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The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies [volume 1]
ALACLATZALA, a branch of the head set-tlement of the district of S. Luis, of the coast andalcaldia mayor of TIapa in Nueva España. Itcontains 125 Indian families, and is one leaguefrom the settlement of Quanzoquitengo.
ALACRANES, some islands, or rather somehidden rocks, of the N. sea, in the bay of Mexico,opposite the coast of Yucatan. Those who navi-gate these parts are accustomed to pass round be-yond them for fear of venturing amongst them, al-though there are some good cliannels among them,and withgood soundings. They are for the most partbarren, producing nothing beyond a herb calledmoron, -And deficient in fresh water ; neither do theyproduce any animal except the mole, which isfound here in prodigious numbers. There are,however, a quantity of birds, of three distinct sorts,each forming a community of itself, and entirelyseparated from the other two ; and it has beenobserved, that if one party may have fixed uponany place for building their nests, the others neverthink of disturbing them, or driving them from it ;but the noise these birds make is so great, that onecannot pass near them without suffering consider-ably from their united clamours.
[ALADAS, a parish situate about 14; leaguess. e, of Corrientes, in Lat. 28° 15' 20" s. Long. 58°SO' e».]
ALAMILLOS, a settlement of the province ofTaraumara and kingdom of Nueva Vizcaya ; oneof the missions which belonged to the religious ofSt Francis. It is close to the town and real ofthe mines of Santa Eulalia.
ALAMOS, Real de Los, Real de Los, a settlement andreal of the mines of the province of Sinaloa inNueva España. It is situate s. e. of the SierraMadre, and surrounded by rich silver mines,which would produce abundantly but for want oflabourers. There are in its district five estatesthat are fertile in maize, French beans, and sugar-cane. The spiritual concerns of all these parts
are under the direction of a curate, whose jurisdic-tion extends as far as the river Mayo, which flowsdown from the sierra. It is 20 leagues distantfrom the town of Tuerte, and between these liesthe valley of Maquipo. [Population 7900 souls]
Alamos, with the dedicatory title of S. Jorge,a town of the province and captainship of Para inBrazil, founded by Jorge del Alamo, who gaveit his name, in a place called La Vigia. It has amagnificent parish church, with the title of NuestraSenora de Nazareth, with a large and good fort,and well furnished with artillery. Also, at the dis-tance of a league and an half from the settlement,is a house of charity belonging to the religiousorder of the Capuchins of La Piedad.
Alamos, another of the missions belonging tothe abolished society of Jesuits, in the provinceof Taraumara and kingdom of Nueva Vizcaya.It is 27 leagues s. w. and a quarter of a league s.of the real of the mines and town of S. Felipe deChiguaga.
Alangasi, a river of the above corregimiento,and rising in the desert mountain of Sincholagua ;over it there is a large bridge, composed of a singlearch, but so strong, that when, in 1660, a partof the mountain fell upon it, and precipitated onehalf of it into the stream, the other half still re-mained firm and immoveable. This bridge isbuilt of mud and stone.
ALANGI, Santiago de, a city and headsettlement of the district of the province of Chi-riqui and government of Santiago de Veragua,in the kingdom of Tierra Firme. It is small, butabounding in fruits and cattle ; in which a regulartrade is carried on for supplying the city of Pa-nama. This trade consists principally in pigs.
San Nicolas de laPaz,
San J uan de lasPalmas,
San Nicolas deBari,
San Bernardo A-bad,
Tiquicio de Aden-tro,
Tiquicio de Afu-era,
Zienega del Oro,San Carlos de Co-losina.
San Geronimo deBuenavista.
The capital is a large city adorned with beauti-ful buildings, founded by Pedro de Heredia in1533, on the shore of a great and very convenientbay more than two leagues in length. It was call-ed Calamari in the time of the Indians, which sig-nifies, in their language, the land of craw-fish, fromthe abundance of these found in it. It is situateon a sandy island, which forming a narrow strait,gives a communication to the part called TierraBomba ; on the left it is entered by a woodenbridge, having a suburb called Xiximani, whichis another island uniting with the continent bymeans of a bridge in the same manner as itself.It is well fortified, and is the residence of a go-vernor, with the title of captain-general, dependenton the viceroy of Santa Fe, having beeu indepen-dent till the year 1739. Besides the precinct andbastions, it has a half-moon, which defends theentrance or gate ; and at a small distance is thecastle of San Felipe de Baraxas, situate on aneminence, and on the side of the bay the castles ofSan Luis, Santa Cruz, San Joseph, San P'elipe,and Pastelillo, which were rebuilt in a modernmanner, in 1654;, by the Lieutenant-general DonIgnacio de Sala, with the names of San Fernando,San Joseph, El Angel, and El Pastelillo. Thecathedral church is magnificent, and included in itis the parish of Sagrario, besides two other pa-rishes called La Trinidad and Santo Toribo. Ithas the convents of monks of St. Francisco, St.Domingo, St. Augustin, St. Diego, La Merced,and San Juan de Dios, which is an hospital, andsituate at the top of a high mountain without thewalls of the city, at a quarter of a league’s dis-tance from the convent of the barefooted Augustins,called Nuestra Senora de la Popa ; to this con-vent vessels are accustomed to offer up a salutationas soon as they discover it at sea. It has also acollege which belonged to the society of Jesuits,a convent of Santa Clara, one of the Observersof San Francisco, and another of barefooted Car-
melites. At a small distance without the city isthe hospital of San Lazaro for lepers, which ma-lady is epidemical in the country. It has also atribunal of the inquisition, established in 1610, ofwhich there is only three in all America, and put-tingthis city, in this pointof view, onafooting withthe metropolitan cities Lima and Mexico. It is thehead of a bishopric erected in 1534 by his holinessClement VII. The bay abounds in fish of variouskinds, but it is infested by marine wolves. Theclimate of this city is very hot ; from May to No-vember, which are the winter months, thunder,rain, and tempests are very frequent, but fromthis inconvenience they derive an advantage offilling with water their cisterns, called aijibes, andwhich afford them the only supply of this inostnecessary article ; accordingly every house is fur-nished with one of these cisterns : from Decemberto April, which is the summer, the heat is exces-sive, occasioning continual perspiration, whichdebilitates the frame, and causes the inhabitants tohave a pale and unhealthy appearance, althoughthey nevertheless enjoy good health, it being notunusual to find amongst them persons exceeding80 years of age. The irregularity of this climateproduces several very afflicting disorders, as theblack vomit, which is most common amongststrangers and sea-faring people, few of whom havethe luck to escape it, but no person ever has ittwice. The inhabitants are likewise much trou-bled with the leprosy, or disease of St. Lazarus ; theculebrilla, which is an insect which breeds under theskin, and causes a swelling which is accustomed toterminate in gangrene and spasms or convulsions :besides these inconveniences, there are multitudesof troublesome insects which infest the houses,such as beetles, niguas, scorpions, centipeds, andmorcielagos. The largest trees are the caob, thecedar, the maria, and balsam ; of the first aremade canoes, out of the solid trunk, for fishing andcommerce ; the red cedar is better than the white,and the two last, not to mention their utility fromthe compactness of their timber, for their delicioussmell and beautiful colour, are the trees fromwhence are procured those admirable distillationscalled the oil of Maria and balsam of Tolu. Hereare also tamarind trees, medlars, sapotas, papai/as,cassias, and Indian apple trees, producing deli-cate and pleasant fruits ; the fruit, however, of thelast mentioned is poisonous, and many who, de-ceived by the beauty of these apples, have therashness to taste them, soon repent of their folly,for they immediately swell to a distressing degree :so if perchance any one should sleep under itsbranches, he will be afflicted in the same way.
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another whose note resembles atrumpet. It aboundsin quadrupeds, as mules, horses, and cattle of thelarge and small kind, the antas, which is calledhere gran bestia^ (great beast), huanacos, vicunas,llamas, or native sheep, stags, bears, ant-eaters,wild bears, otters, tigers, mountain cats, visca-chas, (or large hares), large and small foxes, tor-toises, higuanos, and others ; all of which affordfood to tlie voracious Indians. In this provinceare also found many insects, such as scorpions,vipers, snakes of several kinds, some of two heads,and some with rattles, squirrels, mocamucas, am-palabas, or what are called in other countries owls,which are extremely deformed, and attract smallanimals to them by their screeching, quiriquinchosof various sorts, glow-worms, a great variety offlies and spiders, and of these a large kind veryvenomous, silk-worms, Avhich, if taken care of,would yield an abundance of silk, locusts, Avhichare eaten by the Indians both dry and fresh ; also ants,the beds of which are so deep as to render the roaddangerous for men and for horses to pass, theseinsects being of such an undaunted and trouble-some nature as often to attack a viper or locust inlarge bodies, and in some settlements to enter ahouse like a plundering army, devouring every in-sect and worm in their way, not leaving a singleeatable thing untouched ; scarcely shall these havefinished their operations, but they are succeeded byanother band, and indeed it is very liazardous todisturb them, since they bite very fiercely andcause much pain. This province has no mines,although it is said that formerly some were workedby the Indians ; some little time since, however,one of iron was discovered, when it was thought tohave been of gold. This extensive and pleasantcountry is inhabited by a multitude of infidel In-dians, of different nations and of various barbarouscustoms. It was casually discovered in 1586 byJuan de Banos, a native of Chuquisaca, a factorof the settlement of Yala ; he had an Indian slavewho used frequently to run away from his masterfor a time and return again, and who being askedonce whither he went, replied toChacu; this itAvas tliat led to its discovery, and to the subse-•quent attempts at several times made to conquerit; first by Martin de Ledesma, afterwards by.Tuan Manso, Don Pedro Lasarte, and lastly byD >11 Christoval de Sanabri, all of which were in-effectual. San Francisco Solano entered the coun-try, and succeeded in reducing some of the nativesto the Christian faith ; these, however, soon re-turned to their idolatry. The regulars of the com-pany of Jesuits likewise engaged themselves in thereduction of this country in 1587, the first of their
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preachers here being Father Alonzo Barzana,called the apostle of Peru ; they continued herefor a number of years, and during their stayfounded seven settlements. The inhabitants ofthe 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, flexibleand malleable in the forge, but at the same timeso hard as not to be cut, though obedient to thefile. It contains about 468 cubic feet, and lieson the surface of the large plain of Chaco, on whichnot a single stone excepting this is to be found ;and what is still more curious, there is no volcanowithin 300 leagues, nor any iron mine to be heardof in that part of tho country.)