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437

CHILE.

]^pean merchandise gold, silver, copper, vicugna
wool, and hides. A trade with the East Indies
would be more profitable to the Chilians'than any
other, as tlieir most valuable articles have either
become scarce, or are not produced in that wealthy
part of Asia ; and the passage, in consequence of
the prevalence of the s. winds in the Pacific, would
be easy and expeditious. No money is coined or
has currency in Chile except gold and silver, a
circumstance very embarrassing to the internal
traffic. Their smallest silver coin is one sixteenth
of a dollar, and their weights and measures are the
same that are used in Madrid.

13. Natural divisions. — Chile, properly called,
or that part which is situated between the Andes and
the sea, and within lat. 24° and 45° s. is at least 120
miles in breadth. It is commonly divided into
two equal parts, that is, the maritime country, and
the midland country ; the maritime country is in
tersected by three chains of mountains, running
parallel to the Andes, between which are numerous
valleys watered by delightful rivers. The midland
country is almost flat ; a few insulated hills only are
to be seen, which diversify and render the appear
ance of it more pleasing. The Andes, which are
considered as the loftiest mountains in the world,
cross the whole continent of America, in a direction
from s. to n. for we cannot consider the mountains
in North America in any other light than as a con
tinuation of the cordilleras. The part appertaining
to Chile may be 120 miles in breadth ; it consists
of a great number of mountains, all of tliernofa
prodigious height, which appear to be chained to
each other, and where nature displays all the
beauties and all the horrors of the most picturesque
situations. Although it abounds witli frightful
precipices, many agreeable valleys and fertile pas
tures are to be found there; and the rivers, which
derive their sources from the mountains, often ex
hibit the most pleasing as well as the most terrify
ing features. That portion of the cordilleras which
is situated between lat. 24° and 33° is wholly de
sert ; but the remainder, as far as the 45°, is in
habited by some colonies of Chilians, who are
Ccallcd Chiquillanes, Pehuenches, Puelches, and
Huilliches, but are more generally known by the
name of Patagonians. The surface of Chile is
estimated at 378,000 square miles. There are
about eight or nine roads which cross its cordillera ;
of which that leading from the province of Acon
cagua to Cuyo, although dangerous, as being nar
row, and having on either side lofty and perpendi
cular mountains, is the most travelled. Mules are
often precijiitated from these roads into the rivers
beneath.

14. Political divisions . — The political divisions
of Chile consist of the part occupied by the Spa
niards, and that which is inhabited by the Indians.
The Spanish part is situated between lat. 24° and
37° s. and is divided into 13 provinces, viz.
Copiapo, Coquimbo, Quillota, Aconcagua, Meli
pilla, and St. Jago, (which contains the capital city
of the country of the same name), Rancagua, Cal
diagua, Maule, Ytata, Chilian, Puchacay, and
Iluilquelemu. The Indian country is situated be
tween the river Biobio and the Archipelago of
Chiloe, or lat. 36° and 41°. It is inhabited by three
different nations, the Araucanians, the Cunches,
and the Huilliches. The Araucanians do not, as
Mr. De Paun pretends, inhabit the barren rocks of
Chile, but, on the contrary, the finest plains in the
whole country, situate between the rivers Biobio
and Valdivia.

15. Climate . — Chile is ono of the best countries

in America. The beauties of its sky, the constant
mildness of its climate, and its abundant fertility,
render it, as a place of residence, extremely agree
able ; and with respect to its natural productions,
it may be said, without exaggeration, not to be in
ferior to any portion of the globe. The seasons suc
ceed each other regularly, and are sufficiently
marked, aithougli the transition from cold to heat
is very moderate. The spring in Chile commences,
as in all the countries of the s. hemisphere, the 22d
September, the summer in December, the autumn
in March, and the winter in June. The following
account is from Robertson s History of America^
vol. IV. c. 7. “ That part of Chile which may

properly be deemed a Spanish province, is a narrow
district, extending along the coast from the desert
of Atacamas to the island of Chiloe, above 900
miles. Its climate is the most delicious of the
new world, and is hardly equalled by that of any
region on the face of the earth. Though border
ing on the torrid zone, it never feels the extremity
of heat, being screened on the e. by the Andes, and
refreshed from the w. by cooling sea-breezes. The
temperature of the air is so mild and equable, that
the Spaniards give it the preference of that of the

provinces in their native country. The fertiliU’
of the soil corresponds with the benignity of the
climate, and is wonderfully accommodated to
European productions. The most valuable of
these, corn, wine, and oil, abound in Chile, as if
they had been native in the country. Ail the fruits
imported from Europe attain to full maturity there.
The animals of our hemisphere not only multiply,
but improve in this delightful region. The horned
cattle are of larger size than those of Spain. Its
breed of horses surpasses, both in beauty and in]

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