LatAm Digital Edition and Gazetteer


The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies [volume 1]




shoal of rock, Vfliich runs into the sea at the en-trance of the river Maranan, in the same pro-vince.

CUMAIPI, a small river of the country of LasAmazonas, or part of Guayana possessed by thePortuguese. It runs c. under the equinoctial line,and enl^ers tlie Marailon, at its mouth or entranceinto the sea.

CUMANA, a province and government of S.America, called also Nueva Andalucia ; though,properly sj)eaking, the latter is only a part of Cu-inana, which contains in it also other provinces.It extends 76 geographical leagues from e. to w.from the point of Piedra, the oriental extremity ofTierra Firme, on the coast of Paria, and greatmouth of Drago, as far as the mouth of the riverUnare, the deep ravines of which form, as it Avere,limits to the w. between this province and that ofVenezuela; the waters of the aforesaid river run-ning for a great distance towards the serramaor settlement of Pariguan ; from wliich point theline of division is undecided as far as the riverOrinoco, 20 leagues to the s. From the w. to is 270 leagues, namely, from the sea-coast to thegreat river or country of Las Amazonas, the terri-tory of which is divided by the renowned riverOrinoco. On the e. it is terminated by the sea,which surrounds the coast of Paria, the gulfTriste, the mouths of the Orinoco, the riverEsquivo and Cayenne ; on the s. no. it is boundedby the Nuevo Reyno de Granada, which extendsits limits as far as the river Orinoco, being dividedby this river from Guayana. It is a continued ser-Tanitty running along the whole coast from e. to w.being nine or 10 leagues wide ; and although it isnot without some llanos or extensive plains, theseare but little known, and are entirely impassable,owing to the swamps and lakes caused by the in-undations of the rivers which flow down from thesierra. The sierra, in that part which looks to then. is barren, and in the vicinities of the coast thesoil is impregnated with nitre, and is unfruitful.The temperature is healthy but cold, especially atnight. The most common productions of this pro-vince are maize, which serves as bread, supplyingthe want of wheat, ^uca root, of which anotherkind of bread is made, cosabe, plantains, and otherfruits and pulse peculiar to America ; also cacao,although with great scarcity, and only in the n.part ; and sugar-canes, which are only cultivatedin a sufficient degree to supply the sugar consumedhere. It has some cattle ; and although there aremeans of breeding and feeding many herds, thenatives choose rather to supply themselves from


the neighbouring province of Barcelona, notwith-standing the difficulty of bringing them hither oversucli rugged and almost impassable roads. Tliewhole of the coast yields an immense abundance offish, also of shell fish of various kinds, and of themost delicate flavour. Of these the consumjitiouis very great, and a great proportion of them aresalted, and carried to the inland parts ; and to theprovince of Venezuela alone upwards of 6000quintals yearly. It has several convenient and se-cure ports and bays, and indeed the whole coast iscovered with them, as the sea is here remarkablycalm, and peculiarly so in the celebrated gulf ofCariaco, as also in the gulfs of the lake of Obispo,Juanantar, and Gurintar. It has many very abun-dant saline grounds, so much so, that the wholecoast may be looked upon as forming one ; sincein any part of it as many might be established aswere necessary ; and this without mentioning thatcelebrated one of Araya, and those of the gulfTriste, between the settlements of Iraca and Soro,and the Sal Negra, (Black Salt), used only by theIndians. In this province there are only threerivers of consideration, that of Cariaco, of Cumana,and of Guarapiche : the others which flow downfrom the serrama are of little note, and incorporatethemselves with the former before they arrive inthe valley. Its jurisdiction contains six settle-ments belonging to the Spaniards, seven belongingto the Indians, 13 to the missions supported bythe Aragonese Capuchin fathers, and 16 belong-ing to the regular clergy. [From the river Unareto'the city of Cumana, the soil is very fertile.From the Araya to the distance of between 20 and25 leagues, more to the e. the coast is dry, sandy,and unfruitful. The soil is an inexhaustible mineboth of marine and mineral salt. That which isnear the Orinoco is fit only for grazing, and this isthe use to which it is put. It is here that all thepens of the province are kept. All the rest of thiscountry is admirably fertile. The prairies, thevalleys, the hills, proclaim by their verdure and bythe description of the produce, that nature has de-posited here the most active principles of vegetablelife. The most precious trees, the mahogany, theBrazil and Campechy woods, grow even up to thecoast of Paria ; and there are found here manyrare and agreeable birds. In the interior of the go-vernment of Cumana are mountains, some of Avhichare very high : the highest is the Tumeriquiri,which is 936 fathoms above the surface of the sea.The cavern of Guacharo, so famous among the In-dians, is in this mountain. It is immense, andserves as an habitation for thousands of night birds, 14 B 2

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