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THE PENNY CYCLOPÆDIA
THE SOCIETY FOR THE DIFFUSION OF
PERU is a country in South America, situated between 3° 30′ and 21° 28' S. lat., and between 65° and 81° 20′ W. long. On the west it is washed by the Pacific; and on the south and south-east it borders on Bolivia. The boundaryline between these states, at the most southern point of Peru, is formed by the small river Loa (21° 28′ S. lat.): it follows the course of this river for several miles, when it turns eastward till it reaches the western edge of the Andes. It follows this edge northward to the mountain-pass of Gualillas (17° 50' S. lat.), whence it runs northward across the plain of the lake of Titicaca to the southern extremity of that lake. It traverses the lake in a northern direction, which it preserves till it reaches the eastern chain of the Bolivian Andes, near 15° S. lat. It follows this chain for some distance, and then runs along the lateral range which branches off in an east-north-east direction between the river Tuche, an affluent of the Beni, and some rivers which are supposed to fall into the Purus. From the mouth of the river Tuche, the boundary-line between Peru and Bolivia runs along the Rio Beni to its junction with the Guaporé, by which the river Madera is formed. At this point commences the boundary-line between Peru and Brazil. This line follows the Madera river to 9° 30' S. lat.: it stretches westward along this parallel to the river Yavari, the course of which river, up to its junction with the Amazonas, forms the remainder of the boundary between Peru and Brazil. The Amazonas is the boundary between Peru and Ecuador, from its junction with the Yavari to the town of S. Juan de Brancamoros, south of which place the river Chinchupe falls into the Amazonas. The Chinchupe separates both countries as far as its source, from which the dividing line passes over the Andes to the Rio Tumbez, which falls into the Gulf of Guayaquil, in 3° 30′ S. lat.
The length of this country from south to north, along the meridian of 70°, is above 1150 miles, but its width varies greatly. South of 17° lat. it hardly exceeds 30 miles, whilst near 10° S. lat. it is more than 650 miles wide. Its area, according to a rough estimate, considerably exceeds 500,000 square miles, being about two and a half times the extent of France.
Coast and Harbours.-The coast-line is about 1500 miles in length. In an extent of 1200 miles this coast forms only three straight lines, which meet at obtuse angles, and are not interrupted by any large bays. The most southern line runs south and north, the central line runs nearly southeast and north-west, and the northern line runs northnorth-west. The most northern and most projecting portion of the coast is broken by bays and by headlands.
The southern coast-line, which runs south and north, extends from the mouth of the river Loa (21° 28′ S. lat.) to the harbour of Arica (18° 28′ S. lat.), a distance of 210 miles. The whole of this line consists of rocky cliffs, rarely low, and occasionally several hundred feet high. In a few spots a sandy beach lies between the cliffs and the sea. The projecting points seldom extend a mile from the mainland, and in no case more than two. They also form right angles with the coast, and as they occur only at distances of 10, 15, or 20 miles, they afford no shelter to vessels. A few small rocks lie off the coast, but they are low and too small to protect vessels which anchor between them and the shores. The soundings are irregular. Boats P. C., No. 1103.
cannot land on these shores, as they are exposed to a very heavy swell from the Pacific, forming a dangerous surf, which can only be passed in favourable weather by boats. Landing in most places can only be effected by balsas. In all this extent of coast, fresh water can only be got at three places, the rivers Loa and Pisagua, and at Arica. The water of the river Loa is extremely bad. The water of the Rio Pisagua is good, but the river is dry nine months in the year, and the water obtained from the wells is bad. At Árica the water is excellent. The only harbour is that of Iquique, which is formed by a low island, the largest that occurs along this coast. Between it and the town is good anchorage in eleven fathoms. The harbour of Arica, which lies at the northern extremity of this coast-line, is also formed by a low island, called Huans, on the northern side of which there is good anchorage. A mole runs out into the sea, which enables boats to lie quietly while loading or discharging,
From Arica (18° 28' S. lat.) to Point Carreta (14° 10′), a distance of more than 460 miles, the coast lies east-southeast and west-north-west. Where the cliffs come close to the sea, they rise from 50 to 300 feet above it, and the waves in some places break with great violence along the shore. Even the sandy beach is frequently interrupted by low projecting cliffs, but the soundings are in general regular. The projecting points are usually too short and too far from one another to form safe anchorages and to break the swell of the sea. Towards Point Carreta a few inlets occur, which form good harbours, though even here the landing in boats is generally difficult and sometimes impracticable. Fresh water is much more abundant, and may be got in several places. The first harbour which occurs, after leaving Arica, is that of Islay, the port of Arequipa. Cove Mollendo formerly served for that purpose, but it has so changed, that at present it only admits boats, or very small coasting vessels. Port Islay is formed by a few straggling islands which lie off Point Islay, and is capable of containing twenty or twenty-five vessels. The anchorage is good, but the landing extremely difficult, and at the full of the moon it is sometimes impracticable for several days. Point Lomas, the port of Acari, lies farther west, and is an open roadstead, but it has good anchorage in from five to fifteen fathoms, and tolerable landing. Some distance farther west there are two good harbours, S. Juan and S. Nicolas, with excellent anchorage and tolerable landing; but the country about them is sterile and uninhabited. Farther west is the Bay of Independencia, which lies between Cape Quemada and Cape Carreta, and is protected towards the sea by two islands, Santa Rosa and Santa Vieja, of which the latter rises to a considerable elevation. It extends 15 miles from south-east to north-west, and is about 31⁄2 miles broad. There is anchorage in all parts of this spacious bay, the bottom being quite regular in about 20 fathoms. It may be entered from the south by the Strait of Serrate, between the island of Santa Rosa and Cape Quemada, which is three-quarters of a mile wide, or by the wide opening at the north-western extremity, which is called Dardo, and is five miles across between the island of Vieja and Cape Carreta. As the country surrounding this bay is very thinly inhabited, it is rarely visited by vessels.
The coast from Cape Carreta (14° 10' S. lat.) to the roadstead of Lambayeque (6° 46' S. lat.), a distance of about VOL. XVIII.-B
520 miles, runs north-north-west, and exhibits a much | greater portion of low sandy beach than is found farther south. A high ground invariably appears at the back of the low shore, in some places rising with a steep and in others with a gentle declivity. In a few places the high ground is six miles from the sea. Where the coast is high the rocks are frequently low, but in several places they rise to 100 or 300 feet. The projecting headlands are not numerous, and being short, and at right angles to the coast, they do not afford safe anchorage. Towards the south-eastern extremity are some islands, and between 7° and 10° S. lat. some inlets which are larger than commonly occur on this part of Peru, and good anchorage is found in them. The most southern of these harbours is the Bay of Pisco, which is between the mainland and a row of islands extending along the coast. The most southern of these islands, that of Gallan, is 2 miles long, 1 mile wide, and of considerable elevation. North of it are the Ballista Islands, and north of them the Chinca Islands, both clusters of low rocks. The sea about these islands is deep, and the Bay of Pisco may be entered safely by all the passages thus formed. The most southern passage, which is between the island of Gallan and Point Paracca, is generally used; it is called the Boqueron of Pisco. Within the bay there is good anchorage in 12 fathoms. This bay is much visited by vessels, as the surrounding country is rather fertile, and the commerce of the town of Pisco is considerable.
Opposite the town of Cerro Azul there is only an open roadstead, with bad anchorage, and a heavy surf constantly breaking on the shore. The bay of Callao is between the coast and the island of S. Lorenzo, which is four miles and a half long from south-east to north-west, and a mile wide: its highest part is 1050 feet above the sea-level. The bay, which is extensive and commodious, has good anchorage; it is usually entered from the north round Cape Lorenzo, the northern extremity of the island, but it may also be entered by the Boqueron, a strait between Cape Callao and the southern extremity of the island. Salinas Bay, on the north of Salinas Head, which extends five miles into the sea from south to north, is of large dimensions, and affords good anchorage, but it is seldom visited. The bay of Sapé, to the north of Cape Thomas, is small, but as it is contiguous to a fertile district, it is much visited by coasters. The port of Guarmey, north of Point Legarto, is also small, but it contains good anchorage in three and a half to ten fathoms, on a fine sandy bottom. Firewood is abundant in the neighbourhood, and is exported. Between 9° and 10° S. lat. there are four comparatively good harbours, Casma, Samanco, or Huambacho, Ferrol, and Santa. That of Samanco is the largest port north of Callao, being six miles long from south-east to north-west, and four miles wide, The entrance is two miles wide. Port Ferrol is nearly equal in size, and entirely free from the swell of the ocean. Both harbours are much visited by coasters, as the adjacent country is fertile and well cultivated. There is no harbour farther north. Opposite the towns of Truxillo and Lambayeque there are only open roadsteads with bad anchorage. North of the roadstead of Lambayeque, and between it and the Bay of Guayaquil, a huge promontory runs out into At its base, between Lambayeque and Point Malpelo (3° 30′ S. lat.) it is 220 miles wide, and its coastline exceeds 300 miles. Between Point Aguja and Cape Blanco, the most projecting part of this promontory, the shores are rocky and steep, and rise to a considerable elevation; but near the roadstead of Lambayeque and on the Gulf of Guayaquil the shores are sandy and partially covered with brushwood. In this part there are two indentations, which form two tolerably deep but open bays. The southern is the Bay of Sechura, which is six miles deep, and at its entrance, between Cape Pisura and the Little Lobos Island of Payta, 12 miles wide. It is open to the swell of the sea, and is only navigated by the Indians in balsas. The Bay of Payta, which is farther north, is of smaller dimensions, but it is the best harbour on the coast of Peru, and is more visited by foreign vessels than any other harbour except Callao.
As the heavy surf occasioned by the swell of the Pacific renders landing with boats always dangerous, and often impracticable, balsas are used along this coast. These balsas differ in materials and form on the different parts of the coast. In Chile and the southern coast of Peru the balsa is a kind of sea-balloon, consisting of seal-skins made airtight, and inflated like a bladder: they are so light that they
float over the heaviest surf without danger. Two of these bladders are fastened together, and a sort of platform made of cane is fixed on them. These balsas hold from two to three persons. The balsa of the northern coast of Peru is a raft consisting of nine logs of the cabbage-palm secured together by lashings, with a platform raised about two feet, on which the goods are placed. They are employed for coasting along the shore, and have a lug sail, which is most used in landing. The wind being along the shore enables them to run through the surf and on the beach with ease and safety. At Lambayeque, where the surf is very heavy, a kind of balsa is used called caballito: it consists of bundles of reeds fastened together and turned up at the bow. Being very light, it is thrown on the top of the surf upon the beach, and the fishermen who use them jump off and carry them on their shoulders to their huts. It seems that each bay or road has its peculiar balsa. Surface, Soil, Climate, and Agricultural Productions.As Peru comprehends the whole of the mountain-masses of the Andes which lie between 15° and 5° S. lat., together with the countries on both declivities of the chain, it is naturally divided into three different regions. The country between the chain and the Pacific is called Los Valles, and that included between the higher ranges of the Andes, Montaña. The region on the eastern declivity of the Andes and the plains contiguous to it are not designated by a peculiar denomination; they may be conveniently called the Eastern Region.
I. The country between the steep ascent of the Andes and the Pacific varies in width from 15 to 50 miles, and may be considered as the western base of the mountains. It has a great elevation above the level of the sea, where it lies contiguous to the range, on an average between 8000 and 10,000 feet, and from this elevation it slopes towards the sea with a very irregular surface. Where it approaches the shores it is still in many parts from 1500 to 2000 feet above the sea-level, but in other places it is less than 500 feet. This irregularly inclined plain is furrowed by a number of depressions running from the Andes to the sea with a rapid slope. As the adjacent high lands frequently rise 1000 feet above them, these depressions are appropriately called Los Valles, or the Vales. They are traversed by rivers, many of which are dry during nine months in the year, and only a few preserve a running stream all the year round. As it never rains in the lower portion of this region, vegetation and agriculture do not extend beyond the reach of irrigation. The narrow strips along the rivers are cultivated in proportion to the supply of water. Though the upper course of the rivers is extremely rapid, few of them enter the sea, but are either lost in shallow lagoons or filter through the sand which is invariably found near their mouth. The uplands which separate the valleys from one another are covered with a fine loose sand, through which in many parts the rocks protrude, either in the form of isolated mountains, or more frequently in ridges several miles long. These uplands are complete deserts; neither beasts, birds, nor reptiles are ever seen on tin, and they do not produce a single blade of vegetation. No stranger can travel from one vale to another without a guide, the sand being so loose that it is raised into clouds by the wind, and thus all traces of a path are obliterated. On account of the great heat which is experienced in these uplands in the day-time, and the clouds of sand which the wind then raises, they are usually traversed by night, and the guides regulate their course by the stars, or the light breeze which always. blows from the south. The vales are most numerous in that part where the coast runs from south-south-east to north-north-west, between Lambayeque on the north and Cape Carreta on the south. In this part they are on an average 10 or 12 miles distant from one another, and have a better supply of water than in the other parts of Peru. Where the coast runs from north-west to south-east, between Cape Carreta and Arica, they are less extensive, and from 15 to 20 miles distant from each other. Farther south they are very narrow, and occur at greater intervals. In the most northern district the vales are more extensive, and contain considerable portions of cultivated ground, but they are at great distances from one another. Between Lambayeque and Sechura the desert is 90 miles across.
It is well known that the vicinity of the sea very materially influences the climate of countries, but the Pacific affects the climate of this region in a very extraordinary way, of which no satisfactory explanation has been offered.
Along the whole coast of Peru, south of Cape Blanco, a shower is never experienced, a drop of rain never falls. But for nearly five months, from June to November, the sky is covered with a kind of fog, which is called the garua. In the morning it is so thick and close to the ground that objects at a moderate distance cannot be seen. About ten or eleven o'clock the fog rises into the atmosphere, but does not break into clouds. This fog covers the sun so effectually as to intercept the rays, and the disk is hardly visible. During this period the earth is constantly covered with dew caused by the condensation of the fog. This dew is not heavy enough to penetrate the thinnest clothing, though it changes dust into mud, and fertilises the ground. While the garua covers the lower parts of the country, and constitutes their winter, the higher declivities of the Andes enjoy fine weather and have their summer. But in the month of January the rains on the mountains commence, and they last about three months. The rains occur however earlier in the year in the northern than in the southern districts: and hence it happens that the rivers in the northern part of Peru are full at the end of January or the beginning of February, while in the southern parts this does not take place before the end of March.
The climate of Peru is not so hot as might be supposed. In summer the weather is delightfully fine, and the heat is moderated by the sea and land breezes. The sea-breeze generally commences about ten o'clock; it is then light and variable, but gradually increases till one or two o'clock in the afternoon. A steady breeze prevails until sun-set, when it begins to die away; and soon after the sun is down there is a calm. About eight or nine o'clock in the evening light winds come off the land, and continue until sun-rise, when it again becomes calm, until the sea-breeze sets in. It is also supposed that the cold current which runs along this coast from south to north, and the temperature of which is on an average 8° lower than the mean annual temperature of the adjacent coast, may contribute to moderate the summer-heat. During the winter however, that is, during the fogs, the air is raw and damp, and woollen clothing is then necessary for the preservation of health. The mean annual temperature, according to Humboldt, is 72°, the maximum 82°, and the minimum 55°. In the day-time it varies between 72° and 77°, and in the night between 60° and 63°.
The prevailing winds along the coast blow from the south, varying between south-south-east and south-west. They are seldom stronger than a fresh breeze, especially along the coast south of Cape Carreta, where calms sometimes set in and last three or four days. Farther north they are stronger and blow with greater regularity; and near Cape Blanco they sometimes blow with great force. In winter light northerly winds are occasionally experienced. At some distance from the shores the prevailing winds blow from south and southeast, and with greater strength in winter than in summer: no thunder-storms occur; lightning indeed is seen from a distance, but thunder is never heard. Earthquakes are frequent, and sometimes destroy the towns and villages.
We do not know at what elevation above the sea-level the rains begin on the western declivity of the Peruvian Andes, but as travellers observe that cultivation and vegetation begin to increase at the height of from 8000 to 9000 feet, it is evident that such tracts must have the advantage of annual rains.
As the mean annual temperature of Peru does not much exceed that of the countries along the southern coast of the Mediterranean, all the grains and fruits of Spain succeed, and many of the intertropical products do not, which however seems attributable rather to the want of a sufficient quantity of moisture than of heat. Indian corn is generally cultivated, and constitutes the principal food of the Indians and lower classes. Rice is extensively grown in some of the wider northern vales, and is exported. Wheat succeeds only in the more elevated part of the valleys, where barley also is grown. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are generally cultivated, also mandioc, yams, and bananas to a smaller extent. The sugar-cane plantations are numerous and extensive, and sugar is exported to all the American countries bordering on the Pacific. Most of the fruit-trees peculiar to the southern countries of Europe succeed well, but those of England are not common; and walnuts, pears, apples, filberts, and almonds are imported from Chile. Vines grow in every valley, and good wine is made in several places, as at Pisco, Nasca, and Ica, There are olive-trees,
but they do not supply an article of exportation, the consumption of olives in the country being considerable. There are few natural meadows; the want of them is supplied by the cultivation of lucern, which has spread over all the valleys.
The soil of the vales consists of sand mixed with vegetable mould, and does not possess a great degree of fertility. As it is cultivated every year, it requires a great deal of manure. This manure is obtained from the small rocky islands, and also from the rocky cliffs along the coast, which are covered with a layer of the excrements of sea-fowls, several feet thick, which appear at a distance as white as snow. A great number of small coasters are continually employed in conveying this manure, which is called guano, to the neighbouring anchorages, where it is bought by the cultivators of the soil.
II. The Mountain Region, or Montaña, runs parallel to the Pacific, and from 20 to 50 miles from the shores. It comprehends the central portion of the Andes, namely, the northern part of the Bolivian Andes and the whole of the Peruvian Andes. The Bolivian Andes consist of two elevated ranges running nearly parallel to one another from south-south-east to north-north-west, between 20° and 15° S. lat. The eastern chain contains the highest summits of the Andes, the Nevados of Illimani and Sorata, and though the western does not attain an equal elevation, it contains several summits which rise above the snow-line. The valley enclosed between the two ranges, called the Valley of the Desaguadero, is about 13,000 feet above the sea-level. The greatest part of it belongs to Bolivia; only about one fourth of it is within the territories of Peru. This valley is about 60 miles wide where it belongs to Peru; the climate and productions are noticed under BOLIVIA, vol. v., p. 86. Between 14° and 15° S. lat., the two chains of the Bolivian Andes are connected by a transverse ridge, the mountains of Vilcanota, which do not attain the elevation of the eastern Bolivian Andes, but appear not to be inferior in height to the western chain, as several of their summits are always covered with snow. The limit of perpetual congelation on this chain, according to Pentland, occurs at 15,800 feet above the sea-level. The mountains of Vilcanota may be considered as forming the boundary-line between the Bolivian and Peruvian Andes.
The Peruvian Andes consist of two chains, which run in the same direction as the Bolivian Andes, from south-southeast to north-north-west, and may be considered as their continuation. The western range runs parallel to the Pacific, nearly north-west between 15° and 13° S. lat., and north-north-west between 13° and 5° S. lat. It is a continuous chain, without any break, and generally rises to 14,000 or 15,000 feet above the sea-level; only a few of its summits rise above the snow-line, and these elevated points are most numerous at the southern extremity, where the chain is connected with the mountains of Vilcanota. The Nevado de Chuquibamba attains nearly 22,000 feet of elevation, and exceeds in height the famous Chimborazo. South of it, and completely isolated, is the volcano of Arequipa, the summit of which is 17,200 feet above the sea, but it is not always covered with snow. Farther north-east are the elevated summits called Cerro de Huando and Cerro de Parinacocha. South-east of Lima is the Toldo de Nieve; between 11° and 11° 30' S. lat. is the elevated summit called La Viuda, which rises to 15,968 feet; and north of it occur four other snow-capped summits, the Altun Chagua, which rises several thousand feet above the snow-line, and the Nevados of Pelagotas, of Moyapota, and of Huaylillas. The last-mentioned summit is situated in 7° 50' S. lat., and north of it there are no snow-capped mountains until we come to Chimborazo (2° S. lat.). The mountain-mass north of the Nevado of Huaylillas seems to descend to an average height o 9000 or 10,000 feet.
The eastern chain of the Peruvian Andes, which is the continuation of the eastern Bolivian Andes, runs in its southern part, and as far north as 12° 30′ S. lat., parallel to the western Andes, at the distance of about 100 miles. It is composed of an almost uninterrupted series of snowy peaks, which terminate with the Nevado of Salcantahi (13° 10' S. lat.). Farther north it sinks much lower, and north of 12° 30' S. lat. the chain is interrupted by two large rivers, the Rio Yucay and the Rio Apurimac. On the northern banks of the Rio Apurimac the Andes again rise to a great elevation, though, so far as is known, in no place do they ascend above the snow-line. They gradually approach near