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Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon, Part 1 (of 2)

Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon, Part 1 (of 2)
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Title: Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon, Part 1 (of 2)
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon, PartI (of 2), by William Lewis Herndon

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Title: Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon, Part I (of 2)

Author: William Lewis Herndon

Release Date: August 24, 2018 [eBook #57756]

Language: English

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CATHEDRAL OF LIMA.

Lt. Gibbon del.

Wagner & McGuigan's Lith. Phila.

CATHEDRAL OF LIMA.
Pl. 1.

33d Congress,}HO. OF REPS.{Executive,
1st Session.No. 53.

EXPLORATION OF THE VALLEY OF THE AMAZON

EXPLORATION
OF THE
VALLEY OF THE AMAZON,
MADE UNDER DIRECTION OF
THE NAVY DEPARTMENT,
BY

WM. LEWIS HERNDON AND LARDNER GIBBON,
LIEUTENANTS UNITED STATES NAVY.


PART I.
BY LIEUT. HERNDON.


WASHINGTON:
ROBERT ARMSTRONG, PUBLIC PRINTER
1854.

LETTER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY,
COMMUNICATING
A REPORT OF AN EXPLORATION OF THE VALLEY OF THE AMAZON AND ITSTRIBUTARIES, MADE BY LIEUT. HERNDON, IN CONNECTIONWITH LIEUT. GIBBON.


January 6, 1854.Resolved, That there be printed, for the use of the members of the House,ten thousand extra copies of the report of the Secretary of the Navy communicating the reportsof the exploration of the river Amazon and its tributaries, made by Lieutenants Herndon andGibbon, with the accompanying maps and plates.

April 13, 1854.Resolved, That there be printed twenty thousand additional copies of thereports of the surveys and explorations of the river Amazon, with the plates and maps accompanying,by Lieutenants Herndon and Gibbon—two hundred and fifty copies for distribution byLieutenant Herndon, and two hundred and fifty copies by Lieutenant Gibbon, and the remainderfor the use of the members of the House.


To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I herewith transmit a communication from the Secretary of theNavy, accompanied by the first part of Lieut. Herndon's Report ofthe Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon and its tributaries,made by him, in connexion with Lieut. Lardner Gibbon, under instructionsfrom the Navy Department.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

Washington, February 9, 1853.


Navy Department, February 7, 1853.

To the President.

Sir: In compliance with the notice given in the annual report ofthis department to the President, and communicated to Congress at theopening of its present session, I have the honor herewith to submitthe first part of the Report of Lieut. Herndon, of the Exploration of theValley of the Amazon and its tributaries, made by him, in connectionwith Lieut. Lardner Gibbon, under instructions from this department,dated the 15th of February, 1851.

I am happy to be able to inform you that Lieut. Gibbon reachedPará on his homeward journey some weeks ago, and may very soonbe expected to arrive in the United States. When he returns, Lieut.Herndon will have all the materials necessary to complete his report,and will devote himself to that labor with the same assiduity whichhas characterized his present work.

I would respectfully beg leave to suggest that, in submitting thisreport to the House of Representatives, it be accompanied with arequest to that body, if it should think proper to direct the printingof this valuable document, that the order for that purpose may includeall the remaining portions of the report which may hereafterbe furnished; and that the order for printing shall include a suitabledirection for the engraving and publication of the maps, charts,and sketches, which will be furnished as necessary illustrations of thesubjects treated of in the report.

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, your obedientservant,

JOHN P. KENNEDY.


Washington City, January 26, 1853.

To the Hon. John P. Kennedy,
Secretary of the Navy.

Sir: I have the honor to submit part first of the Report of anExploration of the Valley of the Amazon, made by me, with theassistance of Lieut. Lardner Gibbon, under instructions of the NavyDepartment, bearing date February 15, 1851.

The desire expressed by the department for an early report of myexploration of the Amazon, and the general interest manifested inthe public mind with regard to the same, have induced me to laybefore you at once as full an account of our proceedings as can bemade before the return of my companion.

The general map which accompanies the report is based upon mapspublished by the Society for the diffusion of Useful Knowledge, but correctedand improved according to my own personal observations, andon information obtained by me whilst in that country.

The final report of the expedition will be submitted as soon afterLieut. Gibbon's return as practicable. I am in daily expectation ofintelligence from him. At the latest accounts (26th of July, 1852) hewas at Trinidad de Moxos, on the Mamoré, in the republic of Bolivia,making his preparations for the descent of the Madeira.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. LEWIS HERNDON,
Lieut. U. S. Navy.

i

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.
INTRODUCTORY.
Page.
United States ship Vandalia—Valparaiso—Santiago—Vicente Pazos—Preparatoryorders—Lima—Means of information—Conquests of the Incasin the Montaña—First exploration of the Spaniards—Madame Godin.1
CHAPTER II.
INTRODUCTORY.
Orders—Investigation of routes—Lake Rogoaguado—River Beni—Chanchamayo—Cuzcoroute—River Madre-de-Dios—Gold mines of Carabaya—Routethrough the cities of Truxillo, Caxamarca, Chachapoyas,Moyobamba, &c.—Preparations for the journey—The start.20
CHAPTER III.
Passports—Means of defence—The road—Pacayar—Chaclacayo—Narrowpass—Yanacoto—Bridge—Cocachacra—Tribute money—Dividing linebetween the coast and the Sierra—Moyoc—Varieties of the potato—Matucana—SanMateo—Mines of Párac—Narrow valley—Summit of theCordillera—Reflections.39
CHAPTER IV.
Mines of Morococha—A Yankee's house—Mountain of Puypuy—Splendidview—Pachachaca—Lava stream—Chain bridge at Oroya—Descent intothe valley of Tarma—Tarma—American physician—Customs—Dress—Religiousobservances—Muleteers and mules—General Otero—Farmingin the Sierra—Road to Chanchamayo—Perils of travel—Gold mines ofMatichacra—View of the Montaña—Fort San Ramon—Indians of Chanchamayo—Cultivation.61
CHAPTER V.
Division of the party—Acobaraba—Plain of Junin—Lake Chinchaycocha—Preservationof potatoes—Cerro Pasco—Drainage of the mines—Boliches.90ii
CHAPTER VI.
Departure from Cerro Pasco—Mint at Quinua—San Rafael—Ambo—Quicacan—Huanuco—Cerrode Carpis—Chinchao valley—Huallaga river.111
CHAPTER VII.
Itinerary—Tingo Maria—Vampires—Blow guns—Canoe navigation—Shootingmonkeys—Tocache—Sion—Salt hills of Pilluana.132
CHAPTER VIII.
Tarapoto—Pongo of Chasuta—Chasuta—Yurimaguas—Sta. Cruz—Antonio,the Paraguá—Laguna—Mouth of the Huallaga.156
CHAPTER IX.
Entrance into the Amazon—Nauta—Upper and lower missions of Mainas—Conversionsof the Ucayali—Trade in Sarsaparilla—Advantages oftrade with this country.176
CHAPTER X.
Nauta—River Ucayali—Sarayacu—The missionaries—The Indians of theUcayali.190
CHAPTER XI.
Upper Ucayali—M. Castelnau—Length of navigation—Loss of the priest—Departurefrom Sarayacu—Omaguas—Iquitos—Mouth of the Napo—Pebas—SanJosé de los Yaguas—State of Indians of Peru.208
CHAPTER XII.
Chochiquinas—Caballo Cocha—Alligators—Indian incantations—Loreto—Tabatinga—RiverYavari—San Paulo—River Iça—Tunantins—MakingManteiga—River Jutay—Fonteboa—River Juruá—River Japurá.229
CHAPTER XIII.
Egas—Trade—Lake Coari—Mouth of the Rio Negro—Barra—Trade—Productions.250
CHAPTER XIV.
Town of Barra—Foreign residents—Population—Rio Negro—Connexionwith the Oronoco—River Purus—Rio Branco—Vegetable productions ofthe Amazon country.269
CHAPTER XV.
Departure from Barra—River Madeira—Serpa—Villa Nova—Maués—RiverTrombetas—Cocoa plantations—Obidos—Santarem.285iii
CHAPTER XVI.
Santarem—Population—Trade—River Tapajos—Cuiaba—Diamond region—Accountof the Indians of the Tapajos.299
CHAPTER XVII.
Departure from Santarem—Monte Alegre—Prainha—Almeirim—Gurupá—RiverXingu—Great estuary of the Amazon—India-rubber country—Methodof collecting and preparing the India-rubber—Bay of Limoeiro—Arrivalat Pará.319
CHAPTER XVIII.
Pará.334
CHAPTER XIX.
Resumé.352
APPENDIX.
Notes—Table of approximate heights and distances from Callao to theAtlantic—Meteorological journal.369
Addendum397

iv

LIST OF PLATES.

Page.
Plate 1.—Cathedral of Lima,(to face title page.)
Plate 2.—Yanacoto.44
Plate 3.—Hacienda de Moyoc.60
Plate 4.—San Mateo.60
Plate 5.—Summit of the Cordillera.60
Plate 6.—Mountain of Puypuy.60
Plate 7.—Oroya.76
Plate 8.—Tarma.76
Plate 9.—Fort San Ramon.92
Plate 10.—Cerro Pasco.108
Plate 11.—Miner.108
Plate 12.—Ore carrier.108
Plate 13.—Givaro.172
Plate 14.—Givara.188
Plate 15.—Zaparo, (Hunter).204
Plate 16.—Zaparo, (Fisher).204

1

CHAPTER I.
INTRODUCTORY.

U. S. ship Vandalia—Valparaiso—Santiago—Vicente Pazos—Preparatoryorders—Lima—Means of information—Conquests of the Incas in the Montaña—Firstexplorations of the Spaniards—Madame Godin.

Attached to the U. S. ship Vandalia, of the Pacific squadron, lyingat anchor in the harbor of Valparaiso, in the month of August,1850, I received a communication from the Superintendent of theNational Observatory, informing me that orders to explore the Valleyof the Amazon would be sent me by the next mail steamer.

The ship was then bound for the Sandwich Islands, but CaptainGardner, with that kindness which ever characterized his intercoursewith his officers, did not hesitate to detach me from the ship, and togive me permission to await, at Valparaiso, the arrival of my instructions.

The officers expressed much flattering regret at my leaving the ship,and loaded me with little personal mementos—things that might beof use to me on my proposed journey.

On the 6th of August I unexpectedly saw, from the windows of theclub-house at Valparaiso, the topsails of the ship mounting to themastheads; I saw that she must needs make a stretch in-shore toclear the rocks that lie off the western point of the bay; and desirousto say farewell to my friends, I leaped into a shore-boat, and shovedoff, with the hope of reaching her before she went about. The oarsmen,influenced by the promise of a pair of dollars if they put me on board,bent to their oars with a will, and the light whale-boat seemed to fly;but just as I was clearing the outer line of merchantmen, the shipcame sweeping up to the wind; and as she gracefully fell off on theother tack, her royals and courses were set; and bending to the steadynortheast breeze, she darted out of the harbor at a rate that setpursuit at defiance. God's blessing go with the beautiful ship, andthe gallant gentlemen, her officers, who had been to me as brothers.

Owing to the death of President Taylor, and the consequent changein the Cabinet, my orders were delayed, and I spent several weeks in2Valparaiso, and Santiago, the capital of Chili. This time, however,was not thrown away: my residence in these cities improved myknowledge of the Spanish language, and gave me information regardingthe Bolivian tributaries of the Amazon which I probably could havegot nowhere else.

The commander of the English naval forces in the Pacific, AdmiralHornby, was much interested in my mission, and searched for me,through his valuable library, for all that had been written upon thesubject. I am indebted to him, and the officers of his fleet, for muchpersonal kindness.

I must also return thanks to Messrs. George Hobson, H. V. Ward,George Cood, and Commodore Simpson,

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