled with some strange notions — the relics of a lost pagan- 
ism. They are very superstitious, and believe, as before 
remarked, in the transmigration of souls. Maniacs they 
think are possessed by an evil demon, and therefore are 
treated with great cruelty. Negroes (of whom a few speci- 
mens have come up the Napo from Brazil) are held to be 
under the ban of the Almighty, and their color is ascribed 
to the singeing which they got in the flames of hell. They 
do not believe in disease ; but, like the Mundurucus on the 
Tapajos, say that death is always caused by the sorceries 
of an enemy. They usually bviry in the church or in the 
tambo of the deceased. Celibacy and polygamy, homicide 
and suicide, are rare. 

The only sign of industry in Archidona is the manufac- 
ture of pita thread from the aloe. It is exported to Quito 
on human backs. The inhabitants also collect copal at the 
headwaters of the Ilondachi, and use it for illumination. 
It can be bought in Archidona for three or four cents a 
pound. The gum exudes from a lofty leguminous tree 
having an oak-like bark. It resembles the anime of Mad- 
agascar rather than the copal of India, which flows from 
an entirely different tree. Guayusa, or " Napo tea," is an- 
other and celebrated production of Archidona. It is the 
large leaf of a tall shrub growing wild. An infusion of 


194 The Andes and the Amazon. 

guajusa, like the mate of Paraguay (which belongs to the 
same genus Ilex), is so refreshing it supplies for a long 
time the place of food. The Indians will go to Quito on 
this beverage alone, its virtues being similar to those of 
coca, on the strength of which the posts of the Incas used 
to travel incredible distances. It is by no means, however, 
such a stimulant. It is a singular fact, observes Dr. Jame- 
son, that tea, coffee, cacao, mate, and guayusa contain the 
same alkaloid caffeine. The last, however, contains only 
one fifteenth as much of the active principle as tea, and no 
volatile oil. Herndon found guayusa on the Ucayali. 

At Archidona we took a new set of peons for Napo, as 
the Papallactans do not travel farther. The distance is 
sixteen miles, and the path is comparatively good, though 
it crosses two rivers, the Misagualli and Tena. On this 
journey we found the only serpent seen since leaving 
Quito. This solitary specimen was sluggish and harmless, 
biit exceedingly beautiful. It was the Amjyhisboena fidi- 
ginosa, or " slow-worm." It lives in the chambers of the' 
Saiiba ants. We met a procession of these ants, each car- 
vyvag a circular piece of a leaf vertically over its head. 
These insects are peculiar to tropical America, and are 
much dreaded in Brazil, where they soon desjjoil valuable 
trees of their foliage. They cut the leaves wdth their scis- 
sor-like jaws, and use them to thatch the domes at the en- 
trance of their subterranean dwellings. 

At Napo we took possession of the governor's liouse. 
Each village in the IS'apo province was obliged to build an 
edifice of split bamboo for that dignitar}^; and, as he no 
longer exists, they are left unoccupied. They genei-ally 
stand on the highest and best site in tlie town, and are a 
god-send to travelers. Immediately on our arrival, the In- 
dian governor and his staff of justices called to see what we 
wanted, and during our stay supplied us with chickens, 

A Yankee on the Napo. 195 

eggs, plantains, yucas, and fiiel. His excellency would al- 
ways come, silver-headed cane in hand, though the justices 
liad only six eggs or a single fowl to bring us. The alcalde 
also paid us his respects. He is an old bianco (as the 
whites are called), doing a little traffic in gold dust, lienzo, 
and pita, but is the highest representative of Ecuador in 
the Napo country. Here, too, we met, to our great delight, 
Mr. George Edwards, a native of Connecticut, who has set- 
tled himself, probably for life, in the depths of this wilder- 
ness. He was equally rejoiced to see the face and hear 
the speech of a countryman. His industry and upright 
character have won for him the respect and good- will of 
the Indians, and he is favorably known in Quito. The gov- 
ernment has given him a tract of land on the Yusupino, 
two miles west of Napo village. Here he is cultivating 
vanilla, of which he has now three thousand plants, and 
also his patience, for six years elapse after transplanting 
before a pod appears. He has been so long in the country 
(thirteen years) his English would now and then run off 
into Spanish or Quichua. 

ISTapo is prettily situated on the left bank of the Rio 
Napo, a dense forest inclosing it on every side. The max- 
imum number of inhabitants is eighty families ; but many 
of these are in town only in festival seasons. It was well 
for us that we reached the Napo during the feasts ; other- 
wise we might not have found men enough to man our 
canoes down the river. There are three or four blancos, 
petty merchants, who follow the old Spanish practice of 
compulsory sales, forcing the Indians to take lienzo, knives, 
beads, etc., at exorbitant prices, and making them pay in 
gold dust and pita. This kind of commerce is known un- 
der the name of repartos. It is hard to find an Indian 
whose gold or whose labor is not claimed by the blancos. 
The present and possible productions of this region are: 

196 The Andes aj^d the Amazon. 

bananas, plantains, yucas,* yams, sweet potatoes, rice, beans, 
corn, lemons, oranges, chirimoyas, anonas (a similar fruit to 
the preceding), pine-apples, palm cabbages, gnavas, gua- 
yavas, castor-oil beans, coffee, cacao, cinnamon. India-rub- 
ber, vanilla (two kinds),! chonta-palm nuts, sarsaparilla, con- 
trayerva (a mint), tobacco (of superior quality), and gua- 
yusa ; of woods, balsam, red wood, Brazil wood, palo de cruz, 
palo de sangre, ramo caspi, quilla caspi, guayacan (or " holy 
wood," being much used for images), ivory palm, a kind of 
ebony, cedar, and aguana (the last two used for making 
canoes) ; of dyewoods, same (dark red), tinta (blue), terriri, 
and quito (black) ; of gums, estoraque (a balsam) and copal, 
besides a black beeswax, the production of a small (Trigona) 
bee, that builds its comb in the ground ; of manufactures, 
pita, hammocks, twine, calabashes, aguardiente (from the 
plantain), chicha (from the yuca),:|: sugar and molasses (from 
the cane, which grows luxuriantly), and manati-lard ; of 
minerals, gold dust. The gold, in minute spangles, is 
washed down by the rivers at flood time, chiefly from the 
Llanganati Mountains. The articles desired in exchange 
are lienzo, thread, needles, axes, hoes, knives, fish-hooks, 
rings, medals, crosses, beads, mirrors, salt, and poison. 
Quito nearly monopolizes the trade ; though a few canoes 
go down the IS'apo to the Maranon after salt and poison. 
The salt comes from near Chasuta, on the Huallaga ;§ the 
urari from the Ticuna Indians. It takes about twenty 

* Sometimes called yuca duke, or sweet yuca, to distinguish it from the 
yuca brava, or wild yuca, the mandioca of the Amazon, from which farina is 
made. The yuca is the beet-like root of a little tree about ten feet high. It 
is a good substitute for potatoes and bread. 

t Vanilla belongs to the orchid family, and is the only member which pos- 
sesses any economical value. It is a graceful climber and has a pretty star- 
like flower. t In Peru, the liquor made from yuca is called masato. 

§ Rock-salt is found on both sides of the Andes. " The general character 
of the geology of these countries would rather lead to the opinion that its or- 
igin is in some way connected with volcanic heat at the bottom of the sea." 
— Darwin's Observations, pt. iii., p. 235. 

Napo as a Field fok Commekce. 197 

days to paddle down to the Maranon, and three months 
to pole up. The JS^apo is navigable for a flat-bottomed 
steamer as far as Santa Rosa,'* and it is a wonder that An- 
glo-Saxon enterprise has not put one upon these waters. 
The profits would be great, as soon as commercial relations 
with the various tribes were established. f Four yards of 
coarse cotton cloth, for example, will exchange for one 
hundred pounds of sarsaparilla. Urari is sold at Napo for 
its weight in silver. By a decree of the Ecuadorian Con- 
gress, there will be no duty on foreign goods entering the 
Napo for twenty years. The Napo region, under proper 
cultivation, would yield the most valuable productions of 
either hemisphere in profusion. But agriculture is un- 
known; there is no word for plow. The natives spend 
most of their time in idleness, or feasting and hunting. 
Their weapons are blow-guns and wooden spears ; our guns 
they call by a word which signifies "thunder and light- 
ning." Laying up for the future or for commerce is for- 
eign to their ideas. The houses are all built of bamboo 
tied together with lianas, and shingled with leaves of the 
sunipanga palm. The Indians are peaceful, good-natured, 
and idle. They seldom steal any thing but food. Their 
only stimulants are chicha, guayusa, and tobacco. This 
last they roll up in plantain leaves and smoke, or snuff an 
infusion of it through the nose from the upper bill of a 
toucan. " The Peruvians (says Prescott, quoting Garcilasso) 
differ from every other Indian nation to whom tobacco Avas 
known by using it only for medicinal purposes in the form 
of snuff." There is no bread on the Napo ; the nearest ap- 

* " The Napo (Herndon was told) is very full of sand-banks, and twenty 
days from its mouth (or near the confluence of the Curaray) the men have to 
get overboard and drag the canoes!" — Report, p. 229. 

t The chief difficulty throughout the Upper Amazon is in getting the In- 
dians to concentrate along the bank. But honorable dealmg would accom- 
plish this in time. 

198 Thk Andes and the Amazon. 

proach to flour is yuca starch. There are no clocks or 
watches ; time is measured by the position of the sun. The 
mean temperature at Napo village is about one degree 
warmer than that of Archidona. Its altitude above the 
sea is 1450 feet. The nights are cool, and there are no 
musquitoes ; but sand-flies are innumerable. Jiggers also 
have been seen. There are no well-defined wet and dry 
seasons ; but the most rain falls in May, June, and July. 
The lightning, Edwards informed us, seldom strikes. Dys- 
entery, fevers, and rheumatism are the prevailing diseases ; 
and we saw one case of goitre. But the climate is consid- 
ered salubrious. Few twins are born ; and there are fewer 
childi-en than in Archidona — a difference ascribed by some 
to the exposure of the Napo people in gold washing ; by 
others to the greater quantity of guayusa drunk by the 

The Kapo is the largest river in the republic. From its 
source in the oriental defiles of Cotopaxi and Sincholagua 
to its embouchure at the Maranon, its length is not far 
from eight hundred miles, or about twice that of the Sus- 
quehanna.* From Napo village to the mouth of the river 
our barometer showed a fall of a thousand feet. At Napo 
the current is six miles an hour ; between Napo and Santa 
Rosa there are rapids ; and between Santa Eosa and the 
Maranon the rate is not less than four miles an hour. At 
Napo the breadth is about forty yards ; at Coca the main 
channel is fifteen hundred feet wide ; and at Camindo it 

* Its actual source is the Rio del Valle, which runs northward through the 
Valle Vicioso. Its longest tributaiy, the Curaray, rises only a few miles to the 
south in the Cordillera de los Mulatos. The two rivers run side by side 4° 
of longitude before meeting. Coca, the northern branch, originates in the 
ilanks of Cayambi. The Napo and its branches are represented incorrectly 
in eveiy map we have examined. The Aguarico is confounded with the 
Santa Maria and made too long, and the Curaray is represented too far above 
the mouth of the Napo. There are no settlements between Coca and Ca- 

Kio Napo. 199 

is a full Spanish mile. Below Coca the river throws 
out numerous canals, which, isolating portions of the for- 
est-clad lowlands, create numerous picturesque islands. 
Around and between them the river winds, usually mak- 
ing one bend in every league. The tall trees covering 
them are bound together by creeping plants into a thick 
jungle, the home of capybaras and the lair of the jaguar. 
The islands, entirely alluvial, are periodically flooded, and 
undergo a constant round of decay and renovation. In- 
deed, the whole river annually changes its channel, so that 
navigation is somewliat difficult. The Indians, on coming 
to a fork, were frequently at a loss to know which was the 
main channel. Then, too, the river is full of snags and 
plaias, or low, shelving sand-banks, rising just above the 
water-level — the resort of turtles during the eg^ season. It 
was interesting to trace the bed of the river as we floated 
down ; on the rapid slope of the Cordilleras rushing over 
or rolling along huge boulders, which farther on were rap- 
idly reduced in size, till, in time, boulders were broken into 
pebbles, pebbles turned into sand, and sand reduced to im- 
palpable mud.* The plaias are not auriferous. Below 
Coca there is a wilderness of lagunes, all connected with 
the river, the undisturbed retreat of innumerable water- 
fowl. The only spot on the Napo where the underlying 
rocks are exposed is near Napo village. There it is a dark 
slate, gently dipping east. Farther west, in fact, through- 
out this side of the Andes, the prevailing rock is mica- 
schist. But the entire Napo country is covered with an 
alluvial bed, on the average ten feet thick. 

* From specimens of sand which we obtained at different points in descend- 
ing the river, we find that at Coca it contains 17.5 per cent, of pm-e quartz 
grains, the rest being colored dark with augite ; at the mouth of the Napo 
there is 50 per cent, of pure quartz, the other half being light-colored and 

200 The Andes and the Amazon. 


Afloat on the Nape. — Down the Kapids. — Santa Rosa and its mulish Al- 
calde. — Pratt on Discipline. — Forest Music. — Coca. — Our Craft and Crew. 
— Storm on the Napo. 

We embarked November 20th on om* voyage down the 
river. It is no easy matter to hire or cajole the Indians 
for any service. Out of feast-time they are out of town, 
and during the festival they are loth to leave,,or are so full 
of chicha they do not know what they want. We first 
woke up the indolent alcalde by showing him the Presi- 
dent's order, and then used him to entice or to compel (we 
know not his motive power) eight Indians, including the 
governor, to take us to Santa Rosa. We paid them about 
twenty-four yards of lienzo, the usual currency here. They 
furnished three canoes, two for baggage and one covered 
with a palm-leaf awning for ourselves. The canoes were 
of red cedar, and flat - bottomed ; the paddles had oval 
blades, to which short, quick strokes were given perpen- 
dicularly to the water entering and leaving. But there 
was Httle need of paddling on this trip. 

The Napo starts off in furious haste, for the fall between 
Napo village and Santa Rosa, a distance of eighty miles, is 
three hundred and fifty feet. We were about seven hours 
in the voyage down, and it takes seven days to pole back. 
The passage of the rapids is dangerous to all but an In- 
dian. As Wallace says of a spot on the Rio Negro, you 
are bewildered by the conflicting motions of the water. 
Whirling and boiling eddies burst as if from some sub- 
aqueous explosion ; down currents are on one side of the 
canoe, and an iip current on the other ; now a cross stream 

Santa Kosa. 201 

at the bows and a diagonal one at the stern, with a foam- 
ing Scylla on your right and a whirhng Charybdis on the 
left. But our nervousness gave way to admiration as our 
popero, or pilot, the sedate governor, gave the canoe a sheer 
with the swoop of his long paddle, turning it gracefully 
around the corner of a rock against which it seemed we 
must be dashed, and we felt like joining in the wild scream 
of the Indians as our little craft shot like an arrow past 
the danger and down the rapids, and danced on the waters 

In four hours we were abreast the little village of Agu- 
ano ; on the opposite bank we could see the tambos of the 
ffold washers. At 5 p.m. we reached the deserted site of 


Old Santa Rosa, the village having been removed a few 
years ago on account of its iinhealthy location. It is now 
overgrown with sour orange and calabash trees, the latter 
bearing large fruit shells so useful to the Indians in mak- 
ing pilches or cups. In pitch darkness and in a drizzling 
rain we arrived at New Santa Rosa, and swung our ham- 
mocks in the Government House. 

Santa Rosa, once the prosperous capital of the Provincia 
del Oriente, now contains about two hundred men, women, 
and children. The town is pleasantly situated on the left 
bank of the river, about fifteen feet above the water level. 
A little bamboo church, open only when the missionary 
from Archidona makes his annual visit, stood near our 
quarters. The Indians were keeping one of their seven 
feasts in a hut near by, and their drumming was the last 
thing we heard as we turned into our hanmiocks, and the 
first in the morning. The alcalde, Pablo Sandoval, is the 
only white inhabitant, and he is an Indian in every respect 
save speech and color. His habitation is one of the largest 
structures on the Napo; the posts are of ehonta-palm, the 
sides and roof of the usual material — split bamboo and 


The Andes and the Amazon. 

palm leaves. It is embow- 
ered iu a magnificent grove 
of plantains and papayas. 
In the spacious vestibule is 
a bench, on which the In- 
dian governor and his staff 
seat themselves every morn- 
ing to confer vdth the al- 
calde. In one corner stands 
a table (the only one we 
remember seeing on the 
Napo) ; on the opposite side 
are heaped up jars, pots, ket- 
tles, hunting and fishing im- 
plements, paddles, bows and 
arrows. Between the posts 
swing two chambiri ham- 
mocks. From Santa Rosa 
to Para the hammock an- 
swers for chair, sofa, tUe-oL- 
tUe, and bed. Wlien a stran- 
ger enters, he is invited to sit 
in a hammock ; and at San- 
ta Rosa we were always pre- 
sented with a cup of guajmsa; in Brazil with a cup of cof- 
fee. Sandoval wore nothing but shirt and pantaloons ; the 
dignity of the barefooted functionary was confined to his 
Spanish blood. He had lived long among the Zaparos; 
and from him, his daughter, and a Zaparo servant, we ob- 
tained much valuable information respecting that wild and 
little-known tribe 

At Santa Rosa we procured Indians and canoes for the 
Maranon. This was not easily done. The Indians seemed 
reluctant to quit their feasts and go on such a long voyage. 


A Stubbokn Alcalde. 203 

and the alcalde was unwilling they should go, and manu- 
factured a host of lies and excuses. He declared there was 
but one large canoe in town, and that we must send to 
Suno for another, and for men to man it. There were in- 
deed few Indians in Santa Rosa, for while we were disput- 
ing a large number went off with shoutings down the river, 
to spend weeks in the forest hunting monkeys.* It was a 
Stirling sight to see tliese untamed red men in the depths 
of the Napo wilderness starting on a monkey crusade ; but 
it was still more stirring to think of paddHng our own canoe 
down to Brazil. After some time lost in word-fighting, we 
tried the virtues of authority. "We presented the president's 
order, which commanded all civil and militaiy powers on 
the Napo to aid, and not to hinder, the expedition ; then 
we put into his hand an oificial letter from the alcalde of 
Napo (to whom Pablo was subordinate), which, with a 
flourish of dignified Spanish, threatened Santa Rosa with 
the doom of Sodom and Gomorrah if any impediment was 
placed in our way. 

To all this Edwards, who had kindly accompanied us 
down the river thus far, added, with frightful gestures, that 
he puqjosed to report him to the Quito government. After 
this bombardment Sandoval was another man, and the two 
canoes and four Indians we wanted were forthcoming. We 
had to wait, however, two days for the Indians to prepare 
their chicha for the journey and to cover the canoes with 
palm awnings. The price of a canoe for the Maranon is 
twenty-five varas of lienzo, and the same for each Indian. 
Unfortunately we had only fifty varas left ; but, through 
the influence of the now good-natured alcalde, we induced 
the Indians to take the balance in coin. After many de- 

* Monkej's form an article of food throughout tropical America. The meat 
is tough, but keeps longer than any other in that climate. The Indians told 
Gibbon that ' ' the tail is the most delicate part when the hair is properly 

204: The Andes and the Amazon. 

lays, we put our baggage into one canoe, and ourselves into 
the other, and pushed olf into the rapid current of the Napo. 
We had three styles of valediction on leaving. Our Indian 
quartet, after several last drinks of chicha, bade their friends 
farewell by clasping hands, one kissing the joined hands, 
and then the other. Sandoval muttered adios in reply to 
ours, meaning, no doubt, good riddance, while we shouted 
a hearty good-bye to Edwards as he pushed his way up 
stream to continue his lonely but chosen Indian life on the 
banks of the Yusupino. 

The Napo at Santa Eosa runs at least live miles an hour, 
and we were soon picking our way — now drifting, now pad- 
dling — through a labyrinth of islands and snags. The In- 
dians, so accustomed to brutal violence from the hands of 
the whites, had begged of us, before our departure, that we 
would not beat them. But shortly after we left, one of 
them, who was literally filled with chicha, dropped his 
paddle and tumbled into a heap at the bottom of the 
canoe, dead drunk. Pratt, our gigantic Mississippi boat- 
man, whom we had engaged at Quito as captain and cook 
down the river, and who was an awful Goliath in the eyes 
of the red-skins, seized the fellow and gave him a terrible 
shaking, the like of which was never seen or heard of in 
all Napo. At once the liquor left the muddled brain of 
the astonished culprit, and, taking his paddle, he became 
from that hour the best of the crew. This was the only 
case of discipline on the voyage. Always obsequious, they 
obeyed us with fear and trembling. None of them could 
speak Spanish, so we had provided ourselves with a vocab- 
ulary of Quichua. But some English words, like the im- 
perative paddle ! were more effective than the tongue of 
the Incas. Indeed, when we mixed up our Quichua with 
a little Anglo-Saxon, they evidently thought the latter was 
a terrible anathema, for they sprang to their places without 


In seven hours we arrived at Suno, a collection of half a 
dozen palm booths, five feet high, the miserable ownere of 
which do a little fishing and gold-washing. They gave 
us possession of their largest hut, in which they had 
been roasting a sea-cow, and the stench was intolerable. 
Nevertheless, one of our number bravely threw down his 
blanket within, and went to sleep ; two swung their ham- 
mocks between the trees, and the rest slept in the canoe. 
Here, for the first time since leaving Guayaquil, we were 
tormented by musquitoes. Bats were also quite numerous, 
but none of them were blood-thirsty ; and we may add that 
nowhere in South America were we troubled by those dia- 
bolical imps of imaginative travelers, the leaf -nosed species. 
So far as our experience goes, we can say, with Bates, that 
the vampire, so common on the Amazon, is the most harm- 
less of all bats. It has, however, a most hideous pliysiog- 
nomy. A full-grown specimen will measure twenty-eight 
inches in expanse of wing. Bates found two species on 
the Amazon — one black, the other of a ruddy hue, and 
both fruit-eaters. 

The nocturnal music of these forests is made by crickets 
and tree-toads. The voice of the latter sounds like the 
cracking of wood. Occasionally frogs, owls, and goat- 
suckers croak, hoot, and wail. Between midnight and 
3 A.M. almost perfect silence reigns. At early dawn 
the animal creation awakes with a scream. Pre-eminent 
are the discordant cries of monkeys and macaws. As the 
sun rises higher, one musician after another seeks the for- 
est shade, and the morning concert ends at noon. In the 
heat of the day there is an all-pervading rustling sound, 
caused by the fluttering of myriad insects and the gliding 
of lizards and snakes. At sunset parrots and monkeys re- 
sume their chatter for a season, and then give way to the 
noiseless flight of innumerable bats chasing the hawk-moth 

206 The Andes and the Amazon. 

and beetle. There is scarcely a soiind in a tropical forest 
which is joyous and cheering. The birds are usually si- 
lent ; those that have voices utter a plaintive song, or hoarse, 
shrill cry. Our door-yards are far more melodious on a 
May morning. The most common birds on the Napo are 
macavi^s, parrots, toucans,, and ciganas. The parrots, like 
the majority in South America, are of the green type. The 
toucan, peculiar to the New World, and distinguished by its 
enormous bill, is a quarrelsome, imperious bird. It is clum- 
sy in flight, but nimble in leaping from limb to limb. It 
hops on the ground like a robin, and makes a shrill yelp- 
m^—^jia-po-o-oo. Ecuadorians call it the predicador, or 
preacher, because it wags its head like a priest, and seems 
to say, " God gave it you." The feathers of the breast are 
of most brilliant yellow, orange, and rose colors, and the 
robes of the royal dames of Europe in the sixteenth cen- 
tury were trimmed with them. The cigana or " gypsy" (in 
Peru called " chansu") resembles a pheasant. The flesh has 
a musky odor, and it is for this reason, perliaps, that they 
exist in such numbers throughout the country. The In- 
dians never eat them. In no country as in the Amazonian 
Yalley is there such a variety of insects ; nowhere do we 
find species of larger size or greater beauty. It is the 
richest locality for butterflies ; Bates found twelve hun- 
dred species in Brazil alone, or three times as many as in 
all Europe. The splendid metallic-blue, and the yellow 
and transparent-winged, are very abundant on the Napo ; 
some rise high in the air; others, living in societies, look 
like fluttering clouds. Moths are comparatively rare. The 
most conspicuous beetle on the river is a magnificent green 
species {Ohrysophora chrysochlora), always found arboreal, 
like the majority of tropical coleopters ; they look like em- 
erald gems clinging to the branches. There are two kinds 
of bees, the black and yellow, which the Napos name re- 

Zoology of the Napo. 207 

spectively cushillo tnishhe (monkey honey) and sara 
mishke (corn honey). It is singular these Indians have 
no term for bees, but call them honey, and distinguish 
them by their color. The black species is said to make 
the most honey, and the yellow the best. The quadrupeds 
of the Oriente are few and far between in the dry season. 
I^ot a sloth nor armadillo did we see. But when the rains 
descend the wilderness is a menagerie of tigers and tapirs, 
pumas and bears, while a host of reptiles, led by the gigan- 
tic boa, creep forth from their hiding-places. The most 
ferocious carnivores are found in the mountains, and the 
most venomous serpents haunt the lowlands. Darwin says 
that we ought not to expect any closer similarity between 
the organic beings on the opposite sides of the Andes than 
on the opposite shores of the ocean. We will remark that 
we obtained a peccari, a number of birds not accustomed 
to high flights, and five reptilian species, on the Pacific 
slope, identical with species found on the Napd. 

Breakfasting on fried yucas, roasted plantains, fish, and 
guayusa, we set sail, arriving at Coca at 2 p.m. This 
little village, the last we shall see till we come within sight 
of the Amazon, is beautifidly located on the right bank, 
twenty-five feet above the river, and opposite the conflu- 
ence of the Rio Coca. Though founded twenty years ago, 
it contains only five or six bamboo huts, a government- 
house, church, alcalde's residence, and a trcvpiche for the 
manufacture of aguardiente and sirup from the cane.* 
The alcalde was a worthless bianco, who spent most of his 
time swinging in a hammock slung between the posts of 
his veranda, and plajdng with a tame parrot when not 
drunk or asleep. This spot is memorable in history. Pi- 
zarro having reached it from Quito by way of Baeza and 

* The trapiche or sugar-mill of the Andes is a rude affair. The cane is 
pressed between cogged wooden cylinders worked by bullocks, and the juice 
is received in troughs made of hollowed logs. 


The Andes and the Amazon. 

the Coca, halted and built a raft or canoe (Prescott says a 
brig), in which Orellana was sent down the river to recon- 
noitre, but who never returned. Up to this point the IS'apo 
has an easterly course ; but after receiving the Coca, it turns 
to the southeast. We remained here two days to construct 
a more comfortable craft for our voyage to the Amazon, a 
distance of at least five himdred miles. The canoe is the 
only means of navigation known to the Indians. But the 

OuK Ckaft on the Napo. 209 

idea of spending fifteen days cooped, cribbed, and cramped 
in a narrow canoe, exposed to a tropical sun and furious 
rains, was intolerable. 

Our Santa Rosa canoes were about thirty feet long. 
These were placed about five feet apart and parallel, and 
then firmly secured by bamboo joists. Over these we 
spread a flooring of split bamboo, and planted four stout 
chonta sticks to support a palm-thatched roof. A rudder 
(a novel idea to our red-skinned companions), and a box of 
sand in the stern of one of the boats for a fire-place, com- 
pleted our rig. The alcalde, with a hiccough, declared we 
would be forever going down the river in such a huge 
craft, and the Indians smiled ominously. But when our 
gallant ship left Coca obediently to the helm, and at the 
rate of six miles an hour when paddles and current worked 
together, they shouted " htieno .^" Our trunks and provis- 
ion-cans were arranged along the two sides of the plat- 
form, so that we had abundance of room for exercise by 
day and for sleeping under musquito-tents at night. A 
little canoe, which we bought of the alcalde, floated along- 
side for a tender, and was very serviceable in hunting, 
gathering fuel, etc. In the " forecastle" — the bows of the 
large canoes which projected beyond our cabin — sat three 
Indians to paddle. The fourth, who was the governor of 
Santa Rosa, we honored with the post of steersman ; and 
he was always to be seen on the poop behind the kitchen, 
standing bolt upright, on the alert and on the lookout. On 
approaching any human habitation, the Indians blew horns 
to indicate that they came as friends. These horns must 
have come from Brazil, as there are no bovines on the 
iS'apo. Whenever they enter an unknown lagune they 
blow their horns also to charm the yacu-mama, or mother- 
of -waters, as they call the imaginary serpent. 

At different points down the ri\er they deposited pots 

210 The Andes and the Amazon. 

of chicha for use on their return. The mass breeds worms 
so rapidly, however, as Edwards informed ns, that after the 
lapse of a month or two it is a jumble of yuca scraps and 
writhing articulates. But the owner of the heap coolly 
separates the animal from the vegetable, adds a little wa- 
ter, and drinks his chicha without ceremony. During lei- 
sure hours the Indians busied themselves plaiting palm 
leaves into ornaments for their arms and heads. ISTot a 
note did they whistle or sing. Yet they were always in 
good humor, and during the whole voyage we did not see 
the slightest approach to a quarrel, At no time did we 
have the least fear of treachery or violence. 

The ISTapos are not savages. Their goodness, however, 
as Bates says of the Cucama tribe, consists more in the ab- 
sence of active bad qualities than in the possession of good 
ones. Of an apathetic temperament and dull imagination, 
we could not stir them into admiration or enthusiam by 
any scientiiic wonder; the utmost manifestation of sm-- 
prise was a cluck with the tongue.* Upon presenting the 
governor with a vest, he immediately cut oif the buttons, 
and, dividing the cloth into four parts, shared it with his 
fellows.f When it rained they invariably took off their 
ponchos, but in all our intercourse with these wild men 
we never noticed the slightest breach of modesty. They 
strictly maintained a decent arrangement of such apparel 
as they possessed. A canoe containing a young Indian, 
his bride, and our governor's wife and babe, accompanied 
us down to the Maranon. They were going after a load 
of salt for Sandoval. The girl was a graceful paddler, and 

* Bates says the Mundurucus express surprise by.making a clicking sound 
with their teeth, and Darwin observes that the Fuegians have the habit of 
making a chuckling noise when pleased. 

t The like perfect equality exists among the Fuegian tribes. "A piece of 
cloth given to one is torn into shreds and distributed, and no one individual 
becomes richer than another." — Darwin. 

Canoe-life on the Napo. 213 

had some well-founded pretensions to beauty. Her coarse, 
black hair was simply combed back, not braided into plaits 
as commonly done by the Andean women. All, both male 
and female, painted their faces with acliote to keep off the 

Pratt managed the lielm (the governor could not work 
the Yankee notion) and the kitchen. At Santa Rosa we 
liad added to our Quito stock of provisions some manati- 
lard (bottled up in a joint of a bamboo) and sirup, and at 
Coca we took in three fowls, a bag of rice, and a bunch of 
bananas. So we fared sumptuously every day. We left 
Coca on Thanksgiving Day, November 28th, and to imitate 
our distant friends, we sacrificed an extra meal— fricasseed 
chicken, jerked beef, boiled yucas, bananas, oranges, lemon- 
ade, and guayusa. Favored by a powerful current and the 
rhythmic paddling of our Santa Rosans, we made this day 
sixty miles ; but our average daily run was fifty miles. 
Tlie winds (doubtless the trades) were almost unchangea- 
bly from the east ; but an occasional puff would come from 
the northwest, when we relieved our paddlers by hoisting 
a blanket for a sail. Six o'clock was our usual hour of 
departure, and ten or twelve hours our traveling time, al- 
ways tying up at a plaia or island, of which there are hosts 
in the Napo, but never to the main land, for fear of un- 
friendly Indians and the still more unwelcome tiger. Our 
crew encamped at a respectful though hailing distance. 

On the second day from Coca we were caught in a 
squall, and to save our roof we ran ashore. Nearly ever}- 
afternoon we were treated to a shower, accompanied by a 
strong wind, but seldom by thunder and lightning, though 
at Coca we had a brilliant thunder-storm at night. They 
always came after a uniform fashion and at a regular 
hour, so that we learned when to expect them. About 
noon the eastern horizon would become suddenly black. 

214 The Andes and the Amazon. 

and when this had spread to the zenith we heard the rush 
of a mighty wind sweeping through the forest, and the 
crash of falling trees, and then down fell the dehige. The 
Indians have a saying that " the path of the sun is the 
path of the storm." These storm-clouds moved rapidly, 
for in half an hour all was quiet on the Napo. At Quito, 
two hundred miles west, the usual afternoon shower occurs 
two hours later. To-day we enjoyed our last glimpse of 
the Andes. Far away across the great forest we had trav- 
ersed we could see the beautiful cone of Cotopaxi and the 
flat top of Cayambi standing out in proud pre-eminence. 
Long will it be ere we forget this farewell view of the 
magnificent Cordillei-a. 

Manati and Tuktlk 215 


Sea-Cows and Turtles' Eggs.— The Forest.— Peccaries.— Indian Tribes on 
the Lower Napo. — Anacondas and Howling Monkeys. — Insect Pests. — 
Battle with Ants.— Barometric Anomaly.— First View of the Amazon. — 

The thirtieth of JSTovember was an exciting day on the 
monotonous Napo. We fell in with numerous sea-cows 
sporting in the middle of the stream. They were greatly 
disturbed by the sight of our huge craft, and, lifting their 
ugly heads high out of the water, gave a peculiar snort, as 
if in defiance, but always dived out of sight when fired 
upon. The sea-cow is called vaca marina by the Span- 
iards, ^(jzire; hoy by the Brazilians, and manati in the West 
Indies. It has no bovine feature except in its upper lip. 
The head and skin remind one of a large seal. In many 
respects it may be likened to a hippopotamus without tusks 
or legs. It has a semicircular flat tail, and behind the head 
are two oval fins, beneath which are the breasts, which 
yield a white milk. The flesh resembles pork, with a disa- 
greeable, fishy flavor. 

To-day we anchored at several plaias to hunt turtles' 
eggs. Our Indians were very expert in finding the nests. 
Guided approximately by the tracks of the tortugas^ as the 
turtles are called, they thrust a stick into the sand, aud 
wherever it went down easily they immediately commenced 
digging with their hands, and invariably "struck" eggs. 
In four nests, whose contents we counted, there were one 
hundred and thirty-two, one hundred and fourteen, one 
himdred and twelve, and ninety-seven ; but we have heard 
of one hundred and sixty eggs in a single nest. The tur- 

216 The Andes A2S[d the Amazon. 

ties lay in the niglit, and in pits about two feet deep, which 
they excavate with their broad, webbed paws. The eggs 
are about an inch and a half in diameter, having a thin, 
leathery shell, a very oily yolk, and a white which does not 
coagulate. The Indians ate them uncooked. "We used 
them chiefly in making corn griddles. 

Here, as throughout its whole course, the Napo runs be- 
tween two walls of evergreen verdure. On either hand 
are low clay banks (no rocks are visible), and from these 
the forest rises to a uniform height of seventy or eighth- 
feet. It has a more cheerful aspect than the sombre, 
silent wilderness of Baeza. Old aristocrats of the woods 
are overrun by a gay democracy of creepers and climbers, 
which interlace the entire forest, and, descending to take 
root again, appear like the shrouds and stays of a line-of- 
battle ship. Monkeys gambol on this wild rigging, and 
mingle their chatter with the screams of the pari'ot. Trees 
as lofty as our oaks are covered with flowers as beautiful 
as our lilies. Here are orchids of softest tints ;* flower- 
ing ferns, fifty feet high ; the graceful bamboo and wild 
banana; while high over all countless species of palm 
wave their nodding plumes. Art could not arrange these 
beautiful forms so harmoniously as nature has done. 

Tlie tropics, moreover, are strangers to the uniformitj' of 
association seen in temperate climes. We have so man}' 
social plants that we speak of a forest of oaks, and pines, 
and birches ; but there variety is the law. Individuals of 
the same species are seldom seen growing together. Every 

* Some orchid is in flower all the year round. The finest species is the 
odontoglossiim, having long, chocolate-colored petals, margined with yellow. 
"Such is their number and variety (wrote Humboldt) that the entire life of 
a painter would be too short to delineate all the magnificent Orchidea3 which 
adorn the recesses of the deep valleys of the Peruvian Andes." For many 
curious facts respecting the structure of these flowers, see Darwin's Fertiliza- 
tion of Orchids. 

Tkopical Trees. 219 

tree is surrounded by strangers tliat seemingly prefer its 
room to its company ; and, such is the struggle for posses- 
sion of the soil, it is difficult to tell to which stem the dif- 
ferent leaves and flowers belong. The peculiar charm of 
a tropical forest is increased by the mystery of its impene- 
trable thicket. Within that dense, matted shrubbery, and 
behind that phalanx of trees, the imagination of the trav- 
eler sees all manner of four-footed beasts and creeping 
things. Tropical vegetation is of fresher verdure, more 
luxuriant .and succulent, and adorned with larger and more 
shining leaves than the vegetation of the north. The leaves 
are not shed periodically — a character common, not only to 
the equator, but also to the whole southern hemisphere. 
Yet there is a variety of tints, though not aiitumnal. The 
leaves put on their best attire while budding instead of fall- 
ing — passing, as they come to maturity, through different 
shades of red, brown, and green. The majority of tropical 
trees bear small flowers. The most conspicuous trees are 
the palms, to which the prize of beauty has been given by 
the concurrent voice of all ages. The earliest civilization 
of mankind belonged to countries bordering on the region 
of palms. South America, the continent of mingled heat 
and moisture, excels the rest of the world in the number 
and perfection of her palms. They are mostly of the 
feathery and fan-like species; the latter are inferior in 
rank to the former. The peculiarly majestic character of 
the palm is given not only by their lofty stems, but also in 
a very high degree by the form and arrangement of their 
leaves. How diverse, yet equally graceful, are the aspiring 
branches of the jagua and tlie drooping foliage of the 
cocoa, the shuttlecock-shaped crowns of the ubvissu and the 
plumes of the jupati, forty fget in length. The inflores- 
cence always springs from the top of the trunk, and the 
male flowers are generally yellowish. Unlike the oak, all 

220 The Andes and the Ama zon. 

species of which have similar fi-uit, there is a vast differ- 
ence in the fruits of the pahn : compare the triangular 
cocoa-nut, the peach-like date, and grape-like assai. The 
silk-cotton tree is the ri\'al of the palm in dignity ; it has 
a white bark and a lofty flat crown. Among the loveliest 
children of Flora we must include the mimosa, with its 
delicately pinnated foliage, so endowed with sensibility that 
it seems to have stepped out of the bounds of vegetable 
life. The bamboo, the king of grasses, forms a distinct- 
ive feature in the landscape of the ISTapo, frequently rising 
eighty feet in length, though not in height, for the fronds 
curve downward. Fancy the airy grace of our meadow 
grasses united with the lordly growth of the poplar, and 
you have a faint idea of bamboo beauty. 

The first day of winter (how strangely that sounds under 
a vertical sun !) was Sunday ; but it was folly to attempt to 
rest where punkies were as thick as atoms, so Ave floated 
on. It was. only by keeping in mid-river and moving rap- 
idly enough to create a breeze through our cabin, that life 
was made tolerable. A little after noon we were again 
obliged to tie up for a storm. Not a human being nor a 
habitation have we seen since leaving Coca; and to-day 
nothing is visible but the river, with its islands, and plaias, 
and the green palisades — the edges of the boundless forest. 
N^ot a hill over one hundred feet high are we destined to 
see till we reach Obidos, fifteen hundred miles eastward. 
Were it not for the wealtli of vegetation — all new to trans- 
tropical eyes — and the concerts of monkeys and macaws, 
oppressively lonely would be the sail down the Napo be- 
tween its uninhabited shores. But we believe the day, 
though distant, will come when its banks will be busy with 
life. Toward evening three or four canoes pulled out from 
the shore and came alongside. They were filled with the 
lowest class of Indians we have seen in South America. 

Savages. 221 

The women were neai'ly nude ; the man (there was only 
one) had on a sleeveless frock reaching to the knees, made 
from the bark of a tree called llanchama. All were desti- 
tute of eyebrows ; their hair was parted in the middle, and 
their teeth and lips were dyed black. They had rude pot- 
tery, peccari meat, and wooden lances to sell. Like all the 
Napo Indians, they had a weakness for beads, and they 
wore necklaces of tiger and monkey teeth. They were 
stupid rather than brutal, and probably belonged to a de- 
graded tribe of the great Zaparo family. With Darwin, 
"one's mind hurries back over past centuries, and then 
asks, could our progenitors have been men like these ? — 
men whose very signs and expressions are less intelligible 
to us than those of the domesticated animals ; men who do 
not possess the instinct of those animals, nor yet appear to 
boast of human reason, or, at least, of arts consequent on 
that reason. I do not believe it is possible to describe or 
paint the difference between savage and civilized man. It 
is the difference between a wild and tame animal; and 
part of the interest in beholding a savage is the same which 
would lead every one to desire to see the lion in his desert, 
the tiger tearing his prey in the jungle, or the rhinoceros 
wandering over the wild plains of Africa." 

On the morrow our falcon-eyed Indians whispered " cu- 
cAe" long before we saw any thing.* Williams went ashore 
and came upon a herd of peccaries, killing two. The pec- 
cari is a pugnacious, fearless animal. It is not frightened 
by the noise of fire-arms, and when wounded is a dangerous 
foe ; but captured when young, it is easily tamed. It has a 
higher back than the domestic hog, and cleanlier habits ; an 
odoriferous gland on the loins, and three-toed hind feet. 
We preserved the skins for science and a ham for the 
table ; the rest we gave to our crew and fellow- voyagers, 

* In the Quichua of Quito the peccari is called saino. 

222 The Andes and the Amazon. 

who devoured every thing, even the viscera. They sat up 
late that night, around their camp-fire, cooking peccari 
meat : part they parboiled in a pot, and some they roasted, 
skewered on sticks which slanted over the flames ; the rest 
they cured with smoke, for lack of salt. The meat, though 
rank, is palatable, but not equal to macaw, which we served 
up the next day.* 

We had now passed the mouth of the Aguarico, leaving 
behind us the Christian Quitus and the peaceful Zaparos. 
Henceforth the right bank of the Kapo is inhabited by the 
Mazanes and Iquitos; while on the left are the wilder 
Santa Marias, Anguteros, Oritos, and Orejones. The Ore- 
jones, or " Big Ears," enlarge those appendages to such an 
extent that they are said to lie down on one ear and cover 
themselves with the other. This practice is now going out 
of fashion. These Indians received their name, Orejones, 
or Oregones, from the Spaniards, on account of this singu- 
lar custom of inserting disks of wood in tlie ears to en- 
large them ; the like practice prevailed among the tribes 
on the Columbia River, Oregon. They trade in hammocks, 
poisons, and provisions^ The Anguteros, or Putumayos, 
have a bad reputation. They are reported to have killed 
and robbed sarsaparilla traders coming up stream. Nev- 
ertheless, we kept watch only one night during the voyage, 
though we always anchored to an island, and between 
Coca and the Amazon we did not see twenty -five men. 
Equally rare were the savage brutes— not a jaguar showed 
himself, and only one anaconda. The anaconda, or water- 
boa {E^onectes murinus\), is larger and more formidable 

* The Uaupes on the Napo, according to Wallace, will not eat peccari 
meat. "Meat putrifies in this climate (of the Tapajos) in less than twentj'- 
foiir hours, and salting is of no use unless the pieces are cut in thin slices and 
dried immediately in the sun." — Bates. 

t The specific name was strange!}' given for its habit, when young, of dart- 
ing upon mice. Anaconda is a Ceylonese word. 

Howling Monkeys. 223 

than the boa-constrictor which lives on the land. It has 
a hideous appearance, broad in the middle, and tapering 
abruptly at both ends. We did not learn from the natives 
that anacondas over twenty feet long had been seen on the 
Napo, but specimens twice that size are found on the Ama- 
zon. Land boas do not often exceed fifteen feet in length. 
Gangs of the large howling monkeys often entertained 
us with their terrific, unearthly yells, which, in the truthful 
language of Bates, " increased tenfold the feeling of in- 
hospitable wildness which the forest is calculated to in- 
spire." They are of a maroon color (the males wear a 
long red beard), and have under the jaw a bony goitre — 
an expansion of the os hyoides — by means of which they 
produce their loud, rolling noise. They set up an unusual 

chorus whenever they saw us, scampering to the tops of 
the highest trees, the dams carrying the young npon their 
backs. They are the only monkeys which the natives have 
not been able to tame. Vast numbers of screaming par- 
rots and macaws flew over our heads, always going in pairs 
and at a great height. Groups of " gypsy -birds" were 
perched on the trees overhanging the river, and black 

224 The Andes and the Amazon. 

ducks, cormorants, and white cranes floated on tlie water 
or stalked along the plaias. 

But one form of life superabounded. From the rising 
of the sun to the going down tliereof clouds of ubiquitous 
sand-flies tilled our cabin, save when the wind was high. 
As soon as the sand-flies ceased, myriads of musquitoes 
began their work of torture, without much preparatory 
piping, and kept it up all night.* These pests were occa- 
sionally relieved or assisted by piums — minute flies that 
alight unnoticed, and squatting close to the skin, suck their 
fill of blood, leaving dark spots and a disagreeable irrita- 
tion. Our hands were nearly black with their punctures. 
We also made the acquaintance of the montiica, a large 
black fly whose horny lancets make a gash in the flesh, 
painless but blood-letting. All these insects are most abun- 
dant in the latter part of the rainy season, when the Mara- 
non is almost uninhabitable. The apostrophe of Midship- 
man Wilberforce was prompted by sufferings which we 
can fully appreciate : " Ye greedy animals ! I am ashamed 
of you. Can not you once forego yoixr dinner, and feast 
your mind with the poetry of the landscape ?" Eight wel- 
come was the usual afternoon squall, which sent these 
pests " kiting" over the stern. 

On Wednesday we fell in with a petty sarsaparilla 
trader, with two canoes, bound for tlie Maranon. He was 
sick with fever.' Sarsaparilla (written salsaparrilJia in Bra- 
zil, and meaning " bramble vine") is the root of a prickly, 
climbing plant found throughout the whole Amazonian 
forest, but chiefly on dry, rocky ground. On the morning 
of the seventh day from Coca we passed the mouth of the 
Curaray, the largest tributary of the Napo. It rises on the 
slopes of the Llanganati mountains, and is considered au- 

* Sand-flies are called by the natives musquitoes, and what we call mus- 
quitoes they call sancudos. 

Battle with Ants. 225 

riferous. It is probably derived from curi, gold. Seeing 
a hut on the banks, we sent an Indian to purchase provis- 
ions ; he returned with a few yucas and eggs. The day 
following we were attacked from a new quarter. Stop- 
ping to escape a storm, a party went ashore to cut down a 
tree of which we desired a section. It fell with its top in 
the river, just above our craft ; when lo ! to our consterna- 
tion, down came countless hosts of ants {Ecitons). Myr- 
iads were, of course, swept down stream, but myriads more 
crawled up the sides of our canoes, and in one minute aft- 
er the tree fell our whole establishment, from hold to roof, 
v/as swarming with ants. We gave one look of despair at 
each other, our provisions and collections, and then com- 
menced a war of extermination. It was a battle for life. 
The ants, whose nest we had so suddenly immersed in the 
Napo, refused to quit their new lodgings. As we were 
loosely dressed, the tenacious little creatui*es hid themselves 
under our clothing, and when plucked off would leave 
their heads and jaws sticking in the skin. At last the 
deck was cleared by means of boots, slippers, and towels ; 
but, had the ants persevered, they might have taken pos- 
session of the boat. 

To-day we saw a high bank (called in Quichua ;puGa- 
urcu, or red hill) consisting of fine laminated clays of 
many colors — red, orange, yellow, gray, black, and white. 
This is the beginning of tliat vast deposit which covers the 
whole Amazonian Valley. It rests upon a bed of lignite, 
or bituminous shale, and a coarse, iron-cemented conglom- 
erate. The latter is not visible on the Napo, but crops out 
particiilarly at Obidos and Para. The Indians prepare 
their paints from these colored clays. 

Our Santa Eosans seemed to have little tact in fishing ; 
still their spears and our hooks gathered not a few repre- 
sentatives of ichthyie life in the Napo. The species most 


226 The Aicdes and the Amazon. 

common belong to the genus Pimelodus, or cat-fish tribe. 
Below the Curaray the sand bars yielded turtles' eggs of a 
different kind from those found above, the tracajd. They 
were smaller and oval, and buried only six or eight inches 
deep, thirty in a nest. 

December 9. — Passed early this morning the mouth of 
the Mazan; four huts at the junction. To-day we noticed 
the anomaly first observed by Herndon. From Papal! acta 
to the Curaray the rise of the mercury was regular, but 
on the lower N^apo there were great fluctuations. At one 
time both barometer and boiling apparatus, with which we 
made daily and simultaneous observations, unanimously 
declared that our canoes were gliding up stream, though 
we were descending at the rate of five miles an hour. The 
temperature is decidedly lower and the winds are stronger 
as we near the Amazon. 

December 10. — Our last day on the JSTapo. In celebra- 
tion of the event we killed a fine yoimg doe as it was cross- 
ing the river. It closely resembled the Virginia deer. At 
9 A.M. the Indians shouted in their quiet way — "Jfara- 
non .^" It was as thrilling as Thalatta to Xenophon's sol- 
diers. We were not expecting to reach it till night, being 
deceived by Villavicencio's map, which, in common with 
all others, locates the Curaray and Mazan too far to the 
north. We halted for an hour at Camindo, a little fishing 
hamlet claimed by Peru, and then hastened to get our first 
Bight of the Amazon. With emotions we can not express, 
we gazed upon this ocean-stream. The march of the great 
river in its silent grandeur is sublime. In its untamed 
might it rolls through the wilderness with a stately, solemn 
air, showing its awful power in cutting away the banks, 
teai'ing down trees, and building up islands in a day. 
Down the river we can look till the sky and water meet as 
on the sea, while the forest on either hand dwindles in tlie 

Aeeival at Pebas. 227 

perspective to a long black line. Between these even walls 
of ever-living green the resistless current hurries out of 
Peru, sweeps past the imperial guns of Tabatinga into 
Brazil, and plows its way visibly two hundred miles into 
the Atlantic. 

At a small island standing where the Napo pays tribute 
to the monarch of rivers, mingling its waters with the Hu- 
allaga and Ucayali, which have already come down from 
the Peruvian Andes, we bade adieu to our captain and 
cook, who, in the little canoe, paddled his way westward to 
seek his fortune in Iquitus. At this point the Maranon 
(for so the natives call the Upper Amazon) does not appear 
very much broader than the Kapo ; but its depth is far 
greater, and there are few sand-bars.* The water is al- 
ways of a turbid yellow; while the N"apo, though muddy 
during our voyage, is usually clear. The forest, moreover, 
on the banks of the Maranon, is not so striking as on the 
tributary. The palms are not so numerous, and the mii- 
form height of the trees gives a monotonous, sea-like 

We arrived at Pebas December 12, ten hours after leav- 
ing the mouth of the Napo, and a month and a half from 
Quito. The first individual we met addressed us in good 
English, and proved to be Mr. Hauxwell, a well-known col- 
lector of birds and insects, who has resided thirty years on 
the Amazon. His house, the largest and best in town, 
though but a roofed stockade, was generously placed at our 
disposal, and the fatted calf — -an immense turtle — was im- 
mediately killed. To us, after the transit of the Andes 
and the dangers and hardships of the wilderness and tlw 
river, it seemed as if we had reached the end of our jor.r- 

* Hemdon makes the mouth of the Nape IriO yards broad, and the sound- 
ings six or seven fathoms. This is not a fair representation ; for the NaT)o, 
like all the other tributaries, empties its waters by several mouths. At Ca- 
mindo, five miles above the confluence, the Nape is certainly a mile wide. 

228 The Andes and the Amazon. 

ney, though we were over two thousand miles from the At- 
lantic. Pebas is situated on a high clay bluff beside the 
Ambi-yacu, a mile above its entrance into the Maranon. 
Excepting Mr. Hauxwell, the Peruvian governor, and two 
or three other whites, the inhabitants are Indians of the 
Orejones and Yagua tribes. The exportations are ham- 
mocks, sarsaparilla, palo de cruz, and m'ari. Palo de cruz 
is the very hard, dark-colored wood of a small leguminous 
tree bearing large pink flowers. Urari is the poison used 
by .all the Amazonian Indians ; it is made by the Ticunas 
on the Putumayo, by boiling to a jelly the juices of certain 
roots and herbs, chiefly of the Strychnos toxifera, though 
it does not contain any trace of strychnine. Tipped with 
urari, the needle-like arrow used in blow-guns will kill an 
ox in twenty minutes and a monkey in ten. "We have 
reason to congratulate ourselves (wrote the facetious Sid- 
ney Smith) that our method of terminating disputes is by 
sword and pistol, and not by these medicated pins." But 
the- poison appears to be harmless to man and other salt- 
eating animals, salt being an antidote.* We were not 
troubled with sand-flies after leaving the plaias of the 
Napo, but the musquitoes at Pebas were supernumerary. 
Perhaps, however, it was a special gathering on our ac- 
count, for the natives have a notion that just before the 
arrival of a foreigner the musquitoes come in great num- 

Many of the Indians are disfigm-ed by dark blotches on 
the skin, the effect of a cutaneous disease very prevalent in 

* Urari is mentioned by Raleigh. Humboldt was the first to take any 
considerable quantity to Europe. The experiments of Virchau and Miinster 
make it probable that it does not belong to the class, of tetanic poisons, but 
that its particular effect is to take away the power of voluntary muscular 
movement, while the involuntary functions of the heart and intestines still 
continue. See Ann. de Chim. et de Phys., t. xxxix., 1828, p. 24 ; and Schom- 
berg's Reisen in Britisch Guiana, th. i.,*. 441. The frightful poison, tiente 
of India, is prepared from a Java species of strychnos. 

Clay-eateks. 229 

Central Amazonia. Here we lirst noticed the singular 
habit among the children of eating clay. This habit is not 
confined to tlie Otomacs on the Oronoco, nor to Indians 
altogether ; for negroes and whites have the same propen- 
sity — -Mr. Hauxwell found it impossible to restrain his own 
children. Bates ascribes the morbid craving to the meagre 
diet. This may be true to some extent, but it is certainly 
strange that the extraordinary desire to swallow earth 
(chiefly unctuous clays) is found only in the tropics, where 
vegetation is so rank and fruit so abundant. 

230 The Ai^jes and the Aiiazon. 


Down the Amazon. — Steam on the Great River. — Loreto. — San Antonio. — 
Tabatinga. — Brazilian Steamers. — Scenery on the Amazon. — Tocantius — 
Fonte Boa. — Ega. — Rio Negro. — Manaos. 

We left Pebas for Tabatinga in the Peruvian steamer 
" Moroua," Captain Eaygado. Going up to Jerusalem by 
railroad, or ascending the Nile by a screw whisking the 
sacred waters, is not so startling as the sight of a steamer 
in the heart of South America. There is such a contrast 
between the primeval wildness of the country and the peo- 
ple and this triumph of civilized life ; and one looks for- 
ward to the dazzling future of this great valley, when the 
ships of all nations will crowd the network of rivers for 
the gold and perfumes, the gems and woods of this west- 
ern Ophir. The natives call the steamer the "devil's 
boat," or " big canoe ;" but they manifest little curiosity. 
Our Napo Indians were evidently afraid of it, and stood 
afar off. The first steamers that broke the deep solitude 
of the Maranon were the " Huallaga" and " Tirado," 
brought out in 1853 by Dr. Wliittemore, for Peru. They 
were built in New York, of Georgia pine, costing Peru 
$75,000, and reflected no credit on the United States; 
they lie rotting near Nauta. Peru has now two iron 
steamers of London make — the " Morona" and " Pastassa" 
— besides two smaller craft for exploring the tributaries. 
These steamers are for government ser\ice, but three more 
are building in England with passenger accommodations. 
The " Morona" has a tonnage of five hundred, and an en- 
gine of one hundred and fifty horse-power. The engineers 

The Uppek Amazon. 231 

are Eiiglisli, and tlie cook is a Cliinaman. She makes 
monthly trips between Ym'imaguas, on the Huallaga Riv- 
er, and Tabatinga, on the Brazilian frontier. Her rate 
down stream is eighteen miles an hour, and from eleven 
to twelve against the current. These steamers do not pay 
expenses at present; but they preserve the authority of 
Peru on the Mararion, and supply with material the gov- 
ernment works at Iquitos. They also do a little com- 
merce, taking down sarsaparilla and Moyabamba hats, and 
bringing up English dry-goods. There were not half a 
dozen passengers on board. 

The only towns of any consequence west of Pebas are 
Iquitos, Nauta, and Yurimaguas. Peru claims them — in 
fact, all the villages on the Maraiion. Iquitos is the most 
thriving town on the Upper Amazon. It is situated on an 
elevated plain on the left bank of the river, sixty miles 
above the mouth of the Napo. In Ilerndon's time it was 
" a fishing village of 227 inhabitants ;" it now contains 
2000. Here are the government iron-works, carried on 
by English mechanics. In 186T there were six engineers, 
two iron-inolders, two brass-molders, two coppersmiths, 
three blacksmiths, three pattern-makers, two boiler-mak- 
evs, five shipwrights, three sawyers, besides bricklayers, 
brick-makers, carpenters, coopers, etc. ; in all forty-two. 
All the coal for the furnaces is brought from England — 
the lignite on the banks of the Maranon is unfit for the 
purpose. A floating dock for vessels of a thousand tons 
has just been built. Nauta lies on the north bank of the 
Maranon, opposite the entrance of the Ucayali. Its in- 
habitants, about 1000, trade in fish, sarsaparilla, and wax 
fi'om Ucayali. Yurimaguas is the port of Moyabamba, a 
city of 10,000 souls, six days' travel southwest. This vast 
eastern slope, lying on the branches of the Maranon, is 
called the Montana of Peru. It is a region of inexhausti- 

232 The Andes and the Amazon. 

ble fertility, and would yield ample returns to energy and 
capital. The villages are open to foreign commerce, free 
of duty; but at present the voice of civilized man is seldom 
heard, save on the main fluvial highway between Moyabam- 
ba and the Brazilian frontier. The Portuguese are the most 
adventurous traders. The value of imports to Peru by the 
Amazonian steamers during 1867 was $324,533 ; of exports, 

In two hours and a half we arrive at Maucallacta, or 
" Old Town," an Indian village on the right bank of the 
river. Here our passports were vised by the Peruvian 
governor, and the steamer wooded up. One of the hands 
on the " Morona" was Manuel Medina, a mameluco, who 
was employed by Bates and Agassiz in their explorations. 
We left at noon of the following day, and a,nchored for 
the night off Caballococha, for the Peruvian steamers run 
only in the daytime. Caballococha, or " Horse-lake," is a 
Ticuna town, situated on a level tract of light loam, closely 
surrounded by the dense forest, and beside a cano of clear 
water leading to a pretty lake. Ecuador claims this town, 
and likewise all the settlements on the Maranon ; but her 
learned geographer, Villavicencio, with characteristic ig- 
norance of the country, has located it on the north bank 
of the river ! 

We passed in the afternoon the little tug " Napo," hav- 
ing on board Admiral Tucker, who, with some associates, 
is exploring the tributaries of the Upper Amazon for the 
Peruvian government. They had just returned from a 
voyage of two hundred and fifty miles up the Javari. 
One of the party had a tame tiger-cat in his arms. We 
arrived at Loreto early the next morning. This village 
of twenty houses and a church is prettily situated on 
the left bank, with a green slope in front. It is the most 
eastei'ly town of Peru on the Amazon. Here resides Mr. 

The Fkontiek of Brazil. 233 

Wilkens, the Brazilian consul, of German birth, but North 
American education. The inhabitants are Peruvians, Por- 
tuguese, Negroes, and Ticima Indians. The musquitoes 
hold high carnival at this place. In two hours we were 
at San Antonio, a military post on the Peruvian frontier, 
commanded by a French engineer, Manuel Charon, who 
also studied in the United States. One large building, 
and a flag-staff on a high bluff of red clay, were all that 
was visible of San Antonio ; but the " Morona" brought 
down a gang of Indians (impressed, no doubt) to build a 
fort for twenty guns. The site is in depute, a Brazilian 
claiming it as pri\'ate property. The white barracks of 
Tabatinga, the first fortress in Brazil, are in plain sight, the 
voyage consuming but twenty minutes. Between San An- 
tonio and Tabatinga is a ravine, on either side of which is 
a white pole, marking the limits of the republic and the 

Tabatinga has long been a military post, but, excepting 
the government buildings, there are not a dozen houses. 
Numerous Indians, however, of the Ticuna tribe, dwell in 
the neighboring forest. The commandante was O Illus- 
trissimo Senor Tenente Aristides Juste Mavignier, a tall, 
thin, stooping officer, dressed in brown linen. He received 
us -with great civility, and tendered a house and servant dur- 
ing our stay in port. We preferred, however, to accept the 
hospitalities of the " Morona" till the arrival of the Brazil- 
ian steamer. Sefior Mavignier was commandante of Ma- 
naos when visited by Agassiz, and presented the Professor 
with a hundred varieties of wood. With the like courtesy, 
he gave us a collection of reptiles, all of them rare, and 
many of them new species. He showed us also a live ra- 
posa, or wild dog, peculiar to the Amazon, but seldom seen. 
Tabatinga stands on an eminence of yellow clay, and is de- 
fended by twelve guns. The river in front is quite narrow, 

234 The Aistdes and the Amazon. 

only about half a mile wide. Here our passports, which 
had been signed at Maucallacta and Loreto, were indorsed 
by the conimandante. They were afterward examined at 
Ega, Manaos, and Para. The mean temperature of Taba- 
tinga we found to be 82°.* Some rubber and salt fish are 
exported, but nothing of consequence is cultivated. Grapes, 
the people say, grow well, but are destroyed by the ants. 
The only fruit-trees we noticed were the mamai (in Span- 
ish, papaya), araca, and abio. The papaw-tree bears male 
and female flowers on different trees, and hence receives 
the name oij>wpaya or mayndi, according to one's view of 
the pre-eminence of the sex. The juice of this tree is used 
by the ladies of the West Indies as a cosmetic, and by the 
butchers to render the toughest meat tender. The fruit is 
melon-shaped, and of an orange-yellow color. Yauquelin 
discovered in it Jihrine, till lately supposed to be confined 
to the animal kingdom. 

The Peruvian steamers connect at Tabatinga with the 
Brazilian line. There are eight imperial steamers on the 
Amazon : the " Icamiaba," running between Tabatinga and 
Manaos; the "Tapajos" and "Belem," plying between Ma- 
naos and Para ; the " Inca" and " Manaos," between Obidos 
and Para ; besides two steamers on the Tocanti'ns, one be- 
tween Para and Chares, and projected lines for the Negro, 
Tapajos, and Madeira. The captains get a small salary, 
but the perquisites are large, as they have a percentage on 
the freight. One captain jDOcketed in one year $9000-. 

We embarked, December 12, on the " Icamiaba," which 
promptly arrived at Tabatinga. The commander, former- 
ly a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy, and for twelve years 
a popular officer on the Upper Amazon, was a polished 
gentleman, but rigid disciplinarian. As an example of 

* According to Lieutenant Azevedo, the latitude of Tabatinga is 4° 14' 
30"; longitude, 70° 2' 24"; magnetic variation, 6° 35' 10" N.E. 

Brazilian Steameks. 235 

Brazilian etiquette, we give his full address from one of 
our letters of introduction : 

" Ilmo. Sr. Capn. de Fragata 

Nuno Alvez I'ereira de Mello Cardozo, 

Digno Commandante de Vapor 


The " Icamiaba" was an iron boat of four hundred and 
fifty tons, with two engines of fifty horse-power each. The 
engineer was an Austrian, yet tlie captain gave liis orders 
in English, thougli neither could speak the language. The 
saloon, with berths for twenty-five passengers, was above 
deck, and open at both ends for ventilation. The passen- 
gers, however, usually swung their hammocks on the upper 
deck, which was covered by an awning. This was a de- 
lightfully breezy and. commanding position ; and though 
every part of the steamer was in perfect order, this was 
scrupulously neat. Here the table was spread with every 
tropical luxury, and attentively served by young men in 
spotless attire. Happy the traveler who sits at the table 
of Commandante Cardozo. The refreshment hours were : 
Coffee as soon as the passengers turned out of their ham- 
mocks, and sometimes before ; breakfast at ten, dinner at 
five, and tea at eight. Live bullocks, fowls, and turtles 
were kept on boai'd, so that of fresh meat, particularly 
beef (the first we had tasted since leaving Quito), there 
was no lack. At breakfast we counted nine different 
courses of meat. The Peruvian steamers are limited to 
turtle and salt fish. Rice and farina are extensively used 
in Brazil, but we saw very little tapioca. Farina is the 
flour of the country, and is eaten in hard, dry grains ; it 
will not keep in any other form. It can not be very nu- 
tritious, as it contains little gluten. All bread and butter 
are imported from the United States and England. The 
captains of Brazilian steamers are their own stewards ; and 
in the midst of other business in port, they stop to negotiate 

236 The Andes and the Amazon. 

for a chicken, or a dozen eggs, with an Indian or Negro. 
The " Icamiaba" left Tabatinga with only three first-class 
passengers, besides our own party. On no Amazon steam- 
er did we meet with a lady passenger. Madame Godin, 
who came down the river from the Andes, and Mrs. Agas- 
siz, who ascended to Tabatinga, were among the few ladies 
who have seen these upper waters. But how differently 
they traveled ! one on a raft, the other on the beautiful 
" Icamiaba." 

Between Tabatinga and Teffe, a distance of five hundred 
miles, is perhaps the most uncivilized part of the main 
river. Ascending, we find improvements multiply as we 
near the mountains of Peru ; descending, we see the march 
of civilization in the budding cities and expanding com- 
merce culminating at Grand Para. The scenery from the 
deck of an Amazonian steamer, if described, appears mo- 
notonous. A vast volume of smooth, yellow water, fioating 
trees and beds of aquatic grass, low, linear-shaped, wooded 
islets, a dark, even forest — the shores of a boundless sea of 
verdure, and a cloudless sky occasionally obscured by flocks 
of parrots : these are the general features. No busy towns 
are seen along the banks of the Middle Amazon ; only here 
and there a palm hut or semi-Indian village half buried in 
the wilderness. We agree with Darwin (speaking of the 
Plata), that " a wide expanse of muddy water has neither 
grandem- nor beauty." The real grandeur, however, of a 
great river like this is derived from reflecting upon its pro- 
spective commercial importance and its immense drainage. 
A lover of nature, moreover, can never tire of gazing at the 
picturesque grouping and variety of trees, with their man- 
tles of creeping plants ; while a little imagination can see 
in the alligators, ganoid fishes, sea-cows, and tall gray her- 
ons, the ichthyosaurus, holoptychius, dinotherium, and bron- 
tozoum of ancient days. Here and there the river is 

Indian Villages. 237 

bordered with low alluvial deposits covered with feath- 
ery-topped arrow-grass and amphibious vegetation ; but 
generally the banks are about ten feet high and mag- 
nificently wooded ; they are abrupt, and land-slides are 

A few minutes after leaving Tabatinga we passed the 
mouth of the Javari, which forms the natural boundary 
between Peru and Brazil. Henceforth the river loses the 
name of Maranon, and is called Solimoens, or, more com- 
monly, simply Amazon. We were ten hours in reaching 
San Paulo, a wretched Ticuna village of five hundred souls, 
built on a grassy table-land nearly one hundred feet high. 
Steps have been cut in the slippery clay bluff to facilitate 
the ascent. Swamps lie back of the town, rendering it un- 
healthy. " On damp nights (says the Naturalist on the 
Amazon) the chorus of frogs and toads which swarm in 
weedy back-yards creates such a bewildering uproar that 
it is impossible to carry on a conversation in doors except 
by shouting." 

In ten hours more we had passed the Putumayo and en- 
tered the Tunantins, a sluggish, dark-colored tributary emp- 
tying into the Amazon about two hundred miles below the 
Javari.* On the bank of white earth, which strongly con- 
trasts with the tinted stream, is a dilapidated hamlet of 
twenty-five hovels, built of bamboo plastered with mud and 
whitewashed. We saw but one two-storied house ; and all 
have ground-floors and double-thatched roofs. The inhab- 
itants are semi-civilized Shumana and Passe Indians and 
half-breeds ; but in the gloomy forest which hugs the town 
live the wild Caishanas. The atmosphere is close and 
steaming, but not hot, the mercury at noon standing at 83°. 
The place is alive with insects and birds. The nights on 

* Ilerndon says (p. 241), " tlie Tunantins is about fifty yards broad, and 
sccius deep with a considerable current." 


The Andes and the Amazon. 

the Amazon were invariably cool ; on the Lower Amazon, 
cold, so that we required a heavy blanket. 

Taking on board wood, beeves, turtles, salt fish, and 
water-melons, we left at half past 2 p.m. The Brazilian 
steamers run all night, and with no slackening of speed. 
At one o'clock we were awakened 1)y a cry from the watch, 

Agkound on the Amazon. 239 

" Stop her !" And immediately after there was a crash ; 
but it was only the breaking of crockery caused by the 
sudden stoppage. The niglit was fearfully dark, and for 
aught we knew the steamer was running headlong into the 
forest. Fortunately there was no collision, and in a few 
minutes we were again on our way, arriving at Fonte Boa 
at 4 A.M. This Httle village stands in a palm grove, on 
a high bank of ochre-colored sandy clay, beside a slue of 
sluggish black water, eight miles from the Amazon.* The 
inhabitants, about three hundred, are ignorant, lazy mame- 
lucos. They dress like the majority of the semi-civilized 
people on the Amazon : the men content with shirt and 
pantaloons, the women wearing cotton or gauze chemises 
and calico petticoats. Fonte Boa is a museum for the nat- 
uralist, but the headquarters of musquitoes, small but per- 
sistent. Taking in a large qiiantity of turtle -oil, the 
" Icamiaba" turned down the cano, but almost immediately 
ran aground, and we were two hours getting oif. These 
yearly shifting shoals in the Amazon can not be laid down 
in charts, and the most experienced pilots often run foul 
of them. In twelve hours we entered the Teffe, a tribu- 
tary from the Boli\'ian mountains. Just before reaching 
the Great River it expands into a beautiful lake, with a 
white, sandy beach. On a grassy slope, stretching out into 
the lake, with a harbor on each side of it, lies the city of 
Ega. A hundred palm-thatched cottages of mud and tiled 
frame houses, each with an inclosed orchard of orange, 
lemon, banana, and guava trees, surround a rude church, 
marked by a huge wooden crucifix on the green before it, 
instead of a steeple. Cacao, assai, and pupunha palms rise 
above the town, adding greatlj' to its beauty ; while back 
of all, on the summit of the green slope, begins the pictur- 

* Smyth says the town gets its name from the clearness of the water ; but 
Herndoii found it muddy, and, to our eyes, it was dark as the Negro. 

240 The Aj^des and the Amazon. 

esque forest, pathless, save here and there a faint hunter's 
track leading to the untrodden interior. The sheep and 
cattle grazing on the lawn, a rare sight in Alto Amazonas, 
gives a peaceful and inviting aspect to the scene. The 
inhabitants, numbering about twelve hundred, are made 
up of pure Indians, half-castes, negroes, mulattoes, and 
whites. Ega (also called Teffe) is the largest and most 
thriving town between Manaos and Iquitos, a distance of 
twelve hundred miles. It is also one of the oldest settle- 
ments on the river, having been founded during the En- 
glish revolution, or nearly two centuries ago. Tupi is the 
common idiom. The productions of the country are cacao, 
sarsaparilla, Brazil nuts, bast for caulking vessels, copaiba 
balsam, India-rubber, salt fish, turtle-oil, manati, grass ham- 
mocks, and tiles. Bates calculates the value of the annual 
exports at nearly forty thousand dollars. The " Icamiaba" 
calls here twice a month ; besides which there are small 
schooners which occupy about five months in the round 
trip between Ega and Para. " The place is healthy (writes 
the charming Naturalist on the Amazon), and almost free 
from insect pests; perpetual verdure surrounds it, the soil is 
of marvelous fertility, even for Brazil ; the endless rivers 
and labyrinths of channels teem with fish and turtle ; a fleet 
of steamers might anchor at any season of the year in the 
lake, which has uninterrupted water communication straight 
to the Atlantic. "What a future is in store for the sleepy 
little tropical village !" Here Bates pursued butterflies for 
four years and a half, and Agassiz fished for six months. 

Ega is the half-way point across the continent, but its 
exact altitude above the sea is unknown. Herndon's boil- 
ing apparatus gave two thousand feet, and, what is worse, 
the lieutenant believed it. Our barometer made it one 
hundred feet ; but as our instrument, though perfect in it- 
self, behaved very strangely on the Middle Amazon, we do 

Baeometkic Anomaly. 


not rely on the calculation. The true height is not far 
from one hundred and twenty-five feet, or one fifth the el- 
evation of the middle point in the ISTorth American conti- 
nent.* Taking on board salt fish, turtle-oil, and tiles, we 

* For a discussion of the barometric perturbations on tlie Amazon, see 
American Journal of Science for Sept., 18G8. 

242 The Andes akd the A ma ton. 

left Ega two hours after midnight, reaching Coary at 
noon. The Amazon began to look more like a lake than 
a river, having a width of four or five miles. Floating 
gulls and rolling porpoises remind one of the sea. Coary 
is a huddle of fifteen houses, six of them plastered with- 
out, whitewashed, and tiled. It is situated on a lake of 
the same name — the expanded outlet of a small river 
whose waters are dark brown, and whose banks are low 
and covered with bushes. Here we took in turtles and 
turtle-oil, Brazil nuts and cocoa-nuts, rubber, salt fish, and 
wood ; and, six hours after leaving, more fish and rubber 
were received at Cudaja. Cudaja is a lonely spot on the 
edge of an extensive system of back-waters and lakes, run- 
ning through a dense unexplored forest inhabited by Miira 

At three in the afternoon of Christmas, seventy-four 
hours' running time from Tabatinga, we entered the 
Negro. Strong is the contrast between its black-dyed wa- 
ters and the yellow Amazon. The line separating the two 
rivers is sharply drawn, the waters meeting, not mingling. 
Circular patches of the dark waters of the Negro are seen 
floating like oil amid the turbid waters of the Amazon. 
The sluggish tributary seems to be dammed up by the im- 
petuous monarch. The banks of the latter are low, rag- 
ged, perpendicular beds of clay, covered with a bright 
green foliage; the Negro is fringed with sandy beaches, 
with hills in the background clothed with a sombre, mo- 
notonous forest containing few palms or leguminous trees. 
Musquitoes, piums, and montucas never trouble the travel- 
er on the inky stream. When seen in a tumbler, the wa- 
ter of the Negro is clear, but of a light-red color ; due, un- 
doubtedly, to vegetable matter. The visible mouth of the 
river at this season of the year (December) is three miles 
wide, but from main-land to main-land it can not be less 
than twenty. 

The City of Manaos. 243 

In forty minutes after leaving the Amazon we arrived 
at Manaos. This important city lies on the left bank of 
the Negro, ten miles from its mouth and twenty feet above 
high-water level. The site is very uneven, and consists of 
ferruginous sandstone. There was originally a fort here, 
erected by the Portuguese to protect their slave-hunting 
expeditions among the Indians on the river- — hence the an- 
cient name of Barra. On the old map of Father Fritz 
(1707) the spot is named Taromas. Since 1852 it has 
been called Manaos, after the most warlike tribe. Some 
of the houses are two-storied, but the majority are low 
adobe structures, white and yellow washed, floored and 
roofed with tiles, and having green doors and shutters. 
Every room is furnished with hooks for hanging ham- 
mocks. We did not see a bed between Quito and New 
York except on the steamers. The population, numbering 
two thousand,* is a mongrel set — Brazilians, Portuguese, 
Italians, Jews, Negroes, and Indians, with divers crosses 
between them. Laziness is the prominent characteristic. 
A gentleman offered an Indian passing his door twenty- 
five cents if he would bring him a pitcher of water from 
the river, only a few rods distant. He declined. " But I 
will give you fifty cents." Whereupon the half-clothed, 
penniless aboriginal replied : " I will give you a dollar to 
bring me some."t While every inch of the soil is of ex- 
uberant fertility, there is always a scarcity of food. It is 
the dearest spot on the Amazon. Most of the essentials 
and all of the luxuries come from Liverpool, Lisbon, and 
New York. Agriculture is at a discount on the Amazon. 
Brazilians will not work ; European immigrants are trad- 
ers ; nothing can be done with Indians ; and negroes are 

* Official returns for 1848 give 3614 ; Bates (1850) reckons 3000. 

t Darwin met a similar specimen in Banda Oriental : "I asked two men 
why they did not work. One gravely said the days were too long ; the oth- 
er that he was too poor." 


The Andes and the Amazon. 

few in number, the slave-trade being abolished, emancipa- 
tion begun, and the Paraguayan war not ended. A laboring 
class will ever be a desideratum in this tropical country. 
With a healthy climate,* and a situation at the juncture of 

* It is, however, one of the warmest spots on the river. Tlie average tem- 
perature, according to Azevedo and Pinto, is only 79. 7° ; but the highest 

Manaos. 245 

two great navigable rivers, Manaos is destined to become 
the St. Louis of South America. In commercial advant- 
ages it is hardly to be surpassed by any other city in the 
vforld, having water communication with two thirds of the 
continent, and also with the Atlantic. It is now the prin- 
cipal station for the Brazilian line of steamers. Here all 
goods for a higher or lower point are reshipped. The 
chief articles of export are coffee (of superior quality), sar- 
saparilla, Brazil nuts, piassaba, and fish. The Negro at 
this point is really five or six miles wide, but the opposite 
shore is masked by low islands, so that it appears to be but 
a mile and a half. 

The country around Manaos is quite romantic for the 
Amazonian Valley. The land is undulating and furrowed 
by ravines, and the vegetation covering it is marvelously 
rich and diversified. In the forest, two miles from the 
city, there is a natural curiosity celebrated by all travelers 
from Spix and Martins down. A rivulet coming out of 
the wilderness falls over a ledge of red sandstone ten feet 
high and fifty feet broad, forming a beautiful cascade. 
The water is cool, and of a deep orange color. The 
foundation of a fine stone cathedral was laid in Manaos 
fourteen years ago, but this generation is not likely to 
witness the dedication. Life in this Amazonian city is dull 
enough : commerce is not brisk, and society is stiff ; balls 
are about the only amusements. On Sunday (the holiday) 
evei-y body who can afford it comes out in Paris fashions. 
There are carts, but no coaches. We called iipon the 
President at his " Palace" — an odd term for a two-storied, 
whitewashed edifice. His excellency received us with less 
formality and more cordiality than we expected to find in 
the solemn officials of the empire. The first glance at the 

point reached on the Amazon in 1862 (87.3°) was at Manaos, and the ex- 
traordinaiy heiglit of 95° has been noted there. 

246 The Andes akd the Ajviazon. 

reception-room, with the four chairs for visitors set in two 
hnes at right angles to the chair of state, promised cold 
etiquette ; but he addressed us with considerable familiar- 
ity and evident good-will. We found, however, that his 
authority was quite limited, for a written order which he 
gave us for a subordinate did not receive the slightest con- 
sideration. At the house of a Jew named Levy we met a 
party of Southerners, Captains Mallory, Jones, Sandedge, 
and Winn, commanded by Dr. Dowsing, who, since " the 
late onpleasantness," as Nasby calls it, have determined to 
settle in this country. The government grants them twen- 
ty square leagues of land on any tributary, on condition 
that they will colonize it. They were about to start for 
the Rio Branco on an exploring tour. 

i,iiiiiiiiii|iiipi!!iii|nii{iiiiiii I 


Jill; i 

' r' 

: I 

Sekpa. 249 


Down the Amazon. — Serpa. — Villa Nova. — Obidos. — Santarem. — A Colony 
of Southerners. — Monte AMgre. — Porto do Moz. — Leaving the Amazon. 
— -Breves. — Para River. — The City of Para. — Legislation and Currency. 
— Religion and Education. — Nonpareil Climate. 

At 10 P.M. we left Mauaos in the " Tapajos," an iron 
steamer of seven hundred tons. We missed the snow- 
white cleanhness and rigid regularity of the " Icamiaba," 
and Captain Jose Antunes Rodrigues de Oliveira Catram- 
by was quite a contrast to Lieutenant Nuno. There were 
only five first-class passengers besides ourselves (and four 
of these were " dead-heads"), though there were accommo- 
dations for sixty-four. Between Manaos and Para, a dis- 
tance of one thousand miles, there were fourteen additions. 
Passing the mouth of the Madeira, the largest tributary to 
the Amazon, we anchored thirty miles below at Serpa, aft- 
er nine hours' sailing. Serpa is a village of ninety houses, 
built on a high bank of variegated clay, whence its Indian 
name, Ita-coatiara, or painted rock. It was the most ani- 
mated place we had seen on the river. The town is irreg- 
ularly laid out and overrun with weeds, but there is a busy 
tile factory, and the port was full of canoes, montarias, and 
cubertas. The African element in the population began to 
show itself prominently here, and increased in importance 
as we neared Para. The ISTegroes are ^"ery ebony, and are 
employed as stevedores. The Indians are well-featured, 
and wear a long gown of bark-cloth reaching to the knees. 

Taking on board rubber and salt fish, the " Tapajos" 
steamed down stream, passing the perpendicular pink-clay 

250 The Andes and the Amazon. 

cHfPs of Cararaucii, arriving in ten hours atYilla Nova,* 
one hundred and fifty miles below Serpa. Villa Nova is 
a straggling village of mud huts standing on a conglomer- 
ate bank. The trade is chiefly in rubber, copaiba, and fish. 
The location is healthy, and in many respects is one of the 
most desirable places on the river. Here the Amazon be- 
gins to narrow, being scarcely three miles wide ; but the 
channel, which has a rocky bed, is very deep. One hun- 
dred miles from Villa Nova is Obidos, airily situated on a 
bluff of pink and yellow clay one hundred feet above the 
river. The clay rests on a white calcareous earth, and this 
on red sandstone. It is a picturesque, substantially-built 
town, with a population, mostly white, engaged in raising 
cacao and cattle. Cacao is the most valuable product on 
the Amazon below Villa Nova. The soil is fertile, and the 
surrounding forest is alive with monkeys, birds, and in- 
sects, and aboimds with precious woods and fruits. Obidos 
is blessed with a church, a school, and a weekly newspa- 
per, and is defended by thirty-two guns. This is the Ther- 
mopylae of the Amazon, the great river contracting to a 
strait not a mile in width, through which it rushes with 
tremendous velocity. The depth is forty fathoms, and the 
current 2.4 feet per second. As Bates remarks, however, 
the river valley is not contracted to this breadth, the south- 
ern shore not being continental land, but a low alluvial 
tract subject to inxmdation. Back of Obidos is an emi- 
nence which has been named Mount Agassis in honor of 
the Naturalist. There is no mountain between it and Co- 
topaxi save the spurs from the Eastern Cordillera. Five 
miles above the town is the mouth of the Trombetas, where 
Orellana had his celebrated fight with the fabulous Ama- 

Adding to her cargo wood, hides, horses, and Paraguayan 

* Otherwise called, on Brazilian maps, Villa Bella da Imperatriz. 

Santaeem. 251 

prisoners (short, athletic men), the "Tapajos" sailed for 
Santarem. The river scenery below Obidos loses its wild 
and solitary character, and is relieved with scattered hab- 
itations, factories, and cacao plantations. We arrived at 
Santarem in seven hours from Obidos, a distance of fifty 
miles. This city, the largest on the Amazon save Para, 
stands on a pretty slope at the mouth of the Rio Tapajos, 
and five hundred miles from the sea.* It mainly consists 
of tliree long rows of whitewashed, tiled houses, girt with 
green gardens. The citizens, made up of Brazilians, Por- 
tuguese, mulattoes, and blacks, number about two thousand 
five hundred. The surrounding country, which is an un- 
dulating campo,with patches of wood, is sparsely inhabited 
by Tapajocos. Cattle estates and cacao plantations are the 
great investments, but the soil is poor. Considerable sar- 
saparilla of superior quality, rubber, copaiba, Brazil nuts, 
and farina come down the Tapajos. The climate is de- 
lightful, the trade-winds tempering the heat and driving 
away all insect pests. Leprosy is somewhat common among 
the poorer class. At Santarem is one of the largest colonies 
which migrated from the disaffected Gulf States for Brazil. 
One hundred and sixty Southerners pitched their tents here. 
Many of them, however, were soon disgusted with the coun- 
try, and, if we are to believe reports, the country was dis- 
gusted with them. On the 1st of January, 1868, only sev- 
enty-five remained. The colony does not fairly represent 
the United States, being made up in great part of the 
" roughs" of Mobile. A few are contented and are doing 
well. Amazonia will be indebted to them for some valua- 
ble ideas. Bates says : " Butter-making is unknown in this 
country ; the milk, I was told, was too poor." But these 
Anglo-Saxon immigrants have no difficulty in making but- 

* Herndon makes Santarem 460 miles from the Negro, and 650 from the 
sea. Bates calls it 400 miles from the Atlantic, and nearly 50 from Obidos. 

252 The A-ndes and the Amazon. 

ter. Santarem sends to Para for sugar ; but the cavaliers 
of Alabama are proving that the sugar-cane grows better 
than in Louisiana, attaining the height of twenty feet, and 
that it will yield for ten or twelve years without transplant- 
ing or cultivation. It is not, however, so sweet or juicy as 
the Southern cane. Some of the colonists are making tapi- 
oca and casha5a or Brazilian rum ; others have gone into 
the pork business ; while one, Dr. Jones, expects to realize 
a fortune burning lime. Here we met the rebel ex-General 
Dobbins, who had been prospecting on the Tapajos Kiver, 
but had not yet located himself. 

Below Santarem the Amazon vastly increases in width ; 
at one point the southern shore was invisible from the 
steamer. The waves often run very high. At 10 a.m., 
eight hours from Santarem, we entered the romantic port 
of Monte Alegre. The road from the river to the village, 
just visible inland, runs through a pretty dell. Back of 
the village, beyond a low, swampy flat, rise the table-topped 
blue hills of Almeyrim. It was an exhilarating sight and 
a great relief to gaze upon a mountain range from three 
hundred to one thousand feet high, the greatest elevations 
along the Amazon east of the Andes. Agassiz considers 
these singular mountains the remnants of a plain which 
once filled the whole valley of the Amazon; but Bates 
believes them to be the southern terminus of the high land 
of Guiana. Their geological constitution — a pebbly sand- 
stone — favors the Professor's theory. The range extends 
ninety miles along the north bank of the river, the western 
limit at Monte Alegre bearing the local name of Serra 
Erer^. Mount Agassiz, at Obidos, is a spur of the same 
table-land. The Amazon is here about five miles wide, the 
southern shore being low, uninhabited, and covered with 
coarse s:rass. Five schooners were anchored in the har- 
bor of Monte Alegre, a sign of considerable trade for 

Leaving the Amazon. 253 

the Amazon. The place exports cattle, cacao, rubber, and 

In four hours we reached Prayinha, a dilapidated village 
of forty houses, situated on a low, sandy beach. The chief 
occupation is the manufacture of turtle-oil. In ten hours 
more we were taking in wood at Porto do Moz, situated 
just within the mouth of the Xingii, the last great tributary 
to the Amazon. Dismal was our farewell sail on the great 
river. With the highlands came foul weather. We were 
treated to frequent and furious showers, accompanied by 
a violent wind, and the atmosphere M'as filled with smoke 
caused by numerous fires in the forest. Where the Xingii 
comes in, the Amazon is ten miles wide, but it is soon di- 
vided by a series of islands, the first of which is Grand 
Island. Twenty miles below Porto do Moz is Gurupa, 
where we took in rubber. The village, nearly as inani- 
mate as Pompeii, consists of one street, half deserted, built 
on an isolated site. Forty miles below Gurupa we left the 
Amazon proper, turning to the right down a narrow chan- 
nel leading into the river Para. The forest became more 
luxuriant, the palms especially increasing in number and 
beaiity. At one place there was a forest of j)alms, a sin- 
gularity, for trees of the same order are seldom associ- 
ated. The forest, densely packed and gloomy, stands on 
very low, flat banks of hard river mud. Scarcely a sign of 
animal life was visible ; but, as Ave progressed, dusky faces 
peered out of the woods; little shanties belonging to the 
seringeros, or rubber-makers, here and there broke the soli- 
tude, and occasionally a large group of half-clad natives 
greeted us from the shore. A labyrinth of channels con- 
nects the Amazon with the Para; the steamers usually 
take the Tajapurii. This natural canal is of great depth, 
and from fifty to one hundred yards in width ; so that, 
hemmed in by two green walls, eighty feet high, we seemed 

254 The Andes and the Amazon. 

to be sailing through a deep gorge ; in some places it was 
so narrow it was nearly overarched by the foliage. One 
hundred and twenty-five miles from G-urupa is Breves, a 
busy little town on the southwest corner of the great island 
of Marajo. The inhabitants, mostly Portuguese, are en- 
gaged in the rubber trade ; the Indians in the vicinity man- 
ufacture fancy earthen-ware and painted cuyas or cala- 

Soon after leaving Breves we entered the Para River, 
which suddenly begins with the enormous width of eight 
miles. It is, however, shallow, and contains numerous 
shoals and islands. It is properly an estuary, immense vol- 
umes of fresh water fiowing into it from the south. The 
tides are felt through its entire length of one hundred and 
sixty miles, but the water is only slightly brackish. It has 
a dingy orange-brown color. A narrow blue line on our 
left, miles away, was all that was visible, at times, of the 
island of Marajo ; and as we passed the broad mouth of 
the Tocantms, we were struck with the magnificent sea-like 
expanse, for there was scarcely a point of mainland to be 

At 4 P.M., eighteen hours from Breves, we entered the 
peaceful bay of Goajara, and anchored in front of the city 
of Para. Beautiful was the view of the city from the laar- 
bor in the rays of the declining sun. The towering sjjires 
and cupolas, the palatial government buildings, the long 
row of tall warehouses facing a fleet of schooners, ships, 
and steamers, and pretty white villas in the suburbs, nest- 
ling in luxuriant gardens, were to us, who had just come 
down the Andes from mediaeval Quito, the ultima thule 
of civilization. We seemed to have stepped at once from 
the Amazon to IS^ew York oi* London. We might, indeed, 
say ne plus ultra in one respect — we had crossed the con- 
tinent, and Para was the terminus of our wanderings, the 

Paka. 257 

end of romantic adventures, of privations and perils. We 
were kindly met on the pier by Mr. James Henderson, an 
elderly Scotchman, whom a long residence in Para, a bot- 
tomless fund of information, and a readiness to serve an 
Anglo-Saxon, have made an invaluable cicerone. We shot 
through the devious, narrow streets to the Hotel Diana, 
where Ave made our toilet, for our habiliments, too, had 
reached their ultiina thule. As La Condamine said on his 
arrival at Quito: '•'•Je me trouvai hors d''etat de joaroitre 
en jpvhlic avec decencer 

The same year which saw Shakspeare carried to his 
grave beside the Avon witnessed the founding of Para, or, 
speaking moi'e respectfully, of Santa Maria de Belem do 
Gram Para. The city stands on a low elbow of land 
formed by the junction of the rivers Guama and Para, sev- 
enty-five miles from the ocean. The great forest comes 
close up to the suburbs ; and, in fact, vegetation is so rapid 
the city fathers have a hard struggle to keep the jungle 
out of the streets. The river in front is twenty miles wide, 
but the vast expanse is broken by numerous islets. Ships 
of any size will float within one hundred and fifty yards of 
the shore. All passengers and goods are landed by boats 
at the custom-house wharf. The city is regularly laid 
out, there are several public squares, and many of the 
streets, especially in the commercial part, are well paved. 
Magnificent avenues, lined with silk-cotton trees, cocoa- 
palms, and almonds, lead out to beautiful rocinhas, or coun- 
try residences, of one story, but having spacious verandas. 
The President's house, built in the Italian style, whose mar- 
ble staircase is a wonder to Brazil; the six large churches, 
including the cathedral, after patterns from Lisbon; the 
post-oflSce, custom-house, and convent-looking warehouses 
on the mole — these are the most prominent buildings. 
The architecture is superior to that of Quito. The houses, 


258 The Andes and the Amazon. 

generally two-storied, are tiled, plastered, and whitewashed 
or painted ; the popular colors are red, yellow, and blue. 
A few have porcelain facing. The majority have elegant 
balconies and glass windows, but not all the old projecting 
lattice casements have disappeared. Some of the build- 
ings bear the marks of the cannonading in the Revolution 
of 1835. Instead of bedrooms and beds, the largest apart- 
ments and verandahs have hooks in the wall for hammocks. 
A carpeted, cushioned room is seldom seen, and is out of 
place in the tropics. Coaches and gas are supplanting ox- 
carts and candles. There are two hotels, but scant accom- 
modations for travelers. Beef is almost the only meat 
used ; the fish are poor and dear ; the oysters are horrible. 
Bananas, oranges, and coffee are the best native produc- 
tions on the table. 

The population of Para is thirty-five thousand, or double 
what it was when Wallace and Bates entered it twenty 
years ago. It is the largest city on the largest river in the 
world, and the capital of a province ten times the size of 
New York State. The enterprising, wealthy class consists 
of Portuguese and pure Brazilians, with a few English, 
Germans, French, and North Americans. The multitude is 
an amalgamation of Portuguese, Indian, and Negro. The 
diversity of races, and the mingled dialects of the Ama- 
zon and Europe, make an attractive street scene. Side by 
side we see the corpulent Brazilian planter, the swarthy 
Portuguese trader, the merry Negro porter, and the apa- 
thetic Indian boatman. Some of the more recent off- 
spring are dressed a la Adam before the fall; numbers 
wear only a shirt or skirt ; the negro girls who go about 
the streets with trays of sweetmeats, on their heads are 
loosely yet prettily dressed in pure white, with massive 
gilded chains and earrings; but the middle and upper 
classes generally follow Paris fashions. The mechanic 



Fruit Peddlers. 

arts are in tlie hands of free Ne- 
groes and Indians, mulattoes and 
maraelncos.* Commerce is car- 
ried on almost exclusively by 
Porti:guese and other foreigners. 
Dry -goods come chiefly from 
England and France ; groceries 
from Portugal ; flour and hard- 
ware from the United States. 
The principal exports are rub- 
ber, cacao, coffee,t sugar, cotton, 
Brazil nuts, sarsaparilla, vanilla, farina, copaiba, tobacco, 
rum, hides, fish, parrots, and monkeys. :{: Para exceeds in 
the number of its indigenous commodities any other port 
in the world, but the trade at jDresent is insignificant when 
we consider the vast extent and resources of the country. 
The city can never have a rival at the mouth of the Ama- 
zon, and is destined to become a great emporium. But 
Brazilian legislation stands in the way. Heavy import du- 
ties are charged — from 35 to 45 per cent. ; and on the 1st 
of January, 1868, it was ordered that 15 per cent, must be 
paid in English gold. The consequence has been that gold 
has risen from 28 to 30 above par, creating an additional 
tax. Exportation is equally discouraging. There is a duty 
of nine per cent, to be paid at the custom-house, and seven 

* We are inclined to doubt the assertion of Mansfield that Paraguay is the 
only country in eastern South America with an industrious peasantry. 

t Brazil yields more than one half the quantity of coifee consumed by the 
world. That of Ceara is the best. 

J In January, 1868, the current prices were as follows : 

Tapioca, per arroba $3 00 

Pure i-ubber " 11.50 

Piassaba cord " 6 50 

Tobacco " 1. ,50 

Sarsaparilla " 11 50 

The Brazilian arroba is seven pounds heavier than the Spanish. 

Refined Sugar, per an 

•oba. . 

..13 00 

Rice " 

.. 1 40 

Cacao " 

.. 3 20 

Coifee " 

.. 3 50 

Farina " 

.. 75 

260 The Andes and the Amazon. 

per cent, more at the consulado. But this is not the sum 
total. Those who live outside of the province of Para, 
say above Obidos, must first pay an import of thirteen per 
cent, to get their produce into Para. For example : up the 
river crude rubber can be bought for twenty-five cents a 
pound ; the trader pays twenty-five cents an arroba (thir- 
ty-two pounds) for transportation to Para from Santarem, 
exclusive of canoe hire and shipping ; thirteen per cent, 
duty in entering Para, ten per cent, to the commission mer- 
chant, and sixteen jjer cent, more as exjDort tax ; making a 
total loss on labor of about fifty per cent. Brazil abounds 
with the most valuable woods in the world, but is prevent- 
ed from competing with other nations by this system of 
self-strangulation. In 1867 the import duty on timber was 
twelve per cent. Though situated on the edge of a bound- 
less forest. Para consumes large quantities of North Ameri- 
can pine. There is not a grist-mill on the Amazon, and 
only two or three saw-mills. A dozen boards of red cedar 
(a very common timber) costs 60|000 per thousand (about 
thirty dollars) at Santarem. There is no duty on goods go- 
ing to Peru. The current money, besides foreign gold, con- 
sists of copper coins and imperial treasury notes. The basis 
of calculation is the imaginary Tey, equivalent to half a 
mill. The coins in use are the vintem (twenty reys), an nver- 
ing to our cent, the half vintem, and double vintem. The 
currency has so fluctuated in value that many of the pieces 
have been restamped. Fifty vintems make a milrey, ex- 
pressed thus: 1$000. This is the smallest paper issue. 
Unfortunately, the notes may suddenly fall below par. As 
a great many counterfeits made in Portugal are in circula- 
tion, the government recalls the issue which has been coun- 
terfeited, notifying holders, by the provincial papers, that 
all such bills must be exchanged for a new issue within 
six months. Those not brought in at the end of that pe- 

Paea. 261 

riod lose ten per cent, of their value, and ten per cent, for 
each following month, until the value of the note is nil. 
The result has been that many persons trading up the 
river have lost heavily, and now demand hard money. 
Change is very scarce in Para. 

The province of Para is governed by a president chosen 
at Rio, and every four years sends representatives to the 
Imperial Parliament. The Constitution of Brazil is very 
liberal ; every householder, without distinction of race or 
color, has a vote, and may work his way up to high posi- 
tion. There are two drawbacks — the want of intelligence 
and virtue in the people, and the immense staff of officials 
employed to administer the government. There are also 
many formalities which are not only useless, but a hin- 
derance to prosperity. Thus, the internal trade of a prov- 
ince carried on b}'^ Brazilian subjects is not exempt from 
the passport system. A foreigner finds as much trouble 
in getting his passport en regie in Para as in Vienna. The 
religion of Para is Romish, and not so tolerant as in Rio. 
We arrived during 2ifesta. (When did a traveler enter a 
Portuguese town on any other than a feast day ?) That 
night was made hideous with rockets, fire-crackers, camion, 
and bells. "Music, noise, and fireworks," says Wallace, 
" are the three essentials to please a Brazilian populace." 
The most celebrated shrine in Northern Brazil is Our Lady 
of Nazareth. The little chapel stands about a mile out of 
the city, and is now rebuilding for the third time. The 
image is a doll about the size of a girl ten years old, wear- 
ing a silver crown and a dress of blue silk glittering with 
golden stars. Hosts of miracles are attributed to Our 
Lady, and we were shown votive offerings and models of 
legs, arms, heads, etc., etc., the grateful in memoriam of 
wonderful cures, besides a boat whose crew were saved by 
invoking the protection of Mary. The facilities for edu- 

262 The Andes and the Amazon. 

cation are improving. There are several seminaries in 
Para, of which the chief is the Lyceo da Cajpital. Too 
many yoiiths, however, as in Quito, are satisfied with a lit- 
tle rhetoric and law. The city supports four newspa- 

Paraenses may well be proud of their delightful climate. 
Wallace says the thermometer ranges from 74° to 87° ; our 
observation made the mean annual temperature 80.2°. The 
mean daily temperature does not vary more than two or 
three degrees. The climate is more equable than that of 
any other observed part of the New World.* The great- 
est heat is reached at two o'clock, but it is never so oppres- 
sive as in New York. The greater the heat, the stronger 
the sea-breeze ; and in three hundred out of three hundred 
and sixty-five days, the air is farther cooled by an afternoon 
shower. The rainiest month is April ; the dryest, October or 
November. Lying in the delta of a great river, in the mid- 
dle of the tropics, and half surrounded by swamps, its salu- 
brity is remarkable. We readily excuse tlie proverb, " Quern 
vaipara Para jpara)'' (" He who goes to Para stops there") ; 
and we might have made it good, had we not been tempt- 
ed by the magnificent steamer " South America," which 
came up from Rio on the way to New York. On the 
moonlit night of the 7th of January, when the ice-king 
had thrown his white robes over the North, we turned our 
backs upon the glimmering lights of Para, and noiselessly 
as a canoe glided down the great river. As the sun rose 
for the last time to us upon the land of perpetual verdure, 
our gallant ship was plowing the mottled waters on the 
edge of the ocean — mingled yellow patches of the Amazon 

* " The traveler, in going from the equator toward the tropics, is less struck 
by the decrease of the mean annual temperature than by the unequal distri- 
bution of heat in different parts of the year. " — Humboldt. The great Ger- 
man fixes the mean temperature of the equator at 81.5°; Brewster, at 82.8° ; 
Kirwan, 83.9°; Atkinson, 84.5°. 

Leaving Paka. 263 

and dark streaks from the Para floating on the Atlantic 
green. Far behind us we could see the breakers dashing 
against the Braganza Banks ; a moment after Cape Ma- 
goary dropped beneath the horizon, and with it South 
America vanished from our view. 

264 The Ajtoes and the Amazon. 


The River Amazon. — Its Source and Magnitude. — Tributaries and Tints.— 
Volume and Current. — Rise and Fall. — Navigation. — Expeditions on the 
Great River. 

Near the silver mines of Cerro Pasco, in the little Lake 
of Lauricocha, just below the limit of perpetual winter, 
rises the "King of Waters."* For the first five hundred 
miles it flows northerly, in a continuous series of cataracts 
and rapids, through a deep valley between the parallel 
Cordilleras of Peru. Upon reaching the frontier of Ecua- 
dor, it turns to the right, and runs easterly two thousand 
five hundred miles across the great equatorial plain of the 
continent.! No other river flows in the same latitude, and 
retains, therefore, the same climatic conditions for so great 
a distance. The breadth of the Amazon, also, is well pro- 
portioned to its extraordinary length. At Tabatinga, two 
thousand miles above its mouth, it is a mile and a half 
wide ; at the entrance of the Madeira, it is three miles ; 
below Santarem, it is ten ; and if the Para be considered a 
part of the great river, it fronts the Atlantic one hundred 
■and eighty miles. Brazilians proudly call it the Mediter- 
ranean of the New World. Its vast expanse, presenting 

* Hemdon gives, for the altitude of Cerro Pasco, 13,802 feet; Rivero, 
11,279. The lieutenant thus describes his first view from the rough hills 
surrounding this birthplace of the greatest of rivers : "I can comi^are it to 
nothing so fitly as looking from the broken and ragged edges of a volcano 
into the crater beneath." 

t From Lauricocha to its mouth, the Amazon, following the main curves, 
is 2740 miles long, as estimated by Bates ; in a straight line, 20.50 ; from 
Para to the head of the Ucayali, 3000. From north to south the tributaries 
stretch 1 720 miles. 



below Teff^ magnificent reaches, with blank horizons, and 
forming a barrier between diif erent species of animals ; its 
system of back channels, joining the tributaries, and linking 
a series of lagunes too many ever to be named ; its network 
of navigable waters stretching over one third of the con- 
tinent; its oceanic fauna — porpoises and manatis, gulls 
and frigate-birds — remind the traveler of a great inland 
sea, with endless ramifications, rather than a river. The 
side-channels through the forest, called by the Indians iga- 
rapes, or canoe-paths, are one of the characteristic features 

Igarape, or Canoe path 

266 The Ajstdes and the Amazon. 

of the Amazon.^' They often run to a great distance par- 
allel to the great river, and intersecting the tributaries, so 
that one can go from Santarem a thousand miles up the 
Amazon without once entering it. These natui-al high- 
ways will be of immense advantage for inter-communica- 

But extraordinary as is this net-work of natural canals, 
the tributaries of the Amazon are still more wonderful. 
They are so numerous they appear on the map like a thou- 
sand ribbons streaming from a main mast, and many of the 
obscure affluents, though large as the Hudson, are unknown 
to geography. From three degrees north to twenty de- 
grees south, every river that flows down the eastern slope 
of the Andes is a contributor — as though all the rivers be- 
tween Mexico and Mount Hooker united their waters in 
the Mississippi. While the great river of the northern con- 
tinent drains an area of one million two hundred thousand 
square miles, the Amazon (not including the Tocantfns) is 
spread over a million more, or over a surface equal to two 
thirds of all Europe. Let us journey around the grand 
trunk and take a glimpse of the main branches. 

The first we meet in going up the left bank is the Rio 
Negro. It rises in the Sierra Tunuhy, an isolated mountain 
group in the llanos of Colombia, and enters the Amazon at 
Manaos, a thousand miles from the sea. The upper part, 
down to the parallel of one degree north, has a very rapid 
current ; at San Gabriel are the first rapids in ascending ; 
between San Gabriel and Barcellos the rate is not over two 
or three miles per hour ; between Barcellos and Manaos it 
is a deep biit sluggish river, and in the annual rise of the 
Amazon its waters are stagnant for several hundred miles 

* Igarap^is sometimes limited to a creek filled with back-water; parana- 
inirim is the proper term for a narrow arm of the main river ; axiAfuros are 
the diminutive mouths of the tributaries. 

Tkebutaeies. 267 

up, or actually flow back. Its extreme length is twelve 
hundred miles, and its greatest breadth is at Barcellos, where 
it is twelve or fifteen miles. Excepting this middle sec- 
tion, the usual breadth of the Negro below the equatorial 
line is about one mile. It is joined to the Orinoco by the 
navigable Cassiquiari,* a natural canal three fourths of a 
mile wide, and a portage of only two hours divides the 
head of its tributary, the Branco, from the Essequibo of 
Guiana. The Negro yields to commerce coffee, cacao, fa- 
rina, sarsaparilla, Brazil nuts, pitch, piassaba, and valuable 
woods. The commerce of Brazil with Venezuela by the 
Eio Negro amounted in 1867 to $22,000, of which $9000 
was the value of imports. The principal villages above 
Manaos are San Miguel and Moroa (which contain about 
fifty dwellings each), Tireguin, Barcellos, Toma, San Carlos, 
Coana, San Gabriel, and Santa Isabel. 

The next great affluent is the Japura. It rises in the 
mountains of New Granada, and, flowing southeasterly a 
thousand miles, enters the Amazon opposite Ega, five hun- 
dred miles above Manaos. Its principal mouth is three 
hundred feet wide, but it has a host of distributing chan- 
nels, the extremes of which are two hundred miles apart. 
Its current is only three quarters of a mile an hour, and it 
has been ascended by canoes five hundred miles. A natu- 
ral canal like the Cassiquiari is said to connect it with the 
Orinoco. The products of the Japura are sarsaparilla, co- 
paiba, rubber, cacao, farina, Brazil nuts, moira-piranga — a 
hard, fine-grained wood of a rich, cherry-red color — and 
carajurii, a brilliant scarlet dye. 

Parallel to the Japura is the Putumayo or Issa. Its 
source is the Lake of San Pablo, at the foot of the volcano 

* The Cassiquiari belongs indifTerently to both river systems, the level being 
so complete at one point between them as to obliterate the line of water-shed. 
— Herschel. 

268 The Andes and the Amazon. 

of Pasto ; its month, as given by Herndon, is half a mile 
broad, and its current two and three fourths miles an hour. 

Farther west are the Napo and Pastassa, starting from 
the volcanoes of Quito. The former is nearly seven hun- 
dred miles long, navigable five hundred. The latter is an 
unnavigable torrent. One of its branches, the Topo, is one 
continued rapid ; " of those who have fallen into it, only 
one has come out alive." Another, the Patate, rises near 
Iliniza, runs through the plain to a little south of Cotopaxi, 
receives all streams flowing from the eastern side of the 
western Cordillera from Iliniza to Chimborazo, and unites 
near Tunguragua with the Chambo, which rises near San- 
gai. Castelnau and Bates saw pumice floating on the Am- 
azon ; it was probably brought from Cotopaxi by the Pas- 

Crossing the Maranon, and going eastward, we first pass 
the Huallaga, a rapid river of the size of the Cumberland, 
coming down the Peruvian Andes from an altitude of 
eight thousand six hundred feet, and entering the great 
river nearly opposite the Pastassa. Its mouth is a mile 
wide, and for a hundred miles up its average depth is 
three fathoms. In July, August, and September the 
steamers are not able to ascend to Yurimaguas. Canoe 
navigation begins at Tinga Maria, three hiindred miles from 
Lima. The fertile plain through which the river fiows is 
very attractive to an agriculturist. Cotton is gathered six 
months after sowing, and rice in five months. At Tara- 
poto a large amount of cotton-cloth is woven for export. 

The next great tributary from the south is the Ucayali. 
This magnificent stream originates near ancient Cuzco, 
and has a fall of .87 of a foot per mile, and a length near- 
ly equal to that of the Negro. Por two hundred and fifty 
miles above its mouth it averages half a mile in width, and 
has a current of three miles an hour. At Sarayacu it is 

The Pueus and Madeira. 269 

twenty feet deep. The Ucayali is navigable for at least 
seven hundred miles. The " Morona," a steamer of five 
hundred tons, has been np to the entrance of the Pachitea 
in the dry season, a distance of six hundred miles, and in 
the wet season ascended that branch to Mayro. A small 
Peruvian steamer has recently ascended the Tambo to 
within sixty miles of Fort Ramon, or seven hundred and 
seventy-three miles from Nauta. 

Leaving the Ucayali, we pass by six rivers rising in the 
unknown lands of Northern Bolivia : the Javari, navigable 
by steam for two hundred and fifty miles; the sluggish 
Jutahi, half a mile broad and four hundred miles long; 
the Jurua, four times the size of our Connecticut, and nav- 
igable nearly its entii'e length ; the unhealthy, little-known 
Teffe and Coary ; and the Purus, a deep, slow river, over a 
thousand miles long, and open to navigation half way to 
its source. Soldan and Pinto claim to have ascended the 
Javari, in a steamer, about one thousand miles, and it is 
said Cliandless went up the Purus one thousand eight hun- 
dred miles. The Teife is narrow, with a strong current. 
Of all these six rivers, the Purus is the most important. 
It is probably the Amaru-mayu, or " serpent-river," of the 
Incas, and its affluents enjoy the privilege of draining the 
waters of those beautiful Andes which formed the eastern 
boundary of the empire of Manco Capac, and fertilizing 
the romantic valley of Paucar-tambo, or " Inn of the Flow- 
ery Meadow." The banks of this noble stream are now 
held by the untamable Chunchos; but the steam- whistle 
will accomplish what the rifle can not. The Purus com- 
municates with the Madeira, proving the absence of rapids 
and of intervening mountains. 

Sixty miles below the confluence of the Negro, the 
mighty Madeira, the largest tributary of the Amazon, 
blends its milky waters with the turbid king of rivers. 

270 The Andes and the Amazon. 

It is about two thousand miles in length ; one branch, the 
Beni, rising near Lake Titicaca, drains the fertile valleys 
of Yungus and Apollo, rich in cinchona, chocolate, and 
gold ; the Maraore springs from the vicinity of Chuqui- 
saca, within fifteen miles of a source of the Paraguay, 
traversing the territory of the brave and intelligent Moxos ; 
while the Itinez washes down the gold and diamonds of 
Matto Grosso. Were it not for the cascade four hundred 
and eighty miles from its mouth, large vessels might sail 
from the Amazon into the very heart of Bolivia. When 
full, it has a three-mile current, and at its junction with 
the Amazon it is two miles wide and sixty-six feet deep. 
Five hundred miles from its mouth it is a mile wide and 
one hundred feet deep. It contains numerous islands, and 
runs in a comparatively straight course. It received its 
name from the vast quantity of drift-wood often seen float- 
ing down. The value of Brazilian commerce with Bolivia 
by the Madeira was, in 1867, $43,000.* 

At Santarem the Amazon receives another great tribu- 
tary, the Tapajos (or Preto, as the Portuguese call it), 
a thousand miles long, and, for the last eighty miles, from 
four to twelve miles in breadth. It rises amid the glitter- 
ing mines of Matto Grosso, only twenty miles from the 
head-waters of the Eio Plata, and flows rapidly down 
through a magnificent hilly country to the last cataract, 
which is one hundred and sixty miles above Santarem, 
and is the end of navigation to sailing vessels. Thence to 
the Amazon it has little current and no great depth. From 
Santarem to Diamantino it is about twenty-six days' travel. 
Large quantities of sarsaparilla, rubber, tonka beans, man- 
dioca, and guarana are brought down this river. 

* In the map of Friar Fritz, published in 1 707, the Madeira is one of the 
most insignificant of the tributaries, and the Ucayali and Putumayo are the 

The Tocantins. 271 

Parallel to the Tapajos, and about two hundred miles 
distant, flows the Xingii. It rises in the heart of the em- 
pire, has the length of the Ohio and Monongahela, and can 
be navigated one hundred and fifty miles. This is the last 
great tributary of the Amazon proper ; if, however, we con- 
sider the Para as only one of the outlets of the great river, 
we may then add to the list the grand Tocantins.* This 
splendid river has its som-ce in the rich province of Minas 
(the source, also, of the San Francisco and Uruguay), not 
six hundred miles from Rio Janeiro— a region possessing 
the finest climate in Brazil, and yielding diamonds and ru- 
bies, the sapphire, topaz and opal, gold, silver, and petro- 
leum. The Tocantins is sixteen hundred miles long, and 
ten miles broad at its mouth ; but, unfortunately, rapids 
commence one hundred and twenty miles above Cameta. 
The Araguaia, its main branch, is, according to Castelnau, 
one mile wide, with a current of three fourths of a mile 
an hour. 

Here are six tributaries, all of them superior to any river 
in Europe, outside of Russia, save the Danube, and ten 
times greater than any stream on the west slope of the 

* We are inclined to hold, with Bates and others, that the Para River is 
not, strictly speaking, one of the mouths of the Amazon. "It is made to 
appear so on many of the maps in conxmon use, because the channels which 
connect it with the main river are there given much broader than they are 
in reality, conveying the impression that a large body of water finds an out- 
let from the main river into the Para. It is doubtful, however, if there be 
any considerable stream of water flowing constantly downward through these 
channels. There is a great contrast in general appearance between the Para 
and the main Amazon. In the former the flow of the tide always creates a 
strong current upward, while in the Amazon the turbid flow of the mighty 
stream overpowers all tides, and produces a constant downward current. 
The color of the water is different ; that of the Para being of a dingy orange- 
brown, while the Amazon has an ochreous or yellowish-cla}' tint. The for- 
ests on their banks have a different aspect. On the Para, the infinitely di- 
versified trees seem to rise directly out of the water, the forest-frontage is 
covered with greenery, and wears a placid aspect ; while the shores of the 
main Amazon are encumbered with fallen tranks, and are fi-inged with a belt 
of broad-leaved grasses." — Naturalist on the Amazon, i., p. 3-5. 

272 The Ajstdes and the Amazon. 

Andes. Wlaile the Arkansas joins the Mississippi four 
hundred miles above New Orleans, the Madeira, of equal 
length, enters the Amazon nine hundred miles from Para. 
But, vast as are these tributary streams, they seem to make 
no impression on the Amazon ; they are lost like brooks in 
the ocean. Our ideas of the magnitude of the great river 
are wonderfully increased when we see the Madeira com- 
ing down two thousand miles, yet its enormous contribu- 
tion imperceptible half way across the giant river ; or the 
dark waters of the Negro creeping along the shore, and 
becoming undistinguishable five miles from its mouth. 
Though the Amazon carries a larger amount of sediment 
than any other river, it has no true delta, the archipelago 
in its mouth (for, like our own St. Lawrence, it has its Bay 
of a Thousand Isles) not being an alluvial formation, but 
having a rocky base. The great island of Marajo, in phys- 
ical configuration, resembles the mainland of Guiana. The 
deltoid outlet is confined to the tributaries, nearly all of 
them, like " the disemboguing Nile," emptying themselves 
by innumerable embouchm-es. To several tributaries the 
Amazon gives water before it receives their tribute. Thus, 
by ascending the Negro sixty miles, we have the singular 
spectacle of water pouring in from the Amazon through 
the Guariba Channel. 

The waters of this great river system are of divers tints. 
The Amazon, as it leaps from the Andes, and as far down 
as the Ucayali, is blue, passing into a clear olive-green ; 
likewise the Pastassa, Huallaga, Tapajos, Xingii, and To- 
cantms. Below the Ucayali it is of a pale, yellowish olive ; 
the Madeira," Purus, Jurua, Jutahi, Javari, Ucayali, Napo, 
19a, and Japura are of similar color. The Negro, Coary, 
and Teffe are black. Humboldt observes that " a cooler 

* The Madeira has often a milky color which it receives from the white 
clay along its banks. 


atmosphere, fewer musquitoes, greater salubrity, and ab- 
sence of crocodiles, as also of fisli, mark the region of these 
black^rivers." This is not altogether true. The Amazon 
throughout is healthy, being swept by the trade -winds. 
The branches, which are not so constantly refreshed by the 
ocean breezes, are occasionally malarious ; the " white- 
water" tributaries, except when they have a slack current 
in the dry season, have the best reputation, while intermit- 
tent fevers are nearly confined to the dark-colored streams. 
Much of the sickness on these tropical waters, however, is 
due to exposure and want of proper food rather than to the 
climate. The river system of South America will favora- 
bly compare, in point of salubrity, with the river system of 
its continental neighbor.* 

As we might expect, the volume of the Amazon is be- 
yond all parallel. Half a million cubic feet of water pour 
through the narrows of Obidos every second, and fresh 
water may be taken up from the Atlantic far out of sight 
of land. The fall ot the main easterly trunk of the Am- 
azon is about six and a half inches per mile, equivalent to 
a slope of 21' — the same as that of the Nile, and one third 
that of the Mississippi. Below Jaen there are thirty cata- 
racts and rapids ; at the Pongo de Manseriche, at the alti- 
tude of 1164 feet (according to Humboldt), it bids adieu to 
mountain scenery. Between Tabatinga and the ocean the 
average current is three miles an hour. It diminishes to- 
ward Para, and is every where at a minimum in the dry 
season ; but it always has the " swing" of an ocean current. 

* The average temperature of the water in the Lower Amazon is 81°, that 
of the air being a little less. The temperature of the Huallaga at Yurimaguas 
was 76° when the air was 88° in the shade ; in another experiment both the 
river and air were 80°. The Maranon at Iquitos was 79° when the air was 
90°. At the mouth of the Jurua, Hemdon found both water and air 82°. 
In the tropics the difference between the temperature of the water and air is 
proportionally less than in high latitudes. 


274 The Ajstdes aito the Amazon. 

Though not so rapid as the Mississippi, the Amazon is 
deeper. There are seven fathoms of water at Nauta (2200 
miles from the Atlantic), eleven at Tabatinga, and twenty- 
seven on the average below Manaos.* 

The Amazon and its branches are subject to an annual 
rise of great regularity. It does not take place simultane- 
ously over the whole river, but there is a succession of 
freshets. At the foot of the Andes the rise commences in 
January; at Ega it begins about the end of February. 
Coinciding with this contribution from the west, the Octo- 
ber rains on the highlands of Bolivia and Brazil swell the 
southern tributaries, whose accumulated floods reach the 
main stream in February; and the latter, unable to dis- 
charge the avalanche of waters, inundates a vast area, and 
even crowds up the northern tributaries. As the Madeira, 
Tapajos, and Pufus subside, the Negro, fed by the spring 
rains in Guiana and Venezuela, presses downward till the 
central stream rolls back the now sluggish affluents from 
the south. There is, therefore, a rhythmical correspond- 
ence in the rise and fall of the arms of the Amazon, so 
that this great fresh-water sea sways alternately north and 
south ; while the onward swell in the grand trunk is a pro- 
gressive undulation eastward. As the Cambridge Professor 
well says : " In this oceanic river the tidal action has an an- 
nual instead of a daily ebb and flow ; it obeys a larger orb, 
and is ruled by the sun and not the moon." As the south- 
ern affluents have the greatest volume, the Amazon receives 
its largest accession after the sun has been in the southern 
hemisphere. The rise is gradual, increasing to one foot 
per day. One lowland after another sinks beneath the 
flood ; the forest stands up to its middle in the water, and 

* The assertion of the Ency. Metropolitana, that "its cun-ent has great vio- 
lence and rapidity, and its depth is unfathomable," must be received with 
some allowance. 

Rise of the Gkeat Rivek. 275 

shady dells are transformed into navigable creeks.* Swarms 
of turtles leave the river for the inland lakes ; flocks of 
wading birds migrate to the banks of the Negro and Ori- 
noco to enjoy the cloudless sky of the dry season ; alliga- 
tors swim where a short time before the jaguar lay in wait 
for the tapir ; and the natives, unable to fish, huddle in 
their villages to spend the " winter of their discontent." 
The Lower Amazon is at its minimum in September or Oc- 
tober. The rise above this lowest level is between seven 
and eight fathoms. If we consider the average width of 
the Amazon two miles, we shall have a surface of at least 
five thousand square miles raised fifty feet by the inunda- 
tion. An extraordinary freshet is expected every sixth 

The Atlantic tide is perceptible at Obidos, four hundred 
and fifty miles above Para, and Bates observed it up the 
Tapajos, five hundred and thirty miles distant. The tide, 
however, does not flow up ; there is only a rising and fall 
ing of the waters — the momentary check of the great river 
in its conflict with the ocean. The " bore," or piroroco, is 
a colossal wave at spring tide, rising suddenly along the 
whole width of the Amazon to a height of twelve or fifteen 
feet, and then collapsing with a frightful roar. 

The Amazon presents an unparalleled extent of water 
communication. So many and far reaching are its tribu- 
taries, it touches every country on the continent except 
Chile and Patagonia. South America is well nigh quar- 
tered by its river system : the Amazon starts within sixty 
miles of the Pacific ; the Tapajos and Madeira reach down 
to the La Plata ; while the Negro mingles its waters with 
those of the Orinoco. The tributaries also communicate 
with each other by intersecting canals, so numerous that 
central Amazonia is truly a cluster of islands. Wagons 

* The flooded lands are called gapos. 

276 The Andes and the Amazon. 

and railroads will be out of the question for ages hence in 
this aquatic basin. No other river runs in so deep a chan- 
nel to so great a distance. For two thousand miles from 
its mouth there are not less than seven fathoms of water. 
Not a fall interrupts navigation on the main stream for 
two thousand five hundred miles ; and it so happens that 
while the current is ever east (for even the ocean can not 
send up its tide against it), there is a constant trade-wind 
westward, so that navigation up or down has always some- 
thing in its favor. As a general rule, the breeze is not so 
strong during the rise of the river. There are at least six 
thousand miles of navigation for large vessels. It was 
lately said that the Mississippi carries more vessels in a 
month, and the Yang-tse-Kiang in a day, than the Amazon 
all tlia year round. But this is no longer true. Steamers 
already ascend regularly to the port of Moyabamba, which 
is less than twenty days' travel from the Pacific coast. The 
Amazon was opened to the world September 7, 1867 ; and 
the time can not be far distant when the exhaustless wealth 
of the great valley — its timber, fruit, medicinal plants, 
gums, and dye-stuffs — will be emptied by this great high- 
way into the commercial lap of the Atlantic ; when crowd- 
ed steamers will plow all these waters — yellow, black, and 
blue — and the sloths and alligators, monkeys and jaguars, 
toucans and turtles, will have a bad time of it. 

Officially free to the world, the great river is, however, 
for the present practically closed to foreign shipping, as it 
is difficult to compete with the Brazilian steamers. For, by 
the contract which lasts till 1877, the company is allowed 
an annual subsidy of $4,000,000, which has since been in- 
creased by 250 milreys per voyage. In 1867 the steamers 
and sailing vessels on the Amazon were divided as follows, 
though it must be remembered that few of the foreign 
ships, excepting Portuguese, ascended beyond Para : 

Commerce of the Amazon. 277 

Nationality. No. Tonnage. 

United States 37 39,901^ 

Brazil 49 28,639 

England 52 13,276^ 

Portugal 24 7,871 

France , 18 5,344 

Prussia 4 889^ 

Nationality. No. Tonnage. 

Holland 3 538 

Denmark 2 525 

Holstein 3 498 

Norway 1 135 

Spain 1 90 

The vessels carrying the stars and stripes exported from 
Para to the vahte of 3,235,073|950, or eight times the 
amount carried by Brazilian craft, and .50,000 milreys more 
than England. "While, therefore, the Imperial Company 
has the monopoly of trade on the Amazon, our ships dis- 
tribute one third of the products to the world. The United 
States is the natural commercial partner with Brazil ; for 
not only is IS^ew York the half-way house between Para and 
Liverpool, but a chip thrown into the sea at the mouth of 
the Amazon will float close by Cape Hatteras. The official 
value of exports from Para in 1867 was 9,926,912$557, or 
about five millions of dollars, an increase of one million 
over 1866. 

The early expeditions into the Valley of the Amazon, in 
search of the " Gilded King," are the most romantic epi- 
sodes in the history of Spanish discovery. To the wild 
wanderings of these worshipere of gold succeeded the 
more earnest explorations of the Jesuits, those pioneers of 
geographical knowledge. Pinzon discovered the mouth of 
the river in 1500 ; but Orellana, who came down the Napo 
in 1541, was the first to navigate its waters. Twenty years 
later Aguirre descended from Cuzco ; in 1637, Texeira as- 
cended to Quito by the Napo ; Cabrera descended from 
Peru in 1639 ; Juan de Palacios by the Napo in 1725 ; La 
Condamine from Jaen in 1744, and Madame Godin by the 
Pastassa in 1769. The principal travelers who preceded 
us in crossing the continent this century were Mawe (1828), 
Poeppig (1831), Smyth (1834), Von Tschudi (1845), Cas- 

278 The Andes and the Amazon. 

telnau (1846), Herndon and Gibbon (1851), and Church 
(1871), who came down through Peru, and a Spanish com- 
mission (Almagro, Spada, Martinez, and Isern), who made 
the ISTapo transit in 1865. To Spix and Martius (1820), 
Bates and Wallace (1848-1857), Azevedo and Pinto (1862- 
1864), and Agassiz (1865), the world is indebted for the 
most scientific surveys of the river in Brazil. 

Such is the Amazon, the mightiest river in the world, 
rising amid the loftiest volcanoes on the globe, and flowing 
through a forest unparalleled in extent. " It only wants 
(wrote Father Acuna), in order to surpass the Ganges, Eu- 
phrates, and the Nile in felicity, that its source should be 
in Paradise." As if one name were not sufficient for its 
grandeur, it has three appellations : Maranon, Solimoens, 
and Amazon ; the first applied to the part in Peru, the 
second to the portion between Tabatinga and Manaos, and 
the third to all below the Pio Negro.* We have no 
proper conception of the vast dimensions of the thousand- 
armed river till we sail for weeks over its broad bosom, be- 

* The upper part of the Maranon, from its source to Jaen, is sometimes 
called the Tunguragua. Solimoens is now seldom heard ; but, instead, Middle 
Amazon, or simply Amazon. The term Alto Amazonas or High Amazon 
is also applied to all above the Negro. Maranon, says Velasco, derives its 
name from the circumstance that a soldier, sent by Pizarro to discover the 
sources of the Rio Piura, having beheld the mighty stream from the neigh- 
borhood of Jaen, and, astonished to behold a sea of fresh water, exclaimed, 
''^ Hoc mare an nonf Orellana's pretended fight with anation of female war- 
riors gave rise to the Portuguese name of the river, Amazonas (anglicized 
Amazon), after the mythical women in (^appadocia, who are said to have burnt 
off their right breasts that they might use the bow and javelin with more skill 
and force, and hence their name, 'kfiaZovtQ, from a and fiaZ,oQ. Orellana's story 
probably grew out of the fact that the men wear long tunics, part the hair in 
the middle, and, in certain tribes, alone wear ornaments. Some derive the 
name from the Indian word amassona, boat-destroyer. The old name, Orel- 
lana, after the discoverer, is obsolete, as also the Indian term Parana-tinga, 
or King of Waters. In ordinary conversation it is designated as the river, 
in distinction from its tributaries. "In all parts of the world (says Hum- 
boldt), the largest rivers are called by those who dwell on their banks. The 
River, without any distinct and peculiar appellation." 

MAaNiTUDE OF THE Amazon. 279 

holding it sweeping disdainfully by the great Madeira as 
if its contribution was of no account, discharging into the 
sea one hundred thousand cubic feet of water per second 
more than our Mississippi, rolling its turbid waves thou- 
sands of miles exactly as it pleases,— plowing a new 
channel every year, with tributaries twenty miles wide, 
and an island in its mouth twice the size of Massachusetts. 

280 The Andes and the Amazon. 


The Valley of the Amazon. — Its Physical Geography. — Geology. — Cli- 
mate. — Vegetation. 

From the Atlantic shore to the foot of the Andes, and 
from the Orinoco to the Paraguay, stretches the great Val- 
ley of the Amazon. In this vast area the United States 
might be packed without touching its boundaries. It could 
contain the basins of the Mississippi, the Danube, the Nile, 
and the Hoang-Ho. It is girt on three sides by a wall of 
mountains : on the north are the highlands of Guiana and 
Venezuela ; on the west stand the Andes ; on the south 
rise the table-lands of Matto Grosso. The valley begins at 
such an altitude, that on the western edge vegetation dif- 
fers as much from the vegetation at Para, though in the 
same latitude, as the flora of Canada from the flora of the 
West Indies. 

The greater part of the region drained by the Amazon, 
however, is not a valley proper, but an extensive plain. 
From the mouth of the Napo to the ocean, a distance of 
eighteen hundred miles in a straight line, the slope is one 
foot in five miles.* At Coca, on the Napo, the altitude is 
850 feet, according to our observations ; at Tinga Maria, 
on the Huallaga, it is 2200 according to Herndon ; at the 
junction of the Negro with the Cassiquiari, it is 400 ac- 
cording to Wallace; at the mouth of the Mamore, it is 800 
according to Gibbon ; at the Pongo de Manseriche, below 

* Professor Agassiz gives the average slope as hardly more than a foot 
in ten miles, which is based on the farther assertion that the distance from 
Tabatinga to the sea-shore is more than 2000 miles in a straight line. The 
distance is not 1600, or exactly 1500, from Para. — See ^4 Journey in Bra- 
zil, p. 349. 

Geology of the Amazon. 281 

all rapids, it is 1160 according to Humboldt ; and at the 
junction of Araguaia with the Tocantins, it is 200 accord- 
ing to Castelnau. These barometrical measurements repre- 
sent the basin of the Amazon as a shallow trough lying 
parallel to the equator, the southern side having double 
the inclination of the northern, and the whole gently slop- 
ing eastward. Farthermore, the channel of the great 
river is not in the centre of the basin, but lies to the north 
of it : thus, the hills of Almeyrim rise directly from the 
river, while the first falls on the Tocantins, Xingu, and Ta- 
pajos are nearly two hundred miles above their mouths ; the 
rapids of San Gabriel, on the ISTegro, are one hundred and 
seventy-five miles from the Amazon, while the first ob- 
struction to the navigation of the Madeira is a hundred 
miles farther from the great river. 

Of the creation of this valley we have already spoken. 
No region on the face of the globe of equal extent has 
such a monotonous geology. Around the rim of the basin 
are the outcroppings of a cretaceous deposit ; this rests on 
the hidden mezozoic and palaeozoic strata which form 
the ribs of the Andes. Above it, covering the whole basin 
from New Granada to the Argentine Republic,* are the f ol 
lowing formations : first, a stratified accumulation of sand ; 
second, a series of laminated clays, of divers colors, without 
a pebble ; third, a fine, compact sandstone ; fourth, a coarse, 
porous sandstone, so ferruginous as to resemble bog iron- 
ore. This last was, originally, a thousand feet in thickness, 
but was worn dio^n, jyerhaps, in some sudden escape of the 

* Messrs. Myers and Forbes found this red clay on the Negro, most abund- 
antly near Barcellos ; also in small quantities on the Orinoco above Maipures. 
The officers of the " Morona" assured us that the same formation was trace- 
able far up the Ucayali and Hiiallaga. This clay from the Amazon, as ex- 
amined microscopically by Prof. H. James Clark, contains fragments of gas- 
teropod shells and bivalve casts. The red earth of the Pampas, according to 
Ehrenberg, contains eight fresh-water to one salt-water animalcule. 

282 The Andes and the Amazon. 

pent-up waters of the valley. The table-topped hills of 
Almeyrim are almost the sole relics.* Finally, over the 
undulating surface of the denuded sandstone an ochra- 
ceous, unstratified sandy clay was deposited. 

It is a question to what period this great accumulation is 
to be assigned. Humboldt called it " Old Red Sandstone ;" 
Martins pronounced it " New Red ;" Agassiz says " Drift" 
— the glacial deposit brought down from the Andes and 
worked over by the melting of the ice which transported 
it.t The Professor farther declares that " these deposits 
are fresh- water deposits ; they show no sign of a marine 
origin ; no sea-shells nor remains of any marine animal 
have as yet been found throughout their whole extent ; ter- 
tiary deposits have never been observed in any part of the 
Amazonian basin." This was true up to 1867. Neither 
Bates, Wallace, nor Agassiz found any marine fossil on the 
banks of the great river. But there is danger in building 
a theory on negative evidence. These explorers ascended 
no farther than Tabatinga. Two hundred miles west of 
that fort is the little Peruvian village of Pebas, at the con- 
fluence of the Ambiyacu. We came down the Napo and 
Maranon, and stopped at this place. Here we discovered a 
fossiliferous bed intercalated between the variegated clays 
so peculiar to the Amazon. It was crowded with marine 
tertiary shells ! This was Pebas vs. Cambridge. It was 
unmistakable proof that the formation was not drift, but 
tertiary ; not of fresh, but salt water origin. The species, 

* " On the South American coast, where tertiary and supra-tertiary beds 
have been extensively elevated, I repeatedly noticed that the uppermost beds 
were formed of coarser materials than the lower ; this appears to indicate 
that, as the sea becomes shallower, the force of the waves or currents in- 
creased." — Darwin's Observations, pt. ii., 131. " Nowhere in thePampas is 
there any appearance of much superficial denudation." — Pt.iii., 100. 

t A Journey in Brazil, p. 250, 411, 424. Again, in his Lecture before 
the Lowell Institute, 1866 : " These deposits could not have been made by 
the sea, nor in a large lake, as they contain no marine nor fresh-water fossils." 

Fossils in the Amazon Valley. 283 

as determined by W. M. Gabb, Esq., of Philadelphia, are : 
N'eritina jpujpa^ Turhonilla minuscula, Mesalia Ortoni, 
Tellina Amazonensis, Pachydon ohliqua, and P. tenua* 
All of these are new forms excepting the first, and the last 
is a new genus. It is a singular fact that the Neritina is 
now living in the West India waters, and the species found 
at Pebas retains its peculiar markings. So that we have 
some ground for the supposition that not many years ago 
there was a connection between the Caribbean Sea and the 
Upper Amazon ; in other words, that Guiana has only very 
lately ceased to be an island. Thei'e is no mountain range 
on the water-shed between the Orinoco and the Negro and 
Japura, but the three rivers are linked by natural canals.f 
Interstratified with the clay deposit are seams of a highly 
bituminous lignite ; we traced it from near the mouth of 
the Curaray on the Rio Napo to Loreto on the Maranon, a 
distance of about four hundred miles. It occurs also at Iqui- 
tos. This is farther testimony against the glacial theory of 
the formation of the Amazonian Yalley. The paucity of 
shells in such a vast deposit is not astonishing. It is as re- 
markable in the similar accumulation of reddish argilla- 
ceous earth, called " Pampean mud," which overspreads the 
Hio Plata region.:}: Some of the Pampa shells, like those 
at Pebas, are proper to brackish water, and occur only on 
the highest banks. The Pampean formation is believed by 
Mr. Darwin to be an estuaiy or delta deposit. We will men- 
tion, in this connection, that silicified wood is found at the 

* These interesting fossils are figured and described in the Am. Journal of' 
Conchology . 

t ' ' The whole basin between the Orinoco and the Amazon is composed 
of granite and gneiss, slightly covered with de'bris. There is a total absence 
of sedimentary rocks. The surface is often bare and destitute of soil, the 
undulations being only a few feet above or below a straight line." — Evan Hop- 
kins, in Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc, vol. vi. 

t See Darwin on the absence of extensive modern conchiferous deposits in 
South America, Geological Observations, ^t. iii., ch. v. 

284 The Andes and the Amazon. 

head waters of the Napo ; the Indians use it instead of 
flint (which does not occur there) in striking a light. Dar- 
win found silicified trees on the same slope of the Andes 
at the Uspallata Pass. 

The climatology of the Valley of the Amazon is as sim- 
ple as its physical geography. There is no circle of the 
seasons as with us — nature moves in a straight line. Tlie 
daily order of the weather is uniform for months. There 
is very little difference between the dry and hot seasons ; 
the former, lasting from July to December, is varied with 
showers, and the latter, from January to June, with sunny 
days, while the daily temperature is the same within two or 
three degrees throughout the year. On the water-shed be- 
tween the Orinoco and Negro it rains throughout the year, 
but most water falls between May and November, the cool- 
est season in that region. On the Middle Negro the wet 
season extends fi-om June 1st to December 1st, and is the 
most sultry time. 

Comparatively few insects, birds, or beasts are to be seen 
in summer ; but it is the harvest-time of the inhabitants, 
who spend the glorious weather rambling over the plaias 
and beaches, fishing and turtle-hunting. The middle of Sep- 
tember is the midsummer of the valley. The rainy season, 
or winter, is ushered in by violent thunder-storms from the 
west. It is then that the woods are eloquent with buzzing 
insects, shrill cicadas, screaming parrots, chattering monkeys, 
and roaring jaguars. The greatest activity of animal and 
vegetable life is in June and July. The heaviest rains fall 
in April, May, and June. Scarcely ever is there a continu- 
ous rain for twenty-four hours. Castelnau witnessed at 
Pebas a fall of not less than thirty inches in a single storm. 
The greatest amount noticed in New York during the whole 
month of September was 12.2 inches. The humidity of 
the atmosphere, as likewise the luxuriance of vegetation and 

Climate on the Amazon. 285 

the abundance and beauty of animal forms, increases from 
the Atlantic to the Andes. At the foot of the Andes, Poep- 
pig found that the most refined sugar in a few days dissolved 
into sirup, and the best gunpowder became liquid even when 
inclosed in canisters. So we found the Napo steaming with 
vapor. Fogs, however, are rarely seen on the Amazon. 

The animals and plants are not all simultaneously affect- 
ed by the change of seasons. The trees retain their verd- 
ure through the dry verao, and have no set time for rer 
newing their foliage. There are a few trees, like Mongru- 
ba, which drop their leaves at particular seasons ; but they 
are so few in number they create the impression of a few 
dead leaves in a thick-growing forest. Leaves are falling 
and flowers drooping all the year round. Each species, 
and, in some cases, each individual, has its own particular 
autumn and spring. There is no hibernation nor aestiva- 
tion (except by land shells); birds have not one uniform 
time for nidification ; and moulting extends from Februa- 
ry to May. 

Amazonia, though equatorially situated, has a temperate 
climate. It is cooler than Guinea or Guiana, This is ow- 
ing to the constant evaporation from so much submerged 
land, and the ceaseless trade winds. The mean annual 
temperature of the air is about 81°.* The nights are al- 
ways cool. There are no sudden changes, and no fiery 
" dog days." Venereal and cutaneous affections are found 
among the people ; but they spring from an irregular life. 
A traveler on the slow black tributaries may take the ter- 
tiana, but only after weeks of exposure. Yellow fever and 
cholera seldom ascend the river above Para ; and on the 
Middle Amazon there are neither endemics nor epidemics, 

* Agassiz calls the average temperature 84°, which, it seems to us, is too 
high. The mean between the temperatures of Para, Manaos, and Tabatinga 
is 80.7°. 

286 The Andes akd the Amazon. 

though the trades are feebly felt there, and the air is stag 
nant and sultry. According to Bates, swampy and weedy 
places on the Amazon are generally more healthy than dry 
ones. Whatever exceptions be taken to the branches, the 
main river is certainly as healthy as the Mississippi : the 
rapid current of the water and the continual movement of 
the air maintaining its salubrity. The few English resi 
dents (Messrs. BUslop, Jeffreys, and Hauxwell), who have 
lived here thirty or forty years, are as fresh and florid as if 
they had never left their native country. The native wom- 
en preserve their beauty until late in life. Great is the con- 
trast between the gloomy winters and dusty summers, the 
chilly springs and frosty autumns of the temperate zone, 
and the perennial beauty of the equator ! No traveler on 
the Amazon would exchange what Wallace calls "the 
magic halt-hour after sunset " for the long gray twilight of 
the north. " The man accustomed to this climate (wi'ote 
Herndon) is ever imwilling to give it up for a more brac- 
ing one." 

The mineral kingdom is represented only by sand, clay, and 
loam. The solid rock (except the sandstone ah-eady men- 
tioned) begins above the falls on the tributaries. The pre- 
cious gems and metals are confined to the still higher lands 
of Goyaz, Matto Grosso, and the slopes of the Andes. The 
soil on the Lower Amazon is sandy ; on the Solimoens and 
Maranon it is a stiff loam or vegetable mould, in many 
places twenty feet deep. 

Both in botany and zoology. South America is a natural 
and strongly-marked division, quite as distinct from North 
America as from the Old World ; and as there are no trans- 
verse barriers, there is a remarkable unity in the character 
of the vegetation. No spot on the globe contains so much 
vegetable matter as the Valley of the Amazon. From the 
grassy steppes of Venezuela to the treeless Pampas of Buenos 

Forest on the Amazon. 287 

Ayres, expands a sea of verdure, in which we may draw a 
circle of eleven hundred miles in diameter, which shall in- 
clude an ever green, unbroken forest. There is a most bewil- 
dering diversity of grand and beautiful trees— a wild,uncon- 
quered race of vegetable giants, draped, festooned, corded, 
matted, and ribboned with climbing and creeping plants, 
woody and succulent, in endless variety. The exuberance of 
nature displayed in these million square acres of tangled, im- 
penetrable forest offers a bar to civilization nearly as great 
as its sterility in the African deserts. A macheta is a necessa- 
ry predecessor : the moment you land (and it is often difficult 
to get a footing on the bank), you are confronted by a wall 
of vegetation. Lithe lianas, starred with flowers, coil up the 
stately trees, and then hang down like strung jewels ; they 
can be counted only by myriads, yet they are mere super- 
fluities. The dense dome of green overhead is supported 
by crowded columns, often branchless for eighty feet. The 
reckless competition among both small and great adds to 
the solemnity and gloom of a tropical forest. Individual 
struggles with individual, and species with species, to mo- 
nopolize the air, light, and soil. In the effort to spread 
their roots, some of the weaker sort, imable to find a foot- 
ing, climb a powerful neighbor, and let their roots dangle 
in the air ; while many a full-grown tree has been lifted 
up, as it were, in the strife, and now stands on the ends of 
its stilt-like roots, so that a man may walk upright be- 
tween the roots and under the trunk.* 

The mass of the forest on the banks of the great river 
is composed of palms (about thirty speciesf), leguminous or 

* Buttress roots are not peculiar to any one species, but common to most 
of the large trees in the crowded forest, where the lateral growth of the roots 
is made difficult by the multitude of rivals. The Paxiuba, or big-bellied 
palm, is a fine example. 

+ Von Martins, in his gi-eat work on the Brazilian Palms, enumerates in all 
582 species. 

288 The Andes and the Amazon. 

pod-bearing trees, colossal nut trees, broad-leaved Musacese 
or bananas, and giant gi'asses. The most prominent palms 
are the architectural Pupunha, or " peach-palm," with spiny 
stems, drooping, deep green leaves, and bunches of mealy, 
nutritious fruit ; the slender Assai, with a graceful head of 
delicate green plumes ; the Ubussu, with mammoth, undi- 
vided fronds ; the stiff, serrated leaved Bussii, and gigantic 
Miritio One of the noblest trees of the forest is the Mas- 
saranduba, or " cow-tree" {Mimusops ellata), often rising 
one hundred and fifty feet. It is a hard, fine-grained, 
durable timber, and has a red bark, and leathery, fig-like 
foliage. The milk has the consistency of cream, and may 
be used for tea, coffee, or custards. It hardens by exposure, 
so as to resemble gutta-percha. Another interesting tree, 
and one which yields the chief article of export, is the Cau- 
cho, or India-rubber tree* {Siphonia Brasiliensis), growing 
in the lowlands of the Amazon for eighteen hundred miles 
above Para. It has an erect, tall trunk, from forty to eighty 
feet high, a smooth, gray bark, and thick, glossy leaves. The 
milk resembles thick, yellow cream, and is colored by a 
dense smoke obtained by burning palm-nuts. It is gather- 
ed between August and December. A man can collect six 
pounds a day, though this is rarely done. It is frequently 
adulterated with sand. The tree belongs to the same apet- 
alous family as our castor-oil and the mandioca ; while 
the tree which furnishes the caoutchouc of the East Indies 
and Africa is a species of Ficus, and yields an inferior ar- 
ticle to the rubber of America. Other characteristic trees 
are the Mongruba, one of the few which shed their foliage 

* The Portuguese and Brazilians call it seringa, or syringe, in which form it 
is still used extensively, injections forming a great feature in the popular sys- 
tem of cures. The tree mentioned above yields most of the rubber of com- 
merce, and is considered distinct from the species in Guiana, S. elastica ; 
while the rubber from the Upper Amazon and Rio Negro comes from the *S. 
httea and S. hrevifolia. Agassiz puts milk-weed in the same family ! 

Amazon Tkees. 289 

before the new leaf-buds expand ; the giant Samaiima, or 
silk-cotton tree (called huimha in Peru) ; the Calabash, or 
cuieira, whose gourd-like fruit furnishes the cups used 
throughout the Amazon ; the Itauba, or stone-wood, furnish- 
ing ship-timber as durable as teak ; ^he red and white Ce- 
dar, used for canoes (not coniferous like the northern ever- 
green, but allied to the mahogany) ; the Jacaranda, or rose- 
wood, resembling our locust; Palo de sangre, one of the 
most valuable woods on the river; Huacapu, a very common 
timber; Capirona, used as fuel on the steamers ; andTanari, 
a heavy, close-grained wood, the bark of which splits into 
thin leaves, much used in making cigarettes. The Piassa- 
ba, a palm yielding a fibre extensively manufactured into 
cables and ropes, and exported to foreign countries for 
brushes and brooms, being singularly elastic, strong, and 
more durable than hemp ; and the Moira-pinima, or " tor- 
toise-shell wood," the most beautiful wood in all Amazonia, 
if not in the world, grow on the Upper Eio Negro. A 
small willow represents the great catkin family. 

The valley is as remarkable for the abundance, variety, 
and value of its timber as for any thing else. Within an 
area of half a mile square, Agassiz counted one hundred and 
seventeen different kinds of woods, many of them eminently 
fitted, by their hardness, tints, and beautiful grain, for the fin- 
est cabinet-work. Enough palo de sangre or moira-pinima is 
doubtless wasted annually to veneer all the palaces of Europe. 

While most of our fruits belong to the rose family, those 
of the Amazon come from the myrtle tribe. The deli- 
cious flavor, for which our fruits are indebted to centuries 
of cultivation, is wanting in many of the torrid produc- 
tions. We prefer the sweetness of Pomona in temperate 
climes to her savage beauty in the sunny south. It is a 
curious fact, noticed by Herndon, that nearly all the valua- 
ble fruits of the valley are inclosed in hard shells or acid 


290 The Andes and the Amazon. 

pulps. They also reach a larger size in advancing west- 
ward. The common Brazil nut is the product of one of 
the tallest trees in the forest {Bertholletia excelsa). The 
fruit is a hard, round shell, resembling a common ball, 
which contains from^ twenty to twenty-four nuts. Eight- 
een months are required for the bud to reach maturity. 
This tree, says Humboldt, offers the most remarkable ex- 
ample of high organic development. Akin to it is the 
Sapucaya or " chickens' nuts" {Lecythis sapucaya), whose 
capsule has a natural lid, and is called " monkey's drink- 
ing-cup." The nuts, about a dozen in number, are of ir- 
regular shape and much richer than the preceding. But 
they do not find their way to market, because they drop 
out of the capsule as soon as ripe, and are devoured by 
peccaries and monkeys. The most luscious fruit on the 
Amazon is the atta of Santarem. It has the color, taste, 
and size of the chirimoya ; but the rind, which incloses a 
rich, custardly pulp, frosted with sugar, is scaled. Next in 
rank are the melting pine-apples of Para, and the golden 
papayas, fully equal to those on the western coast. This 
is the original home of the cacao. It grows abundantly in 
the forests of the upper river, and particularly on the banks 
of the Madeira. The wild nut is smaller but more oily 
than the cultivated. The Amazon is destined to supply the 
world with the bulk of chocolate. The aromatic tonka beans 
(Cumarii) used in flavoring snuff, and the Brazilian nutmegs 
(Puxiri), inferior to the Ceylon, grow on lofty trees on the 
Negro and Lower Amazon. The Guarana beans are the 
seeds of a trailing plant ; from these the Mauhes prepare the 
great medicine, on the Amazon, for diarrhoea and intermit- 
tent fevers. Its active principle, caffeine, is more abundant 
than in any other substance, amounting to 5.07 per cent. ; 
while black tea contains only 2.13. Coffee, rice, tobacco, and 
sugar-cane are grown to a limited extent. Rio Negro coffee, 

Fakina and Coca. 291 

if put into the market, woxild probably eclipse that of Ceara, 
the best Brazilian. Wild rice grows abundantly on the 
banks of the rivers and lakes. The cultivated grain is 
said to yield forty fold. Most of the tobacco comes down 
from the Maranon and Madeira. It is put up in slender, 
rolls from three to six feet long, tapering at each end, and 
wound with palm fibre. The sugar-cane is an exotic from 
Southeastern Asia, but grows well. The first sugar made 
in the New World was by the Dutch in the island of St. 
Thomas, 1610. Farina is the principal farinaceous pro- 
duction of Brazil. The mandioca or cassava {Manihot 
utilissima) from which it is made is supposed to be indig- 
enous, though it is not found wild. It does not grow at 
a higher altitude than 2000 feet. Life and death are 
blended in the plant, yet every part is useful. The cattle 
eat the leaves and stalks, while the roots are ground into 
pulp, which, when pressed and baked, forms farina, the 
bread of all classes. The juice is a deadly poison : thirty- 
five drops were sufiicient to kill, in six minutes, a negro con- 
victed of murder; but it deposits a fine sediment of pure 
starch that is the well-known tapioca; and the juice, w^hen 
fermented and boiled, forms a drink. On the uj)per wa- 
ters grow the celebrated coca, a shrub with small, light- 
green leaves, having a bitter, aromatic taste. The pow- 
dered leaves, mixed with lime, form ypadu. This is to 
Peruvians what opium is to the Turk, betel to the Malay, 
and tobacco to the Yankee. Thirty million pounds are 
annually consumed in South America. It is not, however, 
an opiate, but a pow^erful stimulant. With it the Indian 
will perform prodigies of labor, traveling days without 
fatigue or food. Von Tschudi considers its moderate con- 
sumption wholesome, and instances the fact that one coca- 
chewer attained the good old age of one hundred and thirty 
years ; but when used to excess it leads to idiocy. The 

292 The Andes ajstd the Amazon. 

signs of intemperance are an uncertain step, sallow com- 
plexion, black-rimmed, deeply-sunken eyes, trembling lips, 
incoherent speech, and stolid apathy. Coca played an im- 
portant part in the religious rights of the Incas, and divine 
honors were paid to it. Even to-day the miners of Peru 
throw a quid of coca against the hard veins of ore, affirm- 
ing that it renders them more easily worked ; and the In- 
dians sometimes put coca in the mouth of the dead to insure 
them a welcome in the other world. The alkaloid cocaine 
was discovered by Wohler. 

Flowers are nearly confined to the edges of the dense 
forest, the banks of the rivers and lagunes. There are a 
greater number of species under the equator, but we have 
brighter colors in the temperate zone. " There is grand- 
eur and sublimity in the tropical forest (wrote Wallace, aft- 
er four years of observation), but little of beauty or bril- 
liancy of color." Perhaps the finest example of inflorescence 
in the world is seen in the Victoria Regia, the magnifi- 
cent water-lily discovered by Schomberg in 1837. It 
inhabits the tranquil waters of the shallow lakes which 
border the Amazon. The leaves are from fifteen to eight- 
een feet in circumference, and will bear up a child twelve 
years old ; the upper part is dark, glossy green, the under 
side violet or crimson. The flowers are a foot in diameter, 
at first pure white, passing, in twenty-four hours, through 
successive hues from rose to bright red. This queen of 
water-plants was dedicated to the Queen whose empire is 
never at once shrouded in night. 


Zoology of the Amazon. 295 


Life within the Great River. —Fishes. — Alligators. — Turtles. — Porpoises 
and Manatis. 

The Amazon is a crowded aquarium, holding represent- 
atives of every zoological class — infusoria, hydras, fresh- 
water shells (chiefly Ampullaria, Melania, and Unios), 
aquatic beetles (belonging mostly to new genera), fishes, 
reptiles, water birds, and cetaceans. The abundance and 
variety of fishes are extraordinary ; so also are the spe- 
cies. This great river is a peculiar ichthyic province, and 
each part has its characteristics. According to Agassiz, 
the whole river, as well as its tributaries, is brohen up 
into numerous distinct fauna.* The pirarucii, or "red- 
fish" (the Sudis gigas of science), is at once the largest, 
most common, and most useful fish. The Peruvian In- 
dians call it payshi. It is a powerful fish, often measur- 
ing eight feet in length and five in girth, clad in an orna- 
mental coat-of -mail, its large scales being margined with 
bright red. It ranges from Peru to Para. It is usually 
taken by the arrow or spear. Salted and dried, the meat 
will keep for a year, and forms, with farina, the staple food 
on the Amazon. The hard, rough tor.gue is used as a grat- 
er. Other fishes most frequently seen are the prettily- 
spotted catfish, Pescada, Piranha, Acara, which carries its 
young in its mouth, and a long, slender needle-fish. There 
are ganoids in the river, but no sturgeons proper. Pick- 
erel, perch, and trout are also wanting. The sting-ray rep- 

* We await the Professor's examination of his "more than 80,000 speci- 
mens" before we give the number of new species. 

296 The Andes and the Amazon. 

resents the shark family. As a whole, the fishes of the 
Amazon have a marine character peculiarly their own. 

The reptilian inhabitants of this inland sea are intro- 
duced by numerous batrachians, water-snakes {Heliojps), 
and anacondas. But alligators bear the palm for ugliness, 
size, and strength. In summer the main river swarms 
with them ; in the wet season they retreat to the interior 
lakes and flooded forests. It was for this reason that we 
did not see an alligator on the ISTapo. At low water they 
are found above the entrance of the Curaray. About Obi- 
dos, where many of the pools dry up in the fine months, 
the alligator buries itself in the mud, and sleeps till the 
rainy season returns. " It is scarcely exaggerating to say 
(writes Bates) that the waters of the Solimoens are as well 
stocked with large alligators in the dry season as a ditch in 
England is in summer with tadpoles." There are three or 
four species in the Amazon. The largest, the Jacare-uassii 
of the natives, attains a length of twenty feet. The Ja- 
care-tinga is a smaller kind (only five feet long when full 
grown), and has the long, slender muzzle of the extinct 
teleosaurus. The South American alligators are smaller 
than the crocodiles of the Nile or Ganges, and they are 
also inferior in rank. The head of the Jacare-uassu (the 
ordinary species) is broad, while the gavial of India has a 
long, narrow muzzle, and that of the Egyptian lizard is ob- 
long. The dentition differs : while in the Old World sau- 
rian the teeth interlock, so that the two jaws are brought 
close together, the teeth in the upper jaw of the Amazo- 
nian cayman pass by the lower series outside of them. 
The latter has therefore much less power. It has a ven- 
tral cuirass as well as dorsal, and it has a ridge across the 
face before the eyes, and the toes are scarcely webbed. 
Sluggish on land, the alligator is very agile in its ele- 
ment. It never attacks man when on his ffuard, but it is 

AiiAzoN Turtles. 297 

cunning enough to know when it may do this with safety. 
It lays its eggs (about twenty) some distance from the riv- 
er bank, covering them with leaves and sticks. They are 
larger than those of Guayaquil, or abou.t four inches long, 
of an elliptical shape, with a rough, calcareous shell. Ne- 
gro venders sell them cooked in the streets of Para- 
Turtles are, perhaps, the most important product of the 
Amazon, not excepting the pirarucii. The largest and most 
abundant species is the Tortaruga grande. It measures, 
when full grown, nearly three feet in length and two in 
breadth, and has an oval, smooth, dark-colored shell. Ev- 
ery house has a little pond (called Gi(,rrdl) in the back yard 
to hold a stock of turtles through the wet season. It fur- 
nishes the best meat on the Upper Amazon. "We found it 
very tender, palatable, and wholesome ; but Bates, who was 
obliged to live on it for years, says it is very cloying. Ev- 
ery part of the creature is turned to account. The entrails 
are made into soup ; sausages are made of the stomach ; 
steaks are cut from the breast ; and the rest is roasted in 
the shell.* The turtle lays its eggs (generally between 
midnight and dawn) on the central and highest part of the 
plaias, or about a hundred feet from the shore. The In- 
dians say it will lay only where itself was hatched out. 
With its hind flippers it digs a hole two or three feet deep, 
and deposits from eighty to one hundred and sixty eggs 
(Gibbon says from one hundred and fifty to two hundred). 
These are covered with sand, and the next comer makes 
another deposit on the top, and so on until the pit is full. 
Egg -laying comes earlier on the Amazon than on the 
Napo, taking place in August and September. The traca- 
ja, a smaller species, lays in July and August ; its eggs are 
smaller and oval, but richer than those of the great turtles. 

* The natives have this notion about the land-tortoise, that by throwing it 
three times over the head, the liver (the best part) will be enlarged. 

298 The Ajsides ai^d the Amazon. 

The mammoth tortoise of the Galapagos lays an egg ver}' 
similar in size and shape to that of the Tortaruga, but a 
month later, or in October. The hunting of turtle eggs is 
a great business on the Amazon. They are used chiefly in 
manufacturing oil (manteca) for illumination. Thrown 
into a canoe, they are broken and beaten up by human 
feet ; water is then poured in, and the floating oil is skim- 
med off, purified over the fire in copper kettles, and finally 
put up in three-gallon earthen jars for the market. The 
turtles are caught for the table as they return to the river 
after laying their eggs. To secure them, it sufiices to turn 
them over on their backs. The turtles certainly have a 
hard time of it. The alligators and large fishes swallow 
the young ones by hundreds; jaguars pounce upon the full- 
grown specimens as they crawl over the plaias, and vul- 
tures and ibises attend the feast. But man is their most 
formidable foe. The destruction of turtle life is incredi- 
ble. It is calculated that fifty millions of eggs are an- 
nually destroyed. Thousands of those that escape capture 
in the egg period are collected as soon as hatched and de- 
voured, " the remains of yolk in their entrails being con- 
sidered a great delicacy." An unknown number of full- 
grown turtles are eaten by the nati^'es on the banks of the 
Maranon and Solimoens and their tributaries, while every 
steamer, schooner, and little craft that descends the Ama- 
zon is laden with turtles for the tables of Manaos, Santa- 
rem, and Para. When we consider, also, that all the ma- 
ture turtles taken are females, we wonder that the race is 
not well-nigh extinct. They are, in fact, rapidly decreas- 
ing in numbers. A large turtle which twenty years ago 
could be bought for fifty cents, now commands three dol- 
lars. One would suppose that the males, being unmolest- 
ed, would far outnumber the other sex, but Bates says 
"they are immensely less numerous than the females." 

Porpoises. 299 

The male turtles, or Capitaris, " are distinguishable by 
their much smaller size, more circular shape, and the 
greater length and thickness of their tails." Near the 
Tapajos we met a third species, called Matd-matd. It has 
a deeply-keeled carapax, beautifully bossed, and a hideous 
triangular head, having curious, lobed, fleshy appendages, 
and nostrils prolonged into a tube. It is supposed to have 
great virtues as a remedy for rheumatism. But the most 
noticeable feature of the Amazonian fauna, as Agassiz has 
remarked, is the abundance of cetaceans through its whole 
extent. From the brackish estuary of Para to the clear, 
cool waters at the base of the Andes, these clumsy refu- 
gees from the ocean may be seen gamboling and blowing 
as in their native element. Four different kinds of por- 
poises have been seen. A black species lives in the Bay 
of Marajo. In the Middle Amazon are two distinct por- 
poises, one flesh-colored ;* and in the upper tributaries is 
the Inia Boliviensis, resembling, but specifically different 
from the sea-dolphin and the soosoo of the Ganges. " It 
was several years (says the Naturalist on the Amazon) be- 
fore I could induce a fisherman to harpoon dolphins {Bou- 
tos) for me as specimens, for no one ever kills these ani- 
mals voluntarily ; the superstitions people believe that 
blindness would result from the use of the oil in lamps." 
The herbivorous manati (already mentioned, Chap. XV.) is 
found throughout the great river. It differs slightly from 
the Atlantic species. It rarely measures over twelve feet 
in length. It is taken by the harpoon or nets of chambiri 
twine. Both Herndon and Gibbon mention seals as oc- 
curring in the Peruvian tributaries ; but we saw none, nei- 
ther did Bates, Agassiz, or Edwards. They probably meant 
the manati. 

* Delphinus palUdus. Bates observed this species at Villa Nova; we saw 
it at Coary, 500 miles west ; and Herndon found it in the Huallaga. 

300 The Andes and the Amazon. 


Life around the Great River. — Insects. — Reptiles. — Birds. — Mammals. 

The forest of the Amazon is less full of life than the 
river. Beasts, birds, and reptiles are exceedingly scarce ; 
still there is, in fact, a great variety, but they are widely 
scattered and very shy. In the animal, as in the vegetable 
kingdom, diversity is the law ; there is a great paucity of 
individuals compared with the species.* Insects are rare 
in the dense forest ; they are almost confined to the more 
open country along the banks of the rivers. Ants are per- 
haps the most numerous. There is one species over an 
inch long. But the most prominent, by their immense 
numbers, are the dreaded saiibas. Well -beaten paths 
branch off in every direction through the forest, on which 
broad columns may be seen marching to and fro, each 
bearing vertically a circular piece of leaf. Unfortunately 
they prefer cultivated trees, especially the coffee and 
orange. They are also given to plundering provisious ; in 
a single night they will carry off bushels of farina. They 
are of a light red color, with powerful jaws. In every 
formicarium or ant colony there are three sets of indi\dd- 
uals — males, females, and workers ; but the saiibas have 
the singularity of possessing three classes of workers. The 
light-colored mounds often met in the forest, sometimes 

* Amazonia is divided into four distinct zoological districts : those of 
Ecuador, Peru, Guiana, and Brazil ; the limits being the Amazon, Madei- 
ra, and Negro. The species found on one side of these rivers are seldom 
found on the other. 

Amazon Ants. 301 

measuring forty feet in diameter by two feet in height, are 
the domes which overhe the entrances to the vast subterra- 
nean galleries of the saliba ants. These ants are eaten by 
the Rio Negro Indians, and esteemed a luxury ; while the 
Tapajos tribes use them to season their mandioca sauce. 
Akin to the vegetable-feeding saiibas are the carnivorous 
ecitons, or foraging ants, of which Bates found ten distinct 
species. They hunt for prey in large organized armies, 
almost every species having its own special manner of 
marching and hunting. Fortunately the ecitons choose 
the thickest part of the forest. The fire-ant is the great 
plague on the Tapajos. It is small, and of a shiny red- 
dish color; but its sting is very painful, and it disputes 
every fragment of food with the inhabitants. All eatables 
and hammocks have to be hung by cords smeared with 
copaiba balsam. 

The traveler on the Amazon frequently meets with con- 
ical hillocks of compact earth, from three to five feet high, 
from which radiate narrow covered galleries or arcades. 
The architects of these wonderful structures are the ter- 
mites, or " white ants," so called, though they belong to a 
lower order of insects, widely differing fi-om the true ants. 
The only thing in common is the principle of division of 
labor. The termite neuters are subdivided into two classes, 
soldiers and workers, both wingless and blind. Their great 
enemy is the ant-eater ; but it is a singular fact, noticed by 
Bates, that the soldiers only attach themselves to the long 
worm-like tongue of this animal, so that the workers, on 
whom the prosperity of the termitarum depends, are saved 
by the self-sacrifice of the fighting caste. Tlie office of the 
termites in the tropics seems to be to hasten the decompo- 
sition of decaying vegetation. But they also work their 
way into houses, trunks, wardrobes, and libraries. " It is 
principally owing to their destructiveness " (wrote Hum- 

302 The Andes and the Amazon. 

boldt) " that it is so rare to find papers in tropical America 
older than fifty or sixty years." 

Dragon-flies are conspicuous specimens of insect life on 
the Amazon. The largest and most brilliant kinds are 
found by the shady brooks and creeks in the recesses of the 
forest, some of them with green or crimson bodies seven 
inches long, and their elegant lace-like wings tipped with 
white or yellow. Still more noticeable are the butterflies. 
There is a vast number of genera and species, and great 
beauty of dress, uneq.ualed in the temperate zone. Some 
idea of the diversity is conveyed by the fact mentioned 
by Mr. Bates that about 700 species are found within an 
hour's walk of Para, and 550 at Ega; while the total num- 
ber found in the British Islands does not exceed 66, and 
the whole of Europe supports only 390. After a shower 
in the dry season the butterflies appear in fluttering clouds 
(for they live in societies), white, yellow, red, green, pur- 
ple, black, and blue, many of them bordered with metallic 
lines and spots of a silveiy or golden lustre. The sulphur- 
yellow and orange-colored kinds predominate. A colossal 
morpho, seven and a half inches in expanse, and visible a 
quarter of a mile off, frequents the shady glades ; splendid 
swallow-tailed papilios, green, rose, or velvety-black, are 
seen only in the thickets ; while the Hetaira esmeralda, 
with transparent wings, having one spot of a violet hue, as 
it flies over the dead leaves in the dense forest looks " like 
a wandering petal of a flower." Yery abundant is the He- 
liconius, which plays such an important figure, by its varia- 
tions, in Wallace's theory of the origin of species. On the 
Maranon we found Callidryas. eubule, a yellow butterfly 
common in Florida. The most brilliant butterflies are 
found on the Middle Amazon, out of reach of the strong 
trade winds. The males far outnumber the other sex, are 
more richly colored, and generally lead a sunshiny life. 

Bees and Musquitoes. 303 

The females are of dull hues, and spend their lives in the 
gloomy shadows of the forest. Caterpillars and nocturnal 
moths are rare. 

There are no true hive-bees (Ajoides) in South America,'* 
but instead there are about one hundi-ed and fifty species 
of bees (mostly social Moliponas), smaller than the Euro- 
pean, stingless, and constructing oblong cells. Their colo- 
nies are much larger than those of the honey-bee. The 
Trigona occurs on the jSTapo. Unlike the Melvpona, it 
is not confined to the New World. . A large sooty-black 
Bombus represents our humble-bee. Shrill cicadas, blood- 
thirsty mantucas, piums, punkies, and musquitoes are al- 
ways associated in the traveler's memory with the glorious 
river. Of the last there are several kinds. " The forest 
musquito belongs to a different species from that of the 
town, being much larger and having transparent wings. 
It is a little cloud that one carries about his person every 
step on a woodland ramble, and their hum is so loud that 
it prevents one hearing well the notes of birds. The town 
musquito has opaque, speckled wings, a less severe sting, 
and a silent way of going to work. The inhabitants ought 
to be thankful the big noisy fellows never come out of the 
forest " (Bates, ii., 386). There are few musquitoes be- 
low Ega ; above that point a musquito net is indispensable. 
Beetles abound, particularly in shady places, and are of all 
sizes, from that of a pin's head to several inches in length. 
The most noticeable are the gigantic Megalosoma and Mie- 
ma, armed with horns. Yery few are carnivorous. " This 
is the more remarkable," observes Darwin, " when com- 
pared to the case of carnivorous quadrupeds, w^hich are so 
abundant in hot countries." Yery f ew^ are terrestrial, even 
the carnivorous species being found clinging to branches 
and leaves. In going fi-om the pole to the equator we find 

* The honey-bee of Europe was introduced into South America in 1845. 

304: The Andes and the Amazon. 

that insect life increases in the same proportion as vegeta- 
ble life. There is not a single beetle on Melville Island; 
eleven species are found in Greenland ; in England, 2500 ; 
in Brazil, 8000. Here Hves the king of spiders, the My- 
gale Blondii, a monstrous hairy fellow, five inches long, 
of a brown color, with yellowish lines along its stout legs. 
Its abode is a slanting subterranean gallery about two feet 
in length, the sides of which are beautifully lined with 
silk. Other spiders barricade the walks in the forest with 
invisible threads ; some build nests in the trees and attack 
birds ; others again spin a closely-woven web, resembling 
fine muslin, under the thatched roofs of the houses. 

Of land vertebrates, lizards are the first to attract the 
attention of the traveler on the equator. Great in num- 
ber and variety, they are met every where — crawling up 
the walls of buildings, scampering over the hot, dusty 
roads, gliding through the forest. They stand up on their 
legs, carry their tails cocked up in the air, and run with 
the activity of a warm-blooded animal. It is almost im- 
possible to catch them. Some of them are far from being 
the unpleasant-looking animals many people imagine ; but 
in their coats of many colors, green, gray, brown, and yel- 
low, they may be pronounced beautiful. Others, however, 
have a repiilsive aspect, and are a yard in length. The 
iguana, peculiar to the New World tropics, is covered with 
minute green scales banded with brown (though it chan- 
ges its color like the chameleon), and has a serrated back 
and gular pouch. It grows to the length of five feet, and 
is arboreal. Its white flesh, and its oblong, oily eggs, are 
considered great delicacies. "We heard of a lady who 
kept one as a pet. Frogs and toads, the chief musicians 
in the Amazonian forest, are of all sizes, from an inch to 
a foot in diameter. The Bufo gigas is of a dull gray 
color, and is covered with warts. Tree-frogs {Hyla) are 




very abundant ; they do not occur on the Andes or on the 
Pacific coast. Their quack-quack, drum-drum, hoo-hoo, is 
one of our pleasant memories of South America. Of 
snakes there is no lack ; and yet they are not so numerous 
as imagination would make them. There are one hundred 
and fifty species in South America, or one half as many, 
on the same area, as in the East Indies. The diabolical 
family is led by the boa, while the rear is brought up by 
the Amphisbsenas, or " double-headed snakes," which pro- 
gress equally well with either end forward, so that it is dif- 
ficult to make head or tail of them. The majority are 
hannless. The deadly coral is found on both sides of the 
Andes, and wherever there is a cacao plantation. One of 
the most beautiful specimens of the venomous kind is a 
new species {Elaps imjperator, Cope), which we discovered 
on the Mararion. It has a slender body more than two 
feet in length, with black and red bands margined with 
yellow, and a black and yellow head, with permanently 
erect fangs. 

"We have already mentioned the most common birds. 
Probably, says Wallace, no country in the world contains 
a greater variety of birds than the Amazonian Yalley. 


306 The Andes and the Amazon. 

But the number does not equal the expectations of the 
traveler; he may ramble a whole day without meeting 
one. The rarity, however, is more apparent than real ; 
we forget, for the moment, the vastness of their dwelling- 
place. The birds of the country, moreover, are gregari- 
ous, so that a locality may be deserted and silent at one 
time and swarming with them at another. Parrots and 
toucans are the- most characteristic groups. To the for- 
mer belong true parrots, parroquets, and macaws. The 
first are rarely seen walking, but are rapid flyers and ex- 
pert climbers. On the trees they are social as monkeys, 
but in flight they always go in pairs. The parroquets go 
in flocks. The Hyacinthine macaw (the Araruna of the 
natives) is one of the finest and rarest species of the par- 
rot family. It is found only on the south side of the Am- 
azon. The macaw was considered sacred by the Maya In- 
dians of Yucatan, and dedicated to the sun. The Quichu- 
ans call it guacamayo, guaca meaning sacred. Of toucans 
there are many species ; the largest is the toco, with a beak 
shaped like a banana; the most beautiful are the curb- 
crested, or Beauharnais toucans, and the P.flavirostris, 
whose breast is adorned with broad belts of red, crimson, 
and black. " Wlierefore such a beak ?" every naturalist 
lias asked ; but the toucan still wags his head, as much as 
to say, " you can not tell." There must be some other 
reason than adaptation. Birds of the same habits are 
found beside it — the ibis, pigeon, spoonbill, and toucan are 
seen feeding together. " How astonishing are the freaks 
and fancies of l^ature ! (wrote the funny Sidney Smith). 
To what purpose, we say, is a bird placed in the woods of 
Cayenne with a bill a yard long, making a noise like a 
puppy-dog, and laying eggs in hollow trees ? The toucan, 
to be sure, might retort, to what purpose are certain fool- 
ish, prating members of Parliament created, pestering the 



House of Commons M'ith their ignorance and folly, and 
impeding the business of the country? There is no end 
to such questions ; so we will not enter into the metaphys- 
ics of the toucan." 

On the flooded islands of the Negro and Upper Ama- 
zon is found the rare and curious umbrella bird, black as 
a crow, and decorated with a crest of hairy pbimes and a 
long lobe suspended from the neck, covered with glossy 
blue feathers. This latter appendage is connected with 
the vocal organs, and assists the bird in producing its 
deep, loud, and lengthy fluty note. There are three spe- 
cies. Another rare bird is the TJruponga, or Campane- 
ro, in English the tolling-bell bird, found only on the bor- 
ders of Guiana. It is of the size of our jay, of a pure 

308 The Andes and the Amazon. 

white color, with a black tubercle on the upper side of the 
bill. "Orpheus himself (says Waterton) would drop his 
lute to listen to him, so sweet, so novel, and romantic is 
the toll of the pretty, snow-white Campanero." "The 
Campanero may be heard three miles! (echoes Sidney 
Smith). This single little bird being more powerful than 
the belfry of a cathedral ringing for a new dean ! It is 
impossible to contradict a gentleman who has been in the 
forests of Cayenne, but we are determined, as soon as a 
Campanero is brought to England, to make him toll in a 
public place, and have the distance measured."* But the 
most remarkable songster of the Amazonian forest is the 
Realejo, or organ-bird. Its notes are as musical as the 
flageolet. It is the only songster, says Bates, which makes 
any impression on the natives. Besides these are the Jac- 
amars, peculiar to equatorial America, stiipid, but of the 
most beautiful golden, bronze, and steel colors ; sulky Tro- 
gons, with glossy green backs and rose - colored breasts ; 
long-toed Jaganas, half wader, half fowl ; the rich, velvety 
purple and black RhamjphoGoeliis Jacaj>a, having an im- 
mense range from Archidona to Para; the gallinaceous 
yet arboreal Ciganas ; scarlet ibises, smaller, but more 
beautiful than their sacred cousins of the Nile; stilted 
flamingoes, whose awkwardness is atoned for by their bril- 
liant red plumage ; glossy black Mutums, or curassow tur- 
keys ; ghostly storks, white egrets, ash-colored herons, black 
ducks, barbets, kingfishers, sandpipers, gulls, plovers, wood- 
peckers, oreoles; tanagers, essentially a South American 
family, and, excepting thi'ee or four species, foimd only 
east of the Andes ; wagtails, finches, thi'ushes, doves, and 
hummers. The last, " by western Indians living sunbea7ns 
named," are few, and not to be compared with the swarms 
in the Andean valleys. The birds of the Amazon have no 

* Eeview of Waterton's Wanderings in South America. 

Animals of the Geeat Fokest. 309 

Brazilian Hummers. 

uniform time for breeding. The majority, however, build 
their nests between September and New Year's, and rare- 
ly lay more than two eggs. 

Amazonia, like Australia, is poor in terrestrial mam- 
mals, and the species are of small size. Nearly the only 
game a hunter can depend npon for food, besides toucans 
and macaws, is peccari. One species of tapir, to represent 
the elephants and rhinoceroses of the Old World ; three 
small species of deer, taking the places of deer, antelopes, 
buffaloes, sheep, and goats of the other continent ; three 
species of large Felid* ; one peccari, and a wild dog, with 
opossums, ant-eaters, armadilloes, sloths, squirrels (the only 
rodents which approach ours),* capybaras, pacas, agoutis, 
and monkeys, comprise all the quadi'upeds of equatorial 
America. The last two are the most numerous. Marsu- 
pial rats take the place of the insectivorous mammals. Of 
ant-eaters, there are at least four distinct species ; but they 
are scattered sparingly, and are seldom found on the low 

* Large rats abound on the Maranon, but they are not American. 

310 The Andes and the Amazon. 

flooded lands. Four or five species of armadillo inhabit 
the valley. These little nocturnal burrowing edentates 
are the puny representatives of the gigantic Glyptodon of 
Pleistocene times, and the sloths are the dwindling shad- 
ows of the lordly Megatherium. There ai"e two species of 
three-toed sloths — one inliabiting the swampy lowlands, 
the other confined to the terra-firma land. They lead a 
lonely life, never in groups, harmless and frugal as a her- 
mit. They have four stomachs, but not the long intestines 
of ruminating animals. They feed chiefly on the leaves 
of the trumpet-tree {Cecrqpia), resembling our horse-chest- 
nut. The natives, both Indian and Brazilian, hold the 
common opinion that the sloth is the type of laziness. The 
capybara or ronsoco, the largest of living rodents, is quite 

common on the river 
side. It is gregarious 
and amphibious,^ and 
resembles a mammoth 
guinea-pig. Pacas and 
agoutis are most abun- 
capybara. dant In the lowlands. 

and are nocturnal. These semi-hoofed rodents, like the 
Toxodon of old, approach the Pachyderms. The tapir, or 
gran-bestia, as it is called, is a characteristic quadruped of 
South America. It is a clumsy-looking animal, with a 
tough hide of an iron-gray color, covered with a coat of 
short coarse hair. Its flesh is dry, but very palatable. It 
has a less powerful proboscis than the Malay species. M. 
Eouhn distinguishes another species from the mountains, 
which more nearly resembles the Asiatic. The taj^ir, like 
the condor, for an unknown reason, is not found north of 
8° N., though it wanders as far south as 40°. We met but 
one species of peccari, the white-lipped {D. labiatus). It 
is much larger than the " Mexican hog," and, too thick- 

The Jaguae. 311 

headed to understand danger, is a formidable antagonist. 
The raposa is seen only on the Middle Amazon, and very 
rarely there. It has a long tapering muzzle, small ears, 
bushy tail, and grayish hair. It takes to the water, for the 
one we saw at Tabatinga was caught while crossing the 
Amazon. Fawn-colored pumas, sp»otted jaguars, black ti- 
gers, tiger-cats — all members of the graceful feline fami- 
ly — inhabit all parts of the valley, but are seldom seen. The 
puma (Suassu-ardna) is more common on the Pacific side 
of the Andes. The jaguar* is the fiercest and most power- 
ful animal in South America. It is marked like the leopard 
— roses of black spots on a yellowish ground ; but they are 


angular instead of rounded, and have a central dot. There 
are also several black streaks across the breast, which easily 
distinguish it from its transatlantic representative. It is 
also longer than the leopard ; indeed, Humboldt says he saw 
a jaguar " whose length surpassed that of any of the tigers 

* The Tupi word for dog is yaguara, and for wolf, yagua-vien, or old dog. 

312 The Andes and the Amazon. 

of India which he had seen in the collections of Europe." 
The jaguar frequents the borders of the rivers and lagunes, 
and its common prey is the capybara. It fears the pec- 
cari. The night air is alive with bats of many species, the 
most prominent one being the Dysopes perotis, which 
measures two feet from tip to tip of the wings. If these 
Cheiropters are as impish as they look, and as bloodthirsty 
as some travelers report, it is singular that Bates and Wa- 
terton, though residing for years in the country, and our- 
selves, though sleeping for months unprotected, were un- 

About forty species of monkeys, or one half of the I^ew 
World forms, inhabit the Valley of the Amazon. Wallace, 
in a residence of four years, saw twenty-one species — seven 
with prehensile and fourteen with non-prehensile tails. 
They all differ fi-om the apes of the other hemisphere. 
While those of Africa and Asia (Europe has only one) 
have opposable thumbs on the fore feet as well as hind, 
uniformly ten molar teeth in each jaw, as in man, and 
generally cheek-pouches and naked collosities, the Ameri- 
can monkeys are destitute of the two latter characteristics. 
None of them are terrestrial, like the baboon ; all (save 
the marmosets) have twenty-four molars; the thumbs of 
the fore-hands are not habitually opposed to the fingers 
(one genus, Ateles, "the imperfect," is thumbless alto- 
gether) ; the nostrils open on the sides of the nose instead 
of beneath it, as in the gorilla, and the majority have long 
prehensile tails. They are inferior in rank to the anthro- 
poids of the Old World, though superior to the lemurs of 
Madagascar. They are usually grouped in two families — 
Marmosets and Cebidse. The former are restless, timid, 
squirrel-like lilliputs (one species is only seven inches long), 
with tails not prehensile — in the case of the scarlet-faced, 
nearly wanting. The Barigudos, or gluttons {Lagothrix), 

Monkeys. 313 

are the largest of American monkeys, but are not so tall 
as the Coaitas. They are found west of Manaos. They 
have more human features than the other monkeys, and, 
with their woolly gray fur, resemble an old negro. There 
are three kinds of howlers {Mycetes) — the red or mono- 
colorado of Humboldt, the black, and the M. heehebub, 
found only near Para. The forest is full of these surly, 
untamable guaribas, as the natives call them. They are 
gifted with a voice of tremendous power and volume, with 
which they make night and day hideous. They represent 
the baboons of the Old World in disposition and facial 
angle (30°), and the gibbons in their yells and gregarious 
habits.* The Sapajous (6fe^».«) are distributed throughout 
Brazil, and have the reputation of being the most mis- 
chievous monkeys in the country. On the west coast of 
South America there are at least three or four species of 
monkeys, among them a black howler and a Cebtcs ca^u- 
cinus. The Coitas, or spider-monkeys, are the highest of 
American quadrumana. They are slender-legged, slug- 
gish, and thumbless, with a most perfectly prehensile tail, 
terminating in a naked palm, which answers for a fifth 
hand. Tlie Indians say they walk under the limbs like 
the sloth. They are the most common pets in Brazil, but 
they refuse to breed in captivity. Both Coitas and Ba- 
rigudos are much perseciited for their flesh, which is high- 
ly esteemed by the Indians. 

Mr. Bates has called our attention to the arboreal char- 
acter of a large share of the animals in the Amazonian 
forest. All the monkeys and bats are climbers, and live 
in the trees. Nearly all the carnivores are feline, and are 
therefore tree-mounters, though they lead a terrestrial life. 
The plantigrade Cercoleptes has a long tail, and is entirely 
arboreal. Of the edentates, the sloth can do nothing on 

* Riitimeyev has found a fossil howler in the Swiss Jura — middle eocene. 

314 The Andes a:^d the Amazon. 

the ground. The gallinaceous birds, as the cigana and 
curassow — the pheasant and turkey of the Amazon — perch 
on the trees, while the great number of arboreal frogs and 
beetles is an additional proof of the adaptation of the 
fauna to a forest region. Even the epiphytous plants sit- 
ting on the branches suggest this, arboreal feature in ani- 
mal life. 

South Ajmekican Indians. 315 


Life around the Great Eiver.— Origin of tlie Red Man.— General Character- 
istics of the Amazonian Indians. — Their Languages, Costumes, and Hab- 
itations.— Principal Tribes.— Mixed Breeds.— Brazihans and Brazil. 

We come now to the genus Homo. Man makes a very 
insignificant figure in the vast solitudes of the Amazon. 
Between Manaos and Para, the most densely-peopled part 
of the valley, there is only one man to every four square 
miles ; and the native race takes a low place in the scale of 
humanity. As the western continent is geologically more 
primitive than the eastern, and as the brute creation is also 
inferior in rank, so the American man, in point of prog- 
ress, seems to stand in the rear of the Old World races. 
Both the geology and zoology of the continent were arrest- 
ed in their development. Vegetable life alone has been 
favored. " The aboriginal American (wrote Von Martius) 
is at once in the incapacity of infancy and unpliancy of 
old age ; he unites the opposite poles of intellectual life."* 

We will not touch the debatable ground of the red man's 
origin, nor inquire whether he is the last remains of a peo- 
ple once high in civilization. But we are tempted to ex- 
press the full belief that tropical America is not his "cen- 
tre of creation." He is not the true child of the tropics ; 
and he lives as a stranger, far less fitted for its climate than 

* "I think I discover in the Americans (said Humboldt) the descendants 
of a race which, early separated from the rest of mankind, has followed up 
for a series of years a peculiar road in the unfolding of its intellectual facul- 
ties and its tendency toward civilization." The South American Indian 
seems to have a natural aptitude for the arts of civilized life not found in the 
red man of our continent. 

316 The Andes and the Amazon. 

the N'egro or Caucasian. Yet a little while, and the race 
will be as extinct as the Dodo. He has not the supple or- 
ganization of the European, enabling him to accommodate 
himself to diverse conditions. Among the Andean tribes 
there are seldom over five children, generally but one, in a 
family; and Bates, speaking of Brazilian Indians, says 
" their fecundity is of a low degree, and it is very rare to 
find a family having so many as four children."* 

While it is probable that Mexico was peopled from the 
north, it is very certain that the Tupi and Guarani, the 
long-headed hordes that occupied eastern South America, 
came up from the south, moving from the Paraguay to the 
banks of the Orinoco. From the Tupi nation (perhaps a 
branch of the Guarani) sprung the multitudinous tribes 
now dwelling in the vast valley of the Amazon. In such 
a country^ — unbroken by a mountain, uniform in climate — 
we need not look for great diversity. The general char- 
acters are these: skin of a brown color, with yellowish 
tinge, often nearly the tint of mahogany ; thick, straight, 
black hair; black, horizontal eyes; low forehead, some- 
what compensated by its breadth ; beardless ; of the mid- 
dle height, but thick-set ; broad, muscular chest ; small 
hands and feet ; incurious ; unambitious ; impassive ; un- 
demonstrative ; with a dull imagination and little supersti- 
tion ; with no definite idea of a Supreme Being, few tribes 
having a name for God, though one for the " Demon ;" 
with no belief in a future state ; and, excepting civility, 
with virtues all negative. The semi-civilized along the 
Lower Amazon, called Tivpuyos, seem to have lost (in the 
language of Wallace) the good qualities of savage life, and 
gained only the vices of civilization. 

There are several hundred different tribes in Amazonia, 

* We do not infer, however, from this fact alone, that the race is exotic, 
for the Negroes of Central Africa multiply very slowly. 

Indians on the Amazon. 


each having a different language ; even the scattered mem- 
bers of the same tribe can not understand each other.* 
This segregation of dialects is due in great part to the in- 
flexibility of Indian character, and his isolated and narrow 
round of thought and life. When and where the Babel 
existed, whence the many branches of the great Tupi fam- 
ily separated, we know not. We only know that though 
different in words, these languages have the same gram- 
matical construction. In more than one respect the poly- 
glot American is antipodal to the Chinese. The language 
of the former is richest in words, that of the latter the 
poorest. The preposition follows the noun, and the verb 
ends the sentence. Ancient Tupi is the basis of the Lin- 
goa Geral, the inter-tribal tongue on the Middle Amazon. 
The semi-civilized Ticunas, Mundurucus, etc., have one 
costume — the men in trowsers and white cotton shirts, the 
women in calico petticoats, with short, loose chemises, and 
their hair held in a knot on the top of the head by a comb, 

usually of foreign make, 
but sometimes made of 
bamboo splinters. The 
wild tribes north and 
south go nearly or quite 
nude, while those on the 
Avestern tributaries wear 
cotton or bark togas or 
ponchos. The habita- 
tions are generally a 
frame-work of poles, thatched with palm-leaves ; the walls 
sometimes latticed and plastered with mud, and the furni- 
ture chiefly hammocks and earthen vessels. 

Native Comb. 

* Authors compute in South America from 280 to 700 languages (Abbe 
Royo said 2000), of which four fifths are composed of idioms radically dis- 

318 The Andes and the Aisiazon. 

The Miindurucus are the most numerous and warlike 
tribe in Amazonia. They inhabit both banks of the Ta- 
pajos, and can muster, it is said, 2000 fighting men. They 
are friendly to the whites, and industrious, selling to trad- 
ers large quantities of farina, sarsaparilla, rubber, and 
tonka beans. Their houses are conical or quadrangular 
huts, sometimes open sheds, and generally contain many 
families. According to Wallace, the Mundurucus are the 
only perfectly tattooed nation in South America. It takes 
at least ten years to complete the tattooing of the whole 
person. The skin is pricked with spines, and then the soot 
from burning pitch rubbed in. Their neighbors, the 
Pararauates, are intractable, wandering savages, roaming 
through the forest and sleeping in hammocks slung to the 
trees. They have delicately-formed hands and feet, an 
oval face, and glistening black eyes. On the west side of 
the Tapajos, near Villa Xova, are the Mauhes, an agricul- 
tural tribe, well formed, and of a mild disposition. On 
the Lower Madeira are the houseless, formidable Araras, 
who paint their chins ]"ed with achote (anatto), and usually 
have a black tattooed streak on eacli side of the face. 
They have long made the navigation of the great tributary 
hazardous. Above them dwell the Farentintms, light col- 
ored and finely featured, but nude and sa\-age. In the 
labyrinth of lakes and channels at the mouth of the Ma- 
deira live the lazy, brutal Muras, the most degraded tribe 
on the Amazon. They ha\e a darker skin than their neigh- 
bors, an extraordinary breadth of chest, muscular arms, 
short legs, protuberant abdomens, a thin beard, and a bold, 
restless expression. They pierce the lips, and wear peccari 
tusks in them in time of war. The Indians on the Piu-us 
live generally on the communal principle, and are unwar- 
like and indolent. The Puru-puriis bury in sandy beaches, 
go naked, and have one wife. 

Middle Amazon Tribes. 319 

On the great northwest tributary of the Eio Negro, the 
Uacaiari, there are numerous tribes, collectively known as 
the Uaupes. They have permanent abodes, in shape a 
parallelogram, with a semicircle at one end, and of a size 
to contain several families, sometimes a whole tribe. One 
of them, Wallace informs us, was 115 feet long by 75 
broad, and about 30 high. The walls are bullet-proof. 
Partitions of palm-leaves divide it into apartments for 
families, tlie^ chief occupying the semicircular end. The 
men alone Avear clothes and ornaments, but both sexes 
paint their bodies with red, black, and yellow colors in 
regular patterns. The men have a little beard, which they 
pull out, as also the eyebrows, and allow the hair to grow 
unshorn, tying it behind with a cord and wearing a comb ; 
while the women cut theirs and wear no comb. They are 
an agricultural people — peaceable, ingenious, apathetic, dif- 
fident, and bashful. 

The Catauishes inhabit the banks of the Teffe. They 
perforate the lips, and wear rows of sticks in the holes. 
At the mouth of the Jurua are the uncivilized, but tall, 
noble-looking Marauds. They pierce the ears and lips, and 
insert sticks. They live in separate families, and have jio 
common chief. Above them live the treacherous Arauas.* 
On the opposite side of the Amazon are the nearly extinct 
Passes and Juris, the finest tribes in central South Amer- 
ica. They are peaceable and industrious, and have always 
been friendly to the whites. The Passes are a slenderly- 
built, light-colored, dignified, superior race, distinguished 
by a large square tattooed patch in the middle of the face. 
The Juris tattoo in a circle round the mouth. Near by are 
the Usenambeus, or "Humming-birds," distinguished by 

* Near the sources of this river Castlenau locates the Canamas and Ugi- 
nas ; the former dwarfs, the latter having tails a palm and a half long — a 
hybrid from an Indian and Barigudo monkey. 

320 The Andes and the Amazon. 

a small blue mark on the upper lip. Higher up the Japu- 
ra is the large cannibal tribe of Miranhas, living in isolated 
families ; and on the Tunantins dwell the low Caishanas, 
who kill their first-born children. Along the left bank of 
the Amazon, from Loreto to Japura, are the scattered 
houses and villages of the Tuciinas. This is an extens- 
ive tribe, leading a settled agricultural life, each horde 
having a chief and a " medicine-man," or priest of their 
superstitions. They are good-natured and iiigenious, ex- 
celling most of the other tribes in the manufacture of pot- 
tery ; but they are idle and debauched, naked except in the 
^dllages, and tattooed in numbers of short, straight lines 
on the face. The Marubos, on the Javari, have a dark 
complexion and a slight beard; and on the west side of 
the same river roam the Majeronas — fierce, hostile, light 
colored, bearded cannibals. In the vicinity of Pebas dwell 
the inoffensive Yaguas. The shape of the head (but not 
their vacant expression) is well represented by Catlin's por- 
trait of " Black Hawk," a Saiik chief. They are quite free 
from the encumbrance of dress, the men wearing a girdle 
of fibrous bark around the loins, with bunches looking like 
a jnop hanging down in front and rear, and similar bunches 
hung around the neck and arms. The women tie a strip 
of brown cotton cloth about the hips. They paint the 
whole body with achote.* They sometimes five in com- 
munities. One large structure, with Gothic roof, is used 
in common ; on the inside of which, around the walls, are 
built family sleeping-rooms. Tlie Yaguas are given to 
drinking and dancing. They are said to bury their dead 
inside the house of the deceased, and then set fire to it ; 
but this conflicts Math their communal life. Perliaps, with 
the other tribes on the Japura, Iga, and Napo, they are 

'■' Query : Is the name Yagua (blood) derived from the practice of color- 
ing the body red ? 

Cannibals. 321 

fragments of the great Omagua nation; but tlie languages 
have no resemblance. Of the Oriente Indians we have 
already spoken. The tall, finely-built Cucamas near Nauta 
are shrewd, hard-working canoe-men, notorious for the sin- 
gular desire of acquiring property; and the Yameos, a 
white tribe, wander across the Maraiion as far as Saraya- 
cu. On the Ucayali are numerous vagabond tribes, living 
for the most part in their canoes and temporary huts. 
They are all lazy and faithless, using their wives (polyga- 
my is con:!mon) as slaves. Infanticide is practiced, i. e., 
deformed children they put out of the way, saying they 
belong to the devil. They worship nothing. They bury 
their dead in a canoe or earthen jar under the house (which 
is vacated fore^'er), and throw away his property.* The 
common costume is a long gown, called cushyna, of closely- 
twilled cotton, woven by the women. Their weapons are 
two-edged battle-axes of hard wood, as palo de sangre, and 
bows and arrows. The arrows, five or six feet long, are 
made from the flower-stalk of the arrow-grass {Gynerium), 
the head pointed with the flinty chonta and tipped with 
bone, often anointed with poison. At the base two rows 
of feathers are spirally arranged, showing the Indian's 
knowledge of the rifle principle. When they have fixed 
abodes several families live together under one roof, with 
no division separating the women, as among the Ked In- 
dians on the Pastassa. The roof is not over ten feet from 
the ground. The Piros are the highest tribe; they have 
but one wife. The Conibos are an agricultural people, 
yet cannibals, stretching from the Upper Ucayali to the 
sources of the Purus. They are a fair-looking, athletic 

* Compare the ancient burial custom on the Andes : "On the decease of 
the Inca his palaces are abandoned; all his treasures, except those that were 
employed in his obsequies, his furniture and apparel, were suffered to re- 
main as he left them, and his mansions, save one, were closed up forever. " — 


322 The Andes and the Amazon. 

people, and, like the Shipibos, often wear a piece of money 
under the lip. The Campas are the most numerous and 
warlike.* They are little known, as travelers give them a 
wide berth. Herndon fancied they were the descendants 
of the Inca race. They are said to be cannibals, and from 
the specimen we saw we should judge them uncommonly 
sharp. He was averse to telling us any thing about his 
tribe, but turned our questions with an equivocal repartee 
and a laugh. The Cashibos, on the Pachitea, is another 
cannibal tribe. They are light colored and bearded. 
The dwarfish, filthy Rimos alone of the Ucayali Indians 
tattoo, though not so perfectly as the Mundurucus, using 
black and blue colors. The other tribes simply paint. It 
was among these wild Indians on the Ucayali that the 
Franciscan friars labored so long and zealously, and with 
a success far greater and more lasting tlian that which at- 
tended any other missionary enterprise in the valley. 

The remaining inhabitants of the Amazon are mixed- 
breeds, Negroes, and whites. The amalgamations form the 
greater part of the population of the large towns. Von 
Tschudi gives a catalogue of twenty-three hybrids in Peru , 
and there are undoubtedly as many, or more, in Brazil. 
The most common are Mamelucos (offspring of white with 
Indian), Mulattoes (fi'om white and Negro), Cafuzos or 
Zambos (from Indian and Negro), Curibocos (from Caf uzo 
and Indian) ; and Xibaros (from Caf uzo and Negro). " To 
define their characteristics correctly," says Von Tschudi, 
" would be impossible, for their minds partake of the mix- 
ture of their blood. As a general rule, it may be said that 
they unite in themselves all the faults without any of the 

* The women circumcise themselves, and a man will not many a woman 
who is not circumcised. They perform the singular rite upon arriving at 
the age of puberty, and have a great feast at the time. Other tribes flog 
and imprison their daughters when they reach womanhood. 

Brazilians. 323 

virtues of their progenitors. As men they are generally- 
inferior to the pure races, and as members of society they 
are the worst class of citizens." Yet they display consid- 
erable talent and enterprise, as in Quito; a proof that 
mental degeneracy does not necessarily result from the 
mixture of white with Indian blood. " There is, however," 
confesses Bates, after ten years' experience, " a considera- 
ble number of superlatively lazy, tricky, and sensual char- 
acters among the half-castes, both in rural places and in 
the towns." Our observations do not support the opinion 
that the result of amalgamation is " a vague compound, 
lacking character and expression." The moral part is per- 
haps deteriorated ; but in tact and enterprise they often 
excel their progenitors. 

Negroes are to be seen only on the Lower Amazon. By 
the new act of emancipation, such as are slaves continue so, 
but their children are free. Negroes born in the country 
are called Creoles. 

Of the white population, save a handful of English, 
French, and German, the Portuguese immigrants are the 
most enterprising men on the river. They are willing to 
work, trade, or do any thing to turn a penny. Those who 
acquire a fortune generally retire to Lisbon. The Brazil- 
ians proper are the descendants of the men who declared 
themselves " free and independent " of the mother country. 
Few of them are of pure Caucasian descent, for the immi- 
gration fi'om Portugal for many years has been almost ex- 
clusively of the male sex. " It is generally considered bad 
taste in Brazil to boast purity of descent" (Bates, i, 241). 
Brazilians are stiff and formal, yet courteous and lively, 
communicative and hospitable, well-bred and intelligent. 
They are not ambitious, but content to live and enjoy what 
nature spontaneously offers. The most a Brazilian wants 
is farina and coffee, a hammock and cigar. Brazilian la- 

324 The Andes and the Amazon, 

dies have led a dreary life of constraint and silence, with- 
out education or society, the husband making a nun of his 
wife after thf old bigoted Portuguese notion ; but during 
the last twenty years the doors have been opened. Brazil 
attained her independence in 1823; Brazilian women in 


Here, in this virgin valley, where ever}^ plant is an ever- 
green, possessing the most agreeable and enjoyable climate 
in the world, with a brilliant atmosphere, rivaled only by 
that of Quito, and with no changes of seasons — here we 
may locate the paradise of the lazy. Life may be main- 
tained with as Httle labor as in the Garden of Eden. Per- 
haps no country in the world is capable of yielding so large 
a return for agriculture. Nature, e^ddently designing this 
land as the home of a great nation, has heaped up her 
bounties of every description — fruits of richest- flavors, 
woods of finest grain, dyes of gayest colors, and drugs of 
rarest virtues ; and left no sirocco or earthquake to disturb 
its people. Providence, moreover, has given the present 
emperor a wise and understanding heart ; and the govern- 
ment is a happy blending of imperial dignity and republi- 
can freedom. White, Negro, half-caste, and Indian may 
be seen sitting side by side on the jury-bench. Certainly 
"the nation can not be a despicable one whose best men 
are able to work themselves up to positions of trust and 

God bless the Empire of the South ! 

Routes across the Continent. 325 


How to Travel in South America. — Routes. — Expenses. — Outfit. — Precau- 
tions. — Dangers. 

The most vague and incorrect notions prevail in respect 
to traveling in South America. The sources of trustwor- 
thy and desirable information are very meagre. Murray 
has not yet published a " Hand-book for the Andes ;" 
routes, methods, and expenses of travel are almost un- 
known ; and the imagination depicts vampires and scor- 
pions, tigers and anacondas, wild Indians and fevers with- 
out end, impassable rivers and inaccessible mountains as 
the portion of the tourist. The following' statements, which 
can be depended upon, may therefore be acceptable to 
those who contemplate a trip on the Andes and the Ama- 

The shortest, cheapest, most feasible, and least interest- 
ing route across the continent is from Valparaiso to Bue- 
nos Ayres. The breadth of South America is here only 
eight hundred miles. By railroad from Valparaiso to the 
foot of the Andes ; thence a short mule-ride by the Uspal- 
lata Pass (altitude 12,000 feet), under the shadow of Acon- 
cagua to Mendoza ; thence by coach across the pampas to 
the Rio Plata. The Portillo Pass (traversed by Darwin) 
is nearer, but more lofty and dangerous. 

Bolivia offers the difficult path of Gibbon : From the 
coast to Cochabamba ; thence down the Mamore and Ma- 
deira. There are three routes through Peru : First, from 
Lima to Mayro, by way of Cerro Pasco and Huanaco, by 
mule, ten days ; thence down the Pachitea, by canoe, six 

326 The Andes and the Amazon. 

days ; thence down the Ucayali to Iquitos, by steamer, six 
days (forty-five hours' running time). When the road from 
Lima to Mayro is finished the passage will be shortened 
four days. No snow is met in crossing the Andes in sum- 
mer, but in winter it is very deep. Second (Herndon's 
route), from Lima to Tinga Maria, by way of Huanaco, 
by mule, fifteen days, distance three hundred miles (the 
passage is difficult in the rainy season) ; thence by canoe 
fifteen days down the Huallaga to Yurimaguas. Third 
and best, by mule from Truxillo to Caximarca, five days 
(note the magnificent ruins) ; thence to Chachapoyas, seven 
days (here are pre-Incarial relics) ; thence to Moyabamba, 
eight days; thence on foot to Balsa Puerto, four days; 
thence by canoe to Yurimaguas, two days. Price of a 
mule from Truxillo to Moyabamba is $30 ; canoe-hire, 
$10. The Peruvian steamers arrive at Yurimaguas the 
fifth of every month and leave the seventh ; reach Nauta 
the ninth and Iquitos the tenth ; leave Iquitos the sixteenth 
and arrive at Tabatinga the nineteenth, to connect with 
the Brazilian line. Going up, they leave Tabatinga the 
twenty-first and arrive at Iquitos the twenty -fourth, stop- 
ping six days. Running time from Yurimaguas to Taba- 
tinga, forty-eight hours ; fare, $70, gold ; third-class, $17. 
La Condamine's route, via Loxa and the Maranon, is diffi- 
cult ; and Md. Godin's, via the Pastassa, is perilous on ac- 
count of rapids and savages. The transit by the Napo we 
will now give in detail. 

Six hundred dollars in gold will be amply sufficient for 
a first-class passage from New York to New York across 
the continent of South America, making no allowance for 
stoppages. For necessary expenses in Ecuador, take a draft 
on London, which will sell to advantage in Guayaquil ; so 
will Mexican dollai-s. American gold should be taken for 
expenses on the Amazon in Brazil; at Para it commands 

Fakes and Outfit. 327 

a premium. On the Maranon it is below par ; Peruvian 
gold should therefore be bought at Guayaquil for that part 
of the route. Also French medios^ or quarter francs ; they 
will be very useful every where on the route, especially on 
the Upper Amazon, where change is scarce. Fifty dollars' 
worth will not be too many ; for, as the Scotchman said of 
sixpences, " they are canny little dogs, and often do the 
work of shillings." Take a passport for Brazil. Leave 
behind your delicacies and superfluities of clothing ; wool- 
en clothes will be serviceable throughout. A trunk for 
mountain travel should not exceed 24 by 15 by 15 inches — 
smaller the better. Take a rubber air-pillow and mattress : 
there is no bed between Guayaquil and Para. A ham- 
mock for the Amazon can be bought on the Napo. 

The Pacific Mail steamships, which leave New York on 
the first and sixteenth of each month, connect at Panama 
without delay with the British Steam Navigation line on 
the South Pacific. Fare, first-class, from New York to 
Guayaquil, by way of Panama and Paita, $215, gold ; sec- 
ond-class, $128. Time to Panama, eight days; to Paita, 
four days ; to Guayaqv;il, one day. A coasting steamer 
leaves Panama for Guayaquil the thirteenth of each month. 
There are two so-called hotels in Guayaquil. " Los tres 
Mosqueteros," kept by Sr. Gonzales, is tlie best. Take a 
front room ($1 per day), and board at the Fonda Italiana 
or La Santa Rosa ($1 per day). Here complete your out- 
fit for the mountains: saddle, with strong girth and crup- 
per ; saddle-bags, saddle-cover, sweat-cloth, and bridle ($40, 
paper), woolen poncho ($9), rubber poncho ($4), blanket 
($6), leggins, native spurs and stirruj)s, knife, fork, spoon, 
tea-pot, chocolate (tea, pure and cheap, should be purchased 
at Panama), candles, matches, soap, towels, and tarpaulin 
for wrapping up baggage. Convert your draft into paper, 
quantum sufficit for Guayaquil ; the rest into silver. 

328 The Andes and the Amazon. 

Besides this outer outfit, an inner one is needed — of pa- 
tience without stint. You will soon learn that it is one thing 
to plan and quite another to execute. " To get out of the 
inn is one half of the journey" is very appropriately a 
Spanish proverb. Spaniards do nothing d ^wppressado (in 
a hurry), but every thing manana (to-morrow). You will 
find fondas, horses, and roads divided into the bad, the 
worse, and the worst, and bad is the best. But fret not 
thyself. "Serenity of mind," wrote Humboldt, "almost 
the first requisite for an undertaking in inhosj^itable re- 
gions, passionate love for some class of scientific labor, and 
a pure feeling for the enjoyment which nature in her free- 
dom is ready to impart, are elements which, when they 
meet together in an individual, insm'e the attainment of 
valuable results from a great and important journey." 

The journey to Quito must be made between May and 
November; in the rainy season the roads are impassable. 
From Guayaquil to Bodegas by Yankee steamer ; fare, $2 ; 
time, eight hours. At Bodegas hire beasts at the Consig- 
nacion for Guaranda; price for riding and cargo beasts, 
$4 each. No extras for the arriero. A mule will carry 
two hundred and fifty pounds. Buy bread at Bodegas and 
Guaranda. The Indians on the road are very loth to sell 
any thing ; buy a fowl, therefore, at the first opportunity, 
or you will have to live on dirty potato soup, and be glad 
of that. At the tambos, or wayside inns, you pay only for 
yerba (fodder). Never unsaddle your beast till it is cool ; 
an Indian will even leave the bridle on for a time. To 
Guaranda, three full days. There take mules (safer than 
horses in climbing the mountains) for Quito ; $6 25, silver, 
per beast ; time, five days. Be sure to leave Guaranda by 
4 A.M., for in the afternoon Chimborazo is swept by fu- 
rious winds. Also start with a full stomach ; you will get 
nothing for two days. Drink sparingly of the snow-water 

Pkice of Living. 329 

which dashes down the mountain. You will be tempted 
to curse Chuquipoyo ; but thank heaven it is no worse. 

There are two hotels in Quito, French and American ; 
the former has the better location, the latter the better 
rooms. Best front room, furnished, half a dollar a day; 
cheaper by the month. Meals (two), twenty-five cents 
each. The beef is excellent, but the cuisine — oh, onions ! 
" God sends the meat, and the evil one cooks." You can 
hire a professional male cook (Indian) for $5 a month, but 
you can't teach him any thing. Fish is not to be had in 
Quito. Gibbon speaks of having some in Cuzco, but does 
not tell us where it came from.* Price of best flour, $3 60 
per quintal ; butter, thirty cents a pound ; beef, $1 an ar- 
roba (twenty -five pounds) ; refined sugar, $3 50 an arroba; 
brown sugar {raj>idura),'\ five cents a pound ; cigars, from 
six to sixteen for a dime ; cigarettes, five cents a hundred. 
Horse hire, from fifty cents to $1 per day. If you are to 
remain some time, buy a beast : a good mule costs $40 ; an 
ordinary horse, $50. The Post-ofiice Department is a 
swindle. If you " pay through " you will find on your ar- 
rival home that your letters have been paid at both ends. 
Ask our consul at Guayaquil to forward them. 

The necessary preparations for the Napo journey have 
been given in a previous chapter (Chap. XI). We might add 
to the list a few cans of preserved milk from New York, 
for you will not see a drop between the Andes and the At- 
lantic. Fail not to take plenty of lienzo ; you must have 
it to pay the Indians, and any surplus can be sold to ad- 
vantage. A bale of thirty varas costs about five dollars. 

* The Guayaquil market is well supplied with fish of a fair quality. Usu- 
ally the fish of warm tropical waters are poor, but the cold *' Humboldt cur- 
rent," which passes along the west coast of Ecuador, renders them as edible 
as those of temperate zones. 

t Called chancaca in Peru. In flavor it is very nearly equal to maple- 

330 The Andes and the Amazon. 

Rely not at all on game ; a champion sharpshooter could 
not live by his rifle. Santa Rosa and Coca will be repre- 
sented to you as small New Yorks ; but you will do well 
if you can buy a chicken between them. 

From Quito to Papallacta, two days and a half ; riding 
beast, $2 silver, and $1 20 for each cargo of three arrobas. 
At Papallacta hire Indians for Archidona ; each carries 
three arrobas, and wants $5 silver in advance. You take 
to your feet ; time, nine days, including one day of rest at 
Baeza. At Archidona you take a new set of peons for 
Napo at twenty -five cents apiece ; time, one day. From 
Napo down the river to Santa Rosa, one day. You give 
two and a half varas of lienzo to each Indian, and the same 
for the canoe. From Santa Rosa to Pebas, on the Mara- 
non, fifteen days ; cost of an Indian, twenty-fiye varas ; 
ditto for a canoe. We advise you to stop at Coca and rig 
up a raft or craft of some kind ; we ascribe our uninter- 
rupted good health to the length and breadth of our ac- 
commodations. The Peruvian steamer from the west ar- 
rives at Pebas on the sixteenth of each month ; fare to 
Tabatinga, $15 gold ; time, four days ; running time, eleven 
hours. Bi'azilian steamer leaves Tabatinga the twentieth 
of each month ; fare to Manaos, $44 44 gold ; time, five 
days ; distance, one thousand miles. From Manaos to Pa- 
ra, $55 55 gold ; time, six days ; distance, one thousand 
miles. The Brazilian steamers make semi-monthly trips. 
We found two hotels in Para — the " Italiana," dear and 
poor ; the " Diana," unpretending but comfortable. Charges 
at the latter for room and board, $2 a day. The best time 
for traveling on the Amazon is between July and Decem- 
ber. The United States and Brazilian steamships on their 
homeward voyage call at Para the seventh of each month ; 
fare to New York, $160 gold (the same as down the Avhole 
length of the Amazon) ; second class, $75 ; time, fourteen 

Diseases and Dangers. 331 

days; distance by way of St. Thomas, 1610 + 1400 miles. 
Steamer for Rio the ninth of each month ; fare, $125 ; 
time, twelve days ; distance, 2190 niiles. Fare from Rio 
to New York, $200. Fare by sailing vessel from Para to 
New York, from $50 to $75 ; time, three weeks. A Brit- 
ish steamer from Rio stops at Para and Lisbon. 

A word about health. First, take one grain of common- 
sense daily ; do as the natives do, keep out of the noon- 
day sun, and make haste slowly. Secondly, take with you 
quinine in two-grain pills, and begin to take them before 
leaving New York, as the great African traveler, Du 
Chaillu, recommended us. As preventive against the in- 
termittent fevers on the lowlands and rivers, nothing is 
better than Dr. Copeland's celebrated pills — quinine, twelve 
grains ; camphor, twelve grains ; cayenne pepper, twelve 
grains. Mix with mucilage, and divide into twelve pills ; 
take one every night bv morning as required. On the 
Amazon carry guarana. Woolen socks are recommended 
by those who have had much experience of tropical fevers. 
Never bathe when the air is moist ; avoid a chill ; a native 
will not bathe till the sun is well up. Rub yourself with 
aguardiente (native rnm) after a bath, and always when 
caught in a shower. Fi'eely exercise in Quito to ward off 
liver complaints. Drink little water; coffee or chocolate 
is better, and tea is best. Avoid spirits with fruit, and 
fruit after dinner. The sickliest time in Guayaquil is at 
the breaking up of the rainy season. 

As to dangers : First, from the people. Traveling is as 
safe in Ecuador as in New York, and safer than in Mis- 
souri. There are no Spanish banditti, though some places, 
as Chambo, near Riobamba, bear a bad name. It is not 
wise to tempt a penniless footpad by a show of gold ; but 
no more so in Ecuador than any where. We have traveled 
from Guayaquil to Damascus, but have never had occasion 

332 The Andes and the Amazon. 

to use a weapon in self-defense ; and only once for offense, 
when we threatened to demolish an Arab sheik with an um- 
brella. Secondly, from brutes. Some travelers would 
have us infer that it is impossible to stir in South Ameri- 
ca without being " affectionately entwined by a serpent, or 
sprung upon by a jaguar, or bitten by a rattlesnake; jig- 
gers in every sand-heap and scorpions under every stone " 
{EdinhurghMeview, xliii, 310). Padre Vernazza speaks of 
meeting a serpent two yards in diameter ! But you will be 
disappointed at the paucity of animal life. We were two 
months on the Andes (August and September) before we 
saw a live snake. They are plentiful in the wet season in 
cacao plantations ; but the majority are harmless. Dr. 
Russel, who particularly studied the reptiles of India, 
found that out of forty-three species which he examined 
not more than seven had poisonous fangs ; and Sir E. Ten- 
nent, after a long residence in Ceylon, declared he had 
never heard of the death of an European by the bite of a 
snake. It is true, however, that the number and propor- 
tion of the venomous species are greater in South America 
than in any other part of the world ; but it is some con- 
solation to know that, zoologically, they are inferior in rank 
to the harmless ones; "and certainly," adds Sidney Smith, 
" a snake that feels fourteen or fifteen stone stamping on 
his tail has little time for reflection, and may be allowed 
to be poisonous." If bitten, apply ammonia externally im- 
mediately, and take five drops in water internally ; it is an 
almost certain antidote. The discomforts and dangers 
arising from the animal creation are no greater than one 
would meet in traveling overland from New York to New 

Finally, of one thing the tourist in South America may 
be assured — that dear to him, as it is to us, will be the re- 

Consolations of Tkavel. 333 

membrance of those romantic rides over the Cordilleras 
amid the wild magnificence of nature, the adventurous 
walk through the primeval forest, the exciting canoe-life 
on the Napo, and the long, monotonous sail on the waters 
of the Great River. 

334 Thk Andes and the Amazon. 



"A life that all the Muses decked 

With gifts of grace that might express 
All comprehensive tenderness, 
All-subtilizing intellect. " — Tennyson. 

On the east of the city of Quito is a beautiful and ex- 
tensive plain, so level that it is literally a table-land. It is 
the classic ground of the astronomy of the eighteenth cen- 
tury: here the French and Spanish academicians made 
their celebrated measurement of a meridian of the earth. 
As you stand on the edge of this plain just without the 
city, you see the dazzling sumxmit of Cayambi looking down 
from the north ; on your left are the picturesque defiles of 
Pichincha ; on your right the slopes of Antisana. Close 
' by you, standing between the city and the plain, is a high 
white w^all inclosing a little plot, like the city above, " four 
square." You are reminded by its shape, and also by its 
position relative to Quito and Pichincha, of that other sa- 
cred inclosure just outside the walls of Jerusalem and at 
the foot of Olivet, the Garden of Gethsemane. This is 
the Protestant Cemetery. 

Through the efforts of our late representative — now also 
numbered with the dead — this place was assigned by the 
government for the interment of foreigners who do not die 
in the Romish faith. And there we buried our fellow- 
traveler. Colonel Phineas Staunton, the artist of the ex- 
pedition, and Yice-Chancellor of Ingham University, I^ew 
York. On the 8th of September, 1867, we bore him through 

A Gkave on the Andes. 335 

the streets of Quito to this quiet resting-place, without pa- 
rade and in solemn silence — just as we believe his unob- 
trusive spirit would have desired, and just as his Savior 
was carried from the cross to the sepulchre. No splendid 
hearse or nodding plumes ; no long procession, save the 
unheard tread of the angels ; no requiem, save the unheard 
harps of the seraphs. We gave him a Protestant Christian 
burial, such as Quito never saw. In this corner of nature's 
vast cathedral, the secluded shrine of grandeur and beauty 
not found in Westminster Abbey, we left him. We parted 
with him on the mount which is to be the scene of his 

It would be difficult for an artist to find a grave whose 
surroundings are so akin to his feelings. He lies in the 
lofty lap of the Andes, and snow-white pinnacles stand 
around him on every side, just as we imagine the mount- 
ains are around the city of God. We think we hear him 
saying, as Fanny Kemble Butler said of another burial- 
ground : " I will not rise to trouble any one if they will 
let me sleep here. 1 will only ask to be permitted, once in 
a while, to raise my head and look out upon this glorious* 
scene." No dark and dismal fogs gather at evening about 
that spot. It lies nearer to heaven than any other Prot- 
estant cemetery in the world. " It is good (says Beecher) 
to have our mortal remains go upward for their burial, and 
catch the earliest sounds of that trumpet which shall raise 
the dead." And the day is coming when that precious 
vein of gold that now lies in the bosom of the mighty 
Andes shall leave its rocky bed and shine in seven-fold 
purity. Indeed, the artist is already in that higher studio 
amojig the mountains of Beulah. 

A simple sculptured obelisk of sorrow stands over the 
dust of Colonel Staunton : his most fitting monument is 
his own life-work. He was the very painter Humboldt 

336 The Ajstdes and the Amazon. 

longed for in his writings — " the artist, who, studying in 
nature's great hot-house bounded by the tropics, should 
add a new and more magnificent kingdom of nature to 
art." Colonel Staunton, true and lovely in his own char- 
acter, w^as ever seeking in nature for whatsoever things are 
lovely, whatsoever things are pure, and now was about to 
add whatsoever things are grand. He was a Christian 
artist, in sympathy with such men as Raphael and Leonardo 
de Vinci. "The habitual choice of sacred subjects (says 
Ruskin) implies that the painter has a natural disposition 
to dwell on the highest thoughts of which humanity is 
capable." ISTo shallow or false person could have con- 
ceived his Ascensioji. Only the highest qualities of the 
intellect and heart — a soul already half ascended — could 
have given such ethereal lightness to those " two men in 
white apparel." Only the pure in heart see God. As we 
revisit in imagination the spot where he sleeps so well, we 
behold, in the calm sublimity of the mountains that sur- 
round his grave, an image of the undisturbed repose of his 
spirit on the Rock of Ages. 






The Navigation and Comraercial Resources of the Amazons. — Volume of 
the Great River and its Tributaries. — Natural Wealth. — Sailing Craft and 

The Amazons is tlie most voluminous of rivers. Born 
in Lake Lauricocha, among the Andes of Peru, the main 
trunk runs northerly to the frontier of Ecuador, in a con- 
tinuous series of rapids, and then easterly across the great 
equatorial plain of the Continent, with an average current 
of three miles an houi*. No other river runs in so deep a 
channel to so great a distance. No other river can fur- 
nish over 6000 miles of continuous navigation for large 
vessels. For 2000 miles from its mouth the main stream 
has not less than seven fathoms of water ; and not a fall 
interrupts navigation for 2600 miles. The Pongo de Man- 
seriche is the western limit to navigation. At Tabatinga 
the width is a mile and a half, and the depth fi'om six to 
twelve fathoms, according to season. In August and Sep- 
tember a strong breeze sweeps up the lower part, so that 
schooners often go from Para to Obidos in ten days, or 
one third of the ordinary time. On the Solimoens the 
trade -wind is felt occasionally in the dry season; and 
dense fogs frequently occur there, especially at night. 
High tide at Para rises twelve feet, and this is felt 500 
miles up the river.* Besides this, the Amazons annually 
rises forty feet above its lowest point, its ebb and flow (the 

* A singular phenomenon is obsert'ed at Manaos, a daily interruption to 
the fall of the Negro between June and October, due, doubtless, to the coun- 
teracting influence of the ocean-tide. 

340 The Andes and the Amazons. 

vasante and enchente) aping the tidal pulsations of the 
ocean. Its life, too — porpoises, rays, gulls — has a marine 
aspect. No wonder the Indians called it parand, or the sea. 

The tributaries are in keeping with this colossal trunk. 
Twelve of them are over a thousand miles long ; and the 
sources of the Madeii-a and Negro, for example, are 24° 
distant — the width of Europe. These tributaries, more- 
over, are united by a wonderful network of natural canals 
— igarwpes, jparands, a.n6.furos — which increase the facil- 
ity of intercommunication. Another characteristic is the 
chain of shallow lakes alongside of the rivers — in Brazil 
called lago^ in Peru, lagunaj and in Bolivia, madre; they 
generally mark the ancient course of the stream. In fact, 
the Amazons is a great river-system, rather than one river; 
and it drains the best part of an empire and four republics. 

As to the tributaries, the first in order is the Tocantins, 
which rises in the mountains of Goyaz, close by the sources 
of the Parana, and ends in a broad, shallow estuary near 
Para. It would furnish a natural highway to the rich 
mineral regions in Eastern Brazil, were it not for rapids 
150 miles from its mouth. Were these away, there would 
be 400 leagues of navigation on the Tocantins and its af- 
fl.uents, the Araguaya and Yermelho. 

The Xingii is navigable for ninety miles, when a series 
of rapids and falls begins — Tapaiuna, Cajutuba, Caxao, 
Paguissama, Jurucua, Ita-tu-ca, Parates, Ita-penima, and 
many more. 

The Tapajos is open to steamers for twenty miles beyond 
Itaituba, or sixty leagues from Santarem; bizt the rapids of 
Apuim, and the falls 600 miles above them, with shallows 
between, prevent this river from ever being serviceable for 
large craft. A few traders in guarana ascend by canoe 
to Diamantino and Cuyaba, and occasionally cross over the 
water-shed into the Paraguay. For the two great feeders 

The Tapajos and Madeika, 


of the Tapajos, the Juiniena 
and Arinos, rise very near 
the head of this Argentine 
river, in the plateau of Mat- 
to-Grosso. From Itaitiiba 
down, the Tapajos spreads 
out into a shallow expanse 
of quiet water, from four to 
seven miles wide. It takes 
nearly four months to go 
from Santarem to the ex- 
treme of canoe-navigation, 
Porto Yelho, a distance of 
about 1200 miles. From 
Itaitiiba to Mauhes is eight 
days' travel. 

Just beyond Obidos en- 
ters the Trombetas, navi- 
gable one hundred miles, 
and with heavily timbered 
banks. A community of 
fugitive slaves is said to 
live up this river. 

The great Madeira* en- 
ters the Amazons almost at 
right angles, and its flood 
of waters changes the course 
of the main stream from a 

* The old Indian name was Cai- 
ary, which the Portuguese changed 
to express the characteristic feature 
of this river, the enormous quantity 
of drift-wood left on the rocks, par- 
ticularly just below the mouth of the 

-^ 0"S 

342 The Andes and the Amazons. 

southeast to a northeast direction. This majestic tribu- 
tary drains an area of 40,000 square leagues. The Low- 
er Madeira (the part below the rapids), at mean level, 
carries 14,642 cubic metres of water per second, and 
has a slope of one metre in 26,490. Its banks are only 
about twenty -five feet above low-water mark; and as the 
floods usually rise twenty-eight feet, the country is inun- 
dated far and wide. The only village below the falls is 
Borba, a huddle of a dozen huts around a half-finished 
church. The banks of the upper affluents, as the Mamore, 
are from thirty to forty feet high, and there we find the 
most immense agricultural I'egion in the basin of the Am- 
azons. Of the three great tributaries to the Madeira, the 
Beni is the most important ; in fact, it is the main source, 
for it is equal to the Mamore and Guapore together. At 
its mouth it is 1000 metres wide and fifteen deep, and at 
mean level discharges 4344 cubic metres per second. The 
Incas understood and profited by the inexhaustible wealth 
disclosed and created by this river — the montana of Cara- 
baya and the carrvpos of the Beni. 

The Madeira is the natural avenue to Bolivia and to the 
province of Matto-Grosso. It is navigable to San Antonio, 
a distance of 546 miles.* Here begins a series of rapids, 
nineteen in number, having a total fall of forty-four fath- 
oms, above which a steamer can ascend to Santa Cruz, in 
the heart of Bolivia. Colonel Church, who sounded the 
Mamore for 600 miles above the rapids in October (the 
dry season), found nowhere in mid-channel less than fifteen 
feet of water, an average current of two miles an hour, and 
a width varying from six to twelve hundred feet. A rail- 

* There is, however, a dangerous point three days' steam from Sei-pa, called 
Piedras de Uruas. But from January 1st to April 30th steamers of sixteen 
feet draught can ascend to San Antonio. Exceptionally high floods occur on 
the Upper Madeira every seventh yeai\ 

'' '.*f 

Benefits Secuked by the Railroad. 345 

way around the eighty leagues of formidable rapids which 
separate Bolivia from the Lower Madeira is now in proc- 
ess of construction by the Madeira and Mamore Railroad 
Company. The track extends from San Antonio to Gua- 
jararairim, a distance of 180 miles. This is one of the 
most important enterprises on foot; but great difficulties 
have been encountered — as the scarcity of laborers, the at- 
tacks of Indians, and the prevalence of epidemics. The 
company, however, in spite of all obstacles, declare that 
this ereat connectins: link must and shall be built. As 
soon as completed, the National Bolivian Navigation Com- 
pany will be ready to put a fleet of steamers and barges 
on the Mamore and Guapore. Both Brazil and Bolivia 
are interested in this railway, and have conceded to the 
company over one million acres of territory along the line, 
■fhe completion of this iron road will remove the great 
stumbling-block to the development of half a million 
square miles of beautiful country, and prove of no little 
direct value to the commerce of the United States. For 
each country has what the other wants. Bolivia needs our 
skilled labor and machinery, our cotton goods, hardware, 
and agricultural implements ; and we would like her Peru- 
vian bark, coffee, and cacao, which now have to climb the 
mountains of La Paz (15,800 feet), cross the desert to the 
Pacific, and round Cape Horn, at the average cost of $200 
a ton. Vast must be the wealth of Northwestern Bolivia 
to have induced Peru to expend $42,000,000 on a railroad 
to reach it. When the Madeira is made available by the 
railroad around the falls, and the railroads of Arequipa 
and Cordova shall stretch into the borders, Bolivia will be- 
come the commercial centre of the continent. Already 
Bolivia holds four fifths of the entire population of the 
Amazons basin. 

One hundred miles west of the Madeira enters the Rio 

34:6 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Negro, which is navigable to San Gabriel ; but at present 
steamers go only to Santa Isabel, or 546 miles. It is a deep 
though sluggish river, slower than the Amazons. The depth 
at Manaos at high water is forty-four fathoms, and the width 
a mile and a half. Steamers, therefore, do not usually cast 
anchor, but fasten to buoys. The river is highest the mid- 
dle of June, and lowest at the end of October. The Rio 
Branco branch can also be navigated by small steamers 
for sixty leagues. Above the rapids of San Gabriel the 
Negro is connected by the Cassiquiare with the Orinoco ; 
and hence the commerce of this part of the river is natu- 
rally in the hands of Venezuelans. Ayrao, eighteen hours 
by steam from Manaos, and the first station of any impor- 
tance, is the centre of a very fine region for the culture of 
coffee, but little is raised, Barcellos, once the capital of 
the province, now nearly deserted, still shows the regular 
streets, architecture, stone houses and gardens of the old 
Portuguese settlere. Its climate is delightful, but it is 
plagued with bats. 

Next in order is the Puriis, one of the most promising 
tributaries of the Amazons. Recently opened to the world 
by the daring Chandless, this hitherto mysterious river, 
possessed by the untamable " Chunchos" (a name given to 
savages in general), has suddenly become one of the most 
attractive and valuable streams in the world. Rising in 
the richest part of the Andes, and entering the Amazons 
only forty-five leagues above the city of Manaos, it is nav- 
igable for steamers, the greater part of the year, for over 
1200 miles. At the distance of 800 miles from its mouth 
the depth is never less than twelve feet. It is nearly equal 
to the Madeira in size, and is remarkably free from islands 
and rapids, but is exceedingly winding in its course. Its 
affiuents on the right bank are the Paricatuba, Mucubim, 
Ituxy, Aquiry, Hyuacti, and Araca; and on the left, Ta- 

The Pukus and Jukua. 347 


paua, Mamoria, Panynim,Inanyinm, and Cnrumaha. There 
are no villages yet; but the steamer stations are Paricatuba, 
Amman, Boa Vista, Piranhas, Ai-iman, Jaburu, Canutama, 
Vista Alegre, and Hyutanahan. The valley of the Puriis 
is occasionally flooded, the terra firma seldom touching the 
river, so that it is not favorable to permanent settlements. 
It is, however, a healthy river, and there are more inhabit- 
ants along the banks than on any other river. Sr. Urbano, 
a colored man, is called the father of commerce on the Pu- 
riis, having been the first to ascend it. He has an estab- 
lishment on the Ituxy. 

Parallel to the Puriis, and distant from it by the ascend- 
ing Amazons steamer eighteen hours, is the almost equally 
important Jurua. It is one third smaller than the Puriis, 
yet it is navigable for steamers drawing three or four feet 
of water for a thousand miles, and is free from snags. 
There are many 2>^ay as, but few islands. Like the Puriis, 
it is a very crooked river, and has a two-and-a-half-mile 
current. Five hundred miles from its mouth it has a 
depth of two fathoms at low water. The branches on the 
right are the Chiruan, Taraoaca, Gregorio, and Mu. The 
Tarauaca affords a passage to the Puriis, and it is said there 
is an affluent called Pixona, communicating with the Tef- 
fe, and another, the Branco, connecting with the Jutahi. 
The stations on the Jurua are Juruapiica (left bank), Gavao 
(left), Popunha (left), Chue (right), and Marary (right). 
The last and farthest station consists of a single large 
.house, owned by Sr. Justo. 

The Jutahi is a black-water stream, and unhealthy. The 
mouth is 800 metres wide. Forty-five days' travel with a 
canoe of six oars {i. e., to the Mutum-parana) shows no falls, 
nor any villages. 

The Japura is a first-class tributary, but little known. 
It is navigable for ten days by steamer, or forty days by 

348 The Andes and the Amazons. 

six-oar canoe, when the Curetu falls (over granite rocks) 
are reached, near a lofty table -topped mountain. The 
channel is only seven or eight metres deep, and there are 
no settlements. The second cachoeira is thirty days above, 
and is called Arara-cuara ; here the river is twelve miles 
wide, consisting of many channels. Fifteen days by canoe 
up the Apoporis brings one to rapids. There is but one 
day's portage between the head of the Tunantms and the 

The Iga has no rapids, and is navigable into New Gra- 
nada. It is a healthy river, though swarming with piums ; 
and is of considerable commercial importance. 

The Javari is navigable by canoe for an unknown dis- 
tance, and is called the " Golden Dream of the Peruvians," 
since they imagined it was the eastern outlet of their coun- 
try. But this it will never become. The " Icamiaba" has 
ascended above the mouth of the Tecuchy in high water ; 
and the Boundary Commission examined it with a steam- 
launch sixty-four miles. 

The Napo could be ascended by a flat-bottom steamer 
500 miles, or at least to Coca; it is the natural highway 
eastward for Ecuador. Should tlie Curaray be found nav- 
igable, it would open one of the richest corners of the 
continent, abounding in valuable vegetable products, while 
the purest gold washed in the whole Amazons region is 
obtained between its source and the Upper Napo.* 

The Nanay has been ascended by a small steamer 160 
miles, where there was a depth of from three to five fath- 
oms ; but navigation beyond is difficult on accoimt of drift- 
timber. The banks are high as far up as Pinduyacu, and 
abounding with rubber-trees ; above that are many lagunes 

* It is a singular coincidence that the word "Napo," which is applied to 
the densest part of the South American wilderness, is the Greek for "forest," 
as seen in the name "Napoleon," meaning the lion of the forest. 



alive with turtles. The Itaya, on the other side of Iquitos, 
is navigable by steamer at least forty-five miles. 

The noble Ucayali has been navigated by a steamer of 
500 tons for 600 miles in the dry season. A small steamei- 
can ascend the Pichis to Rochelle-playa, lat. 9° 57' 11" S. ; 
the Palcazu (in the rainy season) to Mayro, lat. 9° 55' 22" 
S., or a hundred miles from the terminus of the Oroya Rail- 
road ; the Urubamba for fifty miles above its confluence 
with the Tambo; and the Tambo to lat. 11°. The Tambo 
and Upper Urubamba are the most furious streams enter- 
ing the Ucayali, the current being sometimes ten miles an 
hour. Canoes can go up the Pichis to Puerto Tucker, lat. 
10° 22' 55" S., 980 miles from the Maranon, and 300 from 
Cuzco. The head of canoe navigation on the Tamaya is 
within four days of the Javari, while the St. Catalina nearly 
joins the Chipurana from the Huallaga ; in fact, this is a 
common route for traders in salt. The current between 
Sarayacu and the mouth of the Pachitea, a fall of one hun- 
dred feet, is three miles an hour ; below Sarayacu, and for 
some distance up the Pachitea, it is a trifle less. The only 
settlements of importance are the three missions: Sarayacu, 
once numbering 800 souls, now dwindled to 200, and situ- 
ated 390 miles from the mouth of the river, and 408 feet 
above the level of the sea. The temperature does not sen- 
sibly differ from that of Iquitos. Farther up are Cashi- 
boya, counting 700, and Calleria, 150. The Ucayali will 
undoubtedly become the route from Lima to the Atlantic. 
If volume and length decide the question, this river should 
be called the "mother -stream" of the Amazons; but on 
the ground that that branch is the true source on which 
one can keep longest in the general east and west direc- 
tion of the main trunk, the Maranon should have the honor. 

The Tigre, a black-water stream, has been ascended by 
steamer 111 miles, but is probably navigable a much great- 

350 The Andes and the Amazons. 

er distance. It yields rubber, copal, copaiba, sarsaparilla, 
wax, and pitch. 

The Huallciga, for the first hundred miles, has an aver- 
age depth of three fathoms, a current of three miles an 
hour, and (at Lagunas) a rise and fall of twenty -five feet. 
The ordinary steam navigation ends at Yurimaguas, 123 
miles from the mouth ; but at high water, steamers can go 
forty-six miles farther, to a point called Eumi Callarina. 
Canoe-travel begins at Tingo Maria, 120 miles from Hua- 
naco. The Parana- pura and Aypena are ascended by 
canoes to Balsa Puerto and Jeveros, and the Mayo to Tara- 

The Pastassa is an intractable torrent. The little steam- 
er "Mayro" ascended seven miles, when further navigation 
was stopped by furious rapids. Dr. Spruce was one hun- 
dred days in going from Tarapoto, on the Huallaga, to 
BaSos, on the Upper Pastassa. Considerable gold is washed 
by the Indians from the black sand of the Bombonasa. 

The Potro is navigable sixty -four miles by steamer. 
This river is important as being the prospective avenue 
for the commerce of Chachapoyas. 

The Morona is open to steamers to the confluence of the 
Cosulima and Mangosisa, a distance of over 300 miles. 
Steamers can also ascend the Mangosisa to a point distant 
only fifteen miles from Macas, " the golden Seville" of old 
Spanish days. 

The Santiago, as it discharges itself above the Pongo de 
Manseriche, is consequently not available for steam navi- 
gation. But canoes ascend it, and not a little gold, washed 
from its banks and ^layas, is brought down by traders. 
All the alluvial slopes along this river to the sources of 
the Napo are auriferous. The Santiago gold is of a deep- 
er yellow than the Napo. 

Borja, the last town on the navigable part of the main 

Natural Resoukcks. .351 

Amazons, is 515 feet above the Atlantic, and 2600 miles 
from it, following the windings of the river, or 29° meas- 
ured on the equator. Just above it, the Great River breaks 
through the cordillera in a narrow, crooked channel, about 
a hundred yards wide (fifty-eight yards at one point), be- 
tween perpendicular walls of limestone. The Pongo is 
three miles long, with a current of ten miles an hour, and 
dangerous eddies. Wertherman lately passed down these 
rapids at imminent risk, and a loss of one canoe with all 
on board. Above the Manseriche there are more than 
forty pongos and cascades, the river between Tomependa 
and Borja falling 682 feet. The worst rapids are those 
called " Escurrebragas," situated at the angle where the 
Maranon sharply turns from a north to an east course. 

Such are the vast capabilities of this gigantic river, fitly 
called the Mediterranean of the New World. The natural 
wealth of the country is in proportion. It is impossible to 
avoid asking the question. What is to become of this great 
region, this grand system of inland navigation, these thou- 
sand and one products of nature ? These rich resources, 
lying almost at our very doors, must soon appeal " to that 
restless spirit of enterprise and commercial activity which, 
not content with its past triumphs, longs for new conquests 
and a wider field of exercise." We know next to nothing 
of the interior ; but the margins of the main trunk, and 
especially of the tributaries, abound with precious woods, 
drugs, dye-stuffs, edible fruits, and other useful products. 
Among the most important of these for exportation are : 
Moira pinima, moira piranga, moira coatiara, itaiiba, palo 
de sangre, massaranduba, sapucaya, jacaranda, cedar, and 
cumarii ; sarsaparilla, vanilla, copaiba, cinchona and gna- 
rana ; cacao, coffee, tonca-beans, nuts, farina, tapioca, cot- 
ton, rice, tobacco, and sugar; rubber, piassaba, pita, and 
copal, and a host of others unknown to commerce. And 


The Andes and the Amazons. 

it is astonishing how much might be done with a little en- 
terprise and ingenuity. A good business remains to be 
done in the export of preserxed fruits, plantain-meal, res- 
ins, and oil-bearing seeds, in the discovery of vegetable 
fibre for paper-manufacture, and in the improved culture 
of cacao and coffee. 

The present trafiic in the riches of this inexhaustible 

region is far behind the 
world's expectations ; but it 
has wonderfully increased 
since the introduction of 
steamers in 1853. Sixty 
thousand tons of freight 
pass between Pani and Ma- 
naos yearly, and this is the 
trade of only 300,000 peo- 
ple. When the Madeira is 
made the outlet of Bolivia, 
the trade of two millions 
more will be added. 

It is impossible to ascer- 
tain the number of sailing- 
vessels on the river; but 
the variety is extraordina- 
ry, for the Indian is a car- 
penter and shipwright by 
intuition. Thus we see : 
First, the canoe proper, or, 
" dug-out." Second, the 
montarm,* a small boat 
made of five planks, or a canoe increased by two narrow 
boards for the sides, and small triangular pieces for stem 

* So named because it takes the place of a horse, from montar a caballo, 
to ride horseback. 

Boats and Steamers. 


Aiiuizuiiiiin Craft. 

and stern. The paddle serves for both steering and pro- 
pelling. Third, the inontar'ia-jpossante^ a large niontaria 
with oars. Fourth, the igarite, a large canoe, or montaria, 
with two masts, rudder, keel, and palm-leaf awning or cab- 
in near the stern. Fifth, the galiota, an igarite with wood- 
en covering. Sixth, the coherta, a large galiota with one 
or two wooden cabins. Seventh, the vigilengas, a large 
igarite, short and broad, flat bottom with keel fore and 
aft, first made at Yiges. Eighth, the hatelao, a barge with 
square sails, but no deck, to carry cattle ; sometimes pro- 
pelled by long oars. Ninth, the harco, a batelao with deck. 
Tenth, the escuna, or schooner. 

Of steamers there are now thirty-five afioat on the Ama- 
zons, varying in tonnage from 17 to 864. The aggregate 
tonnage is over 10,000. Twenty of these belong to three 
companies, which receive a large subsidy from the gov- 
ernment, and have a total capital of $3,600,000. The 

354 The Andes and the Amazons. 

oldest aud most powerful line i^'' Companhia de N'avaga- 
cdo a vapor do Amazonas ") is owned in London, but is 
under the management of the distinguished and energetic 
Sr. Pimenta Bueno, of Para. This company is endeavor- 
ing to swallow up the other two, having just purchased the 
Paraense line, and nearly completed negotiations for the 
Fluvial, in order to monopolize the carrying-trade on the 

OfBcially made free to the world in 1867, the navigation 
of the Amazons is virtually restricted to the Brazilian flag. 
Foreign vessels may go up the main river as far as Ma- 
naos ; up the Tapajos to Santarein ; and up the Madeira 
to Borba. On the Maraiiou the Peruvian government has 
two large steamers, doing nionthly service, besides several 
small ones for the tributaries ; and a firm at Iquitos has 
recently inaugurated a private line between that point and 
Para. Goods for Peru pass Para free of duty. Two reg- 
ular steamers leave Para for Manaos and intermediate 
points on the 2d and 18th of each mouth, and a monthly 
steamer plies between Manaos and Loreto, on the Bi*azilian 
frontier, connecting with the Peruvian " Morona" for Yu- 
rimaguas, on the Huallaga. The other steamers run from 
Para and Manaos to numerous villages along the main 
river and the tributaries. The navigation of these tributa- 
ries, but just commenced, is most important, for they are 
the real sources of the characteristic products of the coun- 
try; the region bordering the main trunk yields scarcely 
any thing. On the Tocantins a steamer goes once a month 
to Cameta ; once a month (during high water) to Baiao 
and to the first falls. Almost the only trade on this river 
is in Brazil-nnts. The Xingii has one occasional steamer 
going just above Souzil for rubber, of which the annual 
product is five or six thousand arrobas. It also brings 
down estopa and nuts. The Tapajos has a monthly steam- 

Trade on the Madeira. 355 

er as far as Itaituba (175 miles), leaving Santarern the 28th, 
and bringing down rubber, sarsaparilla, tobacco, farina, 
cacao, coffee, copaiba, pepper, nuts, pirarucu, pitch, hides, 
lumber, and limestone. A steamer leaves Manaos for San 
Antonio, on the Madeira, tlie 27th of each month, and oft- 
ener when there is a cargo. At present the trade on this 
chief tributary is inconsiderable, its value, in 1872, amount- 
ing to only $279,312. The export consists of rubber (about 
25,000 arrobas), hides, tallow, quina, copaiba, <;acao, nuts, 
fish, tobacco (of superior quahty for pipes), and sarsaparil- 
la. But tlie moment the railway around the falls is fin- 
ished, a magnificent country will roll its wealth down the 
Madeira. Above the falls are the cities of Exaltacion, 
Trinidad, Santa Cruz, Oruro, Cochabamba, and La Paz ; 
tliere is the Beui valley, famous for its gold, silver, tin, 
copper, lead, and mercury mines ; and from the banks of 
tlie Mamord will be exported, as soon as an outlet can be 
made, cinchona bark, rubber, coffee, cacao, sugar, rum, va- 
nilla, balsams, copal, wax, dyes, sarsaparilla, tobacco, farina, 
cotton, llama and alpaca wool, cattle, hides, horns, tallow, 
dried meat, tiger and deer skins, furs, feathers, hammocks, 
and hats. At present cattle can be bought there at $15 a 
liead ; cinchona, $45 a quintal ; cacao, $1 50 an arroba ; 
sugar and rice, $1 an arroba. Wild cattle swarm on the 
grassy catnpos of Bolivia, which, as soon as a way is open- 
ed, will supply the famishing villages on the Amazons with 
meat, and more civilized cities with shoes. Wheat, com- 
ing from Cochabamba, is scarce. Notwithstanding the dif- 
ficulty and danger of passing the rapids, a considerable 
commerce is carried on in launches and canoes, which are 
dragged overland around the falls. About sixty descend 
ever}' year, with a total freight of 700 tons. The present 
exports of Bolivia amount to $6,000,000, while the inter- 
nal commerce is valued at $75,000,000. Potosi and Cara- 

356 The Andes and the Amazons. 

colis, the richest silver-mines in the world, yielded in 1872 
$6,750,000. The Beni region is a favorable field for emi- 
gration ; the climate is good, the land very fertile, the riv- 
er abounds with game, and there are no savages between 
Exaltacion and Trinidad. 

On the Rio Negro a steamer makes six trips a year, as 
far as Santa Isabel (546 miles) for piassaba and sarsapa- 
rilla. The value of the trade on this tributary, in 1872, 
was $62,586; it is now on the increase. The rich cacao 
and coffee, once raised in this region, are no longer culti- 
vated ; and no one can be found to cut the celebrated 
moira-pinima — the most beautiful wood in the world. Not 
a stick can be found for sale in the city of Manaos ; while 
every body confesses that there is an abundance of it up 
the Negro, especially on its bi-anch, the Branco, near the 
boundary-line of Guiana. A regular monthly steamer (and 
often an extra one) goes up the Puriis, one thousand miles 
to Hyutanahan, bringing down rubber, copaiba, sarsaparil- 
la, nuts, turtle-oil, and fish. The commerce on this river is 
rapidly increasing. Its value in 1872 was $627,602. There 
is a monthly steamer, likewise, on the Jurua, ascending to 
Marary (500 miles), and the trade is similar to that on the 
Puriis. The Peruvian steamers, plying between Loreto and 
Yurimaguas, take up dry goods and hardware in exchange 
for Moyabamba hats and sarsaparilla. Their rate down- 
stream is eighteen miles an hour, and from ten to twelve 
up, while the Brazilian steamers descend at the rate of 
twelve or fifteen miles an hour, but make only eight up- 

Such is this great fluvial highway, as thus far devel- 
oped. Imagine a river rising in the Lake of the Woods, 
and emptying into the Atlantic with a mouth stretching 
from New York to Baltimore. Unless checked by blind 
legislation, the commerce of the Amazons, leavened by 

The Greatness of the Great Kiver. 357 

Anglo-Saxon capital and Anglo-Saxon enterprise, is des- 
tined to assume proportions commensurate with the mag- 
nitude of the river.* 

* The following note, corroborating some of the foregoing statements, is 
from the pen of Colonel George E. Church, who has traveled extensively in 
this region : " South America contains seven millions of square miles. The 
Amazon River drains over one third of this vast area. Its basin is more than 
twice the size of the valley of the Mississippi. It would hold forty-nine coun- 
tries the size of England. Only by floating upon the majestic tide of the 
Amazon does one get an idea of its mass of waters. The Mississippi River, 
poured into it near its mouth, would not raise it six inches. In Bolivia, on 
the Beni branch of its Madeira affluent, two thousand miles from its outlet, 
it is 170 feet deep ! It presents still more astonishing soundings the same 
distance up the main stream. With its branches, it offers not less than 15,000 
miles of waters suitable for steamboat navigation. The Bolivian affluents of 
its main branch alone count 3000 miles of river navigation. One half of this 
is suitable for steamers drawing six feet of water, and the other half for craft 
drawing three feet. " 

358 The Andes and the Amazons. 


Para : its Situation, Climate, Industry, and Commerce. 

The largest city on the largest river in the world, and 
the sole commercial outlet of a region equal to the United 
States east of the Mississippi, but vastly more fertile : such 
is Para. 

It is a city of strange contrasts. Founded 250 years 
ago, and having an unparalleled position, it has to-day hut 
35,000 inhabitants— a slow growth, due mainly to revolu- 
tions, yellow fever, and absurd legislation. Standing sev- 
enty miles from the ocean, it is nevertheless approachable 
by the largest steamers. It is built on a low tract of land, 
so that at a distance it appears, like Venice, seated on the 
sea, with beautiful rocinhas nestling in gardens along the 
shore, and every variety of craft, from frigate to canoe, on 
the water; hemmed in between the river Guajara and a 
perpetual forest that stubbornly disputes every inch of 
ground ; with picturesque avenues of mongubas, graceful 
palms, and superb bananas in elegant luxuriance; with 
unpaved streets, neglected plazas, dilapidated houses, som- 
bre chui'ches with grass and shrubs growing on their tiled 
roofs ; with screaming parrots and loathsome vultures, yel- 
low dogs and chattering monkeys ; with wealthy Brazilians 
in spotless white, noisy Portuguese porters, idle soldiers, 
merry negresses with trays or water -jars on their heads, 
sober Indian women with naked children astride on their 
hips or rolling in the street ; with a mongrel population of 
amalgamated Portuguese, Indian, and Negro blood — Mu- 
lattoes, Mamelucos, Cafuzos, Curibocos, and Xibaros ; ev- 

Climate of Para. 359 

ery where the signs of human indolence and Nature's thrift, 
of filth and poverty alongside of overpowering beauty and 
wealth of vegetation, yet altogether leaving a pleasing im- 
pression on the mind, which can never fade. 

Para (officially called BeUm, the Portuguese for Bethle- 
hem) is justly celebrated for the almost perfect equilibrium 
of its climate. The temperature ranges from 73° to 93°, 
the mean of the year being 81°. The heat is never so op- 
pressive as in New York, being tempered by strong sea- 
breezes and afternoon showers. Were it not for the im- 
ported diseases, Para would be the paradise of invalids. In 
1819 the small-pox first visited the city ; in 1850 came the 
yellow fever ; and in 1855, cholera. The natives suffer 
most from the first epidemic, and foreigners from the sec- 
ond. As agriculture is at a low ebb and import duties 
high, living is dear in comparison with former rates or with 
what we might expect in a city on the edge of an empire 
of exhaastless fertility. Luxuries are exorbitant. Hotels 
charge $2 50, gold, per day. Enterprise runs nminly to 
small shop-keeping and wholesale trade in rubber and ca- 
cao. But there is progress toward a better state of things. 
We notice many changes since our visit in 1867. The 
passport system was abolished last year. The state religion 
is more tolerant (the Jews have a synagogue), and religious 
iiolidays, which once seriously interfered with trade and 
industry, have been reduced in number. Among the new 
public buildings are the President's Palace and the Grand 
Opera-house. The latter will cost $500,000, and contain 
a theatre accommodating 1600 persons, and a saloon hold- 
ing 1200, in every respect out of all proportion to the 
wealth and size of the city. There are two banks, with a 
joint capital of $6,000,000. The city is lighted by a Lon- 
don company, the gas costing $4 per thousand cubic feet. 
A circular railway now connects Para and Nazareth, and 

360 The Andes and the Amazons. 

is well patronized by high and low. The rolling stock 
consists of five locomotives, fourteen passenger and eight 
freight cars. 

There are very few Germans, French, English, and 
Americans in Para; but of Portuguese there are about 
5000, all busily coining money as shop-keepers, artisans, 
carmen, boatmen, etc. The native Brazilians are exceed- 
ingly jealous of them. They complain that these foreign- 
ers are monopolizing the trade of the country; but instead 
of vigorously competing with them, they threaten to drive 
them back to Portugal. While agriculture, such as it is, 
is carried on by the Tapuyos, or civilized Indians, tlie me- 
chanical arts are mainly in the hands of the Portuguese. 
Among the industrial establishments there are fifty-nine 
bakers, forty-three tailors, thirty-six shoe-makers, thirty -two 
carpenters and joiners, twenty barbers (including such as 
bleed by lancet and leech), nineteen tinners and glaziers, 
sixteen blacksmiths, thirteen butchers, ten printers, eight 
sugar - refiners, eight soap and tallow chandlers, eight 
makers of fire-works, four dentists, four book-binders, four 
corifectionei's, three photographers, three saddlers, three 
tanners, and three potters. No foreigner can practice a 
profession (as medicine or law), and charge for his services, 
without a certificate from the University at Rio. Dentist- 
ry, being considered a mechanical art, is allowed- There 
are at present sixteen printing-presses at Para, from which 
issue fourteen journals — five dailies, three semi-weeklies, 
and six weeklies ; four bookstores ; one college {Lyceo Pa- 
raense) with twelve departments ; a normal school, having 
a course of three years; a library, museum, and literary 

The great want of the country is laborers of all kinds, 
but especially field hands. The Indians and Mestizos will 
not work ; their supreme ambition is to be let alone. 

Industry of Paea. 361 

Agriculture has been ruined by the universal rush into 
" extractive industry" — that is, the collection of the natural 
products, as rubber, nuts, sarsaparilla, etc. — exactly as in 
California, tvp^enty years ago, all industry was swallowed 
up in the rush for gold. The rubber trade absorbs su- 
preme attention ; sugar-cane is grown for the manufacture 
of rum, sugar being imported from the southern provinces; 
and the cultivation of cotton, rice, coffee, and cacao along 
the Amazons is nearly neglected. Almost every grain of 
rice, so lai-gely used on the Amazons steamers, comes from 
Guajara and Bahia. Rubber-collecting is also depopulat- 
ing some districts, especially the department of Beni. It 
probably drains it of a thousand men yearly; and the 
women are left largely in excess — five to one man. Un- 
der the Brazilian laws a laborer can not leave his employ- 
er till his debts are canceled ; and the " patrons " manage 
to keep the seringueiros perpetually in debt and bondage. 
Another check to commercial enterprises is the high and 
irregular tariff. The duty on imports varies from five to 
eighty per cent. Ordinarily it may be reckoned at forty ; 
but the same goods will enter at different rates, evidently 
depending on the caprice of the official. Bribery is open- 
ly practiced and expected. The duty on ready-made 
clothing is determined by weight, and on shoes by the 
length of the sole. The usual cost of exportation is sev- 
enteen per cent. ; but the loss is much greater on certain 
products, as cabinet woods. This practically discourages 
labor by taxing it. Not $400 were collected at the cus- 
tom-house on all the woods exported from Para in 1868-'9. 
Brazil abounds with the most valuable timber in the world, 
but is prevented from competing with other nations by this 
system of self -strangulation. There are but three saw- 
mills on the Amazons. A dozen boards of the common 
wood of the country (cedar or itauba) cost $18 at Manaos. 

362 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Fine rubber costs about $14 an arroba (32 pounds) up tbe 
river, and the loss is about forty-live per cent, in getting it 
to Liverpool or New York, half of which is for freight, 
and the other half for custom charges. 

But Para is destined to enjoy an enviable rank among 
the commercial centres of the world. She can never have 
a rival at the mouth of the Amazons, for she occupies the 
only available spot, the northern channel between Macapa 
and Chaves being scarcely lit for navigation. Standing 
at the gate-way of a magnificent valley, covered with the 
richest and largest forests on the earth, and at the emhou- 
chicre of a river which affords an unparalleled extent of 
water-communication, touching every country on the con- 
tinent except Chile and Patagonia, Para must become the 
Liverpool of the Tropics. Her most prominent citizens 
are men of progress, and the dead weights on trade and 
labor will soon be removed. 

At present the commerce of a country of such vast ex- 
tent and resources is ridiculously insignificant. As most 
of the articles of consumption are imported, and many of 
those produced are exported, the foreign trade is greatly in 
excess of the internal. In 1S72 the value of exports to 
England was $2,766,761 ; to the United States, $2,371,138; 
to France, $466,788 ; to Portugal, $247,222 ; to Germany, 
$38,438 ; to Southern Brazil, $171,469. The imports from 
Great Britain into the whole of Brazil amount to 45 per 
cent. ; from France, 17 per cent. ; from Buenos Ayres, 7 per 
cent. ; from the United States, 5 per cent. ; from Portugal, 
3.5 per cent. ; while of all the exports from the empire the 
United States takes 45 per cent, and Great Britain 9 per 
cent. Our country is the largest consumer of Amazoni- 
an products ; a great part of what is shipped to England is 
destined for the Continent. The greater part of the rub- 
ber goes to England and the United States (about 2500 

Commerce of Para. 363 

tons to each) ; cacao goes chiefly to France ; Brazil-nuts, 
copaiba-oil, and tonka-beans, to the United States ; straw 
hats, sarsaparilla, and tobacco, to Southern Brazil ; pias- 
saba and fish-glue, to England ; cotton, sugar, rice, farina, 
hides, and caclia^a, to Portugal. During 1872 there en- 
tered the port of Pai-a 24 steamers and 49 sailing vessels 
(tonnage 62,393) bearing the stars and stripes ; 35 English 
steamers and eighteen sailing vessels (tonnage 41,937 ; 39 
steamers and 10 sailing vessels (tonnage 41,845) of the em- 
pire ; Portuguese sailing craft, 23 ; French, 19 ; and from 
other nations, 16. The total value of exports from Para 
in that year was $6,071,818, of which about $5,000,000 
]>elon2; to rubber. 

364 The Andes and the Amazons. 


Up the Amazons. — A Thousand Miles on the Great River. — Scenery. — 
Santarem. — Manaos. — Vahie of Labor and Productions. — Duties and 

A VOYAGE on the Amazons is excessively monotonous. 
A vast volume of smooth, yellovp v^^ater, floating trees and 
grass, low linear- shaped islets, two lines of the dark, even 
forest in profile, and the winding river tapering in the dis- 
tance to a slender thread, till it is lost in the mist of the 
horizon — these are the general featui'es. No busy towns 
are seen along the banks ; only here and there a palm hut 
or Indian village, half buried in the wilderness. No mount- 
ains break the horizon, only half a dozen table -topped 
hills ; and while many bluffs of red and yellow clay are 
visible, they are exceptional, the usual border being low 
alluvial deposits, magnificently wooded, but half the year 
covered with water. In spite of the glorious sunshine, 
the scene is depressing from its sameness, vastness, and si- 
lence. One never sees hei'e the riant beauty of an En- 
glish park. We long for a clearing to break the straight 
edge of the forest, or a little landscape gardening to modi- 
fy the long streaks of yellow, green, and blue; The real 
grandeur, however, of a great river like this ib derived from 
reflecting upon its prospective commercial importance and 
immense drainage. A lover of nature, moreover, can nev- 
er tire of gazing at the picturesque grouping and variety 
of trees with their mantles of creeping plants ; the wild, 
unconquered race of vegetable giants ; the reckless energy 
and selfish competition of all, big and little; the dense can- 

The Sail through the Gkeat Rivee. 365 

opy of green, supported by crowded columns, branchless 
for tif ty or eighty feet ; the parasites aud undergrowth 
struggling for life aud light; the broad.-leaved bananas 
and gigantic grasses; the colossal nut aud pod bearing 
trees ; and, above all, the hundreds of species of palms, 
each vying with the other in beauty aud grace. Through 
such a densely-packed forest flows the Amazons with all 
the grandeur of au oceau current. 

lu giving my voyage up the Great River to its source 
among the Andes, I shall touch only at representative 
points, and confine myself mainly to such commercial and 
industrial facts as will be likely to interest the practical 
man. From Para to Santarem, the first town of impor- 
tance, is 543 miles. The passage can be made by steamer 
once a week, sometimes oftener ; fare, $25 ; time, four 
days. Twenty hours after leaving the capital, the steam- 
er stops at the little village of Breves, on the south-west 
corner of the great island of Marajo. Rubber is the chief 
article of export. Here begins a labyrinth of narrow chan- 
nels, connecting the Amazons with the Para; and as the 
forest is unusually luxuriant, the sail through to the Great 
River is the most memorable part of the whole voyage. 
This first introduction to the Amazonian forest is worth a 
voyage to Para. Here the palms are seen in all their glo- 
ry ; the slender assai and j upati with their long, plume- 
like leaves, the miriti with enormous fan-like leaves, and 
the bussu with stiff, entire leaves, some thirty feet long. 
The banks are frequently bordered with heart-shaped 
arums and waving arrow-grass, or with plantations of the 
cacao-tree and mandioca shrub. 

The first view of the Amazons is disappointing, as it is 
nearly filled up with islands; but where the Xingii comes 
in, it shows its greatness, being ten miles wide. Near the 
mouth of this tributary is situated the pretty village of 

366 The Andks and the Amazons. 

Porto de Mos, uow numbering but 800 souls, but destined 
to be an important centre in the rubber trade, while the 
country up the Xingu is admirably adapted for coffee. 
Passing the singular hills of Almeyrim and the rightly- 
named village of Monte Alegre, famous for its cattle, we 
reach Santarem, at the mouth of the Tapajos. This ambi- 
tious but, to an American, sleepy -looking city, is the half- 
way station between Para and Manaos, and is now aspir- 
ing to become the capital of a new province, to be called 
Baixo-Amazonas, extending from Obidos to Gurupa."^ It 
is not thriving, however, barely maintaining its old num- 
ber of 2500 souls. Of these about 2000 are Indians, Ne- 
groes, and mixed, including 200 slaves. The situation is 
beautiful, lying on a green slope, facing the clear Tapajos, 
with undulating camjjos and flat-topped hills in the rear. 
Three or four long rows of low, whitewashed, tiled houses, 
with less than half a dozen two-storied buildings and one 
Jesuit church, make up the city. There is a collegio for 
boys and girls, the former department having fifty students 
varying in age from eight to sixteen, and a course of four 
years for the study of grammar, arithmetic, geography, his- 
tory, French, Latin, algebra, and geometry. The primary 
department is supported by the government, and education 
is free in one sense, and compulsory in another. The cli- 
mate of Santarem is delightful, the trade-winds tempering 
the heat (which is seldom above 83°), and driving away all 
insect pests. The chief diseases are syphilis and fevers. 
Dr. Stroope, an immigrant from Arkansas, is the sole ph}'- 
sician. The soil in the immediate neighborhood is sandy 
and poor ; but inland, especiallj^ where the American col- 
onists have located, it is exceedingly fertile ; rice, for ex- 

* Founded in 1G54, Santarem became an incoi'porated city in 1848. The 
term "city," as originally applied by Spaniards and Portuguese, was solely a 
mark of royal favor, not a measure of population, as with us. 

Cost of Living at Santarem. 367 

ample, having a yield of seventj-five bushels to the a-^re, 
and tobacco, one tliousand pounds. The great want is a 
laboring class ; there are too many shop-keepers and too 
few workers. Yet such as are willing to work can be 
hired at fifty cents a day. One paper, a foot square, is 
published weekly. The following prices will give some 
idea of living at Santarem : Wheat flour (mostly from 
Harper's Ferry, United States) costs $16 a barrel ;* and 
New York goods generally sell at three times their origi- 
nal value, the chief addition being made at the custom- 
house at Para. Agricultural implements are at double 
their price. Butter (all from England and the United 
States), SO cents a pound; Holland cheese, 75 cents ; New- 
foundland cod-fish, 20 cents a pound ; Lowell domestics, 
from 25 to 40 cents a metre ; sawn lumber, $20 a hun- 
dred. Of home productions, cacao sells in the city from 
$2 10 to $2 20 an arroba (32 pounds) ; coffee from 16 to 
24 cents a pound; sirup (no sugar is made), 40 cents a 
frasca (5 pints) ; maize, $2 a bushel ; cachaga rum, 50 cents 
a gallon; peanuts, $2 a bushel; Brazil-nuts, $1 50 a bush- 
el ; farina, $5 a bushel ; guarana, $25 to $45 an arroba ; 
tobacco, $1 to $1 25 a pound ; lime, $3 a barrel ; pork, 35 
to 40 cents a pound; beef, 7 to 9 cents a pound. Hides, at 
the ranchos, 5 cents a pound ; at Santarem, 7 cents a pound ; 
at Para, 12 to 14. Cattle, at the ranchos, $15 to $20 ; at 
Santarem, $25 to $28 ; at Para, $35 to $50. Horses, at the 
ranchos, $35 to $40 ; at Santarem, $40 to $50 ; at Para, $50 
to $100. 

The best-paying business at Santarem would be the man- 
ufacture of brick, leather, and lumber. The only articles 
manufactured are caju wine, cachaga, soap, and lime. But- 

* Wheat can be grown only on the slopes of the Andes, in Bolivia, .nntl in 
Matto-Grosso. The Amazons valley consumes at present about 20,000 bar- 
rels of foreign flour vearlv. 

368 The Andes and the Amazons. 

ter is made by one family, a North American, of course. 
Nearly all the following exports, given in the order of 
their valnation, come down the Tapajos : Rubber (about 
7000 arrobas annually), cacao, hides, dried beef, fish, farina, 
sarsaparilla, tobacco, guarana, copaiba-oil, Brazil-nuts, tal- 
low, cattle, horses, lumber, lime, and gypsum. Coffee, sug- 
ar, and rice are imported from below, although hardly any 
part of the Amazons valley would produce more. Rubber- 
gathering has not only killed agriculture, but drained the 
district of 2000 inhabitants. 

Santarera is of interest to the American reader, as it 
was selected for colonization by emigrants from the South- 
ern States. Most of the colonists have left, only six fam- 
ilies remaining ; but these contain nearly all the enterprise 
and intelligence of the motley party that left Mobile in 
1867. These have chosen their plantations on the slopes 
of the hills, six miles south of the city, and are astonishing 
the Brazilians with the results of their industry. The land 
is rated at 22 cents an acre ; but practically the colonists 
enjoy " squatter sovereignty," pre-empting a square mile, 
and paying no taxes except on exports. They can sell 
their improvements, but not the land. The soil is black 
and very fei'tile. It beats South Carolina, yielding with- 
out cultiu'e thirty bushels of rice per acre. Sugar-cane 
grows eight feet high, or twice the length of Louisiana 
cane, and fully as sweet. Sweet potatoes grow naturally; 
indeed, it is impossible to exterminate the plant. Broom- 
corn and cotton grow luxuriantly. Indian corn does not 
mature well ; turnips grow finely, but do not come to seed ; 
grapes do well (three crops a year), but the ants devour 
them. The following valuable vegetable products abound 
at the American settlement : Abio, ata, pine-apple, pikia, 
papaw, araca, inga, abacati, bread-fruit, orange, banana, co- 
coa-nut, peacli palm, cnpuassii, cajii, cara (or yam, four or 

Agkicultdee of Santaeem. 369 

iive kinds), three kinds of mandioca, tomato, pepper, gin- 
ger, Brazil-nuts, tonKa-bean, sugar-cane, sweet potato, 
squash, Lima-bean, rice, tobacco, indigo, and pita ; while in 
the dense forest we find the following trees, many of them 
unknown to commerce, but furnishing the richest cabinet 
woods or timber : Itaiiba (often sixty feet high and four 
feet through), cedar (specimens of which occur one hun- 
dred feet high, and seven feet in diameter), jutahi (a very 
hard, dark wood, used for sugar-mill rollers, etc.), sapucaya 
(resembling hickory, the clear trunk of which is often fifty 
feet high), loira (the pine of the country), moira-pushiiva 
(similar to black walnut), cumarii, sapupira, macacauba 
(very close grained), acariiiba (very durable), javana, rose- 
wood, pracmiba (very hard), pao -mulatto, pao-preto, pao- 
d'arco, and andiroba. With nature so generous, with a 
healthy location, at the outlet of the rich Tapajos, and, 
though 500 miles fi'om the sea, accessible to Atlantic ves- 
sels of heavy tonnage, Santarem is sure of a brighter fut- 

From Santarem to Manaos, the capital of the upper prov- 
ince of Amazonas, and the second city in magnitude on 
the river, is 460 miles. Three villages of importance are 
passed in this voyage : Obidos (seated beside a bluff on the 
"narrows," where the river, contracting to a strait not a 
mile wide, has a depth of forty fathoms and a current of 
2.4 feet per second) exports considerable cacao and Brazil- 
nuts. The large cacao plantations are on the opposite side 
of the river. Obidos was once an important military post; 
now there are only twenty guns ; these, however, can com- 
mand the river. The population is set down at 2500 ; but 
it is probably very much less. Next we anchor before a 
bank of slippery yellow clay, on which is a level spot cov- 
ered with grass, and a row of huts backed by a green for- 
est — the whole labeled "Villa Bella da Imperatrice," or, 

370 The Ajstdes ajstd the Amazons. 

the " Beautiful City of the Empress." It numbers about 
150 dusky souls, dwelliug in whitewashed, mud-plastered, 
wattled houses of one story. Insignificant in itself. Villa 
Bella is the outlet of a large and rich inland district, ex- 
porting cacao, guarana (from Mauhes, a large village for 
the Amazons, counting 800), piraracii fish, bast. Brazil-nuts, 
tonka-beans, tobacco, coffee, caferana, copaiba-oil, hides, and 
beef, but importing almost every necessary of life. Then 
comes Serpa, destined to become the emporium of the Ma- 
deira trade, built on a high bank of variegated clay, nearly 
opposite the entrance of the great tributary, and having an 
elevated and fertile track behind it, and a deep water-front- 
age, where vessels might easil}^ dispense with lighters, mon- 
tarias, etc. But wharves and piers are yet to be on the 
Amazons. The excuse for not building them is that the 
great difference between high and low water (fifty feet) 
precludes their construction. We think any experienced 
mechanic from the North could easily show that piers or 
floating docks on the river are among the possibles, and at 
the same time reap a fortune for himself. One is greatly 
needed at Manaos, where sometimes twenty-five steamers 
unload every month. 

On the left bank of the dark Rio Negro, ten miles from 
its junction with the Amazons, stands the St. Louis of 
Brazil, the city of Manaos. The site is admirably located 
for either residence or commerce. It is uneven and rocky, 
twenty feet above high-water mark. The river in front is 
deep enough for the " Great Eastern,"* and its banks, for 
hundreds of miles, are packed with a luxuriant forest of 
valuable trees. The forest scene is peculiar : the palms 
and broad-leaved plants and grasses, so abounding on the 
Amazons, play a subordinate part on the banks of the Ne- 

* "Eighty metres at high water," said a resident; but this is probably 
either a trope or a tropical exaggeration. 

The City of Manaos. 371 

gro. The soil, a stiff loam, is fertile in the tropical sense ; 
and the climate is Neapolitan, nature having left little to 
be desired in this respect. We did not see the mercury 
rise above 93° at midday ; and the nights are invariably 
cool, with bnt few mosquitoes. The country around is 
quite romantic for the valley, being undulating and cov- 
ered with picturesque vegetation ; while the famous " Cas- 
cade " and the igarapes, or canoe-paths, winding through 
the forest, are among the most charming features in the 
Amazonian landscape. 

The city, for a long time stagnant, is now rapidly im- 
proving. As we saw it in 1867, it was meanly built, with- 
out a show of enterprise, without a hotel, and not 3000 in- 
habitants. It now numbers 5000 souls, with 17,000 in the 
district, a mixture of Brazilians, Portuguese, Negroes, In- 
dians, Italians, Jews, Germans, and English ; it has a fine 
cathedral (the last specimen of stone-work consecrated to 
church architecture we are to see till we reach Chachapo- 
yas), to cost, when completed, $200,000, and a president's 
palace in process of construction ; two hotels and a mar- 
ket, besides many elegant private houses. The city is 
lighted with 500 kerosene-lamps, has day and night schools, 
with an Episcopal Seminario, three newspapers, one dai- 
ly; and one two-horse carriage, which is advertised " To let, 
rain or shine." But there is neither bank nor bookstore, 
and the streets are unleveled and unpaved. For scaven- 
gers, there are flocks of black vultures, or urubus, "under- 
takers in feathers," as a French writer calls them. 

The society of Manaos has greatly changed during the 
last ten years, and business verily looks lively when the 
steamers are loading or unloading. There are diverse 
kinds of people here, officials (forming the upper crust), 
shop-keepers, itinerant traders, soldiers, boatmen, and idlers. 
There is a stiff formality on state occasions, yet a won- 

372 The Andes and the Amazons. 

derfnl ease ordinarily. One of Northern caste and repub- 
lican principles is not a little taken back by the sight, on 
imperial soil, of the courtesy with which Brazilian gen- 
tlemen of distinction treat senhoras whose blood is fully 
one half Indian or African. Balls are the chief amuse- 
ments; and Paris fashions, imported through Eio, lead. 
The ball opens at nine p.m., when tea is immediately 
served ; thence till midnight there is dancing, sandwiched 
with liquors. Then follows the large supper. At two a.m. 
chocolate is served ; and at four, a bouillon. During my 
sojourn,! was invited to a very grand affair, " uma solenme 
e franca demonstraqao cPajpreqo^'' given by the merchants 
to President Peixoto on his thirty-ninth birthday. Twice 
a week two excellent bands play before the President's 
Palace, one furnished by the military, the other by the In- 
dian boys of the " Educando," a government industrial 
school in the suburbs, worthy of all praise. 

Agriculture, as every where on the Amazons, is dead ; 
even farina, the bread of the land, is imported from Para, 
although this is the mandioca country. In fact, there is 
a constant lack of food in the city. The soil is rich, and 
would yield bountifully under proper cultivation. But it 
may be said, in general, of the whole valley, that the land 
is prolific only when charged with moisture. The natural 
forest, with its " pillared shade," keeps it damp ; clear it 
off, and the sun bakes aiid burns up every thing, leaving a 
sandy carrvpo. By leaving a number of trees, or by Egyp- 
tian irrigation, the country would yield like the Nile flats. 
The trouble with Manaos, as with Peruvian Iquitos, is that 
it is not productive ; it lives upon its position, importing 
every thing but fish. ISTo cotton or coffee now leaves Eio 
Negro, although nature has done every thing to favor 
their culture. 

The only productive industry worth mentioning is seen 

Cost of Productions. 373 

in one steam-saw-mill, one brick and tile establishment, and 
one soap-factorj. Masons and carpenters get from $2 50 
to $5 a day ; pilots, $100 a month ; and physicians, $5 a 
visit. The daily Oommercio do Amazonas costs $10 a 
year. Hotels, $2 per day ; i. e., for a room where you may 
hang your hammock, and two meals a day. The following 
prices, current in 1873, will serve to illustrate life a thou- 
sand miles up the Amazons : Cacao, $2 20 an arroba ; ton- 
ka-beans, 20 cents per kilogram; puxuri (nutmegs), 90 
cents per kilogram ; guarana, 68 cents per kilogram ; Bra- 
zil-nuts, 5 cents per kilogram; copaiba-oil, 70 cents per 
kilogram; fish-glue, 90 cents per kilogram; dried meat, 
21 cents per kilogram; dried pirarucii fish, 23 cents per 
kilogram ; vanilla, 45 cents per kilogram ; indigo, $2 per 
kilogram ; sarsaparilla in bundle, 80 cents per kilogram ; 
tucum thread, $1 per kilogram; tallow, refined, 90 cents 
per kilogram ; rubber, from 56 to 85 cents per kilo- 
gram ; rubber, in liquid, $2 53 per kilogram ; aguardente 
(cane rum), from 15 to 20 cents a litre ; tapioca, 20 cents 
a litre; piassaba in the rough, 12 cents per kilogram; 
piassaba cord, 50 cents a centimetre ; piassaba brooms, 
$1 60 a dozen ; estopa, or bast, 9 cents per kilogram ; hides, 
26 cents per kilogram ; cotton hammocks, from $5 to $14 
each ; tucum hammocks, feathered, $45 ; cedar logs, $1 
per metre ; cedar or itaiiba boards, sixteen feet long, eight 
inches wide, unplaned, $18 a dozen; cabinet -wood in 
boards, 45 cents a metre ; steamer fuel, $20 a thousand 
sticks, each weighing, on the average, fifteen pounds ; na- 
tive brick (8x6x2 inches) and tiles, from $50 to $75 a 
hundred ; at Para, $35. The ordinary red sandstone rock, 
which abounds in the vicinity, unworked, 75 cents a cubic 
foot. This last item shows the high value of labor. So 
the wood used by the steamers is costly, considering that 
the forest is free to all. The introduction of steamers has 

374 The Andes and the Amazons. 

created a new branch of industry, the production of fuel ; 
and the question is frequently asked whether a steam-saw- 
mill would pay. But there are two difficulties : it will not 
do to keep large supplies on hand, for it soon deteriorates 
in this climate, and lumbering will not leave a margin 
while there is a custom-house at Para. The "Morona," 
of 150 horse-power, burns nearly 500 sticks an hour ; and 
the round trip of the little Eio Negro steamer from Manaos 
to Santa Isabel and back, 1092 miles, consumes 30,950 sticks. 
Coal at £3 a ton would be cheaper on the river than wood. 

The provincial duty on liquors is 25 per cent. ; on rub- 
ber, 12 per cent. ; on fish, 5 per cent. ; on all other articles, 
10 per cent. If exported, 5 per cent, extra is collected at 
Para, besides fees. Rubber collected in Peru and Bolivia 
pays no duty. Steamer freight between Manaos and Para, 
on rubber, 25 cents an arroba; on coffee and cacao, 24 
cents an arroba; on Brazil-nuts, 35 cents a bushel; on 
brick, $20 a thousand ; cotton, 30 cents an arroba ; hides, 
20 cents each ; crude piassaba, 25 cents an arroba ; sarsa- 
parilla, 30 cents an arroba ; tobacco, 25 cents an arroba ; 
boards, $3 30 per dozen ; beeves, $7 50 each ; horses and 
mules, $10 each. Freights between Manaos and San An- 
tonio, on the Madeira : on rubber and sai*saparilla, 40 cents 
an arroba; cacao, coffee, dried beef, and tallow, 32 cents 
an arroba ; Brazil-nuts in sacks, 35 cents a bushel ; hides, 
25 cents each. To Hyutanahan, on the Puriis, the tariff is 
about the same. 

The produce of the Rio Negro and Solimoens does not 
stop at Manaos, but goes directly to Para, and must be 
purchased there. This is owing to the fact that Para mer- 
chants have pnt the producers under obligation, so that 
producers up the river can not sell at an intermediate 
place. But Manaos is determined to become independent 
of Para; and the project of a through line of steamers 

The "Wants of Manaos. 375 

from Manaos to Europe is on foot. With a healthy cli- 
mate and fertile soil, a situation near the mouths of four 
great rivers — the Madeira, Negro, Puriis, and Jurua — and 
having water communication with two thirds of the con- 
tinent, this city has commercial advantages unsurpassed. 
What it wants is an even and generous legislation and an 
industrial class. 

376 The Andes and the Amazons. 


Up tlie Amazons. — From the Rio Negro to the Andes. — The Great Wilder- 
ness. — Steam on the Maraiion. ■ — The Birmingham of the Amazons. — 
Price of Labor and Food. — Survey of the Maraiion. 

Manaos is an important point of departure for several 
lines of steamers. Steamers leave regularly for Para and 
Tabatinga, and for the Madeira, Negro, Puriis, and Jurua. 
The fare up the Madeira is $40, and up the Puriis, $50. 
From Manaos to Tabatinga, on the frontier of the empire, 
is 850 miles. The " Icamiaba," the first and only steamer 
which has been running for twenty years, leaves Manaos 
the 11th of each month ; fare, $50 ; time, one week. 

The Solimoens, as this middle portion of the Amazons 
is called, flows through a rank wilderness, broken at few 
points by the hand of man. There are probably not 300 
acres of cultivated land between the Rio Negro and the 
base of the Andes, as far as from Boston to Omaha. The 
whole country is a vast plain of slight elevation, without 
hills or sandy canvpos, but with a soil of stiff clay covered 
with vegetable mold, and a lofty, luxuriant, humid forest. 
We see three varieties of banks : low, alluvial deposits, 
covered with arrow-grass or wild cane;* slightly higher 
land, hidden by broad-leaved plants and dwarf palms, with 
a dense forest of lofty trees in the terra incognita beyond 
— the most common aspect ; and cliffs of variegated clay, 
from twenty-five to fifty feet high, generally cut squarely 

* The Indians call the arrow-grass {Gynerium sacchar aides) " cana rana," 
or "gamellote," and the taller Gynerium sagittatum (?) "cana brava," or 
"pintu." The latter fui-nishes the punt-poles of the boatmen. It is almost 
the first form of vegetation which appears when the inundating water re- 

Life on the Solimoens. 377 

away by the current, and crowned with a massive colon- 
nade of trees, loaded with parasites and wound with creep- 
ing plants. 

Palms are comparatively few ; the most numerous being 
the short murumuru, the slender assai, the spindle-trunk 
pashiiiba, the beautiful tucuma, and the urucuri, the nuts 
of which are used for smoking rubber. But the high, un- 
flooded parts are heavily timbered with useful woods ; as 
cedar, copal, andiroba, acapu,sicnpira,acari-cuara, acariiiba, 
moira-pir<inga, moira-coatiara, itauba, jutalii, sapupira, mas- 
sarandiiba, paracu-uba, cumarii, palo de cruz, palo d' arco, 
and many kinds of loiro. And yet there is not a saw-mill 
between Manaos and Iquitos, a distance of 1200 miles! 

The signs of animal life are not proportioned to this ex- 
uberance of vegetation, although more abundant than on 
the Lower River. It is almost " still-life " here : moving be- 
ings (mosquitoes always excepted) are rare. White egrets, 
and tall gray herons, stalking along the edge of the water ; 
hummers whirring among the flowers ; macaws and parrots 
flying high overhead ; capybaras on the banks, and rolling 
porpoises and ugly alligators in the river : these are the 
most conspicuous forms. Man himself makes a poor fig- 
ure in the wilderness of Alto Amazonas. This is one of 
the spots where he is not lord of creation. He appears on 
the scene as an interloper, a wayfarer, an accident ; he en- 
ters the gloomy forest roofed by the groined arches of gi- 
gantic palm-leaves, as the traveler for the first time steps 
into a grand cathedral, with a feeling of mingled helpless- 
ness and awe. 

From Manaos to the entrance of the Huallaga, there are 
not 10,000 inhabitants scattered along the banks of the 
river and its inlets. Cudaja and Coary consist of about 
forty houses each, whose owners deal in rubber and fish. 
The largest Brazilian town west of Manaos is Teffe (or 

378 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Ega, as tlie Portuguese called it), the Omaha of South 
America in position; yet it contains scarcely 2000 souls, 
although the best agricultural i-egion on the Solimoens. 
It exports annually from 40,000 to 50,000 arrobas of rub- 
ber, and 4000 or 5000 arrobas of pirarucii fish. Here, also, 
are manufactured, by wild tribes in the interior, the cele- 
brated grass hammock woven from the fibre of the tucum 
palm. The population of the Upper Amazons has not in- 
creased with the introduction of steamers. The climate is 
healthy, although one lives in a constant vapor-bath, and 
nature is bountiful. Epidemics are unknown, and ague is 
confined to dark-colored or sluggish tributaries. 

Between Teffe (where Bates spent four years and a half, 
and Agassiz six months) and Tabatinga (the frontier for- 
tress of the empire) is the most uncivilized part of the 
Amazons. Yet here enter five great rivers, which are des- 
tined to be famous — Japnra, Iga, Jurua, Jutahi, and Javari. 
The only towns are Fonte Boa (fifty houses), Tunautins 
(thirty-five houses), and San Paulo (sixty houses), built on 
slippery clay bluffs, and exporting the produce of the for- 
ests and waters. All look as if they had seen better days. 
Rice and cotton might be grown in vast quantities on the 
lowlands after the subsidence of the river. But the peo- 
ple, mainly the half - civilized Tuciina Indians, prefer to 
collect rubber, catch turtles, swing in their hammocks, and 
live on pirarucii and plantains. 

Tabatinga is a village of barracks, defended by sixteen 
guns, and ornamented with graceful tucuma palms. This 
has been a military post since 1776. It stands on a high 
bluff of variegated clay, and gives its name (signifying 
"white clay") to the vast Amazonian clay-formation. The 
average depth of the river here is ten fathoms, the differ- 
ence between high and low water being thirty-six feet. 
The current, at flood-time, is five miles an hour. The ap- 


Climate of the Makanon. 379 

pointment to the consulship at this distant and isolated 
spot mast be regarded by the carpet-baggers of Rio as a 
literal banishment. 

Here the traveler westward exchanges the Brazilian 
" Icamiaba" for the Peruvian " Morona." At present the 
following steamers are afloat on Peruvian waters: "Moro- 
na," « Pastassa," " Tambo," " Putumayo," " Napo," " May- 
ro," "Alceste," and " Ucayali," the last two belonging to 
private individuals. The "Morona" is an iron vessel of 
150 horse-power, with a tonnage of 500. The running 
time from Tabatinga to Yurimaguas is ninety hours, dis- 
tance 728 miles. She leaves Tabatinga the 21st of each 
month, and Yurimaguas the 9th. The first-class fare is 
$60, passengers providing their own bedding. There are 
no accommodations for ladies. Travel on the Maranon 
exceeds that on the Solimoens; for example, the " Morona" 
left Iquitos with nineteen first-class passengers and forty- 
six third-class. Nevertheless, the towns are decaying, ex- 
cepting Iquitos and Yurimaguas. 

As to climate, I repeat what I have said elsewhere, that 
the entire main trunk of the Amazons from Para to Bor- 
ja, but especially the Maranon, is as healthy as any tropic 
river in the world- The same can be said of the large 
tributaries to the Maranon, as the Napo, Ucayali, and Hu- 
allaga ; malarial fevers are almost confined to the small 
streams. Diarrhea and dysentery, the most common dis- 
eases in the swamp country, can generally be traced to im- 
prudent eating and bathing. The most sickly season is 
the time of falling waters. The annual rise of the Ma- 
ranon is about thirty feet. The largest amount of rain-fall 
Occurs in February and March. The maximum rain-fall 
in twenty -four hours, during 1872-'3,was 4.66 inches. The 
greatest daily range of temperature noticed was 9°, but this 
was extraordinary. 

380 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Iquitos, the only village of size and enterprise on the 
Maranon, is of recent origin. It was founded by the sur- 
vivors of a massacre at Borja in 1841. In 1851,Herndon 
counted 227 inhabitants ; it now numbers 2000,* English, 
Anriericans, Portuguese, Peruvians, Indians, and nonde- 
scripts, the last forming a numerous class ; for, excepting 
a dozen lawful marriages, the rest are accidental unions. 
At least four fifths are half-breeds of Indian and white. 
The " city " stands on a bank of dark clay (containing a 
multitude of fossil shells and a layer of lignite), sixty-five 
feet above the average river, and three hundred and fifty 
above the sea. The houses generally are built of cane, 
plastered with mud and whitewashed, one story high, and 
strung together, not so much to economize space as the ex- 
pense of putting up an additional wall. The streets are in 
their native state, and overgrown with grass. The mean 
temperature is 80° ; and at night the mercury never falls 
below 60°. The climate is unusually healthy ; the diseases, 
such as exist, chiefiy la tinta (dark blotches on the skin), 
abscess, fever, dysentery, and catarrh, being due to improp- 
er food and drink, and want of cleanliness. But Sodom 
would shine alongside of Iquitos in point of morality and 

The government works, established in 1864, are the 

* The author of A Journey across South America, which purports to have 
been made recently, betrays himself by saying that Iquitos consists of only 
thirtj'-five huts. Such it was in 1846. This work of "Paul Marcoy," so 
capitally written and splendidly illustrated, is one of the most remarkable im- 
positions on the literary world. All dates are carefully excluded, and the 
English translator, Kich, coolly palms it off as a late expedition ; whereas 
it was evidently made up from Count Castelnau's narrative, or by one of his 
party. The route and main incidents, as the death of Father Bobo, and the 
dispatch of D'Osey to Lima, are precisely parallel ; the views of villages are 
as they looked thirty years ago ; mention is made of the reigning king of 
France (Louis Philippe); "Count de la Blanche Epine" is a caricature of 
Castelnau; and "Marcoy" descended the Amazons in a schooner, which he 
would not have done after 1853, when steamers were introduced. 

The City of Iquitos. 381 

making of this place. It contains a large machine-shop 
for the repair of steamers, a steam saw-mill, and a brick 
factory. The superintendent and most of the hands are 
from England. Carpenters, masons, and machinists get 
from $80 to $100 a month ; the first engineer on a steam- 
er has $145, and the second $116, with rations ; day labor- 
ers have $10 a month. But the mischief is, that this is 
promised, not paid ; some of the foreign employes have 
not received a cent for two years. By thus withliolding 
payment, the government manages to hold on to imported 
skill. A number of machinists, in despair, have floated 
down to Para, and made their way home, forfeiting, of 
course, all their earnings in arrear. The Maranon, at pres- 
ent, is a burden to Lima, for the works and the steamers 
do not pay; and Congress votes a monthly subsidy of 
$20,000. But it is vital to Peru that she retain this Ori- 
ente, and she has made Iquitos the head-quarters of her 
military authority on the Amazons. The officer in charge, 
however, is subordinate to the prefect in Moyobamba. 

Iquitos even exceeds Manaos in scarcity of food. She 
exports nothing but money, and produces nothing eatable. 
She depends, strange to say, for almost every mouthful of 
food upon the East instead of the West ; upon Para and 
New Tork rather than upon Moyobamba and Lima ; and 
when the steamer fails to bring a supply, a famine is im- 
minent. Residents have told me that at times no amount 
of money in .hand could buy a pound of meat or bread. 
On the counter of a provision-store in Iquitos I saw this 
dried menagerie for sale : Iguana, piranicii, manati, mon- 
key, and heron — the heap emitting a most disgusting odor. 
I do not wonder that clay-eaters are so numerous on the 
Amazons, for they have two strong temptations — the scar- 
city of food and the abundance of clay. I have seen the 
mud-blocks of houses in Iquitos largely eaten away by their 

382 The Andes and the Amazons. 

owners. Natural food is scarce ; for edible fruit is confined 
mainlj' to cultivated spots, and game has fled for refuge to 
the depths of the forest. The fishes are unusually shy and 
wary, as I found on trial. This destitution of the necessa- 
ries of life is in strong contrast with the luxury of nature. 
It can be traced partly to a want of energy and provident 
forethought (the land is rarely cultivated with a view to a 
surplus), and partly to the fact that the inhabitants, more 
like vagrant locusts than colonists, are governed solely by 
considerations of immediate gain. And as the wealth of 
the forest, unprotected by legislation, will rapidly decrease 
under the present reckless system, we may look for still 
leaner times on the Great River. Not till the- rubber in- 
terest is made subordinate to tillage can we hope for dur- 
able prosperity. 

Iquitos receives its flour from Richmond and Balti- 
more ; lard from Cincinnati ; canned butter from En- 
gland ; potatoes from Portugal ; coffee and sugar from 
Eastern Brazil ; rice from Ceara and India : and all this, 
while almost any created fruit and grain would grow on 
the Upper Maranon, or the slope of the Andes. Oranges 
and alligator-pears could be raised with the greatest ease ; 
but the latter are brought from Pebas, and I could hear of 
but one orange-tree in all Iquitos. Elour and potatoes sell 
at 20 cents a pound; butter, $1 a pound; fowls, $1 each; 
eggs, 80 cents a dozen ; cachaga, $1 a gallon ; lime, $12 a 
barrel ; Newcastle coal, $80 a ton ; logs, $4 apiece, and it 
costs $5 a hundred feet for sawing. 

I was happy to meet at this place the Hydrographical 
Commission, commanded by Admiral Tucker, which has 
been engaged for several years past in surveying the Ma- 
ranon and its tributaries. It had just returned from an 
elaborate exploration of the Ucayali, ascending the Pichis 
to lat. 10° 22' 55", or 1041 marine miles from Iquitos. 

The Hydkogeaphical Commission. 383 

The final Eepoi-t will be of great interest and value. 
The atlas will comprise some forty sheets, each 30x15 
inches, besides a general map five feet square; and ta- 
bles of latitudes, longitudes, magnetic variations, eleva- 
tions, currents, distances, temperatures, etc., embracing 
2945 miles of river, or the total distance navigable by 
steamers. The determination of the latitude and longi- 
tude of prominent points by Captain Eochelle will straight- 
en our geography of the Maranon region ; while the mete- 
orological and ethnological observations by Dr. Gait (to be 
issued by the Smithsonian Institution) will make a valu- 
able contribution to science. 

Two little steamers, the "Napo," of Iquitos, and the 
" Ucayali," of Nauta, run up the Ucayali to Sarayacu and 
Cachaboya monthly, the voyage to Sarayacu from Iquitos 
taking eight days up and four down. The trade at pres- 
ent is light, consisting chiefly in the exchange of English 
goods, and Huallaga salt for fish and turtles. But this 
tributary, contributing more water than the Maranon above 
it, and navigable for about one thousand miles, or within 
a short distance of the Oroya Ilailroa,d, must ere long be- 
come a highway for commercie. A mule-road is alread}' 
projected to connect Sarayacu with the salt-mines of Cha- 
suta. Fine selenite gypsum occurs above Sarayacu, and 
" cinnamon " around Cachaboya Lake. 

The largest village above Iquitos is Nauta (numbering 
1000), but the busiest is old San Regis — a little huddle of 
mud-huts, but mighty in " caghass." Here they distill and 
export 2500 garrafones (seven gallons each) a year of this 
white rum — the apparent life-blood of Eastern Peru — and 
sell it at $5 a garrafon. The cane, of which there is a 
large plantation, is luxuriant, but it is said to be too watery 
for the manufacture of sugar. Sarsaparilla and payshi 
(salt fish) are also shipped from San Regis. 

384 The Andes and the Amazons. 

From this point to Borja, the head of navigation on the 
main Maranon, where the river dashes through a deep 
gorge in the limestone mountain, is about 400 miles. But 
trade seldom calls a steamer beyond the mouth of the 
Huallaga. The " Morona " turned up this tributary, and 
left me on the clay-bank of Yurimaguas, v^^here I leave 
my reader while I make a foot-tramp through the forest 
and the ascent of the Andes. Yurimaguas is a collection 
of a hundred stockades of poles with thatched roofs, stand- 
ing on a high bluff of pebbly brown clay. It is a busy 
spot — once a month, when the steamer calls for hats, salt, 
sarsaparilla, rum, cotton, and fish ; then the total popula- 
tion assembles on the bank. But Yurimaguas is the em- 
porium of a region richer, by far, in natural wealth than 
the Empire State — the entire eastern slope of Northern 

Andean Tkavel. 385 


Routes over the Andes. — A Polar Expedition at the Equator. — A Tramp 
through the Forest. — Moyobamba and the Manufacture of Straw Hats. — 
Crossing the Cordillera. 

Three routes are open to the traveler from the Marafion 
to the Pacific : 1st. Up the Hiiallaga to Tingo Maria, a ca- 
noe voyage of a month or more ; thence to Lima by mule 
via Huanaco and Cerro de Pasco. 2d. Up the Huallaga 
from Yurimaguas to Chasuta by canoe, eight days ; thence 
by mule to Moyobamba via Tarapoto, one week. 3d. From 
Yurimaguas by canoe up the Parana-pura to Balsa Puerto, 
one week ; thence on foot through the forest to Moyobam- 
ba, six days. From Moyobamba to Cajamarca via Chacha- 
poyas is a miile-ride of twelve da^^s ; and a railway comes 
up from the coast within one day of Cajamarca. The time 
here given is that of actual travel, but the delays in pro- 
curing canoes, peons, and mules more than double it. 

We chose the Balsa Puerto route. Whichever route the 
traveler takes, he wishes he had taken another. We left 
Yurimaguas in a long canoe with five Indians, providing 
them with salt fish, plantains, and chicha, and ourselves 
with more civilized food, for a six days' journey. De- 
scending the Huallaga a short distance, we turned up the 
Parana-pura, one of its main affluents. The first day we 
had a comedy which might have been a tragedy. Our old 
j)opero, or steersman, fell overboard, dead drunk ; another 
Indian tumbled out twice for the same reason, and a third 
dropped down into a heap in the canoe. A cold bath and 
a long sleep brought them to, and we had for the rest of 
the voyage an efficient crew. 


386 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Paddles were of no use on the rapid Parana-pura, our 
Indians — four in front, and the comical genius behind — 
poling the whole distance ; and every night we camped 
on the sandy beaches, called playas, under palna booths. 
Nothing could surpass the astronomical splendor of the 
nights. The only improvement I can suggest is an omis- 
sion of the mosquitoes. I expected to be treated, as on 
the Napo, to the horrible chorus of " the little men of the 
woods ;" but not a howler howled. A few pueblos break 
the solitude of this river. At Lemon is the spacious resi- 
dence of Mons. Jules Juan, built of chonta slats, and sur- 
rounded with a great variety of tropical fruit-trees. Here, 
too, on the edge of the forest, we found another recluse 
Frenchman, who amuses himself in tracing correspond- 
ences between the Quichua and Sanscrit languages. He 
is the author of Amerique Equatoriale, published in Paris, 
in which he styles himself " Don Enrique Vte. Ouffroy de 
Thoron, Ingenieur, Emir du Lihan jpar acclamation ge- 
nerate en 1840, Ancien Commandant ou Chef des Maro- 
nites, et Chef d''Etat, Major General de Varmee Turco- 
Maronite sous le Grand Vizier Izzet Mahomet- Pacha, 
Vice-roi de Syrie et d ''EgypteP 

Ascending the tributary Cachiyacu (" Salt River"), we 
passed two large distilleries, provided with the finest appa- 
ratus we have seen in the countrj'. On the sugar-mills we 
saw the well-known names of "Mirelees, Tait, & Watson, 
New York." We ari-ived at Balsa Puerto, six days from 
Yurimaguas, about one hundred miles. This little village 
of 400 Indians, dwelling in nailless bamboo huts, that went 
up without the sound of a hammer, is the chief port of 
Moyobamba.* It manufactures nothing, and the state of 

* There are a good many empty houses ; for Balsa Puerto was formerly a 
more important place. I found here among the natives a Peruvian, a Chilian, 
a Spaniard, a Frenchman, a representative from the Buckeye State, and an- 
other of unknown nationality, who forty years ago lived in Nantucket. 

Mountain Torrents. 387 

society is expressed in fandangos by night, and in street- 
fights by day. During onr stay ten of the chief men sat 
down before forty-seven bottles of porter, and soon after 
we saw the drunken governor, Antonio Rios, knocked down 
twice before his own door. With snch an official to aid us 
in obtaining peons to carry our baggage to Moyobamba, we 
were detained five days. The second day out, one of the 
Indians dropped his load and decamped, and two others 
afterward followed suit. Procuring others, we continued 
onr toilsome journey on foot, picking our way through 
the thick forest, climbing over precipitous mountains, and 
wading across the furious Cachiyacu and its tributaries 
seventy-five times, generally wnth" the prospect of being 
torn away by the current. If the traveler should strip in 
crossing each stream, he would not make a league a day, 
for the same river must be crossed often several times a 
day, the path up its banks changing frequently from one 
side to the other. The interminable Cachiyacu is crossed 
three times in going half a mile ; and one of its feeders is 
so fastidious in its course that one must cross it nine times 
within a mile. The only way is to plunge in accoutred as 
you are, and change at night. The Indians have to carry 
the cargo on the head in fording the deeper streams. The 
character of these streams may be gathered from their 
names — as Pumayacu, or "Tiger River," and Esealera-yacu, 
or " Staircase River." The great bowlders strewed along 
their beds likewise indicate their power at high water. 
The passage of the Pumayacu is the most perilous of all, 
and reminds me of the furious Hondache in the Napo. 
The river has cut for itself a deep, narrow channel through 
highly inclined beds of slate and sandstone, dipping down- 
stream. The ford is the slippery edge or crest of a sand- 
stone ledge, a yard wnde, with a gulf on one side and a 
whirlpool on the other. After a heavy rain (and when 

388 The Andes and the Amazons. 

does it not rain here ?) the Indians tariy on the bank till 
the waters subside. 

Then, for a change, the path, leaviiig the rivers for a 
while, runs np the vertical side of the lofty Cerro de Icii- 
to, where it is necessary to go monkey-fashion, holding on 
with hands as well as feet. Now there are slippery, jut- 
ting edges of the rock, supposed to be steps ; then a ladder 
of sticks tied with vines leaning against the precipice. It 
is painful to see the poor Indian, with a heavy load on his 
back, going up this crazy thing : the breaking of one step 
might cost him his life. Finally, the bad, the worse, and 
the worst follow one another so rapidly that one gets a 
little accustomed to it ; at any rate, he looks for nothing 
better, and resigns himself to the situation. Af tei seeing 
so many freaks in this anomalous road, the wayfarer rather 
expects it to end by running up a tree. It is difficult to 
conceive how such a path, daily iised for the traffic of the 
great city of Moyobamba, can be tolerated. On the great- 
er part, man has done nothing but select a route that has 
the fewest obstacles. I could not see that a single stone 
had been removed ; the Indians travel around or over ev- 
ery thing in their wa}'.. 

Yet this road is the paradise of the botanist and ento- 
mologist. I never saw such a variety of ferns and grass- 
hoppers. In a small collection of orthopters, hastily gath- 
ered, Mr. Scudder found eight new genera and thirty-four 
new species.* The geologist also tinds employment, for 
he passes by the salt-quarries of Cachi-puerto, in the red- 
sandstone flank of Iciito, while the streams bring dowii 
from a higher source fragments of cretaceous limestone, 
containing ammonites and brachiopods. 

After passing the summit of the Punta de Schalca, the 
grand troubles are at an end. This ridge divides the Ca- 

* Described in Proc. Boston Soc. Nat, Hist., vol. xvii., p. 257. 

The City of Moyobamba. 38') 

chiyacu and Mayo. It belongs to the range which conies 
np from Cerro de Pasco, crosses the Huallaga, forming the 
Pongo de Aguirre, then the Maranon, creating the well- 
known Pongo de Manseriche, and joins the eastern Cordil- 
.lera of Ecuador, near Macas. The road now enters an ex- 
tensive pqjonal, where herds of cattle are grazing ; and 
the traveler sleeps in a shed at tlie hacienda of "Jesus 
del Monte." Thence over an excellent road, which at one 
point gives a splendid view of Moyobamba, crossing the 
Yanayacu by a bridge, and tlie Mayo by canoe, and wind- 
ing through a fertile valley, which appeared like a large 
sugar-cane grove, nineteen days from Yuri mag uas, we en- 
tered the largest city on the Oriental side of the Andes. 

The situation of Moyobamba is surpassingly fine, built 
on an isolated plateau that stands in the midst of a luxu- 
riant plain, through which winds the turbid Mayo, and 
around which rise picturesque mountains — the worthy be- 
ginnings of the Andes. It reminds one of old Toledo, 
seated on its seven hills, girdled by the lordly Tagus, and 
encircled by sieiTas. But the architecture is any thing but 
the massive style of the Moor. The adobe bears no re- 
semblance to granite. With an altitude above the sea of 
2700 feet, and a mean annual temperature of 77°, the cli- 
mate is delightful. Natni-e is so prodigal that any body 
can get a living — except physicians. Tlie oranges of 
Moyobamba are equal to the best Guayaquilian ; while the 
coffee and cacao are praised in Lima. The ordinary ills, 
all due to imprudence, are intermittent fever, erysipelas, 
and worms. The only case of drunkenness I witnessed 
was that of a priest. The citizens are treated to slight 
earthquakes, about six in a year, and to a shower nearly 
every day. The rains have worn deep ravines, zanjas or 
harrancas, with perpendicular sides, that radiate from the 
brow of the hill in all directions. Houses, only a few rods 

390 The Andes and the Amazons. 

apart, may be separated by an impassable gnlf. I visited 
two mineral springs in the vicinity. One is a hot sprino'. 
slightly ferruginous, the temperature of which I found to 
be 106°, that of the air being 75°. On the slope of the 
Cerro, about three miles from the city, is a copious sul- 
phur spring, forming a little lake thirty feet in diameter, 
with a temperature of 84°. Were this brought down to 
the city, and respectable roads made to Huallaga and to 
the coast, Moyobamba would become the Saratoga of the 
South. At present, the city is poorly supplied with water, 
all coming from a few feeble springs at the foot of the 
plateau. It is a novel sight to see the long procession of 
women, who are the water-carriers of the city, descending 
and ascending the deep barrancas at even-tide, with pitch- 
ers on their heads, while the young Lotharios lie in wait to 
make love to their Rebeccas. 

Transportation to and from the city is difficult beyond 
description. Nearly all exports and imports come from 
or go to the east ; and every thing must be carried on the 
backs of Indians over the horrible Balsa Puerto road, and 
in canoes on the Parana-pnra. The Indians do not care 
for money ; so that when a traveler or merchant wishes 
peons, he notifies the governor, through the sub-prefect, 
who orders the police to seize such as they can find, and 
compel them to bear the burdens. The route to the coast 
via Chachapoyas and Cajamarca is traveled by mules, but 
these are difficult to hire. There are no duties on foreign 
goods entering Peru by the Amazons ; but the freight is 
enormous, the loss on liquors being 200 per cent., and on 
other goods 25. A box of flour from the United States 
weighing 80 pounds sells for 22 soles, or 30 cents a 
pound; while a roll 'of bread weighing 3 ounces costs 10 
cents. English butter is worth $1 a pound ; Colgate's 
soap, of which 6000 pounds are used annually, brings 50 

Prices in Moyobamba, 391 

cents a pound; and iron, of which 500 pounds are sold 
yearly, sells from 20 to 40 cents a pound. Yet many for- 
eign articles are sold cheaper at Moyobamba than on the 
Pacific coast. Beef (jerked and dried) comes from Cha- 
chapoyas, and is sold for 10 cents ; cattle are kept in the 
surrounding chdcaras, but neither for beef nor milk, but 
for the pleasure of owning them. A few sheep are raised, 
but solely for meat, not for wool. Cattle, pigs, and dogs 
are never fed, but are left to lielp themselves. Of home 
productions, pork is worth 20 cents ; lard, 30 cents ; coffee, 
$2 an arroba; tiles, $50 a thousand; brown sugar {chan- 
cdca), 5 cents, refined, 25 cents. There is not a plow in the 
whole province ; but almost every thing that is planted 
yields bountifully in from three to six months. August is 
the usual time for planting. Coffee, cacao, rice, maize, 
mani (pea-nuts), oranges, pine -apples, bananas, sugar-cane, 
and two kinds of cotton are grown with little or no cult- 
ure, but only for home consumption. Grapes (a small 
black kind), sarsaparilla, vanilla, rubber, and copal grow 
spontaneously, but are not gathered. Abundance of fine 
timber (especially cedar and "moyna") covers the slopes 
of the cer]-os, with plenty of water-power at hand ; but 
there is neither a saw-mill nor a chimney west of Iquitos. 
The Moyobambinos,9000 in number, white, red, and mixed, 
are content to dwell in mud hovels, tiled or thatched. Poor 
and proud, they certainly do not believe that money makes 
the man. " It is only in Spanish America," says Morelet, 
"that men are to be found so rich in their poverty as to 
be above the knowledge of want." Boards are cut out 
with Collins's axes, 10,000 of which are sold annually ; the 
only fault found with them (by the merchants) is that they 
are too good, and last too long. The value of a . day's 
work, from six to six, is 20 cents and food, or $5 a month. 
There are seven foreign merchants in Moyobamba, of 

392 The Andes and the Amazons. 

whom Mr. Sisly, the chief, has sold as much as $40,000 
worth of goods in eight months. Trade at present is very 
dull, as the hat business has declined. 

The Department of Loreto, of which Moyobamba is the 
capital, stretches from the eastern cordillera to Tabatinga, 
and has a population of at least 60,000, wild tribes in- 
cluded. The main villages west of the Huallaga are 
Tarapoto (8000), Lamas (6000), Chasuta (1500), and 3ev6- 
ros (1000). The main exports are straw hats, tucuyo 
(coarse cotton cloth), salt, aguardente, tobacco, beans, cof- 
fee, and limestone. The tucuyo is made in Tarapoto for 
the Indians solely ; and an imitation is now manufactured 
in England, which sells at the same price (20 cents), and is 
preferred by the natives. It takes six days to spin one 
pound of cotton thread, and eight days to weave one yard 
of tucuyo. The principal salt-mines are at Callana-yacu, 
near Chasuta, Pilluana, and Cachi-yacu, near Balsa Puerto. 
They are situated in red sandstone, along with gypsum, 
and supply the whole Maranon region. Aguardente is 
made wherever the sugar-cane grows. Tarapoto exports 
300 garrafones annually. The best tobacco comes from 
Jevdros; and limestone bowlders from up the Huallaga 
are shipped from Yurimaguas at $40 a ton. 

But the great business of Moyobamba and the sur- 
rounding villages is the manufacture of " straw " hats. 
These are made of the same material as the so-called Pan- 
ama hats of Ecuador and New Granada. It is the unde- 
veloped leaf of the bombonaje {^Carludovica palmata of 
science), which is a screw-pine rather than a palm. The 
trunk of this plant is apparently a yard high, but is really 
wanting ; and the leaf -stalks, six feet long, spring from the 
ground. The bark of these leaf-stalks is woven into bas- 
kets, and the expanded leaves are used for thatching. It 
is the leaf before it has opened that is prepared for the 

The Manufacture of Hats. 393 

manufacture of hats. It then consists of a bundle of plaits 
about two feet long and one inch in diameter. The green 
outside of this cogollo, or bunch, is stripped off ; and then, 
by an instrument called a picadera, resembling a pair of 
compasses, with legs set half an inch or less apart, accord- 
ing to the fineness of the straw required, the leaflets are 
made into strips of uniform size, with parallel sides. The 
cogollo is then boiled to toughen the fibre, and hung up in 
the sun to dry and whiten, when the leaflets roll up (with- 
out twisting in the least) into cord-like strands, which are 
then ready for use. These strands are from one-fourth to 
one-fortieth of an inch in diameter. The longest straw 
which can be procured from the bombonaje is twenty-sev- 
en and a half inches. It takes sixteen cogollos for an or 
dinary hat, and twenty-four for the finest ; and a single 
hat is plaited in from four days to as many months, ac- 
cording to texture. We saw a fragment of one begun 
which, if finished, would bring $500 in Lima. Fortunes 
have been made in the hat trade ; but a change of fashion 
in Brazil, Europe, and the United States has reduced the 
number exported from 100,000 to 50,000, and the price 
from $40 a dozen to $15. Hats were first exported down 
the Amazons in 1853.* 

But Moyobamba is as famous for its execrable roads as 
for its hats. The traveler who survives the journey from 
Moyobamba to the Amazons or the Pacific will remember 
the road longer than the city. Three regions intervene 
between the Great Eiver and the Great Ocean : the Mon- 
tana, extending from the Huallaga to Chachapoyas ; the 

* This work is not written to encourage emigration to Brazil. I advise 
those who can get an honest living in the United States to stay there. But 
in leaving the valley, I may say that if I were to mention any spots most de- 
sirable for residence, I would name Manaos and Santarem, on the Lower 
Amazons ; and for settlement. Barranca, on the Upper Maranon; the mouth 
of the Pichis, on the Ucayali ; and, above all, the region of Moyobamba. 

394 The Andes and the Amazons. 

agricultural valley of the Upper Maranon ; and the min- 
ing district between the western cordillera and the coast. 
The lower part of the Montana is covered with a rich for- 
est; but from Moyobamba westward the road, or rather 
mule -path, for the most part winds over boggy valleys, 
hleak paramos, and barren mountains. At some points it 
is horrible, but the beasts understand their business, and 
perform impossible feats. The route, in many cases, is 
most absurdly chosen. Kow it is serpentine for no appar- 
ent reason ; then it makes straight for the top of the high- 
est, steepest hill. The distance from Moyobamba to Cha- 
chapoyas is forty leagues ; for one hundred miles of which 
on a stretch there is not an inhabitant, so that the traveler 
must carry bedding and provisions, and sleep in cheerless 
tambos. The reader must understand that these tambos 
are not hotels. In the cold regions they are of stone, plas- 
tered with mud and thatched ; the others are simply four 
posts supporting a straw roof, which here and there sheds 
rain. They are but rude shelters at the best, and not 
very inviting under other circumstances ; but many a wea- 
ry traveler has blessed the poor people who raised them. 
In the open tambo of Almirante, ten by eighteen feet, my- 
self and two companions slept with seventeen Indians, 
who happened to arrive the same evening; and in the 
stone tambo of Bagazc4n with nineteen. A spot for a fire 
is also included. One cold niglit we camped under a huge 
rock in the bleak valley of Yentilla. But the roar of un- 
known rivers, and the splendor of the stars seen from the 
top of the Andes, atone for all discomforts. The only vil- 
lages on the route are Rioja and Taulia. 

The highest point on the road is the Puna Piscaguanuni 
(meaning "the place where the birds die"), rising 11,000 
feet above the sea. It is not covered with snow, but the 
air is generally full of sleet. Geologically, it consists main- 

Akeival at Chachapoyas. 395 

ly of dark-brown slate, in which I found hosts of lias am- 
monites. It is this range which divides the waters of the 
Upper Maranon from the affluents of the Huallaga, and 
which, meeting the more westerly sierra, forms the terri- 
ble cataracts above the Pongo de Manseriche. 

Ascending and descending many a rocky staircase, and 
winding through a deep and picturesque ravine beside the 
rushing Ventilla, and between towering, treeless mount- 
ains of red sandstone, the weary traveler suddenly and as 
gratefully finds himself in the city of Chachapoyas. 

396 The Andes and the Amazons. 


Over the Andes. — Chachapoyas. — The Heart of the Andes. — Cajamarea and 
its Relics of Atahuallpa. — Arrival at the Pacific. — The City of Lima. 

While most other towns in Northern Peru are but vast 
pig-sties containing human habitations, Chachapoyas is the 
best - built and cleanest city west of Manaos : its grand 
plaza and paved streets grant no indulgences to the lower 
animals. The city is regularly laid out, and contains a 
cuartel for soldiers, a university, a rather iixiposing cathe- 
dral, and the residence of the bishop, whose see extends 
from Moyobamba to Cajamarea. Perched 7600 feet above 
the sea, Chachapoyas possesses a delightful and equable 
climate, ranging from 40° to 79°, with the mean tempera- 
ture of 62° Fahr. Here, for the first time since leaving 
New York, we saw bread made from, native flour. Yet 
there is very little of that agriculture which requires a 
preparation of the soil : the people (to the number of 5000) 
depend mainly on the voluntary gifts of nature, scratching 
the ground with wooden plows to raise a little wheat, corn, 
potatoes, and rice. Six crops of rice can be raised with- 
out resowing. Flour sells for $10 a quintal ; potatoes, 15 
cents a pound ; cleaned wool, 18 pounds for $2 ; cacao from 
the warmer regions at $30 a quintal ; and cochineal at 25 
cents an ounce. Nothing is exported but a little cascarilla 
bark. The best Indian tobacco grows at Bagua, in the val- 
ley of the Utcubamba, and is sold at four reals for three 
pounds. The main woods for construction — cedar, wal- 
nut, ishpingu, and capuri^ — being brought a considerable 
distance, are very high. All boards, from Iquitos to the 

Mountain Travel. 397 

Pacific, are cut by hand. There are signs of vakiable 
mines of gold, cinnabar, lead, limouite, and a gray coppei- 
ore containing silver, in the vicinity ; while mountains of 
salt occur at San Carlos, twenty-five miles northwest. Ap- 
ple-trees grow, but do not thrive, at Chachapoyas ; the one 
I saw was covered with moss, yet it presented the singular 
spectacle of bearing blossoms and ripe fruit at the satne 
time. Unfortunately, this city is the head centre of the 
garajpata, a grub-like insect whose bite not nnfrequently 
leads to ulcers. If the road from Chachapoyas to the Ma- 
ranon by the -way of Olleros and the Aichiyacu, recently 
surveyed by Mr. Wetterman, is ever opened, it will bring 
the city into easy communication with the outside world. 
A Chinaman keeps a little fonda here; but I was quar- 
tered in the Council Chamber, and dined at the university 
with his holiness, good Bishop Solano. 

From Chachapoyas to the next great city, Cajamarca, is 
about seventy miles. On. the maps, this intervening coun- 
try between the coast -range and the central cordillera is 
represented as a broad valley; in reality, it is a jumble of 
precipitous mountains. The road, for the first two days, is 
excellent, following the deep, romantic ravine of the IJtcu- 
bamba. ]^o trees are in sight ; but the road is bordered 
with aloe, whose tall stem resembles a gigantic asparagus. 
This tributary to the Upper Maraiion washes the feet of a 
few sleepy villages ; as Tingo, Magdalena, San Tomas, Chi- 
lingote, and Leimebamba. Near Tingo is the lofty Cue- 
lap mountain, which is crowned with ruins supposed to be 
pre-incarial. These are the remains of a fortress, contain- 
ing chambers and tombs, and consist of a wall of cut stone 
560 feet thick, 3600 long, and 150 high, above which rises 
another wall 500 feet thick, 600 long, and 150 high. It is 
estimated that it would take 20,000 men five years to build 
it. While the antiquarian is busy with this, the geologist 

398 The Andes and the Amazons. 

may revel among ammonites and brachiopods ; and on the 
third day, as the road rises above the clouds to the tiptop 
of Calla - calla,* every traveler must be entranced by the 
magnificent panorama at his feet — a sea of mountains with 
the still loftier coast-range in the background, hiding the 
Pacific. In presence of such a view from the Andes one 
is painfully sensible of the poverty of language. Words, 
however grandiose, are too clumsy for description. One 
can not help thinking, also, how "Nature, careless of mor- 
tal admiration, lavishes with proud indifference her fair- 
est charms where most unseen, her grandest forms where 
most inaccessible." Here, too, is the place (though not 
equal to the Quito valley) to test the statement of Charles 
Kingsley, that in the tropics distance is apparently short- 
ened by the intense clearness of the atmosphere ; the 
mountains look lower and their summits nearer than they 
really are. 

Descending from this frigid zone by a fearfully inclined 
zigzag path along narrow ridges that looked like walls 
rather than mountains, and where the traveler must call 
home his wandering thoughts, and give his undivided at- 
tention to his mule, 1 soon reached the other extreme — a 
deep, narrow valley wedged in among the mountains, 
through which the Maranon struggles to reach its nortliern 
outlet. In making this descent, I passed over granite and 
mica schist, the first metamorphic rocks west of the Hual- 
laga, the other rocks both east and west being sedimenta- 
ry. This point, therefore, is the geological " Heart of the 

The Maranon is crossed on a raft at the miserable mud 
village of Balsas, the temperature of which may be com- 

* Calla-calla is the highest point between Chachapoyas and Cajamarca, 
and separates the Uteubamba from the Rio Tenas, which enters the Maranon 
just below Balsas. 

The City of Cajamaeca. 399 

pared to that of a furnace. Here the river is from 250 to 
500 feet in width, according to season, with a six-mile cur- 
rent ; and treeless, rocky mountains dip down on all sides 
at an angle of 45°. Again ascending, and crossing monot- 
onous pajonals and the fertile pampas of Huanco and P61- 
loc,I caught sight of famous Cajamarca, seated on the east- 
ern slope of the western cordillera, and fronting the most 
beautiful plain in all the Andes. I can liken it to nothing 
but to Granada and its lovely Vega — the last dwelling- 
place of the Moor. 

This highland plain, or campaua, sixteen leagues in cir- 
cumference, is almost as level as a billiard-table, rich as 
the Connecticut flats, and well watered by the mint-border- 
ed Chonta and Masscon. The roads crossing it are hedged 
in with century-plants ; and here and there i-ises the " sau- 
ci" (Salix kumboldiiana), the most conspicuous tree in 
the region.* The surrounding mountains are barren and 
brown, but nevertheless are exceedingly picturesque, and 
full of history. 

Cajamarca, the Caxamalca of Pizarro's day, clajms to 
have 14,000 citizens; certainly it is the largest and finest 
city on our route from Para to the Pacific. Its altitude is 
about 9400 feet, and the temperature ranges from 40° to 
72°. The houses are generally built of adobe, and tiled ; 
but the churches are of the coarse conglomerate from the 
sierra, and have elaborately sculptured fronts. The grand 
plaza is adorned with a fine stone fountain, around which 
congregate a motley crowd of Indian women every morn- 
ing to vend their little piles of vegetables, fruits, grains, 
meats, salt, pepper, etc. ; for the plaza is the " market-place" 
in Spanish towns. The following are some of the prices 
current: Flour, $16 for 320 pounds; corn, $1 for 26 

* Called uirdna, on the Amazons, where it occurs, as also in the Quito 
valley. It is the only true willow known in the equatorial plains. 

400 The Andes and the Amazons. 

pounds; i-ice, $24 for 260 pounds; coffee, $4 80 an ar- 
roba ; cacao, $24 a quintal ; tobacco, 50 cents per maze of 
three or four pounds; sugar, $4 an arroba ; cotton cloth, 
10 to 20 cents per vara ; wool, $1 20 to $2 an arroba ; 
hides, $2 to $3 each ; horses, $70 to $100 each ; cows, $25 
each; oxen, $40 each; sheep, $2 each; tiles, $16 a thou- 
sand; a cedar board, 2^ varas long by f vara wide (say 7 
by 2 feet), $5 ; land on the plains, $50 per "fanigada" of 
eight acres. Wheat, barley, corn, and potatoes are about 
the only vegetable productions within sight of the city. 
At the time of my visit (November), the people were plow- 
ing with crooked sticks fastened to the horns of cattle. 
The province yields annually over 7,000,000 pounds of 
wheat, 160,000 liead of sheep, 30,000 head of cattle, and 
16,000 horses. The manufactures amount to nothing ; and 
the imports greatly exceed the exports in value. A few 
textile fabrics of wool and cotton are made, and some 
straw hats, from the tamsi, instead of the bombonaje. 
The celebrated silver-mines of Gualgayoc, eighteen leagues 
northwest, are not yet exhausted, but are not so productive 
as formerly. 

Cajamarca occupies an important place in the history of 
Peru. It was the favorite residence of the Inca when his 
empire stretched from the Rio Andasmayo, north of Quito, 
to the Rio Maule, in Chile. One can not catch a glimpse 
of this charming spot without a feeling of sympathy. 

Yonder cloud of vapor rising along the eastern edge of 
the plain marks the " Hot Baths of the Incta," memorable 
as the scene of the lirst interview between the Spaniards 
and the ill-fated monarch. In the city, the stone walls 
of Atahuallpa's palace still stand for about fifteen feet. 
There, too, are the subterranean galleries, tunneling the 
mountains to connect the distant fortresses with the I'oyal 
quarters. And there are the remnants of the old barrack 

The Baths of Atahuallpa. 401 

where the Peruvians made their last but unavailing strug- 
gle to save their chief. And into that very plaza, the 
grand square of the city, rushed the cavaliers of Spain, 
like so many hyenas, upon their unsuspecting victims, 
shouting the war-cry of " St. Jago and at them !" And 
there, with becoming treachery, did these Spanish knights 
strangle Atahuallpa, and then follow him to his grave, 
weeping with one eye, and keeping watch with the other 
over the golden ransom that had come for his life. The 
blackest page in the gloomy annals of Spanish conquest 
was written at Cajamarca. 

The hot springs, even now used for baths, and for scald- 
ing pigs and poultry, are copious, but not medicinal. I 
found the temperature as they issue from the ground 162° 
Fahr., or six degrees higher than Humboldt's. The story 
goes that, when conquered by the Spaniards, the Peruvians 
threw the throne of gold of their Inca into a crater, from 
the sides of which came these thermal waters. The paved 
via real, or military road, designed to connect Quito and 
Cuzco, stopped unfinished a little beyond Cajamarca. Its 
construction was interrupted by the landing of Pizarro at 
Tumbez, who garroted Atahuallpa after receiving the ran- 
som of "$16,000,000 gold and $175,000 in silver"— one 
of the many fictions of history. 

Again I mounted my mule to scale the last cordillera 
which separated me from the Pacific* This is the true 
backbone of the continent, and the water -shed between 
the two oceans. The range, as I crossed it westward, pre- 
sented three main aspects : the eastern half was of quartz- 
ite, and the mountains comparatively smooth and round- 

* It will be remembered that there are three cordilleras in Northern Peru : 
coast, middle, and oriental. There are no nevados in sight from the Caja- 
marca road, for none of the peaks reach the line of perpetual snow, which, in 
this part of the Andes, is 15,700 feet. As a rnle, it is lower on the eastern 
cordillera tlian on the western. 


402 The Andes ajsjd the Amazons. 

ed; then succeeded rugged rocks of trachytic porphyry. 
Here the landscape was purgatorial, presenting the confu- 
sion of the " grab-box " of a geologist ; volcanic piles, ma- 
rine and river deposits, fiercely contorted granite dikes, 
etc., are huddled together as if l^ature had been in a hur- 
ry. Finally, as I neared the ocean, there was a fine exhi- 
bition of the ceaseless conflict between sea and land ; the 
barren, rocky mountains, upon which even the lichen re- 
fused to grow, stubbornly yielded to the supremacy of the 
older ocean ; and as the great Andes died away along the 
shore, the southerly wind covered them with a winding- 
sheet of sand. 

Two days from Cajamarca, my party shouted for joy at 
the sight and sound of a locomotive. It was the sign of 
civilization : the signal that our hardships were at an end. 
The Pacasmayo Railway, now completed from the coast, is 
a model of American enterprise and American skill. It 
is the creation of Mr. Meiggs, the Vanderbilt of Peru, and 
will cost $7,000,000. The money comes from the sale of 
guano ; the laborers from China ; the ties from Oregon 
and Chile ; the rails from England ; and the rolling stock 
from the United States. The buildings are of corrugated 
galvanized iron. The track has a total length of seventy- 
eight miles. Starting from an iron pier, which is to reach 
half a mile into the sea, the road winds over the arid pam- 
pa, and among the sand-dunes, and beside the Rio Jequeti- 
peque, and through a region of intensest interest to the ar- 
chseologist — crowded with the relics of Incarial cities and 
cemeteries — and ends near the silver-mines of Chil^te, at 
an altitude of 4000 feet. Pacasmayo appears to stand on 
the edge of a useless desert ; but it really commands one 
of the most fertile tracts in the republic. It is the port of 
numerous busy villages, of which San Pedro and Guada- 
lupe (numbering 5000 souls each) are the chief, the cen- 

Akkival, at the Pacific. 403 

tres of vast plantations of sugar, rice, and coffee. Mr. 
Meiggs formerly owned a sugar estate here of 15,000 
acres. The price of land all depends upon whether it is 
under irrigation. As along the whole of this coast, the 
prevailing wind is from the southwest, attaining its max- 
imum at 3 P.M. ; and as it follows the cold " Humboldt- 
current," the temperature seldom exceeds 85°, descending 
to 60°. The tide rises four feet. The only thorns in the 
flesh are jiggers and fleas. 

Upon arriving at Pacasmayo, weary and worn by our 
long tramp over the mountains, we were received by the 
managers of the road, Messrs. Faulkner and Maynadier, 
and by Dr. Heath of the hospital, with such unbounded 
hospitality that we are totally unable to " meet our obliga- 
tions," and accordingly " suspend payment." Thrice hap- 
py the American traveler who can fall into such a frater- 
nity at the close of his voyage ! 

But on to the capital ! For he who has not seen Lima 
has not seen Peru ; or, as they say of another city, 

" Quien no ha visto a Sevilla, 
No ha visto a maravilla." 

From Iquitos to the sea, I received repeated injunctions 
from the natives not to miss Lima — a standing wonder in 
this part of the world. I confess that it eclipsed my ex- 
pectations, and justified the sobriquet of "Little Paris." 
It is highly favored in its position— a green spot- on an 
arid coast ; and in its approach from the clear, placid Pa- 
cific, contrasting with the misty and stormy coasts of the 
Atlantic. Then, too, the traveler from the mountains, who 
has been feeding on chujpe and chicka, and balancing his 
worn body on a reckless mule, or a horse that has nearly 
reverted to the wild state, transferred to a sumptuous En- 
glish steamer, is put into the best of humor, and is ready 
to bow down to almost any sign of civilization. 


The Andes and the Amazons. 

Lima is beautiful from the sea: its stately domes and 
spires rise out of the plain only seven miles from the 
ocean, and just behind the city the glorious Andes ascend 
abruptly to the sky, while in the foreground are busy Cal- 
lao and gay Chorillos, Callao is the great port of Peru. 

Plan of Callao and Lima. 

Five miles in front of it, breaking the swell of the Pacific, 
stands the little rocky island of San Lorenzo, a tliousand 
feet high. The steamer anchors amid a forest of shijv 

The City of the Kings. 405 

ping ; and forthwith a muhitude of black specks fly over 
the surface of the harbor. These are the boats, all of 
which have come to take you in particular. In lungs and 
pertinacity, the Callao boatmen are a match for the Mal- 
tese. You land, to your astonishment, on a splendid con- 
crete mole of English construction (984 by 820 feet) ; and 
near-by is a floating dock, as good as any in New York, 
also of Anglo-Saxon creation. You mingle with the bus- 
tling crowd to find that every other man speaks English 
or French, In fact, Valparaiso and Callao are fast be- 
coming European. The city numbers about 18,000. En- 
gland has the preponderance of trade; then the United 
States, Peru, France, and Italy. In 1872, 149 British ves- 
sels entered port, having a tonnage of 128,000 ; from the 
United States, 119 ; tonnage, 124,000. North American 
cargoes consist chiefly of lumber, coal, railway material, 
wheat, cattle, and ice. About 50,000 passengers enter, 
and as many leave, every year. 

A railway ride of half an hour brings you to the " City 
of the Kings."* After the excellent descriptions of Lima 
by Stevenson, Tschudi, Markham, Fuentes, and Hutchin- 
son, it is unnecessary to go into particulars. The rock 
near the convent of the barefooted friars affords the best 
panoramic view of the city. Its circumference is ten 
miles, covering 14,000,000 square yards, half of which is 
for dwellings, and the rest devoted to plazas, gardens, and 
public buildings. The population can not be far from 
120,000, including 6000 in priestly garb. Probably no 
other city in the world, not even Constantinople, can pre- 
sent such a variety of physiognomy and complexion. It 
is a variegated mass of humanity, like the colored sands on 
the Isle of Wight. Over twenty-five varieties of people 

* La Ciudad de los Reyes, so named by Pizarro because he founded it on 
Epiphany Sunday, 1535. 

406 The Andes and the Amazons. 

have been named in Lima. Of these, the Zambos, half 
negro, half Indian, are the lowest, furnishing four fifths of 
the convicts. The Chinos, half Indian, half negro, are a 
trifle better, bearing the same relation to the Zambos that 
the mule holds to the hinny. The Coolies are still further 
complicating the matter, giving a resultant not very flat- 
tering to either hemisphere. A few of the Celestials are 
amassing considerable wealth, chiefly as tea -traders and 

A Lima Lady. (Fiom a Photograph.) 

medicine -men. Limenians of the upper class are edu- 
cated, refined, courteous, with but little trace of Castilian 
hauteur. The ladies, no longer shrouded, now promenade 
with open faces; the Tnanto, or veil, is worn simply as a 

The Grand Plaza, the heart of every Spanish town, and 
in Lima the place for gossip, mutual admiration, and revo- 
lutions, is truly beautiful. It is 500 feet square, and 490 

Cathedral of Lima. 407 

feet above the sea. A bronze fountain within a pretty lit- 
tle floral garden marks the centre. The cathedral stands 
on the east side, the most imposing modern structure in 
Peru. The corner-stone was laid by Pizarro twelve days 
after he had founded the city. The bones of the savage 
conqueror, reported to be somewhere in the crypt, were 
more likely buried in the Sa. Maria de la Concepcion of 
his native Trujillo. The grand altar is adorned with sev- 
en silver columns twelve feet higli, and surmounted by a 
silver crown. During my visit, the niches in the fine fa- 
9ade were receiving statuary for the first time. The two 
towers, apparently of stone, are of stuccoed wicker-work, 
and sway like a reed during an earthquake. Over the 
iron door are the words, Panis angelorum mysterium 
fidei, which must be a double mystery to the poor Indian, 
who never studied Latin, and never ate bread. 

On the north side of the Plaza, surrounded by the 
wretched stalls of the haberdashers, is what Limenians call, 
with a blush, the Government Palace, once the residence 
of the hated viceroj-s. The other two sides are occupied 
by arcades lined with shops (of foreign goods), and afford- 
ing a favorite promenade. At evening, the crowd of ev- 
ery rank and fashion loitering in the illuminated arcades, 
the band playing on the cathedral steps, and the fine turn- 
outs, equal to those of Central Park, dashing around the 
Plaza, make up a very attractive scene. On a dirty alley, 
leading from the south side of the Grand Plaza, stands the 
house in which Pizarro was assassinated. The Plaza de 
la Independencia contains an equestrian statue of Bolivar ; 
fronting which is the Senate House of infamous memory 
— once the seat of the Inquisition. Near-by is the Cham- 
ber of Deputies, 300 years old, formerly the Koyal Uni- 
versity of San Marcos, whose walls and ceiling show the 
most elaborately carved wood-works. 

408 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Other places of interest are the National Library, with 
its learned librarian, Dr. Vigil, its carved cedar ceiling, 
and its vellnm-covered volumes on Spanish-American his- 
tory ; the Museum; tlie Exhibition Palace, which, with the 
Zoological Gardens, covers nearly fifty acres; the fine pen- 
itentiary; two or three of the seventy churches; the Uni- 
versity (the oldest institution of learning in America), and 
eight colleges ; the Bull-ring, which is capable of seating 
10,000 spectators ; and the Alamedas. The Alamedas 
and Zoological Gardens are very commendable, but they 
are quite deserted by Limenians, who prefer the Bull-ring 
and the corners of the streets.* Worthy of a visit, also, is 
the old Spanish bridge, which spans the sacred Eimac 530 
feet, and has survived all the earthquakes during 250 
years ; for Lima, in imitation of London, Paris, and Rome, 
is thi-eaded by a little stream. Nine months in the year, 
however, the Eimac is not knee-deep. The entrance to 
the bridge is under an imposing arch, bearing the motto 
Dios y la Patria. 

The majority of the dwelling-houses are of adobe, with 
flat roofs and partition walls of plastered cane ; but stone 
and iron are superseding mud. One of the best examjjles 
is the residence of Henry Meiggs — a remodeled palace of 
the viceroys. All the public structures are relics of vice- 
regal times, save the Exhibition Palace, which, however, 
was the work of an Italian. In fact, take out what for- 
eigners have done for Lima, and nothing would be left — 
not even the Bull-ring, for that was built by a viceroy; 
nor the railway-station, for that was a suppressed convent. 
The old mud wall, which till lately surrounded the city, 
has been leveled, and the ground purchased by Mr. Meiggs, 
who contemplates a circular boulevard. 

* Outside of Lima the favorite places of resort are the baths of Chorillos 
and Ancdn, on the coast. The Oroya Raih-oad has opened several attrac- 
tions, as Chosica and Tarma. 

Bridge over the Rimac, Lima. 

Climate of Lima. 411 

The climate of Lima is uniform and delightful, the tem- 
perature ranging between 70° and 87°. Heavy rains, 
scorching suns, and sudden changes are unknown. The 
people can not say, " Fickle as the weather," but " Steady 
as the weather." The city is in its best estate between 
November and March ; the other half of the year it is 
comparatively damp and unhealth3\* The houses are 
without chimneys ; the sun is the fire-place of Peru. Yet 
the number of deaths exceeds that of the births. The in- 
fant mortality of Lima is about three times that of Lon- 
don. Not more than two destructive earthquakes occur 
in a century. The last was in 1806, so that another is 
now due. Beggary is forbidden, except on certain days ; 
then the diseased and poverty-stricken scum rises to the 

* The seasons of the coast and the sierras are reversed ; for while it is the 
rainy season on the mountains (our winter), there is a cloudless sky over the 
coast; while, in the dry season, a mist hangs, like a veil, over the maritime 

412 The Andes and the Amazons. 


Over the Andes by Rail. — The Desert of Islay. — The City of Arequipa. — 
The Summit. — Puno and Lake Titicaca. 

Foe the first time in history the locomotive has been 
sent over the Andes. " Train leaves the Pacific for Lake 
Titicaca at Tialf-past seven.'''' What a strange announce- 
ment! An omnibus to Damascus, a railway to Jerusalem, 
and a steamer on the Nile, are startling innovations ; but 
it seems harder to believe that a train of Troy cars, drawn 
by a New Jersey locomotive, runs regularly from the coast 
over the Cordilleras to the very shore of that lofty, myste- 
rious lake, hitherto almost unapproachable. 

In many respects it is a more wonderful achievement 
of engineering than the Pacific Railroad or the Mont Cenis 
Tunnel. It is the longest railway in the Southern Hemi- 
sphere, being 325 miles long, the distance from the sea to 
the lake in a straight line being 175. It is also the loftiest 
railway in operation (the Or6ya will be a thousand feet 
higher), and no other road in the world can show so many 
cubic yards of excavation. It was built for the govern- 
ment by Henry Meiggs, at a total cost of $44,000,000; 
and, as we might expect, almost every thing is American, 
from Ames's shovels to the superintendents. 

It was my good fortune to be the first traveler to go by 
rail from the Pacific to Lake Titicaca, and I propose to 
give a sketch of this unique journey. 

The western terminus is the village of Mollendo, just 
south of Islay, a sudden creation of the railway. Before 
it is the unbroken ocean ; behind it is a perfect desert. 
There is no harbor. The rocky coast is simply notched 

Railway up the Mountains. 413 

by the wear and tear of the surf ; and it is something of a 
feat to get ashore without getting a ducking. Leaving tlie 
elegant station, which stands within sight and sound of 
the sea, the train, carrying about a hundred passengers, 
rolled down the coast, strewed with the ruins of extinct 
volcanoes and the relics of the great tidal wave of 1868, 
and then turned northeasterly to climb the barren hills in 
zigzag fashion. The heaviest grade is four per cent. ; and 
the brakes are so essential in descending that they are shod 
with new shoes after every round trip between Mollendo 
and Arequipa. The hard work on this division is indi- 
cated by the fact that 3,000,000 pounds of powder were 
used for excavation, although there is no tunnel.* Here, 
too, one can see another triumph of engineering : for par- 
allel to the track lies the longest iron aqueduct in the 
world — an eight-inch pipe eighty -five miles in length, 
winding down the mountains, to supply Mollendo with 
fresh water from an altitude of 7000 feet. 

Still ascending, clinging to the sides of the mountains, 
and tacking on almost parallel tracks, we caught occasion- 
al glimpses of the magnificent sea, but of only one green 
thing in all the landscape — the cultivated valley of Tambo. 
Signs of the old and eternal conflict between fire and wa- 
ter, and of the ultimate triumph of the former, are written 
on the whole slope of the cordillera, dipping sharply down 
to the Pacific. The train stopped for breakfast at Ca- 
chendo. This station consists of three houses and a wa- 
ter-tank, apparently the centre of a boundless sandy waste; 
but it is really on the western edge of the Great Desert of 
Islay. Across this hot and level pampa, the train took a 
straight line with great speed, raising a cloud of dust that 
followed like the tail of a comet. This lifeless and, be- 
fore the railway, trackless desert is sprinkled with fine 

* Yet the first survey necessitated nineteen tunnels. 

414 The Andes and the Amazons. 

pumice and saline incrustations; and the dull and dusty, 
naked and calcined surface has a cold, forbidding look, in 
spite of the flood of light from a meridian sun. " The 
purity of the air" (in the words of a French traveler), 
" the intensity of the light, the unalterable blue of the sky, 
bring out in sharp relief all the details of the weird scen- 
ery, and, leaving none of its features in shadow, impress 
the beholder with a sense of blinding immensity, of melan- 
choly splendor, and implacable repose." Nothing breaks 
the monotony but now and then a mirage, here and there 
a sand-dune, and the roughest kind of metamorphic hills 

in the distance, covered with a sheet of white volcanic 
dust ; for the surface of this sea of sand is really as rest- 
less as the ocean — always on the move. The dunes are 
from fifteen to thirty feet high, and lunar-shaped, with the 
convex side always toward the sea, and slowly travel, drift- 
ing before the wind. They can be originated artificially 
by planting a stake, or any fixed object, for a nucleus. 

There is scarcely a trace of vegetation, save here and 
there an ashy, gaunt-looking cactus ; yet around the leaky 
railway water-tanks the grass grows luxuriantly. Such is 
the excessive dryness of the pampa, there is a loss of one 
hundred pounds weight in taking a train of lumber from the 
sea to Arequipa. On the other hand, wool must increase 
in weight before it reaches Liverpool. Before the railway, 
trade and travel were accomplished by beasts, and the 
journey across the Desert (sixty miles) was usually made 
in the night, for as soon as the sun is up every facet on 

The Desert of Islay. 415 

the quartz grains sends a burning ray. A recent traveler 
on horseback, who unluckily failed to reach Arequipa be- 
fore morning, gives the following picture: "About five 
o'clock a clear whiteness appeared in the sky, the stars 
paled their lustre, the day began to break. Soon a ruddy 
orange tint spread over the soil of the pampa, now become 
firm and compact. In a few minutes the disk of the sun 
appeared above the horizon ; and as we marched full in 
the front of the god of day, we found ourselves in the 
midst of a luminous torrent, which so dazzled and incom- 
moded us that to escape from this new torture we doubled 
ourselves up like hedgehogs. This anomalous and incon- 
venient posture rendered us unjust to the claims of the 
rising sun. Instead of welcoming his appearance with 
transport, we were inclined to curse him ; but, notwith- 
standing my own feeling about the matter, I could not 
help laughing at my Peruvian attendants, who in so many 
words sent to the devil the god they worshiped. It was 
not till eight o'clock that the sun, now high above the 
horizon, permitted us to raise our heads." 

The first relief was a procession of snow -clad mount- 
ains along the eastern horizon, whose summits stood from 
eighteen to twenty thousand feet above the Pacific. On 
the right was the serrated ridge of Pichu-pichu ; next rose 
beautiful Misti, one of the finest volcanoes crowning the 
Andes ; then followed precipitous Chichani and, farther 
north, the lofty Coropuno. Within sight of these tower- 
ing peaks, which seemed to grow in altitude as we ap- 
proached them, we flew along the edge of dizzy embank- 
ments, passed the iron baths of Tingo, and suddenly en- 
tered the city of Arequipa, 107 miles,'Or eight hours, from 

Arequipa — " the place of rest," as the name signifies — 
is one of those bright spots so often seen in the Andes, all 

il6 The Andes and the Amazons. 

the more charming from contrast with the sa\ age charac- 
ter of the scenery around it. Like Damascus, it is a small 
green patch redeemed from the sterility of nature by irri- 
gation. The bi'illiant green is made intense by the dull- 
yellow hills around it. Arequipa appears, therefore, to 
great advantage, as it must be approached from any quar- 
ter over a desert; and to the dusty, panting traveler this 
strip of verdure is a land of promise. On the white hills 
around, powdered with volcanic dust, grow solitary tufts 
of gray cactus ; but in the watered valley stands the smil- 
ing city, surrounded with numerous villages and farm- 
houses, and fields of grain, clover, and potato, bordered with 
tall willows. The valley is ten miles long by five wide. 
The little Chile River, born on the side of Misti,is a river 
of life : were it to dry up, Arequipa M^ould die of thirst. 

Just behind the city, and in threatening attitude, stands 
the beautiful and, fortunately, now silent volcano of Misti. 
Nothing can be more picturesque than the view of this 
symmetrical mountain from the Grand Plaza, as its snowy 
dome reflects the morning sun. It is a first-class mount- 
ain, rising 18,538 feet. The altitude of Arequipa is 7560 
feet,* and the climate is delightful ; although in June, 
July, and August there is sometimes a frost, and water is 
slightly frozen over. But scarcely any spot in Peru is 
more famous for frequent earthquakes. The fearful shake 
in 1868 has left indelible marks, and to-day the city pre- 
sents a Pompeian appearance, as if the event had hap- 
pened yesterday — demolished churches, tottering arches, 
houses filled with rubbish, and merchants keeping shop 
under tents in front of their ruined dwellings. The ca- 

* As deterrnined by Friesach, in 1858, by the Torricellian experiment, 
Arequipa is 8840 feet! Pentland made Misti 18,300 feet. Chithani is 
19,535 feet. Misti was active in 1858. and again in 1868 during the great 

The City of Akequipa. 419 

tliedral, which occupies one side of the Plaza, is quite im- 
posing even without its towers, which were thrown down 
by the earthquake. The eight massive Ionic columns 
which decorate the fagade stood the shock. The cathe- 
dral, the university (now a heap of ruins), and all the bet- 
ter class of public and private edifices, are of white tra- 
chyte ; the rest are of whitewashed adobe. The roofs and 
ceilings are vaulted with stone, so that when the earth- 
quake comes, down go the domes. Galvanized iron is 
now coming into use, and hereafter the earthquake will 
not have such a fair chance. The dwelling-houses are 
all of one stamp, single-storied and domed, with windows 
barred with iron. The wide, arched entrance leads to an 
open, quadrangular court^ or ^atio. Two hotels have re- 
cently been opened. The streets are generally broad and 
paved, and provided with sidewalks and gutters. 

Founded by Pizarro in 1540, Arequipa is the second 
city in Peru, and the rival of Lima. The citizens, num- 
bering 40,000, are as noted for their revolutionary spirit 
as the ground for its earthquakes. They are dependent 
for most of their food upon more favored towns along the 
coast. Water for irrigation is so scarce that tillable land 
is worth $1200 an acre. There is no industry ; it is only 
a dry port for the interior. The chief trade is in alpaca, 
of which 25,000 quintals are annually exported. The head 
mercantile houses are a few English and German firms. 
The city has waked into new life since the railway and 
telegraph have brought it to the sea-shore. 

From Arequipa to Puno is 218 miles. Leaving the city 
by a long iron bridge of Baltimore make, the train made 
a steep ascent, first over a gray, barren waste, and through 
fearful qiiehradas, then among trachytic rocks and colored 
cinders in endless confusion, evidently fi-om the suspicious- 
looking peak of Chichani, and again around fortress-like 

420 The Andes and the Amazons, 

hills, where the rough, diorite rocks are piled on end as if 
the Druids had been there. Here begin the wonders of en- 
gineering. For ten consecutive miles there are the great- 
est cuts and fills in the world, each averaging 100,000 cubic 
yards. In less than half a mile, half a million have been 
excavated. The highest fill is 141 feet, and the deepest cut 
127. The excavation on the whole of this division amounts 
to nearly ten millions of cubic yards. And much of this was 
done at an altitude 3000 feet higher than Mount Washington. 

But up we went, or rather I, for I was the only passen- 
ger, threading the airy defiles of the Cordilleras; and, in 
the graceful language of Prescott, " the mountains rolled 
onward as by successive waves to join the colossal barrier 
of the Andes." " Bless me, this is pleasant," Saxe would 
say, riding on a level with the clouds and eternal snow. 
It is literally a highway. Ci-ossing the dreary Pampa de 
Arrieros at the altitude of 13,000 feet, we reached Yinca- 
raayo (100 miles from Arequipa), the only village of impor- 
tance on the whole line, and the highest in the world. It 
is a pure creation of the railway, consisting of an "Amer- 
ican Hotel," engine-houses, machine-shops, coal-yards, etc. 
Every thing about this village was imported from beyond 
the sea. At this chilly altitude (14,443 feet), within sight 
of the white domes of Misti, Chichani, and the active vol- 
cano of Urvinas, which looked like huge snow-drifts on the 
horizon, I tried to sleep ; but such was the rarefaction of 
the air, I spent the night in panting for breath. 

Early next morning the train moved on to the summit 
of the road, Alto del Crucero, a bog with rounded hills 
sprinkled with snow, 14,660 feet above the Pacific. It is 
a drear and desolate, cold and silent region — so silent, the 
buzzing of an insect would have been painful. Nature 
seems asleep. The ground is thinly covered with short 
grass, with here and there clumps of needle -like ichu. 

The Top of the Andes. 421 

The nights are dewless. Many herds of alpacas and wild 
vicunas were feeding on these boggy highlands — their nat- 
ural home.* The rearing of the " Peruvian sheep " is the 
chief business of the mountaineers. Shearing-time is the 
beginning of the wet season, December 15th. And now, 
descending and winding among the hills, no longer volcan- 
ic, but built of fiercely contorted conglomerate, sandstone, 
slate, and limestone strata of Jurassic age and easterly dip, 
the road passed between two brackish lakes,f along the banks 
of the Maravillas to Taya-taya (meaning the place twice 
cold, a match for Oriiro, in Bolivia, which means the place 
twice wet), and then to Juliaca, where, for the first time since 
leaving Arequipa, I saw signs of cultivation. Terraced 
hill-sides and furrowed plains, the relics of an historic na- 
tion, told me that I was on classic soil. Ere long the clear 
waters of Titicaca flashed back the rays of the settiug sun ; 
and I gazed, rapt in thought, upon that lake brimful of 
history, and over it into Bolivia, where rose, in majestic 
splendor, the crown of America — the Nevado de Sorata. 
This was the historic centre of the continent. Here, said 
Humboldt, was the theatre of the ancient American civil- 
ization. Out of Titicaca was born, like a water-god, Manco 
Capae, the first of the Incas, who founded an empire great- 
er than that of Charlemagne. All around this mysterious 
lake, whose surface lies level with the tops of lofty mount- 
ains, are monuments which none but a thrifty and civilized 
people would or could have left behind them. 

* Llamas and alpacas are domesticated ; gnanacos and vicunas are wild. 
The finest wool in the market is, fiom a cross between the alpaca and vicuna, 
called paco-vicuna. Vicunas are most abundant between Galea and Rumihua- 
si. They are fawn-colored, and graceful as gazelles. The hair, especially 
about the neck, is very soft and silky. They go in flocks of a dozen or more, 
led by a male, who keeps watch. At Iiis signal of danger — stamping with his 
forefeet, and uttering a ciy — off they go like the wind. 

t The Lagunillas. Rivero made their altitude 15,255 feet! What a ba- 
rometer ! 

422 The Andes and the Amazons. 

It is quite a fall from one's meditations over liis fiist 
glimpse of Titicaca to enter the Indian city of Puno. 
The inhabitants, about 5000, are mostly Aymaras, with a 
more interesting past than present. In sombre garb, silent 
and sullen as nature in this latitude and altitude, they move 
to and fro as if in mourning. They are poor and indolent ; 
but why should they work in this sleety i-egion, which yields 
nothing but small potatoes, ocas, poor barley, quinoa, or 
" Peruvian rice," and caQigua ?* Wheat, oats, and corn 
seldom come to seed at an altitude above 12,000 feet. 
The rich buy Chilian flour at §13 a quintal. In fact, this 
upland country owes very little to botany or agriculture ; 
and yet the ancestors of these people thought it woith 
while to cultivate the ground, and even terraced the 
mountains for hundreds of feet higher than Puno. There 
is not a tree within a hundred miles of the lake ; boards 
from Bolivia cost 50 cents a foot, and tiles are worth §20 
a tliousand. Timber, however, could be easily procured in 
the mountains of Carabaya, and floated down the Azanga- 
ro. The only fuel is llama dung, and tola, a small shrub. 
Petroleum has been found at Pusi ; and, now that the rail- 
way will make coal possible, fire-places may hereafter ex- 
ist. At present, during the evenings, which are bitterly 
cold, ladies and gentlemen take to their shawls and cloaks, 
or to bed. The temperature of tlie day ranges from 18° at 
sunrise to 55° at noon. The rainy season lasts from De- 
cember to April. Earthquakes are rare and slight, com- 
pared with those of Arequipa ; but the singular statement 
was made to me by a resident that, for six months after 
the great earthquake of 1868, a shock occurred regularly 
on the 13th of each month. 

* The last two are species of Chenopodium, and are staple articles of food, 
though not very nutritious. Ocas (Oxalis tuherosa) are small, slender pota- 

The City of Puno. 423 

Puno is elevated 12,547 feet above the sea. It is situ- 
ated at the foot of the silver-veined Caucharani, as it slopes 
gently to the lake. Indeed, it ovpes its origin to the rich 
mines in the vicinity, now nearly abandoned, though not 
exhausted. It would be a noiseless city, were it not for 
jingling church-bells ; for the streets are unpaved, aud car- 
riages have yet to be. Save a few public buildings, the 
houses are of one story, and of brown adobe, thatched or 
tiled. Though lowly in this respect, the lofty city boasts 
of its altitude, its fine cathedral, its university, with several 
colleges,* and three newspapers. The cathedi'al dates from 
1757, and has an elaborate front. The Grand Plaza con- 
tains a fountain (the chief water-tank of the cit}'), and 
around it the daily markets are held ; for every morning 
the little world of Puno assembles here to buy, sell, and 
talk. Here the Aymara women (who do most of the bus- 
iness) squat on tiie ground in rows, each with the little pile 
of charqui (jerked beef), fish, dried potatoes (called chuno), 
ocas, aji (red peppers), beans, pease, maize, barley, quinoa, 
coca, and clay. The peppers, beans, and pease come from 
the coast, and the beans and pease have to be ground to 
powder before they can be cooked at this altitude. Po- 
tatoes are frozen, and then dried, before eaten. Coca, the 
main solace of the poor Indian, is one of the most valu- 
able articles of internal Peruvian commerce. It is the 
leaf of a shrub six feet high, cultivated extensively in 
the warm valleys of Yungas. The clay is eaten ; but, 
as analyzed by Forbes, it shows only a trace of organic 

* One of these is for sefioritas. Female colleges in the United States and 
England may be interested to know the course of study in this rival institu- 
tion below the equator, and two miles above the sea. The departments are : 
Ancient history of the East ; astronomical geography ; Spanish grammar ; 
practical arithmetic; religion; hygiene; urbanity; writing; and embroid- 
ery. A similar establishment in Cuzco has three professorsliips : one of 
arithmetic, morals, religion, and embroidery ; a second of urbanity and sew- 
ing ; and a third of geography and grammar. 


The Andes and the Amazons. 

Cathedral of Pudo. (From a Photos^iaph.) 

matter. The Quichua citizens hold their market in an- 
other plaza.* 

Pimo is the great centre of the alpaca trade, of which 
Areqnipa is the mart. Considerable sheep's wool is also 
exported. Vienna wool brings $100 a quintal, but very 
little is to be had. The gold of Carabaya, the silver ores 
from numerous mines around the lake, and cinchona from 
the Beni, are destined to pass through Puno. There is 
plenty of iron in the region ; but the coal would cost twice 
as much as the iron. 

The Andes, at this latitude, have the enormous width of 

* As an illustration how commerce brings the ends of the earth together, 
I may mention that, while visiting the burial-towers of Sillustani, I lunched on 
bread from Chile, oysters from Maryland, salmon from California, sausages 
from France, and water from the Andes. 

Lake Titicaca. 427 

200 miles, and Pniio, the middle point, lies in that great 
depression, or table-land, hung between the two Cordille- 
ras, and extending from the sources of the Ucayali to be- 
yond Oruro. It is apparently a volcanic basin ; frag- 
ments of lava, porphyry, and jasper are scattered around 
the lake ; and towers of igneous rocks protrude through 
the sedimentary strata. It has an area of 16,000 square 
miles, and an oval shape with the small end near Oruro, 
an average width of one hundred miles, and a southerly 
slope. ' 

Titicaca,* the largest lake in South America, has about 
half the size of Ontario. It spreads over 2500 geograph- 
ical square miles, being one hundred miles long, with an 
average breadth of twenty-five miles. The water is slightly 
brackish. It never freezes over, though ice forms in shal- 
low places. The chief feeders of the lake are the Mara- 
villas, Ramis, and Azangaro, the Rarais rising in a pond, 
or tarn (La Raya), which is also the source of a tributarj- 
to the Ucayali ; so that a cork thrown into this pond might 
find its way to the Amazons or Titicaca, according to the 
direction of the wind. The water of the lake is drained 
off by the Desaguadero, and disappears in the swampy la- 
gune of Aullagas. The lake is gradually filling up, for 
there is no vegetation on the surrounding hills to prevent 
the rains from washing down the soil. The most sedi- 
ment enters at the north end ; at the south, the water is 
noticeably clearer. The surface of the lake is also sinking. 
Three hundred years ago, its waters washed the ancient 
monuments of Tiahuanaco, now twelve miles distant from 
its shores, and 130 feet above it. In 1827, Pentland made 
its altitude 12,795 feet, and its area nearly 4000 square 
miles. Now we know that the true level of the lake at 
high-water mark is only 12,493 feet, as determined by the 

* An Aymaia word signifying "cat-rock." 

428 The Andes and the Amazons. 

railway surveys from the coast.* The lake rises in the 
raiuy season four feet. It is so shallow on the north, 
south, and west, that a fall of ten feet would probably less- 
en the area one fifth. One can easily see that the lake 
formerly extended over the lowlands around the north 
end. The bay of Puno is choked up with tall rushes, and 
a long stone wharf must needs jut out to enable even the 
balsas to unload. The eastern shore, on the contrary, is 
lofty and abrupt, and the water correspondingly deep, cer- 
tainly over 120 fathoms. Across the lake can be clearly 
seen from Puno the Bolivian cordillera, a succession of 
sharp, rugged, glittering peaks, strongly contrasting with 
tlie rounded, brown summits of the western cordillera — 
the result of a different geology. 

Animal life around and within the lake is quite abun- 
dant. Numerous water-birds, as ducks and snipes, but 
especially grebes {Podiceps microjpterus), float or fly over 
the surface. At least nine kinds of small but excellent 
fish are brought to market, of which the most important is 
called " boga." The muddy bottom is full of little shells, 
so that when it is stirred with a pole or dredge they rise to 
the surface like white foam.f 

Lake Titicaca is the natural highway between Puno and 
Bolivia. At present there are two little steamers afloat, 
of one hundred tons each, whose transportation from the 
coast in pieces cost as much as the original price. They 
are Avretchedly managed, are laid up about half the time, 
get up steam by means of llama dung, and can not come 

* Pentland's estimates of lUimani, Sorata, and other Bolivian peaks, made 
from the Titicaca basin as a base, must therefore come down 300 feet. 

t The following which I obtained seemed to be most numerous : Paludes- 
trina culminea. Orb.; P. andicola, Orh. ; Ancylus Say anus. Orb.; Planor- 
bis andicolus. Orb. ; and a Sphosrium, probably new. It is a singular fact 
that one of the fishes {Trichomycterus dispar, Isch.) is found also in the Ri- 
mac and Guayaquil rivers. 

An Obstacle Removed. 


within five miles of Puno on account of the shallows. 
There are also two or three trading schooners ; but the 
halsa is the characteristic craft This is simply a bundle 
of twisted rush, with a mat for a sail ; the only wood 
about it is in the rudder and mast.* But steam will 
work a complete revolution in this cradle of the Incas. 
Puno has already become an important place by being 
made the terminus of the railwav ; and when connected. 

Balsa Navigiition on Lake Tilicaca. 

as proposed, with Cuzco and La Paz, it will be a commer- 
cial centre such as the old Incas never dreamed of. So 
now it is a fixed fact that the Andes, the most abrupt and 
lofty range of mountains on the globe, can be crossed in a 
day. A belt of iron has made a smooth pathway over this 
wall of granite, so long an insuperable obstacle to the prog- 
ress of Peru, and on it the commerce of the Pacific and 
the Amazons will join hands. 

* The rushes, or totora, so abundant in the shallow parts of the lake, are 
eight or ten feet long. The cattle wade in to feed upon them ; and the peo- 
ple eat the lower part as salad, and make balsas, mats, and roofs of the rest. 

430 The Andes and the Amazons. 


The Commerce of Peru.— Her vast Possibilities.— The present Source of 
her Wealth. 

It would be quite as easy to ascertain the revenue of 
Atahuallpa as to find out the present exports and imports 
of Peru. Both are impossible. The wildest confusion 
prevails in the custom-houses, as well as in the miuds of 
the people, regarding the commerce of the republic. But 
better days are coming, as the government has just estab- 
lished a statistical bureau. 

Peru, under the Incas, was essentially an agricultural 
nation, without trade, and with few mechanical arts. In 
many respects it resembled the Hebrew nation. The em- 
pire must have been a magnificent shell that should so 
suddenly collapse on the appearance of a hundred Span- 
iards. It is a signal proof that agriculture alone wiU not 
preserve a people. Roads there were, but for military 
communication, not for commerce. Pizarro had sense to 
see that Cuzco was too far inland ; so he founded Lima, 
the most lasting monument of his wisdom. 

Peru, like India, has long been the synonym for wealth ; 
but she no longer leads the South American republics in 
enterprise and thrift, for Chile now bears the palm. Peru 
has reached her level for the present. By a system of of- 
ficial stealing and reckless financiering, she has brought 
herself to the verge of banki-uptcy. Every body seeks of- 
fice, to sap, not to serve, the government. Every city hangs 
on the skirts of Lima. Arequipa, the second city in Peru, 
stands like a beggar at the door of the public treasury, re- 
ceiving $80,000 annually ; and even imperial Cuzco holds 

The Capabilities of Peru. 431 

out her hand for $30,000. Employes distant from the 
head centre (as Iquitos, for example) go unpaid. Yet 
Peru has immense capabilities. She is the France of the 
continent. All the fruits and grains of the earth here find 
congenial and fertile soil. With the great Pacific on her 
left, and the navigable sources of the Amazons on her 
right, Avith mountains of mineral wealth untouched, with 
highland valleys like the hanging gardens of Babylon for 
beauty, and with plains and reclaimable pampas which 
might equal Egypt in fertility, Peru is potentially one of 
the richest countries on the globe. But she must have a 
more substantial and permanent basis of prosperity than 
guano and saliter. The wealth thus suddenly acquired has 
diverted the people from the slow but surer sources of na- 
tional growth. Who ever heard of an original patent taken 
out by a Peruvian? Where is the vessel that was built 
in Peruvian waters? What manufactures thrive in Peru ? 
We can think of only one success — the powder factory at 
Lima, which the government runs, dispensing the "villain- 
ous saltpetre " at thirty cents a pound. There was once a 
woolen-factory at Cuzco, but it is now silent. Commerce 
is almost entirely in the hands of foreigners. 

But we should not judge Peru harshly. We must re- 
member that she celebrates her semi-centennial the very 
year we are keeping our one hundredth anniversary, and 
that from the beginning she has been saddled with the 
vices and superstitions of Old Spain, and a large Indian 
population. Every nation has its infancy ; and we must 
not expect Peru to make a leap that no other country has 
been able to do. So long as her politics are led by such 
men as Pardo, her literature by Vigil, and her science by 
Raimondi, we may look for progress.* 

* As the newspapers of a country, even their titles, reflect the spirit of so- 
ciety, I give a list of Peruvian journals : Lima — El Comercio, El Nacional, 

432 The Andes and the Amazons, 

It is also necessary to understand the peculiar topograpliy 
of Peru before studying her commercial resources. The 
word Peru is Indian, but its application to the country 
was a Spanish blunder. The Incas called it Tahuantin- 
siiyu, or the land of four parts. As now circumscribed, it 
contains about half a million square miles. It is a narrow 
strip of land ; but nature has worked here on a magnif- 
icent scale. It mainly consists of two colossal ranges of 
mountains, collectively called the Andes ; but the term 
Zos Andes belongs only to the eastern chain, while the 
western is known as the Cordillera de la Costa. The latter 
is the true water-shed : all the streams flowing east of the 
summit work their way through the eastern I'ange to the 
Atlantic, which is doubtless due to the more gradual up- 
lifting of the latter, giving the streams time to wear their 
passage. Peru is accordingly divided into three distinct, 
longitudinal regions — Coast, Sierra, and Montana. The 
flrst, lying along the Pacific slope, is the land of sunshine. 
In the main, it is a sandy waste, sprinkled with a saline 
efflorescence, and presenting a most desolate appearance ; 
but it is broken by numerous valleys, which, when blessed 
with a trickling stream, are surpassingly fertile. Except- 
ing Callao, the towns on the shore are huddles of dingy 
hovels around a church and custom-house, to which the 
arrival of a steamer imparts a kind of galvanized life. 
The length of the coast-line is 1200 miles, or nearly equal 
to the Atlantic border of the United States. 

The Sierra, or highland plains hung between the two 

La Sociedad, La Patria, LI Pueblo, El Peruana. Callao — El Porvenir, 
South Pacific Thnes. Cuzco — El Ferro-carril, El Heraldo. Arequipa — 
La Bolsa, La Verdad. Ayacccho — El Progreso, La Nueva Era. Caja- ' 
MARCA — El Tiempo, El Correo del Norte. Tru.iillo — El Imparcial. Pl- 
UKA — El Sol. I5A — El Pueblo. Tarapaca — El Mercurio. Chiclato — 
El Chiclayano. Iquique — El Mercurio, El Heraldo. PuNO — ElComer- 
cio. El Ciudadano, La Iglesia Punefia. Tacna — La Luz, La Revista del 

Physical Geogkaphy of Peru. 433 

ranges, is the land of storms and magnificent scenery ; the 
region of the potato and alpaca, corn and barley, and mines 
of precious metals. It is a long plateau, 300 miles wide, 
walled in by stupendous peaks, many of them reaching far 
above the limit of perpetual snow. Here are the cities of 
Cuzco, Ayacucho, and Cerro de Pasco. But much of the 
region is a cold, uninhabitated puna, a monotonous, tree- 
less, rolling country, with scarcely a trace of verdure — by 
no means a land of promise. Yet tliis long valley, reach- 
ing from Titicaca to the equator, and having an average 
elevation of 10,000 feet, was the chosen seat of the great 
Inca nation. The Montana, or forest-i"egion, skirting the 
eastern slope of the Andes, is little known ; but it only 
needs an outlet to make it the richest part of Peru. The 
climate is always humid, and warmer than the same alti- 
tude on the Pacific slope. 

Peru thus comprehends every degree of latitude from 
the equator to the snowy regions of Chile, and every alti- 
tude from the sea to 20,000 feet ; you have only to travel 
from north to soutli, or from east to west, to go from palm- 
groves to everlasting winter. 

In Northeastern or Amazonian Peru, hats, aguardiente, 
salt, turtles, sarsaparilla, tobacco, and hammocks are the 
main exports ; but as no duties are collected, it is impossi- 
ble to find the amount Trade has vastly improved since 
the establishment of steam-navigation on the Great River. 
Until, however, there is a better port than miserable Balsa 
Puerto, it must be inconsiderable. In Southeastern Peru 
the current of trade is almost entirely westward, the roads 
through Puno and Tacna being the chief highways for 
Bolivian commerce. 

The total import and export revenue annually collected 
at the custom-houses on the coast is about $25,000,000. 
To the railways, now nearly completed by Mr. Meiggs, 

434 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Peru must look for an advauce. It is a fact that the re- 
ceipts at the custom-house in Callao have increased by 
one million of soles every year since the beginning of the 
Oroya Railroad. 

On the coast, the majority of the sailing-vessels are An- 
glo-Saxon. There are a few French and German steam- 
ers, and a " White Star Line ;" biit the " Pacific Steam 
N'avigation Company," founded by an American, the late 
Mr. Wheelwright, is the most prosperous navigation com- 
pany in the world. It is British power on the Pacific. It 
has a fleet of seventy steamers, some of them the largest 
afloat, with an aggregate tonnage of over 200,000. The 
six best harbors of Peru are Payta, Chimbote, Callao, Is- 
lay, Arica, and Iquique. But all are roadsteads opening 
to the north ; and of each it can be said, as a captain sar- 
castically remarked of Mollendo, " the harbor is entered as 
soon as the ship turns Cape Horn." 

The wealth of Peru lies mainly in the following produc- 
tions : 

Guano. — This valuable fertilizer, whose virtues were 
known to the Incas, but rediscovered in 1836, comes no 
longer from the Chincha, Guanape, and Macabi islands, 
which have been pretty thoroughly scraped. It is now 
shipped from the Lobos Islands, at the rate of 600 tons per 
day. The principal deposits yet untouched are those of 
Yiejas Island, Lobillo Island, Huanillo Island, Huauillo 
Point, White Point, Pabollon de Pica, Chiapana Bay, and 
on the main -land near Iquique. The guano now in the 
market is inferior to that of Chincha, containing five per 
cent, less of ammonia. Peru owns but four millions of 
tons (the rest being mortgaged to Dreyfus & Co.), worth 
$35 a ton where it lies, or £13 a ton in Liverpool. In 
1871, nearly 400,000 tons vpere sold (almost one third to 
Great Britain), netting £2,785,641. The mining is done 

Guano and Salitek. 


by coolies, who are imported at the rate of 12,000 a year, 
ostensibly as colonists, bnt really condemned to the worst 
form of slavery. Many of the poor fellows, rather than 
dig the foul guano, throw themselves from the cliffs into 
the sea. A Celestial sells for $400 ; the time of servitude 
has lately been reduced from eight to six years. 

Salttee, or Nitrate of Soda — This formidable compet- 
itor with guano is found in the province of Tarapaca, es- 
pecially on the Pampa del Tamarugal, where it occupies 
fifty square leagues, and is reckoned at 63,000,000 tons. 
It seems to be constantly forming. The average yield is 

436 The Andes and the Amazons. 

over 4,000,000 quintals ; but were the senseless restriction 
on its exportation (25 cents per quintal) removed, the quan- 
tity would be tripled. The demand is on the increase, yet 
the supply exceeds the demand. It is mainly exported 
from Iquiqne, where the price is about $2 50 a quintal ; 
in Liverpool, £16 a ton. Mixed with guano, saliter (or 
" caliche," as it is called in the crude state) is the best com- 
post for cereals. In the deposit at La PeSa Grande, fossil 
birds, with a flannngo-like bill, have been discovered nine 
feet below the surface. Water is found in these pampas 
180 feet below the surface. In this same region there is 
an abundance of borax and nitre ; but they are scantily 

Sugar. — In many respects, this is the most important 
production of Peru. All along the coast, wherever the 
land is watered by streams or irrigation, the cane grows 
luxuriantly (from fifteen to twenty feet), and yields 85 per 
cent, of juice, having 12° or 15° Baume. The green and 
ripe are seen in the same field; men are cutting at one 
end, and planting at the other. The cane requires re- 
planting but once in ten years, and gives a crop every 
fourteen months. On large plantations, the manufacture 
of sugar continues all the year round. It is exported 
mainly from Eten (12,000 tons annually') — the richest 
agricultural region in Northern Peru — Pacasmayo (800 
tons), Malabrigo, Huanchaco, Chancay, and Pisco. The 
bulk goes to Europe to be refined, under the name of chan- 
cdca, or rapidura. A superior quality is grown in the in- 
terior, at Abancay, which is sent to Bolivia. The annual 
yield of sugar and spirits together, in all Peru, is esti- 
mated at 20,000,000 soles. 

Coffee. — A small quantity is produced at Guadalupe, 
near Pacasmayo, which is second to none in richness of 
flavor. Its excellence is due to the fact that it is grown 

Peoductions of Peru. 437 

in the shade, and with the greatest care. This " Goybu- 
rii" coffee, as it is called, brings 50 cents a pound at the 
hacienda. A very choice article (valued at $1 a pound) is 
made by selecting the smallest Goyburii ; but it is not in 
the market. Fine coffee grows also at Huanuco and Uru- 

Cotton. — A very fine article, next to sea-island, has been 
grown at Pacasmayo ; but the yield, only 50 or 60 pounds 
to the acre, is not encouraging. It suffers from mildew. 
The points from which cotton is exported are Pacasmayo 
(100,000 pounds), Payta (coming from Piura), Eten, Chan- 
cay, Lomas. and especially Pisco (grown in the rich val- 
leys of Iga). A beautiful, silk-like cotton is grown in the 
valley of Santa Ana. At Arica, cotton is worth $36 a 

Rick is now imported from China direct, and from In- 
dia via England, so that little is raised. The usual yield 
is 200 fold. Its production is nearly confined to Eten, 
Pacasmayo, and Huanchaco. 

Corn is universally cultivated in the mountain valleys, 
though not on a large scale, and fornis the staple food of 
the Indians. A prime article, quite different from the 
short, party-colored ears on the highlands, is grown, to some 
extent, on the coast ; 700,000 pounds passed through the 
custom-house of Pacasmayo in 1872. 

Cacao, of the best quality, conies from the Department 
of Cuzco, especially from the hacienda of Echarati. It 
brings $6 an arroba in Cuzco, and 60 cents per pound in 
Lima, or double the price of the Guayaquil. A small 
quantity is manufactured at Cajamarca. 

Fruit. — The province of Moquegua is the Bordeaux of 
Peru ; and a large amount of rum and wines are exported 
from Pisco. The " Italia " is the leading brandy. Ordi- 
nai-y " Pisco " is woi-th $1 a bottle ; " Locumba," $2. Or- 

438 The Andes and the Amazons. 

anges, lemons, melons, and olives are grown along the 
southei-n coast. The olives of Ilo, and the raisins of Pica 
will compare with those of Seville and Malaga. 

Tobacco. — This grows luxuriantly at Eteu and Pacas- 
mayo, sometimes standing eight feet high, with leaves four 
feet long. It is sent chiefly to Chile. Pacasinayo export- 
ed 100,000 pounds in 1873. Tobacco is also grown along 
the Urubamba and Utcubamba. 

Coca is almost confined to the Urubamba province, and 
is not exported from the coast, as it is consumed in Cuzco, 
Puno, and Arequipa. It is considered inferior to the coca 
of Yungas, Bolivia. 

Cascaeilla Bark. — Less and less of this is exported ev- 
ery year, as the hunters have to go farther and farther into 
the interior for it. The greater part now goes down the 
Amazons from Bolivia. It is shipped from Payta (coming 
from Loja), Pacasmayo (coming through Cajamarca, near- 
ly 200,000 pounds in 1873), May, and Arica (coming from 
the Bolivian forests of Munecas, Apolobamba, Yuracares, 
Larecaja, Inquisivi, Apopaya, and the Yungas of La Paz. 
At Arica, it is worth $90 a quintal. 

Wool. — After guano and sugar, alpaca is the great ex- 
port. The annual product is about 45,000 bales. It 
comes almost entirely from the departments of Puno and 
Cuzco; and the outlets are Pisco, Islay, Mollendo, and 
Arica. But Arequipa is the great centre of the alpaca 
trade. Such is the reputation of the Arequipa bi'and that 
the wool is generally taken to that city from other points 
to be re-assorted and repacked. The alpacas thrive best 
in the black, almost barren, boggy lauds from 13,000 to 
14,000 feet in elevation. Sheai-ing-time begins December 
15 ; but an individual is sheared only once in two or three 
years. A fleece of three years is of course the largest, and 
commands the best price. It is now worth in Arequipa 

ExpoKTS OF Peeu. 439 

$70 a quintal. Yicuna wool brings $100 a quintal; but 
little is exported. The sheep's wool of Peru (" cholo ") i^ 
of middling quality, inferior to the "mestizo" of the Ar- 
gentine Republic. It brings twelvepence in England. It 
is exported (20,000 quintals a year) from Arica and Islay. 

About 4000 goat -skins are exported annually to the 
United States from Payta, and a few chinchilla-skins from 

Silk, — Peru is admirably adapted for the cultivation 
of the mulberry and the castor-oil plant, and the two spe- 
cies of silk-worm which feed upon them. Three, four, and 
even five crops of eggs could be produced annually. 

Minerals. — Arica, being the main port of Bolivia, ships 
the most metal, especially bar silver (at $12 04 per mark), 
copper barilla or powdered ore (at $18 a quintal of 70 per 
cent.), and tin barilla (at $19 a quintal of 70 per cent.). 
Cinnabar abounds at Huancavelica and Chonta in a Juras- 
sic slate and sandstone. Pacasmayo and Chimbote will 
ere long export considerable siher ore and bituminous 
coal, the latter having been discovered of excellent quality 
and in large quantity near the line of the Chimbote Rail- 
road. Coal occurs also near Arequipa (Sumbay), near 
Pisco, and on the Oroya Railroad, the last resembling 
Rhode Island anthracite. The want of coal and wood has 
prevented the smelting of ores to any extent in the coun- 
try hitherto. An English firm has lately established a fur- 
nace on the island of San Lorenzo, opposite Callao. Iron 
ore is abundant in Jauja, Cuzco, and Puno. 

Besides these exports, Tumbez yields petroleum ; Huan- 
chaco, starch ; Quilca, olives ; and Amotape (near Payta), 
cochineal. Orchilla (or archil) was formerly sent from 
Payta; but a better article has recently been found on an 
island off Mexico. In times of scarcity it is worth 
a ton. 

440 The Andes and the Amazons. 


The Silver -mines of Peru: Cerro de Pasco. — Hualgayoc. — Puno. — Chi- 
lete. — Ancachs. 

Peru was conquered and explored by the early Span- 
iards under the belief that it was El Dorado; but there 
are no famous mines of gold in the republic save those of 
Carabaya.* It better deserves the name of La Plata, for 
its Andes are threaded with silver. The annual yield of 
Peruvian silver, however, is decreasing, owing to misman- 
agement. A thorough scientific survey of the country is 
needed, and then a judicious system of mining. We are 
confident this will reveal 

" Rocks rich in gems and mountains big with mines, 
That on the high equator ridgy rise." 

The most famous silver-mines in South America, after 
those of Potosi, are the mines of Cerro de Pasco, sixty 
leagues northeast of Lima. They are situated on the At- 
lantic slope of the Andes, over 13,000 feet above the sea, 
where the prevailing rock is conglomerate. The silver, 
discovered by an Indian in 1630, occurs in the native 
state; also as sulphuret mixed with pyrites, with cobrizo 
(a carbonate of copper and lead, with sulphuret of copper), 
and with oxides, forming what are known in Peru and 
Mexico asjtacos and colorados. The ore is treated to salt 
and mercury, but so rudely that generally one pound of 

* It must not be understood, however, that auriferous deposits do not oc- 
cur in Western Peru. I obtained very rich specimens of gold-bearing rock 
(a singular, decomposing, metamorphic rock) from Qnilque, near Arequipa, 
eight leagues from the sea, in the coast range. The silver ore of Huamacbuco 
and Pataz contains considerable gold. 

Cereo de Pasco Mines. Ml 

mercury is lost to every half pound of silver extracted. 
Fortunately, Cerro de Pasco is only 200 miles from the 
celebrated quicksilver mines of Huancavelica. According 
to Herndon, the ore yields only six marks to the cajon. 
(A mark is eight ounces, and a cajon is three tons.) A 
representative specimen in my possession contains 0.004 
of silver. During the last two centuries and a half, the 
mines have produced about $500,000,000. The annual 
amount of ore mined at present does not exceed 110,000 
tons, each cajon yielding an average of four and a half 
marks, the amalgam containing 22 per cent, of silver. 
Just now, work has nearly ceased, owing to the inade- 
quate means of drainage. But at Cerro de Pasco, as at 
other places, it has been found profitable to rework, by the 
improved modern method, the tailings left by the old 
Spanish miners. The contemplated connection of the 
Oroya Railroad with a line from Pasco will give new im- 
petus to the mining interest, but it will not mollify the, ex- 
cruciating climate. 

Ilualgayoc, fourteen leagues north of Cajamarca, has 
long been celebrated for its rich mines ; but it is also af- 
flicted with a plethora of water. The Cerro, unlike most 
silver mountains, presents rugged, tower-like points, and is 
perforated on every side to its very summit. The rock is 
siliceous. There are many good mines in the vicinity of 
Lampa and Puno, on the borders of Lake Titicaca ; those 
of Manto, Salcedo, Chupica, and Cancharani were famous 
in Spanish history. In the seventeenth century the mines 
of Puno were inferior only to those of Potosi. The rich- 
est ores are called brosa, rosicler, and pavonado; the first 
yields forty marks to fifty quintals. The ores of Huan- 
tajaya. Carmen, and Santa Rosa, near Iquique, yield from 
2000 to 5000 marks to the cajon. Without question they 
are among the purest in the world. Masses of pure silver 

442 The Andes and the Amazons. 

have been found on the surface of tlie plain, one weighing 
800 pounds. Rich deposits occur also in the province of 
Cailloma, north of Arequipa ; and at Yauli, San Mateo, and 
other localities near the Oroya Railroad. Extensive veins 
have been recently discovered at Chilete, the terminus of 
the Pacasmayo Railroad, the ore assaying from $60 to 
$200 a ton. A Bostonian has a large interest in this mine. 
Silver associated with gold and copper is found in the 
Cerro Potoche, near Huancavelica. The mines of Hual- 
langa, near Tarma, have yielded 3000 marks in a year. 

But the most numerous and promising silver-mines of 
Peru are, without doubt, located in the department of Au- 
cachs, just north of Lima ; not because it is a richer region 
than the eastern cordillera, but because it is the only dis- 
trict which has been scientifically explored. This has been 
done by the accomplished naturalist. Professor Raimondi, 
under the patronage of Mr. Henry Meiggs. The i-eport 
recently published at Lima contains assays of specimens 
from the most valuable mines in which the silver occurs. 
It appears : (1) That silver is not very common in the na- 
tive state. (2) That the minerals richest in silver are py- 
rargyrite ((rosicler, or ruby silver) and stephanite (brittle 
silver glance). (3) That the greater part of the silver, 
however, is extracted from tetrahedrite, galena, and many 
mineral oxides {pacos or colorados). The pacos richest 
in silver ore are those which result from the oxidation of 
stephanite and pyrargyrite ; the poorest are found in great 
part of oxide of iron, in which the silver is minutely dis- 
seminated in the native state. (4) It is worthy of notice 
that the silver ores are constantly associated with antimo- 
ny. Even the galenas, having a cubical structure, always 
contain a small percentage of antimony. In general, it 
may be said that the silver of Peru, as of Chile and Bo- 
livia, whether native or in the form of chloride, sulphide, 

SiLVEK Ores. 443 

or amalgam, occurs chiefly in the oolitic and porpliyritic 
series near intrusive diorite. 

The following picked specimens from Ancachs show the 
maximum yield of a variety of ores : native silver with ar- 
senuret of silver, panabasite pyrites and blende, 4284 marks 
to the cajon ; argentiferous tetrahedrite with pyrargyrite, 
free from gaugue, 1966 mai-ks; argentiferous tetrahedrite, 
malachite, and azurite, 300 marks; sulphide of antimony, 
silver, lead, copper, iron, and manganese, 606 marks ; an- 
timonial lead, copper, and silver, with chrysocolla, 524 
marks; cerusite witk antimonial silver, lead, copper, and 
iron, 756 marks; antimonial silver, lead, and iron, with 
sulphide of silver and antimony, 680 marks ; argentifer- 
ous tetrahedrite with galena and blende, 676 marks ; mali- 
nowskite — crude, 572 marks; pure, 1191 ; argentiferous 
antimonial silver, 312 marks ; sulphide of silver in decom- 
position with galena and anglesite, 712 marks ; anglesite, 
chloride of silver, and antimonial lead and silver, 560 
marks ; argentiferous galena and tetrahedrite, 532 marks ; 
argentiferous jamesonite, 340 marks; antimonial silver, 
lead, copper, and iron, with cerusite and malachite, 408 

4-44 TuE Andes and the Amazons. 


The Railways of Peru. — Henry Meiggs and his Enterprises. 

Peku lias just found out that this is an age of I'oads, 
and that, if she would not fall too far behind in the race 
of nations, she must have means of intercommunication. 
No other country has greater need of highways, for the 
two agricultural regions, the interandean plateau and the 
eastern transandean slope (" Montafia ") are separated by 
the oriental cordillera, and the mineral region is cut off 
from the agricultural by the coast range, while no naviga- 
ble streams enter the Pacific. The Incas constructed some 
renaarkable roads, chiefly longitudinal — one passing over 
the grand plateau from Quito to Cuzco ; another aloTig the 
coast. The latter is quite effaced by the shifting sands ; a 
fragment, however, is still visible at Pacasmayo. The re- 
mains of the other bear evidence to their primitive grand- 
eur, and have drawn forth the eulogium of Humboldt, 
that " the roads of the Incas were among the most nsef nl 
and stupendous works ever executed by man." But these 
old roads are now useless, and, even if repaired, would be 
unsuited to modern commerce. What Peru wants, and 
what she is trying to accomplish, is a system of transverse 
railways, bringing her rich highland valleys in connection 
with her ports, and a longitudinal line, eclipsing the royal 
road of the Incas, which shall link all together, passing 
from Jaen through Cajamarca, Cerro de Pasco, and Cuzco 
to Lake Titicaca. 

The following railways are owned by private compa- 
nies: Lima and Callao, eight miles; finished. This is the 

Government Railways. 445 

oldest road in Peru, having been opened in 1851, and the 
best -paying; yet, like all the rest, it has but one track. 
Lima and Chorillos — the fashionable Long Branch of 
Peru, nine miles; finished. Eten and Lambayeque, 28 
miles; finished, to start from an iron pier 4000 feet long. 
Arica and Tacna, 40 miles ; finished. A continuation to 
La Paz is projected, to cost $32,000,000, to i-ise 14,000 
feet; this would be the nearest outlet for Bolivia, but 
would have a rival in the Arequipa and Puno road. Iqui- 
que and Pisagua, 160 miles, half finished ; designed solely 
for the exportation of saliter. There are also short roads 
constructing at Cerro de Pasco, Pimentel, Trujillo, Pati- 
llos, from Pisco to Lima, and from Magdalena to Lima. 
These lines represent $25,000,000. 

Peru has invested about $140,000,000 in railways— a 
gigantic sum for three millions of people; but guano is 
the exchequer. Of this amount she has paid nearly one 
half ; and 650 miles of track have been laid, or one half 
the projected amount. It costs fifty per cent, more to 
build a railway in Peru than in the United States ; for 
every thing must be imported, and labor costs double. 
Among the minor roads owned by the government are the 
Pisco and Iga, 45 miles, finished ; cost $1,500,000. An- 
con, finished from Lima to Chancay, 45 miles ; cost about 
$3,000,000. Payta and Piura, 60 miles; just begun; to 
cost $1,950,000. 

But all the great iron roads of the republic are the 
handiwork of Mr. Meiggs, the best representative of Amer- 
ican enterprise below the equator. Mr. Meiggs has con- 
tracts with the government amounting to $133,000,000,;;^ 
for building seven railways, with an aggregate length of 
about a thousand miles. Five of these are finished ; three 
(the Puno, Oroya, and Pacasmayo), the longest and most 
difficult, are in process of construction at the same time. 


The Andes and the Amazons. 

Unlike many of our governmental works, these i-ailways 
are models; one must travel around the globe to find bet- 
ter-laid tracks, more finished bridges, culverts, and mason- 
work, more remarkable cuts and tills, and greater achieve- 
ments of engineering. In the minutest details the work 
is of the best description, very often much better than the 

Henry Meiggs. (From a Photograph.) 

contract calls for; Mr. Meiggs preferring to maintain, at 
any cost, what he has already gained — -the reputation of 
being an honorable contractor. If he is ever unjust, it is 
toward himself. The station-house at Chosica, e. g., is so 
elegant that President Pardo declared he would like such 
a residence for himself. 

FoEEiGN Enterpkise IN Peetj. 447 

The gauge of all the roads is four feet eight and a half 
inches, save that of Chirnbote, which is three feet. The 
rolling stock is American, the cars coming from Gilbert, 
Bush & Co., Troy, and the locomotives (mostly Rogers's) 
fi'om Paterson. A locomotive on the track costs from 
$20,000 to $25,000, and a first-class car $5500. The ties 
are from Oregon, the rails from England, the diamond 
drills from America, worked by Rand & Waring's com- 
pressor, and the stationary machinery from Leeds. The 
shops and depots generally are made of English galvanized 
iron, the shovels are Ames's, and the iron water-tanks are 
Pitt's patent. The engineers are invariably, I believe, En- 
glish-speaking, and the laborers are Chinese, Cholos, and 
Chilenians. Peruvians may be proud of their guano ; but 
certainly they can not hold up their heads when they re- 
member that not a thing has entered into the construction 
of their railways but what is foreign, save, perhaps, dirt, 
stones, lime, and powder, which last article, so indispensa- 
ble, Mr. Meiggs is obliged by contract to buy of tlie gov- 
ernment. The timber, iron, rolling stock, labor, fuel, and 
nearly all the food, are imported. Even the money which 
pays for it is foreign — bank-bills engraved in New York, 
and Bolivian silver ! 

It will be a long time before the government will realize 
any thing directly from these railroads. The CJiimbote, 
passing through a developed mining region, and the Ilo, 
draining the vineyards of Moquehua, will soon be self-sup- 
porting. But such a costly enterprise as the Oroya can do 
nothing but expend, until it is extended to the Amazons ; 
while as to the Arequipa, one is in doubt whether to won- 
der most at the skill of the engineers or the hardihood of 
the government in ordering the gigantic undertaking, for 
it passes through an utterly profitless region — one village 
in one hundred miles — over sterile pampas and black pa- 

448 The Andes and the Amazons. 

ramos, without mines worth the working, without a sign 
of life save now and then a condor, a few herds of Pe- 
ruvian sheep and scattered tufts of wiry grass, cacti, and 
compositse. The great export from Southern Peru, alpaca, 
does not exceed 10,000 quintals a year. Surely, we say, 
the government will not have a month's work for this road 
in a year. But so would we misjudge our Pacific Rail- 
road as it crosses the Great Desert. When the Oroya Rail- 
way shall join the Pichis River, and the Arequipa shall be 
connected with the heart of Bolivia, and thence with the 
projected lines in the Argentine Confederation, we shall 
look for dividends. The railroads of Peiu, as every where 
else, will develop new life in the people and new sources 
of wealth in the country. 

But, letting Peru look after the proceeds, let us glance 
at these great enterprises as marvels of engineering and as 
the creations of American genius. 

The Pacasmayo Railroad. — Situated in lat. 7° 30' S. 
Termini, Pacasmayo and La Vina. Length (including 
branches), 93 miles; finished. Contract taken by Mr. 
Meiggs, at $5,800,000 cash. Starting with an iron mole, 
half a mile long, it passes up the valley of the Rio Jequ- 
etepeque (or " Hidden River "), through the village of San 
Pedro, the capital of a rich agricultural region, having 
vast plautations of sugar - cane, rice, coffee, and corn ; 
thence over a desert, which, however, can be easily re- 
claimed by irrigation, and ends at an altitude of 4000 
feet, near the silver-mines of Chilete. A branch leads to 
the busy village of Guadalupe. One can now go from 
the coast to Cajamarca in a short day. 

The Chimbote Raileoad. — Situated in lat. 9°. Termi- 
ni, Chimbote and Huaraz. Length, 172 miles; finished, 
60. Contract taken by Mr. Meiggs, at $24,000,000 cash. 
It passes up the valley of the Santa, and then southerly 

The Highest Railway in the Wokld. 449 

along the liighlaiids, and is designed to open up the ricli 
mines of that region, and to benefit 200,000 inhabitants. 
It will begin with a magnificent iron pier, 1640 feet long; 
and there will be thirty tunnels on the route. 

The Oroya Railroad. — Situated in lat. 12°. Termini, 
Callao and Oroya. Length, 136 miles ; finished, 82 miles, 
to Anchi ; tunnel nearly through, and grading done on 
the Oroya side. Conti'act taken by Mr. Meiggs, at $27,- 
600,000 in bonds at 79. This is one of the nine wonders 
in the Peruvian world ; and certainly it is the greatest 
feat of railroad engineering in either hemisphere. As a 
specimen of American enterprise and American work- 
manship, it suffers nothing by comparison. It was begun 
in 1870, and will be finished in 1876. Starting from the 
sea, it ascends the narrow valley of the once sacred Rimac, 
rising the first 46 miles nearly 5000 feet ; then it threads 
the increasingly-intricate gorges of the sierras (a winding, 
giddy pathway along the edge of precipices and over 
bridges that seem suspended in the air), tunnels the Andes 
at the altitude of 15,645 feet — the most elevated spot in 
the world where a piston-rod is moved by steam — and 
ends at Oroya, 12,178 feet above the Pacific. The won- 
der is doubled by remembering that this great elevation is 
reached in 78 miles. Between the coast and the summit 
there is not an inch of down grade. The difliculties en- 
countered in its construction are without a parallel. The 
valley narrows to a ravine, and then to a gorge, till the 
closing mountains fairly overhang the infant Rimac ; in 
fact, at one point, a stone dropped will fall on the opposite 
side of the stream. So that, in forcing the railway up 
the Cordilleras, the engineers have literally threaded the 
mountains by a series of sixty-three tunnels, whose aggre- 
gate length is 21,000 feet. The great tunnel of Galera, 
by which the locomotive is to be taken over the Andes, 
2 F 


The Andes and the Amazons. 

will be 3800 feet long. Besides boring the flinty rock, 
and making enormous bridges, cuts, and fills, the work- 
men (of whom 8000 have been engaged at one time) 
have had to contend against land-slides, falling bowlders, 
sorroche (or the difficulty of breathing at high altitudes), 
the extremes of climate, pestilential diseases, as fevers and 
verrugas, and accidents by falling from the rocks and in 
blasting. About 7000 have died or been killed in the 
construction of the road thus far. The bridges and cross- 
ings number about thirty. All are of iron or stone. 
Some are of French and English manufacture; but the 
best are American. Of these, the Verrugas Bridge is the 

Ven-n^'iis Bridge, Oroya Railway. 

most remarkable structure of its kind in the world. It 
spans a chasm 580 feet wide, and rests on three piers. 
The base of the middle pier is 50 feet square, and its 
height is 252 feet. The deflection is only five eighths of 
an inch. It was made at Phoenixville, Pa., of hollow 
wrought -iron columns, and cost in N"ew York $63,000. 
This triumph of American ingenuity is the great attrac- 
tion in Peru, and is the wonder and praise of all visitors. 
The maximum grade of this road is four per cent.; the 

Aeequipa Railroad. 451 

sharpest curve, 395 feet radius ; aud the average consump- 
tion of coal, 65 pounds per mile. Mules and gunpowder 
are indispensable in advance of the locomotive, and to- 
gether make quite an item ; $115,000 are invested in the 
quadrupedal means of transportation, and 500,000 pounds 
of powder are used monthly for blasting. 

My fearfully grand ride down the Andes on a hand-car 
drawn by gravity, under the superintendence of Mr. Cilley, 
will never fade from memory. To fly along the edge of 
a precipice at the rate of forty -five miles an hour, and 
whip around a curve till every hair of the head stands on 
end, is glorious — when over. Once is enough for a life- 

Oroya, the terminus, is only a point of divergence. In 
time, branches will run to silvery Cerro de Pasco; to 
Tarma, destined to be the Mecca of consumptives; and to 
Fort San Ramon or to Mairo, the head of navigation on 
the Amazons. This will probably be the first interoceanic 
road in South America, as the link necessary to connect it 
with the Great River is very short. It will also serve to 
colonize and civilize the mountain regions of Peru. 

The Aeequipa Railroad. — Situated in lat. 17°. Ter- 
mini, MoUendo and Arequipa. Length, 107 miles; finish- 
ed. Contract taken by Mr. Meiggs, at $12,000,000 cash. 
Commenced in 1868 ; completed in 1870. 

The Puno Railroad. — Situated in lat. 16° 30'. Termi- 
ni, Arequipa and Puno, on the west shore of Lake Titica- 
ca. Length, 218 miles ; finished. Contract taken by Mr. 
Meiggs, at $32,000,000 in bonds at 79. Commenced 
July, 1870 ; completed June, 1874. 

These two roads, the Arequipa and Puno, are practi- 
cally one (for it is a continuous line), and may be treated 

At present, this is the longest railway south of the equa- 

452 The Andes and the Amazons. 

tor, unless the Rosario and Cordova Railroad be a rival. 
It is the most lofty and most serpentine railway in opera- 
tion any where, and no other road in the world can show 
so much heavy work done. On the first division, 7,000,000 
cubic yards were removed. The deepest cut is 90 feet; 
the highest fill, 112 feet; powder used, 27,000 quintals. 
On the second division the total amount of excavation 
was 9,858,000 cubic yards, the deepest cut being 127 feet 
(260,000 yards) ; the highest fill, 141 feet ; powder used, 
15,500 quintals. There is but one short tunnel in the 325 
miles, although the first survey of the Arequipa division 
alone demanded nineteen ; and there are only four bridges, 
all American, the longest being 1690 feet. The engines 
on the Arequipa division have eighteen-inch cylinders; on 
the Puno, seventeen-inch. They consume one ton of coal 
(costing $30) every thirty-four miles, and the shoes of the 
brakes are replaced for every round trip. The maximum 
grade is four per cent., and the maximum freight is sixty 
tons. The road crosses the high Andes at an altitude of 
14,660 feet, 116 miles east of Arequipa, where there is a 
cut of only 6.07 feet. When the track was laid beyond 
this summit, in 1873, it was the first time in history that 
a locomotive crossed the Andes, The Oroya Railroad ex- 
cels in difiiculty of work ; this, in amount of excavation, 
as also, perhaps, in the sufferings of the men, arising from 
want of food and fuel, and the prevalence of rain, snow, 
cold, and rarefied air. On both, there was trouble in cook- 
ing certain articles of food, as beans, for example ; for the 
water boiled before it was fairly hot, so that the men were 
obliged to use closed cans to cook under pressure. But 
there is this gain with the locomotives : the steam is gen- 
erated and acts more freely at high altitudes, and less fuel 
is needed. A telegraph line follows the railroad. 

To supply Mollendo with water, a pipe has just been 

Railkoad to Cdzco. 453 

laid alongside of the track, 85 miles in length — the longest 
iron aqueduct in the world. It starts near Arequipa, at the 
elevation of 7000 feet, and crosses the great desert of Is- 
lay. It is an eight-inch pipe, and discharges 433,000 gal- 
lons in twenty-four hours. It cost $20,000 per mile. This 
magnificent highway across the Andes will be a dead loss 
to Peru unless extended ; for it passes through the most 
useless region in the world, and Puno is but a huddle of 
5000 shivering Indians. A railroad from Puno to La Paz 
could be built for $10,000,000. But one important trib- 
utary is already in process of construction. 

The Cdzco Railkoad. — This first longitudinal road 
along the Peruvian Andes is to connect the city of Cuzco 
with the Arequipa Railroad at Juliaca, near Puno. Length, 
210 miles; graded. Contract taken by Mr. Meiggs, at 
$25,000,000 cash. The highest point, 14,150 feet, is about 
100 miles north of Juliaca ; thence, for 90 miles, the track 
falls to 10,000 feet, following an afiiuent of the Ucayali, 
and then rises to Cuzco, which is 11,500 feet. It passes 
mainly through sandstone and limestone ; but there is no 
tunneling. The total amount of excavation was 5,500,000 
cubic yards. But the freight on the material for this road 
would be sufficient to build it in the United States. The 
productions expected for transportation are cacao, coffee, 
wool, cotton, sugar, cascarilla, and woods. 

The Moquegua Railkoad. — Situated in lat. 17° 30'. 
Termini, Ilo and Moquegua. Length, 63 miles ; finished. 
Contract taken by Mr. Meiggs, at $6,700,000 in bonds at 
75. It passes through one of the richest wine-producing 
districts in Peru. 

454: The Andes and the Amazons. 


The Aborigines on the Andes and the Amazons. 

Two tribes of the red man dwell on the Andes of Ecua- 
dor, Peru, and Bolivia, the Quichua and Aymara. They 
are remnants of the great Inea nation, which attained 
the highest, perhaps the only, native civilization in South 
America. The Quichua Indians are scattered over the 
mountains from New Granada to the latitude of Arequi- 
pa; the Aymaras inhabit Bolivia and Southern Peru ; but 
Lake Titicaca is still the home, as it was the cradle, of the 
race. Doubtless these two include the fragments of other 
tribes that paid tribute to Cuzco, but only these types can 
be clearly distinguished. The empire was, probably, the 
consolidation of closely allied people, having a common 
origin, but unequally developed. 

The solid history of Peru begins only about a hundred 
years before the Spanish Conquest. Yet we are pretty 
certain that the imperial glories of the Ineas were but the 
last gleams of a civilization that mounted up to perhaps 
thousands of years ; that, long before the advent of Manco 
Capac, the Andes had been the dwelling-place of races 
whose beginnings must have been coeval with the savages 
of "Western Europe. The earliest left no epitaph; but 
around Lake Titicaca are massive monolithic monuments, 
which could not have been wrought by a childish nation, 
yet are prehistoric, pre-incarial. The latest of the five 
styles of architecture visible on the Andes (each represent- 
ing an age of human progress) is shown by the Temple of 
the Sun at Cuzco, built a century before Pizarro saw it. 

Pkehistokic Peru. 


yet put together with the' precision of mosaic* While 
Europe was getting up rollicking crusades, the " Sun- 

kings " had carved out of the rugged Andes an empire 
equal to that of Rome in the days of Hadrian, stretching 

* It is well to remember that many of the blocks were of Baalbec dimen- 
sions, of hard porphyry, and transported miles ; and that the builders were 
below the medium stature, ignorant of the use of iron, and without a beast of 
burden save the feeble llama. 

456 The Ajstdes and the Amazons. 

over forty degrees of latitude. By the innumerable aban- 
doned towns and ruined public works, by the crowded 
cemeteries and the terraced mountains, as though space 
were scarce, the traveler is forced to the conclusion that a 
vast population once swarmed over the land. 

Alas, how fallen ! A nation, once the France of the 
N"ew World, now peeled and enslaved, its manhood trod- 
den out. The buildings of Cnzco are of mud, raised on 
massive foundations,^dobe on stone — the upper half, cath- 
olic and modern ; the lower, heathen and antique. What 
a symbol ! The foot-ball and servant of the Spaniard for 
three centuries, the Quichua Indians have lost all heart. 
Their number has rapidly diminished since the Conquest. 
They are filthy in the first degree ; but I forgive them. 
They are idle ; but I do not blame them. According to 
our measure of eating, they are in a starving condition ; 
and this, though they have far better advantages than their 
ancestors, for horses, oxen, sheep, goats, pigs, wheat, bar- 
ley, iron, plows, and powder have all been introduced since 
the times of the Incas. Their forefathers cut through six- 
ty miles of granite to get a little water ; tliey rob the an- 
cient graves for water -pitchers rather than make them 
themselves. Who would recognize in this degraded peo- 
ple the blood and brains that once raised the stupendous 
fortress of Sacsahuaman — the Ehrenbreitstein of Peru ?* 

The pure Quichua always wears a silent, sad, serious ex- 
pression.! Every thing about him wears a melancholy 
cast — physiognomy, dress, landscape. He is reserved, la- 

* " But who would recognize in the fellahs of modern Egypt the descendants 
of that people who have transmitted to our days many of the leading elements 
of our civilization, and have left the pyramids as the imperishable witnesses 
of their power ? Or in the barbarous and crafty Moors of Morocco the off- 
spring of the brilliant Arabs who introduced chivalry into Europe?" — More- 
let's Central America. 

t For physiognomy, see p. 111. 

QuicHTJA Indians. 


Eemaiuiiig End \\ ills of the Temple t the Miu, Cu7Co 

conic, stubborn, timid, harmless, and trustworthy, yet in- 
tensely suspicions. He appears to be without curiosity 
or ambition ; but I am inclined to think his stolid indif- 
ference is not real. I never saw a fat or jolly Indian on 
the Andes. Some writers speak of their pathetic songs ; 
but though I have mingled freely with them from Quito 
to Bolivia, I have never heard one sing. Crushed by 


The Andes and the Amazons. 

their oppressors, they tread with downcast looks tlie mount- 
ains that once resounded with the proud steps of their un- 
conquered ancestors. As well might the Hebrews sing in 
Babylon. Yet here is a song (if a note of despair can be 
called a song) heard by a .traveler from the lips of a 
young Indian mother in the wild recesses of the Andes : 

"My mother begat me, amid rain and mist, 
To weep like tiie rain and be drifted like the clouds. 
' You are born in the cradle of sorrow, ' 
Says my mother ; and she weeps as she wraps me around. 
If I wander the wide world over, 
I would not meet my equal in misery. 
Accursed be the day of my birth. 
Accursed be the night I was born. 
From this time, for ever and ever!" 

The Quichua language was first reduced to writing by 
a Domiuican friar in 1560. It has great facihty of ex- 
pression and a complicated granunar. Many of the words 
are decidedly musical, as Chosica, Vilcamaj-o, Lauricocha. 
From the few fragments of a traditional literature which 
have floated down to us, we gather that the Quichua was 

fitted for a high and poetic 
class of composition above all 
the dialects of the ISTew World. 
Tlie Aymaras probably rep- 
resent an older race than the 
Quichuas, judging from the 
style of the ruins at Tiahua- 
naco and Sillustani. But they 
did not emerge into history 
till the third Inca, Tupanqui 
(1100), who annexed the re- 
gion to his kingdom. They frequently revolted, and nev- 
er gave up their language. They, however, joined the 
Quichuas in rebelling against their common oppressor, the 
Spaniard. But, though dwelling in amity for centuries, 

Section of a Burial-tower at Sillustani. 

Atmaka Indians. 


Quichua Woman, Cerro de Pasco. (From a Photograph.) 

they remain distinct. In Piino, the few Qnichnas keep to 
the north side of the city; the rest are Aymaras. The 
entire population in Peru and Bolivia is abont half a mill- 
ion, the majority living in Bolivia. They are a pastoral 
people. What else could they be in a land without tim- 
ber or corn ? Like the Quichuas, they are almost entirely 
vegetarian in diet, yet hardy, compactly built, with large 


The Andes and the Amazons. 

heads, broad shoulders, long bodies, short arms and legs, 
and small feet. Though of short stature, I noticed more 
powerful men than among the Quichuas; but the women 
are not so good-looking. The complexion is dark brown, 
the dwellers on the dry table -lands being darker than 
those in the moist valleys. The body is darker than tlie 

Aymard Woman, Pano. (From a Photograph.) 

face.* After a free mixture for three hundred years, 
we would expect a complete fusion of both Aymaras and 
Quichuas with their conquerors; but they still maintain 
their integrity, and outnumber the Cholos. Evidently the 
latter are not prolific. 

The Aymaras have no great vices. Like the Quichuas, 

* None of the South American tribes have the coppery hue of the North 

The Aymaeas. 


they are grave, and deferential to caballeros — always re- 
moving the hat vi^hen met on the highway. They also 
dress similarly: the men with a broad-brim over a skull- 
cap, a poncho of llama-wool (natural color), short trousers, 
and hide sandals; the women with a short gown, blue, 
brown, or black, and a shawl {manta) of fine wool but 
coarse texture, pinned with a large, spoon -shaped topo. 

Aymara MeD,-Puno. (Prom a Photograph.) 

But the head - gear of the women is most extraordinary, 
and, after the cathedral, the most conspicuous object in 
Puno. It is of black cloth, lined with red, on a paste- 
board frame, expanding at the top, from which flaps and 
tinsel hang down. The Aymara is one of the most gut- 
tural languages in the world, and peculiar also in its la- 
bial and dental pronunciation ; but it is very expressive 

462 The Andes and the Amazons. 

and precise. Paz Soldan calls it " as sonorous as the 
Spanish and enei'getic and laconic as the English." 

The valley of the Amazons is probably the most thinly- 
peopled region on the globe, save the great deserts and the 
polar zones. There are not 40,000 souls along the banks 
of the rivers in the whole province of Amazonas and the 
Lower Maranon. Many of the towns marked on the maps 
do not exist, or are represented by a solitary palm-hut. The 
visible population is almost confined to the circumference 
of the valley ; as at Para, near the mouth of the river; at 
Moyobamba and Tarapoto, on the oriental side of the An- 
des ; and at Trinidad, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, and La 
Paz, on the head-waters of the Madeira. The great basin 
is filled with a continuous, dark, primeval forest, rarely 
disturbed by the hand of man, and into which daylight 
seldom enters. Yet imagination peoples this pathless wil- 
derness with uncounted swarms of savages. There are, it 
is true, numerous clans (we can hardly call them tribes) of 
Indians, distinct in language, and often hostile toward each 
other. But many of these so-called tribes, though digni- 
fied with separate names, are insignificant in numbers, 
barely mustering a hiTudred ; while the Mundurucu, the 
largest known tribe in the valley, does not exceed 8000 — 
men, women, and children.* Nor are there any remains 
of ancient Myalls to indicate a by-gone civilization, or even 
shell-heaps in memory of a more primitive race.t 

* Eaimondi, an excellent authority, puts down the number of all the wild 
Indians on the Maranon — that is, in the whole province of Loreto, which 
stretches from Ecuador to Cuzco, and from the top of the ^ndes to Brazil— 
as from 30,000 to 40,000. To this may be added, perhaps, another 30,000 
to include the civilized tribes, half-breeds, and whites. 

t The pottery of Marajd and Taperinha, and the rude daubs and scratch- 
es on Erere, exhibit nothing more than savage talent, and are evidently too 
recent to be numbered with "antiquities." There is a remarkable family 
likeness between the drawings found by Dr. Seemann at Veraguas, Central 

The Aboeigines Doomed. 463 

Until the close of the tertiary age, the waters prevailed 
over this heart of the continent ; and since then vegeta- 
tion has had the mastery, leaving little chance for animal 
life. And until there is a decided change in the physical 
geography of the valley, a large part of it must remain 
unfit for permanent settlement, on account of the annual 
floods ; for a rise of forty feet in the river drives the in- 
habitants from their summer resorts on the margin of the 
streams to the higher terra firma within the forest. In 
this way nomadic habits are engendered or perpetuated 
and poverty is almost inevitable, for half the year (flood- 
time) it is hard work to get a living. Furthermore, this 
regular inundation of the country and the lack of grassy 
campos (except on the Lower Amazons and the Beni re- 
gion) prevent the raising of domesticated animals, which, 
if it does not lie at the foundation of agriculture, certain- 
ly does aid in the transition from the savage to a semi-civ- 
ilized state. In this respect, the natives of Central Asia 
and Africa, as well as the maize-eating tribes of the An- 
des, have an advantage over the mandioca-eating Indians 
on the Amazons. 

Northern genius may triumph over these physical obsta- 
cles, but the aborigines have a short future in the Amazons 
valley. Von Martins may believe that they are the de- 
graded relics of a more perfect past ; in other words, not a 
wild, but a degenerate race. But there is not a vestige 
of aboriginal splendor east of the Andes, not a proof that 

America (Memoirs of Anthro. Soc. of London, vol. ii.), the characters on the 
'•ocks at the Falls of the Madeira (Keller's A7tiazon and Madeira Rivers, p. 
56), and the Erere figures published by Professor Hartt (Am. Naturalist, vol. 
v.). But they indicate no more affinity to each other than to the "Ancient 
British Inscriptions " desciibed by Tate, which they resemble. The wild, 
unlettered men of every age and nation have similar pictographic methods. 
To speculate on their " deep significance " is labor thrown away — at pres- 
ent. The Peruvian Hydrographical Commission discovered on the Ucayali 
numerous hieroglyphics in a large sandstone rock, lat. 9° 9' i" S. 


The Andes and the Amazons. 

the primeval men dwelling by the Great River were wiser 
than their descendants. And now new causes are at work 
arresting any attempt at development — in fact, dooming 
the race to final extinction. When the white man comes 
with his rum and disease, his law and license, the red man 
disappears. "Every stroke of the settler's axe will be as 

Maue Indian. (From a Photograph.) 

a nail driven into the coffin of the native; for at every 
such stroke he will be thrust farther away from the main 
sources of his life — the pnncipal rivers and hunting- 
grounds near them ; and, as soon as the shrill whistle of 
the locomotive shall sound through the clearing and proud 
steamers rock on the rivers, he will be totally undone."" 

* Keller's Amazon and Madeira. , 

Amazonian Indians. 465 

And then, too, in some strange way, with no apparent rea- 
son, the Indian seems to melt away just because his rival 
appears ; a blank, saddened stare steals over him like a 
shadow — a sign that his hour has come, and he is blighted 
and withered like a leaf. He simply fulfills the inexora- 
ble law of suppression which hangs over every insufficient 

The Indian is not a tropical animal. The Negro and 
Caucasian are far more at home on the equator. The In- 
dian is very susceptible to changes of climate or altitude. 
He is very liable to sickness in going from the main river 
to the higher regions on the tributaries, or vice ve?'sd. 
Even a change of clothing he is not able to bear ; feathers 
and bark are better for him than coats and calico.* Old 
age and gray hairs are rare. 

Mr. Bates says that fecundity among these wild tribes is 
of low degree, and this accords with Mr. Darwin's gen- 
eralization. f But a recent and keen observer. Dr. Gait, 
thinks:}; that it is perfectly well established that there is 
no more fertile race than the pure-blooded Indians of the 
Maranon ; that, in fact, it is excessively so. Four or five 
is the usual number of children in a family. It is, how- 
ever, very noticeable that crossing with the white impairs 
this fertility, aside from the accidental causes of decrease; 
and absence of progeny is more conspicuous in proportion 
to the purity of type on both sides. 

Another clear fact is the rapid loss of resemblance of 
the offspring to the Indian parent, the white element 

* This is because an injudicious use of clothing by those naturally unac- 
customed to it increases the changes of temperature, by which they suffer. 
Most of the tribes distant from the towns and main river are in the sans- 
culottic state. 

t Darwin's Descent of Man, vol. i. , p. 128. 

t As expressed in a letter to the author. According to M. ITombron, the 
union of white and Indian is more prolific than of Negro and Indian, or even 
Negro and white. 


4:66 The Andes and the Amazons. 

always predominating ; the aboriginal seems to be merged 
into the Spanish in two generations. " The few eases I 
saw " (says Dr. Gait) " of the alliance of the Teuton and 
the Indian were nondescripts as to race-type, being some- 
what Chinese, or like those bilious, whortle - berried off- 
shoots to be encountered in the miserable malarial regions 
of our low-coast country. In fact, there is a good deal of 
the 'heathen Chinee' in most of the half-breeds of the 
Montana ; and sometimes it is difhcult, when the child is 
of tender age, say two years, to tell whether it be a Cholo 
or Celestial." The mixture of the white and red races 
begets a sprightly people (called Mamelucos in Brazil, and 
Cholos in Peru), though one not so able to resist causes of 
disease as either of the parental types.* It is rather un- 
stable in character, presenting a blending of Spanish 
haughtiness with Indian suspiciousness, and little tenacity 
for any thing but their own prejudices. 

It is a curious fact, observed by Wallace,t that every 
where in the East where the Portuguese have mixed with 
the native races, they have become darker in color than 
either of the parent stocks. The i-everse is the case in 
South America, where the mixture of the Portuguese or 
Brazilian with Indian produces the Mameluco, who is not 
unfrequently lighter than either parent, and always lighter 
than the Indian. Mr. Darwin's theory of coloration by 
natural selection is hardly borne out on the Maranon. 
" It was a notorious fact, in my wanderings in the Mon- 
tana " (writes Dr. Gait), " that the Indian was more liable 
to miasmatic poison than the lighter races, not only from 
exposure, but from a more susceptible system ; and al- 

* Keller, however, remarks (p. 131) that "no one will assert that the 
black -haired, dark- eyed mestizoes of these countries (Pernambuco, Para, 
etc.) are less fit to live and work under the glowing rays of the tropical sun 
than the fair sons of the North." 

t Malay Archipelago, p. 341. 

Indian Charactek. 469 

though the Xegro has an exemption from yellow fever 
from prolonged acclimatization, he is very liable to the 
ordinary malarial fevers." 

The typical South American Indian is by nature more 
peaceable and submissive than his Northern brother. If 
some tribes are treacherous and cruel, one has only to 
witness the Spanish-Portuguese system of extortion and 
oppression to wonder that they are not all transformed 
into devils. Their inflexibility, taciturnity, and poverty 
of thought are mainly owing to their isolated life. Be- 
sides, having no other occupation than to keep from starv- 
ing, their minds are nearly blank. As Bates truly says, 
" all Indians have the same way of thinking, and the same 
objects to talk about."* They are without curiosity or 
emotion, gloomy like the dense forests they love so well ; 
for here, as e\ery where else, man is molded by the na- 
ture which surrounds him. 

It will never be possible for two consecutive travelers 
to agree on the names and localities of the Amazonian In- 
dians. The vagabond tribes are shifting, while some be- 
come extinct, or multiply by a process of self - division. 
About one hundred are known ; the rest flit like spectres 
through the forest. The following list differs somewhat 
from the one obtained by the author in 1867, as also from 
.Castelnau's, Herndon's, Bates's, and Chandless's. They 
are located by the tributaries, as nearly all of those along 
the main river are Tapiiyos.f Those known to be savages 
are italicized ; but it need not be inferred that the rest are 

* After a centuiy and a half of trial, the Franciscan friars on the Ucayali 
and the Napo confess that the results are not proportioned to the efforts. 
The Indian's conversion is a change of idolatry. He will not or can not 
comprehend a spiritual religion. 

t Tapiiyo was originally applied to foreigners ; CabOclio is another term 
for an aboriginal reclaimed from the wild state. 

470 The Andes and the Amazons. 

TocANTiNS. — Camntas (west side), nearly or quite ex- 

XiNGU. — Mansos, Junmas, Taconha - pine, Axij - paias, 
Bravas, Ardras, Carajas, Curiuaias, Pardraudtes. 

Tapajos. — Mauhds (west side), Mundurucus (beyond 
first cataract), Ardras, Apiacares, JSfamhiguaras, Tapan- 
honas, Parexis. 

Madeira. — Muras, Ardras (right side), Caripiinas (by 
the rapids), Tunis, Urupas, Parentintins, Piarrhaus, Ma- 
tanauis; Chacobos, Cayuabas, Mobimas, Canichanas, and 
Mojos (on Mamore); Maropas (on the Beni). 

Negeo. — Aruaquis (left side), Macns (near Yictoria), 
Uaiipes (above the rapids of San Gabriel — a general name 
for some thirty tribes). On the Rio Blanco, eighteen tribes 
are enumerated, among them the Caripunas and Macuxis. 

PuRtJs. — Muras, Pammarys, Juberys, Cipos, Catauixis, 
Pamanas, Caxararys, Apuriinds, Camijos, Canamarys, Ma- 

Teffe. — Juris, Chumanas, Jananays, Vayphys, Passes, 
Jummas. (These names and those on the Japura were 
furnished by Manuel Medina, one of the oldest pilots on 
the Amazons, and one of Mr. Bates's assistants.) 

JuRui.. — Catauixis, Arauas (above Gaviao), Collinas, 
Conibos, Catuquinas, Nauas. 

JuTAHi. — Marauas, Catnquinas. 

Japura. — Maria-the, Minhas, MarA^-phy, Mirdnhas (at 
the rapids), Curitus. Wallace mentions the Uaenambeus, 
or Humming-bird tribe. 

TuNANTiNS. — Caishanas. 

IgA. — Tiiciinas (an extensive tribe extending along both 
banks of the Solimoens between Tabatinga and Fonte 
Boa), Chumanas. Across the Solimoens, back of San Pau- 
lo, dwell Tucunas, Cambeas, Jandia-tubas, Varaychii, Jn- 
rys, Passes. 

Tribes on the Amazons. 471 

Javari. — Mariibos (east side), Majeronas (west side). 

AmbiyAcu. — Yagnas, Orejones. 

Napo. — Left side ascending, Cotos, Tamhoridcos, Tara- 
potos, Pahayaguas, Agnaricos or Encabellados (" the long- 
laaired"); right side, Tacamirjs, Tacbacnrayes, Z^<^w^^^re.<^, 
Copalurcos, Zcijyaros (different from the tribe of the same 
name on the Curaray), Mautanos. Above Coca are tlie 
Payaminos and Niipos. 

ISTanay. — Iqnitos, Yawaran, Sapohan. 

UoAYALi. — Cocamillas, Majeronas (np the Tapichy), 
Conibos (ranging from Sarayacn to the head of the Puriis), 
Remos (aromid Collaria principally), Amajuacas and Sen- 
cis (inland above the Pachitea), Pirros or Chontaquiros (on 
the Pachitea, Tambo, and Urubamba), Sitibos, Shipibos, 
Campas or Antis (inland on tlie Tambo and Perene), and 
CacMbos (on or near the Pachitea). Of these, the only 
frequent tribes are the Conibos, Pirros, and Cocamillas ; 
the others are rarely seen except as slaves at the Ucayali 
missions. The Panos are extinct. 

TiGRE. — Yameas. At Nanta and Parinari are seen the 
Cocamas and Omagnas (Umaiias). 

HuALLAGA. — Cocamillas (near Lagunas), Jeveros (on 
Aypene), Chasiitas, Cholones, Hibitos. 

Pastassa. — Tuchales, Pinches, Andoas. The large tribe 
of Murdtos live between the Pastassa and Morona. " Ji- 
varos " is probably a collective term for the wild tribes in 
this part of the Oriente. 

Santiago. — Agnarumas, Huamhisos. 

The Indian's power of language is as scanty as his 
thoughts. Each tribe has its own distinct patois — a loose 
conglomerate of words, and the woi-ds polysynthetic. Near- 
ly all count by duplication above three or five. All the 
languages of the foregoing tribes, so far as examined, 

472 The Andes anb the Amazons. 

have the same grammatical structure, but different words. 
This segregation of dialects, as Bates observes, is no doubt 
due to the isolated life of each group. Along the banks 
of the main Amazons, for a distance of 2500 miles, Tupi 
is the common idiom for intercommunication. West of 
Iquitos, we can almost say on the entire Maranou, this 
llngoa geral is not heard. On the Ucayali, the Pano (the 
language of an extinct tribe, and resembling the Quichua, 
but the most difficult of all the Indian dialects) is the basis 
for general intercourse on the Lower Ucayali ; an adulter- 
ated Qnichua, however, is now supplanting it. According 
to Hyde Clarke, the Guarani, Tupi, and Omagua tongues 
are similar in roots and grammar to the Agaw of the Nile 
region. All the Indians speak with very little modulation 
of voice. 

To illustrate the utter distinctness of the Amazonian 
dialects, I give the specimens shown on the following 
page for comparison. It will be seen that tribes contigu- 
ous are as incapable of social intercourse as those a thou- 
sand miles apart. It will also be observed that some of 
the words do not agree with other published vocabularies. 
But no one will wonder at the discrepancy who has at- 
tempted to take dowji a list of words from the lips of a 
live savage : the rapid, indistinct utterance makes it ex- 
tremely difficult to express tlie sound by English letters. 

It is a curious coincidence that while the two languages 
of the Campas and Pirros have scarcely one word in com- 
mon, they have this similar peculiarity, in that the names 
of all parts of the body begin with the same letter. In 
Campa,']N" is used ; in Pirro, W (Hu). In the list of words 
on page 343, obtained by the author from a Campa boy, 
there are many variations from the vocabularies of other 
travelers, and the singular one that the parts of the body 
besjin with A instead of N. 








































































































































































































































































































474 The Andes and the Amazons. 


Game on the Amazons ; or, Friends and Foes in the Animal Kingdom. 

Undek this head I will give a list of animals which 
are fit for food, and also such as are particularly obnoxious 
or formidable to man. 


Like most of the useful vegetable jM-oducts in this re- 
gion, the useful animals have not been allowed to fully 
develop, the normal size, as well as number, being reduced 
by the wholesale slaughter. So the rage for the skins of 
birds, deer, and tigei's has, in many localities, driven the 
survivors into the depths of the forest. Nevertheless, 
there is an immense variety of life within the valley. 
The Maranon is a richer field, at least for commercial 
purposes, than the Amazons below. 

Monkey-meat can not be recommended, as it borders on 
cannibalism ; but many a traveler has been driven to it. 
The Lower Amazonians esteem the white-whiskered Coaita, 
one of the thumbless Spider-monkeys, which has been de- 
scribed as four legs and a tail tied in a knot in the mid- 
dle. The Maquisapa {Ateles ater) is also considered good 

The Tapir, called "Anta," " Danta," " Gran Bestia," and 
"Yaca del Monte," is hunted by the Indians; but the 
flesh is rather dry. This is the proboscidian of the New 
World, and the largest indigenous animal in South Amer- 
ica. When full grown it weighs over 500 pounds. It 
has a thick, tough hide, and swims well. 

Game on the Amazons. 477 

Of Deer ("Veuados" or"Suassu") there are several 
species, all hunted for their skins and meat. Peccaries, 
the swine of the country, exist in vast herds up the tribu- 
taries. The flesh is excellent, if the gland is removed in 
time. They are pugnacious fellows ; and as nothing will 
frighten them, they become formidable antagonists. The 
small kind is called "Samo;" the large, "Huangano." 
In Peru the common name is "Chancho." 

Armadillo, in Quichua " Carachupa," runs slowly, but is 
a mighty digger, getting under ground with astonishing 
rapidity. If cornered, it rolls itself up like a hedgehog. 
The flesh is highly prized, being sweet and tender. It is 
usually roasted in the shell. The little Paca, of a brown 
color with white spots, swims and dives ; the flesh resem- 
bles young pork. The gigantic rodent, the Capybara, or 
" Eonsaco," makes passable meat. The animal is said to 
be capable of domestication. The Manatee, the " Peixe 
boi " of the Lower Amazons, and " Vaca Marina " of the 
Upper, is sought for its oil or " lard," and for its thick 
skin, which yields excellent glue. It is now seldom 
found over seven feet long; but formerly a single one 
gave 100 pounds of oil. The meat has the taste of coarse 
pork, and few civilized palates will pass it. The animal 
is usually harpooned. 

Of birds, there are gallinaceous fowls in great variety. 
The best of these is the Amazonian turkey, the Curassow, 
called " Mutum " in Brazil, and " Pouheel " (for the largest 
species) or "Puri" (the smallest) on the Napo. It ought 
to be domesticated in the United States. There are at 
least three kinds of Guans {Penelopi) — the handsome 
black " Cujubim" of Brazil, and the "Pava del Monte" 
and " Gallina del Monte " of Peru. There are many wild 
geese and ducks ; of the latter the " Pato " {Anas vioschafa) 
occurs on the Maranon. The large gray Heron, " Tuyii- 

4:78 Ti]E Andes and tue Amazons. 

yii," is also eaten. The eggs of Gulls, or "Gaviotes," 
which are numerous as far np as the Iluallaga, and those 
of a Tern called " Tibi," are much hunted for in the sand. 

Turtles, the great article of food and of commerce on 
the Amazons, abound in the Solimoens, and especially in 
the Marauon, and in all the tributaries, up to their falls ;* 
but they are not so plentiful as formerly. Caballococha is 
called the best field ; 4000 were caught on one playa in 
one season. Seven kinds are known to the natives: Tarta- 
ruga grande, or Charapa {Podocnetrds expansa), measuring 
three feet by two ; Tartariiga cabeguda (found in the I§a); 
Tracaja, or Charapilla {Podocnemis) ; Cambehua, Aiassa, 
or Pitiu (an Eiays eight or ten inches long) ; Mata-mata 
{Chalys)\ Moussoua, and Jabuti-apparema. Of these, the 
first and third are eaten, the Charapilla being the richer 
of the two ; and their oily eggs are largely used to make 
"manteca," the butter of the country. The Charapa lays 
from 120 to 150 eggs in September; and the Charapilla 
from 30 to 40, a month earlier. The turtles are hunted 
as they go ashore to lay their eggs.f A proposal was late- 
ly made in the London Food Journal to establish a man- 
ufactory on the Amazons for canning turtles for exporta- 
tion. Such an enterprise, joined to the immense destruc- 
tion of eggs, would soon deprive the natives of their staff 
of life. At present, the average price of the large turtle 
is two dollars, and of the tracaja fifty cents. Another rep- 
tile, the ngly Iguana, which grows to the extreme length 
of five feet, is esteemed a great delicacy when fricasseed. 
Epicures compare it to frog's leg. 

Fishes swarm in endless variety. The great majority 

* Alligators are better travelers, being found .nbove the Falls of the Ma- 
deira, far up the Mamore and Beni. 

t Consequently the females almost exclusively are taken. The males are 
smaller, and go by different names. Thus, the male of the large turtle is 
called Capitari; of the Tracaja, Anaiurt, or Taricaia, in Peru. (See p. 297.) 

Amazonian Fishes. 


belong to the Cat-fish family (Siluridce), naked with bar- 
bels, and mainly to the group Pimelodina. The Lorica- 
7-ias, or cuirassed Silurids, are also comparatively numer- 
ous. Scale-fish seem to' be most abundant above the falls 
on the tributaries, and the skin-fish below. They are usu- 
ally captured by poisoning the water (as with " bai'basco "), 
and by means of spears, arrows, and hooks. A novel meth- 
od I witnessed on the Tapajos : two Indians di-agged a ca- 
noe lengthwise down stream, while a third followed after 
with a long palm-branch which provoked the fishes to leap 
out of the water, most of which fell into the canoe. 

The Pira-rucd. 

Pii-a-rucii, Payshi, or Anatto {Arapaima gigas), the Cod- 
fish of the Amazons, is the unixersal diet on the river, and, 
after rubber and cacao, the most important article of trade. 
It is sometimes found, but rarely, ten feet long, weighing 
300 pounds. It is covered with large, hard, red scales; 
has a smooth head, wide mouth, no barbels, and bands of 
rasp-like teeth in various parts of the mouth. It abounds 
in iagunes and clear water. Places, usually dry sand-banks. 

480 The Andes and the Amazons. 

where salting this fish for the market is made a business, 
are called feitorias — about the only factories on the river. 
The fish is coarse, and not relished by foreigners. 

Pescada, a scaly, silvery fish, attaining six pounds, has 
a delicious, white, flaky flesh, resembling fresh Cod-fish; 
abounds in the Solimoens and Tapajos. Tambaqui, called 
Gamitana on the Maranon {Myletes, one of the Gharaci- 
nidoB), is a very fine, large fish, found from the Negro to 
the Ucayali. It is often a yard long, having a fiat, keeled 
body, small scales, adipose fin, long anal and dorsal, nar- 
row mouth, and large, compressed teeth, which are strik- 
ingly human. Sungaro, in Brazil Tuberiin (a Pimelodus), 
is considered the largest fish in the river, and is edible, but 
is seldom taken. Pira-arara, having long barbels, small 
eyes on top of the head, and small teeth ; Pira-pieua, four 
feet long ; and Peixe-lenha ("fire-wood fish "), are also spe- 
cies of Pimelodus in the Amazons of Brazil, 

Tucunare {Cichla temensis) is a superior, edible fish 
from the Solimoens, about a foot long, one quarter as broad 
as long, with small scales, three black vertical bands, trun- 
cated tail, and small teeth. Corvina, or Rumi - challua, is 
another excellent fish resembling the Perch. Piranha, or 
Pygo, " Scissor-fish" (one of the Salmonidce), is very good 
eating, but is dreaded by bathers. It is a broad fish with 
sharp, projecting teeth. There are three kinds — black, 
white, and red ; the first is the best, and is two feet long. 
Acara-uassii {Meso7iauta), from the Solimoens and Mara- 
non, is eight inches long, black-banded and spiny-finned, 
and of fine quality. Acari, two kinds, six and twenty 
inches long, are Loricaria from the Middle and Lower 
Amazons. Pira-pitinga, or "Painted Fish," is a Silurid 
as large as the Tambaqui in the Solimoens; and with it 
occurs the Pira-catinga, or " Fetid Fish," about twenty 
inches lonar, and a savage biter. 

Edible Fishes. 481 

111 the Solimoens and its tributaries are also found the 
following: Curimota {Anodus Amasonum), very highly 
esteemed, characterized by a short dorsal fin in the middle 
of the body, small mouth, and no teeth in lower jaw ; pre- 
fers the rough waters. Surubim, or Pintado, a Platy sto- 
ma, four feet long, with six barbels, long snout, upper jaw 
projecting, forked tail, short spiny dorsal, and small adi- 
pose fin. Pira-uaca, the Platystorna j^lf^niceps of Agas- 
siz, same size and form as preceding. Pira-mutaba, a Pi- 
ramutana, twenty inches in length, with long adipose fin ; 
occurs also in the Negro and Madeira. Mandubi, fifteen 
inches long. Jaudia {Platystorna spatula), a spotted Silu- 
rid three feet long ; found also in the Tapajos. Jau, akin 
to Pira-arara, but shorter, with mottled green back and 
double spots; occurs also in the Tapajos, Juraqui, and Ma- 
more, ten inches long ; the latter very excellent. Mamai- 
aeu, covered with cuirass and spines. Besides, the little 
Uaracii and Matupiii, and three kinds of Sardinia. 

Pirahiva, a skin-fish with mackerel-tail, said to attain 
sixty pounds, is found in the Tapajos ; also the Aramassa, 
a small flat-fish. Candiru is the name of two eel-like fish- 
es ; and is also applied to three species of Ser^rasalmo, all 
dreaded by bathers. Parahyba is a large edible fish in 
the Negro. Dorada, Sabalo, Sapainania, Ciinche, Pana, 
Punuysiqui, and Uitochallua are Rio Mayo fishes. Dora- 
da, a kind of Tench, and Sabalo, a Carp, are said to occur 
also in the Upper Madeira. 

Besides the finny tribe, the natives eat Crabs, of which 
two kinds, Caranguejo and Camarao, are seen in the Soli- 
moens; and especially Fresh -water Clams (Anodontas) 
and Apple-shells {ATnpullaria), which abound from Para 

to Moyobainba. 


482 The Andes and the Amazons. 


After two journeys across the continent, my experience 
in meeting with venomous snakes and lurking wild beasts 
is so limited that I find it impossible to make a frightful 
paragraph nnder this head. The conclusion in my own 
mind is that my experience is due, not to my good luck, 
but to their absence. 

Pumas, Jaguars, and Tiger-cats slink through the dense 
forest, and are hunted for their skins. But the one, soli- 
tary live specimen which I saw in South America was in 
the arms of its owner — tame as a kitten!* Bates, after 
eleven years of residence, met only two. The Indians 
call the Jaguar " The Devil's Beast," and speak of nine 
kinds. The black is the most formidable animal on the 
continent, and it is dangerous to meet one alone. They 
are most common up the river. They are hunted by 
strings of Indians shouting and driving the game before 
them into a narrow strip of land. 

Alligators, or Caymans, are very common, except on the 
Lower Amazons. There are three or four kinds, of which 
the largest, called " Jacare - nassu," is twenty feet long. 
On land it waddles like a duck; but in the water it is 
agile and cunning. It can count more victims than any 
other animal in the valley. The vulnerable part is a 
small spot behind the eyes. Electric Eels abound, partic- 
ularly in the stagnant bays of the Brazilian rivers. The 
electric organs are along each side of the lower part of 
the tail. I have seen, also, hosts of leeches in the Negro. 
The natives accuse a slender Silurid fish {Vandellia) of 

* Brazilians, especially half-castes, have a passion for tamed animals. They 
pet not only monkeys and parrots, but also the tapir, peccary, deer, paca, 
agouti, macaw, curassow, toucan, and iguana. The Felidai of South America 
generally have spotted skins, while their relations in North America seldom 

Snakes and Spiders. 483 

eutering the nether openings of individuals while bathing ; 
hut I did not meet with one confirmatory case. Vam- 
pire Bats, measuring two feet in expanse, are not uncom- 
mon on the Middle Amazons ; but they are more diabol- 
ical in appearance than in heart. Bates considei's them 
the most harmless of bats. It is true, however, that small, 
gray Phyllostomas and large-eared Dymjpes do bleed men 
and beasts of burden. 

The most unwelcome snakes are — the spotted Jararaca 
iijrasjpedocephalits atrox) and the Surucucii {Lachesis mti- 
tus) of the Lower Amazons and Upper Kegro; the green 
Urrito-machacui, or " Parrot Snake ;" large, yellowish Hu- 
aninda, and little brown-banded Ilergon of the Maranon; 
the beautiful Coral -snakes, vermilion, with black bauds, 
frequenting cacao -plantations; and Rattle -snakes in the 
dry forests. There are few venomous species at the alti- 
tude of 3000 feet, and none over 6000.'^^ The Anaconda, 
or Sucurujii {Eunectes inurinus) is not venomous, and rare- 
ly attacks man. It is, however, more formidable than the 
Boa-constrictor, the Jiboa of the natives. Anacondas have 
occasionally been seen twenty-six feet long ; and the hoofs 
of horses have been found in the excrements. 

After Snakes, the large hairy Spiders (especially the 
Mygale avioularia, two inches long, called by natives 
" Crab-spiders ") are most to be dreaded, for they lurk any 
where, and their bite is often fatal. Centipedes and Scor- 
pions are repulsive enough, but their wound is seldom dan- 
gerous. The largest Centipede I have heard of measured 
eleven inches. "After twelve years in the tropics (says 

* A cup of strong coffee, brandy, or some other diffusive stimulant is eflS- 
cacious to keep up the action of the heart, when bitten. I suggest, also, a 
dose of quinine. But the wound should be cauterized. After a few minutes, 
any external application, as ammonia, is of no use. All Indians have the 
superstition that it is unlucky for a woman to kill a snake. Tigs and Trumpet- 
l)irds are natural enemies of snakes. 

484 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Wallace), I have never been bitten or stung by scorpion, 
spider, or centipede." 

INSECT plagues. 

But tlie most numerous and most dreaded of all animals 
on the Middle Amazons are the Insects. Nearly all kinds 
of articulate life here have either stiug or bite. The strong 
trade-wind keeps the Lower Amazons clear of the winged 
pests ; but soon after leaving Manaos, and especially on the 
Maranon in the rainy season, the traveler becomes inti- 
mately acquainted with lialf a dozen insects of torture : (1) 
The sanguinary Mosquito (so called in English America), 
the Carapana of Brazilians, and Zancudo of Spanish Amer- 
icans. The Ticuua Indians give it the very expressive 
name of Ah !* There are several species, most of them 
working at night ; but one black fellow with white feet is 
diurnal. They are most numerous in damp weather. Dr. 
Spruce experimented upon himself, and found that he lost, 
by letting the blood -letters have their own way, three 
ounces of blood per day. Great is the joy of their tiny 
souls when a fresh traveler comes along. The ceaseless 
irritation of these ubiquitous creatures makes life almost 
intolerable. The great Cortez, after all his victories, could 
not forget his struggles with these despicable enemies he 
could not conquer. Scorpions with cocked tails, spiders 
six inches in diameter, and centipedes running on all doz- 
ens, are not half so bad as a cloud of mosquitoes. I have 
yet to find the man who can see any useful or ornamental 
purpose in their creation. (2) The Piiim, or Sand-fly, a 
species of Tromhidium called Mosquito in Peru. It is 
a minute, dark-colored dipter with two triangular horny 

* The Indians have a special name for every strikingly good or evil animal 
or plant. Thus, the Tiipi has fifteen words for as many species of Bees. Ob- 
jects, however, not attractive in any sense are expressed under one general 

The Plague of Flies. 485 

lancets, which leave a small, circular red spot on the skin. 
It works by day, I'elieving the mosquito at sunrise. It is 
the great scourge of the Amazons. Many a paradisaic 
spot is converted into an Inferno by their presence. There 
are several species, which follow one another in succession 
through the day, all of them being diurnal. Their favor- 
ite region is said to be on the Cassiquiare and Upper Ori- 
noco. (3) The Maruim, which resembles the Piiim. They 
are infinitely numerous on the Jurua. Humboldt estimated 
there were a million to a cubic foot of air where he was. 
(4) The Mutiica, called Tabono on the Maranon {Hadaus 
lepidotus), resembling a small horse-fly, of a bronze-black 
color, with the tips of the wings transparent, and a formi- 
dable proboscis. Bates mentions another species {Pango- 
nia) on the Tapajos, with a lancet half an in-ch long. I 
observed the same on the Solimoens, where it is called 
" Mutiica grande." (5) The Moquim, or Ysangui of Peru- 
vians, a mici'oscopic scarlet Acarus, resembling a minute 
crab under the glass. It swarms on weeds and bushes, 
and on the skin causes an intolerable itching. An hour's 
walk through the grassy streets of Teffe was sufficient to 
cover my entire body with myriads of moquims, which it 
took a week and repeated bathing with rum to extermi- 
nate. (6) Carapatos, or Ticks (Ixodes), which mount to 
the tips of blades of grass, attach themselves to the clothes 
of passers-by, and bury their jaws and heads so deeply in 
the flesh that it is difficult to remove them without leavins: 
the proboscis behind to fret and fester. In sucking one's 
blood, they cause no pain; but serious sores, even ulcers, 
often result. The natives told me that they would never 
pass our india-rubber. I saw none on the Amazons, though 
plenty in Chachapoyas ; but Bates met them in dry places 
on the Lower Amazons. 

These few forms of insect life must forever hinder the 


The Andes and the Abiazons. 

settlement of the valley. It is true, however, that they 
have their migrations. Fonte Boa, for example, the para- 
dise of mosquitoes in Bates's time, is now nearly free from 
them. Besides .these, there are Ants {Cici in Quichiia) 
innumerable in species and individuals, and of all sizes, 
from the little red ant of the houses to the mammoth To- 
kand^ra, an inch and a half long. The latter, called Isiila 

An Aimy of Egitou Auts. 

in Peru, is a species of Cryptocerus; and I traced it from 
Santarem to Moyobamba. It bites fiercely, but rarely 
causes death. A single bite laid a man up in his ham- 
mock for two days ; but these tropical people take to their 
hammocks very easily. Dr. Spruce likens tlie pain to that 
of a hundred thousand nettles. My battle Avith Ecitons 
(Tauoca of the Indians) is given on page 225. They both 
bite and sting. On the Tapajos lives the terrible Fire-ant 
(" Forniiga do fogo "), whose sting is likened to the punct- 
ure of a red-hot needle. The Saiibas are not carnivorous. 

Insect Pests. 487 

but tliey make agriculture almost impossible. The only 
natural enemy of ants seems to be the Ant-eater, and this 
animal is rather rare ; so the ants are allowed to increase 
and multiply. The only means of safety is isolation by 
water. There are black and yellow Wasps {Monedula) ; 
but as they prey upon Mutiicas and Cockroaches, we will 
say nothing against them. The large hairy Caterpillars 
should be handled with care, as the irritation caused by 
the nettling hairs is sometimes a serious matter. Cock- 
roaches are great pests in the villages. Lice find a con- 
genial home on the unwashed Indians of every tribe, but 
particularly the Andeau. Jiggers and Fleas prefer dry, 
sandy localities; they are accordingly most abounding on 
the mountains. The Pacific slope is worthy of being called 
flea-dom. After passing a night in any Indian hut with 
these insatiate creatures, you are glad, as the author of 
Eothen said after stopping at fleay Tiberias, to pick up 
the wretched remains of your body long before morning 
dawns. In general, vermin are most common in wilder- 
nesses of recent growth and in sandy places. 

488 The Andes and the Amazons. 


The Valuable Woods in the Valley of the Amazons. 

How to meet the growing demand for timber is a ques- 
tion of considerable interest and importance. It rises to 
the dignity of a national topic. While the population of 
the United States increases in a decade thirty -five per 
cent., tlie increase of the consumption of wood is sixty- 
three per cent. England imports wood to the value of 
$60,000,000, or three times as much as her home produce. 
The temperate zones supply most of the woods of con- 
struction, while nearly all the ornamental woods come 
from tropical countries. No hard timber is found in the 
United States west of the one hundredth meridian, and 
all tlie great forests of South America are cisandine. 

No spot on the globe contains so much vegetable mat- 
ter as the valley of the Amazons. In it we may draw a 
circle a thousand miles in diameter, which will include an 
evergreen forest,* broken only by the i-ivers and a few 
grassy camjyos. There is a most bewildei-ing diversity of 
grand and beautiful trees — a wild, unconquered race of 
vegetable giants — draped, festooned, corded, matted, and 
ribboned with climbing and creeping plants, woody and 
succulent, in endless variety. The densest portion of this 

* In Central Brazil, most of the trees lose their leaves in the cool dry sea- 
son, between June and September. It is a singular fact that the advancing 
season does not follow the sun ; but while the sun is coming down from the 
northern altitudes, the Purus, e.g.^ is earlier than the Amazons, and the Am- 
azons than the Napo. The Assa'i ripens on the Purus a month or two earlier 
than on the main river. On the Marauon, the rainy season is a month later 
than on the Solimoens. 

The Forest of the Amazons. 489 

mass of verdure is along the base of the Andes, where the 
moisture and tempei-ature are combined in the right pro- 
portion — such as existed, doubtless, in the carboniferous 

The flowers are on the top. On many of the trees, not 
a single blossom is to be found at a less height than one 
hundred feet. The glory of the forest can be seen only 
by sailing in a balloon over the undulating, flowery surface 
above. There, too, in that green cloud are the insects and 
birds and monkeys. You are in " the empty nave of the 
cathedral, and the service is being celebrated aloft in the 
blazing roof." In place of mosses and lichens, the trunks 
and boughs are bearded with epiphytic orchids, ferns, til- 
landsias, cactuses, etc., frequently forming hanging gardens 
of great beauty. In ascending the river, the traveler, 
even if an acute botanist, is rarely able to distinguish in- 
dividual trees, save the Palms and certain lofty, dome- 
shaped crowns ; for the branches are so thoroughly inter- 
woven and so densely veiled with twiners and epiphytes, 
that one sees little more than a green wall. He might 
roam a hundred years in the Amazons thicket, and at 
the end find it impossible to classify the myriad, crowded, 
competing shapes of vegetation. The roots, even of the 
giants, are not deep. The temperature of the interior of 
the forest is generally lower than by the river-bank. 

Deposits In the Amazons Valley. 

190 The Andes a:s'd the Amazons. 

The Amazonian sjlva is naturally divided into : 1st. 
The Great or Virgin Forests {Caa-guacu of the Brazil- 
ians), which clothe the terra firma beyond the reach of 
inundations, and constitute the great mass of the vegeta- 
tion. Here grow the fine timber-trees and the most lordly 
trunks, as the Brazil-nut-trees.* The Palms are peculiar 
and few. 2d. The Low or White Forests {Caa-tinga), 
rich and varied, growing on the vargem, or occasionally 
flooded tracts. Palms, pao-mulatto, and wild cacao are 
characteristic forms. 3d. The Kiparial Forests {Ygajm) 
on lowlands bordering the rivers, and laid under water 
several months in the year. The soil is the most recent 
alluvium. Here thrive herbaceous plants, reeds, broad- 
leaved heliconias, and soft - wooded trees, as embaiibas. 
Besides these are the second-growth forests {Caa-jmh'a)^ 
and the scrubby campos. The woods growing in the 
salt marshes near Para have the general name of Mangiies, 
and consist mostly of Mangroves and Avicennias. The 
Virgin Forests are distinct " by the sombre foliage of the 
densely-packed, lofty trees, out of which stand — like the 
cupolas, spires, and turrets of a large city — dome-shaped 
or pyramidal or flat-topped crowns of still loftier trees, 
overtopping even the tallest palms." The Riparial are 
marked hj the varied tints of the foliage, by the greater 
abundance of palms and lianas, and by the humbler growth 
of the trees generally, which, begiiming at the water's 
edge as low bushes, increase in height as they advance 
inland, till they mingle with the sturdier primeval woods. 
The Riparial Forests, as we might suppose, have softer 
and more perishable timber, and also inferior fruits. 

* The leguminous order furnishes trees of the largest diameter. Von 
Martius mentions one 84 feet in circumference. But trees 200 feet high or 
25 feet around are rare. 

t A tropical forest, once cut down, never regains its original splendor. In 
the second growth we find different species of infeiior size. 

Ornamental Woods. 


A Giant of the Forest 

Nowhere in the world is there such an amount or such 
a variety of useful and ornamental woods as in the Virgin 
Forests which stand around the basin of the Great River. 
Over a hundred different kinds of highly valuable woods 
have been cut from a piece of land less than half a mile 
square. Of these many were dark-colored veined woods, 
susceptible of a higli polish — as beautiful as rose-wood or 
ebony. But the development of this industry has not even 
begun. Tliere are only two saw-mills on the river be- 

492 The Andes and the Amazons. 

tween Para and the Andes — namely, at Manaos and Iqiii- 
tos. When the natives want a plank, they cut down a 
tree and hew it with a hatchet. Common cedar or itaiiba 
boards, sixteen feet long and eight inches wide, are worth 
$18 a dozen at Manaos, and cabinet woods bring 45 cents 
a metre. Several hundred kinds of choice woods, hard 
and heavy, finely tinted and close-grained, abound, with 
water-power on every tributary, and a highway by river 
and ocean to Europe and America ; yet enough goes to rot 
every year to enrich an empire. It is a singular fact that 
dead timber is rarely to be seen in the heart of the Great 
Forest. It seems to go to dust almost immediately after 
its fall, the process of destruction being accelerated by in- 
sects. The like rapid decay of fallen timber was noticed 
by Tennent in Ceylon. 

There are three drawbacks to lumbering on the Ama- 
zons : first, the scarcity of labor ; second, the high export 
duty; and, third, the fact that' the trees of any one kind, 
though abundant, are scattered. While we have our for- 
ests of oak, pine, and hemlock, in the tropics diversity is 
the law. Rarely do we see half a dozen trees of the same 
species together.* 

The design of this chapter is to give some observations 
made by the writer during two voyages up and down the 
Great River. One discovery made was the difficulty of 
obtaining reliable information from the natives ; and an- 
other was the great confusion' caused by the inhabitants 
of different provinces calling the same tree by different 
names. Then, too, most of the forest trees are unknown 

* The groves of Miriti palms on the Lower Amazons are exceptional. 
In the tropics, says Charles Kingsley, "no two plants seem alike. Stems 
rough, smooth, prickly, round, fluted, stilted, upright, sloping, branched, 
arched, jointed, opposite-leaved, alternate-leaved, leafless, or covered with 
leaves of every conceivable pattern, are jumbled together, till the eye and 
brain are tired of continually asking, What next ?" 

Amazonian Mahogany. 


to science, having never been seen by botanists in flower. 
So far as determined, they are referred to their proper or- 
der and genns. Of the others, some, though bearing dis- 
tinct names, may be identicaL 

Cedko, the Brazilian Mahogany. — It is not coniferous, 
and, therefore, not a true cedar ; nor is it always fragrant, 
like the American cedar of Central America. It is one of 
the CedrelacecB j' but whether it is a variety of G. odorata 

Leaves and Flowers of the Cedro. 

or a distinct C. Brasiliensis is not certain. Some surmise 
that it is the Idea altissima of the Myrrh order. The 
wood is somewhat resinous, fragile, and porous, often un- 
dulating, seldom aromatic; and as it floats on water (its 
specific gravity ranging between 0.6 and 0.7), while the 

494 The Andes and the Amazons. 

majority of forest trees sink, it is the main wood seen float- 
ing down the Amazons. It is the most common timber of 
the country — the pine of Brazil and Peru — and grows all 
along the river. That growing on high ground is the best. 
Trees have been found seven feet in diameter and one 
hundred high. There are two varieties — the white or yel- 
low, which is worthless, and the red, which is much used 
for cabinet-work and canoe-building. At Moyobamba they 
speak of three kinds — Cedro (white), Huasca-cedro (red), 
and Rnmi-cedro (bright red). In the Montana grows also 
the Cedron maclio {Hiiertea grandulosa), a valuable wood. 
The flowers of the Cedro are small and white, grouped in 
terminal panicles. The leaves are pinnate and opposite. 
The wood is not proof against insects. 

AcAPTJ", the "Wacapou" or "Black Heart" of foreign- 
ers. — It is the Andira auhletii, one of the Leguminosoe. 
This is the most durable ship-timber in Amazonia, resist- 
ing the teredo. Inland it is largely used as uprights in 
construction. There are two kinds — that of terroj firma 
(the best) and that of the lowlands. The wood is heavy, 
hard, and of a light-brown color, sometimes mottled brown 
and white. It has a lofty, naked trunk, yielding clear 
timber sixty feet long. Acapil is the pride of the Brazil- 
ians, being invaluable in the naval art, and admirably fit- 
ted for piles and railroad-ties, as it endures moisture and 
is tough. The leaves are alternate; the flowers in pani- 
cles. It grows the whole length of the main river, and I 
have seen it on the Huallaga. 

Sabokana. — This fine wood resembles Acapii, but does 
not appear to be so heavy. I have found it only on the 
Lower Amazons. It is used by the carpenters of Manaos. 

Itauba, or IcAUBA, the " Stone-wood " of the Amazons, 
belonging to the Laurels. — One of the most valuable and 
most common woods in the valley. It is hard, heavy, and 

Toktoise-Shell Wood. 495 

firm, and is largely used in building schooners and for 
flooring houses. As ship-timber it is as durable as teak. 
It often occurs four feet through and from thirty to sixty 
feet high. There are two kinds — yellow and black. The 
former, /. amarella, resembles maple ; the other, /. jpreta, 
is very hard, dark-colored, and close-grained. Both grow 
from the Tapajos to the Huallaga. 

MoiEA-piNiMA, the "Tortoise -shell -wood" or "Snake- 
wood " of dealers {moira or 7nuira is Tupi for wood).— It 
is called also " Buracurra," " Paira," and " Pao-tavtaruga." 
This is probably the most beautiful wood in the world, but 
is unfortunately very scarce. It is the heart (about six 
inches diameter) of a tree which is ten feet in circumfer- 
ence and sixty feet high. It belongs to the same order as 
the Bread Fruit, and is the Brosimxim discolor of Gama, 
but the Piratinera Guianensis of English botanists. The 
outer wood is white and hard; but the heart is a rich 
chestnut brown, mottled with cloudy, amber-colored spots, 
and is the densest wood in Brazil, if not in the world — its 
specific gravity being 1.358 — but is rather brittle. It used 
to come to market in sticks about three inches in diameter 
and a yard in length, and even these wei-e often worm- 
eaten and otherwise imperfect. It was worked up into 
canes and other fancy articles. But at present not a stick 
or cane of the genuine article is sold in Para or Manaos, 
Imitations are made by staining the Palo de Sangre. It 
formerly grew on the Tapajos and the Trombetes ; but it 
is now found only up the Rio Branco, back from the river, 
in the depths of the forest, near the boundary-line of En- 
glish Guiana. The bark yields a milk. The leaves are al- 
ternate, stiff, elliptical, and about two and a half inches 
long. Flowers monoecious. 

M01EA.-COATIAKA, or " Striped Wood." — This is probably 
a leguminous tree, of the genus Machoermm. It attains 

496 The Andes and the Amazons. 

the height of from sixty to one hundred feet, but the logs 
as obtained by tlie natives are only about ten feet long and 
one foot through. The wood is the central part, and is 
close-grained, richly streaked with chocolate brown on a 
yellow ground. The bark is a dirty yellow. It abounds 
on the Tapajos, and very likely throughout the Brazilian 
Amazons. I have not seen it above Fonte Boa. Query. 
— Is the Coatiara related to the Itaka wood of Guiana ? 

MoiRA-pusHUKA. — I can say little of this wood, as I 
only heard of it at Santarem, where it grows. It resem- 
bles black walnut, and is made into furniture. The largest 
trees are two feet through. 

MoiRA-piEANGA, or " Rcdwood." — This is the Ifimusojjs 
halata (one of the Sa^otacece), and belongs, therefore, to 
the same genus as the Bullet-tree of Guiana and the Ma- 
9aranduba. The wood is of a rich cherry-red color, some- 
times with a violet cast, solid, heavy, and takes a high 
polish. It is used by the Indians for battle-axes, and, as it 
is very durable, it promises to be well adapted for ship- 
building. The trunk is sixty feet long and six feet in di- 
ameter. It yields a milky juice very similar to gutta-per- 
cha (which belongs to the same order), and may prove of 
commercial value. A single tree, it is said, will give over 
400 grams. It has a dark-gray bark with emetic proper- 
ties, aromatic flowers, oily seeds, and alternate elliptical 
leaves. It grows chiefly on the Rio Japnra, Rio Negro, 
and Solimoens, but is found also in French Guiana and 
Martinique. This wood held a prominent place in the 
Paris Exposition. 

MoiKA-TiNGA, the " White or King Tree."— This is one 
of the most conspicuous trees on the Amazons, rising from 
90 to 120 feet, and of proportional diameter. The timber, 
however, is not of first quality — neither compact nor en- 
during. The milk which exudes is used for rheumatism. 

Ornamental Woods. 497 

It is a leguminous tree. I did not notice it on the Ma- 

MoiKA-TAUA. — I can not speak of the relations of this 
tree, having seen only the wood. This is heavy and light- 
colored, but rather coarse-grained. It grows at Fonte 
Boa. It is possible that it is the sarae as the Tauari of 
the Maranon (Couratari), which has a dark-red heart, very 
dense and heavy, and well lltted for construction. The 
inner bark of the Tauari separates into thin, papery layers, 
much used for cigarettes. 

Palo de Ckuz, or " Wood of the Cross," the Lignum- 
vit(B of Brazil. — It is a comparatively small tree (legumi- 
nous), not over two feet in diameter, consisting of a white 
wood inclosing a black and intensely hard heart, and from 
the fancied cruciform section it sometimes presents it de- 
rives its name. It is susceptible of a fine polish, and is 
chiefly made into canes. It is almost confined to Pebas, 
on the Maranon. 

Palo de Sangke, or "Blood -wood."^ — This is a very 
beautiful wood, of a red color, somewhat lighter than that 
of Moira-piranga, fine-grained, hard, and receiving a good 
polish. The tree, which has a white bark, grows only on 
the Maranon and its tributaries, particularly near the foot 
of the Andes. 

Pao d'Aeco, or Moira-apara of the Indians (by whom it 
is used for bows-^hence the name). — The tree (a Bigno- 
nia) is very tall and slender, with a rough bark. There are 
two kinds— the red and the black. The latter is the best, 
and is as useful and durable as hickory. It is found on 
the Solimoens, and even in the southern province of Espi- 
rito Santo. 

Pao-ferro, or " Iron-wood," called also JucA. — This is 

among the most important woods of the South American 

forest. It is a leguminous tree of medium height — the 


498 The Andes and the Amazons. 

OcBsalpinea ferrea of science. The wood is reddish black, 
very hard and heavy (sp. gr. 1.086), and durable under 
water or in wet places. It is admirably fitted for all kinds 
of construction — as houses, bridges, ships, etc. The leaves 
are opposite, and the racemose flowers yellow. Pao-ferro 
grows on the Rio Negro and the Lower Amazons. The 
Pao-ferro of Rio is Swartzia tomentosa. 

Pao - SETIM, or " Satin-wood." — This precious wood is 
very close-grained, heavy, and durable, of a deep-yellow 
color, and is used for veneering, inlaying, picture-frames, 
etc. It has more lustre than the Oriental Satin - wood 
{Chloroxylon), and belongs to an entirely different order 
— the Ehenaceoi. It is probably the same species {Maba 
Guia7iensis) as the West Indian. Logs can be procured 
eight inches square and ten feet long. It is said to grow 
in Peru. 

Pao-Brasil, or " Brazil-wood," known among the Tupi- 
speaking tribes as Ibira-pitanga (Red-wood), and doubtless 
identical with the Pnna-caspa on the Huallaga. — Botanists 
call it Ccesalpinea eehinata, a leguminous species, related 
to Pao-ferro. The leaves are bipinnate, the flowers are in 
racemes, and the branches spinous. The bark is reddish, 
the wood fiery red, compact, tough, and heavy, having a 
specific gravity of 1.129. It is very durable in moist 
grounds, and would be verj' serviceable in the construction 
of railroads and bridges. It is chiefly valuable, however, 
for its dye. It has a wide range, growing around Rio, at 
Pernambuco, along the main Amazons, and up the Napo 
and Huallaga. 

Pao-mtjlatto, called Capirona on the Maraiion. — It is 
allied to the Cinchonas {Euhylista Spruceana), and grows 
every where on the flooded lands of the Amazons, far up 
the Andean tributaries, to the altitude of 2000 feet. It is 
a tall, elegant tree (from eighty to one hundred feet) con- 

Ornamental Woods. 499 

spicnous from its polished dark-green trunk. It bears fra- 
grant corymbs of small, white flowers. The wood is light 
and tough, and is used for beams in houses. But, from 
its abundance and the readiness with which it burns while 
green, it supplies most of the fuel consumed by the Am- 
azonian steamers. It is probably the same ti-ee that the 
Napo Indians call Sindicaspa, meaning " the wood that 
burns," a special provision in these damp forests, where 
every thing is dripping with moisture. 

Pao-busha resembles ash, but is of little worth as tim- 
ber. It grows on the Lower Amazons and Rio Negro. 

Pao-santo, or "Holy -wood" — {Guiacum officinale). 
Much used in carving images. Called also " Guayacan " 
on the Andes, to the slopes of which it is confined. 

Pao-peeto, or " Black-wood." — This name, so far as we 
can learn, does not belong to a definite species, but is ap- 
plied to several dark- colored woods growing along the 
whole river. The ebony heart of the Palo de Cruz is a 
Pao-preto. The Palo-prieto of Mexico has a smooth, green 
bark, tall straight trunk, and evergreen foliage. 

Pao-eosa, or " Rose - wood." — There is some confusion 
as to the trees furnishing this fine timber, probably aris- 
ing from the fact that several distinct kinds yield a Rose- 
wood. The true Pao-rosa is a leguminous tree — Tripto- 
lomea (formerly Physocalymma) floribunda. The wood 
is rose -colored, fragrant, with a hard, close texture, well 
fitting it for construction and cabinet-work. The best lo- 
cality is on the Rio Japura. The Rose-wood of Guiana is 
a laurel. Cabiuna, or " Bois de Palissandre," belongs to 
Southern Brazil. 

Jacaeanda, the " Rose - wood " of commerce {Bignonia 
Brasiliana of most botanists; by others considered a le- 
guminous tree). Evidently several kinds of timber bear 
this name. One is a Macherhcm, and another Dolbergia. 

500 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Rose-wood exhibits large elongated zones of black irregu- 
lar lines on a reddish-brown ground of various tints and 
high lustre. The grain varies from coarse to fine. It is 
limited to the Lower Amazons and to Eastern Brazil. The 
Jacaranda branco of Southern Brazil is quite another 
wood — white, knotty, light, and fragile (the Platypodium 

Samauma, or Eriodendron, another monarch of the for- 
est, having a lofty, dome-shaped crown, and rarely putting 
forth a branch until it has overtopped all the trees around. 
It has been found '200 feet high. The timber, however, is 
not of prime quality. It is most abundant on the Lower 

JuTAHi, or Jetahy, " Copal- wood." — This also is a pa- 
triarch of the forest, from 150 to 180 feet high, with a 
gigantic trunk, sometimes sixty feet around and supported 
by huge buttresses. Generally, however, the trunk is forty 
feet long and three or four feet in diameter. The bark 
resembles that of the English Oak. It is a Hymencea, 
bearing two specific names, Mirabilis and Martianna ; 
probably not the H. Courbaril, or "West Indian Locust- 
tree. There are two kinds: the high yields copal; the 
low has a poisonous juice. The wood is dark-colored, and 
intensely hard, tough, and dense. It is used for rollers 
and cogs in sugar- mills, for beams and planks in heavy 
engine-work, and for treenails in planking vessels. It oc- 
curs throughout the valley. 

MAgAEANDi^BA, or " Cow - tree." — This wonderful tree, 
one of the largest of the forest monarchs, is the Mimusops 
elata, belonging, therefore, to the same order and genus as 
the Moira-pirauga.* It stands from 180 to 200 feet high 
and 20 feet in circumference, crowned with a vast dome of 

* On page 288, the Ma9aranduba is confounded with the Palo de Vaca, 
which is an Artocarpad. The "Cow-tree" of Guiana is a Galactodendron. 

Ma9Aranduba oe Cow-tree. 


foliage. It lias entire, alternate leaves, a deeply -scored, 
reddish, ragged bark (used for dying cloth), palatable fruit 
and milk, and a hard, fine-grained, heavy (sp, gr. 1.172), 
reddish wood, very durable in water — more so than Itaiiba 
even — and the toughest of all the Amazonian woods, yet 
splitting easily. It is largely used for construction and for 

Leaves, Frnit, aud Flower of Map aranduba. 

furniture, and would be admirable for ship-building. The 
young trees have a dark -red centre, surrounded with a 
white softer wood. It grows on dry lands along the whole 
length of the Great River, from Para to the Upper Mara- 
non, also on the Rio Negro, and probably other affluents. 

LoiRo, or LouRO, one of the most useful woods in Brazil, 
and growing every where on the Amazons and Maranon. 

502 The Andes and the Amazons. 

— It is the Cordia excelsa ov frondosa of science, of which 
there are fo-ur varieties : L.pardo, L.^reto, L. batata, and 
L. hranco. It is a high tree, with a trunk over sixty feet 
long and a foot and a half in diameter, alternate leathery 
leaves and panicled flowers. The light-yellow variety is 
fragrant, and makes excellent lumber, being largely used 
in flooring, making tables, doors, etc. The dark-colored, 
however, is harder, and best for boat - building and the 

CuMAEtJ, or " Tonka- wood." — This tree, the leguminous 
Dipterix odorata, is about forty feet high by twenty inch- 
es in diameter, growing on the Lower Amazons, and yield- 
ing fragrant seeds, well known as tonka-beans. The wood 
is hard, fine-grained, and very durable, and is used for the 
same piirposes as Jutahi. 

Sapdpiea. — This is an exceedingly rare and precious 
wood. Its botanical afiinities are unknown to me, but it 
is probably leguminous. It is a high tree, and the wood, 
light-brown near the surface, is within deep-brown, thick- 
ly speckled with yellow. It is so excessively hard and 
close that it is sometimes turned into goblets and into 
mortars for pounding coffee. It grows on the Tapajos, 
Negro, and Solimoens. 

Sapucaya. — This is one of the tallest trees in the Bra- 
zilian forest, and bears in capsules, having a lid (" Mon- 
key's Drinking -cups"), very rich edible nuts. It is the 
Lecythis ollaria, with alternate leaves, showy flowers, and 
yellowish bark. The wood is light-red, heavy (sp. gr. 1.077), 
and hard, but not very durable. We have seen branchless 
trunks fifty feet high. It grows abundantly on the Lower 
Amazons and Rio Negro. 

Castanheiko, or " Brazil-nut-tree." — This is the Bertho- 
lettia excelsa, which yields the well-known triangular nuts 
of commerce. It is one of the noblest trees of the Ama- 

Brazil-nut Tree. 


zons, in aspect and foliage not unlike a gigantic chestnut- 
tree. It grows along all the Brazilian rivers in the valley, 
but not on the Marauon. Specimens have measured fully 
200 feet high. The wood, like that of its relative, the Sa- 
pucaya, is not very durable, lasting but two or three years 
in the tropics; but it might be very enduring in another 

Leaves, Nut, and Flower of Sapucaya. 

GuAEitiBA is a reddish wood of the texture of Plard Ma- 
ple, growing on the Maranon. 

CopAHiBA, CoPAivA, Or CijpatJba. — This tree, the Miro- 
carpus coj)aifera, furnishes the well-known resinous oil 
of materia medica. It is a high tree, growing on the terra 
firma all along the Amazons. The wood resembles pine. 

504 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Macaca-ijba. — This is a tree of considerable height, fur- 
nishing a close-grained, very hard wood of a light- red or 
mottled-red color. It is found throughout the valley, but 
best grows near Moyobamba, where it is called Quinilla, 

PaeacTJ-uba, or Indian " Teak," from its excellence for 
boat-building. — The wood has a cherry color, and is very 
hard and durable. The natives use it for harpoons. The 
tree is lofty, with a white bark, and grows every where on 
the river. 

AMBAtJBA, or Embauba, the "Powder -tree." — It is the 
Cecropia jpeltata, belonging to the Bread-fi-uit order. It 
abounds on the Solimoens and Amazons generally. It is 
a comparatively slender tree, with large palmate leaves, 
and a smooth white bark, and the stems are hollow be- 
tween the nodes. Its light, porous timber furnishes the 
best charcoal for powder. To be distinguished from the 
Morototo (Panax), another white tree abounding all along 
the river. 

Andartjba, or Andiroba. — This is a tall tree {Xylocar- 
pus caropd) growing on the Brazilian Amazons, which 
furnishes a good sliip- timber, fine-grained and durable. 
The nuts yield oil. 

Guajira, or Gdajuru. — A rosaceous tree (Chrysohola- 
nus Icaco), most valued for its medicinal bark and leaves. 
The wood is brittle, and the trunk, which resembles a 
fluted column, not over fifteen inches in diameter. It is 
used for rails. 

IpEtJNA. — This is called the hardest wood in Brazil, and 
belongs to the Bignoniads. But I know nothing further 
about it. 

SicupiRA, or SucopiRA. — There are two leguminous trees 
bearing this name. S. parda {Bowdichia virgilioides) is 
a tree about seventy-five feet trunk, with a diameter of 
four feet. Tlie bark is bitter, and the wood is dark-color- 

Timber Tkees. 505 

ed, with white veins, having a specific gravity of 1.116, 
and proverbial for its durability in contact with water. It 
is considered one of the best woods for naval construction. 
It grows on the Solinioens, the Lower Amazons, and near 
Rio. The Sicupira amarella {Ferreirea spectabilis) is a 
yellow, lighter wood, resembling teak, well adapted for 
building purposes ; but 1 am not sure of its occurrence in 
the valley. 

Takembijca, or " Bois d GendreP — This lofty, immense 
tree, sometimes seven feet in diameter, has a light -red 
wood with a black centre, excellent for ship-building. It 
grows at Fonte Boa. 

Caimito. — This is a hard, reddish wood, of fine texture, 
from the Lucuma Caimito, growing on the Maranon. 

Onnant, or Pao de Beeo. — This resinous tree, of the 
Gamboge order {Symjyhonia globulifera), grows in humid 
places on the Middle and Lower Amazons, as also at Per- 
nambuco and Bahia. The wood is highly valued for both 
civil and naval construction. The leaves are lanceolate 
and the flowers terminal. 

EsTOBAQtTE. — This is another Peruvian wood, excellent 
for construction, of the color of Maple, but tougher. It is 
a large tree, with whitish bark. 

AcARi-cTJAEA. — The very durable wood of a high tree, 
two feet in diameter, growing at Fonte Boa. 

AcAEi-tJBA. — This appears to be a kind of Cedro' — a 
yellowish wood, very durable, and used for canoes. The 
tree is high, but only eighteen inches in diameter. It is 
found from Fonte Boa down. 

Caeapana-uba. — This is a white, fine-grained, not very 
heavy wood, growing at Fonte Boa. 

Paenauba is a " White Cedar," found from Para to the 

Pashiuba, or " Biff-bellied Palm." — -This is one of tb.e 

506 The Andes and the Amazons. 

few palms yielding useful timber. It is the Iriartea har- 
rigudo, easily recognized by its bulging stem and buttress 
roots. It is found on the Solimoens and Maraiion. The 
wood is very durable, and is used for rough building. 

Maeupa. — This is a light, whitish, soft wood, resembling 
pine, but not valued much on the Amazons. 

Jarana.^ — A pink-colored wood, splitting easily, grow- 
ing on the Rio Negro. 

Genipapo. — A large Cinchona-tree, having a good, flexi- 
ble wood, useful for many purposes. The Indians make 
spoons of it, and paint themselves with the dark-purple 
juice of the green fruit. 

Cuiinvi, another Maraiion timber, resembling Maple. 

Baeas, a white, soft wood, also from the Marafion, used 
as beams in houses, but comparatively of small value. 

Chonta. — This is a general term in Quichua for Palm. 
The one I refer to is the Bactris ciliata, a very hard, dark- 
colored, elastic wood of the Marafion, from which the In- 
dians make bows, spears, and the points of arrows. An- 
other Chonta (a species of Eihterpe) is used in construc- 
tion on the Huallaga. The wood of the Pupunha Palm is 
tough and black, taking a fine polish, and is called " Chou- 
tadura" on the Upper Marafion. 

Ejibueana. — This valuable wood is white, fragrant, 
moderately firm and heavy, and much sought after for 
building and furniture purposes. The tree {Bursera lep- 
tophlceos) is lofty, about three feet in diameter, and grows 
around the head-waters of tlie Tocantins. 

Chimico-caspa. — A reddish, light, rather soft wood from 
the Marafion. 

Agtjano, or " Mahogany." — This is a gigantic tree even 
for the tropical forest. It is probably not identical with 
the Swietenia raahogoni of Central America — the Mahog- 
any of commerce j but it resembles it in color, and it is a 

Timber Teeks. 507 

choice wood in the Montana. It grows on the western 
tributaries of the Maranon, as the Napo and Huallaga, 
where it is used in canoe-building, etc. 

CocoBOLO. — An excellent timber of Moyobamba, the 
heart of a very large tree. It is reddish and very strong ; 
often used for making the cogs of wheels. 

Jacaee-uba, the Palo Maria of Bolivians and Calojphyl- 
lum Brasiliense of science, is an elastic wood used for 
making canoes. The trunk is a yard in diameter. 

CuMATSiBA, a very hard, heavy, reddish wood with a 
white bark, from tlie Ucayali ; sometimes confounded 
with the 

Aleso {Betida acuminata) is one of the most abundant 
and useful trees in the Quitonian Andes, descending the 
Pastassa to near 4000 feet. 

LupUNA, one of the largest trees on the Huallaga, has a 
gray bark and umbrella-like top. The wood is used for 
building ; and rails of it are taken down the Maranon on 
the steamers. 

AssAEQTJiEo is a large tree on the Upper Maranon, 
resembling Cinchona; the wood is not hard, but dura- 

Chawinto. — The very tough wood of the Gtiayusa, 
used at Moyobamba. Sacha-vacca chawinto is another 
very hard, reddish wood, of the same region. 

Saugee de Deago. — This is the strong, red wood of a 
species of Croton which grows around Moyobamba — a 
straight tree of eighty feet, with black shining bark and 
buttress roots. 

Balsa, or Cefba. — An exceedingly light white wood, 
the " Raft- wood " of the Upper Maranon. It resembles 
our Cotton -wood. The tree {OcTiroma j)iscatoria) is 
about as large as the Maple, and the fruit has a cotton-like 
covering, used for mattresses. The raft-wood-trees on the 

508 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Rio Negro are species of Malonetia, while the Orejones 
use the hollowed trunk of the Iriartea Palm. 

TocTE, or "Walnut." — An undescribed species of Ju- 
glans growing on the eastern slopes of the Quitonian An- 
des, at the altitude of 5000 feet, and at Chachapoyas. 

Beead-fruit-tkee. — The"Jak"of the Amazons, intro- 
duced and cultivated from Para to the Andes. It fur- 
nishes a valuable timber for building-purposes, very dura- 
ble and strong. A native species — Artocarpus Brasili- 
ensis — grows on the Lower Amazons. 

AsNA and Punchana, resembling Maple; Espino and 
PucA-MOTNA, hard, red woods ; Alfako and Cacha-moyna, 
white woods; Quilla - moyna, a yellow wood; Huayna- 
CASPA, resembling cedar; and Indano, very strong and 
durable, are valuable construction woods, growing on the 
Maran on, particularly around Moyobamba. 

Fkuit m THE Valley of the Amazons. 



The Fruits of the Amazons, Edible and Medicinal. 

The valley of the Amazons, so remarkable for the abun- 
dance and variety of its timbers, is equally rich in the 
other products of the vegetable kingdom. The field is 
so vast, it can hardly be said to have been explored ; but 
enough has been seen to justify the remark that if the val- 
ley is not the Ophir of Solomon, as some suppose, it is cer- 
tainly worthy of the name. The industrial, medicinal, and 
food plants already known and used are beyond enumera- 
tion ; but when science and commerce shall have threaded 
every part of the great forest, an immense harvest will be 
reaped. It should be remembered, also, that almost ev- 
ery product at present utilized is taken directly from the 
hand of Nature. Very few articles have been altered by 
cultivation, by the chemist, or by the ingenuity of man: 
there is no horticultural society between Para and Lima. 
The fruits attain a larger size on the Middle and Upper 
Amazons than on the Lower. 

The Pine-apple {An- 
anassa sativa) is culti- 
vated in almost every 
lai'ge village throughout 
the Amazons. There are 
three kinds — abacaxis, 
ananas, and curand. 
The first is the largest 
and best, of a conical 
shape, and confined to Pine-appie. 

510 The Andes and tue Amazons. 

the region of Para. The third is larger in diameter than 
the andna, which is the ordinary variety. Wild pine-apples 
abound in the campos, about the size of an apple, having 
the true flavor, but little pulp. 

Ata {Anona squamosa), called " Pinha " in Pernambu- 
co and Bahia, and " Fruto do Conde " in Rio. It grows 
wild on a tree in the neighborhood of Santarem, and is 
one of the most delicious fruits in the tropics, rivaling the 
Chiriraoya and Mangosteem. It is about as large as an 
orange ; and its scaly rind, incrusted on the inside with 
sugar, incloses a rich, custardy pulp, having the flavor of 
perfumed cream. 

Fruto do Conde {Ano7ia imiricata), called " Ata " at 
Rio. — This is similar to the custard-apple, but has a smooth, 
pear-colored skin. It grows sparingly at Manaos. 

BiEiBA is the name of a favorite fruit cultivated at Fonte 
Boa, related to the Ata, but much larger, being five inches 
in diameter. 

Papaw {Carica paj)aya), by Brazilians called " Mamao, 
is a large melon -shaped fruit, of an orange -yellow color, 
growing on a herbaceous tree, cultivated particularly on 
the wooded slopes of the Andes. It is eaten raw when 
ripe, like water-melon, and is considered wholesome and 
anthelmintic. "When fully grown, but not ripe, it is cook- 
ed, resembling in flavor vegetable marrow. Meat boiled 
with it is made tender. " Indeed," says Mr. Spruce, " I 
know that a tough parrot or macaw grows tender when 
wrapped for some time in the leaves." 

Sapott (^cAyas sapota), or Sapotilla, a very sweet fruit, 
of the size of an egg and with a yellowish-brown exterior, 
is most abundant in the eastern valleys of Peru. 

Abio {Achras cainito) resembles the former. It is very 
sweet, about as large as an orange, with a yellow exterior 
and light-blue interior. 

Amazonian Frltt. 


PiKii. is the large fruit of a lofty tree, having a hollow 
chamber between the pulp and kernel, beset with spines. 
It is not palatable to foreigners. It yields an oil of which 
a bntter is made. I noticed it only at Santarem. 

Jaeute-pe, or " Tortoise -foot," is a scaled fruit, about 
two inches in diameter, inclosing seeds and a richly-flavor- 
ed pulp. The small tree which yields it is not cultivated, 
but grows wild in the Middle Amazons. It is unknown 
on the coast. 

CuMA, or SoRVA, is not unlike a Seckel pear ; but the 
hard skin contains a gummy milk 
and a delicious pulp. The Cuma- 
tree (one of the Dogbanes) is also 
restricted to the elevated parts of 
the Solimoens. 

Pama, an uncultivated stone- 
fi'uit, is oblong in shape, but oth- 
erwise resembling a cherry. The 
tree is one of the loftiest in the 
forest of the Middle Amazons. 

Cajij {Anacardhim occidentale) 
is the fruit of a Terebinth, abound- 
ing in dry, sandy soils from Santa- 
rem to Moyobamba. It has the r-vjuNut 

shape and size of an or- 
dinary pear, vdth a kid- 
ney-shaped nut at the 
lower end. An excellent 
wine (considered anti- 
syphilitic) is made from 
the fruit, and the nuts 
are roasted and eaten. 
Abacate {Persea gra- 
Abacate Pear. tissimct), or " Alligator 


The Andes and the Amazons. 

Pear," called " Palta " on the Andes. — Tliis delicious frnit 
is the product of a tall Laurel-tree with dome-shaped top, 

growing on all the Amazons, 
but particularly on the Mara- 
iion. The unctuous pulp al- 
ways recommends itself to a 
refined taste by its wonder- 
fully delicate and peculiar 

GuAVA, or GoiABA, resem- 
bles a small Pomegranate, and 
is used for making an excel- 
lent though astringent jelly. 
The tree (a scrubby Psidium) 
grows sparingly throughout 
the valley; I observed it at 

Jabdti-caba {Eugenia cau- 
lifiora) is one of the most 
agreeable fruits of Brazil, and makes a good wine. It is 
cultivated at Para. 

AKA9A {Psidium araga), the "Apple of Brazil." — There 
are three kinds: A. cor6a,A. miri, and A. hoi. It is the 
yellow fruit of a shrub, five or ten feet high, cultivated 
along the Lower and Middle Amazons. 

Gkumixt5'ma is another dessert-fruit, associated with tlie 

Jaca {Arthrocarpea integrifolia) is the largest fruit in 
Brazil, being three feet in diameter. It is the bread-fruit 
of some regions. A small variety, six inches in diameter, 
grows at Fonte Boa. 

iMBtj is a valuable fruit of Bahia, coming from the in- 
terior of the province, not far from the Tocantins. It is 
eaten with cream, like strawberries. 

Oranges and Bananas. 513 

Genipapo {Genipa Brasiliensis) is a fruit eaten with 
sugar. The tree belongs to the Cinchona family, and 
grows on the Lower Amazons. 

Maeacuja {Passiflora alata) is a wild fruit of the size 
of a pear, found on the Brazilian Amazons. There are two 
kinds : M. assu and M. miri. 

Oeanges, or Naeanjas, abound the whole length of the 
river; those of Moyobamba probably have no superior. 
The trees blossom all the year round, but especiall}' in 
January. The orange has one quality wanting in all other 
tropical fruits — a blending of the sweet and aromatic fla- 
vors with the acidulous. All others are either too sac- 
charine or too acid. Sour oranges, lemons, limes, and sweet 
lemons are grown sparingly on the Amazons. Indeed, any 
fruit which requires cultivation is very scarce. 

Pupt5^nha {Guilielma speciosa), or "Peach Palm;" on 
the Peruvian slope called Pisho-guayo, or " Bird-fruit." — 
This celebrated fruit has the color and size of a peach. 
Bates compares it in taste to a mixture of chestnuts and 
cheese ; and Spruce to something between potato and 
chestnut, but superior to either. It is very nutritious, and 
forms the principal article of food of the natives when in 
season. It is not indigenous, and does not occur wild, but 
has been cultivated by the Indians, like the cocoa-nut, 
mandioca, and banana, from time immemorial. 

Mango, the well-known East Indian Terebinth, has been 
introduced, and is cultivated to a limited extent on the 
Lower Amazons. 

Banana and Plantain (called in Peru " Geneo " and 

" Platano "), especially the latter, form the most important 

article of vegetable food on the Amazons. Bananas are 

eaten raw ; plantains must be cooked. Botanists call the 

former Miosa paradisiaca, and the latter M. sajpientuin ; 

but there are hosts of variations, and the nomenclature is 

614 The Andes ajstd the Amazons. 

in hopeless confusion. The natives do not make the bo- 
tanical distinction of two species, but speak of the follow- 
ing ten \'aneties of the generic fruit : Pacovao farinacea 
(the largest), P.jprata, P. massad, P. St. Thomd vermelha, 
P. St. Thomd hranca, P. usual, P. sempre verde, P. ina- 
jd, Pacovinha, and P. celestina (the smallest). The first 
they consider aboriginal, and distinct from the rest. It 
sometimes attains the height of forty centimetres, and 
bears over 150 in a cluster. They are seedless, and are 
propagated by cuttings. The only spot where they regu- 
largly seed is said to be the Andaman Islands. The stem 
is underground ; what is called the " stem " is the petiole. 
The liquor made from Bananas is called mazdto. An ex- 
periment to test the profits of cultivating this fruit was 
made in Guiana with this result : 

Acres. Bunches. Value. 

Firstyear 35 8,987 $3,432 64 

Second year 127 20,276 5,95.5 14 

Third year 153 26,694 12,327 39 

Fourth year 161 14,852 4, .560 69 

Total 476 70,809 $26,275 86 

From this it is seen that the average yield per acre dur- 
ing the four years was 150 bunches, and that the average 
price per bunch was 37 cents, making a return of $55 20 
per acre. 

The Wild Banana, or " Sororoca " ( Urania Amazoni- 
ca), growing along the low shores of the river, is quite an- 
other plant. 

Pitajaya, the delicious fruit of a tall Cactus, I saw only 
at Cajamarca. 

Paxmito, the terminal bud of many Palms, is largely 
used, particularly on the Marauon,as a salad. 

Bread-fkuit {Artocarpus incisa) has been introduced, 
and is cultivated sparingly from Para to the Andes; but 

The Cocoa-nut. 


little use is made of it. There are two kinds — one large 
and edible, the other worthless. 

The Cocoa-nut is naturalized and cultivated to a small 

extent in the 
villages on 
the Lower 
The Cejlon- 
ese have a 
superstition that it 
will not grow out of 
the sound of the hu- 
man voice, and it cer- 
tainly does not thrive 
without attention, nor 
distant from the sea. 
zil-nuts " of commerce, are gathered in March 
and April, the same time as the Cacao — ^. e., 
at high water. They are eaten, and the oil 
is also expressed for machines, illumination, 
etc. ; but they are mainly exported to En- 
A Bunch of Cocoa- gland and the United States, yielding an an- 
''"''■ nual revenue of $200,000. The tree (called 

Castanheiro), one of the forest giants, grows on all the 
Brazilian Amazons, or wherever terra jirma reaches the 
margin of the river. 

Sapucaya {Lecythis ollaria) is a gigantic tree, having 
the same distribution as the preceding. The pericarps 
(called " Monkey-pots "), having natural lids, are used as 
drinking-cups, and the seeds are richer than the Casta- 
nhas ; but, as they fall to the ground, when the ripened lid 
drops out, they are picked up by the wild animals, and, 
therefore, few come to market. 

516 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Inga-puct^" is a7i enormous pod, a yard in length by two 
and a half inches wide, bearing an excellent bean. The 
tree, of moderate height, is cultivated at Fonte Boa. Inga- 
vERA, or Pacay, grows at Moyobamba. 

TJiKi is a wild fruit, of an oblong shape. When ripe, 
the thick green rind opens by a natural cleft across the 
middle, disclosing an oval seed, of the size of an apricot, 
of a vivid crimson color. It is used on the Solimoens to 
give to stewed bananas a rosy tint and rich creamy taste 
and consistence. 

U191, or WiSHi {Myristica f), is another wild fruit of the 
Middle Amazons. The fatty bitter pulp surrounding the 
large stony seeds is eaten mixed with farina, and is very 

Map ATI, or Cootjra {Pourowna cecrojpicefolia), one of the 
finest fruits of Equatorial America, is a i-ound juicy berry, 
growing in large bunches, and resembling grapes in taste. 
It is cultivated on the Middle Amazons. Two smaller 
species grow wild on the Upper Rio Negro. 

Aapikanga is a bright, vermilion - colored berry, with 
hard skin and sweet, viscid, seedy pulp. It occurs on the 

WAJDEtJ {Achras?), of the size of a gooseberry, contains 
a sweet, gelatinous pulp, inclosing two large, black, shin- 
ing seeds. 

Bacuei, or Pacouey-uva {Platonia iiisignis), is a deli- 
cious sour berry, of a bright lemon color, and containing 
almond -like seeds. It makes a fine golden jelly. It is 
found on the Solimoens. There are two kinds — B. suma 
and S. curua. 

Cashipaei-aeapaa is an oblong scarlet berry from the 
same region. 

AssAi (Euterjye oleracea), a slim and beautiful Palm- 
tree, yields a cherry-like fruit, having a dark-blue pulp. 

Coffee and Cacao. 517 

with which a popular beverage is made on the Lower Am- 

MiEiTi, TucuMA, and Mucuja are other palm-fruits, eaten 
by the natives with farina. The first is sour, and unpala- 
table to foreigners. The others have a fatty, fibrous pulp. 
Still another, the Cukua (an Attalea), bears a fruit resem- 
bling a small cocoa-nut. 

KicE is ciiltivated on the Guajara, near Para, and at 
Moyobamba. A native rice grows wild along some of the 
tributaries, but it is not reclaimed. 

Coffee has been introduced on the Amazons, and a very 
excellent quality has been raised on the Rio Negro and at 
Moyobamba; but nearly all the coffee used on the river 
comes from Ceara, Parahyba, and San Paulo. The cost 
of raising coffee in Java (with shipping charges) is 10 cents 
a pound ; in Cuba, 9|^ cents ; in Brazil, 8 cents. Since the 
stoppage of the slave-trade there has been a decrease of 
cultivation ; and emancipation will result in a further 
diminution. The average crop in Brazil in 1852 was 256 
millions of pounds to 146 millions in Java. 

Cacao is a native, and thrives with very little culture. 
In fact, in the province of Amazonas the Cacao is nearly 
all wild. The reasons why there ai-e so few plantations 
are the want of capital, and the length of time required 
in getting a plantation to pay. The largest plantations are 
opposite Obidos and Cameta. It is usually grown on the 
lowlands. A high variety grows on terra firma. Bates 
saw trees yielding an arroba (thirty-two pounds) each a 
year. One hundred trees on the average give ten arrobas. 
There are three crops a year — in March, June, and Sep- 
tember. The best article is grown in Para and Maranham. 
The choicest cacao, like the best coffee, is grown in the 
shade, and is therefore slieltered by rows of bananas. Ex- 
cepting rubber, cacao is the chief article of exportation. 

518 The Andes and the Amazons. 

The fruit, in the hands of the natives, is turned to good 
account, yielding, besides chocolate, a soap, a vinegar, a 
wine, and a dulce. Chocolate was used as a beverage in 
Europe long before coffee or tea. It is a curious fact that 
theobromine may be artificially converted into theine, the 
active principle of tea. The Cacao de Macaco {Oujm) is 
shaped like a cucumber, and has small seeds, which yield 
plenty of oil, but an inferior beverage. 

CuptJ-Assu is an elliptical fruit, of a dingy earthy color, 
six inches long, with a thiu woody shell, containing seeds 
enveloped in a juicy pulp of a pleasant flavor. It is used 
for ice-creams, sirups, and jellies. The low tree (Pharma- 
cosyce ?) yielding it grows on the Lower Amazons. 

Mandioca, or Cassava, the bread-root of the Amazons, 
yields farina and tapioca, and a liquor called "Tucupi," 
or "Aguardiente de beijii." There are four species: (1) 
The Mandioca proper {Maniot utilissima), of which there 
are many varieties, among them Maicurii, the lowest, be- 
ing only four feet high, but producing the largest and 
best roots — Itoqui, Tambaqui, Auirana, and Muciira. (2) 
Aypi {M. aij)i), or Sweet Mandioca, called " Yuca Dulce " 
on the Maranon, having oblong, juicy roots, becoming 
sweet after they are gathered. The chicha made from it 

The Mandioca Plant. 


is called " masato." (3) Macachera, or Macaslieira (Yuca 
of Pern ?), whose root is used as a potato, roasted or boiled. 
(4) Manicneira, a sweet Mandioca, different from Aypi, 
having a long, large root. Mandioca will produce in six 
months after planting without cultivation. The root is 


deprived of its poisonous juice in a curious strainer: a 
long tube of woven fibre, containing the macerated root, 
is hung up, with a stone at the lower end, by which means 
the diameter is diminished and the juice squeezed out. 
Cara is a large root, resembling a yam or potato, and 

520 The Andes and the Amazons. 

used as such. There are four or five kinds at Santa- 

Sweet - potatoes grow so luxuriantly at the American 
colony in Santarem that they have become a pest. They 
are inferior to those raised in the Middle United States. 

Sugae-cane and Soeghum have a luxuriant growth ev- 
ery where on the Amazons ; but the cane seems better fit- 
ted to make rum than sugar. At San Regis, on the Mara- 
non, 18,000 gallons of cashaga are manufactured yearly. 
Sugar is imported. 

GuAYUsA (an Ilex related to the Paraguayan Mate) 
grows abundantly near the head of the Napo, and has been 
transplanted to Santa Maria, on the Huallaga. The large, 
shining leaves make a very refreshing and slightly exhila- 
rating beverage. A false "Tea" {Lantana jpseudothea'?\ 
or Cha de pedreste, grows at Saneudo, on the Maranon. 

Pepper (a Ca-psicum) grows wild on the Amazons, and 
Red Peppers are cultivated at Santarem. 

Brazilian Nutmegs are furnished by Myi^istica otoba 
("ucu-uba"), a tall tree abounding on the Negro and Ja- 
pura ; the red sap is an excellent vulnerary. 

Canela, "American Cinnamon," is obtained from the 
forests around the head- waters of the Pastassa and Napo, 
and at Cashaboya, on the Ucayali. It is said to contain 
more essential oil than that of Ceylon, and it is used as a 
condiment in the Quito valley. Cinnamodendron axil- 
lare and Oreodwphne opifera, Brazilian trees, are also aro- 

PiCHUKEvi, or Sassafras-nuts, used for flavoring chocolate, 
are the seeds of the laurel Nectandra jpuchury. 

Vanilla is not cultivated on the river, so far as we 
know, except by an ATnerican at Napo ; but a small quan- 
tity, collected wild, goes down to Para. It is quite abun- 
dant on the Sacramento plain of the Ucayali. It is infe- 

. Vanilla and Tonka-beans. 521 

rior to the Mexican, but would be improved by culture 
and preparation. 

Tonka-beans {Dijpterix odorata), called " Cumarii " in 
Brazil, are exported in considerable quantities, especially 
from the Tapajos. They are valued at 20 cents a kilo- 

522 The Andes and the Amazons. 


Brazilian Drugs, Dyes, Gums, and Textile Plants. 

The valley of the Amazons is an infinite field for the 
discovery of useful vegetable products. Many unknown- 
principles are waiting to enter our materia medica, or to 
advance tlie industrial sciences. Chance has revealed a 
few beneficial properties; but only thorough investigation 
and systematic experiment can develop the region. Many 
an herb of mysterious virtue is known to the Indians, but 
we can not rely upon them. In fact, only the Indians in 
contact with the whites use direct remedies : among the 
wild tribes, it is the physician, not the patient, who takes 
the medicine, since they hold that every ailment is the 
work of an evil one who must be conjured. Even among 
the Christianized half-castes of Tarapoto, Dr. Spruce found 
this ridiculous receipt : " Chew a piece of the gum-resin 
called sonitonio, place it in the hollow of the hand, and 
with it rub the legs of the sick person from the knees 
downward, and end by whistling between all the toes." 

Cinchona, or " Peruvian Bark," the foremost of febri- 
fuges, is collected at the sources of the Upper Maranon, 
Huallaga, Ucayali, and Beni. The region extends over 29 
degrees of latitude, and describes a vast curve commencing 
with the nineteenth parallel south, and continuing gener- 
ally along the east slope at the altitude of Y500 feet. The 
valuable Red Bark {C. succirubra) is peculiar to the Pa- 

Cascaeilla Bakk. 523 

cific side of Chimborazo, and therefore does not belong to 
the Amazons valley. The Crown Bark ((7. condaubinea) 
is found in the provinces of Loja, Jaen, and Cajaniarca: 
its proper commercial name is " Cascarilla," but that term 
is now given to cinchona in general. The Yellow Bark 
{C. calisaya) from Bolivia is the present chief source of 
quinine. The Indians call it Qtdna-qitina, or "Bark of 
barks."* The cinchona-trees have the aspect of the beech, 
with the flowering branches of the lilac; smooth bark; 
•white wood susceptible of a polish ; opposite, entire leaves 
similar to those of the Coffee-plant, which belongs to the 
same order. The reckless manner of gathering the bark 
will ere k)ng remove every trace of cinchona vegetation. 
At least 3,000,000 pounds are shipped annually to En- 
gland, and the demand and price are on the increase. 
Several substitutes are used by the natives, as Maravilla 
from the Pastassa forest, Chnq^draga from the high An- 
des of Ecuador, Quina {Solanum pseudoquina) and Gaf- 
ferana from Brazil. A tincture of the last is considered 
more efiicacious than quinine. 

Salsapakilla is found on all the tributaries, but that 
from the Tapajos, Negro, and Madeira is considered much 
superior to the' salsaparilla of the Maranon. It is some- 
times adulterated with the root of the Agave. 

Ipecacuanha, the great eraetic,t is the creeping root of 
the herb Cephaelis, growing in the humid, shady forests 
of the Amazons. It is usually gathered while in flower, 
i. e., during the rainy season. lonidium jpoaya is some- 
times sold for the genuine Ipecac. 

GoMPHEENA (" Paratodo " of the natives), growing on 

* The doubling of the name of a tree in Quichua is said to signify that it 
has medicinal virtues. 

t Strong guayiisa-tea is emetic, and the Indians, who are more solicitous 
to clear out the stomach than to empty the bowels, drink enough when they 
wake in the morning to make them vomit. 

524 The Andes and the Amazons. 

the Madeira, is used as a panacea for intermittent fevers, 
colic, diarrhea, snake-bites, etc. 

CuPHEA halsatnona is also a remedy for fevers. 

The leaves of Sanango {Taberncemontana) from the 
Moyobamba province, Davilla rugosa, Tetracera hreynia- 
na, Petiveria tetrandra (Raiz de Pipa), Sequiera, and Le- 
onotis rupetifolia, and the juice of Plumieria jphagedcB- 
nica (Sucu-uba) and Cuscuta racemosa (Sipo de Chum- 
bo), are employed in rheumatism or local inflammation. 

The root, bark, and leaves of Cheysobalanus icaco, the 
root of Fkanciscea unijlora (Manaca), the milk of the 
MuKUKE (Mercurio vegetal), the bark of Bignonia anti- 
syjjhilitica, the fruit of Walthekia Douradiriha, the 
leaves and fruit of Triumphete serjpium (Carapixo da 
Calgada), the root of Helicteees (Sacarolha), and the root 
of a Peltobeyon (Paribaroba) are successfully used in the 
treatment of venereal diseases. 

GuAKANA {Paullinia cupana), Poaya beanca {lonidi- 
um ituba), Sph^ealcea cisplatina, Manettia cordifolia, 
Pavonia diuretica, and the seeds of the Patagua {Htira 
aculeata)^ are popular remedies for bowel complaints. The 
Guarana, the most important, is cultivated on the ISTegro 
and Tapajos, but especially on the River Mauhes. It is a 
natural twiner, but is kept down in cultivation to the size 
of a compact currant-bush. The seeds are roasted, ground, 
and made up into sticks. The essential principle is almost 
identical with theine and caffeine. It is a preventive rath- 
er than cure; but European physicians pronounce it effica- 
cious, not only in diarrhea, but also in sick headache, neu- 
ralgia, paralysis, and lumbago. In France, it has cured 
attacks of cholera when the evacuations were at the rate 
of thirty an hour. It also prevents exhaustion, hunger, and 
sleep, being slightly exhilarative. The natives, particular- 
ly up the southern tributaries, are passionately fond of gua- 

Coca and Tobacco. 525 

raua, and drink it as a beverage. On the Orinoco it is 
used as a preservative against bilious fevers. In Bolivia it 
brings $6 a pound ; on the Amazons, 60 cents. 

Matico, the leaves of Artanthe elongata groveing on the 
Peruvian slope, is a valuable styptic for hemorrhages. 

Pakaiba {Simaruba versicolor), Raiz-pketa {Chiococca 
anguifuga), Maemaleiro do Mato {Casearia ulmifolia), 
and Eupatorium Ayapena are considered certain anti- 
dotes to snake-poison. 

Clove Cassia is furnished by the laurel Dicypellium 

Maeanham Clove is the highly odoriferous bark of a 
small tree growing on some of the small tributaries of the 

A species of the leguminous Myrosjperraum ("Quino- 
quino"), growing in the high region of the Huallaga, 
yields the Balsam of Peeu. 

Coca (" Ipadii " of Brazilians), the powdered leaves of an 
Erythroxylon growing on the eastern slopes of the Peru- 
vian Andes, is to the natives of that region what opium is to 
the Turks, and betel to the Malays. It is not only a pow- 
erful stimulant, but also alimental and tonic. With it and 
a little parched corn the Indians will endure a surprising 
amount of fatigue. In fact, with coca alone, they will go 
days without food and sleep. The leaves resemble tea- 
leaves, only they are entire ; and the plant is a slender 
shrub, occurring both wild and cultivated. The best coca 
is grown in the Yungas of Bolivia. 

Tobacco of fine quality is cultivated in many parts of 
the Amazons. The best quality for pipes is that of Borba 
and Trinidad, on the Madeira. The finest for cigarettes 
is produced at Jeveros, near the mouth of the Huallaga, 
and at Bagiia, Tamboli, Duna, and Cunchara, in the valley 
of the Utcubamba. Three species of the tobacco - plant 

526 The Andes and the Amazons. 

are recognized by Brazilian botanists : Nicotiana tabacum, 
JV^. 7' ustica, and JV. j^et'sica. 

Aya-huasca, or " Dead Man's Vine" {Banisteria caapi), 
a woody twiner, cultivated on the upper parts of the Pas- 
tassa, Napo, and Negro, contains in its stem one of the 
most remarkable narcotics in America. The Napos and 
Uaiipes drink an infusion at their feasts to get into a trance. 

Another narcotic, producing a like frenzy, first exciting 
and then fuddling, and used by nearly all the Brazilian 
tribes, is the celebrated Pakica, a snuff made from the 
flat green seeds of the Pijjtadenia niopo (a tree fifty feet 
high, with bipinnate leaves), which grows in the drier for- 
ests of the Lower Amazons and its tributaries. It is blown 
into the nose with a bent tube. The Indian, setting forth 
on a chase, snuffs a pinch of parica, and gives another to 
his dog, by which both become uncommonly alert. 

The celebrated poison Ukari, the most powerful sedative 
in nature, is a compound prepared only by the Indians 
living beyond the cataracts of the Nortliern tributaries, es- 
pecially the Negro and Japura, and by the Ticiinas. Its 
principal ingredient is derived from the Strychnos toxi- 
fera. The extract is prepared by boiling the bark, and 
then coagulating with the milk of another plant and to- 
bacco-juice. The slightest portion of this poison diffused 
in the blood produces excessive torpor ; but it is said that 
the mind and involuntary muscles continue active. Death 
ensues from palsy of the lungs. Salt is the only known 
antidote ; and its effects on salt-eating men are therefore 
not so manifest as on the wild animals. A monkey, which 
I killed with a particle of urari, fell almost immediately 
into convulsions. The tribes south of the Amazons do 
not use it extensively. It is sold chiefly at Pebas, at $1 50 
a cup of half a gill. It does not appear to be identical 
with the Curare of the Orinoco Indians. 

Dye Woods. 527 

On the Purus, a poison is compounded of the sap of the 
AssACU {Sajjium aucuparium) and other ingredients. 

The leaNes, and especially the roots, of the deadly liana 
TiMBO-Ayu {Paullinia pinnatd) Goyana-timbo iPiscldia 
erythriiia), and Takaira-moika {Cocculus inerme) on the 
Brazilian Amazons, and of the Baebasco {Jaquinia armil- 
la7'is) and Guaca-bakbasco (Clihadium) on the Maranon, 
are used for stupefying fishes in still waters. 


Beazil - WOOD, a species of Casalpina (Ibira-pitanga), 
grows on the Amazons even to the head of the Napo ; but 
it is little sought after. 

Fustic, a yellow dye, is obtained from the wood of Ma- 
dura tinctoria. Other yellow dyes are furnished by Jus- 
sicea 2>i^osa and Quilloyuya. 

The bark of a Byrsonima (Mueishi) is used to give a 
maroon color to cloth, and also for tanning. The Mela- 
noxylon hraiina, a large tree, has a remarkable reddish- 
brown coloring matter in its bark and wood. 

Caeajurij is a brilliant scarlet dye from the leaves of 
the Bignonia chica on the Japura and Negro. 

AcHioTE, Anotto or Urucu, prepared from the seeds of 
Bixa Orellana, growing abundantly on the high Maranon, 
is used extensively by the Indians in dyeing a reddish- 
brown or orange-yellow. 

The Esychotria on the Maranon affords a yellow dye. 
Erythroxylon suherosum (Gallinha choca) yields a more 
permanent reddish-brown color. 

Indigo (Pseudo-anil) grows wild in many places — as at 
Santarem, Fonte Boa, and in the provinces of Loreto, Uru- 
bamba, and Carabaya. 

The fruit of the Jagua, or Vitu {Genipa)^ gives a dark 
blue, used on the Ucayali and Huallaga. The Moyobam- 

528 The Andes and the Amazons. 

binos dye cotton cloth a permanent blue by simply boil- 
ing it along with the digitate leaves of the Yangua tinc- 

Lasiandra argentia, on the Amazons, and Paeinaki, 
KiJARi, and Htjito, from the Maranon, are nsed for dj^e- 
ing black. 


Copal exudes from the bark of the HymencBa (Jutahi, 
of which there are several species), a monarch of the for- 
est, often one himdred feet high. On the Maranon it is 
used for illumination. 

The bark of the Mata-mata-uba on the Solimoens, a 
very large tree, is also used for illumination ; it is proba- 
bly resinous. 

The Breu Beanco, a common tree around Santarem, se- 
cretes from the inner bark a white resin, resembling Cam- 
PHOE in smell and appearance. 

The Beeo de Ounany, a black wax (from the heart of 
Symj>honia glohulifera), and the Seccanta are used b}' 
the Indians to pitch their canoes. 

The bark and leaves of the Wax Palm, Copernicia ceri- 
fera (Caknauba), excrete a resinous wax, used to some ex- 
tent in making candles, and a great article of export from 
Ceara. But it does not fairly belong to the Amazonian 
valley. Another Wax Palm {Geroxylon andicola), the 
"Palma de Ramos" of the Ecuadorians, grows at Canelos. 

The Cetico (a Cecropia, a tree fifty feet high, with white 
bark and digitate foliage, very common on the Maranon), 
is also called a " Wax-tree ;" but the wax is of animal ori- 
gin, stored away in the hollow trunk. The wax is of two 
kinds, white and reddish ; the former, aiunt, is made by 
bees, the other by ants. 

The berries of Lacre-trees on the Lower Amazons exude 
globules of wax resembling gamboge. 

The Rubber-Tkee and Trade. 529 

India-rubber — called on the River "Borracha" (from 
the bottle form in which it is exported), " Seringa " (be- 
cause it was formerly made by the natives into syringes 
for injections, a popular treatment of diseases), " Gomma- 
elastica," " Jebe,"and " Caucho" — is the product of sever- 
al Amazonian trees, but especially of Syphonia cahucha^ 
known by the collectors as the " Seringueira " or "Chirin- 

Branch of the ludia-rubber-tree. 

ga." This tree, having the bark and foliage of the Euro- 
pean ash, and a trunk with the maximum diameter of four 
feet, and branchless for a hundred feet, grows on the wild 
lowlands {ygwpos) of all the tributaries, but is tapped main- 
ly in the regions of the Madeira, Xingii, Puriis, Jurua, 
and Tapajos. The rubber is collected in the dry season 
(between July and January), one man collecting on the 

* This name, and S. elastica and Hevea Brasiliensis, may possibly ex- 
press distinct species. 


530 The Andes and the Amazons. 

average eight pounds a day, worth on the Amazons (when 
fine) $14 an arroba. The sap has at first the consistency 
of cream, but soon thickens, and is further hardened and 
blackened by exposing it to the smoke of burning palm- 
nuts, usually the Urucuri. Coagulation is necessary also 
to prevent the separation of the resinous parts. Europeans 
are now using alum or ammonia and pressure. The rub- 
ber industry has destroyed agriculture and raised the price 
of provisions on the River. It is also an unhealthy busi- 
ness, arising from the swampy nature of the Seringa re- 
gions and the lack of sufiicient food. The rubber collect- 
ors {seringueiros) are the most wretched and shamefully- 
treated class in Amazonia, as the cascarilleiros and miners 
are on the Andes. They live half the year on the fever- 
ish, flooded lands, in palm huts with a raised floor at one 
end, to which they retire at high water, famishing on fari- 
na and fish, and tormented by clouds of mosquitoes, piiims, 
and motucas. They are paid in clothing, groceries, and 
notions at quadruple Para prices, and by the agents put 
under obligations infuturo^ so that they are really slaves. 
If one dies under obligation to the agent, his friends can 
not move away till the debt is paid. Collectors generally 
are compelled to go for the trees some distance into the 
forest ; but on the Jurua tliey are visible along the bank. 
Trees growing on the dry lands yield very little milk. The 
cultivation of the Rubber-tree has been commenced on the 
Rio Manh^s. Twenty years after planting, the tree will 
yield milk. The Amazons caoutchouc (of which 5000 tons 
are annually exported) is the finest quality yet discovered, 
being more tensile, and retaining its strength longer than 
any other ; but it is often adulterated with the milk of the 
Mangaba {Hancornia s.peciosa)^ called " Pernarabuco rub- 
ber." It comes into market in "biscuits," "bottles," and 
" negro heads," or refuse. The Madagascar rubber, do- 

Vegetable Oils. 531 

rived from the climbing Vahea, stands next in quality and 
price. Third in rank is that furnished by the Ule-trees 
{Castilloa elaHtica) growing in Central America and on the 
western slope of the Andes as far down as Guayaquil. 
The Indian rubber ("Assam" and "Singapore") comes 
inainly from the Ficus elastica. 

Several trees — as the Magarandiiba (or " Cow-tree)," Se- 
jas, and Guapeba — yield a viscid milk, which, upon evap- 
oration, resembles Gutta-peecha. 

Two species of the Vegetable Ivory Palm {Phytele- 
jphas) abound on the Huallaga, Ucayali, and Purus. The 
smaller is called " Jarina," and the larger " Poloponto." 
The ivory is the consolidated albumen of the nut. 

Copaiba (Oleo de Copahyba) is a prominent export from 
the Amazons, a considerable quantity being brought down 
the southern tributaries — as the Jurua and Purus. It is 
the juice of several species of Oojpaifera, having a smooth, 
straight stem, umbelliferous head, and pinnate leaves. It 
is valued at Manaos at 70 cents a kilogram. When pure, 
it should be of a straw-yellow color ; any other color in- 
dicates too much resin or some adulteration. Its virtue is 
in the yellow volatile oil. 

The Castok-oil Plant {Ricina) abounds along the east- 
ern slope of the Andes, one species attaining, at Tarapoto 
the height of twenty-five feet; but very little oil is ex- 

Umiki is a very fragrant yellow balsam from the trunk 
of Humirium floribundum, growing on the Tapajos. 

Sassafras, so called, is the transparent oil of a tree on 
the Upper Negro, used in mixing oil colors. 

Andiroba is the bitter oil made from a fruit on the 
Lower Amazons, and used in lamps. 

532 The Andes and the Amazons. 

textile plants. 

PiASSABA (called "Chapaja" in Peru aud "Chiquichi- 
qui" in Venezuela) is the fibrous covering of the stem of 
Leojpoldinia jpiassaha, which grows in swampy lauds along 
the black-water tributaries of the Rio Negro. It is exten- 
sively used for cables, for which it is admirably fitted, as 
it is light and durable. It sells at Manaos for 12 cents a 
kilogram. It is exported in the rough to England and the 
United States, where it is made into brooms. Another 
Piassaba of commerce, but coarser, is obtained from the 
Attalea funifera of South Brazil. 

Pita (so called in Ecuador, in Peru "Cabuya") is made 
from the macerated fibrous leaves of a species of Agave* 
It is manufactured most largely at Archidona, on the 

EsTOPA ("Bast") is a coarse, strong fibre obtained from 
the capsules and inner bark of several trees on the Lower 
Amazons — as the Castanheiro, Cocoa-nut (called " coir" in 
commerce), Cecropiapeltata,ia.\2ivi and Tuciim. 

Tlie leaves of the Mieiti, a majestic palm, growing on 
all the flooded lands, furnish the material of which string 
for the manufacture of hammocks is made. 

The Chambiea (an Astrocaryxbm) is used for the same 
purpose by the Zaparos, on the Napo. 

A strong, silky fibre is obtained from the inner bark of 
the Uaissima, a light-wooded, slender tree abounding on 
the south side of the Lower Amazons. 

The natives make a " bark cloth " from the Tueuei {Cu- 
ratari legalis) called " Cascai-a " up the Maderia, and from 
the Lanchama on the MaraSon (Napo and Iluallaga). 
The latter tree is about twenty inches in diameter, and 

* The Agave is not an Aloe, being an Amaryllid with lateral flowers and 
ovaiy inferior. 

Hat-stkaw and Cotton. 533 

has a white bark. From the Tururi, garments four yards 
long are made of a single piece, resembling a coarse wool- 
en stuff with two layers of wavy fibre. 

A Wax Palm {Carnauba) furnishes a fibre for making 
mats ; and ropes and other fabrics are made of the fine, 
glossy fibre called " Cakaua " and " Palha " from a spe- 
cies of Bromelia. 

The Screw Pine, Caiiudovica (Bombonaje), the unex- 
panded leaves of which are so extensively used at Moyo- 
bamba, as well as at Guayaquil, for the manufacture of 
Panama hats, grows between the Huallaga and tlie An- 
des, particularly about Moyobamba, Eioja, and Tarapoto. 
It is probably a distinct sj^ecies from that used in Ecuador. 
The tree is seven feet high, but the full-grown leaves are 
ten or more. The longest straw obtainable is twenty- 
seven and a half inches. It takes about sixteen bundles 
{cogollos) for an ordinary hat, and twenty-four for the 
finest. The straws of the latter are not more than one 
fortieth of an inch wide. About 100,000 hats were annu- 
ally sent down to Para ten years ago. Then they com- 
manded $40 a dozen ; now they can be bought for $15. 

Cotton is grown mainly on the Huallaga (particularly 
Tarapoto) and Ucayali. I noticed trees at Balsa Puerto 
twelve feet high. The native cloth is called " tocuyo " 
and " lienza," and that which is made into cushmas, or 
long tunics, is stronger than the stoutest unbleached cotton 
of England or the United States. The spinning-wheels 
and looms are of the rudest construction. 
• HuiMBA, the product of a tree {Bombax) growing on 
the Peruvian slope, resembles cotton, but is much lighter, 
and silky, and is used by the Indians to wrap around the 
ends of the slender arrows blown through the cerbatana. 

Samauma-silk, f i-om the gigantic ' Eriodendron^ is used 
for the same purpose. 

534 The Andes and the Amazons. 


The Palms of the Amazons, Fan-leaved and Featheii}-. 

Palms, Bananas, and Ferns are the three forms of spe- 
cial beauty peculiar to a tropical forest. Of these, the 
first give the most striking feature to the landscape. The 
elegance of the tall, slender stem, rough with the scars of 
fallen leaves, but branchless and symmetrical as a column, 
and the luxuriance of the feathery or fan-like foliage toss- 
ed out of the summit, compel admiration which no amount 
of familiarity tends to diminish,* 

It is usually supposed that the Palms tower over all the 
other trees, their crowns standing so far above the sur- 
rounding vegetation as to give Humboldt's idea of "a 
forest above a forest." Along the sea - coast and river- 
banks, this is true ; but within the virgin forest, the loftiest 
Palms rarely exceed the average height of the exogenous 
trees. The altitude of the highest Amazonian Palm taken 
with a sextant was not over 120 feet; while the Brazil- 
nut-tree has measured fully 200 feet. Then there are nu- 
merous low Palms — the poor relations of the more lordly 

* " It is a joy forever, a sight never to be forgotten, to have once seen Palms, 
breaking through, and, as it were, defying, the soft rounded forms of the 
broad-leaved vegetation by the stern grace of their simple lines ; the immov- 
able pillar-stem looking the more immovable beneath the toss and lash and 
flicker of the long leaves, as they awake out of their sun-lit sleep, and rage 
impatiently for a while before the mountain gusts, and fall asleep again. 
Like a Greek statue in a luxurious drawing-room, sharp cut, cold, virginal ; 
shaming, by the grandeur of mere form, the voluptuousness of mere color, 
however rich and harmonious : so stands the Palm in the forest ; to be wor- 
shiped rather than to be loved." — Chakles Kingslet. 

The Palm-Woeld. 537 

Palms have a wonderful development of the organs of 
fructitication — a single individual bearing half a million 
of flowers. Yet the number of trees representing a species 
is not in proportion. This is mainly due to the fact that 
the fruit is frequently aborted, or forms the food of hosts 
of animals — insects, birds, and mammals. Some species 
flower annually ; others only once in a life-time. Palms 
furnish man with many important products — wood and 
leaves for habitations, bark and leaves for cloth and cord- 
age, buds and fruit for food.* 

At the beginning of this century, only twenty-three spe- 
cies of Palms were known to the scientific world. Now, 
mainly through the labors of Humboldt and Bonpland, 
Spix and Martins, Poeppig, Wallace, Spruce, Wendland, 
and Griesbach, in the New World, and of Blume and Grif- 
fith in the Old, we distinguish nearly 600 species. These belt 
the earth between the latitudes of New Zealand and South 
Carolina. Humboldt was right in calling South America 
" the most beautiful portion of the palm-world." Certain- 
ly, it yields to no continent in exuberance and variety. 
Europe has but one species, and Africa comparatively few; 
India is the only rival. There are 275 American forms, 
and, probably, 75 of these are peculiar to the Amazonas.f 
Palms have small power of migration ; and it does not ap- 
pear that any species is able to cross the ocean without 
the aid of man. They are distributed between the sea- 

* Dr. Spruce discovered an "alternation of function" in Palms. "In May, 
1852, 1 found a small plot of ground in the forest covered vi'ith plants of a 
delicate Palm, a species of Geonoma, growing about ten feet high. The 
plants were all females, and bore young fruits. On revisiting the spot in the 
same month of the following year, I saw, to my astonishment, the very same 
plants all bearing male flowers alone! But the mystery disappeared when, 
on examination, I made out that male and female spadiees must have alter- 
nated all the way up the stem." 

t Quite a number of Palms on the Andean slopes of Ecuador and Peru 
still remain undesciibed. The true Palm climate is that of the Amazons 
valley, 81°. 

538 The Andes and the Amazons. 

shore and the altitude of 11,000 feet. A few species rauge 
from the roots of the Andes across the whole plain to the 
Atlantic ; but many are restricted to certain tributaries, 
to the Lower Amazons, the Solimoens, or the Maranon. 
Palms are far more abundant on the east than on the west 
side of the Andes, and .the species are entirely distinct. 
Sometimes, when the vitality of a Palm is exhausted, the 
crown first withers and falls, and the soft interior of the 
trunk gradually rots, and is eaten away by termites, until 
nothing is left but a thin shell ; and when that can no 
longer bear its own weight, it collapses with a crash like 
that of a gunshot. 

The following are the most important Palms observed 
in ascending the Amazons and its chief aflluents.* For 
convenience, we may roughly divide them into those hav- 
ing fan-shaped, or flabellate, leaves, and those having feath- 
ery, or pinnate, leaves. The former are considered lower 

in rank : 

§ 1. Fan-leaved Palms. 

Matteitia. — This group may be distinguished from all 
others, not only by their leaves, but also by their scaly 
fruits and pinnately hranched spadices. There are at least 
a dozen species on the River. The M. fiexuosa, L., the 
"Miriti" of Brazilians, and "Achual" or "Aguashi " of 
Peruvians, is the most universally-distributed Palm in the 
valley, abounding from the shores of the Atlantic to the 
altitude of 3000 feet on the Andes of Peru, Ecuadoi*, and 
New Granada. It is a social Palm, forming groves along 
the low shores, at the mouths of tributaries, and about 

* I am glad to say, because it vouches for their correctness, that most of 
the statements in this chapter are derived from the valuable but well-nigh in- 
accessible memoir published in the Linnean Society'' s Journal, vol. xi., the 
result of eleven years of research (1849-1860) in Equatorial America, by 
Richard Spruce, the most accomplished botanist on the Amazons since Von 
Martius left it. 

The Assai Palm. 539 

swampy lakes. It is always a conspicuous object, the 
smooth stem often rising one hundred feet, and bearing 
enormous, spreading, fan-like leaves and clusters of egg- 
shaped, scaly reddish fruit resembling pine - cones. The 
epidermis of the leaves furnishes a useful fibre; the or- 
ange pulp of the fruit is eaten by the Indians, or made 
into a wine called "yucuta," and the farinaceous pith 
yields a kind of sago. The Indians call it " the tree of 
life," and say that when a man and a woman survived the 
great deluge, they cast behind them some fruits of the 
Miriti which produced human beings, and so the earth 
was repeopled. M. vinifera, Mart., on the Lower Ama- 
zons, closely resembles the Miriti. 

The M. MaHiana, Spruce, ar7nata, Mart., aculeata, H. 
et B., iputnila, Wall., suhinermis, Spruce, and cavana, 
Wall, are also majestic fan-leaved Palms, but differ from 
the preceding in having the stem surrounded by whorls of 
spines. All but the first two are confined to the Rio Ne- 
gro. The M. gracilis, Mart., tenuis, Mart., quadripartita, 
Spruce, and Oasiquiarensis, Spruce, are diminutive Mau- 
ritias, and, excepting the tenuis, belong to the Rio Negro 

§ 2. Feathery Palms. 

EuTEKPE. — The members of this genus are remarkable 
for their neatly pinnated, pendulous leaves, and for their 
long cylindrical leaf -sheaths (" cabbage"), which finally fall 
away completely, leaving the stem clean and naked up to 
the base of the lowest leaf. The most common species is 
the E. oleracea. Mart., and the first Palm, after the Miriti, 
which arrests the attention of the traveler. Its tall, straight, 
slender stem, measuring from seventy-five to one hundred 
feet, its curious " cabbage " top four feet long, and its 
arched, plume-like foliage eight or nine feet more, trem- 
bling in the gentlest breeze, give a peculiarly picturesque 


The Andes and the Amazons. 

feature to the views 
on the Lower Ama- 
zons. It is common- 
ly known as the "As- 
sai;" but the proper 
native name of the 
tree itself is " Jussareira ;" while 
the fruit is called " Jussara," and 
the popular drink prepared from 
it is assai. Its leaves are made of 
seventy-eight pairs of pinnse, each 
pinna being about two and a half 
feet long. The tree grows on rich, 
moist soils from Para to Ega. Two 
other Euterpes, known as " Chon- 
ta " and " Chontilla," so slender 
that canes are made of them, oc- 
cur high up on the Peruvian An- 
des. Another species, E. caatinga, 
Wall., peculiar in spreading its 
leaves horizontally, drooping them 
merely at the points, abounds up 
the Rio Negro, near the Venezu- 
elan frontier. Its leaves have for- 
ty-five pairs of pinnje. 

Iriaetea. — These noble yet sin- 
gular Palms are easily recognized 
by the following characters: the 
stem is buttressed {i. e., supported) 
on a cone of emersed prickly roots 
resembling the spokes of a half- ^ssai paim (£«fe.^. o;.rac.a). 

opened umbrella, so that the tree looks as if standing 
on stilts ; the leaflets are fan-shaped and abruptly trunc- 
ate ; the spathes are many ; and the beri-y or drupe is 

The Paxiuba Palm. 541 

gelatinous and bitter. /. exorrhiza, Mart,, called " Pax- 
iiiba " in Brazil, and " Huacra-pona " in Peru, is the most 
common form, ranging across the entire breadth of the 
forest, being equally abundant at the mouth of the Am- 
azons and in the moist valleys of the Andes. It is 
often not more than forty feet high, and the leaves are 
not so drooping as in many other Palms. The /. ven- 
tricosa, Mart., called " Barriguda " in Brazil, and " Tarapo- 
to"in Peru, is distinguished from all others by a curious 
swelling midway of its trunk. It is a solitary Palm, rising 
from sixty to one hundred feet. A specimen sixty-three 
feet high was eight inches in diameter at the base and twen- 
ty inches at the swelling. The belly, however, is often 
much longer ; and Dr. Spruce says that he has seen canoes 
extemporized from it by splitting off lengthwise a little less 
than half of it, hollowing out the remainder, and stopping 
up the ends with clay. The cone of roots often stands 
six feet high, sometimes twelve. The leaves, usiially six in 
number, are eighteen feet long ; and the pinnae are cune- 
ate-flabellif orm, with ten plaits. The dark-colored berries 
are nearly an inch in diameter. It grows on lands not in- 
undated, and ranges from tlie Rio l^egro westward, ascend- 
ing the Andes 5000 feet. A third species, /. deltoidea, 
R. et P., occurs on the slopes of the Peruvian Andes ; and 
a fourth, /. setigera, Mart., on the Middle Amazons, Japu- 
ra, and Negro. The latter, called " Paxiuba-miri," is from 
ten to twenty feet high and two inches in diameter, with 
leaves five feet in length, having seven pairs of pinnae, 
each pinna eleven by three and a half inches. It is of 
this slender Palm that the Indians commonly make their 

Wettinia. — These Palms resemble the Iriarteas, but dif- 
fer in having hairy fruit and long floral envelopes. They 
ai"e found only on the skirts of the mountains, as along 

542 The Andes and the Amazons. 

the Huallaga, Pastassa, and l^apo. Two species are de- 
scribed, W. regia, Poep., and W. Mayaensis, Spruce. The 
latter, the most common, is from thirty to forty feet high, 
bearing li\e or six leaves twelve feet long, with forty pairs 
of long semi-lanceolate pinnae spreading out horizontally, 
but pendulous from their height. 

Leopoldinia. — This remarkable genus is represented 
only in the thin forest (" Caa-tinga") on the sandy and 
stony flats of the Upper Rio Negro. The L. jpiassaha is 
ordinarily about twenty-five feet high (sometimes forty), 
bearing thick, large, shining leaves fifteen feet long, with 
sixty pairs of pinnae. The stem is stouter than in the ma- 
jority of Palms, and is covered with a pendulous, brown, 
hairy "beard." This is the valuable jpiassaha of com- 
merce, exported to England for the manufacture of 
brooms, but used on the Amazons for cables, for which it 
is admirably fitted, being durable and light, not sinking in 
water. The fibre in young plants is nearly five feet long ; 
in old trees, not two. The fruit is flattened, an inch and 
three-quarters long, of a dull-red color, and sweet. The 
Piassaba grows along the banks of the Padanari, Jaha, 
Daraha, Marie, and Xie. The L. major, Wall., or " Jara- 
acu," is distinguished by its bitter fruit, its many cluster- 
ed stems, from fifteen to twenty feet high ; its pendulous 
leaves scarcely five feet long, with twenty-eight pairs of 
pinnae eighteen inches in length. The L. pulchra, Mart., 
or " Jara," is of humbler growth, and its woody leaf-sheaths 
clasp the stem almost dowui to its base. It occurs on the 
Tapajos as well as Negro. 

NuNNEZHARiA fragvans, P. et P. — This delicate, grace- 
ful Palm is distributed along the arms of the Huallaga, 
particularly around Tarapoto. The stem is only half an 
inch in diameter, ringed, and rarely erect. It bears sim- 
ple, forked, jagged leaves, and orange - colored flowers 

The Giant Bdssu. 543 

wliich exliale the odor of miguonnette. On this accoiant 
it is much sought after by the Moyobambinos, who call 
it " Sangapilla." August is the best time for collect- 
ing it. 

Geonoma. — The little Palms comprising this genus are 
often found in the shade of the Miriti and other giants, 
and range throughout the Amazonian plain and up the 
Andes to 4000 feet. Their reed -like stems are usually 
from six to ten feet high, and their smooth, polished straw- 
colored cuticle is marked with rings. The flowers are yel- 
low or purple, and the fruit is a small, dry berry. G. ha- 
culifera, Poit., known in Brazil as " Ubim," is frequent in 
the damp forests about Para. Its simple forked leaves, 
three or four feet long, are used for thatching. G. jpani- 
culigera, Mart., found far up the Negro and Japura, is be- 
tween twelve and fifteen feet high, with about twenty leaves 
three and a half feet long. G.pauciflora, Mart., is another 
very slender Palm, fifteen feet high, with pinnate leaves 
a yard long, bearing not over ten pairs of pinnae. It grows 
near Manaos. G. discolor, Spruce, is a low Palm in the 
neighborhood of Santarem, with a stem six feet long and 
closely ringed, pinnated leaves a yard long, and from six- 
teen to twenty-two pairs of pinnae. G. tuherculata, Spruce, 
near the mouth of the N'egro, has four or five leaves about 
a foot long, and with only two pairs of leaflets. G. Para- 
ensis, Spruce, is a Para Palm having not over ten pairs of 
pinnae, fourteen inches by one in length. Eight more spe- 
cies of Geonoma inhabit the Upper Rio Negro. 

Manicakia saccifera, Gaert., or " Bussii," common about 
the mouth of the Amazons on flooded lands, looks at a dis- 
tance like a rigid plantain, having immense, stiff, simple 
leaves, of a pale-green color, and twenty-five feet long by 
six feet wide, the largest entire leaves of any Palm. The 
stem is deeply ringed, and not over twelve feet high. It 

544: The Andes and the Amazons. 

has a sack-like spatbe, used for caps and for making cloth, 
and large, rough, brown, corky fruits. 

OEnocakpus. — The Palms of this group have the pinnae 
numerously and strongly plicate, a broom-like spadix, and 
the base of the petioles purplish or lead-colored. The (E. 
distichus, Mart., or " Baccaba " of the Lower and Middle 
Amazons, is a stately, elegant tree, sixty feet high, with a 
straight, smooth stem, and a flattened crown of a dark- 
green color. The black, oily fruit grows in bunches weigh- 
ing thirty or forty pounds, and is used like that of the As- 
sai in making a beverage. (E. minor, Mart., called " Bac- 
caba-i," is from fifteen to thirty feet high, but not over 
three inches in diameter, with glossy leaves eight and a 
half feet long, having about sixty pairs of pinnae, abrupt- 
ly acuminate and five-plicate. It is found on the Brazil- 
ian Amazons and Rio ISTegro. (E.pataud, a giant among 
Palms, stands from eighty to one hundred feet, with leaves 
nearly half that length. The pinnae are very numerous, 
and measure four feet and a half long by four or five inch- 
es wide ; each has fourteen or fifteen deep folds. The 
veins of the leaf-sheaths are the i-eady-made arrows which 
the Indians shoot from the blow-gun. The fruit is gray- 
ish-purple, and affords a creamy, sweetish liquor. It occurs 
on the Brazilian Amazons and Rio Negro. CE. multicau- 
lis, Spruce, or " Sinami," grows in clusters (six to ten from 
the same rhizoma) about Tarapoto, near the Huallaga, fif- 
teen to thirty feet high, with a diameter of four or five 
inches. The leaves, about ten feet long, bear sixty pairs 
of plicated pinnae. 

Raphia tcedigera, Mart., or " Jupati," is famous for its 
long shaggy leaves, which measure from forty to fifty feet, 
rolling out from the top in graceful curves, forming a 
magnificent plume. It is also the only scaly-fruited Palm 
in America that has pinnate leaves, in this respect resem- 

DwAKF Palms. 545 

bliug Old World Palms. The trunk is from six to eight 
feet high, and spiny ; the leaf-stalks are about twelve feet 
long ; and the fruit is a lai'ge, oblong drupe. It belongs 
to the ygaypos, on the lower part of the Amazons. 

Bactris. — These prickly, dwarf Palms form, along with 
the Geonomas, a considerable portion of the imdergrowth 
in recent forests. The leaf-points are tipped with a pencil, 
and the peduncle of the spadix bursts through the middle 
of the leaf-sheath. B. Negrensis, Spruce, growing about 
the mouth of the Negro, has a smooth stem a yard high, 
distantly ringed, and about five simple bifurcated lea\es. 
jB. marajd, Mart, bears an edible fruit with acid flavor. 
A smaller species, B. tenuis, "Wall., called "Peuririma" 
or "Maraja-i," occurs on the Lower Amazons and Bio Ne- 
gro. The stem is from six to twelve feet high and less 
than an inch in diameter, and the four pairs of pinnae are 
not equally distant. £. bifida, Mart., or " Bussu-rana," has 
a spiny stem ten feet high, bearing numerous simple forked 
leaves three feet long by one in width, with petioles cov- 
ered with prickles. It is found on the Negro. B. jiaccosa, 
Spruce, in the woods near Santarem, has a prickly stem 
four feet high, and leaves two and a half feet long, with 
about ten pairs of pinnae. B. bidentula. Spruce, about 
Manaos, grows in clusters of three or four stems from ten 
to fifteen feet high, an inch in diameter, and spiny ; and 
its leaves are nearly five feet long, with thirty -three pairs 
of pinnae. B. hylophila. Spruce, growing near the mouth 
of the Negro, is of the same height as the last, but more 
slender ; its leaves are only a yard long, and have fifteen 
pairs of pinnte, the longest eleven inches long by half an 
inch wide. Along the banks of the Avhole Amazons is 
found B. C(9«cm7?a, Mart., growing in cliisters, from ten to 
fourteen feet high and three-quarters of an inch in diam- 
eter, generally nodding, and thorny ; its leaves, five feet 

546 The Andes and the Amazons. 

in length, are composed of twenty-eight pairs of pinnae six- 
teen inches long, and nearly an inch wide. 

The " Piipiinha," or Peach Palm, formerly called Gui- 
lielmia speciosa, Mart., is now considered to be the Bac- 
TKis Gasipaes of Humboldt. It is one of the most beau- 
tiful and useful of Palms, growing, generally in clusters, 
from sixty to ninety feet high, and thickly armed with 
prickles. Its numerous, curling, drooping leaves, seven 
feet long, have from sixty to seventy pairs of pinnae point- 
ing in all directions. Under the deep-green vault hangs 
the huge cluster of fruit, yellow and red when ripe, about 
seventy-five in number, and making a load for a strong 
man. It is nowhere found wild, although an undoubted 
native. It is seen in the cultivated spots along the whole 
River, even to the warm highland valleys of the Andes. 
The Peruvians give it the Quichua name of " Pisho-guayo " 
(Bird-fruit) and " Chonta-riiru " (Palm-egg). 

Desmoncds. — These are slender, climbing Palms with 
spinous stem and leaves. The pinnae are opposite, and the 
upper pairs are transformed into tough, recurved spines — 
a nuisance to travelers. The most common kind, the 
D. macracanthos, Mart., or " Jacitara," is observed on the 
Lower Amazons and Rio JSTegro. The D.jprunifer, Poep,, 
in Eastern Peru, beai'S sweet, edible drupes. 

Astrocaryum vulgare, Mart., called " Tueiim" in Brazil 
and " Cliambira" in Peru, and A. tuGumd, Mart., are com- 
mon forest Palms (growing only on the main-land), with a 
stout trunk from fifty to sixty feet high. Their closely-set 
leaves stand erect, broom -like, at the head of the stem; 
and every part, even the edges of the leaves, bristles with 
spines. The leaves are piimate, and white underneath. 
From the cuticle of the Tuciim fronds are made mats, 
twine, hammocks, and nets. The fruit of the Tucuma is 
esteemed by the Indians. In Iquitos may be seen a 

MuEUMUEtj Palms. 547 

Chambira eiglity-fi\e feet high growing through the cen- 
tre of a large exogenous tree ; and strong and strange is 
the contrast between the two forms of vegetation when the 
Palm, coming through the top, spreads out its flat crown 
among the net-veined leaves of its rival. A.jaua7'i, Mart., 
is one of the commonest riparial Palms on the Middle 
and Upper Amazons ; and its clustered, rather slender but 
very prickl}' stems, thirty to forty feet high, contribute to 
give a forbidding and monotonous aspect to low, inunda- 
ted, sandy shores, where it often abounds to the exclusion 
of every other Palm. It bears an excessively hard nut. 
A. muruTUuru, Mart., abounds particularly along the banks 
of the Maraiion, and in the moist, sandy flats of the forest. 
It rarely exceeds fifteen feet in height ; but it carries a 
graceful head of long, pinnate leaves, white on the under- 
side, and formidable spines. The fruit is edible, a juicy 
part covering a very hard seed. A. muribdca, Mart., has a 
slender, spiny stem not over twelve feet high, with spiny, 
pinnate leaves five feet long. The lancet -like prickles, 
two inches long, suggested the native name, Munbaca 
(Wake up !). It bears a sweet, orange-colored fruit. It 
grows in old clearings on the Lower Amazons. A.acaide, 
Mart., is a stemless Palm found fti sandy places on the Rio 
Negro, bearing spiny leaves ten feet in length, with sixtj^- 
seven pairs of pinnae. 

Maxemiliana regia, Mart., " Inaja" in Tupi, and " Cata- 
rinna " in Qnichua, is a fine, feathery Palm, quite common 
in the primitive forests along the whole river, but most 
conspicuous up the Rio Negro, where it is called " Coeuri- 
to." Its large spathe is used as a ready-made basket. The 
stem is of moderate height, and the leaves in circles of 
fives spread slightly, forming an open vase. The di-npe is 

Attalea Humholdtiana, Spruce, the " Yagua " of the 

548 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Indians, on wliicli, said Humboldt, " Nature has lavished 
every beauty of form." The smooth, annulated, slender 
stem I'ises between twenty and forty feet, and its leaves, 
about six in number and over thirty feet long, spring al- 
most verticall}' into the air, but arch over at the ends. 
The pinnae are arranged verticaUy, not horizontally, as in 
other Palms, and number some 200 pairs in a single leaf. 
A. excelsa, Mart., or " Urucuri," common every where, save 
on the Maranon, has a smooth, columnar stem, forty or fif- 
ty feet high, and broad leaves with symmetrical, rigid leaf- 
lets. The fruit, about the size and shape of a butternut, 
has a pleasant, jnicy pulp, but is not eaten. The fruit is 
burned for smoking rubber. A. spectdbilis, Mart., or " Cu- 
rua," found on the sandy campos of the Tapajos and Ne- 
gro, is a stemless Palm with broad, flat, I'igid pinnse. The 
leaves, twenty feet long, rise directly from the ground. 
The fruit contains milk similar to that of the cocoa-nut. 
A. speciosa, Mart., or " Uauassii," is a noble Palm with 
gigantic leaves growing on the Madeira, Negro, and Soli- 

AcKocoMiA lasiospatJia, or "Mucuja," grows only on the 
main-land of the Lower Amazons. It is forty feet high, 
and its fruit contains an edible, yellowish, fatty pulp. A. 
sclerocarpa, also called "Mucuja," is not uncommon in cul- 
tivated places from Para to Santarem. It is a prickly spe- 
cies with edible but dryish drupes. 

Cocos nucifera, L.,the common "Cocoa-nut," is limited 
to the Atlantic end of the Amazons, and must be culti- 
vated. It may be grown at Manaos and farther inland, 
but will not fruit. Even at Santarem, according to our 
experience, the nuts lack the sweetness of those nearer the 
sea. The stem is about forty feet high, and invariably 
inclined. In germination, the ovule sprouts through the 
softest of the three " eyes" at the butt of the nut. 

Yegetable Ivoky, 


Phytelephas.* The " Ivory Palms," whose seeds yield 
the vegetable ivory of commerce, ai-e found only at the 
roots of the Andes, generally in clusters near streams un- 

The Vegetable-ivory Plant. 

der the shade of lofty trees, as at Tarapoto. Their extreme 
altitude is 3000 feet. There are two species : P. macro- 

* This and the following are not true Palms, but belong to the allied order 
of Pandanacece or Screw-pines. 

550 The Andes and the Amazons. 

carjpa, E. et P., or " Polo-ponto," has a very short trunk or 
none at all, and large, pinnate leaves with about one hun- 
dred pairs of pinnae, which begin at the very base of the 
leaf. The fruit is about the size of a man's head, and is 
well packed with from twelve to twenty seeds. P. micro- 
carjpa^ K. et P., or " Yarina," is smaller, and is found as 
far east as the Napo. Both species differ from the one 
growing near Guayaquil, which has a high trunk. 

Cakludovica ^aZm«!z;a, R. et P., or "Bombonaje," from 
which straw hats are made, has no stem, the leaves on long 
slender petioles springing from the ground. Tlie leaves 
are about two feet long, fan-shaped and four-parted, each 
segment being again ten-cleft ; so that when folded in ver- 
nation, each segment on its own rib, there are eighty lay- 
ers in a young leaf. It is this young, unexpanded leaf, 
split into 160 or more strips, that is used in the manufac- 
ture of " Panama hats." It is confined to the Andes. 

Physical Features. 551 


The Geological Structure of the Amazons Valley. 

The valley of the Amazons is a very shallow basin of 
vast extent and of an oval shape, with the small end point- 
ing eastward. Between December and June, a large part 
of it resembles a huge, undraiued swamp, and people sail 
half the year above districts where for the other half they 
walk. Were the forest removed from the Lower Amazons, 
a great mud flat would be exposed (lower than the island 
of Marajo), threaded by a net- work of deep channels, par- 
tially covered by every tide, and deluged by the annual 
flood. From the marked feature (first noticed by Chaud- 
less) that the tributaries enter the main stream at a very 
acute angle, and have exceedingly tortuous courses, it is 
inferred that the rest of the valley is a nearly level plain 
gently inclined from west to east, and with very little slope 
on either side toward the centre of drainage. 

From the diagram on page 341 it will be seen that be^ 
tween Borja and Para, a distance of 29°, the inclination is 
only 500 feet. A section from Exaltacion, on the Upper 
Madeira, which has the same altitude as Borja, to San 
Carlos, on the Upper Negro, which is elevated only 212 
feet above the Atlantic, would show a depression at Fonte 
Boa, on the Amazons, of only 150 feet in 1000 miles. The 
Negro is a sluggish stream (San Carlos being on a level 
with Tabatinga) ; the Napo is more rapid ; and the Pas- 
tassa is a torrent. In the last thousand miles, the Ma- 
deira descends 430 feet; the Purus, 225; and the Ucayah, 

552 The Andes and the Amazons. 

400; while the Huallaga has probably a swifter current 
than any of the southern affluents. 

. The basin of the Great River is principally inclosed by 
the sedimentary slopes of the Andes and the metamorphic 
regions of the Casiquiare and Central Brazil. 

As the rise of the Andes was the creation of the Ama- 
zons, the study of the Mountain should precede that of the 
Ri^er. Indeed, the structure of the basin can not be un- 
derstood without a knowledge of the "rim." The geology 
of the Andes is not sufficiently advanced to warrant a clas- 
sification of the ranges with respect to their periods of ele- 
vation. Yet it is very probable that the coast cordillera 
was the first to emerge, and very certain that the eastern 
did not reach its present elevation until after the Creta- 
ceous age. The characteristic rocks of the maritime range 
are trachytes and porphyries ; of the oriental, sandstones 
and slates. 

The profile of the Andes of Northern Pei-n, on the fol- 
lowing page, gives the relative heights of the ranges and 
the main formations. I found no fossils in the Pacasmaj^o 
beach ; but at Payta, farther north, there are many, among 
them Turritella Patagonica, Sow. (which Darwin found 
also on the coasts of Patagonia and Chile), and Pecten 
viodisonus, Say, and Crej>idula fornicata, Say, identical 
with Miocene species on the east coast. The beach was 
therefore raised in late or post Tertiary times ; and there 
is evidence that a subsidence lias taken place since the 
Conquest,* for an Incarial road, with side-walls intended 

* I have elsevvheve called attention to the singular fact that every succes- 
sive measurement of the Andes gives a reduced elevation, tempting one to 
believe that either the chain is sinking or the atmospheric pressure increas- 
ing. Thus, Humboldt (1803) made the altitude of Quito 9570 feet; the 
writer (1867), 9520; Reiss and Stiibel (1870), 9350. Pichincha, according 
to Humboldt, is 15,922 ; according to the writer, 15,827 ; according to Reiss 
and Stiibel, 15,704. In 1827, Pentland very carefully estimated the altitude 
of Lake Titicaca at 12,795 feet, and Friesach, in 1858, determined it to be 

Geology of the Andes. 


Raised beach of Conglomerate 

Ragged barren hills of frachytio 
porphyry, and contorted 
Strata of Jurassic(?) lime- 
stone with granite dykes 

Rolling paionals 


Porphyry, syenite, quartzite 
and conglomerate 

Humboldt's red "freestone" 

Cretaceous limestone 


Granite and mica-schist 


to run along the coast, starts from Pacasmayo, and ends in 

the sea some three miles t> 


The western cordillera 
is doubtless Mesozoic, the 
Pacific side being pi'oba- 
bly Jurassic, as in South- 
ern Peru, and the oriental 
side Cretaceous. From the 
slope facing Pacasmayo I 
obtained Jurassic Cardi- ^ 

ums and Ostreas, and an ^ 

^ >-t 

Ammonite resembling A. 3 
Murxhisoni. Above Bal- ^ 


sas, near Tomependa, Hum- ^ 

boldt found and Von Buch f 

determined Echini, Isocar- c 

dias, Pectens, Ostreas, and > 


Ammonites of Cretaceous g 
age, and similar forms were ^ 
discovered by Rairnondi g 
below, within the depart- o 
ment of Ancachs. Half a S" 
day's journey west of Cha- g 
chapoyas is a highly fossil- •" 
iferous limestone, abound- 
ing with Ammonites and 
Pectens, which, according 
to Professor Hyatt, are Li- 
assic* The fossils are most 

12,630 ; but the recent railway lev- 
elings from the coast make it onlv 

* The following is an abstract of 
Professor Hyatt's paper presented 

Lias limestons 
Red sandstone 


Lias shale and sandstone 

Slate and sandstone 


Triassio shales 


Cretaceous limestone 
Slate and sandstone 


Saliferous red sandstone 

Tertiary sands and clays 


554: The Andes and the Amazons. 

common along the left bank of the Utcubamba, near Tin- 
go. Some of the Ammonites are a foot in diameter. Be- 
lemnites and Star-fishes have also been found farther down 
the Utcubamba, near Bagua ; and at San Carlos is an ex- 
tensive salt deposit. The dark-brown shale near the sum- 
mit of Piscoguanuna, dipping strongly to the eastward, 
contains numerous Middle Lias Ammonites. The rapid 
Cachiyacu, tearing its way down from the Punta de Schal- 
ca, brings along many Ammonites and Brachiopods of Cre- 
taceous age. This Punta, the saddle wliich divides the riv- 
ers Cachiyacu and Mayo, continues northward, and through 
its limestone strata the Maranon has cut the Pongo de 

to the Boston Society of Natural History, January 20th, 1875, entitled Notice 
of Jurassic and Cretaceous Ammonites collected in South America by Professor 
James Orton, with an Appendix upon the Cretaceous Ammonites of Professor 
Hartt's collection : 

"Jurassic Ammonites (Lias): Amioceras ceras, Agassiz (Amm. ceras, 
Giebel). — Under this name I have been obliged to describe several badly pre- 
served specimens, which resemble in their characteristics very closely this 
well-marked species of the Lower Lias ; loc. Piscoguanuna, Northern Peru. 
Arnioceras miserabilis ? Hyatt (A7mn. miserabilis ? Quenst.) ; loc. Piscogua- 
nuna. Caloceras Ortoni, Hyatt : this new species is closely allied to Amm. 
sironotus, Quenst., also a Liassic species ; loc. Tingo, Northern Peru. Phyl- 
loceras Loscombi, Hyatt (^Amm. Loscombi, D'Orb.) : this is another Lias form, 
probably Middle Lias, from the same locality. Perisphinetes anceps, Waa- 
gen : this species indicates the presence of the higher divisions of the Jura, 
the Lower Oxford of Oppel, perhaps the Kelloway division of that formation ; 
loc. Compuerta, near Lake Titicaca, fifty miles northwest of Puno, altitude 
of 13,500 feet. Stephanoceras macrocephalus, Waagen : the identity of this, 
as well as the former, with European species can not be doubted. It indicates 
the same division of the Jura; loc. Caracolis, near Lake Titicaca. It is 
probable that the whole series of Jurassic rocks exist in Peru and Bolivia. 

"Cretaceous Ascmonites. — The remarks upon the specimens in this di- 
vision are interesting simply because they have furnished me the means of 
establishing a new genus to include the forms which have hitherto been re- 
garded as Cretaceous Ceratites. This genus I have called Buchiceras, in 
honor of the great German geologist, Leopold Von Buch. It includes the 
following species : B. bilobatum, Hyatt, n. s. ; loc. Punta de Schalda, Northern 
Peru. This would be generally supposed to be identical with the Amm. Sy- 
riacus. Von Buch ; but the comparison of authentic specimens shows spe- 
cific differences. B. serratum, Hyatt, n.s., loc. Cachiyacu, Northern Peru, 
doubtless washed down from the Punta de Schalca." 

Geology of the Andes. 565 

Manseriche. The limestone at the Pongo yielded me a 
Protocardia, a linguiform Ostrea, and an Exogyra of Cre- 
taceous type. All the Pongos on the Upper Maranon are 
made through limestone mountains. The Punta de Schal- 
ca is also a prolongation of the calcareous range which 
crosses the Huallaga at the Pongo de Aguirre. It is prob- 
able, therefore, that this western wall at the head of the 
Amazons valley is of Cretaceous age. 

The Cerro de Icuto is flanked on the east with salifer- 
ous red sandstone. It contains the valuable salt-mines of 
Cachipuerto, on the Cachiyacu; and without doubt the salt- 
hills of Chasuta and Pilluana on the Huallaga belong to the 
same formation, as also the gypsum-beds in the elevated 
ridge separating the Huallaga from the Ucayali. The Cerro 
de Sal, farther south, near the head of the Pachitea, may 
likewise be contemporaneous.'^ The Icuto rock is unfos- 
siliferous, and I could not find its relation to the Schalca 
limestone. The great Moyobamba valley, inclosed be- 
tween the Schalca and Piscoguanuna ranges, is lined with 
friable shales of divers colors — red, yellow, purple, blue, 
and black — with overlying soft, white sandstone. Drs. Rai- 
mondi and Spruce refer this to the Triassic. Near Tarapoto, 
where the shales contain Ammonites of immense size, there 
are jointed columns of trap-rock and cliffs of white salt. 

In crossing the Andes in the latitude of Lake Titicaca 
eastward, we first find Oolitic formations largely covered 
with intrusive rocks. After passing the summit of the 
coast Cordillera, we have purely sedimentary strata, con- 
torted but dipping easterly — conglomerate, sandstone, slate, 
and Jurassic limestone. Then follow, in succession, Trias- 
sic beds (remarkably like those in the Moyobamba valley, 
capped with white sandstone, and broken by protruding 

* The gorge of Tunkini on the Upper Ucayali is described by Castelnan as 

556 The Andes and the Amazons. 

igneous rocks) ; Carboniferous, at the south end of the 
lake, and re-appearing east of Cochabamba on the head- 
waters of the Chapara; and the Devonian and Silurian, 
forming the mass of the high Andes. 

If now we examine the valley of the Amazons, we shall 
be struck with its remarkably uniform character, such as 
is presented by no other region on the globe of equal area. 
From the Andes to the Atlantic, and from the Falls of the 
Madeii-a to the Orinoco, scarcely any thing is visible but 
clays and sandstones. 

The fundamental rock is metamorphic, chiefly gneiss 
and granite. It is exposed at the falls of the tributaries, 
especially on the Madeira. It is greatly disturbed, and 
frequently broken through by porphyritic dikes. The 
granite contains little mica and much quartz. The valley 
is bounded on the north and south by immense metamor- 
phic areas. The low water-shed between the Amazons and 
Paraguay is covered with tertiary beds ; but the still lower 
region of the Upper Eio Negro is one great undulating 
sheet of granite and gneiss completely denuded of the 
stratified rocks that once overlaid it, save here and there 
a thin covering of white sand and red loam filling the hol- 
lows, and abrupt peaks that suddenly rise from the plain. 

Silurian formations are rarely visible. The gold and to- 
paz bearing rocks of Minas Geraes probably belong to this 
age, but they are greatly altered. In the Bolivian Andes, 
facing the Madeira valley, is an extensive development of 
Silurian slates and sandstones. The only undoubted De- 
vonian formation in the valley is the plain north of the 
Serra of Erere, discovered by Ilartt. 

The horizontal limestone strata at Itaituba on the Ta- 
pajos and on the Trombetas across the Amazons abound 
with Brachiopods of the Coal Measures. D'Orbigny and 
Forbes have pointed out isolated Carboniferous deposits 

Caebonifekous Deposits. 557 

in the Titicaca basin and near Santa Cruz, on the Mamore. 
From the Pichis, which flows directly from the Cerro de 
Sal (a spur of the eastern cordillera), I obtained several 
fossils of limited vertical range which go to show that the 
Pichis, Bolivian, and Itaituban beds are identical. The 
Pichis, Titicaca, Oruro, and Guaco (province of San Juan) 
deposits lie in the same line, northwest-southeast, along the 
Andes. The altitude of the Tapajos beds is 125 feet; of 
the Pichis, over 700 feet ; of the Titicaca, 12,500 feet ; and 
liaimondi has found Carboniferous rocks on the Apurimac 
at the height of more than 14,000 feet. It is evident that 
through the Paleozoic ages at least the basin of the Am- 
azons was an open sea."'^ 

* A pebbly bottom is first struck in ascending the Ucayali about fifteen 
miles up the Pachitea. Now <ind then blutt's of yellowish-gray sandstone 
abound on the Pachitea ; but the Ucayali, for 700 miles from its mouth, flows 
through a vast pampa, overflowed in the rainy season. The rocky bed of 
the Pichis (lat. 10^, long. 75°) is filled with fragmentary, fossiliferous lime- 
stone of an ash-gray color. At Puerto Tucker, the highest point navigable 
in canoes, lofty mountains are seen about seven miles distant, extending east 
and west. I am indebted to the Hydrographical Commission for specimens 
from the bed of the Pichis. Among them are two corals, which I have sub- 
mitted to Professors Hall and Pourtales. One is cyathophylloid, having the 
structure oi Amplexus ; but it is compound. The other has the aspect of 
Syringopora, and may be an Eridophyllum of small size. The evidence is in 
fevor of their Carboniferous age. The following note on the MoUusks is by 
Mr. Orville A. Dewey, of Cornell University: "On his return from Peru in 
1874, Professor James Orton submitted to me for examination a piece of 
fossiliferous limestone from the Pichis River. The mass was a water-worn 
pebble of dark-blue stone, scarcely larger than one's fist. The fossils being 
silicified, the specimen was treated with acid, and a number of species of 
Bracliiopoda obtained. The only other fossil was a slender ramose Coral or 
Bryozoan, which, being imperfectly silicified, could not be obtained for iden- 
tification. The number of individuals and species occurring in so small a 
inass indicate an exceedingly rich fauna in the locality. The following are 
the species determined : 

"Spirifera camerata, Morton: This widely distributed species is rep- 
resented by several specimens, one of which is of considerable size, and shows 
unmistakably the cliaracteristics of the species. The fasciculated arrange- 
ment of the ribs, though distinct, is not strongly marked, and in this as in oth- 
er respects it agrees with the forms found on the Tapajos. The occurrence 
of this form in the Andes strengthens the view which I had taken in my pa- 

558 The Andes and the Amazons. 

N"o Mesozoic rocks are visible east of the Andes, except 
the Cretaceous conglomerate found by Chandless on the 
Upper Puriis, which, however, was evidently washed down 
from a higher locality farther south.* The Andean re- 
gion was covered by the Jurassic sea, and was afterward 
elevated (in Northern Peru) 11,000 feet. The moment the 
Andes began to rise, the topography of the Amazons val- 

per on the Brazilian Carboniferous Brachiopods {Bull. Cornell Univ., vol. i.), 
that S. condor, D'Orb. from Lake Titicaca is identical with the North Amer- 
ican species. Spirifera or Spiriferina sp. : There is also a fragment 
with rather coarse simple ribs not recognizable specifically. The aspect is 
that of a Spiriferina, but no puncta have been observed. Spirifera per- 
PLEXA, M'Chesney : A single dorsal valve is referred to this species. In 
the paper above cited, I have endeavored to show that this well-known and 
widely-distributed American form is distinct from the European S. lineata, 
Martin, to which it has usually been referred. An exceedingly small speci- 
men, presenting the characters of a smooth Spirifer, is probably the young 
of this species or of S. planoconvbxa, Shumard. Eumetria Mormonii, 
Marcou {Betzia punctulifera, Shumard), is by far the most abundant species, 
being represented by ten or a dozen specimens in the rock examined. One 
of these is figured on PI. viii.. Fig. 8, in my paper referred to. Terebra- 
TULA bovidens, Morton (?) : A crushed specimen agrees perfectly with Mor- 
ton's species from Missouri in the characters of the beak and in general form, 
as far as the latter can be observed. This species is known from two Boliv- 
ian localities. Salter identified it under the name of T. millepunctata among 
some specimens from Santa Cruz, by Mr. Cammmgs {Quart. Jour. Geol. Soc, 
vol. xvii., p. 50), and Toula describes an apparently identical form from 
Cochabambaas T. Hochstetteri {Proc. Vienna Ac ad., Wx.). Rhynohonella 
or Camarophoria, sp. : A small specimen ; ovate, about as long as wide ; 
ventral valve depressed, convex, with a broad shallow sinus extending but lit- 
tle beyond the middle, and marked by two rounded ribs ; dorsal valve gibbous ; 
surface smooth. Should this prove to be new, I would suggest the name of 
R. (or C.) Ortonii. Of these species, S. earner ata, S. perplexa, and £. 
Mormonii occur on the Tapajos in beds equivalent to the North American 
Coal Measures, of which the same species with T. bovidens are characteristic. 
I have endeavored to show {Bull. Cor. Univ., vol. i., part ii., p. 6) that the fos- 
sils found in various Bolivian localities belong to the same division of the 
Carboniferous age. The existence of a Carboniferous basin in Peru quite 
widely removed from the Titicaca basin on the south, and from the Tapajos 
basin on the east, is an exceedingly interesting point in South American ge- 

* Dr. Gait brought an Ammonite from the mouth of the Pichis on the 
Pachitea (Upper Ucayali) which appears to be Cretaceous. It was probably 
washed down from the south. 

Geology of the Valley. 559 

ley was foreshadowed. The superficial Cretaceous strata 
up the Paraiia-pura, at the Pongo de Manseriche, and from 
Tomependa up the remarkable longitudinal valley of the 
Upper Maranon to Balsas, into the department of An- 
cachs, would indicate that so much at least of the Great 
River began to exist in the Early Tertiary. Without 
doubt, during the Cretaceous period, the Atlantic and Pa- 
cific were continuous oceans, flowing over not only the 
Panama isthmus, but also over all Equatorial America, 
save a few islands and reefs. We are not surprised, there- 
fore, to find the same Cretaceous (and even Miocene) spe- 
cies on both sides of the Andes.* 

The vast basin (whether Carboniferous or Cretaceous I 
will not say) formed by the rise of the Andes and the raet- 
amorphic regions on the north and south received an im- 
mense sheet of colored clays, sands, and sandstones. This 
deposit, unique in its extent and origin, is known as the 
Amazonian Tertiary formation. It was the sediment of 
a brackish Mediterranean, or of a quiet lake to which 
brackish water had occasional access. The argillaceous and 
loamy beds are universal ; the sandstone has been reduced 
by subsequent denudation, and is now nearly confined to 
the Lower Amazons.f Excepting this sandstone, the ma- 
terial is so thoroughly comminuted that a pebble is a rar- 
ity. The Maraiion Indians, upon returning from up the 
Ucayali and other tributaries, bring home rocks to sharpen 
their knives. I have seen, however, concretions, nodular 
and stalactiform, strikingly similar to the marly concre- 
tions noticed by Darwin in the Pampean mud. 

Previous to the expedition of the writer across the con- 

* Mr. Bland informs me, after an examination of my land-shells, that the 
general aspect of the living Bulimi from the Peruvian Andes is remarkably 
like the Lower Californian. 

t Vesicular, ferruginous sandstone occurs far up the Madeira and Negro. 
I am not aware of its existence in any part of the Maraiion region. 

560 The Andes and the Amazons, 

tinent in 1867, this vast homogeneous formation along the 
Great River had not yielded a single fossil. In the words 
of Professor Agassiz, " Tertiary deposits have never been 
observed in any part of the Amazonian basin." And it 
was on this negative evidence mainly that the distinguish- 
ed naturalist hazarded the conjecture that the formation 
was drift.* But the banks of the Maranon prove to be 
highly fossiliferons. At Pebas, near the mouth of the 
Ambiyacu, as already stated (page 282), I discovered in one 
of the beds of blue clay, twelve feet below the surface, a 
multitude of fossil sliells. Below this bed is a seam of 
lignite, and then another layer of fossils. I engaged Mr. 
Hauxwell, an English collector, to search for other locali- 
ties; and in 1870 he reported a large deposit on the south 
side of the Maranon, below Pebas, at Pichana. The shells 
were larger and more plentiful than at Pebas, and were 
found from six to twenty feet beneath the soil. In re- 
visiting the Amazons, in 1873, I discovered at Iquitos, 
more than a hundred miles west of Pebas, a still more 
prolific bed.f Here the shells occur above, below, and in 

* The history of the attempt to find the traces of glaciation in this equato- 
rial region is short. The Cambridge professor, who had berated other natu- 
ralists for theorizing without facts, entered the mouth of the Amazons for the 
first time in his life with the confidence of a prophet, foreordaining bowlders, 
moraines, strise, and all the other appurtenances of a gigantic glacier. All 
proved to be imaginary ; j'et the chief and his satellites stoutly kept their 
original faith. Professor Hartt, after propounding several modifications, the 
last one being tlie possible glacial origin of the superficial layer, to which the 
Pebas sliells had driven liiin, finally owns that, " having no evidence whatever 
of the former existence of glaciers in the Amazons, the question of the gla- 
cial origin of the valley need not be raised." For evidence against the sup- 
position of a glacial epoch at the equator, see Annals and Mag. Nat. Hist., 
1871, vol. viii., p. 297. Keller, in his late exploration of the Madeira, 
searched diligently for erratic bowlders; but not a trace of the "foundlings" 
could he discover. "I never believed for a moment" (writes Mr. Darwin), 
"in Agassiz's idea of the origin of the Amazonian formation." 

t It is very singular that Castelnau and Herndon overlooked the shells at 
Pebas, since they are plainly exposed ; and still more strange that Mr. Steer, 
who examined the beds at Pebas and Pichana in 1871, found nothing at 

Amazonian Fossils. 


the lignite band, beginning about twenty feet from the 
surface. They are best exposed about two miles below 
the town. A well dug at Iquitos shows, first, seven feet of 
variegated clays, nine feet of fine sand ; next, several feet 
of pebbles; and then, blue clay containing shells. From 
the collections made at these localities, the following 
thirty species have been determined : 

Pachydon carinatus, Conrad. 

" obliquus, Gabb. 

" <enats,Gabb. 

" erectus, Conrad. 

" cuneatiis, Conrad. 

" ovatus, Conrad. 

" cuneiformis, Conrad. 

" dispar, Conrad. 
Dresseina scrijita, Conrad. 
Anodon Batesii, Woodward. 

" Pebasana, Conrad. 
Triquetra longula, Conrad. 
Ostomya papyria, Conrad. 
Haplothaerus capax, Conrad. 

Isaea Ortoni, Gabb. 

" lintea, Conrad. 
Liris laqueata, Conrad. 
Ehora crassilabra, Conrad. 
Nesis bella, Conrad. 
Neritina Ortoni, Conrad. 
Dyris gracilis, Conrad. 
Hemisinus sulcatus, Conrad. 
" Steerei, Conrad. 

Iquitosa tuberculifera, Conrad.* 
Pachytoma tertiana, Conrad. 
Toxosoma eborea, Conrad. 
Cirrobasis venusta, Conrad. 
Liosoma curta, Conrad. 
Cyclocheila Pebasana, Conrad. 
Bulimus lintetis, Conrad. 

These interesting fossils have attracted much attention 
by their extraordinary character, and by the light which 
they throw upon the largest continuous Tertiary formation 
in the world. All the species and twelve of the genera 
are extinct. The impalpable clay in which they were im- 
bedded was admirably fitted for their preservation. Some 

Iquitos, where I found shells even more abundant than below. All the known 
localities were discovered by myself, and by Mr. Hauxwell, under my instruc- 

* This beautiful and characteristic shell was originally described in Proceed. 
Acad. Nat. Sci. Phil., vol. xxvi., as a Hemisinus ; but Mr. Conrad has since 
decided that it belongs to a new genus, distinguished by its high, Melania- 
like spine and short, patulous aperture. "Subulate, subturreted, whorls nu- 
merous, spirally ribbed ; aperture short, oval ; columella regularly arched, 
solid, subtruncated at base; outer lip regularly curved." The name is de- 
rived from Iquitos, Peru, where it is very abundant. Hemisinus and Trique- 
tra are characteristic genera of South American rivers. 


562 The Andes and the Amazons. 

have retained their colors and epidermis, and the bivalves 
generally .occur with the valves united and closed. They 
exist also in such vast numbers, they must have lived and 
died on the spot. The bivalves are most abundant at 
Pichana, and the univalves at Iquitos — localities at least 
150 miles apart: the former may be the lower stratum, 
and the otlier the upper. The Hernisintis is particularly 
abundant at Iquitos, and very rare in the Pebas district. 
Mr. Gabb led me astray in saying, on page 282, that these 
shells are marine. Most of them are fresh-water, many 
are estuary (but might have lived in fresh or brackish 
water), and a few are terrestrial. Mr. Conrad, who exam- 
ined my large collections, and is better prepared to speak 
than any other paleontologist, considers the beds Eocene.^ 
I am not prepared to give the vertical or horizontal dis- 
tribution of these fossils. So far as visible at low water, 
they appear to I'ange over twenty feet of depth, coming 
nearer to the surface at Pebas than at Iquitos ; but the main 
layer lies nearly parallel with the level of the river, which 
falls about forty feet between the two places. They oc- 
cur on both sides of the lignite, which is traceable from 
Tabatinga to the Huallaga. The shell-bed must extend 
far west of Iquitos ; and in my last expedition, I procured 
a mass of yellow clay containing the " Pebas shells" from 
a point several hundred miles up the Ucayali ; the precise 
locality I can not give, as I did not visit it. Evidently this 
Tertiary basin is not so contracted as the glacialists have 
tried to make it. Dr. Gait brought from the Pachitea 
(near the junction of the Pichis and Palcazu) a beautiful 
Ostrea, which Conrad calls 0. callacta, and says it is a Ter- 
tiary form, and was filled with a light-colored clay strik- 

* Per contra, Professor Hartt, who has never seen the Maranon, decides 
that " it was in the latter part of the stage of growth of the basin that the 
days of the Upper Amazon were deposited, and the Pebas shells lived. 
This appears to have been near the close of the Tertiary." 

Amazonian Formation. 563 

ingly similar to that of the Pebas beds.* Mastodon re- 
mains have been found near Moyobamba; and silicified 
wood is occasionally seen in the hands of the Maranon 

It is evident that such an even sheet of fine earth could 
not have been spread over such a vast area by streams 
from the rising Andes ; it must be the deposit of a quiet, 
inland lake. It is evident that the Amazons estuary ex- 
tended farther west than now, the result of a gentle oscil- 
lation : a subsidence of one hundred feet at Tabating^a 
would make the tides felt on the Maranon. It is evident 
that the condition of things in the Brazilian Amazons, 
both during and after the deposition of the formation, was 
different from that in the Maranon region. If there is 
any difference in age, I should give the priority to the lat- 
ter. It is evident that the Andes did not reach their pres- 
ent altitude until after the deposition of the Amazonian 
formation ; though it was a slow movement in mass, for the 
beds ai-e nowhere unequally tilted or dislocated. The clay- 
beds ascend with gentle inclination the eastern slope, being 
visible far up the ISTapo, Pastassa, and Hnallaga. Balsa 
Puerto, 3° 15' west of Iquitos and 400 feet higher, stands 
on a thick bed of red, yellow, and white clays, resting on a 
soft slate, dipping easterly.! By the continued rise of the 
Andes, the great equatorial lake, already shallowed by sed- 
iment, was drained, leaving only a net-work of rivers, iga- 
rapes and lagunes. 

* In the ferruginous clay at "Villa Bella, Lower Amazons, I found imbed- 
ded a little shell which Conrad refers to Acicula. 

t At the head of the Napo and Pastassa, the Andes begin with a soft slate 
of great thickness, overlying mica schist, and trachyte. 

564 The Andes and the Amazons. 


On the Condors and Humming-birds of the Equatorial Andes.* 

The Condor has been singularly unfortunate in the 
hands of the curious and scientific. Fifty years have 
elapsed since the first specimen reached Europe ; yet to- 
day the exaggerated stories of its size and strength are re- 
peated in many of our text-books, and the very latest orni- 
thological w^ork leaves us in doubt as to its relation to the 
other vultures. No one credits the assertion of the old 
geographer, Marco Paolo, that the Condor can lift an ele- 
phant from the grpund high enough to kill it by the fall ; 
nor the story of a traveler, so late as 1830, vpho declared 
that a Condor of moderate size, just killed, was lying be- 
fore him, a single quill-feather of which was twenty good 
paces long ! Yet the statement continues to be published 
that the ordinary expanse of a full-grown specimen is from 
twelve to twenty feet; whereas it is very doubtful if it 
ever exceeds, or even equals, twelve feet. A full-grown 
male, from the most celebrated locality on the Andes, now 
in Vassar College, has a stretch of nine feet ; Humboldt 
never found one to measure over nine feet ; and the largest 
specimen seen by Darwin was eight and a half feet from 
tip to tip. An old male in the Zoological Gardens of Lon- 
don measures eleven feet. Yon Tschudi says he found 
one with a spread of fourteen feet two inches ; but he in- 
validates his testimony by the subsequent statement that the 
full-grown Condor measures from twelve to thirteen feet. 

* For the author's contributions to the natural history of the valley of 
Quito, see American Naturalist, vol. v. 

The Condoe. 565 

The old names of Vultur gryphus, Y. Magellanicus, 
Gypagus grijffus, and Zopilotes, are obsolete, and Sarco- 
rmnpkus gryjyhus is universally adopted. But it is not 
yet settled that it is generically distinct from the other 
great vultures. Thus Sclater and Gurney put the Condor 
alone in Savcoramphus ; while Gray and Strickland in- 
clude the King Vulture ; and Vieillot and others add a 
third — the California Vulture. The structure and habits 
of the Condor, in my judgment, make it worthy to stand 
by itself. The King Vulture belongs more especially to 
the plains ; while the California species has straggling 
feathers on its head, builds nests iu trees, where it perches, 
and its time of incubation is only one month. 

But a more important question, perhaps, is whether there 
is but one species. Associated with the Great Condor is 
a smaller vulture, having brown or ash-coloi-ed plumage 
instead of black and white, a beak wholly black instead of 
black at the base and white at the tip, and no caruncle. 
It inhabits the high altitudes, and is rather common. This 
was formerly thought to be a distinct species, but lately 
ornithologists have pronounced it the young of the Sarco- 
ramphus gvypTius. I wish this decision to be reconsider- 
ed, for there is some ground for the belief that the first 
impression is correct ; that the " Condor pardo " (as the 
brown kind is called by the natives) is specifically distinct 
from the greater " Condor negro." They are always spok- 
en of as separate kinds at Quito, where certainly it would 
be known if one were the young of the other. 

Mr. John Smith, an Englishman of intelligence and 
acute observation, and a resident of nearly twelve years 
on the slope of Antisana, where both kinds abound, said 
to me, " I have heard it said that the Brown Condor is the 
young of the Black. It can not possibly be, for I have 
seen young Condors with white beaks and a few white 

666 The Andes and the Amazons. 

feathers in their wings. I have also seen old Condors with 
caruncles on the head (which are said to come from age 
alone), and black beaks, and the body brown or ash-color- 
ed all over." Bonaparte, in his American Ornithology^ 
gives a careful drawing of a young male, with a crest, and 
with white patches on its wings, both features wanting in 
the Brown. Lieutenant Gilliss declares, as the result of 
his observations on the Chilean Andes, that the brown kind 
is a different species. Further proof is wanted ; but it is_ 
quite probable that another species must be added to the 
genus Sarcoram^Kus. 

The ordinary habitat of the Eoyal Condor is between 
the altitudes of 10,000 and 16,000 feet. The largest seem 
to make their home around the volcano of Cayambi, which 
stands exactly on the equator. In the rainy season they 
frequently descend to the coast, where they may be seen 
roosting on trees ; on the mountains they very rarely perch 
(for which their feet are poorly fitted), but stand on rocks. 
They are most commonly seen around vertical clifPs, where 
their nests are, and where cattle are most likely to fall. 
Great numbers frequent Antisana, where there is a great 
cattle estate. Flocks are never seen except around a large 
carcass. It is often seen singly, soaring at a great height 
in vast circles. Its flight is slow and majestic. Its head 
is constantly in motion as if in search of food below; its 
mouth is kept open, and its tail spread. To rise from the 
ground, it must needs run for some distance, then it flaps 
its wings three or four times, and ascends at a low angle 
till it reaches a considerable elevation, when it seems to 
make a few leisurely strokes, as if to ease its wings, after 
which it literally sails upon the air. In walking, the wings 
trail on the ground, and the head takes a crouching posi- 
tion. It has a very awkward, almost painful gait. From 
its inability to rise without ruiniing, a narrow pen is sufii- 

Habits of the Condok. 567 

cient to imprison it. Though a carrion bird, it breathes 
the purest air, spending much of its time soaring three 
miles above the sea. Humboldt saw one fly over Chim- 
borazo. I have seen them sailing at least a thousand feet 
above the crater of Pichincha.* 

Its gormandizing power has hardly been overstated. I 
have known a single Condoi', not of the largest size, to 
make way in one week with a calf, a sheep, and a dog. It 
prefers carrion, but will sometimes attack live sheep, deer, 
dogs, etc. The eye and tongue are favorite parts, and first 
devoured ; next the intesthies. I never heard of one au- 
thenticated case of its carrying off children, nor of its at- 
tacking adults except in defense of its eggs. Yon Tschudi 
says it can not can-y, when flying, a weight of over ten 
pounds. In captivity, it will eat every thing except pork 
and cooked meat. When full fed, it is exceedingly stupid, 
and may be caught by the hand ; but at other times it is 
a match for the stoutest man. It passes the greater part 
of the day sleeping, more often searching for prey morn- 
ing and evening than at noon ; very likely because objects 
are then more distinctly seen. 

It is seldom shot (though it is not invulnerable, as once 
thought), but is generally trapped or lassoed. Prescott, in 
his Conquest of Peru, vol. i., p. 384, speaks of " the great 
bird of the Andes, the loathsome condor, who, sailing high 
above the clouds, followed with doleful cries in the track 
of the army." But the only noise it makes is a hiss like 
that of a goose. The usual trachial muscles are wanting. 

It lays two white , eggs, three or four inches long, on an 
inaccessible ledge. It makes no nest proper, but places a 
few sticks around the eggs. By no amount of bribery 
could we tempt an Indian to search for Condors' eggs ; 

* One of the peaks of Pichincha is called in the Inca language Cuntur 
guachana, or " Condor's nest." 

568 The Andes and the Amazons. 

and Mr. Smith, who had hunted many years in the valley 
of Quito, was never able to get sight of an egg. Incuba- 
tion occupies about seven weeks, ending April or May.* 
The young are scarcely covered with a dirty-white down, 
and they are not able to fly till nearly two years. D'Or- 
bigny says they take the wing in about a month and a 
half after being hatched ; a manifest error. They are as 
downy as goslings until they nearly equal in size a full- 
grown bird. Darwin was told they could not fly for a 
whole year. The white frill at the base of the neck, and 
the white feathers in the wings, do not appear until the 
second plumage, or until after the first general moulting, 
during which time they lie in the caves, and are fed by 
their elders for at least six months. Previous to this the 
frill is of a deep -gray color (Gilliss says "light blue- 
black "), and the wing-feathers brown. 

The head, neck, and front of the breast are bare, indica- 
tive of its propensity to feed on carrion. The head is 
elongated, and much flattened above. The neck is of un- 
usual size, and in the male the skin lies in folds. The 
nostrils are oval and longitudinal, but in the male they are 
not so much exposed as in the other sex, since the carun- 
cle forms an arch over them. The olfactories, however, 
seem to be well developed. Yet the Condor, though it 
has neither the smelling powers of the dog (as proved by 
Darwin), nor the bright eye of the eagle, somehow distin- 
guishes a carcass afar ofi^. The color of the eye is vari- 
ously given: by Latham, as nut-brown ; by Cassell, as pur- 
ple ; and by Bonaparte, as olive-gray ; but Gurney, in hir 
Bwptorial Birds in the Norwich Museum, states it cor- 
rectly as pale-brown in the male, and carbuncle-red in the 
female — a singular difference between the sexes. In 
young birds the color is dark-brown, which changes with 

* In Patagonia, according to Darwin, much earlier, or about February. 


change of plumage. They are peculiarly elongated, not 
sunken in the head as the eagle's, and very far back, be- 
ing an inch and a half behind the gape, while those of the 
eao-le are directly over it. The bill is shorter and weaker 
than the eagle's, and the decurved tip of the upper mandi- 
ble only one third as long. The tongue is canaliculate, 
with serrated edges, which obviously assists in deglutition, 
as the head is never raised to swallow food. The carun- 
cle and wottle are wanting in the female. The downy 
ruff is more prominent in the male, but in neither sex 
completes a circle. The primaries are black, the third 
and fourth being equal and longest — a feature wanting in 
the Old World vultures. The secondaries are exteriorly 
edged with white. The tail is of twelve feathers^ black 
and even. Legs feathered to the tarsus. Toes united by 
a small membrane ; the middle one is excessivel}' long ; 
the third one comparatively undeveloped, by which the 
foot is rendered less prehensile than that of other Eap- 
tores. Claws blunt, as might be expected from its habit 
of standing on the rocks ; nor are sharp talons wanted, as 
it seldom seizes living prey. The nail of the hind toe is 
more curved than the other three, but far less than the 
talons of the eagle. The female Condor is smaller than 
the male, an unusual circumstance in this order, the fem- 
inine eagles and hawks being larger than their mates. 

Our knowledge of the habits and economy of the Tro- 
chilidse is very meagre. The relationship between the 
genera is not clear, and one species is no more typical than 
another. The only well-marked divisions I can discover 
are those adopted by Gould and Gray — the Phsethor- 
uithinse and Polytminse. The former, popularly called 
" Hermits," are dull-colored, and frequent the dense for- 
ests. They are more numerous on the Amazons than the 

570 The Andes and the Amazons. 

other group ; and I know of no specimen from the Quito 
valley, or from any altitude above 10,000 feet. They 
usually build long purse-like nests of vegetable fibres, cov- 
ered with lichens and lined with silk cotton, and hung 
from the extremities of leaves over water-courses. 

The Polytminse comprise the vast majority of the Hum- 
ming-birds, or nearly nine tenths. They delight in sun- 
shine, and the males generally are remarkable for their 
brilliant plumage. The diversified slopes of the Andes are 
more favorable for their development than the uniform 
plains. Their head-quarters seem to be in New Granada ; 
but the precise distribution of the species is not so well 
known as it might be. Near the equator the species are 
nearly stationary ; some, as the Oreoiroehilus, are confined 
to particular volcanoes, or an area of a few square miles. 
There is, therefore, greater need of determining the pre- 
cise locality of a specimen ; yet, in the best monograph on 
the Trochilidfe (Mr. Gould's), species are assigned to such 
indefinite regions as Ecuador, Peru, etc. But Ecuador 
ascends from the sea-coast to 20,000 feet, and is traversed 
by two Cordilleras and a plateau, making three very dis- 
tinct districts; the faunae of the west slope, the Quito 
valley, and the Napo country, being, with less than half 
a dozen exceptions, entirely separate. Of the 430 known 
species of Hummers, 27 are found in and around the val- 
ley of Quito, 37 on the Pacific slope, and 20 on the oriental 
side of the Andes — making a total of 84, or about one fifth 
of the family, within the republic of Ecuador. The pauci- 
ty of Hummers south of the equator, in comparison with 
the number on or just above the line, has been accounted 
for by the fact that the di-y and sterile plains of Peru and 
the barren pampas of La Plata are unsuited to insect, and 
therefore to Humming-bird, life. This can not be the 
whole reason : for there are mvriads more of insects on 

Habits of Hummers. 571 

the Lower Amazons than on the Andes, yet there are not 
fifteen species east of Egas, or the last 1500 miles. If the 
wanton destruction of Humming-birds for mere decora- 
tive purposes continues for the next decade as it has dur- 
ing the last, several genera may become utterly extinct. 
This is evident when we consider that many a genus is 
represented by a single species, which species has a very 
circumscribed habitat, and multiplies slowly, prodncino- 
but two eggs a year; and that at Nanegal, e. g., a famous 
locality near Quito, it was possible ten years ago to shoot 
sixteen or eighteen per day, while now it is hard to get 
half a dozen. 

Nidification is uniform at the same altitude and latitude. 
In the valley of Quito it occurs at about the close of the 
rainy season, or April. The nest is built in six days. But 
one Q^g is laid before the nest is finished. The usual 
height of the nest above the ground is six feet. Some, 
like that of our Northern species, are cup - shaped, and 
placed in the fork of a branch ; others are hung like a 
hammock by threads or spiders' webs to trees or rocks ; 
while the long -tailed Lesbia constructs a purse -shaped 
nest, resembling those of the Phsethornithinse on the Am- 
azons. Like the " hermit " Hummers of the lowlands, the 
Purple-eared {Petasophora iolata) alone of the Quito spe- 
cies hangs its nest over a stream of water. As to the ma- 
terials of the nest, I have noticed a fact which I can not 
explain. Our Northern Hummer glues lichens all over 
the outside ; so do a number of species in Brazil, Guiana, 
etc. ; but in the valley of Quito moss is invariably used : 
not a particle of lichen have I seen on any nest, though 
lichens abound.* Mr. Gould mentions a nest which, being 

* A similar variation is seen in the nests of the Chimney-swallows : our 
species {Chmtura pelasgia) builds of twigs glued together with saliva, while 
its Quito representative (C. rutila) builds of mud and moss. 

572 The Andes and the Amazons. 

heavier on one side than on the other, was weighted with 
a small stone to preserve the equilibrium. A few Hum- 
mers, as the Glaucis of the lowlands, lay but a single egg ; 
but the usual number is two, and they are always of a 
pinkish hue when freshly laid. The spotted egg of a spe- 
cies on the Upper Amazons, noticed by Edwards, has not 
been seen by other observers. The time of incubation at 
Quito is twelve days, varying a day more or less, accord- 
ing to the weather. There is but one brood a year, as with 
T. cohibris, in our Northern States. But in our Southern 
States, and in Brazil, there are generally two. Drapiez 
says " sometimes four broods ;" but we conjecture that this 
is a mistake. 

No insessorial bird seeks its food at so great an eleva- 
tion as the Oreoti'ochilus.^ This has been seen clinging 
to the volcanic cliffs of Chimborazo ; but no other Hum- 
mer has been observed to alight on the ground, for which, 
in fact, their sharp, hooked nails are ill fitted. When 
perching on a branch, all Hummers remain motionless. 
Of the sixteen genera represented in the valley of Quito, 
the average length of the bill is three fourths of an inch ; 
and the most numerous plants are the Composite, Scro- 
phulariacese, and Labiatse. The curve - billed Eutoxeres 
is usually seen around the fuschias or the scales of the 
palms, seeking for spiders. The OreotrochiluB feeds its 
young by bringing them flowers of the myrtle ; then throw- 
ing them away, it goes for more. As Bates has said, Hum- 
mers "do not proceed^ in that methodical manner which 
bees follow, taking the flowers seriatim, but skip about 
from one part of the tree to another in the most capricious 
way." No other vertebrate has a tubular tongue, an or- 
gan adapted for gathering both insects and honey.f No 

* We have seen flies on Pichincha at the height of 15,700 feet. 

t Dr. Crisp contends that the bifid portion of the tongue is not hollow, but 

Wakbling Hummbes 573 

other family of birds contains so many species ; nor has 
any other group such varied forms of bill : compare the 
short bill of the Ramphomicron, one-third of an inch, and 
the six-inch bill of the Docimastes ; the bill of the Eutox- 
eres, bent downward into a semicircle, and that of the 
Avocettida, turning upward. To an nnequaled splendor 
of plumage — resembling laminse of topax and emerald — 
nature has not added the gift of song. Its ordinary cry 
is a shrill chirik, uttered by the males in their petty quar- 
rels. The " warbles " ascribed to the Mellisuga and Oreo- 
trochilus need to be heard again to be credited. 

is composed of solid cartilaginous material. The same anatomist also as- 
serts, in opposition to the opinion of Professor Owen, that the bones of the 
Hummer, like those of the Swallow, do not contain air. The cleft end of the 
tongue forms a delicate forceps for picking out insects from flowers. 

574 The Andes and the Amazons. 


Cotopaxi : The First Ascent of the Great Volcano. 

The ascent of the loftiest active volcano on the globe 
is no ordinary event. Its acliievement would have filled 
many pages in the works of Humboldt. 

Standing fifty miles below the equator, and a hundred 
west of the meridian of Washington, Cotopaxi is at once 
the most beautiful and the most terrible of volcanoes. 
From the valley of Quito it appears like a huge trunca- 
ted cone, in altitude equaling five Vesuviuses piled upon 
each other, its summit rising 4000 feet above the limit of 
perpetual snow, its sides presenting alternate ridges and 
gorges plowed by descending floods of water, and around 
the base for miles heaps of ruins — -bowlders 20 feet 
square, and volcanic ashes and mud 600 feet deep. Very 
seldom does Cotopaxi wake up to intense activity, for, as 
a rule, the higher a volcano, the less frequent its eruptions. 
Generally the only signs of life are the deep, rumbling 
thunders, and a cloud of smoke lazily issuing from the 

The scientific world has long desired to know the struct- 
ure of the crater of Cotopaxi. The great Humboldt, al- 
though he attempted to climb Chimborazo, seemed to think 
the top of this volcano unapproachable, and contented 
himself by examining it through his telescope. Fifty 
years ago, Colonel Hall, an American, tried it with scaling- 
ladders, only to fail. In 1869, Dr. Felipe Sarrade, an 
Ecuadorian, said he reached the summit, where he found 
seven craters ; but nobody believed his story. The glory 

Ascent of Cotopaxi. 575 

was reserved for Dr. Reiss, a German naturalist, who, with 
Dr. Stiibel, has been exploring the valley of Quito. 

On the 27th of November, 1872, Dr. Eeiss set out from 
Mulalo, with ten peons, for the southwest point of the 
crater. Crossing the river Cutuche at Limpiopungo, where 
the stream cuts through vast deposits of volcanic ashes, he 
reached the " Yentanillas," a dry and sterile panipa, since 
the porous earth retains no moisture. Here the ascent of 
the cone began. Following a triangular ridge whose 
apex reaches the snow limit, he crossed successive cerros 
and pampas, which were so many steps in the grand stair- 
case he was ascending. Vegetation now ceased entirely, 
and the surface was covered with ashes and black sand. 
In fact, nearly the whole occidental slope of Cotopaxi, 
between 12,500 and 16,000 feet, presents the aspect of 
a dismal black desert. In this lofty, lifeless, silent soli- 
tude, says our traveler, man seems an intrusion. He found 
it difficult to judge of the distances and dimensions of ob- 
jects. Progress was slow, for at every step the foot sunk 
into the sand, which increased in depth with the ascent. 
The mules were scarcely able to move, sinking to the 
knees, and suffering from the rarefaction of the air. 

Occasionally the magnificent vista below and the neigh- 
borhood of the snowy cone above absorbed attention ; but 
clouds and driving hail-storms generally cut off all pros- 
pect. Sudddenly a profound chasm, containing fi-esh, 
smoking lava, was discovered on the left. This lava-stream 
was the lower limit of a vast mass, which from the valley 
appeared like a long black line. At 2 p.m. our traveler 
reached tlie point where the two quebradas unite, marked 
by an immense pile of rocks. Here he encamped for the 
night at an altitude of 15,179 feet. At six o'clock the up- 
per part of the mountain was cleared of smoke and mist, 
and gave a grand and imposing view. The white cone 

576 The Andes and the Amazons. 

rose immediately above, appearing very huge, but not very 
high. The border of the crater showed itself as a broad 
line, with a lofty rock on the north end, and another on 
the south. An immense stream of lava came down the 
cone, and near the place of encampment divided, entering 
the two quebradas, or ravines, mentioned. The lava was 
still warm, clouds of vapor rising along the whole extent 
o^ the stream. During the afternoon the thermometer 
had stood at freezing-point ; but in the night it fell to 25°. 
The next day Dr. Eeiss attained all his hopes. The 
top stood out clear, while at his feet the accumulated 
clouds looked like a sea of cotton wrapping the mount- 
ain up to the altitude of 12,000 feet, leaving here and 
there an islanded peak or promontory. Cropping out of 
the lava-stream, but mainly disposed along the borders of 
it, were numerous rough stones, upon which he advanced 
as on the rounds of a ladder. The greatest width of the 
lava current before it divided was about 3000 feet, and 
the estimated thickness 150 feet. The lava was entirely 
black and warm in all its course ; its temperature being 
from 68° to 91°, while that of the atmosphere was 32°. 
This elevated temperature explains the absence of snow on 
this part of the slope. The gaseous exhalations from the 
crevices seemed to be nothing more than air mixed with 
vapor. This is doubtless the lava-stream -which flowed in 
1854:, and which, by melting vast quantities of snow, 
caused much devastation in the valley by floods. These 
sudden floods, caused by fresh eruptions of lava on the 
mountain side, are the terror of the villages at the foot of 
Cotopaxi. Sometimes, however, the cone, especially on 
the east side, appears black, owing not to absence of snow, 
but to a covering of black ashes. No fissure or accumu- 
lation of scoriae indicates the source of the lava-stream. 
But the altitude of the point of departure is 18,700 feet. 

Ascent of Cotopaxi. 577 

At 8.45 lie reached the arenal, a deep mass of fine sand 
stretching upward at an angle of 40°. Over this he must 
advance, difficult as it was, for on either side were impass- 
able fields of snow and ice. The temperature of the sand 
was 77°. Another stream of lava was discovered, which 
must have fiowed with great velocity, since, instead of fol- 
lowing the inclination of the cone, it had descended diag- 
onally. Only the peaks of Iliniza and Chimborazo in the 
opposite Cordillera were visible; but above the clouds, 
toward the southwest, a dense mass of smoke rose perpen- 
dicularly to a prodigious height, and then, by an east wind, 
was carried off in a horizontal line westward. This came 
from the furious and ever-active volcano of Sangay, whose 
top was invisible, but whose activity was manifested in 
this manner. As the clouds shifted, the diversified valley 
and its royal mountains were spread out like a map. Near- 
by, on the southern flank of the volcano, was the porphy- 
ritic peak called Cabeza del Cotopaxi, or the Inca's Head. 
Tradition has it that this was the original summit of Co- 
topaxi, torn off by an eruption on the very day Atahualpa 
was murdered by Pizarro. Dr. Eeiss thinks it really forms 
no part of Cotopaxi, but belongs to a more ancient volca- 
no. The old eruptions produced much obsidian, not found 
in the lavas of Cotopaxi, and probably the heaps of pumice 
around Tacunga came from some ancient crater. 

The clouds were ascending the mountain more rapidly 
than our traveler, as if in hot pursuit to intercept his view 
of the unseen crater. More than once, while ascending 
the arenal, his courage nearly failed him. The sand be- 
came mingled with ice ; but, turning a little to the soiith, 
he found a series of huge rocks rising above the snow and 
ashes, and giving him a firm foothold. It was now 10.15 
A.M. ; thermometer, 28°. Fumaroles abounded, giving 
forth sulphurous gas. And now followed a sheet of com- 

578 The Andes and the Amazons. 

pact blue ice, inclined from 35° to 40° ; but fortunately it 
was not smooth, but covered with myriads of points or ici- 
cles three or four inches high. Scrambling over this, and 
climbing over and between walls, some of immense size, 
suddenly he reached the edge of the crater. At the same 
moment a cloud, which had hovei'ed over the summit, dis- 
persed, and for the first time human eyes looked into the 
profound crater of far-famed Cotopaxi. " I confess" (says 
the doctor) " an unutterable satisfaction in having accom- 
plished this feat, the ascent of the highest active volcano 
on the globe." 

He had reached the western part of the southern lip. 
The crater presented an elliptical form, the major axis ly- 
ing north and south. The stones, which were continually 
falling in from all sides, but especially from the west side, 
rolled together as to the bottom of a funnel. There were 
no signs of a level bottom. The depth, roughly estimated, 
appeared to be 1500 feet. The side of the funnel least 
inclined, and by which alone it is possible to descend, is 
the southwest ; but here are large f uraaroles sending forth 
dense masses of vapor charged with gas, and having a 
temperature of 156°. Around these fumaroles were 
masses of sulphur, and a deposit of gypsum mixed with 
chloride of lime. This is of great interest, as being the 
first instance of a chloride being found among the prod- 
ucts of the South American volcanoes. Humboldt thought 
that the absence of hydrochloric acid was a characteristic 
of the New World volcanoes. The barometer gave 19,660 
feet as the altitude, while the doctor's trigonometrical ob- 
servations, repeated at various times from independent 
bases in the valley, had given him 19,496 as the height of 
the north peak, and 19,427 for the southern. Both results 
exceed the altitude estimated by other travelers. Hum- 
boldt made it 18,880 feet. 

Ascent of Cotopaxi. 579 

Wliile standing on the rim of the crater, holding to his 
Indian servant with one hand, and with the other examin- 
ing the deposits of a fumarole, a gust of air filled both 
eyes with sand impregnated with sulphuric acid, causing 
violent inflammation. This put an end to observation, 
and made it the part of wisdom to descend as soon as pos- 
sible. He left the crater at 1.45 p.m., and reached his en- 
campment at the head of the ridge in three hours and a 
half, just as a heavy snow-storm began. 

" If the scientific results of ray ascent," says M. Reiss, 
" do not meet the expectation of savans, I console myself 
with the reflection that I have pointed out the road, and 
that other travelers may make the ascent without being 
hindered by the general notion that it is impossible to 
reach the crater." He says it is possible to ascend from 
the snow-limit to the summit in four or five hours. But 
as the ascent is steep and laborious, it is better to sleep the 
first night at the limit, and the second night on the arenal, 
the sand of which is warm. This will give a long third 
day to the crater, and enable the traveler to explore the 
whole circumference. He says he felt no inconvenience 
from the rarefaction of the air. This difiiculty in ascend- 
ing high altitudes begins at the height of 12,000 or 13,000 
feet, but does not appear to augment with the altitude. 
In 1867, the writer of these lines ran a race with a fellow- 
traveler on the side of Antisana at the bracing altitude of 
lt),000 feet. All the peons with Dr. Reiss complained 
of sickness, and one stout fellow bled at the nose. The 
mules also suifered much above the altitude of 13,000 feet; 
but his dog, although evidently troubled for breath, fol- 
lowed him to the crater.* 

* For observations by the author on the Ecuadorian volcanoes, the reader 
is referred to The Am. Jour, of Science for March, 1869, p. 242, and Septem- 
ber, 1868, p. 203. 

580 The Andes akd the Amazons. 


Medical Notes on the Upper Amazons.* 

The Amazons River, in its course eastward, reaches Ta- 
batinga, the Brazilian frontier post, which 'is 2000 miles 
from the Atlantic Ocean. From this frontier westward 
the Amazons is in Peruvian territory, and is known as the 
Maranon by those through whose country it passes, and 
keeps this name to its head-waters in the Andes. Some 
five hundred miles west of the above-named frontier, the 
Maranon receives its largest tributary, whose quantity of 
water, its navigability, and its running through the same 
lowlands as the Lower Maranon, seem to entitle it to be 
considered a continuation of the Maranon itself, but which 
is known locally, and on the maps, as the Ucayali. At 
some two hundred miles west of this river the Maranon 
reaches the spurs of the Andes at or near Borja, through 
which it rushes with great rapidity, and above which there 
is no navigation but for canoes. On the Ucayali, how- 
ever, the steamers have gone as far as the j unction of the 
Tambo and Urubamba rivers, some nine hundred miles 
from the Maranon. A few miles up either of the streams 
mentioned, the hills again make navigation impossible, and 
the rivers degenerate into mere mountain torrents. It is 
of the valleys of these two large water-courses, the Mara- 
non and Ucayali, that the following notes are designed to 

The basin of the Ucayali extends to the west at varying 

* By F. L. Galt, M.D. Republished from the Medical Journal, Philadel- 
phia, with additional notes by the author. 

Valley of the Makanon. 581 

distances, from fifty to one hundred and thirty miles, np 
to the foot of the eastern cordillera of the Andes, and it 
is known generally as the Pamjpa del Sacramento, the 
name being given by the old Franciscan friars in their 
voyage through this wild region, some two hundred and 
forty years ago. This pampa is a low, wooded country, 
extending some five hundred miles from north to south. 
To the east the basin of the Ucayali extends for hundreds 
of miles, forming, with the basins of other lesser tributa- 
ries of the Amazons, what is known in Peru as the tnon- 
tana, or " wooded country," which is but a continuation of 
the great Amazons valley of Brazil to the east. The basin 
of the Maranon extends on the north side of the river 
some one hundred or two hundred miles, variably, into the 
mountainous region of Ecuador. "West, as before said, the 
mountain passes begin at Borja, and to the south the Ma- 
ranon basin may also be considered as that of the Ucayali. 
The Maranon has a general east and west direction, and is 
included between lat. S. 3° and 5° ; and the low country 
of its valley may be included between Ion. W, 70° and 
76°. The Ucayali is included between lat. S. 4° 30' and 
9° 40', and its lowlands between Ion. W. 74° to 76°, on 
the west, and indefinitely to the east, where continues the 
Amazons basin. Over this immense tract of over one 
hundred thousand square miles Nature runs riot, in her 
wanton luxuriance ; and where man appears he is an ex- 
otic, though he may be " to the manner born." It is one 
rank waste of woods and water which, located mostly 
within the " zone of constant precipitation," enjoys all the 
glorious privileges of growth and deluge. 

In this district the year is divided, with sufficient dis- 
tinctness, into two parts, as regards seasons — one, the rainy 
season (inviemo), extending from November to April ; and 
the dry season (verano), reaching from May to October, 

582 The Andes and the Amazons. 

the two frontier montlas of either season being one or the 
other irregularly. 

In the rainy season the quantity of rain-fall, though as 
yet not accurately gauged, amounts to about seventy inch- 
es, the greatest fall being about March probably.* During 
this time of the year, the easterly winds, generally to the 
northward, which are those which blow over all the Ama- 
zons valley as far as the Andes, are lighter and more ir- 
regular. The atmosphere is heavily charged with constant 
moisture, giving to one's body a feeling of warm humidity 
which is sufficiently disagreeable. Shoes become covered 
with mold within forty-eight hours ; watches and other in- 
struments become seriously corroded ; and medicines, par- 
ticularly powders and salts, are with great difficulty kept 
fit for use. The temperature is not so oppressive, from its 
elevation, as in the dry season, though the bodily discom- 
fort, from the feeling of dampness, is probably greater, 
and the tropical languor is more irresistible ; from which, 
however, one is aroused by the disgusting necessity of an 
almost incessant war against the inevitable mosquito, whose 
paradise is all over this section of earth. 

The rivers, which begin to rise about October, continue 
to increase their flood— with the exception of a short stand- 
etill, or slight fall, about December — until May ; and dur- 
ing the height of the season, from January to March, the 
country for miles along the lowlands calls to mind the 
primeval deluge which is just now being drained off the 
earth's surface. Decaying vegetation, undermined banks, 
tumble headlong and are swept on the flood ; and a dirtier 
mixture of mud, leaves, trees, broken or entire, can not be 
found on the planet than the " king of rivers " presents at 
this time. Still, there are noble uses in the vilest pictures 

* My record of the rain-gauge for an entire year showed the rain-fall to be 
110 inches, the heaviest fall being in Februaiy. 

Seasons of the Makanon. 583 

sometimes, and these sweepings of the watery scavenger 
are one of the modes by which nature makes pure the air, 
by removing the festering mass of decomposing materials, 
washing out the stagnant water-sinks, and thus adding the 
strangeness of health to the jungles of the Amazons val- 
ley. The Indian who has spent the dry season on the low- 
lands ox jplayas (sand-tlats) curing his fisli, or catching the 
turtle, now retires before the coming flood, and perches 
himself on some red-clay bluff here and there on the river- 
margins; the wild animals hasten to the interior high 
grounds ; the woods become silent, except to the lofty- 
roosting bird ; and the traveler who drifts down this yel- 
low road of liquid mud becomes almost oppressed with 
the calm supremacy of the silent waters. About May the 
waters subside, the rains diminish, the air becomes drier 
and warmer, continuing so up to October; the mercury, 
however, rarely having a daily average of 29°, and still 
less frequently does it reach 30°.* 

At this season we now find the southeast winds more 
frequent, giving always an agreeable depression to the 
mercury ; the atmosphere of the mornings and evenings 
is generally more clear, and the tropics show all their 
beauty of leaf and starlight. In June, generally about 
the 25th, there supervenes a " cold spell," comparatively 
speaking — cold for the natives, when the mercury for three 
or four days sinks at night as low as from 22° to 19°. • So 
great is even this moderate depression, that the natives 
shiver with the change, nor is the stranger beyond the 
reach of this impression of chilliness. This change is al- 
ways known here as the inviernito de San Juan (the lit- 
tle, or short, winter of San Juan), because that saint's an- 
niversary falls on the 24th of June, the time about which 

* During the months from July to October, there are often violent storms 
of wind and rain, attended with great electric display. 

584 The Andes and the Amazons. 

this cold comes on. This cool change is also one of the 
noted facts of the Lower Amazons as well, where the Por- 
tug-uese know it as the tempo dafriagem (the time of cold) ; 
and Bates, the English naturalist, who labored for many 
years successfully on the Lower Amazons, thinks it to be 
caused by a continuous cold wind blowing from the south 
over the damp forests that extend from north of the equa- 
tor to lat. 18° S., when it is winter in the southern hemi- 
sphere ; and the cool currents of air traveling north to the 
equator become only moderately heated in their course, 
owing to the intermediate country being a vast, partially- 
flooded plain, covered with humid forests. The warm 
winds of this dry season are from the northwest, which 
make the air very oppressive, though the great heat is only 
for a short time, passing off in squalls, attended with thun- 
der, liglitning, and light rain. In July, August, and Sep- 
tember the variations in the thermometer are greatest; 
and in these months is encountered the extreme range for 
the year — from 19° to 29°. In these months, too, more 
especially June and July, will be noticed fogs, which, how- 
ever, disappear by 8 a.m. always, leaving the sky clear and 
bright. Tlie average of annual heat for the whole Ama- 
zons has been estimated at 26°. On the Maranon, proba- 
bly it is some one or two degrees lower. This moderate 
elevation of the thermometer for a tropical region enters 
into the elements of present healthf ulness of this country. 
Such is a brief outline of the topography and seasons of 
the basin of the Maranon, or the Peruvian Amazons. With 
such uniformity of temperature, and regularity of seasons, 
if the two changes of the year may be so called, there is 
in the diseases of this district a certain characteristic of 
sameness also to be noted, the features of complaints being 
distinctive, and not often varied. In the oi'der of fre- 
quency the diseases may be mentioned as occurring thus : 

Indians of the Maeanon. ^ 585 

shin affections, geo^hagy, malarial fevers, severe colics, 
trismus nascentium, abscesses. 

But, before sketching these, it may be well to give some 
notes on the diiferent nationalities, or representatives of 
man, one finds on the Maranon. And first in point of 
numbers and possession is the Indian, who lives scattered 
very much about the river -margins, the interior of the 
montana itself being entirely too dense a vegetation to 
permit man to move about even on foot — the water-courses 
being the only highways of that region. The South- Amer- 
ican Indian, particularly the one living under the tropical 
skies, is a different character from the obstinate "patriot" 
of our Western reserves, or the bold and tenacious Arauca- 
nian of Chile, or the Bedouin-like wanderers on the North- 
western plains of the Argentine Confederation. Born in 
a sweltering climate, with impenetrable forests to defy 
even stealthy tread, with alternate deluge to drive him 
from his anchorage, the Maraiion red man lives, as it were, 
apart from the nature which is contesting his natural right 
to soil and life. He is not a gregarious animal ; but lives 
in detached families, or at most where two or three house- 
holds are collected. He moves from his dirty hut to spear 
the fish, to overturn the turtle on the bank, or to enjoy the 
amiable diversion of stealing an additional wife or child 
from a neighboring tribe ; and is altogether totally nega- 
tive in his virtues, though positive enough in his vices. 
The lazy stroke of the paddle is his only vigorous exercise ; 
and, without the warlike virtues of the red man of the 
colder climes, his whole anatomy exhibits a heavy, flabby, 
unimpassioned physique, which has some effect on his case 
when diseased. The want of resistance to circumstances 
about him, the want of numbers, the want of mobility, as 
it were, have made the native Indian of the Amazons val- 
ley always appear as a stranger here on his " native heath." 

586 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Next in point of numbers is the white Spanish-Peruvian, 
who, with the Indian, forms various grades of blood-rela- 
tionship ; the wliite man being the trader or the governor 
of the district, and now and then the j)adre of an uncer- 
tain extent of leagues up or down the rivers. 

Rivaling these in point of numbers is the Brazilian or 
Portuguese trader, who makes his way up from the Lower 
Amazons, and locates at the various villages, intermarrying 
with the half-breed Indian, or bringing his family with 
him. The Portuguese are the most industrious of all the 
populations on the whole Amazons, and generally the most 
healthy. The energy of this people, wherever found on 
the Amazons, has often been the subject of remark, and 
they seem still to carry about the vim of a Vasco de Gama 
in their wanderings. The contrast between them and their 
kinsmen, the pure Brazilian, is very great. At Iquitos, 
which is the largest town on the low countries of the Ma- 
rafion, or the Ucayali, and which is the go\'ernment head- 
quarters of the Fluvial Department of Eastern Peru, are 
to be found seventy or eighty Englishmen, who are em- 
ployes in the public workshops, some of them having their 
families with them, and they form the largest body of An- 
glo-Saxons on the whole length of the Maraiion. Besides 
these larger groups of nationalities is to be seen an occa- 
sional Yankee, who, by -the -bye, does not appear in this 
district to be much of a developer of ideas of any sort ; 
and a German here and there seems to be " looking out 
for a good opening," as also is the stray Frenchman. Of 
all these diverse representatives, the Portuguese and the 
half-blooded Spaniard-and-Peruvian seem to live more as 
though they were not striving against circumstances ; the 
Indian appearing almost as foreign as the white Spanish- 
Peruvian, neither showing resistance to climate or inertia, 
as well as the mestizos. Rarely may be seen a sambo — 

Medical Notes. 587 

the mixed blood of white and Negro ;* but he is generally 
a stranger from the interior, or the Pacific coast, where 
his people make up a large class of laborers and soldiery. 
The Spanish-Peruvian, especially the children, are a sin- 
gularly sprightly people, of high nervous excitability, spas- 
modic in their endeavors, but easily tired of work, mental 
or manual ; they idealize a great deal, and have a good 
deal of the vague relics of imperialism of palmier days 
lingering about their pride and indolence. The Portu- 
guese is dull, as regards esprit^ but of toiling energy, and 
lives more ;miformly, and without the disposition to par- 
oxysmal excitation of his competitor, the Peruvian. 

In estimating symptoms of diseased action, these pecul- 
iarities of race must enter largely into the phenomena 
which any particular complaint may exhibit. In the In- 
dian, the first impressions of sickness produce an apathy 
or inability to care for his own condition, which forms a 
troublesome part of the physician's care. Of course, where 
a stranger is the medical attendant, there is added to this 
constitutional apathy an extreme, though very natural, 
want of confidence in the stranger and his remedies, and 
it is almost useless to leave medicines to be administered 
— the doctor has to see them given in his presence if he 
wishes to accomplish any thing. 

Accustomed to the use of the native remedies of their 
forests, some of which are efiicacious in the tropical com- 
plaints, and looking upon a request to put out the tongne, 
or an attempt to feel the pulse, or any other cabalistic de- 
mand, as a species of sorcery different from their own, and 
generally to be resisted to the death, the system of " heroic 
guessing " not unf requently enters largely into the opinion 

* The zamho in Peru is tiie offspring of the white and the Negro ; but in 
other parts of South America this cross is known as the mulatto, while the 
zamho properly is the child of the native Indian and the Negro. Some in 
Peru use this latter cross to define the word ^' zambo," however. 

588 The Andes and the Amazons. 

one may form of the patient under consideration, especial- 
ly where affections of the chest are supposed to involve a 
necessity for physical examinations. To this there is, in 
the case of the Indian, added unusual excitability of the 
nervous system, which lends to his want of confidence ad- 
ditional obstacles ; and not unfrequently this compound of 
fright and nervous exaltation suddenly deprives the doc- 
tor of his patient, who may have incontinently put off for 
the " bush," to escape the " foul fiend," be it the disease or 
the "medicine -man." The poverty of their diet, which 
consists only of dried fish and plantains, makes proper ali- 
ment impossible ; and should a more appropriate diet be 
suggested, very likely the poor fellow returns to his home- 
ly fare, all unmindful of bad consequences.* 

The excitability of the nervous system is observable in 
all castes of the native population, and the foreigner of 
some years' residence also notices this somewhat in his at- 
tacks of whatever disease. In the white Peruvian or Por- 
tuguese there is superadded to this nervous condition an 
ease with which the system seems to go down under slight 
attacks, and a great languor of strength and appetite in 
convalescence, which makes recovery tardy in this humid 
atmosphere, and the results often not as satisfactory as 
could be wished. Among the women of these races, their 
now and then irregular tastes, as regards unusual aud un- 
wholesome articles of food during convalescence, still fur- 
ther increase the trouble. In this connection, it has oc- 
curred to me that probably here the xmiversal custom of 
all ages, sexes, and classes of society, of the use of tobacco 

* During the last year of my stay at Iquitos, a fearful epidemic of small- 
pox committed ravages among the Indians, who were at first with great diffi- 
culty persuaded to accept vaccination as a preventive, as they believed it to 
be intended as a mark of subjection to the authorities. After a while, how- 
ever, they came in from the adjoining settlements in crowds, and its effect 
was most happy in stamping out the plague. 

Medical Notes. 589 

— by smoking — should be included as among the promi- 
nent depi'essing causes. The tobacco of Peru, which is 
that used bj every one on the Maranon, is greatly stronger 
than the Virginia or the Havana, so much so as to make 
old smokers of these varieties completely and steadily nau- 
seated for a long time after they try the Peruvian leaf. 
This tobacco, used mostly in the form of cigarettes, is the 
constant companion, day and night, of the Maranon peo- 
ple, particularly the whites and mestizos. Beginning at 
the early age of four or five years, this habit is pursued 
from dawn till midnight with an assiduity worthy of a 
better object. Before the morning cup of coffee is the 
cigar, and the last turning- over in bed is to throw away 
the last cigarette. I have never seen ainong the most in- 
veterate " chewists " or smokers of the " Old Dominion " 
a more thorough slavery to this " soft, guileless consola- 
tion " of the grown males — the young and the fair of our 
land, of course, being out of the question. It is difficult 
to believe that such powerful agents do not contribute to 
unnatural impressibility, and tendency to depression of 
moral and mental as well as physical exertion, which in 
the tropics add to climatal causes of disease very consider- 

The women very commonly suffer from the results of 
ignorance and imprudence at the monthly periods, and 
leucorrhoea and uterine irritation are among the most fre- 
quent of the Maranon complaints, and with difficulty man- 
aged. The atonic condition of mucous membranes here, 
among other modes, shows itself in these and other blen- 
norrhagic discharges. Often among children, especially 
females, at early ages of life, one encounters annoying 
fluxes, which give a good deal of trouble in their cure. 
Generally speaking, the prostration from attacks of dis- 
ease is greatly disproportionate to the apparent violence 

590 The Andes and the Amazons. 

of symptoms. And probably this is nioi-e to be noticed 
among the Anglo-Saxon element and his " cousin" of the 
United States than among the Latin descendants, on ac- 
count of previous robust health and power of resistance to 
the usual causes of depression.* The Latin bends easily 
to the storm, but lives along, apparently, better in this 
depressed condition than the Englishman, who breaks up 
more hurriedly after he has once experienced severe dis- 
ease : yet on his recovery he is more restored to his former 
condition than the Latin under equal circumstances. 

8kin Diseases are entitled to rank first, not only from 
their frequency, but also from the obstinate character of 
their duration. They are grouped together by the people 
under the general name of Sarna, which includes every 
form of discoloration as well as eruption. These affec- 
tions of the skin are due not only to the excessive labor of 
transpirg,tion required of the porous surface of the body, 
which after a while debilitates it, and produces an obscure 
irritation, leading to indolent ulcerations or eruptions ; biit 
they are also the irritations arising from the bites of myr- 
iads of insects which infest earth, air, and water. Among 
the natives, pure and mestizo, one will see the whole ex- 
posed surface of the body pitted with inflamed bites, to 
remedy which they use vegetable dyes, which go under 
the general name of Huito, generally of a bluish-black or 
reddish color. These dyes, besides stopping the pores of 
the skin, are themselves irritating. It is, however, noticed 

* It has long ago been observed that the foreigner stands tropical heats for 
a while better than the native ; but that in the long run there is a progressive 
descent downward. Statistics of a governor of Cayenne, in 1742, give the 
following mortality during his administration of that colony for a period of 
nine years ; Proportion in one thousand colonists — First year, 15 ; second, 
19; third, 42; fourth, 21; fifth, 60; sixth, 75; seventh, 82; eighth, 102; 
ninth, 125. In many cases allowance has to be made, however, for the 
character of the colonists, who are frequently the bad and abandoned, mor- 
ally as well as physically. 

Anglo-Americans' Liability to Ulcees. 591 

on the Amazons that the red man of this river-basin is a 
very slight sweater — a fact that has always attracted at- 
tention. One will sometimes find the skin of the Indian 
I'ough, hard, and insensible, like the skin of the larger 
lower animals. 

Next to the Indians who suffer from these skin affec- 
tions, are the English and Anglo-Americans, who bring to 
this moist country a well-toned system and appetite, and 
who generally have to pay a severe toll for a long time 
after their arrival by being the victims of numberless boils 
or ulcers about the person. This might often be avoided 
by lessening the amount of heat-making material which 
they too generally seem to think necessary to use. The 
Spanish-Peruvian or the Portuguese avoids this tendency 
best — the relaxed fibre, rather more regular and temper- 
ate appetite, and thin-blooded nature of the race making 
him less susceptible to acute inflammation of the skin or 
abscesses ; tliough there is a strong tendency to scrofulous 
sores and " cold abscess " among them, which are hard to 

The Englishman or American generally recovers easily 
from this deranged condition of the transpiratory surface 
after leaving the climate, and here it may sometimes be con- 
sidered a providential outlet which has saved some organ 
from a destructive inflammation. One of the most an- 
noying of the skin affections is an itching of the surface 
of the body, apparently not attended by eruption, though 
the almost irresistible tendency to scratch the part affected 
will give rise to more or less superficial irritation. The 
hyperesthesia of the skin is noticed more among the 
strangers, and gives the notion of a " prickly heat," with- 
out the eruption. It is sometimes intolerably annoying, 
not only from its itching, but from the dread one has that 
rubbing the part may cause irritable superficial ulceration. 

593 The Andes and the Amazons. 

Ulcers resulting from the various skin irritations are apt 
to be indolent, and difficult of cure, though in a healthy 
constitution there is no degeneracy in the type of inflam- 
mation. The old women cure these remarkably quick 
sometimes by the application of a compound of which the 
balsam of copaiba, recently gotten from the adjoining for- 
est, is the principal ingredient. I noticed on the whole 
Amazons the frequent use of the copaiba as a stimulating 
dressing to indolent ulcers or half-healed wounds, and its 
good effects are of frequent occurrence. 

Leprosy, properly so called, is a stranger on the Mara- 
non, though it prevails largely in other parts of the great 
Amazons valley, near the mountainous districts of Matto- 
Grosso, and Minas-Geraes, in Brazil. 

Of all the diseases one encounters here, which is to be 
particularly observed for being somewhat out of the gen- 
eral range of professional notice, is the strange one known 
as " dirt-eating" {geophagie, mal du coeur, mat d'estomac 
des negres, erdessen, etc.), and noticed by the French more 
technicall}'^ under the head Cachexie aqueuse. In De la 
Chambre's Encyclojooedia the reader will find the subject 
fully and fairly treated of. According to some writers, 
this disease had its beginning on our continent in the 
palmy days of negro-trading on the African coast, when 
it was transplanted to American shores, and it now enters 
as one of the chief endemic complaints of all tropical 
America; and at this distance of over two thousand miles 
from the sea, on the Amazons valley, where the Negro is 
a rarity, being merely a waif from Brazil or the Pacific 
coast, it is the most important disease among the children 
and women of the country. Here, on the Maranon, the 
half-breeds are mostly addicted to the practice of dirt- 
eating — neither the pure brute of a savage nor the more 
cultivated beinsr so often the victims. Amonsr that class. 


when it does prevail, it is a devouring passion, which is 
truly remarkable. Even strangers, English or the white 
Peruvians, who have married with the mestizos, and have 
had children by them, find its presence among their little 
ones the plague of their life ; and the accounts one hears 
about the tyranny of this habit of dirt-eating on the vic- 
tims of it would seem almost fabulous, were there not evi- 
dences all around one to give sanction to them. Children 
commence the habit from the time they are four years 
old, or less, and freqently die from the results in two or 
three years. In other cases, they grow to manhood or 
womanhood with the " appetite growing by what it feeds 
on ;" and I have seen here myself, in the case of a mestizo 
soldier, who was dying from the dysentery which gener- 
ally, sooner or later, supervenes on this habit, the poor 
creature, half an hour before his death, detected with a 
lump of clay stuffed in his sunken cheeks, which he had 
dragged from the wall near where he was almost breath- 
ing his last. Oflicers here who have the Indian or half- 
breed children as servants in their employ sometimes have 
to use wire masks to keep them from putting the clay to 
their mouths ; and women, as they lie in bed sleepless and 
restless, will pull out pieces of mud from the adjoining 
walls of their room to gratify their strange appetite, or 
will soothe a squalling brat by tempting it with a lamp of 
the same material. If persisted in, the effects are surely 
fatal, at varying terms of years ; some living tolerably to 
middle age, and then dying with dysentery, or from that 
disease at an earlier period. In the children dropsy is 
usually the most prominent apparent cause of decline and 

Yarious have been the causes assigned for this unnatu- 
ral appetite, and the obscure intervention of anaemia and 

decline. I have not as yet had an opportunity of detect- 

594 The Andes and the Amazons. 

iiig whether the nematoid worm, ankylostome duodenal, 
is the fons et origo of this complaint, though its presence 
in the intestinal canal has been so repeatedly determined 
by observers that I feel assnred of its presence. Locally, 
among the people, one hears poor diet and a craving for 
a change nrged by victims, as well as observers, as an ex- 
citing cause of this practice, and the presence of the worm 
would very naturally follow on a practice so dirty as this. 
The sequelae of this geophagy — anaemia and dropsy — 
are now, I believe, generally supposed to be consequent on 
the abstraction of blood from the intestinal walls. I do 
not know that the administration of vermifuges has ever 
been practiced with a view of getting rid of these animal- 
cules ; and, so far as my own experience and observations 
go, the only thing done for this cachexia is the adminis- 
tration of astringent tonics, and the giving of advice about 
diet, which, however, amounts to little or nothing; the 
patients disappear, after a greater or less time, disgusted 
with the stranger's physic and admonition. The unnatu- 
ral cravings of a diseased appetite are often not limited to 
dirt merely, but the most outre articles that can be thought 
of — coal, cigar -ashes, plaster — enter into their fanciful 
minds ; and I was assured here by an officer that in the 
case of an Indian girl nearly grown, who was punished for 
the habit by being confined in a room where her meals 
were regularly placed, the paper about the walls, the straw 
of the mattress, linen hanging about, all seemed more at- 
tractive to her palate. The most fanciful suggestions of 
pregnancy — which was not her condition — could not have 
equaled this poor girl's deranged appetite. It is almost 
needless to add that treatment in this co'lnplaint is nearly 
useless unless the habit is corrected, and even then the sys- 
tem has been too much undermined often to make reme- 
dies of much avail in restorine: either healthful looks or 

Diseases on the Amazons. 595 

action in the economy. I am told that parents often en- 
courage their children to smoke tobacco at the early age 
of five years, as it seems, they say, to do away with the 
fondness for dirt-eating. They have never been able to 
give me a reason for this fact ; nor do I find myself able 
to solve the question, except, possibly, on the ground of an 
anaesthetic effect on the palate, and depression of desire to 
eat any thing. The habit of dirt-eating obtains also large- 
ly in some of the Piedmont districts, many of the children 
and women from Moyobaniba and Tarapoto, and other 
towns, coming here with this practice deeply rooted. 

Dysentery, as an original disease on the Maranon, is of 
comparatively rare occurrence. It more generally appears 
as a sequela of the geophagy. If original, it does not 
seem intractable, and is to be encountered oftener among 
the children or foreigners. On the Lower Amazons, and 
on the Brazil coast generally, its rank, according to some 
observers, is next after phthisis. The moderate elevation 
of the thermometer in this tropical section compared with 
it on the coast, and the greater uniformity of the average 
annual heat (sudden changes, as before stated, being rare, 
the sparsely-settled nature of the villages not giving rise 
to such excesses, from want of material wherewith to dis- ■ 
turb the system), probably may be considered as operating 
causes of its rarity; though, as yet, the difference in 
amount of population on the Upper and Lower Amazons 
makes one liable not to take into consideration relative 
numbers in estimating frequency of disease. The total 
want of statistical information in this country makes the 
question of healthfulness somewhat uncertain, as yet. 
There is not in the dysentery itself any thing particular 
to notice as regards symptoms or treatment. I have as 
yet seen no fatal case where the affection was uncompli- 
cated with dirt-eating, or extreme imprudence in dissipa- 

596 The Andes and the Amazons. 

tioii. The foreigners living and trading on the Maranon 
have enjoyed singular exemption from this affection. In 
children, the very common carelessness of parents as re- 
gards diet will account for most cases among the young. 

After having in our earlier days read of the horrible 
jungles of the tropics, and later been lectured on the dis- 
asters of tropical residence in the wilds where the monk- 
ey, tiger, or anaconda alone is acclimated, the medical 
traveler is more than surprised at the infrequency of Ma- 
larial Fevers on the whole Amazons, in whose dense 
forests nature now " wantons as in her prime." Coming 
out to a section of the earth whose foreign reputation 
makes it apparently the home of every thing pestilential 
in the way of febrile affections, the first thing he hears on 
the subject, on the Lower Amazons, is the repeated state- 
ment of the rarity of these disorders on the main river; 
and as lie travels west to the Peruvian territory on the 
continuation (the Maranon) of the same stream, the expe- 
rience of those with whom he may have conversed on his 
way up assures him repeatedly of the truth, which after 
awhile his own experience in a great measure will confirm. 
He will also find that the native red man is less able to 
resist these malarial fevers, and disappears more easily 
than the white or Negro. But, when the wanderer leaves 
the main river and betakes himself to the higher grounds 
of any of the tributaries of this huge watery cormorant, 
where he begins to encounter rocky beds to the streams, 
rocky sides to the rivers, a comparative slight chilliness of 
air in the mornings and evenings, with a greater frequency 
of fogs, while the midday is a glowing heat — there begins 
the Terciana, as the malarial intermittents are called.* 

* Bates, the naturalist, speaking of the healthfulness of the main river of 
the Amazons, and the country on the tributaries, says: "I began now to un- 
derstand why the branch rivers of the Amazons were so unhealthy, while the 
main stream was pretty nearly free from diseases arising from malaria. The 

"Malarial Fevers. 597 

In the interior, too, about the low grounds bordering the 
Piedmont districts of the Cordilleras, or on the water- 
cause lies, without doubt, in the slack currents of the tributaries in the dry 
season, and the absence of the cooling Amazonian trade-wind, which purifies 
the air along the banks of the main river. Tlie trade-wind does not deviate 
from its nearly straight course west, so that the branch-streams, which are 
generally at right angles to the Amazons, and have a slack current for a long 
distance from their mouth, are left to the horror of nearly stagnant air and 
water." This may apply, possibly, to the Lower Amazons, but on the tribu- 
taries of the Alto-Amazonas, where the currents are stronger all the year 
round than those lower down are at the rainy season, you find the intermit- 
tents to prevail ; nor is the trade-wind either as certain or as strong as below. 
And it may probably be true that the borders of tlie Amazons are constantly 
kept swept by the rising floods, which carry off the decaying material which 
might engender the malaria. It seems to me that with the impenetrable 
mass of vegetation as ramparts, as it were, on the banks of the Amazons, 
and for leagues to the interior, the trade-wind could make little success in 
getting through this to ventilate the shores at sufficiently low an elevation 
from the river-margin to prevent malarial emanation from affecting those 
who would necessarily sleep or work a very few feet above the level of the 
stream itself It is a fact noted both by Darwin and Humboldt, in their 
travels in Peru and other tropical places, that there was to be encountered a 
greater prevalence of malarial emanation in those districts where there was 
a dry soil, generally sandy, short grass growing thereabouts, and stagnant 
pools, as about Arica, Callao, Vera Cruz, Carthagena, and such-like localities. 
It may, therefore, be, that, toward the head-waters, or the high