The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies [volume 1]
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as to render it impracticable to cross them. In the road they usually take lies the steep declivity of San Antonio, extremely difficult to be passed. The mules however are so well versed in the manner of letting themselves slide down it, that there has never been an instance of these animals falling. The 'vegetable productions of this province are confined to bark, and from this no emolument is derived, although it was discovered, after much search and solicitude, by the Lieutenant-colonel Don Miguel de Santistevan. It accordinglj'- provides itself with all that it may require in this way from the adjoining provinces of Riobamba and Tacunga. It is of a very cold temperature, from its being so near to the mountainous desert of Chimborazo. Its natives amount to 2000 souls, the greater part of them being Mustees, and the ■whole are divided into seven settlements, of which the capital bears the same name ; and although this was formerly the residence of the corregidor, yet has it of late been deserted for the settlement of Guaranda. The seven settlements are,
San Lorenzo, Guaranda,
CHIMBORAZO, a very lofty mountain or desert of the cordillera of the province and corregimiento of Riobamba, in the kingdom of Quito; which, in the language of the country, signifies mountain of the other side. It is covered with everlasting snow, and is the loftiest mountain in the known world, since its height, taken by the academicians of the sciences of Paris, is 3220 toises from the level of the sea to its top, which terminates in a cone or truncated pyramid. Its sides are covered with a kind of white sand or calcined earth with loose stones, and a certain herb called pajon, which affords pasture for the cattle of the neighbouring estates. The warm streams flowing from its n. side should seem toAvarrantthe idea that within it is a volcano. From its top flow down many rivers, which take different winding courses; thus the Guaranda runs 5. the Guano s. e. and the Machala e. On its skirt lies the road which" leads from Quito to Guayaquil ; and in order to pass it in safety, it is requisite to be more cautious in choosing the proper season than were the Spanish conquerors of this province, who were here frozen to death. North of the town of Riobamba, in lat. 1° 21' 18" s. according to the observations of M. La Condamine. fThis mountain was visited, on the 23d of June 1797, by Humboldt; who with his party reached its €. slope on that day, and planted their instru-
ments on a narrow ledge of porphyritie rock Avhich projected from the vast field of unfathomcd snow. A chasm, 500 feet wide, prevented their further ascent. The air was reduced to half its usual density, and felt intensely cold and piercing. Respiration was laborious and blood oozed from their eyes, their lips and their gums. They stood on the highest spot ever trod by man. Its height, ascertained from barometrical observation, was 3485 feet greater than the elevation attained in 1745 by Condamine, and 19,300 feet above the level of the sea. From that extreme station, the top of Chimborazo was found, by trigonometrical measurement, to be 2140 feet still higher.
CHIMBUZA, a large lake of the province and government of Barbacoas, of the kingdom of Quito, to the s. w. of the river Patia, formed by a narrow canal, through ■which the Avater of this river enters, and so forms the same lake into a sheet of water of an oblong figure, two leagues in length, and half a league in breadth. This lake has another narrow canal, through which the water issues, and re-unites itself with the same river.
CHIMICA, a small province of the government of Santa Marta in the Nuevo Reyno de Granada. It is almost as it were desert and abandoned, notwithstanding that it produces a good quantity of maize. The climate is hot and unhealthy ; and although it was formerly peopled by the Chimicas Indians, none of these are now found to reside here.
CHIMILAS, a barbarous nation of Indians of the Nuevo Reyno de Granada, in the province of Santa Marta. They inhabit the Avoods to the e. of the large river Magdalena, go naked, and have no fixed abodes. They are cruel and treacherous, and are bounded by the nation of the Guaxiros.
CHIMIRAL, a river of the province and corregimiento of Copiapo in the kingdom of Chile. It rises in the SnoAvy sierra, runs w. and enters the sea in the point of its name. It in many parts runs in so inconsiderable a stream as frequently to be in all appearance lost before it enters the sea.