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San Nicolas de la

San J uan de las

Pueblo Nuevo,


San Nicolas de

San Bernardo A




Tiquicio de Aden

Tiquicio de Afu



San Marcos,

San Pelajo,


Zienega del Oro,
San Carlos de Co

San Geronimo de

The capital is a large city adorned with beauti
ful buildings, founded by Pedro de Heredia in
1533, on the shore of a great and very convenient
bay more than two leagues in length. It was call
ed Calamari in the time of the Indians, which sig
nifies, in their language, the land of craw-fish, from
the abundance of these found in it. It is situate
on a sandy island, which forming a narrow strait,
gives a communication to the part called Tierra
Bomba ; on the left it is entered by a wooden
bridge, having a suburb called Xiximani, which
is another island uniting with the continent by
means of a bridge in the same manner as itself.
It is well fortified, and is the residence of a go
vernor, with the title of captain-general, dependent
on the viceroy of Santa Fe, having beeu indepen
dent till the year 1739. Besides the precinct and
bastions, it has a half-moon, which defends the
entrance or gate ; and at a small distance is the
castle of San Felipe de Baraxas, situate on an
eminence, and on the side of the bay the castles of
San Luis, Santa Cruz, San Joseph, San P'elipe,
and Pastelillo, which were rebuilt in a modern
manner, in 1654;, by the Lieutenant-general Don
Ignacio de Sala, with the names of San Fernando,
San Joseph, El Angel, and El Pastelillo. The
cathedral church is magnificent, and included in it
is the parish of Sagrario, besides two other pa
rishes called La Trinidad and Santo Toribo. It
has the convents of monks of St. Francisco, St.
Domingo, St. Augustin, St. Diego, La Merced,
and San Juan de Dios, which is an hospital, and
situate at the top of a high mountain without the
walls of the city, at a quarter of a league’s dis
tance from the convent of the barefooted Augustins,
called Nuestra Senora de la Popa ; to this con
vent vessels are accustomed to offer up a salutation
as soon as they discover it at sea. It has also a
college which belonged to the society of Jesuits,
a convent of Santa Clara, one of the Observers
of San Francisco, and another of barefooted Car-

melites. At a small distance without the city is
the hospital of San Lazaro for lepers, which ma
lady is epidemical in the country. It has also a
tribunal of the inquisition, established in 1610, of
which there is only three in all America, and put
tingthis city, in this pointof view, onafooting with
the metropolitan cities Lima and Mexico. It is the
head of a bishopric erected in 1534 by his holiness
Clement VII. The bay abounds in fish of various
kinds, but it is infested by marine wolves. The
climate of this city is very hot ; from May to No
vember, which are the winter months, thunder,
rain, and tempests are very frequent, but from
this inconvenience they derive an advantage of
filling with water their cisterns, called aijibes, and
which afford them the only supply of this inost
necessary article ; accordingly every house is fur
nished with one of these cisterns : from December
to April, which is the summer, the heat is exces
sive, occasioning continual perspiration, which
debilitates the frame, and causes the inhabitants to
have a pale and unhealthy appearance, although
they nevertheless enjoy good health, it being not
unusual to find amongst them persons exceeding
80 years of age. The irregularity of this climate
produces several very afflicting disorders, as the
black vomit, which is most common amongst
strangers and sea-faring people, few of whom have
the luck to escape it, but no person ever has it
twice. The inhabitants are likewise much trou
bled with the leprosy, or disease of St. Lazarus ; the
culebrilla, which is an insect which breeds under the
skin, and causes a swelling which is accustomed to
terminate in gangrene and spasms or convulsions :
besides these inconveniences, there are multitudes
of troublesome insects which infest the houses,
such as beetles, niguas, scorpions, centipeds, and
morcielagos. The largest trees are the caob, the
cedar, the maria, and balsam ; of the first are
made canoes, out of the solid trunk, for fishing and
commerce ; the red cedar is better than the white,
and the two last, not to mention their utility from
the compactness of their timber, for their delicious
smell and beautiful colour, are the trees from
whence are procured those admirable distillations
called the oil of Maria and balsam of Tolu. Here
are also tamarind trees, medlars, sapotas, papai/as,
cassias, and Indian apple trees, producing deli
cate and pleasant fruits ; the fruit, however, of the
last mentioned is poisonous, and many who, de
ceived by the beauty of these apples, have the
rashness to taste them, soon repent of their folly,
for they immediately swell to a distressing degree :
so if perchance any one should sleep under its
branches, he will be afflicted in the same way.

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