RAMBLES IN SPAIN. By John D. Fitzgerald. Map and 135 illustrations. 8vo, $3.00 net. (Postage, 30 cents.)
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THROUGH SOUTH AMERICA. By H. W. Van Dyke. Introduction by Hon. John Barrett. Map and 32 illustrations. 8vo, $2.00 net. (Postage, 20 cents.)
CHOSEN DAYS IN SCOTLAND. By Josephine Helena Short. Map and 32 illustrations. 8vo, $2.00 net. (Postage, 20 cents.)
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By Hon. John Barrett, Director-General of the Pan American Union and formerly United States Minister to Argentina, Panama, and Colombia
I have real pleasure in complying with the suggestion that I should write an introduction to this interesting and instructive work by Mr. Harry Weston Van Dyke. As it was through me that he was led to make his studies and investigations which resulted in the preparing of this book, I naturally find much gratification in the success with which he has handled the responsibility. No one can read his travel story of South America without being impressed with the importance of these countries, the enjoyment and value of visiting them, and the advantage of the development of closer relations between all of them and the United States.
As the executive officer of the Pan American Union, an international organization maintained in Washington by all the American republics, twenty-one in number, including the United States, for the advancement of commerce, friendship, and peace among them all, it is my lot to realize, possibly better than any one else, the remarkable growth of interest which is being manifested now, not only throughout the United States but in all parts of the world, in the countries of the southern portions of the American continent commonly classed as Latin America.
When the Pan American Union was reorganized about five years ago, and it began an active propaganda for making the twenty Latin American republics better known in the United States, and correspondingly, the United States better known among them, there was little cause for encouragement. The average newspaper editor, the man in public life, the manufacturer, the exporter, the importer, the traveler, and the student seemed to be largely absorbed in studying and watching the development of our commercial relations with Europe and the Orient, and not with Latin America. The persistent and continued effort, however, of the Pan American Union in educating the world to the importance of the Latin American countries and to an appreciation of the commercial opportunities and moral responsibilities of the United States in its relations with them, has now resulted in a complete change of conditions which is indeed gratifying. To-day the manufacturers and merchants in all parts of the world, the editors of American and European and even Asiatic newspapers, special writers on foreign subjects, lecturers, members of Congress, professors and students in universities and colleges, librarians, professional and amateur travelers are corresponding with the Pan American Union or visiting its headquarters in order to gain accurate information about the Latin American republics.
As an illustration of this growth of interest a few comparisons can be made. Five years ago the total number of printed reports, pamphlets, and other publications distributed by the Pan American Union was approximately one hundred thousand. This year, the total will approximate nearly one million. None of these have been sent broadcast in a careless way. Five years ago there was little or no demand for the “Monthly Bulletin” of the Pan American Union; now the demand for it is greater than can be supplied. Then it was an uninteresting public document; to-day it is an attractive and instructive illustrated magazine, descriptive of the progress and development of the American nations. Five years ago the Pan American Union was housed in a small building, used formerly as a private dwelling, on the corner of Lafayette Square and Pennsylvania Avenue; to-day it occupies a building which a great French architect has described as combining beauty and utility better than any other public building of its cost in the world.
The library of the Pan American Union, which is a practical collection of books useful to all persons who wish to study those countries, has been increased from twelve thousand to twenty-three thousand volumes, while its collection of photographs has grown from one thousand to eleven thousand.
During this same period the foreign commerce of Latin America has grown from one billion seven hundred million dollars ($1,700,000,000) to two billion three hundred million dollars ($2,300,000,000). Of this, the share of the United States has increased from less than five hundred million dollars ($500,000,000) to nearly seven hundred million dollars ($700,000,000).
The total annual contributions of all the American republics, including the United States, for the maintenance of the Pan American Union in 1906 was $54,000; now the total of their quotas for support approximates $125,000.
All these facts I mention, not to call attention to the Pan American Union especially, but to emphasize with actual truth the evidences of the growth of interest throughout the world in the countries which are described in part by Mr. Van Dyke in this practical volume. If its reading stimulates further interest in them, the Pan American Union will be only too glad to furnish any information in its power.
While this book will perhaps be most appreciated by persons who are contemplating a visit to Latin America, it should be read by all those who wish to know more of what the American nations aside from the United States are doing. What is their interesting history, what are their resources, what are the characteristics of their peoples, what is the progress being made by them in national and municipal government, in education, and in solving social and economic problems? Most of the people of the United States and even of Europe have been so absorbed in their own histories, development, and general progress that they have given little attention to the twenty republics of southern America. After reading Mr. Van Dyke’s story they cannot fail to appreciate that there are other important nations and peoples in the world than those of northern America, Europe, and Asia.
Possibly a few general facts may be mentioned here which will enable the reader better to appreciate what follows in the chapters of this book. It must be remembered that the twenty republics lying south of the United States in the Western Hemisphere occupy an area of nine million square miles. This is three times greater than the connected area of the United States. Their total population now exceeds seventy millions. This is seven-ninths of the total population of the United States. Their foreign trade—and commerce is often called the life blood of nations—now exceeds two billion three hundred million dollars ($2,300,000,000) a year, which in turn represents an increase of nearly one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) during the last ten years. Nearly all of these countries secured their independence under the leadership of generals and patriots who were inspired by the example of George Washington. Nearly all of them have written their constitutions with the constitution of the United States as their example. All of them to-day are watching the United States in its efforts to solve its endless variety of social and economic problems, and they will profit by the example which the United States sets them.
They are not to be classed as lands of revolution, because two-thirds of all Latin America has known practically no revolution during the last fifteen or twenty years. The revolutions which occurred should possibly be called evolutions, and are efforts of their peoples, even though sometimes crude, to improve their permanent conditions of prosperity and progress. They are not by any means solely “tropical lands,” as is often supposed or as may be judged from a glance at the map. The great southern section of South America, including southern Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and a large section of Bolivia, are in the South Temperate Zone, where they have climatic conditions corresponding to those of the United States. The countries, moreover, which are actually under or near the equator have a mingling of high lands with low lands which means much for their future development. There are high plateaux ranging from three thousand to twelve thousand feet above the sea, covering oftentimes individual areas as large as that of Connecticut or Massachusetts, where the climate the year round is like that of New England in June or September and where the white man can live in corresponding climatic comfort.
Although, because of the slight seasonal changes, the average temperature of the low-lying lands of the tropical sections is somewhat trying to the resident of northern bringing up, yet under the influence of modern methods of sanitation and practical methods of living, they are being transformed into healthful sections of growing population, commerce, and influence. The example which the United States has set at Panama, and the demonstration which this government is giving there of the possibility of white men thriving in the tropics, is having its influence throughout the tropical belt of our sister republics and great changes are resulting.
The approaching completion and opening of the Panama Canal gives a special interest to this work of Mr. Van Dyke’s. Only the person who has thoroughly studied what the Panama Canal means, its effect not only upon the commerce of the world but upon the commerce and influence of the United States, and what it will do for the Latin American countries, as well as for the United States, can appreciate fully how important to the future of the relations of North and South America is the completion of this mighty waterway. Its opening should be followed not only by a great development of the export trade of the United States to those countries but of their export trade to this country. It should cause a remarkable increase in the travel between North and South America. There is no better influence for commerce and friendship than that of mutual acquaintance of peoples of different countries. When the Canal is completed there should be a great increase in the number of North Americans going to South America and of South Americans coming to the North.
When the shipping of the world goes through the Canal, it will have direct access to a remarkable coast line which heretofore has been so isolated that it could only be reached from the eastern part of the United States and the western part of Europe by the long journey around South America. The coast line which is made immediately accessible by the Canal reaches for eight thousand miles from the California-Mexican line south to Cape Horn, three thousand miles from Panama northwest to San Diego in California and five thousand miles south from Panama to Punta Arenas. This coast, without the Canal and in its isolated position, conducts now an average foreign commerce valued at four hundred million dollars ($400,000,000). With the opening of the Canal this should be doubled or trebled in the next ten years. It is a safe prediction that the Panama Canal will have the same influence upon the western shore, comprising the following countries: Mexico, Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, which the construction of the transcontinental railways had upon the Pacific coast of the United States. The fact that their population and their commercial and industrial development to-day is somewhat limited is no argument against their possibilities in the future. There was a time when the best experts and judges in the public and official life of the United States declared that the Pacific coast of the United States was not only of little value but never would be of great consequence. There were, however, some wise men like Seward who recognized the mighty potentialities of our Pacific coasts and of the Pacific seas. There is every reason to believe that western or Pacific Latin America, in view of its varieties of resources and climate, will, under the influence of the Panama Canal, experience a development and progress that will astonish the world.
In conclusion, a word can be added of personal appreciation of our sister republics which I believe will be shared by all those who read this book and later visit Latin America and study carefully its possibilities and potentialities. It was my privilege, before being elected by the vote of all these countries to the position of Director-General of the Pan American Union five years ago, to have served as Minister of the United States in such representative countries of South America as Argentina, Panama, and Colombia. My association with the officials and the rank and file of the peoples of these countries, and my travels both in a public and private capacity throughout the Latin American countries, have developed in me a regard for them that approaches real affection. The more I have learned and seen of them, the more I have admired them. They have their faults and weaknesses, as have the government and the people of the United States; but they have a great many virtues and numerous favorable features which are too often overlooked by the critics who have not studied Latin America from a sympathetic standpoint.
If we of the United States will remember that they are our sister republics, that they gained their independence under our example, that they have written their constitutions upon that of the United States, and that they will learn to love or hate us according as our attitude is that of sympathy and love or of selfishness and material concern, we shall in turn gain their confidence and sympathy and they will join with us in that spirit of Pan American unity and of solidarity which will make the Western Hemisphere the world’s leader in civilization, in business, and in enduring friendship among all nations.
|“The Soldier’s Leap”||Frontispiece|
|Map of South America||1|
|Inca Burial Tower near Lake Titicaca||56|
|Cloisters of Dominican Monastery, Cuzco||56|
|Cathedral at Lima, built by Pizarro||76|
|Pizarro’s Palace, Lima—Now the Government Building||90|
|San Martín’s Passage of the Andes||126|
|Statue of Bolívar, in Lima||132|
|The City of Bahia||156|
|Botafogo Bay, Rio Harbor||between 162 and 163|
|Bay and City of Rio de Janeiro||166|
|Avenue of Royal Palms, Rio Botanical Gardens||170|
|Avenida Central, Rio de Janeiro||170|
|Coffee Plantation, Brazil||184|
|Colón Theater, Buenos Aires||204|
|Federal Capitol, Buenos Aires||204|
|Jockey Club’s Grand Stand at Race Track||210|
|Prize Winners from “the Camp”||216|
|The Uspallata Pass||222|
|Solis Theater, Montevideo||232|
|Cagancha Plaza, Montevideo||232|
|Government Palace, Asunción||242|
|View of Asunción and River Paraguay||242|
|Shrine of Our Lady of Capacabana||266|
|Town and Mountain of Potosí, Bolivia||266|
|Church of the Conservidas, La Paz||272|
|Old Spanish Residence, La Paz||272|
|Plaza Mayor, Lima||326|
|Scene on the Oroya Railway||330|
|Church of La Merced, Lima||350|
|Street Scene in Guayaquil||362|
|Condor of the Andes||362|
|Room in Old Palace at Quito||374|
|A Posada or Country Inn||392|
|Battlemented Wall, Cartagena||392|
|View of Maracaibo||404|
|A Coffee Plantation, Venezuela||414|
A little more than four hundred years ago, when Europe was emerging from the darkness of the Middle Ages into the era of printed books, when the Field of the Cloth of Gold had impressed the official stamp of culture on her civilization, when gunpowder was changing the aspect of war—in an age that produced such intellects as those of Machiavelli, Copernicus, Lorenzo the Magnificent, Cardinal Wolsey, and John Werner—wise men were still groping blindly for knowledge about the world in which they lived that is regarded as elementary by the school children of our day. What was its shape? What lay beyond the western horizon of the Atlantic, the vast and stormy Mare Tenebrosum of fabled terror to mariners? What was south of the African countries bordering the Mediterranean? How far east did Asia extend? No one knew.
In the year 150 A.D., the learned Alexandrian Claudius Ptolemy had made a map of Europe and of those parts of Asia and Africa which were then known, or supposed to exist; and on that map, for the first time in history, the world was represented as a sphere—though a stationary one. Therefore, speculated those who thought about it at all, assuming Ptolemy’s theory to be correct, how could a mariner, even were he successful in navigating his vessel down the awful declivity on one side of the globe, hope to make it climb up again on the other? How could he cross the equator, which Aristotle and Pliny had declared was an uninhabitable zone, so torrid that the earth around was burnt up as with fire and only marine salamanders, if such monsters existed, could live in the super-heated waters? And, even if the equator were passable, how could the frightful abysses into which the ocean was supposed to discharge itself at the pole be escaped?
Some time in the sixth century a monk named Cosmas had attempted to answer these questions by means of a theory evolved from a study of the Bible and more consistent with its descriptions and metaphors. In the map he made, the world was represented as a level rectangle, its sides composed of blue walls, supporting a dome that separated the mortal domain from the Paradise where dwelt the Creator and his angels; and, fanciful as was this cosmos of Cosmas’ devising, his map was regarded as the standard of geographical knowledge down to the time of Columbus. Even after his time the famous astronomer Galileo was imprisoned as a heretic partly for reasserting the theory of Ptolemy. No one but a few scientists even imagined that the east could be reached by sailing west; no one, not even they, yet knew that Africa could be circumnavigated and the treasures of gorgeous Far Cathay (as China was then called) brought to Europe’s doors by water. Yet it was to accomplish that very object that the series of voyages was begun that led eventually to the discovery of America.
Venice and Genoa, grown rich and powerful through trade with India and the nearer countries of the Orient, had for a space enjoyed a prosperity and revival of culture that were felt throughout Christendom. Then had come the conquest of Spain and domination of the Mediterranean by the Moors, and, afterward, the wars of the Crusades, which had checked the Saracen advance but interrupted all other commerce with the infidels. Meanwhile, as though to compensate for this loss, the great Mongolian conqueror Genghis Khan had fulfilled his remarkable destiny and, instead of adopting measures to prevent it, invited western intercourse with the countries he had brought under his sway, and China, about which almost nothing was then generally known, was visited overland by traders, adventurers, and missionaries. Marco Polo, a Venetian, after spending more than twenty years in the far east, part of the time in the service of the Great Khan Kubilay, had returned by way of India and Persia, laden with jewels of enormous value, and had written a book descriptive of the countries he had seen and the wealth and customs of the people. In the fourteenth century, when the Mongolian dynasty was overthrown, the Asiatics had again turned hostile and the land route was closed.
But during this open season it had become known that Cathay was not the end of the world, as had been supposed—that there was an ocean beyond and the wonderful Island of Cipango (Japan) and other islands rich in spices and costly products; and Europe began to wonder, since the Tartars barred the route by land, whether these desirable places might not be accessible by water. “Between wondering and the attempt,” says Hawthorne, “there was a considerable interval, for the idea was too novel to be digested all at once. But it was an age of unbridled license of imagination and of desperate courage. The mere possibility of encountering perils never until then conceived of was allurement enough, as, even to-day, our young adventurers go forth to die on the ice fields of the north and south poles, or in the mysterious heart of savage Africa, or on the ghastly plateaux of Tibet. In addition, there were the fabulous rewards that success seemed to promise.”
At first, though, if the plan of sailing west was even thought of, it would seem to have been regarded as less feasible than that of rounding Africa. Prince Henry, a son of King John I of Portugal—for it was the Portuguese, not the Spanish, who were the pioneers in this series of discoveries—determined to devote his life to the work. Retiring from the splendors of the Lisbon court, he built an astronomical observatory on the promontory of Sagres (in southern Portugal), extended its hospitalities to all the wise men of the age and sent out expedition after expedition to the south. “Until then,” says Dawson, “nautical knowledge was very meager. The compass served only to indicate direction, not distance or position, and did not suffice for the systematic navigation of the open Atlantic. The Portuguese first made that possible by using astronomical observations and inventing the quadrant and astrolabe.”
This knowledge, once acquired, was promptly applied. Madeira was discovered in 1418, the Canaries in 1427, the Azores in 1432. To the west the Portuguese ventured no farther, but, continuing south, they reached Cape Blanco in 1441, Senegambia and Cape Verde in 1445, the Cape Verde Islands in 1460, and the Gulf of Guinea in 1469. In 1471 they were the first Europeans to cross the equator. The idea was then conceived that they had only to keep on and they could round the southern extremity of the continent and reach Abyssinia and India by sea—a hope that was realized in 1487 when Bartholomew Dias arrived at last at the Cape of Good Hope. A few miles beyond, however, he was compelled by the condition of his crew to return and it remained for his compatriot Vasco da Gama some years later to double the cape and complete the voyage up the eastern coast and across the Indian Ocean to Hindustan.
The significance of these early voyages of the Portuguese lies in the fact that thereby it was demonstrated that a shorter route was needed—that with the very small and badly equipped vessels of the period the trip around the Cape of Good Hope, at least for commercial purposes, was impracticable; also in the fact that with Dias had sailed the Genoese navigator Bartholomew Columbus, a brother of the discoverer of America.
Years before that first great achievement, Christopher Columbus—who had studied at the University of Pavia and had himself taken part in one or more of Prince Henry’s African expeditions, and even ventured to the northwest, probably as far as Iceland—had been converted to the theory that the world was round and that the oceans west of Europe and east of Cathay were the same. As a consequence, he had concluded, the East Indies (as India, China, Japan, and the other countries and islands east of the Indian Ocean were indiscriminately called) could be reached from Europe by sailing west. Eighteen years before he was finally enabled to put this theory to the test, he had written Toscanelli, one of the foremost astronomers of the time, asking his opinion as to this possibility. Toscanelli sent him a copy of a letter he had written shortly before to King Alfonso of Portugal on the same subject, in which he said:
“I have formerly spoken of a shorter route to the places of spices than you are pursuing by Guinea. Although I am well aware that this can be proved by the spherical shape of the earth, in order to make the point clearer I have decided to exhibit that route by means of a sailing chart, made by my own hands, whereon are laid down your coasts and the islands from which you must begin to shape your course steadily westward, the places at which you are bound to arrive and how far from the pole or equator you ought to keep away.” (Neither in the chart nor in the description was there indication of anything whatever resembling the continents of North and South America.) “From the city of Lisbon as far as the very great and splendid city of Quinsay” (Pekin), he continued, “are twenty-six spaces, each of 250 miles. This space is about a third of the whole sphere. But from the Island of Antilia, which you know, to the very splendid Island of Cipango” (Japan) “there are ten spaces. So, through the unknown parts of the route, the stretches of sea are not great.”
In his letter to Columbus he congratulates him on having undertaken an enterprise—
“Fraught with honor, as it must be, and inestimable gain and most lofty fame among all Christian peoples. It will be a voyage to powerful kingdoms” (he prophetically added, though he had never even dreamed of the empires of the Aztecs and the Incas) “and to cities and provinces most wealthy and noble. It will also be advantageous to those kings and princes who are eager to have dealings and make alliances with the Christians of other countries. For these and many other reasons, I do not wonder that you, who are of great courage, and the whole Portuguese nation, which has always had men distinguished in such enterprises, are now inflamed with a desire to make the voyage.”
Thus encouraged, Columbus began his efforts to secure patronage and money for the expedition. He tried in his birthplace, Genoa, and in Portugal and Spain, even in England, where he was accompanied by his brother Bartholomew after the latter’s return from the voyage to the Cape of Good Hope, and suffered many refusals. Toscanelli had been dead eight years before he at last succeeded; and then, had he known that the distance from Lisbon to the coast of Asia was in fact some 13,000 miles, or twice that which the astronomer had estimated, and that, even so, the route straight across was barred by the Isthmus of Panama—had he known that Cathay did not, as his mentor believed, extend some thousands of miles farther east than it does, even such a man as Columbus might have abandoned the project as chimerical when the cockleshells then available for ocean travel were taken into consideration. Nor, if she too had not been misled by the same “valuable pieces of ignorance,” is it likely that his plea would have prevailed on the practical Isabella of Castile, however elated and invincible she may have felt over the taking of the last of the Saracen strongholds at Granada and the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, for in that she was engaged when Columbus finally succeeded in securing her aid.
Fortunately, however, whatever might have happened if Toscanelli had not held the voyage to be practicable, Columbus was not only a man of indomitable spirit but possessed of a presence that inspired in others the confidence he felt in himself. A man of striking personality, he is said to have been about forty-five years of age at the time, tall, well formed, and dignified, with sharp gray eyes, alight with “that divine spark of enthusiasm which makes true genius,” and hair prematurely white. And so, in spite of his many disheartening failures, he did not abandon the project; so also was Queen Isabella sufficiently impressed by his learning and appearance to agree, in consideration of a fifth share in the profits, that he should have the rank of Admiral and govern, as Viceroy, all the lands that he might discover and bring under her dominion. With the great astronomer’s chart before him, therefore, and vowing to devote his share of the profits to the rescue of the Holy Sepulcher, he set out from Palos, Spain, on the 3d of August, 1492. His vessels, the Niña, Pinta (well named the “Pint Cup”), and Santa María, bore a company of but ninety, including the crews.
After a voyage of ten weeks, filled with difficulties and hardships, even threats of mutiny, that taxed his courage and diplomacy to the utmost, he came to land on an island (now known as Watling’s) on the outward bow of the Bahamas, to which he gave the name of San Salvador. The wild beauty of the foliage, the tropical luxuriance, the clear, fresh-water streams, the soft climate and perfume-laden breezes, more than ever delightful to men who had given themselves up for lost, and the natives themselves, bedecked with gold ornaments and dusky-skinned as those of Cathay were said to be—all seemed what might have been expected in the outlying spice islands of the east. So, supposing this to be one of those islands of which they were in quest, the adventurers cruised about for ten days more and finally arrived at Cuba, which they assumed to be Cipango.
In his infatuation, Columbus now saw his journey’s end. He had, he thought, but to sail a few courses farther to reach the mainland of Cathay, exchange compliments with the Great Khan at Quinsay, and return in triumph with the wealth he was to amass and herald the news of his wonderful achievement to a skeptical Europe. And all the while Cathay was ten thousand miles away—due west! Sailing across the strait to Hayti, he was directed south by the natives when questioned as to the source of their gold; but there, for the time being, his explorations were brought to an end. The flagship was wrecked on a sand bar and Pinzon, captain of one of the remaining two, stole treacherously away, to anticipate the Admiral in announcing the discoveries in Spain. Leaving a volunteer colony of about forty men to await his return with reinforcements, however, he at once set sail, overtook and captured the deserters, and, on the way back to Palos, was driven into the port of Lisbon by a gale.
“The news of his exploit set all Portugal afire,” says Hawthorne.
“The King was urged to have Columbus run through the body and to appropriate his discovery; but John II perceived that there was more peril than profit in such a scheme, and he invited him to court and made much of him instead. In due time he resumed his voyage and reached Palos on the 15th of March. This was Columbus’ apogee. He was called to Barcelona and welcomed in triumph; he was even allowed to sit down in the august presence of Ferdinand and Isabella. The half dozen Caribs he had brought with him were assumed to be East Indians and the Admiral’s interpretation of his discoveries was accepted without question. The little detail that nothing of oriental magnificence—no Great Khans, no mighty cities—had yet been revealed, was passed over. Land had been found and it could be nothing but Cipango and Cathay. The short route to the Indies had been discovered for Spain.”
This so completely overshadowed all that Portugal had accomplished that an intense rivalry sprang up between the two powers. The Pope, as the Vicar of Christ on earth, and accordingly the repository of the title to all lands still occupied by infidel peoples, was appealed to to confirm the discoveries to Spain. He issued a bull granting to His Most Catholic Majesty the lands then, and such as might thereafter be, discovered in the western sea, and to the Portuguese such as they might discover by way of the African route. This was supplemented by a second to the effect that only those lands lying west of a meridian of longitude a hundred miles west of the Azores and Cape Verde Islands should belong to the Spaniards. Dissatisfied even with that division, the Portuguese demanded a line still farther west, and, by a treaty signed at Tordesillas in June, 1494, Spain agreed that it should be advanced in that direction 370 leagues. This resulted eventually in giving Portugal title to the then yet undiscovered country of Brazil.
Meanwhile, on the 25th of September, 1493, Columbus set out on his second expedition—this time with seventeen ships and fifteen hundred men, among them his brothers Bartholomew and Diego and many adventurers of noble rank, for there was no lack either of men or money now. “Their dreams,” Professor Fiske tell us, “were of the marble palaces of Quinsay, of islands of spices and the treasures of the mythical Prester John. The sovereigns wept for joy as they thought that such untold riches were vouchsafed them as a reward for having overcome the Moor at Granada. Columbus shared these views and regarded himself as a special instrument for executing the divine decrees. He renewed his vow to rescue the Holy Sepulcher, promising within seven years to equip, at his own expense, a crusading army of fifty thousand foot and four thousand horse.” When the fleet arrived at Hayti and the company landed at the place where the little colony had been left, it was found that it had been annihilated. Not a whit dismayed by that, however, Columbus ordered a town to be built and the island, which he named Española (Little Spain), became the base of hundreds of exploring expeditions undertaken by the hordes of adventurers that followed in his wake and soon overran the neighboring islands.
Columbus himself made two other voyages, in the course of which he discovered Jamaica and the Island of Trinidad at the mouth of the Orinoco, reached the southern shores of Cuba, and, having heard rumors of another ocean to the west, coasted along the Central American mainland in search of a passage through. There he found stone houses and towns and what appeared to be a semi-civilized people, who wore clothes and knew how to weave cotton, embalm their dead, and carve ornaments on their tombs, and who had plenty of gold; and all this only confirmed his conviction that he was drawing nearer the countries of his quest. During this period, however, his fame was in turn overshadowed by that of Vasco da Gama, who had at last succeeded in discovering the African route to the Orient and had actually seen some of those spice islands and mighty cities that Columbus was still only searching for on the other side of the world so many thousands of miles away.
In 1506, soon after his return from his fourth expedition, he died at Valladolid, discredited and defrauded of his viceregal powers, a victim of treachery, jealousy, and intrigue, yet still believing that he had found the western route to the Indies. Even then “nobody had the faintest idea of what he had accomplished,” says Professor Fiske. “Nothing like it was ever done before and nothing like it can ever be done again. No worlds are left for future Columbuses to conquer. The era of which this great Italian was the most illustrious representative had closed forever.”
Having, in the interval between the second Columbian expedition and the discovery of the African route by Vasco da Gama, induced Spain to agree to the extension of the Papal meridian 370 leagues farther west, the Portuguese continued their activities with renewed ardor. In March, 1500, on his way to the Cape of Good Hope, Pedro Alvarez Cabral, a Portuguese nobleman in command of an expedition intended to resume the work begun by Da Gama, was blown across the Atlantic to the coasts of Brazil, where he touched at a point in the southern part of what is now the State of Bahia. Under the impression that it was an island, and assuming that it lay east of the Tordesillas treaty line, he landed and took possession in the name of his King. The news having reached Portugal in the Fall of the same year, no time was lost in asserting title and sending out a small fleet to ascertain the extent and resources of the region, also in the hope that a wealthy and civilized people like that of Hindustan would be found.
This expedition was placed under the command of Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine astronomer and navigator, who had already made two voyages for Spain and skirted the coast of Yucatan and the northern continent, around Florida, as far north as the Chesapeake. Setting sail now to the south, he made a systematic examination of the Brazilian coast for two thousand miles. All he found that seemed to have any immediate commercial value were immense quantities of a dyewood known in Europe as “brazil” (the color of fire); it was from this, of course, that the country took its name. The Portuguese, being by that time, however, too engrossed in their African mines and sugar plantations and East Indian trade to think it worth while to found colonies in such a region, did nothing to develop it until thirty years had passed by and it became necessary for them to protect their rights, particularly from the French, who had been tempted by the great demand for the dyewood to engage in coastwise poaching on a large scale.
For this reason, to his contemporaries, the most interesting feature of Vespucci’s report was the conviction he expressed that this country south of the equator was neither Asia nor an island, but a new continent, or, as he himself called it, a “new world”—“for it transcends the ideas of the ancients,” he said in a letter to his friend Soderini, “since most of them declare that, beyond the equator to the south, there is no continent but only the sea which they call the Atlantic; but this last voyage of mine has proved that this opinion of theirs is erroneous, because in these southern regions I have found a continent more thickly inhabited by peoples and animals than our Europe or Asia or Africa, and, moreover, a climate more temperate and agreeable than any known to us.” In 1504 this letter was published under the title “Mundus Novus.” The term “new world” caught the popular fancy, and although, in 1497, Columbus first of all, and later Vespucci himself with Alonso de Ojeda, had cruised along and touched at points on its Caribbean coast, by virtue of his Brazilian explorations Vespucci was acclaimed the discoverer.
And therein was the source of the confusion that gave to South America, and eventually to the northern continent as well, the name they bear rather than one commemorative of Columbus. No one suspected that there were two oceans instead of only the Atlantic between Europe and Asia; that the land Amerigo Vespucci had explored south of the equator was of a piece with that discovered by Columbus to the north. It was conceived to be entirely detached from and to the south of Cathay, which Columbus was still supposed to have reached, and to lie in a position somewhat similar to that which Australia was afterward found to occupy. Consequently, when in 1507 Mathias Ringmann published his “Introductio Cosmographie,” he proposed that this (as he estimated it) “fourth part of the globe” be called “Amerigo.” The following year Martinus Waldseemüller published his map, whereon for the first time the name “America” appeared. Investigation has made it clear that there was no attempt, as Vespucci’s maligners charged, to immortalize his name at the expense of Columbus. The southern continent was not named for Columbus simply because it was thought to be distinct from his discoveries; the northern, because it was thought already to have been named Cathay.
At last, when the existence across the Atlantic of a continuous stretch of land had been comprehended, and when, in the light of the Portuguese discoveries by way of the African route, it was realized that these strange coasts did not in the least coincide with the ideas formed of them by those who had assumed them to be Asiatic, the conviction grew that the fabulous treasure lands of the Orient had not been reached by this western route at all. The whole stretch must be embraced in the new world, it was concluded; there must be another ocean than the Atlantic beyond. “Rumors of it had been heard, or glimpses caught, perhaps, at one time or another,” says Hawthorne, “before the actual fact was understood. Meanwhile Spain was very anxious to get through or around this singular barrier of islands, or whatever it was that was keeping her from sharing the profits that Da Gama had brought to Portugal from Hindustan, and she sent out expeditions to accomplish it.” In 1505 Amerigo Vespucci (who had returned to the Spanish flag), with La Cosa, explored the Gulf of Darien and penetrated two hundred miles up the Atrato, thinking it might prove a strait leading to the Asiatic waters. Juan de Solis was trying to find it when he explored the Rio de la Plata and met his death at the hands of the natives. Jacques Cartier was seeking it when he explored the St. Lawrence, D’Ayllon when he tried the Chesapeake and James, and Hendrik Hudson when he ascended the river that bears his name.
In 1513, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, Governor of Darien, a valiant adventurer who had been prominent in the conquest and colonization of the Isthmus, undertook by means of an expedition by land to ascertain whether such an ocean did really exist. Starting with a company of about a hundred and ninety Spaniards and a few Indians, he skirted the coast of Panama to a point near Cape Tiburon, and there disembarked and headed inland. For twenty days his party persevered over forest-clad swamps, valleys, and mountains, fought a pitched battle with the natives, and finally cut its way through the dense undergrowth to the heights overlooking what is now known as the Gulf of San Miguel, on the Pacific side, and thus resolved all doubt into certainty and completed an event which, declares Dawson, “was second in its far-reaching consequences only to Columbus’ first voyage.” Balboa dubbed it the Southern Sea, little thinking that it was a body of water more vast than the Atlantic that he had found to bar the way to Cathay. “So elated was he over his epoch-making discovery,” says Mozans, quoting from an early chronicler, that—
“With no lesse manlye courage than Hannibal of Carthage shewed his souldiers Italye and the promontories of the Alps, he exhorted his men to lyft up theyre hartes and to behoulde the land even now under theyre feete and the sea before theyre eyes, which shoulde bee unto them a full and juste reward of theyre great laboures and trauayles now ouerpassed. When he had sayde these woordes, he commanded them to raise certeine heapes of stones in the steede of altars for a token of possession. Then, descendynge from the toppes of the mountaynes, lest such as might come after hym shoulde argu hym of lyinge and falshod, he wrote the Kyng of Castelles his name here and there on the barkes of the trees, both on the ryght hande and on the lefte, and raysed heapes of stones all the way that he went untyll he came to the region of the nexte Kynge towarde the south, whose name was Chiapes.”
“The act of taking possession was so typical of similar formalities of the Conquistadores,” continues Mozans, “that I transcribe from Oviedo his account of the manner in which Balboa and his companions claimed for his sovereign the Sea of the South, all islands in it and all lands bordering on it, in what part of the world soever. Armed with his sword and bearing aloft a banner on which were painted an image of the Blessed Virgin and the Divine Child and the arms of Castile and Leon, Balboa, followed by his associates, entered the water until it rose above his knees, when in a loud voice he said:
“‘Long live the high and mighty monarchs, Don Ferdinand and Doña Juana, Sovereigns of Castile, of Leon and of Aragon, in whose name and for the royal crown of Castile, I take real and corporal and actual possession of these seas and lands and coasts and ports and islands of the south, and all thereunto annexed, and of the kingdoms and provinces which do or may appertain to them, in whatever manner or by whatever right or title, ancient or modern, in times past, present or to come, without any contradiction; and if other prince or captain, Christian or infidel, or of any law, sect or condition whatsoever, shall pretend any right to these islands and seas, I am ready and prepared to maintain and defend them in the name of the Castilian Sovereigns, present and future, whose is the empire and dominion over these Indias, islands and terra firma, northern and southern, with all their seas, both at the arctic and antarctic poles, on either side of the equinoctial line, whether within or without the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, both now and at all times so long as the world shall endure and until the final judgment of all mankind.’ And then the Notary, who always accompanied such expeditions, was ordered to make on the spot an exact record of what had been said and done, which was duly signed and authenticated by all present.”
It was to the Portuguese navigator Fernão de Magalhães (Ferdinand Magellan in the English rendering of the name) that the honor finally fell of being the first, not alone to find the passage through the new continent that was being so eagerly sought, but to cross by the western route to the East Indies and thereby blaze the way to making geography an exact science. He had already been to the Moluccas by the African route, and, disgusted by the failure of his King suitably to reward his services, had transferred his allegiance to Spain and managed to secure from the Emperor Charles V a commission and five ships, the largest of but 120 tons’ burden. On the 20th of September, 1419, he sailed from the Guadalquivir, with a crew numbering 280, all told, and, having entered the Plata River and satisfied himself that it was not a strait, ran down the Patagonian coast through many storms until he found shelter in the harbor of St. Julian, where, on Easter Sunday, a mutiny broke out that only a man of such remarkable courage and resourcefulness as Magellan possessed could have suppressed. It had been a hard voyage, the chances of finding the strait seemed slim, there was only the prospect that there they must remain throughout the antarctic winter in idleness and discomfort; it is small wonder that they wanted to desert.
However, during the last week in August spring began (the seasons are reversed south of the equator, it must be remembered) and the fleet, without the Santiago, which had been wrecked, proceeded to the south. After experiencing much more bad weather, they made Cape Virgins on the 21st of October and entered a large bay, which was flanked by lofty mountains, crowned with glaciers and snow. This at last was the entrance to the passage, but at that very point one of the vessels, the San Antonio, seized an opportunity to make its escape and return to Spain. “For five weeks,” as Hawthorne relates, “the remaining three ships wound along through the tortuous channel. Provisions were running short, yet Magellan would not turn back ‘even if he had to eat the leather off the ships’ yards.’ At length his persistence was rewarded by a sight of the open sea. ‘When,’ to quote Richard Eden, ‘the Capitayne was past the strayght and saw the way open to the mayne sea, he was so gladde thereof that for joy the teares fell from his eyes and he named the poynte of the lande from whense he first saw that sea Cape Desiderato.’ And the broad ocean which lay before him was so calm, after his many stormful days, that he called it the Pacific.”
“But months of a voyage as trying as any they had encountered still lay before them,” Hawthorne goes on. “Could the planet be so vast? Until December they kept a northerly course, then struck out boldly across the unknown waste. They ran across one or two islands, but erelong were swallowed up in the seemingly endless immensity of ocean. They were reduced to the utmost extremities for food and water; scurvy broke out; nineteen men died and thirty were too ill to work. Finally, on the 6th of March, they reached the Ladrone Islands, so named because of the thievishness of the natives. Here they got fruit and other food, and the worst was over. Ten days later the Philippines were sighted and Magellan knew the extent of his achievement. He had sailed round the world. Happier than Columbus, he did not survive this mightiest exploit of his time; in a fight with the natives the great sailor was killed.”
Only one of the little vessels ever got back to Spain. Returning by way of Africa, she arrived at the Guadalquivir in September, a year after she had set out, and with but eighteen survivors of the expedition. “What a picture!” the historian exclaims—“those eighteen seaworn mariners in their battered craft, survivors of the greatest feat of navigation that has ever been performed. What a poem is their story, what an event in the history of mankind! What reward did Magellan have? None that mortal could bestow. He was dead and his wife and son had also died. Del Cano, the captain of the ship, was given a crest, with the legend, on a terrestrial globe, ‘Primus circumdedisti me,’ together with a pension of five hundred ducats, and Espinosa was likewise pensioned and ennobled. But every mariner who sails the seas knows Magellan and the story of his exploit, and mankind accords him the honor that Spain could not bestow. Of all the great explorers, he is perhaps the one whose character and deeds we can contemplate with the most unalloyed satisfaction.”
Until the great Dutch navigator, Willim Cornelis Schouten, found the way around Cape Horn nearly a hundred years later, however, no practical advantage over her rival resulted to Spain from Magellan’s discoveries—so far as trade with the East Indies was concerned, that is. The passage through the Strait was too perilous for sailing vessels, the distance across the Pacific too great. Yet only a year before Magellan set out on his famous voyage an era began in her new possessions that was to pour into her coffers a stream of gold in comparison with which the profits Portugal was deriving from her trade with the Orient seemed trivial. For in that year Hernando Cortés, the greatest soldier and statesman Spain ever sent to the new world, began his conquest of Mexico.
Except for the spirit of emulation it inspired, except for the knowledge it brought of the existence in the newly discovered countries of a people less barbarous than the aborigines of the Antilles, of mines that were worth while and of enormous hoards of treasure, the story of that conquest has no place in the history of South America, and, therefore, will not be gone into here. It is related somewhere as an interesting commentary that in an obscure little house in the City of Mexico still lives a modest, well-educated gentleman who is directly descended from the Emperor of the Aztecs. Señor Montezuma entertains no hope of a restoration, it is said, but quietly accepts the meager pension allowed him by the present government, while the heirs of Cortés receive immense revenues from their Mexican estates and the Marquis del Valle, as the present-day Cortés is called, lives in luxury and is a man of influence and power in the land.
In 1526, Sebastian Cabot was commissioned by the King of Spain to locate the Papal meridian in America and then to follow in Magellan’s track and determine the corresponding longitude on the Asiatic side; but, when he put in at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, he heard rumors of a great and wealthy people who dwelt near the headwaters of the river—rumors like those Grijalva had heard respecting the Aztecs and which had led to the Mexican conquest by Cortés; only these wonderful accounts were of a South American empire. In proof of what they said, the Indians of the Plata exhibited silver ornaments that had passed from hand to hand from the highlands of Bolivia and Peru, along the river to the Atlantic; and, too strongly tempted to resist, and trusting that the discovery of the rich mines from which this silver came would excuse their disobedience, Cabot and his company abandoned their survey and spent three years exploring and prospecting along the Uruguay and Paraná as far north as the present site of the city of Asunción. As their forces and provisions were inadequate to enable them to penetrate farther, the search was in vain; and so, having found, on their return to a fort they had established, that it had been taken by the Indians and the garrison massacred, Cabot abandoned the effort and went back to Spain to make what explanation he could.
The news of this supposed encroachment, added to the ever increasing poaching of the French, proved what was needed to stimulate the Portuguese at last to make a serious attempt at colonization in Brazil. One Christovão Jaques and a few settlers had already established a small sugar factory in the neighborhood of the present site of Pernambuco, and it had been found that much of the land in the northern part of the country was admirably adapted to the cultivation of that staple, the demand for which in Europe was constantly increasing. Five vessels were sent out, therefore, under the command of Martim Affonso da Souza. Early in 1531 he drew near Cape St. Roque, captured three French ships laden with brazil wood, sent part of his own fleet north to explore the coast beyond, and with the other ships sailed south and dropped anchor near the site of what is now the great coffee port of Santos. There he established São Vicente, the first permanent colony in Brazil.
There also they came across one João Ramalho, a former sailor who had been put ashore for mutiny years before by a ship on its way to India and was living among the natives of the neighborhood with his half-breed children. Glad enough to welcome his countrymen, he disposed the Indians to peace and showed the Portuguese the way up the mountains to the vast plateau that begins only a few miles from the sea. There, near the present site of São Paulo, was founded another settlement, from whence they could stretch out in all directions over what was destined to become the greatest coffee-producing country in the world.
A year or two afterward, encouraged by Da Souza’s success, Duarte Coelho set out with a carefully selected and more numerous company and founded the colony of Pernambuco. Here, as in the south, the country back of the coast was fertile and easily accessible and there was little trouble with the Indians. Sugar planting proved wonderfully profitable, Coelho turned out to be a good manager, and so politic was he in the relations with the mother country that within a few years the colony had become self-supporting and, like the other, possessed of all the elements of permanence and prosperity. Soon afterward São Salvador da Bahia was established. With such a beginning, it was not long before the Portuguese began flocking to Brazil as the Spaniards had to the Caribbean.
In the meanwhile in this region of the Caribbean much progress had been made. Towns had been built, not only in Española, but in Cuba, Jamaica, Porto Rico and in Darien and other places on the Isthmus, landed estates (repartimientos) had been apportioned, as rewards for services, among such as desired to cultivate them, mining rights had been allotted. These plantations and the mines were being worked by natives impressed into slavery, some of the communities had become large and thriving, in Spain a Council of the Indies and in the islands local governmental tribunals (Real Audiencias) had been created.
Whole fleets of ships plied back and forth across the Atlantic, those setting out from Spain laden with implements of agriculture and war, clothes, and fresh companies of adventurers, coming over as colonists, or to continue the work of conquest and the search for treasure; those returning, laden with the products of the tropics and with gold and precious stones. Emeralds had been found near the coast of Colombia, and Balboa had discovered in the Gulf of San Miguel—that famous group of islands where, as Mozans tells us, “pearls were so common that the natives used them for adorning the paddles of their canoes”—pearls “as large as filberts and of exceeding beauty of form and luster,” many of which, “found in the same fisheries a short time subsequently, at once took place among the largest and most perfect of the world’s gems.”
Nevertheless, neither there nor anywhere else in the Caribbean region, had any vast wealth and civilization comparable to that of the Mexicans been discovered. Balboa, however, had married, according to the Indian custom, the daughter of a cacique (native chief), and, being in the confidence of the Indians of his province, had heard rumors, even before the conquest of Mexico, of a rich and powerful empire to the south (the same that were afterward heard by Cabot); and, after he had been succeeded as Governor by his jealous rival, the notorious Pedrarias Davila, was commissioned to take charge of an expedition to go in search of it. Already he had accomplished the unheard-of task of taking four ships to pieces on the Caribbean shore, transporting them across the Isthmus and reconstructing them on the shore of San Miguel, and, when about to sail, had been arrested by order of Pedrarias, tried on a charge of treason, and executed before he could appeal to Spain. Some years later, having forestalled his great rival in that summary way, Pedrarias entrusted the venture to one Francisco Pizarro, an opportunist, without money, rank, or credit, and then nearly fifty years old, yet one who startled the world by an achievement equaled only by Cortés’ own.
Francisco Pizarro had been but a swineherd in his boyhood, but later had served under Gonzolo de Cordova (El Gran Capitan) in that splendid body of infantrymen which fought its way to the foremost rank in Europe, and was a son, too, though an illegitimate one, of a Spanish officer of noble blood. For such a man, as Dawson says, “an admirable soldier, conscious that he possessed powers of the highest order yet hopelessly handicapped in old Europe by his base birth and illiteracy, the discovery of the new world opened up a field for his talents” that led him “eagerly to embrace the opportunity to embark with Alonso de Ojeda in 1509 for the Darien gold mines.” His first appearance in history is as a member of the party that went with Balboa to search for the Pacific; afterward he was among the first of “the adventurers that flocked to the new city of Panama, looking over the mysterious sea, like a pack of wolves eager for a share in the spoils of its unknown shores;” later he happened to be the officer chosen by Pedrarias for Balboa’s arrest.
As he had no funds of his own, and since it was the custom of the times for the Conquistadores who undertook such expeditions to do so at their own expense, he associated with him a priest named Hernando de Luque, who had some capital, and Diego de Almagro, a soldier of still more advanced age but of ability and good reputation. It was agreed that the Padre de Luque should contribute the funds, that Almagro should attend to the collecting and forwarding of troops and supplies, and that Pizarro himself should have the active command. Whereupon they bought one of the ships that had been carried across the Isthmus by Balboa and set out on their first expedition in 1524. As so frequently occurred in such cases, however, inadequacy of provisions caused the venture to fail.
Eighteen months later they sailed again, with a much larger stock of supplies and this time with 160 men. For hundreds of miles they found nothing but the same swampy, forest-clad wastes along the Colombian shore, inhabited only by naked tribes of savages. Pizarro’s disheartened companions, too ready to believe that the country they were seeking was but a myth, would have had him return; but one day the pilot, who had been sent on ahead, suddenly reappeared with the news that he had penetrated south of the equator and had there met a large trading raft on its way north, bearing cloth, silver work, vases, and other things pertaining to civilization and manned by a crew that wore clothes. These men, the pilot reported, had told him that they came from a town called Tumbez, which lay in a fertile valley behind a penetrable coast—that the whole interior of the country was inhabited by a civilized people, subjects of an emperor whose capital was a great city, high up in the mountains still farther south. On this confirmation of their hopes, the commander succeeded in inducing his men to push on until they had reached nearly as far as the northern boundary of Ecuador, where he landed most of the company on an island called Gallo and sent Almagro back to Panama for more provisions and supplies.
At Gallo the climate proved unhealthful; fevers soon decimated the party; even their clothes were rotted by the almost incessant rains and steamy heat, and, as though that were not enough, when the Governor learned from members of the crew who had returned that the men were being held there against their will, he flew into a rage, instead of sending supplies and reinforcements, and despatched a ship to bring back all who wished to desert. Only emboldened by these misfortunes, Pizarro “drew his sword and traced a line with it on the sand from east to west,” says Montesino in his Anales del Perú. “Then, turning toward the south, ‘Friends and comrades,’ he said, ‘on that side are toil, hunger, nakedness, the drenching storm, desertion, and death; on this side, ease and pleasure. There lies Peru with its riches; here Panama and its poverty. Choose, each man, what best becomes a brave Castilian. For my part, I go to the south,’ and, so saying, he stepped across the line.” He was followed by the pilot Ruiz, a Greek cavalier named de Candia, and only eleven others. There is, indeed, as Prescott comments—
“Something striking to the imagination in the spectacle of those few brave spirits consecrating themselves to a daring enterprise that seemed as far above their strength as any recorded in the fabulous annals of knight-errantry. A handful of men, without food, without clothing, almost without arms, without knowledge of the land to which they were bound, without even a vessel to transport them, were left there on a rock in the ocean with the avowed purpose of carrying on a crusade against a powerful empire, staking their lives on its success. What is there in the legends of chivalry that surpasses it?”
For weary months they awaited the return of Almagro with the provisions, and the moment they arrived set sail for the Gulf of Guayaquil. Landing at Tumbez, says Dawson, “with their own eyes they saw confirmation of what the Indians of the raft had told them. Irrigated fields, green with beautiful crops, lined the river bank; eighty thousand people, all comfortably housed, lived in the valley; commerce was flourishing; large temples, profusely ornamented with gold and silver, testified to their wealth and culture; the government was well ordered and stable, and the people received the visitors with open-handed hospitality.” It is easy enough to imagine with what longing eyes these forlorn adventurers who had risked and endured so much must have gazed on such a scene as this!
Yet, concluding that his force was too small even for a raid, and thinking it wiser, anyway, after what had happened, to be invested with independent powers before making any attempt at a conquest, Pizarro made his way back to Spain and related his experiences to the King, who was so greatly impressed both with the story and the petitioner’s noble and commanding presence that he did more than merely commission him to undertake a new expedition: he legitimized him and created him marquis, appointed him Adelantado (governor) of such countries as he might conquer, created Almagro marshal, and made the thirteen who had so gallantly stood by them gentlemen of coat armor.
On Pizarro’s return to Panama, he brought with him a few kindred spirits selected from among the very flower of the fighting men of the Peninsula, including his brothers Hernando, Juan, and Gonzalo and his half-brother, Francisco Alcantara, his equals in valor if not in audacity and intellect. And then, as he believed from what he had seen of the fighting on the Isthmus, that a few scores of good men, mail-clad and well provided with artillery and horses—for these, unknown in the new world before the advent of the Spaniards, had never failed to strike terror to the natives—would be as effective as thousands in overcoming undisciplined masses of Indians, armed in their inferior fashion, instead of attempting to assemble an army he got together only a small company composed of men of whose courage and experience he was well assured. Having arranged with Almagro to follow with what reinforcements he could recruit from among the unemployed adventurers in Nicaragua, he set out once more.
This time he happened to land first among the less civilized tribes in Ecuador, where he had the good fortune to find a rich store of emeralds and gold, which he sent back to Almagro to encourage him in his work. Then, marching down the coast to Guayaquil, he crossed to the island of Puna to await the reinforcements, conquered the fierce inhabitants of the place, and was afterward joined by a detachment sent out by his associate under the command of Hernando de Soto, an adventurer who had served with Cortés in Mexico and was later to attain still greater fame as the discoverer of the Mississippi. Even with those De Soto brought, the whole force numbered less than two hundred and fifty.
Though they had not the faintest idea of it then, the empire they were destined to bring under the Spanish sway covered a territory along the plateaux and eastern and Pacific slopes of the Andes extending from Quito in Ecuador to the river Maule in Chile, a distance of nearly three thousand miles, inhabited by hardy and warlike races, that numbered, according to the estimate of the early historians, somewhere near twenty millions of people.
So great was the empire of the Incas. But from whom were these remarkable rulers descended who brought their people to a state of civilization relatively so superior to that of the savages east of the Andes? To what race did they belong? From whence did they originally come—Europe or Asia?—and, if so, how did they get to South America? How did they acquire the knowledge of the arts and sciences that they possessed? “Students of archæology have essayed in vain to answer these questions,” says Mozans. “All is still shrouded in mystery—in mystery even darker than that which veils the advent of the Toltecs and Aztecs to the valley of Anahuac, more profound than that which obscures the first beginnings of the civilizations on the elevated Pamirs and in the valleys of the Nile and Euphrates. In all this uncertainty and mystery, however,” he adds,
“One fact seems to remain incontrovertible, and that is that Manco Capac and Mama Oello” (the founders of the dynasty) “first appeared on the shores of Lake Titicaca” (a body of water nearly as large as Lake Erie, lying between the two main Cordillera of the Andes in southeastern Peru, two miles and a half up above the level of the sea). “On this point tradition and the concurrent testimony of the earlier historians are practically at one.... Another fact, too, is unquestioned. Whether Manco Capac, the Minos of Peru, was of foreign or of native birth, it is certain that he was able, in the space of thirty years, to lay the foundation of that vast empire which, under the Inca Yupanqui, extended its conquests to the Maule in Chile, and, under Huayna Capac, planted its victorious banners above the fortresses of the Shiri” (the Cacique of the Caras), “in the extended territory of Quito, and which gave its laws and religion and language to hundreds of conquered tribes.”
“What is one to do with no historical records to study over?” asks Hawthorne.
“The Aztecs did have some sort of writing, and, though we have not yet learned how to read it, we may solace ourselves with the hope that enlightenment may sometime come; but the people of the Andes did not even use hieroglyphics. Their sole documents were knotted strings. These strings, which they called quipus, were of course merely aids to memory—in the same way that a knot in a handkerchief enables a husband to remember the instructions his wife gives him when he sets out for the city, and which could not be written down in many pages.... Nevertheless, we have traditions in plenty.... Starting with the reasonable assumption that there must have been a very considerable past before the Spaniards appeared, we may construct various more or less plausible surmises, based on the Cyclopean architectural ruins which are distributed about the country. Marvelous works they are, though their form, and the carvings with which they are decorated, are less impressive than their mere size and weight.... It has been very generally thought that they were the handiwork of the prehistoric Piruas; yet, since the Piruas are prehistoric, it is not to be expected that much historic information concerning them is obtainable.... The ruins had been abandoned long before the Spaniards came and the Indians knew nothing of their origin.”
“Still, it is indisputable,” he goes on to say,
“that in Peru the grade of culture found in Mexico at the time of the conquest must have been reached and passed many ages earlier. In proof of this we have the fact that the Peruvians alone had succeeded in domesticating animals. Only the dog had been adapted to man’s service in other parts of America. Here the domestic llama, for instance, was derived from the wild huanacu and the alpaca from the vicuna. Many centuries would be required in order to bring about these results. Several varieties of maize were also produced under cultivation, and the Peruvian species of cotton plant is known to exist only as it appears under cultivation. Wild tubers were found in Peru from which the potato was educed. Now, it has been proven by experiment that wild potatoes require a very long time to put on a civilized complexion. It was in Peru that the potato, as we know it, was first discovered. It was not cultivated north of Darien. Raleigh brought the first specimens to Ireland in 1568, but it was not until the end of the eighteenth century that they came into general use in Europe. The Peruvians practiced irrigation and manured their crops with guano.”
And he continues:
“The materials for this nation were provided by the four tribes—Incas, Quichuas, Canas, and Cauchis—scattered over the northwest of South America. They were all mountaineers, short but strong and active, with soft, brown skins, black hair, and arched noses. At first the tribes were composed of clans, but the Incas settled in the lofty valley of Cuzco and from that coign of vantage gradually subdued the other tribes. Unlike the Aztecs, they confirmed their conquests, not by exacting tribute, but by military occupation of the subject territory. The town of Cuzco was built about the end of the twelfth century and the work of internal organization was begun. It is at this point that solid historical information first comes to hand. A succession of head chiefs or kings had already been instituted. These monarchs were called Incas par excellence—the Inca of all minor Incas. To this general name, nicknames were added, by way of distinguishing them. Finally, the eighth of the line was called Viracocha, which means Sun-God, and indicated that by that epoch the Incas had acquired something of the divinity that doth hedge a king.
“Viracocha annexed the land of the Aymaras” (in Bolivia), “who are suspected of descent from the builders of Tiahuanucu” (where are some of the most interesting of the ruins). “In the next reign the strong tribe of the Chancas, living close to the equator, resisted the march of conquest, but were finally defeated under the walls of Cuzco and their country afterward annexed. The Chimus, who gave its name to Chimborazo, were the next victims of the Incas, who now ruled the region from Lake Titicaca to the equator and from the Andes to the sea. It was under the Inca Yupanqui that this conquest took place, and he is regarded as the great hero of Peruvian history. To him was applied the name Pachacutec, Changer of the World. The successor of this champion extended the dominion of his people so much farther that it became necessary to found the city of Quito to keep watch over the northern portion of the empire. He brought in the valley of Pachacamac, where there was an ancient and desirable temple, and also penetrated far into Chile....
“The Inca language was spoken throughout the empire. Garrisons were distributed at strategic points and were connected by the famous roads which have been the wonder and admiration of the world.... There was a central highway from Quito to Cuzco, and thence southward, which is thus described by the historian Cieza” (de Leon): “‘I believe that since the history of man has been recorded there has been no account of such grandeur as is to be seen on this road, which passes over deep valleys and lofty mountains, by snowy heights, over falls of water, through the living rocks and along the edges of furious torrents. In all these places it is level and paved, along mountain slopes well excavated, through the living rock cut, along the river banks supported by walls, in the snowy heights with steps and resting places, in all parts clean-swept, clear of stones, with posts and storehouses and temples of the sun at intervals. Oh, what greater thing could be said of Alexander, or of any of the powerful kings that have ruled in the world, than that they had made such a road as this and conceived the works that were required for it! The roads constructed by the Romans in Spain are not to be compared with it.’ The post houses were some four or five miles apart and in each were two Indians who carried messages to and from the next house in line, whereby the government was kept constantly informed of what was going on in all parts of its dominions. In this way messages could travel at the rate of nearly a hundred and fifty miles a day.”
The Inca deities were the Sun and Moon. The Sun they regarded as God the Father and the Moon (believed to be the Sun-God’s sister and wife) as the Goddess-Mother. The people called themselves Children of the Sun. The reigning Inca was at once the Chief Priest and absolute temporal ruler. Following their conception of the divine relationship, he could marry only his sister of the full blood and only their eldest son could inherit the throne. If no son was born of this first incestuous marriage, or if he died and no other was born, the Inca married the next sister, and so on until there was one capable of inheriting. But there were morganatic marriages, as a result of which each of the reigning Incas left numerous sons and daughters, whose descendants constituted a privileged class, and in the course of ages the throne came to be surrounded by thousands of men of the royal blood who were devoted from their birth to warfare, learning, and state-craft. A subject, however, could have more than one wife only by favor of the Inca. The government, though exercised in a kindly spirit, as we are told by the ancient chroniclers, was in form a military despotism.
There was no money or other medium of exchange; gold and silver were used only for purposes of adornment; such trade as there was, was by barter. Every man was obliged to work for the common good at some form of industry or occupation suitable to his strength and age and, if able, to take his turn at the maintenance and extension of the irrigation systems, which in that way were brought to such a state of perfection that modern Peru still lives on the half-ruined fragments of their canals and conduits and reservoirs. Hardly a spot of arable soil was left uncultivated. Whole mountains were terraced for thousands of feet up their sides.
Private ownership in land did not exist; it belonged to the communes. The custom was to divide it into tracts, each large enough to support a family, and parcel it out; for every child born there was an additional allotment, and, at intervals, a general revision and redistribution. The produce was divided into three parts: one for the Inca and his establishment, one for the priesthood, and one for the commune. When one section of the country was impoverished by war or some other casualty, its needs were supplied by assessments levied on the others. The occupations of the women, both in town and country, were essentially domestic. Some were brought up from childhood and specially educated to serve in the religious rites and in the household of the reigning Inca. These were known as Virgins of the Sun.
The capital, Cuzco, was located in a valley about two hundred miles northwest of Lake Titicaca and at a lower elevation, yet still more than two miles up above the level of the sea. A colossal, massive-walled citadel loomed over it from the heights of Sacsahuaman above the town. Strong walls and towers inclosed it on every side. In its midst was a great square, from which started the remarkable roads leading to the four corners of the empire, referred to by Hawthorne. One whole side was occupied by the temple, and near by were the dwellings of the priests and the palaces of the Inca and the Virgins of the Sun. This sacred space was a citadel in itself, protected by five heavy walls.
Describing the temple, the historian of the conquest, Garcilaso de la Vega (and there was no one better qualified to write on the subject, for he was himself, on the maternal side, a grandson of one of the last of the Inca kings), says that “All the four walls were covered from roof to floor with plates and slabs of gold. In the side, where we should place the altar, they placed a figure of the Sun, made of a plate of gold of a thickness double that of the other plates which covered the walls. The figure was made with a circular face and rays of fire issuing from it, all of one piece, just as the sun is represented by painters. It was so large as to occupy one side of the temple from one wall to the other.” Even the doorposts were of gold. One door, encased in silver, led to a hall dedicated to the Moon-Goddess, where the images and furnishings were all of silver, as were also the decorations of the mummies of the Incas’ wives.
“The walls of their palaces,” Markham says, “were built of stone, of a dark slate color, with recesses and doors at certain intervals, the sides of the doors approaching each other” (narrowing toward the top) “and supporting huge stone lintels. The side walls were pierced with small square windows, as in the ruins of Manco Capac’s palace, and the roofs were thatched with the ycha, or long grass of the Andes. The interior consisted of several spacious halls, with smaller rooms opening into them, and the interior walls were adorned with golden animals and flowers, executed with much skill and taste. Mirrors of a hard stone, highly polished, hung on stone pegs, while in the numerous recesses were utensils and conopas (household gods) of gold and silver, fantastically designed. The couches were of vicuna cloth of the softest and finest texture.”
Of the palaces of the Incas, Francisco Lopez de Gomara tells us that “all the service of their house, table and kitchen, was of gold and silver, or at least of silver and copper. The Inca had in his chamber hollow statues of gold, which appeared like giants, and others naturally imitated from animals, birds, and trees, from plants produced by the land and from such fish as are yielded by the waters of the kingdom. He also had ropes, baskets and hampers of gold and silver and piles of golden sticks to imitate fuel prepared for burning. In short, there was nothing that his territory produced that he had not got imitated in gold.”
Cieza de Leon says of the magnificence of the harvest festivals celebrated in the great plaza of the temple: “We hold it to be very certain that neither in Jerusalem, nor in Rome, nor in Persia, nor in any other part of the world, was such wealth of gold and silver and precious stones collected together.” In his later years, while living in Spain, Garcilaso de la Vega, who had been just as enthusiastic in his description, and seemed to fear that he might be suspected of romancing, took occasion to write that “this is not hard for those to believe who have since seen so much gold and silver arrive here from that land. In the year 1595 alone, within the space of eight months, thirty-five millions of gold and silver crossed the bar of San Lucar in three cargoes.”
“Many generations of culture and Inca rule had produced men of a very different physical type,” Markham tells us, “from the Peruvian Indian of to-day. We see the Incas in the pictures at the church of Santa Ana at Cuzco,” he continues.
“The color of the skin was many shades lighter than that of the downtrodden descendants of their subjects. The forehead was high, the nose slightly aquiline, the chin and mouth firm, the whole face majestic, refined, and intellectual. The hair was gracefully arranged, and around the head was the llantu, the sign of sovereignty. The llantu appears to have been a short piece of red fringe on the forehead, fastened around the head by two bands. It was habitually worn, but, when praying, the Inca took it off and put it on the ground beside him. The ceremonial headdress was the mascapaycha, a golden semicircular miter on the forehead, to which the llantu was fastened. Bright colored feathers were fixed on the sides and the plume” (of black and white falcon feathers, he says in another place) “rose over the summit. Long golden eardrops came down to the shoulders. The tunic and mantel varied in color and were made of the finest vicuna wool. On the breast the Incas wore a golden semicircular breastplate, representing the sun, with a border of signs for the months.
“The later Incas wore a very rich kind of brocade, in bands sewn together, forming a wide belt. The bands were in squares, each with an ornament. The material was called tocapu. Some of the Incas had the whole tunic of tocapu. The breeches were black and in loose plaits at the knees. The usutas, or sandals, were of white wool. The Inca clad for war had a large square shield of wood or leather. There was a loop of leather at the back to pass the arm through. In one hand was a wooden staff, about two feet long, with a bronze star, of six or eight points, fastened at one end—a most formidable warclub. In the other hand was a long staff with a battle axe fixed at one end. The Ccoya, or Queen, wore the lliclla or mantle fastened across the chest by a very large golden topu or pin, with head elaborately carved with ornaments and figures. The lliclla or mantle and acsu or skirt varied as regards color. The head was adorned with golden circlets and flowers.... The nobles wore headdresses of egret feathers and gold breastplates over their tunics. The princesses wore long mantles of various colors, and the Virgins of the Sun long white mantles, secured across the bosom by large gold pins.”
INCA BURIAL TOWER NEAR LAKE TITICACA.
CLOISTERS OF DOMINICAN MONASTERY, CUZCO.
Mozans, writing of the spot they held most sacred of all, says:
“It would be difficult to find any place in the world richer in legends and traditions than is Lake Titicaca. Every cove and inlet, every rock and island has its myth, and many of these places were held in special veneration by the Incas for long generations. This was especially true of two islands—Titicaca, sacred to the Sun, and Coati, sacred to the Moon, the Sun’s sister. What a fascination there was about these two islands! Beholding the cradle and sanctuary of Inca civilization, it was easy to fancy oneself a spectator of one of those long processions of reed balsas” (boats) “conveying the children of the Sun from the mainland to the sacred islands of their race, where were the rich temples dedicated to their Sun-Father and Moon-Mother. Adorned with gorgeous trappings of gold and silver—royal colors—the Inca’s barge, manned by stalwart young oarsmen, specially selected for this service, led the way. Immediately following the Sphinxlike Inca came the members of his court arrayed in gaudy vesture. Next to them were the ministers of the temple and the officers of the army, gleaming in barbaric attire. The rear of the procession was made up of the humble tillers of the soil, who had gathered from all parts to greet their idolized ruler and to swell the number of worshipers congregated about the effigies of the Sun and Moon, or in front of the sacred rock decked with richest tissues and plates of burnished silver and gold....
“In these temples and palaces, according to the old chroniclers, were immense treasures, rivaling those in the temples of Cuzco. The riches in the temple of the Sun were especially great, for ‘here,’ writes Garcilaso, ‘all the vassals of the Inca offered up much gold and silver and precious stones every year, as a token of gratitude to the Sun for the two acts of grace that had taken place on that spot. This temple had the same service as that of Cuzco. There was said to be such quantity of gold and silver heaped up in the island, besides what was worked for the use of the temple, that the stories of the Indians concerning it are more wonderful than credible. Father Blas Valera, one of the earliest Spanish chroniclers, says that the Indian colonists, called Mitimaes, who lived in Copocabana, declared that the quantity of gold and silver heaped up as offerings was so great that another temple might have been made of it, from the foundations to the roof, without using any other materials. But as soon as the Indians heard of the invasion of the country by the Spaniards, and that they were seizing all the treasure they could find, they threw the whole of it into the great lake.’”
Fortunately for Pizarro, at the time he made his appearance on the scene, it happened that these people were either still engaged in or had only just terminated a civil war that had been brought on by an attempt of Huascar, the then reigning Inca, to impose his will on his half-brother, Atahualpa, a rebellious vassal. It appears that Huascar’s father, the Inca Huayna Capac, having completed the subjugation of the Caras and their brave allies in Ecuador, had found it necessary to remain in Quito nearly all the rest of his life, to keep the inhabitants in subjection and suppress revolts that frequently occurred. As a political move, perhaps, he had married the daughter and heiress of the defeated Shiri and by her had had a son. This was Atahualpa. As he, too, had continued to live in Quito, he had come to be regarded rather as a scion of the ancient Shiri dynasty than as a prince of an alien conquering house.
And so when in 1525 Huayna Capac died, he left this northern kingdom to Atahualpa and only the southern to Huascar, his eldest son of the full Inca blood, born of his sister-wife; but, to preserve some sort of unity in the empire, he commanded that Huascar, as the only legitimate heir, should be paramount. Huascar, nevertheless, had declined to acquiesce in any such virtual division of dominions that he regarded as his by right of succession, and at the first opportunity had quarreled with Atahualpa and invaded the territory apportioned to him. In the battles that followed Atahualpa’s forces had been uniformly victorious, for, always superior in prowess to the now more effete soldiery that had defeated them in their former less organized state, years of Inca rule had taught these northerners how to make better avail of their energy and courage. Suffering enormous losses in every engagement, the forces of Huascar had been driven farther and farther south, until at last, in spite of reinforcements which, it is said, brought his army up to fully seventy thousand, he was beaten before the walls of his capital and made prisoner.
As soon as his capture had become known, what was left of his army had dispersed, the city had surrendered, and Atahualpa, if we are to believe the chroniclers, had taken a terrible revenge, first causing all Huascar’s subjects that were of royal blood, and who could be found, to be put to death, and afterward the captured officers who had fought for him. His cruelty, Garcilaso de la Vega tells us, “was greater than that of the Turks. Not content with the blood of his own two hundred brothers, the sons of the great Huayna Capac, he passed on to drink that of his uncles, nephews, and other relations, so that none of the blood royal might escape, whether legitimate or not. They were all murdered in different ways.... He ordered all the women and children” (of royal blood) “to be assembled, of whatever age and condition, reserving only those who were dedicated to the Sun in the convent of Cuzco. He ordered that they should be killed outside the city, by little and little, and by various cruel tortures, so that they might be long in dying.”
When Pizarro and his party reached Tumbez, Atahualpa, accompanied by a small army, was at the baths near Cajamarca, a town on the Peruvian plateau not far from the Ecuadorian boundary. It was to him there that the report came that strangers had landed—strangers of a different color, who had long hair on their chins and wore strange clothing and armor, who had weapons different from any that had been seen in the land and bestrode terrible monsters that carried them over the ground with incredible speed. The effect of such startling news may be imagined. Pizarro, however, after having fully informed himself respecting the political status of affairs, thought he saw an opportunity to further his ends by diplomacy and protested that his mission was a friendly one. It would seem that Atahualpa must have realized that the strangers were far more formidable than was indicated by their mere number, for he sent his brother Titu to welcome them and make inquiries as to their desires and the purpose of their visit. By him Pizarro, having first expressed his thanks, sent a message to the effect that he would go at once to Cajamarca and call on Atahualpa in person. What then occurred is thus related by Dawson:
“On receiving Pizarro’s answer to his friendly message, Atahualpa resolved to await the promised visit, apparently suspecting no evil. The audacious Spaniard had, however, conceived the design of capturing the victorious claimant of the throne of the Incas, well knowing that in its actual distracted condition the country would be left without a center about which it could rally. Open war, no matter how overwhelming his first victory might be, could hardly be ultimately successful. Atahualpa, once safe at Cuzco or Quito, and surrounded by the disciplined soldiers who had overthrown Huascar, a defensive campaign might be undertaken in which Pizarro would find every step toward either capital bitterly disputed. Hundreds of thousands of Peruvians pouring up from the numberless provinces of the empire would be thrown in a never ceasing succession of armies against the little band of Spaniards and the latter would infallibly be driven back to the coast by starvation and fatigue, if not by defeat in the field.
“Apparently foolhardy, in fact Pizarro’s plan offered the only chance of success. Never dreaming that such a step was in contemplation, Atahualpa took no precautions. Leaving fifty-five men at the little port of San Miguel in the Paita valley to secure his retreat, Pizarro marched south with one hundred and two foot soldiers, sixty-two horses, and two small cannon, two hundred miles along the coast plain to a point opposite Cajamarca, and ascended along an Inca military road, meeting a friendly reception from the wondering natives, and supplied with provisions by Atahualpa’s orders. On the 15th of September, 1532, he entered Cajamarca. He found an open square in the middle of the town, surrounded by walls and solid stone buildings, which he received permission to occupy as quarters. From his camp outside Atahualpa sent word that on the following day he would enter the town in state and receive the Spaniards.
“Marvelous good fortune favored Pizarro’s designs. The Indians had furnished a trap all ready made, and now Atahualpa deliberately walked into it. On the morning of the 16th the Indian army broke camp and marched to Cajamarca, followed by the Emperor, who was borne in a litter and surrounded by his personal attendants, the great chiefs and the nobles belonging to his own lineage.” (Those belonging to Huascar’s he had caused to be killed.) “At sunset he entered the square, accompanied only by these unarmed attendants and found Pizarro and a few Spaniards awaiting him. The rest were hidden in the houses around the square with their horses saddled, their breastplates on, and musketry and cannon ready charged. From among the group that surrounded Pizarro, stepped forward Friar Valverde and approached the Inca monarch, who, reclining in a litter raised high above the crowd on the shoulders of his attendants, waited with dignity to hear what these strangers had to say.
“The priest advanced with a cross in one hand and a Bible in the other and began a harangue which, clumsily translated by an Indian boy, the Inca hardly understood. But in a few moments he realized that this uncouth jargon was meant to convey an arrogant demand that he acknowledge himself a vassal of Charles V and submit to baptism. With haughty surprise, he threw down the book Valverde tried to force into his hand. The priest shouted: ‘Fall on, Castilians—I absolve you!’ and into the helpless crowd burst a murderous fire from the doors of the houses all around. Aghast and bewildered by this display of powers which to them seemed necromantic, the survivors nevertheless stood manfully to the attack of the mail-clad horsemen who rode into the huddled masses, ferociously slashing and slaughtering. The Indians strove desperately to drag the Spaniards from the horses with their naked hands and interposed a living wall of human flesh between the murderers and their beloved sovereign. At length Pizarro’s own hands snatched Atahualpa from the litter. The Indian soldiers outside, hearing the firearms and the noise of the struggle, tried to force their way into the square, but the Spanish musketry and cannon mowed them down by hundreds and they fled before the charges of the cavalry, dispersing in the twilight.”
Atahualpa was then confined in a small stone house adjoining the palace of the Virgins of the Sun (the latter is now a convent, occupied by Sisters of Charity), and every precaution possible under the circumstances was taken to prevent his rescue. Pizarro’s next move in the conquest was to murder him. But, in the meanwhile, he had suggested in conversations with his prisoner that Huascar’s followers would probably take advantage of the opportunity afforded by his capture to reorganize their scattered forces and make an effort to regain the throne; he had hinted, too, at the advisability of arbitration, and Atahualpa had taken alarm and secretly ordered Huascar’s execution; whereupon Pizarro had feigned the greatest indignation and had contrived to frighten his victim into offering his famous ransom. “I will fill this room with gold,” he said, “as high as I can reach, if only you will liberate me.” (The room in which he was confined was 32 feet 9 inches long, 20 feet 9 inches wide, and 10 feet 9 inches high.) Pizarro accepted, a truce was agreed upon, Atahualpa ordered all preparations for war on the Spaniards to be suspended, and arranged for the collection of the gold. When the amount stipulated for was at last assembled, it was found to have a value equivalent to more than seventeen millions of dollars in our currency. Some historians say much more. Dawson, for instance, says it was more than twenty-two millions. One-fifth was sent to the royal treasury in Spain and the rest was divided among the adventurers. The share of the private soldiers even was large enough to make each of them rich for life.
Nevertheless, Pizarro had not performed his part of the agreement by setting his prisoner at liberty. Whether or not he had ever intended to can only be conjectured. It is clear only that, even if he did enter into the agreement in bad faith, as was charged by the chroniclers, he was afterward confronted by a problem which, in the opinion of recent writers, justified his perfidious behavior. Quizquiz, the general whose ability had enabled Atahualpa so often to defeat his late rival, was known to have taken the field with a large body of troops. Could a man such as Atahualpa had proven himself to be, released and at the head of a great army once more, be expected to permit these foreigners, who had so treacherously captured him and slain his attendants while on a friendly visit, to depart in peace with their loot? It did not seem likely. On the other hand, retreat through a then hostile country with the prisoner still in custody was out of the question, and, if he should continue to hold him in Cajamarca, Quizquiz, who had only been awaiting the word, would no longer hesitate to attack.
No; a bold coup de main of some sort was imperative. If Atahualpa could be gotten rid of altogether, for instance, there was a chance, in the confusion that must follow, to reach Cuzco and form an alliance with the partisans of the murdered Inca, with a view to ousting the usurper’s party and restoring the throne to the legitimate line. Such a chance had only to exist to be appreciated by one so clear-sighted and audacious as Pizarro. It was his life and his friends’—and, of course, the Indian treasure—against only the life of Atahualpa, and the prisoner’s fate was sealed. There was a mock trial, wherein he was convicted of the murder of Huascar, conspiracy against the Spaniards, and other high crimes and misdemeanors, and then he was strangled to death in the public square—strangled rather than burned, says Hawthorne, as an act of grace, in consideration of his having professed at the last the Christian faith.
Some weeks before this, Almagro had joined the Conquistadores at Cajamarca with reinforcements that brought the Spanish force up to about five hundred. As soon as Atahualpa had been disposed of, the commander, with all his men, began his advance, by forced marches, on Cuzco, an advantageous position near which he was fortunate enough to secure without having encountered Quizquiz, though some of the cavalry under De Soto were engaged by a detachment on the way; all efforts to interpose the main body of the Indian army were frustrated by their speed. However, though “the true heir to the crown was a second son of Huayna Capac, named Manco, a legitimate brother of the unfortunate Huascar,” says Prescott, “Pizarro had too little knowledge of the disposition of this prince and he made no scruple to prefer Toparca, a young brother of Atahualpa and to present him to the Indian nobles as their future Inca.” So, to make assurance doubly sure, he did not, before he set out, announce his purpose of driving off the enemies of the rightful heir, but took the boy with him, “attended by a numerous retinue of vassals and moving in as much state and ceremony as if in possession of regal power.” Before they reached Cuzco, much to Pizarro’s chagrin, the boy fell sick and died.
But the misfortune was soon repaired, for, sure enough, when the adventurers went into camp outside the walls of the capital, no less a personage than Manco Capac II himself called on the commander in person and proposed the hoped-for alliance; and, just a year from the day he had taken Cajamarca, he entered Cuzco as the protector of the real Inca, whose coronation he permitted to be celebrated with all the splendor of the ancient rites. The Indians of central Peru hailed him as their deliverer from the tyranny of the usurper. Manco Capac, for his part, soon assembled a great army, and, with the help of some of the Spaniards, decisively defeated Quizquiz and drove him back to Ecuador.
But there was a sad awakening in store for the Inca on his return from that victorious campaign. He had permitted these allies of his—rapacious, recklessly daring as they were, and unscrupulous, cruel, and fanatical in their attitude toward infidels—to obtain a foothold in the very capital of the empire. And what manner of man was it of whom the great body of his subjects was made up? He was brave, yes—physically; he could fight, and conquer, too, when ably led, but also he was morally utterly irresponsible, “a slave,” as Mozans puts it, “utterly devoid of energy and individual initiative,” accustomed to look to the ruling class for guidance, to regard the Inca “with superstitious awe, as a being of a superior order.” Centuries of despotic government, rigid religious ritual, communal ownership of property, and labor, not for himself but for the commonwealth, had robbed him of all ambition and instilled into him the habit of accepting with patient resignation whatever fate might decree.
And now, after all these centuries of complaisance, what must have been his mental attitude at the end of such a succession of events? First, the late legitimate Inca Huascar, omnipotent as he was supposed to have been, directly descended from the Sun-God and Moon-Mother themselves, had been overthrown and put to death by an illegitimate rival. Then that rival, also of the Inca blood, had in his turn been captured in the very face of his army, and put to death despite another and much greater army, by a little band of mysterious strangers, against whose mail-clad bodies the battle-axes and spears of the Indians had been powerless—strangers who had made fierce, “fleet-footed monsters” (horses) subservient to their will and who carried terrible weapons that went off with a noise like thunder and vomited fire and smoke, and with which they killed their enemies before they could come near enough to get in a blow. Had not these invincible strangers, and apparently by supernatural means, overcome even the legitimate Inca’s conqueror? Surely, then, they must be some still superior order of beings, sent by the Sun-God to accomplish some wonderful purpose. Therefore they must be obeyed. Pizarro himself could not have created a people more suited to the carrying out of his designs had he had the power.
Probably realizing this, he promptly abandoned all subterfuge. As a consideration for the help he had been given in the campaign against Quizquiz, the Inca had been induced by stress of circumstances to acknowledge the supremacy of the King of Spain. It was only as a matter of form, he had been led to believe, but Pizarro now exacted the fullest compliance. As Adelantado by appointment of the overlord, he established a municipal council to govern the city, transformed the great temple into a church, made use of certain of the public buildings as officers’ quarters and barracks for the soldiers, seized all the treasure that was to be found—even the private dwellings and tombs were searched and stripped of it—and required the authorities to supply troops and carriers to accompany the exploring parties he sent out. “Pizarro, on entering Cuzco, had issued an order forbidding any soldier to offer violence to the dwellings of the inhabitants,” says Prescott:
“But the palaces were numerous and the troops lost no time in plundering them of their contents as well as in despoiling the religious edifices. The interior decorations supplied them with considerable booty. They stripped off the jewels and rich ornaments that garnished the royal mummies in the temple of Coricancha. Indignant at the concealment of their treasures, they put the inhabitants, in some instances, to the torture and endeavored to extort from them a confession of their hiding places. They invaded the repose of the sepulchers, in which the Peruvians often deposited their valuable effects, and compelled the grave to give up its dead. No place was left unexplored by the rapacious conquerors, and they occasionally stumbled on a mine of wealth that rewarded their labors. In a cavern near the city they found a number of vases, richly embossed with figures of serpents, locusts, and other animals. Among the spoils were four golden llamas and ten or twelve statues of women, as large as life, some of gold, others of silver, ‘which merely to see,’ says one of the conquerors, with some naïveté, ‘was truly a great satisfaction.’... The magazines were stored with curious commodities—richly tinted robes of cotton and feather work, gold sandals and slippers of the same material, for the women, and dresses composed entirely of beads of gold.’... In one place, for example, they met with ten planks or bars of solid silver, each piece twenty feet in length, one foot in breadth, and two or three inches thick. They were intended to decorate the dwelling of an Inca noble.... The amount of booty is stated variously by those present at the division of it. According to some, it considerably exceeded the ransom of Atahualpa.”
Fully appreciating also the desirability of establishing a capital of his own at some strategic point much more easily accessible from Panama, Pizarro made a careful study of routes and possible sites and finally chose one beside the river Rimac, on a fertile, elevated plain near the base of the Cordillera, only about three leagues from one of the best harbors on the coast, and at the point where the Inca military road began its ascent to the plateau. Here, only about a year after he entered Cuzco, he founded La Ciudad de los Reyes (the City of the Kings), so named in honor of the Three Kings or Wise Men of the East, because their feast day, Epiphany, occurred at that season of the year. Soon it became known as Lima. “Before the erection of a single house was permitted,” he had a plan drawn up, Mozans tells us, providing for large squares and streets unusually wide, “and in making this plan he had in view, not the small number (only sixty-nine) of those who were then prepared to make their homes there, but the future greatness of ‘The Empire City of the New World.’ Moreover, as the city had to be in God and for God and in His name—en Dios y por Dios y en su nombre—to use his own words, work was first begun on the church, which was named Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. The first stone and the first pieces of timber were put in place by the hands of the Adelantado himself, who wished, like the other Conquistadores, to emphasize his zeal for religion and his devotion to La Santissima Virgen, Madre de Dios.”
In the meanwhile his brother Hernando had gone to Spain with the King’s fifth of the loot, and on the way had spread the news. Once more all was excitement on the Isthmus. It was not long before Pizarro’s forces were augmented by three or four hundred soldiers that had been led into Ecuador by Pedro de Alvarado, Governor of Guatemala, who consented to abandon his expedition when persuaded by Almagro, who went at once to meet him, that he was trespassing on Pizarro’s preserves, for which act of grace the Spanish King added the province of Honduras to Alvarado’s jurisdiction, and Almagro gave him a large sum of money; and, when communication was established between Lima and Panama by sea, adventurers of every degree began to flock to the new city as they had before to Mexico and Central America.
This enabled Almagro, with an army of nearly six hundred Spaniards and fifteen thousand Indians, the latter under the command of one of the Inca’s brothers, to make an excursion into Chile for purposes of exploration, for it had been agreed that he should have the southern half of the territory they might conquer and Pizarro the northern. Sebastian de Benalcázar, another of Pizarro’s lieutenants, went to Ecuador with a force of two hundred Spaniards and a large Indian contingent and completed the defeat of Atahualpa’s adherents, took possession of Quito and founded the city of Guayaquil at the mouth of the Guayas River, which provided for that country, too, independent access from the sea.
CATHEDRAL AT LIMA, BUILT BY PIZARRO.
Also by this time any illusions the Inca may have had as to the continuance of the ancient dynasty under the protection of the Spaniards were dispelled. By this time even his complaisant subjects must have discovered that these superhuman deliverers, as they had thought them, were mere men—or else, if they were indeed a different order of beings, that order, they must have concluded, was infernal rather than divine. The sovereignty of the Inca had become little more than a fiction. As in the islands of the Caribbean and elsewhere, the fairest lands in the country had been divided into vast estates and great numbers of natives practically reduced to slavery and set to work them for the benefit of their new masters. With respect to their treatment in general, though Pizarro himself seems to have been guilty of few acts of wanton cruelty, he either could not, or did not if he could, restrain the oppression of them by his followers. If their behavior was not quite as atrocious as that of other Spaniards toward the tribes in the north, there was an utter lack of considerateness in it and disregard of their property and rights that galled even them.
Roused at last, the Inca took advantage of the opportunity afforded by the scattering of the Spanish force and made his escape from Cuzco, where Hernando Pizarro and his younger brothers Juan and Gonzalo were in command, and, finding his subjects ripe for revolt, had no difficulty in raising two large armies. One he sent against the Adelantado, who was in Lima; with the other he returned to Cuzco and took the great citadel of Sacsahuaman, overlooking the town, and began a siege that was to last more than six months, and during which Juan Pizarro was killed in an attempt to recapture the citadel. The army that went to the coast was ambushed and defeated by the Spaniards and their local adherents before ever it reached Lima. All that what was left of it could do was to prevent the sending of reinforcements to Cuzco despite the desperate straits to which the Spanish force there was reduced. Pizarro was himself compelled to send to the Isthmus for help. Just before it was too late, however, he managed to get away two hundred and fifty men to the relief of his brothers, and just at that juncture also, Almagro, on his way back from Chile, turned up with his followers, and, caught between Cuzco and these two new detachments of the enemy, the Inca was overwhelmed and concluded to retire into the wild region of Vilcabamba, where the Spaniards could not follow with any hope of success, and there held out for some years. But with his retreat all that remained of the Inca dominion came to an end. There were a few other attempts, but neither he nor his descendants ever succeeded in recovering the throne.
As for Almagro, he had had a frightful experience during his excursion into Chile and had met with nothing but disappointment and disaster. The route unwittingly chosen had been over the bleak Bolivian plateaux and across the mountains where the Cordillera reaches its highest, at a season when the passes are buried in snow and swept by furious storms, and his men had perished by thousands, some of the best of his Spaniards among the number. When he had at last made his way to the beautiful central valley between the Cordillera and the coast range and down to the river Maule, he had found nothing of the opulence of Peru, but only a poor but brave, warlike people who in a fierce battle had succeeded in checking his advance. And now, disgusted with this country of his to the south, he returned and made claim to Cuzco as being within his half of the conquered territory and demanded of the Pizarros its surrender. On their refusal, he promptly carried it by assault, made Hernando and Gonzalo his prisoners, and went out to meet the troops that had been sent to their relief by the Adelantado and defeated them.
And then, as Hawthorne puts it, “had he cut off the heads of both of these gentlemen on the spot, he would have saved himself years of struggle, with a death on the scaffold at the end of them. But he was not of the right fiber for the work that was laid upon him; he was not what the English would call ‘thorough’”; he temporized and listened to his wily associate. “Civil disturbances went on for eleven years,” continues Hawthorne, “‘in the course of which,’ as Professor Fiske remarks, ‘all the principal actors were swept off the stage as in some cheap blood-and-thunder tragedy. It is not worth while to recount the petty incidents of the struggle—how Almagro was at one moment ready to submit to arbitration and the next refused to abide by the decision; how Hernando was set at liberty and Gonzalo escaped; how Almagro’s able lieutenant, Rodrigo de Orgoñez, won a victory over Pizarro’s men at Abancay but was totally defeated by Hernando Pizarro at Las Salinas and perished on the field; how at last Hernando had Almagro tried for sedition and summarily executed. On which side was the more violence and treachery it would be hard to say. Indeed, as Sir Arthur Helps observes, “in this melancholy struggle it is difficult to find anybody whom the reader can sympathize much with.”’”
Then, once more Francisco Pizarro entered Cuzco in triumph, this time wearing an ermine robe that had been presented to him by Hernando Cortés, and again he devoted himself to organizing his government and extending the Spanish dominion over the distant provinces. The number of his compatriots had increased to eight thousand. Gonzalo was appointed Governor of Quito, from whence he strayed to make a disastrous journey down the eastern slope of the Andes in search of the mythical Eldorado, which he did not find, but which resulted in the discovery of and voyage down the Amazon, from the mountains to the sea, by Francisco de Orellana, his second in command. Hernando went to Bolivia to search for the mines from which the Incas were supposed to have gotten their wealth, a labor that was rewarded by the discovery of Potosí, which has yielded more than two billions of ounces of silver—and silver and gold were of equal value in Europe in those days. Pedro de Valdivia undertook the conquest of Chile and Alonso de Alvarado, one of the most generous and humane of the Conquistadores, that of the mountains of northern Peru. The Adelantado himself traveled over most of the empire, founding cities at strategic points in the more populous and fertile valleys, among them Arequipa, and here in Bolivia as in the country about Cuzco he divided the most desirable of the lands into repartimientos and apportioned them among his favorites.
In the meanwhile Almagro’s adherents, helpless and impoverished, were burning with envy of their more fortunate comrades, who were, by favor of the successful rival, rapidly enriching themselves with Indian tribute and gold and silver taken from the mines. At last, unable to stand it, they sent the news of their leader’s illegal execution to Spain, with a demand for justice against the Pizarros. The rest of the story is told by Dawson as follows:
“The Spanish government was not unwilling to secure a selfish advantage from the disputes among the original conquerors and sent out Vaca de Castro to investigate and report. When the Royal Commissioner arrived at Panama early in 1541, the latest news from Peru was tranquilizing. Pizarro was busily engaged in enlarging and beautifying Lima, in regulating the revenue and the administration, in distributing ‘encomiendas,’ and in restraining the rapacity of his Spaniards. However, Lima was full of the ‘men of Chile,’ as Almagro’s adherents were called, all bitter enemies of the Governor. They passed him in the street without saluting, and their attitude was so menacing that Pizarro received repeated warnings and was urged to banish them. Absolutely incapable of personal fear, magnanimous when his passions had not been aroused, he only replied: ‘Poor fellows. They have had trouble enough. We will not molest them.’ He even sent for Juan de la Rada—the guide, counselor, and guardian of the young half-breed who was Almagro’s heir—and condescended to try to argue him into a better frame of mind, saying, at parting: ‘Ask me frankly what you desire;’ but the iron had entered too deeply into Rada’s soul. He had already organized a conspiracy to assassinate Pizarro.
“At noon, on Sunday, the 26th of June, 1541, Pizarro was sitting at dinner in his house with twenty gentlemen, among them his half-brother Francisco Alcantara, and several of the most illustrious knights who had taken part in the conquest. The great door into the public square was lying wide open. The conspirators, to the number of a score, had assembled in a house opposite. All of a sudden they rushed into the square fully armed and carrying their swords naked in their hands. A young page standing in front of the Governor’s house saw them and ran back shouting: ‘To arms! All the men of Chile are coming to kill the Marquis, our lord.’ The guests rose in alarm from the table and all but half a dozen fled to the windows and dropped into the garden. Pizarro threw off his gown and snatched up a sword, while the valiant Francisco Chaves stepped forward through the ante-room to dispute the passage at the staircase. The ferocious crowd of murderers rushed up and laid him dead on the stairs. Alcantara checked them for a few moments with his single sword, but was soon forced back into the dining-room and fell pierced with many thrusts. The old lion shouted from the inside: ‘What shameful thing is this! Why do you wish to kill me?’ and, with a cloak wrapped round one arm and his sword grasped in the other hand, he rushed forward to meet his assassins and strike a blow to avenge his brother before he himself should fall. Only two faithful young pages remained at his side. Though over seventy years of age, his practiced sword laid two of the crowd dead before he was surrounded. The two boys were butchered, and, in the mêlée, Pizarro received a mortal wound in his throat, and, falling to the floor, made the sign of the cross on the boards” (with his blood) “and kissed it. One of the ruffians had snatched up an earthen water jar and with this pounded out the old man’s brains as he lay prostrate, disdaining to ask for mercy.
“Thus perished by the sword this great man of blood. The measure he had meted out to Atahualpa and Almagro was measured to him again. He who had shamelessly broken his oath times without number to gain his own high ends was slain by treacherous, cowardly assault. But his great vices should not blind us to his greater virtues. Courageous, indomitable, far-sighted, patriotic, large-minded, public-spirited, possessing a God-given instinct to see straight into the center of a problem and the energy to strike at the psychological moment, he was equally great as an explorer, a soldier, a general, a diplomatist, and an administrator. Even his shocking moral delinquencies lose something of their turpitude when we consider the greatness of his aims and the baseness of his origin.... But that his real nature was magnanimous, generous, and truthful is proven by the many instances in which he forgave his enemies and kept his word to his serious loss, and that his ambition was not too sordid is shown by his self-sacrificing devotion to the public good during the later years of his life. Formed in nature’s grandest mold, circumstances and environment had much deformed his character, but the original lineaments are plain.”
Pizarro thus disposed of, young Almagro assumed the governorship and transferred his headquarters to Cuzco, where his father’s party was stronger than at Lima, and the Royal Commissioner, appointed Governor by the King, sailed from Panama, got together an army with the help of Pizarro’s friends, and proceeded to Guamanga, to which point the usurper was advancing with his forces from Cuzco. The battle that ensued was more hotly contested than any that had theretofore been fought. Of the twelve hundred Spaniards engaged, less than five hundred escaped death or wounds. Almagro’s troops were practically annihilated. Two days afterward those of the Adelantado’s murderers who had survived were executed in the public square and young Almagro himself, who had succeeded in making his escape, was recaptured and put to death. Then for the time being Vaca de Castro administered the office without further opposition.
Before this, the great-hearted Padre Bartolomé de las Casas, the Indians’ indefatigable champion and friend, had written his famous book exposing the horrors of their treatment and had so successfully appealed to the King in their behalf that it had been decided to abolish native slavery and gradually do away with the system of repartimientos and encomiendas (allotments of land and Indians); and, since manifestly such a course would result in trouble with the Conquistadores, it seemed best to appoint a viceroy who would not be subject to their influence and invest him with absolute power. This dangerous office was bestowed upon Blasco Nuñez de Vela, whose integrity, piety, and rigid obedience to the King had already gained for him high positions. Arriving in Peru early in 1544, he promulgated the new laws abolishing personal service by the Indians, providing that encomiendas might not be sold or descend by inheritance, and, worst of all, that those granted to participants in the war between Pizarro and Almagro should lapse. To set the example, in his journey down the coast, the Viceroy sternly insisted that no Indian be compelled to carry a burden against his will.
To the Spaniards this seemed an outrageous violation of the natural order of things. The whole fabric of their fortunes was based on enforced Indian labor. Without it how could they work their mines and estates or transport their goods? In the general dismay, armed resistance was decided on, and Gonzalo Pizarro was called from his estate in southern Bolivia and induced to take the lead. He seized the artillery and stores at Cuzco and was soon at the head of some four hundred desperate men, well armed and provided. “The Viceroy retreated north beyond Quito to Popayan,” says Dawson—
“But, being joined by more recruits, rashly returned to the neighborhood of Quito to offer battle. He was defeated and killed. Pizarro went back to Lima, while his lieutenant, Carbajal, hunted down and put to death every loyalist who remained under arms in southern Peru. Gonzalo’s administration lasted three years. They were golden ones to the Spanish adventurers. The marvelous silver mines of Potosí and the gold washings of southern Ecuador were discovered. Encomiendas were lavishly granted; the Indians were sent back to their fields; the mining industry began that marvelous development which soon made Peru the treasure box of the world and Potosí the synonym for limitless wealth. But the dazzling sunlight of prosperity was dimmed by the shadow of Pizarro’s scaffold slowly creeping across the Atlantic and down the coast. His chief lieutenants, knowing that they had sinned past forgiveness, urged him to declare himself King of Peru, but he was at once too proud and too patriotic to fling away his right to die a loyal Spaniard. Philip, the leaden-eyed, close-mouthed despot, was regent of Spain. Bitterly chagrined that the stream of Peruvian gold had ceased to flow into the royal treasury, his vindictive heart had no mercy for the gallant soldier whose sword had helped win the riches now temporarily diverted. He selected a man after his own heart—Pedro de la Gasca, an ugly, deformed little priest, hypocritically humble, though astute and untiring, whose success as an inquisitor was a guarantee that he would be as pitiless and cruel as even Philip could wish.”
This man, says Hawthorne, was—
“A real diplomatist, with a tongue capable of making the worse appear the better reason and of winning support from the ranks of the enemy. He was endowed with official powers, but chiefly with brains and with the tongue aforesaid. His first step was to repeal such parts of the abolition laws as were hardest upon the colonists, and thereby he won their favor. Not until after these good news had been promulgated did Gasca venture to leave Panama for Peru. The captains of Pizarro’s fleet had been despatched to Panama to meet and watch the new emissary and either stop or bribe him, as might seem most expedient. But allowance had not been made for that tongue. Gasca wagged it with such good effect that they thought perhaps they were not Pizarro’s captains after all; at all events they put their fleet at his disposal and to Peru he came, landing at Tumbez in June, 1547.... Captain Diego de Centeno, acting for Gasca, captured Cuzco, but was defeated in the battle of Huarina. Hereupon Pizarro pressed on, nothing doubting—and indeed one can hardly blame him for his confidence, since it lay not in human foresight to anticipate the magical seductiveness of this Gasca’s conversation. The armies met, but Gasca did but open his mouth and Pizarro’s soldiers began deserting by troops. The thing was inexplicable; it was uncanny. We would call him a magnetic man nowadays, and Pizarro’s men were the iron filings. Even those who stood by him could not be induced to fight. By great efforts fifteen men contrived to get themselves slain, and then Pizarro, losing patience, got on his horse, rode over to Gasca’s camp, and gave himself up.”
With his execution, Spain’s conquest of Peru was complete.
In 1525, at the foot of the great outlying mass of mountains on the peninsula that lies between the Gulfs of Maracaibo and Darien, and not far from where the Magdalena River empties into the Caribbean Sea, the town of Santa Marta had been founded—the first Spanish settlement in Colombia beyond the Isthmus. It was nothing more than a slave station for a time, from whence kidnaping parties made raids into the country round about and captured natives to sell to the gold miners in Española. Real attempts at colonization were not begun until Pedro de Heredia founded Cartagena, farther west, in 1533; but it was from these points that the explorations were undertaken that led to the discovery of the next great stores of gold and also to fresh, and this time seemingly trustworthy, affirmations of the truth of the story told by the Indians of the Isthmus, of the king the Spaniards called El Dorado (the Gilded Man), in whose country the rivers were said to run over sands of silver, where the palaces were of gold, with doors and columns studded with precious stones and the king bathed in aromatic essences and covered his body with gold dust.
PIZARRO’S PALACE, LIMA—NOW THE GOVERNMENT BUILDING. IT WAS HERE THAT THE GREAT CONQUISTADOR WAS ASSASSINATED.
Heredia had found that the hills south of Cartagena contained profitable gold washings and had learned from the Indians of a region called Zenufana back in the mountains of the interior where the deposits were more valuable still, and this story, having proven true, had brought about the conquest of the rich valley of the Cauca and the development of mines that have yielded hundreds of millions in gold. The shares, even of Heredia’s men in the first outcroppings, are declared by the chroniclers to have been greater than those of the followers of Pizarro in the ransom of the Inca. And, at about the same time, Pizarro’s enterprising lieutenant, Sebastian de Benalcázar, the conqueror of Quito, had continued north and fought his way through the warlike, semi-civilized tribes that inhabited the high plateaux around Pasto to the lower country now known as Popayan, where the Cauca gathers its headwaters, and, in rapid succession, had overcome the tribes that opposed his progress until he had met the expedition from Cartagena, after which he had gone back to Peru.
His purpose was to return and undertake the conquest of the region of the upper Magdalena and the rich Indian communities on the broad table-land on top of the eastern Cordillera; but, before he could set out, an expedition from Santa Marta, under the command of the gallant young Gonzalo Jiminez de Quesada—ranked by many as the greatest of the Conquistadores after Cortés and Pizarro—had forestalled him. Quesada too had heard the stories of El Dorado and had been directed to a lake called Guatavita, two miles high in the mountains, that was supposed to be in the country over which El Dorado ruled, and also the dwelling place of a powerful goddess to whom the people offered jewels and gold by throwing them in the water. “They had a legend,” says Hawthorne—
“To the effect that the Goddess of the Lake had been the wife of a former chief who had thrown herself into the lake to escape a whipping, and, like the maidens of Greek mythology, had been made one of the immortals. Pilgrims came from afar to add their offerings of gold and emeralds to the divinity. At every installation of a chief there was an imposing ceremony. First marched a squad of naked men painted with red ocher, as mourners, then men adorned with gold and emeralds, with feather headdresses, then warriors in jaguar skins. These shouted and made an uproar on horns, pipes, and conch shells. Black-robed priests accompanied the procession, with white crosses on their breasts, and in the rear came the nobles, bearing the new chief on a barrow hung with gold disks. He was naked, his body rendered sticky with resinous gums and then smeared over with gold dust. Having reached the shore of the lake, he got on a barge and was rowed to the center, where he dived into the water and washed off his gold, while the assemblage on the shore shouted with joy and flung their offerings into the transparent abode of the Goddess.”
This, it seems, had once been true, but, although the Indians of the lowlands may not have known it, the custom had ceased to exist long before the coming of the Spaniards. Many of the bravest were lured to their death in the vain quest, not only in the Colombian Andes but in the valleys of the Orinoco and Amazon, and even south along the Paraguay and Paraná, before the discovery was made that the custom was a thing of the past.
In the belief that it still existed, therefore, Quesada and his company of nearly eight hundred men had left Santa Marta sometime in 1536, and, harassed by bands of savages, forced their way, with almost inconceivable difficulty, through the wild forests and undergrowth, along the foothills bordering the Magdalena and up the steep side of the Cordillera to the delightful series of plateaux which were then, as they are yet, the populous heart of the country and the principal seat of her wealth and culture. In the continual fights with the Indians and from starvation and fatigue, three-fourths of the company had died, but here the survivors found themselves at last in a beautiful, fertile region, where the climate is perfect and all the products of the temperate zone grow luxuriantly, and where the inhabitants, the Chibchas, had reached a state of civilization not much inferior to that of the Aztecs of Mexico and the Caras of Ecuador. Quesada, after having subdued them, had founded Bogotá near the site of the Chibcha capital, on the 7th of August, 1538.
Later the same year, to his dismay, Benalcázar, who had come down the Magdalena from Pasto, in the opposite direction, reached this same plateau, and, a few days later, to the confusion of both, another expedition, under the command of Nicolaus Federmann, which had started from Coro in Venezuela, crossed the mountains south of Maracaibo, continued in that direction along the llanos (plains) at the eastern base of the Cordillera and ascended at that point, also put in an appearance. Thus these three adventurers, believing they had almost reached the goal for which many were yet to search, found themselves simultaneously in the very neighborhood of the former domain of the gilded chiefs, but each confronted with the prospect of losing all that he had toiled so hard for unless he could overcome his rivals.
What was to be done? Undoubtedly Quesada had the right to possession by virtue of his prior discovery and conquest, but the other two made claim on plausible grounds, and he had not been commissioned by the King. With his depleted force he could not hope to defeat their forces combined. Besides, as all realized, if they should fight, there would probably not be enough of the men left to hold the country against the natives, who would only be emboldened by such a dissension. So when it was found that Quesada had already gathered in all the spoils in sight—which consisted of several thousand emeralds and gold vases and ornaments that made a pile so high that a man on horseback could be concealed behind it—Benalcázar and Federmann allowed themselves to be persuaded to accept shares in the loot and submit to the King’s arbitration their respective claims to the country. Soon afterward the three captains set out for Spain in the same ship, leaving Quesada’s brother in command. None of them ever returned. Federmann and Benalcázar were censured for exceeding the authority given them by their superiors and undertaking conquests on their own account, and, instead of appointing Quesada Adelantado, the King sent over another governor with considerable reinforcements, after which the process of assimilation and settlement went on about as it was going on in Peru.
Very different was the experience of Pedro de Valdivia in Chile. Unlike these other adventurers, when he set out it was not in the expectation of finding any great store of gold, since Almagro had reported that the inhabitants were poor, but with the intention of conquering the country and converting it into a province of Peru. In accomplishing only a part of this purpose, he was to have a far more difficult task, had he but known it, and many more Spanish lives were to be sacrificed, than in all the other conquests put together. It had already been discovered by Almagro, however, that as far south as he had gone, the natives were subjects of the Inca and that their civilization and system of irrigation and agriculture had been brought to almost as high a standard. He had advanced down the great central valley as far as the river Maule, finding everywhere a population as dense, probably, as that which exists to-day, and had met with little resistance, probably because of the presence in his party of the brother of the Inca, until he reached the boundary of the empire and encountered the independent tribes beyond, and there met his reverse.
As a consequence, misled by this favorable experience with the northern tribes and his own with the easily conquered natives of Peru, Valdivia took with him, besides his Indian auxiliaries, only about two hundred Spaniards and a number of women belonging to their families. He soon found that, since they had learned of the execution of Huascar and Atahualpa and that the new Inca, Manco Capac, was little more than a mere puppet of Pizarro’s, the disposition even of these northern tribes had changed; that they now regarded themselves as released from their vassalage. He found also that, although they all spoke the same language and appeared to belong to the same race, they still maintained their tribal organizations, each with its own Cacique and entirely distinct from the others; that the Inca socialistic system had not been adopted, and that individually they were democratic, resentful of encroachments on their liberty, and self-reliant. Hardly had he entered their country when his troubles began. To this second invasion, these people, who had only looked askance at Almagro, now promptly showed their hostility. Their lack of efficient military organization and concert of action made it easy, however, to overcome what resistance they could offer on the spur of the moment, and Valdivia succeeded in pushing on for several hundred miles until he came to the section of the valley through which flows the river Mapocho.
There, fascinated doubtless by the gorgeousness of the environment, he selected a site at the river side, at the base of an isolated hill (called Santa Lucia), in the midst of the broad plain that lies between the two great mountain ranges, two thousand feet above the level of the sea, and founded the city of Santiago, which has ever since remained the capital. Following Pizarro’s example, among the first buildings he caused to be erected were the Cathedral and Bishop’s house, and afterward, and only just in time to save the colony from annihilation, he fortified Santa Lucia, for the town itself was soon attacked by an overwhelming force of Indians and half the houses burned to the ground before they could be driven off with the help of an exploring party that opportunely returned. This was only one of many such vicissitudes, in the course of which, so beset were the invaders and so reduced did their number and the health of the survivors become by privations and fighting, that all but Valdivia were for abandoning the conquest and making a dash for Peru.
Mutiny was only prevented by the discovery of gold in the mountains near by and the arrival of reinforcements from Lima. After that he was enabled to found the town of Coquimbo on the coast about two hundred and fifty miles north of the capital, and visit Peru to arrange for the sending of more colonists and supplies. While there he assisted in the suppression of Gonzalo Pizarro’s revolt, and had no difficulty in inducing a large body of adventurers to go back with him, for Lima now was swarmed with men who were eager enough to win lands and slaves or take their chance of making their fortunes in the mines. “With their help,” says Dawson, “the conquest and settlement of all Chile as far south as the Maule was effectually completed. The land was apportioned among the cavaliers, each becoming a sort of feudal baron, and in effect creating a landed aristocracy which has continued to rule the country to the present day.”
In 1544, Valdivia founded Valparaiso, the seaport of the capital, and rebuilt Coquimbo, which had been taken and burned by the neighboring Indians during his absence in Peru. He then devoted several years to making good his conquest and firmly establishing the colony, and in 1550 turned his attention to the country south of the Maule. Between the Maule and the Bio-bio were the Promaucians and their kindred tribes, and south of the Bio-bio was a confederacy composed of tribes, also related by blood and language, which inhabited the forests and mountains and lake region for a stretch of two hundred miles. Chief among these were the Araucanians—the one unconquered aboriginal race in the new world, the one aboriginal race in America, North or South, that never was conquered by Europeans, the one race that checked the victorious march of the Spaniards and compelled them, after more than a hundred years of almost incessant warfare, to acknowledge their independence and accept the Bio-bio as the southern boundary of the Spanish possessions—not warfare of the usual desultory, treacherous Indian sort, but warfare abounding in formal campaigns and sieges and pitched battles, in which large armies were engaged, in numbers often evenly matched.
Inferiorly armed with clubs, spears, and bows and arrows, their bodies protected only by leather cuirasses, they met the Spaniards and their native auxiliaries in open field and charged and fought them hand to hand, and defeated them too in many a Homeric fray in spite of the steel armor and swords of the Conquistadores and their cavalry, artillery, and firearms. Inspired by admiration, a chivalrous Castilian, the soldier-poet Alonso de Ercilla, who was himself in some of the fights, has told the first part of the story in his historical epic in thirty-seven cantos—the story of how their lion-hearted chief, Caupolican, undismayed by defeat in the first encounter, persisted until he had destroyed an army of the invaders and driven the survivors back to Santiago; how, when wounded and helpless, he was captured at last and underwent torture and death with the stoicism of a Mohawk; how his wife, indignant at his having permitted himself to be taken alive, ran to the scaffold and threw their baby at his feet, crying out that she would no longer be the mother of the child of a coward; how the brilliant young Lautero took three Spanish strongholds, invaded the country north of the Bio-bio, defeated every army that was sent against him, and laid siege to Santiago itself; how the fiery Tucapel, while besieging a Spanish fort, scaled the wall alone, ran the gantlet of the garrison, killed four mail-clad Spaniards in fighting his way through, and escaped by leaping from a cliff; how another of their chiefs, moved to pity by the straits to which he had reduced a town he was besieging, gallantly challenged the Spanish commander to single combat, on condition that if he should defeat him the town must be surrendered, but that if he were himself defeated the siege would be raised, and how, when he was killed, the Indians kept the compact and withdrew—and many other such stories, some of them rivaling those told of the Scottish chiefs.
1. The story of the Araucanian wars is told in full in Hancock’s “History of Chile.”
These Araucanians “had not felt the influence of Peruvian culture,” says Hawthorne; they were “still in their healthy, primitive condition. In person,” he goes on—
“Most of them were tall, strong, and active, with a complexion of light, reddish brown, sometimes approaching white. They had a copious language, cooked their food, made bread and brewed a dozen kinds of spirituous liquors. Cities, in the Peruvian sense, they had none, but lived in patriarchal hamlets, ruled by ulmens, who were in turn subject to a cacique of the tribe. Each farmer was master of his own field; there was none of that land ownership by the state that obtained in Peru.... They made cloth garments, which their women adorned with embroidery and dyed with vegetable or animal extracts. They manufactured a kind of soap, and their utensils were of well-fashioned pottery, wood and marble.... They went to sea in canoes and fished with fish hooks. They knew something of astronomy and physics and had some rather crude notions of drawing and carving. They called themselves Children of the Sun, and are supposed to have worshiped the sun and moon; they had the red man’s vision of happy hunting grounds after death, and believed that those who died fighting in battle were certain of a happy immortality.... Cleanly they were in the extreme, in this respect offering a sharp contrast to their invaders.... They took particular pains to keep their magnificent teeth white and clean, and were careful to remove all hairs from their faces and bodies. The women were dressed in woolen garments of a green color, with a cloak and girdle; the men wore shirts and breeches, woolen caps and footgear, and over all capacious woolen ponchos (capes). The military system was efficiently organized.”
Having learned that the Araucanians and Promaucians were hereditary enemies, Valdivia’s first step toward the conquest of the former’s country was to form an alliance with the latter and to establish a base of supplies at the mouth of the Bio-bio, where he founded the city of Concepcion, and, during the year 1551, occupied himself in fortifying it and making preparations for the invasion. On the arrival of reinforcements he had sent for, he advanced a hundred and fifty miles south, and, encountering but little opposition, founded the city of Imperial, and from that point pushed on a hundred miles farther and founded the city to which he gave his name. On the way back in 1553 he built several forts and at Santiago found awaiting him a fresh body of troops and horses. Two hundred of the men, with an Indian contingent, he sent across the Andes to begin the conquest of what is now the Province of Mendoza in Argentina; and then, as Hawthorne relates it—
“The Araucanians, uniting with local tribes, made ready to clear the country of Spaniards. An army of four thousand Indians crossed the bloody Bio-bio and gave battle to Valdivia, but that stout warrior succeeded, after a desperate conflict, in driving them back for the time. In the following year he carried the war into the enemy’s country.... There was among them a remarkable old Ulysses named Colocolo, who added to ardent patriotism a wonderful sagacity in both war and intrigue. He traveled over the country preaching a crusade against the invaders. A great conference was held among the various tribes, and a chief named Caupolican was, at Colocolo’s suggestion, chosen commander in chief. This hero was modest and valiant, a giant in stature, and wise in counsel as he was brave. His first exploit was the capture of the fort of Arauco, which he accomplished by an unexpected attack, compelling the garrison, after severe fighting, to evacuate and retire to the fort at Puren. The garrison at Tucapel fort was in like manner driven to Puren, from which place word was sent to Valdivia of their peril.
“He started for the seat of war with two hundred men and five thousand Indians.... The two armies came in sight of each other on the 3d of December, 1553, and maneuvered for position. The right wing of the Araucanians was led by Mariantu, the left by Tucapel, the Murat of the host. At the opening of the battle Mariantu attacked and cut to pieces the Spanish left, and served in the same manner a detachment sent to their support. At the same time Tucapel swept down on the Spanish right. The latter’s artillery wrought terrible havoc among the Indians and they were thrice repulsed, though without being thrown into confusion. At the critical moment of the fight, a young man saved the day for the Araucanians. His name was Lautero. He had been previously captured by Valdivia, baptized and made a page, but he seized this opportunity to escape from the enemies of his country and join his friends. He called on them to follow him in a final charge. They caught the contagion of his valor, and, collecting themselves, swept the Spaniards and their allies from the field with awful carnage.
“Valdivia himself was captured. He begged hard for his life, even promising, if he were spared, to quit Chile with all his followers. Nor did he scruple to entreat Lautero to intercede for him. This the magnanimous former page did, but in vain. The grim old ulmens knew too well the worth of Spanish promises, and, disregarding Valdivia’s screams for mercy, one of them crushed his skull with his war club. And the next day the trees that grew in the great plain again bore Spanish heads as fruit, and Lautero was appointed Caupolican’s second in command. At the council which was forthwith held, it was resolved, in accordance with the advice of old Colocolo, to make a general attack upon all the Spanish strongholds. Angol and Puren were promptly abandoned by the invaders, who congregated in Valdivia and Imperial. Lautero fortified himself on the precipitous mountain of Mariguenu, in order to prevent possible Spanish incursions southward. Of a band of fourteen Spanish cavaliers who were riding from Imperial to Tucapel, seven were slain by the Araucanian Lincoyan.
“The inhabitants of Concepcion were terrified at these catastrophes. Villagran was chosen Valdivia’s successor. He made careful preparations and advanced with a strong army of Spaniards and native allies toward Mariguenu. In a narrow defile Lautero fell upon him. The Spaniards tried to scale the mountain but were checked by slings and arrows, and a body of the Indians, falling furiously upon the Spanish cannoneers, captured the guns. An attack was then delivered upon the Spanish front and it gave way, Villagran flying headlong with the rest and barely making good his escape. The remnant of the Spanish army was pursued by Lautero to the river Bio-bio, where the Araucanians paused, and the fugitives staggered into Concepcion. There Villagran stayed only long enough to gather together what property he could, and then, with all the inhabitants, he fled to Santiago. When Lautero entered Concepcion the next day, he found nothing but empty houses, which he destroyed. The seven cities were having a hard life of it.
“An attempt some time afterward to retake and rebuild Concepcion was prevented by the Araucanians, who met and defeated the Spaniards in open plain and again drove them back to Santiago.... In the next campaign Lautero went against Santiago, while Caupolican attempted the siege of Imperial and Valdivia. Lautero laid waste the country of the Promaucians and fortified himself on the Claro. A Spanish reconnoitering party was surprised and cut to pieces and Santiago was in danger. Villagran, being ill, gave the command to his son Pedro, who was led into an ambuscade by Lautero and his army slaughtered. But this was Lautero’s last victory, for a few days later, standing on his battlements to watch the approach of a Spanish party, he was killed by a chance shot, and though in the battle that followed the Araucanians fought valiantly, they were finally overpowered. The death of Lautero was for three days celebrated by the Spaniards; and indeed his fall meant much to them. He had invariably defeated them in battle and outgeneraled them in maneuvers, and at the age of only nineteen had made a reputation as a warrior such as any veteran might envy.”
From then on the war continued with varying success, the Spaniards stubbornly persisting in their efforts to conquer their indomitable opponents, the Araucanians always resisting, and, when beaten for a time, retreating to the mountains, only to recruit and return to the contest with renewed vigor, and this even when their enemies had grown so numerous that they could put thousands of their well armed and trained soldiers into the field instead of hundreds. Gradually, in the course of many years, the Spaniards secured more and more of a foothold, until the great leader Paillamachu took command of the Indians and began an uninterrupted series of victories. He burned Concepcion and Chillan, a hundred miles to the north, ravaged the whole country as far up as the Maule, carried Valdivia by storm and captured, besides the garrison and inhabitants, $2,000,000 of booty and a large store of arms and ammunition, afterward reduced Imperial, Osorno, Villarica, Cañete, Angol, Coya and Arauco, and, by the time of his death in 1603, every one of their cities and forts on the mainland; and, at last, when the Spaniards, after many other attempts, had failed to recover the lost ground they were forced to resort to a treaty. Says Hawthorne:
“Another term of raids and reprisals ensued, with no conclusive results to either party. Spanish governors and Araucanian chiefs succeeded one another year after year; the operations now favored one side, now another, but the Spaniards on the whole lost more than did the Indians. It was not until 1640, about a hundred years since the outbreak of the war, that anything approaching a settlement was made, and the initiative came from the Spaniards. At the village of Quillin the Spanish Governor, the Marquis of Baides, met the Araucanian chief Lincopichion, both being attended by a great retinue. The treaty was ratified by speeches and the sacrifice of a llama. The Spaniards and Araucanians were mutually to refrain from incursions and the Araucanians were not to permit the troops of foreign powers to land on their coasts or to furnish supplies to the enemies of Spain. This clause was inserted in view of recent attempts of the Dutch to effect a lodgment in Chile. This compact was kept by the Indians, in spite of temptations to break it, for ten or a dozen years, when hostilities broke out afresh owing to bad faith on the part of Spain. The Spanish were overwhelmingly defeated in 1655 and during ten years the power of Spain in lower Chile was broken. In 1665 the Spaniards were glad to make another treaty with the Indians, which was kept for half a century. The invaders from the first had gained much more by their treaties than by their arms.”
“Thenceforward,” says Dawson—
“The Bio-bio remained the southern boundary of the Spanish possessions. An army of two thousand men and a line of forts guarded the frontier; and, though hostilities were frequent, for centuries no real progress was made toward depriving the Araucanians of their independence. In the progress of time the slow infiltration of Spanish blood and Spanish customs modified their characteristics, but it was not until 1882 that they became real subjects of the Chilean government.”
It may be that the Spaniards ought not to be blamed for these efforts to complete their conquest of Chile and the appalling amount of bloodshed and distress they caused. After all, they only did what the Aztecs, Caras, and Incas had already done to the peoples of their neighboring countries, what the European peoples were constantly doing to each other, what England soon afterward did in India, and what, within the last century, our own people did in Mexico, the French in Algiers, and the English in South Africa. It may be true, as is asserted by their apologists, that the motive that actuated the Spanish in their conquests was not alone greed of land and gold, but in large part to Christianize a pagan people and bring them into the true fold; but for the long, brave fight these Araucanians made, for their high standard of patriotism, for their adherence to their convictions, both religious and political, we can feel only admiration and sympathy. For these things, as Hawthorne puts it, “they merit the thanks of all friends of manhood and liberty.”
The northern areas of Argentina submitted more quietly to the conquerors. In 1542, Diego de Rojas led the first expedition from Peru down through the Humahuaca Valley. Though he was killed in a fight with a wild tribe near the main Cordillera, his followers continued their march. Near the site of the present city of Tucumán they passed out from the mountain defiles, and, leaving the desert to their right, penetrated through Córdoba to the Paraná River country beyond. Lured by the reports of peaceful and wealthy native communities in the irrigated valleys and the magnificent pasture lands in the pampas stretching away to the east—now the scene of Argentina’s enormous stock-raising and wheat industries—other adventurers soon followed from Peru and Chile and were met by expeditions from the Atlantic coast, marching west in quest of another Peru. No permanent settlement was made on the site of the present city of Buenos Aires until 1580. The two parties that had attempted it, the first commanded by Juan Diaz de Solis, the other by Pedro de Mendoza, had been defeated by the Indians and driven off, but Mendoza had penetrated into the interior, and his lieutenant, Domingo Irala, who remained and founded a colony, became the dominant figure of the new agricultural empire.
The system adopted by Spain for the government of her vast colonial possessions is set forth in the famous code known as the Compilation of Laws of the Kingdoms of the Indies, framed in the reign of Philip IV and published in 1680 in the reign of Charles II. The American possessions had originally been divided into two great political entities by the Emperor Charles V in 1542. These were known as New Spain and New Castile and were governed only by Real Audiencias, (royal audiences, or tribunals that had both legislative and judicial functions). Later they were created Viceroyalties, and the name New Castile was changed to Peru. “We order and decree,” said the King in Law 1, Title 3, Book III of the Compilation, “that the Kingdoms of Peru and New Spain be ruled and governed by Viceroys who shall represent our royal person. These shall exercise superior power, do and administer justice equally to all our subjects and vassals and apply themselves to all that will promote the tranquillity, repose, ennoblement and pacification of these provinces.”
At that time the Viceroyalty of New Spain embraced all the provinces of Central America and the islands of the Caribbean, and Mexico and (west of the Mississippi) pretty much all the land to the north, and in the Viceroyalty of Peru were included Panama and all the land in South America, except, of course, Brazil. These viceroyalties themselves were subdivided into great provincial districts, each administered by a Real Audiencia. These audiencia districts were in turn divided into lesser governmental jurisdictions known as Gobernaciones (provincial sub-districts), Alcaldias Mayores, Alcaldias Ordinarias and Corregimientos (municipal districts of greater and lesser extent), and, in harmony with this political arrangement, there was also an ecclesiastical division: into Archbishoprics, coextensive with the audiencia districts, Bishoprics, corresponding with the gobernaciones and alcaldias mayores; and Parishes and Curacies, corresponding with the alcaldias ordinarias and corregimientos. The Viceroys were respectively Presidents of the Audiencias and Captains-General of the military forces at Lima and the City of Mexico, the viceregal capitals; the provincial audiencia districts were presided over by Gowned Presidents (Ministros Togado) and were under the military command of Captains-General, both of which officers were subordinate to the Viceroys.
Within the jurisdiction of the Viceroy of Peru were seven royal audiencias: Panama (created in 1535), Lima (created in 1542), Santa Fé de Bogotá, now Colombia (created in 1549), Charcas, now Bolivia (created in 1559), San Francisco de Quito, now Ecuador (created in 1563), Chile (created in 1609) and Buenos Aires, now Argentina (created in 1661). In the eighteenth century two more viceroyalties were created from districts withdrawn from the Viceroyalty of Peru: New Granada and Buenos Aires. That of New Granada, established in 1717, was made up of the Audiencias of Santa Fé de Bogotá, Panama, San Francisco de Quito and Venezuela; that of Buenos Aires, established in 1778, included the territory now embraced in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Patagonia, Bolivia (Charcas) and the southern part of Chile. Afterward the Audiencias of Venezuela and Chile were constituted independent Captaincies-General, subordinate only to the Council of the Indies in Spain, and the Audiencia of Charcas was returned by royal decree of 1810 to the Viceroyalty of Peru. From these colonial divisions logically sprang the South American republics as they exist to-day—of course, again excepting Brazil, which, after she had secured her independence in 1822, retained a monarchial form of government until 1889, when she became a republic like the others.
Under this Spanish colonial system, therefore, the King was absolute sovereign, and governed, not through his ministers of the cabinet—for the various provinces were regarded as appanages of the Crown—but primarily through his Council of the Indies, to which his officers in America reported directly, and secondarily through these officers themselves—the Viceroys and Captains-General, and their subordinates. In addition to these executive officers and the royal audiences, there were Cabildos (municipal councils), which had jurisdiction of local affairs in their respective communities, but there were no elective officers or tribunals, or legislative bodies representing the people. The King regarded the provinces as his personal property and their occupants as instruments for their development for his benefit alone. Incidentally, they might derive for themselves what profit out of it they could, but only in ways consistent with his interests and policies.
Consequently, during this colonial period, the Spanish Americans had no opportunity to develop a representative and self-sustaining body politic, which, in the course of time, might by peaceful means have altered this theory and corrected the evils of such a system—as was the case in Brazil, where the Portuguese King in person resided in the country for several years (during the period of Napoleon’s Peninsula invasion) and in that way became familiar with local conditions and the needs of his people. He, on his return to Portugal, opened the Brazilian ports to the commerce of the world and created Brazil a vassal kingdom, with a form of government almost wholly autonomous.
In contrast with this, no Spaniard (and certainly no foreign trader) was allowed to freight ships for the colonies, or to buy a pound of goods anywhere else, without obtaining special permission and paying well for the privilege. Cadiz was the only port in Europe from which ships were permitted to sail for America, and the whole trade was farmed out to a ring of Cadiz merchants. Every port in Spanish South America was closed to transatlantic traffic except Nombre de Dios on the Caribbean side of the Isthmus of Panamá, near the present city of Colon. Not a merchant ship could enter Buenos Aires, Valparaiso, Callao or Guayaquil. Imports from Spain must first go to the Isthmus, there be disembarked and transported over the Andean passes and the Bolivian plateaux on the backs of llamas, and finally be carried down over the Argentina pampas to Buenos Aires, or along the arid coast to the Peruvian and Chilean settlements. Under such conditions in the southern provinces European manufactures, agricultural and mining implements, and other essentials for a people’s advancement were to be had only at fabulous prices.
On the other hand, also, the system made exports impossible, except the precious metals mined in the north, and drugs, and other easily transportable products. Hides, hair, wool, agricultural products and hard woods would not stand the cost of such long and difficult hauls. The Peninsula authorities acted upon the theory that America should be confined to producing gold and silver. The Plata settlements, especially, and all others south and east of the Peruvian-Bolivian mining region, suffered from this ruinous suppression. Having no mines, they were considered worthless, so far as the royal treasury was concerned, and were in consequence ignored—until they came in conflict with home industries by the cultivation of olives and grapes, and then, to protect the Peninsula growers, the Argentinos were forced to cut down their olive trees and uproot their vines. The inevitable results followed. Smuggling, bribe-giving, evasion and contempt for all law, and hostility to the fiscal authorities of the Peninsula grew up when, in their stead, the colonists could have been developed into a bulwark for Spain, which was so soon to totter from her proud position as the greatest of the world powers. Where science of government and national up-building should have been taught and fostered, revolution became the only political refuge.
In 1808, when Napoleon forced the abdication of Charles IV, held him and his successor, Ferdinand VII, prisoners in France, and established his brother Joseph on the throne, came the colonists’ opportunity. In April, 1809, a Junta (national assembly) was formed in Caracas; in July of the same year the example was followed in Peru, and in August at Quito; in May of the next year, Santa Fé de Bogotá and Buenos Aires followed, and Santiago elected the Chilean Junta in September. The colonists expected by these steps to release the Indians from slavery in the mines in the north and west; to restore and develop the cultivation of grapes, olives and tobacco, and build up their grazing and agricultural industry in the south and east; also to open their ports to commerce with Europe, so that they might buy commodities essential to their growth, and export their own products by way of exchange; also to lighten the crushing imposts and internal taxation, to abolish the tithe system, and reclaim and parcel out the vast feudal estates which had gradually been absorbed by the Spanish officials in the course of an administration which could only be likened to that of the rapacious Roman proconsuls against which Cicero inveighed so impotently.
But the ambitious attempts at reform met with immediate and successful opposition. The country was full of Spanish office-holders who saw in them their dismissal and the death blow to their spoils system. In the short struggle that followed, the success of the royal forces was almost universal. The colonists had had no training in warfare, nor had they yet developed as a people the unity of purpose and sturdy self-dependence which was eventually to bring them their freedom. The junta governments were everywhere effectively suppressed, except in Bogotá and Buenos Aires, where the fires of revolution smouldered during the succeeding years of Peninsula chaos that preceded Waterloo, and the colonists, with eyes opened at last to the true and only remedy for their ills, were formulating their great resolve to separate themselves entirely from the mother country; for, while their measures of reform had been suppressed, the ideas that called them into being could not be obliterated. Furthermore their unsuccessful clash with the viceroys and lesser officials brought even more glaringly before their eyes the extortions and brutal indifference of the ruling class. The attitude of the Peninsulares toward the creoles and mestizos of the colonies had always been contemptuous, and now at last the creoles, being for the most part of unmixed Spanish descent (they were called creoles only because born in America) found their resentment of that attitude more than they could endure.
The series of military successes that was destined to lead to the desired result began with the fights at Tucumán in the northern part of Argentina, in the fall of 1812, and at Salta, a little farther north, in February, 1813. By these battles the persistent efforts of the royalist forces in Peru to put an end, to the junta government of 1810 in the Plata settlements, were checked under the leadership of Manuel Belgrano. But on the first of October following, the Royalists, in violation of the armistice entered into after Salta, almost destroyed Belgrano’s army at Vilcapujio. Disastrous as was the reverse for the time-being, this before long proved a distinct service to the colonists, for it placed in command of the remnants of Belgrano’s army General José de San Martín, one of the two great patriots who finally brought the war to a successful issue, and who had then just returned with the experience and prestige acquired by twenty years’ service in the Peninsula armies against Napoleon’s famous marshals. The other of these great patriots was Simon Bolívar.
San Martín recognized at once the futility of pursuing the campaign and attacking the Royalists in the mountainous regions of Bolivia, with over a thousand miles of difficult roads between his army and base of supplies. He conceived, therefore, the idea of compelling Spain to defend her own bases at Lima and Callao, and to this end elaborated a plan for the invasion of Chile and capture of Valparaiso, and, from thence, a combined military and naval attack on the capital of Peru, the seat of Spain’s continental power. With this purpose in view, he repaired to the almost inaccessible town of Mendoza on the Argentine slope of the Andes, on about the same parallel with the Chilean capital, Santiago, and remained there two years, recruiting and training a strong force and accumulating equipment.
Shortly after he had established his camp of instruction, the Chileans under General Bernardo O’Higgins had extorted from the Royalist General at Talca a truce whereby the protracted struggle to maintain the junta government in Chile was for the moment suspended. This truce of Talca, however, was repudiated by the Viceroy at Lima, and General Ossorio was soon on his way south with another Royalist army, against which, weakened by local political dissensions, the Chilenos were unable to prevail, and were decisively beaten at Rancagua in October, 1814. As this meant a complete restoration of Spanish authority in Chile, O’Higgins and a few of his officers made their escape with the wreck of their army, crossed the Andes and placed themselves under the command of San Martín.
In January, 1817, San Martín’s army, four thousand strong, was ready to move against the unsuspecting Spanish in Chile, who had been led by a stratagem to believe that he would enter the country through one of the more easily accessible of the Andean passes to the south. San Martín, however, chose the highest and most terrible of them all, one four thousand feet higher than St. Bernard, and which lay to the north instead of south of Aconcagua, and accomplished a feat which, in endurance and skill, is thought by the historians to have surpassed Napoleon’s famous crossing of the Alps. Descending the western slope, he fell upon the Spanish outpost at La Guardia on the 7th of February, and on the 12th, surprised and defeated Ossorio’s main force at Chacabuco. Two days later the liberating army entered Santiago. The patriot government was at once re-established and the directorship conferred on O’Higgins after San Martín, refusing to be diverted from his plans for the liberation of the entire continent, had declined the honor.
On the first day of the ensuing year the independence of Chile was proclaimed. De facto independence was not achieved until the decisive defeat of the Royalists on the plains of Maypú, on the 5th of April, 1815, and then, with Chile cleared of Spanish troops, and the port of Valparaiso at his service as a base of supplies, San Martín was ready to enter upon the next stage of his work—the liberation of Peru.
SAN MARTÍN’S PASSAGE OF THE ANDES—FROM VILA’S FAMOUS PAINTING.
Another period devoted to recruiting, organizing, and drilling elapsed. In August, 1820, his combined military and naval expedition set out from Valparaiso with some 4500 troops. Thus far this stronghold of Spain had undergone less violent revolutionary disturbances than any other part of her American possessions. In 1820 it was fully under the control of Don Joaquín de la Pezuela, the forty-fourth successor of Pizarro. But it was three years now since Pezuela had reported to the Madrid government that he stood over a volcano liable to burst into action at any moment, and had received no aid, a situation San Martín understood. In this expedition he was ably seconded by Lord Cochrane, a former British naval officer, who was to render most valuable service in the naval warfare that was at once begun against the Viceroy. Cochrane’s first success was the capture of Valdivia, Spain’s best harbor on the Pacific south of Valparaiso, in spite of the fact that his rockets were filled with sand instead of powder, the Chilean authorities having imprudently employed Spanish prisoners in the manufacture of ammunition.
Arrived off Callao, the seaport of Lima, the liberators entered upon operations and negotiations lasting several months, during which effective missionary work in the cause of independence was done throughout Peru by San Martín’s lieutenants. At last, on the 6th of July, 1821, the Spanish leaders, neglected by their home government, and realizing the ineffectiveness of their forces, evacuated Lima, which was at once occupied by San Martín. He did not come, he said, as a conqueror, and it was with much hesitation that he accepted the supreme power offered by the patriots; he styled himself Protector of Peru, promising to surrender the government to the people as soon as the Peruvian congress should be assembled to take over the burden, and retained his control of the embryo republic for a year, notwithstanding the hostility that was engendered by misconception of the high purposes embodied in the title he assumed. The wisdom of his retention in power at such a critical period is hardly to be contested.
This was the decisive campaign of the war of independence on the continent. The future of Buenos Aires and Chile, of New Granada and Venezuela, and of all the Spanish settlements depended on the battles that were now to be fought in the mountains of Peru, where the Royalist forces had concentrated, for this was the very heart of the Spanish stronghold. San Martín was not to fight these final battles, but to him is due the credit of conceiving the plan of action, of executing it almost to the end, and of showing, by his retirement in favor of a more convincingly popular fellow-patriot of the north, a modesty, soundness of judgment, and generosity almost unparalleled among statesmen—for in the meantime the northern movement, under the direction of Simon Bolívar, was approaching Peru. It arrived at the coast town of Guayaquil in the spring of 1822. San Martín immediately repaired to that port for a conference, leaving his administration in the hands of the Marquis of Torre Tagle, a member of the old nobility who had turned revolutionist, and Bernardo Monteagudo.
The meeting of the two Liberators marked the close of San Martín’s military career. He saw clearly that there could be no room for himself and a brilliant, ambitious, magnetic leader like Bolívar in the same sphere of action, that it was necessary for the welfare of the common cause that one of them should retire. He was great and patriotic enough to make the sacrifice. Returning to Lima, he resigned the supreme authority and retired to Europe. There was no place for him in Buenos Aires, except as a leader in the civil wars which by this time were distracting the country, and this rôle he disdained. In 1850 he died in France at the age of seventy-two, after a thirty years’ struggle with sickness and poverty, but attended always by his devoted daughter. After his death his body was brought to Buenos Aires and reverently placed in a tomb, one of the handsomest in the world, about which stand three marble figures representing Buenos Aires, Chile, and Peru.
Bolívar’s career had begun in Venezuela, where he was born. After Spain’s suppression of the junta established in Caracas in 1810, Bolívar, with the revolutionist Miranda, had landed in Venezuela and called into being the first congress of the people, and the independence of the country was proclaimed. In the fighting that followed, the movement thus started met a speedy end—literally shattered by an awful earthquake that occurred on Holy Thursday of 1812, which the Royalists claimed was a stroke of Divine vengeance against those who would have overthrown the anointed of the Lord.
Miranda was captured and ended his days in a Spanish prison, but Bolívar escaped into New Granada and soon had full sway in the revolutionary councils of the northern provinces. In 1813 he founded at Bogotá an active revolutionary junta and a military organization. With the latter he struck the Royalists at Cucutá, just within the eastern border of Colombia, and passed over the mountains to Caracas, proclaiming war to the death. Here his rôle of Dictator began. His career, however, was punctuated by many disasters before the decisive battle of Boyacá placed Bogotá permanently in his hands and gave assurance of eventual success. But from this triumph Bolívar hurried to the revolutionary congress he had some time before called at Angostura and procured the enactment of a law providing for the union of Venezuela and New Granada, to form the Republic of Colombia, and was elected President; and by the end of the year 1821 all of this territory, except Panama and Puerto Cabello, near La Guayra, had been freed from the control of Spain.
The famous battle of Pichincha, won on the 24th of May, 1822, by Bolívar’s great lieutenant, Antonio José de Sucre, gave Ecuador also to the northern federation; later it was formally incorporated into the new Colombian Republic. Still for two years the final clash between the Royalists and the patriots was deferred, during which time the confusion of sectional interests and negotiations by the now desperate mother country threatened to undo the great work of the liberators. But once more Bolívar triumphed. By the withdrawal in his favor of San Martín, harmony was restored; with his victory at Junín on the 6th of August, 1824, and the decisive battle on the plain of Ayacucho, midway between Lima and Cuzco, on the 9th of December, the war came to an end. In that brilliantly fought battle the patriot army, again under Sucre, defeated a largely superior force commanded by the Viceroy in person in less than eighty minutes. The Viceroy wounded and a prisoner, and his men having deserted by hundreds, his second in command sued for terms, and that afternoon fourteen generals, five hundred and sixty-eight officers of other grades, and three thousand two hundred privates became prisoners of war.
STATUE OF BOLÍVAR, LIMA.
Following this victory, Sucre proceeded to Charcas and convened the patriot congress which in August, 1825, proclaimed the Republic of Bolívia, and became its first President. Bolívar was then at the head of affairs in Peru. He soon, however, relinquished his dictatorship and returned to Bogotá to resume, for a brief term, his functions as President of the federation of Colombia. From that time on he sank rapidly from his apogee and, beset on all sides by the enemies his supposed imperial designs had made for him, died on his estate of Santa Marta on the 17th of December, 1830, at the early age of forty-seven. Disheartened, his personal fortune gone, he had abandoned any designs of that character he might once have had and only a few days before the end wrote to the Colombians: “My last wishes are for the country’s happiness. If my death can contribute to the quieting of party strife and to the consolidation of the union, I shall go down to the grave in peace.” To him also in after years his people erected monuments in tardy recognition of his matchless services.
The Portuguese provinces were the only ones to continue the monarchical system. They too, however, declared themselves independent, and became known as the Empire of Brazil, until 1889, when the present republic was declared.
The United States of Brazil, next to our own United States, form the largest of the American republics. Brazil has an area fifteen times greater than Germany’s, sixteen times as great as that of France, 250,000 square miles greater than ours, excluding Alaska and our island possessions. At its greatest width, the country extends inland more than 2000 miles and its coast line on the Atlantic is more than 3700 miles long, twice the distance from Portland, Maine, to Key West; yet the population, although it has doubled in the last forty years, is not quite a fourth as large as our own. It is estimated that if the whole country were as densely populated as France, the inhabitants would number 622,000,000, or, if as densely populated as Germany, 955,000,000. Some time it may be. Except in the regions near the large cities, only a small part is even sparsely settled now.
It argues well for the industry and enterprise of what inhabitants there are, however, that Brazil’s international commerce is relatively nearly as great in proportion to her population as ours. Some idea of the remarkable progress she has made is given in the following extract from a pamphlet recently published by the Commissão de Expansão Economica, entitled “Do you Know the Wealth of Brazil?”
“In the colonial days, the foreign trade of Brazil was done exclusively through Lisbon, under the protection of Portuguese men-of-war.... The colonial produce was distributed among the principal Portuguese commercial centers and the imports came exclusively from Portugal to the ports of Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, Pará, and Maranhão. Until the end of the eighteenth century, the foreign trade of Brazil was continued more or less on this basis, but the exports were considerably more than the imports. By decree of January 28, 1808, the King of Portugal, Don João VI of Braganza, lately arrived at Bahia” (when he fled from the Peninsula as a result of Napoleon’s invasion), “resolved to open all the ports of Brazil to the commerce of foreign nations, until then closed for the benefit of Portugal. The first consequence of this decree was the establishment of commercial relations with England. English agencies were opened at Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, and Pernambuco for the purpose of importing manufactured articles and exporting sugar, alcohol, gold, cotton, hides, coffee, cocoa, timber, and indigo. After the proclamation of independence in 1822, the trade developed enormously, France, the United States of America, Germany, Holland, and Sweden following the example of England.... From 1846 to 1875 the imports increased 110 per cent. and the exports 175 per cent. From 1876 to 1905 the imports increased 175 per cent. and the exports 272 per cent.... In 1909 its total value was £101,844,549 (over $500,000,000).”
In 1910 it was $545,581,275, in which we participated to the extent of $142,437,986, including $58,808,467 worth of coffee and $47,409,030 worth of rubber that were exported to us. For the principal industry is still, as it has always been, agriculture, though in the mountainous sections there are vast regions containing gold and precious stones and minerals of incalculable value, millions of square miles in the interior still covered with virgin forests; and yet even the relatively small sections that have been cultivated produce more than three-fourths of all the coffee consumed in the world and more than three-fifths of all the rubber, not to mention the other products. But within the last few years immigration has been encouraged and many conditions that were preventing development have been improved. Wonders have been accomplished in making the cities as healthful as any in the world. The railroads have been, and are still being, extended tremendously and facilities for commerce along the great inland waterways continually increased.
The first of the important seaports of Brazil that are accessible by steamer from New York is Belém, the capital of the State of Pará. It ranks only as the fifth in size, but to the tourist it is of surpassing interest because it is situated on the Pará River, the southern or commercial mouth of the Amazon, that mightiest and most majestic of all the rivers in the world.
Imagine!—a river more than 3400 miles in length, with its source in the Peruvian Andes, 16,000 feet above the level of the sea—a river which, with its vast tributaries, many of them themselves from a thousand to two thousand miles in length, drains a territory of 2,300,000 square miles, two-thirds as large as our United States, and so rich in indigenous resources, and so fertile, that many years ago, when it was wholly a wilderness, the great scientist Von Humboldt said of it that “it is here that one day, sooner or later, will concentrate the civilization of the globe”—a river that is a mile and a half wide at Tabatinga, the last Brazilian port to the west, and gradually broadens on its way to the sea until it attains a width of 150 miles at its northern mouth alone, and discharges into the Atlantic a volume of water more than four times as great as the outpour of the Mississippi—a river that is navigable, that is now actually being navigated by ocean liners, for 2000 miles, clear across Brazil to Iquitos in the frontier of Peru.
Yet, although as early as 1541 Francisco de Orellana, one of Pizarro’s little band of conquerors, who had crossed the Andes in quest of the fabulous country of El Dorado, and, after having traversed the whole course of the river through Brazil with a few companions in a canoe, had made his way back to Spain and told amazing stories of the wealth of the region he had discovered, and although a century later the astronomer La Condamine, and still later Baron von Humboldt, Castelnau, and others had successively published alluring accounts of their explorations in the same region, it was not until 1867 that the river was opened to free navigation.
It is gratifying to reflect that, probably more than to any other outside influence, it was due to the publication of the report of an expedition undertaken in 1851 by William Lewis Herndon, a lieutenant in the United States Navy, and to the explorations of Louis Agassiz, a Harvard professor, that the interest was aroused which at last brought this about. Lieutenant Herndon, like Orellana, started from Lima, and, braving the passes of the Andes, entered the Amazon from one of its western affluents and made the journey in a canoe, with only a Peruvian guide and a few Indian rowers, all the way to its mouth. Professor Agassiz, whose explorations were begun fifteen years later, started from Belém and traveled in a steamboat, such as it was, accompanied by his wife and a corps of scientists, and was given every assistance possible by the late Emperor Dom Pedro, who took a lively interest in the expedition. But even then in Brazil, the Professor says in his book, “so little was known of the Amazon that we could obtain only very meager, and usually rather discouraging, information concerning our projected journey. In Rio, if you say you are going to ascend their great river, your Brazilian friends look at you with compassionate wonder. You are threatened with sickness, with intolerable heat, with mosquitoes, jacaraes (alligators), and wild Indians.”
Lieutenant Herndon, however, had already made known to the scientific world that the climate is healthful, notwithstanding the mosquitoes; that, humid and hot as it is during certain hours of the day, the nights are always cool, and that “the direct rays of the sun are tempered by an almost constant east wind, laden with moisture from the ocean, so that no one ever suffers from the heat;” and, when he got back to Rio de Janeiro, Professor Agassiz assured the Brazilians that this was so. Arthur Dias indignantly protests (in his Brazil of To-day) that “it is not true, as they say, that the climate of this region prevents the existence and the extending of the population.” “It is a legend, a fiction,” he adds. Mozans, who made a similar journey to Herndon’s very recently, also testifies to the same effect.
Here in this Amazon country, Lieutenant Herndon had reported, “we see a fecundity of soil and a rapidity of vegetation that is marvelous and to which even Egypt, the ancient granary of Europe, affords no parallel.... Here trees, evidently young, shoot up to such a height that no fowling-piece will reach the game seated on their topmost branches. This is the country of rice, of sarsaparilla, of cocoa, of tonka beans, of mandioca, black pepper, arrowroot, ginger, balsam, tapioca, gum copal, nutmeg, animal and vegetable wax, indigo and Brazil nuts, of India rubber, of dyes of the gayest colors, drugs of rare virtue, variegated cabinet woods of the finest grain and susceptible of the highest polish. Here dwell the wild cow, the fish ox, the sloth, the anteater, the beautiful black tiger, the mysterious electric eel, the boa constrictor, the anaconda, the deadly coral snake, the voracious alligator, monkeys in endless variety, birds of the most brilliant plumage, and insects of the strangest form and gayest colors.”
More than forty years of progress and improvement have passed since Dom Pedro decreed that the river should be open to international trade, yet all these wonders may still be seen there—the vast expanses of water, the shore lines varied by lofty bluffs and low plains of sand, rugged rocks and dense masses of foliage, the river surface dotted by islands, large and small—the magnificent forest still crowding to the banks and teeming with all the exuberant life and brilliant hues of the tropics—giant sumaumeras, their crests towering high above all other trees, their huge, white-barked trunks and limbs standing out in striking relief from the masses of green; tall cocoanut palms, tufted at the top with fan-shaped leaves cut into ribbons and bedecked with creamy blossoms; slender, graceful assai palms, tall and clean-stemmed like the cocoanuts, but with fluffy, feathery crowns; wine palms from which the flowers hang in long, crimson tassels, studded with berries of bright green; jupati palms with plumelike leaves forty to fifty feet long that start near the base of the trunk and curve upward on all sides in the form of a vase; the familiar fan palm, and a legion of others.
And there are rubber trees, which resemble in this region our northern ash; stately castanhas, the trees on which the Brazil nuts grow, and cacaos, that look like our cherry trees, only they give us our chocolate and cocoa beans instead and have blossoms of a saffron tint; mahoganies, rosewoods and satinwoods and great sheaves of whispering bamboo; myriads of ferns and exquisitely tinted orchids, acacias, scarlet passion flowers, begonias, yellow and blue—flowers innumerable in the wildest profusion. Not little ones like our violets hiding modestly among the mosses and grass, but big blossoms growing luxuriantly on bushes and on the parasite vines that twine about the trunks of the trees and hang in festoons from their branches, until the whole river border seems ablaze with their vivid lights; and there are still the monkeys and beautiful butterflies and humming birds, and the parrots, macaws, herons, egrets, toucans, and countless other gorgeously feathered birds, and the Indian villages, too, in the midst of their orange and banana groves or huddled near the beaches where the turtles breed.
Only now all these may be seen from the decks of ocean liners, or, if one starts from Belém or Iquitos, from river steamers as safe and comfortably equipped and setting as good a table as most of those in our northern waters. Now the alligators and snakes and tigers have been driven far from the beaten tracks—not too far, though, for the sportsman who loves the excitement of hunting big game—now the negro slaves have been freed and the Indians are no longer hostile; now, in many places, lands have been drained and clearings made in the forests, and waste marshes and giant trees have made way for pastures and thrifty-looking plantations, where grain, coffee, sugar, tobacco and cotton, and pineapples and many other things are cultivated; now the rubber and cacao and nut gatherers penetrate far into the woods; now small, isolated communities have grown to be large ones, that send their produce directly from their own docks to the markets of the world.
There is Manãos, for instance, the capital of the State of Amazonas. Manãos is situated at the mouth of the Rio Negro, which empties into the Amazon a thousand miles from the coast. When Lieutenant Herndon was there in 1851, it was a wretched little town, containing but four hundred and seventy houses, most of them one story in height, and had a population of about four thousand—whites, Indians, mixed breeds, and negro slaves all combined. To-day it is a modern, rapidly growing city, with a population already numbering fifty thousand, perhaps more, including many foreigners. There is an imposing stone State House, a white marble Palace of Justice, and a splendid monument commemorating the opening of the Amazon to international trade. It has broad, shaded, well-paved streets, lined with handsome buildings; it has electric lights, trolley lines, a telephone system, water and harbor works, an ice plant, banks, hotels, newspapers, up-to-date shops, warehouses and public markets, a good library and excellent educational institutions, and is rated among the greater ports of South America because of its extensive shipments of rubber and other products of the country round about.
A visit to the beautiful public gardens, where an orchestra plays in the evenings, and to the Amazonas Theater is well worth while. It is said to have cost $2,000,000 in gold, that theater—which is not at all surprising to any one who has seen it, for it is truly superb, a structure of stone with marble supporting columns, that stands on a great causeway of masonry occupying a commanding site on the Avenida Eduardo Ribeiro, the principal thoroughfare and fashionable promenade, and has a lofty, brightly colored dome that can be seen from the harbor, and a magnificent foyer adorned with paintings by a famous Italian artist.
Obydos, too, perched on the bluffs beside an old fortress near the mouth of the Trombetas, and Santarem, at the mouth of the Tapajos, about midway between Manãos and the coast, are other progressive cities that offer opportunities for agreeable breaks in the long journey. As it was in the Tapajos that gold was first found in the region, Santarem is one of the oldest if now one of the most up-to-date of the towns. It is possessed, besides, of a peculiar interest for North Americans because after our civil war it became the home of quite a number of our “unreconstructed” Confederates.
But Belém, or Pará as it is more generally called by foreigners (one may take his choice, since the full corporate name is Santa Maria de Nazareth de Belém do Grão Pará), is by far the largest and most interesting of them all, for not only has the wealth that has poured into it in recent years transformed it into a big city of about two hundred thousand inhabitants, boasting, like Manãos, all the modern public utilities and conveniences, but it is old and rich in relics associated with its romantic history, much care has been taken in the adding of the new to beautify it, its climate is much more delightful than the others (the mean annual temperature is only 82° F.), and it is also charmingly clean and picturesque. “Who comes to Pará,” runs a local proverb, “is glad to stay; who drinks assai goes never away”—though assai need have no real terrors for that reason. It is nothing more seductive than a most refreshing beverage made from the fruit of the assai palm.
Almost at the very threshold of the city, on the approach from the sea, one encounters some of the wonders in which the region abounds—first the “pororoca,” which is the name originally given by the Indians to the huge waves that are created by the conflict of the descending waters of the river with the inrushing current of the Atlantic and follow each other in series of three or four, with thunderous intonations. For nearly an hour in the progress through the great estuary the conflict can be observed. Then the river seems to prevail; its surface grows more placid, the color changes from the dark hue of the ocean to light green, and, on beyond, to the tawny yellow of the Amazon. Yet they say the ebb and flow of the tide is perceptible as far up as Obydos, 700 miles away, and, when it ebbs, that the tawny yellow can be seen many miles out at sea. Then, scattered about, here, there, and everywhere on the twenty-mile-wide bosom of the Pará, as though in the titanic struggle some larger body had been broken into bits, are hundreds of wooded islands, moist and radiant in the sunlight, their varied greens in delightful contrast with the silvery sheen on the waters and the bright turquoise of the sky.
The city, seen from a distance, with its background of forests and rows of white-walled, red-roofed houses, separated into clusters by the parks and tree-lined avenues sloping down to the shores of its own spacious bay, has the gay, holiday appearance of a summer resort. Only a closer view dispels the illusion, for its harbor is filled with vessels of every size and description, from the little monatrias, or canoes, of the Indians, to the great liners of the Brazilian Lloyd. Its compact business section in the vicinity of the quay, the Custom House and market and the warehouses of the steamship companies present a commercial aspect substantial and busy enough to command the respect even of a Chicagoan or New Yorker. As already stated, more than three fifths of the rubber supply of the world comes from Brazil, and two of these three fifths pass this very port, to say nothing of the cacao, nuts, oils, tobacco, woods, and other things shipped there, or of the importations.
One of the features of a stay in Belém, by the way—that is, for any one interested in seeing how the first crude form of an article so familiar in its finished forms is produced, is a trip to one of the near-by rubber estates. It has not yet been necessary in this section, if anywhere in Brazil, to resort to cultivation to any great extent, and so the huts of the seringueiros (gatherers) are located right in the woods, where the rubber trees grow promiscuously among the others, and each seringueiro is allotted as many as he can attend to. The sap, which resembles milk in color and consistency, is collected in cups placed under incisions in the bark, then brought into camp in bucketfuls and reduced by a primitive process of evaporation to the slabs or cakes forming the raw article of commerce. One does not have to leave Belém itself, however, to see rubber trees and most of the other species, too, for there the people have been generous enough to preserve within the city limits a large tract of primeval forest, which has been cleared of underbrush and converted into a park, known as the Bosque Municipal. Also there is a wonderful botanical garden and a museum where the rarest specimens of the vegetation, and animals and the birds and reptiles of the country are assembled.
And even in the business section there are charming public squares. The one nearest the quay, named for the Bishop Frei Caetano Brandão, whose statue is in the center, is particularly interesting because facing it is a fine old seventeenth-century cathedral of the Portuguese type, massive and grave, an old marine arsenal now used as a hospital, and an ancient fortification, called the Castello, which has been maintained because of its historical associations. Then there is the Praca da Independencia, where the Governor’s Palace is, and a quaint old blue-walled City Hall, built in colonial times for a Portuguese minister, the Marquis de Pombal, who dreamed of the permanent transfer of the seat of the Lusitanian empire to the banks of the Amazon. In the heart of the city, on its most elevated ground, is the celebrated Largo da Polvora, now commonly called the Praca da Republica, after a superb monument it contains—of marble surmounted by figures in bronze, symbolic of the republic proclaimed when the Emperor Dom Pedro was dethroned in the bloodless revolution of 1889. It is from this point that the four principal avenues extend through the city in the cardinal directions.
“The Largo da Polvora,” Arthur Dias pays it the compliment of saying (though this may, perhaps, be rather too enthusiastic), “shames our Avenida da Liberdade in Lisbon; if they could place there the Arc de Triomphe, it would rival the Champs-Elysées.” It may be that for most its fascination lies not so much in its beauty as in its other attractions, for it is the great social and amusement center of a prosperous and pleasure-loving community, the thoroughfare along which the best of its hotels and clubs and the fashionable cafés and concert halls are located and many of its finest residences. It adds the lively mundane touch that is needed to relieve the impressiveness of a region where all nature is so overpoweringly beautiful. In the midst of the gardens, which are separated by luxuriantly shaded streets, is the Theatro da Paz, regarded as one of the best in Latin America, and the Apollo Circus and Paz Carrousel. Near by is the handsome Paz Hotel, with its popular café.
In the evenings, when the cool breeze sets in from the ocean, the whole scene becomes animated. The brilliantly lighted avenues and driveways in the park are thronged with the carriages and motor cars of the “four hundred,” the sidewalks with crowds of pleasure-seekers, cosmopolitan and well dressed. Then the cafés all have out their little zinc tables, jammed with customers of both sexes (these cafés are not mere drinking places, most of them, but a sort of peculiar combination of café, candy store, and ice-cream saloon), dozens of orchestras play, the places of amusement are in full blast, and music and gayety reign supreme.
Because of peculiar economic conditions, the railroads of Brazil, as originally planned, were not intended, like ours, to facilitate commerce among the States, but only for the purpose of bringing the products of the various developed sections of the country to the nearest shipping points. Thus Recife, the seaport of the State of Pernambuco, is the focus of one system, São Salvador da Bahia of another, Rio de Janeiro of a third, Santos, the port of São Paulo, of a fourth, and Porto Alegre, the chief port of Rio Grande do Sul, of a fifth. Not long ago, when these conditions began to undergo radical changes, the government realized the desirability of establishing connections by means of lines running north and south. The Rio de Janeiran system was extended north to the growing port of Victoria, in the neighboring State of Espirito Santo, and connected with the systems of São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul, and in 1910 pushed still farther south into Uruguay, so that by the end of the year it was possible to travel by rail from Victoria to Montevideo, a distance of more than two thousand miles.
The lines north of Victoria, however, have not yet been connected and the nearly twenty-five-hundred-mile journey from Belém to Rio, therefore, must still be made by sea. But, long though the trip is, it is very far from being a monotonous one, if only the tourist has the time to make it on a coastwise steamer that stops at the principal ports of call. São Luiz da Maranhão, “the City of Little Palaces”; Fortaleza, the port of Ceará, regarded as one of the loveliest in Brazil; Pernambuco, with its canals and lagoons and bridges, a city that inspired a famous Brazilian poet to exclaim: “Hail, beautiful land! O Pernambuco, Venice transported to America, floating on the seas!” and terraced, crescent-shaped São Salvador, enthroned on the hills beside its magnificent bay—all these are so interesting that they richly repay a visit. All are older than the oldest English settlement in the northern continent, yet, unlike Jamestown, there is not one of them that has not kept pace with the national progress.
The huge breast of land on which these cities are located, that reaches out in a direct line toward the western extremity of Africa and lies in the track of all ships bound by way of the Atlantic to and from the country south of the equator, is the great sugar, cotton, and tobacco region, and was the first in Brazil to contain a large European population. The French coveted and poached on it and were the first to settle São Luiz in Maranhão; the Dutch seized it in 1630, while Holland was at war with Spain and Portugal and her possessions had fallen under Spanish suzerainty, and held it for twenty-five years in spite of all the Portuguese and Spanish could do, only to be driven out at last by the persistence and courage of the colonists themselves.
It is doubtful whether anywhere else could be found such a mingling of the classic, medieval, and modern in architecture, such quaint old institutions and customs of living in an atmosphere permeated with up-to-date business methods, such strangely attractive displays of primitive ornaments and curios as may be seen in their shops side by side with importations from Paris. In few other places could such results be studied as have come from the process of racial assimilation that has been going on for centuries in the mestizo classes—the Indian by the Caucasian, the African by both; for in Brazil, as in the islands of the Caribbean, immense numbers of blacks were brought over in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries after the enslavement of the Indians had been forbidden. Nor could more cordial courtesy be met with anywhere than that with which one is here treated by all, as a rule, from the highly cultured, thoroughbred Portuguese to the poorest and most illiterate mixed-breed or negro laborer—though this is true of nearly every place in South America.
THE CITY OF BAHIA.
Of all these cities, though, Pernambuco is perhaps the most interesting. After Rio, São Paulo, and Bahia, it is the largest and most important in the country. Its canals and lagoons and handsome bridges, which give it an attractiveness distinct from the others, are accounted for by the fact that the city is divided into sections by the channels of the river at the mouth of which it lies, and a few hundred yards out from the shore is a long reef, running parallel with it, that forms a natural breakwater, which encloses the harbor and protects it from the heavy rollers in time of storm. It is from this reef that the section known as Recife, the old city proper, derives its name.
Recife is the commercial and shipping section now. There is not much to commend it to the sightseer except a few fine old churches and the Praca do Commercio, a place of general resort facing the local Wall Street, where almost every one who is engaged in business down town is to be seen taking a breathing spell at some hour or other during the day. Near by is a large hucksters’ market, which, it must be confessed, serves better than the hotel menu to disclose the peculiarities of the fare with which the denizens of the neighborhood regale themselves. And good fare it is, too, and wonderful to behold—to a northerner unaccustomed to such luxuriance.
The section in which the government buildings and custom house and the principal retail stores, theaters, and places of amusement are to be found is the one called São Antonio, on a large island a little to the southeast. This part of the town is much better built. Many of the old houses, as in Recife, are reminiscent, some of the early Portuguese, others of the Dutch occupation—tall, pointed-roof structures, painted white or pale blue or pink—but the newer ones, and the streets generally, are more sightly and characteristic of the indulgent, easy-going, artistic temperament of the people. The fashionable residence district is called Boa Vista and lies back on the mainland, where the bishop has his palace. Most of the houses here are the charming one-story affairs, surrounded by beautiful gardens, so suited to life in the tropics.
Three or four miles to the north is a suburban section called Olinda, where many of the old families still have their homes. In colonial times, as Dawson tells us, when this part of the country was supplying Europe with nearly all of the sugar it used and the planters were rolling in wealth, this “was the largest town in Brazil and the one where there was the most luxurious living and the most polite society. Great sums were spent in fêtes, religious processions, fairs, and dinners. The simple Jesuit Fathers were shocked to see such velvets and silks, such luxurious beds of crimson damask, such extravagance in the trappings of the saddle horses. Carriages were unknown and, instead, litters and sedan chairs were used, and these remained in common use until very recent times.” Lots of these old houses and customs still exist, and there are many new features of the town that are worth seeing.
São Salvador da Bahia, “where the wicked Brazilian cigars come from,” was the provincial capital once, and the seat of government of the whole Portuguese empire when the King was forced by Napoleon’s aggressions to take refuge in Brazil. Formerly, too, it was the headquarters for diamonds, before the mines in the south and in South Africa were developed. Now it is the capital of the rich Bay State, and is the third of the big cities in point of size and importance—though here the percentage of negro blood is much higher than anywhere else in the country.
Its location is delightfully picturesque, the upper section built on bluffs several hundred feet above the level of the bay, the lower along the shore. In this lower section, behind the docks, are the warehouses and factories, the arsenal and a great lighthouse, and, aside from defensive works of modern type, the old fortifications which the Dutch had made the most formidable in America in colonial times; and on the upper terraces are the Governor’s palace and public buildings, one of the best public libraries in the country, the cathedral and convents, the municipal theater, and the better class of residences and amusement resorts. In general, the streets are much like those of Belém and Pernambuco: paved with cobblestones and narrow in the shopping and café districts, with long white rows of two and three story houses built closely together, many with balconies above the show windows; and the parks are as beautiful and the residences out along the wide, palm-lined driveways are fully as sumptuous.
But, interesting as are all these places, their attractions are fairly dimmed by Rio’s, and especially by her gorgeous bay. From the Guianas to its southernmost boundaries, in fact, Brazil is one grand series of prismatic forests, majestic rivers and cascades, immense rolling plains and mountains—a panorama that is matchless anywhere in the world—but, if I were asked to point out some one feature that was preëminent among them all, I should not hesitate to select that bay. The bay of Naples, the Golden Horn of Constantinople, all those wonderful aspects by the mention of which writers have sought to impress those who have not seen the Rio bay with its grandeur and beauty, can but suffer by the comparison. “Extravagant language must be used in writing of it,” says Burton Holmes, “for there all is extravagance—extravagance of color, extravagance of form.” It is so incomparably sublime, says the Rev. James C. Fletcher, the author of one of the most noted of the descriptions—though no pen or brush could possibly do it justice—that “the first entrance must mark an era in the life of any one. I have seen the rude and ignorant Russian sailor, the immoral and unreflecting Australian adventurer, as well as the refined and cultivated European gentleman, stand silent on the deck, lost in admiration of the gigantic avenue of mountains and palm-covered isles, which, like the granite pillars of the Temple of Luxor, form a fitting colonnade to the portal of the finest bay in the world.”
Entering the outer bay, we see to the left the huge, fantastic figure of Gavia looming up from the shore, rock-capped and bald, and, a little beyond, the more symmetrical crests of the Three Brothers. Just distinguishable, off behind where the city lies, the summit of Corcovado (the Hunchback) appears. On the right are mound-shaped islands called the Father and Mother, that protrude from the water like tops of mountains partially submerged, and, off in the distance, the pinnacles of the Organ group mount higher than all. In the center, on a point jutting out from the mainland, is an isolated peak fifteen hundred feet high, called the Sugar Loaf, that stands like a sentinel guarding the narrow entrance to the harbor. As we draw nearer, the coloring of the mountain sides and shores, only a confusion of vague tints before, grows more and more vivid as the foliage begins to take form, and we see that on the hills above the rocks at the extremities of the peninsulas that extend from either side to form the gateway, are white-walled forts. These are known as São João and Santa Cruz, and, passing through, we are confronted by still another called Lage, midway between but a little beyond. It is steel-clad like a man of war, this one, and frowns down from an island of big rocks, dominating the passage. Once by this, we are in the harbor itself.
Just within are shapely arms of the bay, Botafogo on the Rio side and Jurujuba on the other, that sweep around in wide, graceful curves to two other and much larger peninsulas opposite, like those of São João and Santa Cruz; and on one of them, the one to the left, is the old or commercial district of the national capital, on the other the pretty little city of Nictheroy, the capital of the State of Rio de Janeiro—for the city of Rio is the national capital and located in a separate federal district, like our city of Washington. Above these larger peninsulas the water broadens to a vast expanse, a sort of inland sea. Inclosing it like a wall, and on beyond as far as the eye can reach, stretch the serried peaks of the Coast Range.
Everywhere, bathed in the intense golden sunlight, are the same gradations of green, the same riot of brilliantly colored flowers, that we saw on the Amazon—only here the water is not muddy but deep blue, and the beaches are lined with almost snow-white sand. Then, as we steam slowly across to the anchorage, which lies over between the Villegagnon and Cobra islands near the quay, we have the first view of the city, dense in the center where it covers the peninsula, and stretching along the shore and here and there back between the foothills, for miles and miles to the north and south. The roofs of the houses are tiled in reds and browns; the walls are cream or rose-tinted or else dazzling white. “It looks like a fragment of fairy-land,” as Curtis expresses it—“a cluster of alabaster castles decorated with vines.”
Perhaps I ought to give warning that some of the writers on Brazil, after going into raptures over the scene in the bay, express themselves very differently respecting the experience on entering the city. That same Mr. Curtis, for instance, goes on to say that “the streets are narrow, damp, dirty, reeking with repulsive odors and filled with vermin-covered beggars and wolfish-looking dogs.” But he was writing of experiences encountered many years ago, before the reforms and improvements were undertaken, which, when completed, will have cost some sixty millions of dollars. It is still true, no doubt, that in the commercial district several of the ugly old sections remain, where there are narrow, tortuous streets and dingy warehouses, ship-chandleries, saloons and stores that cater to the stevedore class of trade, such as there are in all great shipping centers as old and as busy as Rio, and of course there are the districts in which the lowest classes foregather. But since he and Dr. Fletcher wrote their books, the old passenger landing place called the Pharoux quay has been transformed into a handsome square; adorned with gardens and a big bronze fountain; hills have been leveled to permit extensions and relieve the congestion; literally thousands of marshy, mosquito-breeding places have been filled in and reclaimed; a fine drainage canal has been constructed, an adequate sewerage system installed, and a system of masonry docks is nearing completion that will rival the celebrated docks of Santos and Buenos Aires; some of the streets have been broadened and more have been repaved, and the sanitary conditions and healthfulness generally have been so improved that yellow fever is a thing of the past.
Besides all this, many magnificent new government buildings have been erected, notably the Congressional Palace on Tiradentes Square. The estimated cost of this building alone was $15,000,000 and it is proudly claimed to be one of the finest in South America; also the Palace of the Supreme Court, of rose-tinted stone and marble, with bronze ornamentations, and the Post Office and Mint, National Printing Office and National Library, all of great architectural beauty, and the City Hall and Municipal Theater. This last is an ornate, high-domed marble and stone structure of Moorish design that cost $5,000,000 to build. And, to facilitate traffic, a superb hundred-and-fifty-foot wide avenue, the Avenida Central, has been constructed clear across the business section of the city for a mile or more, opening a vista from bay to bay. To do this more than six hundred houses had to be purchased and torn down; they have been replaced by others of a pleasing general uniformity and elegance of appearance, of which any city in Europe or America might well be proud. The Jornal do Commercio building, for example, looks more like one of our fashionable metropolitan hotels or apartment houses, than a business establishment. The sidewalks are paved with mosaics and kept perfectly clean.
BAY AND CITY OF RIO DE JANEIRO FROM SUMMIT OF CORCOVADO.
Beginning at the southern end of this avenue and following the contour of the shore past the elegant residence districts of Gloria and Flamengo, they have constructed an esplanade a mile long, called the Avenida Beira Mar, and, farther on, around the exquisite inlet of Botafogo, where some of the handsomest of the residences are, have converted the semicircular beach into a still lovelier avenue, adorned with alternate rows of trees and arc lights like the other, and flower beds and formal lawns. Unless it is the more comprehensive one from the top of Corcovado, there is no more enchanting view than that of this whole ensemble from the Morro da Viuva at the northern end of the semicircle, especially looking straight across at the hills on the opposite side, where the rose-tinted buildings of the Military School nestle in the green depths of a rocky cleft, with the Sugar Loaf towering behind.
And then, up near the business section again, there is the Paseio Publico, with its park and lakes and broad waterside terrace overlooking the whole southern part of the harbor, and the naval barracks and fortifications on historic Villegagnon, quite close at this point. It was here that the adventurer for whom it is named made the first attempt at colonizing the neighborhood: with a party of Huguenots sent over by Admiral Coligny to escape religious persecutions in France and to found a place of refuge for those of the Protestant faith. The Paseio Publico is regarded by many as the most charming of the parks, but there are lots of these beautiful spots. One of them, the Botanical Garden, which is larger and more complete than the one in Belém, is known the world over from the thousands of pictures that have been published of its magnificent avenue of royal palms. Few visit Rio without going there; and now that a good cog-wheel railroad has been built from one of the trolley lines up to the summit of Corcovado, the whole mountain side has become a wildwood park. With reference to the view from the summit, I cannot resist quoting from Arthur Ruhl, who describes it so delightfully.
“The Corcovado is a rock jutting over the trees,” he says, “so sheer that you look down on Rio and the blue harbor as from a balloon—down two thousand feet of velvet green descents to the terra cotta roofs and sun-washed walls and the wheel-spoke streets like lines on a map. Not one of our smoke hives, but a city of villas and palms and showering vines and flowers, meandering about over the foothills, immersed in the blazing sun. The cool, laughing sea envelops it—blue, and bluer yet in the sun; and, all about in it, islands—agate in turquoise—jut out as though the gods had tossed a handful in the water. It is, as I heard an American say of the backward look toward Rio as the train climbs to Petropolis, as though one had been taken up into the mountains to see the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them.” Petropolis, though, is not simply another viewpoint, but one of the loveliest of the suburban mountain cities, where the late Emperor lived, surrounded by the ambassadors and ministers of the foreign countries and the nobility and aristocracy of the old régime. It is still the home of the diplomatic corps, and the most fashionable of the suburbs.
Do not imagine for a moment, however, that the pleasures of a visit to Rio are limited to such things. Like all cities of its respectable age and size—for it has almost, if not quite, reached the million mark now—it has its antiquities and places of historical interest, its museums, art galleries, libraries, statues and churches (the paintings and decorations in the beautiful Candelaria Church are the richest in South America), and its theaters and amusement resorts of every description; and, down town in that same commercial part that Mr. Curtis scored so heavily, is the noisy, vivacious old Rua do Ouvidor, of all things Rio de Janeiran the one that possesses the most individuality, the place where everybody who is anybody is to be seen. It is only about twenty feet wide—just think of it, the “Broadway” of a great city like Rio!—so narrow and crowded that vehicles are not allowed to go through at certain hours of the day, but most of the old somber Portuguese-style buildings have been replaced by modern ones, and what it lacks in width is compensated for by the attractiveness of the stores and cafés.
AVENUE OF ROYAL PALMS, RIO BOTANICAL GARDENS.
AVENIDA CENTRAL, RIO DE JANEIRO.
These cafés, principally devoted to the service of the demi tasse, are everywhere in Brazil, but here particularly they are the rendezvous for the official, military, professional and more prosperous commercial classes, who drop in at all hours to talk things over to the music of the orchestra—everything from business, religion and politics to the idlest society gossip—only they sip coffee, for the most part, instead of highballs and beer. And such coffee! A North American never realizes what a perfectly delectable flavor coffee really is capable of, how deliciously rich and sirupy it is when brewed by those who know how, until he has drunk it in the Orient or down there in Brazil.
There was a time, and not so very long ago, when these crowds along the Rua do Ouvidor were all of one sex. The ladies of the upper classes—when they went shopping at all, instead of simply having samples sent to their houses to choose from—remained in their carriages while the shopkeepers brought out to them for their inspection the various qualities of such articles as were desired; but this old world idea of seclusion, like many others at the capital, has given way to more advanced ones now. Brazilian metropolitan womanhood is beginning to awaken and follow the general trend toward emancipation. In these days ladies not only appear on the streets and go from shop to shop on foot, as do the ladies of our cities, but drop in at certain unexceptionable cafés for luncheon, or perhaps at a matinée or some moving picture show, unattended by their husbands or fathers or brothers. The Avenida, Saturday afternoons when the weather is pleasant, reminds one of a Parisian boulevard, so densely is it thronged with smartly gotten up promenaders and so well patronized are the little sidewalk tables under the awnings in front of the cafés. Needless to say, on these occasions the ladies do graciously suffer the attendance of their admirers or the male members of their families.
“‘Superb’ is the word that best fits the beautiful Brazilian woman,” no less an authority than Burton Holmes enthusiastically declares. “‘Striking’ is the word that best describes her dress.” Then, referring to their appearance at the opera: “The belles of Rio seem to have taken the styles of Paris and given to them a strange, exotic something that makes the toilettes seen at the Municipal Theater far more striking and effective than those at the Paris opera,” he goes on. “Mere man cannot say in what the difference lies, but the fact remains that while the gowns may have been made, or at least designed, in Paris, they are not Parisian; they are instead pronouncedly Brazilian. The men, too, deserve a word of mention, for they are very well-dressed men, much better dressed than the men of Paris or of Lisbon—all of course in evening dress, all looking as if they were accustomed to wearing it. The women in the boxes retain their hats. The men might as well retain theirs, for they are quite invisible behind the massed millinery of their fair companions.”
Rio, of course, has all the up-to-date public utilities—electric street-car lines, lights, telephones, taxicabs and the rest; but, as Arthur Ruhl so aptly puts it, “Before the things seen and heard and vaguely felt,” in this city of such strange, peculiar charm, “the endless procession of vague, unrelated things that baffle and allure—semi-antique humans living languidly in the midst of a sun-drenched nature, which, by its very luxuriance, might seem to have overpowered them—Latin sensibility tinged with African superstition—negro coachmen in top-boots, such as Puss-in-Boots might have worn—dusky, velvet-eyed donzellas—palms, blazing walls and indigo sea—one loses interest in railroads and power plants and the things we do better at home. Brazilians must interest themselves in such things, for therein lies their salvation. If I seem to neglect them, it is because it seems absurd to visit a conservatory full of orchids and spend one’s time seeing how the steam-pipes are put in. By the same token,” he adds—
“There is a certain mellowed dignity in the Brazilian scene—the natural inheritance of the empire, and doubtless, also, a reaction of race and climate—lacking in the more energetic Argentina. It was only in 1889 that good Dom Pedro—that kindly, cultured, old-school gentleman—was dethroned and shipped off to Portugal. It is only since 1887 that the negroes ceased to be slaves. Brazil’s foremost statesman, the big, able Minister of Foreign Affairs, who, as he moved amongst his slender Caribbean brethren at the 1906 conference, looked like the senior partner of some old firm of Wall Street bankers, is still called ‘Baron’ Rio Branco. You can still see in Petropolis the house of the Princess Regent and her husband, the Conde d’Eu, overgrown somewhat with vegetation and buried in somber shades. Rio’s great public library was started by King João VI himself when the Portuguese court was transferred to Brazil in 1808.
“There is still a suggestion of the old world and grand manner. They have their Academy of Forty Immortals; their politicians are often pleased to practice the politer arts. Senhor Joahim Nabuco, who presided at the conference, has written his ‘Pensées.’ These littérateurs may be, as Senhor Bomfim suggests in ‘A America Latina,’ ‘inveterate rhetoricians whose abundant works are taken as a proof of genius.’ Yet at least they have a certain way with them. Pompous, grave, they go through the solemn motions. In spite of the vast majority who neither read nor write, Brazilians of the upper class are probably more ‘cultured,’ in the narrow literary sense of the word, than our average man of the same class at home. They speak and write French as a matter of course in addition to their own language, and most of them make fair headway with English. They enjoy and encourage music and painting and poetry. Opera not only comes to Rio each winter as it does to Buenos Aires, but they have their National Institute of Music and their native composers, one of whom especially, the late Carlos Gomez, has heard his operas successfully produced in Europe. They have their National Academy of Fine Arts and a gallery which, I am sure, is visited and appreciated more than the really excellent one tucked away upstairs in Buenos Aires’ Calle Florida.”
As already said, from Rio one may go to São Paulo, the second largest—and, with the exception of Rio, the most important—city in the country, by railroad, and almost as comfortably, too, as one may travel from New York to Chicago. The city of São Paulo is the capital of the State of that name, the great land of coffee, the land in fact that produces more than half of all the coffee grown in Brazil, and Brazil as a whole produces more than three-fourths of all that the world consumes. The city has a population of about 350,000, and is located in the mountains, about forty miles back from the coast and three thousand feet above the level of the sea. It is connected by railroad with Santos, its seaport, where the best docks in the country are now. These two cities, though founded in early colonial times, are not quite as interestingly characteristic as Rio and the others that have been mentioned, for they are far enough south to be in the temperate zone, and have, therefore, attracted a very much larger foreign element, particularly German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. There are not so many negroes and mixed breeds among the laboring classes, and their institutions, business methods and social life more nearly resemble our own; and, as a consequence, they have certainly not been behind the rest of Brazil in development. As in Rio, enormous sums have recently been spent for sanitation, public buildings, and improvements.
São Paulo has thus been transformed into one of the most healthful cities in the world, and one of the handsomest. Its climate, uniformly mild like that of southern Europe, has never left anything to be desired—except, perhaps, snow and ice, if there are among the residents there any homesick northerners who prefer the sharper seasonal contrasts to which they are accustomed. The site is too near the tropics and the mountains are not high enough for freezing cold, yet so high that the air has a bracing, invigorating quality. As Senator Root declared when he was visiting the country: “There is something in the air of São Paulo that makes strong and vigorous men.” Their strength and vigor are not attributable, however, to the climate alone. It is an inheritance. The early Paulistas were of the sturdiest type, men who were compelled to maintain themselves and extend and defend their possessions by fighting and the hardest kind of work—an instance, they were, of the survival of the fittest. It is small wonder that their descendants, with their rich heritage of health and vitality and traditions, and their enormously productive lands, should be distinguished for their enterprise as well as for their wealth and social and intellectual culture. In political and educational progress they have always been prominent.
A splendid monument to their patriotism and enterprise is Ypiranga, a great building of classic design, erected on the site of the proclamation of independence on a hill overlooking the city, and intended both to commemorate the event and to be used as an institution of learning. Among other interesting things, it contains a remarkable museum. They have a polytechnic school in the city that is the pride of the whole country, and the graduates of which are in demand everywhere because of the particularly efficient system of training; an institution known as the Lyceum of Arts and Crafts, devoted to the practical instruction of the artisan classes, which graduates skilled workmen by the hundreds every year; and an excellently equipped normal school that occupies a whole square, facing the Praca de Republica—these in addition to primary institutions and conventional colleges and law and medical schools, that are attended by students from all over Brazil.
There is even a well-patronized non-sectarian North American institution, known as the Mackenzie College, which has been in existence for thirty-five years or more, and, of all surprising things—and this is only one of many indications of the liberal catholicism of their views respecting other religious beliefs, notwithstanding the fact that, as everywhere else in South America, Roman Catholicism is the religion of the state—an Episcopal seminary, conspicuously located in a beautiful building opposite the Jardim Publico. By mentioning particularly these institutions, I do not mean to imply that there are not excellent educational facilities elsewhere in Brazil—especially, of course, in Rio—but the people of São Paulo seem to devote more attention to education than in the other parts of the country and the percentage of illiteracy there, among the people as a whole, appears to be much smaller.
The Governor’s Palace and the principal office buildings of the administration are located around two large squares, one called the Largo de Palacio, the other the Praca Municipal, in the heart of the city. Several of them are spacious, imposing-looking buildings of stone and marble that compare favorably with those of the national government at Rio; all are in keeping with the importance of the city and State—particularly their superb big theater, which is another of those surprisingly costly and attractive places of amusement maintained by the municipality that one sees so many of in South America. The streets in the Triangle, as the commercial district is called, are crowded and busy. There is an air of briskness about them that is refreshing—although many of the busiest are narrow and unattractive in appearance, this being the old part of the town.
Even the Rua São Bento, the principal shopping street, is not much wider than the Rua do Ouvidor in Rio; but from this district a viaduct eight hundred feet long and fifty wide leads to the new parts, where there are broad, handsomely built-up avenues and shaded promenades, detached houses of modern type, surrounded by gardens, and an atmosphere of ease as well as luxury, as in the less bustling cities to the north. The Avenida Paulista is charming. There are few handsomer thoroughfares in America, either North or South, than this—and it is the common boast that along the Rua des Palmeiras, their most fashionable residence street, and in certain of the suburbs, the palatial homes of their millionaires are unrivaled in Brazil.
The great coffee port of Santos, once numbered among the dread homes of Yellow Jack, but now as healthful as any port in the tropics, is only sixty or seventy miles away by railroad—an excellently equipped road that runs down the slope from the mountain range to the coast over a route strikingly rich in scenic effects and grand views. The city, which has a population of about sixty thousand, is situated on the western shore of a landlocked bay connected with the ocean by a narrow but deep riverlike channel, ten miles long and flanked, like the city itself, by picturesque hills. The streets are well paved and clean, the residence section and suburbs attractive, and a narrow-gauge railroad affords an opportunity for an enjoyable trip to a seaside resort near by, where there are good surf-bathing and plenty of places of amusement.
It is said that more than 10,000,000 bags of coffee, each weighing 132 pounds, are shipped from this port every year. The extensive system of masonry docks and cranes is famous for its efficiency and is the best in South America next to that in Buenos Aires. The big steamers and sailing vessels lying broadside to these docks and anchored in the broad harbor, the custom house and warehouses facing the quay, the groups of dealers and agents standing bargaining out in front, the sailors scurrying about, the heavy teams heaped up with sacks of coffee, the long lines of negro stevedores, each with a bag or two balanced on his head, carrying them aboard the ships, all working in the blazing sun in this labyrinth of white-walled streets, with their background of green hills and blue water, make up a scene that is both lively and bizarre.
The custom of coffee drinking is relatively of rather recent development among peoples of Europe and their descendants in America. For some reason, for a long time after it made its way west from Arabia and Turkey, it was under the ban of the church. Maybe this was because of its Mohammedan origin. It was not until 1652 that the first house that made a specialty of serving coffee was opened in London, and about the same time it was introduced in France. From then on it has spread until the amount now consumed the world over is simply enormous, especially in the United States, where we take somewhere near half of all that is grown. At first it came only from northern Africa, Arabia, and Turkey; then the Dutch began experimenting and succeeded in cultivating it in Java, and the French in the West Indies. For a while these were the principal sources of supply. The story goes that in 1760 a Portuguese, João Alberto Castello Branco, planted a bush in Rio, and from that small start, thanks to her peculiarly favorable soil and climate, Brazil soon outstripped the others and took the lead. And it is in these uplands of the State of São Paulo that more than half of all of this enormous amount of coffee that is consumed in the world to-day is produced. There are between fifteen and twenty thousand cafezals, or plantations, employing hundreds of thousands of laborers, and some of the plantations are so vast that they grow millions of trees. Here it is that most of the immigrants flock. There is a million of Italians alone.
COFFEE PLANTATION, BRAZIL.
The general contour of the country is not flat but rolling. In great patches the bushy little trees cover the hills and valleys in long, parallel rows, from six to eight feet high, for they are kept pruned to a certain height to facilitate cultivation. The leaves are dark green and glossy, somewhat resembling myrtle, only not so dry and thick; the flowers are white and grow in clusters from the axils of the branches; the fruit, when ripe, is about the size of and resembles a dark red cherry, and grows in clusters, like the flowers, and the air is fragrant with perfume. No more beautiful sight could be imagined than one of these plantations in full bloom. Each of the red berries contains two coffee beans, embedded in a yellowish, sweetish pulp. The bean, in its natural shape, is convex on one side and flat on the other. As sold on the market, with the shell, pulp and skin removed by a mechanical process that requires an expensive outfit of machinery, the product is the result of a development in agricultural methods that is not surpassed in the wheat industry of Argentina or our own country, and which is very far ahead of that of the rubber industry in the north. It is said that no new trees have been planted since 1903 because the production has been so great that the government has thought best to restrict it until the demand shall once more have equaled the supply. The reverse of this condition has existed for several years.
The neighbors of the Paulistas in the State of Rio Grande do Sul are principally engaged (with Paraguay) in supplying the twenty or more millions of consumers in South America and growing numbers elsewhere, with the leaves from which the beverage is made that is known as yerba maté, or Paraguay tea, which those who drink it contend has all the stimulating and nourishing qualities of the tea we use, but none of its injurious effects. Next to coffee and rubber, this is the greatest of Brazil’s sources of revenue. These southerners also raise cattle and sheep on a large scale—though not yet sufficiently large for export—and do a good deal of canning and manufacturing. Their principal seaport, Porto Alegre (Smiling Port), has a population of nearly 150,000, and, as in Pernambuco and Rio, and all the big coast cities in fact, extensive harbor improvements are under way. This city too is to have a system of masonry docks and hoisting machinery and new warehouses along the quay. A few miles north, and connected with Porto Alegre by railroad, is São Leopoldo, the port of a large German colony that was founded in the State nearly a hundred years ago.
From Rio it is possible also to go by railroad to Bello Horizonte, the remarkable capital of Minas Geraes, the most densely populated of all the Brazilian States. This city is unique in that it did not have its beginning in the usual way and get itself chosen as the capital; it was built only a few years ago on a previously unoccupied site for the very purpose, and at a cost, for only the buildings owned by the government, of more than $30,000,000. It is located in a lovely, wooded, farm-dotted valley, through the length of which flows a river, interrupted at intervals by cascades. Near the city, both sides of the stream have been converted into a delightful park. One of the avenues that run through the center of the city is named for its founder, Affonso Penna, and is a hundred and fifty feet wide and shaded by three rows of trees. The hotels are comfortable, train service good, and the journey through a country of beautiful scenery and interesting people and towns.
This is the great mining State of Brazil. Of it Marie Robinson Wright says: “Few countries can boast of such an abundance and variety of mineral resources as Minas Geraes, which derives its name, signifying General Mines, from the industry that gave it existence, and which owes to this principal attraction the preponderance of its population.” Gold was not discovered during the first two hundred years after settlement had been begun by the Portuguese, but, when it was at last discovered, the yield was very great. In 1792 the amount registered in Rio—and this record, of course, was incomplete—was 360,000 pounds in weight. An English authority has estimated the total output up to within recent years at £200,000,000 sterling. “Of all the fabulous tales related of bonanza princes,” Mrs. Wright goes on to say, “the palm for extravagance belongs to the history of the early mining days in Brazil, when horses were shod with gold, when lawyers supported their pleadings before judges with gifts of what appeared at first sight to be the choicest oranges and bananas, but proved to be solid gold imitations, when guests were entertained at dinner by the discovery of gold pebbles in their soup instead of grains of corn, when nuggets were the most convenient means of exchange in the money market;” but here, as in some of our own mining regions, with the gradual exhaustion of the surface deposits and the impossibility of continuing by primitive methods, mining came to be more and more neglected. Modern methods and machinery are once more bringing the industry into prominence, and a considerable amount of gold is even now being taken out by the few companies that have already installed up-to-date plants.
The diamond mines in the neighborhood of the old town of Diamantina (also easily accessible by rail) have been famous since the first discoveries were made in 1727. In these parts several of the most valuable gems in the world are said to have been found—for instance, the Braganza, the richest of the Crown jewels of Portugal, the Regent, named in honor of Dom João VI, the Estrella do Sul (Star of the South), that weighed a hundred and twenty-five carats after lapidation and was purchased by the Rajah of Baroda, it is said, for $15,000,000, and the Dresden, which weighed sixty-five carats after lapidation and was also bought by an Indian prince. For many years, until the South African mines came into competition, this was the chief source of the world’s supply. The country is also rich in amethysts, tourmalines, topazes and aquamarines. The State of Bahia is still the principal source of the black diamond, known as the carbonado. The largest carbonado known was found there in 1835. It weighed 3150 carats.
No nation of the southern continent is better qualified than Argentina to rebuke the stupid jest that refers to the Latin-American countries as opera bouffe republics. It has a domain one-third the size of the United States, or as large as the territory lying east of the Mississippi, with Texas added, stretching from tropic heat to antarctic cold, and possessing a frontage on the Atlantic as extensive as our own coast line from Portland, Maine, to Key West, Florida. It has over 500,000,000 acres of its 1,135,840 square miles of area available for the cultivation of life-sustaining products and distributed over vast, treeless, well-watered plains, every one of which is easily accessible to the seaboard with the simplest of railway construction. These plains have no such natural obstructions to transportation as our Alleghanies or Rockies, and have for their produce a much shorter haul to the European world of consumers.
Argentina has the further advantage of over 18,000 miles of up-to-date railways radiating from its port cities, and five river systems, one of which, La Plata, the outlet for the waters of the Paraná and Uruguay, is second only to the Amazon among the world’s great rivers. It is 180 miles wide at its mouth, and pours into the Atlantic a flood greater by eighty per cent. than that cast by the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico.
The timber regions of the country are rich in structural and cabinet woods. It has a grazing industry that ranks second only to Australia in sheep, second only to the United States in cattle, and second only to the United States and Russia in horses. In 1910 it exported to Europe 190,430 live animals and $130,000,000 worth of frozen beef, mutton, pork, hides, and other animal products. Its total foreign commerce amounted to $702,664,810 in value. It has an agricultural output that places it in the first rank of exporters of maize and linseed, second to Russia in the export of wheat, and among the leaders in corn, a soil that can grow still greater quantities of sugar, tobacco, rice, alfalfa, grapes, fruits, yerba maté (Paraguay tea), olives, corn, barley, and oats, besides medicinal, textile, and tinctorial plants, enabling her to export more foodstuffs, including meats and grains, than any other nation on the globe—a productiveness so great that farms are measured in some sections by the square league, instead of by the paltry acre, as with us, and grains are sold by the metric ton of 2205 pounds, instead of by the bushel. Its mountains contain profitably workable deposits of gold, silver, and copper, and oil has been found in paying quantities.
It has a metropolis and seaport (its capital, Buenos Aires) reckoned as the second Latin city in the world, possessing a population of over a million and a quarter, and adorned with buildings, parks, surface improvements, and evidences of wealth and culture that stamp it as one of the finest cities of the Western Hemisphere.
It has a stable and enlightened government, constituted on the same general plan as our own, and advancing rapidly to a near approximation to our own in efficiency. It has a history rich, in its later years, in traditions of statesmanship and patriotism, bearing on its roll of honor the names of such statesmen, soldiers, educators, and executives as Belgrano, San Martín, Alvear, Puyrredón, Rivadavia, Mitré, and Sarmiento, names worthy of special reverence among a people familiar with the standards set by Washington and Lincoln. In a word, with all this material greatness, and such a record of energetic and enlightened adaptation to world progress, Argentina may, in the not distant future, turn the jest against its northern perpetrators; for a country with a population of seven millions, which could feed two hundred million people and give lodging to half that number, is a competitor to be reckoned with seriously in the struggle for commercial supremacy.
Such, then, is the country of superlatives that opens up before the visitor who enters at its gateway, Buenos Aires, and breathes in the wholesome, equable breezes from the pampas—the vast green plains that stretch away for hundreds of miles in three directions; he agrees at once that the City of Good Airs was well named by Pedro de Mendoza when he planted his ill-fated settlement on its site in 1535.
It is to be regretted that this wide-awake, rapidly growing community buys so much more largely in the European markets than ours. In 1910, of the total amount they paid for imports ($351,770,056), our share was only $48,418,892. But then, as they point out, they are our competitors in the markets of Europe. Their cereals and beef and hides and wool have no place in the United States, a country that produces and exports the same things, and they manufacture no articles that we want; so it is only fair that they should deal with those who buy of them. When it came to a question of who should build their last two big battleships, however, they did favor our shipyards with the contracts. Both of these are of the super-dreadnought type and have already been launched.
The Parisian is pleased to say, “Paris is France”; with even greater significance may the Buenos Airean say that Buenos Aires is Argentina. Out of his pride in his great city, the Porteño will tell one that Argentina really has but two parts, as a matter of fact: the one, Buenos Aires; the other—all the rest of the country—called El Campo (the Camp), regardless that he includes in this sweeping assertion such other railroad centers and ports as Rosario, La Plata, Paraná, Tucumán, Córdoba, or Bahia Blanca—all of them cities exceeding fifty thousand in population and one of them, Rosario, exceeding one hundred thousand. And, indeed, the Bonarenses may well be proud of their metropolis. One-fifth of the country’s inhabitants is absorbed into its teeming life of industry and luxury; it is the crystallization of all that this modernized young giant stands for in the world of commerce; it is the greatest Spanish-speaking city in the world.
Its dominant position was not achieved, however, without years of contention with other centers of industry in the country. During the three hundred years of Spain’s stifling economic policies in this, once the agricultural unit of her golden empire, Argentina made small progress. The settlements founded in Santiago (1553), in Tucumán (1565), and in Córdoba and Santa Fé (1573), by the immigration of Spaniards from Peru, Chile, and the early settlement of Buenos Aires, all led an isolated and neglected existence during the colonial period up to the year 1776, when Spain, awakened from her dream of endless mineral riches in South America to a realization of the importance of the fertile country of La Plata, and erected it into a separate viceroyalty, independent of the Viceroyalty of Peru. The viceroys, freed from the poisoning influence of Andean gold lust, did much to develop a sense of nationalism among the scattered agricultural centers. With the growth of this nationalism, the protests against Spain’s repression increased until 1810, when the people asserted their right to an unrestricted, independent national life. May twenty-fifth of that year is their Fourth of July, and is perpetuated to-day in the name of the superb Avenida de Mayo in their capital city.
During the formative period that followed, Argentine politics revolved chiefly about the question of Unitarianism or Federalism—whether the rich and progressive province at the gateway of the nation (Buenos Aires) should form a separate unit of government, or remain part of a confederation and be accorded the leading rôle in national affairs that its importance merited. In 1862 federalism prevailed and the integrity of the Argentine Republic was assured, under the presidency of General Mitré. The capital was later removed from Santa Fé to Buenos Aires and the latter city erected into a federal district (of some seventy square miles) somewhat similar to our own District of Columbia. The capital of the Province of Buenos Aires, however, is La Plata, a few miles distant from the national capital, on the shores of the great river.
This period marks the beginning of the real history of the Argentine nation. Under the enlightened statesmanship of Bartolomé Mitré and Sarmiento, the two chief figures in Argentina’s rapid development from this point, the great influx of British and German capital began. Immigration was encouraged for the working of the fields; a solid foundation was given to educational development; railroads were constructed, and the machinery of government made adequate to the vigorous strides of the solidified nation. In the short space of time that has passed since 1881, over two billions of dollars of British and German gold have been invested; some eighteen thousand miles of well-equipped railways have been constructed, almost wholly by English capital; immigration has doubled the population of the country so that now half its present inhabitants are foreign-born—during the last ten years alone two millions have come in—and a thorough system of education has been perfected, embracing, among all sorts of primary, military, and industrial institutions, three great universities, one of which, at Buenos Aires, graduated over five thousand young men last year and, with the University of Córdoba (founded in 1613), ranks with Harvard and Yale. In 1910 they celebrated the centennial anniversary of their independence with a superb industrial exposition that was a revelation even to themselves, and festivities that are said to have cost $20,000,000.
The city of Buenos Aires has not the picturesque environment that adds so much to the natural beauty of the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Mexico, nor the harbor capacity of New York; nor are its culture and civic personality, perhaps, as deep-rooted as in Boston; it makes little pretension to the aristocracy of blood boasted by the still essentially Spanish Lima; nor has it yet attained such distinction as a national center of art, literature, and music as has the Brazilian capital. It may be best compared with Chicago, for it is conspicuously modern, its present development having been begun and achieved within the last quarter of a century, although the city itself is nearly four hundred years old, and is the industrial complement of an agricultural and pastoral activity even greater than that of our Middle West. Indeed, its banks and clearing houses are said to transact quite as much business as those of Chicago.
The docks of Buenos Aires, like those of our great lake city, are most impressive; they represent an outlay of $50,000,000. Only fifteen years ago the visitor was bundled ashore in a rowboat and deposited on a marshy beach. Now his vessel enters one of the numerous basins of the vast dock system and confronts row upon row of massive masonry and cement wharves, behind which spreads a network of railway lines. In the background are public gardens with flowering bushes and statuary to beautify the approach to the city. For mile after mile, flanked by a seemingly endless procession of great trans-Atlantic ships and up-river produce boats, these docks stretch their length, not in a series of slips, as along the congested waterfront in New York, but so arranged that the vessels can moor broadside to them and have their cargoes loaded or unloaded by enormous traveling cranes; and, without, lying at anchor in the river awaiting their turn for a berth, are many more—for this giant enterprise, with towering grain elevators and a veritable forest of powerful cranes, already fails entirely to satisfy present needs. They are not only to be extended but so enlarged that they will accommodate vessels of the heaviest draft.
Not even the New York wharves with their vast commerce give such a picture of vivid bustle. The big German “Cap” boats—Cap Ortegal, Cap Frio, and the rest; French, Spanish, and Italian liners with champagne, aperitives, opera companies, automobiles and immigrants—always immigrants; Newcastle freighters unloading bolted sections of steel bridges; up-river boats laden with yerba maté or fragrant oranges from Paraguay, and the aristocrats of these seas, the Royal Mails from England—all contribute to the pell-mell, reminding one of the blurred babel of tongues that whispers across the decks of the world’s ships in the drowsy passage through the Suez Canal.
And, parenthetically, a most telling commentary on our indifference to Argentine possibilities lies in the fact that of the many thousand vessels that transferred cargoes at these docks in 1910, only four bore the stars and stripes; whereas, prior to our Civil War (which, of course, absorbed our merchant marine)—in 1852—there were in the harbor of Buenos Aires six hundred vessels flying our flag, or more than double the number from all other nations combined. In those days the influence of our people over the commerce of the southern half of South America was predominant. A Pennsylvanian, William Wheelright, was looked upon as its father.
On leaving the docks and driving up into the city, the visitor is at once impressed with the fact that Buenos Aires is not so wholly wrapped up in the purely material as is our commercial center on Lake Michigan. It has broadened along more æsthetic lines and is cultivating the graces, not alone the sordid features, of cosmopolitanism. In the newer parts, particularly in the fashionable suburb of Belgrano, the buildings and shaded boulevards and beautifully landscaped parks resemble rather those of Paris; although it is not behind our own big cities in public utilities. Even in the business district there are no skyscrapers or elevated railroads to disturb the harmony of the architectural scheme; not even the usual promiscuous, blatant advertising posters are permitted to be displayed until they have been censored by the proper official, and when approved they are affixed to ornamentally tinted and paneled billboards, erected for the purpose. So keen, indeed, are the Bonarenses to enhance the beauty of their city that a prize is offered each year for the handsomest structure to be erected. And yet there is much that is possessed of the charm of antiquity. The occasional glimpses of blossoms and foliage one gets through doorways opening into the courtyards, or patios, of the old Spanish houses is most refreshing in the midst of so much that is modern.
It is from Paris, too, that they have acquired their culture, and their taste in dress and amusements and in literature and art. They buy their clothes in Paris and sip their French liqueurs in the cafés in true Parisian style, and they are entertained by opera and comedy companies from the best Parisian theaters. They have absorbed into their city life an Italian colony that exceeds in numbers the population of Genoa, and more Spaniards than could be crowded into Toledo, besides a multitude of British and Germans and a goodly sprinkling from the rest of Europe, and even Asia. Having taken so much from France and Italy, and being Spanish in descent and in speech, the overtone of the city is distinctly Latin, while their industrial and governmental institutions bear the mark of the Anglo-Saxon. Next to the Italian and Spanish, the British colony is the largest. Then follow the German and the French. The North Americans are small in number; less than three hundred responded to a recent effort to organize a North American Society.
The Bonarenses, however, like the denizens of the Camp, are intensely patriotic and passionately insist upon a recognition of their own distinct personalities. They are the Porteños of the great Argentine nation. Nor do they and their compatriots throughout the country welcome the inference that they are Spanish; they are Argentine. One asks a child of the streets whether he speaks Spanish or Italian. He answers haughtily (in the former language): “At home we all talk Argentine.” Strangely enough, their jingoism is not offensive; it is displayed with an amiable candor that is quite disarming. Not satisfied with being Argentine from top to toe, they seek to Argentinize even the transient guest. The rabid Argentinism of the Porteño, and his success in amalgamating the kaleidoscopic horde of Europeans and Asiatics living in his city, is illustrated by the answer of another youthful immigrant who, unable to deny that he was born in Genoa, murmured apologetically, “I was so little.”
COLÓN THEATER, BUENOS AIRES.
FEDERAL CAPITOL, BUENOS AIRES.
One of their leading daily newspapers, La Prensa, which has the handsomest newspaper building in existence, displays its patriotism by devoting a large part of its home to public uses. At its own expense it provides physicians and a consulting room, where the poor can have medical attention free, a law office where those who cannot afford to pay for it can have legal advice, an excellent museum of the manufactures and products of the country, a free technical library for the use of students, a large hall for public meetings, a charming salon des fêtes, in which literary, scientific, and charitable entertainments are given. This paper has a circulation of more than 150,000. So have La Nación and La Argentina, the two other big morning dailies. There are 225 periodicals published in the capital all together.
In this most cosmopolitan of cities the foreigners foregather in little worlds of their own. Most are represented by newspapers published in their own languages, most have clubhouses, more or less pretentious. On the same evening one season recently “The Merry Widow” was produced in Spanish, French, and Italian in as many different theaters; and there are all sorts of places of amusement where foreigners can enjoy themselves, each after his own fashion—from an immense artificial ice skating rink (a very fashionable resort, by the way) to a tropical coffee house, from a golf or race course to a pool room or bowling alley, from the most attractive and elegantly equipped of modern cafés to a little French domino parlor or German beer saloon, from a magnificent opera house to a cheap vaudeville or moving-picture theater. It is said that the foremost European artists are as likely to visit Argentina as the United States, and often do, and that many, of all but the first rank in their own countries and who do not come to North America at all, visit Buenos Aires regularly and present European successes long before they are seen in New York.
Their great opera house, the Colón, that cost $10,000,000 and occupies a whole square, is one of the most beautiful in the world. There is none in New York or Chicago, or any of our cities, to compare with it. It is of French design and built of stone, and the interior is finished in white marble, gold-bronze ornamentations and rich red drapery and upholstery. It is not quite as large as the Metropolitan in New York, but, as in the Metropolitan, the two lower tiers of boxes are occupied by the families of the “Four Hundred,” for their grand opera down there is just as much of a social function with them as it is with the smart set in our greatest city; and, as their season is in July and August—winter months with them—not a few of the singers that are heard at the Metropolitan later on are heard there in their season. Above the boxes are two balconies and a gallery where the gods congregate and howl for encores for all the world like our own. It appears that they are not very fond of Wagner and the German music, these Bonarenses, but are keen for the Italian and French; so, aside from the opera, competent French and Italian companies are brought over every year for long engagements at other theaters. Also there are French opera comique, Italian farce, and English musical comedy companies, French café chantant, English music hall and our own vaudeville entertainers without end, and dramas, even Shakespearean occasionally, and the other classes of performances, following each other at the many theaters continually.
Club life is one of the most attractive features. The Britishers (the heaviest investors of foreign capital), of course, have their inevitable cricket, polo, and races—at Hurlingham, near the city—and have erected a substantial country clubhouse, devoted largely to the ritualistic five o’clock tea. The scene on the broad verandas and well-kept lawns is brilliant in the afternoon, with the white lace gowns of the women and the white flannel and broadside panamas of the men. As the guest looks on at the leisurely game of cricket and tea—for these rites are solemnized together by the comfortable Briton—he can easily imagine himself at Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, or Cape Town, where the same function is taking place at the same hour of the day, on club grounds almost identically the same, and to the accompaniment of the same elaborate conversation: “Well played, old chap.” The Germans, Italians, and Spanish also have luxurious clubhouses, and for the transient visitor the Club de Residentes Estranjeros affords a delightful retreat. There is even a big, handsome building for the Y.M.C.A.
Among the fifty or more social organizations in Buenos Aires, the Jockey Club is the Argentine cercle par excellence. Its home on Calle Florida is of a splendor unsurpassed in clubdom. The guest who is fortunate enough to enjoy its courtesies will be impressed by the perfect taste and sumptuousness of its appointments; the superb marble stairway, the banquet hall, and the famous pictures and sculptures are equaled in but few of the palaces of Europe. Its wealth, derived from an initiation fee of $4000 and annual dues of $1500 for each member, and a “rake-off” of ten per cent. of the amounts wagered at its racetrack, together with gate receipts, accumulate so rapidly that it is a source of genuine embarrassment to the governing board.
A short time ago the club voted to devote its surplus to the purchase of a dozen blocks in the heart of the city, the idea being to transform the tract into a beautiful boulevard. It would have cost nearly $14,000,000 in our money. The project was abandoned, not because of the cost, but on the ground of impracticability. During the racing season, held under the auspices of the Club at Palermo Park, the Porteño is seen at his best. Paris gowns and picture hats are displayed in profusion in the grandstand, lawns, and luxurious victorias and automobiles that line the course, and with the correct dress and animation of the men, and the prodigality everywhere in evidence (last season $25,000,000 was placed on the horses), the scene takes on an aspect truly Parisian.
As might be expected in such a vigorously modern city, the severest of the restrictions on social intercourse familiar in Latin capitals are here impatiently thrust aside. In the five o’clock parade of the fashionables that wends its way toward the beautiful Palermo Park on Sundays, there are no closed carriages or dark mantillas to conceal the allurements of the señoritas, although many may still huddle demurely at the sides of their dueñas while they distribute the most decorous of smiles among their eager acquaintances of the opposite sex. Here palm-bordered Sarmiento Avenue is crowded with carriages and motor cars six, often eight, rows deep, two stationary in the center and two moving on either side, in which ride as smartly gowned women as may be seen anywhere in America. In the same throng glimpses may be caught of reigning music-hall favorites, at whose sides are usually to be found care-free horsemen just in from the Camp, mounted on superb stallions heavy with silver trappings, and generally with an air of somewhat less sophisticated enjoyment of the event.
JOCKEY CLUB’S GRANDSTAND AT THE RACE TRACK.
There is a prodigality about the Porteño in his pleasures that staggers the visitor from the North. Backed by an almost limitless wealth from cattle ranch or plantation, he scatters his pesos with a princely hand. And, of course, there is the obverse of the picture. There is the under world here, peopled largely by immigration from the centers of European unrest, in which there is to be found an extreme of destitution. This is the breeding place of anarchistic ideas, that frequently find expression in violence and that are surely becoming one of the city’s most serious problems.
The zest for amusement among all classes finds many outlets. Strolling along the Calle Florida, or the Calles Cangallo, Esmeralda, Cuyo, Maipó, and other well-paved, brilliantly illuminated streets of the theater district, after the fever of the business day has subsided, one drops in at the “English Bar,” the “Bierhalle,” “Confiteria,” or “Café Parisien,” and is sure to find a compatriot to join him in the refreshment of his predilection. Or, for the more solid enjoyment of dinner, the visitor, whether French, North American, Briton, or Turk, can find his favorite national dishes excellently served—at the Restaurant Charpentier, where an orchestra, really good, will for the moment take the homesick Parisian back to his native boulevards; or at the “Sportsman,” where the North American is beguiled from his nostalgia by Sousa’s marches, perhaps, or by biograph pictures of steeple-chasers and Oriental dancers; or at Monsch’s Restaurant, which specializes in the Briton’s needs—where, with a look of acute understanding, the head waiter will permit the guest to select his own English mutton chop or steak from the glass-doored ice chest.
The outdoor café life is not as well known, so narrow are the streets; even Calle Florida, which is the essentially fashionable shopping street of the central town, is lamentably narrow. With the exception of the Avenida de Mayo, which runs from the plaza containing the Cathedral and President’s palace to the new chambers of Congress, and divides the city into its northern and southern sections, and the Avenida Alvear, which leads from the main part of the city to Palermo Park, flanked with costly homes and interspersed with gardens and plazas that lend a wealth of verdure and flowers to the broad avenue, the streets are so narrow that in the business section vehicles are required by city ordinances to move in the same direction, down one street and up the next. But in this splendid, stately Avenida de Mayo of hers, which, except in appearance, has the characteristics of the business part of New York’s Fifth Avenue from Madison Square to the Park, Buenos Aires has a thoroughfare that rivals Rio’s Avenida Central in beauty, and, with its finer hotels and cafés and French architecture, possesses even more of the attractions of a Parisian boulevard.
Buenos Aires is not a city that calls for the usual precautions taken by travelers. All the creature comforts may be had here, although, it must be confessed, at a cost greatly in excess of prices familiar to North Americans. There are good physicians and dentists, and no less than sixteen hospitals—one of which, the British Hospital, is a magnificently equipped institution, and the one patronized by the American colony. There are electric street cars (which carried 125,000,000 passengers last year), splendid trains that carry passengers in thoroughly modern and well-served coaches to almost every part of the settled country, first-class carriages, taxicabs, hotels, department stores, and shops of every description.
Leaving the capital for a general tour through Argentina, the visitor will soon come to appreciate the Porteño’s division of the republic into the two parts: Buenos Aires and El Campo. For the greater part, the Camp is a vast plain, covering five hundred million acres of flat, fertile soil, with scarcely a natural hillock higher than those thrown up by the ants, and no depression more marked than those which the cartwheels have plowed—stretching from horizon to horizon, north, west, and south—vast, silent, and awe-inspiring in the majesty of its enormous extent and productiveness—the calm, inexhaustible bosom which suckles the prodigious infant on the Plata.
These pampas are the homes of the estancieros, the name given to the masters of the great breeding ranches and plantations. Some possess estancias that are really feudal in extent; one, in Patagonia, is as large as the State of Rhode Island. Their homes and outbuildings are about the only objects that give a human touch to the mile upon mile of cattle ranges, of green maize and golden wheat, of purple alfalfa and vivid blue linseed flower, unless one comes upon the black mud hut of the colono, or small farmer who works the field on shares. An occasional clump of man-planted trees may also be met with, and on the fringe of the pampas are a few widely scattered Indian settlements; but there is little to modify the metaphor of the ocean so universally used to describe these almost limitless plains. Even the seagulls sweep inland for hundreds of miles to add to its effectiveness. When the very heart of the country is reached, the traveler may scan the horizon from every point of the compass and know that in every direction what lies beyond is exactly the same.
The seasons, which are much like our own, although exactly the reverse in their occurrence, bring their appropriate activities. During the busy harvest period the Camp takes on an aspect of bustle which convinces the traveler that this great business republic has cast the word “mañana” (to-morrow) forever from its “bright lexicon of youth.” Harvesting machines cutting a swath, not four or six, but fourteen feet in width through the wheat fields, threshers with powerful blasts that pile the straw in great stacks, and on the ranches the great armies of horned cattle add the convincing touch to the scene of prosperity.
“A recent census,” says the Bulletin of the Pan American Union (July, 1911), “shows that in Argentina there are over 29,000,000 bovine cattle, 7,500,000 horses, about 500,000 mules and 300,000 asses, over 67,000,000 sheep, almost 4,000,000 goats and 1,403,591 pigs, with a total value of about $700,000,000, gold.... It is an interesting fact that all the animal food so abundantly supplied by this country is the result of stocking this incomparably rich land with animals introduced from European sources. In pre-Columbian times the only domestic animals possessed by the natives were the alpaca and llama. The alpaca was grown for its flesh and its fleece, while the llama was used as a beast of burden. In 1535 the Spaniards brought in horses and asses, and, shortly afterward, bovine cattle were taken to Asunción (Paraguay) by a Portuguese. In 1569 four thousand head were distributed along the regions of the Rio de la Plata. Sheep came later. At one time, when the natives were exceedingly hostile, a few horses and asses were abandoned on the pampas, and from that stock have descended the innumerable herds which to-day cover the almost limitless plains; ... but during recent years Argentina has imported the best animals obtainable and has bred with the direct intention of improving the stock as much as possible.”
PRIZE WINNERS FROM “THE CAMP.”
With the cattle rides the gaucho, the cowboy of the pampas. Dressed in smart poncho (a sort of cape, with a hole for the head to go through), and bright-hued zombachos, or wide Turkish trousers, tight-fitting boots, and sombrero, and sitting astride his saddle, richly ornamented with silver, he presents a sight worth seeing. To the gaucho the Camp is indebted for its only romance and picturesqueness; he has given to it its songs and tales of adventure, its tragedies and the brightness of its life. Lithe and graceful, he is a consummate horseman and rivals his Texan counterpart in feats of horsemanship and skill with the lasso. He is proud, simple-minded, and faithful in his friendships, but when aroused to anger by a slight or by deceit, he is as elemental in his vengefulness—for there is a strain of the old fierce Tupi-Guarany in the blood of most of them—as the early types of his race who ranged the pampas during the so-called mediæval period of Argentine history. Needless to say, he has contributed his quota in the wars of the republic and has furnished the inspiration for many a stirring drama in the literature of the country.
The story of the pampas and the life and habits of their workers and of the denizens nature has sent to share in their richness, has been told by many writers of our day, notably by W. H. Koebel, an Englishman, in his recently published “Modern Argentina.” It is the story of a great country and a great business enterprise that is fast spreading its activity farther and farther north, west, and south—to the north, toward the still savage Chaco country and the mountainous provinces of Jujuy, Salta, and Catamarca; to the west, toward the Andean uplands, and southward to the federal territories in the region that was once referred to on the maps as Patagonia. Gradually the cattle ranch is being pushed farther afield to give way to agriculture, while the ranchmen in their turn are penetrating the field of the timber industry.
There is practically no village life in Argentina; there is no middle class between the lordly estanciero and the laborer. The very necessary element of the small farmer, working his own independent property, is gradually being introduced, as the owners of the great estates are beginning to subdivide their holdings. When this new element shall have been thoroughly absorbed into the commonwealth, and the nation shall have acquired a “volk,” the prosperity of Argentina will be assured for all time. The development of the country is still in its infancy; for years to come there will be room for an increasing influx of capital and men who can take part in the most modern and greatest wealth-producing enterprise on the globe. So far the English and Germans are the chief among the foreign capitalists who have sought out this present-day Eldorado. The better acquaintance with Argentina and the other countries to the south of us, so intelligently and industriously fostered by the Pan American Union at Washington, will, it is to be hoped, induce a North American financial invasion of Argentina, an invasion that will be more than welcomed by the “Yankis” of the South.
The traveler who takes the seven-hundred-mile journey westward through the Camp, luxuriously housed in the coaches of the Great Western Railroad, comes upon a different scene and a different life when he reaches the ancient city of Mendoza in the foothills of the Andes. Here it was that San Martín recruited and organized his Army of Liberation, the army with which, emerging suddenly from its isolated hiding place, he startled the world by his crossing of the Andes to fall upon the unsuspecting Spanish. Mendoza is now the center of the wine and fruit industry. It is a thriving, well-supplied little city, with a population of between thirty and forty thousand, comfortable hotels, a theater, and a broad boulevard of its own, overhung with trees and named for the great revolutionary leader, where they have their band concerts and afternoon carriage parade just as they do in Buenos Aires. Only here, in their rather more dusky complexions, lots of the raven-haired, black-eyed occupants of the carriages show traces of Indian descent.
The development of the wine trade is in keeping with the phenomenal progress of the rest of the country. Although the great bulk of the product is not of the highest quality, the presses turn out each year enormous quantities that bear the labels of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Moselle, and Muscatel, produced from the very best imported vines. Other fruits have been found to grow equally well in this section: peaches, pears, and plums reach a high state of culture, while apples, quinces, and cherries do very well. It is the boast of the Argentino that his country is capable of producing every conceivable kind of fruit, and it is not an idle boast.
At this point—Mendoza—a change of car is made to the less comfortable narrow-gauge road that takes the traveler through the fastnesses of the Andes. The route leads first through the peach orchards and vineyards, with the snow peaks easily distinguishable in the background. The Mendoza River, fed by the melting snows on the mountain tops, tumbles along its way and is crossed and re-crossed many times en route. Distant about one hundred miles, one comes to the Puente del Inca, the famous natural bridge spanning a chasm one hundred and fifty feet in width, about which are many native legends of Incarial times, for the bridge formed part of the great system of roads built by the Incas. A little farther on, mounting to a still higher altitude, the station of Las Cuevas is reached, the last stop in Argentine territory, and the entrance to the tunnel through the mountain, half a mile below the Uspallata Pass—an engineering feat deserving of a chapter by itself. The elevation here is in excess of ten thousand feet, and the scene one of impressive grandeur, fascinating in the kaleidoscope of color that floods the gorges and the giant peaks.
THE USPALLATA PASS.
Above, at the Cumbre, as the pass at the top is called, if one forsakes the comforts of the passenger coach for mule-back, he can view the now world-famous “Christ of the Andes,” a bronze figure of the Prince of Peace rising to a height of twenty-six feet above its massive granite pedestal. It was erected to commemorate the peace treaty that brought to an end the long-continued differences between Chile and Argentina. Growing out of the boundary dispute, this controversy had become more and more acute as the long-neglected Patagonian territory increased in promise. The boundary, finally fixed in 1902, by Sir Thomas Holdich’s commission, runs along the summit of the Andean ridge. On the base of the monument a tablet bears the words: “Sooner shall these mountains crumble to dust than the people of Argentina and Chile break the peace to which they have pledged themselves at the feet of Christ the Redeemer.”
From Carácoles, the Chilean terminus of the tunnel, the Transandino-Chileno carries the traveler to the station of Los Andes. From here to the port city of Valparaiso, Chile, the route is over the Chilean State Railroad, which is of standard gauge and passes through some rich and fertile valleys on its way toward the Pacific.
To the east of the Cordilleras, and south of the river Negro, stretches the territory long known as Patagonia, first in swelling plateaux and then flattening out into a continuation of the upper level pampas. This is now the scene of Argentina’s advancing sheep industry. For Patagonia, east of the Andean summits, and the east half of Tierra del Fuego were awarded to Argentina by the boundary arbitrator, King Edward VII, following the report of Sir Thomas Holdich’s commission, and is now divided into the Federal Territories of Rio Negro, Chubut, and Santa Cruz. The land of Patagonia, so named by the early explorers from the big feet (pata goas) of the Tehuelche Indians, is now reached by steamer to Punta Arenas in Magellan Strait, the southernmost city on the globe, for the railways of Argentina have not yet penetrated this country to any considerable extent. In climate it ranges from the temperate to extreme cold, like that of northern Michigan in the winter months. From the time of Darwin, who first took the country out of the category of terras incognitas, Patagonia has lost most of its mystery and is now being settled by the diverted immigration from Buenos Aires. The Scots, English, and Germans have taken up large allotments of land, and many New Zealand sheep men have come over to add their skill to the leading industry. There are also colonies of Boers and Jews.
The Fuegian Archipelago, at the southern extremity of South America, covers a territory as large as Nebraska. A tortuous, wind-swept labyrinth of waterways separates the hundreds of islands that constitute this group. The largest is Tierra del Fuego, half as large as Illinois. It is divided longitudinally between Chile and Argentina, by far the larger and more valuable portion having been awarded to the former by the Royal Arbitrator. The name was given to the archipelago by Magellan, when he saw the trails of smoke from the signal fires of the natives who followed his epoch-making course through the strait that now bears his name. Very little of the Fuegian country is under cultivation, although thousands of sheep graze over its rich valleys and verdant plains. The southernmost point, Cape Horn (in Chilean territory), is a monster rock, bleak and forbidding, against which the antarctic storms beat with such terrific force that, in the old days of sailing vessels, it was called the headstone of the mariners’ most populous graveyard.
A vastly different scene awaits the traveler who penetrates into the tropical wilds of the northern territories of Argentina. Going aboard one of the fine steamers of Nicholas Mihanovitch—the kings of the river traffic—at Buenos Aires, the traveler follows the course of the Paraná, which is the main water highway of Argentina. The trip will take him through the richest provinces of the Camp, past the busy miniature Buenos Aires, the city of Rosario, which is the port of shipment for the grain of this region, and up into the tropical scenery and mystery of the Chaco and Misiones territories, opening up vistas of prodigious natural growths and riotous beauty, differing in every way from the somber majesty of the Fuegian country. The Chaco and the territory of Formosa, adjoining it on the north, are still almost wholly occupied by uncivilized Indians. Up to the present time this region has been exploited chiefly for the wood of the quebracho (qui-bra-hacha—axe-breaker) tree, which yields the best quality of tannin and timber for railroad ties; it is richer in the former product than any other tree yet discovered.
IGUAZÚ FALLS, WHERE BRAZIL, PARAGUAY, AND ARGENTINA MEET.
The picturesqueness of the Paraná River scenery along its upper courses has excited enthusiastic descriptions from all the travelers who have penetrated this marvelous country. A thousand miles up the river, in Misiones, near the point where Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil meet, are located the famous Iguazú Falls. The great cascade, fifty feet higher and with a lateral extent 1250 feet greater than Niagara, lies in the midst of a primeval forest. The enormous volume of water bursts through a series of thickly wooded islands with a roar that is all the more impressive to the spectator because of the solitude that reigns throughout this scantily populated region. The hand of man has done nothing here—no attempt has been made to harness the mighty power; nature has been left alone to revel in utter abandon.
One of the first inquiries that engages the mind of the visitor to Uruguay and Argentina is why the great body of water that separates the two countries—apparently an arm of the sea—should not be called the Gulf of La Plata. After a brief stay in this region of great cities, great productiveness, and great opportunities, it will probably occur to him that dwellers among such great things could be satisfied with nothing less than an estuary of the broad Atlantic to serve as a river for their capitals. If the Paraná and Uruguay—mighty rivers which rank in size immediately behind the Mississippi—had joined their floods some miles above Buenos Aires, instead of flowing separately into La Plata, a stream of unquestionable status might have satisfied their demands; but the God of Waters willed otherwise, evidently not anticipating the greatness of these people and their illimitable ambition.
The exact point at which La Plata River merges with the Atlantic is also a matter of speculation among geographers. For all practical purposes, however, Montevideo, the capital, metropolis, and chief port of Uruguay, lies just beside this phenomenon. One can say, therefore, that the eastern side of the little peninsula on which the main city is built faces the ocean, while the southern and western fronts, bordering the bay of the actual port, look upon the river Plata.
Taking the night boat at Buenos Aires, one arrives in Montevideo in the early morning after a pleasant ride of just a hundred miles diagonally across the river, and is immediately impressed with the picturesqueness of El Cerro, an ancient fortress that still poses as the guardian of the entrance of the river. Much more important to-day, however, is the lighthouse that rises from this height. Entering the port the visitor comes upon a modern city of almost four hundred thousand inhabitants, possessed of all the attributes of the present-day metropolis; an adequate and up-to-date system of docks, fine business blocks, public buildings, plazas, boulevards, and broad streets laid out on the checkerboard scheme, sewer, water, and lighting systems, and extensive and well-managed electric tramway lines.
To the Buenos Airean, naturally enough, Montevideo is a second Brooklyn, for the “ferry” trip of a hundred miles is not incongruous where people think in superlatives. Here the Buenos Airean may come, after a period of consuming activity in his own more closely built city, for rest and soul expansion among the leisurely and dignified Montevideans, and, at the expense of his neighbor, even permit himself a bit of friendly chaff in which he might venture to use the word “soporific.” The Montevidean by no means resents the imputation. There is no resentment because, although a restful atmosphere does pervade the city, there is not the slightest taint of stagnation. The Montevidean is conscious that his sturdy, vigorous, and even bellicose race has built up a nation unique in South America in its promise of material prosperity; that his country is among the richest in the quality and varied productiveness of its soil of any on the continent, and that his city, housing a third of the country’s population, is the pivot of the nation’s astonishing commercial activity and one of the most healthful and delightful residence cities in the world.
Montevideo was founded in 1726, but remained a comparatively unimportant way station until some thirty years ago, when it began to imbibe the modernism of its big rivals in Brazil and Argentina. To-day it is almost as cosmopolitan as Buenos Aires, the Italian element predominating among the foreigners, with the British preëminent as investors of capital, as in the latter city. To the superb Solis Theater come all the European companies that appear in Buenos Aires; club life is best represented in the Club Uruguay and the English Club, situated on opposite sides of the Plaza Matriz; and afternoon tea has come to be an important feature of the social life, several tea houses being now distributed over the leisure sections of the city.
The pride of the Montevidean is Prado Park. He has made of it one of the fairest gardens imaginable—its lakes and rolling lawns and great variety of trees and flowering bushes, its intersecting avenues of towering eucalyptus trees rivaling Japan’s famous avenue of cryptomerias, on the road to Nikko, all give pleasure to the city’s thousands, who, like Parisians, seek the country scenes for their holiday amusements. Driving along Agraciado Road and other plane-tree-shaded avenues, the visitor reaches either of the pleasure suburbs of Colón or Pocítos.
In these excursions he has an excellent opportunity to note the varied styles of architecture coming into vogue in the more progressive cities of South America; they range from the comfortable bungalow of the British residents, to that strange development of the old Spanish home (the quinta) in which the wealthy Spanish-Americans love to house themselves on the outskirts of the cities. Until recent years the Spanish house in town and country was bare and unlovely on the outside; its beauty and richness were confined to the interior surroundings of the patio; where, in feudal privacy, the family secluded itself. To-day, in the new era of civic pride and the freer association of society in the modern boulevard and café life, the adornment is extended to the outside, and the effort made, by the addition of pinnacles and towers and much delicate tinting, to add to the attractiveness of the “city beautiful.” In the business sections, of course, the modern architecture corresponds for the most part with the type seen in the great cities of Europe and North America.
SOLIS THEATER, MONTEVIDEO.
CAGANCHA PLAZA, MONTEVIDEO.
In October, when the summer comes into these latitudes south of the Equator, the quintas assume a most entrancing aspect. Some of them, set in the midst of gardens many acres in extent, are veritable haunts of delight. Toll has been levied upon every resource to add to their charm. The gardens are inclosed within hedges that blaze with the color of the hedge-rose, honeysuckle, bougainvillea, wistaria, and other creeping vines. Inside, forming a background, may be seen a goodly growth of ivy-covered oaks or chestnut trees. Within, nearer the fairy-like home, and in the random of artistic disorder, are many flowering bushes and trees—lilacs mingling their scent with magnolia, orange, myrtle, and mimosa—while the lawns are carpeted with a brilliant profusion of periwinkles, pansies, marigolds, arum lilies, and carnations, the whole yielding up the delights of its ever changing fragrance as the wondering guest wanders about in company with his courtly host and hostess.
In entire harmony with this perfection of nature is the beauty of the women. They are justly famous. To the far-famed grace and natural Spanish stateliness of her sisters throughout South America, the Uruguayan señorita adds a freshness of complexion and sprightliness of temperament that go to make a most bewitching consummation of feminine charm. Her praises are sung by all visitors; not less appreciative, her own kith and kin liken her, in their poetic way, to all pleasant things from a dove to the moon.
It is with genuine regret that the traveler leaves the hospitable capital for a trip through the country; but he will soon discover that the delightful climate (like that of Tennessee, but without the snows of winter) is characteristic of Uruguay as a whole. From the capital radiate some fifteen hundred miles of good railways penetrating Brazil at several points, and also tapping the commerce along the Uruguay River.
The country he will see is one great rolling pasture as large as all New England, and with occasional ridges of mountains. None of these, however, exceeds two thousand feet in height. Until recently Uruguay was given over almost entirely to the raising of cattle and sheep; now it promises great strides in products of the soil. Indeed, it is the boast of the Uruguayan that not an acre of his country’s 72,000 square miles of territory is unproductive. Here can be seen growing corn, wheat, and potatoes, and a great impetus has of late been given to viticulture—and there is no fear of either drought or frost. So far, however, only about three per cent. of the territory is under cultivation in foodstuffs. In 1909 Montevideo handled imports to the value of $35,000,000 and exports amounting to $32,000,000, while the ports of Rocha, Maldonado, and Colonia, on the south coast, and Salto, Paysandú, Fray Bentos, Mercédes, and others on the Uruguay, handled three millions more of imports and exports. Her production in cattle in that year amounted to 6,827,428, in sheep 16,608,717, and in pigs, horses, mules, and goats 700,000.
At Fray Bentos, on the Uruguay River, the Liebig Company has located a great plant, slaughters over three hundred thousand head of cattle a year, and does an enormous business in extract of beef, canned meats, hides, tallow, hair, horn, and other by-products. A day’s sojourn in the prosperous, if soup-laden, atmosphere will give one a proper appreciation of the rest of the country, for nowhere has Nature been more lavish with her favors, nowhere has she distributed more favorable conditions for life and national prosperity—everything man needs for food or clothing is here capable of being raised. Every section is reached by navigable rivers, which also furnish abundant water for irrigation and mechanical purposes. The country being on a gold basis, its credit in the European money markets is excellent.
Uruguay, as one historian expresses it, has always been the cockpit of the southern half of the continent. From the time of the appearance of the first whites in the Plata region—Diaz de Solis in 1515, and ten years later Sebastien Cabot—down to the period of Hernando Arias and Garay, who, in about 1580, permanently established the power of Spain on the river Plata, the Spanish and Portuguese settlements on the Plata and Uruguay had to contend with the incessant hostilities of a race of Indians—the Charrúas, who, next to the Araucanians of Chile, had the distinction of offering the most vigorous and successful opposition to the dominion of the Europeans in South America.
Throughout the colonial régime, Uruguay constituted the eastern border province (Banda Oriental) of Spain’s La Plata colony, and was the storm center of the Spanish and Portuguese strife for territorial control. Following this period came the abortive invasion of the English in 1806, and, a few years later, the wars of independence. When Spanish rule came to an end in the Plata country, the Banda Oriental became the bone of contention between Brazil and the newly born state that is now Argentina—a veritable new-world Flanders and the theater of many fierce battles. Brazil held the province from 1817 to 1829, and called it her Cis-platine Province. Finally, on May 1, 1829, Uruguay achieved her independence and set up a government of her own under the style of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.
There is good reason, then, why the Uruguayans should have emerged from these three hundred years of turbulent character building into independence with a bellicose personality exactly suited to the Montague-and-Capulet existence that prevails in her politics between the Blancos, or reactionists, and the Colorados, who now hold the political power and stand for progress. The forcefulness of the nation is now finding its expression in industrial and commercial enterprises and has made of her chief port a powerful commercial rival of the busy mart across the Plata.
Paraguay is in the longitudinal center of South America, and, with the exception of Bolivia, is the only country on the continent that does not border on the sea. Next to Uruguay it is the smallest of the South American republics, possessing a territory of 196,000 square miles. Until the break with Spain, in 1813, it was, like Uruguay, part and parcel of La Plata colony, under the jurisdiction of the Viceroy of Buenos Aires, and was known as the Province of Paraguay. As will be observed from a glance at the map, it is hedged in by Bolivia, Brazil, and Argentina, and is separated from its twin sister, Uruguay, by an arm of the mother country (Misiones Territory) that reaches up into Brazil between the Paraná and Uruguay rivers.
For a proper acquaintance with the country it must be conceived as a dual personality, for it is divided longitudinally by the river Paraguay into western Paraguay, or the Chaco, and eastern Paraguay, or Paraguay proper. It is in the latter region that the republic has its being and in which the visitor’s interest is naturally centered. El Chaco is a vast, thickly wooded, and, for the most part, savage and unexplored section that was awarded to Paraguay by our President Hayes as arbitrator of its boundary dispute with Argentina; in gratitude the government named the chief settlement in the territory Villa Hayes. The region is now given over almost wholly to the immigrant Swiss, German, Italian and other communities that have been started on the west bank of the river, and to nomadic bands of still uncivilized Indians.
With a climate similar to that of southern California, Paraguay, throughout its entire extent, is blessed with abundant rain the year round. It is well watered and quite thickly wooded, and thus protected from the intense heat usual in low-lying countries.
Eastern Paraguay resembles Uruguay in its rolling, fertile areas, but is more mountainous. On the northern frontier is the range known as the Quinze Puntas. Inclosing the country on the east are the Cordilleras of Amambay and Mbaracayú, while down the center, from north to south, run a broken series of lesser sierras and the range called Caaguazú, forming a ridge or backbone that subdivides this half of Paraguay into the two great basins drained by the Paraná River on the east and the Paraguay on the west.
Almost the whole of Paraguay proper has forests of valuable woods with occasional clear places, where settlers have made serviceable the marvelous fertility and luxuriance of the soil. For centuries this region has been the barrier between the two distinct phases of Spanish civilization in South America—the golden empire of Peru and the agricultural colonies on the Plata and its tributaries—just as Uruguay has been the buffer state between the Portuguese and Spanish peoples. These phases have merged but little and to-day present a most interesting contrast.
From the time of Cabot’s fortified settlement of Asunción (now the capital of Paraguay) at the junction of the Paraguay and Pilcomayo rivers, in 1536, whence his lieutenant, Domingo Irala, made his vain attempt to penetrate into Peru, down to the present, Paraguay has been isolated to a considerable degree from the march of progress. The six hundred adventurers who followed the fortunes of Irala stayed on the land, intermarried with the Guarany Indians and bred the mixed race that was the foundation of the nation of to-day; and the Indians developed, along with the mestizos, to a status unique in South America. Evading the abject slavery that decimated the aboriginal races throughout the Andean region, the Guaranies were taught the arts of the soil and war by the Jesuits, and, during the hundred and fifty years of the latter’s sway, achieved a stage of development corresponding to that of the peasantry of France.
GOVERNMENT PALACE, ASUNCIÓN.
VIEW OF ASUNCIÓN AND RIVER PARAGUAY FROM ROOF OF THE CENTRAL RAILROAD STATION.
The story of the Jesuit missions which occupied the Paraná basin, is an important and thrilling chapter in Latin-American history. Early in its life, the Society turned its attention to the evangelization of South America; it was the genius of its founder, Ignatius Loyola, that perfected the organization to accomplish this. In 1550 the Jesuit Fathers began their work on the Brazilian coast settlements, but were driven farther and farther inland by the Portuguese as it became apparent that their policy of education and uplift would put an end to the enslavement of the natives which was the basis of the economic scheme of the colonists. Eventually, some time about 1586, the Jesuits entered the Paraguay region, won the confidence of the Guaranies and purposed to “reduce” the tribes of the whole Plata country. They met with the same opposition from the Spanish colonists and their stronghold became restricted to the secluded and isolated region mentioned—the Paraná basin and Misiones territory of Argentina.
Here, for over a hundred years, under the protection of the official sanction won from the Spanish King, Philip III, they worked among their proselytes. They learned and perfected the native dialects; taught the men to cultivate the soil, and the women to spin and weave cotton; induced them to clear the forests and to build and live in towns, and even organized them into an effective militia, which more than once enabled them to preserve the integrity of the remarkable state—a state unique in a way, since it was virtually under the direct control of the General of the Order, although within the territorial sovereignty of Spain. This “republic” lasted until 1769, when the famous decree of the King of Spain banished the Jesuits from all his dominions; but the effects of their presence are still noticeable throughout Paraguay and Misiones.
It is a matter of wonder to this day how the Jesuit Fathers, even taking into consideration their unquenchable zeal and marvelous energy and determination, ever succeeded in reaching so isolated a territory and in traversing it in every direction, as they did, in pursuit of their campaign. Even to-day it is well-nigh impossible to reach the heart of the region—the great cataract of Guayra, which, hundreds of miles from the habitations of man, isolated by jagged mountains, fiercely swirling waters and the wild tangle of underbrush that make headway through the awesome tropical forest very difficult, constitutes one of the most majestic of nature’s wonder-works in South America. Situated about a hundred miles up the Paraná River from the better known Iguazú Falls, the Guayra cataract lies on the frontier with Brazil. A volume of water twice as large as that which thunders over Niagara is forced through a gorge two hundred feet wide from a stream two and a half miles in width. The roar of its plunge of fifty-six feet to the lower levels, adds the essential note to this tremendous symphony of primeval nature. Outside the Arctic regions, one explorer declares, no part of the world is less accessible than the Paraná above the Great Cataract.
After the expulsion of the Jesuits the Paraná basin reverted to forest and the nation pursued its checkered career in the section drained by the Paraguay. This river intersects the republic from north to south and is navigable through its entire course by ocean steamers, which pass up from Buenos Aires through the Paraná, and past Corrientes, where the two great streams join forces.
On the left bank of the Paraguay, at the point of its confluence with the equally great Pilcomayo, the traveler comes to the ancient city of Asunción, the capital of the country. Here was the seat of the colonial authority over Plata settlements until Buenos Aires grew into importance. It has a population of 52,000, and is now thriving and prosperous, rapidly taking on the cosmopolitanism that characterizes the other ports of South America. The capital, and indeed the whole country has but recently entered into a new life, a life as sharply contrasted with its period of political storm and stress as the transition was sudden.
For, during the first sixty years after the country had attained its freedom from Spain, Paraguay’s progress was stifled by a succession of tyrants—remarkable men, all three of them, but men who, as a result of their rule, well-nigh cost her her national existence. The first of these, Dr. José Rodríguez Gaspar Francia, had been the dominating figure in the revolutionary junta, and afterward, with his confrère, General Yegros, had been appointed Consul and invested with the supreme power. “He was a lawyer,” Dawson tells us, “who had become a sort of demigod to the lower classes by his fearless advocacy of their rights, and inspired almost superstitious reverence by his reputation for learning and disinterestedness.” A year later, the historian continues—
“He forced Yegros out, and, with general consent, assumed the position of sole executive, and, in 1816, was formally declared supreme and perpetual dictator. For the next twenty-five years he was the government of Paraguay. History does not record another instance in which a single man so dominated and controlled a people. A solitary, mysterious figure, of whose thoughts, purposes, and real character little is known, the worst acts of his life were the most picturesque and alone have been recorded. Although the great Carlyle includes him among the heroes whose memory mankind should worship, the opinion of his detractors is likely to triumph. Francia will go down to history as a bloody-minded, implacable despot, whose influences and purposes were wholly evil. After reading all that has been written about this singular character, my mind inclines more to the judgment of Carlyle. I feel that the vivid imagination of the great Scotchman has pierced the clouds which enshrouded the spirit of a great and lonely man, and has seen the soul of Francia as he was. Cruel, suspicious, ruthless, heartless as he undeniably became, his acts will not bear the interpretation that his purposes were selfish or that he was animated by mere vulgar ambition....
“He absorbed in his own person all the functions of government; he had no confidants and no assistants; he allowed no Paraguayan to approach him on terms of equality. When he died, a careful search failed to reveal any records of the immense amount of governmental business he had transacted during thirty years. The orders for executions were simply messages signed by him and returned to be destroyed as soon as they had been carried out. The longer he lived, the more completely did he apply his system of absolutism, the more confident he became that he alone could govern the people for their good. He adopted a policy of commercial isolation, and intercourse with the outside world was absolutely forbidden. He neither sent nor received consuls nor ministers to foreign nations. Foreign vessels were excluded from the Paraguay River and allowed to visit only one port in the southeastern corner of the country. He was the sole foreign merchant. The communistic system inherited from the Jesuits was developed and extended to the secular parts of the country.... Dreading interference by Spain, Brazil, or Buenos Aires, he improved the military forces and began the organization of the whole population into a militia. His policy, however, was peaceful....
“As he grew older he became more solitary and ferocious. Always a gloomy and peculiar man, absorbed in his studies and making no account of the ordinary pleasures and interests of mankind, he had reached the age of fifty-five and assumed supreme power without marrying.... His severities against the educated classes increased; he ordered wholesale executions and seven hundred political prisoners filled the jails when he died. He feared assassination and occupied several houses, letting no one know where he was going to sleep from one night to another, and, when walking the streets, kept his guards at a distance before and behind him. Woe to the enemy or suspect who attracted his attention! Such was the terror inspired by this dreadful old man that the news that he was out would clear the streets. A white Paraguayan literally dared not utter his name. During his lifetime he was ‘El Supremo,’ and, after he was dead, for generations he was referred to simply as ‘El Defunto.’... He did not rise by any sycophantic arts. Indeed, he never veiled the contempt he felt for the party schemers and officials around him. When he had supreme power in his hands, he used it for no selfish indulgences. His life was austere and abstemious; but, though parsimonious for himself, he was lavish for the public.... In his manners and life, he was absolutely modest; he received any one who chose to see him. If he was terrible, it was to the wealthy and powerful; the humblest Indian received a hearing and justice. During his reign Paraguay remained undisturbed, wrapped in a profound peace; the population rapidly increased, and, though commerce and manufactures did not flourish, nor the new ideas that were transforming the face of the civilized world penetrate, food and clothing were plentiful and cheap and the Paraguayans prospered in their own humble fashion.”
Following the reign of Francia came a long period of open intercourse with the neighboring states and foreign countries under the dictatorship of Carlos Antonio Lopez, and some measure of progress was made, but still there was no development of republican institutions. His death made room for his son Francisco, who was a man of thirty-five at the time of his accession, and, having spent some time in Europe, had returned permeated with the vices of the great capitals and a consuming ambition for military renown. A very different character of man morally, he is said to have been, from the first of his line. He is described as vain, licentious, gluttonous, and unscrupulous to the last degree, though good-looking and an eloquent speaker. “He began his reign like a Mohammedan sultan,” says Dawson, “ridding himself of his father’s most trusted counselors, imprisoning and executing the most intelligent and powerful citizens.... He ordered his best friends to execution; he tortured his mother and sisters and murdered his brothers. The only natural affection he ever evinced was a fondness for a woman he had picked up in Paris, and for her children. He seems to have treated her well to the last, but his numerous other mistresses and their children he heartlessly abandoned.”
He soon raised an army of more than eighty thousand, the largest that had ever been assembled since the conquest, and, by assuming the aggressive in certain boundary disputes with Brazil and Argentina and interfering in civil disturbances that were going on in Uruguay, involved the country in war with these three powers, which, alarmed at his Napoleonic aspirations, promptly formed an alliance for the purpose of resisting him. This war lasted five years and for Paraguay was one long succession of appalling disasters. Before the first battle was fought her population numbered more than 1,300,000; when Lopez was finally defeated and killed in 1870, but 221,079 remained, of whom only 28,746 were men. “No modern nation has ever come so near to complete annihilation,” says Dawson. “Not less than 225,000 Paraguayan men—the fathers and bread-winners, the farmers and laborers—had perished in battle, by disease or exposure or starvation. One hundred thousand adult women had died of hardship and hunger, and there were less than 90,000 children under fifteen in the country. The surviving women outnumbered the men five to one; ... but the integrity of Paraguay and her continuance as an independent power had been mutually guaranteed by Brazil and Argentina when they began the war against Lopez, and neither of them could afford to let the other take possession of her territory, so the country was left substantially intact.”
Asunción shows on its face the two phases—the modern business houses, residences and public service improvements of the new era, and the ruined districts and wrecks such as those of cathedral, presidential palace and old public buildings that emphasize the lessons of the old. To-day the visitor looks with a shudder at the ruins of the uncompleted mausoleum in which the last tyrant expected his remains to rest and at the two-million-dollar palace where, in rooms hung with rare laces and crimson satin, his unspeakable orgies were held; he turns with relief toward the modernism now beginning to be apparent which proves the substantial worth of a people which can arise from such a past and prosper. The survivors of the old régime have been severely tested for fitness to enjoy the fruits of their well-favored country.
The republic—no longer such in name only—is governed under an enlightened constitution modeled after our own. The present administration has opened wide the doors to immigration and foreign capital, and the artificial barrier erected by her political system of the nineteenth century no longer exists as the complement to the natural barriers that have stood for four centuries between the northern and southern countries of South America.
Those who may be so fortunate as to obtain control of Paraguay’s highways, the Paraguay and Pilcomayo, and supplement them by extending its 155 miles of railway into a system that will develop the vast agricultural and mineral empire of central and southern Brazil and Bolivia, and carry the produce to the Argentine seaboard, will gain a prize unequaled in the railroad world, and make of Paraguay a country of first importance on the continent.
Throughout the country the forests are being cleared to make room for potreros (cattle ranches) and the growing agricultural industries. Yerbales are coming more and more under the scientific culture which greatly enhances the value of the country’s leading product, yerba maté, or Paraguay tea.
Paraguay is the namesake and chief producer of the famous yerba maté or Paraguay tea, which is the national drink—the cup of ceremony and popular tipple throughout the central part of South America below the coffee belt; that is, on the Argentine Campo, in Uruguay, Paraguay, the lower part of Brazil, Bolivia and Chile. So well adapted is the beverage to the climate that the German colonists forsake their beer and the European-Latins their sweet cordials for the stimulating and non-alcoholic native product.
The yerba leaf is prepared by steeping in boiling water, as in the case of the tea with which the rest of the world is familiar. The maté is the dried gourd in which the tea is brewed. Into the aperture left by removing the stem, a tube (the bombilla), made of reed or bone, is inserted and through this the drinker sucks the refreshing brew. Whenever the occasion offers “Toma usted maté?” is almost a form of greeting in the yerba maté countries, so universal is its popularity. Among the rich the maté and bombilla are fashioned in costly metals, but elsewhere the gourd and reed serve their purpose with equal, if not greater, satisfaction.
The ilex paraguayensis, to give the herb its botanical name, is an evergreen tree or shrub from twelve to twenty-five feet high, with bright green leaves clustered in a bushy mass that cause it from a distance to resemble the orange tree. Although much of the yerba maté is still obtained from the immense natural forests, the ever-increasing demand has made cultivation a necessity. Many plantations have been successfully laid out, and crops of leaves have recently been gathered with commercially profitable results. The scientific methods now being adopted in the yerbales (yerba plantations) of Paraguay to supplant the destructive system of the past will insure for this growing industry a rich return to the owners.
The drink is taken without the addition of condiment and for the most part hot, like the Japanese sake. It is stimulating and sustaining, and soothes instead of irritating the nervous system. Unlike the concoctions made from the coca leaf (cocaine), sugar cane (rum), pulque, sake, vodka and other stimulants stumbled upon by native peoples and become destructive habits, yerba maté has no deleterious effects either immediate or after prolonged use.
Dr. Lenglet, President of the International League of Pure Food, says of it:
“The noteworthy point of the effect of maté on the system is its stimulating action on the cerebro-spinal organs. Taken with sugar the first thing in the morning it is very wholesome. It gives great capacity to undergo fatigue and invigorates the brain, and although it prevents feeling hungry, one does not enjoy one’s meals any the less. It does not appear to affect the intestinal organs; the nervous system is, nevertheless, insensible to the organic losses caused by the want of nourishment which are made known by hunger.
“In maté is found one of the most important means to obtain a maximum of strength and energy. It can be compared to a reservoir of vitality.”
In the heart of the continent a vast table of land as large as all our Middle States has been crowded up into the air by some titanic convulsion to a height of more than two miles, or fourteen thousand feet. The surface in many places is deeply encrusted with salt, suggesting the upheaval of a great mediterranean sea and a spilling of its waters over the succession of terraced slopes that finally break off abruptly and merge in the summer valleys of Brazil and Paraguay; for from these heights innumerable streams shimmer off toward the distant Amazon.
The plateau is hemmed in by the Cordillera de la Costa (the coast range) and the Cordillera Real, the main range, on the east, and is intersected in various directions by cross-sections, the whole producing a topography of a grandeur that makes all attempts at description pitifully inadequate. The majestic snow-clad peaks of Guallatiri and Miniquis in the coast range, and Illampú (Sorata), Illimani, Chachacomani, and Karkaake in the Cordillera Real rise to a height of over 22,000 feet. A dozen more in both ranges exceed 20,000. On the northwestern border along the Peruvian frontier, lies Lake Titicaca, unique also in that it is the highest navigated body of water on the globe. It is 160 miles long by thirty wide and is fed by the melting Andean snows.
This plateau is the center of Bolivia’s life to-day, as it was the cradle of successive aboriginal civilizations that finally culminated many centuries ago in the Inca empire. It is the highest inhabited land on the face of the earth, with the possible exception of Tibet. The evidence at every hand of nature’s tremendous activities must have left its impress on the races that formerly had their being here. The gigantic relics which are now the enduring monuments of these peoples are proof of the bigness of their point of view. They saw largely and the range of their vision embraced great distances, great altitudes, and great depths. There is evidence also that the newly awakened present race will prove worthy of its surroundings.
The people now inhabiting this great Andean Massif have in their veins the blood of both the intrepid Conquistadores and the hardy Aymara and Inca stock, and it is in the nature of things that the present-day Bolivian, now that his republicanism is established after a century of turbulent assimilation, will make great strides in industrial progress in justification of the spirit that is his birthright. In this altitude, so high that at first most foreigners suffer from its effects, the Bolivians have built their capital and chief cities. Here the first blow was struck against the oppression of Spain, and in the mountain defiles of the Peruvian Andes leading down to the Pacific coast the last shot was fired that drove the viceregal army to its transports. With the departure of the Spanish came the establishment, in 1825, of the Republic of Bolivia, the name given to the old Buenos Airean province of Alto-Peru by its first president, Bolívar’s famous lieutenant, General Sucré, in honor of his chief.
Bolivia is fourth in size among the South American republics. It covers 708,195 square miles, and could include within its limits the combined areas of California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. The republic lies wholly within the torrid zone, but the gradation of its topography extends from the yungas (“hot valleys”) at the border of the Amazon basin to the punas, or high table-lands, ranging from four to fourteen thousand feet, so that animal and vegetable life of every clime is represented—from the brilliantly colored flamingo and butterfly of the Amazon plains to the dread condor of the Andes; from the rubber tree, through all stages of arborial and plant life, to the little yellow bitter potato, grown near the point at which vegetation vanishes in the Arctic cold of the higher peaks.
Of course, the shortest and most direct route to Bolivia’s capital and chief cities is by rail from either of the Pacific ports of Mollendo, in Peru, or Arica or Antofagasta, in Chile. The quick change of view from the arid coast to the grandeur of Andean mountain scenery, and the familiar comforts of railway travel incline most visitors to the approach from one of those points. But, as the greater part of Bolivia’s territory is that which falls away from the plateau, like a lady’s train, northward and eastward to the frontiers of Brazil and Paraguay, a more comprehensive and impressive acquaintance with the country can be had by entering either from the north, via the Amazon and Maderia rivers to Villa Bella on the Brazilian frontier, and thence over a thousand miles on horseback to La Paz, or from the east, starting from our last resting place at Asunción in Paraguay. From Asunción one travels up the Paraguay River to Corumbá in Brazil, thence, by a small affluent to Puerto Suárez, eighty-one miles distant on the frontier, thence by a zigzag course of eight hundred miles up the rising elevation to Santa Cruz, a thriving city of 20,000 population, and thence to Cochabamba, still larger and 8000 feet in altitude. From here there is a stage line over one hundred and ten miles of mountainous country to Oruro, where connection is made with the Antofagasta-La Paz railway to the capital.
Or one may go by railroad from Buenos Aires via Rosario, Cordoba and Tucumán to La Quiaca on the frontier and then north for only two hundred miles by stage-coach to Uyuni, through which the Antofagasta-La Paz line passes on its way to the capital. But, in any event, the approach from the east or north richly repays the visitor for the time consumed and discomfort he may have to undergo on the way. The noted naturalist, D’Aubigny, says of the yungas region, through which one must first make his way on leaving the Paraguay: “If tradition has lost the records of the place where Paradise is situated, the traveler who visits these regions of Bolivia feels at once the impulse to exclaim, ‘Here is the lost Eden.’”
Leaving the dense and weirdly impressive tropical forests of the hinterland, the rolling areas of the yungas ascend toward the plateau—a succession of vast gardens delicately scented and brilliant with color. As the country is coming more under cultivation each year the traveler’s eye rests frequently upon plantations of coffee, cacao, and coca, the plant from which we get cocaine. The coca leaf is highly prized by the native as a stimulant; he chews it as a Northerner would chew tobacco but with a better excuse, since by its use he can perform great feats of endurance and go many hours without food. With his pouch filled with coca leaves and a small supply of parched Indian corn, he can run fifty miles a day, for these fleet-footed Indians constitute the telegraph system of this region. The output of the cocales, or coca plantations, was nearly nine million pounds last year.
This is also the home of the highly nutritious if impossibly named jamacch’ppeke plant, which, when dried and powdered and mixed with water, produces a delicately flavored milk much used in hospitals and even for babies. Higher up in the valle zone wheat and corn fields may be seen as well as the famous chincona tree, so named because, in 1638, the Condesa de Chinchon (wife of the Peruvian Viceroy) wrote of her wonderful cure from malaria by an Indian draught prepared from the bark of this tree. It has been known since as chincona or Peruvian bark, but it was not until 1820 that the French chemist, Pelletier, extracted from the tree the calisaya or quinine with which we are now familiar, and which, by the way, is said to be one of the two or three natural specifics ever yet discovered for disease.
On these slopes also grows the new substitute for wheat, quinua, a grain more nutritious and more cheaply produced than its northern prototype, also the delicious camote, a delicately flavored type of sweet potato, the palta, known in Cuba and Mexico as the aguacate and in Florida as the alligator pear, which makes the rich salad, and all variations of the sweet, pulpy fruits like the pomegranate, granadilla, capote, etc. This is also one of the homes of the nutmeg, olive, and castor bean, and of sugar, cotton, oranges, cinnamon, vanilla, saffron, indigo, and ginger; also of a remarkable variety of medicinal plants: for instance, those from which are derived aconite, arnica, absinthe, belladonna, camphor, quassia, cocaine, digitalis, gentian, ginger, ipecaque, jalap, opium, sarsaparilla, tamarind, tolu and valerian. The Indians of this belt are the most artistic leather workers in the world, and their beautiful ponchos (a sort of circular cape the mountaineers wear, with a hole in the center for the head to go through), woven from native silk, are eagerly sought by all visitors.
Leaving this richly endowed agricultural region for the still richer location of Bolivia’s mineral wealth, the traveler ascends to the great plateau on which the capital and important cities are built. At Potosí one is in the heart of the great silver country. From one mountain here, the Cerro de Potosí itself, over three billion dollars’ worth of silver has been taken since its discovery in 1545. The luxury and almost unbelievable extravagance told of in the annals of this city have given it a world-wide fame. Its principal building, the mint, cost the then unprecedented sum of two million dollars, an expenditure that brought many qualms to the miserly ascetic, Philip II, who would have preferred to pour the flood of wealth into the coffers of the church. The author of “Don Quixote” refers to Potosí as the synonym for fabulous wealth, and there is hardly a writer of the early days of the colony who did not mention the silver mountain to illustrate the idea of lavish abundance. In those days silver was regarded as equally valuable with gold.
Bolivia’s marvelous wealth in tin is unexcelled even in the Malay Peninsula. Already one of the chief centers of the tin industry, this metal promises to bring to the twentieth-century Bolivia as much commercial fame as the gold mines brought Alto-Peru in the sixteenth century. Copper, iron, lead and bismuth, as well as topazes, emeralds, opals, jasper, and marble, are also present in large quantities throughout the plateau.
After descending from Potosí, which is at an altitude of 15,380 feet, one should visit the white city of Sucré before proceeding to the present seat of government, La Paz. In Bolivia the name of Sucré is as omnipresent as Bolívar’s in Venezuela and Colombia, and most naturally when the new republic was formed the name of its chief city, Charcas, was changed to Sucré to honor the hero of Ayacucho—Antonio José de Sucré—when this “right hand” of Bolívar became its first president. The city is ancient, kindly, and romantically beautiful in its setting on the eastern slope of the royal range, and once, under a law enacted some eighty years ago, it was the capital.
SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF CAPACABANA, ON BOLIVIAN SHORE OF LAKE TITICACA.
TOWN AND MOUNTAIN OF POTOSÍ, BOLIVIA.
Its extreme altitude, however, made impossible the cosmopolitanism that must pertain to a capital city—the foreign diplomats in most cases refused to reside there because of the severity of the siroche, or mountain sickness, that nearly always assails the newcomer to these altitudes. So the seat of government was removed to La Paz, and now it is the tribunal of the Supreme Court and Archiepiscopal see only. Here also are located the University of San Francisco Xavier and the homes of many of Bolivia’s most aristocratic families. Thus far, modernism has had a beneficial influence on the city in many respects, but has not changed its appearance. Its public works have made it healthful and comfortable, but its stately old dwellings and public buildings preserve their peculiar charm unaltered to suit the modern architectural taste.
Farther north, and not yet connected by rail with Sucré, lies the present capital, La Paz, the actual seat of government. There for many years have resided the president, the congress, and the representatives of the foreign governments, so that the Paceño is justified in looking upon his city as the metropolis. Like its predecessor in this distinction, it was rechristened when the Spanish régime came to an end. When the Conquistadores exterminated the Indians resident on its site and built the present city, for some occult reason they named it La Ciudad de Nuestra Señora de la Paz! Our Lady of Peace clung to the name, no doubt, with grim humor during the turbulent times that followed, until the decisive battle of Ayacucho brought to the nation a more effective peace from Spanish oppression, and to-day La Paz de Ayacucho is the official name of the seat of government.
La Paz, Quito, Bogotá, Caracas, and Mexico are the five highest capitals in the world, but the first-named is loftier by half a mile than any of its rivals. The visitor is always surprised at the location of La Paz. Having been told of its great elevation—12,300 feet above the sea level, he naturally expects to see a city perched on a high mountain; in fact, it is at the bottom of a deep canyon, backed, however, by the giant peak Illimani, which towers above, to a height of 22,500 feet. Its startling location results in daily variations in temperature that greatly incommode the stranger; frequently the thermometer drops from 80° F. at noon to below zero at night, although generally these extremes vary but little during the year.
Winding cautiously down the canyon to a depth of some 1500 feet, the train comes to a terrace overlooking the city and then unfolds before the traveler one of the most remarkable and picturesque scenes in South America. The reds of the roofs of the flat, two-story houses and the softer tints of the walls that make Caracas so alluring are here given a more brilliant and positive tone. The Oriental atmosphere is tempered by the rugged surroundings and the crisper, clearer air of the higher altitude. Everywhere the bright, elemental colors—red, green, and yellow—worn by the Indians, add to the brilliant scenes of outdoor life. The streets of the city are a series of steep ascents, admirable for drainage, no doubt, but affording little pleasure to the visitor who is fond of walking, for to the newcomer the rarified atmosphere makes exercise a trial. Surpassing Rome in one respect, La Paz seems to be built upon at least fifty hills, but many level areas are laid off in beautiful parks, a dozen or more in number, and here the Paceño brings his guests for the delightful social intercourse—perfected here for long centuries for want of many of the other amusements—that makes his city memorable to the visitor.
One of the most attractive parks, the Plaza Murillo, is named to commemorate the inspiring genius of the revolution against Spain: Pedro Domingo Murillo. The Alameda is a broad driveway of five parallel avenues that run for over half a mile through rows of fine shade trees. At night it is lighted with electricity and makes a delightful pleasure ground for the people. An extension of this boulevard, the Avenida Doce de Deciembre, leads to Obrajes, about three miles distant.
The most notable building in the city is the great cathedral. For more than seventy years it has been in course of construction and when completed will be the largest and most impressive church erected in Latin America since the war of independence. In style it is Greco-Roman, with a central cupola 150 feet high and two towers that rise to a height of 200 feet. The interior work is of exceptional magnificence. Like many of the old cathedrals of Spanish origin, its altar is of wonderfully carved wood. Besides the cathedral, La Paz can boast more than a dozen places of worship that compare favorably with the churches of other South American capitals.
Only a short distance from La Paz by railroad are the prehistoric ruins of Tiahuanaco, which Squier tells us
“Have been regarded by all students of American antiquities as in many respects the most interesting, important and at the same time the most enigmatical, of any on the continent. They have excited the wonder and admiration alike of the earliest and latest travelers, most of whom, vanquished in their attempts to penetrate the mystery of their origin, have been content to assign them an antiquity beyond that of the other monuments of America and to regard them as the solitary remains of a civilization that disappeared before that of the Incas began, and contemporaneous with that of Egypt and the East.... Tradition, which mumbles more or less intelligibly of the origin of many other American monuments, is dumb concerning these.”
They are on a broad, arid plain, overlooking Lake Titicaca, about twelve miles from the shore, and occupy about a square mile. In his description of them Mozans says: “In addition to a number of shapeless mounds, of earth, there are remarkable traces of five different stone structures, which writers, for the purpose of classification” (and because of their resemblance to plans of such buildings elsewhere), “have agreed to call the fortress, the palace, the temple, the sanctuary, and the hall of justice.”
“The materials used in their construction,” he goes on,
“Are trachyte, basalt, and red sandstone. The fortress, to judge from its present condition, originally resembled a Mexican teocalli, or the pyramid of Sakkarah in Egypt, and must, when first erected, have presented a very imposing appearance. It is a great, terraced mound of earth, supported by stone walls, is 50 feet high, 620 feet long, and 450 in width. It is, however, in a very dilapidated condition, owing to the depredations of treasure-seekers and to its having been for centuries used as a quarry whence material was obtained for buildings in the neighboring towns, for the railroad and for structures in La Paz. The temple is in the form of a rectangle, 388 by 445 feet. It has been very appropriately called the American Stonehenge, to which, at least in some of its monoliths, it bears a striking resemblance.
“The other three edifices, especially at the hall of justice, are likewise remarkable for the area they occupy and for the cyclopean masses of stone that still remain to attest the extraordinary character of their construction. It is these wonderful megaliths, rivaling anything found in Italy, Greece, or Asia Minor, that have excited the astonishment of travelers since the time of the conquest. The platform, for instance, in the hall of justice, is paved with immense slabs, some of which are 25 feet long, 14 feet broad, and nearly 7 feet thick. But the most remarkable feature in these cyclopean structures is the great monolithic gateway, of very hard trachyte, ornamented with numerous well-executed sculptures, apparently of a symbolical character. This is more than 13 feet long, 7 feet above ground, and 18 inches thick. Some of the stones are in a rough, unhewn condition, but most of them are cut and fashioned in a most remarkable manner. Squier, in referring to this feature of these extraordinary ruins, writes: ‘Remove the superstructures of the best-built edifices of our cities, and few, if any, would expose foundations laid with equal care and none of them stones cut with such accuracy.’”
CHURCH OF THE CONSERVIDAS, LA PAZ.
OLD SPANISH RESIDENCE, LA PAZ.
In a short time the new home of the president and national congress will be finished and occupied, and the stately old palace where the president now resides will be devoted to other uses. The city is well endowed with public service conveniences, electricity, telephones, and handsome public buildings, and its hotels are among the best to be found anywhere on the continent outside of Buenos Aires, Rio and Valparaiso.
Of the 80,000 inhabitants, but one thousand are foreigners. As soon as the railways now projected to radiate from this center are completed, the city will be thrown open to all the bustle of cosmopolitanism, and much of the charm given it by the old Spanish characteristics will be swept away. But the nation will profit vastly by the change. The development of its agricultural and mineral resources should multiply its population of 2,500,000 by ten, and make of the country a Mecca for the capitalist from the North as well as the tourist in search of nature’s wonders and beauties.
“Chile,” which, by a curious coincidence, had about the same significance in the Inca language that our word “chilly” has in English, is the name that was originally given by the Incas to that part of the Pacific slope of the Andes which lies beyond the river Maule, the southern boundary of their great empire. At the time of the Spanish conquest, the first Governor, Pedro de Valdivia, dubbed it “Nueva Estremadura,” after his native province in Spain, and so called it in his official communications, yet not only did the Inca name cling to the country south of the Maule but soon it was popularly applied to that in the north as well, as far up as Peru. And so when, some years afterward (says the historian Rosales), the Emperor Charles V of Germany, who was also King of Spain, was negotiating the marriage of his son Philip with Mary, Queen of England, and was told that, being a sovereign in her own right, she would enter into such an alliance only with a reigning monarch, he caused Philip to be crowned King of Chile and Naples, and thus incidentally, in distinguishing the province above his other American possessions, confirmed its original name, and Chile it has been called ever since.
The territory of the present republic consists of a strip of land of most extraordinary conformation lying between the main Cordillera of the Andes and the sea. It has an average width of less than a hundred miles, yet stretches for nearly three thousand miles from a point in the tropics considerably above the center of the continent, clear down to Cape Horn, crossing thirty-eight degrees of latitude and embracing an area of nearly 291,500 square miles. A strip of the same length in North America would reach from Key West to northern Labrador, or, if measured along the Rocky Mountains, from Mexico to the Yukon in Alaska. Reckoned in square miles, it is larger than any country in Europe except Russia, though it has a population, according to the last census (1907), of only 3,254,451—less than that of the city and suburbs of Paris or of New York. In foreign commerce Chile ranks third among the South American republics. In 1910 it amounted in value to $228,604,198.64. The principal exports are silver, copper, nitrates, borax, sulphur, vegetable products, wines and liquors. Her exchange of commerce with the United States amounted to $38,050,652.
On ordinary maps this narrow Chilean half of the Andean region looks like a mere strip of coast traversed by a single range. As a consequence, it is not generally understood by those who have not visited the country that there is really here, as in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, a double formation, connected by transverse ridges in places, but perfectly distinct, known as the Andes proper, or main Cordillera, and the coast range, or western Cordillera. Between the two systems is a vast plateau, called the central valley, which begins in the northern Province of Atacama, and, gradually decreasing in height, extends south for seven hundred miles, with an average width of from fifty to sixty miles, through the Province of Llanquihue, about two-thirds of the way down the coast, where it disappears, with the coast range itself, in the long series of groups of islands into which the shore line is broken up. From its culminating point back of Santiago, the main Cordillera also decreases in height toward the south, but, instead of disappearing with the coast range, extends throughout the whole length of the country, from Peru to the southernmost islands of the Fuegian archipelago, forming the most magnificent background imaginable to the view from the sea.
In the northern section, between the Bolivian frontier and Coquimbo, there are more than thirty extinct or dormant volcanoes of great altitude—Toroni (21,340 feet, or about four miles, high), Pular (21,325 feet high), Iquima (20,275 feet), Aucasquilucha (20,260 feet), Llulaillaco (20,253 feet), San José (20,020 feet), Socompa (19,940 feet), and many others over 17,000 feet. Imagine these in contrast with Etna (10,875 feet) and Vesuvius, which is only 3800 feet, not as high as the cones of some of them alone. South of the Province of Copaibo, the main range itself develops a plateau formation that is crossed by several relatively low passes, such as the Portezuelo de Come Caballo (14,530 feet), Los Patos (11,700 feet), and, farther south, on a line with Valparaiso, the Uspallata Cumbre (12,795 feet). Although little used even now because of its extremely rugged character, Los Patos is associated with perhaps the most memorable event in the war of independence. It was there that, in the execution of that strategic movement which South American historians say excelled that of Hannibal in the Pyrenees and Napoleon’s crossing of the Alps, the Liberator San Martín safely made his way through with his whole army in 1817—artillery, impedimenta, and all—and, within five days, joined forces with the Chilean hero, O’Higgins, surprised the Royalist army awaiting him on the plain opposite the Cumbre below, fought the great battle of Chacabuco, and entered Santiago in triumph.
But this lower Uspallata Pass, which has always been the principal means of land communication with Argentina, was destined to become famous in another way, because (as already mentioned in the chapter on Argentina), it was the place chosen as the most suitable for the route of the Chilean-Argentine transcontinental railroad, connection between the eastern and western sections of which was established in April, 1910, by completion of a tunnel through the mountain two miles long and half a mile beneath the Cumbre—a work of the utmost importance, for, aside from the matter of comfort and saving of time, it has made it possible to go from one country to the other by the land route in winter, when the pass above is covered with drifts and the deadly winds and snowstorms are so likely to whirl down on the traveler at any moment that few except the hardy mail-carriers ever dared attempt it.
In this neighborhood the mountains attain their greatest altitude. A few miles to the north and visible a little distance from the Cumbre is the “Monarch of the Andes,” Aconcagua, which, according to the record at the Harvard University Observatory in Arequipa (Peru), is 24,760 feet (more than four miles and a half) high—the highest in the world, it is now regarded, next to Mt. Everest in the Himalayas. In his interesting story of the ascent of Aconcagua, Sir Martin Conway, one of the very few who ever succeeded in accomplishing it, gives a good idea of the region, viewed from a point near the lesser of the two summits. “At last I heard a shout and looked up and saw Maquignaz a yard or two above my head,” he says,
“Standing on the crest of the bed of snow that crowned the arête. In a moment I was beside him and Argentina lay at our feet. The southern snow face, delusively precipitous though actually as steep as snow can lie, dropped in a single fall to the glacier two miles below. To the right and left for over a mile there stretched, like the fine edge of an incurved blade, the sharp snow arête that reaches from the slightly lower southern summit to the northern. It forms the top edge of the great snow slope down which we were looking, and is only visible from the Horcones valley side as a delicate silver crest, edging the rocks. At many points it overhung in big cornices, like frozen waves about to break. The day had thus far been fine, but clouds were now gathering in the east. Fearful lest the view might soon be blotted out, I took a few photographs before moving on. The view abroad from this point differed little from that which we finally obtained. To the south was Tupungato (22,408 feet), a majestic pile of snow, over which even more majestic clouds were presently to mount aloft. To the north was the still grander Mercedario (22,315 feet), beheld around the flank of the final rocks. In the west were the hills, dropping lower and lower to the Chilean shore, and then the purple ocean. To the northeast, like another ocean, lay the flat surface of the Argentine pampas. Elsewhere the Cordillera, in long parallel ridges running roughly north and south, stretched its great length along, crowding together into an inextricable tangle the distant peaks, partly hidden by the near summits, which alone interrupted the completeness of the panorama.”
All the high peaks are said to be of volcanic origin. Those from Mercedario to Tupungato are precipitous and craggy and decked with great glaciers. The sky line is jagged, like the walls of a ruined castle. Below the snow, the rocks are richly colored. There are vast palisades of dark reds and browns, slopes of purple streaked with yellow, and all sorts of other gorgeous combinations, and, down in the lower valleys, brilliant greens. The streams of melting snow pouring down the sides seem to take on tints that correspond. In some places they flow red, as with blood from the breast of a giant; in others, with the sun gleaming on them, they look like molten gold. The main branch of the Rio Mendoza, for instance, above Cuevas on the Argentine side, seems pink at first, and, lower down, after mixing with the waters of its tributaries, changes to a golden brown. It is one of those scenes that artists are always accused of exaggerating and adding fanciful touches to when they attempt the poor reproductions that the greatest only can give, so far are they beyond human skill to portray—one of those scenes that few mortals are gifted enough to comprehend the unutterable majesty and magnificence of even when they have an opportunity to view the originals. Even Burton Holmes, the great globe-trotter and lecturer, in relating his impression in a recent article, confesses that he could not appreciate it at first.
“Naturally, we were eager at least to see this monarch mountain—Aconcagua, the King of the Cordillera,” he says.
“Accordingly, we organized a little expedition, and, under the guidance of the capable young Britisher who is in charge of the livestock of the camp at Puente del Inca, and his Chilean ‘Capitaz,’ or chief man, we rode away up a lateral valley toward a well-known point of view, whence Aconcagua could be clearly seen. A snow-clad mountain looms up at the end of that barren valley. ‘That’s a rather fine peak,’ I remarked. ‘Well, rather,’ replied the Englishman. ‘That’s the one you have come to see; that’s Aconcagua.’ We were astounded, for the mountain seemed no huger than the Jungfrau, as viewed from Interlaken. In fact, it greatly resembles the Jungfrau in form and outline, and its setting, from this point of view, is similar. We had expected to be overwhelmed at sight of some sharp, tremendous, towering shape—some magnified Matterhorn. What we beheld was like a section of a snowy range—a culminating section of that range, perhaps—but not a sharply defined peak. Yet we were looking at the highest crest of the Western Hemisphere. Everything about us was on a scale so vast that even Aconcagua was dwarfed by the tremendous setting.”
The next great division of the range is defined on the north by the Maipo Pass and by Las Demas Pass on the south. Its principal heights are between 16,000 and 17,000 feet. From Las Demas on, few are over 10,000 feet, and, beyond Copahue, near the source of the Bio-bio River, the average is about 9000. Beyond the volcano Tronador (the Thunderer), in the latitude of Lake Llanquihue, and as far as Lake Buenos Aires, it consists of a series of Swisslike mountains, still decreasing in height, but with an occasional high peak, such as San Valentín (12,720 feet), and glaciers growing ever larger and more numerous. San Valentín towers in the midst of an elevated ice field eighty miles long and thirty wide and sends down two great glacial streams, one to the south and the other into the San Rafael Lake, where the ice glides along the bottom until it breaks into fragments that drift away in the channel of Morelada. All these places can now be reached by railroad or steamer.
No conception of the Chilean country as a whole can be formed, however, unless it is understood that it is naturally divided into zones, as characteristically dissimilar as are the various grand divisions of the United States. For instance, there is the Magellan and Fuegian region, where, to the east of the mountain ranges, the great Argentine pampa extends clear down through Tierra del Fuego, and where, as the climate is too rigorous to invite agricultural pursuits, the principal industry, and the only important one, aside from a small amount of lumbering and gold mining, is the raising of herds of sheep and cattle. With the exception of the ranchers and the ten or twelve thousand people of Punta Arenas—which is the only port of call in these parts, and is, therefore, the distributing and shipping point for all the enormous expanse of country round about, including the southern section of Argentine Patagonia—the inhabitants are of the lower order of Indians and live in the forests, supporting themselves by hunting and fishing, just as they did before they ever saw or heard of a white man.
Then there is the island, lake, and forest region between Smyth Channel, say, and Valdivia. In the southern part, the principal industries are lumbering and fishing, but in the north, especially in the Province of Chiloé (both the island and mainland) and in Llanquihue, there are also wheat and barley fields, and the fruit, dairy, and cattle-raising industries rank ahead of the timber and fishing, though in Chiloé this last is among the most important. The inhabitants are mostly immigrants, mestizos, and Indians, though of a better and far more amenable class than the races farther south. Most of them are descendants of those famous Araucanians, whom it took nearly four hundred years to subdue. Here, throughout nearly the whole of the country, in the uplands as well as near the coast, is the towering alerce (the Chilean pine), often two hundred feet high, sometimes two hundred and fifty, which has a superb white trunk, varying from ten to fifteen feet in diameter, according to height—the rival of the California giant redwoods—and here is the dingue, that resembles the mighty German oak, and supplies wood for railroad cars, carriages, casks, and ship-building, of wonderful toughness and durability. There are cypress, walnut, cedar, ash, beech, and others excellent for general building and cabinet purposes, too, and other species of value for their barks.
Then, from Valdivia north through the Province of Coquimbo, comes the great central valley, which is excelled by few, if any, of the temperate agricultural regions of the world. It is here, of course, that the principal centers of population are located—Valparaiso, the most important seaport south of San Francisco, and Santiago, the capital, and the ports of Concepción and La Serena, or Coquimbo. In this region all the cereals, fruits, and vegetables are produced in abundance. There are immense vineyards and sugar-beet and tobacco plantations, stock and dairy farms, copper, silver, and coal mines, and factories of almost every description.
North of Coquimbo are the desert provinces of Atacama, Antofagasta, Tarapacá, and Tacna, where the rain so seldom falls that no useful vegetation can thrive except in a few places where irrigation is possible, yet which are the chief source of Chile’s revenue and wealth. These constitute the fourth, or almost exclusively mineral zone, and, aside from their gold and silver and copper, contain the famous nitrate of soda beds, the only known extensive deposit of the kind in the world, though here they are found thickly scattered over a strip four hundred and sixty miles long, averaging about three miles in width. Every year more than 2,000,000 tons (in 1910 it was 2,367,000 tons, worth $86,018,000) are exported to fertilize the fields and make the gunpowder of Europe and the United States, to say nothing of the iodine and other by-products extracted in the process of preparation. “Plants make use of nitrogen only when it is present in the soil in the form of nitrates,” says the Pan American Bulletin (Review Number, August, 1911)—
“And nitrate of soda is the only fertilizer that contains this food in a suitable and available form. The manner of using it, once it is applied, is the subject of technical, agricultural chemistry, but every year it is better understood and results are more satisfactory. On the first discovery of the value of nitrate, it was scattered promiscuously in the soil in its crude form, just as it was taken from the beds in Chile. As the industry advanced, it was found that it was more economical to export a purer mineral, and that, also, the purer the mineral, the more plant nourishment it offered, provided that the need of the plant was carefully investigated. The results have been a more highly developed agriculture and the saving of certain by-products, of which iodine is one, the profit from which aids the manufacture. Another use for nitrate is in the manufacture of nitric acid, and, ultimately, of many kinds of explosives....
“Saltpeter, or nitrate of soda, is found mixed with other substances. The beds contain four layers of material, the next lowest being that of the nitrate itself. Above this are the chuca, on the surface, which is nothing more than the accumulation of ages; the costra beneath, a harder and older mass, but still a somewhat worthless débris; the caliche, the real nitrate of soda, and, finally, the stratum of bed rock called gova. To obtain the nitrate, a shaft is sunk to the gova, on which powder is placed and exploded; the overlying mass is thrown up and the caliche containing the nitrate scattered over the ground. This is then collected and taken to the refining works for preparation into refined or almost pure nitrate of soda, ready for export. In the oficinas” (refining works) “machinery of the most economical and effective pattern is used, and the methods of refining the salt are according to the best researches of industrial chemistry. The same is true of the facilities for transportation to the steamer. Many small but well-equipped railways are in operation in the fields, and they carry the product to the coast towns, from which they are finally shipped abroad.... Great Britain takes about forty per cent., Germany and the United States each about twenty per cent., France about ten per cent., and the remainder goes to such far-away places as Egypt, Japan, the Hawaiian Islands, and Australia. In fact, without nitrate the great agricultural producers cannot advance.”
And it is well for Chile that these nitrate deposits have proven of such great value—they were acquired only at the cost of a long and expensive war. Formerly the Province of Antofagasta belonged to Bolivia and the Provinces of Tarapacá and Tacna to Peru. The dividing line between Chile and Bolivia, it appears, had always been a bone of contention, and, in 1866, while these republics were allied in a war with Spain, a treaty had been entered into between them, fixing a boundary and agreeing that the citizens of either should have the right to engage in mining operations in the territory of the other, and export the products free of all taxation, within a certain limited area. It appears also that in 1870 Bolivia, for a money consideration, granted to a company composed of Chileans and Englishmen the right to work the nitrate beds both in and north of the treaty area, also to construct a mole at the port of Antofagasta and a road to Carácoles, where rich silver mines had been discovered. The mole was constructed and not only a road but a railroad, and the company is said to have invested heavily in various plants for the preparation of the nitrate and the reduction of the silver ore. As a result, as it was contended, it was Chilean and British capital, and principally Chilean energy and labor that developed the wealth of the region.
It further appears that, in 1873, Bolivia and Peru had entered into a secret alliance, by the terms of which each was to protect the others independence and territorial integrity from foreign aggression, and that in 1874 another treaty between Chile and Bolivia was negotiated, having in view the settlement of certain differences, but which the Bolivian Congress had refused to ratify except on condition that an export duty on nitrates should thereafter be paid. Chile remonstrated, contending that such a tax would be in violation of the treaty of 1866. Bolivia, it was charged, sought to impose it nevertheless and seized the property of the Chileno-British company on default in payment. The situation having thus become acute, Chile sent a fleet to protect the interests of her citizens and blockaded the port of Antofagasta. At this stage Peru, doubly concerned because of her secret alliance and because Chileans had acquired rights in her own nitrate fields in Tarapacá, offered her services as mediator, but no agreement could be reached and she became involved in the dispute herself, and, because of her more accessible situation, it fell to her lot to bear the chief burden of the defence in the war that followed.
In spite of the heroic sacrifices of her officers and the desperate courage with which her soldiers fought, especially toward the last, in nearly every battle, on both land and sea, the Chileans were successful, and at last, when they had taken Lima itself and made their victory complete, the provinces in question were ceded to her provisionally and have been developed to their present importance under her protection. The half-breed descendants of the Aymaras and Incas, of which the rank and file of the Peruvian and Bolivian armies were composed, were no match for the virile roto, in whose veins flowed the fiery blood of the Basque and Biscayan pioneers, mingled with that of the spirited, warlike aborigines of Chile.
If, in making the grand tour of the continent one goes first to Bolivia and visits Chile by way of the railroad from La Paz instead of going directly from Argentina over the transandean road or by steamer through the Strait of Magellan, one comes to the end of the trip at this very port of Antofagasta, which lies basking in the tropical sun on a strip of coast at the foot of a low table-land, seven hundred miles north of Valparaiso, in the heart of the rainless desert. It is very different, this region, from the bleak plateau up the twelve-thousand-foot slope, with its llama trains and poncho-clad natives. Antofagasta has a population of about 20,000, good broad streets, and a very businesslike appearance. It is a city that looks like one of our Western mining towns, and impresses one at first glance with its evidences of a more vigorous and ambitious civilization. There is a large oficina for the preparation of nitrate, steam tramcar lines, smelters for the treatment of copper and silver ores, long rows of barracks for the housing of the laborers, corrugated iron warehouses, crowds of ships in the offing taking on cargoes of nitrate and metals or unloading supplies; yet there are a plaza and promenade and hotels, and most of the residences of the officers of the companies are decidedly attractive.
For, in addition to being a nitrate and mining port, this is one of the principal gateways through which Bolivia’s commodities still come and her own products are sent out, and is the distributing center for the Chilean province besides, where the land is so barren that the inhabitants are dependent on the outside world for almost everything. There was a time when even water had to be imported into the city itself—it used to be said that they drank champagne because water was too expensive—but not long ago a conduit was constructed and now it is piped from the mountains, 250 miles away; and they have even brought soil from the south with which to make gardens to adorn their plaza and promenade and the grounds near the club where the Britishers have their tennis courts and five o’clock teas. It is said that of the $127,000,000 invested in the hundred or more oficinas generally throughout the region, $53,500,000 are English, $52,500,000 Chilean, and the rest German; so here, of course, as in the greater port of Iquique in the Province of Tarapacá, a large proportion of the people, other than the laboring class, is English, and certain it is that the brisk, clean-cut Anglo-Saxon is very much in evidence, both in town and out along the plants lining the railroad.
As Antofagasta is not connected with Valparaiso by railroad, the only practicable way of getting there is by steamer. This is rather unfortunate for the tourist, because, although the accommodations are comfortable enough, the progress is slower and what is to be seen along the coast is nowhere near as interesting and attractive as in the central valley. Except at widely separated intervals, where the hills part at the mouths of the few shallow rivers or about the bays, the shore all the way down is dominated by steep, rocky cliffs, so high, when the ship’s course is near the coast, as to conceal the country behind. The only signs of life are where little ports, usually mere clusters of tin-roofed huts, are huddled on the beach, sometimes with a railroad climbing up the cliffs and back into the mining country beyond. Occasionally there is a city, such as La Serena; but, unless one has plenty of time to spare, these do not repay a stopover until the next boat.
Valparaiso (Vale of Paradise) is built at the foot of a mountain ridge, divided by deep ravines into nineteen separate cerros, or hills, that slope down to a wide bay, opening into the sea on the north. Encircling the beach is an embankment of masonry, called the Malecon, which considerably broadens the water front and serves as a protection—though there have been occasions when it has not proven a very effective one—from the heavy seas that are driven in by the “northers” during the two stormy winter months. The principal streets run parallel with the embankment and increase in number in the sections where the cerros recede, diminishing again where they extend almost to the water’s edge. In one section, away around near the end, there is scarcely room enough for the tracks of the railroad that connects the city with its beautiful, fashionable suburb, Viña del Mar. Many have their homes on the terraced sides and tops of the cerros, which are connected one with another by handsome bridges and made accessible from the streets below by inclined railways and elevators, so that, viewed from the entrance to the bay, the city has the appearance of a huge amphitheater.
The city has a population of nearly 250,000, but, as some one else has remarked, “As the principal port of the west coast, and, in a way, the ‘downtown’ for the capital and the rest of Chile, Valparaiso seems more important than its mere population would indicate, and, although the newspapers and street signs are in Spanish and Spanish is the language generally spoken, it has little of the look of the old Spanish-American town.” A large element of the population is foreign. The Germans are said to have the largest colony and the Italians and French to come next in order. These are mostly retail merchants of the better class; but it is here also that the men live who design and control the vast nitrate and mining enterprises in the north and the capitalists who finance the big industrial projects and railway development, the exporters and importers, bankers, brokers, and insurance men, and among these the ten or twelve thousand English in the city predominate. The better-educated class of Chileans speak English as well as Spanish and French. The French have almost a monopoly of the retail trade having to do with fashionable apparel and luxuries, for Paris has always been the Mecca of the smart set here and in Santiago, just as it has in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.
Although there are parts of the city that still retain something of the old-world aspect, the buildings generally are modern—many of them new, since it had to be largely rebuilt after the great earthquake in 1906, which was relatively as disastrous there as the one in San Francisco of the same year was to our principal Pacific port. There are few tall buildings and no skyscrapers, yet the main business street, the Calle Victoria, which parallels the Malecon almost the entire length, presents an array of government buildings, banks, hotels, theaters, cafés, retail shops, and office buildings larger and more substantial and elaborate than can be seen almost anywhere in cities of that size. The shops are of good size, and leave nothing to be desired in the way of assortment and quality of their stocks. Probably the most attractive of all the streets is the Avenida Brazil, which is at once a shaded boulevard, business thoroughfare, and fashionable promenade. There are trolley cars—with women conductors—and arc lights, libraries, first-class educational institutions, beautiful parks and plazas where they have public band concerts in the evenings, attractive residence districts, and near by, at Viña del Mar, there are sea bathing, tennis, racing, football, golf, country clubs, and a first-class hotel for those who are not so fortunate as to have their own houses. Only about sixty miles away (though it is farther by the railroad, which has to make a détour to get through the coast range) is the capital, Santiago, the real metropolis of the country.
“Santiago, the Andean city of the snow white crown,” as Marie Robinson Wright was moved to describe it—
“Is unique in the charm of her unconventional beauty and the rugged splendor of her surroundings. Like a queen in the giant castle that nature has given her, with walls of the imperishable granites of the Cordilleras and towers reaching to the skies, she seems created for the homage of those who gaze upon her. Her face is toward the sunset, as if in expectation of the high destiny that awaits this land of promise in the golden west of South America; and, from the snowy peaks behind her, marked clear against the blue sky, to the farthest limit westward, bordered by the boundless Pacific, there is no alien territory to limit the prospect of her fair domain. Her jewels, rare and resplendent, are the rich emerald of the Andean valleys, the matchless sapphire of Andean skies, the pure diamonds of Andean streams. Her royal robes are woven of the marvelous purple and gold of Andean sunsets, unrivaled in brilliancy, and imparting to her gracious beauty the glow of infinite loveliness, as they envelop her utterly, catching even the snowy peaks of her sovereign diadem in their magic folds.”
Nor is this in the least overdrawn. No city could be more delightfully situated. It lies in the great central valley, on a plateau forty miles long and about twenty wide, nearly two thousand feet above the level of the sea, where the climate is as perfect as that in the Pyrenees, and is almost completely enclosed by a magnificent border of mountains. Luzerne and other show places in Switzerland are mere miniatures compared with it. The level portion of the ground is highly cultivated with all sorts of fruits and crops that grow in the temperate zone and is divided into large haciendas or plantations, nearly all with fine cattle and horse-breeding farms attached, and princely mansions as of feudal lords, and there are splendid avenues of giant eucalyptus along the roads and separating the fields. In the heart of the city itself is a hill called El Cerro de Santa Lucia, that rises to a height of three hundred feet and is half as big around as Central Park in New York, a spot which such a connoisseur as William E. Curtis declared he had “long held to be the prettiest place in the world.” The summit is reached by a number of winding driveways and walks, lined with trees, flowering shrubs and overhanging vines and flanked by battlemented walls and towers, picturesque beyond description; there are terraces ornamented with flower beds and fountains, and grottos, balconies, and rustic seats; all along, at intervals, are kiosks for music and refreshments; half way up is a theater where light opera and vaudeville performances are given both afternoons and evenings; a little farther on is a restaurant that is a favorite resort for breakfasting and dining out, and, best of all, from the summit there is a glorious view of the whole country around.
Across the city from Santa Lucia to the Central Railroad depot, an avenue called the Alameda de las Delicias extends for a distance of three miles. It is three hundred and fifty feet wide and all down the center is a beautiful park containing statues and monuments to Chile’s heroes. It is her hall of fame, not shut in by four walls, but placed in the midst of this most frequented of her promenades, among the trees and flowers and the fountains and lakes, where “the stories told in marble and bronze may inspire the multitude to patriotism and courage;” and, facing the driveways along the sides, are many of the handsomest of the residences. The old center of the city is marked by the famous Plaza de Armas, with a marble monument representing South America receiving her baptism of fire in the war of independence. On one side are the Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace, on another the splendid Municipal and Intendencia Buildings, low and massive, and Government Telegraph Office; on another, two long series of shops opening out on fine arcades that extend the whole length of the sidewalks from corner to corner.
Opposite the Plaza O’Higgins, a few blocks away, is the Congressional Palace, which occupies the whole square and is one of the largest and handsomest buildings in South America. In architectural design it looks somewhat like the Senate and House wings of our Capitol at Washington, only of course it is much larger than either mere wing; and in the same district is the Casa de Moneda (the Mint), in which the President and Cabinet have their offices, a massive structure as big as our Washington Treasury, and the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts.
It is around the plaza that society takes its customary stroll in the evenings and the dusky-eyed, black-haired señoritas, according to the Latin custom, flirt as much as they dare with the young exquisites, who frankly and boldly admire with glances more eloquent than words. Writing of this custom, which would not be tolerated in our cities, Arthur Ruhl says that—
“They are dapper and very confident young men” (these oglers), “combining in their demeanor the gallantry of their Spanish inheritance with a certain bumptiousness rather characteristically Chilean. They stare at those who pass—some in mantos, some in French dresses with Paris hats—and in Spanish murmur, half audibly, such observations as, ‘I like the blonde best,’ or ‘Give me the little one.’ And, as they still retain some of that simplicity which in the interior causes a stranger to be watched as though he were a camel or a calliope, they will stare even at the gringo, comment on the cut of his clothes or facetiously compare his blunt walking boots with their long, thin ones. They are rather irritating sometimes, especially the young officers in their smart German uniforms, and one dreams of home and a Broadway policeman marching down upon them leisurely with a night-stick and fanning them away.”
Though why he should have mentioned a “blonde” in illustrating their comments, one must wonder. Maybe it was because there are so few. As a rule their hair and eyes, if not black, are a dark, rich brown, and their complexion of the clear, cream-tinted, brunette type. “But,” he continues—
“The young women do not mind it at all.... And you will not make yourself at all popular by sympathizing, for they would only laugh and say: ‘Oh, they’re all right. That’s only their way of beginning. They’re quite sensible and nice when you come to know them.’ There are ways and ways, and in South America a girl who may not receive a formal call from a man without having her mother and half the family in the room at the same time may blandly listen to repartee that would make our maidens gasp for breath.... It is at dusk, particularly if the band is playing, or if it is Sunday, that the promenade begins round the Plaza—a row of spectators on the inside benches, on the outside young idlers and officers two or three deep—between two shuffling concentric circles, in one of which are the men, in the other the shrinking señoritas, two by two, or hanging on the arm of a protector. Every man who can sport a top-hat and a pair of saffron gloves, if it is Sunday, and all the women except the very austere ones, gather here and circle round in that armed neutrality of the sexes which is the tradition of their blood.”
In general style Santiago is not as modern as Valparaiso, though it is far more interesting and attractive, and is not behind in public utilities, educational facilities, and energy—or in the attractiveness of their street-car service, for here, too, the conductors are neatly uniformed women, lots of them young and good-looking. Many of the more pretentious residences are old family mansions of the Moorish, characteristically Spanish colonial type and, therefore, charming to a stranger from the north. Most of them are like those described in the chapter on Uruguay—built around a large square central court or patio, filled with flower-beds and palms and with galleries around the sides onto which the rooms of the upper stories open. These galleries serve the same purpose as our interior hallways. They are usually supported by substantial but graceful stone arches and piers, and are reached by handsome stairways, also of stone, leading up from the court. Very often there is a fountain and sometimes statuary, and through the big gateways when the ponderous iron-studded doors happen to be open, delicious glimpses may be caught in passing. The windows opening on the streets are usually heavily barred, and the outer walls are in many cases frescoed and tinted and ornamented with wreaths and vases of stucco. Some few of the great houses are massive stone affairs of modern construction that resemble the mansions on the fashionable residence streets of our principal northern cities.
Like all the greater South American towns, Santiago has her museums, libraries, magnificent municipal theater and places of popular amusement; and she has her clubs and racecourse and public gatherings of the fashionables, who are as elegantly dressed and smart-looking as those of Buenos Aires—though she still has her religious processions too on the great feast days, and all the ladies still wear their black, shroudlike mantos to church. Disfiguring and funereal as it is, this is an observance that is still insisted on by the priests. In short, though differing from our capitals in many respects, this greatest city in Chile is obviously a metropolis and offers opportunities for sightseeing and amusements of every description that few cities in the world can surpass. And, as in Lima, there is an aristocracy here, descended directly from the old Conquistadore stock, that has retained its wealth and power in the land through all the vicissitudes of both the colonial and republican régimes.
The long series of groups of islands beginning with Chiloé, about two-thirds of the way down the coast, is said to be nothing more than a partly submerged section of the Western Cordillera. Above the surface of the water, for a distance of about eighty miles, they still have an average elevation of about two thousand feet. Embraced in the Chonos Archipelago, between Chiloé and the Taytao Peninsula, are more than a thousand small islands, rocks, and reefs, and then come the large islands of Wellington, Madre de Dios, Chatham, Hanover, Queen Adelaide, King William’s Land, etc., each fringed by groups of little ones and all following the mainland in a graceful curve and separated from it by the Messier, Sarmiento, and Smyth Channels, which, together, extend for three hundred and sixty miles, from the Penas Gulf to the Strait of Magellan. As the steamer glides through, at times so straight are they and such is the uniformity of the shore line on either side, one fancies one’s self in a wide river in the interior of the continent; at others, when openings among the islands appear and the water stretches for miles toward the sea or far into the recesses of the Cordillera, it seems more like a great lake.
The fjordlike formations recall the more celebrated channel off the coast of Norway leading to the North Cape. Indeed, it is generally agreed by those who have seen both that there is little to choose between them, for, in both, the indentations and mountains of the coast and islands are similar in character; if there is less variety in the Chilean one, if the rainstorms are more frequent, to compensate for it there is a much greater and more attractive wealth of vegetation. From the water’s edge to a height of fourteen or fifteen hundred feet, the slopes, and even the smaller islands, are covered with an unbroken mantle of beautiful, dense, green forest that presents an astonishing contrast, in this inhospitable region, to the bleak, gray rocks and bluish-tinted ice sheets above and the pure white snow caps on the summits beyond.
In the country from Valdivia south to Smyth Channel, many of the trees, particularly in the ravines and sheltered places, are tall and shapely and their trunks and lower branches are incrusted with mosses and entwined with flowering creepers and vines, many with a sort of mistletoe that has clusters of dark-red blossoms; one of the creepers, called angel’s hair, is delicate and filmy and hangs from the branches like threads of lace, and there is an undergrowth of ferns and shrubs and bamboo. These last often shoot up as far as the tops of the trees and seem to mat them together so that they form arbors over the pathways between. Farther south and in the region of the Strait, these woods lose something of their mysterious beauty; here they are composed principally of antarctic beech, gnarled and bent by the winds, and the thicketlike undergrowth is somber and forbidding.
Emerging from the channel, for the first time the steamer encounters heavy rollers, which come dashing in through the broad gateway to the Pacific, not far to the west. Here, even in summer, it is seldom that there is neither storm nor fog, but, when it is clear enough, one can see the tempest-torn promontory of Cape Pillar, at the end of Desolation Island, the southwestern portal of the Strait. Eastward the conditions improve; the water grows smooth again and the clouds are usually lifted above the lower mountain tops; the scenery grows still more impressive than in the channel—only it is solemnly impressive now—at least, so it strikes most travelers. The Strait is much wider; the steamer is far enough away from the shore to enable one to see above the shoulders of the mountains to their summits, yet not so far that the distance renders them too indistinct; the water is steel gray, the bases and buttresses of the mountains take on a shade of purple, the summits seem whiter than ever, and over all, except during the comparatively rare intervals when the sun shines, are leaden clouds. In the center of the Strait, where the continent proper comes to a wedge-shaped point known as Cape Froward, and up to the eastern arm, only a few miles away, lies Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in the world.
In the jumble of ranges forming the transmagellan continuation of the great Cordillera of the Andes, the most important is that named after the scientist, Charles Darwin, who was the first to explore it, on the long western arm of the Island of Tierra del Fuego. The highest and most conspicuous happens to be the nearest to this remarkable port, and, as no better idea of the region in general could be conveyed, it seems to me, I quote from the story of a visit to Mt. Sarmiento, made by Sir Martin Conway the same summer he climbed Aconcagua, rather than attempt a description myself. He says:
“The sun was shining quite hotly and the ice was almost dazzlingly brilliant. After scrambling with difficulty onto the glacier and wandering about the moraine area, we returned toward the shore, finding an exit through the forest at a much narrower place. The air was cool, the sun bright; there were little puffs of breeze; it was the very perfection of a day for active open-air life. Yet the clouds still hung stationary on the summit of Sarmiento. We lay awhile on the shore beside the rippling waters; then rowed away in hopes of seeing our mountain’s misty veil lifted if only for a moment. The long, late midsummer sunset was at hand. A tender pink light, far fainter than the rich radiance of the Alpine glow, lay upon the surface of the glacier and empurpled its crevasses; it permeated the mist aloft. The cruel rocks, incrusted with ice, and the roof of the final precipice, with its steep ridges and icy couloirs, were all that could be seen. The graceful, ice-rounded foundation rocks of this and all the other mountains around slope up to the cliff and jagged arêtes above and make each peak beautiful with contrasted forms, massive, yet suave of outline beneath, splintered and aspiring above. In one direction we looked along the channel of our approach, in another, for twenty miles or so, along Cockburn Channel, with a fine range of snowy peaks beside it, prolonging Sarmiento’s western range.
“The water was absolutely still; we floated with oars drawn in. Looking once more aloft, I found the mist grown thinner. The pink light crept higher and higher as the cloud dissolved. Suddenly—so suddenly that all who saw it cried out—far above this cloud, surprisingly, incredibly high, appeared a point of light like a glowing coal drawn from a furnace. The fiery glow crept down and down as though driving the mist away, till there stood before us, as it were, a mighty pillar of fire, with a wreath of mist around the base, and, down through all the wonderful pink wall and cataract of ice to the black forest and reflecting water. We had seen the final peak now—a tower of ice-crusted rock, utterly inaccessible from the western side. A little while later, the fair couloir had faded away, mists had gathered and night was coming on apace. We rowed away for the steamer, but had not gone very far before a faint silver point appeared above the mist where the glowing tower had stood. The cloud curtain rolled slowly down again and all the summit crest was revealed, cold and pure. Then the southwest ridge appeared, and finally the entire mountain, like a pale ghost, illuminated by some unearthly light. A moment later the clouds rolled together once more and solid night came on; we hastened to the steamer for warmth, food, and sleep.”
PUNTA ARENAS, THE SOUTHERNMOST CITY ON THE GLOBE.
Northward bound from Valparaiso to Callao, the traveler leaves behind him the last of those south temperate zone Latins who contend for the title of “Yankees of South America.” (And there is flattery in that pretension if they but knew it, for in the old strongholds of our vaunted Yankeeism much of the feverish progressiveness has subsided; in these days the title “Argentino” or “Chileno” would confer a real distinction on some of us of the North.) In Chile one leaves triumphant modernism and now enters the realm of antiquity and romance, the home of Spanish tradition and old-world stateliness. Not even on the Peninsula have the Spanish tongue, the Spanish dignity and the old Castilian ideals been preserved in their pristine charm and perfection as they have in Lima, and the three ancient seats of colonial splendor hidden away in the fastnesses of the northern Andes—Quito, Bogotá and Caracas, the capitals of the countries next in order.
Not that romance and antiquity are all that Peru and her sister republics to the north stand for to-day. If Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay, which constitute the agricultural empire spurned by Spain in her days of prosperity, are, as John Barrett says in the Independent for March 11, 1909, destined, with Brazil, “to become deciding factors in the food supply of mankind,” Peru and the other Andean republics have also their part to play in furnishing elements necessary for the growing commerce of the twentieth century. “The complicated social and financial life of the world,” Mr. Barrett goes on, “must have something besides food and drink. Gold and silver as a medium of exchange, and, in the arts, copper and tin as essentials in so many phases of industrial development, the other metals useful in a thousand ways in applied science, the nitrate salts for prime necessities in both peace and war—all these and much more are to-day supplied in high proportion from this part of South America.” Deprive the world of the nitrate of Chile, the copper, gold, and guano of Peru, and the silver and tin of Bolivia, and “there would occur a disturbance in our business machinery which might have very serious consequences.”
In preference to the more direct German line, the visitor should by all means make the trip northward by a “west coaster,” that cross between an Atlantic liner and a river steamboat which meanders leisurely in and out among the Pacific ports and carries a conglomerate of all types of the genus Latin American, and of all the products of his infinitely varied soil. As one writer whimsically describes it, it has all the characteristics of a house-boat, freight carrier, village gossip and market gardener. With no cause to fear rain or rough weather, the ocean here being truly “pacific,” the builders of these boats have placed all cabins on deck, and even thus they seem superfluous except as lockers for luggage, for the heat keeps one always in the open.
Here the newcomer to these shores talks politics or crops or railroad concessions with the substantial hacendado returning to his plantation, or haggles interminably with the cholo woman who offers for sale woven hats of jipi-japa straw (known commercially as Panamas), little golden images unearthed from Inca ruins, or imitations of them fashioned from vegetable ivory, great white-pulped, juicy pineapples, leather belts of exquisite workmanship, brilliantly colored ponchos, and the inevitable convent embroideries and laces. These women spend much of their lives on board, traveling back and forth between Valparaiso and Panamá, and in their allotted corners sell everything from candied sugar cane wrapped in banana leaves to emerald necklaces. It is said that one old woman on a recent trip actually had hoisted aboard a live cow, which she would have sold piecemeal, in steaks, if the long-suffering captain had not protested that his ship was no slaughter-house.
And, besides the surfeit of “local color” one gets on the ship, the traveler has an excellent opportunity to study that vague institution known as international trade, at a familiarly close range. The terms “exports” and “imports” mean little to him until he sees huge cases of sewing machines marked “Hamburg—fragile,” or sections of milling machinery from Chicago, or something of the sort, swung over the side into the lighters, and later sees other lighters towed from shore laden with curious little bales of Panama hats, or cotton, or casks of rum, and all the, to him, exotic products of a different world.
Always wonderful, the mighty ramparts of the Andes rise tier upon tier from the reddish strip of desert shore, first in solid black, then in slaten pallor to the misty heights of inland distance where the peaks are ill-defined against the sky, except when the sun burns through the haze and makes brilliant for a moment some snow-capped summit floating apparently in mid-air four miles above. Ever northward the lazy coaster dozes on her course, dropping in at Iquique, parched and stifling, or Arica where the sun-baked nitrate lies piled for shipment in such quantities as fairly to blister the imagination, or Mollendo, the other open door to Bolivia’s wealth; and, finally, after a fortnight of such coasting, one enters Callao, the port of Lima, which is only nine miles away, up the valley. Situated in the center of Peru’s coast line, Callao is the busy exchange for the bulk of the country’s commerce. Its population is about 35,000. Most of its business men, however, live in Lima and look upon the port city as the Chileans do on Valparaiso, merely as the “down town” district of the capital.
Arriving in port the traveler’s thoughts instinctively turn back through the four centuries of white dominion over the country; and he pictures in his mind the stirring tragedies of Spanish conquest and the colonial régime in this dazzling colonial empire won from the Incas. Until 1717 the Viceroy of Peru held sway over the whole of South America except the then Portuguese Colony of Brazil. On that date the Viceroyalty of Santa Fé or New Granada (embracing what is now Colombia and Ecuador) and the Captaincy-General of Venezuela were created and severed from his jurisdiction; and in 1776 it was reduced to the dimensions occupied by the present Republic, by the creation of the Viceroyalty of Buenos Aires, which included territory now occupied by Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia (then known as the Province of Alto Peru). The Captaincy-General of Chile had always enjoyed a high degree of autonomy and retained it until complete independence was gained by the revolution.
Although mightily shrunken from its former imperial estate, Peru is still a magnificent domain. Its area of 680,000 square miles is equal to the combined areas of Texas, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico; its coast-line of 1500 miles is as extensive as our Atlantic coast from Maine to Georgia. The country is divided longitudinally into three distinct regions: the coast, the cordillera, and the so-called Montaña, or wooded slopes, the latter stretching away into the Amazon valley. Along the Pacific coast is a ribbon of dry, tropical lowland, varying in width from twenty to eighty miles, and reaching up to the foothills of the coast range. On these foothills, and increasing gradually in number, through the extension of the irrigating systems toward the sea, lie extensive plantations of cotton and sugar, which form a large part of Peru’s exports. But the coastal stretches are, for the most part, still unreclaimed desert, for, as in the nitrate region of Chile, the rain falls so seldom that, without irrigation, nothing can grow. The explanation given by the scientists is that the moisture from the Atlantic, swept across the continent by the African trade winds, lodges finally in the Andes and flows back over the continental valleys in the great rivers confluent with the Amazon, while that from the Pacific is diverted in some other direction. It has been demonstrated by experiment, however, that these arid parts need only irrigation to make them luxuriantly fertile.
Back of the coast the country is cast in a mold of heroic dimensions. Here the Andes spread out into separate cordilleras which are joined at intervals by transverse ranges, forming great nudos (knots), with high plateaux between, surrounded by lofty snow-covered peaks. This mountainous area approximates three hundred miles in width. In these heights lay the wealth that made of Peru a fabulous treasure land, and in the lower valleys the cereals and fruits of the temperate zone, as well as cattle, provide in great abundance for the Peruvian of to-day. In her extensive guano deposits, too, Peru has another great source of wealth.
Descending the eastern slopes of the Cordillera, the Montaña region stretches away gradually into the Amazon valley, covering an immense area. This Montaña country comprises more than two-thirds of the total area, and lies wholly within the Torrid Zone. Watered by mighty rivers that have their source in the Andean snows, and graded in elevation, its varied productiveness and fertility are phenomenal. It is in the Peruvian Andes that the Amazon begins its long course to the Atlantic; the river, however, goes by the name of Marañon throughout its length in Peru. In the beginning it is augmented by the Huallaga, Ucayali, and Yavarí and a dozen more mighty streams having their sources in the same heights or in the foothills on the eastern slopes, and, while still within Peruvian territory, becomes a river of such immense depth that ocean liners steam clear across the continent to Iquitos, thus giving to Peru a port accessible from the Atlantic for her shipments of rubber and other tropical products.
The disposition of the country’s population of 4,500,000 inhabitants is significant of the history of the nation’s development and suggestive of the prosperity that awaits her when the Andean barriers shall have been gridironed with the railroads that will open up the Amazon region to colonization some day. The coast areas now support a fourth of the total population, the cordilleras two-thirds, while the rich forests and fertile plains of the Montaña—the country of Peru’s present-day opportunity—support but half a million. The bulk of these inhabitants are of Indian and mixed Indian and Spanish descent. But little impression has yet been made by European immigration, as in the established agricultural republics of the Atlantic seaboard. It is confidently expected that the birth of the New Peru—the Peru of railroads, colonization, and great agricultural and mining activity—will reverse this disparity in distribution and increase the population to many times its present numbers, for now it is less than that of Holland, although Peru is three times the size of France.
The New Peru, which is heralded by all recent visitors to the west coast republics, is building an industrial and commercial nation on the long smoldering ruins of Spain’s golden empire, and it will be a worthier and more lasting structure than that with which Pizarro remorselessly smothered the unique civilization of the Incas. The war with Chile seemed to awaken her to the necessity of keeping pace with the times, not only in military but in commercial affairs. Since then she has made great strides.
A short distance up the coast near Ecuador’s port of Guayaquil lies the little town of Tumbéz, where Pizarro landed with his troop of two hundred men and planted the banner of Castile in the Inca’s domain. One of his first acts after establishing the power of Spain in the Inca country was to found a new capital nearer the coast than Cuzco, where, in the midst of the Andes, the Incas had for centuries had their seat of government. He chose the site of a pre-Incaic oracle on the Rimac River (the “river that speaks”) where the legendary predecessors of the Incas came to make their vows. For nearly three hundred years this city, which is now called Lima, but which he christened the City of the Kings, enjoyed the distinction of being the “second metropolis” of the great Spanish Empire on two continents and the center of a viceregal court, the splendor of which rivaled that of royalty itself. Stately palaces and churches were soon erected; wide avenues and beautiful plazas were laid out and substantial walls constructed for defense, and here came in the viceroy’s train the proudest nobility of Spain.
Lima is reached by both railroad and trolley line from Callao, and lies on a broad, fertile plain on the left bank of the river. Fifty miles back of the city the great chain of the Andes passes; but spurs from the majestic range stretch down and enclose it as within an amphitheater. Lima is only five hundred feet above sea-level, and in the summer season unquestionably hot, although the cool breezes from the Pacific temper the climate to a certain extent. In general appearance the early writers likened it to Seville; to-day, as the capital of a progressive republic, it has broadened out and become more active than its dreamy Andalusian prototype. As in Santiago and the old parts of Buenos Aires, the business and poorer residence streets generally are narrow and paved with cobble-stones, and most of the buildings are two or three stories high. In the better residence sections the visitor is agreeably surprised to find the charm of other days still remaining in the massive wooden street doors studded with brass, barred windows and Moorish balconies, or miradores, of heavily carved mahogany, and beautiful patios. The famous old Torre-Tagle mansion, where so many of the viceroys lived, is still standing to perpetuate this interesting type, as in the older tropical Spanish cities. Portales, or arcades, extend along the sides of the plazas in front of the shops to afford shelter from the sun.
The great cathedral and the government palace of the same period flank two sides of the Plaza Mayor. On the third side stands the city hall, above which are the balconies of the principal social clubs. Near by is the old Inquisition building. In the high-domed and mahogany-paneled room in which the Holy Office sat, the Senate now holds its sessions and signs the laws of the republic on the very table whence in the old days were issued warrants for autos da fé, and the legislators now hang their hats in the former torture chamber, in fine disregard of the horrors it once witnessed. There is a venerableness attached to the old churches and convents abounding in Lima which makes one hope that the exigencies of modernism may not demand the destruction of these splendid relics of colonial architecture.
PLAZA MAYOR, LIMA.
The Plaza Mayor was the very heart of the brilliant colonial régime. The courtly Dons of these days, many of whom are descendants of the principal courtiers of that period, still are delighted to tell of the brilliance of the viceregal court under the Marquis de Cañete or the Duke de Palata, or the dilettante Prince de Esquilache—a court that was the talk of two continents. In the gorgeous salons of the old palace the gayety reached its height in the days of the Viceroy Amat. It is not surprising to learn that the deposed Ferdinand VII would gladly have followed the example of the Portuguese king and moved with his court to his new-world capital had he been able to escape from the grasp of Napoleon. At one corner is the site of the house in which Pizarro fought in vain with his assassins. His skeleton now lies in a glass case in the cathedral, exposed to the visitor’s astonished gaze. In the center of the Plaza a beautiful bronze fountain has stood for three hundred years, untouched by the strife that surged about it as each new period of Peru’s stormy career was ushered in.
In the Plaza de la Exposición, on the Paseo Colón and in other parks and boulevards are erected the statues of the nation’s heroes, and other men who have made Peru’s history—Christopher Columbus, the two Liberators, San Martín and Bolívar, Colonel Bolognesi, who fell in the war with Chile, refusing to surrender “until we have burned our last cartridge,” and many others. The Paseo Colón runs through the fashionable residence section. It is one hundred and fifty feet wide and connects the Plazas Bolognesi and Exposición. Through the center runs a garden bordered with superb trees and artistically laid out flower-beds and flowering bushes, and interspersed at intervals with monuments, pillars, and fountains. The present day parade of the gente decente gives the visitor a picture of beautiful women and well-groomed equipages that measures up to the best traditions of Peru’s social eminence. In the heart of the city is the great bull ring, where once society gathered for other purposes than merely to take the air.
Excellent electric car service is a feature of Lima’s modern improvements. Trolley lines extend to the many seaside resorts for which society deserts the capital in the hottest months—Chorillos, the Newport of Peru, just south of Callao, or Miraflores, Barranco, Ancón and the numerous imitations of Coney Island.
Too much cannot be said of the charm of Lima’s culture and refinement. If the Limeños have inherited from their ancestors too much of the aristocratic pride and military arrogance that distinguish the Peninsulare, they have also fallen heir to the courtly grace and savoir faire that made the Knights of Alcántara famous among the first gentlemen in Europe four centuries ago. From the Lima home of to-day the visitor will take away with him recollections of hospitality, kindness and old-world dignity, lightened by a pronounced keenness of wit. They have the reputation of being generous and hospitable, if inclined to extravagance, and of forming warm and lasting friendships. Ardent imaginations and brilliant intellects lend a charm to conversation with the men, only less than that which the world-famed beauty, intelligence and kindly courtesy of the women lend to theirs. Very reserved when on their way to church in their black mantos or promenading the Alameda in their handsome toilettes, these ladies exert themselves to make their homes agreeable to their guests. The behavior of the young girls on the Alameda is more like that of their Chilean sisters.
At the head of Peru’s educational system stands the fine old University of San Marcos, in Lima, founded in 1551—nearly a hundred years before Harvard received its charter. It has now many additions and covers all branches of learning, and its courses are thrown open to every class.
SCENE ON THE OROYA RAILWAY.
Peru’s railroads cover but fifteen hundred miles, but they are pushing forward rapidly to fill in its section of the long-promised Pan-American railway from Panamá to Patagonia. One of these, the Oroya road, which ascends from Lima up into the plateau country, is altogether the most impressive piece of railroad engineering in the world; it is not only the highest, but there is no other that lifts its wondering passengers to any such altitude in such an appallingly short space of time. For an hour or more the train winds through a wide, irrigated valley, green and prosperous-looking with plantations of sugar cane. Farther up, the valley narrows and is closed in by naked rocks. Twenty-five miles from Lima a station is reached twenty-eight hundred feet above the sea; twelve miles farther the altitude is five thousand feet. At Casapalca, the town of smelters, thirteen thousand six hundred feet is achieved by the puffing, vibrating engine; at fourteen thousand feet the chimneys of Casapalca’s smelters look like pins stuck in the green carpet below, and finally, the passenger descends from the train, very uncertain on his feet, at the unprecedented height of 15,665 feet, and stands on the cold, wind-swept Andean roof. On every hand are peaks and hoods of snow. Beyond the station the rechristened Mount Meiggs rises another two thousand feet, as a monument to the indefatigable Yankee promoter and soldier of fortune who conceived and built the road—Henry Meiggs.
Turning to the west, one looks back over the long, infinitely varied descent; to the east lie the plateaus and the Andean treasure land. The northern branch of the road continues along almost equally high levels, past the historic plains of Junín on which Bolívar dealt his crushing blow to the viceroy’s army in 1824, to Cerro de Pasco, where the American mining syndicate is preparing to get rich.
A still more extensive railroad and one which gives the traveler a more varied view of the Andes, is that ascending from the port city of Mollendo, near the Chilean frontier. This line is the outlet for much of the commerce of Bolivia, and was built by the same gifted Yankee who fathered the Oroya road. Leaving Mollendo, the train speeds over the desert for a few miles and then begins its steady climb upward. All day it labors along the tortuous ascent through echoing walls of rock, bare, repellent, and awe-inspiring in their cold majesty. Suddenly, around a jagged precipice, the passengers look down upon a lovely valley—an oasis of green. In its midst lies the quaint, picturesque old city of Arequipa, which Pizarro, who founded it, was wont to call la villa hermosa—the city beautiful. Seen from the heights, it somewhat resembles La Paz, a group of low, white and blue walled, red roofed buildings, arranged in squares, with a large plaza in the center, the general flatness relieved by many church spires, and its spacious patios a mass of foliage and trees.
Thus far the penetration of the railroad into this quiet retreat has produced but little change in its old-world aspect. It has long been famous for its delightful climate and location, and as Mozans truly says of it, “If it is not the most beautiful place in South America, as its admirers claim, it is certainly the most restful. It is such a place as one would like to retire to after the stress and storms of a busy career, to pass one’s days in quiet and a congenial environment. The people who retain all the light-heartedness and cordiality and culture of old Spain, are worthy denizens of their charming city, and the better one knows them, the more he admires and loves them.”
Overlooking the city are the buildings of a branch of the Harvard Observatory. It is said that, because of the remarkable clearness of the atmosphere and the great number of cloudless nights, this observatory is probably more favorably located than any other in the world, and that, as a consequence, the astronomers stationed there have achieved results of the greatest value to science, especially in photographing the southern skies. Also they are doing valuable work in measuring the heights of the Andean peaks and charting the general topography, as well as in keeping open house to their fellow-countrymen who hunger for the sound of their native tongue after many weeks of effort to comprehend the idioms of the Castilian speech and the patois of the ever-present cholo. The verandas and trim green lawns and tennis courts are a reminder of Cambridge, indeed.
Above the observatory, snow-capped Misti rises sheer from the valley some 21,000 feet, like a perfect cone. Its appearance is so distinct, so impressive in its constancy and brooding grandeur, that it possesses a personality almost human. One feels impelled to address it with the prefix “Señor,” after the manner of the Japanese with their Fuji-san, which, by the way, greatly resembles Misti in shape and location.
Continuing upward through the mountain desert, the Mollendo road ascends to a height of 14,666 feet in the short latitudinal distance of less than two hundred miles, and across the divide to Juliaca, a town near the northern shore of Lake Titicaca, where it separates, one branch extending south to Puno, the center of the gold mining district, thence around the great lake to La Paz, the other extending northwest for about two hundred miles, down the sloping plateau to the valley of Cuzco, at the head of which is the ancient imperial capital of the Incas. Plantations and pastures begin to appear as the train descends from the high ridges into the plain, and, great as is the altitude even here, on an island in this very lake, according to tradition, the remarkable native dynasty had its birth. The legend, as Mozans quotes it from the works of Garcilaso de la Vega, the historian of the conquest, and who was himself, through his mother, a descendant of the royal Inca line, is that—
“Our Father, the Sun, seeing the human race in the condition I have described: living like wild beasts, without religion or government, or town or houses, without cultivating the land or clothing their bodies, for they knew not how to weave cotton or wool to make clothes; living in caves or clefts in the rocks, or in caverns under the ground; eating the herbs of the field and roots and fruit, like wild animals, and also human flesh—had compassion on them and sent down from heaven to the earth a son and a daughter to instruct them in the knowledge of our Father, the Sun, that they might adore him and adopt him as their God, also to give them precepts and laws by which to live as reasonable and civilized men and to teach them to live in houses and towns, to cultivate maize and other crops, to breed flocks, to use the fruits of the earth like rational beings instead of living like wild beasts. With these commands and intentions, our Father, the Sun, placed his two children in the Lake of Titicaca, which is eighty leagues from here” (Cuzco); “and he said to them that they might go where they pleased, and that, at every place where they stopped to eat or sleep, they were to thrust a scepter of gold into the ground, which was half a yard long and two fingers in thickness. He gave them this staff as a sign and token that in the place where, by one blow on the earth, it should sink down and disappear, there it was the desire of our Father, the Sun, that they should remain and establish their court.”
In this region the table-land is of vast expanse, and in many respects the panorama is more impressive even than that in the vicinity of Aconcagua. In the center is the enormous sheet of water, turquoise blue in the sunlight, stretching for a hundred and ten miles off to the south, with an average width of thirty miles and an average depth of a hundred fathoms, and, 12,500 feet high as it is, bordered on either side by superb ranges towering many thousands of feet higher, their clean-cut peaks glittering with mantles of snow and ice. Around the shore and on the islands of Titicaca and Koati are picturesque towns and small clusters of adobe houses surrounded by hills, their sides terraced and covered with farms, the water fringed with fields of reeds, and feeding in them countless birds and herds of cattle. It is no wonder that these “Children of the Sun” should have worshiped as their God and Goddess the great luminous orbs in a region where, thanks to the unwonted splendor of the moon and stars, which enable one to distinguish all the salient features of lake and Cordillera with the greatest ease, the nights, as Mozans says, are glorious beyond words; but where, “however fair the views presented to the enraptured gaze in the subdued light of the moon and her attendant handmaidens, no one can be insensible to the gorgeous vistas that burst upon the vision during the daytime.” It is then, he continues—
“Especially at the hours of dawn and twilight that the snow-crested range of the lofty Cordillera Real is visible in all its transcendent beauty and majesty. For then, as if by magic, various colored fires seem to blaze from the immense glaciers and snow fields and to convert the sparkling expanse into glowing rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, while the lofty peaks of the Sorata range are transformed into gleaming pinnacles of burnished gold. Then in fullest perfection and palpable form is realized that vision of mountain loveliness, that crowning splendor of earth and sky, set forth in Ruskin’s noble lines: ‘Wait yet for one hour, until the east again becomes purple and the heaving mountains, rolling against it in the darkness like waves of a wild sea, are drowned one by one in the glory of its burning. Watch the white glaciers blaze in their winding paths about the mountains, like mighty serpents with scales of fire; watch the columnar peaks of solitary snow, kindling downwards, chasm by chasm, each in itself a new morning—their long avalanches cast down in keen streams brighter than the lightning, sending each its tribute of driven snow, like altar-smoke, up to the heaven, the rose-light of their silent domes flushing that heaven about them and above them, piercing with purer light through its purple lines of lifted cloud, casting a new glory on every wreath as it passes by, until the whole heaven, one scarlet canopy, is interwoven with a roof of waving flame, and tossing, vault beyond vault, as with the drifted wings of many companies of angels.’”
The railroad has been built along the very route that the first Inca and his sister-wife are said to have chosen when they started out to found their capital. Passing between two giant peaks, it descends the gradually sloping two-hundred-mile-long plateau which became the most populous section of the great empire, as it is still of modern Peru. On either side are torrential rivers that rush down through the deep defiles of the mountains to the Amazon. Every foot of the region is associated with legendary and historic events; scattered about everywhere, from the islands of Titicaca on, are wonderful ruins—ruins of towns, bridges, fortresses, temples, burial towers, some Incaic, some thought to be as old as the pyramids of Egypt. There is a lake in which, at the coming of the Spaniards, the Indians are said to have thrown the colossal gold chain that was forged at the birth of Huascar, a chain so heavy, according to the chroniclers, that it was all that two hundred men could do to carry it.
The climate is delightful. All along the road is a succession of wild, gorgeous scenery, quaint towns and villages and big haciendas, with fields green with growing crops and herds of cattle and alpaca ranging about, often tended by pretty copper-colored chola (mixed breed) or Indian girls, as picturesquely dressed as those of La Paz, only here in Peru, instead of the great number of voluminous many-colored skirts the Bolivian women wear—sometimes as many as twelve or fifteen, which makes them appear as though they had on the hoops once worn by our grandmothers—they wear a single, short woolen skirt over the usual cotton ones, and, instead of the peculiar headdress of the Aymaras, broad-brimmed, gaily beribboned hats, though, like the Aymaras, they wear brilliantly colored mantles, fastened around the shoulders by a pin with a spoon-shaped head (which they also use as a spoon), and the men, like the Bolivian mountaineers, wear ponchos that vie with the mantles of the women in color. Ponchos and mantles like those worn to-day, but many centuries old, have been found in the tombs, so ancient is the fashion.
It is in this country between La Paz and Cuzco that the llama is seen in greatest numbers—that remarkable animal which Mozans aptly describes as a creature with the legs of a deer, the body of a sheep, and the head and neck of a camel. They are larger than sheep, however, and far more docile and ornamental than the ugly, ungainly camel. Their coats are of several shades: white, brown, black or parti-colored; their wool is long and thick, and they are noted for their beautiful big, wistfully inquiring eyes. From time immemorial the natives had used them as burden-bearers, and the Spaniards, when they came, found them surer-footed and more enduring than mules or burros, proof against cold and acclimated in the rarefied atmosphere of the high table-lands, and able to go as long as a camel without food and water, and to maintain themselves by grazing along the waysides in parts of the country in which no other animal could live. It was on their backs that all the material that entered into the construction of the steamers on Lake Titicaca was hauled, and most of the mining machinery, and the caravans still compete with the railroads in carrying ores and coca to the coast and bringing back supplies for the mountain towns.
In these days only the males are used for such purposes. It is said of them that when they are loaded with more than they feel that they can comfortably carry (about a hundred pounds), they lie right down in their tracks and refuse to budge for all the cajoling or in spite of the kicks and curses their tenders can bestow. The females are kept in pasture for breeding purposes and for their wool and milk, and in that region rank with cattle as a source of food supply, for their flesh resembles mutton and is quite as palatable and good to eat. It is much used in the native dish called chupe, a sort of thick soup which is made of the peculiar mountain potatoes grown in those parts, first frozen and dried, and then put into a pot and boiled with any other vegetables at hand and fragments of meat and fish, and seasoned with salt and red pepper. This, to the people of the mountains, is what rice is to the Chinese and macaroni to the Italians. Sometimes it is the only fare the traveler can get at the little tambos or inns remote from the railroad; but even so, when properly prepared, as it usually is, with plenty of nourishing ingredients, it leaves little to be desired after a hard day’s climb.
The valley of Cuzco—a pocketlike depression about ten miles long and varying in width from two to three miles, covered with fields of barley and maize, dotted with many attractive-looking gardens and country mansions of the old Spanish colonial type, and hedged in on either side by ranges of mountains towering high above—is at the northwestern extremity of the plateau. The city, which is at the head of the valley, is a little more than a mile and a half in breadth, from the foot of the mountain range on the east to that of the range on the west, and about a mile in length. To the north, the famous hill of Sacsahuaman rises abruptly over it and is separated from the mountains on either side by deep ravines, through one of which flows the little river Huatanay and through the other the Rodadero. The Huatanay tumbles noisily past the moss-grown walls of an old convent, under the houses forming the west side of the great square, thence through the center of a broad street, where it is confined between banks faced with masonry and crossed by numerous bridges, and on beyond until it unites with the Rodadero, which separates the city from the suburb of San Blas.
The most important section of the ancient city was built between the two little rivers, with the great square in the center, and this site, said to have been chosen for it by the first Inca and his sister-wife, is declared by many to be the most wildly, majestically beautiful of all the beautiful mountain city sites in South America—even Santiago, La Paz, Arequipa, Cajamarca, Quito, Bogotá, and Caracas. Respecting the ancient city itself, Prescott tells us that the Spaniards were astonished “by the beauty of its edifices, the length and regularity of its streets, and the good order and appearance of comfort, even luxury, visible in its numerous population. It far surpassed all they had seen in the New World.... It” (the great square), he continues, “was surrounded by low piles of buildings, among which were several palaces of the Incas. One of these, erected by Huayana Capac, was surmounted by a tower, while the ground floor was occupied by one or more immense halls, like those described in Cajamarca, where the Peruvian nobles held their fêtes in stormy weather. The population of the city,” he goes on—
“Is computed by one of the conquerors at two hundred thousand inhabitants and that of the suburbs at as many more. This account is not confirmed, as far as I have seen, by any other writer. But, however it may be exaggerated, it is certain that Cuzco was the metropolis of a great empire, the residence of the court and the chief nobility, frequented by the most skillful mechanics and artisans of every description, who found a demand for their ingenuity in the royal precincts, while the place was garrisoned by a numerous soldiery, and was the resort, finally, of emigrants from the most distant provinces. The quarters whence this motley population came were indicated by their peculiar dress, and especially their head-gear, so rarely found at all on the American Indian, which, with its variegated colors, gave a picturesque effect to the groups and masses in the streets....
“The edifices of the better sort—and they were very numerous—were of stone, or faced with stone. Among the principal were the royal residences, as each sovereign built a new palace for himself, covering, though low, a large extent of ground. The walls were stained or painted with gaudy tints, and the gates, we are assured, were sometimes of colored marble. ‘In the delicacy of the stonework,’ says another of the conquerors, ‘the natives far excelled the Spaniards, though the roofs of their dwellings, instead of tiles, were only of thatch, but put together with the nicest art.’ The sunny climate of Cuzco did not require a very substantial material for defense against the weather.... The streets were long and narrow. They were arranged with perfect regularity, crossing one another at right angles; from the great square diverged four principal streets connecting with the highroads of the empire. The square itself, and many parts of the city, were paved with fine pebble. Through the heart of the capital ran a river of pure water, if it might not be rather termed a canal, the banks or sides of which, for a distance of twenty leagues, were faced with stone. Across this stream, bridges, constructed of similar broad flags, were thrown at intervals, so as to afford an easy communication between the different quarters.
“The most sumptuous edifice in Cuzco in the times of the Incas was undoubtedly the great temple dedicated to the sun, which, studded with gold plates, as already noticed, was surrounded by convents and dormitories for the priests, with their gardens and broad parterres sparkling with gold. The exterior ornaments had been already removed by the conquerors—all but the frieze of gold, which, imbedded in the stones, still encircled the principal building.... The fortress was raised to a height rare in Peruvian architecture, and from the summit of the tower the eye of the spectator ranged over a magnificent prospect, in which the wild features of the mountain scenery—rocks, woods, and waterfalls—were mingled with the rich verdure of the valley and the shining city filling up the foreground, all blended in sweet harmony under the deep azure of a tropical sky.”
The ruins of the palace of the first Inca, on the hill above the city, and those of the immense fortress on the summit—which is admitted by all to have been constructed with a degree of skill equaled nowhere else in the world prior to the use of artillery—are thus described by Sir Clements R. Markham:
“On a terrace, built of stones of every conceivable size and shape, fitting exactly one into the other, eighty-four paces long and eight feet high, is a wall with eight recesses, resembling those of the Inca palace at Lima-tambo, and, in the center of the lower wall, a mermaid or siren, much defaced by time, is carved in relief on a square slab. In one of the recesses a steep stone staircase leads up to a field of lucerne, on a level with the upper part of the wall, which is twelve feet high, and this forms a second terrace. On either side of the field are ruins of the same character, traces of a very extensive building or range of buildings. They consist of a thick stone wall, sixteen paces long and ten feet six inches wide, containing a door and windows. The masonry is most perfect. The stones are cut in parallelograms, all of equal height but varying in length, with corners so sharp and fine that they appear as if they had just been cut—and without any kind of cement, fitting so exactly that the finest needle could not be introduced between them. The doorposts, of ample height, support a stone lintel seven feet ten inches in length, while another stone, six feet long, forms the foot.... Behind these remains are three terraces, built in the rougher style of the masonry used in the first walls and planted in alders and fruit trees, ... where he” (the first Inca, Manco Capac) “is said to have chosen the site of his residence, the more readily to overlook the building of his city and the labors of his disciples....
“On the east end of Sacsahuaman, crowning a steep cliff immediately above the palace of Manco Capac, there are three terraces, one above the other, built of a light-colored stone. The first wall, fourteen feet high, extends in a semicircular form around the hill for one hundred and eighty paces, and between the first and second terraces there is a space eight feet wide. The second wall is twelve feet high and the third is ninety paces around its whole extent.... This was the citadel of the fortress, and in its palmy days was crowned by three towers connected by subterranean passages, now quite demolished.... From the citadel to its eastern extremity the length of the table-land of Sacsahuaman is three hundred and fifty-three paces and its breadth in the broadest part one hundred and thirty paces. On the south side the position is so strong and impregnable that it required no artificial defense. The position is defended on part of its north side by a steep ravine through which flows the river Rodadero and which extends for one hundred and seventy-four paces from the citadel in a westerly direction. Here, therefore, the position required only a single breastwork, which is still in a good state of preservation; but from this point to the western extremity of the table-land, a distance of four hundred paces, nature has left it entirely undefended, a small plain extending in front of it to the rocky heights of the Rodadero.
“From this point, therefore, the Incas constructed a cyclopean line of fortifications, a work which fills the mind with astonishment at the grandeur of the conception and the perfect manner of its execution. It consists of three walls, the first averaging a height of eighteen feet, the second of sixteen and the third of fourteen, the first terrace being ten feet broad and the second eight. The walls are built with salient and retiring angles, twenty-one in number and corresponding with each other in each wall, so that no one point could be attacked without being commanded by others.... But the most marvelous part of this fortification is the huge masses of rock of which it is constructed (one of them being sixteen feet in height and several more varying from ten to twelve feet), yet made to fit exactly one into the other and forming a piece of masonry almost unparalleled in solidity, beauty, and peculiarity of its construction in any other part of the world. The immense masses at Stonehenge, the great block in the tomb of Agamemnon at Argos, and those in the cyclopean walls of Volterra and Agrigentum are wonderful monuments of the perseverance and knowledge of the people who raised them, but they fall immeasurably short in beauty of execution of the fortress of Cuzco.”
The railroad and electric lights and the telegraph and telephone have come to Cuzco now, but in other respects the city is not much modernized. It is still distinctly reminiscent of the royal Inca régime, and even more of the régime of the Spanish viceroys. For many years after the conquest it was superior in importance to Lima. Notaries were required under severe penalties, Mozans says, “to write at the head of all public documents, ‘En la gran ciudad del Cuzco, cabeza de estos reinos y provincias del Perú en las Indias’—In the great city of Cuzco, head of these kingdoms and provinces of Peru in the Indies. Even so late as the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,” he continues, “it was, next to Lima, the city of the greatest social importance in the viceroyalty.” And so now, although there are the same long vistas of low, massive buildings through the narrow streets, the view from the hill presents a panorama of red-tiled roofs instead of thatches, of many tall church towers, and of a great square divided into three.
On the first stories of the old Indian homes Spanish superstructures have been built; on the foundation walls of the ancient temple of Voricancha, the largest and richest of the sanctuaries devoted to the worship of the Sun, has been erected the convent of Santo Domingo; the devotees in the convent of Santa Catalina occupy cells that were once used by the Virgins of the Sun; walls that were retained in the building of the Church of San Lazaro are ornamented with bodies of birds having women’s heads that were carved by the bronze chisels of the artisans of the Incas. The grand old renaissance cathedral, which, with its massive stone walls and pillars and vaulted roof, cost so much to build that one of the viceroys said it would have been cheaper to build it of silver, is one of the most imposing specimens of church architecture in America; the pulpit in San Blas is famed as one of the most beautiful in the world, and many of the interiors and cloisters, particularly of La Merced, where the remains of Almagro and two of Pizarro’s brothers lie, and the patio of the university, are perfectly superb.
CHURCH OF LA MERCED, LIMA—TYPE OF RELIGIOUS ARCHITECTURE OF SPANISH COLONIAL PERIOD.
Of course, like La Paz, Quito, Bogotá and many of the other old mountain cities, which until very recently were isolated so far as the outside world was concerned because of their inaccessible locations, Cuzco is still behind the times in sanitary arrangements. Since there is surface drainage, there are odors, but one need have little fear of any ill effects in such a climate as theirs. Thanks to it, the cities are as healthful as most; and to the archæologist and the lover of art and the beauties of nature in her sublimest aspect, there is no more fascinating city in South America than Cuzco.
Ecuador, “the Switzerland of America,” is one of the smallest of our sister republics in the South, yet her area, of 116,000 square miles, is equal to that of our States of Missouri and Arkansas combined, and, if certain pending boundary disputes should be determined in her favor, her territory would be more than doubled. Her population is now about 1,500,000, an average of a little over twelve to the square mile.
Politically, the republic is divided into sixteen provinces, not including the Galápagos Islands. Five are maritime, occupying the strip of coast between the Western Cordillera and the sea, ten are interandine, and then there is the Oriente, so called, which consists of all the country embraced in the slope between the Eastern Cordillera and the Brazilian frontier, in the valley of the Amazon. There are two fluvial systems, both rising in the mountains; one flowing west to the sea and the other down the eastern slope. In all they are composed of ninety-one rivers. Those tributary to the Guayas, flowing westward to the sea, and many of which are of considerable size, are now of the greater commercial importance because the country of the Oriente, through which those tributary to the Amazon flow, is still a wilderness, only sparsely inhabited even by what are left of the aborigines—and this although it is the richest of all in vegetation and fertility of soil, like the adjoining Montaña district of Peru.
Thus, ranging as it does from the sea-level of the coast on one side and the valley of the Amazon on the other to the high interandine plateau, and from thence to the great cloud-piercing peaks of the cordilleras, crowned with perpetual snow, this country directly beneath the Equator, from which it derives its very name, is possessed, as are Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia, of every variety of climate within the sphere of a few hours’ journey—in the lowlands, the eternal summer of the tropics; on the high table-lands, eternal spring, and, in the glacial regions of the mountain summits, winter without end. As the late Professor Orton so aptly put it: “As the Ecuadorian sees all the constellations of the firmament, so nature surrounds him with representatives of every family of plants. Tropical, temperate and arctic fruits and flowers are here found in profusion, or could be successfully cultivated. There are places where the eye can embrace an entire zone, for it may look up to a wheat or barley field or potato patch and down to the sugar cane and pineapple.”
And, in addition to the familiar products, in many places the slopes of the mountains between twelve and fifteen thousand feet are clothed with a shrub peculiar to the high altitudes of the Andes, called chuquiragua, the twigs of which are used for fuel and the yellow buds as a febrifuge. In the valleys between the cordilleras a very useful and valuable, as well as the most ordinary, plant is the American aloe, or century plant, which under cultivation, however, blooms oftener than once in a hundred years. It is the largest of all the herbs, and, with its tall stem rising from a cluster of long, thick, gracefully curved leaves, looks like a great chandelier. Most of the roads are fenced with hedges of them. Nearly every part is said to serve some practical purpose. The broad leaves are used for thatching huts and by the poorer classes as a substitute for paper in writing; a sirup flows from them when tapped; as they contain much alkali, a soap that lathers in salt water as well as fresh is manufactured from them; the fiber of the leaves and roots is woven into sandals and sacks; the flowers make excellent pickles, the stock is used in building, the pith of the stem is used by barbers for sharpening razors and the spines as needles. A species of yucca, resembling the aloe, yields the hemp of Ecuador.
In the lowlands, cacao and sugar cane, coffee, tobacco, rice, cotton, and bananas and other tropical fruits are grown. The forests contain rubber and numerous species of useful trees, among them the tree that yields what is known as the taque nut, or vegetable ivory, from which buttons are made, the grasses and toquilla palm used in the manufacture of the coarser grades of Panamá hats, the chincona from the bark of which quinine is obtained, the mangrove cultivated for tanning purposes as well as its fruit, and the silk-cotton tree that yields the valuable commercial product known as kapok. A considerable portion of the Oriente is verdured with a part of that immense forest which extends in an unbroken mass from the grassy llanos of Venezuela to the pampas of Argentina. In other sections of the country are gold, silver, copper, iron, coal, petroleum, asphalt and other minerals, though since the colonial régime there has been little activity in mining. Only a few years ago work was resumed in the famous mines of Zaruma, formerly the source of much revenue to the Spaniards.
Ecuador has a treasury of wealth in her vast cacao groves. The cacao tree, which grows wild in the forests, is from sixteen to forty feet high and bears a fruit in which the beans lie buried in a cucumber-shaped pod five to ten inches long and three or four inches thick. The bean itself in its raw state resembles a thick almond. When ripe, the pods are cut from the tree by means of a knife with a curved blade, set on the end of a long pole, an implement specially designed to remove them without injury. The pods are then gathered in heaps and left on the ground to dry for a day or two before the beans are removed and cured. From cacao comes cocoa. The name “cacao” signifies the raw, and “cocoa” the finished product. There is still another name—coca—which is often confused with these, but coca is nothing like cacao. Coca is the Peruvian plant from the leaves of which cocaine is extracted. The cacao bean contains the cocoa we drink at our breakfast tables, and our chocolate.
On the skill employed in the curing, which is an extremely delicate process, to a great extent depends the quality of the output and its flavor and color. When ready for the market, the bean is dark red outside and chocolate tinted within. Analyses show that it is rich in fats, albuminoids, caffeine and theobromine, which last is what imparts to it its principal characteristics. What we know as chocolate differs from cocoa in that, in the former compound, the cocoa butter is not extracted; from the latter it is. Cocoa is really a factory product. The cured bean is treated differently in the various countries to suit the taste of the public, and chocolate also is prepared in different ways for the various uses. American and French chocolates are sold all over the world.
The tobacco grown in the Province of Esmeraldas on the coast is claimed to be comparable with that produced in Cuba. And this reminds me that, unless tradition is at fault, the town of Atacames, from around which some of the best of it comes, has quite a unique history of its own. In 1623, so the story goes, a vessel laden with seven hundred African slaves was on its way from Panamá to Peru, where they were to be worked in the mines. When near the mouth of the Esmeralda River, they mutinied, massacred the officers and sailors of the ship, and, landing at Atacames, took possession of the town and killed or drove away every man in the neighborhood, Indian or Spanish, but spared the women, whom they kept as wives. Afterward, however, instead of indulging in further depredations, they kept within the territory they had conquered, and, mixing with the Cayapas, who had attained an unusual state of civilization for lowland Indians before the invasion, became miners and agriculturists on their own account. These African mutineers, therefore, protected by the reputation for ferocity they had acquired in their stroke for freedom, were thus the founders of what afterward became an intelligent and industrious community. The women, particularly, are famous for their skill in making Panamá hats.
Indeed, aside from agriculture, the most important industry in all the coast provinces is the making of these hats. Guayaquil long since supplanted Panamá as the principal market for them. Those of the finest texture, the ones that are so soft and delicately woven that they can be folded and put in a coat pocket like a handkerchief and will last a lifetime, are made of a peculiar grass called jipi-japa, for which the town in the Province of Manavi is named, and, in the weaving of them, considerable time and great skill is required. These we seldom, if ever, see in this country. Many go to Paris, Italy, and Spain; more are taken by the planters along the coast, and in Cuba, who are willing to pay as much as $80 to $100 for them. They are woven by the women by hand, and only in the moonlight, these best grades, because the sun would harden the material, artificial light would attract insects, and the dampness that comes with sunset is necessary to give the flexibility so essential to their beauty. The coarser grades, such as we see here, are woven in the daytime, but under water, in tubs.
Guayaquil, a city of about 50,000 inhabitants, is Ecuador’s principal seaport, and, next to Valparaiso and Callao, the busiest and most important on the Pacific side of the continent. All the way up from Callao the steamer hugs the shore as closely as safety will permit. There is little change in the view. The same arid strip of low-lying coast land, dotted with rocky promontories, fringed here and there with cliffs and crossed with occasional stretches of green where the rivers flow through to the sea, continues day after day—the same background of mountains rising tier on tier for thousands and thousands of feet, in the morning partly obscured by heavy banks of clouds that later melt away and leave the rugged contour sharply silhouetted against the bright blue, are bathed in the evening, as the sun sinks toward the horizon, in the purple haze that becomes them best. Yet there are also the same calm sea and rainless sky and the same cool, aromatic breezes that make the lazy hours on deck a continual delight.
And so it is with mixed feelings of regret and relief that one enters the Gulf of Guayaquil—relief, for here, as we steam past the island of Puna, where Pizarro camped for months awaiting reinforcements before beginning the conquest of Peru, the aspect of the shore line changes and we see foliage as fresh and green and as wildly luxuriant as any in the basins of the interior. Passing the island, we come to the mouth of the Guayas, the greatest of South American rivers emptying into the Pacific. The city is sixty miles beyond at the head of the estuary. The first glimpse we catch is of a street, called El Malecon, that extends along the water front for two miles or more from a shipyard to a hill crowned by a fortress. This is at once the principal shopping, café, and amusement place, the favorite promenade, the warehouse district, and the quay where the lighters that ply between it and the vessels anchored out in the river take on and unload their cargoes. It is faced with what from the deck appear to be long rows of white stone and marble buildings of beautiful and graceful architectural design, for the most part of the usual Moorish type. Long series of arcades in front of the shops remind one of those of the Rue de Rivoli in Paris; above are pretty balconies sheltered by blinds and awnings of gaily colored canvas, screening groups of ladies who like to sit in them and watch the lively scene below as they sip their coffee and chat.
But picturesque as it all is, one finds on going ashore, that the walls of these imposing-looking edifices are merely shells of split bamboo, plastered with cement, ornamented with stucco and painted to resemble marble and stone, which sad experience has taught the people of the city will not resist earthquakes as well as this more elastic imitation they have been compelled to substitute. The residences of the well-to-do are constructed of the same materials and with wide verandas from ground to roof, enclosed with Venetian blinds. Few are elaborately furnished. In that climate it is thought better, for the sake of spaciousness and comfort, to forego evidences of wealth in the form of carpets, hangings, and upholstery, which keep out air and retain the heat. The poor of the suburbs have thatched bamboo or adobe huts with floors of hardened earth. As in Canton, China, many of them live on the water on rafts made from balsa, a species of timber nearly as buoyant as cork, or else of hollow trunks of bamboo. A number of logs, forty or fifty feet long, are lashed together in such a way that they can be propelled by either oars or sails, and a bamboo hut is built in the center. These often serve as the homes of whole families for generations, and are so substantial that they are used in the coasting as well as the river trade for bringing produce to market.
STREET SCENE IN GUAYAQUIL.
CONDOR OF THE ANDES.
In June, 1908, a long-desired and much needed railroad was completed between Guayaquil and the capital, Quito, way up in the interandine table-land, 9350 feet above the level of the sea, and now the trip of nearly three hundred miles, that formerly took from twelve to fifteen days on mule-back, and often more by foot, may be made in two days, in a comfortably equipped passenger train. The scenery en route is gorgeous. The train speeds through forests of stately trees like those of the Amazon—walnut, mahogany, rubber, cacao, cottonwood, with vines entwined around their trunks and hanging from their branches, and beds of mosses and ferns at their feet, slender bamboos shooting up straight as an arrow, and tall, graceful palms, tipped with feathery tufts—the whole mass aglow with scarlet passion flowers and orchids, and blossoms of every hue. Then come broad fields covered with prickly pineapple plants, sugar cane, coffee and snowy cotton plantations and groves of cocoanut palms, oranges, lemons, and limes saturating the air with their delicious fragrance, splendid mango trees with their golden fruit and dense foliage that makes them the best of all shade trees in the tropics, and groves of banana trees, tossing out glossy green leaves eight feet long from their sheathlike stalks, and many bearing bunches of this bread of the poor and delicacy of the rich that weigh from sixty to seventy pounds. Von Humboldt calculated that “thirty-three pounds of wheat and ninety-nine pounds of potatoes require as much space of ground as will produce four thousand pounds of bananas.” They bear fruit but once and die, but the roots are perennial and every year bring forth new plants.
Then, when the traveler has crossed the coast strip, he comes to the foothills and begins the steep, tortuous ascent. On either side of this highland but ever green series of plateaux, crossed by nudos and ascending like steps to the one in which the capital lies, tower mountains, the crests of forty-two of which are more than ten thousand feet high. Twenty of them are higher than Pike’s Peak in Colorado; fourteen are higher than the Alpine giant, Mont Blanc. It was in this vast, magnificent “Avenue of Volcanoes” that the celebrated artist, Frederick E. Church, painted his wonderful picture, “The Heart of the Andes.” Here, he declared, is the grandest mountain scenery in the world.
The most majestic of them all is snow-covered Chimborazo, near the center of the Western Cordillera, and fortunately almost constantly in view, for it is along its spurs that the road between Guayaquil and Quito ascends. One would not imagine its summit so very hard to reach, as it appears from the mountain pass at an elevation of fourteen thousand feet; yet many explorers, from Von Humboldt down, strove for the honor, only to fail until Edward Whymper, an Englishman, finally achieved it in 1879. For years, with its known altitude of 21,420 feet, it was famed as the highest point in America; now the mighty Aconcagua in Argentina, which is recorded at the Harvard Observatory at Arequipa as measuring 24,760 feet, has been awarded the palm. It is from shipboard on the Pacific, though, on a clear day, rather than from the plateau, that Chimborazo is to be seen in all the majesty of its complete proportions, particularly when the evening shadow’s mellowing tint creeps upward to the summit—a vision of gold, vermilion, purple, followed by the glory of the brief tropical sunset—in the few minutes before darkness covers the earth and “the haste of stars, trembling with excess of light, bursts suddenly into view over the peaks,” when the waters of the sea become so impregnated with phosphorescent flashes that each wave seems tipped with silver and the foam that follows in the vessel’s wake is like a stream of fire.
Conspicuous among the crests of the eastern range are Tunguragua, with its perfect cone and great cataract tumbling down fifteen hundred feet from the snow line to the valley beneath; fierce, Plutonic Sangai, the most active volcano in the world; and the beautiful Altar, as it was called by the Spaniards, which is said to have been higher than Chimborazo a few years before the Conquest, but has since collapsed. Now its summit presents the appearance of a superb crown, pointed with eight jagged peaks; its snowy mantle is relieved by rents or fissures in the rock that seem to be colored dark blue in contrast with the white.
And then there is the still more superb Cotopaxi, 19,613 feet, without a rival in height or symmetry among the active volcanoes of the old world. Some faint idea of its grandeur may be conceived by those who have seen Vesuvius, for instance, when it is realized that it is more than fifteen thousand feet—nearly three miles—higher, and that, when in eruption, it vomits forth its fires, with ominous rumblings that can be heard for a hundred miles, from a cone which itself is higher than Vesuvius. Mr. Whymper, who also succeeded here in making the perilous ascent where Von Humboldt and others had failed, described the crater as an enormous amphitheater with a rugged crest surrounded by overhanging cliffs, some snow-clad, others encrusted with sulphur.
“Cavernous recesses,” he says, “belched forth smoke; the sides of the cracks and chasms shone with ruddy light. At the bottom, probably twelve thousand feet below us, there was a ruddy circular spot about one-tenth the diameter of the crater; it was the pipe of the volcano, its channel of communication with the lower regions, and was filled with incandescent if not molten lava, glowing and burning, lighted by tongues of flame that issued from cracks in the surrounding slopes.” On the side of the mountain is a huge rock called the “Inca’s Head.” Tradition has it that this was the original summit, hurled down by an eruption on the very day that Pizarro caused Atahualpa to be strangled. The great eruption of 1859 was succeeded by an earthquake that wrought terrible destruction and loss of life, and by a tidal wave, which in its devastating course carried a United States warship a mile inland, over the roofs of the houses of a town on the coast of Peru and left it high and dry on a sandy plain. Just now the volcano is in a state of “solemn and thoughtful suspense”; only thin clouds of smoke escape from its crater.
At the base of Pichincha, the crater of which the astronomer, La Condamine, likened to the “chaos of the poets,” and Orton describes as “a frightful abyss nearly a mile in width and a half mile deep from which a cloud of sulphurous vapors comes rolling up,” lies the city of Quito. Its origin is shrouded in mystery, but we know that at the time of the Conquest it was the northern stronghold of the great Inca empire, and the place where Atahualpa resided. On this lofty site, which in the Alps would be buried in an avalanche of snow, but in the tropics enjoys an eternal spring, palaces more beautiful than the Alhambra are said to have been built, glittering with the gold and emeralds of the region. But all this passed away with the scepter of Atahualpa. Where the pavilion of the Inca stood is now a gloomy convent; a wheat field takes the place of the Temple of the Sun. Even the Spanish structures that supplanted the original ones seem dilapidated enough. The population is said to number about sixty-five thousand, but there is little of the modern and still less in the way of opportunity for amusement, though it is all most interesting simply because it is so old and because there is much of romance in its history.
The train emerges from the pass on to the plain of Riobamba, the scene of many notable events in the history of the country. Here it was that the great Inca conqueror Tupac Yupanqui routed the Shiri of the Caras and began the conquest of his possessions; it was here that Atahualpa’s great general, Quizquiz, defeated the army of the Inca Huascar and proceeded to the invasion of Peru; it was here that the daring Conquistador Sebastian de Benalcázar defeated the victors and brought the Kingdom of Quito under the sway of Pizarro. The city of Riobamba, which is the first of importance on the line, is also said to have been the birthplace of the eminent historian Juan de Velasco and several others of South America’s most distinguished sons. It has a population of only twelve or fifteen thousand, but, thanks to the demand created by commercial travelers and the employees of the railroad, it serves as an excellent resting place, for there are two or three very tolerable hotels. From this point on to Quito, there are parts of the plain that are arid and desolate. This is attributed partly to the fact that so much of the country was long ago denuded of its trees and partly to volcanic eruptions of a peculiar kind.
Describing one of them, Mozans says:
“But, destructive as are the eruptions of the volcano when it belches forth ashes, cinders, and lava, it is even more so when its terrific operations are followed by deluges of water and avalanches of mud, carrying along with them immense blocks of ice and rock to great distances, causing death and devastation all along their course. Such an eruption took place in 1877, and, so great was the velocity of the angry flood, that it swept the plain with the momentum of an express train, carrying before it bridges, buildings, and everything that stood in its path. The very day of the eruption the irresistible torrent reached the mouth of the Esmeralda River, nearly three hundred miles distant. The catastrophe had been announced the preceding evening by an enormous column of black ashes, which the roaring mountain projected more than three miles above the crater, and which an east wind carried far out over the Pacific. Vessels going from Guayaquil to Panamá were suddenly enveloped in a cloud of dust and transmitted to Europe and the United States the first news of the disaster. After this eruption of ash, there was a welling of molten lava over the rim of the crater which melted the ice and snow and transformed them at once into tremendous avalanches of mud. At the same time immense blocks of ice were transported across the plain of Latacunga to a distance of thirty miles, where they remained several months before they were entirely melted. The foregoing is only one of many similar eruptions that occurred during the last century.”
“But why, it will be asked, do people live in a land in which they are constantly exposed to such sudden and awful disasters?” he continues—“where thousands of victims are sacrificed in a single moment? Why do people cling around the rich flanks of Kilauea and Mauna Loa and huddle around the treacherous slopes of vine-clad Etna and Vesuvius, or pitch their tents on quaking, incandescent Stromboli? Let philosophers reply.” But, in the neighborhood of Quito itself no more of these arid stretches are to be seen. “Notwithstanding the ever-menacing volcano towering above it, Quito,” he tells us, “was always to the Ecuadorian of the interior one of the world’s most favored cities. It was what Damascus and Bagdad in their halcyon days were to the Arabs, what Cordova and Granada were to the Moors. It was ‘Quito bonito’—charming Quito—the city above the clouds, ‘the navel of the world, the home of the continua primavera—perpetual spring—evergreen, magnificent Quito.’ It was like Heaven—Como de Cielo—where there is neither heat nor cold. It was the Paradise of delights. Had Columbus discovered the beautiful valley which it overlooks, he would, we are assured, have pronounced it the site of the Garden of Eden.”
After Lima and Santiago, the suburbs strike one as rather squalid and dilapidated. In the city proper, however, the houses improve in size and finish and continue to improve until the Grand Plaza is reached in the center. The more pretentious are of two stories, a few three, and of massive construction, with adobe walls two or three feet thick and tiled roofs, and are built around a square courtyard, or patio, in the old Spanish style, often with a fountain or flower plot in the center. Here, too, around the patios are pillared arches supporting galleries used as the passage way to rooms in the upper tier; the floors are paved with large, square, red bricks. The public buildings, some of them dating back to Philip II, are clustered about the three plazas. The most imposing, the capitol, a low building adorned with a splendid colonnade, faces the Grand Plaza. With its long rows of columns it looks a little like the Fifteenth Street side of the Treasury Building in Washington. To the right of it is an ancient but beautiful cathedral; on the other side is the palace of the Papal Nuncio. All are fine specimens of the architecture of the periods in which they were built.
The scene in the shopping district and around the market has quite an Egyptian flavor. The shops are very small and exposed; groups in gay ponchos stand chatting and smoking in front of them or lean idly against the walls, enjoying the sunlight; soldiers saunter to and fro; Indians, in every variety of costume, are scattered about guarding heaps of vegetables they have brought in from the surrounding country for sale; bronze-complexioned women in many-colored gowns peddle oranges and alligator pears from baskets carried on their heads; purchasers, mostly men and in more conventional attire, wander from store to store, for it is not here so much as in the vicinity of the churches that one is favored with a glimpse of the ladies of the upper class. They do little shopping themselves, these señoras and señoritas, yet they are very devout, and it is their custom to wrap themselves in their black mantillas and attend mass every day.
ROOM IN THE OLD PALACE AT QUITO, IN WHICH THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE WAS SIGNED, AUGUST 16, 1809.
Journeying overland into Colombia from Ecuador, there opens before the traveler the vast mountainous country that was once the ancient kingdom of the Chibchas—the contemporary of the Inca empire, and, later the pivotal state of Bolívar’s great confederation. Colombia occupies the extreme northwestern corner of the continent. With its 465,714 square miles of territory, it is as large as Texas, Kansas, Arkansas and Louisiana, and has a population of 4,320,000.
In this corner of the continent the Andes come to an end in a great splurge of deep-cut ridges presenting an aspect very different from the formations to the south. Here three clearly defined ranges diverge from the Ecuadorian frontier and spread northward like the ribs of a fan; the Western and Central Cordilleras merge before reaching the Caribbean Sea, and slope off into foothills and plains near the coast, and the Eastern Cordillera continues in an almost unbroken line until, as the Sierra de Parija, it plunges into the sea at the end of the bleak, forbidding peninsula (Goajira) west of the Gulf of Maracaibo. Rising from the Pacific, on the west, is an almost entirely distinct range, separated from the Andean terminals by the great basin of the Atrato River, and running along the Isthmus of Panamá into Central America. Just north of the Ecuadorian frontier lies the so-called “Massif,” from which branch off the three Cordilleras just mentioned and in which the four important Colombian river systems have their source; the Patia flowing westward to the Pacific; the Caquetá, eastward, through the Amazon, into the Atlantic, and the Cauca and Magdalena, the great highways of the country, flowing northward to the Caribbean on either side of the Central Cordillera, and joining their floods about one hundred and fifty miles from the sea in the hot, marshy plains of the Magdalena basin.
The Eastern Cordillera slopes off into the Orinoco and Amazon plains—over a territory constituting two-thirds of the republic’s area—and thus gives to Colombia the same astonishing range of productiveness that distinguishes her southern neighbors along the Andean chain. Gold is scattered literally all over the Andean ridges and is picked up along the streams that flow into the lower levels. Silver, iron and lead are almost as universally present; the platinum deposits are surpassed only in Russia; the emerald mines of Muzo, seventy-five miles from Bogotá, have been famous ever since the brilliant stones were torn from the turban crowns of the Indian kings by the Conquistadores, and are the principal source of the world’s supply; the salt mines and pearl fisheries add largely to the republic’s revenue.
The Review Number of the Pan American Bulletin (August, 1911) says of the emerald industry:
“All, or very nearly all, the emeralds mined to-day come from Colombia. And, in spite of the supposed higher value of diamonds, the emerald is the most precious of gems. Carat for carat, a flawless emerald would bring perhaps three times the price of a flawless diamond in the jewelry market. India, the storehouse of precious stones, is credited with producing the first emeralds, but the oriental emerald is not identical with the modern gem, as it is a variety of the ruby, of a green color, and extremely rare. The stone that adorned Aaron’s armor, described in the writings of Moses, if it was a real emerald and not a carbuncle, may have come from the mines of Coptos in Egypt, which furnished the ancients with the precious green gems. Certain of these old mines are known as ‘Cleopatra’s Mines,’ because that remarkable Egyptian queen is supposed to have obtained her jewels from that source. Nero wore an emerald monocle at the gladiatorial combats that came perhaps from the mines of Ethiopia. The Museum of Naples contains fine emeralds taken from the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, some of which are carved, and the history of this gem shows that it was highly treasured from the earliest recorded times....
“Mexico, Peru, and Ecuador were ravished of their mineral wealth; so wonderful emeralds, as part of the spoil, found their way into the treasury of the Spanish kings. Pizarro and Cortés sent the first emeralds from the New World to Spain, where they acquired the name ‘Spanish emeralds.’ Tradition has it that an Aztec gem appropriated by Cortés was valued at forty thousand ducats. Another wonderful stone, the size of an ostrich egg, was found in the Manka Valley, Peru, where the Indians worshiped it as the Goddess of Emeralds. The Spanish conquerors opened up the mines in Colombia in 1540, enslaving the Indians to work them. The richest mineral areas were those of Muzo and Cosquez, about 75 miles north of Bogotá, at an elevation of about 6500 feet above sea-level. A curious fact in the history of these latter mines is that they were closed and lost to the world in an enveloping forest of jungle for over a hundred years, and only rediscovered some fourteen years ago. The Government of Colombia controls the exploitation, leasing the mining districts to the working companies.
“The Muzo group, from which the finest emeralds come, has an estimated yearly output of 262,548 carats of the first class, 467,690 of the second, 22,700 of the third, and 16,000 of the fourth class. The Coscuez group, named for an Indian princess, which produced a variety of emerald called canutillo, one of the most valuable stones, is now in the category of lost mines. The Samandoco or Chivor group, not now being worked, is supposed to possess a matrix that would yield half a million dollars worth of emeralds a year.... It was” (in the Muzo group) “that the most valuable single emerald in the world was found. It belongs to the Duke of Devonshire and is a perfect, six-sided crystal that weighs 8 ounces 18 pennyweights, is two inches in length and measures across its three thicknesses 2-1/2, 2-1/5, and 1-7/8 inches. Another fine stone is the Hope emerald, weighing 6 ounces, which was also found in Colombia. There can be no doubt that this source of wealth will be greatly augmented in the future, when improved transportation facilities shall make it possible.”
A wealth of agricultural products, typical of nearly every clime, lies in the great river basins and on the eastern slopes and plains in the Orinoco and Amazon regions. In the river basins and part of the way up the mountain sides are great forests, so dense as to be almost impenetrable, but abounding in nearly every species of cabinet and dye woods and nearly every medicinal plant known to science. In altitudes of from two to four thousand feet the coffee plant thrives; the berries from the celebrated Chimbi estates are said to produce the most delicately flavored coffee in the world. But little of it ever reaches the United States. In the tierras calientes, or “hot lands,” the fragrant tonka beans, that have the sweet odor of new-mown hay and are used in some blends of tobacco to give it a bouquet and in the manufacture of soaps and perfumes, and cacao, bananas, yuccas, arracha, sugar, indigo, tobacco, vanilla and rice are among the staple products. The soil of this region is of a rich, black, deep-lying loam, well watered and capable of a greater productiveness than the plains of Louisiana or Texas. In the intermediate areas the culture includes wheat, barley, oats, potatoes and other cereals and vegetables common to the temperate zone. Along the Sinu River is a great cattle belt. This is also the source of the cedar and mahogany, of which Colombia is one of the chief exporters.
It follows naturally that, as in Ecuador, the diversity in altitude that accounts for this varied productiveness gives to Colombia—a wholly tropical country—a range in climate that makes it one of the world’s most attractive abiding places. Von Humboldt is quoted as saying that the traveler here needs but “a thermometer and a mule to find any climate desired within the compass of a few leagues.” When one tires of the torrid heat of the valleys, the frozen sierras are just in sight. When the perpetual spring of the table-land palls upon him, he can by a few hours’ ride find autumn on the steppes above or summer in the plains below. If he is a sportsman, he can find his game among many species of the fauna of three zones: the jaguar, sloth, armadillo, tapir, the red deer, black bear, and panther, and in the jungles of the Amazon region, the tiger.
The overland route to Bogotá from Quito lies over a well-built highway which, in the not distant future, will be paralleled by Colombia’s and Ecuador’s contributions to the long-heralded Pan-American railway from New York to Buenos Aires. Up to the present time Colombia has had but six hundred miles of railways: the little system radiating from the capital and connecting it with the Magdalena River, and, through that natural highway, with the Caribbean ports, and the short lines that run inland from the ports of both oceans; for Colombia is the only country in South America that borders on both the Pacific and the Atlantic.
The traveler who enters the country in the saddle over the route mentioned will profit more than by sailing up the Pacific coast from Guayaquil and entering through the port of Buenaventura. The journey along the lofty heights and down through the lovely green valleys will not only give him much more of the inspiring Andean scenery, but will make him acquainted with the country and village life which he could not see at close range otherwise. But he will have to sacrifice many familiar comforts on the altar of education. The posadas, or village inns, at which he must stop are mere adobe huts with dirt floors, and none but rawhide cots are offered for his rest. The few dishes served at these primitive hostelries are plentifully seasoned with garlic, saffron, and morones, or red peppers. The early hours of the journey will bring the traveler in conflict also with the all-pervading philosophy of mañana (to-morrow), and his progress will be slow. However, the unfailing good humor of his muleteer will do much to dispel his exasperation at delays, and he will find himself more and more repaid for his discomforts by the splendor and beauty and strangeness through which he is making his way.
Passing over the bleak, frozen paramos, or mountain deserts, wrapped in awful stillness by the great peaks rising above them, the scene suddenly changes as the road descends along the heavily wooded slopes and the country becomes alive with verdure and the sounds of birds. Below, in a still more summery clime, lies, perhaps, a beautiful little lozenge-shaped valley fringed about up the sides of the mountains with coffee plantations and groves of bamboo, or some other scene even more picturesque—and then, over equally sudden changes and different pictures of native life, the traveler goes on until there begin to appear extensive plantations with well-built houses and farm machinery, and, finally reaches the railway, which takes him, not unregretfully, from his guide and carries him up into the lofty sabana—the great altaplain on which Bogotá, the capital, is located. This plateau is a level plain, about seventy miles long by about thirty in width, containing some two thousand square miles of cleared, arable land. It lies 8700 feet above the sea in the very heart of the Eastern Cordillera, just below the fifth degree of north latitude, and ranges in temperature from fifty-nine to sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit the year around. From this plateau the descendants of the Spanish conquerors have administered the country since 1538. The sabana is now covered with prosperous plantations belonging to rich Bogotaños.
Bogotá lies on the eastern border. When Quesada, its founder, set foot on the sabana, he was struck by its resemblance to the broad plain of Santa Fé, in his native Granada, on which the armies of Ferdinand and Isabella encamped during the siege that was to put an end to the power of the Moors in Spain. He therefore called the new capital Santa Fé de Bogotá, and New Granada became the name of the northern viceroyalty which was carved out of the Viceroyalty of Peru in 1717. Both names have disappeared. The capital has reverted to its ancient Indian name of Bogotá, and the name of Granada, perpetuated until 1861 in the name of the Republic of New Granada, was succeeded in that year by that of the present Republic of Colombia.
The site of the present city, some twelve miles southeast of the ancient Chibcha capital, was the location of the little Indian village of Tensaquilla, the pleasure resort of the Zipas, nestling, like the Spanish city of Granada, at the foot of two mountains—Monserrate and Guadelupe. Down these mountains tumble the little streams that make up the near-by Funza River, which spreads out over the plain and then plunges down into the upper waters of the Magdalena. On the far side of this great river runs the Central Cordillera, some ninety miles west of the capital, and on clear days the giant white-topped volcano, Tolima, 18,400 feet high, and the Mesa de Herveo, but sixty feet lower—constituting the culminating points in Colombia—are plainly visible.
The traveler’s first impressions of Bogotá are those of surprise and admiration—surprise at finding so large a city (150,000 in population) perched high up in the Andes, fully “six hundred miles from anywhere;” and admiration of the surpassing natural beauty of its locality. His next impression is that it is one of the most conservative, quiet and restful places on earth—conditions greatly to be appreciated after his long, eventful journey. The discovery is soon made that Bogotá possesses a climate that is simply perfect, and a highly educated and accomplished society, that boasts for the capital the appellation of “the Boston of South America.” Like Quito, Bogotá is old, and being so far inland and inaccessible, its Tibet-like seclusion for centuries has bred within its higher circles an aristocratic caste, somewhat arrogant but always suave, kindly, and hospitable. In this eddied fragment of the old-world Spain, the old ceremonious forms of address—“Your servant who kisses your hand,” and that hospitable assurance, “Aqui tiene su casa,” with which even the chance acquaintance is made to feel at home, as in his “own house”—do not seem incongruous, as they would in Spanish cities in closer contact with the outer world.
The streets of the city run eastward up the slopes of a wide avenue cut along the sides of the mountain, and are crossed at right angles by others running north and south. The blocks thus formed rise one above another like the benches of a great amphitheater, overshadowed by the peaks of Monserrate and Guadelupe. On the crests of these peaks stand two massive cathedrals. One wonders why great temples were built in such inaccessible locations, and why, with over thirty more cathedrals and churches in the city, they were needed at all. They can be reached only by pedestrians, and then only after some three hours of hard climbing; no one ever lived near them, and the bleak, icy paramo beyond is uninhabitable. Like the cross, however, their presence is objectively effective in this very religious community.
The city is now well lighted by gas and electricity and is beautified by three large plazas and many smaller parks, in nearly all of which the Bogotaños have erected handsome bronze statues to the soldiers and statesmen of the republic. The great central plaza bears the name of Bolívar, and on a high pedestal in its center stands a bronze figure of the Great Liberator, his sad, thoughtful face turned as if in mute reproach toward the old executive mansion, where, for a brief reign, he ruled the destinies of Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador, then united in his ill-starred Colombian confederation. From a window in that mansion he once leaped, at midnight, to escape the hand of an assassin, raised against him because the people distrusted his rule and permitted themselves to forget his inestimable services to the country.
On the north side of the plaza stands the new capitol building, a plain but well-proportioned structure of white granite; on the east is the fine old metropolitan cathedral, and adjoining it, on the same side, is the ancient palace of the Spanish viceroys, now, however, used for shops and offices. Near the western outskirts of the city is the extensive Plaza de los Martiros, so named in commemoration of the patriots executed on its site by the royalist general, Morillo. Although beautifully laid out and made into an attractive pleasure ground, it has always been shunned by the people, for it was a veritable Golgotha during the revolution, and was used as the execution ground until the early sixties, when capital punishment was abolished in Colombia. Not a great way from the tragic spot is another noted place now called Ninguna Parte (literally “Nowhere”). It is rather a disreputable part of the city in these days, but, when General William Henry Harrison resided there as United States Minister, in 1827, it was a fashionable district. The old house in which he lived is still pointed out, as is the still older, and, if possible, still more dilapidated, house occupied by Baron von Humboldt during his year’s sojourn in Bogotá. On the northern side of the little Plaza de las Nieves stands the city’s oldest landmark—the house built by Quesada.
It would be idle to attempt to enumerate the grand old monasteries and convents of the city. Many of them occupy entire squares. Since the political upheaval of 1860, generally known as the “Mosquera Rebellion,” these edifices have ceased to be church property. Some are now used as schools or hospitals, others as hotels, armories, and barracks; many are now occupied as government offices—the National Mint, the National Military Academy, the Post Office, the War and Navy Departments, and the noted Rosario College.
The traveler’s descent from the Bogotá sabana to the Magdalena on his departure from the country, will store his memory with vistas of grandeur and beauty that will never be effaced, for the Upper Magdalena valley is one of the most beautiful in the world. By the old mule path to Honda, the head of navigation for big steamers on the Magdalena, by way of La Mesa, Tocaime, and Jirado, one will be traveling over a route that for centuries was the great thoroughfare for peon or viceroy, and is to-day practically unchanged in the scenes that make it interesting. But one can now go by rail from Bogotá to Girardot on the Magdalena, some eighty miles above and south of Honda, thence by small steamer to Arrancapluma, where a short railway trip is made around the Honda Rapids to La Dorada, about twenty miles north of and down the river from the town of Honda. At La Dorada the five hundred mile journey northward down the Magdalena to the Caribbean is made in one of the regular steamers that cover this service. The river trip is full of interest, for the wild stream, nearly as large as the Mississippi, flows with great rapidity throughout its course, and has a most varied aspect. For miles it spreads out in a calm, placid sheet of water several miles in width, then whirls over a series of rapids, or forms into whirlpools, or later races through a narrow mountain gorge; and, in consequence of its eccentricities, the channel is constantly changing, to the great inconvenience of pilots.
At Calamar, about seventy-five miles from the mouth, the traveler may exchange the steamer for the railroad to the port of Cartagena, or continue down the Magdalena, now greatly increased in volume by the confluence of the almost equally large river Cauca, to the two important Caribbean ports at the mouth, Barranquilla and Sabanilla. The first part of the trip from Bogotá to Girardot reminds one of the mountain scenery over the Oroya road up into the Andean plateau from Lima. Constantly before him, in the distance, are the lofty frozen peaks of Tolima, San Ruiz, and Herveo, towering above their fellows in the Central Cordillera. On either side of the Magdalena, the slopes of the two ranges in their lower reaches are dotted with coffee plantations; above them, reaching to the altitude of the paramos, the mountain sides are thickly overgrown with forests, and down in the river basin, in the hollow of the broad valley, the brilliant green of varied tropical vegetation continues, on past the point where the Central and Western Cordilleras merge in the llanos, down to the Caribbean coast plains; here the Magdalena basin spreads out over a vast area of barren waste.
Barranquilla, Sabanilla, and Cartagena are the important commercial centers of the republic on the Caribbean, the last-named being one of the oldest and most interesting of the historic old ports. Founded in 1533 by Don Pedro de Heredia, this port was the most glorious monument to Spain’s military genius in the new world, and was properly looked upon as the key to her great treasure house. Spain spent over $60,000,000 on its fortifications, a fabulous sum in those days, but an expenditure which for over two hundred years secured to her the mastery of the Indies. To-day these fortifications—the citadel within the landlocked harbor, the two castles dominating the narrow entrance, the tremendous walls and ramparts—stand without question as the most picturesque and characteristic survival of Spain’s colonial splendor. Not even the perfectly preserved walls of Manila are more impressive. The visitor who walks to-day through the narrow, Moorish streets comes with memories of the fabulous wealth and the violent scenes of siege and bloodshed culled from romances of the days of the buccaneers that “sailed the Spanish Main.” He will, however, search in vain for the evidences of the rich traffic once centered here that gave to Francisco Pizarro the inspiration for his conquest of Peru.
A POSADA, OR COUNTRY INN, ON THE ROAD TO BOGOTÁ.
BATTLEMENTED WALL, CARTAGENA.
Cartagena, “The Heroic City,” from its very beginning was the objective of every expedition undertaken to wrest from Spain her rich domain in the Indies; its fortifications stood as a perpetual challenge to the freebooters who pillaged the Spanish Main in the days of the galleons. This challenge was accepted more than once to Cartagena’s heavy cost. Sir Henry Morgan, Robert Vaal, Martin Cote, Du Casse, Sieur des Pointes, and Sir Francis Drake sacked the town, and later it was the object of the most important attack made against Spain in the new world prior to the nineteenth century, when, in 1741, the English Admiral Vernon undertook his memorable campaign on the Caribbean. He assembled at Jamaica 29 ships of the line and nearly 100 transports, carrying a total force of 27,000 soldiers and sailors. His siege of Cartagena began on the 4th of March and lasted two months, and was attended by enormous losses. The event is peculiarly interesting to North Americans because of the fact that the land forces, under General Wentworth, contained a contingent drawn from the thirteen English colonies in North America, and that the commander of this contingent was Colonel Lawrence Washington, elder brother of the immortal George. It was through admiration for Admiral Vernon’s brilliant but unsuccessful action that Washington gave to his Virginia estate the name of Mount Vernon.
“Cartagena de Indias,” as the old kings of Spain loved to call their “very royal and loyal city,” ranks third in point of age in the new world, and still retains more of its early characteristics than any of the others. Its antiquity is everywhere in evidence. Like the battlements and castles at its entrance, the city seems to have been built of the yellow-white coral laid in concrete, which seems to be indestructible. If one could fly over it in an airship, and look down upon its closely massed, red-tiled houses, and, beyond, upon the deep green of the country-side, with the exquisite blue effects of the Caribbean and the tropic sky, the city would seem gemlike in its romantic beauty. The narrow streets of rough stone are overhung at frequent intervals with the protruding windows and balconies familiar to visitors in Lima and others of the older Spanish cities, yet there is an individuality about the houses here that is far more fascinating, and facing the parks are many fine examples of the old churches and convents which constitute the distinctive architecture of the colonial régime. Surrounding these buildings are luxuriant gardens, presenting a riot of color, in which the peculiarly refreshing green of the hot countries predominates.
Among the many substantial dwellings occupied by the wealthy is one that was the seat of the terrible Inquisition which sat here from 1610 until 1821. San Felipe de Barajas, an old castle and fort lying on a low hill overlooking the city, is full of interesting underground passages, as are many of the fortifications, and although utterly abandoned and falling into decay, is still a forceful and grim reminder of the mediæval period of storm and stress. On the top of another hill, called “La Popa,” lying back of the town, still stands the ancient convent of Santa Candelaria, serving as a landmark to mariners passing that way, its white or light yellow buildings being visible for many miles out at sea. Here the visitor is shown where a buccaneer amused himself on the occasion of one of the raids by hurling the nuns over the edge of the perpendicular cliff on which the convent stands.
Cartagena in the old days surpassed Mexico, Lima, Panamá, and Havana in importance, and stood forth as the commercial giant of Spain in America; it represented, as did no other American city, the pomp and magnificence of her sixteenth and seventeenth century imperialism. Now all this is past; even as the natural gateway for Colombia’s productiveness, she has lost her position, the North American-built railroad connecting the port with the Magdalena River, at Calamar, having proved powerless to restore even a small measure of her prestige against the rising commercial importance of Puerto Colombia and Barranquilla. The latter port has now become the entrepôt of commerce with the interior by the great waterway of the Magdalena.
On the desolate stretch of Colombia’s Pacific coast there is but one city of importance, Buenaventura. This is the busy exchange that taps the fertile region of the upper Atrato basin, and when the Panamá Canal shall have been opened should spring into greater importance along with the other ports of the West Coast. In the interior Colombia possesses many cities of considerable size, ranging from thirty to sixty thousand inhabitants, which are centers for the mining and agricultural districts—Pamplona in the mountains near the Venezuela frontier, Bucarmanga, a little to the west, Mompóz, near the confluence of the Cauca and Magdalena, once a port on the latter river but now, owing to the erratic wanderings of that stream, twenty miles east of it, Medellín, in the Cauca valley; Popayán and Pasto near the head waters of that river, and La Plata on the other side of the Central Cordillera.
The Hon. John Barrett and Hon. William L. Scruggs, both former Ministers of the United States at Bogotá, have written extensively of Colombia’s commercial possibilities and predict great strides for the hermit republic. “Colombia,” writes Mr. Barrett, “is a wonderland of opportunity. Measured by the standards of other countries it can be said without exaggeration that the Republic of Colombia, in proportion to area and population, is the richest of all in the variety and extent of undeveloped resources, fullest in promise for future growth and reward to mankind.” “Colombia,” he continues, “is at our very doors; it is nearer to the principal ports of the United States than any other South American country, and yet we have done little to study her internal wealth or to take part in her foreign commerce.” The country is only nine hundred and fifty miles away from us; from Cartagena to Tampa, Florida, the distance is less than from New York to St. Louis. The foreign trade of Colombia last year amounted to $26,000,000, in which the United States participated to the extent of only $11,000,000.
Mr. Scruggs says in closing his interesting work on Colombia: “Such is the country as nature has made it—picturesque, beautiful, and exceedingly rich and varied in undeveloped resources. As yet man has done very little for it, the greater part being still unbroken wilderness.... The commercial possibilities of the country are almost incalculable; and the time is probably not very remote when the fact will be more fully realized by the great commercial powers of the world.”
At the end of his “swing around the circle” of South American countries (having begun with Brazil), the traveler comes to Venezuela—the huge republic that bulges out into the northernmost nub of the continent, where the terminal ranges of the Andes turn eastward to meet the great Guiana Highlands and form those high-flung ramparts that protect the fertile, low-lying Amazon plains from the Atlantic. This black, mountainous front runs along the Caribbean coast line for some fifteen hundred miles, broken at intervals, however, where the lovely blue of the tropical sea sweeps inland to meet the bright green of some great river basin.
Southward, Venezuela spreads down over an irregularly shaped territory extending from twelve degrees north latitude to the equator. Her varied topography, too, produces almost every change of climate, from the cold of the mountains—some of whose peaks reach high enough to earn the title of nevada—down through the temperate zone of the llanos, or rolling plains that slope off into the great Orinoco basins, where wheat, corn, and cattle abound, and the country’s great staples, coffee, cotton, and tobacco are grown, to the hot Orinoco jungles that trail off to the south, where rubber and cacao trees luxuriate without cultivation, and sugar cane, oranges, fruits, and pineapples thrive in the clearings. More than half of Venezuela’s territory may be ignored from the commercial standpoint of to-day, for it is either Alaskan or Amazonian in character and can be reserved for later needs of the human family if, as Humboldt prophesied, the Amazon valley should become the feeding ground of mankind.
No description has ever done justice to the beauties of Venezuela’s landscape of mountain and valley and mighty rivers, of warm green pastures and blue skies, and the mystic shimmering white of an occasional snow-capped peak. The country that so appeals to the traveler’s interest is nearly six hundred thousand square miles in area, and could include within its confines the States of Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio. Its mountainous coast saw the beginning of the European invasion of the new world. Columbus, Vespucci, and Ojeda touched here. Ojeda gave the country its name. When, on his way west from the Orinoco, he rounded Cape San Roman and turned into the Gulf of Maracaibo, he saw Indian villages composed of houses built on piles in the water along the shores, which suggested something of a resemblance to Venice, and he called the place Venezuela (Little Venice); and soon the whole coast, and eventually the country beyond, became so known—a region larger than all Italy and Spain combined. This coast and the white-walled cities nestling in the heights among the magnificent trees formed the storied Spanish Main.
Cumaná, in the middle east, is the oldest European settlement in South America; it was in its old church that Las Casas preached—the saintly priest who was the Indian’s ablest champion in the early days of Spanish devastation, but who, with regret be it said, is reputed also to have been the father of African slavery in the new world, for it was he, so the chroniclers say, who suggested that negroes be imported to labor in the fields and mines and relieve the Indians of a burden they were both temperamentally and physically unfitted to bear. Venezuela was the birthplace of the resistance to Spain’s oppression of her colonies, and of Miranda, Bolívar, Sucré, and the fiery young patriot, Yáñez—the men who led the van of that resistance. Through her land flows one of the world’s greatest rivers, the Orinoco, with its four thousand miles of navigable waters. The vast productiveness of the country and its stores of mineral wealth are sufficient to sustain twenty times its present population of two millions and a half. And, finally, Venezuela is nearer to us than any other country in South America.
A most agreeable route for the traveler leaving Colombian ports for Venezuela is by the steamers which zigzag around the Caribbean Sea for ten days or more on the way to Europe, and touch at many of the once famous old ports before reaching La Guayra, the sea gateway to Caracas. Immediately after leaving Colombian waters and rounding the Guajira peninsula, the ship enters the great Gulf of Maracaibo, one hundred and fifty miles in extent from east to west, and sixty miles from north to south. Passing along in through a narrow strait, the almost equally large Lake of Maracaibo swells out before the traveler. This great body of water drains an extensive basin lying between two terminal spurs of the Andes—the Sierra de Parija and the Sierra Mérida—and into it flow many rivers having their source in the surrounding mountains. Inside, on the east bank of the strait, lies the city of Maracaibo, now one of the most important centers on the north coast, for here is shipped the produce of the vast fertile region of western Venezuela—coffee, cacao, tobacco, castor beans, hardwood timber, and dyewoods. Much of the produce of the eastern slope of Colombia also finds its way to Europe and the States through this port; fully half of what is known in our markets as “Maracaibo coffee” is really a Colombian product.
VIEW OF MARACAIBO LOOKING WEST FROM THE CATHEDRAL.
The tropical scenery of the plains sloping down to the lake, and the mountains, with their suggestion of snowy freshness, make the setting of this port one of the most interesting on the continent. A dozen or more of the peaks in the Mérida range are snow-capped, and two of them—Concha and Coluna—rise to a height of over fifteen thousand feet. Years ago a passing visitor to Maracaibo, mistaking the discomforts of the humidity and heat for general dissolution, pronounced the place “the graveyard of Europeans.” Such hasty judgment is a great injustice, for the rate of mortality here is less than in many of the other tropical ports.
Rounding the eastern enclosure of the Gulf, the Paraguana peninsula, the traveler comes upon the quaint old town of Coro, founded in 1527, and one of the very first of the European settlements. It was this town that the governor, sent out by the Germans to whom the King of Spain at first leased the country, made his capital, and from which he undertook his disastrous expeditions in search of El Dorado. Afterward, until 1576, it was the seat of Spain’s government of the colony, and is now the capital of the State of Falcón. Here, also, Miranda made his first resistance to Spanish misrule at the beginning of the revolutionary war. Coro is but a few miles south of the Dutch Island of Curaçao, that most picturesque fragment of Amsterdam perched on a coral rock.
Sweeping out eastward over the sea, as if in continuation of the Mérida range, is the Cordillera de la Silla (the “Saddle Range”), which terminates abruptly at Cape Codera. Midway between this cape and Coro, lies the important seaboard city of Puerto Cabello. Its environment is not only remarkably attractive—like an oasis to the traveler who has sailed along the bleak coast range for many hours—but it is to-day one of the finest harbors in the world, as it was in the days of the early navigators, who said of it that “a vessel is safe here, anchored by a single hair (cabello).” The city is connected by rail, over the Silla Cordillera, with the prosperous little city of Valencia, some fifty miles distant, and thence, by waters of Lake Valencia, with Cura and other important inland towns which are commercial centers of a large part of the region that slopes inland from the coast range. Puerto Cabello is, therefore, the export depot of the States of Carabobo, Lara, and Zamora, three of the most productive commonwealths of the Venezuelan federal union. It was once a rendezvous of the buccaneers and, later, the scene of General Páez’s astonishing night attack on the Royalist forces during the revolution, when, with his small command, he forced the surrender of General Calzada’s entire army. To-day the city has a population of about ten thousand, and many modern improvements—electricity, water supply, well-paved streets, and a number of attractive new buildings, that harmonize, however, with the fine old plazas and colonial residences.
Eastward, some sixty-five miles toward Cape Codera, and halfway the length of the Silla range, the traveler sights the great peak of Picacho rising from the water’s edge to a height of over seven thousand feet. Along this promontory, on a narrow strip of beach, are scattered groups of sixteenth century houses, white and red-topped for the most part; some of them nestle inland in coves of the mountains or look over the blue Caribbean from shelves of the cliffs above. This is La Guayra, the seaport of the republic’s capital. High above, overhanging the business center of the town, stands the ancient and picturesque Spanish fortress of early colonial days, and just below, on another bench of rock, is the old bull ring. Overlooking all, on a high bluff, are the ruins of the old castle which was the residence of the Captain-General during the Spanish régime. To those who have enjoyed Kingsley’s great historical novel, “Westward Ho!” the old ruins will have a romantic interest, for it was from the walls of this fortress-castle that Amyas Leigh escaped after his vain attempt to rescue the Rose of Devon.
Baron von Humboldt said that there is but one place in the world that can rival La Guayra in the splendor of its setting—Santa Cruz de Teneriffe, which points one of the Canary Islands off the Moroccan coast. La Guayra is now all business, but not business of the feverish, bustling kind, as the visitor will find, after an entire morning spent in passing from one leisurely official to another in the effort to enter the country. The port usually serves the traveler merely as a landing place on his way to Caracas. If for any reason, however, he should prefer to delay his visit to the capital, he would do well to run up the coast some three miles east of the port city, to the pleasant little watering place, Macuto, the resort of the leisure class of the near-by capital.
Caracas is but seven miles inland from the port as the crow flies, but the actual distance by rail is twenty-two miles. The steep, winding road was started by American enterprise, and at a cost of over $100,000 per mile. It is now controlled by Englishmen, and so great is the traffic, that the little line never fails to be busy. For two hours the train zigzags up the perilous ascent to a height of three thousand feet before it turns sharply around a dizzy precipice and enters the beautiful valley of Caracas. Until this turn is made the traveler is rarely ever shut off from the gorgeous blue of the Caribbean. So superb is the constantly changing view, that he will feel more than repaid for the sensations of giddiness that may assail him as the train swings around the many curves on the route, and the yawning chasms overlooked from the car windows are but added beauties to the scene, instead of death traps, for so excellent is the construction and so efficient the management that there has never been an accident along the entire length.
Caracas is usually much on the visitor’s mind during the days of his approach. His mental picture doubtless will have been colored from some newspaper cut of a dirty, tatterdemalion crew, entitled “The President’s Body Guard,” or by some equally deceptive idea of chaotic civic affairs. But he will by this time have learned, from his visits to other Venezuelan centers, that this charming and progressive country has been greatly maligned by our North American press. He will be entirely reassured the instant the train comes to a stop and he descends at the clean, pleasant little station and, in cab or trolley car, enters the fine old Spanish metropolis, rich in creature comforts, dignity, history, and civic pride. The population of the city now exceeds 70,000, in which there is but a very small percentage of citizens of foreign birth.
Unquestionably Caracas is one of the most delightful places of residence in the world. It lies in a valley three thousand feet up from the sea, on either side of which towers a range of mountains, one about seven, the other nine thousand feet. The tropical heat is tempered to a springlike mildness by the high altitude, and the luxuriant fertility resulting from the misty rains wafted down from the mountains, make of the city and its environs a garden of astonishing beauty. One old gentleman, retired from the British diplomatic service after many years in Caracas, preferred to end his days here, where, he said, it was “but a step to Paradise.”
The city is laid out in the usual Spanish colonial scheme—in streets running at right angles to each other, forming blocks of nearly uniform size. Prior to the liberation from Spain, the streets bore names expressive of the dominant influence of religion—names that seem strange to us now: Encarnación del Hijo de Dios (Incarnation of the Son of God), Dulce Nombre de Jesus (Sweet Name of Jesus), Presentación del Niño Jesus en el Templo (Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple), Huido á Egypto (Flight to Egypt), and many others of like import—a custom prevalent in most of the ancient cities of Spain and her colonies, and one which still prevails in Cuba. Fronting on the narrow, paveless streets are the plastered, red-tiled houses found in all North Andean cities; behind the bars the pretty Venezuelan girls look out from their cloistered seclusion with the same wistfulness that is noted in Bogotá and Lima.
The House of Congress is on the road to everywhere; inside it the decorations and frescoes are exceptionally fine, and perpetuate many of the principal events in the life of the nation. Miraflores, the appropriately named home of Venezuela’s president, is open to visitors at certain hours. In the Pantéon, to the north of the city, repose the remains of Bolívar in a superb tomb of Parian marble. Upon it stands a statue of the Liberator, wrapped in his military cloak—a noble and dignified figure. In front of the cathedral is the broad Plaza Bolívar, in the center of which, amidst a profusion of tropical plants, rises the equestrian statue of the nation’s hero. Another may be seen in Bolívar Park, on which front several federal buildings; the coins bear Bolívar’s name, and the largest state of the Union, as well as its capital, Ciudad Bolívar, is similarly honored—everywhere throughout the republic his name is revered as is Washington’s with us. In the museum of the University, in a room kept sacred as the “Holiest of Holies,” are displayed the Liberator’s clothing, saddle, boots, and spurs, and many relics intimately connected with his brilliant career. Among them is a portrait of Washington, sent him by Custis, bearing the inscription, “This picture of the Liberator of North America is sent by his adopted son to him who acquired equal glory in South America.”
The white group of buildings of the Vargas Hospital, on the heights near the city, presents a beautiful picture against the mountains in the background. This is one of the most extensive and best equipped in America—either North or South. In the Academía de Bellas Artes are displayed the works of Michelena, a son of Caracas, whose paintings have obtained an international reputation, and many other pictures by native artists from which one may get a good idea of the great scenic beauty of Venezuela.
Although there are no active volcanoes in Venezuela, the country has been subject to many destructive earthquakes, notably in 1812, when Caracas was nearly destroyed at a cost of some twelve thousand lives. As a consequence of the constant presence of this menace, the buildings of the capital are almost uniformly of one story. From the Monte Calvario, on the outskirts of the city, the general aspect is flat and monotonous, but a walk through the broader avenues and the fifteen or more parks and plazas, gives to the visitor vistas of foliage and flowers that leave on his mind the impression of a lovely garden.
The capital is connected by railway with Puerto Cabello, via Lake Valencia. This is the attractive scenic route that is made a part of the Caribbean excursions offered by the steamship lines each winter. The road passes through indescribably beautiful mountains and llanos—alternating wooded slopes and meadows, and richly productive fields of maize and wheat. Frequent stops are made at the stations of important plantations or the busy centers of this great agricultural region: La Victoria, San Mateo, and Valencia, the last-named a modernized city of forty thousand inhabitants and the capital of the State of Carabobo, one hundred and thirty-seven miles from Caracas.
A COFFEE PLANTATION, VENEZUELA—DRYING THE BEAN.
Turning back along the coast, eastward, and passing the last of the coast ranges, the Carib mountains, which taper off to the sharp point of the Paria peninsula, the traveler comes to the Island of Trinidad, which helps to enclose the Gulf of Paria. This island is now a British possession and is famous for its asphalt lakes; it is also the point at which Columbus stopped on his third voyage and met the fresh waters from the Orinoco delta, thus becoming convinced that he was confronted by a great continent. He gave the island its name when he observed from his masthead the three high peaks on its northern coast.
The deltaic region of the Orinoco River basin extends for about four hundred and fifty miles in a southeasterly direction from the mountain ridge on the Paria peninsula to the British Guiana highlands, and covers an area of seven thousand square miles. Here the traveler enters a country of wild, tropical forests, mangrove swamps and mazelike waterways, teeming with strange bird and animal life—practically the same now as when it was a primeval land of mystery that terrified the first navigators.
The delta is made up of fifty or more channels emptying into the Atlantic north of the main stream of the Orinoco. The region is entered by the Royal Mail through the central channel, or Macareo River. The service of ocean steamers, however, extends as yet only as far as Ciudad Bolívar, about six hundred miles from the mouth, although the river is navigable for smaller vessels as far as Apures rapids—over a thousand miles up its course on the Colombian frontier. For fifteen hundred miles the wonderful stream extends into the continent, draining a territory of three hundred and sixty-four thousand square miles. With its numerous affluents, the Orinoco affords four thousand three hundred miles of navigable waters for the service of this vast region. The main river rises in the Parima Mountains, which, with the Pacarima range, form the frontier with Brazil. Near its source it is tapped by the Casiquiare, the remarkable river, which flows in two directions and connects the Orinoco with the Rio Negro, an affluent to the Amazon.
The traveler entering the Orinoco from the sea never forgets his first impressions. There is a weird grandeur about the forests that cannot be described—the magnificent trees, closely grouped and undergrown with tropical jungle plants that create a dense shadow land of mystery that is made ever more awe-inspiring to the uninitiated by the startling cries of the jaguar and puma and the queer howling of the monkeys. The leaves are thick and moist, and tinted a deep rich green, but glisten brightly in the high lights; the foliage never loses that freshness and brilliance which is assumed in our northern woodlands only in the lovely season of early spring. Hence the darker tones blending with the flitting shafts of sunlight develop a play of color effects of never-ending delight to the lover of nature. Countless creepers, decked with gorgeously colored blossoms along the water sides and where the sun’s rays penetrate, twine themselves around the great tree trunks. In many places natural bowers are thrown up, that display a beauty and symmetry which could not be surpassed by the most consummate art. Flame-colored flamingoes, chattering parrots and myriads of strange birds of brilliant plumage, enhance the beauty of the scene and add a welcome touch of life, yet serve to confirm the stranger’s impression that he has wandered into some enchanted realm.
South of the Orinoco there is a gradual rise to the Guiana Highlands, which are as yet sparsely populated and but little given over to cultivation; this hilly country, constituting about half of the republic’s area, ascends in uneven ridges to the higher altitudes of the Brazilian frontier ranges. North of the river the rolling plains, or llanos, sweep inland from the Atlantic between the Guiana highlands and the coast ranges like a great green arm of the sea—past the Mérida sierra and the western escarpment of the highlands, to merge in the hot plains of the Amazon region. These llanos do not correspond exactly with the Argentine pampas; they undulate and ascend gradually from the river bottoms to an elevation of over three hundred feet, whence they continue up into the foothills. They are thus known as llanos altos, or upper plains, and llanos bajos, or lower plains. The llanos present a diversified aspect, with much broken ground and heavily wooded tracts near the upper courses of the Orinoco affluents, and clothed, in some of the lower stretches, with rich tropical vegetation.
In this fertile agricultural and grazing country lies a great source of future wealth of the nation, for although coal and iron have been discovered within its boundaries in practicable quantities, Venezuela’s production, aside from asphalt, is chiefly confined to coffee, cacao, tonka beans, sugar, cotton, indigo, rubber, cereals, cattle, hides, aigrette plumes, sarsaparilla and other medicinal plants, cabinet woods, and fruits. Gold has been mined since the earliest colonial times. Venezuela also possesses several of the world’s most important asphalt deposits. “While the ‘pitch lake’ of Trinidad, a surface a mile and a half across of pure asphaltum,” says the Pan American Bulletin (of July, 1911), “is perhaps the most remarkable occurrence of this mineral in nature, the lake of Bermudez, which covers a thousand acres in the old state of Bermudez, Venezuela, is fast equaling the first in commercial importance. Asphalt is also found in the Perdanales district as well as on the shores of Lake Maracaibo, and as an indication of the value of Venezuelan bitumen, we have the fact that this special variety is used to protect the tunnels of the New York Subway.” The foreign trade of Venezuela in 1910 was valued at $30,336,122, the great bulk of which was with Europe. Her purchases from us amounted to but $3,788,539.
The population of Venezuela is made up of Indians, mestizos, and unmixed descendants of the Spanish; but few North Americans are settled in the country thus far, in spite of its nearness to the United States. A better acquaintance between our people and the Venezuelan land of promise should result from the opening of the Panamá Canal. This most desirable consummation will operate to the benefit of both peoples, for, being but six days from New York and four from Charleston, the flow of the country’s trade should turn our way with increasing volume as our merchants become familiar with the ports of the Spanish Main en route to the canal. So far Venezuela is almost wholly unknown to us. Less than ten years ago, a bill was introduced in our Congress to consolidate the diplomatic missions to the republics of Venezuela and Guatemala, under the impression that the countries were adjacent! and during the debate one member arose and asked in all seriousness, “Where is Venezuela, anyhow?”
Like Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, Venezuela is a federation of states. In this respect it differs from the other Latin American republics, except Brazil. Its government is modeled closely on our own, although more centralized, the governors of the states being appointed by the federal executive. The country is on a gold basis; its national debt is not excessive; its administration of the postal, telegraph, and customs services is efficient and progressive, and, underlying the whole structure, is the sure guarantee of inexhaustible wealth. With each new crisis in her history, Venezuela has advanced to a higher plane, and has maintained her footing. The men who have lifted her up the steps of her career—Bolívar, Páez, Vargas, Guzmán Blanco, Crespo, and the little Andean general who has recently come again into international notice after a brief eclipse, Cipriano Castro—have been honest in their purpose and patriots first, whatever they may have been in their private lives. Many other names may be written on her roll of fame: the romantic, but visionary, Miranda, the fiery young patriot Yáñez, and the Venezuelan of all others who survived the revolution without question or reproach—Bolívar’s great lieutenant, Sucré, who became the first president of Bolivia.
Of all her latter day sons, Guzmán Blanco accomplished most for his country. After serving in the diplomatic corps in Europe, he returned in 1870 able to assume the supreme authority with an understanding of the needs of his disordered country and the knowledge and forcefulness with which to supply them. During his practical dictatorship of eighteen years, he ruled with a rod of iron; he enriched himself and his favorites, and stamped his personality ineradicably on the country, it may be—but he made Venezuela a thriving country. He beautified and practically rebuilt the capital, subsidized and fostered the railroads, opened the door to foreign capital and traders who learned to believe in his stable government, and improved the ports. Under his energetic administration the production of coffee reached phenomenal proportions; shipping made rapid progress; the population increased in normal ratio, and the homes of the people improved in every way. The work he did lasted.
Castro, also, worked hard to build up a spirit of nationalism with which to withstand the impositions of foreign governments, whose citizens in many instances had sought by fraudulent claims to enrich themselves. He, too, won a good fight and in some respects advanced Venezuela to a higher place in the family of nations. His patriotism has been made grotesque in our public press, but those who know him well have no doubt that it was sincere. He is well born and able and has shown many of the elements of statesmanship. Venezuela unquestionably has suffered injustice at the hands of European governments, and of our own, in the demands they have sought to enforce on behalf of adventurers who have attempted to exploit the country to their own advantage and without regard to her interests—notably in the cases of her dispute with Great Britain over the boundary with British Guiana, and the French cable company.
On the northeastern shoulder of the continent lies a huge block of territory as large as France and Spain combined. It is in reality an island, since it is bounded on the north and east by the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, on the south by the Amazon River, and on the northwest and west by the continuous waterway formed by the Orinoco, the Casiquiare and the Negro rivers, the last named an affluent of the Amazon. Like the north Andean republics, the Guiana country is made up of mountains, highlands, and low-lying plains, and lies wholly in the tropics; its productiveness thus embraces nearly every cereal and vegetable found in the three great zones of the earth.
Guiana was discovered, named, and first occupied by the Spanish in the very beginning of things in South America. It acquired fame in the latter part of the sixteenth century as one of the regions in which the home of El Dorado was supposed to be located—the fateful will-o’-the-wisp that was chased by the early fortune hunters all over the region from the mountain fastnesses about Bogotá, in Colombia, to the Paraná, in southern Brazil, the lure which brought disaster even to such men of intelligence and practical common sense as Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake. The long-sought Lake Guatavita (now known to be located near Bogotá), in whose sacred waters El Dorado bathed his gilded body, was once supposed to lie near the source of the Orinoco in the Parima Mountains, and, indeed, geologists now contend that such a lake did exist ages ago in these mountainous heights, and it is unquestionably true that on the line northward from this point runs a vein of gold richer than any in the known world, and that this vein had been worked by the Indians from time immemorial.
The lure of the gold, purged, however, of its myth, has survived to our own day, for we all remember Great Britain’s effort, in her boundary dispute with Venezuela, to extend her Guiana boundary over the rich gold fields south of the Orinoco delta.
Until 1624, the Spanish succeeded in holding Guiana against all comers; but in that year the Dutch West India Company gained a foothold at the head of the Essequibo delta, and was confirmed in its possession by the treaty of Münster in 1648, at the close of the war between Spain and the Netherlands. After this opening, other nations made haste to share in a partition of the rich territory. The French established a colony at Cayenne; the English made a settlement and called it Surreyham, after the Earl of Surrey—whence the present name of Surinam—and eventually the country was partitioned among the five nations: Brazil became the owner of that portion trailing off southward to the Amazon which Portugal had wrested from Spain, and which is now sometimes called Brazilian Guiana, although it is an integral part of the United States of Brazil; France still retains Cayenne, now known as French Guiana; the Dutch are now installed in the Surinam colony, which came into their possession at the time of the British occupation of New York, and is now called Dutch Guiana; Great Britain owns the three settlements at Demerara, Berbice, and Essequibo, captured in 1803 from the Dutch and afterward ceded to her by the treaty of 1814, and which now constitute British Guiana, and, lastly, Venezuela, as successor to the title of Spain, owns the rest of the highlands, south of Parima and Pacarima, the territory formerly known as Spanish Guiana until the revolution of the Venezuelan colonists.
British Guiana is 109,000 square miles in area—larger than the United Kingdom—and has a population of about 300,000, made up of 150,000 negroes, 100,000 East Indians, 15,000 Portuguese, 10,000 British and Europeans, and the balance of mestizos. It is divided into three counties, which correspond to the old settlements—Demerara, Berbice, and Essequibo. Georgetown, the capital, is on the right bank of the Demerara River at its mouth. It is an attractive port city of about 60,000 inhabitants, heavily shaded with tropical trees, and presents the substantial appearance of most British colonial centers. Just now its interests are being rather neglected, but, as the shipping point of a sugar area productive enough to supply the mother country, it could be developed into one of the great ports of the Caribbean.
The area of Dutch Guiana is 46,060 square miles, and its population numbers about 70,000. The capital, Paramaribo, is a city of some 30,000 inhabitants, located at the junction of the Surinam and Commewine rivers, about ten miles from the sea. The colony’s trade in coffee, cacao, rubber, timber, and gold has not yet been developed to such proportions as to make it self-supporting; it is still subsidized by the mother country.
French Guiana is known to us principally as a penal settlement. Since the days of the French Revolution, Devil’s Island, off the coast, has been used by the French government as a penal establishment, and in recent years the world has become familiar with its supposed terrors by reading the account of Captain Dreyfus’s sufferings. Nevertheless, French Guiana has all the capabilities of the other Guianas, and could be made richly productive. Its area is 31,000 square miles and its population about 25,000; that of its capital, the city of St. Louis, on the Island of Cayenne, now numbers slightly over 15,000.
|Along the Andes.||A. Petrocokino|
|Along the Andes and Down the Amazon.||H. J. Mozans|
|Ancient America.||John D. Baldwin|
|Andes and the Amazon, The.||James Orton|
|Andes and the Amazon, The.||Reginald C. Enock|
|Around the Caribbean and Across Panama.||Francis C. Nicholas|
|Between the Andes and the Ocean.||William Eleroy Curtis|
|Capitals of South America, The.||William Eleroy Curtis|
|Commercial Traveler in South America.||Frank Wiborg|
|Continent of Opportunity, The.||Francis E. Clark|
|Discovery of America, The.||John Fiske|
|Discovery and Conquest of America, A Collection of Rare Documents concerning.||E. George Squier|
|Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon.||William Lewis Herndon|
|Great States of South America, The.||Charles W. Domville-Fife|
|Land of To-morrow, The. (Pamphlet.)||John Barrett|
|Latin America of To-day and its Relations to the United States. (Pamphlet.)||John Barrett|
|Latin America, A Practical Guide to.||Albert Hale|
|Northern Republics of South America, The. (Pamphlet.)||John Barrett|
|Orinoco, Up the, and Down the Magdalena.||H. J. Mozans|
|Other Americans, The.||Arthur Ruhl|
|Panama to Patagonia.||Charles M. Pepper|
|South America. (Translated.)||Antonio D. Ulloa|
|South America.||A. H. Keane|
|South America, History of.||Adnah D. Jones|
|South America, History of.||Charles E. Akers|
|South American Republics, The.||Thomas C. Dawson|
|South American Republics, The Independence of.||Francis L. Paxson|
|South Americans, The.||Albert Hale|
|Spanish America.||Julian Hawthorne|
|Spanish Conquest in America, The.||Sir Arthur Helps|
|Aconcagua and Tierra del Fuego.||Sir Martin Conway|
|Argentina.||W. A. Hirst|
|Argentina and Her People of To-day.||Nevin O. Winter|
|Argentina, Modern.||W. H. Koebel|
|Argentina, The Republic of.||A. Stuart Pennington|
|Bolivia.||Marie Robinson Wright|
|Bolivia, A Handbook Issued by.||The Pan American Union|
|Bolivian Andes, The.||Sir Martin Conway|
|Brazil and the Brazilians.||James C. Fletcher and D. P. Kidder|
|Brazil, A Journey in.||Louis Agassiz|
|Brazil, The New.||Marie Robinson Wright|
|Brazil of To-day. (Translated.)||Arthur Dias|
|Chile, History of.||Anson Uriel Hancock|
|Chile, Its History and Development.||G. F. Scott Elliot|
|Chile, The Republic of.||Marie Robinson Wright|
|Chile of To-day. (By the Chilean Consul-General in New York.)||Adolfo Ortuzar|
|Colombia. (Pamphlet.)||John Barrett|
|Colombia, Journal of Expedition across Venezuela and.||Hiram Bingham|
|Colombia, The Republic of.||F. Loraine Petre|
|Colombian and Venezuelan Republics, The.||William E. Scruggs|
|Countries of the King’s Award, The.||Sir Thomas H. Holdich|
|Cuzco and Lima.||Sir Clements R. Markham|
|Ecuador, A Handbook Issued by.||The Pan American Union|
|Incas of Peru, The.||Sir Clements R. Markham|
|Incas, Royal Commentaries on. (Translated.)||Garcilaso de la Vega|
|Islands of Titicaca and Koati.||Adolf F. Bandelier|
|Paraguay. (Translated.)||E. de Bourgade la Dardye|
|Paraguay, A Handbook Issued by.||The Pan American Union|
|Paraguay, History of.||Charles A. Washburn|
|Peru, Chronicles of. (Translated.)||Pedro de Cieza de Leon|
|Peru, History of.||Sir Clements R. Markham|
|Peru, Historia General. (Translated.)||Garcilaso de la Vega|
|Peru, History of the Conquest of.||William H. Prescott|
|Peru: Incidents of Travel in the Land of the Incas.||E. George Squier|
|Peru, The Old and the New.||Marie Robinson Wright|
|Purple Land that England Lost, The.||W. H. Hudson|
|Travels amongst the Great Andes of the Equator.||Sir Edward Whymper|
|Travels in the Wilds of Ecuador.||Alfred Simpson|
|Uruguay.||W. H. Koebel|
|Uruguay, A Handbook Issued by.||The Pan American Union|
|Venezuela.||William Eleroy Curtis|
|Venezuelan Republics, The Colombian and.||William L. Scruggs|
|Venezuela and Colombia, Journal of an Expedition across.||Hiram Bingham|
|Wilderness, Our Search for a.||Mary Blair and W. C. Beebe|