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port of the capital with respect to Europe, situated on a sandy barren plain. The harbour, or rather road, is very much exposed to the northern winds : but on a small island, half a mile from the land, is a considerable fort for its protection. Acapulco, 200 miles to the southward of Mexico, on a spacious and well protected baven, is the station of the commerce between the Spanish dominions in North America and those in the Asiatic islands.
Towards the narrowest part of the isthmus, between the northern and southern parts of this continent, is situated the great lake of Nicaragua, about 170 miles in length, and nearly half as much in breadth: from the east end flows the river St. John, falling into the gulf of Mexico, and navigable for the largest ships up to the lake. The west end of the lake approaches within a dozen miles of the southern ocean, which has suggested the project of opening a spacious canal sit for vessels of burthen, and so procuring a safe and speedy communication between the Atlantic and the Pacific, instead of encountering the dangers and delays of a voyage round the southern extremity of America, or attempting a probably impracticable passage round the northern.
To the northward of the lake of Nicaragua lies the coast of Honduras, well known for its abundance in mahogany and logwood.
West INDIA ISLANDS.—The mouth of the great gulf of Mexico, inclosed between N. and S. America, is shut in by a long chain of islands of various sizes; beginning at the N. W. extremity, and proceeding to the S. E; their names are the following, viz. the Lucaya or Bahama islands, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Porto Rico, the Virgin isles, the Caribees, comprehending St. Croix, St. Martin, St. Eustatia, St. Christopher or by abbreviation St. Kitts, Antigua, Monserrat, Guadaloupe and Grande. tarre, Marie-galante, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia,
Bellavista, in the neighbourhood. Cuzco, formerly the residence of the native sovereigns of the country, stands in the midst of the lofty Andes.
Chili.- This is a long narrow tract, reaching southwards from Peru to S. lat. 40°, hemmed in between the Pacific and the Andes. The Spaniards claim only so much of this country as reaches to the river Biobio, in lat. 37°, the remainder being in the hands of the natives, a race differing in many points from the other original inhabitants of S. America. The chief towns of the Spanish part are St. Jago, in the interior, and Conception, on the coast.
La Plata.---This very extensive country, called also the Viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres, from the name of the capital, occupies all the heart of S. America from the chain of the Andes to the Portuguese dominions and the Atlantic occean. It reaches from S. lat 14° to 38°, or about 1500 miles, and the breadth is about 720 miles, being divided into thirty provinces. The capital, Buenos Ayres, so call. ed from the excellence of the air it enjoys, is situated on the southern shore of the great river La Plata, there upwards of 20 miles across. The town is large and regularly built, with a population of 10,000 souls. The harbour is only an open road, so that vessels usually remain at Montevideo, lower down on the opposite side of the river, commanding a fine bay. The most celebrated town, however of this portion of America is Potosi, lying in a barren mountainous tract, in S. lat. 19o. 40', amongst the eastern slopes of the Andes : but by means of rivers in the neighbourhood a water communication is established witla Buenos Ayres.
Potosi was founded in 1545, and the mountain where it stands has ever since furnished to Europe a quantity equal to one million sterling annually of fine silver.
Ainongst the natural productions of Spanish S. America may be reckoned the quinquina, ar Jesuit's bark, also sar
saparilla, saparilla, rhubarb, jalap, sassafras, guayacum: the chocolate tree grows chiedy in Peru, the fruit resembles a cucumber, containing the nuts, covered with a very sweet skin: yanilla, which enters into the composition of chocolate in Europe, is found in the same country. The minerals, next to those of New Spain, are the most valuable in the world, particularly in silver ; while some parts are distinguished for vast quantities of the purest gold: mines of copper, tin, and lead, are also worked. The celebrated Vicunya, or Vigogna wool, is procured from a species of small camel of which there are other sorts, called llama, or liama, guanaco, paco, &c.; the paco, which is the largest, is frequently employed as a beast of burthern in Peru, carrying a load of one hundred and a half. The tiger, or jaguar, of Paraguay, is amongst the largest of the species : but the puma, or lion, is proportionally inferior in size to that of the old continent. The hippopotamus is found in the great rivers; and the condor, a species of vulture, is no stranger in the mountains; some have been measured sixteen feet across the wings when extended.
PORTUGUESE DOMINIONS. These form one great triangle, having its vertex on the sea coast, in S. lat. 33o. the eastern side is washed by the Atlantic ocean, the western is bounded by the Spanish dominions, and the northern side, or the base, is formed by the river of Amazons, J'rench Guiana, and the Atlantic, The extent from S. to N. is about 2,100 miles, and the breadth, at the base, is neariy as much. This widely extended country, generally known by the name of Brasil, is subdivided into upwards of twenty provinces ; but the whole is in a great measure unknown to Europeans, the Portuguese having o ne litile more iban form some establishments on the coast.
The principal town of all these provinces was formerly San Salvador, on the Bahia de todos os Santos (bay of All
river, the largest in the world, is not less than' 3,300 miles. The second river of S. America is that which, formed by the union of the Paraguay and other streams, in the centre of the country, flows in general south easterly, and is lost in the Atlantic, by the broad firth of La Plata, so called from the Spanish term signifying silver, of which great quantities are brought down these rivers to be embarked for Europe. The third American river is the Orinoco, which, after a winding spiral course, discharges itself into the Atlantic by many mouths, opposite to the island of Trinidad. So level is that part of America where the Orinoco and the Marangon bend their course, that no less' than three communications by different branches have been traced leading from one river to the other; these rivers, and many others in S. America, also periodically overflow the adjacent country, as do the Nile, the Ganges, &c. but to a far greater extent on both sides of the stream.
The lakes of this part of the world are neither numerous nor considerable; that of Parima, in the northern parts, is about 100 miles long, by 50 broad, The lake, or lagoon, of Maracaibo, although communicating by a broad channel with the Caribean sea, is a body of fresh water, above 100 miles in its greatest extent. On the eastern shore is a spot producing mineral pitch, or bitumen asphaltum, useful for tarring ships' bottoms, and for other purposes; and the inflamed vapours arising from it serve as a light-house to vessels navigating the lake. Titicaca is the most extensive lake in S. America; it is situated on the eastern skirts of the Andes, and is 240 miles in circumference, being generally from 70 to 80 fathoms in depth; the water is not salt, but tainted with sulphur and bitumen.
SPANISH DOMINIONS.—These are comprehended in the three great governments, or viceroyalties, of New Grenada, Peru, and La Plata. New Grenada occupies the NW. parts from $. lat. 3° 30' to N. lat, 129, extending nearly
1,000 miles from N. to S. and in general about 240 from W. to. E. and is subdivided into twenty-four provinces. The chief towns are Santa Fe de Bogota, in the heart of the country, the seat of government, and a handsome place, containing 30,000 people. Quito, situated nearly under the equinoctial line, is supposed to contain 58,000 inhabitants of all descriptions: it was in the vicinity of this town that the measurement of a degree on the earth's surface was performed by Spanish and French mathemati. cians, about seventy years ago. Guayaquil is a port of considerable trade in the southern parts of the government, where an arsenal has been constructed for the use of the navy. Panama, on the south side of the isthmus of Darien, with Portobello on the north side, and Carthagena on the southern continent, were once more remarkable for commerce than at the present day.
Caracas. -Along the northern shores of S. America, from New Grenada to the Atlantic, extends the government of the Caracas, divided into five provinces, viz. Venezuela, Maracaibo, Cumana, Spanish Guiana, the island of Margarita : Caraca, the principal town, is situated a dozen miles from the sea, in the midst of mountains, a considerable place, containing upwards of 40,000 people. By the town runs the small river La Guayra, forming at its entrance into the sea the harbour or road of the same name. Porto Cavello is a convenient harbour to the westward of La Guayra,
Peru. This part of the Spanish dominions extends along the shore of the Pacific, from S. lat. 3° 30' to 21° 15', in a south easterly direction, about 1,400 miles; but the breadth is very irregular, the medium being about 200 miles. It comprehends forty-two provinces; the capital, Lima, with a population of above 50,000 inhabitants, lies a couple of leagues up from the sea; the port, since the overthrow of Callao by an earthquake, in 1747, being