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fraught only with beneficent results; but the attempt to change the natural course of large bodies of water is to be deprecated when, as in some instances is the case, it will produce far-reaching results not contemplated by the projectors. The proposed great ship-canal from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River might very possibly restore the bottom lands of Lower Illinois to their ancient condition as one or more great lakes, produce great destruction in the region of the Lower Mississippi, and so far drain the great lakes as to materially diminish the volume of water which passes through the Niagara River and the St. Law


Two discoveries in meteorology and ornithology have yet perhaps a sufficient bearing on physical geography to be worthy of a place in our record. In August, 1868, an immense meteor or aërolite exploded in the vicinity of Cheatham's Cross Roads, Tennessee, and a fragment of it, cone-shaped, and about seven feet in its longest diameter, and ten feet in circumference at its base, supposed to weigh at least five or six tons, penetrated several strata of the soft blue limestone of that region, and sunk to a depth of twenty-five or thirty feet. When discovered, five or six days after the explosion, it was still very hot, though a stream of water had passed over it for several days. So large a meteorite has not fallen in this country since the large mass which fell in the Red River region, Arkansas, nearly fifty years ago, and it is doubtful whether this is not larger than that. Near Mound City, Illinois, a bird was shot in the autumn of 1868, by James Harney, of a genus and species entirely unknown. It weighed 104 pounds, was larger than an ostrich, had a snow-white body, a scarlet head, a yellow bill, twenty-four inches long, green sinewy legs four feet long, and was on a high tree engaged in devouring a sheep which it had captured. Several of these points resemble more nearly the fossil birds who were the contemporaries of the mastodon, etc., than any known living birds.

The Western region of the United States includes properly both slopes of the Rocky Mountains, the Great Utah Basin, and the northern valleys between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, and also that chain of mountains and the Coast Range, as well as the valleys between and beyond the latter. Across this wide extent of mountain, valley, and plateau, the two Pacific Railroads, one starting from Omaha in Nebraska, and the other from Sacramento in California, have been approaching with extraordinary rapidity during the year 1868, and in May, 1869, formed a junction. The enterprise is the most stupendous of modern times, and on its completion opens a continuous railway route of over 3,300 miles. It is estimated that the running time between New York and San Francisco will be reduced to seven days, and perhaps on the fastest trains to six. The result of this greatly

increased speed of transit must necessarily change the conditions of political geography materially, and must eventually make San Francisco and New York the ports of entry and departure for the entire commerce of the Orient, and the latter the financial capital of the world. The climate, soil, and productions of California and the Pacific slope are such as to invite an immense immigration, and to give the promise of a vast and populous empire there; but the year 1868 developed a danger to its population not hitherto taken into the account. There had been occasional slight earthquake shocks on the coast since the organization of California as a State, and there were traditions of others of somewhat greater severity, seventy or a hundred years ago, but these had never excited the attention of the people until the morning of October 21, 1868, when a series of earthquakes occurred which produced great consternation, and destruction of property, and the loss of six lives in San Francisco, and a considerable number in other parts of the State. The first shock was the most destructive, though subsequent ones completed the ruin of some buildings injured by the first. The most serious results occurred on the made ground (that which had been filled in, having originally formed a part of the bay). There were occasional shocks of considerable severity for two or three months; one on the 2d of December, destroying the little town of Loretto in California. One or two of the volcanoes of the State, hitherto quiet, have given indications of renewed activity by sending up columns of smoke, though they have not as yet emitted water, mud, sand, ashes, or lava. The volcanic character of large tracts of the soil indicates that they were active centuries ago.

Lower California, the peninsula lying between the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean, has been but little known to Europeans or Americans. It has about 15,000 inhabitants, mostly Indians, who have been gathered into missions or villages by the Jesuit missionaries who have been stationed there for two centuries or more, and have lived a life of great seclusion, holding very little intercourse with the rest of the world. In 1866 a company of capitalists, organized as the Lower California Land Company, explored the peninsula, both along the coasts and through the interior, and the next year purchased from the Mexican Government all that part of it lying between the parallels of 31° N. latitude and 24° 20' N. latitude, leaving a rocky and mountainous tract about 100 by 35 miles in extent at the southern extremity, and one almost as mountainous at the north, about 175 by 85 miles. The peninsula has been usually described as an arid, rocky region, with a torrid climate and sterile soil, and has been supposed to be almost uninhabitable. The explorations of Messrs. Ross Browne, W. M. Gabb, and Dr. Ferdinand von Loehr, all men eminent for their scientific attainments, show that it is, on the contrary, in

many respects a very desirable country. Physically, it is divided into three regions, or perhaps we might as properly say four. From Cape San Lucas at its southern extremity, due north to Cape La Paz, latitude 24° 20', a distance of about 100 miles, the mountain-chain known as the Sierra de San Lazaro, having an average height of about 6,000 feet, a bare granite mass, forms a kind of backbone of the lower portion of the peninsula, and the land slopes from this eastward and westward to the Californian Gulf and the ocean, terminating, however, at either extremity in a rocky, bold promontory. Separated from this chain by La Paz Bay, but commencing about the 24th parallel, and adhering closely to the gulf shore, the Sierra de la Gigantea, a chain having an average height of from 3,000 to 4,000 feet, but rising in occasional peaks to more than twice that height, extends, in a direction nearly due north west, to about latitude 30° 35', a distance of full five hundred miles. On the gulf side this chain rises up as an almost perpendicular wall to its full height, giving the impression, which is probably the correct one, that, by some convulsion of nature, the mountain-chain was cleft from summit to base, and one half sank below the waters and now forms the bed of the Gulf of California. On the west side the Sierra de la Gigantea declines gradually in gentle slopes or plateaus with occasional broken tracts toward the Pacific. Between the 26th and 27th parallels the land on the Pacific shore is low, and there are extensive lagoons. Between 26° 40′ and 27° 50′ the peninsula suddenly extends westward, having a mean breadth of about 135 miles, and a range of coast hills of considerable altitude extends from northwest to southeast near the Pacific coast. About latitude 29° the Coast Range, which extends through the whole of Upper California, commences, and from latitude 30° 40' the eastern side of the peninsula, for a breadth of nearly 30 miles from this Coast Range to the head of the gulf and the Colorado River, is nearly level and low. There are a number of volcanoes on the peninsula, and the soil and mountain-slopes give evidence of the frequency and extent of volcanic eruptions. The climate, though inclined to be dry, is delightful, especially on the plateaus. It is the finest country in the world for the culture of the grape, and there are numerous mountain-streams which can be utilized for the purpose of irrigation. There are mines of copper, silver, and gold, and there are indications of the existence of the ores of quicksilver. Tropical fruits are produced in great perfection.

The Colorado River, which discharges its waters into the Gulf of California about the parallel of 31° 30′ N. latitude, is one of the most remarkable streams on the North American Continent. Its northernmost source (the Green River) rises near Fremont's Peak in the Wind River Mountains in Idaho, in the immediate vicinity of the sources of the Lewis's Fork

of the Columbia River and the Wind River, an affluent of the Yellowstone and the Missouri; while others of its tributaries have their source in the Rocky Mountains in the centre of Colorado Territory. The general course of its several tributaries, as well as that of the main river, is southwest, until it reaches Callville, a small settlement in the southeast of Utah, whence it flows almost due south to the Gulf of California. It is navigable for steamers to Callville, about 400 miles above the gulf, though for much of this part of its course it passes between perpendicular walls of rock from 4,000 to 5,000 feet high. Above Callville both the main river and its affluents, the Grand, Green, San Juan, and Little Colorado, flow through ever-deepening cañons, the walls of which at some points are nearly 7,000 feet above the bed of the river, and the streams which enter these from either side also flow through deep cañons, and there are several cataracts of great height. The plateaus through which these rivers pass are divided by them, and there is no way of bridging the broad rivers which flow so far below the surface of the plateaus. From the surface of these broad and generally treeless plains, other terraces, with nearly perpendicular walls 1,000 feet or more in height, rise, resembling in the distance gigantic walled towns and fortresses. Over both the loftier and lower plateaus there are massive ruins of once populous walled towns and cities, where it is supposed the predecessors of the Aztecs (the Toltec race) lived and ruled more than a thousand years since. Even now there are on the loftiest of these plains several villages of this intelligent and remarkable race. Some of these were visited by Professor Newberry in 1860, who found them an agricultural people, skilled in many domestic manufactures, fire-worshippers, and wholly diverse in appearance, manners, customs, religion, and civilization, both from the Indian tribes around them (the Apaches and Camanches), and the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico.

Signor Dollfus, an Italian geographer, has recently published his determinations of the elevation of numerous points in Merico made under very favorable circumstances in 1865. On the vexed question of the height of Popocatepetl, his measurement, taken with great care, gives 5,410.8 metres, equal to 17,720 feet, which is 128 feet less that that of Von Girolt, but is probably much nearer the truth.

In Petermann's Mittheilungen for March, 1868, Dr. Gustav Bernouilli gives a full account of the physical geography of the State of Guatemala, as well as of its productions, etc., the result of many years' residence there. He states that, contrary to the usual law of the Andean or Rocky Mountain chain, the central Cordilleras, which rise only to an average height of about 3,700 feet, are not the highest mountains of Guatemala, that honor belonging to the volcanic chain, which has an average elevation of over 9,500 feet. The volcano of

Fuego (14,700 feet) is the highest summit in Central America, and the volcano de Agua (12,620 feet) is the next. Pacaya and Atitlan, both volcanoes, are nearly 10,000 feet high. As to the productions of the State for export, the indolence and indifference of the inhabitants render their commercial condition very far below what it should be with their fine soil and genial climate. Cochineal is gathered in considerable quantities, and a moderate amount of tar, spirits of turpentine, and other products of the resinous woods, and dye-stuffs, are exported, though far less than should be. The principal crops of the State are maize, blackbeans, rice, bananas, Chili pepper (capsicum), etc., which are consumed by the people, and form almost their entire food. With a great variety of fibrous plants, natives of their soil, and of every preparation, the inhabitants for the most part confine themselves to cotton fabrics generally, blue and red, and their garments of these are scanty in number and size.

Mr. John Collinson, an English civil engineer of great courage and skill, succeeded in 1867 in making a very thorough exploration and spirit-level survey from Lake Nicaragua to the Atlantic Ocean, the first, it is said, across Central America except that for the Panama Railway. He found a pass through the mountains from the lake to the Atlantic favorably situated for a railway at an elevation of only 620 feet above the ocean-level, and one on the other side between the lake and the Pacific Ocean, only 615 feet in height. This survey settles the practicability of a new railway across that isthmus. Mr. Collinson also gained much information concerning the quadrupeds of Central America, and the languages of the Indian tribes.

Mr. A. S. Cockburn, English commissioner to the Belize, has communicated to the Royal Geographical Society some interesting particulars relative to his explorations of the Belize River and the adjacent coasts. It would seem that the tract drained by the Belize River, comprising the greater part of British Honduras, is one of the most rainy regions in the world. "The average rain-fall in Belize," says Mr. Cockburn, "for the last four years was 673 inches per year, and it often rains in the interior when not a drop falls upon the coast." He estimates the annual rain-fall of the district, from 50 to 100 miles from the coast, as above 100 inches, and the water falling into the river and its affluents, from a district 90 by 30 miles, at 39,128,101,745 gallons, equal to 17,467,929 tons. Of this vast amount, he estimates that about two-thirds go off by evaporation, but the quantity of 5,413,680 tons, which is discharged into the sea, brings down with it such quantities of detritus from the soft and recent deposits of that region, that the bed of the river and its delta are filling up with considerable rapidity.

M. Lucien de Puydt, a French engineer and

geographer, communicated to the Royal Geographical Society of London, in 1868, an account of two tours of survey and exploration made by him in 1861 and 1865, by order of the French Government, across the Isthmus of Darien, to ascertain the feasibility of an interoceanic canal across that isthmus. The route which he took in his last tour was one hitherto unknown: following toward its source in the mountains, first the Tanela (a stream discharging into the Atlantic south of the Atrato), and finally its southern affluent. They found the latter flowing through a pass in the Nique Mountains (the local name of the Cordilleras, at this point), at an elevation, M. de Puydt believed, not to exceed at the highest 140 feet above the ocean-level. From this pass there was a gentle descent to the plain on the west, through which the Tuyra, another small river, flows into the Pacific. This is by much the most feasible route yet found for an interoceanic canal.

Recent observations, continued for a series of years, indicate that the reputation for unhealthiness of the island of Hayti, and especially of Port-au-Prince, is due to the excess of moisture in the climate. A rain record, kept in that city during the period from August, 1863, to January, 1868, gives the following facts: In 1864, there were 145 days during some part of which rain fell, and the number of inches of rain-fall during the year was 60.57. Of this amount, nearly 11 inches fell in the month of May, and about 9 inches in August. In 1865 there were 157 rainy days, and 66.76 inches of rain fell during the year; and of this, more than 18 inches fell in the month of May, and about 12 inches in September. In 1866 there were 179 rainy days, and 67.43 inches of rain fell during the year; of this, 14 inches fell in April, nearly 9 inches in May, and from 5 to 7 inches in each of the other months, except December, January, and February. In 1867, there were but 126 rainy days, and only 50.2 inches of rain. Of this, about 13 inches fell in May. There was thus an average rain-fall of 61.25 inches during each of the four years, and an average of 152 rainy days to each year.

A series of deep-sea soundings, made in March and April, 1868, by Captain R. A. Hamilton, of H. B. M. ship Sphinx, in the neighborhood of Santa Cruz, demonstrates that island to be the apex of an immense submarine mountain. Off Ham's Bluff, one and a half miles from the shore, the lead sunk 1,000 fathoms without reaching bottom.

Hon. E. G. Squier, a very high authority in all statistics relating to Spanish America, published in December, 1868, the following statement of the population of the States of SOUTH AMERICA, and the Hispano-American States of North and Central America, in 1867 or 1868, with the amount of the trade of the United States with them in 1858 and 1866, respectively:

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The gold-fields of Venezuela have attracted much attention during the past year. The first considerable discoveries of gold in that republic were made in 1854 by Dr. Plassard, a physician of Ciudad Bolivar, the capital of Guiana, one of the States of the republic, but the extent of the gold-fields has not been known till within two or three years, and, indeed, many discoveries were made in 1868. The gold-fields, so far as is yet known, are situated in the vicinity of the hydrographic basin of the Essequibo, the river forming the boundary line between British and Venezuelan Guiana. They are from 100 to 160 miles south of the Orinoco River, and about 200 miles west of the Atlantic Ocean, between the Caroni and the Yuruari Rivers, and east of the latter. There is also very good evidence that they extend east of the Essequibo River in British Guiana. There is as yet excellent placer-mining at many points in this field, and experienced and skilful American mining engineers, who have carefully explored the mountains of that region, find extensive quartz gold-veins running in all directions through the slate and blue-stone of the Marcupio Valley, and the watershed, between the Caroni and the Yuruari. The veins differ greatly in product, though the poorest give a fair yield, even with the rude and wasteful processes employed. They are generally very regular and sound, and offer little difficulty in the extraction of the ore. The only difficulty of magnitude is the unsettled state of the country, and the jealousy and ferocity of the Indian tribes.

We find the following statistics of the empire of Brazil in the Berlin Zeitschrift für Erdkunde for February, 1868: The entire population of the empire, in 1867, excepting the wild Indians of the interior, was 11,280,000, of whom 1,400,000 were slaves. The wild Indians were estimated at 500,000, but little is known of their real numbers. In the public schools, there were 107,483 children in regular attendance. The population of the several provinces was, in round numbers, as follows: Pará, 350,000; Maranham, 500,000; Ceará, 550,000; Prauby, 250,000; Rio Grande dé Norte, 240,000; Parahyba, 300,000; Pernambuco, 1,220,000; Alagoas, 300,000; Sergippe, 320,000; Bahia, 1,450,000; Espirito Santo, 100,000; Rio de Janeiro (province and city),

1,850,000; San Paulo, 900,000; Paraná, 120,000; Santa Catharina, 200,000; Rio Grande de Sul, 580,000; Minas Geraes, 1,600,000; Goyaz, 250,000; Amazonas, 100,000; Matto Grosso, 100,000.

Mr. Chandless, whose zeal in the exploration of the tributaries of the Amazonas we have heretofore recorded, still continues his labors in that field. In 1868 he undertook to ascend the Juruá, one of the largest of the affluents of the Upper Amazonas, and spent three months on that river. The Juruá is not far from 1,500 miles in length, and enters the Amazonas on the south shore, about S. lat. 4° and W. lon. from Greenwich 66°. Mr. Chandless ascended the main river (Juruá) between 1,000 and 1,200 miles to lat. 7° 12′ S., and lon. 72° 10′ W. from Greenwich, but was compelled to turn back while the river was yet navigable for many miles farther, by an attack of Nauas Indians, by which his boat's crew were terrified. On his return he explored the Maués River and one of its affluents, and, when last heard from, was hoping to start soon to explore the Beni, one of the largest of the southern tributaries of the Ama


Professor P. Strobel, an Italian naturalist, has just published in the Zeitschrift für Erdkunde, an account of a scientific excursion made by him in 1866, from Curico in Chili, through the Planchon Pass to San Rafael, a considerable town in the Pampas of the Argentine Republic. The journey was not without its adventures, and the naturalist, fully alive to whatever concerned his profession, gleaned a large amount of valuable information relative to the geology, mineralogy, botany, and zoology of the Cordilleras as well as the Pampas. His narrative settles several important questions in the botany and zoology of that partially-known region.

The proposed construction of a railway from Cordova to Jujuy, in the Argentine Republic (we believe it is now completed as far as Tucuman), furnished an opportunity to Dr. Hermann Burmeister, the director of the State Museum of Physical Science at Buenos Ayres, to make a thorough exploration of the physical geography of that portion (the northwestern) of the republic, and he has reported the work accomplished with great ability and thoroughness, in Petermann's Mittheilungen for February, 1868. A part of this route was explored on foot about eleven years since, by a young naturalist of Massachusetts, Mr. Nathaniel S. Bishop, then but seventeen or eighteen years of age. His narrative, entitled "A Thousand Miles Walk in South America," was published last year by Lee & Shepard, of Boston, and contains a large number of valuable observations on the soil, productions, and people of this part of South America.

William Bollaert, Esq., a Peruvian geographer, communicated, in the spring of 1868, to the Royal Geographical Society of London, the

result of his explorations in 1866, in the province of Tarapucá, Southern Peru. This province is in the Department of Moquegua, and forms the extreme southwestern portion of the republic. It is a rainless, mostly desert region, but has of late years risen into prominence from the immense quantities of nitrate of soda found there, and which, when refined, yield iodine, and bromine also, in considerable quantities. The refining of the nitrate of soda has caused the establishment of numerous nitrate works, and in 1867 about 150,000 tons were exported. The population of the province was about 20,000, the greater part of whom were dependent directly or indirectly upon the traffic in nitrate of soda. The capital of the province, Iquique, from being a small fishing-village, had become, in 1866, a town of 5,000 inhabitants. Mr. Bollaert has given a very full and exhaustive account of the geology, physical geography, botany, and productions of the province, and the elevation of the principal points, and especially those of the route from Iquique to Noria, on which a railroad was being constructed for the transportation of the nitrate, and fuel and provisions for its refining. Iquique, as well as most of the towns of Southern Peru and Bolivia, was greatly injured, and indeed nearly ruined, by the terrible earthquakes of August 13-16, 1868, which destroyed so many towns, and probably over 50,000 lives, in Ecuador. It was also shaken by the earthquake of October 13, 1868, which, however, spent its greatest force on Atacama, and several of the cities of Chili, on the coast.


The earthquakes which wrought such desolation over a vast district of western South America are elsewhere described in this volume. is only necessary to say here, as pertaining specially to geographical science, that there were three entirely distinct earthquakes proceeding from different centres, and each doing great injury in its sphere of action, and each lapping over on a portion of the territory visited by its predecessor. The earthquake of August 13th produced an upheaval of the whole coast from Callao, Peru, or perhaps a little north of that port, to Talcahuano in Chili, a distance of more than 1,900 miles. Callao, Arequipa, Moquegua, Arica, Chala, Tambo, Pisagua, Islay, Tilo, Mollendo, Iquique, Tacna, Pisco, Chincha Buja, and Mejillones, in Peru and Bolivia, and Constitucion, Tomé, and Talcahuano in Chili, were laid in ruins either by the shock of the earthquake or the tidal wave which followed. The Chincha Islands were swept over by the waves, and had previously been desolated by a hurricane and earthquake. The earthquake of August 16th spent its greatest fury on the republic of Ecuador, completely destroying the towns of Ibarra, San Pablo, Atrintaqui, Imantad, Otovalo, and Cotocachi, with the greatest part of their inhabitants. Where Cotocachi stood, is now a lake. Quito and the cities and towns near it

were either partially or entirely in ruins, but the loss of life was less than in the cities of the province of Imbabura. This earthquake reached the northern borders of the preceding, but its great force was spent. The earthquake of October 13th, which it is to be remarked was the same which visited San Francisco and the northern Pacific coast, was accompanied with an eruption from the volcano Llullanaco, 80 leagues from Copiapo. It extended along the whole coast from Oregon to southern Chili, but its action was most severe in northern Chili, on the coast of Bolivia, and on the Pacific coast of North America. Iquique was visited by this and subsequent slighter shocks, but it suffered less than in the first. The destruction of life in this last earthquake was very small, although it extended over so vast a territory.

Mr. Thomas J. Hutchinson, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London, has, during the war which has existed for four years past in Paraguay, been a resident of that country, and has communicated to the Illustrated Travels a very interesting narrative of his sojourn there, with very full descriptions of the country, and the character and manners of its inhabitants. He regards the Paraguayans as possessing many fine traits of character, being brave, patriotic, and not bloodthirsty. They make excellent soldiers, and in this protracted struggle have won the sympathy and respect even of their foes.

Turning to the Continent of EUROPE, we must dispatch very briefly what geographical information has been collected concerning its generally well-known states, that we may devote more space to those countries which are less familiar to us.

The kingdom of Italy published, in the summer of 1868, its census, taken December 31, 1866. From this it appears that the kingdom is divided into 59 provinces and prefectures (aside from the Lombardo-Venetian provinces), and 193 districts. The population was 22,793,135, an increase of 1,090,000 since the census of 1864. The population of the Lombardo-Venetian provinces was at the same time 2,576,185, making a total for the kingdom of Italy of 25,369,320.

We have also very full census statistics of the Scandinavian States of Europe to the close of 1866 or the beginning of 1867. Those of Sweden are as follows:

The area of the twenty-five governments was 168,042 English square miles; the population 4,160,677, of whom 2,023,737 were males and 2,136,940 females. There were in the kingdom 428,169 horses, 321,635 oxen and steers, 1,185,556 cows, 417,163 young cattle, 1,589,000 sheep, 133,132 goats, 404,000 swine, and 139,400 reindeer.

The population of the principal towns was: Stockholm, 138,189; Gothenburg, 46,557 (a census of the city and suburbs in 1868 gives 58,164); Norköpping, 23,271; Malinöe, 22,538; Carls

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