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VOL. I. 




rrinted bj J. D. Dewick. 

4t>, Barbican 


Important and interesting as has ever been 
the History of the Spanish settlements in Ame- 
rica, particularly to the inhabitants of the 
same continent, that importance and interest is at 
the present period greatly increased, by the oc- 
currence of events of such magnitude, as will 
most probably be attended with the total sever- 
ance of those colonies from Europe, and the 
establishment of a new empire in the west. Of 
these settlements, Chili is in many respects one of 
the most important. Blest with a soil fertile 
beyond description, a climate mild and salubrious 
in the highest degree, productive of every con- 
venience and most of the luxuries of life, and 
rich in the precious metals, Nature appears to 
have been delighted in lavishing its bounties 
upon this favoured portion of the globe. In its 
minerals, its plants, and its animals, the natu- 
ralist will find an interesting and copious field of 
research ; and the character of its natives fur- 
vol. i. b 


nishes a subject no less curious and interesting to 
the moralist. The proud and invincible Arau- 
canian exhibits some characteristic traits altoge- 
ther new in the aborigines of this continent, and 
scarcely to be paralleled in any nation of the old. 
The long and successful resistance of this brave 
people to the arms of Spain,, even in the meridian 
of its military glory, is a wonderful instance of 
what a nation can perform when animated by a 
spirit of liberty, aid determined upon freedom 
or death. The Araucanians, it is tru ., *o their 
high sense of independence a -.1 unyielding cou- 
rage, had tkegjood fortune o£ i a '<:m of 
tactics so excellent as even to ex; &e tht admira- 
tion of tieir enemies, and to this in a great mea- 
sure may be ascribed their successfully opposing, 
with far inferior arms, a powerful and disci- 
plined foe. 

Whether the peculiar character of the Arau- 
cauians proceed from the influence of climate 
combining with moral causes, or is wholly de^ 
rived from their institutions aid free form of go- 
vernment; whether, with the Chilians in general, 
they are of foreign origin, and a distinct race 
from the other natives of America, the remains, 
as the author supposes, of a great and powerful 
people, who had attained a high degree of civi- 
lization, and possessed a polished and copious 
language; or whether their agricultural know- 
ledge, military skill, and the cultivation of their 


idiom, are owing merely to fortuitous circum- 
stances, are points of curious inquiry, and such 
as will afford an ample field for conjecture. 

The author of the present work, Don Juan 
Ignatius Molina, was a native of Chili, distin- 
guished for his literary acquirements, and parti- 
cularly his knowledge of natural history, large 
collections in which he had made during his re- 
sidence in that country. On the dissolution of 
the celebrated order of the Jesuits, of which he 
was a member, he shared the general fate of that 
community, in being expelled from the territories 
of Spain, and was, at the same time, deprived 
not only of his collections in natural history, but 
also of his manuscripts. The most important of 
the latter, relative to Chili, he had, however, 
the good fortune to regain by accident, some 
time after his residence in Bologna, in Italy, 
whither he had gone on his arrival in Europe. 

Furnished with these materials, he applied 
himself to writing the history of that country, 
which was published at two different periods ; 
the first part, comprising the Natural History, 
in the year 1787, and the second, containing the 
Civil, for reasons mentioned in his Preface, not 
until some years after. This work, which was 
written in Italian, has obtained a very high re- 
putation on the continent of Europe, where it 
has been translated into the French, German, 
and Spanish languages. The celebrated Abb6 



Clavigero, in his History of Mexico, in referring 
in a note to that of Chili, mentions it in the 
most respectable terms, and calls the author hi* 
learned friend. 

In rendering this work into English, reference 
has been had both to the French and Spanish 
versions, which contain some valuable additional 
notes. Through the politeness of a gentleman of 
his acquaintance, the translator has also been 
furnished with an anonymous compendium of 
the History of Chili, printed in Bologna, in 
1776, from which the supplementary notes to 
ihis volume are taken. 

In addition to what is said above, the English 
Editor has to state, that he has, from documents 
in his possession, added a few occasional Notes, 
which are distinguished by the letters E. J5J. 
He has also subjoined, from Falkner's Descrip- 
tion of Patagonia, a further elucidation of the 
language of the Auracanos; and two Appendixes, 
the first containing an Account of the Archi- 
pelago of Chiloe, from the Descripcion Histo- 
rial of that Province, by P. F. Pedro Gonzalez 
de Agueros, printed at Madrid, in 1791 ; and 
the second, an Account of the Native Tribes who 
inhabit the Southern Extremity of South Ame- 
rica, extracted chiefly from Falkner's work. 




The attention of Europe is at this time more 
than ever directed to America. We are desirous 
of obtaining information of its climate, its natu- 
ral productions, and its inhabitants ; in short, 
every thing that is worthy of notice in that part 
of the world is now a subject of interest to the 
most enlightened nations. 

Chili is acknowledged, by all who have writ- 
ten upon America, to be one of its provinces 
meriting the most attention. This country is 
distinguished, not so much by its extent, as by 
the mildness of its climate ; and it may be said 
to enjoy all the advantages of the most favoured 
countries without their inconveniences. 

In my opinion, it may, with propriety, be 
compared to Italy ; as this is called the garden 
of Europe, that, with iore justice, may be 
styled the garden of South America. The 
climate of the two countries is nearly the same, 


and they are situated under nearly similar pa- 
rallels of latitude. They likewise resemble each 
other in the circumstance of their being of much 
greater extent in length than in breadth, and 
that they<are both divided by a chain of moun- 
tains. The Cordilleras or the Andes are to Chili* 
what the Appesnines are to Italy, the source of 
almost all the rivers that grater the country, and 
diffuse over it fertility and abundance. This 
chain of mountains has as sensible an influence 
on the salubrity of the air of Chili, as the Apen- 
nines have upon that of Italy ; and so firmly 
are the inhabitants convinced of this fact, that, 
whenever they attempt to account for any change 
in the state of the atmosphere, they attribute it 
to the effect of these mountains, which they con- 
sider as powerful and infallible agents. 

A country so remarkable, both for its natural 
productions, and its political state, certainly 
merits to be well known ; yet the accounts that 
we have of it are rqcrely superficial, and little is 
to be found, respecting its natural productions, 
in writers upon natural history. Of the lan- 
guage and the customs of the inhabitants wt 
are equally ignorant, and scarcely any thing is 
known of the exertions which the Chilians have 
made, even in our days to defend their liberties. 

A few well-informed travellers, who have 
been in the country, have published some 
Taluabic accounts, but too couscise to furnish a. 


competent idea of it. Father Louis Feuille, a 
French Minim friar, has given a scientific de- 
scription of the plants that he found upon the 
coast, to which he has added an account of se- 
veral animals that he noticed there. This is a 
work of great merit ; the descriptions are pre- 
cise, and perfectly correct ; but as it was pub- 
lished by the order and at the expense of the 
king, the copies of it have become very scarce, 
and are in the possession of but few. 

A number of Spanish authors have treated of 
this country. The last century produced several, 
not to mention those of the present; but few of 
their writings, however, have been published, 
for reasons which I shall hereafter assign. Of 
the latter, the first in point of merit are those of 
Don Pedro de Figueroa, and the Abbes Mi- 
chael de Olivarez and Philip Vidaurre. The 
two former treat of the political history of the 
country, from the arrival of the Spaniards to the 
present time. That of the Abbe Olivarez merits 
particular attention, from the great number of 
interesting facts relative to the long wars be- 
tween the Spaniatcls and Araucanians, which he 
has collected with no less judgment than indus- 
try. The work of the Abbe Vidaurre is prin- 
cipally employed upon the natural productions 
and customs of Chili, and displays much intelli- 
gence and acuteness of research. 

Besides the histories, or, more properly speak- 


ing, the accounts that have been written of this 
country, there are four poems that have for their 
subject the Araucanian wars ; also an anonymous 
abridgement in Italian of the Geographical and 
Natural History of Chili, published in 1776, 
which, in some respects, particularly with re- 
gard to geography and natural history, fur- 
nishes a more complete account of Chili 
than we have had. But as that compen- 
dium is much too concise, I presume I shall 
render an important service to those who feel 
an interest in what respects America, by pre- 
senting them with this essay, in which I have 
dwelt more fully and precisely upon the natural 
productions of Chili, as well as upon the most 
conspicuous events that have occurred in that 

At an early period of life, I began to turn my 
attention both to the natural and political history 
of Chili, with the view of publishing, at some 
future time, the result of my inquiries. Some 
untoward circumstances, however, interrupted 
my progress, and I had even relinquished the 
hope of having it in my power to carry my plan 
into effect, when a fortunate accident put me 
into possession of the requisite materials, and 
enabled me to offer the present work to the pub- 
lic ; to which, in a short time, I proposed adding 
another essay or compendium of the civil and 
political history of the same country. 


The method that I have adopted in arranging 
this work, has been to divide it into four chap- 
ters : The first, after a succinct geographical 
account of Chili, which may serve as an intro- 
duction, treats of the seasons, winds, meteors, 
volcanoes, earthquakes, and state of the climate. 
The other three 1 have devoted to a description 
of natural objects, proceeding from the simplest 
to the most complex, that is, from the mineral to 
the vegetable and animal kingdoms ; and, in the 
last, have added some conjectures of my own re- 
specting the inhabitants of Chili and the Patago- 
nians, or pretended giants, whom I consider as 
the mountaineers of that country. 

I have referred, as far as was in my power, the 
various objects noticed to the genera of Linnaeus, 
but in some instances where I have not been able 
to reduce them to those that are known, I have 
invented new, in conformity to his system. That 
author's mode of classification I have not, how- 
ever, pursued, as it appeared to me incompatible 
with the plan of my work. Though I have fol- 
lowed the system of that celebrated Swedish na- 
turalist, it is not from a conviction of its supe- 
riority to that of any other, but because it has 
been of late so generally adopted ; for, great ag 
is the respect which I feel for that learned writer, 
I cannot always approve of his nomenclature, 
and should have preferred pursuing the system 
of Wallerius and Bo mare in mineralogy, that of 


Toui'nefort m botany, and of Briason in Zoology > 
as I think them to be more simple and better 
known to the world in general. 

In describing objects of natural history, I 
have avoided the use of technical terms, as being 
difficult to be understood by those not conver- 
sant with that study ; but for the gratification of 
such as are familiar with that science, I have 
given, at the bottom of the page, the LinnaDan 
characters in Latin, both of the known species, 
and of those that are new, which I have dis- 
covered*. My descriptions will, for the most 
part, be found to be short, and such as merely 
furnish the essential character of the species. 
The common characteristics of the genus I have 
passed over intentionally, and it will he found 
that the same brevity prevails throughout the 
work, which is written in a plain and unaffected 
manner, without bewildering myself with vague 
conjectures and hazardous hypotheses, which 
would have been deviating altogether from the 
limits that I had prescribed to myself. 

I have frequently quoted those authors who 
have written upon Chili, and have judged this 
precaution the more necessary, as, in treating of 
a country so remote and so little known, i could 

* It he- been thought advisable in this version to make some 
variation in this rapect, and, conformably thereto, the techni- 
cal descriptions will be found at the end of the volume, ar- 
ranged under their respective heads... ..Amer. Trans. 


toot expect to be believed on my own unsupported 
assertion ; but the passages that I have selected 
will evince that I have not exaggerated in my 
accounts of the salubrity of the climate, and the 
excellence of the soil, and that I might have 
been justified in saying still more. 

With respect to this work, it is no more than 
a compendium, or an abridged history of many 
of the natural productions of Chili. The reflect- 
ing reader will not look in it for a complete na- 
tural history of that country ; such a work would 
have required much greater means than I possess, 
and such assistance as I have not been able to 

Those acquainted with M. de Pauw's philoso- 
phical inquiries respecting the Americans, will 
perhaps be surprised to find in my work some 
remarks which do not correspond with what 
that author has said respecting America in gene- 
ral. But whatever I have asserted respecting 
Chili is founded upon personal experience and 
attentive observation during a residence of many 
years in that country; and, in support of what I 
have advanced, 1 have cited the authority of se- 
veral respectable authors, who were eye-wit- 
nesses, and not hear-say relaters, of what they 
have written. M. de Pauw, on the contrary, 
not only never saw the country that he has under- 
taken to characterize, but even appears not to 
have been solicitous to consulfthosc authors who 


have written upon it ; for, although he frequently 
mentions Frazier and Ulloa, he cites their opi- 
nions only as far as they tend to confirm his 
theory. Both those authors speak of Chili as 
very fertile, but M. de Pauw has not thought 
proper to insert those passages, but only observes, 
in general terms, that wheat cannot be raised ex- 
cept in some of the North American provinces. 

Led away by inferences drawn from an ideal 
system of his own invention, he has carried his 
visionary notions so far that his work partakes 
more of the nature of a romance than a philoso- 
phical disquisition. It is sufficient for his pur- 
pose to find, in the vast extent of America, some 
small district or unimportant island labouring 
under the disadvantages of an unfavourable cli- 
mate or unproductive soil, to attribute these cir- 
cumstances as general to all the provinces of that 
country. A wretched tribe of the most obscure 
savages serves as his model of character for all 
the Americans. Such is the logic of M. de 
Pauw : It would be an endless task were I to en- 
deavour to confute the numerous erroneous opi- 
nions that he has advanced respecting America ; 
upon that subject he has deduced his conclusions 
from the most unfounded premises, and employed 
a mode of reasoning that might, with equal pro- 
priety, be applied to the prejudice of any other 
portion of the globe ; a proceeding that can 
be justified neither by reason nor philosophy. In 


short, De Pauw lias made use of as much free- 
dom with regard to America as if he had been 
writing upon the moon and its inhabitants. But 
to appreciate properly the observations of this 
author, I shall refer the reader to tjhe opinions of 
many learned men who have visited that country, 
and have fully refuted his assertions. Among 
those who merit particular attention on this sub- 
ject, is Count Juan Reynaldes Carli, so well 
known by his various literary productions, parti- 
cularly his American Letters*, in which, with 
much critical and philosophical investigation, he 
has comprised whatever may serve to convey a 
clear and correct idea of America. 

N. B. The reader is informed that the mile 
made use of in this work is the geographical 
mile of sixty to a degree, the foot the French 
foot, and the pound that of Italy, of twelve 

* Those literati who are desirous of becoming perfectly ac- 
quainted with America, will do well to consult this work, 
which consists of three volumes..., Sp, Trans, 




ituation, Climate, and Natural Phenomena - 


SECTION 1— Limits 

- 2 

2. — Name - - 

- 3 

3. — Natural Divisions 

. 4 

4. — Political Divisions - - 


5.— 01' Rain, &c. 

- 14 

6. — Winds - 

- 19 

7. — Meteors - 


8. — -Volcanoes - 

- 24 

9. — Earthquakes - - 

- 26 

10. — Salubrity of Climate 

- 29 


Waters, Earths, Stones, Salts, Bitumens, and Metals - 3fj 

SECTION 3. —Rivers - - ib. 

2.— Lakes - - - 3> 

3 — Mineral Waters - - - ib. 

4, — Soil - - ... 43 

5. — Physical Organization - - 48 

6.— Earths - - - 53 

7. — Stones - - 59 

8.— Salts - - • 66 



SECTION 9.— Bitumens 
10. — P) rites 
1 1 . — Se in i- Metals 
12. — Metals 
13. — Concretions 


• 97 


Herbs, Shrubs, and Trees - 100 

SECTION l.— Herbs - - -101 

2.— Alimentary Herbs or Plants - 105 

3. — Herbs used in Dying - - 115 

4.— Medicinal Plants - - 120 

5. — Grasses - - - 125 

6\— Climbing Plants - • - 127 

7.— Shrubs - - - 129 

8. — Trees - - - 135 


Worms, Insects, Reptiles, Fishes, Birds, and Quadrupeds l6"l 
SECTION 1.— Molluscas - - ib. 

2. — Crustaceous Fishes and Insects - l6Q 
3. — Reptiles - - - 178 

4. — Fishes - - - 181 

5.— Birds - - - - 191 

6. — Quadrupeds - 222 

A Methodical Table of the various species of Natural 

Productions described in this Work - - 281 

A Supplement to the Table of the Vegetable Kingdom - 293 

Supplementary Notes illustrative «f the History of Chili 295 






Situation, Climate, and Natural Phenomena, 

t^HILI, a country of South America, is situ- 
ated upon the South Sea or Pacific Ocean, 
between the 24th and 45th degrees of south lati- 
tude, and the 304th and 308th degrees of lon- 
gitude from the meridian of Ferro. 

Its length is estimated at 1260 geographical 
miles, but it varies in breadth as the great range 
of mountains, called the Cordilleras or the An- 
des, approach or recede from the sea; or, to speak 
with more precision, as the sea approaches or 
retires from those mountains. Between the 24th 
and 32d degrees of latitude, the distance of the 
sea from the mountains is about 210 miles ; from 
the 32d to the 37th it is but 120; and in the 
broadest part of Chili, near the Archipelago of 

TOL. I. B 

Chiloe, it is little less than 300 miles. In calcu- 
lating from these various extents, the surface of 
Chili may be estimated at 378,000 square miles. 

Sect. I. Limits. — Chili is bounded upon the 
West by the Pacific Ocean, on the north by Peru, 
on the east byTucuman, Cujo, and Patagonia, 
and on the south by the land of Magellan. It 
is separated from all these countries by the Cor- 
dilleras, which form an insurmountable barrier 
on the land side, while the sea renders it secure 
upon that quarter. The few roads which lead 
to Chili from the neighbouring provinces are 
impassable, except in summer, and are so narrow 
and dangerous that a man on horseback can with 
difficulty pass them.* 

* There are about eight or nine roads which cross the 
Cordilleras of Chili, of which that leading from the province 
of Aconcagua to Cujo is the most travelled. This road, 
which cannot be passed in less than eight days, is bordered on 
one side by the deep beds which the Chile and the Mendoza, 
two considerable rivers, have worn there ; on the other side, 
bv very lofty and perpendicular mountains. It is so narrow 
and incommodious, that, in many places, travellers are obliged 
to quit their mules, the only animal that can be employed, 
and to proceed on foot ; nor does there a year pass when 
gome loaded mules are not precipitated from these roads into 
the rivers. These precipices, however, do not follow the 
whole course of the road ; for occasionally it passes over very 
agreeable and pleasant plains, where travellers halt to refresh 
themselves. In these places the Incas, when they conquered 
Cusco and the northern provinces of Chili, caused some stone 


The extent which modern geographers assign 
to Chili is much greater than that which the in- 
habitants allow it ; the former usually compre- 
hend within it, Cujo, Patagonia, and the land 
of Magellan. But these countries are not only 
separated from it by natural limits, but their cli- 
mate and productions differ ; their inhabitants 
have countenances totally unlike the Chilians, 
and their language and customs have no resem- 

Sect. II. Name. — The writers upon America 
have given various derivations of the name of 
Chili, which are either wholly false, or founded 
on absurd conjectures. It is certain, however, 
that it was known by its present name long before 
the arrival of the Spaniards. The inhabitants 
derive the name from certain birds of the thrush 
kind, that are very common in the countrv, and 

houses to be constructed for the accommodation of their 
officers: one of which has been ruined, but the others still 
remain entire. The Spaniards have built some more, for the 
greater convenience of travellers. 

* Although the principal mountain of the Cordilleras is the 
natural termination of Chili to the east, I comprehend within 
its confines not only the western valleys of that mountain, as 
necessarily attached to it, but also the eastern ; as, though not 
comprised within its natural limits, having been occupied by 
Chilian colonies from time immemorial. 

whose note has some resemblance to the word 
Chili. And it is not improbable, that the first 
tribes, who settled there, considered this note as 
a good omen, and named the country accord- 

Sect. III. Natural Divisions. — Chili natural- 
ly divides itself into three parts, the first com- 
prehending the islands ; the second, Chili pro- 
perly called ; and the third, the Andes, or the 
country occupied by that range of mountains. 
The islands that belong to Chili are : the three 
Coquimbanes, Mugillon, Totoral, and Pajaro. 
These islands are desert ; and are said to be six 
or eight miles in circumference. 

The two islands of Juan Fernandez ; one of 
these known by the name of Isola di Terra ( the 
shore-island) from its being the nearest to the 
continent, is about 42 miles in circumference. 
Lord Anson, who remained there some time, 
describes it as a terrestial paradise ; it is at pre- 

* The colonists who went from the southern part of Chili 
to settle the Archipelago of Chiloe, an emigration that took 
place some ages prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, called 
those islands Chil-hue, which signifies a district or province of 
Chili, influenced, undoubtedly, by the desire of preserving 
the memory of their original country ; and all the Chilians, 
those who have continued free as well as the subjugated, call 
their country Chili-mapu, that is, the land of Chili, and its 
language Chrli-dugu, the language of Chili. 

sent inhabited by the Spaniards. The other, 
which bears the name of Masafuera, ( the more 
distant) is smaller, and although its appearance 
is as beautiful and inviting as that of the Isola di 
Terra, it has remained till the present time un- 
cultivated and uninhabited. 

The island of Carama. This is rather a rock 
than an island capable of cultivation. Quirin- 
quina, at the entrance of the harbour of Con- 
ception, and Talca or Santa Maria, are two 
islands of about four miles in length ; and are 
the property of two wealthy inhabitants of Con- 

Mocha. This island, which is more than 60 
miles in circumference, is handsome and fertile. 
It was in the last century inhabited by the Spa- 
niards, but is at present deserted. 

The Archipelago of Chiloe, with that of the 
Chones, which is dependant upon it, compre- 
hends eighty-two islands that are inhabited by 
some Spaniards and Indians. The largest of 
these islands, which has given its name to the 
Archipelago, is Chiloe ; it is about 150 miles in 
length ; the capital of it is Castro. 

All these islands are near the coast, except 
those of Juan Fernandez, the first of which is 
330, and the second 420 miles distant.* 

* In the same sea, but very remote, are situated the little 
islands of St. Ambrosio, St. Felix, and that of Pasqua, (or 



Chili properly called, or that part which ig 
situated between the Andes and the sea, is at 
least 120 miles in breadth : It is commonly di- 
vided into two equal parts, that is, the maritime 
country, and the midland country ; the maritime 
country is intersected by three chains of moun- 
tains, running parallel to the Andes, between 
which are numerous valleys watered by delight- 
Easter Island) much celebrated for the great number of sta- 
tues which the natives have erected in various parts of it, 
cither as ornaments, or, what is more probable, as tutelary 
divinities. The two first, which are desert, are distant 280 
leagues from the coast of Chili,' and are situated in 26 deg. 
27 min. south latitude; but that of Pasqfla, which is probably 
the same with Davis's land, and is in 27 deg. and 5 min. south 
latitude, and about the 26Sth deg. of longitude, is 600 leagues 
distant from that coast. This island is but a little more than 
five leagues in extent, and its inhabitants, who do not exceed 
800, are whiter than most of the Indians, and permit their 
beards to grow. The statues that are met with throughout 
the island are very numerous, and of various sizes ; some of 
them being 27 feet in height, and others not exceeding that 
of a man. To the sight and touch they appear like stone ; 
but as they are all of a single piece* and there are no quarries 
on the island capable of furnishing stones of that size, it is pro- 
bable that they are formed of some kind of plaister or cement 
that, when dry, assumes the consistency and colour of stone. 
The Dutch admiral, Roggewein, who was the first that visited 
this island, in the year 1722, says, that these statues were 
wrought with much skill. Don Philip Gonsalez, commander 
of the ship of war Rosalia, who was there in the year 1770. 
and Captain Cook, in March, 1774, both agree with Rogge- 
wein as respects the number and <ize of these statues. 

ful rivers. The midland country is almost flat; 
a few insolated 1 hills only are to be seen, that 
diversify and render the appearance of it more 

The Andes, which are considered as the lof- 
tiest mountains in the world, cross the whole 
continent of America, in a direction from south 
to north ; for I consider the mountains in North 
America, as only a continuation of the Cordil- 
leras. The part that appertains to Chili may be 
120 miles in breadth ; it consists of a great num- 
ber of mountains, all of them of a prodigious 
height, which appear to be chained to each other; 
and where nature displays all the beauties and 
all the horrors of the most picturesque situations. 
Although it abounds with frightful precipices, 
many agreeable valleys and fertile pastures are 
to be found there ; and the rivers that derive 
their sources from the mountains,* often ex- 

• The highest mountains of the Cordilleras of Chili are 
the Manflos, in 28 deg. 45 min. the Tttpungato, in 33. 24. the 
Descabezado, in 35 deg. the Blanquillo, in 35. 4. the Longavi, 
in 55. 30. the Chilian, in 36. and the Corcobado, in 43. 1 had 
no opportunity, while in the country, to measure the height 
of these mountains, which naturalists assert are more than 
20,000 feet above the level of the sea. Barton asserts, that 
the highest mountains of the earth are to be found under the 
equator; but having seen and particularly noticed both those 
of Peru and of Chili, I doubt much the correctness of this 
axiom, and am more inclined to adopt the opinion of M. Ber- 
tram!, who, in his Memoirs upon the Structure of the Eartji, 


hibit the most pleasing as well as the most terri- 
fying features. That portion of the Cordilleras 
which is situated between the 24th and 33d 
degrees of latitude, is wholly desert ; but the 
remainder, as far as the 45th degree, is inha- 
bited by some colonies of Chilians, who are cal- 
led Chiquillanes, Pehuenches, Puelches, and 
Huiiliches, but are more generally known by the 
name of Patagonians. 

Sect. IV. Political Divisions. — The political 
divisions of Chili consist of the part occupied 
by the Spaniards, and that which is inhabited by 
the Indians. The Spanish part is situated be- 
tween the 24th and 37th degrees of south latitude,, 
and is divided into thirteen provinces, to wit : 
Copiapo, Coquimbo, Quillota, Aconcagua, 
Melipilla, and St. Jago, (which contains the 
capital city of the country of the same namej 
Rancagua, Calchagua, Maiile, Ytata, Chilian, 
Puchacay, and Huilquilemu.* The division of 

says, " It is not true that the highest mountains are found 
under the equator, since the Andes increase in height in pro- 
portion as s they recede from it." The Cordilleras are lower at 
Copiapo, notwithstanding it is nearer the tropic, than in the 
other parts of Chili. 

* I have thought proper in this place to give a short account 
of the situation and extent of all these provinces, with their 
capitals, ports, and principal rivers. I should also have given 

these provinces is very irregular, and imperfectly 
designated : there are some of them which ex- 

a statement of their population, but was not able to obtain 
an estimate which satisfied me. 

Copiapo — extending from the Andes to the sea, is 100 
leagues in length, and 70 in breadth. Its capital — Copiapo, 
situate in 26 deg. 50 min. south latitude. Ports — Copiapo 
and Guasco. Rivers— the Salado, Copiapo, Totoral, Que. 
brada, Guasco, and Chollay. 

Coquimbo — extending from the Andes to the sea ; in length 
45 leagues; in breadth 70. Its capital — Coquimbo, in 29 
deg. 54 min. Ports — Coquimbo and Tongoy. Rivers — Co- 
quimbo, Tongoy, Limari, and Chuapa. 

Quillota — situated on the sea-coast, in length 25 leagues, 
in breadth 21. Its capital— Quillota, in 32 deg. 56 min. 
Ports — Papudo, Herradura, Quintero, and Valparaiso, in 33 
deg. 2 uiin. Rivers — Longotoma, Ligua, Chile, and Limache. 

Aconcagua — in the vicinity of the Andes ; 25 leagues in 
length, and of equal width. Its capital — Aconcagua, in 32 
deg. 48 min. Rivers — Longotoma, Ligua, and Chile. 

Melipilla — on the sea-coast ; 11 leagues in length, in breadth 

23. Its capital — Melipilla, in 33 deg. 32 min. Port St. 

Antonio. Rivers — Maypo, Maypoche, and Poangue. 

Santiago— near the Andes ; 1 1 leagues in length, in breadth 
20. Its capital— Santiago, in 33 deg. 31 min. Rivers Co- 
Una, Lampa, Mapoche, and Maypo. 

Rancagua — from the Andes to the sea ; in length 13 leagues, 
in breadth 40. Its capital — Rancagua, in 34 deg. Rivers— 
Maypo, Codegiia, Chocalan, and Cachapoal. 

Colchagua — from the Andes to the sea; 15 leagues in 
length, and 43 in breadth. Its capital — St. Fernando, in 
34 deg. 18 min. Ports— Topocalma and Navidad. Rivers— 
Rio-Clarillo, Tingiririca, Chimbarongo, Nilahue, and Teno. 

Maule— from the Andes to the sea ; 44 leagues long and 



tend from the sea to the Andes ; others occupy 
but the half of that space, and are situated near 
the mountains or upon the coast. Their extent 
is also very various, some of them being six or 
seven times larger than others. These provinces 
were formerly inhabited by the Copiapins, Co- 
quimbranes, Quillotanes, Map o chin ins, Pro- 
maucians, Cures, Cauques, and Penquons. At 
present there exist but few remains of any of these 

The Indian country is situated between the 
river Bio-bio and the Archipelago of Chiloe, or 
the 36th and 41st degrees of latitude. It is in- 
habited by three different nations : the Arauca- 

48 broad. Its capital — Talca, in 34 deg. 33 min. Port— 
Astillero. Rivers — Mataquito, Rioclaro, Lircay, Maule, Pu- 
tagan, Achihuenu, Liguay, Longavi, Loncomilla, and Purapel. 

Itata— on the sea-coast ; 1 J leagues in length and 23 in 
breadth. Its capital — Couleinu, in 36 deg. 2 min. Rivers— 
Lonquen and Itata. 

Chilian — near the Andes; in length 12 leagues, in breadth 
25. Its capital — Chilian, in 36 deg. Rivers — Catillo, Cato, 
Kuble, and Chillam. 

Puchacay— ou the sea-coast ; 12 leagues long and 25 broad. 
Its capital — Gualqai, in 36 deg. 42 min. Rivers— Lirquen, 
Andalien, and Bio-bio. 

Huilquilemu— near the Andes; 12 leagues long and 25 
broad. ' Its capital — Iluilquilemu, in 36 deg. 42 min. Rivers 
—Itata, Claro, and Luxa. 

The Spaniards likewise possess the port and town of Vafaj- 
via with its territory, situated upon the south shore of the river 
ft' the same name, in 3£deg. 55 Bin. south latitude. 


mans, the Clinches, and the Huilliches. The 
Araucanians do not, as M. de Pauw pretends, in- 
habit the barren rocks of Chili, but, on the con- 
trary, the finest plains in the whole country, si- 
tuated between the rivers Bio -bio and Valdivia. 
Araucauia lies upon the sea-coast, and is calcu- 
lated to be 188 miles in length ; it is generally 
considered as the most pleasant and fertile part of 
Chili ; its breadth, from the sea to the foot of 
the Andes, was formerly estimated at 300 miles, 
but the Puelches, a nation inhabiting the western 
part of the mountains, having joined the Arau- 
canians in the last century, it cannot at present 
be less than 420 miles in breadth, and the whole 
of their territory is calculated to contain 78,120 
square miles. 

The Araucanians have divided their country 
into four principalities, or utlianmapu, to which 
they have given the following names : Lavquen- 
mapu, or the maritime country; Lelvunmapu, 
or the flat country ; Inapiremapu, or the country 
at the foot of the Andes ; and Piremapu, or the 
country of the Andes. Each principality is di- 
vided into five provinces, or ailla-reliue, and each 
province into nine commanderies, or reliue. The 
maritime principality contains five provinces ; 
Arauco, Tucapel, Ilicura, Boroa, and Nagtolten. 
The principality of the plain, Eucol, Puren, Re- 
pocura, Maquehue, and Mariquina. The prin- 
cipality at the foot of the Andes, Marven, Col- 


hue, Chacaico, Quecheregua, and Guanahue. 
The principality of the Andes comprehends all 
the valleys situated between the limits heretofore 
mentioned. The country of the Cunches extends 
along the coast, between the Valdivia and the 
Archipelago of Chiloe. Cunches is derived 
from the word cunco, which signifies a bunch of 
grapes, and is allusive to the great fecundity of 
that nation. The Huilliches occupy all the 
plains to the east of the Cunches, from whom 
they are separated partly by an imaginary line, 
and partly by that chain of the Andes which ex- 
tends from the Valdivia to the extremity of 
Chili. They are called Huilliches, which sig- 
nifies southern men, from their country being 
the farthest towards the south. Both the Cun- 
ches and the Huilliches are warlike nations, and 
allies of the Araucanians, to whom they have 
rendered important services in their wars with 
the Spaniards. 

Chili is one of the best countries in America. 
The beauty of its sky, the constant mildness of 
its climate, and its abundant fertility, render it, 
as a place of residence, extremely agreeable ; 
and with respect to its natural productions, it 
may be said, without exaggeration, not to be in- 
ferior to any portion of the globe. The seasons 
succeed each other regularly, and are sufficiently 
marked, although the transition from cold to 
heat is very moderate. The spring in Chili com- 


weiices, as in all the countries of the southern 
hemisphere, the 22d September,, the summer in 
December, the autumn in March, and the winter 
in June.* 

* That part of Chili which may properly be deemed a 
Spanish province, is a narrow district, extending along the coast 
from the desert of Atacamas to Jthe island of Chiloe, above 
900 miles. Its climate is the most delicious of the New 
World, and is hardly equalled by that of any region on the 
face of the earth. Though bordering on the torrid zone, it 
never feels the extremity of heat, being screened on the east 
by the Andes, and refreshed from the west by cooling sea- 
breezes. The temperature of the air is so mild and equable, 
that the Spaniards give it the preference to that of the south- 
ern provinces in their native country. The fertility of the soil 
corresponds with the benignity of the climate, and is wonder- 
fully accommodated to European productions. The most valu- 
able of these, corn, wine, and oil, abound in Chili, as if they 
had been native to the country. All the fruits imported from 
Europe attain to full maturity there. The animals of our 
hemisphere not only multiply, but improve in this delightful 
region. The horned cattle are of larger size than those of 
Spain. Its breed of horses surpasses, both in beauty and iu 
spirit, the famous Audalusian race, from which they sprang. 
Nor has natuie exhausted her bounty on the surface of the 
earth • she has stored its bowels with riches. Valuable mines 
of gold, of silver, of copper, and of lead, have been dis- 
covered in various parts of it. A country distinguished bv 
so many blessings, we may be apt to conclude, would early 
become a favourite station of the Spaniards, and must have 
been cultivated with peculiar predilection and care. Instead 
of this, a great part of it remains unoccupied. In all this 
extent of country, there are not above eighty thousand white 


Sect. V. Of Rain, #c. — From the begin- 
ning of spring until autumn, there is throughout 
Chili a constant succession of fine weather, par- 
ticularly between the 24th and 36th degrees of 
latitude ; but in the islands, which for the most 
part are covered with wood, the rains are very 
frequent even in summer. The rainy season on 
the continent usually commences in April, and 
continues until the last of August. In the 
northern provinces of Coquimbo and Copiapo it 
very rarely rains ; in the central ones it usually 
rains three or four days in succession, and the 
pleasant weather continues fifteen or twenty days. 
In the southern the rains are much more fre- 
quent, and often continue for nine or ten days 
without cessation. These rains are never ac- 
companied with storms or hail ; and thunder is 
scarcely known in the country, particularly in 
places at a distance from the Andes, where, even 
in summer, it is seldom ever heard.* Among 
those mountains, and near the sea, storms occa- 
sionally arise, which, according to the direction 

inhabitants, and about three times that number of negroes 
and people of a mixed race. The most fertile soil in America 
lies uncultivated, and some of its most promising mines remain 
unw rought. — Robertson's History of America, vol. iv. chap. J. 

* " Lightning is wholly unknown in the province of Chili, 
notwithstanding thunder is occasio»ally heard at a great dis- 
tance over the Andes."— American Gazetteer. 


of the wind, pass over, and take their course to 
the north or south. 

In the maritime provinces snow is never seen. 
In those nearer the Andes it falls ahout once in 
five years ; sometimes not so often, and the quan- 
tity is very trifling; it usually melts while falling, 
and it is very uncommon to have it remain on the 
ground for a day. 

In the Andes, on the contrary, it falls in such 
quantities from April to November, that it not 
only lies there constantly during that time, but 
even renders them wholly impassable during the 
greater part of the year.* The highest summits 
of these mountains, which are constantly covered 
with snow, are distinguishable at a great dis- 

* Those who venture to pass the Andes in the depth of 
irinter, when overtaken by snow-storms are frequently frozen, 
ts happened to the Spaniards under the command of Diego de 
Almagro, in the year 1535. This has led some authors to as- 
sert confidently, without attending to the difference of places, 
that such is the severity of the winter in Chili, that men fre- 
quently perish with cold ; yet it has been repeatedly proved, 
that in those parts not comprised within the Andes, the 
weather is so mild, that it is very uuusual for the mercury in 
Reaumur's thermometer to sink to the freezing point, and 
none of the rivers or streams are ever frozen. Abbe Gauri 
says, in his Treatise upon Natural Philosophy, that the cold is 
90 extreme in the plains of Chili, that the inhabitants are com- 
pelled to forsake their houses, and, like the wretched inhabit- 
ants of the polar regions, to shelter themselves in caverns; a 
story which betrays no less ignorance of the real situation of 
Chili, than a total disregard of probability. 


tance by their whiteness, and form a very singu- 
lar and pleasing appearanee. Those of the in- 
habitants who are not sufficiently wealthy to 
have ice-houses, procure snow from the moun- 
tains, which they transport upon mules. The 
consumption of this article is very considerable, 
as a general use is made of it in summer to cool 
their liquors. The maritime countries, being at 
a distance from the Andes, do not enjoy this ad- 
vantage, but they feel the privation of it less, as 
the heat is much more moderate upon the coast 
than in the interior. In the midland provinces 
is sometimes seen, in the month of August, a 
white frost, accompanied by a slight degree of 
cold, which is the greatest that is experienced in 
those districts. This coldness continues two or 
three hours after sun-rise ; from which time the 
weather is like that of a fine day in spring.* 

* So general is the opinion of the excessive cold in the south- 
ern extremity of America, that it is hazardous to contradict 
it. I shall, however, venture to suggest some doubts respect- 
ing so generally an admitted fact. At the same time that 
Commodore Byron compares the temperature of the Straits of 
Magellan in summer with the climate of England in midwinter, 
he describes the country in the following manner : n Upon 
Sandy Point we found a plenty of wood and very good water, 
and for four or five miles the shore was exceedingly pleasant. 
Over the poiut there is a fine level country, with a soil that, 
to all appearance, is extremely rich, for the ground was co- 
vered with flowers of various kinds, that perfumed the air with 
their fragrance ; and among them were berries almost innu- 


The dews are abundant throughout Chill, in 
the spring, summer, and autumnal nights, and in 
a great measure supply the want of rain during 
those seasons. Although the atmosphere is then 

merable, where the blossoms had been shed ; we observed 
that the grass was very good, and that it was intermixed with 
a great number of peas in blossom. Among this luxuriance 
of herbage we saw many hundreds of birds feeding, which, 
from their form, and the uncommon beauty of their plumage, 
we called painted geese. We walked more than twelve miles, 
and fouud great plenty of tine fresh water." " The place 
abounded with geese, teal, snipes, and other birds that were 
excellent food." " On each side of Sedger river there are 
the finest trees I ever saw." " Some of them are of a great 
height, and more than eight feet in diameter, which is pro- 
portionably more than eight yards in circumference ; so that 
four men, joining hand in hand, could not compass them ; 
among others we found the pepper tree, or Winter's bark, in 
great plenty. Among these woods, notwithstanding the cold- 
ness of the climate, there are innumerable parrots, and other 
birds, of the most beautiful plumage." " The country between 
Port Famine and Cape Forward, which is distant about four 
leagues, is extremely fine ; the soil appears to be very good, 
and there are no less than three pretty large rivers, besides 
several brooks." " I made another excursion along the shore 
to the northward, and found the country for many miles ex- 
ceedingly pleasant, the ground being covered with flowers, 
which were not inferior to those that are commonly found in 
our gardens, either in beauty or fragrance." — Hawkesworth's 
Voyages, vol. i. chap. 4. 

This description is no doubt correct, and it is conformable 
to that given of the country by many other navigators. But 
how is it possible that so pleasing and plentiful a vegetation 

vot. r c c 


loaded with humidity, its salubrity is not injured 
thereby, for both husbandmen and travellers sleep 
m the open air with perfect security. 

Fogs are common on the coast, especially in 

could be met with amidst such excessive cold, or that parrots, 
birds so attached to heat, should voluntarily inhabit a climate 
condemned to perpetual winter ? And if the summer is so 
cold that, according to this author, it may be compared to 
midwinter in England, what idea must we form of the Ma- 
gellanic winters. It is certain that Winter's bark is not only 
met with in abundance on the northern shores of this strait, 
but also from the account of Capt. Cook, in his second voyage, 
on the island of Fuego ; yet this tree, which grows so plenti- 
fully in the open air, cannot endure the winter of England, 
whither it has been carried, unless aided by the artificial 
warmth of a hot-house. To .which may be added, that the 
sea which surrounds those shores is never frozen, notwith- 
standing the great quantities of fresh water that flow into it ; 
a fact which all the European navigators who double Cape 
Horn in midwinter can testify. In the month of June, 176S, 
I was myself upon a voyage in that sen, as far as the Gist 
degree of latitude, without meeting with the least indication 
of freezing ; and though it snowed very often, the cold was 
not severer than that which is usually felt during the winter 
ill Bologna. The floating islands of ice which are frequently 
met with in those seas, particularly in the summer, are driven 
by the southern winds which blow from the antarctic regions. 
The French who, in 17^5, formed a settlement upon the 
Maluine islands, in 51 deg. 40 mill. lat. affirmed, that the win- 
ter which they passed there was by no means severe, and that 
the snow was never in such quantities as to cover the soles of 
their shoes.* 1 have no doubt of the unpleasant occurrence 
which befel Mr. Banks and his companion on the island of 

* Sec M- de Nervilk's Letters. 


the autumn ; they continue but a few hours in 
the morning 1 , and as they consist only of watery 
particles, are not prejudicial either to the health 
of the inhabitants, or to the vegetation. 

Slct. VI. Winds. — The north and north-west 
winds usually bring rain, and the south and 
south-east a clear sky. These serve as infallible 
indications to the inhabitants, who are observant 
of them, and furnish them with a kind of baro- 
meter to determine previously the state of the 
weather. The same winds produce directly con- 
trary effects in the southern and in the northern 
hemispheres. The north and northerly winds, 

Fuego ; but a single fact is not sufficient to establish a theory. 
The crew of the Spanish ship Conception passed the whole 
winter of 176*6* there, without experiencing any thing of a si- 
milar nature, which might have been produced by a concur- 
rence of various accidental causes. Whenever this part of 
the world becomes well peopled, the cold, which is now con., 
sidered as natural to it, will be very sensibly decreased ; on 
the lands being cultivated, the air will be rendered as mild and 
pleasant as that which is enjoyed by the inhabitants of the 
northern hemisphere situated under similar parallels of lati- 
tude, it being a fact well ascertained, that a desert country 
covered with woods is much more subject to all the inconve- 
niences of the atmosphere, than one rilled with inhabitants, 
and improved by cultivation. 

The account given by Julius Caesar of the climate of France,, 
which at that period was covered with wood and uncultivated, 
corresponds with that which the writers of our times have 
given of the Magellanic countries. 

C 2 


before they arrived at Chili, cross the torrid 
zone, and there becoming- loaded with vapours, 
bring with them heat and rain. This heat is, 
however, very moderate, and it would seem that 
these winds, in crossing the Andes, which are 
constantly covered with snow, become qualified, 
and lose much of their heat and unhealthy pro- 
perties. In Tucuman and Cujo, where they are 
known by the name of Sonda, they are much 
more incommodious and are more suffocating 
than even the Siroc in Italy. The southerly 
winds coming immediately from the antarctic 
pole, are cold and dry. These are usually from 
the south-west, and prevail in Chili during the 
time that the sun is in the southern hemisphere. 
They blow constantly towards the equator, the 
atmosphere at that period being highly rarified, 
and no adverse current of air opposing itself to 
their course. As they disperse the vapours, and 
drive them towards the Andes, it rains but sel- 
dom during their continuance. The clouds thus 
collected upon these mountains, Uniting with 
those which come from the north, occasion very 
heavy rains, accompanied with thunder, in all the 
provinces beyond the Andes, particularly in those 
of Tucuman and Cujo, while, at the same time, 
the atmosphere of Chili is constantly clear, and 
its inhabitants enjoy their finest season. The 
contrary takes place in winter, which is the fine 
season in these provinces,, and the rainy in Chili, 



The south wind never continues blowing during 
the whole day with the same force : as the sun 
approaches the meridian it falls very considerably, 
and rises again in the afternoon. At noon, when 
this wind is scarcely perceptible, a fresh breeze 
is felt from the sea, which continues about two 
or three hours. The husbandmen give it the 
name of the twelve o'clock breeze, or the coun- 
tryman's watch, as it serves to regulate them in 
determining that hour. This sea-breeze returns 
regularly at midnight, and is supposed to be pro- 
duced by the tide. It is stronger in autumn and 
sometimes accompanied with hail. The east 
winds rarely prevail in Chili, their course being 
obstructed by the Andes. Hurricanes, so com- 
mon in the Antilles, are unknown there ; there 
exists, indeed, a solitary example of a hurricane, 
which, in 1633, did much injury to the fortress 
of Caremalpo, in the southern part of Chili. 

The mild temperature which Chili almost al- 
ways enjoys, must depend entirely upon the succes- 
sion of these winds, as a situation so near the tropic 
Would naturally expose it to a more violent de- 
gree of heat. In addition to these, the tide, the 
abundant dews, and certain winds from the An- 
des, which are distinct from the east wind, cool 
the air so much in summer that, in the shade, no 
one is ever incommoded with perspiration. The 
dress of the inhabitants of the sea-coast is the 
same in winter as in summer ; and in the interior, 



where the heat is more perceptible than elsewhere, 
Reaumur's thermometer scarcely ever exceeds 25 
degrees. The nighty throughout the country, 
are generally of a very agreeable temperature. 
Notwithstanding the moderate heat of Chili, all 
the fruits of warm countries, and even those of 
the tropics arrive to groat perfection there,* 

* Contiguous to Peru is situated the province of Chili, 
which extends in a long, narrow strip upon the coast of the 
South Sea. The air is remarkably clear and serene, and for 
three quarters of the year this country enjoys an almost constant 
temperature, as it rains very little during that period. The 
want of rain is amply compensated by the copious dews and 
the many streams which, descending from the Amies, fertilize 
the plains, and render them productive of every kind of grain, 
as well as wine, oil, and all those fruits which its inhabitants, 
who are much reduced in their numbers, and not remarkable 
for their industry, think proper to cultivate. Were the go- 
vernment to show itself a little more favourable to the encou- 
ragement of its industry and the increase of its population, 
no country in the world could rival it; since, at the same 
time, it enjoys a clear sky and a degree of heat which, though 
temperate, perfectly matures those tropical fruits that do not 
grow spontaneously except in the torrid zone. The plains of 
this countrv furnish in abundance whatever is necessary or 
c.onducible to the comfort of life; while the mountains contain 
the richest treasures, in mines of gold, silver, copper, lead, 
iron, and quicksilver. Those that are principally wrought are 
the gold mines, and there is scarcely in the whole country a 
stream whose sands do not contain this precious metal in 
greater or less abundance. But the indolence of the inha- 
bitants prevents many of the mines from being wrought, and, 
what is a still greater evil, the soil from being cultivated in 


which renders it probable, that the warmth of 
the soil far exceeds that of the atmosphere. 
The countries bordering on the east of Chili do 
not enjoy these refreshing winds ; the air there 
is suffocating, and as oppressive as in Africa 
under the same latitude. 

Sect. VII. Jllcteors. — Meteors are very fre- 
quent in Chili, especially those called shooting 
stars, which are to be seen there almost the whole 
year, and balls of fire that usually rise from the 
Andes and fall into the sea. The aurora austra- 
lis, on the contrary, is very uncommon. That 
which was observed in 1G40 was one of the 
largest ; it was visible, from the accounts that 
have been left us, from the month of February 

the manner it deserves. Notwithstanding so few are employed 
in cultivation, and those by no means very industrious, a suf- 
ficient quantity of wheat for the subsistence of 60,000 per- 
sons, is annually sent from Chili to Callao, and the other ports 
of Peru, for there are not in the world lands more productive 
of every kind of grain. Besides the great quantities of wine 
and hemp that are exported every year, the last of which is 
cultivated in no other part of the South Sea, those of hides, 
tallow, jerked beef, gold and other metals, which constitute 
the most valuable cargoes, and are shipped from all the ports, 
are much more considerable. The chief occupation of the 
inhabitants is the breeding of cattle, which are so plenty, that 
an ox maybe bought for a trifling sum; an unequivocal proof 
©f the fertility of the couutry, where money is comparatively 
of littje value. — History of the European Settlements in 
America, vol. i. part 3. chap. 11. 

c 4 


until April. During tin? century they have ap- 
peared at four different times, but I cannot de- 
signate their particular period?. This pheno- 
MM is more frequently visible in the Archi- 
pelago of Chiloe, from the greater elevation of 
the pole in that part of the country. 

Sect. VIII. Voiam ;?. — That a country pro- 
ducing such an abundance of sulphureous, 
v and bituminous sabstanc ild be 

subject to volcanic eruptions, i* not to be won- 

^•d at. The numerous volcanoes in the Cor- 
(fallens would, of themselves, furnish a sufficient 
proof of the qua^titv ot fhe*e combustible ma- 
terials. There are said to be fourteen, which 
are in a constant state of eruption, and a still 
greater number that discharge smoke only at in- 
tervals. These are all situated in that pan of 
the Andes appertaining to Chili,, and near!" in 
the middle of that range of mountain* : so that 
the lava and ashes thrown out by them never ex- 
tend beyond their These mountains and 
their vicin: found, ou examination, to con- 
tain great quantities of sulphur and sal-ammoniac, 
marcasite in an entire and decomposed state, cal- 
d and crystallized stones,, and various me- 

The gr <vn in Chili was 

that of Peteroa, which happened on the 3d of 
D- « 1760, when that volcano formed 

itself a new crater, and a neighbouring 
tain was rent asunder for many miles in *=rti^4. 
The eruption was accompanied by a dreadful ex- 
plosion, which was heard throughout the whole 
country; fortunately it was not _. = ded by 
any verv violent shocks of an earthquake. The 
quantity of the lava and ashes wa; i _ eat, that 
it filled the neighbouring valleys^ and occasioned 
a rise of the waters of the Tingeraca. which con- 
tinued for many days. At the same time the 
course of the Lootue.. a very considerable river, 
was impeded for ten days., by a part of the moun- 
tain which fell and fiiled its bed. The water 
at length forced itself a passage., overflowed all 
tie neighbouring plains, and formed a lakewhich 
still remains, in the whole of the country not 
included in the An: re are but two volca- 

noes., the first 1 at ihe mculh of the river 

Rapel is small., and discharges only a little smoke 
from tune to time. The sec ?nd is the great vol- 
can3 of Villarica, near the lake of the same 
name in the country of Arauco. This volcano 
may be seen at the distance of 150 miles, and 
although it appears to be isolated, it is said to be 
connected by its base with the Andes. The sum- 
mit of the mountain is covered with snow, and 
is in a constant state of eruption. It is fourteen 
miles in circumference at its base, which is prin- 
cipally covered with pleasant fe: A great 
number of rivers derive their sources from it. and 


its perpetual verdure furnishes a proof that its 
eruptions have never been very violent. 

Sect. IX. Earthquakes. — The quantity of 
inflammable substances with which the soil of 
Chili abounds, rendered active by the electric 
fluid, may be considered as one of the principal 
causes of the earthquake, the only scourge that 
afflicts this favoured country. Another, however, 
not less capable, in my opinion, of producing 
this terrible phenomenon, is the elasticity of the 
air contained in the bowels of the earth, in con- 
sequence of the water which, insinuating itself 
by subterranean passages from the sea, becomes 
changed into vapour. This hypothesis-will ex- 
plain why the countries to the east of the Andes, 
at a distance from the sea, are so little incom- 
moded by earthquakes. Two provinces however, 
Copiapo and Coquimbo, although near the sea, 
and as rich in minerals as the others, have never 
suffered from earthquakes ; and while the other 
parts of the country have been violently shaken, 
these have not experienced the least shock, or 
been but slightly agitated. It is a general opi- 
nion that the earth in these provinces is inter- 
sected by large caverns. The noises heard in 
many places, and which appear to indicate the 
passage of waters or subterraneous winds, seem 
to confirm this opinion, and it is highly probable 
that by affording a free vent to the inflamed sub- 


stances, these caverns may serve to counteract 
the progress of those convulsions to which the 
neighbouring country is subject. 

The inhabitants usually calculate three or four 
earthquakes at Chili annually, but they are very 
slight, and little attention is paid to them. The 
great earthquakes happen but rarely.* The 

* Ih a period of 244 years, from the arrival of the Spa- 
niards to the year 1782, five great earthquakes have occurred 
in Chili. The first, which was iu the year 1520, destroyed 
some villages in the southern provinces ; the second, on the 
3 3th of May, in the year 1647, ruined many of the houses of 
St. Jago ; the third, on the 15th of March, l657, destroyed 
a great part of that capital ; the fourth took place on the IStli 
of June, 1739, when the sea was driven against the city of 
Conceptipn, and overthrew its walls ; and the fifth on the 26th. 
of May, 1751, completely destroyed that city, which was 
again inundated by the sea, and levelled with the ground all 
the fortresses aud villages situated between the 34th and 40th 
degrees of latitude. Its course was from south to north, and 
it was announced by some slight shocks on the preceding 
nights ; more especially by one about a quarter of an hour 
before its commencement, accompanied by a ball of fire that 
precipitated itself from the Andes into the sea. The great 
shocks began about midnight, -and continued four or five 
minutes each, but the earth was in a state of almost constant 
vibration until day-break. Just before the earthquake the 
sky was perfectly clear in every quarter, but immediately after 
its commencement it became covered with black clouds, which 
poured down a continual rain for the space of eight days, 
at the end of which there was a recurrence of slight tremblings 
that continued during a month, with short intervals between 
each, of fifteen or twenty minutes. It is not supposed that on 


shocks were probably more violent before the in- materials found outlets by the means of 
volcanoes. At present they produce only hori- 
zontal or oscillatory motions. From a course of 
accurate observations it has been ascertained, 
that earthquakes never occur unexpectedly in 
this country, but are always announced by a 
hollow sound proceeding from a vibration of the 
air ; and as the shocks do not succeed each other 
rapidly, the inhabitants have sufficient time to 
provide for their safety. They have, however, 
In order to secure themselves, at all events, built 
their cities in a very judicious manner; the streets 
are left so broad, that the inhabitants would be 
safe in the middle of them, should even the 
houses fall upon both sides. 

In addition to this, all the houses have spacious 
courts and gardens, which would serve as places 
of refuge. Those who are wealthy, have usually 
in their gardens, several neat w ooden barracks, 
where they pass the night whenever they are 
threatened with an earthquake. Under these 
circumstances, the Chilians live without appre- 
hension, and consider themselves in perfect secu- 
rity ; especially,. as the earthquakes have never 
been hitherto attended with any considerable 

this occasion a single person perished in the whole province, 
excepting seven invalids, who were drowned in the city of 
Conception ; and the loss of lives, if any, was no greater in 
the preceding earthquakes. 


sinking of the earth, or falling of buildings. 
This, in my opinion, is owing to subterranean 
passages communicating with the volcanoes of 
the. Andes, which are so many vent-holes for the 
inflamed substances, and serve to counteract their 
effects. Were it not for the number of these 
volcanoes, Chili would, in all probability, be 
rendered uninhabitable. 

Some pretend that they can foretel an earth- 
quake from certain changes in the atmosphere. 
Although this does not appear to me impossible, 
I must acknowledge that my own experience has 
furnished me with nothing to induce me to cre- 
dit it. I was born and educated in Chili, and 
while in that country paid great attention to the 
state of the air during earthquakes : I have 
known them occur both in the rainy and dry sea- 
sons, during a storm as well as a calm. 

Sect. X. Salubrity of Climate. — The inha- 
bitants of Chili, notwithstanding the frequent 
occurrence of earthquakes, are very well satis- 
fied with their country, and I am convinced 
would not readily be induced to quit it for any 
other exempt from this calamity. 

This preference is not founded solely upon 
that natural attachment to country, which is 
common to all men, but is derived from some 
advantages peculiar to Chili; a soil naturally 
fertile, and well adapted to every useful and 


valuable production,, a mild and almost equable 
temperature of climate, and a remarkable salu- 
brity, are the blessings enjoyed by this delight- 
ful country.* Before the arrival of the Spa- 

• If Chili is not populous, it cannot be attributed to the 
fault of its climate, which is one of the most salubrious of any 
known, the contiguity of the Cordilleras communicating to it 
a delightful temperature, which, from its latitude, it could not 
be expected to enjoy. Nor does Spain possess a province 
more pleasant and agreeable as a place of residence. — Phi- 
losophical History of the European Establishments, book viii. 
chap. 1. 

There are two reasons which have impeded the population 
of Chili, and counterbalanced the advantages it has received 
from nature: The first, the almost continual wars between the 
Spaniards and the Araueanians from its first discovery, which 
Lave destroyed an infinite number of people : The second 
(and the principal) the commercial restrictions which were im- 
posed upon that country, as for a century the Chilians had no 
direct communication with Europe, nor were they permitted 
to send any of their produce to any other place than Calcao, 
from whence it followed, that every species of exportation and 
importation was conducted by the merchants of Peru, who of 
course reaped all the profit of this trade. This pernicious 
system discouraged industry, and had a sensible effect upon 
the population ; but of late, since a direct commerce has been 
carried on with European ships, which arrive every year in 
some of the ports of Chili, that delightful country begins to 
increase in numbers, and, in some measure, to raise itself to 
that important station which its natural advantages claim. In 
the year 1755, in the province of Maule alone, there were 
calculated to be 14,000 whites capable of bearing arms, and 
the population of the other provinces had increased in a de- 
gree proportionate to the extent of their limits. The esti- 


ni&rds contagious disorders were unknown : the 
small pox, which occasionally makes its appear- 
ance in the northern provinces, and is known by 
the name of the plague, was first introduced by 
them.* At such times, the inhabitants of the 
neighbouring provinces oblige every person 
coming from the infected district to perform a 
rigorous quarantine, and by that means have 
preserved themselves from the ravages of that 
destructive malad} 7 . Whenever the Indians sus- 
pect any one to be attacked with it, which some- 
times happens from their intercourse with the 
Spaniards, they burn him in his own hut,f by 

mates, therefore, made by Dr. Robertson and the Abbe 
Raynal, in their histories, are, in this particular, iucorrect, 
being founded on accounts furnished during the last century. 

* The small pox raged in Peru lefore the Spaniards entered it ; 
just when Pizarro was first off the coast, and had landed his 
two men. The Inca died of it. Whence did this come?— 
Perhaps it had spread from Mexico. — E. Editor. 

Her r era, 5. 3. \J. 

t In Abyssinia also, whenever a house is supposed to be in- 
fected with the small pox, the people set fire to it, and burn 
it with all its inhabitants ! — E. E. 

The most striking picture of the ravages of this dreadful 
malady among savage tribes, is given by Mackenzie. 

It spread around with a baneful rapidity which no flight 
could escape, and with a fatal effect that nothing could resist. 
It destroyed with its pestilential breath whole families and 
tribes, and the horrid scene presented to the beholders a com- 
bination of the dead, the dying, and such as to avoid the hor- 


means of fiery arrows. By this method, which 
is truly a violent one, they have hitherto pre- 
vented its progress, and been exempted from this 

A physician of the country, Matthias Verdugo, 
a monk of the order of St. John, was the first 
who, in 1761, introduced inoculation, and since 
that period it has been practised with great suc- 
cess. Tertian an$ quartan fevers are also un- 
known there ; and the inhabitants of the neigh- 
bouring provinces who are afflicted with them, 

lid fate of their friends around them, prepared to disappoint 
the plague of its prey by terminating their own existence. 

The habits and lives of these devoted people, which provided 
not to-day for the wants of to-morrow, must have heightened 
the pains of such an affliction, by leaving them not only without 
remedy, but even without alleviation. 

To aggravate the picture, if aggravation were possible, may 
be added, the putrid carcases which the wolves dragged forth 
from the huts, or which were mangled within them by the 
dogs, whose hunger was satisfied with the disfigured remains 
of their masters. Nor was it uncommon for the father of a 
family whom the infection had not readied, to call them 
around him, to represent the cruel sufferings and horrid fate 
of their relations, from the influence of some evil spirit who 
was preparing to extirpate their race, and to invite them to 
baffle deatli wilh all its horrors by their own poniards. At 
the same time, if their hearts failed them in this necessary 
act, he was himself ready to perform the deed of mercy with 
his own hand, as the last act of his affection, and instantly to 
follow them to the common place of rest and refuge from 
human evil. — Mackenzie, 


are accustomed to come into Chili for the benefit 
of their health, where they very soon recover. 
A violent fever, accompanied with delirium, is 
sometimes prevalent among the country people, 
particularly in summer and in autumn. This 
complaint, which the Indians cure with certain 
herbs, whose properties they4iave learnt by ex- 
perience, bears the name of chavo longo, which 
signifies the disorder of the head. The venereal 
disease is but little known in the Spanish settle- 
ments, and still less among the Indians. As the 
last have no word in their language expressive of 
it, there is every reason to presume that this ma- 
lady was not known among them until after the 
arrival of the Spaniards. The rickets, a disease 
which for three centuries has been a scourge to 
Europe, is as yet unknown within the bound- 
aries in Chili, and lame or deformed persons are 
very rarely to be met with.* To many of the 

* The Creoles are generally well shaped, and there are 
scarce any of those deformed persons, so common in other 
countries, to be seen among them ; besides which, they almost 
all possess great flexibility and activity of limbs. — Philosophi- 
cal History, book xi. chap. IS. 

Nor only the Creoles, who are descended from the Europeans, 
but also the aborigines of the country, display equal perfec- 
tion of form. Some authors pretend, that the reason why 
none who are deformed, or cripples, are t© be found among 
these people, is owing to the savage custom which the parents 
have of destroying such unfortunate children at their birth ; 
but this is a mere picture of the imagination ; at least, among 

VOL. I. D 


maladies, peculiar to hot countries, such as the 
Siam fever, the black vomit, and the leprosy, its 
inhabitants are likewise equally strangers. No 
instance of the hydrophobia has ever occurred, 
and M. de la Condamine justly observes, that in 
South America the dogs,* cats, and other animals 
are never afflicted with madness. 

Chili produces none-of those dangerous or ve- 
nomous animals which arc so much dreaded in hot 
countries; and it has but one species of small 
serpent, which is perfectiyharmless, as the French 
Academicians ascertained when they went to Peru, 
in 1736, to measure a degree of the meridian. f 
The lions, which are sometimes met with in the 
thickest and least frequented forests, are distin- 
guished from the African lion, both by their 
being without hair, and their timidity ; there is 

the Chilians no trace of so inhuman a practice has ever heen 
discovered, as numbers who have lived with them for years 
have positively assured me. 

* This fact is certain. Does it not follow that this dread- 
ful malady is never generated without infection, and therefore 
tiiat it is possible to annihilate it? — E. E 

■\ This country is not infested by any hind of insect except 
the chiguas or pricker, or any poisonous reptile ; and although 
in the woods and fields some snakes are to be found, their 
bite is by no means dangerous ; nor does any savage or fero- 
cious beast excite terror in its plains. — Ulloa's Voyage, part ii. 
vol. S* 


no instance of their ever having attacked a man, 
and a person may not only travel, but lie down to 
sleep with perfect security, in any part of the 
plain, and even in the thickest forests of the 
mountains. Neither tigers, wolves, nor many 
other ferocious beasts that infest the neighbour- 
ing countries, are known there. Probably the 
great ridge of the Andes, which is every where 
extremely steep, and covered with snow, serves 
as a barrier to their passage. The mildness of 
the climate may also be unfavourable to them, 
as the greater part of these animals are natives 
of the hottest countries. 




Waters, Earths, Stones, Salts, Bitumens, and 

Chili is a plane very perceptibly inclined to- 
wards the sea, and may be considered as a pro- 
longation of the western base of the Andes. 
From its situation it naturally receives the waters 
produced by the melting of that immense body 
of snow that annually falls upon those mountain, 
while the provinces to the east are frequently in 
want of water. The number of rivers, streams, 
and springs, which irrigate the country, is incon- 
ceivable. They arc to be found in every part, 
even on the tops of some of the maritime moun- 

Sect. I. Rivers. — It is difficult to determine 
the number of rivers and streams that have their 
sources in the Andes ; the principal, however, 
amount to one hundred and twenty-three, fifty- 
two of which communicate directly with the sea, 
and convey thither the waters of all the others. 
Although, from the inconsiderable breadth of 
the country, the course of these rivers is short, 


there are several of them that are navigable at 
least half their distance for ships of the line. 
Of this number are., the Maule, in the province 
of the same name ; the Bio-bio,, which is two 
miles in breadth ; the Cauten ; the Tolten ; the 
Valdivia, in the country of Arauco ; the Chaivin ; 
the Rio-bueno, in the country of the Cunches ; 
and the Sinfondo,* which discharges itself into the 
Archipelago of Chiloe. 

The course of these rivers is extremely rapid 
as far as the maritime mountains, where, from 
the make of the ground, they flow more slowly. 
The beds are very broad, their bottoms generally 
stony, and the banks low. 

This last circumstance is of great service to 
the husbandmen, who avail themselves of it to 
let the water into canals, from which, in times 
of drought, they water their fields ; by this 
means they are never in want of water, even in 
the dry season, as the rivers are then always full, 
in consequence of the melting of the snow on 
the Andes at that period, f 

* Probably so called from its depth. — E. E, 

•\ The rivers which water and fertilize the whole country- 
men the western side of the Andes, from whence they spring, 
are very numerous, and discharge themselves into the Pacific 
Ocean. The banks, covered with beautiful trees that always 
retain their verdure, and the clearness and coolness of so many 
crystal streams, render this country the most delightful in the 



From the latter part of September to Febru- 
ary, the water in these rivers is at its greatest 
height ; their rise is, however, by no means uni- 
form, since some of them are observed to increase- 
most in the morning, others at mid-day, and 
others towards evening ; a circumstance which 
may probably be owing to the greater or less 
exposure of their springs to the sun. Notwith- 
standing these floods are copious, they never in- 
undate the adjacent plains, from the beds of the 
Tivers being, as I have already observed, very 
broad. Though many of these streams appear 
to be shallow, frequent instances have occurred 
of persons being drowned who have attempted to 
ford them on horseback. The common opinion 
that snow-water produces goitres, appears to be 
*unfounded, if we may be allowed to form a judg- 
ment from that of these rivers, Their waters 

world. Its thermal and mineral waters likewise contribute 
much to the health of the inhabitants.— Coleli's Dictionary 
of South America ; article Chili. 

* There is a passage in the Coroneca del Or den de S. Augustin 
en el Peru, b v M. F«Antonio de Calancha, which mentions goi- 
tres as common among some of the Peruvian mountaineers. 
I made no reference to this fact, not supposing that I should 
ever want to refer to it ; the book has no other Index than 
an absurd one of all the texts of scripture which it quotes ; 
and I want leisure, as well as inclination, again to examine a 
volume containing more than f)00 large and full folio pages, 
with about two lies to every page. — E. E. 


which are excellent, and constantly drank by the 
inhabitants, cannot be considered as anything* but 
liquefied snow, yet is this disease wholly unknown 
in Chili. 

Sect. II. Lakes. — Lakes of salt and fresh 
water are common in Chili. The first are situ- 
ated in the marshes of the Spanish provinces ; 
the most remarkable are the Bucalemu, the 
Caguil, and the Bojeruca, which are from 12 to 
20 miles in length. Those of fresh water are 
contained in the interior provinces, and are the 
Ridaguel, the Aculeu, the Taguatagua, the La- 
quen, and the Nahuelguapi; the two latter, 
situated in the country of the Araucanians, are 
the largest. The Laquen, which the Spaniards 
call the lake of Villarica, is 72 miles in circum- 
ference, and in the centre of it rises a beautiful 
little hill in the form of a cone. The Nahuel- 
guapi is 80 miles in circumference, and has 
likewise in the middle a pleasant island covered 
with trees. These lakes are the sources of two 
considerable rivers ; the first of the Talton, 
which falls into the Pacific Ocean ; the latter of 
the Nahuelguapi, which empties itself into the 
Patagonian Sea, near the straits of Magellan. 
Within the Andes are also many lakes, but they 
are of little importance. 

Sect. III. Mineral Waters.- — A country like 
d 4 


Chili, abounding in mineral and bituminous sub 
stances, must necessarily produce a great number 
of mine al springs, the virtues of whose waters 
must have become known to the inhabitants. 
Gaseous and acidulated waters are common in 
all the provinces, particularly in the valleys at 
the foot of the Ancles. Some springs are vitriolic 
and impregnated with iron, others sulphuric or 
muriatic; their temperature is in general that of 
the atmosphere ; but there are some that are cold 
in summer, a quality probably derived from their 
sources being in the vicinity of mines or springs 
of salt. But as I have never carefully analyzed 
these waters, I am not able to give accurate in- 
formation respecting them. 

The provinces of Copiapo and Coquimbo are 
rich in salt springs. In the former, there is a 
river called from its saltness Salado, which, like 
the other large rivers, has its source in the An- 
des, and falls into the Pacific Ocean. The water 
of this river is very clear and extremely salt ; and 
its specific gravity is, according to the season of 
the year, from fifteen to eighteen degrees. 

The salt crystallizes naturally upon the 
shores ; it is excellent and fit for use without any 
preparation, as it is very pure and not mixed 
wiih calcarious earth, or anv heterogeneous salts. 
In a valley of the Andes, inhabited by the Pe- 
huenches, in 34 dcg. 40 min. latitude, are eleven 
springs of very clear and limpid water, which 


overflows the surface, and becomes crystallized 
into a salt as white as snow. This valley is 
about fifteen miles in circumference, and is en- 
tirely covered, for the depth of six feet, with a 
crust of salt, which is collected by the inha- 
bitants in large pieces, and used for all domestic 
purposes. The surrounding mountains afford no 
external indication of mineral salt, but they must 
necessarily abound with it, from the great quan- 
tities deposited by these springs. 

Mineral waters are common in Chili. The 
most celebrated are those of the Spanish settle- 
ments of Peldehues and Cauquenes. The source 
of the former is on the summit of one of the ex- 
terior mountains of the Andes, to the north of 
St. Jago. It consists of two springs of very 
different temperatures, one hot, and the other 
cold ; the former is sixty degrees above the 
freezing point by Reaumur's thermometer, the 
latter four degrees below it. They are about 
eighty feet distant, and their waters are united, 
by means of canals, so as to form a tepid bath, 
which is found very efficacious in many disorders. 
The water of the hot spring is oily to the touch, 
and foams like soap suds ; it abounds with mi- 
neral alkali, which appears to be combined with 
an unctuous substance in a state of solution. 
It is clear, inodorous, impregnated with a very 
little fixed air, and its specific weight is hut 
two degrees above that of common distilled 


water. Its heat is probably owing lo the effer- 
vescence of a large body of pyrites in the vicinity 
of its source. The water of the cold spring is 
iron and vitriolic, and, when mixed with that of 
the warm, deposits Glauber's salt and a yellowish 

The baths of Cauquenes are in one of the 
valleys of the Cordilleras, near the source of 
Caciapoal, a very considerable river. As the 
situation is very pleasant, great numbers of per- 
sons resort there during the summer, as well for 
amusement as for the recovery of health. 

The springs are numerous and of various 
qualities and temperatures. Some of them are 
cold, others hot; some acidulated, and impreg- 
nated in a greater or less degree with iron ; 
while others are alkalescent or vitriolic, and 
several, like those of Pisa, are merely gaseous. 
The principal spring is very warm and sulphuric ; 
its margin is covered with a yellow efflorescence 
of sulphur, and the water has a strong hepatic 
smell ; it contains besides an alkali and a neutral 
salt. The surrounding mountains abound with 
every kind of mineral, and near the spring are 
great numbers of willows, which are covered 
with a species of manna, in globules of the size 
of grains of gun-powder. 

Three mineral springs, adjoining the high 
road to Cujo, afford a neutral salt, with a cal- 
careous base, of a sharp and bitter taste, and 


easily soluble ; it is collected in great quantities 
upon the borders of these springs where it shoots 
into crystals that are usually of a quadrangular 
prismatic form. The inhabitants use it for 
Glauber's salt, which they believe it to be; but 
I am more inclined to think it a species of Ep- 
som salt, as it has neither the base nor the form 
of the true Glauber, yet, as I have never had an 
opportunity of analyzing it critically, I cannot 
determine with positiveness. Mineral waters are 
in s:reat estimation with the Araucanians, who 
consider them as peculiarly beneficial, and as 
under the particular care and protection of 
MeuUn, one of their benevolent deities, whom 
they call Gencovunco, or, Lord of the mineral 

Sect. IV. Soil. — The soil of Chili is wonder- 
fully fertile ; its fertility is not, however, equal 
throughout the country, but is increased in pro- 
portion to its distance from the sea.* The mari- 
time are less productive than the middle districts,' 
and the latter are inferior in quality of soil to 
the valleys of the Andes. In these last, the ve- 
getation is more luxuriant and vigorous, and the 
animals larger and stronger than in the other 

* The plains, the mountains, the valleys, in short, all Chili, 
without exception, is an object of wonder; since from its ex- 
treme fertility, it would seem as if every particle of earth was 
converted into seed. — American Gazetteer ; article Chili. 


parts of the country ; but as the people who in- 
habit these rich valleys are Nomacles, or herds- 
men, and in reality cultivate nothing, it is diffi- 
cult to determine with precision the degree of 
their fertility. The various salts and other prin- 
ciples of fecundity contained in these mountains, 
and by means of the air and the rivers distributed 
throughout the country, combining with the 
natural heat of the soil, may be considered as 
the real causes of that inexhaustible fertility 
which requires not the aid of manure. The 
husbandmen have discovered by experience that 
all artificial manures arc superfluous, if not inju- 
rious ; they allege in proof the great fertility of 
the land in the vicinity of St. Jago, which, not- 
withstanding it has never been manured since the 
settlement of the Spaniards, a period of two hun- 
dred and thirty-nine years, though constantly 
cultivated by them, and for an unknown time by 
the Indians before them, has lost nothing of its 
productive properties. 

Another advantage resulting from the richness 
of the soil is, that Chili is not infested with those 
worms so destructive to grain in the blade, which 
are produced or multiplied by the fermentation 
and putrefaction of manure. 

Tiiose who have written upon Chili are not 
agreed as to the product of the soil. Some say- 
that it yields from sixty to eighty, and even a 


hundred fold;* others, that the crop is con- 
sidered as poor if it does not exceed a hun- 

* The river of Chile, called also the river of Aconcagua, 
from its rising in a valley oi that name, is celebrated for the 
prodigious quantity of wheat which is every year produced 
upon its shores ; from whence, and the vicinity of St. Jago, 
is brought all the grain exported from Valparaiso to Callao, 
Lima, and other parts of Peru. Such is the quantity, that it 
is inconceivable to any one unacquainted with the excellence 
of the soil, which usually yields from sixty to eighty for one, 
how a country so thinly peopled, whose cultivable lands are 
comprised within a. few valleys of not more than ten leagues 
square, can furnifh such quantities of grain in addition to what 
is wanted for the support of the inhabitants. During the 
eight months while we were at Valparaiso, there sailed from 
that port alone thirty vessels loaded with wheat, each of which 
would average six thousand fanegas, or three thousand mule 
loads, a quantity sufficient for the subsistence of sixty thousand 
persons for a year. — Frazier's Voyage, vol. i. 

Besides the commerce of hides, tallow, and dried beef, the 
inlrabitants of Conception carry ou a trade in wheat, with 
which they annually load eight or ten ships of four or five hun- 
dred tons burthen for Callao, exclusive of the flour and ship 
bread for the supply of the French ships that stop at Peru on 
their return to France. But all this would be little for this 
excellent country, if the earth was properly cultivated, which 
is so fertile and easy of tillage, that the inhabitants merely 
scratch it over with a plough, or more frequently with the 
crooked branch of a tree, used for that purpose, drawn by a 
pair of oxen ; and so prolific is the soil, that, for the purpose 
of vegetation, the seed scarcely requires a slight covering, and^ 
will yield a hundred for one. — Ibid. 


drcd ;• while there are those who assure us that 
it often amounts to three hundred for one.f I am 
not disposed to question the account of respect- 
able writers, several of whom have been eye 
witnesses of what they describe : especially, as 
instances of fertility occasionally occur that are 
truly wonderful. I have myself seen lands that 
produced a hundred and twenty, and even a hun- 
dred and sixty for one, but these are extraordi- 
nary cases, and cannot serve as data for a gene- 
ral estimate. 

The common crop in the middle districts is 

* Another more important source of wealth, although less 
appreciated by its possessors, is what arises from the fertility 
of the soil, which is truly astonishing. All the European fruits 
attain perfection in this favoured climate, and the wines would 
be excellent were it not for a bitter taste acquired in conse- 
quence of their being kept in jars smeared with a kind of rosin, 
and afterwards put into skins for transportation. When the 
crop of grain does not exceed an hundred for one, it is consi- 
dered as poor and scanty.— Philosophical History, book viii. 

It is not a good year when the crop of wheat does not ex- 
ceed a hundred for one, and it is the same with all other grain. 
•—-Ullods Voyage, vol. iii. 

fThe soil is excellent, but differing, in some degree, as it 
approaches or recedes from the equator. The valleys of Co- 
piapo frequently yield three hundred for one; the plains of 
Guasko and Coquimbo, are nearly as productive, and the lands 
on the river Chile are so fertile that they have given its name 
to the country.— Sanson's (of AbhevilleJ Geography j article 


from sixty to seventy for one, and from forty to 
fifty in the maritime. Between the 24th and 34th 
degrees of latitude the husbandmen irrigate their 
fields - by artificial means, which renders their 
crops generally more certain than in the south- 
ern provinces, where they depend upon the dews* 
although the rivers and streams offer them the 
same advantages. The estimate which I have 
made, might, however, be increased, were the 
grain which is lost during the harvesting to be 
taken into account ; as the husbandmen have 
adopted a very injurious custom of not reaping 
their corn until it begins to shell out, in conse- 
quence of which much is wasted and serves as 
food for the birds ; and it happens not un fre- 
quently, that what is left produces a second crop 
without any tillage or farther sowing of the 

The difference in the vegetation of the mari- 
time and middle provinces depends upon the 
qualities of their respective soils. That upon 
the coast resembles the rich grounds of Bologna; 
its colour is brown, inclining to red, it is brittle, 
clayey, contains a little marie, and is filled with 
flint, stones, pyrites, shells, and other marine 
substances. In the interior, and in the valleys of 
the Andes, the soil is of a blackish colour, 
inclining to yellow; it is brittle, and frequently 
mingled with gravel and marine substances in a 
state of decomposition. This quality of the 


soil is continued to a considerable depth, as is 
discoverable in the ravines and beds of the rivers. 

Sect. V. Physical Organization. — The ma- 
rine substances that arc met with in every part 
of Chili, are incontcstible proofs of its having 
been formerly covered by the ocean, which, gra- 
dually retiring, has left the narrow strip of land 
extending from the shore to the Andes.* Every 

* The retrocession of the sea from the coast of Chili is 
every year very perceptible, although not the same in every 
part. In some places it does ilot exceed two inches, while in 
others, especially at the mouths of the rivers, it is more than 
half a foot. This circumstance, apart from other more general 
causes, is most probably owing to the shoals produced by the 
flowing of so many large rivers into the sea ; these consist the 
first year only of a light sand, in the second they produce a 
little grass, and in the third are entirely clothed with verdure. 
To this cause is the conformation of the shores assignable, 
which consist in general of a plain two leagues broad between 
the sea and the maritime mountains. Upon the western 
declivities of these mountains, the vestiges of the ocean are 
still very perceptible ; they are excavated in various modes, 
and exhibit many singular grottos, containing rooms hung 
with shells and beautiful spars, which afford shelter to the 
cattle during the heats of summer. On the left bank of the 
river Maule, at four hundred paces distance from its mouth, 
is an insulated mass of white marble, consisting of a single 
piece, seventy-five feet in height, two hundred and twenty-four 
in length, and fifty-four in breadth. This immense block, 
called from its appearance, the church, is excavated within 
like an arch the third part of its height, and has on the outsido 



thing within these limits offers incontestible 
proofs, that the land has been for a longtime co- 
vered by the ocean ; the three parallel chains of 
maritime mountains, the hills that unite them 
with the Andes, in fine, all the ramifications of 

three doors of a semi-circular form, and proportionate height 
and breadth. Through the one on the western front, the 
sea continually flows; the two others, which are on the north 
and south sides, and placed opposite, serve to admit those who 
wish to visit it at the tide of ebb. This natural edifice, constant- 
ly washed by the sea, serves as a place of resort for the sea- 
wolves, who herd in great numbers in the lower part, and make 
the cavity re-echo with their lugubrious cries; while the upper 
is occupied by a species of sea-bird, very white, called lilt, in 
figure and size resembling a house-pigeou. On the shore 
of the province of Rancagua, at a short distance from the 
sea, is a mass of stone, excavated in a similar manner, called 
by the inhabitants the church of Rosario. Grottos and 
caverns of this sort are very numerous in the Andes, and of 
great extent. In the mountain* near the source of the river 
Longavi, is a cavern of an oval form, and so large that it will 
readily admit a man on horseback ; but what renders this 
cave particularly remarkable is, that at sunrise, before the 
summits of the Andes are tinged by its beams, the rays of 
that luminary, penetrating through some aperture, presents to 
the eye a wonderful phenomenon. In the same range /of 
mountains is, likewise, the celebrated bridge of the Inca, which 
is nothing but a large mountain, cut through by the river 
Mendoza. This mountain principally consists of gypsum, 
and large clusters of beautiful stalactites, formed by the 
crystallization of that substance, are suspended from the arch 
of the bridge. 

VOL. I. E 


the latter appear tohave been successively formed 
by the agency of its waters. 

The interior structure of the Andes every 
where exhibits a very different origin, and ap- 
pears to be coeval with the creation of the world. 
This immense mountain, rising abruptly, forms 
but a small angle with its base.; its general shape 
is that of a pyramid, crowned at intervals with 
conical, and, as it were, crystallized elavations. 
It is composed of primitive rocks of quartz of an 
enormous size and almost uniform configuration, 
containing no marine substances, which abound 
in the secondar} r mountains. On the top of 
Descabezado, a very lofty mountain in the midst 
of the principal chain of the Andes, whose 
height appears to me not inferior to that of the 
celebrated Chimboraso of Quito, various shells, 
evidently the production of the sea, oysters, 
conchs, periwinkles, &c. are found in a calcined 
or petrified state, that were doubtless deposited 
there by the waters of the deluge. 

The summit of this mountain, whose form 
appears to be owing to some volcanic eruption, 
is flat, and exhibits a plain of more than six 
miles square ; in the middle is a very deep lake, 
which, from every appearance, was formerly the 
crater of a volcano. 

The principal chain of the Andes is situated 
between two of less height that are parallel to 
it. These lateral chains are about twenty-five 


or thirty miles distant from the principal, but are 
connected with it by transverse ramifications, 
apparently of the same age and organization, 
although their bases are more extensive and 
variegated. From the lateral ridges many other 
branches extend outwardly, composed of small 
mountains, occasionally running in different 

These external mountains, as well as the 
middle and maritime, are of a secondary 
formation, and an order essentially different. 
Their summits are generally more rounded, and 
they consist of horizontal strata of various 
substances a:id unequal thickness, which abound 
with marine productions, and often exliibit the 
impressions of animals and vegetables. I have 
observed both in excavations formed bv the 
water, and those made by the inhabitants, that 
the inferior stratum of these mountains is gene- 
rally a kind of whetstone, of a reddish colour 
and a sandy grain, sometimes a quartzeous sand, 
or a compact dark grey sandstone ; this is 
succeeded by layers of clay, marie, various kinds 
of marble, schistu*, spar, gypsum, and coal; 
beneath the whole are found veins of ore, ochre, 
quartz, granite, porphyry, sand, and rocks cf 
Various degrees of hardness. 

The disposition of the strata varies very consi- 
derably in different places, and ia these derange- 
ments the laws of gravitation are seldom ob- 

e 2 


served, as what forms the upper stratum in one 
mountain, I have discovered to be the inferior in 
another. They in general, however, preserve a 
degree of regularity in their inclination, which is 
from south to north, a little tending towards the 
west, corresponding with the relative situation 
of the ocean, whose currents are from south to 

Notwithstanding these mountains in general 
are composed of various strata, there are several 
that are uniform ; some are entirely calcareous, 
others are of gypsum, of granite, of freestone,, of 
quartz, of basaltes, of lava, and other volcanic 
substances; while, as Ulloa justly observes, 
some appear to consist entirely of shells, scarcely, 
if at all, decomposed. But all these homo- 
geneous mountains are barren, and produce 
only a few languid shrubs, while the stratified 
mountains, which are covered with a depth of 
cultivable soil, are always clothed with a plen- 
tiful and vigorous vegetation. 

The exterior of the stratified mountains like - 
wise furnishes a proof of their formation by 
the ocean. Their bases are almost always 
very extensive, heightening progressively and 
forming various valleys, whose inflections 
are correspondent to the undulation of the 
waves. On examining the valleys, their organi- 
zation is readily perceived to be the same with 
that of the stratified mountains: similar ma- 


terials, and a like disposition of them, are found 
every where, though, in general, more pulver- 
ized or reduced to earth. 

The variety of fossils with which the earth 
abounds, must necessarily add to the value of 
this delightful country ; and although at present 
the precious metals appear to attract the sole 
attention and regard of the inhabitants, there 
will doubtless be a time when, stimulated by 
science, they will apply themselves to the dis- 
covery of various minerals not less worthy of 

Sect. VI. Earths. — If Nature has been pro- 
digal of the precious metals to Chili, she has 
not been sparing in the variety of its earths. 
Under different modifications, I have discovered 
both the argillaceous, the calcareous, the sandy, 
and the mineral. It contains all the kinds of 
clay described by Linnseus and Wallerius, ex- 
cepting the flesh-coloured clay, or terra lemma ; 
but, in place of this, I have met with five other 
kinds that appear to me to be entirely distinct 
from those of Linnaeus, 

The first of these is the clay of Buccari, 
(argilla Bucearina). It is a species of bolar 
earth found in the province of St. Jago. It is 
very fine and light, of an agreeable smell, 
and of a brown colour spotted with yellow 
dissolves readily in the mouth, and like all 

e 3 


those kinds of earth., adheres strongly to the 
tongue. In many of the convents of the 
capital, the monks manufacture from this clay, 
jars, bottles, cups, and several other articles of 
beautiful ware, which they varnish and paint 
very handsomely, on the outside, with the figures 
of plants and animals. 

These vessels communicate a very pleasant 
smell and flavour to the water that isput intothem, 
which undoubtedly proceeds from the solution of 
some bituminous substance contained in the clay. 
But as no appearance of bitumen is perceptible 
in the vicinity of the pits from whence it is pro- 
cured, its qualities can only be ascertained by 
analyzation. Considerable quantities of this ware 
are exported to Peru and Spain, where it is 
held in great estimation, and known b) the name 
of Bucaros. The Peruvians eat the broken 
pieces of these vessels as the natives of Indostan 
do those of Patna. 

The second kind is the clay of Maule (argilla 
Maulica). This clay is as white as snow, 
smooth and greasy to the touch, ex'remely fine, 
and sprinkled with brilliant specks. It is found on 
the borders of rivers and brooks in the province of 
Maule, in strata which run deep into the ground, 
and its surface when seen at a distance has the 
appearance of ground covered with snow, and is 
so unctuous a .d slippery that it is almost im- 
possible to walk upon it without falling. It 


does not effervesce with acids, and instead of 
losing in the fire any portion of its shining 
whiteness, it acquires a slight degree of trans- 
parency. From its external appearance, when I 
first saw this clay, I supposed it a kind of 
fuller's earth very common in the country ; but 
I afterwards discovered that it was not lamellous, 
was easily wrought, and retained the form 
that was given it, and, although saponaceous to 
the touch, did not foam with water. These cir- 
cumstances induce me to believe that this clay 
is very analogous to the kaolin of the Chinese, 
and that combined with fusible spar, of which 
there are great quantities in the same province, 
it would furnish an excellent porcelain. 

The third species is the subdola (argilla 
subdola) so called from the places where it is 
found, which are usually marshes, containing 
pits very dangerous for animals, especially horses, 
who, jf they fall in them, are sure to perish 
unless immediate assistance is obtained. This 
clay is black, viscous, and composed of coarse 
particles of various sizes ; the pits are from 
fifteen to twenty feet in circumference, and of an 
immense depth. Wallerius and Linnseus de- 
scribe a clay, found in Sweden, that has resem- 
blance to this, to which they have given the 
name of argilla lumesccns, but on investigation it 
appears to be very different both in its colour 
and properties. The Chilian clay is a little 



alkalescent, continues in the same state through- 
out the year,, and is constantly covered with a 
very fine verdure that attracts the animals, who 
are frequently mired and perish in it; while 
that of Sweden inclines to an acid, swells much 
in certain seasons, and is. naturally barren. 

The fourth kind is the rovo (argilla rovia) 
from which the inhabitants procure an excellent 
black ; it is. used in dying wool, and represented 
by Feuille and Frazier as superior to the best 
European blacks. This clay is of a very fine 
grain, of a deep black, a little bituminous, and 
very vitriolic. It is found in almost all the 
forests, and has the property of communicating 
to pieces of wood that are buried in it for a short 
time, a sort of black varnish, very shining and 
durable. The colour is obtained by boiling the 
clay with the leaves of a plant called the pankc 
tinctoria, hereafter described. 

They grey clay, which is the fifth species, 
posseses all the properties requisite for pottery. 
It appears to be of a kind suitable for retorts, 
crucibles, &c. as the vessels that I have seen of 
it are very strong, and capable of resisting the 
most violent fire. 

Among the calcareous earths is a kind of lime 
or gravelly chalk, found in the Cordilleras, in 
quarries of many miles in extent, and of a depth 
hitherto unexplored. I have given it the name 
of volcanic lime (calx vulcanica) as I am con- 


Tinced it was originally marble reduced to this 
state by volcaneos or subterranean fires. Its 
surface appear to have been burnt, and the 
surrounding mountains afford unequivocal proofs 
of an extinguished volcano. 

This substance is distinguished from common 
lime by several particulars : it is not so caustic 
even when burnt; and, when mixed with acids, 
effervesces but slightly., and deposits a neutral 
salt of a very irregular crystallization. The 
only use to which this lime is applied by the in- 
habitants is to whitewash their houses. It is 
of two kinds, one perfectly white and easily re \ 
ducible to an impalpable powder, found in the 
mountains of Calchagua and Maule; ihe other, 
which is of a yellow hue, but becomes paler and 
discoloured with age, is brought from the pro- 
vince of Chilian. 

The metallic earths or chalks, discovered in 
Chili, are the mountain green and blue, 
native ceruse, lapis caliminaris, brown, yellow, 
and red ochres ; of the latter there are two 
varieties, one of a pale, and the other of a bright 
red like cinnebar ; the last is called Qucnchu, and 
is mentioned by commodore Anson as being 
found in great quantities in the island of Juan 
Fernandez. Some give it the name of native 
minium from its appearance, and its weight 
differs very little from ihat of red lead ; it is 
supposed to have been produced from the calci- 



nation of mines of lead by subterraneous fires. 
The veins of both these ochres run deep into the 
ground, and their qualify is found to improve in 
proportion to their depth. 

Few places in Chili are in reality sandy, or so 
covered with sand as to be incapable of vegeta- 
tion. But the rivers abound with it, owing to 
the constant friction of the pebbles with which 
their beds are lined, and on their shores all the 
various kinds of sand described by naturali ts 
may be found. The black sand of Virginia 
(arena micacca nigra) first described by Wood- 
ward, is common on the sea shore and on the 
banks of several rivers ; it is black and very 
heavy from the quantity of ferruginous particles 
it contains. In the same places is also found 
another kind, differing from the former only in 
colour, which is a beautiful Prussian blue; for 
this reason I have called it the black blue sand 
(arena cyanea). Near Talea, the capital of the 
province of Maule, is a little hill which fur- 
nishes a species of cement sand, known by the 
name of Talca sand (arena talcensis). This 
sand is finer than that of Puzzoli in Italy, and 
appears to be a volcanic production, as its 
earthy and ferruginous parts are half calcined. 
The inhabitants employ it in their buildings for 
those walls which they intend to whiten, as of 
itself it forms a very strong cement, to vUiicli 
the lime adheres firmlv 


Sect. VII. Stones.— In Chili, a country 
whose mineralogy is so imperfectly known, very 
few new species of stones have been discovered, 
in either of the four orders into which naturalists 
have divided them. In the short excursions 
which my occupations allowed me to make among 
the mountains, I have noticed, of the argilla- 
ceous kind, various sorts of schist us, slate, talc, 
asbestos, and mica. Of the latter the membra- 
naceous mica of Chili, otherwise called Mug. 
covy glass, is found there in its greatest perfec- 
tion, both as respects its transparency and the 
size of its laminae ; of this substance the country 
people manufacture artificial flowers, and, like 
the Russians, make use of it for glazing their 
houses. The thin plates which are u cd for 
windows are by many preferred to glass, from 
their being pliable and less fragile, and possess- 
ing what appears a peculiar property, of freely 
admitting the light and a view of external ob- 
jects to those within, while persons without are 
prevented from seeing any thing in the house. 
It is as white and transparent as the best glass, 
and is frequently found in plates of a foot long; 
and I am convinced, if a little care was used in 
digging it, they might be procured of double 
that size. There is a second kind, found in very 
large plates, which I have called mica rariegata. 
It is spotted w Uh yellow, red, and blue; but as it 


cannot be applied to the uses of the first, it is of 
course held in much less estimation. 

Those of the calcareous kind are limestones, 
marbles, calcareous spars, and gypsums. Of the 
limestones, there are those that are very compact 
and of all colours, the shining red, the coarse 
white, the blue, and the grey. 

The plain marbles, or those of but one colour* 
hitherto discovered in Chili, are the white sta- 
tuary marble, the black, the green, the yellow, 
and the grey. Two mountains, one in the Cor- 
dilleras cf Copiapo, and the other in the marshes 
of Maule, consist wholly of a marble striped with 
bands of various colours, which have a beautiful 
appearance. The variegated marbles are the ash- 
coloured with veins of white, yellow, and blue ; 
the green speckled with black; and the yellow 
with irregular spots of green, black, and grey. 
This last is found at St. Fernando, the capital 
of Calchagua; it is in high estimation,- is easily 
wrought, and becomes harder from exposure to 
the air. The Chilian marbles are generally of 
an excellent quality, and take a fine polish. 
Several who have examined the interior Andes, 
have informed me that those mountains abound 
with marbles of various kinds, and of almost 
all colours; but their observations were too 
superficial to afford me a correct description. 

In the plains near the city of Coquimbo,, at 


the depth of three or four feet, is found a 
white testaceous marble, somewhat granulated, 
ft Is filled with shells of the snail kind, more or 
less entire, which give it the appearance of shell 
work. The quarry is several miles in extent, 
and generally about two feet in thickness, but 
varying according to the number of strata, which 
are from five to eight, frequently interrupted by- 
very thin layers of sand. These strata increase 
in hardness in proportion to their depth ; the 
upper consists wholly of a coarse brittle stone, 
which is only proper for lime; but the marble 
of the others is very compact, requires but little 
labour to dig, and after a short exposure to the 
air, obtains a degree of solidity and firmness 
sufficient to resist the injuries of the weather. 

Spar, a substance common to all metallic 
mines, and which often serves as a guide to the 
miners to determine the character of the ore, 
abounds in Chili, where all the known species have 
been discovered, exceptingthe crystal of Iceland. 
Of these species the varieties are infinite, and 
many of them, if examined attentively, might 
be found to be real and distinct species. Co- 
loured spar, known by the names of false eme- 
rald, topaz, and sapphire, is one of the species 
most frequently met with. But the most cu- 
rious of all the Chilian spars is one of an hex- 
agonal form, and perfectly transparent; it is 
found in the gold mine of Quillata, and is 


crossed in various directions by very fin« golden 
filaments, which give it a most beautiful appear- 

Quarries of the common or parallelopipedal 
gypsum, the rhomboidal, and the striated are 
numerous in Chili. But the inhabitants make lit- 
tle use of either, preferring a species of gypsum, 
of a beautiful white a little inclining to blue, 
which is very brittle and composed of small ir- 
regular particles ; it is always found in the vi- 
cinity of Volcanoes, in a semi-calcined state, 
from whence I have denominated it the volcanic 
gypsum (gypsum volcanicum.) The quarries 
from whence it is procured are of great extent ; 
it is principally employed for plaistering walls, 
to which its slight tint of blue gives a very 
agreeable appearance; it may be used in its na- 
tive state, but the masons generally prepare it by 
a slight calcination. The Andes abound with 
quarries of fine alabaster, and a species of pel- 
lucid selenite, which is used by the inhabitants 
of St. Jago instead of glass for the windows of 
their churches. 

Of the sandstone there are various kinds, the 
whetstone, flint, quartz, and rock crystal. The 
first contains three varieties, the white, the grey, 
and the yellow : the mill or grindstone, and the 
freestone, which likewise belong to the same 
class, are very common in Chili. The mountains 
contain great quantities of quartz, both the 


opake, the pellucid, and that of different colours, 
as well as common flint, and several species of 
agate. Of the plain jaspers there are the fine 
red, the green, the grey, the white, and the true 
lapis lazuli ;* and among the variegated, the 
grey spotted with black, the whitish interspersed 
with yellow and blue, and the yellow marked 
with blue, red, and grey spots. Besides the 
pieces of rock crystal found in all parts of the 
country, blocks of it are obtained from the Cor- 
dilleras of a size sufficient for columns of six or 
seven feet in height. They also contain great 
quantities of coloured crystals, or spurious pre- 
cious stones, resembling in appearance rubies, 
jacinths, diamonds, &c. Not many years since, 
a real topaz of a very large size was found in 
the province of St. Jago, and a beautiful eme- 
rald at Coquimbo. From time to time the rivers 
wash down with their sands various kinds of 
precious stones, particularly rubies and sapphires, 

* In the plains of Copiapo, are also great quantities of 
loadstone, and of lapis lazuli, which the inhabitants consider 
as of no value. These mines are at the distance of fourteen 
or fifteen leagues from Copiapo, and in the vicinity of a tract 
of country abounding in mines of lead. — Fraziefs Voyage, 
vol. i. 

The lapis lazuli, according to the opinions of the best in- 
formed mineralogists, belongs to the genus of zeolites*— Ft. 


which, though small and of little value, fully 
prove that the mountains producing them con- 
ta.n those that are of great worth. But the in- 
dolence of the inhabitants, which induces them 
to neglect many other important branches of com- 
merce, has hitherto prevented them from attend- 
ing to this, notwithstanding it might become of 
the utmost importance. 

A little hill at the north-east of Talca, con- 
sists almost entirely of amethysts. Some are 
f< und enclosed in a grey quartz, which serves 
them for a matrix, and others isolated among the 
sand. They are more perfect both in colour and 
hardness in proportion to their depth, and were 
those who search for them to dig deeper, they 
would, most probably, discover them in the high- 
est state of perfection. A short time before I 
left Chili, I saw some that were of a beautiful 
violet, and would cut glass repeatedly without 
injuring their points. Among them were a few 
of as fine a water as the diamond, and perhaps 
they may serve as precursors to that most valu- 
able gem. They are so abundant, that in some 
of the crevices of the rocks, those of a fine pur- 
ple may be discovered at almost every step. 

The province of Copiapo owes its name, ac- 
cording to the Indian tradition, to the great 
quantity of turquoises found in its mountains- 
Though these scones ought, with propriety, to 
be classed among the concretions, as they are only 


the petrified teeth or bones of animals, coloured 
by metallic vapours, I have thought proper to 
mention them here, as they are placed by many 
among 1 the precious stones. The turquoises of 
Copiapo are usually of a greenish blue, some, 
however, are found of a deep blue, which are 
very hard, and known by the name of the tur- 
quoises of the old rock. 

Mixed stones, of those formed by the combi- 
nation of several heterogeneous substances, are 
here, as, elsewhere, the most numerous, and form 
a considerable portion of the Chilian mountains. 
Beside the common stones of this class, various 
kinds of porphyry and granite of the first qua- 
lity are constantly met with ; and the skirts of 
the mountains bordering the high road across 
the Andes to Cujo, consist wholly of red, green, 
black, and other coloured porphyries. Among 
these is oae which deserves particular attention ; 
it is yellow, spotted with red and blue, and from 
its being found in the neighbourhood of the river 
Chili, I have given it the name of saxum 

In the plains near the confluence of the Rio- 
claro, a large quarry of brown porphyry with 
black spots has been discovered. It is disposed 
in strata of two feet broad and four inches thick, 
a proportion which hitherto has been found inva- 
riable ; and notwithstanding the layers are fre- 
quently broken by crevices or some foreign sub* 

VOL, i„ F 


stance, pieces have been procured of more than 
eight feet in length. These pieces are so even 
and smooth, that they are used by the painters 
to grind their colours upon, without any prepa- 
ration. It is not easy to account for the arrange- 
ment and regular formation of this stone ; the 
earth in the environs is composed of sand, clay 
or marie, and between the layers only is a 
coarse sparry or quartzeous sand to be found. 

In the plains, and upon most of the mountains, 
are to be seen a great number Of flat circular 
stones, of five or six inches in diameter, with a 
hole through the middle. These stones which 
are either granite or porphyry, have doubtless 
received this form by artificial means, and I am 
induced to believe that they were the clubs or 
maces of the ancient Chilians, and that the holes 
were perforated to receive the handles.* 

Sect. VIII. Salts. — That part of the Andes 
corresponding with the provinces of Copiapo 
and Coquimbo, contains several mountains of 
fossil salt, dispersed in strata or layers, crystal- 
lized in transparent cubes, frequently coloured 

* The nations of the South Sea Islands, discovered by Cap- 
tain Cook, have among their weapons clubs of a similar form 
to what our author supposes these to have been. — Fr. Trans. 

Any shape would be belter for the head of a mace than the 
flat circle. Is it not more likely that this was a missile wea- 
pon, similar to the chuckra of the Hindoos 1-—E. E. 


with yellow, blue, and red. The surface gene- 
rally consists of an argillaceous earth. This salt 
is excellent, but it is used only by such as live 
in the vicinity ; as those who are at a distance 
prefer the sea salt, which is obtained in great 
quantities, and of a fine quality upon the coast, 
particularly at Bucalemu, Boyefuca, and Vichu- 
quen. In the middle districts, however, the salt 
from the springs of Pehuenches, which I have 
already mentioned in treating of mineral waters, 
Is most generally used. 

Sal-ammoniac, either incrusted or in a state of 
efflorescence, is very common in many parts of 
Chili. It is also. found of various colours, in a 
fossil state, in the vicinity of volcanoes, of Which 
it appears to be a production. 

Much of the marly ground in the neighbour-* 
hood of the city of Coquimbo is covered with a 
crust of some inches of crystallized nitre, with 
a base of fixed alkali.* 

In other parts of the same province this salt is 
found with a calcareous base ; but we must not 
consider as nitre all the salts which the inhabit- 
ants represent as such, for the natron is likewise 
found there, or earthy alkaline salt, combined 
with sea salt, and sometimes with the volatile 

* Nor is saltpetre less common there, which is frequently 
fouiid in the valleys an inch thick upon the surface of the 
earth,— firaziefs Voyage, vol. i. 

F 3 



alkali, to which they improperly give the name 
of nitre. 

Besides common alum, and that called the 
plumed,* which are found in many parts of Chili, 
a semi-crystallized aluminous stone has been 
discovered in the Andes. This stone, called by 
the inhabitants polcura, is brittle and of a pale 
white, of a very fine grain and a vitriolic taste; 
its external appearance is like that of white mar- 
ble, but it contains no calcareous particles, nor 
is it in reality any thing but a clay saturated with 
vitriolic acid, analagous to the aluminous stone 
of Tolfa. It is useful in dying, and the quar- 
ries from whence it is procured comprehend a 
space of many leagues among the mountains, 
which also afford another stone in some measure 
resembling it, but coarser and of much less 
value. Its yellow hue, and the quantity of sul- 
phur and pyrites it contains, distinguish this last 
from the real polcura, which is very pure, and 
not combined with any metallic substance. 

The four principal kinds of vitriol, the green 
or iron^ the blue or copper, the white with a 
zinc base, and the mixed, are found in a stalactite 
or crystallized state as well as that of efflorescence 
in the mines, and even isolated in different earths ; 
the metallic substances which produce it being-. 

* This name is given to a species of talc, consisting of fila- 
ments, otherwise called the asbestos stone. — Dictiouriaire <ie 


under different modifications, dispersed through- 
out the country. 

Sect. IX. Bitumens. — The Andes, heated by 
subterraneous fires, produce in many places white 
and red naphtha, petroleum, asphaltos, and mi- 
neral pitch of two kind?, the common, and 
another of a bluish black, which when burnt ex- 
hales an ajrreeable odour like amber. This bi- 
tumen, which I believe to be condensed naphtha, 
I have named bitumen andinum, and it is perhaps 
only a variety of the Persian mummy. It is not 
uncommon, and is discovered in large quantities 
in those places that produce it. Jet is very plen- 
tiful in the Araucanian provinces ; and near the 
city of Conception, and in various other parts of 
Chili, pit-coal is found in great abundance.* 

Considerable quantities of ambergrisare thrown 
up by the sea upon the Araucanian coast and the 
islands of Chiloe. The Indians call it meyene 
(theexcrementf of whales) and pretend that when 

* The mountains in the neighbourhood of the Puelches, af- 
ford mines of sulphur and of salt; and in Talcaguano, Ire* 
quin, and even in the city of Conception, several good mines 
of coal have been discovered at the depth of one or two feet 
from the surface. — Frazier's Poyage, vol. i. 

+ The Brazilian Indians believed it to be the food of 
the whale, which had been vomited. These opinions tend 
strongly to confirm the received theory that it is the ill-digested 
food of this animal. — E. E. 



it is first thrown up it is black, that it next be- 
comes brown, and after a long exposure to the sun 
acquires a grey colour. Pieces of yellow amber 
are occasionally found upon the shores, which 
prove that Chili contains also this valuable pro- 
duction. In the province of Copiapo, one of 
the richest parts of the world in minerals, are 
two litcle mountains almost entirely composed of 
the most beautiful crystallized sulphur, so pure 
that it does not require refining.* And there is 
scarce a valley in the Andes, but what contains a 
reservoir of this mineral, 

Sect. X. Pyrites. — The whole territory of 
Chili is sown with pyrites. They are of different 
qualities and shapes, and discovered at various 
depths, frequently in groupes, but more usually 
in veins varying in extent and thickness. They 
most generally accompany metals of some kind, 
and are found both in veins of ore, in chalk, 
clay, and common stone, but rarely in quartz or 
in rock crystal. 

In the three divisions, under which they may 
be 'classed, the iron, the copper, and the arsenic, 

* On the high ridge of the Cordilleras, forty leagues south- 
east from the harbour of Copiapo, are the best mines of sul- 
phur. It is procured, from veins about two feet wide, in a 
state so pare as to require no refining.— Fra^iers Voyage, 
vol. i. 


they present themselves with such different mo- 
difications, that a particular enumeration and 
description of them would require a volume. 
The most remarkable species of those that I have 
seen, is the auriferous pyrites, generally denomi- 
nated the Inca stone. M. Bomare, in his Dic- 
tionary of Natural History, observes, that this 
stone is very rare, and found only in the tombs of 
the ancient Peruvians. This may perhaps be 
the case in Peru, but it is otherwise in Chili, 
wnere it is found in great quantities upon the 
Campana, a high mountain in the province of 
Quillota, and is known by the same name. This 
pyrites is of a cubical figure, and contains a 
mixture of gold and copper mineralized with 
sulphur. It emits but a very few sparks with 
the steel, a circumstance which distinguishes it 
from all other species. 

Sect. XI. Semi-metals. — All the known kinds 
of semi-metals are met with in Chili, and are 
found either in mines by themselves, or combined 
with metallic ores, and generally in a state of 
mineralization. But the working them is neg- 
lected or prohibited, and antimony is the only 
one sought for, as it is necessary for refining 
the precious metals. This mineral is discovered 
under various forms, as, the red antimony com- 
bined with arsenic and sulphur, the striated and 
the compact, all of which are found in mines of 

f 4 


gold, silver, iron, and lead. One mine alone has 
furnished crystallized antimony. 

The digging of quicksilver is rigorously pro- 
hibited in consequence of its being a royal mono- 
poly. It is found in a metallic form, or mineral- 
ized with sulphur, under that of cinnabar. The 
two richest mines are in the provinces of Coquim- 
bo and Copiapo, from whence vast quantities 
might be obtained if it were permitted to work 
them, the greater part of which would proba- 
bly be sold in the country itself, as much is re- 
quired for the amalgamation of the precious 
metals. The mine of Coquimbo is in one of the 
midland mountains. The bed of matrix of the 
quicksilver is a species of brownish day, or a 
very brittle black stone; in this the quicksilver 
is found in great abundance in its natural state, 
in horizontal veins, occasionally intersected by 
mineralized mercury or cinnabar. Thatof Quil- 
lota is situated in a very high mountain near Li- 
rnache, and appears to be as rich as the former. 
The quicksilver is mineralized with sulphur : its 
matrix is a calcareous stoic, which would serve 
verv well, as an intermediate substance, to retain 
the sulphur, if the mercury were to be separated 
from it by a chemical process. 

Sect. XII. Metals. — The Chilians set little 
value upon lead mines, although they possess 
those that are of an excellent quality. No 


more of this metal is dug than what is wanted in 
the foundries for the melting of silver, or is 
employed for domestic purposes. Lead is not 
only found in all the silver mines, but, in cubes 
of various sizes with the galena or black lead, 
in mines of pure ore, or intermixed with spar of 
different colours. All the lead mines contain 
either gold or silver, but in too small a quantity 
to excite the attention of the miners. The 
mines of tin, although excellent, are equally 
neglected with those of lead. This ore is 
usually found in sandy mountains, not like 
other metals in continued veins, but under the 
appearance of black stones, very brittle and 
heavy, of an unequal size and irregular shape. 
In this state, the tin contains a small portion of 
iron, mineralized with a little arsenic. Crystals 
of tin, of various colours, are also common 
throughout Chili. 

M. de Pauw, with a dash of his pen, has 
driven out of this country all its iron mines, 
sinee he boldly asserts that " Chili does not 
contain a single mine of iron." But Frazier, 
and other writers who have been in that country, 
declare the contrary.* 

* " In order the more to depreciate America, Pauw asserts, 
that there are but few iron mines in that quarter of the 
world. And, what is still more singular, that the iron pro- 
cured from them is of very inferior quality to that of the old 
continent, so much that it will not auswer even for nails ; and 


So plentiful is this metal in the country., that, 
as I have already observed,, the brooks and rivers 
deposit great quantities of sand, replete with 
particles of iron upon their shores, the sea also 
washes it up at times in great abundance. 

The provinces of Coquimbo, Copiapo, Acon- 
cagua, and Huilquilemu, are very rich in mines of 
iron ; it is found under various appearances, as 
a black, a grey compact ore, or crystallized in 
bluish cubes. From the essays that have been 
made, the iron of these mines is of the very 
best quality; but the working of it is prohi- 
bited, in order to favour the trade of Spain, from 
whence all the iron used in the country is brought. 
But during the last war between England and 
Spain, when iron was at an exorbitant price, seve- 
ral quintals were secretly wrought, which proved 
to be of a superior quality. The Araucanian 

that, in consequence, it is so dear as to be sold in Peru at the 
rate of a crown, and steel at a crown and a half for the 
pound weight." 

The iron, however, so much decried by this author, who 
supposes it to be American, is what is imported from Europe. 
But supposing his assertion to be true, for what purpose has 
the Spanish government prohibited the working or selling any 
iron but that which is brought from Spain? 

" In the vicinity of Copiapo, besides the mines of gold, 
there are many of iron, copper, tin, and lead, that are not 
worked." And in the year 1710, a number of mines of all 
kinds of metal, such as gold, silver, iron, lead, copper, and 
tin, were discovered at Laropague .— Fra% iefs Voyage, vol. t 



provinces likewise produce excellent iron, and I 
have been assured by an intelligent Biscayan smith, 
that it was no way inferior to the best in Spain. 
In the same country has likewise been discovered 
a species of that mineral substance called refrac- 
tarias ; and there is scarce a province that does 
not contain a mine of load- stone : Frazier speaks 
of a mountain in the Andes, called St. Agnes, 
which is entirely composed of this substance. 

If the Chilians have neglected the working of 
mines in general., this cannot be said of those of 
gold, silver, and copper, to which great attention 
has been paid, from the conquest to the present 
time. The richest mines of the latter are found 
betwixt the 24th and 36th degrees of latitude ; 
the ore obtained from them is of various qualities, 
some very fine and some but indifferent. Ulloa, 
in speaking of this copper generally, assigns to it 
the second place after that of Corinth, which is 
properly considered as an artificial metal.* Al- 
most all the copper in Chili contains a greater or 
less proportion of gold. This was well known to the 
French, who, in the beginning of thepresent cen- 
tury, carried on a profitable commerce with that 

* In the province of Ccquinibo all kinds of metals are so 
common, that it would seem as if the earth was entirely com- 
posed of mineral. In that province are those mines of copper 
which supply the consumption of Chili and Peru, and although 
it is considered as the best of any hitherto known, it is dus 
very sparingly. — American Gazetteer ; article Chili. 


country for copper, great quantities of which 
they exported, and extracted the gold from it. 
The proportions of these metals are very various, 
there are some copper ores which contain a tenth, 
and others a' third part of gold ; hut in these 
cases both substances are found in a metallic 
state, without having been mineralized. 

The copper ores, containing but little or no 
gold, are usually mineralized with arsenic or 
sulphur, sometimes with both, and mixed with 
iron and silver. They are found under the 
forms of vitreous and hepatic ore, of ultra- 
marine stcne, and of malachite and white copper 
ore. These several ores are rich in metals but, 
from the expense of refining them, they are 
considered as of no value. The ores that are 
wrought are but two kinds, the grey or bell 
metal, and the malleable copper. The grey ore, 
or bell metal, is usually mineralized with arsenic 
and sulphur ; it contains no gold or other metal, 
except a small portion of tin.* From this mix- 
ture and its grey colour, which it retains even 
after having been melted and refined, it may be 
considered as a species of native bronze; it 
has another characteristic of that factitious 
metal in its brittlcness, although its specific gra- 

* If the author has given an accurate description of this 
metal, it is of a very singular species, and nothing similar to 
it has been discovered in the mines of FAirope Fr. Trans. 


vity, is much greater than that of the metals 
composing it, when artificially combined. This 
brittleness renders it unfit for any thing but the 
casting of cannon, bells, <&c. 

Large quantities of this metal are sent to Spain 
for the use of foundries, whence M. Bomare 
has been led to observe, in his Dictionary of 
Natural History, that the copper of Coquimbo 
is of little value. The matrix of this ore is a 
grey sandy stone, easily broken ; and the relative 
proportions of the copper to the tin Yary .consi- 

The malleable copper is found in many of the 
other provinces as well as Coquimbo ; it possesses 
every quality requisite in that metal, and is 
the species from whence the Chilian copper has 
principally derived its high reputation. Its ma- 
trix is a soft brown and sometimes white stone ; 
the ore, which is mineralized with a small portion 
of sulphur, in its appearance and ductility resem- 
bles native copper, a simple roasting being suffi- 
cient to expel the sulphur, arid render it mallea- 
ble and fit for use. The miners, however, re- 
fine it in the usual manner, as they pretend that 
by this means it acquires a brighter colour. 
There is a remarkable affinity between this copper 
and gold ; those metals are not only always found 
combined, but veins of pure gold are frequently 
met with in the deepest copper mines. In this 
circumstance has originated the error of ma.«y 


miners, who assert that copper, when it extends 
to a certain depth, becomes transmuted into gold. 
The veins do not always preserve the same course, 
and are frequently divided into small ramifica- 
tions ; and there is a still greater diversity in their 
gangucs or matrices. A great number of mines 
have been opened, but those only are worked 
whose ore is so rich as to yield at least one half 
its weight in refined copper ; those of a less pro- 
duct having been relinquished as too expensive ; 
notwithstanding which, between the cities of 
Coquimbo and Copiapo, there are now in work 
more than a thousand mines, besides those in the 
province of Aconcagua. 

The most celebrated copper mine in Chili was 
the old mine of Payen, but the working of it 
has been for many years relinquished, in conse-* 
quence of the opposition of the Puelches, who 
inhabit that district.* On its first discover 

* Mines of copper are very frequent in the vicinity of Co- 
quimbo, at three leagues distance to the north-east of that 
city. It is also gaid, that mines of iron and of quicksilver 
are found there.— Frdzier's Voyage, vol. i. 

All the parts of the Cordilleras near St. Jago and Concep- 
tion abound in copper mines, and particularly a place called 
Payen, some of which were formerly wrought, and pieces of 
pure copper of fifty and a hundred quintals weight obtained 
from them. — Americcm Gazetteer', article Chili. 

Among the mountains of the Cordilleras a great number of 
mines of all kinds of metals and minerals are to be met wit'), 
particularly in two ridges, distant only twelve leagues from the 


this mine furnished pepitas, or pieces of pure 
copper, from fifty to a hundred weight, which 
the writers of those times represent assof a beau- 
tiful colour resembling pinchbeck, and contain- 
ing in general more than an equal portion of 
gold. This metal was so pure and easily sepa- 
rated from its matrix, that it required only a 
common fire to melt it. 

A mine has lately been discovered at Curico, 
which is as rich as that of Pay en. The ore 
consists of gold and copper in equal proportions, 
and the inhabitants have named it natural avan- 
turine* from its being filled with brilliant par- 

Pampas (or great plains) of Paraguay, and a hundred from 
Conception ; in one of which have been discovered mines of 
copper so productive that they have yielded pieces of pure 
ore of a hundred quintals weight. To one of these spots, 
which the Indians call Payen, that is copper, the discoverer, 
Don Juan Melendez, gave the name of St. Joseph. I saw at 
Conception a piece of ore of forty quintals weight, from which, 
when smelted, were cast six held pieces of six pounds caliber. 
And nothing is more common than to meet with stones com- 
posed partly of pure and partly of impure copper, which has 
given rise to the observation, that the soil of this country is crea- 
tive; that is, that copper is constantly produced or created in 
it. The same mountain contains mines of lapis lazuli, and the 
other which is near it, called by the Spaniards Cerro de Santa 
Inis, is particularly remarkable for great quantities of load- 
stone, of which it appears to be entirely composed. — Fraxiers 
Voyage, vol. i. 

* A precious stone of a yellowish colour, full of small specks 
of gold. 


tides that give it a beautiful appearance. This 
metal is used by the goldsmiths for rings, brace- 
lets, and other ornaments of jewelry. 

In the province of Huilquilemu are hills that 
furnish a copper ore combined with zinc, or a 
real native brass. It is found in pieces of various 
sizes, and the matrix is a brittle earthy stone of 
a yellow colour, or a dull green. This substance, 
which has hitherto been obtained only by arti- 
ficial means, probably owes its formation to 
subterraneous fires, which sublimating the zinc, 
and combining it with the copper, has produced 
this extraordinary natural mixture. It is of a 
fine yellow colour, and as malleable as the best 
artificial brass, and is called Laxa copper, from 
the river of that name in the vicinity of the mine. 

The method of melting the ore is very simple : 
After separating it from the earth and super- 
fluous matrix, it is broken into small pieces with 
wooden pestles. These pieces are placed between 
layers of wood, which are set on fire, and the 
heat kept up with a large bellows moved by 
water. The furnace is constructed of an ad- 
hesive clay ; but the bottom, which is slightly 
inclined towards the centre,- is formed of a ce- 
ment of plaister and calcined bones. The vault 
contains a sufficient number of outlets for the 
smoke, and at the top is an aperture that may 
be closed or opened at pleasure, which serve* for 
the introduction of ore and fuel. 


At the bottom of the furnace is a hole for the 
passage of the liquefied metal, which is conveyed 
into a receptacle, and from thence taken and re- 
fined in the European manner. 

I do not know what quantity of copper is an- 
nually obtained from the mines, but from tho ex- 
portation it must be very considerable. Five or 
six ships sail every year for Spain, each of which 
usually carries twenty thousand quintals or up- 
wards. Much is also sent to Buenos-Ayres by 
land; and the Peruvians, who have an extensive 
commerce with the coast, export at least thirty 
thousand quintals yearly, which is principally- 
employed in their sugar works. Besides which,, 
the quantity made use of in the cannon foun- 
dries, and for domestic purposes, is by no means 

The mines of copper are not confined to any 
particular district, but scattered throughout the 
country ; those of silver, on the contrary, are 
found only in the highest and coldest parts of 
the Andes. This situation, so unfavourable for 
working them, and the vast expense of refining, 
have caused a great number of mines, though rich 
in ore, to be abandoned, and there are but three 
or four that are at present worked. But it may 
be presumed, when the population of this coun- 
try becomes increased and its industry excited, 
that these mines, now neglected, will become an 

VOL, I, 6 

object of attention, and that the enterprise o5 &. 
future generation will conquer those obstruc- 
tions which impede the labours of the present. 

All the provinces bordering upon the Andes 
produce some silver mines, but the richest are 
in those of St. J ago, Aconcagua> Coquimbo, andL 
Copiapo. In these it is found not only in a me- 
tallic form, but under the appearance of vitreous 
ore, hornbend, and red, grey and white ore,, 
wherein the silver is mineralized with sulphur 
and arsenic, and it is occasionally found com- 
bined with other metals. In the year 1767, a. 
piece of silver ore was found in the neighbour- 
hood of Copiapo ; it was of a green colour, 
and, on being assayed, was found, to contain 
three-fourths of pure silver. It was mineral- 
ized with a small quantity of sulphur, and 
much search has since been ineffectually made by 
the inhabitants to discover the vein from which, 
it was detached. 

The ore held in the highest estimation by the 
miners is the black, so called from its matrix 
being of a dark colour. Those of them who. 
are experienced are scarcely ever deceived in this 
ore, and whenever they strike upon a new vein 
can nearly determine by the eye the quantity of 
silver which it will yield. This ore presents, 
three very distinct varieties, though differing but 
little in appearance. The first, called negrillo. 


resembles the scoria of iron, and affords no ap- 
parent indication of silver. The second, the ros- 
ciclaro, which is distinct from the red silver ore, 
yields a red p6wder when filed; it is very rich, 
although its external appearance is not promising. 
The third, the piombo ronco, is the richest of 
all ; as it is mineralized with a very small quan- 
tity of sulphur, it is much more easily separated 
than the others, which require a more laborious 
and complicated operation. 

These three varieties of ore are obtained from 
the mine of Uspallata, the largest and richest 
of any of the silver mines in Chili. It is situated 
upon the eastern mountains of that portion of 
the Andes which forms a part of the province of 
Aconcagua. On the top of these mountains is a 
large plain called Uspallata of more than seven- 
teen leagues in length and three in breadth, it is 
watered by a pleasant river and covered with de- 
lightful groves, the air is healthy and temperate, 
and the soil fertile. This plain serves as a base 
to another more elevated, called Paramilld, upon 
which the Andes of the first rank rise to such a 
height as to be seen distinctly at St. Louis de la 
Punta, a distance of one hundred and twenty 
leagues. The ridge of these immense mountains 
is a blackish clay stone, containing a great num- 
ber of round stones similar to those of rivers, 
This phenomenon appears to be unexplainable 


in any other way but on the principle of a general 
deluge ; though some authors have, ridiculously 
enough, accounted for it, by supposing that the 
ancient Indians amused themselves in throwing 
these stones upon this mass, while it was yet soft 
a>nd in a state of clay. But besides the irration- 
ality of such a- conjecture, the Abbe Morales of 
Cujo, an intelligent naturalist, who carefully ex^ 
amined these mountains, affirms that the interior 
©f this mass is no less filled with these stones 
than the exterior, which of itself affords a suf- 
ficient proof to the contrary. 

The mine of Uspallata extends along the base 
of the eastern mountains of the plain of the same 
name, from the thirty -third degree of latitude, 
in a direct northerly course ; but the termination 
of it is unknown, for I have heen assured, by 
persons who have followed it for thirty leagues, 
that it continues to be equally abundant at that 
distance, and there are those who assert that it is 
a ramification of the celebrated mine of Potosi. 
The principal vein is nine feet in breadth, but 
it branches out upon both sides into several that 
are smaller, which extend to the neighbouring 
mountains, and are said to exceed thirty miles in 
length. The matrix of the great vein is a- 
various-coloured earth, which separates it into 
five parallel divisions or layers, of different thick- 
nesses. The middle layer is but two inches thick ; 
the ore, which is called by the miners the guida, 


as black, but so filled with metallic particles as, 
to have a whitish appearance ; the two next 
strata are brown, and are c&Wedjrinterias, the two 
exterior ones are of a dark grey, and known by 
the name of brozas. Although the general di- 
rection of this vein is horizontal, it sometimes 
.runs perpendicular, and is found to increase in 
jichnessin proportion to its depth. From assays, 
which have been made at Lima on the ore of 
Uspallata, it appears that the guida yields more 
than two hundred marks of silver the caxon ;* 
the pintarias, mixed with the gidda, fifty ; and 
the brozas fourteen ; a produce not inferior to 
that of the mine of Potosi. The mine of Us- 
pallata was discovered in the year 1638, but 
although on its first discovery it furnished the 
strongest indications of its wealth, from want of 
labourers, or some other «ause, it was neglected 
until 1763, but since that period has been con- 
stantly wrought with immense profit. 

Before the arrival of the Europeans, the In- 
dians employed a very simple method to sepa-- 
rate the silver from the ore, especially when the 
metal was in a metallic form, and not mineralized 

• A term made use of by the American metallurgists to ex- 
press the quantity of ore which a single miner can dig in a 
day, usually calculated at fifty quintals ; but, as this quantity 
contains more or less of the matrix, it is imposible to a9cer* 
hiin the amount of pure ore contained in each caxon, 



or combined with This method 
consisted in merely exposing the ore to a degree 
of heat capable of melting the metal which it 
contained. When the ore was united with other 
substances, or mineralized, and of course more 
difficult to be melted, they made use of a kind 
of open furnace, constructed upon elevated 
ground, in order that the fire should be kept up 
by a constant current of air. This appears to 
have been adopted with a vi,ew to save labour, as 
they were not unacquainted with the use of the 
bellows, which was known to them under the 
name of pimahue; and even at present this mode 
is preferred by the poorer class, who practice it, 
and no small part of the silver, employed as a 
circulating medium in Chili, is obtained from 
these clandestine foundries. 

The process generally pursued, particularly 
by the wealthy proprietors, is that of amalgama- 
tion.* In this case they begin with reducing 

* Almost all the precipitous and broken grounds of Chili 
contain gold in greater or less quantities ; the surface of the 
earth in which it is found is generally of a reddish colour and 
soft to the touch. 

These lavaderos, or places producing earth which yields 
gold by agitating it in water, are very common in Chili, but 
the indolence of the Spaniards and the want of labourers 
suffer immense treasures to remain in the earth which might, 
easily be obtained; but, not satisfied with small gains, they 
work those miucs only width yield a great profit ; of course. 


♦fhe ore to powder by grinding it in a mill. This 
powder is then passed through a wire sieve and 
spread upon the hides of cattle,, where it is mixed 
with sea salt, quicksilver, and rotten dung. After 

whenever any one of this character is discovered, numbers 
flock to it from all quarters, as was the case of Copiapo and. 
.Lainpagua, which by this means became peopled so rapidly, 
from the great concourse of labourers, that in the space o£ 
two years six mills were established at the latter place. The 
citv of Conception is situated in a country abounding not only 
with all the necessaries of life, but with immense riches, par- 
ticularly a place called the King's Camp, about twelve leagues 
to the east, from whence is obtained by the lavadero pieces of 
pure gold, called in the country pepitas, of from eight to tea 
marks* in weight. It has likewise been discovered in the vi- 
cinity of Angola and if the inhabitants of the country were 
ltidustrious, many other spots would be explored where it \s 
believed there are very good lavaderos. Nine or ten leagues 
to the east of Coquimbo are the lavaderos of Andacoll, which 
produce gold of 23 carats fine, and are worked constantly 
with great profit when there is no scarcity of water. This has 
given rise to a saying of the inhabitants that the ground is 
creative, that is, that gold is continually formed in it ; found- 
ed in the circumstance of their finding that metal in as great 
quantities as at first, although it is sixty or eighty years since 
these lavaderos have been worked. Besides the lavaderos, 
which are in all the valleys, so numerous are the mines of gold 
and some of silver that are met with in the mountains, that 
they would furnish employment for more than forty thousand 
men. — Fraxier's Voyage. 

Chili abounds in mines of all kinds, more especially in 

* The Spanish mark is eight ounces. 


wetting this mixture from time to time, and beat- 
ing and treading it well for the space of eight 
days., in order to incorporate the silver and the 
mercury, it is put into a stone trough with water 
sufficient to dilute it. ' In this situation,, the silver 
amalgamated with the mercury, from its weight 
sinks to the bottom, while the lighter heterogeneous 
particles are drawn off with the water through a 
hole in the trough into a vessel placed to receive 
it. This amalgam, after having been repeatedly 
washed to cleanse it from all foreign substances, 
is put into a linen bag, and the mercury, which 

those of gold and copper, which are very common. Co- 
quimbo, Copiapo, and Guasco have gold mines, the ore of 
which is called by way of distinction, oro capote, as being the 
most valuable of any that has hitherto been discovered.— • 
American Gazetteer; article Chili. 

These valleys contain, besides mines of silver, those of lead, 
copper, and quicksilver, and a very great number of gold. 
Of this last there is so much found in the sands of the rivulets, 
that a certain author has said that Chili is a composition of this 
precious metal. The quantity obtained by Pedro de Valdivia, 
who entered Chili after Almagro, was immense. That general 
opened mines of gold which were so rich that each Indian 
furnished from thirty to forty ducats daily, as, when only 
twelve or fifteen where employed, he obtained three or four 
hundred ducats a day. This concurs with what Garcilasso 
says in liis history of Peru, that a part .of Chili fell to the 
lot of Vajdivia, who received from his vassals an annual 
iribute of more than one hundred thousand pieces of gold.-^. 
Sanson's (©f Abbeville) Geography, article Chili. 


jhas not become incorporated with the silver, ej> 
pressed from it. In this state of paste the 
amalgam receives any shape, but is usually 
formed with moulds into small cylindrical tubes. 
The last process is that of separating the mer- 
cury from the silver; this js done, by means of 
evaporation, in a receiver which is filled with 
water, and closely fitted with a head. The 
small quantity of lead or other metal that may 
remain after this process can only be detached 
by melting it. 

Gold, of all the metals, is that which is most 
abundant in Chili, and it may be said that there 
is not a mountain or hill but contains it in a 
greater or less degree ; it is found also in the 
sands of the plains, but more especially in those 
washed down by the brooks and rivers.* Seve- 
ral French and English authors affirm that the 
gold of Chili is the purest and most valuable of 
any ; and it is true that its general standard is 
from twenty-two to twenty-three and a half 
carats. In the southern provinces, between the 

* A person,, on opening a water-course to an estate in the 
plain of Huilquilemu, discovered, with much surprise, a vein 
©f gold dust, which produced more than fifty-thousand dollars 
without the least labour. The same good fortune occurred to 
another in ploughing a piece .of land for grain. These in. 
stances are not unusual ; and naturalists have given the name 
of monlas to these kind of casual mines, which are always of 
Small extent. 


river Bio-bio and the Archipelago of Chiloe, 
several very rich mines of gold were formerly 
discovered, which yielded immense snms ; but 
since the expulsion of the Spaniards from those 
provinces by the Araucanians, these mines have 
been in the possession of that warlike people, 
who have prohibited the opening them anew 
by any one under pain of death. 

The most important mines that are at present 
wrought are those of Copiapo, Guase, Co- 
quimbo, Pctorca, Ligua, Tiltil, Putaendo, 
Caen, Alhue, Chibato, and Huilli-patagua. 
All these, excepting the three last, which are 
of recent discovery, have been wrought ever 
since the conquest, and have constantly yielded 
a great product. But this is by no means the 
case with all the mines that are discovered : 
in many the miners are allured at first with ap- 
pearances of great riches, but soon find the ore 
entirely fail, or in so small quantities as not to 
repay them for their labour. The metallurgists 
of Chili call this kind of wandering mine bolson; 
the same name is also applied to the ramifi- 
cations, which in general are circular, and to 
the richest veins where the ore is found lodged 
in heaps and cavities. Another obstruction to 
working the mines are the inundations to which 
they are subject from subterraneous springs. 
These are frequent, and, when they occur, 
compel the miners to abandon the mine, wh& 


seldom attempt to free it by drawing off or di- 
verting the water. Some years since an acci- 
dent of this kind occurred to the celebrated 
mine of Peldehus, in the neighbourhood of 
St. Jago. That mine, which produced daily up- 
wards of fifteen hundred pounds weight of gold, 
was suddenly inundated, and the workmen were 
compelled to abandon it, after having in vain 
made every exertion to free it from the water. 

fhe matrix of the gold is very variable, and 
it may be said that there is no kind of stone or 
earth but what serves it for that purpose. It is 
to be seen every where, either in small grains or 
brilliant spangles, under singular forms, or in 
irregular masses, that may be cut by the chissel. 
The most usual matrix is a very brittle red 
play stone. The salbanda, or the exterior co- 
vering of t]\e veins, called by miners caxas, is 
as variable ^s the matrix ; it is sometimes of 
spar or quartz, at others it consists chiefly of 
flint, marble, or hornbend. The principal veins 
are frequently ramified into a number of smaller 
ones that are generally very rich. They some- 
times descend almost vertically into the earth, 
and in those instances require great labour and 
expense to be pursued ; at others they take a 
circular direction a few feet under ground, and 
meet, particularly at the foot of mountains. 
The usual course of the veins, though subject 
to some variations, is from south to north, 


The mines are worked both with the pickaxe 
And by explosion. The ore is reduced to pow- 
der in a mill of a very simple ^construction, 
called trapiche, of which two stones, the lower 
placed horizontally, and the upper vertical^, 
form the mechanism. The horizontal is about 
six feet in diameter, and has near its circumfe- 
rence a groove of eighteen inches deep, in which 
the ore is placed ; through the centre passes a 
perpendicular cylinder connected with a cog- 
wheel turned by water. The vertical stone is 
about four feet in diameter, and ten or fifteen 
inches thick, and is furnished with a horizontal 
axis, which permits it to turn freely within the 
groove. When the ore is sufficiently pulve- 
rized/ a proportionate quantity of quicksilver is 
added to it, which is immediately amalgamated 
with the gold ; to moisten the mass, and in* 
corporate it more fully, a small stream of water 
is then directed above it, which also serves to 
carry off the amalgam into reservoirs placed 
beneath the stone. The gold combined with 
the mercury falls to the bottom of these reser- 
voirs in the form of whitish globules ; the mer- 
cury is next evaporated by heat, and the gold 
appears, in its true colour, and in all its bril- 
liancy. In each of these mills upwards of two 
thousand weight of ore is daily ground and 

As the digging of the stone ore obtained from 


the mines is very expensive, from the number of 
workmen and the materials required, it is pur- 
sued only by the rich ; but it furnishes a much 
greater profit than the lavadero, or the ore pro- 
cured by the washing of auriferous sands, which 
is practised only by the poorer class, and those 
who cannot afford the necessary expenses of 
mining. The washing is performed in the fol- 
lowing manner : the earth or sand containing 
particles of gold is put into a vessel of wood or 
horn, called pornna, which is placed in a run- 
ning stream, and constantly shaken ; by this 
means the sand which contains no metallic 
particles, being lighter, is thrown out over the 
top, and the more weighty, or the gold, 
remains at the bottom. This operation is ne- 
cessary to be repeated several times in order t& 
earry off ail the ferruginous earth which is 
always united with gold. But as many of the 
smaller metallic particles must necessarily be 
washed away with the earth by this process, a* 
mode, in my opinion, much more economical, 
is that employed in some places of washing the 
sand upon inclined planks covered with sfceep^ 
skin. Defective as the process of washing is, 
the profit that accrues from it is frequently 
almost incredible, as it is not unusual to find 
among the sand large pieces of gold, called pe- 
pitas, which sometimes exceed a pound in 
■weight; but it is more commonly found in a 

pulverized state, and in the form of little round 
or lenticular grains. This gold is sold in the 
cities in little purses, made of the scrotums of 
sheep, as in the time of Pliny, and is generally 
more esteemed than that of the mines, as it is 
of a better colour and a finer standard. 

The quantity of gold annually dug in Chili 
is difficult to be estimated. That called oro* 
quintado, which pays the fifth to the royal trea- 
sury, does not amount to less than four millions 
of dollars, of which there is coined at the mint 
of St. Jago, a million and a half; the residue 
is exported in bullion^ or used in the country for 
plate and jewelry. The amount smuggled with- 
out paying the duty cannot be calculated, but it 
certainly is very considerable. I have made 
much search, but without success, to discover 
the platina, or white gold, found in Peru. 
What bears the name of white gold in Chili is 
a mixture of gold and silver, in which the latter 
predominates. But since I left that country a 
new immalleable metal, of a kind unknown to 
the miners, has been discovered in the gold 
mine of Capati, on the mountains of Copiapo, 
which I imagine can be no other than platina. 

Many obstacles present themselves to impede 
the working of the mines, both in the danger to 
which the miners are exposed from the mephitic 
vapours, called mountain fires, and in the vast 
expense attending the digging them. The great 


number of tools, the timber required for prop- 
ping the arches^ which is very scarce and ex- 
pensive in the country, the numerous workmen 
who must be paid and subsisted, together with 
the uncertainty of the product, are reasons 
which operate powerfully to discourage those 
who are inclined to engage in mining ; of 
course, the number of those who pursue this bu- 
siness is very small in comparison to that of the 

When any persons are desirous of opening a 
mine, application is made to the government, 
which readily grants its permission, and ap- 
points an inspector, under whose authority and 
direction they begin by dividing the mine into 
three equal parts, or estacas, each two hundred 
and forty-six feet long and one hundred and 
twenty-three broad. The first portion belongs 
to the king, in whose name it is sold, the se- 
cond to the owner of the land, and the third to. 
the discoverer of the mine. As the opening of 
a mine is very injurious to the cultivation of the 
land in which it i* situated, the proprietors of 
the soil endeavour to prevent as much a& possi- 
ple the discovery of veins in their grounds. 
The number of persons who flock from alL 
quarters to a newly opened mine, that promises 
to be profitable, is almost incredible. Some 
come thither to work, others to sell their pro- 
visions, which at such times are in great de~ 


mand ; and in this manner a kind of fair is gra- 
dually established, which leads to the erection 
of houses, and finally to the formation of a per- 
manent town or village. A magistrate, with 
the title of the Alcayde of the mine, is then ap- 
pointed by the government to regulate and su- 
perintend it, and as this office is almost always 
very lucrative, the governor of the province ge- 
nerally assumes it, and appoints a deputy to ma- 
nage it for his account. 

The miners of Chili are in general well ac- 
quainted with metallurgy. They are expert int 
mining and in the art of assaying and refining 
metals ; but their knowledge is wholly practi- 
cal, and they are entirely ignorant of the theory 
or the real principles of the art. They are di- 
vided into three classess, the first those who 
labour in the mine, the second the founders and 
refiners, the third the porters, or those who 
carry off the mineral. In general they are a 
bold, enterprising, and prodigal class of men. 
Familiarized to the sight of the precious metals, 
they learn to disregard them, and attach but 
little value to money. They are extravagant in 
their expenses, and passionately addicted to 
gaming, in which they pass almost all their 
leisure moments ; and instances are not uufre- 
quent of a miner losing one or two thousand 
crowns of a night. Losses of this nature are 
considered by them as trifles, and on such oc- 


' 97 

fcasions ttiey gaily console themselves with a 
professional proverb, that, cc the mountains ne- 
ver keep accounts." Nothing is more abhorrent 
to them than frugality, and whenever they find 
one of their companions who has amassed a 
sum of money by his economy, they leave no 
means untried to strip him of it, observing, 
that avarice is a vice peculiarly degrading to the 
character of a miner ; and so addicted are they 
to ebriety, that those who on first joining them 
are remarkable for their abstemiousness, are 
sooh led, from the influence of example, to par- 
ticipate in the general intemperance. From 
these causes none of them acquire property, 
and they generally die in the greatest poverty 
and distress, while the profits of their labour 
are wholly absorbed by those who supply them 
with provisions and liquor. 

Sect. XIII. Concretions. — The last class of 
the mineral kingdom, the concretions, offers 
nothing very remarkable in Chili. Pumice 
stone is so common in the interior of the Andes, 
that it forms the substance of several mountains. 
A species of it, of a light grey, is in much es- 
timation with the inhabitants, who use it for 
filtering stones. Petrified wood has beea dis- 
covered in many places. I have seen pieces of 
hewn timber, completely petrified, dug out of 
a little hill near Valparaiso, some of which 

vol. I. ir 


were eight feet long, and bore the visible 
marks of the European axe, a proof that this 
wood must have become petrified since the 
arrival of the Spaniards.* Of all kinds of wood 

* That the marks in this wood were produced by an axe, 
or some tool of a similar kind, I am not disposed to question ; 
but that it must have been an European axe, will fairly admit 
of doubt. The Mexicans, on the arrival of the Spaniards, 
made use of axes or hatchets of copper, and, as we are assured 
by some respectable authors, possessed the art of tempering 
that metal for tools in a manner entirely unknown to the Eu- 
ropeans ; and that this secret was known to the ancient Chilians 
is by no means improbable, considering their contiguity and 
intercourse with the Peruvians, a people whose progress in the 
arts was not inferior to that of the Mexicans. As the period 
when this timber was cut is however wholly conjectural, it 
may perhaps be referred to an earlier date than any authen- 
ticated or even traditionary accounts of the country ; to an 
era when the use of iron was very possibly known, perhaps 
anterior to the deluge, when the face of the globe exhibited 
far different aspects and relations than at present. That this 
hypothesis is not wholly destitute of verisimilitude, the follow- 
ing may serve to show : One of the numbers of the Richmond 
Enquirer, for the present year, 1807, in giving an account of 
the antiquities of the interior of America, observes, that, " a 
copper mine was opened some years since further down the 
Mississippi (below the falls of St. Anthony) when, to the great 
surprise of the labourers, a large collection of mining tools 
were found several fathoms below the surface ;" and the 
writer of this note has been informed, from respectable au- 
thority, that within a short time since, in the state of Ken- 
tucky, some labourers, in digging a well, discovered, at the 
depth of one hundred feet from the surface, the stump of a 


the Chilian willow is perhaps the most suscep- 
tible of petrifaction, and pieces of it are every 
where to be met with that have undergone this 
change ; to effect which, it requires to be bu- 
ried but for a short time in a moist and sandy 
soil. I have also found pieces of the Peruvian 
taper with the thorns adhering to them com- 
pletely petrified, though instances of this are 
less frequent, as the moist and spongy texture 
of that tree renders it less liable to petrifaction.* 

Idrge tree, with an axe adhering to it, apparently of iron, as 
on attempting to disengage it, it fell into pieces, which re- 
sembled the rusty scales of that metal.— Am. Trans. 

* Coal is not mentioned among the mineral productions of 
Chili : Herrera, however, says there b a coal mine upon the 
beach, near the city of Conception ; a black stone, he calls it, 
which burns like charcoal. — E. E. 

Dec. 8. L.6. C. 11. 




Herbs, Shrubs, and Trees. 

Whenever mineralogists undertake to cha- 
racterize the external appearance of a mineral 
country, they describe it as particularly recog- 
nizable by the weakness of its vegetation and 
the faded colour of the plants, occasioned by 
the mineral vapours. This observation is in ge- 
neral too bold, and frequently contrary to expe- 
rience. M. Macquer * observes very properly, 
that there are some countries which are rich in 
mines, whose vegetation is not injured thereby. 
This is precisely the situation of Chili, a 
country, as we have seen, rich in mineral pro- 
ductions of every kind, and enjoying at the 
same time a vigorous and profuse vegetation. 
The plains, the valleys, and the mountains, are 
covered with beautiful trees, many of which 
scarcely ever lose their verdure, and each season 
produces vegetables suited to the climate in the- 
greatest perfection. Feuille has given an ac- 
count of those plants, only which grow upon the 

* Dictionary of Clicmistry ; article Mines. 


sea shore, or in marshy places in its vicinity. 
The interior part of the country has never been 
explored by an able botanist, and I am con- 
vinced that a great number of unknown plants 
might be discovered there.. 

Had I been desirous of enlarging the limits 
of this work, I might have given a very copious 
enumeration of the plants of Chili; but I prefer 
confining myself to those only which are most 
important and useful. As these may be reduced 
to a small number, I have divided them into 
herbs, grasses,* climbing plants, shrubs, and 
trees. I am aware that this division is not 
scientific, but it is convenient, and better suited 
to the plan I have pursued in my description of 

Sect. I. Herbs. — Many of the plants which 
are found in the country, such as the mallows, 
trefoil, plaintain, endive, mint, nettles, &c. are 
common both to Chili and to Europe. Others 
that are carefully cultivated in the European 
gardens grow naturally there, such as lupins, 
love apples, Spanish pimento, celery, cresses, 
mustard, fennel, &c.f Of the tropical plants, 

* I liave rendered grasses what the author has called in 
Italian canue (reeds). — Fr. Trans. 

t All our plants are cultivated there without difficulty, and , 
produce abundantly, and there are some that grow naturally 



several succeed very well in the northern pro- 
vinces, among which are the sugar-cane, the 
pine-apple, the cotton, the banana, the sweet 
potatoe, jalap, mechoacan, and others of less 
importance. Besides these, Chili produces a 
great number of plants that appear to be pe- 
culiar to it. There are some that are common 
to all the provinces, others are confined to cer- 
tain districts. In my different herborizations 
while in Chili, I collected about three thousand 
plants, the greater part of which are non-de- 
script, and not -to be found in any botanical 
work. Among these were a number whose 
flowers are remarkable for their beauty and 
fragrance, and which, in their season, give the 
fields the appearance of so many parterres ; but 
the inhabitants in general pay but little attention 

in the fields, as the turnip, succory, endive, Sec. Nor are the 
aromatic herbs less common, as balm, mug-wort, camomile, 
and a kind of mouse-ear, which has the smell of a hyacinth ; 
the alkeugi, or winter-cherry, whose fruit . is more odoriferous 
than that of France ; a species of sage, called by the Indians 
palghi, that grows like a shrub, with a leaf resembling rose- 
mary, and an odour like Hungary water. Roses grow na- 
turally upon the hills ; the most common kind are entirely 
destitute of thorns, or have but a very few. In the fields is 
found a flower similar to the kind of lily called in Britany 
guerneziaises, the Indian name of which is liuio ; it consists 
of six petals, two of which are in the form of a plume. The 
root, when dried in an oven, furnishes a very white meal, 
which is excellent for pastry. — Fraxiers Voyage, vol.'i, 


to them, and prefer decorating their gardens 
with exotic * (lowers received from Europe, 
to cultivating their own. 

The domestic animals live during the whole 
year in the open fields, and from feeding on the 
aromatic plants, so abundant in Chili, their 
flesh acquires a flavour superior to what it has 
in any other country. The Chilians have no oc- 
casion to provide hay for their cattle, as the 
herbage never fails, and there is a constant 
succession of the different plants which serve 
them for food. In the cities the horses are fed 
with barley and a species of clover. Trefoil, 
called by the Indians gualputhe, is one of the 
most common plants of the country; of this 
there are not less than twelve different kinds to 
be found in the meadows, which contain much 
lucerne, and a species of Venus's comb, com- 
monly called loiqui laliuen, or aJjilerillo, of 
which the cattle are peculiarly fond. This 
plant, which I have named scandix cliilensis, is 
distinguished from the European species by its 
aromatic odour, by its stem, which is not 
striated, and by its leaves ; these are larger, 

* The rose-bush was introduced into Peru from Spain : it 
shot up so luxuriantly that it did not blossom. By some ac- 
cident a rosier was burnt, and the young shoots from the 
root lowered. This taught them to cut the bushes down, 
and then they succeeded.— E. E, 

Herrera 5. 4. 8. 



and although winged like the Venus's comb of 
Europe,, have some of their lesser leaves entire 
and fleshy. This plant is reputed to be vulne- 
rary, and its Chilian name, signifying the herb 
of wounds, is expressive of this quality. 

The soil is so fertile that the herbage grows 
to such a height in man}' pastures as completely 
to conceal the sheep, especially in the valleys 
of the Andes, where the vegetation is always 
the most vigorous. But amidst this luxuriant 
growth there are two or three species of plants 
injurious to cattle, which are much dreaded, 
especially a kind known in the country by the 
name of yerba loca, or herb of madness, from 
its rendering those animals who eat of it mad, 
particularly horses. 

This plant, which forms a new genus, I have 
called hippomaiiica. Its stalks are of an an- 
gular shape, a foot and a half in height ; the 
leaves are opposite, lanceolated, entire, and 
fleshy, of a clear grey, about an inch in length, 
and attached to the branches without a foot- 
stalk ; the flower is formed like a rose, and 
grows at the top of the branches ; it consists of 
five oval petals, of a yellow colour, supported 
by a calyx divided into five parts; when ripe, 
the pystil becomes changed into a capsula, 
separated into four cells, which contain black 
kidney-shaped seeds. The juice of this plant is 
viscous, of a, yellowish colour, and sweetish 


taste ; the husbandmen take great pains to destroy 
jt } notwithstanding which, it constantly springs 
up again, and if a horse eats of it, he is sure to 
die, unless immediate measures are taken to make 
him sweat profusely by violent exercise. 

Besides those which have been brought from 
Europe, Chili produces a great number of valu- 
able plants, both alimentary, medicinal, and such 
as are useful in the arts. Many of these, parti- 
cularly the alimentary kind, were well known and 
cultivated before the arrival of the Spaniards. 

Sect. II. Alimentary Herbs or Plants.-— The 
maize (zeamais) or Turkey wheat, called by 
the Chilians gua, was well known in America 
when Columbus first arrived there. This fact is 
confirmed by all the writers of that period, and it 
is very certain that it was the only species of 
corn at that time made use of by the natives. 
The improper application of the name of the 
Indies to America has probably led M. Bomare 
to observe, that the maize is indigenous to Asia, 
from whence it was carried into Europe, and 
from thence to America. There are likewise 
$ome authors, as C. Durante, in his herbal, 
who improperly denominate it Turkey wheat, 
considering it as originally from Turkey. 

Maize grows extremely well in Chili,* and 

* In the old continent wheat is the most common grain, 
but in the new world maize has always been, and still is, the 


the inhabitants cultivate eight or nine varieties 
of it, several of which are very productive. 
But that which is in the highest repute with 
them is called uminla ; from this they prepare a 
dish by bruising the corn while it is green be- 
tween two stones into the form of paste, to 
which is added sufficient salt or butter and sugar 
to season it ; it is then divided into small por- 
tions or cakes, which are enclosed separately 
within the inner skin or husk of the corn and* 

When the maize is ripe the Indians prepare it 
for winter in two different modes, either by 
slightly roasting it, which they call chuchoca, or 
by drying it in the sun ; from the former they 
make a kind of soup, by boiling it in water, and 
from the latter a beer of a very pleasant taste. 
They sometimes reduce it to meal, but before 
grinding, roast and crack it by means of heated 
sand. For this purpose they prefer a kind of 
maize called curagua, the grains of which are 
smaller than the others, and furnish a meal that 
is more light, whiter and in greater quantity. 
From this meal, mixed with sugar and water, 
either hot or cold, they make two different be- 
verages, called ulpo and cherchan. 

A species of rye called magu } and of barley 

most general; it is produced in all parts of the West-Indies, 
in Peru, in New Spain, in Guatimala, in Chili, and throughout 
Terra Firma. — Acostas Natural History, book iv. 


called tuca, were cultivated by the Araucanians 
before the arrival of the Spaniards; but since 
the introduction of the European wheat, the 
cultivation of these has been entirely neglected, 
and I have not been able even to procure a spe- 
cimen, for the purpose of describing them. All 
that is known at present is that the Araucanians 
made a bread from them called covque, which 
name they give to that made from maize or 
European grain. 

The quinua is a species of chenopodium from 
three to four feet in height; it has large rhora- 
boidal sinuated leaves of a deep green, and the 
flowers are disposed upon long spikes ; the grain 
is black and spirally twisted, which gives it, of 
course, a lenticular appearance. There is a variety 
of this plant called ddhue by the Indians, which 
has greyish leaves, and produces a white grain. 
The grain of the quinua serves far making a 
very pleasant stomachic beverage ; that of the 
daliue, on being boiled, lengthens out in the form 
of worms, and is excellent in soup. The leaves 
are also eaten, and are tender and of an agreeable 

The degul is a species of bean (phaseolus vul- 
garis). Before this country was conquered by 
the Spaniards, thirteen or fourteen kinds of the 
bean, varying but little from the common Euro- 
pean bean, were cultivated by the natives. One 
of these has a straight stalk, the other thirteen 

• 108 

are climbers ; of these, two are very remark- 
able, the phaseolis pallar, the bean of which is 
half an inch long, and the phaseolus asellus, 
which is spherical and pulpy. 

Chili is considered by M. Bomare as the na- 
tive soil of that valuable esculent the potatoe 
(solanuni tuberosum)., an indigenous American 
root, likewise known by the names of papa and 
pogny. It is, indeed, found in all the fields of 
that country ; but those plants that grow wild, 
called by the Indians maglia, produce only very 
small roots of a bitterish taste. It is distin- 
guished by two different species, and more than 
thirty varieties, several of which are carefully 
cultivated. The first is the common kind; the 
second, called solanum cari, bears white flowers 
with a large nectary in the middle like the nar- 
cissus ; its root is cylindrical and very sweet. 
The usual mode of cooking it is by roasting it 
under the ashes. 

The oca (oxalis tuberosa) appears to be of a 
different kind from the oca of Peru ; in its form 
and fructification it resembles the yellow wood 
sorrel ; its leaves are disposed by threes, and are 
of an acid taste, and the flowers are oval ; its 
root extends itself into five or six tuberosities of 
three or four inches in length, covered with a 
thin smooth skin. They are eaten cooked, and 
have a pleasani subacid taste. This plant h 
also, like the potatoe, multiplied by means of its 


bulbs ; there are several species of it, one of 
which, called by the Chilians red culle, is held 
in much estimation for dying, and is considered 
as a specific in inflammatory fevers. Among* 
them is likewise the barilla, or the alleluia vir- 
gosa of Coquimbo : This last produces but a 
few radical trilocated leaves ; its stalks, which 
are numerous, are very tender, and of an acid 
taste ; they are five feet in length, of the size 
of a man's finger, and covered with yellow 
flowers suspended in vertical bells. 

Of the gourd, two principal species are known 
in Chili, the white flowered, and the yellow 
flowered, or the Indian gourd. Of the first 
kind, called by the Indians quada, there are 
twenty-six varieties, several of which produce 
fruit that is sweet and edible, but that of the 
others is bitter. Of the bitter kinds the most 
distinguished is the cider gourd ( cucurbita ci- 
ceraria*) so called from the Indians making use 
of it, after extracting the seeds and perfuming ii^ 

* The cahbashes of the Indians are another wonderful 
production for their size and the luxuriance of their growth , 
especially those called %apallos, the pulp of which, particu- 
larly in Q aaresma, are eaten boiled or fried. There is a gseat 
variety of this species of the calabash ; some of them are so 
large that when dried, and the shell divided in the middle 
and cleansed, they are used as covered baskets to put pro 
visions in ; others that are smaller are employed as vessels to 
drink from, or handsomely wrought for various purposes.— • 
Acosla's Natural History, book iv. 
1 ' 


to ferment their cider. It is naturally of a round 
form, and frequently grows to a large size. It 
is also used by the natives instead of baskets, 
and in such cases they give it whatever shape 
they think proper. The yellow flowered or 
Indian gourd, called penca, is of two kinds, 
the common and the mamillary ; this last in its 
leaves and flowers resembles the first, but the 
figure of the fruit is spheroidal, with a large 
nipple at the end ; the pulp is sweet, and its 
taste is very similar to a kind of potatoe known 
by the name of camote. 

The quelghen, or the strawberry of Chili, 
differs from the European in its leaves, which 
are rough and succulent, and in the size of its 
fruit, which is frequently that of a hen's egg. 
The strawberries, like those of Europe, are ge- 
nerally red or white, but those that are yellow 
are also to be found in the provinces of Puchacay 
and Huilquilemu, where they attain greater 
perfection than elsewhere.* The strawberry of 

* The strawberry of Chili is an hermaphrodite and 
dioecial, and the plants brought by Frazier to Europe were 
probably only some female hermaphrodite shoots, which pro- 
duced fruit in consequence of being impregnated by some of 
our strawberries which were in the vicinity. Had the author 
been in a situation to have become acquainted with this cir- 
cumstance, he would not have called that degeneration which 
is merely the result of an unnatural fecundity. 

The want of male plants, as appears from Miller, is also 
the reason of the English having abandoned the cultivation ©f 
his strawberry. — Fr. Trans* 


Chili was introduced many years since into 
Europe,, and 1 have seen in the botanic garden at 
Bologna th6 white • kind, which is the most, 
common in Chili, but it had lost much by trans- 
plantation ; its fruit was small, and little of the 
fragrance was left which renders it so highly es- 
teemed in Chili.* 

The madi (madia, gen. nov. ) Of this plant 
there are two kinds, the one wild, the other cul- 
tivated. The cultivated, which I have called 
madia sativa, has a branching hairy stalk, nearly 
five feet in height; the leaves are villous and 

* We found in the desert strawberries of a very fine flavour, 
equal in size to our largest nuts, and of a pale white ; and 
although they resembled the European neither in colour nor 
in taste, they were nevertheless excellent. — Feuille, vol. i. 

There are whole fields where a species of strawberry is 
cultivated that differs from ours hi its leaves, which are 
rounder and more fleshy and hairy ; the fruit is usually the 
size of a nut, and sometimes that of a hen's egg. The colour 
is a whitish red, and the taste not so delicate as that of our 
strawberries. But there is not wanting in the woods a great 
plenty of the European kind. — Fraxiers Voyage, vol. i. 

The fruits most abundant in Chili are of the same kinds 
with those known in Europe, among which are cherries that 
are large and of a delicate taste, strawberries of two kiudi, 
one called frutilla, which is of the size of a small hen's egg ; 
and another, in colour, smell and taste, like that of Spain, 
which grows wild at the foot of the little hills ; likewise all 
kinds of flowers are found there without any other culti- 
vation than what they receive from the hands of nature itself. 
— UUoa's Voyage, gdparf, vol. iii. 


placed by threes; they are four inches in length, 
half an inch in breadth, and of a bright green like 
the leaves of the rose laurel ; its flowers are ra- 
diated and of a yellow colour; the seeds are con- 
vex on one side, and covered with a very thin 
brownish pellicle on the other ; they are from 
four to five lines in length, and enclosed in a sphe- 
rical pericarpium of about eight or nine lines in 
diameter. An excellent oil is obtained from the 
seeds, cither by expression, or merely boiling 
them ; it is of an agreeable taste, very mild, and 
as clear as the best olive oil . Feuille, who resided 
three years in Chili, praises it highly, and gives 
it the preference to any olive oil used in France.* 
This plant, hitherto unknown in Europe, would be- 
come themost valuable acquisitionto those coun- 
tries where the olive cannot be raised. The wild 
madi (madia mellosa) is distinguished from the 
other by its leaves, which are amplexicaul and 
glutinous to the feeling. 

The pimento ( capsicum ) called by the Indians 
ihapi. Of this plant many species are cultivated 
in Chili, among others the aunual pimento, which 

* From the seed of this plant is obtained an admirable oil, 
which the inhabitants of the country use in various ways — to 
alleviate pain by rubbing with it the diseased part, to season 
their victuals, and also for light. To my taste it is sweeter and 
more pleasant than most of our olive oil which it resembles 
in colour.— Feu-ill'', vol. hi. 


h there perennial, the berry pimento, and the pi- 
mento with a subligeuous stalk. The inhabit- 
ants make use equally of all the three to season 
their food. 

Besides those whit h I have mentioned, the 
Chilians make use of many other excellent plants, 
which, though natural to the country, require a 
more attentive cultivation ; of these the principal 
are the umbellifera, t'*e bermudiana or illmu, 
and the hemeroca lis of Feu i lie. Theumbellifera, 
or heracleum tuberosum, in its leaves, flowers, 
and seed resembles the illmu, but is distinguished 
from it by the quantity of its bulbs, which are 
six inches long* and three broad ; the colour of 
the bulbs is yellow and their taste very pleasant, 
it grows naturally in sandy places near hedges, 
and produces abundantly. 

The bermudiana bulbosa, or the illmu of 
Feuille, has a branchy stalk, and its leaves are 
very similar to those of the leek; the flower is 
of a violet colour, and divided into six parts, 
which are turned back towards the foot-stalk; 
it has six stamens and a triangular pystil; the 
seeds are black and round, and the bulbs when 
boiled or roasted are excellent food.* 

The hemerocallis, or, the liuto of the Indians, 

* The natives of the country make use of the root of this 
plant in their soups, and it is very pleasant to the taste, as I 
have myself experienced. — FeuilU. 
VOL. I. I 


has a stalk of a foot in height ; the leaves are 
pointed and embrace the stem, which divides 
itself at the top* into' a number of pedicles bear- 
ing a beautiful red flower of the shape of a lily. 
The root is bulbous, and yields a very light white 
and nutritious flour, which is used for the sick. 

The liliaceous plants offer a great variety 
throughout Chili, and are known to the Arauca- 
nians by the generic name of gil. I have col- 
lected myself more than twenty-three different 
species of them, many of which were adorned 
with superb flowers. 

In the province of St. Jago is found a species, 
of wild basil (ocymum salinum) differing in its 
appearance from the common or garden species 
only in its stalk, which is round and jointed; but 
in its smell and taste it resembles more the alga, 
or sea-weed, than the basil. This plant con- 
tinues to increase in growth from the first opening 
of the spring to the commencement of winter, 
and is every morning covered with salineglobules 
that are hard and shining, and give it the appear- 
ance of being coated with dew. The husband- 
men collect and make use of this salt instead of 
the common kind, which it far exceeds in taste. 
Each plant produces daily about half an ounce, 
a phenomenon, the cause of which I am not able 
satisfactorily to explain, as it grows in a very 
fertile soil exhibiting no appearance of salt, 
and at more than sixty miles distance from the 


Sect. III. Herbs used in Dying. — From time 
immemorial have the Chilians made use of indi- 
geneous plants for dying; and such is their ex- 
cellence, that they communicate the liveliest and 
most durable colours to their cloths, without the 
aid of any foreign production.* I have in my 
possession a piece of cloth dyed in that country, 
which in th rty years use has lost nothing of the 
original lustre of its colours, which are blue, 
yellow, red, and green, neither from exposure to 
the air, nor the use of soap. The natives of the 
southern provinces obtain a blue from a plant 
with which I am unacquainted ; but in the Arau- 
canian and the Spanish possessions they make use 
of indigo diluted with fermented urine, which 
gives to the substance dyed a beautiful and du- 
rable colour. 

Red is obtained from a species of madder 
called relbun (rubia Chilensis). It usually 
grow s under shrubs in sandy places ; its stalls is 
nearly round, the leaves oval, pointed and whitish, 
and placed by fours as in the filbert ; its flowers 
are monopetalous, and divided into four parts; 

* Besides the medicinal herbs, they have others for dying, 
the colours of which are very durable, and do not change in 
washing. Among these is the reilbon, a species of madder, 
with a leaf somewhat less than the European, the root of which 
is boiled in water in the same manner to extract the dye. The 
poquel is a species of southern wood, of a golden colour.— 
Frazier, vol. u 



the seed is contained in two little red berries, 
which are united like those of the European 
madder ; the root is red., runs deep into the earth, 
and its lateral fibres frequently occupy a space 
of many feet in circumference. 

A species of agrimony (eupatorium Chilense) 
known in the country by the name of contra* 
ycrba, furnishes the yellow. This plant has a 
violet stalk of about two feet in height, divided 
by small knots, from whence issue the leaves in 
pairs opposite to each other ; they are of a bright 
green, three or four inches in length, narrow and 
indented ; the branches are axillary, and produce 
some flosculous flowers of a yellow colour, re- 
sembling those of the agrimony. In the centre 
of the flower a small worm is almost always dis- 
coverable, whose body is composed of eleven very 
distinct rings. A vellow is also obtained from 
the poqael (santolinaiinctoria) a species of cress, 
with long and narrow leaves resembling wild flax ; 
it puts forth three or four stalks two feet in 
height, striated and crowned at the top with 
a yellow semi-globular flower, composed of 
several small ones. The stalks furnish a green 

The root of a perennial plant, called panTce 
( pauke tinctoria, gen. nov. ) furnishes a fmeblack, 

* This name implies, tliat it was considered as a^antidote 
against poisoned arrows.— E. E. 


and is acknowledged to be one of the most use- 
ful plants in Chili. Some writers have given it 
the name of bardana Chilensis, from the resem- 
blance of its leaves to those of the burdock^ 
although its fructification is entirely different. 
The root is very long, frequently five inches 
thick, rough and black without, and whitewithin. 
The leaves are attached to long petioles, and are 
pal mated ; they are of a bright green above, and 
ash-coloured beneath, frequently two feet in di- 
ameter, and of a subacid taste. From the centre 
of the radical leaves shoots up a single stalk, 
five feet in height and three inches thick, covered 
with a rough bark furnished with thorns. This 
stalk has no leaves except at the top, where there 
are three or four much smaller than those at the 
root, surmounted by a large conical fasciculus, 
or bunch, which produces the flowers and the 
seed ; the flowers are white, a little inclining to 
red, bell- shaped, and monopetalous ; the seed is 
greenish, round, and enclosed in a capsule of the' 
same form. 

This plant is peculiar to moist places, and it 
always perishes when not supplied with water. 
It grows more luxuriantly and to a larger size in 
the valleys between the Andes, where it frequently 
exceeds the height which I have mentioned; in 
low grounds near the sea it is only of a moderate 
height. The black for dying is obtained from 
the juice of the root, and it might answer equally 



well for ink, as its viscosity and the beautiful 
black it acquires from time, give it all the requi- 
site qualities. It is also used for tanning leather ; 
but for this purpose it becomes necessary to pound 
it, and the smell it exhales is so strong, that the 
workmen can rarely endure it above half an hour 
at a time. The stalk contains a white pith of 
an acidulous taste, which the country people eat 
in summer,* and the shoe-makers use the wood 
for their lasts, as they believe it more durable 
than any other. Another species of the panke 
(panke aculis) called in the language of the 
country dinacio, grows in sandy and moist places ; 
the root is of the shape of a turnip, as large as 
a man's arm, and of a sweetish taste; it is highly 
esteemed by the inhabitants, but produces no kind 
of dye. This plant is without a stalk, and puts 
forth from the root a group of small leaves, 
ornamented in the centre with a bouquet of 
flowers similar to those of the preceding. 
• The Chilians obtain a violet colour from the 
berries of several shrubs ; but the culle, which 
I have mentioned among the alimentary herbs, 

* This plant is refrigeratory, and a decoction of the leaves 
is given in fevers. The ends of the leaves, stripped of their 
exterior covering, are also eaten raw, and of a sweet and very 
pleasant taste. The dyers make use of the root to obtain a 
black, by cutting it into small pieces, which they boil with a 
certain portion of black earth, and the tanners prepare their 
skins by soaking them with it in warm water. — Feuille, vol. ii. 


produces that which is most esteemed ; it is 
reduced into the form of paste like the woad, 
and the dyers make use of it in the same manner. 
After the first autumnal rains a small plant 
springs up in the fields, called the herb of rosoli> 
which appears to be of a new genus,, and which 
I have denominated sassia tinctoria. It bears 
three or four quadripetal flowers of a purple 
hue, which are used to colour and to communi- 
cate an agreeable flavour to a kind of liqueur 
called the purple. A single flower, although 
smaller than that of thyme, will colour five or 
six pounds of liquor. The cabinet-makers 
likewise make use of it to stain their work. I 
am of opinion that this plant might be advan- 
tageously employed in the dying of wool and 
linen, particularly the latter, since merely by 
tinging it with the expressed juicle of the flower, 
it acquires a beautiful colour that continues a 
long time. Of the same genus is the sassia 
perdicaria, called by the inhabitants rimii, or 
the partridge flower, from its being the favourite 
food of that bird. It bears but one flower, of 
a golden yellow, similar in form to that of the 
panke tinctoria, which gives a beautiful appear- 
ance to the meadows, where it is found in great 
abundance in autumn. The Chilian names of 
the months of April and of May are derived 
from that of this plant, April being called unta- 



rimu, the first rimu, and May, inan-rimii, or the 
second rimu. 

Sect. IV. Medicinal Plants. — A knowledge 
of the virtues of plants and herbs, acquired by 
loug experience, forms almost the whole of the 
medical science of the Chilians, particularly of 
those aborigines who have never embraced Chris- 
tianity. The machis and ampives, names given 
to their physicians, are only skillful herborists, 
who, in reality, often perform extraordinary 
cures. The virtues of many plants are known 
only to them, as, either from hatred to the Spa- 
niards, or to enhance their own consequence, 
they studiously conceal their properties : not- 
withstanding which, near two hundred valuable 
medicinal herbs have been discovered, besides 
a great number of shrubs and trees, which at 
present form an important branch of foreign 
commerce, the most celebrated of which are the 
cachanlahucn, the vircccira, the retamilla, the 
penjeo, and the quinchamalL 

The cachanlahucn (gentian cachanlahuen) 
called by M. Bomare and some other authors 
chancelague and chanchalagua, is not a native of 
Panama, as is stated in t e Memoirs of the 
Academy of Sciences for 1707 ; nor does it grow, 
as M. Bomare has mentioned, in Guayaquil, but 
only in Chili, from whence it has been trans- 


ported to the other parts of America, and to 
Europe. This plant is a species of the centaury, 
and greatly resembles the common kind, but it 
differs from it in having a rounder stalk, a less 
fibrous leaf, and branches opposed to each other 
in pairs placed almost horizontally. Its name 
in the Chilian signifies the herb for curing the 
pleurisy, in which complaint it is found very 
efficacious ; it is also considered as purgative, 
dissolvent, worm- destroying, an excellent febri- 
fuge, and a specific for the sore throat.* The 
infusion of it is extremely bitter, and in its smell 
rese nbles the balsam of Peru. 

The viravira (gnaphalium viravira) is a spe* 
cies of houseleek very aromatic ; it is recom- 
mended in intermitting fevers ; the infusion is 
an excellent sudorific, and the Chilians make 

• This plant is extremely bitter; an infusion of it is 
aperient and sudorific ; it strengthens the stomach, destroys 
worms, frequently cures intermitting fevers, and is very ser- 
viceable in rheumatic complaints. — Feuilti, vol. ii. 

The cachenlahuen, or the canchalagua, which is called cahen- 
lagua in Chili, is very similar in its appearance to the smaller 
European centaury, although not so high. A decoction of it 
in warm water, in the manner of tea, is considered an excel- 
lent purifier of the blood. This plant is highly celebrated in 
Chili, from whence it is exported to other parts, as a febrifuge. 
1 think it preferable to the European centaury, and it is consi- 
dered as very efficacious in complaints of the throat. — Per- 
vclly's Voyate, vol. i. 


use of it in catarrhal complaints. The leaver 
are extremely villous,, and appear to be covered 
with cotton ; the flowers, which do not exceed 
four, are composite and flosculated, they are of 
a golden colour and placed at the top of the 
branches, and the seed resembles much that of 
the stoechas citrina.* 

The rctamiUa (linum aquilinum) or gncmcu 
lahuen, grows usually at the foot of the moun- 
tains. The root is very long and perennial ; it 
puts forth several branchy stalks, furnished with 
small alternate lanceolated leaves ; the flowers 
are yellow, with five petals, and are attached by 
pairs to a common pedicle; the pystil becomes 
changed into a membranaceous pentagonal cap- 
sule, containing a number of little seeds. This 
plant possesses the same virtues as the viravira, 
and is used in the same cases. 

* Among the herbs that cover the mountains there are 
many that are aromatic and medicinal; of the latter, the 
most in esteem with the eountry people is the cachinlagua, or 
little centaury, which appears to me to he bitterer than that 
of France, and, of course, more abundant in that salt which is 
considered as an excellent febrifuge. The viravira is a species 
of houseleek, an infusion of which was found to be very ser- 
viceable by a French surgeon in the cure of tertian fevers. 
There is also a species of senna perfectly resembling that of 
the Levant, in the place of which it is used by the apothe- 
caries of St. Jago ; it is called by the Indians unoperquen,— 
Fraziers Voyage > vol. i. 


The payco (hemiaria payco*) by which name 
it is known in many modern medical works, is 
also denominated tea of the third species, 
although it appertains to the genus of hemiaria. 
It puts forth several trailing shoots, covered with 
small oval leaves, notched like a saw, and at- 
tached to the stalk without a petiole. The 
flowers have many stamina, and are very nu- 
merous ; the seed is enclosed in a spherical cap- 
sule ; the colour of the plant is a light green, 
and its smell is something like that of a rotten 
lime. As a medicine it promotes digestion, is 
excellent in complaints of the stomach, and very 
useful in the pleurisy. f 

The quinchamaU (quinchamalium Chilense). 
As this plant forms a new genus, I have retained 
the name by which it is known in the country ; 
it produces a great number of stalks of nine 
inches in height, with alternate leaves similar to 
those of the linaria aurea tragi ; the flowers are 

* All the plauts of the genus hemiaria that are known, and 
those that have an affinity to them, as the ilecebrum, the 
achyrautes, &c. have their leaves entire, without being jagged 
or indented ; of course this instance presents an exception 
from the general rule. — Fr. Trans. 

f The payco is a plant of middling height, whose leaves are 
a little dentated, and have a smell like a rotten lime; a decoc- 
tion of them are sudorific, and are good in pleuritic complaints. 
There is likewise a great quantity of bastard rosemary, which 
produces the same effects. — Fraxiers Voyage, vol. i. 


umbellaled, yellow, and tubulous, with a border 
divided into four parts like the jessamin ; the 
seed is black, lenticular, and enclosed in a sphe- 
rical capsule, containing three cells. The coun- 
try people make use of the expressed juice, or 
the decoction, as a resolutive after falls or 
bruises, and it is found to be an excellent remedy 
in cases of that kind.* . Feuille, whose memory 
wall be ever dear to the Chilians, has furnished 
an account of a great number of medicinal 
plants, with very accurate delineations of them. 
I shall, however, merely mention a few of the 
principal ones ; as the jziclioa, the clinclin, the 
guilno 3 all of which are purgative plants ; the 
diiica-laliuen, a good vulnerary medicine ; the 
sandia-lahucn, serviceable in menstrual suppres- 
sions ; the corecore, a specific for the tooth-ach ; 
and the gnilhue, much esteemed as a purifier of 
the blood. 

Tobacco, called by the Indians putlian, is of 
two kinds, the cultivated and the wild. The 

* A drink made of the decoction of a certain herb called 
quincbainali is esteemed as an infallible remedy for the bleed- 
ing of the nose, when caused by a fall or violent blow. It is 
a species of the lavender, which bears a small red and yellow 
flower. Many of the medicinal herbs that we have in 
France are also natural to the country ; as several species of 
the maiden-hair, some of which are equal to the Canadian, 
the mallows, the fox-glove, polipody, spleenwort, and some 
others whose names I am unacquainted with. — Frazicr's 
Poyage, vol i. 


cultivated is subdivided into the common to- 
bacco, which is equal to the best Br azilian, and 
the little tobacco (nicotiana minima) whose 
leaves resemble those of the Cretan dittany ; its 
fructification is like that of the common kind, 
but the tobacco itself is much stronger, and 
more violent in its effects. 

Sect. V. Grasses. — The banks of the rivers 
and other moist places produce in general a great 
number of reeds and rushes, many of which are 
unknown to botanists. A species of the latter, 
which I have called scirpus elichnarius, serves to 
make wicks for candles. This rush grows to 
the height of about four feet ; the stem is 
is round; from the top protrude three sword- 
shaped leaves, in the midst of which are four 
globulous spikes or heads. 

From a species of rush, produced in the 
valleys of the Andes, the Araucanians manu- 
facture baskets of so close a texture as to hold 
water, which are employed for many domestic 
purposes. Of these great numbers are sold at 
the annual fairs in the Spanish provinces. But 
notwithstanding I have been assured by many 
tbat the plant employed in this manufacture is a 
real rush, from examination I am more inclined 
to believe it a species of cane, as its fibres are 
woody, and the whole substance very solid. 
Among those rushes whose characters are well 


defined, the solid rush of Chili deserves to be 
noticed: of this there are many kinds, compre- 
hended under the general name of coliu. All 
these rushes resemble the bamboo ; they have a 
smooth, hard, yellowish bark'; the inside is ge- 
nerally filled with a filaceous substance, a little 
harder than cork; the leaves are long and very 
slender, and grow upon several little branches 
into which the top divides itself. The three 
most remarkable kinds are the rugi, the quila, 
and the rush of Valdivla. 

The rugi (arundo rugi) is about as large as 
the common European rush, which is also well 
known in Chili. At the foot of the Andes this 
plant often grows to the height of twenty feet, 
but diminishes considerably as it approaches the 
sea, where it scarcely attains twelve. 

The quila (arundo quila) is three or four times 
larger than the rugi, but its shoots are not more 
than a foot distant from each other. 

The rush of Valdivia (arundo Valdiviana) 
has received this name from the circumstance of 
its growing in the vicinity of that city ; it is of 
an orange colour ; the shoots are very short, and 
the joints almost touch each other. The country 
people make of it cages and other little manu- 
factures; they also use it for their hedges, and 
sometimes to cover their houses, as it is very du- 
rable when it has not been too long exposed to 
moisture. The Araucanians make use of the 


quila for their lances, and the rush of Valdivia 
for canes/which are much esteemed. 

Sect. VI. Climbing Plants. — Climbing plants, 
or creepers, are found in great abundance in all 
the thickets. Several of the most beautiful are 
employed to decorate the trellices of gardens. 
Among others, the copiu deserves to be noticed ; 
its flowers, each of which is composed of six 
petals, three inches in length, are of the most 
beautiful crimson, spotted within with white. 
This plant climbs up the highest trees ; its 
leaves are disposed by threes, and are of a beau- 
tiful green, and an oval shape ; the fruit is an 
inch in diameter, cylindrical, of a dull yellow, 
and contains a white tender pulp of a sweet and 
pleasant taste. In Chili is likewise found the 
passion-flower (passiflora tiliae folia) the cara- 
cal, the sarsaparilla, the alstroemeria salsilla, 
and four or five other species of those vines 
called by- the French Manes, and by the inhabit- 
ants voqui. One of the most useful is the cogul 
(dolichos funarius). The vine is round, and 
ligneous, and of the size of pack-thread, and 
its flowers resemble those of the copiu. It 
climbs upon the trees like the ivy, but without 
attaching itself to them. When it reaches the 
top of a tree, it descends from it perpendicularly, 
and as it continues to grow extends itself from 

tree to tree, until at length it. offers to (he eye a 
confused tissue, exhibiting some resemblance to 
the ii p. This singular pi 

produces a leguminous flower of a purple co- 
lour ; its pod is an inch thick, and about a ft ot 
and a half long; it contains an oilv pulp of a 
sweet and von agreeable taste, and five seeds re- 
sembling those of the cotton. Tl which 
is much tougher and more flexible than osier. 
serves for many purposes, and can be procured 
from one to two hundred fathoms in length, as 
when it descends it docs net take root in the 
earth, like another plant analagous to it, which 
is a native of the torrid zone. The husband- 
men, before thev make use oC this \ me, pass it 
lightly through the flames, which not only 
loosens the bark, but at the same time renders it 
more flexible They employ it both in making- 
large baskets, and as wattling for their hedges ; 
it is sometimes even used in cables for \ 
which wear better thai made of be p, as 
thev are capable of resist i. :re for a Ion 
time. In the Archipelago of Chiloe is another 
plant called pepoi, in some r mg 
the coffiil. which, the h of those islands 
use as ropes for their periaugres. The voqtu, or 
vocJU, described bv i commonly 
grows in the woods of the maritime provi. 
of a distinct species, as is the larm of the 


same author, the flower of which is an inch in 
length, and is divided into five equal lobes of a 
beautiful red. 

Sect. VII. Shrubs. — In my catalogue of the 
plants of Chili I have noticed more than fifty- 
three indigenous shrubs ; but I am convinced, if 
an opportunity had been afforded me of ex- 
ploring a greater extent of country, that I might 
have more than doubled that number. Every 
province or district offers some variety in this 
class of vegetables of more or less utility to the 

• The bark and leaves of the shrubs called deu, 
thilco and utliiu, serve to dye black. The berries 
of the tara (poinciana spinosa) and of the mayu, 
furnish a black juice which is a good substitute 
for ink. The guiacum, which in Chili never ac- 
quires the size of a tree, is employed in turner v. 
The cabinet-makers use, for inlaying, the wood 
of several shrubs whose appropriate names I am 
unacquainted with, but which, from their hard- 
ness, are generally called ebony wood. The 
wild rosemary and several other resinous shrubs, 
are used as fuel in the furnaces for melting- 
copper. The wood of the colliguay (colliguaja, 
gen. nov.) when burnt, exhales a very agreeable 
smell like roses, without producing the least iu- 

The incense is not inferior to that brought 

vol. i. s. 


from Arabia, and is obtained from a shrub that 
grows in the province of Coquimbo, to which I 
have given the name of thuraria, gen. nov. It 
usually grows to the height of four feet ; the 
trunk is of an ash colour, from whence proceed 
a great number of branches loaded with oval 
leaves that are alternate, four inches long, rough, 
very succulent, and of a pale yellow ; the flow- 
ers are small, funnel-shaped, and of a light 
green; the capsule is spherical and divided into 
two cells, containing as many elongated seeds of 
a brown colour. In -the summer the incense 
exudes through tlie pores of the bark around 
the limbs in the form of little drops or tears, and 
is collected in great quantities in the autumn, 
when the leaves begin to fall. The globules are 
hard, white, transparent and shining, and have a 
bitter taste and a highly aromatic smell. In the 
hills near Valparaiso is found a species of sun- 
flower with a ligneous trunk, which produces a 
resinous substance resembling incense. 

The trunk of the puya (puya, ^en. nov. ) is 
used for cork throughout Chili. This shrub 
has a great resemblance to the anana. From its 
root issue three or four monstrous shoots of a 
conical form, as large as a man's body, but not 
exceeding twenty inches in length; these are 
covered with a spongy bark, disposed in the 
manner of scales ; from the top of these shoots 
or trunks proceed the leaves ; these are four feet 


long, furnished at the sides witfi crooked 
prickles, perfectly similar to those of the anana ; 
from the centre of the leaves rises a stalk, nine 
feet in length, and three inches in diameter, co- 
vered with a very hard green bark, enclosing a 
whitish spungy substance resembling cork. At 
the top the stalk is divided into a number of 
branches covered with leaves, much smaller 
than those of the root, and with yellow flowers, 
four inches long, composed of six irregular 
petals, which form together a large and beauti- 
ful pyramid. This singular vegetable produces 
no other fruit than a triangular capsule, con- 
taining a great number of very small black 
seeds. The nectaries of the flowers are always 
filled with honey, which is eagerly sought after 
by the children. The Araucanian provinces 
furnish several varieties of this plant, from 
whence the inhabitants collect great quantities 
of honey. 

Besides the kali of Alicant (salsosa kali) which 
grows in great abundance on all the marshes of 
the sea shore, a climbing shrub is found on the 
coast of Coquimbo, from whence the soap- 
boilers obtain large quantities of alkaline salt. 

Chili produces seven species of the myrtle, all 
estimable for their beauty and fragrance. But 
the most valuable is the one called by the In- 
dians iigni, and by the Spaniards murtilla. The 
French, who found it in the Malouine island?, 



have given to this shrub the name of lucet 
muscat * It usually grows to the height of four 
feet, and resembles much the myrtle of Ta- 
rentum, its branches and leaves being placed 
opposite each other in pairs ; the flowers are 
white, have five petals, and produce a round or 
red berry, the size of a small prune, marked 
with four green points like the pomegranate. 
This fruit contains several seeds that are flat 
and brown, and has a very pleasant aromatic 
smell, perceptible at a great distance. The 
inhabitants obtain from it a very agreeable odo- 
riferous liquor, which is preferred by foreigners 
to the best muscat. It requires a long time to 
ferment, but, when once clarified, is very clear, 
and has a delicious taste. Before the arrival of 
the Spaniards and the introduction of the grape, 
the natives used to prepare vinous liquors from 
several kinds of shrubs, at present neglected ; 
among these were two or three species of the 
Indian fig, or opuntia, called by the Chilians 
tuna, whose fruit is very fine, and as large as 
the best European figs. 

A great number of shrubs, from time inime- 

* Its fruit is of a beautiful appearance and very pleasant 
taste; by being put into brandy uitb a little sugar, it forms a 
rery delicious liquor, which has in a slight degree the smell 
of arnber and of musk, by no means disagreeable even to 
those who dislike those perfumes. — Vernetty's Voyagt, 
▼ol. ii. 


morial, have been employed as efficacious me- 
dicines by the physicians of the country. Among 
these is the cullen fpsoralea glandulosa) well 
known in Europe; it is considered as a powerful 
vermifuge, and one of the best stomachics ; the 
leaves are used in infusion, and from their 
aromatic taste are by many preferred to tea, and 
occasionally serve as a substitute for it. This 
shrub is indigenous to Chili, where it grows 
spontaneously, and frequently attains the height 
of a common sized tree. There is another va- 
riety which is called the yellow cullen, from the 
colour of its leaves, which, like those of the 
other, are disposed by threes, but are very thin 
and crisped, and, conglomerating towards the 
end of the limbs, form at the top of the tree a 
thick globular tuft that frequently causes the 
branches to bend. Its flowers, like those of the 
other species, are leguminous, the seed solitary 
and the leaves of both are Vulnerary and very 

* The albaquilla, in Indian cullen, is a shrub whose leave? 
emit an, odour like that of the sweet basil, aud produce a 
balsam of great efficacy in the cure of wounds, as I witnessed 
in the case of an Indian at Irequiu, who had received a verv 
deep one in his neck, and I have also experienced the beneficial 
effects of it myself. The flower is large, of a pale violet, and 
disposed upon spikes, and is one of that species comprehended, 
in the class of the leguminous. Another shrub, called harillo, 
is employed for the same purpose. This is different from the 
haritto of Tucuman, and its leaves, which are verv sanal* 

R 3 


The guaicuru (plegorhiza guaicuru, gen. 
nov. ) grows in the northern prov inces. The root 
is rough and of a red colour, and is used as a 
specific for all kinds of wounds ; it puts forth a 
great number of leaves resembling those of the 
myrtle, in the centre of which rises a stem of 
about six inches in height, divided at the top 
into many branches covered with leaves less than 
the radical, and very small bell-shaped flowers 
arranged in an umbellate order. Pernetty, in 
his Vo\age to the Malouine Islands, observes, 
that this plant, particularly the root, is one of 
the most powerful vegetable astringents known, 
and is likewise very excellent for the cure of 
ulcers and scrophulous complaints, and of great 
service in the dysentery — properties ascertained 
by the daily experience of the Chilians. 

In the province of Quillota is a species of the 
acacia, or mhnosa, called by the Spaniards ja- 
rilla, which affords a balsam of great efficacy in 
healing wounds. This balsam exudes from the 
branches and the leaves, and renders them viscous 
to the touch ; it exhales a very agreeable odour 
which is perceptible at a great distance. The 
jarilla grows to about five feet ; the leaves are 
winged and notched at the edges ; the flowers 
are yellow and divided into five petals, and 

emit a strong smell something like that of honey, and are so 
replete with balsam that they appear to be covered with it.— 
Frazier's Voyage, vol. i. 


produce a small berry, containing two or three 
kidney-shaped seeds. 

The expressed juice of the palqui (cestrum 
nocturnum) is considered as the best known re- 
medy for inflammatory fevers ; it is bitter and 
of an unpleasant taste, but very cool and re- 
freshing. The leaves of this shrub were for- 
merly considered by the husbandmen as poison- 
ous to cattle, but modern experiments have 
proved the unfoundedness of this opinion. In 
its appearance and smell the palqui resembles the 
elder, but the leaves are single, alternate and ob- 
long ; the flowers are corymbic, yellow, and 
like those of the jessamin, and the berries oval 
and of a purple colour. The wood is very brit- 
tle, but is preferred to any other by the Indians 
for the purpose of producing fire by friction ac- 
cording to their custom. This is done by turning 
rapidly between their hands a small stick of this 
wood in a hole made in another piece of the same 

Among the shrubs used for medicinal purposes 
is also the cassia sena, which is in no way differ- 
ent from that of the Levant. It grows in abun- 
dance near the source of the river Maypo. Sage 
is likewise found in many places, particularly in 
the low grounds near the sea. 

Sect. VIII. Trees.— The forests of Chili 
offer a great variety of trees, the most of which 



never lose their foliage. Those kinds that are 
known, amount to ninety-seven, and of these only 
thirteen shed their leaves. Among the former 
are many that are remarkable for their fragrance,* 
and are well deserving cultivation. Those that 
are similar or vary but little from the European 
trees, or which are to be met with in almost all 
botanical gardens, I shall merely enumerate, re- 
serving my descriptions for such as are less 
known, or distinguishable for some peculiarity. 

The valleys of the Andes produce naturally 
the white cedar and the red, called alerces, the 
cypress, the pine, and the pellinos, which is a 
species of oak. All these trees grow to a great 

* The woods are full of aromatic shrubs ; such as several 
kinds of myrtle, a species of laurel whose leaves are of the 
smell of saffron, but more pleasant ; the boldu, the leaves of 
which have the odour of incense, and the bark a biting taste 
something like that of cinnamon ; it is a different tree, howr 
ever, from that called the cinnamon, which produces a bark 
similar to that of the East Indies. The leaves of the boldu 
are like those of the greater laurel, but rather larger. There 
is also another tree called peumo, a decoction of the bark of 
which is very beneficial hi the dropsy. The fruit is red, and 
resembles an olive, and the wood is very proper for ship- 
building ; but the best tree for this purpose is a species of 
evergreen oak, very hard and durable, whose bark is a cork 
equal to that of the cork tree. On the shores of the river 
¥lio-bio are great quantities of cedar suitable for building, and 
excellent for spars. The bamboo reed is likewise very com- 
mon ia every part of the country. — Frazier's Voyage, vol. u 


height and size, but none of them can compare 
in that respect with the red* cedar, which, in 
the Archipelago of Chiloe, grows so large, that 
a single tree will frequently furnish from six to 
eiglit hundred boards of twenty feet in length. 

In the other parts of Chili are found the 
willow, the inolle, the Peruvian taper or cherry ^ 
the wild orange, the jloripondio, the white cin- 
namon, the carob tree, the maqui a species of 
cornel, the luma a species of myrtle, the mul- 
berry, the chirimoya, and the tamarind. The 
island of Juan Fernandes produces the red, 
yellow, and white sandal, the yellow wood, or 
fagus lutea, and a tree whose genus I am unac- 
quainted with, that produces a species of pepper 
inferior to that of the East Indies. 

The tjieige (salix Chilensis) differs from the 
European willow in its leaves, which are entire, 
slender, and of a yellowish green. This tree 
yields annually a great quantity of manna; the 
country people also make use of the bark, 
which they believe possesses a highly febrifugal 

Of the molle there are two kinds, the common 

* On my passage from Chili to Europe I observed that the 
water which was in casks made of the red cedar, kept sweet 
for a much longer time than that in the others. This water 
had acquired a red tinge, but the taste was not in the least 
changed, and it appeared to be as fresh as if just taken from 
the fountain. 


(schinus mollis) which is usually found in the 
marshes, and another called huigan (schinus 
huigan). The last grows naturally in any soil, 
and its leaves are very small. The inhabitants 
prepare from the berries of these trees a kind 
of red wine of an agreeable flavour but very 

The Peruvian taper, called in Chili quisco, is 
of two kinds, the common (cactus Peruvianus) 
and that of Coquimbo (cactus Coquimbanus) 
the thorns of which are eight inches long, and 
are used by the women for knitting-needles. 

The floripondio ( datura aborea) is a tree much 
esteemed for its beauty and the fragrance of its 
flowers, which diffuse an ambery odour to a 
great distance. f The trunk grows to the height 
of twelve feet, but rarely exceeds six inches in 
diameter, and is pithy within. The branches 

* The Indians prepare a beverage from themolleas pleasant 
and as strong as wine, if not more so, and make use of the 
solution of the gum as a purgative medicine. The sap, pro- 
cured by making an incision in the bark, is said to be a cure 
lor films, and a liquor obtained from the pith of the young 
shoots, excellent for clearing and strengthening the eyes. 
The fishermen of Coucon and Valparaiso boil (he bark, which 
produces a dve of the colour of burnt coffee, with which they 
>taia their nets. — Frazier's Voyage, vol. i. 

t We have no tree in Europe that equals in beauty the 
floripondio. When in blossom it far exceeds in fragrance any 
of our trees, and one of tliem is sufficient to perfume a whole 
garden. — Feuille, vol. ii. 


unite at the top and form a spherical crown, 
which produces a most delightful effect. The 
leaves are woolly and in the form of an elon- 
gated heart eight or ten inches in length, by three 
in breadth ; the flowers are turned back in the 
form of a funnel, and are divided into five 
pointed lobes ; they are white, from eight to ten 
inches long, and three in breadth. The fruit is 
nearly round, of the size of an orange, and co- 
vered with a greenish rind, containing a number 
of oval seeds, but it is never eaten. 

The wild orange tree (citrus Chilensis) is dis- 
tinguished from the cultivated by its sessile 
leaves, and its fruit, which is oval and not larger 
than a filbert, but has the taste of a common 
orange. This tree frequently grows to a con- 
siderable height, and the wood is much esteem- 
ed by turners on account of its beautiful yellow 

The white cinnamon, called by the Chilians 
l)oiglie y and the Spaniards canello, may be found 
in all the thickets of Chili. It is commonly 
known by the name of Winter's cinnamon, from 
its being first introduced into Europe by Captain 
Winter.* The trunk of this tree frequently 

* The boighe of Chili, or canello of the Spaniards, is not 
the tree which furnishes the white cinnamon of merchants, and, 
of course, not the same with that described by Linnaeus under 
the name of winteriana canella. The boighe of Chili is a real 


rises to the height of fifty feet ; the branches 
are placed opposite each other by fours, in the ^ 
form of a cross ; the leaves are large, alternate, 
and like those of the laurel ; the flowers are 
white, quadripetal, and very odoriferous ; the 
berries oval, asd of a changeable black and blue. 
Like the cinnamon of Ceylon, this tree produces 
two larks ; the exterior of a greenish brown, 
the other, when first taken from the tree, is of a 
dirty white, but when dry, becomes of the colour 
of the true cinnamon, which it very much re- 
sembles in taste, and in Feuille's opinion might 
serve as a succedaneum for it.* I am of the 
same sentiment, particularly if proper attention 
wer^ paid to the cultivation of it, which would 
probably tend to correct that sharp taste which 
renders it unpleasant. The natives employ the 
timber for building, but make no use of the bark. 
The Araucanians from time immemorial have 
regarded the boighe as a sacred tree; in their 
religious ceremonies they carry branches of it in 
their hands, and when they conclude a peace, 
they present them in token of amity and alliance, 

drymis, and appears to be the same with that described by 
the Chevalier de la Mark, under the name of drymis punctata. 
■— Fr. Trans. 

* The baik of the boighe may be applied to the same 
uses as the cinnamon; its smell is similar, and it acquires tht 
same colour when it is dried.— FeuilU, vol. hi. 



as the ancient nations of Europe did those of the 

The carol) tree of Chili (ceratonia Chilensis) 
is distinguished from that of Europe (silir-ua 
Europea) by its thorns, which are usually four 
inches long, and so hard that they are used by 
the country people instead of nails. Its pod re- 
sembles that of the European carob. 

The maqui ( cornus Chilensis) does not usually 
exceed ten or twelve feet in height, and the wood 
is too brittle for use. The leaves are opposite, 
heart-shaped, denticulated., juicy, and three 
inches long ; the (lowers are white, with four 
petals, and the berries purple. The Indians eat 
these berries or wild grapes, which are very 
sweet, and also prepare from them a beverage 
called theca. The juice of the leaves is esteem- 
ed a specific in the sore throat, and I am con- 
vinced of its efficacy from my own experience. 
There is a variety of this tree which bears a 
white berry. 

The luma (myrtus luma) is distinguishable 
from the common myrtle by its round leaves and 
its height, which is frequently forty feet. Its 
wood is the best of any known for the use of 
coach-makers, and large quantities of it are an T 
nually exported to Peru for that purpose. The 
Indians make from the berries a pleasant wine, 
in high repute as a stomachic. There is like- 
wise auothcr species of lofty myrtle (myrtus 


maxima) which grows in the same places with 
the Iuma, and frequently to the height of seventy 
feet; the wood of this is also very valuable. 

Among those trees, which produce the most 
useful woods, besides the cedars already men- 
tioned, are the caven, the quilled, the tithi, the 
mayten, and the temu. 

The caven (mimosa caven) called by the Spa- 
niards espino, resembles much the accacia folio 
scorpiodis leguminosa of Egypt. The trunk is 
winding and solid; the bark black and filled 
with cracks ; the branches scattered and furnish- 
ed with thorns ; the leaves disposed in pairs on a 
common footstalk, and two inches in length ; 
the flowers are flosculous and yellow, and form 
around bouquet like those of the acacia nilotica. 
but differ in being attached without peduncles to 
the boughs, which they completely cover, and 
their odour is so very fragrant that they are de- 
nominated aromas. The pod is from three to 
four inches long; it is cylindrical, of a dark 
brown, and contains many oval seeds marked 
with a yellow stripe ; these are enveloped in an 
astringent mucilage, from which a very good 
ink is made. The caven grows spontaneously 
in all the midland provinces, chiefly between the 
24th and 37th degrees of latitude, where its 
wood serves as fuel. It is more natural to the 
richest soils, and frequently grows to the height 
of an oak. The wood is hard and compact, of 


a dark brown veined with black and yellow, 
receives an excellent polish, and is used by 
several kinds of artisans for the handles of their 

The quillai (quillaja saponaria, gen. nov.*) 
derives its name from the Chilian word quillcan, 
to wash. The trunk of this tree exceeds the 
middle height,, and is covered with a thick bark 
of a greyish ash colour ; it divides itself at the 
top into two or three branches, which produce 
leaves like those of the ever-green oak ; its 
flowers are also furnished with stamina, but the 
seed is enclosed in a quadrangular capsule. The 
wood of the quillai is very hard, and does not 
easily split, for which reason the country people 
make use of it for stirrups. But what renders 
this tree really valuable is the bark, which, when 
pulverized and mixed with a certain quantity of 
water, foams like soap, and is efficacious in 
cleansing woollens and other kinds of cloth. A 
very considerable commerce is carried on with 
this bark; the Peruvians particularly import 
every year great quantities of it. 

The Hthi (laurus caustica) a species of middle 
sized laurel, is scattered over the whole country, 

* The quillai is a tree whose leaves resemble those of the 
ever-green oak. The bark ferments in water like soap, and 
is preferable to it for the washing of woollen cloth, but is apt 
to give linen a yellowish hue.— Frazicr's Voyage, vol. i. 


Its leaves are oval, wrinkled, an inch in length, 
and of a dark green ; the flowers, though much 
smaller, and the fruit resemble those of the 
common laurel. The effluvium from this tree, 
especially in summer,, produces painful pustules 
and swellings on the hands and faces of those 
who stop beneath its shade. This effect is various, 
however, with various persons : there are some 
who are very little, if at all, incommoded by it, 
while others, who merely pass by the tree, are 
severely affected ; though never attended with 
fatal consequences, it is nevertheless very trouble- 
some. Great precaution is requisite in cutting 
the tree, as its viscous juice is extremely caustic ; 
but when dry, the wood loses all its injurious 
qualities, and is employed for building. Its 
colour is a handsome red, veined with brown, and 
it acquires, after having been for some time 
under water, a very great degree of hardness, 
which might render it very useful in ship build- 
ing.* There is another large tree which I have 
reason to believe is truly poisonous ; it usually 
grows in the vicinity of the sea, is called the 

• The lithi is a tree very proper for building ships ; it is 
cut with great care when it is green, but when dry, particu- 
larly if it has been for some time under water, the wood 
becomes almost as hard as iron. It is employed by the natives 
in building their houses. Its colour when first cut is white, 
but when it is dried and seasoned it changes to a very hand- 
some red.— Feuiltt's Journ, 


haiku, and is one of the most beautiful trees of 
Chili. The physicians, however, in critical 
cases, direct the buds to be taken in powder not 
exceeding half a scruple, as a powerful emetic. 
The sh\) of this tree is a yellow inclining to green, 
but is not lacteous. Its flowers and fructifica- 
tion I shall not pretend to describe, never having 
seen it in a flowering state. 

The mat/ten (raaytenus boaria, gen. now) is 
a beautiful tree, and always retains its foliage, 
It grows in the same places with the lithi, and is 
an antidote to its poison. It is rarely more than 
thirty feet high; its branches, which are nume- 
rous, and commence at the height of eight feet 
from the root, form a very beautiful top ; the 
leaves are denticulated and pointed, about two 
inches in length, and of a brilliant green ; the 
flowers are monopetalous, bell-shaped, and of a 
purple hue, but so small as not to be distinguish 
able at a little distance. These flowers entirelv 
cover the young shoots, and are succeeded by a 
small round capsule containing a single black 
seed. The wood is very hard, and of an orange 
colour spotted with red and green. The cattle 
are very fond of the leaves, and will forsake any 
herbage for them ; and were it not for the 
hedges and ditches with which the inhabitants 
surround the young trees, the species would pro- 
bably before this time have been destroyed. 

The temo (tenuis moscata, gen. nov.) is a tree 

VOL. I. l 


of very thick foliage. The leaves are alternate, 
oval, smooth, and of a bright green. There are 
two varieties of this tree, distinguished by their 
yellow or white flowers, which are divided into 
eighteen narrow petals of two or three inches in 
length. The seeds resemble coffee, and are not 
unlike it in taste, but have a certain bitterness 
that renders them unpleasant. The bark is 
yellow, the wood grey, very hard, and much 
used in various manufactures. 

The patagua (cinodendron patagua, gen. nov.) 
is much valued for its flowers, which are small, 
but resemble in shape and smell the lily. The 
leaves are placed opposite in pairs, lanceolated, 
serrated, and of a bright green. The trunk fre- 
quently grows to such a size that four men can 
scarcely encircle it with their arms ; the wood is . 
white and easily wrought, but held in little esti- 

Chili, in comparison with those countries in 
America situated between the tropics, produces 
but few trees whose fruits are edible ; the prin- 
cipal of those are the coconut, the pehuefi, the 
gevuiti, the pcumo, and the lucuma. 

In the provinces of Quillota, Calchagua, and 
Maiile are large forests of the coconut tree 
(palma Chilensis). This species differs from 
the others of the same genus in the size of its 
fruit, which does not usually exceed that of a 
walnut. The trunk is about the height and 


diameter of a date tree, and its growth is very 
slow ; it is without branches and perfectly cy- 
lindrical, but when young is covered with the 
footstalks of leaves, which fall off as the tree in- 
creases in size. The leaves and flowers are ana- 
logous to those of the palm ; the last are mo- 
noical, and disposed in four clusters which hang 
around the tree. When in the bud they are en- 
closed within a spath, or woody sheath, which 
opens as the flower expands. When the fruit 
begins to form, the spath separates itself into two 
hemispherical parts of about three feet long by 
two broad. Each of these bunches produces 
more than a thousand Coconuts, and nothing can 
be more beautiful than to see one of these trees 
covered with fruit, shaded by the upper branches 
which bend over in the form of an arch. 

The fruit, like the tropical coconut, has two 
coverings ; the outer is hard externally and of 
a green colour, which gradually changes into a 
yellow, and the inside is filled with a kind of 
filaceous wool ; the interior shell is woody, 
smooth and round, and so hard that it would be 
difficult for the nut to germinate were it not for 
the two stems which are attached to the upper 
part of the shell, and separated from the nut 
only by a thin pellicle. The kernel is spherical, 
a little hollow in the middle, white, and of a 
very agreeable taste, and when fresh, contains a 
milky liquor which is pleasant and refrigeratory. 
t % . 


A great number of these nuts are exported ever* 
year to Peru., where they are highly esteemed. 
The oil obtained from thein by expression is well 
tasted and much used. The country people 
make use of the sheaths as bags for little aiticles 
of dress, and with the leaves manufacture baskets 
and thatch their cabins. The buds, if cut when 
young, yield great quantities of sap, which is 
thick, and furnishes a more agreeable sirup than 
that of the sugar cane ; but the tree commonly 
dies after this operation. 

The date is found in the province of Copiapo ; 
but I know not whether it is indigenous or wa* # 
brought thither from some other place. The 
islands of Juan Fernandez produce a species of 
palm called clionta. The trunk, like that of 
most other palms, is hollow, and the wood is 
black and as hard as ebony. Another tree, 
which I have called ampclo musa, resembles the 
palm, and grows in great quantities in the marshes 
of Maule ; the leaves proceed directly from 
the top of the trunk, aud are large and green 
like those of the banana ; the fruit is disposed in 
four clusters like those of the vine, and the re- 
semblance is so perfect, that were it not for a 
sharp and astringent taste, it might readily be 
mistaken for a grape. 

The pehuen (pintig Araucana) called by the 
Spaniards pino de la tier r a, resembles the fir more 
lhan the pine, although in some respects it. differs 


from both. It is the most beautiful of the trees 
of Chili, and grows spontaneously in the Arau- 
canian provinces, but is cultivated in all other 
parts of the country, and, from iH properties, 
partakes of the nature of the pine, the chesnut, 
and the frankincense. The trunk is frequently 
eighty feet in height, and its usual circumference 
is eight ; the wood is very resinous, and of a 
yellowish brown, and the bark smooth and green- 
ish ; the tree as it increases in height shedding all 
the little branches and leaves with which it is 
covered while young. When it attains the half 
of its growth it puts forth, in a horizontal di- 
rection, four durable limbs opposite to each other 
in the form of a cross ; the four following 
branches are disposed in the same manner but 
shorter, and at the distance of four or five feet 
from the first ; the others decrease in lens-th 
in proportion as they approach the top, which 
terminates in a point. The extremities of all 
these branches incline perpendicularly, and gixe 
to the tree the form of a quadrangular pyramid. 
This pyramidal shape becomes still more perfect 
from the number of little boughs which project 
laterally from the principal branches in a cruci- 
form manner, decreasing gradually from the 
common axis. The. principal branches as well 
as the boughs, are set round with st'ff leaves 
enchased in each other, of about three inches 
long by one broad ; these arc heart-shaped, con- 



vex above, very shining, and so hard that they 
appear like wood. The flower is amentaceous or 
conical, and perfectly resembles that of the pine ; 
the fruit is of the size of a man's head ; it is 
smooth, spherical, ligneous, suspended to a very 
short pedicle, and divided within by two thin shells 
into several cells, which contain the kernels in 
pairs; the kernels are about two inches in length 
and as large as the little finger, of a conical 
form, a transparent white, and covered with a 
pellicle like that of the chesnut, which they re- 
semble in taste, and, though rather harder, are* 
eaten in the same manner. The gum exudes, 
through the bark, is yellowish, and its odour 
very pleasant. f 

* Some of the Quarani tribes reduce them to a flour, and 
in that state preserve them as food. (Coment. de Cabeze de 
Vaca). In Chile and to the south they are preserved by boil- 
ing, aud prepared in this manner, says Falkner, they have 
something of a mealiness, and taste very like a boiled 
almond, but not so oily. — E. E. 

t This is the dombey of Chili of M. de la Mark. This tree 
is not a pine, as M. Molina supposes; it is a new genus, well 
defined by its fructification, and clearly distinguishable from 
any of those that are known. In fact, besides its flowers 
being dicecial, they have this very singular discrimination, that 
they grow upon catkins, with no other pericarpiiim than what 
is produced by the generative organs — the forked append^es 
that terminate the props of the stamina forming the pericarpium 
of the male catkin, and the two valves of each stigma that of 
the female. 


The geviiin (gevuina avellina, gen. nov.) 
called by the Spaniards avellano, or the hazle, 
from the appearance of its fruit, grows to a 
middle height in marshes and in the valleys of 
the Andes. Its leaves are winged and terminated 
with one dissimilar like those of the ash, but the 
leaflets are rounder, more solid, slightly denticu- 
lated, and disposed by four or five couple upon 
a common pedicle. The flowers are white, 
quadripetal, and attached by pairs to a spike 
which proceeds from the hollow part of the 
leaves. The fruit is round, nine lines in diame- 
ter, and covered with a coriaceous shell, which 
is at first green, afterwards becomes yellow, and 
at length black ; the kernel is divided into two 
lobes, and in taste resembles the European 

Thepeumo (peumus, gen. nov.) is a tree con- 
sisting of four very different species, and a great 
number of varieties; all of these are tall and 
covered with stiff aromatic leaves; the fruit is 
like the olive, but a little smaller, having a ker- 

The fruit is also singular; it consists of large oval rounded 
cones, composed of a great number of elongated seeds, fixed 
naked around one common axis. These seeds, of course, are 
not to be found in pairs in the hollow of each scale of the cone 
as in the pine, since that of the dombeya has no scales. — Ft. 

The Spaniards call the resin of this tree incense, and use it 
as such. — E. E. Falkner. 



nel more or less hard, according to the species. 
The flowers are white or of a rose colour, with 
six petals shorter than the calyx. The first spe- 
cies (peumus rubra) has alternate leaves, oval, 
petiolated, entire and large, like those of the 
hornbeam, and bears a red fruit ; the second 
(peumus alba) has denticulated leaves and a, 
white fruit; the third (peumus mammosa) has 
sessile leaves in shape of a heart, and the fruit is 
terminated by a hind of nipple ; the fourth 
(peumus boldus) bears oval haves, placed op- 
posite in pairs, about four inches in length, 
woolly beneath, and of a dark green. The fruit 
of this last species is smaller than that of the 
others and almost round, and the kernel so hard 
that the inhabitants make their rosaries of it. 
They also give to the fruit the name of boldo, 
and use the shells to perfume the vessels in which 
they put their wine. The fruits of the three 
first kinds are eaten ; to prepare them for that 
purpose they are merely dipped in warm water, 
as a greater degree of heat would burn and 
render them bitter. The interior pulp is white, 
buttery, and of an agreeable taste, and the 
kernel contains much oil, which might be used 
both for lamps and for eating. The bark serve.'! 
for tanning leather, and is also used in dying. 

The lucuma (lucuma, gen.'nov. ) comprehends 
five different species and many varieties, all of 
oa large trees, with stiff leaves resembling the 


laurel. The flowers Lave a great number of 
stamina, and produce a fruit, which, in size and 
taste, has some similarity to the peach ; the out- 
side skm is yellowish and the pulp sweet, and 
usually contains one or two kernels of an irre- 
gular shape. Two kinds of lucuma are cul- 
tivated — the lucuma hi f era and the turbinate. 
The bifera bears twice a year, early in summer 
and in autumn ; but the autumnal fruits alone 
produce kernels ; these are two, and have the 
appearance of chesnuts. The fruit is round and 
a little sloped, but less so than that of the tur- 
binata, which has the form of a whipping-top. 
Notwithstanding both these fruits ripen upon 
the tree, it is necessary to keep them some time 
in straws, which ameliorates them and corrects 
their natural roughness, and by this means they 
acquire that pleasant taste which renders them 
so much esteemed. 

Of the wild lucuma three species are known 
in Chili by the names of bcllota, keule, and 

The beilota (lucuma Valparaidisea) grows in 
great quantities in the environs of Valparaiso, 
and is distinguished from the others by its leaves, 
which are opposite, and its round or oval fruit, 
which is usually bitter. 

The keule (lucuma keule) which frequently 
grows to the height of a hundred feet, has oval 
leaves about six inches long and of a brilliant 


green. This tree usually bears a great quantity 
o, fruit which is perfectly round and of a shining 
y How, forming a fine contrast with the beautiful 
verdure of the foliage. 

The chattier (lucuma spinosa) has a trunk 
about thirty feet high ; the branches are thorny, 
the iea es oval and sessile, and the fruit resembles 
that of the keule, but has a more agreeable taste. 
The wood is hard, of a yellow colour, and much 
vaiucc y cabinet-makers. 

lae different kinds of pulse, flowers, garden 
heibs, vines, ana fruit .rees, which the Spaniards 
have brought from Europe, thrive as well in 
Chili hs in their native country.* 

The melons, of which there are many kinds, 
are almost always long ; the rind is very thin, 

* Each house has a garden in which may be found all kinds 
of fruit trees, which produce every year such abundance of fruit 
that the inhabitants pluck off a great part of it when it first 
forms, as otherwise it would not only endanger breaking the 
limbs, hut would never come to maturity. The fruits arc not 
inferior in quality to those of Europe, except the chesnut which 
is much less, but in place of this there are many other kinds 
of fruit unknown in our climate. — Feuille, vol. ii. 

All the houses in Coquimbo have large gardens surrounded 
with walls, in which, in their season, are produced apples, 
pears, prunes, delicious cherries, nuts, almonds, olives, lemons, 
oranges, pomegranates, figs, grapes, and many other fruits, 
peculiar to the country, uot known in Europe. All these 
fruit? are very odoriferous, as I have myself experienced.-— 
Feuille, vol.ii. 


and the flavour excellent. Among" them the 
musk melon and the scritti, two marked and 
constant varieties, are preferred to any other j 
and I have seen many that were two feet in length. 
The melons begin to ripen in the month of De- 
cember, and continue until the end of May. 
These last, which I have called winter melons 
(invernizi) are green, and will keep perfectly 
well during the winter if they are placed in a 
situation where the air may have free access to 

The inhabitants cultivate seven species of 
water melons of an excellent kind, but the most 
esteemed is that called pellaia^ which has a thin 
rind like the skin of an apple, This fruit is a 
native of Jamaica, from whence the Spaniards 
imported it into Europe, but it is probable that 
the cuch^gnd, which is of the same species of 
an excellent flavour, was cultivated in Chili long 
before the arrival of the Spaniards. 

I have already spoken of the great fertility of 
the soil in the production of different kinds of 
grain ; and shall merely observe in this place 
that the species of wheat most generally cul- 
tivated is one without beard, called mutica ; this 
is sowed in August, and the crop reaped in De- 
cember. Hemp and flax grow extremely well in 
Chili; but as the exportation of it is rigorously 
prohibited, the inhabitants raise no more than is 
wanted for internal consumption. 


The vine produces wonderfully, and the soil 
appears to be peculiarly favourable to it, as the 
thickets are filled with wild vines (the seeds 
having been carried thither by birds) from whose 
grapes the country people obtain a very good 
wine ; but the cultivated vines produce delicious 
grapes of the best quality. From the borders 
of Peru to the river of Maule, the mode of cul- 
tivating the vines is by raising the sets to the 
height of three or four feet by means of props 
or forked stakes which support them ; but 
beyond that river they are planted upon the de- 
clivities of hills, and reclined on the ground. 
The grapes in the highest estimation are those 
that grow upon the shores of the Itata. The 
wine obtained from them is the best in Chili ; it 
is called Conception wine, and is usually red, of 
a good body, an excellent flavour, and not in- 
ferior to the first wines in Europe.* A great 
quantity of this wine is annually exported to 
Peru, but it loses much of its pleasant flavour 
from being put into casks that are daubed over 
oh the inside with a kind of mineral pitch. 

* The country is full of hills, with fine vineyards on their 
tops, which produce very excellent wiues. — Feuiltt, vol. ii. 

The wines of St. Jago are of several kinds, and although 
inferior to those of Conception, are very well tasted, and of 
a good body. — American Gazetteer; article Chili. 

That wine which is exported from Chili to Paraguay, is 
thick, and sweet, but has a certain harshness. — E. E. 

Dobrixhojfer, T, 2. p. 22g. 


The muscadel wine is., acording to Ulloa, of 
as good a quality as the hest of Spain.* These 
wines are in general very strong, and great quan- 
tities are used for distilling brandy. The vintage 
takes place in the months of April and May. 
About twenty vears since some vines of a black 
muscadel grape, of an excellent quality, were 
discovered in the valleys of the Andes, and from 
thence transplanted into the other provinces. As 
these valleys hud never been inhabited, and until 
that time no such grape had been known in any 
other part of the country, it is difficult to deter- 
mine whether it is a native of Chili or brought 
from Europe, It has besides some peculiarities 
that distinguish it, as the leaves being more in- 
dented, and the clusters perfectly conical, while 
the grapes grow so close to each other as to render 
it impossible to detach one without crushing 

All the European fruit trees yield abundantly, 
and their fruit is as line in Chili as in their native 
country. f The greater part are also remarkable 

* Chili has in no less abundance grapes of various kinds, 
and among them those which produce a wine more highly 
valued in Peru than any other; it is mostly red, and a mus- 
cadel is also made, which in its smeil and the deliciousness of 
its taste surpasses any kind known in Spain. — Ulloa's Voyage. 

f The plain of Quillota is very pleasant. We were there at 
the time of the carnival, which occurs in that country in the 
beginning of autumn, and were much surprised to see a great 


for their numbers and the increase of their size. 
In the southern provinces are forests of apple and 
quince trees from three to four leagues in extent, 
from whence proceeds that great variety of 
apples,, the fruit of many of which is excellent. 
Among these, however, those of Quillota are the 
most in estimation. The quinces are remarkable 
for their size and goodness;* like those of 
Europe they have an acid and astringent taste, 
but if suffered to attain perfect maturity, and 
not gathered until the end of autumn, they are 
very sweet, and are called in the country corcia. 

quantity of all kinds of the best European fruit trees which 
have been transplanted thither. They all produced in abun- 
dance, particularly the peaches, of which there were large 
thickets ; while the only attention paid to their cultivation was 
by introducing some small streams of water among them, from 
the river Chile, to supply the want of rain during the summer. 
— Fraxier's Voyage, vol. i. 

Pears and apples grow so naturally in the bushes, that it is 
difficult to conceive, on seeing such quantities of them, how it 
is possible for these trees to have multiplied since the conquest 
to such a degree, if it is true, as is said, that they were not in 
the country before that period. — Frazier's Voyage, vol. i. 

From these wild apples the Indians made a kind of cider for 
present use, not knowing how to ferment it so as to make it 
keep. — E. E. — Falkner. 

* What I most admired was the size of the quinces, for 
they are larger than a man's head. But what was'no less an 
object of surprise, was the little account made of them by the 
inhabitants, who suffered them to rot upon the ground without 
paying any attention to collecting them, — Feuillc, vol. hi. 


It is a well known fact that this fruit loses its 
astringency by being allowed to remain a long 
time upon the tree ; but in this country thev pre- 
tend that the autumnal rains and the slight 
white frosts of that season are necessary to per- 
fect it. There is likewise a particular species of 
the quince, improperly called lucuma. The 
fruit is very different from that of the real lu- 
cuma, and is always sweet, of a conical shape, 
and in a small degree umbilical ; the skin, as well 
as the pulp, is of an orange colour, and the tree 
is a real quince tree. 

The peaches amount to fourteen species, and 
frequently produce fruit of more than sixteen 
ounces weight. Among the duracines, that kind 
called in the country alberchigos, is the most in 
estimation ; the fruit is large and very excellent, 
the pulp is of a reddish white, and the stone per- 
fectly red. The tree, like the fig, bears twice a 
year ; in the month of January it yields large 
and pulpy peaches, and in April a small fruit, 
resembling the almond, of a delicious taste, 
called almendruchos. The pears and cherries 
produce also twice a year, but the latter growth 
rarely obtains perfect maturity.* Oranges, le- 

* The fruit trees brought from Europe thrive very well ia 
i that country, whose climate is so favourabk as respects vege- 
tation that the trees bear fruit there the whole year. I have 
frequently seen in the same orchard, what is coinmou in omn' 
geries, the fruit in all states, in the burl, in flower, green, aud 
perfectly ripe at the same time, — Frazier's Voyage, vol. i, 


mons, and citrons, of which there are many va- 
rieties in Chili, grow every where in the open 
fields, and their vegetation is not inferior to that 
of the other trees. Besides the common kind, a 
species of small lemon is much cultivated, the 
fruit of which is about the size of a walnut, 
and very juicy. The leaves are small and re- 
semble those of the orange more than the lemon, 
a very delicious sweetmeat is made from the fruit, 
and the juice is much used in inflammatory 

The olive* grows very well, particularly in 
the vicinity of St. Jago, where I have seen 
trees of three feet in diameter and of a pro- 
portional height. Medlars, service apples, the 
three-grained medlar and the jujube, are the only 
European fruits at present unknown in Chili. 

*Tbe first olive was carried from Andalusia to Peru in 156*0, 
by Antonio de Ribera, of Lima. — £. E. 

P, Manuel Rodriguez. Ind, Ckron- 



Worms, Insects, Reptiles, Fishes, Birds, and 

Chili is not quite so abundant in animals as the 
other countries of America. The reptiles, for 
instance, are but few, and the indigenous qua- 
drupeds do not exceed thirty-six species. The 
classes of worms, of fishes, and of birds are 
those that contain the greatest number of species 
and of individuals. From my observations, 
however, I am led to believe that insects are less 
abundant than in Italy, and that Chili produces 
a greater number of worms> particularly the 
marine kind ; the whole coast of the Pacific 
Ocean being filled with zoophytes and mollus- 
cas, many of which are wholly unknown to na- 

Sect. I. Molluscas. — The pyura (pyura, 
gen. nov. ) is a mollusca, remarkable for its 
shape and its mode of dwelling. This animal, 
which scarcely merits the name, is about an inch 

VOL. I, M 


In diameter, and of the shape of a pear, or it 
may more properly be compared to a small fleshy 
purse, of nearly a conical form, filled with salt 
water ; it is of a red colour, and is furnished on 
the upper part with two very short trunks, one of 
which serves for a mouth, the other as an anus. 
Between these are two shining black points 
which I suppose are the eyes. On the strictest 
examination I have not been able to discover any 
organs or intestines separate from the flesh com- 
posing the body of this animal, which is smooth 
on the outside, and within mammiform. It is 
not, however, destitute of sensibility, as, on 
being touched or drawn from its cell, it ejects 
with violence from both trunks the water which 
it contains. Several of these animals live to- 
gether in a kind of coriaceous hive ; this is of 
a different form in different places, and appears 
to be completely closed on the outside, but with- 
in is divided into ten or more cells by means of 
strong membranes. Each individual has his 
separate cell, where he lives a recluse life with- 
out any visible communication with his compa- 
nions, and in which he is compelled to remain, 
though there is no perceptible ligament that at- 
taches him to it. From this circumstance it 
may fairly be presumed that these animals are 
hermaphrodites of the first species, or such as 
produce their like without coupling. 

The hives, which serve as habitations for 


itiese moliuscas, resemble alcyoniums, and are 
attached to rocks, covered by the water, from 
whence they are torn by the waves and driven on 
the shore. The inhabitants of Chili eat the 
pyures, either boiled or roasted in the shells, and 
when fresh they have the taste of a lobster. 
Great quantities of them are dried annually and 
sent to Cujo, where they are in great request. I 
believe the animal which Kolben, in his descrip- 
tion of the Cape of Good Hope, calls the sea 
fountain, is of the same family. 

Various species of the holothuria, especially 
the holothuria physalis, or the galley, are fre- 
quently found upon the shore, whither they are 
driven by the waves. This mollusca, called by 
several authors the sea nettle, from its producing 
an inflammation of the skin when touched, is of 
the shape and size of an ox-bladder filled with 
air. It is furnished within with a great number 
of branching feelers, or tentacular, intertwined 
with each other, in the centre of which is placed 
the mouth, of a very deformed appearance. 

These tentaculae are of several colours, red., 
purple or blue; the skin that forms the vesicle or 
bladder is transparent, and appears to consist of 
different longitudinal and transverse fibres, within 
which a peristaltic motion is perceptible. The 
top of this bladder is ornamented with a mem* 
brane in the shape of a crest, which serves the 
animal as a sail, and contains nothing excepting 


a liHle clear water,, confined to one of its extre- 
mities by a membrane or diaphragm, which pre- 
vents it from spreading- throughout the whole 
cavity of the bladder. 

Besides the common cuttle fish (sepia octo- 
podia) three other singular species are found iu 
the sea of Chili. The first, the ungulated cuttle 
fish (sepia unguiculata) is of a great size, and 
instead of suckers, has paws armed with a double 
row of pointed nails, like those of a cat, which 
it can, at its pleasure, draw into a kind of sheath. 
This fish is of a delicate taste, but is not very 
common. The second I have called the tuni- 
cated cuttle fish (sepia tunicata) from its body 
being covered with a second skin, in the form of 
a tunic ; this is transparent, and terminates in two 
little semicircular appendages like wings, which 
project from either side of the tail. Many won* 
derful and incredible stories are told by sailors 
of the bulk and strength of tLis fish, but it is 
certain that it As frequently caught of one hun- 
dred and fifty pounds weight on the coast of 
Chili, and the flesh is esteemed a great delicacy. 
The third is the cuttle fish with six feet (sepia. 
hexapodia). This species is of a very singular 
figure, and when seen in a state of quiescence, 
appears much more like a broken piece of the 
small branch of a tree than an animal. Its body 
does not exceed six inches in length, and is of 
the size of a man's finger, divided into four or. 


five articulations decreasing in size towards the 
tail. Its feet are usually drawn up near the 
head, but when extended have the appearance of 
so many floating roots ; like those of other cuttle 
fish, they are furnished with suckers, but so 
small as to be scarcely discernible. The head is 
misshapen, and supplied with two antennae, or 
trunks. The black liquor is contained in a little 
bladder or vesicle, common to all the genus, and 
is very good for writing. The animal, when 
taken in the naked hand, produces a slight de- 
gree of numbness, which is not, however, at- 
tended with any disagreeable consequences. 

Of the urchins, or sea-eggs, there are several 
species, but the principal are the white and the 
black. The white urchin (echinus albus) is of 
a globular form, and about three inches in dia- 
meter; the shell and spines are white, but the 
interior substance is yellowish, and of an excel- 
lent taste. The black urchin (echinus niger) is 
a little larger than the white, and of an oval 
form; the exterior and the eggs' are black; it 
is called the devil's hedge-hog, and is never 

Of the class of vermes, or worms, the order 
of testacei are most abundant in Chili; the sea 
shore being covered with all kinds of shells, of 
which several hills are formed, from whence the 
inhabitants collect great quantities for lime. I 
have no doubt that among them might be dis- 



covered not only some of a new species, but of a 
new genus; but as the limits of my work will 
not permit me to go into a full description of 
them,, I shall confine myself to those kinds that 
are the most esteemed and made use of by the 

Oysters are found in many places on the coast; 
there are several varieties, but the largest and 
best are taken near Coquimbo. Escallops are 
found in the same places with the oyster, not 
only those with convex, but those with flat 

The principal species of the muscle are the 
common, the pearly muscle (mytilus margariti- 
fer) the large and small Magellanic muscle, the 
chorus, and the black muscle. The large Ma- 
gellanic muscle is six inches long and three 
bread, the shell is covered on the outside with a 
brownish skin, beneath which it is of a beautiful 
sky blue, crossed transversely with purple stripes, 
and within is of a rich mother of pearl colour 
striped with red. The little Magellanic muscle 
is nearly of the same colour, but of rather a 
more oval form. Both these kinds commonly 
contain some small pearls, of little lustre ; 
those, on the contrary, that are found in the 
pearly muscle, are of a fine water, but almost 
always very small. 

The chorus (mytilus chorus) is seven inches 
long by three and a half broad. The skin is of 


a deep blue,, but the shell, when stripped of it, 
is of a shining white inclining to blue ; the 
muscle itself is very white and excellently tasted. 
It is principally foifhd on the island of Quin- 
quina, and the coast of Araucania. The black 
muscle (mytilus ater) is nearly as large as the 
chorus, the shell is rough and of a dark blue, 
and the flesh black and never eaten. 

Fresh water muscles are also found in abund- 
ance in the rivers and the ponds. I have noticed 
three species of them, known by the names of 
dollum, pellu, and uthif, but they are all of an 
insipid and disagreeable taste. 

The tellinae are also common in Chili, par- 
ticularly the may co 3 a species of rayed tellens, 
or sun-beam, and the chdlgud, which is entirely 

The thaca (chamathaca) is a cockle that is 
nearly round, about four inches in diameter ; 
the shell is striated longitudinally, and spotted on 
the outside wilh white, yellow, and purple ; the 
inner part is of a beautiful yellow, and the flesh 
excellent eating. The macho, (solen macha) is 
a species of razor-shell, a genus of shell-fish 
so called from their form. It is six or seven 
inches long, and variegated with sky-blue and 
brown. Both these kinds bury themselves in 
the sand, from whence the fishermen take them 
in great numbers. 

The rocks of Chiloe afford a residence to a 


species of pholades (pholus Chilensis^ which the 
inhabitants call comes. The shell is bivalve, but 
has some cretaceous appendages on the upper 
part, and is often six inches long and two 
broad. v 

Barnacles of various species are found in 
abundance upon all the coast. Of these, one 
called the i arrot-bill (lepas psittacus) is much 
esteemed by the inhabitants. From ten to twenty 
of these animals inhabit as many small separate 
cells, formed in a pyramid of a cretaceous sub- 
stance. These pyramids are usually attached to 
the steepest parts of rocks, at the water's edge, 
and the animal derives its subsistence from the 
sea by means of a little hole at the top of each 
cell. The shell consists of six valves, two large 
and four small; the large ones project externally 
in the form of a parrot's bill, from whence the 
animal has received its name. When detached 
from the rocks they are kept alive in their cells 
for four or five days, during which time they oc- 
casionally protrude their bills as if to breathe. 
They are of different sizes, though the largest do 
not exceed an inch in length, and are very white, 
tender, and excellent eating. 

Of the buccinura and the mures there are like- 
wise a great number of species. One of the 
latter, the loco (murex loco) is highly esteemed. 
It is very white, and of a delicious taste, but 
rather tousrb, and in order to render it tender, it 


is generally beaten with a small stick before it is 
cooked. The shell is oval, and covered with 
knots or tuberosities ; the animal is about four 
or five inches in length, and near the neck has a 
small vesicle which contains a few drops of a 
purple liquor. 

As far as I have had it in my power to ob- 
serve, there are no naked snails or slugs in Chili., 
but those that are covered with a shell are very 
numerous in all the thickets. One of the most 
curious species is found in the vicinity of Con- 
ception; I have called it the serpentine, from its 
skin being hard and covered with scales like that 
of a serpent. The shell is conical, and larger 
than a turkey's egg ; it is slightly striated, and 
of a whitish grey colour, and the edge of the 
aperture is turned back and forms a border of a 
beautiful red. 

Sect. II. Crustaceoas Fishes and Insects. — 
Thirteen different species of crabs and craw- fish 
have been discovered on the sea-coast of Chili, 
and there are four kinds inhabiting the fresh 
waters. Among the crabs the most remarkable 
are the tqlicuna, the xaiva, the apancora, the hairy y 
the sarJolia, and the crowned. 

The taUcuna (cancer talicuna) has a round, 
smooth, and convex shell, about four inches io 
diameter. The claws are denticulated, the head 
and the eyes very protrusive., and the belly is al- 


most entirely covered with the tail. When afire 
it is of a dark brown, but becomes red when 

The xaiva (cancer xaiva) has a shell that is 
nearly spherical, about two inches and a half in 
diameter, furnished with spines upon the edges. 

The apancora (cancer apancora) is larger than 
the talicuna. The shell is oval and wholly den- 
ticulated, the claws are hairy, and the tail of a 
triangular form and very long. 

The hairy crab (cancer setosus) is of the size 
of the preceding, and is entirely clothed with 
rough hair like bristles ; the back shell is in the 
shape of a heart, and covered with protuber- 
ances. The beak is divided and reverted, and 
furnished with a great number of hairs. 

The santolla (cancer santolla) surpasses all the 
ethers in its size, and the delicacy of its taste. 
Its shell is orbicular, convex, and of a coria- 
ceous consistence ; it is covered with large spines, 
which are easily detached when it is roasted, and 
the claws are very long and large, and covered 
with a wrinkled skin. 

The croxened crab (cancer coronatus) is fur- 
nished with a shell nearly oval, of about four 
inches and a half in diameter, With an excres- 
cence in the centre representing a mural crown. 

Crawfish are no less abundant on the Chilian 
coast. Lord Anson mentions having caught 
them at Juan Fernandez of eight and nine pounds 


weight, that were of an excellent flavour. Lob- 
sters are also found in such quantities on the 
same island, that the fishermen have no other 
trouble to take them, than to strew a little meat 
upon the shore, and when they come to devour 
this bait, as they do in immense numbers, to 
turn them on their backs with a stick, By this 
simple method many thousands are taken an- 
nually, and the tails, which are in high estima- 
tion, dried and sent to Chili. 

Of the fresh water crabs, the most remarkable 
is that called the mason (cancer cementarius). It 
is about eight inches long, of a brown colour 
striped with red; the flesh is very white, and 
preferable to that of any other species of river or 
sea crab. They are found in abundance in almost 
all the rivers and brooks, on whose shores thev 
build themselves, with clay, a small cylindrical 
tenement, which rises six inches above the sur- 
face of the ground, but admits the water, by 
means of a subterranean ca:al extending to the 
bed of the river. They are readily caught hy 
letting down a basket or osier pot, with a piece 
of meat in it, into the water. 

The insects which I have noticed in Chiii 
were in general like those of Italy; a great num- 
ber, however, appear to be very distinct, and to 
merit a particular description. Among the latter 
is a singular species of the chrysomela ( chryso- 
mela maulica) which is found upon the flowers 


of the visncga. It is of an oval figure., a little 
larger than a house-fly, and is entirely of a 
golden colour, and extremely brilliant. The 
country people in the province of Maule, where 
it is principally to be met with, string together a 
number of these insects for necklaces and other 
ornaments, which preserve their beauty and bril- 
liancy for a long time. 

In the same province is found a black beetle of 
more than half an inch in length, called pilmo 
(Iucanuspilmus) which is very destructive to le- 
guminous plants, particularly the bean. But 
the husbandmen have succeeded in nearly extirr 
pating this species, by shaking the plants, upon 
which they are, over vessels of hot water placed 

Chili is much less infested with grasshoppers 
than Cujo, and many other countries in America. 
There is but one species with which I am ac- 
quainted; it is found upon fruit trees, and is 
about six inches long. When the insect extends 
its legs, it resembles verv much a twig of the tree 
upon which it keeps. The common people, ac- 
cording to the vulgar notion that every thing de- 
formed has some connexion with evil spirits, call 
it the devil's horse.* It is not a common insect, 
and appears to me to resemble the grillus clepkas 

* From the author's description, this insect appears rather 
to belong to the genus of mantis than an\ other.— Fr. Trans. 


df Linnaeus. Bed-bugs were unknown in Chili 
till within the last sixty years. They are said to have 
been first introduced by the European ships, but 
have since increased very much in the northern 
provinces, particularly in St. Jago. The south- 
ern provinces are as yet exempt from this trouble- 
some insect. 

The glow-worms that I have seen" were in ge- 
neral similar to those of Italy. But one night, as 
I was passing a little wood, I observed three in- 
sects as large as the death's head sphinx (sphinx 
atropos ) which gave a very bright light. My 
attempts to take them, however, were fruitless, 
and I was never afterwards able to discover any 
of them, but I am of opinion that they were a 
species of the lantern-fly. 

Of caterpillars there is a great variety of spe- 
eies ; and in the summer the' fields of Chili are 
embellished with the most beautiful butterflies? 
Among them are some that are remarkable for 
their size and the splendour of their colours. Of 
these, the most distinguished is one that I have 
denominated the parrot butterfly (papilio psitta- 
cus ). This is very large and wonderfully beau- 
tiful ; the top of the head is of a fine vermilion, 
marked with yellow ; the back yellow, with red, 
azure, and green spots ; the upper part of the 
wings is green, spotted with yellow and blue, and 
the lower of a pale red ; the belly is blue, 
speckled with brown and grey, and the antennae* 


which are shaped like a club,, are purple. There 
is another of the same size (papilio leucothea) 
called by the children palama. This butterfly is 
entirely of a silvery white, except the antennae 
and legs, which are black. 

In the vicinity of the sea, between the rivers 
Rapel and Mctaquito, is a kind of caterpillar 
said to resemble the silk-worm, which forms 
upon the forest trees small cocoons of a beautiful 
silk, not inferior to the European. Nor can it 
be doubted, that a climate so mild as that of 
Chili should be peculiarly favourable to the pro- 
pagation of the silk- worm, but as yet no attention 
has been paid thereto, and all the silk used in 
that country is imported from Europe. 

It would not readily be believed that the rosin, 
which is collected in such quantities in the pro- 
vince of Coquimbo, from a shrub called cliilca, 
a species of origanum, is not a real gum, and, 
like others, an exudation of the sap through the 
bark. But one of my countrymen, the Abbe 
Panda, who has examined with much attention 
the natural productions of that province, has 
lately discovered that this supposed rosin is pro- 
duced by a small smooth caterpillar, of a red co- 
lour, and about half an inch in length.* These 

* I am convinced that this resinous substance is a produc- 
tion of the tree itself, and that the caterpillar merely facili- 
tates its exudation, by biting the buds in the spring ; the same 
circumstance occurs in many of the resinous trees of Europe. 
— Fn Trans. 

1»* c 

insects collect in great numbers in the beginning 
of the spring on the branches of the chilca, where 
they form their cells of a kind of soft white wax. 
In these they become changed into a small yel- 
lowish moth, with black stripes upon the wings, 
which I have named plialcna ceraria. The wax 
is at first very white, by degrees becomes jellow, 
and finally brown ; this change, and the bitter 
taste which it then acquires, is supposed to be 
owing to the fogs, which are very frequent in the 
provinces where it is found. It is collected in 
autumn by the inhabitants, who boil it in water, 
and afterwards make it up into little cakes, in 
which form it is brought to market. In order to 
increase its weight, many are accustomed to mix 
it with the rosin obtained from another resinous 
shrub called pajaro pobo, and in this state great 
quantities of it are sold to ship-masters, who use 
it for paying their vessels, the only purpose to 
which it has hitherto been applied. It is to be 
regretted that the situation of the Abbe would 
not permit him to pursue his experiments, in or- 
der to determine whether this rosin might not 
serve for candles equally as well as bees wax, 
which it greatly resembles. 

Upon the branches of the wild rosemary is 
also found a whitish viscous substance, in glo- 
bules of the size of a hazel-nut, containing a 
very limpid oil, which unquestionably proceeds 
from that shrub, and might be found useful for 

many purposes. These glands serve at the saiES 
time for the habitation of a kind of caterpillar^ 
which becomes transformed into a small fly with 
four brown wings, of the genus of cynips. 

In Chili there are many species of the bee., 
particularly in the southern provinces, where 
those that produce honey make their hives in 
hollow trees, or in holes in the earth ; all the 
wax used in the Archipelago of Chiloe is the 
product of these wild bees. 

As far as I have been able to ascertain, none of 
the common wasps are to be found in Chili ; and 
as to musquitoes, gnats, and other species of 
stinging flies, so troublesome to the inhabitants 
of warm countries, they are entirely unknown 
there. In the vicinity of stagnant waters only 
have I observed a gnat of the species denomi- 
nated by Linnaeus, culex ciliaris. 

Of the water-fly, there are several species ; 
they are always met with in the neighbourhood 
of dwellings, and differ in no respect from those 
of Europe, excepting one of a middle size, found 
only in the province of Calchagua. This is re- 
markable for its pleasant musky smell, and is 
used by the inhabitants to perfume their clothes, 
from which circumstance I have named it tipula 

As to the ants, they appear to me to be of the 
same kind with those of Europe, and not to offer 
any discriminative mark of character. 


The Chigua (pulex penetrans) called by the 
Chilians nigua or pequi, is found only in the en- 
virons of the city of Coquimbo, and so rarely is 
it met with even there., that I have been assured 
by a person who resided there many years, that a 
single child was the only instance he had heard of 
any one's having been incommoded by this insect. 
Nigua is a generic term in Chilian, signifying 
all kinds of vermin or animalcule which infest 
animals, particularly the feathered tribe ; these 
are precisely similar to those of Europe. Ulloa 
appears, therefore, to have been ignorant of the 
extensive signification of this word in Chilian, as 
what he says in his voyage, that the chiguas, or 
pricker, is found upon the whole coast of Chili, 
is contradicted by universal experience. 

Of the spiders there is but one species that is 
remarkable ; this is the great spider with fangs, 
which I have called aranea scrofa. It is found 
in the vicinity of St. Jago, and lives under 
ground ; the body is as large as a hen's egg, and 
covered with soft brown hair, and the claws very 
long and large ; in the middle of its forehead are 
four large eyes, disposed in the form of a square, 
and at the sides of the head two others that are 
less, and the mouth is furnished with two pin- 
cers of a shining black, about two lines in length, 
turned back towards the forehead. Notwith- 
standing its formidable appearance, this spider is 
not dangerous, and serves as an amusement for 

VOL. i. n 


children, who pluck out its pincers without ap- 
prehension, which are by the common people be- 
lieved to be a specific for the tooth-ache. 

Scorpions, called in the language of the coun- 
try thekuanque (scorpio Chilensis) differ but 
little or nothing in size or appearance from those 
of Europe. They are usually met with in some 
of the secondary mountains of the Andes. The 
common colour is a dark brown, but those found 
under stones upon the shores of the river Co- 
quimbo are yellow.* It is said that neither of 
them are venomous, and that those who are bitten 
by them experience no inconvenience. I was 
once present when a young* man was bit by one 
of them, who merely complained of a slight 
smarting of the part, which continued inflamed 
for not more than half an hour. Such experi- 
ments, however, are too superficial to prove 

Sect. III. Reptiles. — I have already observed, 
that there are but few reptiles in Chili; and, in 
truth, all that are known are water turtles, two 
species of frogs, the land and water toad, a few 
lizards of the aquatic and terrestrial kinds, and 
one .species of serpent; nor arc either of these 

*The European scorpions are yellow when young, and con- 
tinue so while they remain under stones, but on exposure to 
the air become brown. — Fu Trans. 


The turtles are of two species ; one is an inha* 
Ibitant of the sea, denominated by Linnaeus tes- 
tudo coriacea ; the other, testudo lutaria, is found 
in fresh water, particularly in the lakes of the 
southern provinces. 

The frogs are the green frog (ranaesculenta) 
and the temporary frog (rana temporaria). 

The land toads are similar to those of Italy, 
and live altogether in moist and wet places. The 
water toads are of two kinds, the arunco ( rana 
arunco) and the thaul (rana lutea). The arun- 
co is a little larger than the temporary frog, 
and nearly of the same colour. The body is tu- 
berculated, and the feet webbed ; the fore feet 
have four toes and the hinder five, all furnished 
with small nails almost imperceptible. It is 
called by the Araucanians genco, which signifies 
lord of the water, as they believe that it watches 
over the preservation and contributes to the salu- 
fcritv of the waters. The thaul is less than the 
common or green frog which it resembles in its 
form* Its skin is yellow and covered with 
tubercles, and its feet are shaped like those of the 
arunco, but not palmated. 

The most remarkable of the terrestrial lizards 
is the pailum (lacerta pallum) of whose skins 
t]ie peasants make their purses. This lizard lives 
usually under ground in the plains ; its length, 
exclusive of the tail, is a little more than eleven 
inches, and it is three inches in circumference ; 


the tail is as long as the body, the head triangu- 
lar, covered with small square scales, the nose 
very long, the ears round and like those of all 
lizards, placed at the hinder part of the head. 
The upper part of its body is covered with small 
rhomboidal scales, green, yellow, black, and blue J 
the skin of the belly is smooth and of a yellowish 
green ; the feet have each five toes, furnished 
with strong nails, and the tail is round and of the 
same colour as the body. 

Of the aquatic lizard but one species has been 
discovered, to which Feuille, who saw it, has 
given the name of the water salamander (sala- 
mandra aquatica nigra). It is fourteen inches 
and a half in length, including the tail ; the skin 
is without scales, rough in a slight degree, and 
of a black inclining to blue; the head is elevated 
and rather long, the eyes large and yellow with 
a blue pupil, and the nostrils open with a fleshy 
border ; its nose is pointed, the mouth wide and 
furnished with two rows of small crooked teeth ; 
the tongue is large, of a bright red, and at- 
tached at the base to the gullet, in which is a 
large crop that the animal can contract and ex- 
pand at pleasure ; like other water lizards it is 
without ears, and from the top of its head to the 
extremity of its tail, extends a kind of indented 
«rest. The fore feet are much shorter than the 
hind, they have each five toes, which, instead of 
nails, are furnished with round cartilages; the 


tail is straight and rounded at the base, but to- 
wards the end becomes flattened and expanded 
like a spatula ; it is about two inches in breadth,, 
and the edges are notched like a saw. 

The only serpent of Chili is that known to na- 
turalists by the name of coluber esculapii. It is 
striped with black, yellow, and white, sometimes 
mingled with brown. The largest that I have 
seen was not more than three feet in length ; it is 
perfectly harmless, and the peasants handle it 
without the least apprehension. 

Sect. IV. Fishes. — The various kinds of escu- 
lent fish, found on the coast of Chili, are by the 
fishermen computed to be seventy-six, "the most 
of which differ from those of the northern hemis- 
phere, and appear to be peculiar to that sea. 
There are many, however, that are merely 
varieties of species that are common to almost all 
seas. Such, among the amphibious or cartila- 
ginous fishes, are the ray, the torpedo, scate, 
dog-fish, saw-fish, fishing-frog, and old-wife; 
and among the spinous fishes, the electrical eel, 
the conger, the sword-fish, the cod, the whiting, 
the sole, the turbot, the dorado, the bonito, the 
tunny, the mackarel, the roach, the barbel, the 
mullet, the shad, the pilchard, the anchovy, and 
several others. 

Whether the vast numbers of fish on the coast 
of Chili, are owing to some peculiar local cause?. 



or to the small number of fishermen, it is a fact, 
supported by the testimony of the best informed 
navigators, that no country in the world furnishes 
a greater quantity of those that are excellent.* 

The bays, harbours, and, in a particular man- 
ner, the mouths of the large rivers, swarm with 
them of all sizes, and in some places they are 
caught without any trouble. The river Cauien, 
which is three hundred toises broad at its mouth, 
and of sufficient depth to admit a ship of the 
line, is, at certain seasons of the year, so tilled 
with fish, for seven leagues from its mouth, that 

* In the road of Valparaiso is caught an abundance of ex« 
cellent fish of all kinds, as king fish, bream, soles, &c. besides 
an infinite number of those that are migratory, as pilchards, 
and a species of cod that come upon the coast in the months 
of October, November, and December; also shad, and a kind 
of auchovy, which at times are in such multitudes, that they 
are caught with baskets on the surface of the water.-- Frazier's 
Voyage, vol. i. 

We had also fish in such plenty, that one boat would, with 
hooks and lines, catch, in a few hours, as much as would serve 
a large ship's company two days; they were of various sorts, 
all excellent in their kind, and many of them weighed from 
twenty to thirty pounds.— Hawkesworth's Voyage of Commo- 
dore Byron, chap. viii. 

This |>art of Masafuero is a very good place for refresh- 
men*, especially in the summer season; the goats have been 
mentioned already, and there is all round the island such 
plenty of fish, that a boat may, with three hooks and lines, 
catch as much as will serve au hundred people; among others 
we caught excellent soal fish, cavallies, cod, halibut, and craw- 
fish, $x,c.~~H(iiukes worth s Voyage of Cap t. Carteret, chap. if. 



the Indians flock thither in large companies, and 
take an astonishing quantity by striking them 
from the shores with their lances, formed of a 
reed, which I have already described, called 
coliu; and an equal abundance is to be found in 
the mouths of all the southern rivers. 

In the Archipelago of Chil e, where the fish 
are still more plentiful, the inhabitants place in the 
mouths of the rivers, and even in certain places 
on the sea shore, palisades, leaving an opening 
towards the sea, which, when the tide begins to 
ebb, they carefully close. On the retiring of 
the water, the fish enclosed in these wears are left 
upon the sand, and taken without difficulty. There 
is almost always a greater quantity enclosed than 
is wanted by the inhabitants, who come thither 
from all quarters to obtain a supply, so that 
they frequently open the gate, and permit the 
most part to escape with Hie returning Hood. 

The cod is as abundant upon the coast of 
Juan Fernandez as upon the banks of Newfound- 
land, and caught with equal facility, for no 
sooner is the line thrown in, than a fish is drawn 
up. These fish arrive in large shoals, in the 
months of November and December, upon the 
coast of Valparaiso. The inhabitants formerly 
paid no attention to this important fishery, 
but of late have pursued it with great success. 

In some parts of the coast, great numbers of 
fish are occasionally found upon the shore. 

xt 4 

184r ^ 

These fish, when pursued hy the whale, retire to 
the shallows, where, unable to contend agai 
the violence of the waves, they are thrown upon 
the beach, and become the prey of birds, or 
when found alive by the inhabitants, are taken 
and salted for use. Of the fish, the most esteemed 
are the robalo, the corvino, the lisa, and the 

The robalo (esox Chijensis) is nearly of a 
cylindrical form, and from two to three feet 
long. It is clothed with angular scales, of a 
golden colour upon the back, and silver on the 
belly, the tins are soft and without spines, the 
tail is truncated, and the back marked longitudi- 
nally with a blue stripe, bordored with yellow. 
The flesh is very white, almost transparent, 
light, and of a delicious taste. Those taken 
upon the Araucanian coast are the most in repute, 
where they are sometimes caught of eight pounds 
weight. The Indians of Chiloe smoke them, 
after having cleaned and soaked them for twenty- 
four hours in sea water, and when sufficiently 
dried, pack them up in casks of one hundred 
each, which are generally sold from two to three 
dollars. The robalo prepared in this manner is 
superior to any other kind of dried fish. 

The corvino (sparus Chilensis) is nearly of 
the same size as the preceding ; it is sometimes, 
however, found of five or six feet in length. 
This fish has a small head, and a large oval body, 


covered with broad rhomboidal scales, of a 
mother of pearl colour, marked with white * the 
tail is, forked, and the body encircled obliquely 
from the shoulders to the belly with a number of 
brownish lines. The fins are armed with spiny 
rays, and the flesh is white, firm, and of a good 
taste, particularly when fried. It would pro- 
bably be still better if it were prepared like that 
of the tunny. 

The lisa ( mugil Chilensis ) in its form, scales, 
and taste, is much like the common mullet, but 
is distinguished by the dorsal fiu, which in the 
lisa is entire. There are two species of this fish, 
the sea and the river, neither of which exceed a 
foot in length ; the first is a very good fish, but 
the latter is so exquisite that it is preferred by 
many to the best of trout. 

The king-fish (cyprinus regius) so called from 
the excellence of its flavour, is nearly of the 
size of a herring ; it is of a cylindrical form, 
covered with golden scales upon the back, and 
with silver upon the sides. It has a short blunt 
mouth without teeth, yellow eyes, with purple 
irides and blue pupils; its fins are yellow and 
soft, and that of the back extends from the head 
to the tail, which is divided into two parts. 
These fish are caught in such abundance, that a 
hundred of them may be bought for a real. 

Although the fresh waters do not afford as 
many different species of fish as the sea, the 


dumber of individuals is much greater. The 
rivers, streams, lakes, and even the small brooks, 
produce a surprising quantity, especially those 
beyond the 34th degree of latitude. The kinds 
most in estimation are the lisa, which I have 
already noticed; the trout; the cauqui (cyprinus 
caucus); the malche (cyprinus malchus); the 
yuli (cyprinus julus); the cumarca, or peladial 
(stromateus cumarca); and the bagre, oriuvur 
(silurus Chilensis). The bagre his a smooth skin 
without scales, and is brown upon the sides, and 
whitish under the belly. In its form it resembles a 
tad-pole, the head being of a size disproportionate 
to the length of the body, which does not exceed 
eleven inches at the most. It has a blunt mouth, 
furnished like that of the barbel, with barbs. 
It has a sharp spine on the back fin, like the tro- 
pical bagre, but its puncture is not venomous, as 
that is said to be. The flesh is yellow, and the 
most delicious of any esculent tish that is known. 
There is said to be another species or variety of 
this fish, inhabiting the sea, that is black, and 
which I presume is the same that Commodore 
Anson's sailors called, from its colour, the chim- 

Eels are found only in the Araucanian pro- 
vinces, where they are exceedingly plenty, and 
are taken by the Indians in a kind of basket, 
placed against the current. The river Talten, 
which waters those provinces, produces a small 


ftsh called paijc, which, as I have been assured 
by those who have seen them, is so diaphanous, 
(hat if several are pi. iced upon each other, any 
object bene ith them may be distinctly seen. If 

is property is not greatly exaggerated, this fish 
might serve to discover the secret process of di- 
gest, on; and the motion of the fluids. 

-uMig the great varieties of fish with which 
the v. aters of Chili abound, the three following 
are more particularly deserving of notice. These 
inhabit tbe sea, and are the gilt cJicetodoiij 
the ccck-f fh, and the toUo. 

The gift clictio on ( chstodon aureus) is flat, of 
an oval fbrn . ;. o\t a foot in length, and covered 
with very small scales. It is of a bright gold co- 
lour, alia* marked with five distinet bands, of more 
than half an inch in width, some grey, and others 
black. The first is black, commences at the 
hack of the neck, and passes in a circular direc- 
tion through the eyes ; the two in the centre are 
grey, and encircle the body, and the two last are 
black and grey, and surround the root of the 
tail, which is of a silver colour. This beautiful 
fish has a small head, an elongated mouth, fur- 
nished with small teeth, and the back entirely 
covered from the head to the tail with a large 
spinous yellow fin. The tail is in the form of 
a fan, and is bordered with yellow., and the flesh 
js excellent eating. 

The coclc-jish, (chimseracallorynchus) placed 


Linnaeus among* the amphibious swimmers, 
is about three feet long. Its body is round? 
larger towards the middle than the extremities, 
and covered with a whitish skin devoid of scales. 
Its head is surmounted with a cartilaginous crest 
extending five or six lines beyond the upper lip, 
from whence it has obtained tbe name of the 
cock -fish, or cludgua acliagual in the Araucanian 
language. It has five fins; the dorsal com- 
ment es immediately behind the head, and ex- 
tends itself to, the middle of the back, it is very 
large, of a triangular form, supported by a strong 
sharp spine, five inches in length ; this spine, 
which is longer tnan the fin, is the only bony 
p rt of the fish, all the rest being cartilaginous, 
even the back bone, which, like that of the lam- 
prey, is furnished with neither marrow nor nerves. 
The four other fins are placed near the gills and 
beneath the anus ; these are double, which is 
very uncommon, and the tail is shaped like a leaf, 
with the point turned towards the belly. This 
fish, when eaten, is served up more as an object 
of curiosity than from a regard for its flavour, 
which is very indifferent. 

The toll o (squalus Fernandinus) is a species 
of dog-fish, a little larger than the cock-fish, 
and remarkable for two dorsal spines, like those 
of the squalus acanthias. These spines are tri- 
angular, bent at the point, as hard as ivory, and 
two inches and a half long, and five lines broad. 


They are said to be an efficacious remedy for the 
tooth-ache, by holding the point of one of them 
to the affected tooth. 

Notwithstanding the whale belongs to the 
class of lactiferous animals, I have thought 
proper to notice it in this place, as many authors^ 
from its external conformation, have ranked it 
among fishes. The species that frequent the Chi- 
lian seas are the great whale ( bcdaena mysticetus) 
called by the Araucanians yens ; the little whale 
(balaena boops) called icol, and the three known 
species of the dolphin. Both these kinds of 
whale are very common in that sea, and at certain 
seasons they are seen in great numbers, particu- 
larly near the mouths of rivers, whither they 
come in quest of fish. 

The late English navigators speak of the great 
quantity of whales which they met with upon the 
coast of Terra del Fuego, and in the Straits of 
Magellan; and in the account of Captain Cook's 
last voyage, the little whale is particularly men- 
tioned. I have good reason to believe that, be- 
sides the two kinds of whales above mentioned, 
all the species discovered in the northern may 
likewise be found in the southern seas : but as the 
Chilians have never paid attention to the whale 
fishery, 1 am not able to assert it with positive- 
ness, nor to determine the difference, if there be 
any, between the northern and southern whale ; 
this, however, is certain, that Jie whales .:.' :he 


south are not inferior in size to those of tW 
north. I have myself seen a whale that had been 
driven ashore on the coast of the Chones, that 
was ninety-six feet long, and on the same coast 
was also found the rib of another twenty-two feet 
in length. I cannot but be surprised that Mr. 
Buffon, in contradiction to the testimonv of the 
most respectable navigators., has asserted that 
the southern seas produce no whales,* and that 
the largest animal that is found in them is the 
manati ; that learned naturalist, who too fre- 
quently suffers himself to be misled by his favou- 
rite system, should have recollected that the 
great phoca, improperly denominated the sea- 
lion, an animal which he has himself described, 
far exceeds in size the manati. 

There are occasionally seen upon the coast of 
Araucania, certain animals called by the In- 
dians sea-cows. From the imperfect description 
which I have received of them, I cannot deter- 
mine whether they are manatis, morses, or a spe- 
cies of phocas. 1 am, however, more inclined to 
believe them to be manatis, as great numbers of 
these animals were found by the first Spanish 
settlers of Juan Fernandez on the shores of that 

* On the 30th we steered for Staten-land, and on the pas- 
sage fell ih with so great a number of whales, of the largest 
size, that the crew were apprehensive lest the} would sh.l the 
ship. We also saw great numbers of sea-wolves and peu- 
guins.— -Journal of Captain Cooh's second Voyage, p. 522. 


island ; but the immense destruction which they 
made of them, as they were eagerly hunted for 
their flesh, has entirely driven them from those 

The Indians pretend that in certain lakes in 
Chili is to be found an animal of a monstrous 
size, which they call guruvilu, or the fox-ser- 
pent. They believe that it devours men, and on 
that account never bathe in those lakes. But the 
descriptions which they give of its size and form 
scarcely ever agree: some representing it as hav- 
ing the body of a serpent with the head of a fox; 
others, as being of a circular form, and re- 
sembling an inflated ox-hide. It is, however* 
probable that this animal has no other existence 
than in the imaginations of these people.* 

Sect. V. Birds. — After that of insects, the 
most numerous class of animals in Chili is that 
of birds. Those that inhabit the land alone 
amount to a hundred and thirty-five species, and 

* Of the various means of defence with which Nature has 
provided its creatures, I remember none more singular than 
that of the drum-fish on the coast of Peru ; which, when 
alarmed, inflates itself till it becomes perfectly round. The 
eyes project so far when it is in this state, as to prove that it 
is not done without great effort. But none of its enemies can 
then swallow it because of its size, or bite it because of its 
shape, — E. E. 

Mercurio Pcruano, N«. 280,. 


the number of those belonging to the sea, is 
almost impossible to be estimated. The genus of 
gulls alone is known to contain twenty-six dif- 
ferent species, and many others are not less nu- 

That vast chain of mountains, the Andes, may 
be considered as the nursery of birds of all kinds. 
They assemble there in great numbers in the 
spring, in order to breed and rear their young in 
greater security ; and on the falling of the first 
snows in winter, they quit them in large flocks, 
and seek the plains and the maritime mountains. 
To their residence in the Andes, which are almost 
always covered with snow, I think may be attri- 
buted that difference of plumage frequently ob- 
servable in individuals of many of these species, 
of which I have seen some that were perfectly 

Many of the birds of Chili are merely simple 
varieties of species that are found in Italy and 
many other parts of Europe. Of this number 
are the geese, ducks, divers, plovers, herons, 
kites, falcons, black-birds, pigeons, crows, part- 
ridges, and domestic fowls.* The sportsmen 

* The country abounds with an infinity of birds, particularly 
wild pigeons, turtle-doves, and partridges, though the latter 
are inferior to those of Europe, and with grouse and ducks af 
all -kinds ; among the latter is one called the royal duck, which 
has a red comb upon its head. There are likewise curlew;-, 
and a kind of widgeon, (resembling the sea-bird called malvis) 


enumerate sixteen species of wild ducks, and six 
of geese. Among the former, the royal duck 
(anas regia) is principally distinguishable; it is 
much larger than the common duck, the upper 
part of the body is of a beautiful blue, and the 
lower part grey ; the head is adorned with a large 
red comb, and thengck with a collar of beautiful 
white feathers. 

Of the geese, the most remarkable is the cos- 
covooa, (anas coscoroba). It is highly esteemed 
both for its size, and for the case with which it is 
tamed, as it becomes strongly attached to those 
who feed it, and follows them around like a dog. 
The plumage is entirely white, the feet and bill 
are red, and the eyes of a fine black. 

The swan of Chili (anas melancoripha) is 
nearly of the same size with that of Europe ; its 
form is likewise similar, but its plumage is dif- 
ferent, that on the head and upper part of the 
neck being black, and the residue of a snowy 
white. The female has six young at a brood, 
which she is careful never to quit, but takes them 

which lias a long, straight, narrow, scarlet bill, flat upon the 
upper side, and a stripe of the same colour over the eyes; the 
feet are like those of the ostrich, and the flesh is very good 
eating. Parrots are in plenty, and there are some swans and 
flamingoes, whose feathers are highly prized by the Indians for 
ornamenting their heads upon public occasions; these are of a 
beautiful white and carnation, colours that are in the greatest 
estimation among them. — Frazier's Voyage, vol. i„ 
VOL. I. 6 


with her upon her back whenever she leaves her 

Of herons there are five very beautiful species. 
The first is the large European heron (ardea 
major). The second, the red-headed heron, 
(ardea erytrocephala) is of the size of the first ; 
it is entirely white excepting the head, which is 
crowned with a long red crest that hangs down 
upon its back. The third, the galatea heron 
(ardea galatea) is of a milk-white colour, the 
neck is two feet and a half long, the legs are of 
the same length and red, and the bill, which is 
yellow, is four inches long. The fourth, the 
heron with a blue head (ardea cyanocephala). 
The head and back of this species are blue, the 
wings black, edged with white, the belly is of a 
yellowish green, the tail green, the bill black, 
and the legs are yellow. The fifth is the thula 
(ardea thula) a name derived from the Chilian; 
it is entirely white, and its head is adorned with 
a beautiful crest of the same colour. 

Of the two kinds of eagles in Chili, one is the 
yellow eagle of Europe, called by the Indians 
gnanca, and another species called calquin, whicli 
appears to me to differ but little from the ilz- 
quauhtli of Mexico, and the urutaurana of Brasil. 
This eagle, from the extremities of its wings, 
measures about ten and a half feet; its breast is 
white, spotted with brown, and the neck, back, 
and wings, are black, inclining to blue ; the tail 


is marked transversely with black and brown 
stripes, and the head decorated with a blue crest. 

The turtle-doves are of two species ; the one is 
similar to that of Europe ; the other (columba 
melanoptera) has an ash-coloured body and 
black wings. 

There are four species of ihe woodpecker ; the 
green, the Virginian, tlie carpenter, and thepitiu. 
The carpenter (picus lignarius) is less than a 
starling, and has a red crest, and the body is va- 
riegated with white and blue. The bill is so 
strong that it perforates with it not only dry but 
green trees, and proves very injurious to the 
fruit trees, by making deep holes in them, 
wherein it deposits its eggs. The pitfu (picus 
pitius) is of the size of a pigeon. Its plumage 
is brown, spotted with white, and its flesh is 
held in much estimation. This bird lays four 
eggs, but it does not, like others of its species, 
nest in the holes of trees, but in excavations 
which it makes in the high banks of rivers, or 
on the sides of hills. 

Grey and red partridges, which, according to 
Feuille, are larger than those of Europe, are 
very numerous throughout the country. They 
have an excellent flavour, particularly during 
the months of April and May, when they feed 
upon the flowers of the sassiaperdicaria. In the 
marshes is found a species that is smaller, whose 
flesh is much less delicate. Quails are wholly 



unknown in Chili., although common in many of 
the American settlements. 

The domestic fowl, which the Indians call 
acliau, is of the same hreed as that of Europe; 
but it is asserted on the faith of an ancient tradi- 
tion, that it has always been known in the coun- 
try; and what tends to confirm this opinion, is 
the proper name which it has in the Chilian lan- 
guage, which is not the case with other birds of 
foreign extraction, such as the common pigeon, 
the tame duck, the goose, and the turkey. From 
whence it would seem that the domestic fowl, the 
hog, and the dog, are animals destined to ac- 
company man in whatever country he may be 
placed. This opinion is confirmed by the late 
English navigators, who have met with them 
in almost all the islands of the Pacific. 

Among the numerous birds that inhabit Chili, 
I shall notice those only that are the most re- 
markable, which I shall divide into two general 
classes, the palmated or web-footed, and the 
cloven-footed. The first have their toes iwiited 
by a membrane, and frequent the water, where 
they feed upon fish, aquatic plants, or insects. 

Of these, the principal is the penguin (diorne- 
dea Chilensis). This bird, on the part of the 
feathered tribe, forms a link of union between 
the classes of birds and fishes, as the flying-fish 
does on that of the finny race. The feet are 
palmated like those of a duck, but its plumage ia 


so fine that it appears more like hair than fea- 
thers,, and instead of wings it has two pendent 
fins, covered with very short feathers resembling 
scales, which are of great use to it in swimming, 
but much too small for the purpose of flying. It 
is of the size of a common duck, but its neck is 
much longer ; the head is compressed at the sides, 
and very small in proportion to the size of the 
body ; the bill is slender, and bent a little to- 
wards the point ; the upper part of the body, the 
wings and the tail, which is nothing more than 
an extension of the feathers of the rump, are of a 
changeable grey and blue, and the breast and 
belly are white. The feet, which have but three 
toes, are situated near the anus., aud it walks in 
an erect posture, with its head elevated like that 
of a man, keeping it constantly in motion in 
order to preserve its equilibrium. This gives it 
at a distance the appearance of a child just be- 
ginning to walk, whence the Chilians have deno- 
minated it the child-bird. 

Although the penguin is an excellent swimmer, 
it cannot keep the sea during a storm, and the 
bodies of those which have perished at such 
times, are frequently found upon the beach. I 
have never known it eaten in Chili, though seve- 
ral navigators represent it as very good food. 
The skin is as thick as that of a hog, and very 
easily separated from the flesh. The female 



makes her nest in the sand,, in which she lays six 
or seven white eggs, spotted with black. 

The quethu (diomedea Chilensis) is of the 
same genus, size and form as the preceding, hut is 
distinguished by its 'wings, whuh are wholly 
destitute of feathers, and by having four toes on 
each foot. The body is covered with a very 
long thick ash-coloured plumage, a little curled, 
and so soft that the inhabitants of Chiloe, where 
these birds are very common, spin it, and make 
bed-coverings of it, that are highly prized in the 

The thage (pelicanus thagus) called by the 
Spaniards the alcatrace, is a species of pelican of 
a brown colour, remarkable for the size of its 
sack. This bird is as large as a turkey-cock, 
the neck is about a foot, af d the legs twenty- 
two inches long. Its head is large and well pro- 
portioned, and the bill, which is a little bent at 
the point, is a foot in length, and serrated at the 
edges, a characteristic mark that distinguishes 
this pelican from that of Europe, whose bill is 
entire and smooth. The lower mandible, at a 
little distance from the point, is divided into 
two parts, that are very clastic and extensible at 
the base, whkie they open into the membraneous 
sack. This is only an enlargement of the skin 
which covers the lower jaw and the neck ; it is 
clothed with a very short grey down, and is ca-? 


pable of great expansion. When this sack is 
empty it is scarcely perceptible, but when filled 
with fish, particularly at the time when the bird 
lias young, its size is really astonishing. . Nature, 
ever attentive to adapt the mean to the end, has 
furnished this bird with a large pair of wings, 
which are nearly nine feet in breadth from one 
extremity to the other ; the quills are very long, 
and are preferred for writing to those of the 
goose or the swan ; its tail is short and round, 
and the feet have four toes united by a strong 
membrane. It is a solitary and indolent bird, al- 
most constantly to be seen upon the rocks,, where 
it makes its nest, and it has usually five young at 
a brood. The inhabitants, after dressing them, 
make use of these sacks for tobacco-pouches ; 
they are also employed for lanterns, and from 
their transparency answer the purpose very 

The cage (anas hybrid a) is a species of goose 
which frequents the islands in the Archipelago 
of Chiloe. It is remarkable for the difference of 
colour between the male and the female; the 
former being entirely white, with a yellow bill 
and legs ; whereas the female is black, except a 
narrow white stripe with which the edges of 
some of the feathers are marked, and the bill and 
legs are red. In consequence of this remarkable 
dissimilarity, I have given to this bird the name 
of the hybrid, or mulatto. The cage is of the 

o 4 


size of a tame goose, but it has a shorter neck, 
and a longer tail and wings ; the feet are shaped 
like those of the European goose. The male and 
female appear to be strongly attached to each 
other ; they keep in pairs, and are never to be 
met with, like other aquatic birds, in large 
flocks. During the breeding season they retire 
to the sea shore, where the female usually lays 
eight white eggs in a hole which she makes in 
the sand. 

The flamingo (phamicopterus Chilensis) is one 
of the most beautiful birds of Chili. It fre- 
quents only the fresh waters, and is distin- 
guished by its size and the beautiful flame-co- 
lour of its back and wings, which produces a 
most pleasing effect when contrasted with the 
pure white of the rest of its plumage. Its length 
from the tip of the bill to the end of the claws, 
is five feet, but the body itself does not exceed a 
foot in length ; it has a small oblong head, deco- 
rated with a kind of crest; the eyes are small 
but lively ; the bill denticulated, a little bent to- 
wards the point, about five inches long, and co- 
vered with a reddish pellicle ; the feet have four 
toes, three forvVard, and one behind ; the tail is 
short and rounded, and the wings are of a length 
proportioned to the size of its body; the quills 
are perfectly white, while those of the flamingos 
of the other parts of America and Africa, are 
black. It has been said, that when young these 


birds are grey ; but as I have myself seen them 
of all ages, I can assert that they are always of 
the *same colour. It is also said that whenever 
they feed, one of the flock is placed as a sentinel, 
to give the alarm in case of danger to the others. 
This circumstance I have never witnessed ; it is, 
however, true, that they are extremely wild, and 
can rarely be approached within gun-shot. As 
the legs of this bird are too long to permit it 
conveniently to cover its nest, it is compelled to 
obviate this inconvenience by the position of the 
the latter ; this is usually constructed at the edge 
of the water, in shape of a truncated cone, a foot 
and a f half high ; on the top of this cone is a 
little excavation lined with very soft down. The 
bird, while in the act of incubation, places itself 

* Darapier, who must have seen as many of these birds as 
Molina, and whose veracity and accuracy are unimpeachable, 
asserts]pn the contrary that the young ones are of a light grey, 
and as their wing-feathers spring out they grow darker, and 
never come to their right colour, nor any beautiful shape, 
under ten or eleven months old. — (Vol 1. p. 72) The Goara- 
aes, or Uwaras, as Stade calls them, whose bright scarlet fea- 
thers are the favourite ornament of the Brazilian tribes, are, 
in like manner, first of the colour of ashes, and then brown. 
—£. E. 

■\ Darapier says they build their nests in shallow ponds, 
where there is much mud, which they scrape together, making 
little hillocks, like small islands appearing out of the water.— 
Vol. 1. p. 71. 



in a standing posture, with the hinder part of its 
body supported upon the nest, as if s<*ated in a 
chair. The Araucanians value the flamingo 
highly, and make use of its feathers to ornament 
their helmets and the ends of their lances. 

The pillu (tantalus pillu) is a species of the 
ibis. Its plumage is white, mottled with black, 
and its general resort is the rivers and the fresh 
water lakes. Of all the aquatic birds, the pillu, 
has the longest legs, which, comprehending the 
thighs, are two feet eight inches in length. The 
size of the body, which is nearly that of a tame 
goose, is by no means proportionate to the length 
of the legs; the neck is two feet three inches 
long, and the region of the crop, which is small, 
is destitute of feathers. The head is of a middle 
size, the bill large, convex, and sharp-pointed, 
about four inches in length, and entirely bare of 
feathers ; it has four toes on each foot, which 
are united at their base by a very small mem- 
brane ; the tail is short and entire like that of 
almost ail aquatic birds. The Spaniards call it 
the stork of Chili; but it differs from the stork 
in various respects. I have never seen it light 
upon trees or any elevated object, and it almost 
always continues in the marshes and on the banks 
of rivers, where it feeds upon reptiles; it usually 
makes its nest among rushes, in which it lays two 
white eggs, a little inclining to blue. 

Those birds which have the toes separate and 


not united by a membrane, are by naturalists de- 
nominated cloven-footed ; these for the greater 
part inhabit the plains and the woods, and feed 
upon insects, fruits, or flesh. Of this class I 
shall select those that are most remarkable for 
the beauty of their plumage, the melody of their 
song, or any other quality. 

The pigda, known under the different names of 
pica-flora, humming-bird, &c. is the trochilus of 
Linnaeus, who has described twenty-two species 
of it. It is generally very small; the neck is 
short, the head well proportioned, the eyes are 
black and vivid, the bill is of the size of a pin, 
and nearly of the same length as the body, the 
tongue bifurcated, and the legs are short with 
four toes; the tail consists of seven or nine fea- 
thers the length of the body, and the wings are 
very long. Their colours vary according to 
their species ; but they are in general very ricV, 
and combine the splendour of gold and precious 
stones with the most beautiful shades of every 
hue, which they retain even after their death. 
They are very common throughout Chili, and 
during the summer are seen like butterflies ho- 
vering around the flowers, and appear as if sus- 
pended in the air They make a humming noise 
with their wings, but their note is nothing more 
than a low warbling or chattering. The males 
are distinguishable from the females by the bril- 
liancy of their heads, which shine like fire. 


These birds build their nests upon trees, and form 
them of small straws and down; they lay two 
white eggs, speckled with yellow, of the size of 
a chick pea, which the male and female cover 
alternately. On the approach of winter, this 
little bird suspends itself by its bill to a twig, 
and in this position falls into a lethargic sleep, 
which continues the whole season. This is the 
time when they are chiefly taken, for when they 
are in full vigour it is almost impossible to catch 

I have observed three species of this bird in 
Chili ; the little, the blue-headed, and the 
crested humming-bird. 

The little humming-bird (troehilus minimus) 
weighs only two grains, and its prevailing co- 
lour is a very brilliant green. 

The blue-headed humming-bird (troehilus 
cyanocephalus) has a tail thrice as long as its 
body, which is of the size of a filbert ; the bill 
is straight, pointed, and whitish ; the head is blue 
with a golden lustre ; the back of a shining 
green; the belly of a reddish yellow; and the 
wings blue, mottled with purple. 

The crested humming-bird (troehilus galeri- 
tus) is the largest of these three kinds, and is a 
little less than the European wren. Its bill is 
slightly curved, and its head adorned with a 
small crest striped with gold and purple; its 
neck and back are green, the large feathers of 


the wings and tail brown, spotted with gold, and 
all the lower part of the body of a changeable 

The siu (fringilla barbata) called by the Spa- 
niards gilgliero, or the goldfinch, is nearly of the 
size and form of the canary-bird. It has a 
straight, sharp-pointed, conical bill, which is 
white at the base and black at the point. The 
male has a black velvety head, and a yellow 
body slightly marked with green; its wings are 
variegated with green, yellow, red, and blacky 
and the tail is brown ; when young its throat is 
yellow, but as it advances in years is entirely co- 
vered with a black hair, which begins to be vi- 
sible when the bird is six months old, and con- 
tinues growing until it attains the age of ten 
years, the usual period of its life, at which time 
it reaches to the middle of the breast, and its 
age may be very accurately ascertained by the 
length of its beard. The female is entirely grey, 
with a few yellow spots upon the wings; it has 
no beard, nor any song, but only a kind of occa- 
sional whistle; the note of the male is, however, 
very harmonious, and far surpasses that of the 
canary-bird ; when it begins to sing, it elevates 
its voice by little and little, continues its strain 
for a considerable time, and closes with some 
very sweet trills ; it sings all the year, and is 
readily taught to imitate with remarkable grace 
the notes of other birds. In the maritime moun- 


tains the siu may be met with at any season, but 
it is found in the plains of the middle provinc 
only during the winter, as it quits them in the 
spring 1 for. the Andes, where it breeds. It makes 
its nest upon any kind of tree with small straws 
and feathers ; it has but two young at a biood, 
but I am inclined to believe that it breeds se- 
veral times in a season. This bird multiplies 
astonishingly, and may be seen every where; and 
although the peasants, who eat as well as encage 
them, take thousands every year, their numbers 
are not at all diminished ; it becomes after a little 
time very familiar, and even attached to those 
whom it is accustomed to see; it feeds on se- 
veral kihds of seeds, but its favourite food is the 
grain of the madia sativa, and the aromatic 
leaves of the scandix Chilensis. 

The diuca (fringilla diuca) is of the same 
genus as the preceding, hut a little larger, and 
of a blue colour ; its note is very agreeable, 
particularly towards day-break; it keeps about 
houses like the sparrow, which it resembles in 
many respects, and I think it highly probable 
that it is the same bird with the blue sparrow of 
Congo, mentioned by Merolla and Cavazzi, and 
the New Zealand bird of Captain Cook, which 
sung so harmoniously at sunrise. 

The tliili, or Chili fturdus thiiius) is a species 
of thrush which, as I have already observed, ap- 
pears to have given its name to the country 


where it is found in great numbers. Linnaeus 
has described from Feuille the female of this 
bird under the name of turdus plumbcus. The 
female is indeed of a grey colour., but the male 
is entirely black except a yellow spot which it 
has under the wings ; it has the shape of a 
thrush, but the tail is cuneated ; it makes its 
nest upon trees near the river with wet mud, in 
which it lays four eggs ; its song is very sweet 
and loud, but it will not bear confinement ; it is 
never eaten, as its flesh has a rank and disagree- 
able smell. 

The thenca (turdus thenca) in my opinion is 
merely a variety of the Virginian thrush (turdus 
polyglottus) or of the turdus Orpheus, or cent- 
zontlatotLe of Mexico, called the four hundred 
tongues, from the variety of its notes; it is of 
the size of the common thrush, but its wings 
and its tail, which is entire and rounded, are 
longer ; its e} r es, bill, and feet are brown ; the 
upper part of its body is of an ash-colour, 
spotted with brown and white ; the ends of the 
quills and the tail-feathers are white, and the 
breast and belly of a light grey; it builds its 
nest upon trees ; this is a foot in length, of a 
cylindrical form, lined within with wool and 
feathers, and completely guarded upon the out- 
aide with thorns, except a small opening, by 
which the female enters and deposits her egg's, 


which are four or five, and are vfhite speckled 
with brown. 

It is not in the power of language to^-convey 
an idea of the song of the thenca, which has 
the sound of a great number of birds whose 
notes are in accord ; it also possesses the property 
of imitating the note of any other bird, and its 
strain is generally much louder and more har- 
monious than that of the nightingale ; it is a gay 
and active bird, always in motion, and even while 
singing continues hopping from one bough to 
another. For this reason it will not bear con- 
finement, and if shut up in a cage soon dies. It 
is usually to be met with near country-houses, 
and feeds upon almost any thing, but appears to 
have a decided preference for flies and tallow. 

The cureu (turdus cureus) appears to be of a 
species between the thrush and the black-bird ; 
to the latter of which it has some resemblance, 
and is of the same size. The bill is a little an- 
gular and bent towards the point, the nostrils are 
covered with a thin membrane, and the corners 
of the mouth furnished with hairs ; the feet and 
position of the toes are like those of the black- 
bird, and its tail is cuneiform and about five 
inches long : the whole plumage is of a glossy 
black, of this colour are also the eyes, bill, feet, 
and even the flesh and bones. 

This bird is highly prized for the melody and 


compass of its note; it imitates very well the 
song of other birds, and when in a cage is easily 
taught to speak; it feeds upon seeds, worms, and 
flesh, and frequently pursues and kills small 
birds, the brains of which it eats. Notwith- 
standing this ravenous propensity it is easily 
tamed, and a few davs are sufficient to reconcile 
it to confinement. 

The cureu, like the starling, is a social bird, 
and is daily to be seen in large flocks feeding in 
the meadows, which, when at evening they re- 
tire to their roosts, make the air resound with 
their sprightly notes. They build their nests, 
with much skill, of small twigs interwoven with 
rushes, and cemented with clay, which they 
bring; in their bills and claws. When the nest 
is formed, the female smooths it upon the outside 
with her tail, which serves as a trowel, and lines 
it within with hair, upon which she lays three 
white eggs of a blueish cast. 
N The loyca (sturnus loyca) is larger than the 
starling, which it resembles in its bill, tongue, 
feet, tail, and manner c.f feeding. The male is 
of a dark grey, spotted with white, except the 
throat, which is scarlet; the female is of a lighter 
grey, and the red on the throat is paler; it builds 
its nest, in a careless manner, in any hole which it 
finds in the ground, and lays but three grey eggs 
marked with brown. This bird is also valued 
for its singing, and is easily tamed. In its state 

vol. i. p 


of freedom, the male, accompanied by the fe- 
male, rises perpendicularly in the air, constantly 
singing, and descends in the same manner. The 
Indians entertain some superstitious opinions re- 
specting the singing of this bird, and they employ 
the feathers of its breast to ornament their head- 

The rara (phytotoma rara, gen. nov. ) is about 
the size of a quail, and appears to be the only 
species of its genus, the passeres of Linnaeus. 
Its bill is thick, conical, straight-pointed, serrated 
at the edges, and half an inch long, the tongue 
short and blunt, the pupil of the eye brown, the 
tail of a middle length and rounded, and upon 
each foot it has four toes, three before, and one 
behind, rather shorter ; its general colour is 
grey, dark upon the back, and lighter upon the 
belly ; the prime feathers of the wings and the 
side feathers of the tail are tipped with black. 
Its note is harsh and broken, and sounds like the 
two syllables that form its name. It feeds upon 
grass, which it has a mischievous propensity of 
pulling up from the roots, and often, through 
mere wantonness, a much greater quantity than 
it eats. On this account the husbandmen are at 
continual war with it, and the children are re- 
warded for destroying its eggs. It builds its nest 
in dark and solitary places npon the highest 
trees, and, by this means, escapes, in a great 
measure, the pursuits of its enemies; but its. 


numbers have, however, become considerably di- 
minished, either from this cause, or from the 
species being naturally unprolific. 

There are three different kinds of the parrot 
in Chili, one of which is constantly to be found 
in the country, but the others are birds of pas- 
sage. The first species, called tliecau (psittacus 
cyanalysios) is a little larger than a common 
pigeon, and is decorated with a superb blue 
collar ; the head, wings, and tail are green spot- 
ted with yellow ; but the back, throat, and belly 
are yellow ; the tail is of a middle length and 
equal. These birds are very numerous, and 
very destructive to the corn ; they fly in large 
flocks, and whenever they light upon a field to 
feed, one of their number is stationed upon a tree 
as a sentinel, who advertises his companions by 
frequent cries of the approach of danger. This 
renders them difficult to be approached, and the 
only means of obtaining a number of them at a 
shot is by throwing a hat in the air, which they 
fly at with incredible eagerness. They make 
their nests among the steepest declivities, in 
which they scoop deep and winding holes, and 
lay two white eggs of the size of a pigeon's. 
Although their nests appear to be inaccessible, 
the peasants take great numbers of their young. 
In order to do this, they let themselves down by 
a rope to the mouth of the holes, and draw the 
young parrots out with a kind of hook made for 



the purpose. These are a cheap and excellent 
food ; I have seen eight of them sold for the 
smallest coin of the country, about three sous. 
When the first brood is taken away, they hatch 
a second, sometimes a third, and even a fourth ; 
to this wonderful fecundity is owing the great 
numbers of these birds, which frequently destroy 
the crops. They are easily tamed, and readily 
taught to speak. 

Those which are migratory are the choroi and 
the jaguilma. I call them migratory, from their 
inhabiting the Andes in summer, and not appear- 
ing in Chili until the winter. Both these species 
are of the size of a turtle-dove, and belong to 
the family of parroquets. 

The upper part of the body of the choroi 
(psittacus choraeus) is of a beautiful green, 
the belly is of an ash colour, and the tail well 
proportioned. This bird is taught to speak much 
better than either of the others. 

The jaguilma (psittacus jaguilma) is entirely 
green, excepting the edges of the wings, which 
are brown. The tail is very long and poiuted. 
This species appears to be the most prolific. In 
the plains situated between the 34th and 45th 
degrees of latitude, it is frequently seen in such 
numerous flocks as almost to surpass belief. 
When they quit a field where they have been 
feeding, in order to fall upon another, they fre- 
quently obscure the sun, and their chattering, 


which is very unpleasant, is heard at a great 
distance. Fortunately, this destructive race 
does not arrive till after the harvest, and departs 
before the trees begin to put forth, otherwise they 
would lay waste the whole country. It is in- 
credible what havoc they make while they slay, 
as tltey devour not only the tops of the plants, 
but even the roots. An inconceivable quantity 
of them is killed in the fields, but so far from di- 
minishing their numbers, on the contrary, they 
appear to be increased at every return. When- 
ever these birds alight upon a field, the hus- 
bandmen furnish themselves with long poles, and, 
mounted on swift horses, fall upon them unex- 
pectedly, and as they are always in large flocks, 
and keep very close together, they cannot fly off 
so quickly but that great numbers of them are 
generally left dead on the ground. The flesh is 
delicious, and preferable to that of any other 
species of the parrot. 

In almost all parts of America is found a 
species of water-hen, with armed wings, espe- 
cially at Brasil, where it is called the jacana. 
That of Chili, called the tJieghel (parra Chilen- 
sis) is of the size of a pie, but its legs are 
longer ; its head is black, ornamented with a 
small crest, the neck, back, and upper part of the 
wings are purple, the throat and upper part of 
the breast black, and the belly is white. The 
quijls of the wings and the tail are short and of 



a deep brown ; on the forehead it has a red fleshy 
excrescence, divided into two lobes; the iris of 
the eyes are yellow, and the pupil brown ; the 
bill is conical, a little bent towards the point, 
and about two inches long; the nostrils are ob- 
long and very open, and the legs, which are bare 
of feathers below the knees, have four long toes 
that are separate, but more proportionate to its 
size than those of the Brasil species. The spur, 
which is placed on the joint of the wing, is six 
lines long and three broad, and is of a yellowish 
colour and conical form. 

A bird as well armed as this cannot want for 
means of defence in case of necessity, and it of 
course fights with great courage and vigour 
every thing that attempts to molest it. It is 
never seen in elevated places, and never perches 
upon trees, but lives wholly in the plains, and 
feeds upon insects and worms. It builds its 
nest in the grass, where it lays four fawn-co- 
loured eggs, spotted with black, a little larger 
than those of a partridge. It keeps in pairs, 
and the male and female are almost always toge- 
ther, but it is very rarely to be seen in flocks. 
When they perceive any one searching for their 
nest, they at first conceal themselves in the grass, 
without discovering any apprehension ; but as 
soon as they see the person approaching the spot 
where the nest is placed, they rush out with fury 
to defend it. It is observed that this bird never 


makes the least noise during the day, and that it 
cries at night only when it hears some one passing. 
For this reason, the Araucanians, when at war, 
are accustomed to watch the cry of this bi:d, 
which serves them as a sentinel to inform them 
of the approach of an enemy. They were for- 
merly accustomed in Chili to hunt these birds 
with the falcon, but this mode has been long out 
of use, and they are at present shot with fowling- 
pieces. It is good game, and in no respect in- 
ferior to the woodcock. 

The piuquen (otis Chilensis) is a species of 
bustard larger than that of Europe. It is 
almost entirely white, excepting its head and the 
upper part of its wings, which are grey, and the 
first quills, which are black. Its tail is short, 
and composed of eighteen white feathers. It 
has no excrescence either beneath the throat, or. 
upon the bill, which resembles that of the com- 
mon bustard. Its feet are divided into three 
toes before, and a fourth, rather more elevated, 
behind. It inhabits the plains, where it is almost 
always found in flocks; it feeds upon grass, and 
does not begin to breed until two years old ; it 
lays six white eggs larger than those of the goose, 
is easily tamed, and many of the country people 
have domesticated it. 

The cheuque, or American ostrich (struthio 
rea) is principally found in the environs of the 
celebrated lake of Nahuelguapi, in the valjeys of 



the Andes. In height it is nearly equal to a 
man; its neck is two feet eight inches long, and 
its legs of the same length ; its head small and 
round, and covered with feathers ; its eyes and 
eyelids are black, and furnished with eyebrows ; 
its bill is short and broad like that of the duck, 
and the feet have three toes entirely separate 
before, and the vestige of a fourth behind ; its 
tail is composed of seyeral short feathers of an 
equal length, which grow out of the rump. Its 
wings are eight feet in length from their extre- 
mities, but not calculated for flight, owing to the 
great flexibility and weakness of the feathers. 
The plumage of the back and wings is of a dark 
grey, but that of the other parts of the body is 
white. Among these birds are found some that 
are entirely white, and others that are black, but 
I consider them merely as varieties. 

The cheuque has not, like the African ostrich, 
a horny substance upon its wings, nor callosities 
on the sternum, but it is quite as voracious, and 
swallows whatever is offered it, even iron. Its 
favourite food is flies, which it catches with 
much dexterity. It has no defence but its feet, 
which it employs against those who molest it. 
Its whistle, when it calls its young, resembles 
that of a man. It lays from forty to sixty eggs 
in a careless manner upon the ground ; they are 
well tasted, and so large that they will contain 
about two pounds of liquor. The feathers are 


employed for many purposes; the Indians make 
of them plumes, parasols, &c. M. de Pauw, 
who frequently loses sight of the title of his 
Iwork, represents the cheuque as a degenerate 
species of the African ostrich, because it has 
three toes instead of two; hut were these birds 
of the same species, which is far from being the 
case, I am of opinion that the term degenerate 
would be more applicable to the African ostrich, 
as being less perfect in its limbs, than to that of 

The pequen (strix cunicularia) a species of 
the owl, is remarkable for the large burrows 
which it makes in the ground to deposit its eggs. 
Feuille asserts that he himself had endeavoured 
to dig to the end of one of them, but was 
obliged to relinquish the attempt. This bird is 
of the size of a pigeon, but its beak is very strong 
and crooked, it has large nostrils, and large eyes 
with a yellow iris; the upper part of its body is 
grey, spotted with white, the lower part of a 
dirty white; the tail, which scarcely extends be- 
yond the quills of the wings, is of the same 
colour ; its thighs are covered with feathers, 
and the feet with tubercles, upon which are some 
short hairs ; the toes are strong, and armed with 
black crooked talons. It is not so averse to light 
as others of its species, and is frequently seen by 
day in company with the female, near the mouth 
of its hole. Its principal food is insects and rep- 


tiles, the remains of which are often found ia 
small fragments before its hole Its cry is lu- 
gubrious and broken, and imitative of its name. 
The eggs are usually four, and are white spotted 
with yellow. The Abbe Feuille praises the 
flesh of this bird, but I never could learn that it 
was eaten by the inhabitants. 

The tharu (falco tharus) is a species of eagle 
very common in Chili, of the size of a capon. 
The male is whitish, marked with black spots, 
and has upon its head a kind of crown formed 
of black feathers, longer at the sides than the 
middle. Its back is whitish like that of the 
common eagle ; the feet are yellow, and covered 
with scales, and the toes armed with crooked 
talons ; the great feathers of the wings and the 
tail are black. The female is less than the male, 
is of a grey colour, and has a black comb upon 
her head. This bird builds its nest upon the 
loftiest trees, with sticks placed in the manner of 
a square grate, upon which it heaps a considerab- 
le quantity of wool, tow, and feathers. It lays 
five white eggs, speckled with brown, and feeds 
upon several kinds of animals, and even upon 
carcasses, but is never seen openly to pursue its 
prey like others of its species, but seizes it by 
stratagem. The malewalks erect with an air of 
gravity ; his cxy is harsh and disagreeable, and 
whenever he utters it he throws his hea4 hack 
upon his rump. 


The jota (vultur jota) resembles much i he 
aura, a species of vulture, of which there is 
perhaps but one variety. It is distinguished, 
however, by the beak, which is grey with a black 
point. All the plumage is black, except the 
quills of the wings, which are brown ; its head 
is destitute of feathers, and covered with a 
wrinkled skin of a reddish colour ; the legs are 
brown. It acquires its colour with age; for 
when it is young it is almost white, and does not 
begin to change until after it has quitted the nest. 
The first black spots appears upon the back, and 
is very small, but extends gradually over the 
whole body. Notwithstanding the size of this 
bird, which is nearly that of the turkey, and its 
strong and crooked talons, it attacks no other, 
but feeds principally upon carcasses and reptiles. 
It is extremely indolent, and will frequently 
remain for a long time almost motionless, with 
its wings extended, sunning itself upon the rocks 
or the roofs of the houses. When in pain, which 
is the only time that it is known to make any 
noise, it utters a sharp cry like that of a rat, and 
usually disgorges what it has eaten. The flesh 
of this bird emits a fetid smell that is highly 
offensive. The manner in which it builds its 
nest is perfectly correspondent to its natural in- 
dolence ; it carelessly places between rocks, or 
even upon the ground, a few dry leaves or 



feathers, upon which it lays two eggs of a dirty 

The bird universally known in Peru by the 

name of condor (vultur gryphus) is in Chili 

called manque, and is unquestionably the largest 

that has the power of supporting itself in the 

air. Linnaeus makes its wings, when extended, 

sixteen feet from one extremity to the other, but 

the largest that I have seen was but fourteen feet 

a^ti some inches. , Its body is much larger than 

that of the royal eagle, and is entirely covered 

w ,f h black lie fibers, excepting the back, which 

is white. The neck is encircled with a white 

fringe, composed of projecting feathers about 

av. indi in length. The head is covered with 

short and thin hairs, the irides of the eyes are of 

a reddish brown, and the pupils black. The 

beak is four inches long, very large and crooked, 

black at its base, and white towards the point. 

The greater quills of the wings are usually two 

feet nine inches long, and one third of an inch in 

diameter. The thigh is ten inches and two thirds 

i i I th, but the leg does not exceed six inches ; 

the fool is furnished with four strong toes, the 

hindmost of which is about two inches loner, but one joint, and a black nail an inch in 

len^h ; the middle toe has three joints, it is 

nearly six inches long, and is terminated by a 

crooked whitish uail of two inches ; the other 


toes are a little shorter, and are armed with strong 
and crooked talons. The tail is entire,, but small 
in proportion to the size of the bird. The 
female is less than the male, and of a brownish 
colour; she has no fringe about the neck, but a 
small tuft upon the hinder part of it. She builds 
her nest upon the most steep -and inaccessible 
cliffs, and lays two white eggs larger than those 
of the turkey. 

The condors feed either upon carcasses, ot 
upon animals which they kill themselves, and 
thus supply the place of wolves, which are 
unknown in Chili. They frequently attack 
flocks of sheep or goats, and even calves when 
they are separated from the cows. In the latter 
case there are always several of them together, 
who fly upon the calf with their wings extended, 
dig out its eyes, and in a few moments tear it in 

The husbandmen make use of every stratagem 
to destroy so dangerous a bird. For this purpose 
they sometimes envelope themselves in the skin of 
an ox newly slayed, and place themselves on 
their backs upon the ground; the condor, de- 
ceived by the appearance, approaches the sup- 
posed dead animal to devour it, when the person 
within, whose hands are protected by strong 
gloves, dexterously seizes the legs of the bird, 
and holds it until his companions, concealed hard 
by, run up to his assistance, and dispatch it with 
clubs. Another mode is to form a small circular 


enclosure * ith palisades, in which is placed the 
carcass of some animal. The condors, who pos- 
sess great acuteness of sight and smell, are imme- 
diately attracted thereby, and as they are extremely 
voracious, they gorge themselves to such a degree 
with food, that not being able readily to rise, 
and obstructed by the narrowness of the enclo- 
sure, they are easily killed by those who lie in 
wait for them. The condor, however, possesses 
great strength of wing, and though filled with 
food, if it can once raise itself, or is upon an 
eminence, it will fly with great swiftness, and 
soon disappears in the air. M. de Bomare ob- 
serves, that there is very little difference, except 
in its colour, between the condor and the laem- 
mergeyer of Switzerland ; and I am of opinion 
that it is only a variety of the same species. 

Of bats, an animal that holds a middle station 
between birds and quadrupeds, there are but two 
species in Chili : the house-bat, which is in no 
respect different from the European, and the 
mountain-bat, which is of the same size and 
shape, and distinguishable only by its being of 
an orange colour. Neither of these are vara- 
pyres, as are those of the southern torrid zone, 
but feed entirely upon insects. 

Sect. VI. Quadrupeds. — I have already esti- 
mated the number of quadrupeds in Chili at 
thiity-six species, without including those that 
have been imported. I have even excepted the 

hog' and the dog, although I do not consider 
them as proceeding from a European stock, as 
the proper names which they both have in the 
Chilian language distinguished them from foreign 
animals. Even Acosta, who wrote shortly after 
the conquest, does not venture to give a decisve 
opinion respecting the origin of the domestic 
hog of Peru. The hog of Chili, called by the 
Indians cliancliu, is similar in its appearance to 
that of Europe ; it is full as large, and generally 
white, in which respect it differs from that of 
Peru, which is always black. 

As to the dog, without pretending that all 
the kinds at present found in the country were 
there before the arrival of the Spaniards, I have 
reason to believe that the little barbet, called 
kiltho, and the common dog, thegua in Chilian, 
the breeds of which are found in all parts of 
America, as far as Cape Horn, were known in 
Chili before that period. These dogs, it is true, 
bark like those of Europe, but this is not a con- 
clusive reason for supposing them to be derived 
from that race. The general opinion that the 
American dog is dumb, has unquestionably arisen 
from the circumstance of the first conquerors 
haven given similar names to those animals of 
the new world, which bore some resemblance to 
those of the old. This is confirmed by the 
learned Abbe Clavigero, who, in his History of 
Mexico, says that the first Spaniards who came 


to that country gave the name of dog to the 
techici,* a dumb animal, resembling the dog in 
its appearance, but of a very different genus. 
This external resemblance has given rise event- 
ually to the opinion that the American dogs never 
bark, and many naturalists, who incautiously 
adopt this error, have been the means of perpet- 
uating it to the present day. Another opinion, 
equally destitute of foundation, is, that the Eu- 
ropean dogs that were left on the island of Juan 
Fernandez, at the time it was uninhabited, had 
lost their voices, and were unable to bark, which 
I have been well assured by the present inhabit- 
ants is an utter falsehood. 

The erroneous names given to particular 
animals, many of which are still retained, have 
proved very injurious to the natural history of 
America. From this source have proceeded 
those visionary hypothesis of the degeneracy of 
its quadrupeds, the supposed little stags, bears, 
and boars of that country, considered as so many 
pigmy breeds, although they have no other con- 
nection with the pretended primitive race than 
these ill-applied names. A very respectable 
modern author mentions as a proof of this de- 
generacy, the ant-eater, called by some authors 
the ant-bear, and considered as a degenerate spe- 

*The cn>b-:ater, or dog crab-eater, so called from its feed- 
ing r. rincip.ilv upon crabs. 


cies of the bear. But this quadruped differs 
essentially from the bear in other respects than 
its size, and all well -in formed naturalists are 
agreed t^ai this animal belongs neither to the 
genus nor the order' of bears ; it is of course 
ridiculous to bring forward in support of thi s 
hypothesis, two animals so distinct as to have 
nothing in common but a name so improperly 
given to os^e of them. I could adduce a great 
number of instances of this kind, were I to go 
through with the various quadrupeds of America 
that have been considered as species of the old 
continent, altered by the physical influence of 
the new. 

South America possesses but a very few spe- 
cies of animals that are similar to those of the 
old world, and these have preserved their origi- 
nal appearance, or rather, as might be expected 
from the influence of so mild a climate, have 
improved it. Of this number, in Chili, are the 
the fox, the hare, the otter, and the mouse. 
The foxes are of three kinds : the guru, or the 
common fox, the cliilla, or the field fox, and the 
<payne-guru, or the blue fox. This last is verj 
common in the Archipelago of Chiloe, where it 
is black. All these foxes are of the same size as 
the European fox. 

In its form the bare of Chili resembles that of 
Eur pe, but is superior to it in size, for it is 
sometimes found of twenty pounds weight, a 
vol. I. q 


fact confirmed by Commodore Byron, whose 
sailors killed several of them upon the coast of 
Patagonia. These hares are found in great 
njiinbers in the provinces of Coquimbo, Pucha- 
cay, and Huilquiiemu. The flesh is perfectly 
white, and of a much superior flavour to that of 
the European hare. The otter inhabits the fresh 
waters of the southern provinces, and differs in 
no respect from that of Europe. The rat has 
been imported in foreign * vessels, and of the 
mouse there are various species; the domestic 
mouse, the ground mouse, and several others, 
which I shall more particularly describe here- 

In confining the number of quadrupeds in 
Chili to thirty-six species, I have reference only 
to those that are well known ; but I am fully 
persuaded that, there is a much greater number, 
especially in the interior of the Andes, that are 
as yet undiscovered or very imperfectly known. 

* A ship from Antwerp, which went through the strait?, is 
said to have carried the first rats to America. They appeared 
in Chili, and multiplied there so as to be very mischievous, but 
in Ovalles time they were still confined to the coast. (L 1. 
C 21.) The first cat which was taken k> America was pre- 
sented by Montenegro to Ahuagro, who gave hrm in return 
six hundred piec* . Whittington's cat hardly turned out a 
better venture. This is a good trait in Almagro's character — 
one of the best-hearted men among all the conqueror-. — E.E. 

Herrera, Dec. 5. L /. C Q. 


This opinion is confirmed by the common tradi- 
tions of the country ; and I have been informed 
Of eight new species that have been discovered 
at various times ; but as the descriptions I have 
received of them have been very imperfect, and 
the animals have been seen but by few, I have 
thought them not sufficiently characterized to 
merit a place among those whose economy is 
well known. 

Such., for instance, is the piguchen, a winged 
quadruped, or species of large bat, which, if its 
existence is real, forms a very important link 
between birds and quadrupeds. This animal is 
said to be of the size and shape of a tame rab- 
bit, and to be covered with fine hair of a cinna- 
mon colour; the nose sharp, the eyes round and 
shining, the ears almost invisible, the wings 
membranaceous, the paws short and like those 
of the lizard, the tail round at the root, and 
ending like that of a fish. It inhabits holes in 
trees, which it leaves only at night, and does 
no injury tG any thing but insects, which serve 
it for food. 

Of this kind is likewise the hippopotamus of 
the rivers and the lakes of Arauco, which is dif- 
ferent from that of Africa, and in its form and 
stature resembles the horse, but the feet are 
palmated like those of the seal. The existence 
of this animal is universally credited through- 
out the country, and there are some persons who 



pretend to have seen the skin, which, they say, 
is covered with a very soft and sleek hair, re- 
sembling in colour that of the sea-wolf. 

But leaving the examination of these animals 
to those who have an opportunity of making 
farther discoveries respecting them, I shall pro- 
ceed to treat of those that are known, which I 
shall divide into those that have toes, or are di- 
gitated, and those that are hoofed. This divi- 
sion, although imperfect, appears to me to be 
better adapted than a more technical one, for the 
arrangement of so small a number of species. 
Those which have toes are either web-footed or 
cloven-footed. The former live in the water, 
and feed upon fish. Those who inhabit the sea 
are the following : * 

The urigne (phoca lupina). This species of 
phoca, which the French and Spaniards call the 
sea- wolf, differs* but little from the common seal; 
this difference principally consists in its size and 
colour. It is from three to six and even eight 
feet in length ; and its colour is brown, grey, 
and sometimes whitish, but all of these are 
merely varieties of the same species. This 
animal is large forward, but gradually diminishes, 
like a fish, towards the hinder feet, which are 
united within the same skin, and form the extre- 
mity of its body. It is covered with two kinds 
of hair, one stiffj and the other soft like that of 
an ox. The head is large and round, and re- 


sembles that of a dog with the ears cut off, and 
instead of the latter it has two oblique holes 
which serve for the same purpose. The eyes are 
large, globular, and furnished with long eye- 
lashes ; the nose is like that of the calf, as is the 
tongue ; the muzzle is short and blunt, with 
long whiskers, the lips being of equal size, but 
the upper a little channelled like that of the 
lion. The teeth are thir ty- four in number : ten 
incisors, four canine, and twenty grinders. The 
fore feet, or more properly fins, have two very 
perceptible joints, one corresponding with the 
shoulder-blade, the other with the elbow ; the 
metacarpal bones and the toes are cartilaginous, 
and enclosed in a membraneous sheath, which 
performs the office of a fore paw. Each of 
these feet has four toes, which distinguishes this 
from the other species of the phoca. The ex- 
tremity of the body, which is tapered almost to 
a point, is divided into two \ery hort parts, re- 
presenting the hind feet, the joints of which are 
very visible. These feet are furnished with five 
fingers of an unequal length, like those on the 
hand of a man, united from the first to the third 
joint by a rough membrane, which completely 
envelopes each finger, and even extends beyond it. 
At the junction of the hind feet is situated the 
tail, which is about three inches in length. In 
both sexes the generative parts are placed at the 
lower part of the belly. They usually copu- 



late the latter part of autumn, and the female 
brings forth her young in the spring, of which 
she has generally two, sometimes three at a birth. 
She is distinguished from the male by a longer 
neck, and a more delicate and beautiful form. 
The urigne abounds in blood, which, whenever 
it is wounded, flows from it in great quantities; 
like many other aquatic animals, it has beneath 
the skin a covering of soft fat ; this is fhe inches 
in thickness, and easily reducible to oil. Not- 
withstanding the inconvenient conformation of 
their feet for that purpose, they readily climb 
up the rocks, on which they are fond of sleeping, 
though they walk very badly, or rather draw 
themselves, when on shore from one place to 
another. It would, however, be very imprudent 
to approach them carelessly, for although so 
heavy and clumsy in appearance, their necks have 
great flexibility, and they are capable of inflict- 
ing severe wounds with their long teeth. 

These phocae swim with great swiftness, and 
make use principally of their hind feet, which they 
extend in a straight line,, so as at a distance to re- 
semble the tail of a fish. They cannot re sain 
long under water, and frequently raise their 
heads to breathe, tor to watch the approach of 
penguins and other aquatic birds, of which they 
make their prey. The cry of the old urignes 
resembles the roaring of a bull or the grunting 
of a hog, while that of the young is more like 


the bleating of a sheep. They are common 
upon all the coast of Chili, and in the islands; 
where, every year, the inhabitants kill a vast 
number of them with clubs, a slight blow across 
the nose, which is their most tender part, being 
sufficient to dispatch them. The skin is em- 
ployed for various purposes, particularly for 
making a kind of float, which is used in fishing 
and in passing rivers. This consists of two large 
balloons, from eight to nine feet in length, formed 
of these skins, carefully joined and sewed, and 
inflated with air; upon these are placed several 
pieces of wood laid transversely, which will con* 
tain one or more persons. When the skin is well 
dressed it resembles coarse-grained morocco 
leather, but is superior to it in point of con- 
sistency and durability; shoes and boots are also 
made of it that are impenetrable to water. The 
oil which is obtained from the fat forms a con- 
siderable article of commerce with the inhabit- 
ants of Chiloe. It is used in dressing leather, 
and, when clarified, for burning, and is preferred 
to that of the whale, as it keeps better, and re- 
tains its clearness for a longer time. The sailors 
make use of it for frying their fish, and the taste 
is not unpleasant when it is fresh. In the sto- 
mach of this animal are frequently found stones 
of several pounds weight, which it probably 
swallows to triturate its food, and accelerate the 
process of digestion. 



The sea-hog (phoca porcina) resembles the 
urigne in its shape, hair, and manner of living, 
but differs from it in the conformation of its 
mouth, which is longer, and resembles the snout 
of a hog. Its ears are likewise more raised, and 
the fore feet divided into five very distinct toes, 
covered with a membrane. This phoca, which 
is from three to four feet in length, is but rarely 
met with on the coast of Chili. 

The lame, sea-elephant, or elephantine seal 
(phoca elephantica) is similar in form to the 
preceding, but distinguished from it by very 
striking characteristics. It is of a very great 
size, being frequently fifteen feet in circunir 
ference around the breast, and twenty-two feet 
in length Upon its nose is a comb, or glandular 
trunk, extending from the forehead beyond the 
upper lip, and serving as a species of defensive 
armour against blows, which upon that part are 
almostalways fatal. The tusks of the lower jaw 
project at least four inches from it, and this sin- 
gularity, together with the trunk, give it some 
faint resemblance to the elephant. The feet are 
divided into five toes, half covered with a cori- 
aceous membrane indented upon the sides, each 
furnished with a strong crooked nail. The ears, 
at first sight, appear to be truncated, but, on 
nearer view, are found to be nearly half an inch 
long, and in shape like those of a dog. The 
skin is thicker than that of the urigne, and co- 


vered with short, thick, and soft hair, the colour 
of which is various, being a mixture of dun, 
yellow, grey, and dirty white. The female is of 
a less size, and not so fat as the male, and 
ha-, but a slight appearance of a trunk upon the 

Lord Anson has improperly called this animal 
the sea-lion; and Linnaeus, from his authority, 
)ias denominated it phoca leoni:ia, an appellation 
much more appropriate to another animal of the 
same genus, but of a very different species. 
The lames are found in the greatest numbers on 
the island of Juan Fernandez, the Araucanian 
coast, the Archipelago of Chiloe, and the Straits 
of Magellan They herd together in large 
companies, and during the summer are almost 
continually in the sea, but on the commencement 
of winter they go on shore, where they bring 
forth their young. They copulate, like the 
urignes, by raising themselves on their hind feet, 
and have the same number of young with them. 
\Vhen on shore they frequent miry places, where 
they wallow and frequently sleep, placing, as a 
sentinel, one of their number upon a rising 
ground, who gives notice of the approach of any 
danger by frightful bowlings. 

The sea-elephant is the largest of the phoca, 
and produces more oil than any of the others; it 
is so fat that, whenever it moves, the oil is -seen 
to undulate beneath (he skin, The males appear 


to be very amorous, and frequently fight for the 
exclusive possession of the females, until the 
death of one of them terminates the contest ; 
from this cause the skins of so many of them are 
covered with scars. Whenever the males fight, 
the females retire apart, awaiting the issue of a 
combat which is to place them in possession of 
the victor, 

The sea-lion (phoca leonina) is of a better 
proportioned and more elegant form than any 
other species of phoca, though like the rest its 
shape is conical. It is covered with a yellowish 
hair, which from the shoulders to the tail is 
short, but on the neck and near the head is as 
long as that of a goat, and forn.s a very percepti- 
ble mane, that distinguishe this from every other 
kind of phoca. The Indians call it thopel-Iame, 
that is, the lame with a mane. Its head resem- 
bles that of the lion,, it has a large flat nose, 
without hair from the middle to the tip ; the ears 
are almost round, and stand out about two-thirds 
of an inch from the head; its eyes, the pupils of 
which are greenish, are very bright and spark- 
ling, and the upper lip is furnished with long 
white whiskers, like those of a tiger. The 
mouth is very wide, and has thirty-four teeth set 
deep in the jaw, which are very large and solid, 
and as white as ivory ; the middle teeth are 
about four inches in length, and an inch and a 
half in diameter ; the incisors do not project 


from the mouth, like those of the lame, but their 
disposition is similar to those of the urigne. In 
the conformation of the hinder feet it also re- 
sembles that animal, except that those of the sea- 
lion are palmated. The fore feet are cartilagi- 
nous, very short in proportion to its size, divided 
into five toes, terminated by nails, and united by 
a membra ;e, in the manner of those of the ele- 
phantine seal. The tail is about nine inches 
long", and is round and black. 

The female is much smaller than the male, and 
has no mane; it has two teats, and produces but 
one young at a birth, towards which it discovers 
great affection. The Abbe Pernetty, in the ac- 
count of his voyage to the Malouine islands, 
mentions his having seen sea-lions of twenty-two 
feet in length, but the largest that I have seen in 
Chili did not exceed thirteen or fourteen feet. 
These animals are very fat, and no less san- 
guineous than the urigne. When wounded, 
they immediately throw themselves into the sea, 
and leave a long track of blood behind them, 
which serves as a guide for the lames and urignes, 
who in this state of weakness attack and easily 
overcome and devour them. This disposition, 
however, His not reciprocal, as the sea-lion never 
attempts to harm any of the other phocas, even 
when they are unable to protect themselves. 

I have been informed by the fishermen that 
they have occasionally seen in these seas various 


other kinds of phocae, which may be similar to 
those found in the North Sea, described by 
Steller, and very probably some that are entirely 
unknown to naturalists, for I am of opinion that 
this genus is more abundant in species than is 
generally imagined. 

The chinchim en (mustela felina) called by the 
Spaniards the sea-cat, is about twenty inches in 
length from the muzzle to the root of the tail. 
It has a strong resemblance to a cat in its head, 
cars and eyes, and in the shape and length of its 
tail. The nose is furnished with whiskers, and 
it has thirty-two teeth: twelve incisors which 
are straight and sharp-pointed, four canine teeth, 
and sixteen grinders. Each foot has five pal- 
mated toes, terminated by strong crooked nail:. 
The skin, like that of the otter, is covered with 
two kinds of hair, of a light grey colour, one 
very short and soft, the other longer and harsh. 
This animal lives almost altogether in the sea, 
but is only seen in pairs, and never in companies. 
In pleasant weather it is fond of basking in the 
sun, and is frequently taken in snares upon the 
rocks, whither at such times it is accustomed to 
resort. The chinchimen has a hoarse cry like 
the tiger, it is as ferocious as the wild-cat, and 
like that animal springs at any one that ap~ 
preaches it. 

Besides the otler, of which I have already 
spoken, the fresh waters of Chili are inhabited 
by the guillinu and the coypu. 

The guilltno (castor Huidobrius) which I 
have thus named in memory of a deceased friend 
of great literary attainments, Don Ignaeius 
Huidobrio, Marquis of Casa Reale, is a species 
of beaver, in high estimation for the fineness of 
its fur. Its length, from the end of the nose to 
the insertion of the tail, is about three feet, and 
its height two. The colour of the hair is grey, 
dark upon the back, and whitish on the belly ; 
of this, like the northern beaver, it has two 
kinds, the one short and fine and softer than that 
of a rabbit, the other long and coarse and easily 
detached from the skin. The short fur readily 
takes any colour, and I have seen cloth manu- 
factured from it dyed black and blue, which 
had all the beauty of velvet ; it is also used for 
making hats, that are no way inferior to the real 
beaver. The head of this animal is almost 
square, the ears are short and round, and the eyes 
small, the nose is blunt, and the mouth is fur- 
nished with two very sharp incisors in each jaw, 
and with sixteen grinders ; on each foot it has 
five toes, those before are edged with a narrow 
membrane, and the hinder ones are palmated ; 
its back is very broad, and the tail long, flat, and 
covered with hair. The guillino produces no 
substance analogous to the castor ; it inhabits 


the rivers and the deepest lakes, and can remain 
a long time under water without respiring. It 
feeds upon fish and crabs, and is usually sur- 
prised and killed by the hunters when it goes to 
void its excrements, which it regularly does 
every day, like a cat, in the same place. It is a 
voracious animal, and so fearless that it fre- 
quently robs the nets and baskets of fish in the 
presence of the fishermen. The female has two 
or three young at a litter, and the period of ges- 
tation, if I am not misinformed,, is about five 

The coypu (mus coypu) is a species of water- 
rat, of the size of the otter, which it resembles 
in its hair and external appearance. It has 
round ears, and a long nose covered with whis- 
kers ; the feet are short, the tail large and of a 
moderate length well covered with hair, and in 
each jaw are two very sharp incisors. The feet 
have each five toes, those of the fore feet are un- 
connected by a membrane, but those of the hind 
are palmated. Though the conformation of 
this animal evinces that it is intended as an in- 
habitant of the water, it nevertheless lives very 
well upon the land, and even in houses, where it 
is easily tamed, and soon becomes reconciled to 
a domestic state. It eats any thing that is given 
it, and appears to be susceptible of much at- 
tachment to the person who feeds it. Its cry is 
a sharp shriek, but it never utters it except when 


hart. With a little patience and care, it might 
be rendered still more useful than the otter for 
the purpose of taking fish. The female has five 
or six young at a birth., by whom she is always 

Of the cloven-footed terrestrial quadrupeds of 
Chili, some are gramenivorous, or such as feed 
upon vegetables., and others carnivorous; of the 
latter are the chinghue, the cuja, the quiqui, the 
porcupine, the culpeu, the gmgna, the colocolo, 
and the pagi. 

The chinghue (viverra chinga) is of the size 
of a cat; its colour is black inclining to blue, 
except upon the back, which is marked with a 
broad stripe, composed of round white spots, 
extending from the forehead to the tail. The 
head is long, tiie ears are broad and well covered 
with hair, the eves large with black pupils, the 
nose is sharp, the upper lip extended beyond the 
lower, and the mouth, which is deeply cleft, 
contains twelve incisorial teeth, four sharp ca- 
nine, and sixteen grinders. The hind feet are 
longer than the fore, and on each foot are five 
toes armed with nails, which serve the animal to 
dig deep burrows in the earth, where it secures 
its young. It always carries its head down, ad. 
the tail,. which is covered with long hair, turned 
over upon its back like the- squirrel. 

The uriae of the chinghue is not, as is gene- 
rally supposed, fetid, but the odour, so disgusting 

to every other animal, proceeds from a greenish 
oil contained in a vesicle placed, as in the pole- 
cat, near the anus. When the animal is at- 
tacked, it elevates its posteriors and scatters this 
loathsome liquid upon its assailant. Nothing 
can equal the oifensiveness of its smell; it pene- 
trates every where, and may be perceived at a 
great distance. Garments that are infected with 
it cannot be worn for a long- time, and not until 
repeated washings; and the dogs, after having 
been engaged with the cliinghuc, run to the 
water, roll themselves in the mud, howl as if 
they were mad, and will eat nothing as long as 
the smell continues about them. 

The chingliue, when attacked, never makes use 
of its teeth or claws, but relies entirely upon this 
singular mode of defence. It appears to be at- 
tached to the society of men, and approaches 
them without the least apprehension, boldly en- 
ters the country-houses to search for eggs, and 
passes fearlessly through the midst of the doirs, 
who instead of attacking him generally fly at Ms 
approach. The husbandmen themselves are 
averse to shooting this animal on such occasions, 
lest, should they fail of killing it outright, they 
should be annoyed by its nauseous stench. In 
order to free themselves from this unwelcome vi- 
sitor, they have recourse to another method, 
v/hich is attended with less risk. Some of the 
company begin by caressing' it, until an oppor* 


tunity offers for one of them to seize it by the 
tail and hold it suspended. In this position the 
muscles becoming contracted, the animal is un- 
able to eject the fluid, and is dispatched with 
safety. The chinghue, however, never has re- 
course to this mode of annoyance against those 
of its own species, but employs in righting* with 
them its teeth and claws. It preys upon eggs 
and poultry, which it is very dexterous in taking. 
Its skin is closely covered with very soft long 
hair, and retains nothing of that offensive smell 
which might naturally be supposed. The In- 
dians, when they can obtain a sufficient number 
of these skins, make of them coverings for their 
beds, which they value highly for their beauty 
and the softness of the hair. 

The caja (mustela cuja) is a small animal re- 
sembling a ferret in its size, form, and teeth, and 
also in the disposition of its toes, and its manner 
of living. The eyes are black, and the nose a 
little turned up at the end like a hog's ; its hair 
is black, thick, and extremely soft, and the tail, 
which is of the length of its body, is closely co- 
vered with it. Its principal food is mice, which 
it is in constant pursuit of. The female breeds 
twice a year, and has four or five young at a 

The quiqui { mustela quiqui) is a species of 
weasel of a brown colour, thirteen inches long 
from the nose to the tail. The head is flat, the 

VOL. I. R 


cars short and round, the eyes small and sunken, 
the nose cuneiform, the nostrils compressed, 
with a white spot between them, the month 
broad like that of a toad, and the legs and tail 
short. It has twelve incisors, the same number 
of grinders , and four canine teeth, and the 
tongue is very slender and smooth. The paws 
resemble those of the lizard, and have five toes 
armed with very crooked nails. It is naturally 
ferocious, and so very irascible, that the in- 
habitants give the name of quiqui to those per- 
sons who are easily irritated. It lives under 
ground, and feeds upon mice and moles like the 
cuja ; the female breeds several times in a year, 
and always produces the same number at a 

The porcupine (histrix Chilensis) is found in 
the northern Andes of Chili. The inhabitants 
kill them for the sake of their skins. I have 
never seen this animal, but from the description 
which I have had of it, it differs little or nothing 
from the histrix prensile, or coandu of Brasil. 

The cuipcu (canis culpasus) is a wild dog, or 
rather a species of large fox, differing but little 
from the common fox, except in its size and its 
colour, which is a dark brown, and in having a 
long straight tail covered with short hair like 
that of the common dog. From the point of 
the nose to the root of the fail it is two and a 
half feet in length, and its height is about twen- 


ty-two inches. The shape of its ears, the po- 
sition of its eyes, its teeth, and the disposition 
of its toes, are precisely like those of the fox ; 
like that aninal it also burrows in the fields. 
Its cry is feeble, and resembles the barking of a 
little dog; and it preys upon small animals. 
Whenever the culpeu perceives a man, it comes 
straight towards him, and at the distance of five 
or six paces stops and looks attentively at him. 
If the person does not move, the animal remains 
for some minutes in this situation, and without 
attempting to do him any injury retires. This 
singular curiosity of the culpeu is so well known 
to the inhabitants, that no one is afraid of it, and 
I have myself several times met with it in the 
woods, when it has uniformly acted in the same 
manner. The name appears to be derived from 
the Chilian word culpcvi, which signifies mad- 
ness or folly, and is strikingly applicable to the 
conduct of this animal, which constantly ex- 
poses it to be shot by the hunters, and is probably 
the reason why it is less common in Chili than 
the fox, though it is equally prolific. It is men- 
tioned by Commodore Byron, who saw it in the 
Falkland islands, and supposed it at first some 
ferocious wild beast, from the manner of its ap- 
proaching his men. Although the culpeu does 
not appear to be stronger than the fox, it is with 
much difficulty that a dog can overcome it. 
The guigna Qfelis guigna) and the colocolo 


(felis colocolo) are two species of wild-cat? 
which inhabit the forests. They resemble the 
domestic cat,, hut have a larger head and tail. 
The guigna is of a fawn colour, marked with 
round black spots about five lines in diameter, 
extending- along- the back to the end of the tail. 
The colocolo has a white body, marked with 
irregular black and yellow spots, and the tail is 
encircled with black rings. They prey upon 
mice and birds, and sometimes are seen near 
country-houses, whither they are attracted by the 
poulfry. I have been informed by some of the 
inhabitants that there are several other species of 
the wild-cat, but I have seen only the two de- 
scribed above. 

The pagi (felis puma) called by the Mexi- 
cans Tfiitzli, and in Peru puma, the name by 
which it is best known to naturalists, has by the 
Spaniards been denominated the lion, which it 
resembles in its shape and its roaring, but is 
wholly destitute of a mane. The hair on the 
upper part of its body is of a greyish ash-colour, 
marked with yellow spots, and is longer than that 
of the tiger, particularly on the buttocks, but 
that on the belly is of a dusky white* Its length 
from the nose to the root of the tail is about five 
feet, and its height from the bottom of the foot 
to the shoulder twenty-six and a half inches. It 
has a round head shaped much like that of a cat, 
the ears are short and pointed, the eyes large with 


yellow irides and brown pupjls. Its nose is broad 
and flat, the muzzle short, the upper lip entire 
and furnished with whiskers, the mouth deep, 
and the tongue large and rough. In each jaw it 
has four incisors, four sharp-pointed canine teeth, 
and sixteen grinders. Its breast is broad, the 
paws have each five toes armed with very strong 
nails, and its tail is upwards of two feet in length, 
and like that of the tiger. 

The number of toes ou the hinder feet would 
alone be a sufficient characteristic to distinguish 
it from the real lion, which has but four. The 
pagi may, however, be considered as an inter- 
mediate species between the lion and the tiger. 
Its cry, although not so loud, differs not mate- 
rially from -the roaring of the African lion, but 
in the season of its loves becomes changed into a 
shrill whistle, or rather a frightful hiss like that 
of a serpent. The female is rather less than the 
male, and is of a paler colour ; like the African 
lioness, she has two dugs, and brings forth but 
two young at a time. The season of copulation 
is the end of winter, and the period of gestation 
three months. 

.Such is the lion of Chili ; it may, perhaps, in 
other parts*f>f America, oifer some shades of dis- 
crimination, as I have been informed that those 
of Peru have a longer and more pointed muzzle. 
The pagi inhabits the thickest forests and the 
most inaccessible mountains, from whence it 



makes incursions into the plains to attack domes- 
tic animals, particularly horses, whose flesh it 
prefers to that of any other. In its mode of 
seizing its prey it resembles the cat; it ap- 
proaches it by drawing- itself upon its belly, 
glides softly through the shrubs and bushes, con* 
ceals itself in the ditches, or, if it shews itself, as- 
sumes a mild and fawning appearance, and, 
watching the favourable opportunity of seizing 
the animal which it has marked for its victim, at 
one leap fastens itself upon its back, seizes it with 
its left paw and teeth in such a manner as to 
render it impossible for it to escape, while with 
the right paw in a few minutes it tears it to 
pieces. It then sucks the blood, devours the 
flesh of the breast, and carries the carcass into 
the nearest wood, where it conceals it with leaves 
and boughs of trees, in order to eat it at its 

As it is a common practice for the husband- 
men to fasten two of their horses together in the 
fields, whenever the pagi finds them in this situa- 
tion it kills one and drags it away, compelling 
the other ti follow by striking it from time to 
time with its paw, and in this manner almost al- 
ways succeeds in getting possession of both.* 

* The wolf is said occasionally to adopt a similar mode of 
securing its prey. I have been assured by an intelligent 
■foreigner, that it is not unfrequent in Frante for that animal, 
when the presence of the shepherd, cr any other circumstance, 


Its favourite haunts are the streams to which 
animals usually repair to drink, where it conceals 
itself upon a tree, and scarcely ever fails of 
seizing one of them. The horses, however, have 
an instinctive dread of these places, and even 
when pressed by thirst approach them with great 
precaution, carefully examining upon every side 
to discover if there is danger. At other times 
one of the boldest goes forward, and on finding 
the place secure, gives notice to his companions 
by neighing in a sprightly manner. 

The cows defend themselves well against the 
pagi ; as soon as he appears N they range them- 
selves in a circle around their calves, with their 
horns turned towards their assailant, await his 
attack in that position, and not unfrequently de- 
stroy him. 

The mares, when there are a number of them, 
place themselves in the same manner, though in 
an inverted order, around their colts, and attempt 
to repel their enemy with their heels, but one of 
them almost always becomes a victim to this 
proof of maternal love. All those animals that 
have not young, on the approach of the pagi at- 
tempt to save themselves by flight ; the ass alone, 
from his want of speed, is compelled to defend 

prevents it from killing the sheep which it has singled out for 
its victim at its leisure, to seize it ly the wool of the neck, and 
compel it to go off with it ly striking it with its £a//..„.Amer. 

R 4 


himself with his heels, which frequently proves 
successful ; but should the pagi, notwithstanding 
his efforts, leap upon his back, he immediately 
throws himself on the ground, and endeavours to 
crush him, or runs with all his force against the 
trunks of trees, holding his head down so as not 
to dislocate his neck. By these means he gene- 
rally succeeds in freeing himself from his as- 
sailant, and there are but few asses destroyed by 
an enemy so frequently fatal to much stronger 

Notwithstanding his ferocity, the pagi never 
Tentures to attack a man, although he is conti- 
nually hunted and persecuted by the latter. He 
is naturally a coward, and a woman or child will 
make him fly and abandon his prey. He is 
hunted with dogs trained for the purpose, and 
when hard pressed by them, either leaps upon a 
tree, seeks an asylum upon a rock, or, placing 
himself against the trunk of some large tree, de- 
fends himself in a furious manner, killing many 
of his enemies, until the hunter, watching his 
opportunity, slips a noose around his neck. As 
soon as the animal finds himself taken in this 
manner, he roars terribly, and sheds a torrent of 
tears. The skin serves for various uses ; good 
leather for boots or shoes is manufactured from 
it, and the fat is considered as a specific in the 

Of the cloven-footed quadrupeds that feed 


upon vegetables, the most remarkable in Chili 
are the guanque, the chin chill a, the great wood- 
mouse,, the covur, the cuy, and the visaccia. 

The guanque (mus cyanus) is a species of 
ground-mouse, which it resembles in its form 
and iize, but its ears are rounder and its hair 
blue. It is a very timid animal, and digs a 
burrow in form of a gallery ten feet long, upon 
each side of which it excavates seven cells of a 
foot in depth opposite each other. These cells 
serve as a place of deposit for its winter provi- 
sion, which consists of certain grey bulbous 
roots of the size of a walnut. Some pretend that 
these are a species of truffle, to which they bear 
some resemblance in taste, but I am rather in- 
clined to believe them the roots of a plant. The 
manner in which this little animal arranges these 
roots is really admirable. They are of an an- 
gular form, but in order to leave no vacant 
spaces, it places them with such skill that, the 
projecting angles of one root are fitted to the 
hollows of "another. 

In the rainy season, when the guanque can no 
longer seek its food in the fields, it has recourse 
to its winter hoard, and begins with the roots de- 
posited in the farthest cells, as being the oldest, 
and in this manner regularly proceeds from one 
to the other. Its burrow is always very neat, and 
it is careful to carry out of it all the fragments of 
the roots which it has eaten. The female breeds 


twice a year, in the spring and in the autumn, 
and has six young at a litter. In the winter the 
male and female, with the young of the last 
breed, inhabit the same burrow, those of the 
first being old enough to provide for themselves. 
The provisions laid up in their magazines are 
more than sufficient for the subsistence of this 
little family, as every spring a number of the 
old roots are found at the mouths of their holes, 
which have been brought out to make room for 
new. The country people are very fond of these 
roots, and eagerly search for the burrows, which 
they plunder and destroy without regard to the 
fate of their innocent inhabitants. 

The chinchilla (mus laniger) is another 
species of ground-mouse or rat. Instead of hair 
it is covered with an extremely fine and soft ash- 
coloured wool, of a sufficient length for spinning. 
This animal is about six inches long ; it has very 
small ears, a short nose, teeth like those of the 
common mouse, a id a tail of a moderate length, 
covered with silky hair. It lives in the fields, 
under ground, in large companies, and is princi- 
pally found in the southern provinces ; its usual 
food is the bulbous roots with which that part of 
the country abounds. The female breeds twice a 
year, and has five or six young at each birth. It 
is an extremely gentle and mild animal, and may 
be handled without the least danger of its biting, 
nor will it attempt to escape, but on the contrary 


appears to be pleased with being caressed. Tt is 
very neat, has no o^en^ive smeii, and .nay be 
kept, with verv little inconvenience, in a house, 
and the trifling expense attending its keeping will 
be amoly repaid by its beautiful wool. The an- 
cient Peruvians employed this wool in the manu- 
facture of several ki ds of cloth, to which they 
attached great value 

The great wood-mouse (mus Maulinus) is an 
animal of more than twice the sizeof a marmot, 
an w^s *irst discovered in 1164:, in a wood, in 
the province of Maine, and so vigorous was the 
defence that it made, that the dogs who attacked 
it had much difficulty in overcoming it. Its hair 
is of the same colour as that of the marmot, but 
its ears are more pointed, the nose is longer, the 
whiskers are disposed in four rows, it has four 
toes on each foot, and it has a longer tail, and 
closer covered with hair. The number and order 
of the teeth are the same as those of the common 

The degu (sciurus degus) is a species of dor- 
mouse, a little larger than the house-rat. Its 
colour is a dirty white, except a blackish line 
upon the shoulders, which reaches to the first 
joint of the leg; the tail is terminated by a little 
tuft of hair of the same colour as the body. The 
head is short, the ears round, the nose sharp, and 
furnished with whiskers; of the upper jaw the 
two incisors are cuneiform, those of the lower 


flat ; the fore feet have four toes, the hinder 
five. The degu is a social animal, and is found 
in the vicinity of St. J ago, in numerous compa- 
nies, near the hedges or bushes, where they dig- 
burrows that have a communication with each 
other, and feed upon roots and fruit, of which 
they lay in an ample store for the winter. It 
does not, like the dormouse and the badger, sleep 
during the winter, which is probably in a great 
measure owing to the mildness of the climate. 
These animals were formerly eaten by the inha- 
bitants, but at present they make no use of them 

The covur, known to naturalists by the name 
of tatoUf and by the Spaniards called the arma- 
dillo, from the upper part of its body being co- 
vered with a kind of bony armour, is very com- 
mon in Cujo, where it is called quiriquincho. It 
is of various sizes, being from six to thirteen 
inches long, a magnitude, however, much infe- 
rior to what it attains in the tropical regions. In 
its external appearance, its fatness, and the 
bristles which cover the lower part of the body, 
the covur resembles the guinea-pig. Its head is 
long, but the nose is short ; it has no teeth except 
grinders ; the eyes are small, the cars naked, and 
the tail is long and scaly like that of a rat. The 
number of the toes vary according to the species. 
The bony armour which covers the body of the 
animal is composed of two parts, divided into 


several bands let into each other, so that the ani- 
mal can at its pleasure dilate or contract them. 
The females are very prolific ; they have four 
young' at a birth, and breed every month. The 
flesh is delicate, and much preferable to that of 
the guinea-pig. 

In the valleys of the Andes are found four spe- 
cies of this animal : 

The pichi, or four banded covur, which is 
about six inches in length. 

The hairy, or the eight banded, which is 
seven inches long, and covered with hair as well 
above as below. 

The mutillos, or the eleven banded, which is 
very little larger than the preceding, but its ears 
are much longer. 

The bolas, or the eighteen banded, which is 
the largest, and is thirteen inches in length from 
the nose to the root of the tail. 

These four species belong to the quiriquinci of 
Button, a name which has been given them from 
their possessing the property of contracting and 
rolling themselves up like a ball. When they 
are hard pressed by the hunters, they frequently 
contract and roll themselves down a precipice, 
like the hedge-hog, and usually escape without 
injury, being protected by their coat of mail. 
But they have not the same means of escape 
when they are found in the plains; they are 


then easily taken, and when they roll them- 
selves up are compelled to resume their natural 
form by means of fire. The three first kinds run 
very fast in a straight line, being prevented by 
the confoimation of their armour from making 
turns. Whenth'jy get at a certain distance from 
their pursuers, they endeavour to dig a hole in 
the ground to conceal themselves, and hold so 
fast with their fore paws that it is almost impos- 
sible to force them away ; upon these occasions 
the hunters have contrived a singular expedient 
to make them quit their hoH, by introducing the 
point of a small stick into the anus. 

The cu\j ( lepus minimus ) is a species of small 
rabbit, which has been by some confounded with 
the guinea-pig, though it is not only distin- 
guished from that animal by its form, but by its 
generic character. It is a little larger than the 
field-mouse, and its shape is nearly conical. The 
ears are small, pointed and hairy, the nose is 
long, and the teeth are precisely like those of the 
hare and the rabbit ; its fore paws have four toes, 
and the hinder five, and the tail is so short that it 
can scarcely be seen. This animal has been do- 
mesticated in Chili, and is of various colours, 
white, brown, grey, and spotted. Its hair is very 
fine and silky, but too short for spinning; the 
flesh is very white, and delicately tasted. The 
female breeds every month, and has from six to 


eight young. The cuy, though it resemble the 
rabbit, avoids its society,, and never copulates 
with it. It is very much afraid of cats and rats, 
which appear to be its destroyers. In Peru there 
is an animal which bears the same name, and is 
also domesticated, but as I have never seen it, I 
cannot determine whether it is of the same spe- 
cies or otherwise. It may be proper, however, 
to observe, that cuy is a general name in America 
for a number of little animals like rabbits, which 
are mostly of the genus of the cavy. 

The viscaclia (lepus viscacia) is an animal re- 
sembling both the rabbit and the fox. It is rather 
larger, but has the head, ears, mouth, whiskers, 
teeth, feet, and nearly the same manner of feed- 
ing as the rabbit. In its colour and tail it re- 
sembles the fox ; the hair on the body is very fine 
and soft, and is capable of being advantageously 
employed for many purposes. The ancient Pe- 
ruvians made beautiful cloths of it, and it is now 
used in Chili for the manufacture of hats. The 
tail, with which it defends itself against its ene- 
mies, is very long, turned up, and covered with 
long coarse hair. The viscaclia breeds in the 
same manner as the rabbit. It lives under ground, 
in a burrow consisting of two stories, which 
communicate by means of a winding stair-way ; 
the first story serves for a magazine for its pro- 
visions, the other for a place of residence for it- 
self and its young. In this it remains during the 


clay, and only goes out at night, when if brings 
to its hole whatever it meets with, even such ar- 
ticles of wearing- apparel as have been dropped 
by travellers. Its flesh is very white and tender., 
and is preferred to that of the hare or the 

Of the horny-footed animals, or those that 
have hoofs, whether single or divided, Chili fur- 
nishes but five species that are indigenous. The 
puda, the vicugna, the chilihucquc, the guanaco, 
and the guemul or hucmul. 

The puda (capra puda) is a species of wild 
goat, with brown hair, of the size of a six 
months kid; the male is furnished with very 
very small horns, but the female is destitute. 
The Spaniards call it the roe-buck, but very im- 
properly, as it has no resemblance to that animal, 
but every characteristic of the goat, except the 
beard, and in having its horns round, smooth, 
and diverging. On the approach of winter, 
these animals, in very numerous flocks, come 
down from the Andes, in order to feed in the 
plains of the southern provinces. Great numbers 
are then killed by the inhabitants for food, and 
caught for the purpose of domesticating them, 
which is easily done, as this animal is extremely 
mild, and is much delighted in playing with 

The vicugna, the chilihucque, and the guanaco, 
may be considered as so many inferior species of 

3 " 


th« camel,, to which may he added the alpaca and 
the llama of Peru. All these animals have a 
great resemblance to the camel, although they 
are smaller, and their forms are more elegant and 
better turned ; like the camel they have a small 
head without horns, a very long neck, middle- 
sized ears, large and round eyes, a short muzzle, 
the upper lip more or less deft, the legs longer 
than the size of the body appears to require, the 
feet divided, the tail short, and the hair long, 
and of a sufficient fineness for spinning. Their 
genital parts are similar to those of the camel, 
and the males, in like manner, void their urine 
backwards. In their internal conformation they 
differ but little from the camel, and, like all ru- 
minating animals, have four stomachs; the 
second of which contains, between the two mem- 
branes that compose it, a great number of ca- 
vities which appear to be intended solely for re- 
servoirs of water. 

These American camels resemble those of the 
old continent also in their dispositions and their 
mode of living ; like them, they are extremely 
docile, and generally very mild. The alpaca and 
the llama are employed, like the camel, to carry 
burdens, and possess the following properties in 
common with that animal : they kneel in order to 
receive or discharge their loads ; their hoofs are 
so firm as not to require shoeing, and their skins 
so thick as to render a pack saddle unnecessary, 

VOL. I. S 


and their step is slow, but sure even in the steepest 
mountains. The chilihueque was formerly em- 
ployed by the Chilians, as the paco is by the Pe- 
ruvians; but the introduction of the use of 
mules, which have now become very numerous, 
has entirely superseded that of the chilihueque. 
All these animals pass a great part of the night in 
ruminating ; and whenever they wish to sleep, 
fold their legs under their belly, and support 
themselves upon the breast. 

Though these quadrupeds are analogous to 
the camel, they have likewise some peculiar cha- 
racteristics which distinguish them from that 
animal. Destined by nature to live among ice 
and snow, their bodies are covered with a thick 
fat between the skin and the flesh, like almost 
all polar animals ; like them too they abound in 
blood, which is the more necessary to them, as 
they require a greater degree of warmth than 
those animals which inhabit the plains : the fat 
preventing the evaporation of the heat, and 
thereby keeping up that temperature of the blood 
without which they would not be able to endure 
the severity of the cold. The lower jaw, like 
that of the camel, is furnished with six incisors, 
two canine teeth, and several grinders ; but the 
upper is wholly destitute of incisors and canine 
teeth; a character which appears to me suffi- 
ciently marked to constitute a separate genus. 
Besides this distinction, their ears are smaller 


and more elegant than those of the camel ; the 
nose is smooth ..the neck straighter and better pro- 
portioned, the back more level, except the gua- 
naco's, which is a little arched, the tail hand- 
somer, and supplied with agreater quantity of hair, 
the legs are better shaped and fitted for running, 
and the hair on their bodies is longer, softer, and 
more like wool. Placed by the side of one of 
these animals, the camel would appear like a 
monster. Their natural cry resembles the neigh- 
ing of a horse. To defend themselves they em- 
ploy their saliva, which they throw upon those 
who molest them. It is asserted, but it appears 
to be without foundation, that this saliva is 
naturally caustic, and produces blisters upon the 

They are in heat in the latter part of summer, 
during which time they become very thin, and 
shed their hair. Before copulation they make 
much noise, throw out their saliva, and appear to 
be mad. The female has two dugs, which are 
always well filled with milk ; her period of gesta- 
tion is five or six months, and she produces but one 
young at a birth. These three kinds of animals 
mutually avoid each other, nor have they ever 
been known to copulate. To what age they live 
I am unable precisely to determine, though I 
believe them shorter lived than the camel; the 
period generally assigned them by the Chilians is 
thirty years. 



I consider these animals as intermediate spe- 
cies which unite the goat, sheep, stag, and the 
camel ; and from the following descriptions it 
will be seen that my opinion is not unfounded. 

The vicugna (camellus vicuna) is, according 
to M. Buffon, only the paco in its original state 
of liberty ; but in this, as well as in many other 
particulars which concern America, that great 
naturalist has been misinformed. The paco, or 
the alpaco, and the vicugna are two animals of 
the same genus, but of very different species. 
It is certain that they never copulate, although 
they live upon the same mountains, and the wild 
paco, as well as the tame, is very common in Peru. 
The vicugna is nearly the size of the tame goat ; 
it resembles it particularly in the shape of its 
back, rump, and tail, but differs from it in having 
a much longer neck, which is frequently twenty 
inches in length, in its head which is round and 
without horns, in its ears which are small and 
straight, in its muzzle which is short and without 
a beard, and in its legs which are twice the 
height of those of the goat. It is covered with 
a very fine wool of the colour of dried roses, 
which will take any dye, and is used in the coun- 
try in the manufacture of a variety of cloths. 
This wool is known in Europe, and very highly 
valued. The paco is most robust and of or 
thicker make than the vicugna; its muzzle is 
longer, and its wool is also longer and not s» 


fine. The Peruvians keep numerous flocks of 
pacos, whose wool they employ in the manufac- 
ture of several kinds of cloth, which have the 
brilliancy of silk. But the paco is not found in 
Chili either in a domestic or savage state. 

The vicugnas appear to be more particularly 
attached to that part of the Andes which apper- 
tains to the provinces of Copiapo and Coquimbo, 
where they are found in the greatest numbers, 
and inhabit the highest and more inaccessible 
ridges of mountains perpetually covered with 
ice and snow. This cold climate seems to be 
best adapted to their nature., for all those which 
the inhabitants have attempted to raise in the 
plains have been attacked by a species of mange, 
which has soon destroyed them ; and it is most 
probable owing to this cause that the methods 
which have been hitherto used to transport this 
animal to Europe have failed of success. The 
vicugnas are always in flocks, and, like the goats, 
are seen feeding on the tops of rocks. As soon 
as they perceive a man they run off, taking their 
young with them. The hunters, when they go 
in pursuit of them, endeavour to surround the 
mountains upon which they are found, and by 
pressing them closer and closer, they at length 
collect the whole within a small compass, when 
they encircle the spot with a rope, to which they 
tie a great number of pieces of cloth. The vi- 
cugnas, who are very timid, dare not pass this 



cord, and easily fall into the hands of their pur- 
suers, who usually kill the whole of them. As 
the wool of these animals is the chief induce- 
ment for hunting them, instead of killing, it 
would, perhaps, be more prudent merely to shear 
them, an operation which might be repeatedly 
performed. Their numbers, however, notwith- 
standing these massacres, do not appear to be 
diminished, which induces me to believe that 
they have more young at a birth than is generally 
supposed. The inhabitants have never yet been 
able to domesticate this useful animal, but I do 
not doubt it will be effected, when the national 
industry, which is beginning to exert itself, at- 
tains a greater degree of activity. The vicugna 
is excellent game, and its flesh is preferred to 
veal ; it is used as a specific in cases of the 
ophthalmy, by external application. The be- 
zoar which is found in its stomach is in high re- 
pute with those persons who have confidence in 
such things. 

The chilihueque (camellus Araucanus) was 
originally called hueque, but the Araucanians, 
with whom this animal lived in a domestic state, in 
order to distinguish it from the European sheep, 
which has become very common since the arrival of 
the Spaniards, gave it the name of chilihueque, 
or rehueque ; which signifies the sheep of Chili. 
This name is well applied to it ; for, excepting the 
length of its neck and legs, it has considerable 
resemblance to the sheep. The head of the chi- 


lihueque is very much like that of the sheep ; its 
ears are also oval and flaccid, the eyes large and 
black, the nose long and bunched, the lips thick 
and hanging, the tail of a similar form, but 
shorter, and the whole body covered with a very 
long and soft wool. The length of the chilihue- 
que, from the upper lip to the root of the tail, is 
about six feet ; and its height, measured from 
behind, is nearly four feet. The individuals of 
this species vary in colour ; there are some ot 
them which are white, others brown, black, and 

The ancient Chilians made use of these ani- 
mals as beasts of burden, and were accustomed 
to lead them by a rope fastened to a hole made in 
the rim of the ear, from whence has arisen the 
errors of several geographical writers, who have 
asserted, that the sheep which had been carried 
to Chili had so far increased in size, that they 
were loaded and employed as mules in the trans- 
portation of merchandize. Some writers pretend 
that, before the arrival of the Spaniards, the 
Chilians employed the hueque in the cultivation 
of their lands, and for drawing a kind of cart 
which they called quetahue. This agrees with 
the account of Admiral Spilsberg, who says that 
the inhabitants of Mocha made use of them when 
he landed there. The chilihueques are highly 
valued by the Araucanians ; who, though they 
are fond of their flesh, never kill them except 
upon festivals, or on some solemn sacrifice, 



Before the conquest they employed the wool of 
this animal to make their clothes ; but since sheep 
have multiplied so much, they make use of the 
wool of the chilihueque only for the most valu- 
able cloth. 

What M. dc BufFon and the celebrated Lin- 
naeus have said respecting the paco and the vi- 
cugna being of the same species, they have like- 
wise asserted of the guanaco and the llama. 
Both these naturalists have taken the llama for 
the domesticated guanaco, but I have good rea- 
sons for being of a different opinion. Besides 
the natural aversion which subsists between these 
two animals, and which prevents them from 
ever mingling, they also oiler some very striking 
differences which can never be attributed to the 
change of situation alone. The llama has a straight 
back, all its legs nearly of an equal length, 
and an excrescence on the breast which is almost 
always moistened with a yellowish oily exudation. 
The guanaco, on the contrary, has a bunched or 
rather an arched back ; the hind feet are so long 
that when it is pursued it never attempts to ascend 
the mountains, like the llama, the paco, and 
the vicugna, but descends them, leaping, like the 
buck and the deer ; a course well suited to the 
peculiar conformation of its legs. 

The guanaco ( camellus huanacus ) exceeds the 
chilihueque in size ; and I have seen some of 
them that were the height of a horse. Its usual 
length, however, from the nose to the tail, i* 


about seven feet, and the height, measured before, 
four feet and three inches. The body is covered 
with very long hair, of a reddish colour upon the 
back, and whitish under the belly,; its head is 
round, the nose pointed and black, the ears straight 
like those of a horse, the tail short, and turned 
back like that of the stag. The name guanaco, 
by which it is commonly known, is Peruvian ; 
it is called luan in Chili. The guanaco appears 
to be less attached to a cold climate than the vi- 
cugna. In the beginning of winter these ani- 
mals quit the mountains they inhabit during the 
summer, and appear in the valleys in large herds, 
usually of a hundred or two hundred. The 
Chilians hunt them with dogs, but they commonly 
take only the youngest, which are the least swift; 
the old ones run with astonishing rapidity, and it 
is difficult to overtake them with a good horse. 
When they are pursued, they turn from time to 
time to look at the huntsman, neighing as loud as 
they can, and then set off anew with increased 
velocity. It sometimes happens that the Indians, 
who are mounted upon very swift horses, take 
them alive, by means of a noose or sling, which 
they throw from a distance between their legs. 
This noose, which the Indians call laqui, is made 
of a strip of leather, about five or six feet long; 
to each end of which is fastened a stone of 
about two pounds weight. The huntsman, who 
is on horseback, holds one of these stones in his 
hand, and, ybirls the other around like a sling, 


as swift as possible, in order to hurl it with 
more force, when he throws it at the animal he 
has singled out, whom he is almost certain of 
striking, frequently at more than three hundred 
paces distance. In order to take the animal 
alive, the sling must be thrown so dexterously, 
as only to twist itself around the feet. The gua- 
naco is naturally gentle, and readily becomes ac- 
customed to a domestic state ; it can be tamed 
to such a degree as to follow its master where- 
ever he wishes. The meat, especially when the 
animal is young, is excellent, and as good as veal; 
that of the old ones is tougher, but is very good 
when salted ; it keeps well, on long voyages, and 
is often put up for the use of seamen. Very 
good hats- are made from the hair, and it may be 
used in the manufacture of camlet. 

The guemul, or huemul (equusbisulcus) is an 
animal which I have classed with the horse, al- 
though it ought to form a separate genus, in 
consequence of its hoofs being divided like those 
of ruminating animals. Its teeth, and the 
manner in which they are disposed, are precisely 
like those of the horse ; but its size, hair, and 
colour give it a greater resemblance to the ass, 
with which it might readily be confounded, were 
it not for the ears, which are short, straight, and 
pointed like those of the horse. It also wants 
the black stripe upon the back which is peculiar 
to that species. The huemul is farther distin- 


guished from the ass by a handsomer head} and 
a more elegant appearance ; the neck and but- 
tocks are also better formed. A great difference 
likewise prevails in its internal conformation, and 
its voice is more like the neighing of a horse, 
than the braying of an ass. This animal is more 
unruly than the vicugna, and far exceeds it in 
swiftness ; it inhabits the most inaccessible parts 
of the Andes, which is the reason of its being 
so difficult to be taken. It is the same animal 
which Captain Wallis found at the Straits of 
Magellan, and, in my opinion, forms the link be- 
tween the ruminating and single-hoofed animals. 

Horses, asses, cattle, sheep, goats, many kinds 
of dogs, cats, and even mice, have been brought 
hither by the Spaniards. All these animals have 
multiplied exceedingly, and have increased in 
size, as might be expected from so favourable a 
climate. The horses of Chili possess all the good 
qualities of their species : they have spirit, 
vigour, and swiftness. Those which are bred in 
the plains resemble the Arabian horses ; they are 
of a middle size, but remarkably active. The 
mountain horses are stronger and closer set, and 
are very good for the harness ; they have, in ge- 
neral, an elegant appearance, a small and hand- 
some head, the tail well furnished with hair, and 
a little raised, the chest broad, and well turned, 
the thighs round and plump, the legs slender and 
nervous, and the hoof so hard as not to require 


to be shod, except in cities. The great number 
of horses, and their cheapness, is the reason why 
they are worse treated in Chili than almost any- 
country in the world. A common horse will cost 
a felippo (about four shillings sterling) a mare 
about five Roman paolis, or about two shillings 
sterling. They are fed entirely upon grass, andare 
kept in the field throughout the year. It is very 
uncommon to see a peasant walk half a league ; 
the moment he rises he goes and saddles one of his 
horses, and uses him the whole day, wthout al- 
lowing him any time to rest or to feed. To this 
may be added the long journeys of a hundred 
leagues and more, which these people make with 
the *same horse, during the whole of which the 
horse is only permitted to rest at night. 

Horses capable of enduring such hardships, 
must be naturally of a firm and strong constitu- 
tion; but it is perhaps, in a great measure, 
owing to their being early accustomed to severe 
fatigue, and the nature of their food, as I have 
seen those which were very old, and had been in 
constant service. The horses, in consequence of 
their different gaits, are divided into three breeds, 
the most common of which are the trotters. The 
horses of this breed, as the most robust and vi- 

* In Paraguay and Tucuman they are more humane. Led 
horses are always taken there for a journey.— jE. E. 



gorous, are principally used by the country 
people. The second are the pacers, who are more 
easy gaited than the best Andelusian horses. It 
is said that this step is peculiar to this breed, and 
that it is observable even in the colts ; it is the 
best supported, and the quickest upon a long 
journey, for which reason this breed is intimae 
request than either of the others. The parade 
horses constitute the third breed ; these never go 
out of a foot pace, move with much grace, and 
are particularly in demand in Peru, where they 
are employed on occasions of parade and cere- 
mony ; the price of them is from one hundred to 
five hundred crowns. 

The Chilians are very careful to preserve the 
breed of their horses pure, and not suffer any in- 
termixture. During the winter almost all the 
horses are kept at pasture in the valleys of the 
Andes, from whence they return in the spring 
very fat and vigorous. When the inhabitants 
train their colts, which is commonly done at three 
years of age, they begin by scoring the upper 
muscle of the tail, to prevent the motion of it, 
which operation they call castige. 

The asses of Chili are so strong and tall, that 
it is difficult to recognize in them the original 
stock. I scarcely know to what circumstance to 
attribute this favourable alteration, unless it may 
be the state of liberty in which these animals 
live, for they are made but very little use of ; in 


the valleys of the Andes they are even found in a 
wild state, and are hunted by the Chilians for 
the sake of their skins ; among these are some 
that have hair sufficiently long to be spun with 
ease. The mules are an excellent breed ; they 
are very strong, and are particularly distin- 
guished for being very sure footed and active. 

The horned cattle, upon which the influence 
of climate appears to be greater than on others, 
have in Chili, owing to its favourable tempera- 
ture, acquired a larger size, while their flesh has 
become better, and more nutritive. The oxen of 
the maritime are, however, of an inferior size to 
those of the middle provinces, nor can these last 
be compared to those which are bred in the 
valleys of the Andes. These cattle are kept the 
whole year in the open field, and their food* 
which never fails them, consists entirely of the 
different kinds of herbs and grasses which follow 
each other in succession. The species, far from 
exhibiting any degeneracy, has improved consi- 
derably ; and though I have observed that the 
cattle of the maritime provinces are small, it is 
only in relation to the others, for I have seen 
some of them which weighed near two thousand 

There are some landholders in Chili, whose 

farms are sufficient to keep twelve thousand head 

of cattle. At the end of each winter they usually 

select a thousand head, either cows or oxen, in 



order to fatten them ; for this purpose, they drive 
them to the richest pastures, where thej usually 
keep them till about Christmas, when they kill 
them. This slaughter, which is always a great 
festival for the peasants, is expected with the 
utmost impatience, and they conduct it as fol- 
lows : — The herdsmen drive twenty or thirty of 
these fat cattle into an enclosure made with 
stakes, which is always erected upon a plain; 
the peasants, well mounted, surround the en- 
closure, and when they have taken their stations, 
one of the cattle is let out. As soon as the beast 
finds himself at liberty he takes flight, and all 
the company pursue him, each endeavouring 
adroitly to hamstring him with a sharp iron, 
shaped like a crescent, attached to the end of a 
lance. Whenever a beast falls, the butchers im- 
mediately dispatch him, by thrusting a kind of 
long knife into the nape of his neck. When all 
the beasts are killed, they are dragged to one 
spot, where they are flayed, and the tallow 
separated from the beef. This last they usually- 
cut up into long narrow strips, salt it a little, 
and dry it in the sun. A very considerable com- 
merce is carried on in this beef, especially with 
Peru and the mines. It keeps very well ; and, as 
it is not strongly salted, is preferred to the salt 
provisions received from Holland and England. 
The tallow is mostly exported to Peru, very 
little being used in the country ; it is the same 


with the hides, the greater part of which are sold 
to strangers. The milk is of the best and riches 
quality, and the inhabitants make excellent 
cheese from it, which is no way inferior to the 
best of Lodi. Of the cheese, that of Chanco, in 
the province of Maule, is the most celebrated. 
The cattle are not employed in labour till three 
years old, and never more than two are tackled 
to a plough, even in breaking up new grounds. 
Instead of a yoke being suspended to their necks, 
a rope, agreeably to the Spanish custom, is run 
through their horns, by which they draw the 
plough. The common price of cattle through- 
out the country is from three to four filippi 
(twelve or sixteen shillings sterling); but in the 
sea-ports the price is fixed, by an ancient regula- 
tion, at ten crowns, of which the commandant of 
the port receives four, and the owner six. 

The sheep imported from Spain have lost no- 
thing in Chili ; they are of the same size, and 
their wool is as beautiful as that of the best 
Spanish sheep. Each sheep yields annually from 
ten to fifteen pounds of wool ; the mutton, espe- 
cially that of the wethers, is very fine. They 
generally breed twice a year, as is common in 
temperate climates, and frequently have two at a 
birth. The sheep have no horns, but rams are 
frequently seen which have four and even six 
horns. The owners leave them the whole year 
in the open fields, without any shelter, and only 


shut them up in a kind of pen to secure them 
from the wild beasts. Those which are bred in 
the Andes are larger, and produce a longer and 
finer wool. The Pehuenches, a nation which in- 
habits a part of these mountains, have crossed 
the breed of the sheep with the goat, and this 
mixed breed is much larger than the other 
sheep ; their hair, which is more or less curled, 
has the firmness and softness of wool, and is fre- 
quently two feet long ; it resembles much the hair 
of the Angora goat. 

The goats have also multiplied astonishingly ; 
they live almost always in the mountains ; their 
skins are employed for manufacturing morocco ; 
of this much is consumed in the country, and 
great quantities are sent to Peru. 

Man in Chili enjoys all the advantages which 
result from a mild unchangeable climate, and 
those persons who do not shorten their lives by 
irregularities, attain to a very * advanced age. 
Notwithstanding what M. de Pauw has asserted, 
I have myself known several old men of a hun- 
dred and four, a hundred and five, and one in- 
stance even of a hundred and fifteen years of age. 

* It appears beyond a doubt, from the concurrent testimony 
of all writers who have lived in South America, that the 
natives live to a hundred more frequently than Europeans to 
fourscore. The fruit hangs there upon the tree till it drops ;— 
every where in the Old World the rude climate shakej* it 
down. — E. E. 

VOL. I. 1 


It is but a few years since that Don Antonio Boza 
died there at the age of one hundred and six. My 
grandfather and my great grandfather, both Cre- 
oles, lived, the first to the age of ninety-five, the 
other to ninety-six. These instances are not un- 
common among the natives of the country. The 
women are generally prolific and there are few 
countries where they more frequently give birth 
to twins. This fecundity, and the abolition of 
some practices which were injurious to the pro- 
pagation of the human species, will explain the 
rapid increase of population, which has taken 
place within the last thirty years. 

The inhabitants of Chili are either aboriginal, 
or the descendants of Europeans or Africans. 
Those descended from Europeans are well 
shaped, particularly the women, some of whom 
are very beautiful. The aborigines form but 
one* nation, divided into many tribes, all of whom 
speak the same language, which they call Chili- 
duga, or the Chilian tongue- This language is 
soft, harmonious, expressive, and regular, and 
possesses a great number of w r ords, not only ex- 
pressive of natural objects, but also of moral and 
metaphysical ideas. The colour of the natives is 
a reddish or coppery brown, excepting the Bo- 
roanes, who live in the midst of the Araucanian 
provinces, in the thirty-ninth degree of latitude ; 
these are white, and as well featured as the 
northern Europeans. Nothing appears to me to be 
more ridiculous than the assertion of several au- 


iliors, that all the Americans resemble each otlief, 
and that from seeing one you are able to judge of 
the whole. These gentlemen seem to have been 
led into this error by a very slight resemblance, 
arising from their colour. It is only necessary 
to see different individuals to be convinced of the 
contrary. A Chilian is as easily distinguishable 
from a Peruvian as an Italian from a German. I 
have seen natives of Cujo, of Paraguay,, and of 
the Straits of Magellan, and I can confidently 
affirm, that their countenances present a very 
striking difference. The Chilians, like the Tar- 
tars, have but little beard, and the custom which 
they have of plucking out the hair as fast as it 
grows, makes them appear as if beardless ; for 
this purpose they always carry with them a small 
pair of pincers, which forms a part of their 
toilette. There are some of them, however, w r ho 
have as thick a beard as the Spaniards. The 
hair which marks the age of puberty they have 
in still greater quantities than the beard. The 
opinion that a thin beard is the mark of a feeble 
body, is not verified in the case of these people. 
The Indians are generally vigorous, and are 
better able to endure fatigue than the Creoles, for 
which reason they are always preferred in those 
employments that require strength. 

Those who inhabit the plains are of the same 
height as the Europeans ; but the natives of the 
mountains are distinguished by a taller stature^ 



and I am well convinced that these are the 
famous Patagonians, of whom so much has heen 
said. Lord Anson is of the same opinion, and 
the descriptions given by Byron, Wall is, Carteret, 
Bougainville, Du Clos, and De la Giraudais, of 
these pretended giants, agree perfectly well with 
the appearance of the mountaineers of Chili. 
What confirms me in my opinion is, that their 
language, from the specimens of it which those 
navigators have given, is the Chilian. I have 
elsewhere showed that the Chilian language does 
not extend beytfnd the limits mentioned in the 
commencement of this work; besides which, the 
Patag'oijiari contains a great number of Spanish 
words,, which proves fully a communication be- 
tween the two nations. The usual height of 
these inhabitants of the mountains is five feet 
seven inches ; the tallest that I have seen did not 
exceed six feet three inches ; but what makes 
them appear much larger is the enormous size of 
their limbs, which do not appear to be adapted 
to their hejght, except the hands and feet, which, 
it) proportion to the rest, are very small. The 
tout ensemble of their countenances is not ba'd ; 
they have usually a round face, a nose rather 
' large, very sprightly eyes, remarkably white 
teeth, black and coarse hair, and some of them 
wear whiskers. They have generally a browner 
complexion than the other Chilians, from their 
being constantly in the open air. 


The dress of those who live in the western val- 
leys of the Andes, consists of various kinds of 
woollen cloth ; but those who inhabit the eastern, 
or the true Patagonians, cover themselves with 
the skins of guanacos and other wild animals. 
Some of them wear the poncho of the Arauca- 
nians, which is a kind of cloak, of an oblong 
form, with a hole in the middle to put the head 
through. The Pehuelques, who occupy the 
southern Andes, wear a leathern hat, decorated 
with feathers; they paint their bodies and faces 
of various colours, particularly their eyelids. 
The women, who are all of a lofty stature, dress 
much like the men, except that, instead of 
breeches, they wear a small apron. 

All these people live under tents made of skins, 
which they easily transport from one place to 
another, whither they remove for the conveni- 
ence of pasturage. They are divided into several 
tribes,- each of which has its particular chief, to 
whom they give the name of Ulman ; like the 
other Chilians, they are idolaters. Their lan- 
guage is every where the same, except that the 
eastern tribes have rather a guttural pronuncia- 
tion. These people are almost constantly during 
the day on horseback; their saddles are made 
like the pack-saddles of our asses, the bridle is 
a leather string, the bit, stirrups, and spurs, are 
of wood, but notwithstanding the rudeness of 
this equ page, they are good horsemen, and al- 



most always ride upon the full gallop, followed 
by a great number of dogs, who are trained to 
bold the horse by the bits when the rider alights. 
The eastern Chilians have no horses that exceed 
the middle size, probably from their riding them 
when very young, and allowing them too little 
rest. Although they are not in want of cattle 
for food, they prefer game to any thing else ; and 
they are almost always to be seen in chase of the 
guanaco or the ostrich, in the vast plains that 
extend from the mouth of the Plata to the eastern 
part of the Straits of Magellan. The weapon 
which they employ in hunting and in war, is the 
laqui, of which I have already spoken. It was 
with this that they killed forty Spaniards, in a 
gkirmish at Saint Luis della Punta, in 1767. 
These mountaineers sometimes attack the car 
ravans which pass from Buenos Ayres to Chili, 
and frequently the country houses belonging to 
the capital. 

Between the southern boundaries of Chili and 
the Straits of Magellan, there are no nations 
except the Pojas and the Cancans. The Pojas 
are of a gigantic stature, but their language is 
entirely different from that of the Chilians, and 
they never approach their territories. The 
Caucaus are of a middle stature, and their lan- 
guage is also very different from the Chilians ; 
these last dress themselves in garments made of 
the skins of sea-wplves. 


The above sketch will serve to give some 
idea of the inhabitants of Chili ; but in my 
second part, containing the civil history of those 
people, I shall treat more fully of their manners 
and customs, as well as of their military expe- 









BRUT A. — Dasipus quadricinctus chigulis quatuor, pedibus 

Dasipus octocinctus cingulis octo, palmis tetradactylis, plantis 

Dasipus undecimcinclus cingulis undecim, palmis tetradactylis, 
plantis pentadactylis. 

Dasipus octodecimcinctus cingulis duodeviginti, palmis tetra- 
dactylis, plantis pentadactylis. 

Ferae. — Phoca Lupina capite subauriculato, palmis tetra- 

Phoca Porcina capite auriculato, rostro truncate* prominente. 

Phoca Elephantina capite antice cristate 

Phoca Leonina capite postice jubato. 

Cauis Culpceus cauda recta elongata, apice concolore Iaivi. 

Felis Puma cauda elongata, corpore cinereo subtus albicante. 

Felis Guigna cauda elongata, corpore maculis omnibus orbi- 

Felis Colocola cauda elongata, corpore albo maculis irreg. 
alris, stavisque. 

Yiverra Chinga atro caerulea, maculis quinque dorsualibus ro- 
tundis aibis. 


Mustela Felina plantis palmatis pilosis, cauda tereti elongata. 
Mustela Cuja pedibus fissis, corpore atro labio superiore sub- 

Mustela Quiqui pedibus fissis, corpore fusco, rostro cunei- 


Glires. — Lepus Viscacia cauda elongata setosa. 

Lepus Minimus cauda brevissima, auriculis pilosis conco- 

Castor Huidolrius cauda longa compresso-lanceolata, palmis 
lobatis, plantis palmatis. 

Mus Cyanus cauda mediocri subpilosa, palmis 4-dactylis, 
plantis 5-dactylis, corpore ceruleo subtus albido. 

Mus Laniger cauda mediocri, palmis 4-dactylis, plantis 5-dac- 
tylis, corpore cinereo lanato. 

Mus Maulinus cauda mediocri pilosa, auriculis acuminatis, 
pedibus pentadactylis. 

Mus Coy pus cauda mediocri subcompressa pilosa, plantis pal- 

Sciurus Degus fusco stavescens, linea humerali nigra. 

Pecora. — Camelus Huanacus corpore piloso, dorso gibbo, 

cauda erecta. 
Camelus Vicugna corpore lanato, rostro sirao obtuso, cauda 

Camelus Araucanus corpore lanato, rostro supcrne curvo, 

cauda pendula. 
Capra Puda cornibus teretibns laevibus, divergentibus, gula 


Belluae. — Equus Bisulcus pedibus bisulcis. 

Accipitres. — Vultur Jota niger remigibus fuscis, rostro ciue- 


Vultur Gryphus maximus, caruncula verticali longitudine capi 

tis, gula nuda, 
Falco Tharus cera, pedibusque luteis, corpore albo-nigres- 

cente, vertice cristato. 
Strix Cunicularia capite laevi, corpore supra fusco, subtus 

albo, pedibus tuberculatis pilosis, 

Picae. — Psitlacus Jaguilma macrourus vitidis, remigibus 

apice fuscis, orbitis fulvis. 
Psittacus Cyanalysios bracbiurus luteo-virens, collari caeruleo, 

uropygio rubro. 
Psittacus Chorus bracbiurus viridis, subtus cinereus orbitis in- 

Picus Lignarius pileo coccineo, corpore albo, caeruleoque vit- 

Picus Pitius cauda brevi, corpore fusco maculis ovalibus albis 

Trocbilus Cyanocephalus rectirostris capite remigibus, rectri- 

cibusque caeruleis, abdoruine rubro. 
Trocbilus Galerilus curvirostris viridi-aureus, remigibus, rec- 

tricibusque fuscis, crista purpurea. 
Trocbilus Minimus rectirostris, rectricibus lateralibus margine 

exteriore albis, corpore viridi nitente, subtus albiro. 

Anseres. — Anas Melancorypha rostro semicylindrico rubro, 
capite nigro, corpore albo. 

Anas Hylrida rostro semicylindrico, cera rubra, cauda acuti- 

Anas Regia caruncula compressa frontali corpore caeruleo sub- 
tus fusco, collari albo. 

Diomedea Chilensis alis impennibus, pedibus compedibus try- 
dactylis, digitis omnibus connexis. 

Diomedea Chilensis alis impennibus, pedibus compedibus te- 
tradactylis palmatis, corpore lauugiuoso cinereo. 

Pelecanus Thogus cauda rotunda, rostro serrato, gula sac 


GltALLAE. — Phaenieopterus Chilcnsis ruber, renn'gibusalbis. 

Ardea Erythrocephala crista dependents rubra, corpore albo. 

Ardea Galatea occipite subcristato, corpore lacteolo, rostio 
luteo pedibus coccineis. 

Ardea Cyanoccphala vcrtice cristato caeruleo, remigibus nigris 
albo marginatis. 

Ardea 1 'hula occipite cristato concolore, corpore albo. 

Tantalus Pillus facie, rostio, pedibusque fuscis, corpore albo, 
remigibus recfricibusque nigris. 

Parra Chilensis unguibus modicis, pedibus fuscis occipite sub- 

Otis Chilensis capite, juguloque laevi, corpore albo, verticc 
rectri cibusque cinereis, remigibus primor. nigris. 

Struthio Rea, pedibus tridactylis, digito postico rotundato 

Passer ES. — Coluraba Melancoptera cauda cuneata, corpore 

caerulescente, remigibus nigris. 
SturnusLoyca fusco, alboque maculatus, pectore coccinco. 
T urdus Thilius ater, a\i!lis luteis, cauda cuneata. 
Turdus Thenca fuseo-cinereus, subtus pallido-ciucreus remi- 
gibus recfricibusque apice albis. 
Turdus Curaeus ater nitens, rostro substriato cauda cuneata. 
Fringilla Barlata lutea, alis'viridibus nigro rubroque maculatis 

gula barbata. 
Fringilla Diuca caeruku, gula alba. 
Pbilotonva (gen. nov.) rostrum conicum, rectum, scrratum, 

Nares ovatae. 
1 Pbitotoma Ear a. 

Lingua bievis obtusa. 

Reptilia. — Rana Arunco corpore verrucoso, pedibus pal- 

Rana Lutea corpore verrucoso luteo pedibus subpalmatis. 
Lacerta Palluma cauda verlicidatalongiuscula, squamisrhom- 



Lacerta Aqualica Nigra, (caudiverbera) cauda depresso-plana,, pedibus palmatis. 

Nantes. — Chimaera Callorinchus rostro subtus labro inflexo 

Squalus Femandinus pinna ani nulla, dorsalibus spinosis, cor- 

pore teieti oceliato. 

Apodes. — Stromateus Cum area dorso caeruleo, abdomine albo. 

Thoracici. — Cbaetodon Aureus cauda integra, spinis dorsa- 
libus 11, corpore aureo, fasciis 5 discoloribus distincto. 
Sparus Chilensis cauda bifida, liueis utriuque transversis i'uscis. 

Abdominales.— Silurus Luvur pinna dorsali postica adiposa, 

cirris 4, cauda lanceolata. 
Esox Chilensis maxillis aequalibus, linea laterali caerulea. 
Mugil Chilensis dorso inonopterygio. 
Cyprinus Regius pinna ani radiis 11, dorsali longitudinali. 
Cyprinus Caucus pinna ani radiis 13, corpore tnberoso argon. 

Cyprinus Malchus pinna ani radiis S, corpore coni'co subcacr- 

Cyprinus lulus pinna ani radiis 10, caudae lobatae. 


Coleoptera. — Lucanus Pilmus exscutellatus ater, corpore 

depiesso, tborace striato. 
Chrysomela Maulica ovata aurata, auteunis caeruleis. 

Lepidoptera. — Papilio Leucothea D. alis integcrriiuis ro- 
tundatis albis concolovibus, antennis, aterrhnis. 

Papilio Psittacus N. alis dentatis virescentibus, luteo caeruleo- 
que maeulatis, subtus rlavis. 

Phalaena Ceraria B. elinguis, alis deflexis flavescentibus, fas- 
ciis nigiis. 

Hymexoptera. — Cynips Rosmarini Chilensis, 


Tipula Moschifcra alis incumbentibus cinereis, thorace, abdd- 
mineque flavis. 

Aptera.— Aranea Scrofa abdomine semiofbiculato fusco, 

dentibus laniariis inferioribus exsertis. 
Scorpio Ckllensis pectinibus lftdentatis, manibus subangulatis. 
Cancer Talicuna brachyurus thorace orbiculato laevi inte- 

gerrimi, cbelis muricatis. 
Cancer, Xaiva brachyurus, thorace laevi lateribus tridentato, 

fronte truncata. 
Cancer Jpancora brachyurus, thorace laevi ovato utrinquc 

denticulato, cauda trigona. 
Cancer Setosus brachyurus, thorace hirsuto obcordato tuber- 

culato, rostro bifido inflexo. 
Cancer Santolla brachyurus, thorace aculeato arcuato subco- 

riaceo, manibus pclliculatis. 
Cancer Coronatus brachyurus, thorace obovato, apopliyci dor- 

sali crenata. 
Cancer Cementarius macrourus, tiioraci laevi cylindrico, rostro 

obtuso, chelis aculeatis. 


Mollusca.— Pyura (gen. nov.j Corpus conicum nidulans: 
Proboscides binae terminates perforatac. Oculi inter 

1. Pyura Chilensis. 

Sepia Unguicidata corpore ecaudato, brachiis unguiculatis. 

Sepia Tunica t a corpore prorsus vaginante, cauda alata. 

Sepia Hexapodia corpore caudato segmentato* 

Echinus Alius hemisphzerico globosus, ambulacris denis: areis 
longitudinaliter verrucosis. 

Echinus Niger ovatus, ambulacris quinis : arcis muricatis ver- 

Testacea. — Lepas Psittacus testa postice adunca, sexvulvi, 


Pholas Chiloensis testa oblonga depressiuscula, striis longitu- 

dinalibus distantibus. 
Solen Macha testa ovali oblonga antice truncata, cardine al- 

tero bidentato. 
Chama Thaca subrotunda longitndinaliter striata, ano retuso. 
Mytilus Ater testa sulcata postice squamosa. 
Murex Locus testa ecaudata obovata antice nodosa, apertura 

edentula suborbiculata. 
Helix Serpentina testa subcarinata imperforata conica, longi- 

tudinaliter striata, apertura patulomarginata. 



MONOGYNIA. — Rosmarinus Chilensis foliis petiolatis. 
Maytenus (gen. nov.J Cor. 1 petela campanulata. Cal. 1- 

pbyllus. Caps. 1 spernia. 
] Maytenus Boaria. 

Monogynia. — Scirpus Ellychniarius culmotereti nudo, spicis 
globosis quaternis. 

Dtginia. — Arundo Rugi calyc. trifloris, foliis subulatis 

Arundo Quila calyc. trifloris, foliis ensiformibus serratis. 
Arundo Valdiviana calyc. trifloris, foliis subulatis pubes- 


Monogynia. — Rubia Chilensis foliis annuis, caule subro- 

tundo laevi. 
Cornus Chilensis arborca, cymis nudis, foliis cordatis den- 



Monogynia.— Nicotiana Minima foliis sessilibus oYatis, fio 
ribus obtusis. 


Solarium Cari caule incrmi herb. fol. pinnatis integ. ncct. cam- 
panulato subaequante petala. 

DIGYNIA. — Hernia ria Payco foliis serratis. 

Solsola Coquimbqna frulicojsa, caul, aphyllis, calyc. succulent's 

Gentiana Caclianlahuen Cor. quinquefidis infuudib. rami's op- 

positis patulis. 
Heracleum Tuberosum fol. pinnatis, foliolis septenis, flor. ra- 

Srandix Chilensis semin. rostro longissimo, foliolis integiis 


Trigynia.— Quincliatnalium (gen. nov.J Cal. 5-ficlus. Cor. 

5-fida. Caps. 3-Ioculatis polysperma. 
Quinchamalium Chilense. 

PenTAGYNIA.— Liuum Aquilinum fol. alternis Ianceolatis, 
pedunculis bifloris. 

Monogy-nia.— Peumus (gen. nov.J Cal. 6-fidus. Cor. 6- 
petala. Drupa 1-sperma. 

1 Peumus Rulrai'&l. alternis, petiolatis, ovalibus, integerrimis. 

2 Peumus Alba fol. alternis, petiolatis, ovalibus, dentatis. 

3 Peumus Mammosa fol. alternis, sessilibus, cordatis, inte- 


4 Peumus Boldus fol. oppositis, petiolatis, ovalibus, subtus 

Puya (gen. nov.) Petala 6 hiaequalia, tribus major, fornicatis. 

Cap. 3-locularis. 
1 Puya Chilensis. 


Monogynia.— Sassia (gen. nov.J Cal. 4-pliyllus. Cor. 4- 

petala. Caps. 2-locularis, 2-sperma. 
1 Sassia Tinctoria fol. ovatis, scapo multifioro. 
? Sassia Perdicaria fol. cordatis, scapo unifloro. 



Monogynia. — Laurus Caustica fol. ovalibus rugosis, peren- 

nantibus, flor. quadrifidis. 
Panke (gen. nov.J CaJ. 4-fidus. Cor. 4-fida. Caps. 1-spenna. 

1. Panke Tinctoria caule erecto racemifero. 

2. Panke Acaulis racemo acauli. 

Plcgorhiza (gen. nov.J Cal. 6. Cor. 1-petala. Caps. 1-locu- 

laris, 1-sperma. 
I. Plegorhiza Gauicuru. 


Monogynia. — Hippomanica (gen. nov.) Cal. 5-partitus. Pe 

tala 5-ovata. Caps. 4-loctilaris. 
1. Hippomanica Insana. 

Digynia. — Tburaria (gen. nov.) Cor. 1-petala. Calyc. tubu- 

losus. Caps. 2-localaris, 2«sperma. 
1. Thuraria Chilensis. 

Pentagynia. — Oxalis Tulerosa pedunc. vimbelliferis, caule 

ramoso, radice tuberosa. 
Oxalis Virgosa scapo multifloro, fol. ternatis ovatis. 


3!oNOGYNlA.-~Cactus Coquimlanus erectus, longus, 10-an~ 
gularis, angulis obtusis, spinis longisbimis rectis. 

31 Vitus Ugni flor. solitariis, ramis oppositis, foliis ovalibus 

Myrtus Luma flor. solitariis, fol. suborbiculatis. 

Myrtus Maxima peduuc. multifloris, fol. alteruis subovalibiis* 

Digynia.- .Lucuira (gen. nov.) Cal. 4-fidus duplicatus. Cor. 6 
Drupa l-6eu 2-sperma. 

1. Lucuina Bifera fol. alternis, petiolatis, ovato oblongis. 

2. Lucuma Turlinata fol. alternis, petiolatis, lanceolatis. 

3. Lucuma Valparadiscea fol. opnosilis, petiolatis, ovatoob- 

vol. r„ r 


4. Lucuma Kettle fol. alternis, petiolatis, ovalibu?, subserratis. 

5. Lucuma Spinosa fol. alternis sessilibus, ramis spinosis. 


Digynia.— Temus (gen. nov.) Cal. 3-fidus. Cor. 18-petala. 
Bacca dicocca. 

I. Teraus Moschata. 

Gymnospermia.--- Ocymum Salinum fol. ovatis glabris, 
caule geniculato. 

ANGiosPERMiA.--Gevuina (gen. «oz/.)Cal. 6. Cor. 4-petala> 

Caps, l-locularis coriacea. 
1. Gevuina Avellana. 

Decandria. — Crinodendron (gen. nov.) Monogynia. Caps. 

3-gona sperma. 
^. Crinodendron Patagua. 


Decandria.— Phaseolus Pallar caule volubili, leg. pendulis, 

cylindricis, torulosis. 
Phaseolus Asellus caule volubili, fol. sagittatis, semin. globosis. 
Dolichos Funarius volubili caule perenni, legum. pendulis pen- 

taspermis, fol. ovalibus utrinque glabris. 
Psoralea Lutea fol. ternatis fasciculatis, foliolis ovatis rugosis, 

spic. pedunculatis. 


IcosANDRiA. — Citrus Chilensis fol. sessilibus acurninatis. 


PoLYG. jEqual. — Eupatorium Chilense fol. oppositis am 
plexicaulibus, lauceolatis, denticulatis, calycis quinque- 

Santolina Tinctoria pedunc. uniflor. fol. linearibus integerri- 
liiis, caulibus striatis. 

Polyg. Superf.— Gnapbalium Viravira herb. fol. decur- 
rentibus, spatulatis, utrinque tomentosis. 


Madia (gen. nov.J Recept. nudum, pappus nullus : cal. 8-phil- 
lus: sera, planoconvexa. 

1. Madia Sativa fol. Jineari lanceolatis, petiolatis. ■* 

2. Madia Mellosa fol. amplexicaulibus lanceolatis. 

Polyg. Frustr.— Helianthus Thurifer caule fructicoso, fol. 
line ari-lanceolatis. 


Triandria. — Zea Curagua foliis denticulatis. 

Polyandria.— Colliguaja (gen. nov.J Masc. Cal. 4-fidus, 
cor. 6. Stam. S. 

Fern. Cal. 4-fidus. Cor. 6. Styli 3-Caps. angularis, 
1. Colliguaja Odorifera. 

Quillaja (gen.nov.J Masc. Cal. 4-phyllus. Cor. 6. Stam. 12. 
Fem. Cal. 4-phyllus. Cor. 6. Styli 4-Caps. 4-locularis. 
Sera, solitaria. 
1. Quillaja Saponaria. 

Abelphia. — Pinus Cupressoides fol. imbricatis acutis. 
Pinus Araucana fol. turbinatis imbricatis bine mucronatis, 
ramis quaternis cruciatis. 

SYNGENESIA.— Cucurbita Siceraria fol. angulato sublobatis 

tomentosis, pomis lignosis globosis. 

Cucurbita Mammeata fol. multipartitis, pomis sphseroideis 



Diandria. — Salix Chilensis fol. integerrimis glabris, lanceo- 
latis, acumiuatis. 

Decandria. — Schinus Huygan fol. pinnatis : foliolis serratis 
petiolatis, impari brevissimo. 

MONOECIA.—Mimosa Balsamica inermis fol. bipinnatis, par- 
tialibus6-jugis subdenticulatis, flor. octandris. 



Mimosa Cavenia spiiiis stipularibus patentibus, fol. bipinnatis, 
spicis globosis verticillalis sessilibus. 

Trioecia.— Ceratonia Chilensis fol. ovalibus carinatis, ramis 


Cocos Chilensis inermis, frond, pirmatis, foliol. complicatis en- 
siformibus, spadicibus quaternis. 


Calcaria. — Gypsum Vulcanicum parliculis iudeterminatis 

Argillace^:. — Mica Variegata membranacea fissilis, flexilis, 
pellucida, variegata. 

Aggregate. — Saxum Chillense impalpabile, luteum, ma* 
culis spatosis rubris caeruleisque. 

Sulphur A.— Bitumen Andinum tenax ex atro caerulescens. 

Metalla. — Cuprum Campanile mineralisatum stannosum 

Cuprum Laxense zinco naturaliter mixtum. 

TERRiE. — Arena Cyanea ferri micans caerulea. 
Arena Talcensis ferruginea in aqua durescens. 
Argilla Bucarina fusca, luteo-punctata, odorifera. 
Argilla Maulica nivea, lubrica, atomis nitidis. 
Argilla Suldola atra, aquosa, teuacissima. 
Argilla Rovia ateririma, tinctoria. 
Calx Vulcania solubilis, pulvereo-granulata. 





Page 107— Chenopodium folio sinuato, saturate virenti, vulgo 

Quin ua. 
Page 108— Oxalis roseo flore ereetior, vulgo Culle. 
Page 1 09— Fragraria (Chilensis) fructu maximo, foliis camosis 

Page 113— Bermudiaua bulbosa, flore reflexo cceruleo. 
Alstroemeria (Ligta) caule ascendeute. Hemerocallis floribus 

Page 124 — Tithymalus fol. triuerviis et cordatis, vulgo Pichoa. 
Poly gala coerulea angustis et densioribus foliis. Clinclin. 
Graraen bromoides catharticum. Guilno. 
Virga aurea leucoi folio incauo. Diuca-lahuen. 
Lichnidea verbenoe tenui folio, folio. Sandia-lahuerj. 
Geranium columbinuni, corecore. 
Page 125 — Jacobcea leucanthemi vulgaris folio, Gnilgue. 
Page 127 — Bochi liliaceo, amplissimoque, flore carraesino. 

Page 12S — Urceolaria foliis camosis scandens. 

* It having been found difficult, from the imperfect descriptions of 
several of these species, to arrange them under their proper classes and 
orders, this collocation has been adopted in preference to any other.— 




Coriarfa (ruscifolia) fol. cordato-ovatis scssililus, Deu» 

Lonicera (corymbosa) coryinbis terminalibus, fol. ovatis, acutis, 

Poinciana spinosa, vulgo Tara. 

Pseudo-acacia foliis mucronatis, flore luteo, Mayu. 

Page 133— Psoralea glandulosa, fol. omnibus ternatis, foliolis 
ovato-lanceolutis, opic. pedunculatis, vulgo Cullen. 

Page 135 — Cestrum nocturnum floribus pedunculatis, vulgo 

Arbuscula 8-pedalis. Caules plurimi, fistulosi, erecti, teretes, 
aculeati, superne dichotomi. Folia alterna, petiolata, ob- 
longa, integra, venosa, carnosa, 4-pollicarea. Flores 
corymbosi pedimculati. Calyx 5-fidus. Corolla brevion 
Corolla monopetala, infundibulifonnis, limbo piano 5-par- 
tito, flavescens. Bucca ovalis violacea. 

Page 138— Datura arborea, pericarp; glabris inermibus nu- 
tantibus, caule arboreo. Fioripondio. 

Page 139— Boighe cinamomifera olivae fructu. 




Extracted from an anonymous work, entitled, A Compendium of the 
Geographical, Natural, and Civil History of Chili, printed in Bologna, 

X HE Spaniards have divided that part of Chili belonging to 
them, between the Andes and the sea, into fourteen provinces, 
to which may be added the Archipelago of Chiloe, the islands 
of Juan Fernandez, and the province of Cujo. Each of 
these, excepting Valdivia and the islands of Juan Fernandez, 
is the residence of a prefect called the Corregidor, who pre- 
sides over the civil and military officers of his department, 
and on whom the Cabildo, or magistrate, is dependant. 
These provinces, commencing on the side of Peru, are : 

1st. COPIAPO. 

This province is bounded on the north by the deserts of 
Peru, on the east by the Andes, on the south by Coquimbo, 
and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. It is in length from 
north to south about one hundred leagues, and in breadth 
from east to west forty-four. It is watered by the rivers 
Salado, Copiapo, from whence it derives its name, Castagno, 
Totoral, Quebradaponda, Guasco, and Cbollai. It abounds 
with gold, lapis lazuli, sulphur, and fossile salt, which is found 
in almost all the mountains that terminate it to the east, Its 
capital, of the same name, is situated upon the river Copiapo, 
in 26, deg, 50. min, S, latitude, and 305. 5. W. longitude, 



It contains a parish, a convent of Mercedarii, and a college 
which formerly belonged to the Jesuits. On the river Guasco 
are situated the towns of Santa-Rosa and Guascoalto, both in 
20 deg. of latitude, the first at four leagues distance from the 
sea, and the second in the neighbourhood of the Andes. This 
province has two ports, one at the mouth of the river Copiapo, 
and the other at that of the Guasco, which are known by the 
names of those rivers. 


Coquimbo, bounded on the north by Copiapo, on the 

east by the Andes, on the south-east by Aconcagua, on the 
south-west by Quillota, and on the west by the sea, is forty- 
live leagues in length, and forty in breadth. Its rivers are the 
Coquimbo, Tongoi, Li man, and Chuapa. It is rich in gold, 
copper, iron, wine, olives, and other fruits, both those of Eu- 
ropean origin, and as such as are natural to the country. Its 
capital is Coquimbo, otherwise called la Serena, which was 
founded in the year 1544, by Pedro de Valdivia. This city 
is the residence of several noble and ancient families ; it is 
pleasantly situated upon the river Coquimbo, in 20,. deg. 49. 
min. of latitude, and 304. 22. of longitude. The fields around 
it are in a constant state of verdure, though it seldom rains 
there, and the temperature of the air is very mild. It has 
been several times taken and plundered by the English, 
Besides the parochial church, it contains several convents of 
monks- of different orders, and a college formerly belonging 
to the Jesuits. There are two ports in this province, that of 
Coquimbo, near the mouth of the river of that name, at two 
leagues distance from the ciiy, where some vessels from Peru 
load annually ; and that of Tongoi, towards the confines of 



This province is bounded by that of Coquimbo on the 
north, on the east by Aconcagua, on the sou Ji by Melipilla, 
and on the west by the sea. It is twenty-five leagues in 
length, and sixteen in breadth. Its rivers are the Lougotoma, 
Ligua, Aconcagua, and Limache. This district is one of itie 
most populous and the richest in gold of any in Chili. Its 
hemp and honey are much esteemed. The capital, Quillota, 
or St. Martin, is situated in a pleasant valley on the borders 
of the river Aconcagua, in 32. 56. of latitude, and 304. 2*. 
of longitude. It has a parish, with the churches of St. Do- 
minick, St. Francis, St. Augustine, and a college formerly of the 
Jesuits. This province contains also thp cities of Piazza, 
Plazilla, Ingenio, Casablanca, and Petrorca. This last is very 
populous, in consequence of the great number of miners who 
resort thither to work in the gold mines in its vicinity. It is 
situated on the river Longotoma, in 31. 30. south latitude, and 
305. longitude. Quillota contains a number of ports, the 
most considerable of which are Papudo, Quintiro l'Erradura, 
Concon, and Valparaiso. The four first are not frequented ; 
Valparaiso, or Valparadiso, the most commercial port of 
Chili, from whence all the trade to Spain and Peru is carried 
on, is in 32. 2. of latitude, and 304. 11. of longitude. The 
harbour is very capacious, and so deep . that ships of the 
largest size can lie close to the shore. Its convenience for 
traffic, and the salubrity of its atmosphere, have rendered it 
a place of considerable population. A governor from Spain 
resides there, who has the command in the civil and military 
departments, and is amenable only to the president of Chili. 
Besides the college, which formerly belonged to the Jesuits, 
Valparaiso contains a parish church and several convents of 
monks. Upon the shore which forms the harbour is a well 
peopled town, three miles distant from Valparaiso, called 
I' Almendral. 



f Aconcagua is enclosed between the provinces of Co- 
quimbo, Quillota, Santiago, and the Andes. It is of the 
same size as Quillota, and is watered by the same river It 
produces great quantities of grain and fruits, and much cop- 
per is procured from its mountains. The famous silver mines 
of Uspallata are situated in that part of the Andes correspond- 
ing to it. Its capital is Aconcagua, or St. ' : Hip, upon the 
river of the same name, in 32. 48. of latitude, and 305. 50. 
of longitude. Besides a parochial church, it contains several 
convents of various religious orders, and a house which be- 
longed to the Jesuits. Near the Andes is a village called 
Curimon, where the strict Franciscans have a numerous con- 


Melipilla is bounded on the north by Quillota, on the 
east by Santiago, on the south by the river Maypo, which di- 
vides it from Rancagua, and on the west by the sea Ihis 
province is of small extent upon the sea, but is about twenty- 
five leagues from east to west. Its rivers are the Mapocho 
and Poangue, and it abounds with wine and grain. Melipilla, 
or St. Joseph de Logronno, situated not far from the Maypo, 
in 32. 32. of latitude, and 304. 5. of longitude, is the capital. 
Although the situation of this place is beautiful, and the land 
near it very fertile, yet, from its vicinity to St. Jago, where the 
greater part of the proprietors reside, it is but thinly peopled. 
Notwithstanding, besides a parish church, the Augustines and 
the Mercedarii have establishments there, and the Jesuits had 
also a college. Near the river Mapocho is the town ©f St. 
Francis del Monte, so called from an ancient convent of 
Franciscans, around which a number of poor families having 
collected, formed the population of this place, la its vicinity 


arc several country houses belonging to some of the principal 
inhabitants of St. Jago. Not far from the mouth of the 
river Maypo is the port of St. Antonio ; this was much fre- 
quented at an early period of the Spanish settlement, but since 
the trade has been transferred to Valparaiso, few or no ves- 
sels continue to load there. 

6th. ST. JAGO, or ST. JACOPO. 

The province of St. Jago is bounded by that of Aconca- 
gua to the north, the Andes to the east, the river Maypo to 
the south, and Melipilla to the west. It is fifteen leagues in 
extent from east to west, and twelve from north to south, and 
is watered by the rivers Mapocho, Colina, and Zampa, and by 
several other beautiful streams. It i.lso contains the lake 
Pudaguel, which is about three leagues in length. It is the 
most fertile of any part of Chili, producing great quantities 
of corn, wine, and fruits, particularly peaches, which in size and 
flavour surpass any others of the country. The mountains of 
Caren abound with mines of gold, and that part of the Andes 
which is attached to it with silver. But the chief importance 
of this province is derived from it being the seat of the 
capital of the kingdom, founded in 1541, by Pedro de Val- 
divia. This beautiful city, called St. Jago, stands on an ex- 
tensive and delightful plain on the southern shore of the river 
Mapocho, which separates it from the suburbs of Chimba, 
Cannadilla, and Renca. It is supplied with water by a great 
number of aqueducts, which are carried to all the houses. On 
eaeh side of the river, mounds of stone have been built as a 
security against inundations, and over it is a beautiful bridge 
that connects the city with the suburbs. It is situated in 33 
deg. 31 min. south latitude, and in 305. 40. longitude, at the 
distance of thirty leagues from the sea, and seven from the 
Andes, whose lofty snow-clad heights form a beautiful con- 
trast with the verdure of its scenery. The streets, like those 


of all the other cities and villages in Chili, are straight and 
intersected at right angles, and are thirty-six geometrical feet 
in breadth. The great square is four hundred and fifty 
feet on each side. In the midst is a handsome fountain 
of bronze. The north side is occupied by the palaces of 
the presidents of the audience and of the city, beneath 
which are the public prisons. On the oppQsite side is the 
palace of the Count de Sierra-bella. On the western are the 
cathedral and the palace of the archbishop, and on the east- 
ern three houses belonging to noblemen. The most remark- 
able edifices are the cathedral, the church of St. Dominick, 
and that of the great college formerly belonging to the 
Jesuits. The private houses are handsome and pleasant, but, 
on account of earthquakes, are usually of but one story. 
Besides the suburbs on the other side of the river, there is one 
to the south, called St. Isidore ; it is very large, and separated 
from the city by a street four times as broad as the others, 
called Cannada. In the eastern part of the city is a hill, 
called St. Lucia, which formerly served as a fortress against 
the Indians. The inhabitants amount to forty-six thousand, 
and their numbers increase rapidly, in consequence of the. 
great commerce of the place, which is very extensive in pro- 
tion to its population, as the houses are in general very com- 
modious. The parochial churches are but four, the cathedral, 
St. Anna, St. Isidore, and Renca. There are, however, several 
convents of monks, two Dominican, four Franciscan, two Au- 
gust in, two of the Mercedarii, and one belonging to the Brothers 
of Charily with an hospital, besides seven nunneries, a house 
of correction for women, a foundling hospital, several private 
endowments, a college of nobility, which was under the direc- 
tion of the Jesuits, and a Tridentiue seminary. The Jesuits 
had likewise here a house of devotion, and three colleges 
with public schools, wherein were taught the various branches 
of learning. St Jago also contains a royal university, a mint 
for coining gold and silver, and barracks for the soldiers, who 


are employed to maintain the police, and as guards to the 
president, and is the seat of the grand tribunals of the king- 
dom. The principal court is composed of twelve Reqidoers, 
or perpetual senators, and of all the other officers who form 
the magistracy of the other cities of the country. It has a 
numerous nobility, consisting of several dignities of Castile, 
grandees, knights of the military orders of Spain, and Jhono- 
rary officers of his Catholic Majesty. Being the centre of all 
the commerce of Chili, it abounds with every convenience of 
life, and as all kinds of meat, fish, and other articles of food 
are obtained from the neighbouring provinces in great quan- 
tities ; provisions are very cheap. 


Rancagua is enclosed between the rivers Maypo imd 
Cachapoal, and extends from the Andes to the sea. Its 
breadth between these rivers is very unequal, being from 
seventeen to only eight leagues. , It is watered by the rivers 
Codegua, Chocalan, and several others that are of less im- 
portance ; it contaius also the lakes Acnleu and Bucalemu. 
The first, which is near the centre of the province, is about 
six miles in circumference, and the other, in the neighbour- 
hood of the sea, is from six to seven leagues in length. From 
another lake, not far from the latter, large quantities of salt 
are obtained. The lands of Rancagua are very fertile, and 
produce much grain. Santa Cror.e di Trianna, or Rancagua, 
the capital, is in 3 L deg. of latitude, and 305. 32 1 
It has a parish church, a convent of Franciscans, and another 
of Mercedarii. Algue, a town recently founded, at eight 
leagues from the capital towards the sea-coast, has a very rich 
mine of gold. 



This province is situated between the rivers Cachapoal 
and Teno, and between the Ancles and the sea. Its breadth 
from north to south, near the Andes, is twenty-five leagues, 
and near the sea, about fourteen. Its rivers are the Rio- 
clarillo, Tinguiririca, and Chimbarongo. In it are also the 
great lakes Taguatagua, and Caguil, the first of which is full 
of beautiful islands, and the other abounds with large clamps, 
that are highly esteemed. This province is very fertile in 
grain, wine, and fruits, and produces much gold. It forms a 
part of- the district occupied by the Promaucians, a name 
signifying people of delight, derived from the beauty of the 
country which they inhabit. The capital is St. Ferdinando, 
which was built in the year 1742, not far from the pleasant 
*iver Tinguiririca, in 34. 18. deg. of latitude, and 305. 30. of 
longitude. Besides the parish church, it has a convent of 
Franciscans, and a college with a handsome church, which be- 
longed to the Jesuits. The towns of Rio-clarillo, Malloa, and 
Roma, are also situated in the same province. 

gth. MAULE. 

M aule is bounded on the north by Calchagua, on the east 
by the Andes, on the south-east by Chilian, the south-west by 
Itata, and on the west by the sea. This province is forty-four 
leagues long, and forty broad, and is watered by the rivers 
Lantue, Rioclaro, Pangue, Lircai, Huenchullami, Maule, from 
which it derives its name, Putagan, Achiguema, Longavi, 
Lonconrilla, Purapel, and others of inferior consideration* 
This province, as well as the preceding, abounds in grain, 
wine, fruits, gold, salt, cattle, and sea and river fish. The 
cheese made here is the best in Chili, and is no way inferior to 
that of Placentia or Holland. Its inhabitants, who are mostly 
the descendants of the valiant Promaucians, are courageous, 
robust, and warlike. The capital Talca, or St. Augustin, was 



built in the year 1742. It is situated among bills ou the river 
Rioclaro, in latitude 34. 47. and 304. 45. of longitude. Its 
population is very considerable, owing, not only to the rich 
mines of gold that are found in its mountains, but to the plen- 
tifulness of provisions, which are cheaper than in any other 
part of Chili. This latter circumstance has induced several 
noble families from St. Jago and Conception, whose finances 
had become diminished, to retire thither ; an emigration which 
has been denominated, in derision, the bankrupt colony. It 
contains a parish, with convents of Monks of the Franciscan, 
Dominican, Augustin, and Mercedarii orders, and a college 
that belonged to the Jesuits. In this province are also the 
towns of Curico, Cauquenes, St. Saverio di Bella Isla, St. An- 
tonio della Florida, Lora, and three or four other Indian vil- 
lages. Curico, or St. Joseph of Bueno Vista, was built in the 
year 1742, and is situated in a pleasant plain at the foot of a 
beautiful hill, in 34. 14. degrees of latitude, and 305 degrees 
of longitude. It contains a parish church, a convent of Mer- 
cedarii, and another of strict Franciscans, which is very large. 
Cauquenes was built the same year, and lies in 35. 40. degrees 
of latitude, and in 304. 30. of longitude, between the two 
small rivers Tutuben and Cauquenes. Besides the parish 
church, it has a convent of Franciscans. St. Saverio di Bella 
Isla, and St. Antonio della Florida, were founded in the year 
If 55 ; the first is in 35. 4. degrees of latitude, and S04. 59. of 
longitude, and the second in 35. 20. of latitude, and 304. 41. 
of longitude. Laro, situate near the disemboguement of the 
river Mataquito, is a numerous settlement of Promaucian In- 
dians, and is governed by a Cacique or Ulmen. 

10th. ITATA. 

The province of Itata lies upon the sea-coast, between 
Maule and Puchacay, and is bounded on the east by Chilian. 
From east to west it is twenty leagues in length, and from 
north to south eleven, and 1s intersected by the river Itata, 


from whence it derives its name/ The best wine of any in 
Chili is obtained from this province, which, from its being 
produced from lands belonging to the inhabitants of Con- 
ception, has received the name of Conception. Much 
gold is also found in the mountains, and in the sands of the 
rivers. Its capital, Jesus of Coulemu, is situated near the 
mouth of the river Itata, in 36. 2. degrees of latitude, and 
305. 41. of longitude, and was founded in the year 17*43. 

11th. CHILLAN. 

Chillan is bounded on the north by Maule, on the east 
by the Andes, on the south by Huilquilemu, and on the west 
by the province of Itata. It is of the same extent as the 
preceding, and is watered by the rivers Nuble, Cato, Chilian, 
Diguillin, and Dannicalquin. This whole district is a plain, 
and very favourable to the raising of sheep, which are highly 
esteemed for their wool throughout the kingdom. Corn and 
fruits are also produced there in great quantities. The capital 
is called St. Bartholomew of Chilian. It was founded in the 
year 1580, and is situated on the river Chillan, in 36 degrees 
of latitude, and 305. 2. of longitude. It has been destroyed 
several times by the Araucauians, and in the year 1751 was 
overthrown by an earthquake. In consequence of this acci- 
dent, the inhabitants transferred it the succeeding year to a 
more commodious site, and one less exposed to the inim* 
dations of the river. This city is well peopled, notwith- 
standing which it contains but one parish church, with con- 
vents of the Franciscan, Dominican, and Mercedarii orders, 
and a college which belonged to the Jesuits. 

12th. PUCHACAY. 

Puchacay is bonnded on the north by the province of 
Itata, on the east by Huilquilemu, on the south by the river 
Bio-bio, and on the west by the sou. From north to south h 


is twelve leagues in extent, and twenty from east to west. It 
is irrigated by the river Andalieu and several other small 
streams. It produces gold dust ia abundance, and also great 
quantities of strawberries both wild and cultivated, which are 
the largest in Chili. Gualqui, or St. John the Baptist, 
founded in the year 1/54, upon the northern shore of the 
river Bio-bio, in 36. 44. degrees of latitude, and 304. 48. of 
longitude, is properly the capital, and the residence of the 
Prefect or Corregidor. This province comprehends the 
Prefecturate of Conception, which extends a little beyond the 
city of that name. 

Conception, called in the language of the country Ponco, 
was founded, by Pedro di Vaidivia, in a dell, or valley, 
formed on the sea-coast by some beautiful hills, in latitude 
-36". 42. and longitude 303. 23. This city is the second in the 
kingdom. At its commencement it flourished greatly, from 
the vast quantities of gold that were dug in its vicinity ; but 
after the unfortunate battle of Marriqueno, in the year 1554, 
it was abandoned by Viliagran the governor, and the inhabit- 
ants, on the approach of Lautaro, the Araucanian general, 
and by him taken and burned. It was, however, rebuilt in the 
month of November of the following year after a period of 
six months; but Lautaro, returning, again rendered himself 
master of it, slew in the assault the greater part of the garri- 
son, and razed it to its foundations. Don Garcia de Mendoza, 
after his victories over Caupolican, restored it anew, and for- 
tified it strongly. Having successfully resisted the attempt of 
the Araucanians to take it, who besieged it for fifty days, it 
continued to flourish in great splendour until the year 1603, 
when, with the other southern cities of the Spaniards, it was 
taken and burned by the Toqui Paillamachu. It soon, how- 
ever, began to rise again from its ashes, and resume its former 
lustre, iu consequence of the great commerce which was car- 
ried on there; and becoming more strong and populous than 
ever, the Araucanians ceased to molest it. But in the year 

vol. i. x 


J 730, a calamity of a new kiud assailed it. It was almost 
totally destroyed by an earthquake, attended by an inunda- 
tion of the sea, _ which overflowed the greater pan, and swept 
away every thing that it met in its course. Notwithstanding 
these repeated misfortunes, the inhabitants obstinately re- 
solved to persevere, and built it anew in a handsome manner, 
but did not enjoy it long ; for, in the month of May of the 
year l/5t, this devoted city was again destroyed by an earth- 
quake and an influx of the sea, which entirely covered it. 
They fortunately escaped, and took refuge on the neighbour. 
in« bills, but continued for thirteen years in an unsettled state, 
not being able to agree among themselves in rebuilding the city. 
At leuglh they resolved to abandon its former site, and founded 
a new city, at the distance of a league from the sea, in a beau- 
tiful plain, called Mocha, upon the northern shore of the Bio- 
bio. The Prefect, or Corregidor, is, at the same time, by the 
royal decree, commander of the army, this being the principal 
place for the rendezvous of the militia of the country. It has 
for many years been the residence of the camp-master-gcneral, 
and of late that of the sergeant-major. The royal treasury in 
this place, from whence the soldiers of the frontiers, as well 
as those belonging to the city, are paid, is confided to the care 
of a treasurer, a cashier, and an inspector. The Audienza, or 
I oval council, was first established in Conception, in the year 
1.567, hut was afterwards abolished, and re-established some 
years after in the capital of St. Jago. The president is, how- 
ever, obliged to reside in this city for si\ months, and has a 
palace in it built at_the expense of the government: After the 
destruction of the city of Imperial, in the year 1603, it was 
erected into a bishopric. Besides containing convents of all 
the religious orders established in Chili, it has one of the 
listers o.' the Trinity, a college which belonged to the Jesuits, 
with public schools, in which were taught the sciences of hu- 
manity, philosophy, and theology, a college of nobiiity, which 
svas likewise under the direction of the Jesuits, and a Trideu- 


tine seminary. The inhabitants, in consequence of so many 
misfortunes, scarcely amount at present to thirteen thousand. 
The temperature of the air is at all seasons very mild ; the soil 
fertile, and the sea-coast abounds with every species of fish of 
the most delicious lands, bulh scaled and testaceous. The 
harbour, or bay, is spacious, extending full three leagues and 
a hvrli" from north to south, and as man; from east to west. 
The Quinquina, a beautiful and fertile island, situated at its 
mouth, forms two entrances to it, the eastern of which, called 
Bucca Grande, is two miles wide, and the western, called 
Bocca Ckica, is but a little more than a mile. The harbour 
a fiords good and safe anchorage for vessels of any burden, 
especially iu a port called Tulcaguano, where ships at present 
lie, as the new city is not far distant, 


The province of Huilquilemu, commonly called Estanzia del 
Rei, the royal possession, is situated between Chilian, the 
Andes, the river Bio bio and Pucachay, and is in length and 
breadtli the same as the preceding. Its rivers are the Itata, 
Claro, Laxa, and Duqueco. This district is rich in gold dust, 
and produces an excellent muscadcl wine. The inhabitants 
are valiant and warlike, having been accustomed to fight with 
their formidable neighbours the Araucanians. The capital is 
called Estanzia del Rei, or St. Lewis di Gonzaga, and was 
built not many years since, near the Bio-bio, in 36 deg. 45 mi- 
nutes of latitude, and 304. 48. of longitude. Besides the 
parish church there is an ancient college of the Jesuits. To 
protect this province from the incursions of the Araucanians, 
the Spaniards have erected, upon the shore of the Bio-bio, 
within their territory, the forts of Jumbel, Tucapen, St. Bar- 
bara, and Puren. Their barrier, however, is situated on the 
southern bank of that river, and consists of the foits of Arau- 
co, Colcura, St. Pedro, St. Joanna, Nascimento, and Angeles. 

X 2 


14lh. VALDIVIA. 

This province is entirely separated from all the others pos- 
sessed by the Spaniards in Chili, being situated in the midst of 
the country occupied by the Araucanians, which comprehends 
a tract of about seventy leagues in length. It lies upon the 
sea-coast, on both sides of the great river Valdivia, and on the 
south is bounded by the Guinchi, or Cunchi, who are in pos- 
session of its southern part. It is about twelve leagues long, 
and six broad, and abounds with valuable timber, and with 
gold dust, esteemed the purest of any in Chili. Its capital is 
the famous city, fortress, and port of Valdivia, situated on the 
southern shore of the river of that name, at three leagues dis- 
tance from the sea, in 3<). 58. degrees of latitude, and 305. 2. 
of longitude. This city was founded in the year 1551, by the 
conqueror Pedro de Valdivia, who gave it his name, and ob- 
tained immense sums of gold from its vicinity. Its wealth 
allured many inhabitants thither, and it became, even at its 
commencement, one of the most populous cities in the king- 
dom. It was twice besieged ineffectually by the Toqui Cau- 
polican, but it was not so fortunate in resisting the talents and 
activity of the celebrated Paillamachu. In the year 1 599 it 
was surprised at night by that general with four thousand men, 
who killed the greater part of the garrison, consisting of eight 
hundred soldiers, and, having burned the city, carried off a 
million in gold, and a valuable booty, consisting of the effects 
of the inhabitants, together with a great number of prisoners. 
The Spaniards, convinced of the importance of this situation, 
rebuilt it anew, and fortified it so strongly, that it resisted all 
the attempts of the Araucanians. It was, however, taken iu 
the year 1 640 by the Dutch, who, notwithstanding they were 
determined to keep it, were compelled to abandon it, being 
frustrated in their attempts to form an alliance with the Arau- 
canians and the Cunchi, who even refusal to supply them with 
provi^i'ms, of which they were in great want. The Sjnuiiards, 


who had fitted out a considerable fleet to retake it, finding it 
on their arrival abandoned, repaired and fortified it in a better 
manner than before, adding four strong castles or forts upon 
both sides of the river towards the sea, to defend it from 
foreign invasion, and another on the north, to protect it from 
the incursions of the Araucanians. These precautions have 
hitherto succeeded in securing it against external enemies, but 
it has suffered severely from fire, which has twice almost en- 
tirely destroyed it. The harbour is situated in a beautiful bay, 
formed by the river, and is the safest, the strongest from its 
natural position, and the most capacious of any of the ports in 
the South Sea. The island of Manzera, situated just in the 
mouth of the river, forms two passages, bordered by steep 
mountains, and strongly fortified. As this is a post of the 
most importance of any in the Pacific, a governor is always 
sent from Spain, who possesses reputation as a military officer, 
and is under the immediate direction of the president of the 
kingdom. He has under his command a considerable number 
of troops, who are officered by the five castellans, or com J 
manders of the castles, a sergeant-major, a proveditor, an in- 
spector, and several captains. For the pay of the soldiers 
thirty-six thousand crowns are annually sent hither from the 
royal treasury of Peru, and the provisions requisite for their 
subsistence from the other ports of Chili. The Jesuits had 
formerly a college here ; there are besides some convents of 
Franciscans, and of the Brothers of Charity, with a royal hos- 
pital, aud the parish church. 


Is a great gulph or bay at the southern extremity of Chili, 
scooped out, as it were, in a circular form by the South Sea 
to the skirts of the Andes. This gulph extends from latitude 
41. 20. to 44. 40. and from longitude 303. to 304. 50. The 
islands that it contains amount to forty-seven, of which thirty- 



two have been peopled by the Spaniards or Indians, and the 
remaining are uninhabited. Among the former there is one 
that is very large, some that are of a moderate size, being 
from twelve to fifteen leagues id leng'h, but the others are 
small. The large island, which is called Chiloe, has, in later 
times, communicated its name to the Archipelago, which was 
formerly known by that of Ancud. This island, whose western 
coast runs from north to south, the same course as that of the 
continent, is situated in the very mouth of the gulph, leaving 
only two passages, one of which, between its northern extre- 
mity and the shore of the continent, is little more than three 
miles in breadth; but the other, between its southern point 
and the font of the Andes, is more than twelve leagues. This 
island is situated between the forty-first and a half, and the 
forty-fourth degrees of, and is about sixty leagues in 
length, and twenty in its greatest breadth. The laud, like that 
of all the other islands, is mountainous, and covered with al- 
most impenetrable thickets. The rains are excessive, and only 
in the autumn do the inhabitants enjoy fifteen or twenty days 
of fair weather in succession. During any other season, were 
eight days to pass without rain, it would be esteemed a sin- 
gular phenomenon. The atmosphere, of course, is very 
humid, and streams and rivers are to be found in every part. 
The air, notwithstanding, is very salubrious, and the tempera- 
ture so mild, that it is never known to be either hot or very 
eold. Owing to the great degree of moisture, grain and fruits 
produce but very indifiereuthj in these islands; the corn, how- 
ever, that is raised there is sufficient for the supply of the in- 
habitants. Barley, beans, and ilax, produce very well. Of 
kitcheu herbs, the cabbage and garlic are the only ones that 
grow there. The grape never attains to maturity, and the 
same is the case with all other fruits, except the apple and 
some wildings. Beef, though not so plenty as in Chiii, is bv 
no means scarce. Horses, though not in such numbers as o'u 
the continent, are yet common, and there is scarcely a person 


who is not the owner of one or two. Asses die in a short time 
after they are transported thither, whence there is not a mule 
to be found throughout the whole of the Archipelago. The 
animals that are met with in the greatest abundance are sheep 
and hogs, in which the inhabitants carry on a considerable 
trade. The wild animals, natural to the country, are deers, 
otters, and a species of black fox. Domestic fowls, as well 
as wild, are produced there in great numbers. In addition to 
these, the benevolent Author of Nature has, as an indemnity 
for those things of which they are destitute, provided all these 
islands with vast quantities of excellent fish of all kinds. Am- 
bergris, of a superior quality, is also found there, and much 
honey, which is made by the wild bees. Wood is likewise 
very plentiful, and of a kind fitted for every sort of manu- 
facture and ship-building 

This Archipelago was first discovered in the year 1558, by 
Dou Garcia de Mendoza, governor of Chili, but no attempt 
was then made to conquer it. But in 1505, Don Martino Ruiz 
Gamboa was sent there, who, with only sixty men, subjected 
its inhabitants, to the number of seventy thousand, without 
experiencing the least resistance, and founded, in the principal 
island, the city of * Castro and the pott of Chaca. These 
Indians, called Chilotes, remained submissive to Spain, until 
the present century, when they threw oft the yoke, but '•• ere 
soon brought under subjection, through the conduct of 
general Don Pedro Molina, who was sent from Conception to 
reduce them to obedience. Although descended from the 
Chilians, whom they resemble in appearance, custom, and lan- 
guage, these people are extremelv timid, and very docile. 
They are remarkable for their ingenuity, and readily acquire 
a knowledge of any thing to which they apply themselves. 
There are among them very expert carpenters, cabinet-makers, 

* He called it ?o in honour of Lope Garcia de Castro, then Viceroy 
of Peru, and gave his own name, Gamboa, to the river which passes by 
it.— £. E. 

X 4 


ami turners. In the manufacturing of flax and wool, they 
display much skill, and make beautiful bed-coverings from 
these materials, mixed with feathers, and also some cloths, 
which they embroider with various colours. They have a 
strong attachment to a sea life, and become excellent sailors. 
Their barks, called piragues, consist of three or four large 
planks sewed together, and caulked with a kind of oakum or 
moss, collected from a shrub. These are very numerous 
throughout the Archipelago, and are managed with sails and 
oars, and voyages are often made in them as far as Concep- 
tion. The Chilotes educate their sons well, and accustom 
them to labour at an early age. When taught, they make a 
rapid progress in learning. Some years since, a school was 
established for them in a village called Chonchi, into which 
one hundred and fifty were admitted, and all of them, in the 
space of a single year, were taught reading and writing, the 
first rules of arithmetic, the doctrines of Christianity, and the 
Spanish language. They were easily converted to Christianity, 
and they live in such strict regard to its duties, that the purity 
of the primitive church appears to be revived in them. Some 
tribes of savages have likewise settled in these islands, who 
have been persuaded by the missionaries to leave the Magel- 
lanic districts, in order to establish themselves in the Archi- 

The government h vested in a governor, who is dependant 
upon the president of Chili, and resides at Chacao, a Cabildo, 
or magistrate, with his Prefect, or Corregidor, in the city of 
Castro, who have conjunctively cognizance of the private suits 
of the Indians, and a commandant in the island of Calbuco, 
situated in the northernmost part of the gulph. The Archi- 
pelago is divided into three parishes, dependant upon the dio- 
cese of Conception, the bishops of which, except one and a 
bishop in partilus, never go there, because of the danger of 
the voyage. It contains seventy-five towns, mostly inhabited 
by Indians, who are under the government of their Ulmenes^ 


in each of which the Jesuits had a missionary church. The 
two principal places are Castro and Chacao. 

Castrq, the capital of the whole Archipelago, is situated in 
the eastern part of the great island, upon an arm or gulpn of 
the sea, in *42. 58. degrees of S. latitude, and 303. 15. of Ion* 
gitude. The houses, like those in all the other islands, are 
buiit of wood. The inhabitants, who are not f numerous, 
usually live upon their own possessions. Besides the parish 
church and the college, formerly belonging to the Jesuits, 
there is a convent of Franciscans, and another of Mercedarii, 
in which two or three monks reside. The port of Chacao lies 
nearly in the middle of the northern coast of the same island, 
upon the principal channel, which runs between that shore arid 
the continent, in 42 degrees of latitude, and 307. 37. of lon- 
gitude. This port has good anchorage, and is well defended 
from the winds, but the entrance is very difficult, owing in 
some measure to the currents and eddies that prevail in the 
channel, but principally to a rock that rises in the narrowest 
part of it, and is not visible except at ebb. The whole com- 
merce of the Archipelago is carried on from this port, in four 
or five ships that come here annually from Peru, or from the 
ports on the continent of Chili. This traffic is entirely con- 
ducted by bartering the productions of the country for those 
articles that are brought, money being very scarce in these 
islands. Upon the arrival of the ships, the Cabildo, or ma- 
gistrate of Castro, has the privilege of sending two deputies 
to tax the goods brought in them, and make an eslimale of 
their prices, which is to regulate the sale. This trade, by the 
royal grant, is not subjected to the duties that are paid in the 
other ports. 

* 42. 40. S. longitude 302, according to Agueros. — E. E. 

+ The constant residents are not more than one hundred and fifty. An 
earthquake ruin.i the city soon after its foundation, and there were feV 
inducements to rebuild it. — E. E. 




These islands are about one hundred and thirty leagues 
distant from the coast of Chili. They are situated in about 
32. 42. degrees of latitude, and 297. 32. of longitude. The 
island of Fuera is about three miles in length ; the land is very 
high, or rather a steep mountain, rising abruptly from the sea, 
having no harbours, or stations, where ships may remain 
secure, in consequence of the great depth of water that sur- 
rounds it. This island is full of beautiful trees and streams- 
of good water, according to the information of the fishermen, 
who are in the habit of landing there. The island of Terra is 
eleven or twelve miles long by three broad. The land is prin- 
cipally mountainous, broken, and intersected by ravines, 
caused by the frequent torrents and streams which descend 
from the mountains. It abounds with excellent v>ood, among 
which are the sandal, the yeilow wood, and the chonta, a spe- 
cies of the palm, which produces a fruit that is far from un- 
pleasant; the wood of the trunk, which is hollow like a reed, 
becomes of a beautiful black, and is nearly as hard as iron. 
Lord Anson represents this island as a terrestrial paradise, 
but in reality its soil is infested with worms that destroy every 
thing. The coast abounds with lobsters, cod, and other fish, 
and with aquatic animals, in Which its trade, which is very 
considerable, consists. This island was first discovered by 
Juan Fernandez, from whom it received its name, and who 
formed a settlement there, and brought over from the conti- 
nent some goals that multiplied to an astonishing degree. After 
his dtath it was d serted, in which state it continued for some 
time ; but the Spaniards perceiving of what importance to 
them the possession of these islands had become, in 1750 
made a permanent establishment in that of Terra, and settled 
the port called Juan Fernandez, on the south-west coast. The 
president of Chili appoints its governor, who « usually one of 
the commanders upon the Araucaniau frontier. Besides the. 


port of Juan Fernandez, there is another. Ising towards the 
south, called the English harbour, from the circumstance of 
Lord Anson's squadron having anchored there ; but it is in- 
secure, being too much exposed to the wiuds. 


Although Cujo is not strictly within the limits of Chili, 
yet as it is dependant upon the presidency of that kingdom, it 
will not be improper to take a brief notice of it in this account. 
It is bounded on the north by Tucuman, on the east by the 
Pampas, or deserts of Buenos Ayres, on the south by Pata- 
gonia, and on the west by the Andes, which separate it from 
Chiii. Its leugthYrom east to west is one hundred and eleven 
leagues, and its breadth, from north to south, about one hun- 
dred and ten, being comprehended between the 2Qth and 
35th degrees of latitude. In its temperature, as well as in 
the greater part of its productions, this province differs mate- 
rially from Chili. The winter, although it is there the dry 
season, is very cold ; in the summer the heat is excessive as 
well during the night as the day, and storms of thunder aud 
hail are very frequent. In the western part of the province 
these storms commonly rise and disperse in the space of half 
an hour, and the heat of the sun, bursting with increased 
radiance from the clouds, in a few minutes dries up the mois- 
ture. In consequence of this sudden exsiccation, the land, if 
not watered by artificial means, becomes arid, and will bear 
neither grass nor trees, but when irrigated by canals, it pro- 
duces almost every vegetable in astonishing abundance. The 
fruits and grains of Europe thrive there extremely well, and 
come to maturity a month earlier than in Chili, and the wines 
are rich and of an excellent body. 

This province is intersected by three rivers from the Andes, 
that of St. Juan, and those of Meudoza and Tunujan. The 
two first receive their names from the cities that they lave, and 
after a course of from twenty-five to thirty leagues become 


stationary, and form the celebrated lakes of Guanasachc, 
which extend more than fifty leagues from north to south » 
and, at length, through a channel that receives the river Tu- 
nujan, lose themselves in the Pampas. These lakes abound 
with excellent trout and king fish, and all the salt that is used 
in Cujo is obtained from them. The eastern part of this pro- 
vince, called la Punta, presents an appearance entirely dif- 
ferent from the rest, and is watered by the rivers Contara and 
Quinto, and by several other streams. The plains are covered 
with beautiful trees, and the herbage grows to such a height, 
as in many places to conceal the horses ; but thunder storms 
are more violent than in any other part of Cujo, and continue 
for hours accompanied with immoderate rain. 

Of the trees of Cujo, one of the most remarkable is that 
called Palma, from its resembling, in its branches and fruit, 
the palm of Chili; it differs, however, in its height, which 
never exceeds eighteen feet, and in the manner of putting 
forth its branches, which are so pear the ground as to prevent 
the trunk from being seen. Its leaves are hard, and terminate 
in a point as sharp as that of a sword. The fruit, though si- 
milar in appearance to the cocoa-nut, contains no kernel or 
substance that is edible, but merely a few round hard seeds. 
The most singular part of this tree is the stem, or trunk, which 
is very large. The outer bark is blackish, and is easily de- 
tached ; this is succeeded by five or six interior layers, of so 
perfect a texture that they appear as if wrought in a loom. 
The first is of a yellowish colour, and of the consistency of 
sail cloth ; the others regularly decrease in thickness, and be- 
come gradually whiter to the innermost, which is as fine and 
white as cambric, but of a looser texture. The thread of 
these cloths is strong and flexible, but not so soft to the touch 
as that of flax. Cujo also contains great quantities of the 
Opuntia, a species of Cactus that furnishes the cochineal. The 
natives have a practice of stringing these insects upon a thread 
with a needle, which communicates to them a blackish lint. 


This plant produces a woolly fruit, of the size of a peach, of 
a glutinous substance, containing a great quantity of seeds. It 
is sweet and well flavoured, and is easily preserved by cutting 
it into slices, and drying them in the sun. The tree that pro- 
duces the Greek or Turkey bean, is common throughout the 
province ; it is of four kinds, two of which are good eating ; of 
the others, one is used as provender for horses, and the othet 
in making ink. Among the plants of Cujo is one that is very 
singular; it is called the flower of the air, from its having no 
root, nor ever being fixed to the earth. Its native situation is 
an arid rock, or a dry tree, around which it entwines itself. 
This plant consists of a single shoot, resembling the stock of 
the gillyflower, but its leaves are larger and thicker, and so 
hard that they seem to the touch like wood. Each shoot, or 
stalk, produces two or three white transparent flowers, in size 
and shape resembling the lily ; they are full as odoriferous as 
that flower, and may be preserved fresh for more tlian two 
mouths on their stalks, and for several days when plucked off". 
But the most wonderful property of this plant is, that it may 
be transported without any difficulty for upward of three hun- 
dred miles, and will produce flowers annually if only sus- 
pended upon a nail. 

This province abounds with birds, among which are two 
parrots that are different from those of Chili. The first is a 
little less than the turtle dove, and has a green back and 
whitish belly ; the other, called periquito, is rather larger. Its 
plumage is a dark green, except the head, which is black, and 
a mixture of red upon the back. The partridges are of two 
kinds. The first, called martinet la, is of the size of a domestic 
fowl, has a beautiful tuft upon its head, and is adorned with 
handsome plumes of various colours ; its flesh is very delicate, 
and its eggs are green. The common partridge is in great 
abundance, and so tame that a man with a reed, to which a 
snare is fastened, will take twenty or thirty of them in a few 
hours. The abhanil, or mason, so calkd from the manner of 


constructing its habitation, is a snuff-colomed bird, of the size 
of a thrush ; before it begins to build, it mixes clay very care- 
fully with feathers and pieces of stiau ; I lieu dividing it into 
little balls, carries them in its claws and bill to its mate, who 
first forms the boltum upon tin trunk of a tree, into a circle 
of eight or nine inches in diameter, making it perfectly smooth ; 
upon this it raises a wall about a baud's breadth in height, 
leaving a small aperture to go in at ; it next proceeds to lay a 
second floor, which contains the nest, and also an opening 
communicating with the lower room ; when this is completed, 
it continues the surrounding wall to the same height as the 
first, and covers the whole with a handsome arch. This edi- 
fice becomes, when dry, so firm as to resist the most violeut 
winds and rain. In the northern parts of this province is a 
species of pheasant called chunna, which is as large as a hen, 
and of an ash colour; the flesh is as delicate as that of the 
European pheasant. This bird is easily domesticated, and 
performs in houses the office of a e«t, freeing them from mice, 
which it eats very readily ; but it is kept by few, on account of 
its disagreeable note, and a mischievous propensity of carrying 
away in its beak and concealing whatever it finds. Of turtle 
doves, besides the comrajpn species, there is one that is not 
larger than a sparrow. Ostriches are common, and bees are 
found every where, particularly in the eastern plains, and pro- 
duce excellent honey. Grasshoppers appear there occasionally, 
in such numbers that they cover many miles of country, and 
destroy every green thing that they meet with; these are 
usually three inches in length, but they are sometimes to be 
seen as large as a pilchard, and from seven to eight inches 

There are many animals in Cujo that are not to be found in 
Chili, as tigers, boars, stags, the land tortoise, the viper, 
Iguana, and several others. The tigers are ferocious, like those 
of Africa, and as large as an ass, but with shorter legs; the 
skiu is mottled with white, yellow, and black. The inha- 

319 . . 

bitants kill lliem with lances of five or six feet in length 
armed with a sharp iron. The method they adopt is for two 
persons to be in readiness, while a third, who has the spear, 
provokes the tiger, who rushes upon him with inconceivable 
fury, and impales himself upon the weapon, which the hunter 
keeps constantly directed towards him, when the two others 
come up and dispatch him. The Iguana is an animal of the 
lizard kind, about three feet in length; the. colour is blackish, 
the eyes round, and the flesh white and tender. It feeds upon 
grass and wild fruits. The country people, who eat it, think 
its flesh far preferable to that of a chicken. 

In the northern parts of this province are mines of gold and 
copper, but they are not worked, owing to the indolence of 
the inhabitants. There are also rich mines of lead, vitriol, 
sulphur, salt, coal, gypsum, and talc. The mountains in the 
neighbourhood of Juan -are wholly composed of strata ofwhite 
marble, from five to six feet in length, and from six to seven 
inches thick, which are regularly cut and polished by the hand 
of Nature. The inhabitants make from it a beautiful lime, 
and employ it in building bridges over their canals. Between 
the cities of Mendozaaud La Punta, upon a low range of hills, 
is a large stone pillar, one hundred and fifty feet high, and 
twelve feet in diameter. It is called the giant, and contains 
certain marks or inscriptions, resembling Chinese characters. 
Near the Diamond river is also another stone, containing some 
marks, which appear to be ciphers or characters, and the im- 
pression of a man's feet, with the figures of several animals. 
The Spaniards call it the stone of St. Thomas, from an ac- 
count which they pretend the first settlers received from the 
Indians, that a white man, with a long beard, formerly 
preached to their ancestors a new religion from that stone, and, 
as a proof of its sanctity, left upon it the impression of his feet, 
and the figures of the animals that came to hear him. This 
man they suppose to have been St. Thomas, from a tradition 
, of his having preached in America. 


The aboriginal inhabitants of Cujo, of whom there are at 
present but a few remaining, are called Guarpes, they are 
thin, brown, and of a lofty stature, and speak a different lan- 
guage from the Chilians. The Peruvians were the first who 
conquered these people, after having possessed themselves of 
the northern provinces of Chili. On the road over the Andes, 
from Cujo to Chili, are still to be seen some small stone edi- 
fices, erected for the accommodation of the officers and mes- 
sengers of that empire. The first Spaniards who entered this 
province were commanded by Francis Aguirre, who was sent 
from Chili by Valdivia, and who quitted it on learning the 
death of that general. In the year 1560, Don Garcia di 
Mendoza sent thither Pedro Castillo, who subdued the 
Guarpes, and founded the cities of St. Juan and Mendoza. 

Mendoza, the capital, is situated on a plain at the foot of tlte 
Andes, in 33 degrees 1 9 minutes south latitude, and in 308, 
31. west longitude. The 'number of its inhabitants is estimated 
at six thousand. Besides the parish church, it contains a col- 
lege which belonged to the Jesuits, convents of the orders of 
St. Francis, St. Dominick, Sta Augustine, and the Mercedarii. 
This city carries on a considerable commerce in wine and 
fruits with Buenos Ayres ; and its population is continually in- 
creased from its vicinity to the famous silver mine of Uspallata, 
which the inhabitants work to great profit. 

St. Juan, which is forty-five leagues from Mendoza, is also 
situated near the Andes, in 31.4. degrees of latitude, and 308. 
31. of longitude. It has the same number of inhabitants, 
churches, and convents as Mendoza, and trades with Buenos 
Ayres, in brandy, fruits, and Vicugna skins. The pome- 
granates of its vicinity are greatly esteemed in Chili, for their 
size and sweetness. Tiiis city is governed by a Cabildo, and a 
Lieutenant of the Prefect, or Corregidor of Mendoza. 

In the year 1 5£>6~, the small city of La Punta, or St. Lodo- 
vico of Loyolo, was founded in the eastern part of Cujo ; it 
received its name from Don Martin Loyolo, at that time go- 


vernor of Chili, and is situated in 33. 47. degrees of latitude, 
and in 311. 32. of longitude, at the distance of about 62 leagues 
from Mendoza. Notwithstanding it is the thoroughfare of all 
the commerce between Chili, Cujo, and Buenos Ayres, it is a 
miserable place, and the inhabitants scarcely amount to two 
hundred. It has a parish church, one that belonged to the 
Jesuits, and a convent of Dominicans. The civil and military 
government of this city, as well as of its jurisdiction, which is 
very extensive and populous, is administered by a Lieutenant 
or Vicar of the Corregidor of Mendoza. Besides these cities, 
Cujo contains the towns of Jachal, Vallofertil, Mogna, Coro- 
corto, Leonsito, Calingarta, and Pismanta, but these do not 
merit particular attention. 

The Patagonians, who border upon Chili, and of whose 
gigantic stature so much has been written in Europe, from the 
most accurate information, differ not materially in this respect 
from other men. The Pojas, who form one of their tribes, 
live under the government of several petty princes, indepen- 
dent of each other. These people acknowledge the existence 
of a Supreme Being, and believe in the immortality of the 
soul. A singular kind of polygamy prevails among them, the 
women being permitted by their laws to have several hus- 
bands. As to the Cesari, the supposed neighbours of the Chi- 
lians, of whom such wonderful stories are told, they are merely 
an imaginary people, who have no existence but in the fancy 
of those who take a pleasure in the marvellous. 


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interesting to the great Body of Readers will be Europe, com- 
prising every thing valuable that has ever appeared in the 
Form of Voyages or Travels relating to this Portion of the 
Earth : and in the subsequent Parts, the Order of Arrange- 
ment which Mr. Pinkerton has pursued in his great Geogra- 
ph'c;" Work, will he adopted. 

in 'he years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773. 
By Jaines Bruce, of Kinaaird, Esq. F.R.S. The 2d Edit, 
corrected and enlarged. To which is prefixed, a Life of the 
Author, handsomely printed in 7 vols. Svo. with a volume of 
Copper-plates in 4to. 41. 16s. in Boards. A few Copies are 
printed hi royal Svo. with first Impressions of the Plates. Price 
71. 7s. in Boards* 

Book: printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme. 

of SOUTH WALES, from Materials collected during Two 
Excursions in the Year 1803. By Benjamin Heath Malkin, 
Esq. M A. FS.A. In one vol. 4to. illustrated with Views, 
drawn and engraved by Laporte, and a Map of the Country. 
21. I '2s 6'd. Boards. A few Copies may be had with the Views 
finely coloured by Laporte. Price 4.1. 4s. in Boards. — Also a 
2d Edit, in 2 vols. Svo. with considerable Additions, and Two 
Engravings, by Landseer and Middiman. Price ll. Is. in 

" Mr. Ma'kin displays a mastery of style, and is an instruc- 
tive companion; we have no hesitation in assigning him a 
place in the first class of Tourists." M. Rev. — " This is one 
of the most elaborate, and indeed satisfactory accounts of a 
tour through South Wales, that has yet appeared."— Brit. 

illustrated and explained by Drawings and Descriptions. De- 
dicated, by permission, to her Grace the Duchess of Devon- 
shire. By William Gell, Esq. of Jesus College, M.A. F.R.S. 
F.A.S. and late Fellow of Emanuel College, Cambridge. In 
Folio, Price 101. 10s. in Boards. In the Work are given 
forty-three coloured Plates, taken from accurate Drawings, 
n.aoe on the Spot, by the Author, and chiefly engraved by 
Mr. Medland. The Work is designed to afford an Oppor- 
tunity to such as have not visited the Country of forming their 
own opinions of the Topography of Homer. 

dedicated, by permission, to the King. By William Gell, Esq. 
M.A. F.R.S.'F.S.A. And Member of the Society of Diletanti. 
In one vol. 4to. illustrated by Engravi; gs. Price 21. J 2s. 6d. 
in Boards. 

10. A DESCRIPTION of LATIUM; or, La Campagna 
Di Roma* In one vol. demy 4to. illustrated by Etchings 
by the Author, and a Map. ll. lis. 6d. in Boards. "This 
Description is intended to give an Idea of the Cities, Towns, 
and Villages, in the Neighbourhood of Rome ; of the Paint- 
ings, Sculptures, and Vestiges of Antiquity which they contain, 
as well as of the picturesque Scenery which surrounds 

** It is not our fortune often to meet with a volume where 
more information and entertainment are combined. The work 
is confidently, and, we believe, rightly attributed to a lady al- 
ready celebrated as a writer, the accomplished Cornelia Kuight," 
— Brit. Crit. 

Printed by J, D. Dewick, 

46, Baibican. 

<?--£ mw Mt