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C U M A N A.

The elevation of the city above the level of the
sea is 53 feet. In July, Duluc’s hydrometer ge
nerally indicates from 50° to 53° of humidity.

The maximum, 66°.

The minimum, 46°.

By Seaussure’s cyanometer, there are 24|° of
blue in the sky, whilst at Caracas there are only
18, and in Europe generally 14.

The seat of the government of the two pro
vinces is at the city of Cnmana. The governor,
nominated for five years, is also vice-patron, and
in this capacity nominates to all vacant cures, and
fills all the church offices, the appointment to
which forms a part of the prerogative of the crown.
He has the administration of the finances of his
department, as deputy of the intendants ; and in
this capacity he superintends the levying of the
taxes, decides disputes, directs the ordinary ex
pences, and receives the accounts of the offices of
administration ; but the political relations Avith fo
reign colonies, and all military matters, depend on
the captain-general of Caracas. The governor is
also under the orders of the intendant in his fis
cal regulations and commercial measures. To the
«. of the city of Cumana lies the gulf of Cariaco.
The river Mansanares, which separates on the
s. the city from the suburbs inhabited by the
Guayqueris Indians, surrounds the s. and the ay.
sides of the town. This is the only water that the
inhabitants of Cumana drink. It has the inconve
nience of often being not limpid, though rarely
unwholesome. The city enjoys a healthy, but
scarcely ever a fresh air ; the heat is continual.
The sea-breeze is nevertheless very regular, and
moderates, during a great part of the day, the
blaze of the sun. The only defence that , Cu
mana has is u fort, situated on an elevation rang
ing along the back of the city. The city itself
has but a garrison of 231 troops of the line, and a
company of artillery. The militia increases the
public force in time of Avar. The total number of
inhabitants is 24,000. The city is now four times
as large as it Avas fifty years ago. It increases Avith
so much rapidity that the ancient boundaries not
affording convenient space for ncAv houses, people
have been obliged, within this short time, to build
upon the left bank of the Mansanares, to the w. of
the village of the Guayqueris. These ncAv houses
are already so numerous as to form a village com
municating Ay'ith the city by a bridge : and the in
habitants, for their convenience, had built, in
1803, a church. The first street that was formed
was named Emparau, in honour of the governor
of this name. All the houses of Cumanti are loAV,
and rather solidly built. The frequent earthquakes

557

experienced here since these ten years, have
obliged them to sacrifice beauty and elegance to
personal safety. The violent shocks felt in De
cember 1797, thrcAV down almost all the stonebuild
ings, and rendered uninhabitable those that were
left standing. The earthquake experienced here
in November 1799, caused a variation of the needle
of 45 minutes. According to M. de Humboldt,
Cumana is exposed to these earthquakes in con
sequence of its proximity to the lake of Cariaco,
Avhich appears to have some communication Avith
the volcanoes of Cumucuta, which vomit hydrogen
gas, sulphur, and hot bituminous water. It is
observed that the earthquakes happen only after
the rains, and then the caverns of the Cuchivano
vomit during night inflammable gas, which is
seen to blaze 200 yards high. It is probable that
the decomposition of the water in the slate marl,
Avhich is full of pyrites, and contains hydrogenous
particles, is one of the principal causes of this phe
nomenon. The population of Cumana, amount
ing to 80,000 souls, is a great part composed of
white Creoles, amongst Avhom much natural capa
city is discovered. They are very much attached
to their native soil, and generally give themselves
up entirely to the occupation IhatEirth or fortune
has assigned them. Some are employed in agri
culture, commerce, and navigation, and others in
fishing. The abundance of fish found about Cu
mana enables them to salt an astonishing quantity,
Avhich they send to Caracas and the other cities of
these provinces, as well as to theWindAvard islands,
from whence they import in return iron tools for
husbandry, provisions, and contraband merchan
dise. The cargoes are ahvays of little value.
They are satisfied with small profits, Avhich they
augment by the frequency of the voyages. Capi
tals of 4 or 5000 dollars, which in other places
Avould appear insufficient for any' commercial
enterprise, support five or six families at Cu
mana. Activity and perseverance form almost
the only source of the comfort that reigns here.
The Creoles of CumaiiciAvho engage in literary pur
suits are distinguished by their penetration, judg
ment, and application. They have not e.xactly
the vivacity' observable in the Creoles of Mara
caibo, but they compensate for this by superior
good seiise and solidity of parts. The retail trades
of Cumana are carried on by Catalonians and
people from the Canaries. Among the produc
tions in which this cit^ trades, the racno and cacuo
oil deserve to be mentioned. Medicinal plants
might also form an important article of commerce,,
were not the inhabitants ignorant of their qualities,
and the manner of preparing them. There is-

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