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Alexander von Humboldt: „Travels in South America“, in: ders., Sämtliche Schriften digital, herausgegeben von Oliver Lubrich und Thomas Nehrlich, Universität Bern 2021. URL: <> [abgerufen am 16.06.2024].

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Titel Travels in South America
Jahr 1805
Ort Edinburgh
in: The Scots Magazine, and Edinburgh Literary Miscellany 67 (Oktober 1805), S. 753–757.
Sprache Englisch
Typografischer Befund Antiqua; Spaltensatz; Auszeichnung: Kursivierung; Schmuck: Initialen.
Textnummer Druckausgabe: II.23
Dateiname: 1804-Baron_Humboldt-22-neu
Seitenanzahl: 5
Spaltenanzahl: 10
Zeichenanzahl: 14718

Weitere Fassungen
Baron Humboldt (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1804, Englisch)
Notice d’un voyage aux tropiques, exécuté par MM. Humboldt et Bonpland, en 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803 et 1804. Par J.-C. Delamétherie (Paris, 1804, Französisch)
Baron Humboldt (New York City, New York, 1804, Englisch)
Baron Humboldt (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1804, Englisch)
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Baron Humboldt (Washington, District of Columbia, 1804, Englisch)
Baron Humboldt (Amherst, New Hampshire, 1804, Englisch)
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Auszug aus Delametheriés vorläufiger Nachricht von der durch die Herren v. Humboldt und Bonpland in den Jahren 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803 und 1804 nach den Wendekreisen unternommenen Reise (Wien, 1804, Deutsch)
Reise der Herren von Humboldt und Bonpland nach den Wendekreisen In den Jahren 1799 bis 1804. Eine gedrängte Uebersicht des Auszugs ihrer Memoiren v. J. C. Delametherie. Nach dem Französischen übertragen von Schirges Dr. (Hannover, 1805, Deutsch)
J. C. Delametherie’s vorläufige Nachricht von der durch die Herren v. Humboldt und Bonpland in den Jahren 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803 und 1804 nach den Wendekreisen unternommenen Reise (Weimar, 1805, Deutsch)
Short Account of the Travels between the Tropics, by Messrs. Humboldt and Bonpland, in 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803, and 1804. By J. C. Delametherie (London, 1805, Englisch)
J. C. Delametherie’s vorläufige Nachricht von der durch die Herren von Humboldt und Bonpland in den Jahren 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803 und 1804 nach den Wendekreisen unternommenen Reise (Salzburg, 1805, Deutsch)
Account of the Travels between the Tropics of Messrs. Humboldt and Bonpland, in 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803, and 1804. By J. C. Delamétherie (London, 1805, Englisch)
Travels in South America (Edinburgh, 1805, Englisch)
Voyage de Humboldt et Bonpland en Amérique, tiré du magasin littéraire de Philadelphie, publié en juillet 1804 (Paris, 1807, Französisch)

Travels in South America, by Messrs Humboldt and Bonpland.

|Spaltenumbruch| HAVING landed at Honda, ourtravellers proceeded on mules,the only way of travelling in SouthAmerica, and by frightful roadsthrough forests of oaks, melastoma and cinchona, to Santo Fe de Bagoa,the capital of the kingdom of NewGrenada, situated in a beautiful plain,1,360 toises above the level of thesea, and, in consequence of a perpe-tual spring temperature, aboundingin the wheat of Europe, and thesesamum of Asia. The superb col-lections in natural history by thecelebrated Mutis; the grand andsublime cataract of Tequendama, 98toises, or 588 feet in height; themines of Mariquitta, St Ana, and Zi-paguira; the natural bridge of Ico-nonzo, two detached rocks which bymeans of an earthquake have beendisposed in such a manner as to sup-port a third; occupied the attentionof our travellers at Santa Fe tillSeptember 1801. Though the rainy season had nowrendered the roads almost impassible,they set out for Quito; they re-descended by Fusagasuga, in thevalley of Magdalena, and passed the Andes of Quindiu, where the snowypyramid of Tolina rises amidst forestsof styrax passiflora in trees, bambusa, and wax palms. For thirteen daysthey were obliged to drag themselvesthrough horrid mud, and to sleep,as on the Orenoko, under the bare |Spaltenumbruch| heavens, in woods where they sawno vestiges of man. When they ar-rived bare-footed, and drenched withcontinual rain, in the valley of theriver Cauca, they stopped at Ca-thago and Buga, and proceeded a-long the province of Choco, thecountry of platina, which is foundbetween rolled fragments of basaltes,filled with olivin and augite, greenrock (the grunstein of Werner,) andfossil wood. They ascended by Caloto and Qui-lichao, where gold is washed, to Po-payan, visited by Bouguer when hereturned to France, and situated atthe bottom of the snowy volcanoesof Purace and Sotara, one of themost picturesque situations and inthe most delightful climate of the uni-verse, where Reaumur’s thermometerstands constantly between 17 and 19degrees. When they had reached,with much difficulty, the crater ofthe volcano of Purace, filled withboiling water, which from the midstof the snow throws up, with a hor-rid roaring, vapours of sulphuratedhydrogen, our travellers passed fromPopayan by the steep cordilleras of Almaguer a Parto, avoiding thecontagious air of the valley of Patia. From Pasto, a town situated atthe bottom of a burning volcano,they traversed by Guachucal thehigh plateau of the province of Pas-tos, separated from the Pacific Ocean |754| |Spaltenumbruch| by the Andes of the volcano of Chiliand Cumbal, and celebrated for itsgreat fertility in wheat and the ery-troxylon Peruvianum, called cocoa.—At length, after a journey of fourmonths on mules, they arrived atthe towns of Ibarra, and Quito.—This long passage through the cor-dillera of the high Andes, at a sea-son which rendered the roads impas-sable, and during which they wereexposed to rains which continuedseven or eight hours a-day, encum-bered with a great number of instru-ments and voluminous collections,would have been almost impossible,without the generous and kind as-sistance of M. Mendiunetta, vice-roy of Santa Fe, and the baron deCarondelet, president of Quito, who,being equally zealous for the pro-gress of Science, caused the roadsand the most dangerous bridges tobe repaired on a route of 450 leaguesin length. Messrs Humboldt and Bonpland arrived on the 6th of January 1802,at Quito, a capital celebrated in theannals of astronomy by the laboursof La Condamine, Bouguer, Godin,and Don Jorge-Juan and Ulloa;justly celebrated also by the greatamiableness of its inhabitants, andtheir happy disposition for the arts.Our travellers continued their geolo-gical and botanical researches foreight or nine months in the king-dom of Quito; a country renderedperhaps the most interesting in theworld, by the colossal height of itssnowy summits; the activity of itsvolcanoes, which in turns throw upflames, rocks, mud, and hydro-sul-phurous water; the frequency of itsearthquakes, one of which, on the7th of February 1797, swallowedup in a few seconds nearly 40,000inhabitants; its vegetation; the re-mains of Peruvian architecture; andabove all, the manners of its antientinhabitants. After two fruitless attempts, they |Spaltenumbruch| succeeded in twice ascending to thecrater of the volcano of Pinchinca,where they made experiments on theanalyses of the air; its electriccharge magnetism, hygroscopy, elec-tricity, and the temperature of boil-ing water. La Condamine saw thesame crater, which he very properlycompares to the chaos of the poets;but he was there without instruments,and could remain only some minutes. In his time this immense mouth,hollowed out in basaltic porphyry,was cooled and filled with snow:our travellers found it again on fire;and this intelligence was distressingto the town of Quito, which is dis-tant only about four or five thousandtoises. Here M. Humboldt was indanger of losing his life. Being a-lone with an Indian, who was as lit-tle acquainted with the crater as him-self, and walking over a fissure con-cealed by a thin stratum of eongeal-ed snow, he had almost fallen intoit. Our travellers, during their stayin the kingdom of Quito, made seve-ral excursions to the snowy moun-tains of Antisana, Cotopaxi, Tun-guragua, and Chimborazo, which isthe highest summit of our earth, andwhich the French academicians mea-sured only by approximation. Theyexamined in particular the geognos-tic part of the cordillera of the Andes, respecting which nothinghas yet been published in Europe;mineralogy, as we may say, beingnewer than the voyage of La Con-damine, whose universal genius andincredible activity embraced everything else that could be interestingto the sciences. The trigonometricaland barometrical measurements ofM. Humboldt have proved thatsome of these volcanoes, and especial-ly that of Tuaguragua, have becomeconsiderably lower since 1753; a re-sult which accords with what theinhabitants of Pellileo and the plainsof Tapia have observed. |755| |Spaltenumbruch| M. Humboldt found that all theselarge masses were the work of crys-tallization. “Every thing I haveseen,” says he in a letter to Delame-therie, “in these regions, where thehighest elevations of the globe aresituated, have confirmed me moreand more in the grand idea that youthrew out in your Theory of theEarth, the most complete work wehave on that subject, in regard tothe formation of mountains. All themasses of which they consist haveunited according to their affinitiesby the laws of attraction, and haveformed these elevations, more or lessconsiderable in different parts on thesurface of the earth, by the laws ofgeneral crystallization. There canremain no doubt in this respect tothe traveller who considers withoutprejudice these large masses. Youwill see in our relations that thereis not one of the objects you treat ofwhich we have not endeavoured toimprove by our labours.” In all these excursions, begun inJanuary 1802, our travellers wereaccompanied by M Charles Montu-far, son of the Marquis de Selvale-gre, of Quito, an individual zealousfor the progress of the sciences, andwho caused to be reconstructed, athis own expense, the pyramids ofSarouguler, the boundaries of the ce-lebrated base of the French and Spa-nish academicians. This interestingyoung man, having accompanied M. Humboldt during the rest of his ex-pedition to Peru and the kingdom ofMexico, proceeded with him to Eu-rope. The efforts of these three tra-vellers were so much favoured bycircumstances, that they reached thegreatest heights to which man hadever attained in these mountains. Onthe volcano of Antisana they carriedinstruments 2200, and on Chimbora-zo, June 23, 1802, 3300 feet higherthan Condamine and Bouguer did onCorazon. They ascended to theheight of 3036 toises above the level |Spaltenumbruch| of the Pacific Ocean, where theblood issued from their eyes, lips,and gums, and where they experien-ced a cold not indicated by the ther-mometer, but which arose from thelittle caloric disengaged during theinspiration of air so much rarefied.A fissure eighty toises in depth andof great breadth prevented them fromreaching the top of Chimborazo whenthey were distant from it only about224 toises. During his residence at Quito,M. Humboldt received a letter fromthe French National Institute, in-forming him that Captain Baudin had set out for New Holland, pur-suing an easterly course by the Capeof Good Hope. He found it neces-sary, therefore, to give up all idea ofjoining him, though our travellershad entertained this hope for thirteenmonths, by which means they lostthe advantage of an easy passagefrom the Havannah to Mexico andthe Philippines. It had made themtravel by sea and by land more than athousand leagues to the south, expo-sed to every extreme of temperature,from summits covered with perpetualsnow to the bottom of those pro-found ravines where the thermometerstands night and day between 25°and 31° of Reaumur. But, accus-tomed to disappointments of everykind, they readily consoled themselveson account of their fate. They wereonce more sensible that man mustdepend only on what can be produ-ced by his own energy; and Baudin’s voyage, or rather the false intelli-gence of the direction he had taken,made them traverse immense coun-tries towards which no naturalistperhaps would otherwise have turnedhis researches. M. Humboldt beingthen resolved to pursue his own ex-pedition, proceeded from Quito to-wards the river Amazon and Lima,with a view of making the importantobservation of the transit of Mercuryover the sun’s disk. |756| |Spaltenumbruch| Our travellers first visited the ruinsof Lactacunga, Hambato, and Rio-bamba, a district convulsed by thedreadful earthquake of the year 1797.They passed through the snows of Assonay to Cuenca, and thence withgreat difficulty, on account of thecarriage of their instruments andpackages of plants, by the Paramoof Saraguro to Loxa. It was here,in the forests of Gonzamana andMalacates, that they studied the va-luable tree which first made knownto man the febrifuge qualities ofcinchona. The extent of the terri-tory which their travels embraced,gave them an advantage never beforeenjoyed by any botanist, namely,that of comparing the different kindsof cinchona of Santa Fe, Popayan,Cuenca, Loxa, and Jaen, with the cuspa and cuspare of Cumana andRio Carony, the latter of which,named improperly Cortex angusturæ, appears to belong to a new genus ofthe pentandria monogynia, with alter-nate leaves. From Loxa they entered Peru by Ayavaca and Gouncabamba, traver-sing the high summit of the Andes,to proceed to the river Amazon.They had to pass thirty-five times inthe course of two days the riverChamaya, sometimes on a raft, andsometimes by fording. They sawthe superb remains of the causewayof Ynga, which may be compared tothe most beautiful causeways inFrance and Spain, and which pro-ceeds on the porphyritic ridge of the Andes, from Cusco to Assonay, andis furnished with Cambo (inns) andpublic fountains. They then em-barked on a raft of ochroma, at thesmall Indian village of Chamaya, anddescended by the river of the samename, to that of the Amazons, de-termining, by the culmination of se-veral stars, and by the difference oftime, the astronomical position ofthat confluence. La Condamine, when he returned |Spaltenumbruch| from Quito to Para and to France,embarked on the river Amazon onlybelow Quebrada de Chucunga; hetherefore observed the longitude onlyat the mouth of the Rio Nape. M. Humboldt endeavoured to supplythis deficiency in the beautiful chartof the French astronomer, navigatingthe river Amazon as far as the cata-racts of Rentema, and forming atTomependa, the capital of the pro-vince of Jaen de Bracamorros, a de-tailed plan of that unknown part ofthe Upper Maranon, both from hisown observations and the informationobtained from Indian travellers. M. Bonpland, in the mean time, made aninteresting excursion to the forestsaround the town of Jaen, where hediscovered new species of cinchona;and after greatly suffering from thescorching heat of these solitary dis-tricts, and admiring a vegetation richin new species of Jucquinia, Godoya,Porteria, Bougainvillea, Colletia, and Pisonia, our three travellers crossedfor the fifth time the cordillera ofthe Andes by Montan, in order toreturn to Peru. They fixed the point where Borda’s compass indicated the zero of themagnetic inclination, though at sevendegrees of south latitude. They ex-amined the mines of Hualguayoc,where native silver is found in largemasses at the height of 2000 toisesabove the level of the sea, in mines,some metalliferous veins of which con-tain petrified shells, and which, withthose of Huontajayo, are at presentthe richest of Peru. From Caxamar-ca, celebrated by its thermal waters,and by the ruins of the palace of Atahualpa, they descended to Trux-illo, in the neighbourhood of whichare found vestiges of the immensePeruvian city of Mansische, orna-mented with pyramids, in one ofwhich was discovered, in the eigh-teenth century, hammered gold tothe value of more than 150,000l.sterling. |757| |Spaltenumbruch| On this western declivity of the Andes our travellers enjoyed, for thefirst time, the striking view of thePacific Ocean; and from that longand narrow valley, the inhabitants ofwhich are unacquainted with rain orthunder, and where, under a happyclimate, the most absolute power,and that most dangerous to man,theocracy itself, seems to imitate thebeneficence of nature. From Truxillo they followed thedry coasts of the South Sea, former-ly watered and rendered fertile bythe canals of the Yuga; nothing ofwhich remains but melancholy ruins,When they arrived, by Santa andGuarmey, at Lima, they remainedsome months in that interesting capi- |Spaltenumbruch| tal of Peru, the inhabitants of whichare distinguished by the vivacity oftheir genius and the liberality oftheir sentiments. M. Humboldt hadthe happiness of observing, in a pret-ty complete manner, at the port ofCallao at Lima, the end of the tran-sit of Mercury; a circumstance themore fortunate, as the thick fogwhich prevails at that season oftenprevents the sun’s disk from beingseen for twenty days. He was asto-nished to find in Peru, at so immensea distance from Europe, the newestliterary productions in chemistry,mathematics, and physiology; and headmired the great intellectual activi-ty of a people whom the Europeansaccuse of indolence and luxury.