Search for CHONTALES*
The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies [volume 1]
CHEUELUS, or CHAVELOS, a barbarous nationof Indians of the country of Marañon, who inhabitthe woods bordeiing upon the river Aguarico, tothe e. and in the vicinity of the lakes. Theyarc warlike, of a cruel and treacherous nature, andin eternal enmity with their neighbours. M. de laMartiniere will have it, that the name Chavelos isderived from the French wovd chevezLV, the menand the women both allowing and encouraging thegrowth of their hair till it reaches down to thewaist ; supposing, forsooth, that these Indiansmust either have known French when they werediscovered, or that their discoverers, at all events,must have been French.
CHEURA, a river of the province and govern-ment of Esmeraldas in the kingdom of Quito.It runs w. ?z. e. and e. washing the country of theancient Esmeraldas Indians: it afterwards enterstheriver of its name on the e. side, in lat. 1° 23' n.
CHIA, a settlement of the corregimiento of Zi-paquira in the Nuevo Reyno de Granada; cele-brated in the time of the Indians for having beenthe title of the kings ox npas of Bogota; the in-vestiture of which dignity was always transferredwith the greatest possible solemnity. It is of a verycold temperature, although salutary ; and issituate on a beautiful plain, on the shore of theriver Bogota, four leagues to the n. of Santa F6.
CHIAMOTO. See Seyota.
CHIAPA, a province and alcaldia mayor of thekingdom of Guatemala ; bounded on the«. by theprovince of Tabasco, c. by that of Vera Paz, w.by that of Oaxaca of Nueva Espaha, and s. e. bythat of Soconusco. It extends 85 leagues from e.to w. and is nearly 30 across at its widest part.It was conquered by Captain Diego Marariegosin 1531 : is divided into districts or alcaldiasmayores^ which are those of Zoques, Chontales,Los Llanos, and Xiquipila ; is of a warm andmoist temperature, although it has some parts inwhich the cold predominates. Its woods aboundwith large trees of pine, cypress, cedar, and wal-nut; and of others of a resinous kind, from which
are extracted aromatic gums, balsams, and liquidamber, tacamaca, copal, &c. It produces also, inabundance, maize, swine, honey, cotton, cochi-neal, which is only made use of for the purposeof dyeing the cotton ; also cacao, and much pepperand achoie, or the heart-leaved bixa'; also vfiriouskinds of domestic and wild birds, especially par-rots, which are very beautiful and highly esteemed ;a small bird, called tolo, less than a young pigeon,with green wings ; this is caught by the Indians,who pluck from its tail some feathers, Avhich theyprize highly, and then restoring it to liberty; itbeing a capital offence, according to their laws, todestroy it. The sheep, goats, and pigs, whichhave been brought from Europe, have multipledin this province in a most extraordinary manner ;so also have horses, which are of such an esteemedbreed, that the colts are taken from hence to Mex-ico, a distance of 500 miles. In the woods breedmany lions, leopards, tigers, and wild boars,a great number of snakes, some being 20 feet inlength, and others of a beautiful crimson colour,streaked with black and white. Tlie territory is,for the most part, rugged and mountainous, andwatered by different rivers : none of these, how-ever, are of any particular consideration, althoughthat which bears the name of this province is themedium by which the aforesaid productions arecarried to the other provinces ; and although thisprovince may be accounted comparatively poor,from being without mines of gold or silver, it isnevertheless of the greatest importance, as beingthe outwork or barrier to New Spain, from the fa-cility with which this kingdom might be enteredby the river Tabasco. The capital is the royalcity of Chiapa, situate on a delightful plain. Itis the head of a bishopric, erected in 1538; andhas for arms a shield, upon which arc two sierras,with a river passing between them : above theone is a golden castle, with a lion rampant upon it ;and above the other a green palm, bearing fruit,and another lion, the whole being upon a red field.These arms were granted by the Emperor CharlesV. in 1535. The cathedral is very beautiful. Itcontains three convents of the order of St. Francis,La Merced, and St. Domingo ; a monastery ofnuns, and five hermitages. Its population isscanty and poor, and the principal commerce con-sists in cocoa-nuts, cotton, wool, sugar, cochineal,and other articles. Its nobility, although poor, arevery proud, as having descended from some an-cient families of the first nobility of Spain ; suchas those of Mendoza, Velasco, Cortes, &c. Thewomen suffer great debility at the stomach on ac-count of the excessive heat, ami they can never
C H O C H O
constitution left the lower people little more free-dom than they would have possessed under thegovernment of the Aztec kings.]
The capital is the city of the same name, foundedas far back as the time ofthegentilism of the Mexi-can empire, when this nation was at enmity withthat of Chichimeca ; it was then one of the mostpopulous cities, and contained 30,000 inhabitantsand 300 temples, and served as a barrier to Moc-tezuma, in the attack against the republic ofTlaxclala ; the latter place never having been sub-jected to the Mexican yoke. This was the citywhich of all others most thwarted the designs ofHernan Cortes, but the inhabitants were discoveredin the conspiracy they had laid against him, whenthey pretended to receive him with open arrhs anda peaceable and friendly disposition, and weremade by him to suffer severely for their hypocrisy ;after which he and his whole army escaped un-injured. This city has many monuments denotingits antiquity ; and although in ancient times idolatrywas here carried to its highest pitch, yet the lightof the gospel has spread widely around its enliven-ing rays. It is of a mild and healthy temperature,rather inclined to cold than heat, being situate ona level, fertile, and beautiful plain. It has a goodconvent of the order of St. Francis, which is alsoa house of studies. Its inhabitants are composedof 50 families of Spaniards, 458 of Mustees, Mu-lattoes and Negroes, and 606 of Indians. On alofty spot which lies close to the entrance, on thec. side of the city, is a handsome chapel, in whichis venerated the image of the blessed virgin,which also bears the dedicatory title of Los Rente-dios. It is a little more than 20 leagues to the e.of Mexico, and four from Tlaxclala. Long. 98°14'. Lat. 19° 4'. [Its population is at presentestimated at about 16,000 souls.]
CHONE, a settlement which in former timeswas considerable, but now much impoverished, inthe ancient province of Cara, which is at presentunited to that of Esmeraldas. It lies upon theshore of the river Chones to the n. and is of anhot and moist climate, in lat. 33° s.
CHONES, a large river of the province ofCara in the kingdom of Quito. It runs to the w.and collects the waters of the Sanchez and theTos-sagua on the n. and on the s. those of the Cama-ron and the Platanal. At its entrance on the n.stood the city of Cara, of which the vestiges stillremain. Where it runs into the sea it forms thebay of Cara, between the s. point of Bellaca andthe n. point of laca. Its mouth is nearly twomiles and an half wide.
CHONGO, San Miguel de, a settlement ofthe alcaldíta mayor of Huamelula. It is of a verycold temperature, from its being situate in the vi-cinity of the sierra Nevada (or Snowy) of the Chon-tales, which lies on the n. side of it. Its inhabi-tants amount to 24 families of Indians, who tradein cochineal, seeds, and fruits, of which the coun-try, being naturally luxuriant, produces great quan-tities. It is watered by rivers which pass at alittle distance, and is annexed to the curacy ofTepaltepec of the jurisdiction and alcaldia mayorof Nexapa, from whence it lies 20 leagues. It is-,on account of this great distance, combined withthe badness of the roads, that the natives so sel-dom can avail themselves of any instruction in theholy faith ; dying, as they often do, without theadministration of the sacraments. Indeed, there isonly one day in the year, which is the 29th ofSeptember, and on which the Indians celebrate thefestival of their titular saint Michael, when theyare visited by their curate, who then hears theirconfessions and says mass. At this time this settle-ment has somewhat the appearance of a Catholicpeople ; but being all the rest of the year left tothemselves, it is not to be wondered that many re-lapse into their pristine state of gentilisra and idola-try. Three leagues w. of its capital.
CHONGON, a settlement of Indians of theprovince and government of Guayaquil in the kingdomof Quito; situate near a small torrent, re-nowned for the stones which it washes down, of acertain crystallized matter, which being polished,resemble brilliants, and are used as buttons, rings,and other trinkets.
CHONTALES, a district of the corregimientoor alcaldia mayor of Matagulpa, in the kingdom ofGuatemala and province of Nicaragua. It is butsmall, and its natives have this name from the Spa-niards, who would by it express their natural un-couthness and stupidity.