438

OverviewTranscribeVersionsHelp

Facsimile

Transcription

Show Translation

438

CHILE.

[spirit, the famous Andalucian race, from which
they sprang. Nor has Nature exhausted her
bounty on the surface of the earth ; she has stored
its bowels with riches ; valuable mines of gold, of
silver, of copper, and of lead, have been discovered
in various parts of it. A country distinguished
by so many blessings, we may be apt to conclude,
would early become a favourite station of the
Spaniards, and must have been cultivated with
peculiar predilection and care ; instead of this, a
great part of it remains unoccupied. In all this
extent of country there are not above 80,000 white
inhabitants, and about three times that number of
Negroes and people of a mixed race. The most
fertile soil in America lies uncultivated, and some
of its most promising mines remain unwrought.”
16. Of rain . — From the beginning of spring
until autumn, there is throughout Chile a con
stant succession of fine weather, particularly be
tween tlie 24° and 36° of latitude ; but in the islands,
which for the most part are covered with woods,
the rains are very frequent, even in summer. Tlie
rainy season on the continent usually commences
in April, and continues until the end of August.
In the n. provinces of Coquimbo and Copiapo it
very rarely rains ; in the central ones it usually
rains three or four days in succession, and the
pleasant weather continues 15 or 20 days ; in the
s. the rains are much more frequent, and often
continue for nine or ten days without cessation.
These rains are never accompanied with storms
or hail, and thunder is scarcely known in the
country, particularly in places at a distance from
the Andes, where, even in summer, it is seldom
ever heard. Lightning- is wliolly unknown in the
province of Chile; and although, in the above
mentioned mountains, and near the sea, storms
occasionally arise, yet they, according to the di
rection of the wind, pass over, and take their
course to the n. or s. In the maritime provinces
snow is never seen. In those nearer the Andes it
falls about once in five years ; sometimes not so
often, and the quantity very trifling; it usually
melts while falling, and it is very uncommon to
have it remain on the ground for a day. In the
Andes, however, it falls in such quantities from
April to November, that it not only lies there con
stantly during that time, but even renders them
wholly impassable during the greater part of the
year. The highest summits of these mountains,
which are constantly covered with snow, are dis
tinguishable at a great distance l)y their whiteness,
and form a very singular and pleasing appear
ance. Those of the inhabitants who are not suf
ficiently wealthy to have ice-houses, procure

snow from the mountains, which they transport
upon mules. The consumption of this article is
very considerable, as a general use is made of it
in summer to cool their liquors. The maritime
countries being at a distance from the Andes, do
not enjoy this advantage, but they feel the priva
tion of it less, as the heat is much more moderate
upon the coast than in the interior. In the mid
land provinces is sometimes seen, in the month of
August, a white frost, accompanied by a slight de
gree of cold, which is the greatest that is expe
rienced in those districts. This coldness continues
two or throe hours after sun-rise; from which time
the weather is like that of a fine day in spring.
The dews are abundant throughout Chile in the
spring, summer, and autumual nigids, and in a
great measure supply the want of rain during
those seasons. Although the atmosphere is then
loaded with humidity, its salubrity is not injured
thereby, for both husbandmen and travellers
sleep in the open air with perfect security. Fogs
arc common on the coast, especially in the au
tumn ; they cordinue but a few hours in the morn
ing, and as they consist only of watery particles,
are not prejudicial either to the health of the inha
bitants, or to the vegetation.

17. Winds . — The n. and n. w. winds usually
bring rain, and the s. and s. e. a clear sky ; these
serve as infallible indications to the inhabitants,
who are observant of them, and furnish themselves
with a kindofbarometer to determine previously the
state of the weather. The same winds produce
directly contrary effects in the s. and in the n.
hemisplieres. The n. and northerly winds, be
fore they arrive at Chile, cross the torrid zone,
and there becoming loaded with vapours, bring
with them heat and rain; this heat is, however,
very moderate, and it would seem that these winds,
in crossing the Andes, which are constantly
covered with snow, become qualified, and lose
much of their heat and unhealthy properties. In
Tucuman and Cujo, where they are known by
the name of sonda^ they are much more incom
modious, and are more suffocating than even the
siroc in Italy. The s. winds coming immediately
from the antarctic pole, are cold and dry ; these
are usually from the s. w. and prevail in Chile
during the time that the sun is in the hemis
phere ; thej' blow constantly towards the equator,
the atmosphere at that period being highly rare
fied, and no adverse current of air opposing itself
to their course : as they disperse the vapodrs,
and drive them towards the Andes, it rains but
seldom during their continuance. The clouds
collected upon these mountains, uniting with those]

Page Notes

Please sign in to write a note for this page

JoshuaOB

This section is not in Alcedo's text