Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent During the Years 1799-1804, Volume 1
Alexander von Humboldt's account of his monumental scientific expedition to South America and Cuba. Originally published in French between 1814 and 1825, this is the first edition in English ... This classic of scientific exploration was based on the researches of Humboldt and his companion, Aimé Bonpland, during their five-year excursion in South and Central America from 1799 to 1804. The volumes describe the voyage from Spain and the stop in the Canaries; Tobago and the first steps in South America; explorations along the Orinoco; Colombia and the area around Caracas; explorations in the northern Andes; and a visit to Cuba. "Humboldt and Bonpland traveled widely through South and Central America, studying meteorological phenomena and exploring wild and uninhabited country. At Callao, Humboldt measured the temperatures of the ocean current which came to bear his name ..."--Hill.
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Page 52 - Havannah, while forty or fifty days might be sufficient to carry it from the straits of Florida to the bank of Newfoundland. It would be difficult to fix the rapidity of the retrograde current from this bank to the coasts of Africa: estimating the mean velocity of the waters at seven or eight miles in twenty-four hours, we find ten or pJeven months for this last distance.
Page 175 - Peak, we behold the hamlets, the vineyards, and gardens on the coast, is increased by the prodigious transparency of the atmosphere. Notwithstanding the great distance, we distinguished not only the houses, the sails of the vessels, and the trunks of trees, our eyes dwelt on the rich vegetation of the plains, enamelled with the most vivid colouring.
Page 52 - Amazons take nearly forty-five days to flow from Tomependa to Grand Para. A short time before my arrival at Teneriff, the sea had left in the road of St. Croix a trunk of a cedrela odorata covered with the bark. This American tree vegetates exclusively under the tropics, or in the neighbouring regions. It had no doubt been torn up on the coast of the continent, or of that of Honduras. The nature of the wood, and the lichens which covered...
Page 56 - The wreck of an English vessel, the Tilbury,' burnt near Jamaica, was found on the coast of Scotland. On these same coasts, various kinds of tortoises are sometimes found, that inhabit the waters of the Antilles. When the western winds are of long duration, a current is formed in the high latitudes, which runs directly towards the east-south-east, from the coasts of Greenland and Labrador, as far as the north of Scotland.
Page 174 - From the summit of these solitary regions our eyes hovered over an inhabited world; we enjoyed the striking contrast between the bare sides of the Peak, its steep declivities covered with scoriae, its elevated plains destitute of vegetation, and the smiling aspect of the cultured country beneath...
Page 55 - My chief view in tracing a sketch of the currents of the Atlantic is to prove that the motion of the waters towards the south-east, from Cape St. Vincent to the Canary Islands...
Page 269 - What remained of the Guanches perished mostly in 1494, in the terrible pestilence called the modorra, which was attributed to the quantity of dead bodies left exposed to the air by the Spaniards after the battle of la Laguna.
Page 12 - Never had so extensive a permission been granted to any traveller, and never had any foreigner been honoured with more confidence on the part of the Spanish government.
Page xliv - Sea, in whose character we find such a mixture of perversity and meekness: the state of halfcivilization in which these islanders are found, gives a peculiar charm to the description of their manners. Here, a king, followed by a numerous suite, comes and presents the fruits of his orchard; there, the funeral festival embrowns the shade of the lofty forest.