The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies [volume 1]
C H A
C H A
Brocal de la Mina de, a settlement of the province and corregimiento of Angaraes in Peru ; finnexed to the curacy of Santa Barbara.
CHACMA, or Chamaca, a valley of the province of Cuzco and kingdom of Peru, near the coast of the S. sea. It was well peopled in former times, and abounds now in sugar-cane, from which sugar is made. It was conquered and united to the empire by Huaina Capac, thirteenth Emperor.
CHACO, a province of the kingdom of Peru, called the Gran Chaco, is an extensive country ; having as its boundary to the e. the river Paraguay, and being bounded on the [n.e. by the province of the Chiquitos Indians ; on the n. by that of Santa Cruz de la Sierra ; on the zo. it touches upon the provinces of Mizque, Tomina, Pornabamba, Pilaya, Paspaya, Tarija, and Tucuman. On the s. it extends as far as the jurisdiction of the government of Buenos Ayres, which is its farthest limits. Towards the n. it is 150 leagues wide from e. to w. and 250 leagues long from n. to s. ; but to make these distances, it requires many months, owing to the unevenness and roughness of the territory. It is called Chaco, or, with more propriety, Chacu, which, in the Quechuan language, signifies junta, or company, from the circumstance of its having been formed of Indians of several countries, who had fled from the conquering arms of the Incas, and afterwards from those of the Spaniards. Towards the w. it has some serraniasj which are branches of the cordilhrn ; where, on account of their immense height, the cold is very great ; but in the low grounds, which are for the most part plains, the temperature is hot. It is full of thick woods, and in many parts is swampy and wet ; particularly in the part lying towards the e. on the road to Paraguay. In the wet season, which lasts from the month of November to April, the rivers leave their beds and form various lakes, some of which dry up, and some remain. This province has some rivers of note ; such are the Salado and the Bermejo ; is one of the most fertile provinces in America, and would, if it were cultivated, afford, in the greatest abundance, those productions wnich are now thrown away upon the infinite number of barbarous na-
tions who inhabit it. It produces a great variety of fine woods and fruit-trees; such as walnuts and nuts, although different from those of Europe, but which arc extremely well tasted ; beautiful cedars ; quebrachos^ thus called on account of their hardness ; guqyacanes, carob-trees, balsams, marias, palms, some of which are more than 30 yards in height; almonds, cacaos, ceihas, whicli are very large trees, bearing in the pods a remarkable soft wool, used for quilts, since it cannot be spun ; cotton-trees, mistoles, of the heart of which the Indians make darts and cimeters ; myrrh, sarzafraztrees, bark, and others, which have the interior bark so delicate and white as occasionally to serve instead of writing paper; others there are, whicli, at one or two yards up their stems, form a kind of barrel or pipe, and being of a very tough bark, are accustomed to be ripped open by the Indians, and thus serve as vessels, in which these keep their liquor called chieha ; it is from this that they whimsically call this plant palo borracho, or drunken tree. In this province are found also canes for walking sticks, as fine as those of Asia ; and in the trunks of trees, in holes of the rocks and below the ground, are quantities of honey and wax wrought by bees, of which there are reckoned to be more than 12 sorts : some of the wax, besides being transparent, is extremely fragrant and delicious to the taste, whilst some is so sour as to resemble the juice of boiled lemons. One sort of these bees fabricate, with great skill, excellent hives of mud upon the branches of trees, and of the shape of a decanter, which are so hard that they will not break in falling down upon the ground ; they, morever, are filled Avith exquisite wax and Avell-flavoured honey. The fruit-trees which this province produces, are oranges, cedars, lemons, apples, pears, melocotones^ (or peaches engrafted on quinces), figs, nuts, prunes, and olives, also passion-floAvers ; all of which have been brought hither from the city of Santiago de Guadalcazar. Here are palms Avhich have cups containing 25 kernels each, differing only slightly from the palms of Europe by having a flavour of the cocoa, and being somewhat larger. Here is also a plant called chahuar, having prickles like the savine, of which are made threads similar to hemp, for the manufacture of nets, bags, and some sorts of coarse garments : its root serves as food for the Indians, as do also yucas, potatoes, and others. It has an innumerable quantity of birds, namely, Avild pigeons, ducks, herons, mountain-peacocks’ pheasants, crows, condors, partridges, falcons, SAvans, periguanas, ostriches, parrots, and one kind of bird which exactly imitates an organ, and
C H A
another whose note resembles atrumpet. It abounds in quadrupeds, as mules, horses, and cattle of the large and small kind, the antas, which is called here gran bestia^ (great beast), huanacos, vicunas, llamas, or native sheep, stags, bears, ant-eaters, wild bears, otters, tigers, mountain cats, viscachas, (or large hares), large and small foxes, tortoises, higuanos, and others ; all of which afford food to tlie voracious Indians. In this province are also found many insects, such as scorpions, vipers, snakes of several kinds, some of two heads, and some with rattles, squirrels, mocamucas, ampalabas, or what are called in other countries owls, which are extremely deformed, and attract small animals to them by their screeching, quiriquinchos of various sorts, glow-worms, a great variety of flies and spiders, and of these a large kind very venomous, silk-worms, Avhich, if taken care of, would yield an abundance of silk, locusts, Avhich are eaten by the Indians both dry and fresh ; also ants, the beds of which are so deep as to render the road dangerous for men and for horses to pass, these insects being of such an undaunted and troublesome nature as often to attack a viper or locust in large bodies, and in some settlements to enter a house like a plundering army, devouring every insect and worm in their way, not leaving a single eatable thing untouched ; scarcely shall these have finished their operations, but they are succeeded by another band, and indeed it is very liazardous to disturb them, since they bite very fiercely and cause much pain. This province has no mines, although it is said that formerly some were worked by the Indians ; some little time since, however, one of iron was discovered, when it was thought to have been of gold. This extensive and pleasant country is inhabited by a multitude of infidel Indians, of different nations and of various barbarous customs. It was casually discovered in 1586 by Juan de Banos, a native of Chuquisaca, a factor of the settlement of Yala ; he had an Indian slave who used frequently to run away from his master for a time and return again, and who being asked once whither he went, replied toChacu; this it Avas tliat led to its discovery, and to the subse•quent attempts at several times made to conquer it; first by Martin de Ledesma, afterwards by .Tuan Manso, Don Pedro Lasarte, and lastly by D >11 Christoval de Sanabri, all of which were ineffectual. San Francisco Solano entered the country, and succeeded in reducing some of the natives to the Christian faith ; these, however, soon returned to their idolatry. The regulars of the company of Jesuits likewise engaged themselves in the reduction of this country in 1587, the first of their
C H A
preachers here being Father Alonzo Barzana, called the apostle of Peru ; they continued here for a number of years, and during their stay founded seven settlements. The inhabitants of the whole province are computed at 100,000. Catalogue of the nations which inhabit Chaco.
(Chaco, a large plain of the above province, in which Azara noticed a singular phenomenon, which he calls a large piece of pure iron, flexible and malleable in the forge, but at the same time so hard as not to be cut, though obedient to the file. It contains about 468 cubic feet, and lies on the surface of the large plain of Chaco, on which not a single stone excepting this is to be found ; and what is still more curious, there is no volcano within 300 leagues, nor any iron mine to be heard of in that part of tho country.)
c o c
COCO, a river of the province and government of Darien in the kingdom of Tierra Firme. It rises in the mountains of the n. and enters the sea opposite the island of Las Palmas, and gives its name to the territory of a Cacique, thus called.
COCOMERACHI, a settlement of the missions which were held by the regulars of the company of Jesuits, in the province of Taraumara, and kingdom of Nueva Vizcaya. It is 40 leagues to the w. s.zo. of the town 'And real of the mines of Chiguaga.
COCONUCO, See Cucunuco.
COCOS, some small islands of the Pacific or S. sea, lying close together, and divided by some narrow channels. They abound in cocoa-trees, and from thence take their name. They are also called Santa Cruz, from having been discovered on the day of the invention of the cross. The climate here is pleasant, but the isles are uncultivated and desert. Lat. 5° n.
COCUI, a settlement of the province and corregimiento of Tunja in the NueVo Reyno de Granada ; situate at the foot of the sierra Nevada. It is of a cold temperature, but abounds in all kinds of productions, and particularly in wheat, maize, barley, &c. It contains 700 white inhabitants, and 150 Indians. Thirty-two leagues from Tunja, and eight from the settlement of Chita.
COCUPAC, a city and head settlement of the district of the alcaldia mayor of Valladolid in Nueva Espana, and of the bishopric of Mechoaean. Its situation is in a nook to the n. of the great lake. On the e. and ze. are two lofty mountains, which form so many other entrances, the one to the 5. and the other to the n. Its temperature is rather cold than w'arm ; and although it does not want for fruits, it is but ill supplied with water, the only stream it has not running more than the distance of a stone’s throw before it enters a lake. The inhabitants are thus under the necessity of supplying themselves by wells. The population of this city consists in 45 families of Spaniards, 52 of Mustees and Mulattoes, and 150 of Indians. They occupy themselves in the making of tiles or flags ; and the inferior order are muleteers. It has a convent of the religious order of St. Francis.
COD, a cape of the coast of New England and province of Massachusetts. It runs for many leagues towards the sea, forming a large semicircle, and afterwards returning, forms the bay of Barnstable. [See Cape Cod, Barnstable, &c.]