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170 miles long, and 60 broad, and has been possessed for above a century and a half by the English. Porto Rico is above 120 miles long, and 40 broad, and belongs to Spain. East of these are the Carribbee Islands, the principal of which are Antigua, Guadaloupe, Martinico, and Barbadoes. Below them is the island of Trinidad, ceded by Spain to the English : considerably to the West of which are the Islands of Margarita, belonging to Spain, and, still Westward, Curacoa, belonging to the Dutch.
The religion of the Spanish and French possessions in North America, and the British possessions in Canada, (which formerly belonged to France,) is Roman Catholic. The United States have no established national church, but tolerate all sects of Christians. The Indians are unconverted Pagans, who yet have some notion of a Great Spirit and a future state.
The whole top of South America is called the Spanish Main.--East of the Isthmus of Panama, or Darien, and the Government of New Granada, is the Government of Caraccas, Eastward of which is Guiana, divided among the Dutch, French, and Portuguese ; East of this is the im. mense province of Brazil, belonging to Portugal, at the back of which is Paraguay, belonging to Spain. Below is Buenos Ayres, belonging also to Spain, and below it are the Pampas, or immense plains, between the Eastern Coast and the Andes. At the lower part of South America is Patagonia On the Western side, and above Patagonia, is Chili, East of which, between the Andes, Buenos
Ayres, and Paraguay, is Tucuman. Above Chili is Peru, and above Peru, Granada, reaching up to the Isthmus of Darien. .
There are many magnificent cities (chiefly belonging to the Spanish settlements) in South America: among these are
S. La. W. Lo. Buenos Ayres 34° 35' 58° 31' Potosi
1950 67 30 Cuzco 12 1 71 47 Formerly the seat of the Incas of
12 1 76 49 Quito
0 13 77 65
In Brazil are
S. La. W. Lo. St. Salvador 13° 30° 39° 30 Rio Janeiro 2
or 22 54 42 44 St. Sebastian)
The Rivers and Mountains of South America are on a scale of the most astonishing grandeur, far exceeding those in any other part of the world.
The great River Maranon, formerly called the River of the Amazons, from its source in lat. 17° among the Andes of Peru, where it is first called the Apurimac, runs from South to North, and afterwards in a direction from West to East, till it falls into the sea, dividing the provinces of Guiana and Brazil. This Monarch of rivers is navigable, for a ship of 500 tons, for a distance of 4500 miles, and receives many mighty streams in its course; and even where they upite with it, 3500 miles from its mouth, is not less than two miles broad, increasing in depth and breadth till, itself a sea, it falls into the Atlantic. The effect of the tide in this river is perceptible for 600 miles, and at about 200 miles from its mouth it is so broad, that the opposite shore cannot be seen. The Rio de la Plata flows into the Atlantic, and is principally formed by the two streams of the Paraguay and Parana, besides some other very great though less mighty rivers. It rises in the mountains of Brazil, in Lat. 19° N. and is navigated for about 1600 miles. It is so immensely broad near its mouth, that land cannot be discovered on either side from a ship in the middle of the river. The Orinoco is another mighty stream, which is thought to rise in the small Lake of Ipava, 5° 5' N. Lat. and flows into the Atlantic opposite the island of Trinidad.
The, principal Mountains of South America are the Andes, forming a stupendous chain of 4600 miles of the most gigantic mountains in the world. They stretch from Capes Isidro and Pilares, in the Southern extremity of South America, nearly to the Isthmus of Panama, and are generally about 100 miles from the coast of the Pacific, and not less than from 100 to 180 miles in breadth; their highest summits are near the Equator: Chimboraco is 20,280 feet high, or 5000 feet higher than the highest of the Alps; Cotopaxi is 18,000 feets Pichincha, El Altar, and many others, are not inferior. But it is remarkable that these mountains are themselves seated in immense plains, from 8000 to 10,000 feet above the level of the sea; so that their actual height from their own bases does not surpass the Alps. Many of these mountains are volcanic, and the province of Quito in particular, is subject to the most dreadful earthquakes, which frequently destroy or swallow up whole cities. The town of Riobamba, at the foot of Chimboraco, containing 9000 inhabitants, was completely overwhelmed by the Peak of Sicalpa, one of the neighbouring mountains falling on it, February 4th, 1797, and not more than 400 persons escaped.
The Islands of South America, in the Pacific, are the Gallipagoes, off the coast of New Granada and Peru, under the Equator. Off the coast. of Chili, in Lat. 34o S. is the island of Juan Fernandez, where Alexander Selkirk supported himself in a life of solitude for four years; whose adventures gave rise to the celebrated tale of Robinson Crusoe. At the bottom of Chili is the large island of Chiloe, 140 miles long, and 40 broad, in the Gulph of Chonas. And at the extremity of South America, is a collection of islands, eleven in number, called Terra del Fuego, or Land of Fire, from the volcanoes there. Their extreme point is called Cape Horn. The Straights of Magellan separate South America from Terra del Fuego. North East of these are the Falkland Isles, which are little better than a morass ; below which, to the South East, is Georgia, and, still lower, Sandwich Land, or · Southern Thule. These countries are beyond description cold, dreary and desolate.