« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
destitule of running water, on whic! N. winds, that blow impetu-
MONTEREY, the capital of the two Californias, and the residence
St. Leon and Granada are both situated on lake Nicaragua,
Santa Fe is remarkable as the most northern town of any note in
Roads. A road was long since opened, from Louisiana to Mex-
A carriage may pass from Chihuahua, in lat. 28 45, to Santa Fe, in lat. 36 15. A sort of caleche is generally used. The road is beautiful and level, and passes along the eastern bank of the Bravo, crossing it at the Passo del Norte. The banks of the river are very picturesque, and are adorned with beautiful poplars and other trees peculiar to the temperate zone.
A courier goes on horseback from Guatemala to Mexico, and thence, through Guadalaxara and Real de Rosario, to Santa Cruz, at the mouth of the Mayo. Here he crosses the gulf, and disembarks at Loretto. From this village letters are sent from mission to mission, to Monterey and Port St. Francis. They thus traverse a roule of more than 920 geographical leagucs, or 3100 miles; equal to the distance of Lisbon from Cherson.
Climate. Only two seasons are known in the tropical regions of Mexico, even as far as lat. 28° N.; the rainy season of four months, wbich commences in June or Juiv, and ends in September, or October; and the dry season of eight months, which lasts from October lo May. The first rains commence on the eastern coast, and are accompanied with strong electrical explosions. They begin at Vera Cruz 15 or 20 days sooner than on the central labie land ; and there, sooner than on the Pacific. The most rains fail on the highlands.
Face of the Country. The lands on both coasts, are low grounds, intersected with very inconsiderable hills. In the south, these tracis are narrow, but wider on the west, than on the east. Farther north, near the borders of San Luis Potosi and Guadalaxara, the low counitry widens; and above the parallel of lat. 24°, is of very considerable breadth. Merida, or the peninsula of Yucatan, is chicfly of this description ; however, a chain of hills of small clevation intersects it from S. W. to N. E. The whole of Vera Cruz is level, and all of it low, except the high plain between Perote and the Pic d'Orizaba. New-Santander, Now-Leon, Cohauila, and Texas, are almost
universally plains of small elevation. In Guadalaxara and Sonora on the W. there is also a broad tract of low ground between the sea and the mountains. In Old-California the level land is narrow on both coasts; and New-California is only a narrow plain W. of the mountains.
The Cordillera in Mexico does not, like most other ranges of mountains, consist of a narrow ridge, or of several such ridges parallel with each other, with valleys between them ; but it is many leagues in breadth, and the top is a broad plain, or table land, from 6000 to 8000 or 9000 feet above the level of the ocean.
The valley of Mexico, is about 230 miles in circumference, and has an elevation of about 7400 feet. The lake of Tezcuco is nearly in its centre. The length of the valley from the southern shore of lake Chalco, in a N. W. direction to the Cerro de Sincoque, is 65 miles; and its breadth 43. The mountains which surround it are of considerable elevation above it. Many such valleys, but generally of a smaller size, are found scattered over the top of the table land.
Soil and Agriculture. This soil of the table land is remarkably productive. Maize is far the most important object of agriculture, and the year in which the maize harvest fails is a year of famine for Mexico. Humboldt estimates the common produce at 150 fold. In the most warm and humid regions it will yield from two to three harvests annually, but generally only one is taken. It is planted from the middle of June, to the end of August. The common annual produce of the whole of Mexico is estimated by Humboldt at 17 million fanegas, or 1765} million pounds, avoirdupois. Rye and barley are cultivated in the highest regions. The best climare for wheat, is found to be the annual average of 64°, or 65°. Humboldt estimates the common wheat harvest at 220 millions of pounds, avoirdupois. Oats are very little cultivaied. The banana of Mexico, called the pialano-arton, probably yields inore nutriment on a given spot of ground, than any other vegetable. In the best lands, the fruit grows sometimes from 11 to 12 inches in length, and often from 8 to 9. In such soils, a cluster of bananas will contain from 160 to 180 fruits, weighing from 60 to 90 pounds. The plant is cultivated by suckers. In 8 or 9 months, the clusters begin to develop, and the fruit may be collected in the 10th or 11th. After the fruit is plucked, the old stalk is removed, and a new one springs up spontaneously. A spot of ground of 100 square metres, (1076 square feet) may contain from 30 to 40 plants. In one year the produce will exceed 4400 pounds of fruit.
Two species of the juca (out of whose root the maniac bread is made) are cultivated, the sweet and the bitter ; but they will not grow at a greater height than 2000 or 2500 feet above the level of the ocean. This bread is remarkably nutritive. The juca is cultivated like the potato, and is ripe in 8 months.
The Mexicans now possess all the garden stuffs and fruits of Europe. Onions, leeks, garlic, haricots, cresses, and artichokes, were indigenous. The central table land produces in the greatest abundance, cherries, prunes, peaches, apricots, figs, grapes, melons,
apples, and pears. The fine native fruits are the anana or pine
Rivers. The 'Rio Bravo del Nortc. It has its anirual freshets
The Colorado of California has also been described. The Gila, its largest tributary, rises according to Humboldi's map, in the Cordillera ; and runs a little S. of W. about 600 miles, falling into the Colorado, near its mouth.
The other Colorado is but litile known. It is a long and large river, running probably about 700 or 800 miles in an E. or S. direction, and emptying into the N. W. corner of the gulf of Mexico, in lat. 29 15 N.
The Rio de las Nueces is a large stream N. E. of the Bravo, and parallel with it.
The river Tula, or Montezuma, under the name of Gautillan, rises in the Cordillera, which skirts the valley of Mexico on the W. It runs in the valley about 30 miles; the first 20 in a N. E. and the last 10 in a N. N. W. direction. Just at the bend, it passes about a mile W. of lake Zumpango, and leaves the valley at the N. W. corner, passing between the Cerro de Sincoque, on the W. and the Lomna of Nochistongo, on the E. Continuing the same course to Jat. 20, it there bends a little to the E ; and at length, being joined by the Panuco, takes the name of Rio Tempico. It is the largest river of the eastern coast S. of the Bravo.
The river Santiago issues from the little lake of Lorma, 20 miles S. W. of Mexico without the valley, and at the foot of the range that skirts it on the W. After a course of 250 miles, in which it is called Bio Larma, it enters the E. end of lake Chapala. This it leaves again on the N. side, at the distance of about 30 miles from its entrance ; and taking the name of Rio Santiago, runs W. N. W. and S. W. about 400 miles farther. It enters the Pacific by a broad mouth in lat. 21 30 N.
The Zacatula is a stream of considerable length in the intendency of Mexico. The Culican, Mayo, and Haiqui are the largest rivers of Sonora.
Lakes. Lake Chapala is far the largest in Mexico. It lies W. by N. of the capital, just above the latitude of 20° ; covering, according to Humboldt, nearly 160 square marinc leagues, or 1225 square miles; and, by his map, is about 90 miles long, and 20 broad.
7 cus, a lai chu arch
There are four lakes in the valley of Mexico. The Lake of Chalı ço, at the southern extremity of the valley, covers 50 square miles.
The Lake of Tezcuco, as well as the other three, was formerly much larger than it is at present. It lies N. of the Chalco, about 4 miles from it; and is 14 miles long from S. S. W. to N. N. E. and 8 broad, containing 77 square miles. The floating gardenson its surface are probably the most elegant exertion of horticulture.
The Lake of San Christoval lies less than a mile N. N. W. of Tezcuco, and covers 27} square miles. Its length from N. to S. is 10 miles. Its surface is 11 feet 8 inches above lake Tezcuco.
Lake Zumpango, N. W. of San Christoval, and 3 miles from it, çovers a surface of 10 square miles, and is 29 feet higher than Tez
The Rio Guautillan, the present source of the Montezuma, formerly emptied into this lake, but to prevent inundations, its course was diverted out of the valley.
The lake of Pascuaro is in the intendency of Valladolid, and is a most beautiful sheet of water, affording several delightful situations for towns. The lakes of Mextillan and Parras are in Durango. The former is the largest in the viceroyalty, except Chapala.
Mineralogy. In Skinner's account of Peru we are informed, that the produce of the Mexican gold mines, in 1790, was 5024 marks of gold, at $125 the mark; and 2,179,455 marks of silver, at $8. the mark. These sums were actually coined at Mexico, and amounted to 8628,000 in gold; and to $17,435,640 in silver : total $18,063,640.
CAPTAINGENERALSHIP OF GUATEMALA.
Extent. THIS country, the most southern in North-America, reaches on the Pacific from the Barra de Tomala, in lat. 16 12 N. and lon. 94 15 W. to Punta Gorda, in about lat. 9° N.; and, on the gulf of Mexico, from the southern limit of the province of Merida, to the mouth of Rio Doradas, in about 10°N. Its length, along the Pacific, is about 770 miles. Its greatest breadth, across the country of Honduras, is 380 ; but, at each end it is much narrower.
Boundaries. On the N. lie the province of Merida, in Mexico,
Costa Rica Government. It is governed by its own captain general and au. dience, both of whom reside at Guatemala.
Population. It is said to be the most populous country in Spanish America ; but we have seen no estimate of its actual popuiation. The English have a settlement at Honduras, on the N. coast containing, according to captain Henderson, 200 whices, 500 mu
lattoes and free blacks, and 3000 slaves. The Indians in Honduras
Towns. GUATEMALA is the capital. It stands on the river Vac-
Leon is the capital of Nicaragua, stands on the W. side of the lake of Leon, and is a bishopric.
CIDAD REAL is in the province of Chiapa. It is delightfully
CHIAPA DE LOS INDOs is the largest Indian town in Guatemala.
Productions. This country produces great quantities of choco-
River, Lakes, &c. The river Chiapa is a considerable stream, emptying into the bay of Campeachy. The lakes of Nicaragua and Leon have heretofore becn described. The Rio St. Juan is the outlet of the former,
Situation THE islands, which have received this name, lie be.
Divisions. They are divided into 4 principal groupes.
I. The Bahamas or Lucayas Islands.
8. Watling's Island
9. Guanahani 3. Inaguas
10. Eleuthera 4. Mayaguana
11. New-Providence 5. Crooked Island Group
12. Andros 6. Long Island
13. Abaco 7. Exuma
14. Great Bahama