Abbildungen der Seite

there existed gold mines in the vicinity of the Mosquito coast, which in former times extended as far as the Bay of Almirante and Lagoon of Chiriqui on the Atlantic. The Mosquito Indians, who were in continual warfare with those of the mountains and plains on the Pacific side, finally overthrew the latter, destroying their mines, the precise localities of which have been lost since then.

From these accounts it may be inferred that the gold found in the ancient graves must have been procured in the territory where those Indians dwelt. Gold has been found in the mountains, ravines, plains, and streams which run into the Pacific, particularly at Guanavano and Charco Azul. On the road from Costa Rica to this province an extensive quartz formation has been discovered at Las Brefias. It is a common occurrence for the Indians of Terrora to visit this spot to grind the rock and extract gold. Copper and zinc have been found, as well as coal (a superior lignite).

'> Climate.—Dr. M'Dowall, an old resident in this district, says, "The proximity of the Cordillera to the coast of the Atlantic, giving rise to continued rains and malaria, colonies could only be founded by great sacrifice of life; but when we cross the Cordillera, and reach the country sloping towards the Pacific, the scene is at once changed. The better air we breathe and the different scenery infuse a more healthy character than on the Atlantic side."

The dry season extends from December to May inclusive, when the wind blows steadily from the North; during this period no dews are formed, and one can sleep in the open air at night with impunity. The soil is so productive that six hours' labour will remunerate the wishes of the most sanguine.

The average temperature on the coast is 80° Fahr.; that of the highlands at the foot of the mountains 65°. A valuable trade might be opened in the item of "tasajo," jerked beef, at the foot of the Cordillera; the atmosphere being so pure and rarefied that cattle could be slaughtered and the meat kept sweet six to eight days without salting. The Panama railway and steam facilities on the coast will lead to markets far beyond the Isthmus.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

XIII.—Report of a Journey across the Andes, between Cochabamba and Chimore, to the Westward of the Traders' Route-, with Remarks on the Proposed Communication between Bolivia and the Atlantic, via the Amazon. By J. A. Lloyd, Esq., F.r.g.s., H.B.M. Charge d'Affaires in Bolivia.

Communicated through the Foreign-office.
Read April 10, 1854.

In giving the following account of my tour into the province of Moxos to examine some of the upper branches of the Madera, an affluent of the Amazon, it may be as well to state that my object in desiring to make this fatiguing journey during the height of the rainy season, was to satisfy myself as to the real advantages to Bolivian and European commerce of an overland communication from the plains to the eastward of the Andes, and thence by the tributaries supplying the Amazon down that river to the Atlantic.

Since the departure of Lieutenants Herndon and Gibbon, of the United States navy, from Bolivia, to descend the Amazon and its tributaries, and rumours of the mission of Sir Charles Hotham and Chevalier St. George to the La Plata, much excitement has arisen in Bolivia with regard to its importance and the anxious desire of European nations to open up trade with this republic.

From all the western parts of Bolivia, almost to the gates of the thriving city of Cochabamba, there is but one vast tract of mountain, valley, and great ravines, generally without a sign of useful vegetation, except in a few isolated spots or villages near the river beds.

From Cochabamba eastward, on the contrary, after passing a most dangerous mountain, called the 'Cuesta de Paltacueva,' or 4 cavern of snow-storms '■—and within some twenty leagues of Cochabamba—the entire pass being strewed with the bones of both men and beasts who have perished there on the way to the far interior, another high ridge of mountains is encountered. This ridge is perfectly bare and arid on the Cochabamba side, but is covered to the very summit, on the eastern, with the finest verdure and timber, which «xtends, increasing in intensity from thence to the country of the Yuracarees, and with hardly an interval away to the Brazilian Empire and the Atlantic Ocean.

It is remarkable to observe so perfectly defined a line of rich vegetation, of the deepest green, on one side of a mountain ridge, the other side of which displays nothing but total aridity. The atmosphere is still more curious. In the western heavens a bright glaring sun from an intensely blue sky parches everything; while,

« ZurückWeiter »