Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent During the Years 1799-1804, Volume 4
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 348 - The extraordinary noise caused by the horses' hoofs makes the fish issue from the mud, and excites them to combat. These yellowish and livid eels, resembling large aquatic serpents, swim on the surface of the water, and crowd under the bellies of the horses and mules. A contest between animals of so different an organisation furnishes a very striking spectacle.
Page 350 - ... of the abdominal nerves. It is natural that the effect felt by the horses should be more powerful than that produced upon man by the touch of the same fish at only one of his extremities. The horses are probably not killed, but only stunned. They are drowned from the impossibility of rising amid the prolonged struggle between the other horses and the eels.
Page 466 - They attach great importance to certain configurations of the body; and a mother would be accused of culpable indifference toward her children, if she did not employ artificial means to shape the calf of the leg after the fashion of the country. As none of our Indians of Apure understood the Caribbee language, we could obtain no information from the cacique of Panama respecting the encampments that are made at this season in several islands of the Orinoco for collecting turtles
Page 355 - I do not remember having ever received from the discharge of a large Leyden jar, a more dreadful shock than that which I experienced by imprudently placing both my feet on a gymnotus just taken out of the water. I was affected the rest of the day with a violent pain in the knees, and in almost every joint.
Page 213 - We drank considerable quantities of it in the evening before we went to bed, and very early in the morning, without feeling the least injurious effect. The viscosity of this milk alone renders it a little disagreeable. The negroes and the free people who work in the plantations drink it, dipping into it their bread of maize or cassava. The...
Page 421 - I confess that these scenes, which were often repeated, had ever for me a peculiar attraction. The pleasure they excite, is not owing solely to the interest which the naturalist takes in the objects of his study; it is connected with a feeling common to all men, who have been brought up in the habits of civilization. You find yourself in a new world, in the midst of untamed and savage nature.
Page 144 - ... they furrow during heavy showers the sides of the hills, bear down the loosened soil, and form those sudden inundations, that devastate the country. Hence it results, that the destruction of forests, the want of permanent springs, and the existence of torrents, are three phenomena closely connected together.
Page 560 - ... out through the crevices ? Does not the impulse of the air against the elastic spangles of mica, that intercept the crevices, contribute to modify the sounds ? May we not admit, that the ancient inhabitants of Egypt, in passing incessantly up and down the Nile, had made the same observation on some rock of the Thebaid; and that the music of the rocks there led to the jugglery of the priests in the statue of Memnon < Perhaps, when " the rosy-fingered Aurora rendered her son, the glorious Memnon,...
Page 348 - We found it difficult to form an idea of this extraordinary manner of fishing; but we soon saw our guides return from the savannah, which they had been scouring for wild horses and mules. They brought about thirty with them, which they forced to enter the pool. The extraordinary noise caused by the horses' hoofs makes the fish issue from the mud, and excites them to combat.
Page 559 - It is witchcraft,' said our young Indian pilot. We never ourselves heard these mysterious sounds either at Carichana Vieja or in the upper Orinoco ; but from information given us by witnesses worthy of belief, the existence of a phenomenon that seems to depend on a certain state of the atmosphere cannot be denied. The shelves of rock are full of very narrow and deep crevices. They are heated during the day to about 50°. I often found their temperature at the surface during the night at 39°, the...