556

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556

C U M A N A.

[a new species of the caprimulgas of Linnaeus, the
fat of which makes the oil of Guacharo. Its situa
tion is majestic, and ornamented with the most
brillant vegetation. A pretty large river issues
from the cavern, and in the interior are heard the
dismal cries of the birds, which the Indians ascribe
to departed souls, which they think are all obliged
to enter this cavern, to pass into the other world.
The principal colonies belonging to Cumana lie to
tlie w. ; as Barcelona, Piritu, Clarinas, &c. At
12 leagues to s. e. of Cumana is the valley of Cu
manacoa, where are tobacco plantations belonging
to the king. The soil there is so adapted to this
species of produce, that the tobacco ground has
obtained a decided preference throughout the
country over that which is cultivated in any other
part of Tierra Firme. Cigars made of the tobacco
of Cumanacoa fetch easily double the price of those
made v/ith the tobacco of any other place. In the
environs of Cumanacoa, are the Indian villages of
San Fernando, Arenas, Aricagua, which are all
situated on an extremely fertile soil. Farther in
the interior are the valleys of Carepe, Guanaguana,
Cocoyar, &c. which are also very fertile, but un
cultivated ; but the part which appears most to
promise prosperity is the coast of the gulfof Paria,
between the most s. mouth of the Orinoco and the
mouth of the Guarapiche. The whole territory of
the government of Cumana is completely hemmed
in by ravines, rivulets, and rivers, equally useful
for the purposes of watering the land, working
hydraulic machines, and for navigation. The
rivers that discharge themselves into the sea to the
n. are the Neveri and Mansanares, both possessing
little water, and having but short courses. Those
that fall into the gulf of Paria to the e. flow through
greater extent of country. Some join the river
Guarapiche, which is navigable as far as 25 leagues
from the sea ; and of these are the Colorado,
Guatatar, Caripe, Punceres, Tigre, Guayuta^ &c.
There are others which run to the s. and after
having watered the province, fall into the Orinoco.
The produce of the government of Cumana can
therefore be shipped, according to convenience, to
the n. by Barcelona and Cumana; to the e. by the
gulf of Paria, and to the s. by the Orinoco. At
an average of four years, from 1799 to 1803, the
quantity of cacao exported from this province
amounted to 18,000 fanegas. Its population is
80,000 persons, including the missions of the Ara
gonese Capuchins. The capital is

Cumana, Santa Ines de, a city founded by
Gonzalo de Ocampo in 1520. It is of a hot and
unhealthy temperature, and its territory is dry and

unfruitful. It lies within a cannon’s shot of the sea
shore, in the gulf formed by the sea in the shape of
a semicircle, where all kinds of vessels may be
built. On its beech is a saline ground, which,
without being regularly worked, supplies sufficient
salt both for the use of the city and of the immediate
settlements. It lies in the middle of the llanura,
or plain of the river of its name. The same river
passes in front of the city, serving as a barrier to it,
and so enters the mouth of the gulf. At the back
begins the serrama, which for more than eight
leagues is sterile and impassable, on account of
brambles and thorns. The soil towards the front
of the city is composed of pebble, gypsum, and
sand, which, during the prevalence of the wind
Brha, occasions an excessive heat, (and is very
offensive to the eyes ; bad sight being here a very
common malady. Nearly in the centre of the
town, upon an elevated ground, stands the castle
of Santa Maria de la Cabeza, which is of a square
figure, and commands the city. In the lofty part
of the sierra are seen three round hills ; upon the
highest of which stands a castle called San Anto
nio, and upon the lowest a fort called La Cande
laria. There is upon the beach another castle,
which is denominated the fort of Santa Catalina :
The same is at the mouth of the river, just where
a sand bank has of late been formed, so as to block
up the entrance of the river, and to render it dan
gerous for large vessels. The fort is at some dis
tance from the gulf; and as a wood has of late
sprung up between this and the shore, it is not
possible to see the water from the fort. It has, be
sides the parish church, which is very poor, two
convents of monks, one of St. Francis, and the other
of St. Domingo. These form its population,
amounting to 600 souls, who maintain themselves
in the poor estates, which are about 50 in number,
and produce some sugar-canes, of which are made
brandy, and sugar of the colour of a yellow wax
used in the country : some fruits and yucasy
maize and cacao, are also grown here, but in such
small quantities that a crop never yields upwards
of 100 bushels. These estates are, for the most
part, at some distance from the city, and the greater
number of them are inhabited by their masters, the
poorer inhabitants alone dwelling in the city. At
a small distance from it, is an hermitage dedi
cated to Nuestra Sefiora del Carmen. [Reaumur’s
thermometer rises here generally in the month of
July to 23° daring the day and to 19° during the
night.

The maximum, 27°.

The minimum, 17°.

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