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