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stream which, rising in the Andes, near Quito, flowed eastward ; to explore the country, and find the happy land. He set out with 350 Cavaliers, mounted on Spanish horses and attended by 4000 Indian slaves.
The first part of the route was easy ; the little stream soon became a river, then broadened into the Napo; but the farther they went, the slower and more difficult was their progress as they passed from the open forest and the cool and invigorating breezes of the Andes into the sultry valley of the Napo. Their way now led through forests more dense, darker and more impenetrable than those described by Stanley, for the valley of the Amazon is richer than the valley of the Congo. Natives armed with poisoned arrows opposed their progress; food became scarce, treachery was on every side, and their number gradually diminished by death and by desertion of the slaves.
The natives told them of a greater river than the Napo which they would find a few days' voyage farther down. This river, they said, flowed through a more populous and richer country, where food was abundant and gold was found in every stream. Pizarro determined to build a bark and to send Orellano as commander to find and return with food and succor. For this vessel, the forests furnished the timber; the shoes of the horses were converted into nails, distilled gum was used for pitch, and the garments of the soldiers were a substitute for oakum. In two months, a brigantine was launched, the first European vessel that ever floated on the waters of the Amazon. The Napo grew broader and deeper as the little company rapidly floated down, until it became a mile wide. Three days after they left Pizarro, they saw before them a river, many times larger than the Napo, which the Indians called Parana-tinega, King of Waters; but we call it the Amazon. There was no cultivation, little food could be obtained, and the Indians were hostile instead of friendly. What was to be done ? Behind them was the wilderness, before them the promised land. The journey back would be difficult and dangerous ; the temptation to explore the wonderful river was too great to resist. One man alone was faithful to Pizarro, and he was left on the bank while Orellano sailed down the river, The wonder of the explorers daily increased as other rivers larger than the Napo flowers into the Amazon, now on the north, more frequently on the south. Month after month passed, the river grew so broad that they could not see from one side to the other.
Great islands were passed, channels running parallel with the main stream larger than any river they had ever seen. Still on they went, till after several months they reached the Atlantic Ocean. Then they sailed north in their little boat, skirting the coast to Trinidad, where they found a vessel which bore them to Spain. They recounted the story of the great river ; the wonderful country through which they passed ; and the rich mines of which they had heard. They told fabulous tales of the Amazonians they had encountered, strong and masculine women, armed with bows and arrows, living by themselves, admitting men into their country only one month in the year, killing or sending away the male children and training the girls to become amazons and warriors.
Orellano was received by the Queen ; his treachery was forgotten and a new expedition was sent out under his command ; but he died before reaching the river.
Meantime, Pizarro and his followers slowly and with difficulty made their way down the Napo, taking as many months to reach the Amazon as Orellano had taken days. They looked in vain for their companions, but found only the solitary man who had been left behind, scarcely alive, and from him learned of Orellano's desertion. Further explorations being impossible, they turned back, reached Quito two years after their departure, their horses gone, their arms broken or rusted, the skins of wild animals their only clothing.
“ The charnel house seemed to have given up its dead, as they glided onward like a troop of spectres." Half of the Indians had perished, and of the three hundred and fifty cavaliers only eighty were left.
Such was the end of an expedition which for dangers and hardships, length of duration, and constancy displayed is probably unmatched in the annals of American discovery.
Guiana is the only country of South America not inhabited by the Latin race. It was acquired for Great Britain by one who acted contrary to his instructions in attacking a power, Spain, with which his own country was at peace.
Gonzalo Pizarro, on his journey down the Napo in 1539, heard wonderful stories of a golden city far away on the banks of the Orinoco, surrounded by mountains of gold. Rumors of this golden city were carried by English navigators to Great Britain, with legends of a prince of Guiana, whose body, first smeared with turpentine, was then powdered with gold dust, so that he strode among his people a majestic golden statue. Adventurers started in search of this El Dorado, some from Peru, others from Quito and from Trinidad ; but the golden city was never found. They, however, brought back reports of chiefs whose bodies sparkled with gold dust as they danced, who had golden eagles dangling from their breasts and great pearls from their ears ; they told of mines of diamonds and gold, and of the natives who longed to exchange their jewels for jews-harps.
Sir Walter Raleigh determined to find this country and bring to his
queen its fabulous riches, for he believed that the silver and gold mines of Mexico and Peru had made Spain the first state in Christendom—“that purchaseth intelligence and creepeth into counsels and endangereth and disturbeth all the nations of Europe."
In 1595, Sir Walter sailed from England and arrived at the Isle of Trinidad, where he overthrew the Spaniards, then sailed up the Orinoco, or one of its branches, four hundred miles, until hunger and sickness compelled him to return. Although he did not reach the golden city, he could see the mountains far in the distance which he believed surrounded it, and he found the shining sand on the banks of the Orinoco. In Guiana he raised the flag of England and compelled the Indians to swear fealty to his queen.
Twenty years later, a prisoner in the Tower, he was released in order to make a second voyage in search of this El Dorado for King James. He sailed in 1617, accompanied by his eldest son ; but disaster and sickness met him at every step. He reached the Orinoco again, too feeble to land. So his son and Captain Keymis went instead. Keymis returned after a month of exploration, bringing Raleigh the news of the death of his son in an attack on a Spanish town. Ile brought reports of the golden city, of the mines of gold, diamonds and emeralds, but neither gold, diamonds nor emeralds to confirm the truth of these reports. Raleigh said, “I am undone;" Keymis replied, “I know then, Sir, what course to take.” He went to his cabin and killed himself.
Raleigh returned to England, a broken down old man. The Spaniards demanded his life of James as they had demanded it of Elizabeth after his first expedition, on the ground that in time of
peace Raleigh had attacked the Spanish forces and invaded their country. Elizabeth had refused, but James yielded. Raleigh was executed, but Guiana became an English colony.
The gold and silver mines of Peru have failed ; little gold has been found in Guiana, but its rich and fertile soil, watered by tropical rains, has been a source of greater wealth than the gold mines of Peru.
POPULATION OF South AMERICA. As the countries of South America were all settled at about the same time and by the same race and have passed through a like history, they can be considered as a whole.
The United States and Canada, with a rough, uncongenial climate and sterile soil, were settled by the Anglo-Saxons, the remainder of the western continent by the Latin race and, excepting Brazil and Guiana, by Spaniards. In North America the Anglo-Saxon race has dominated, carrying civilization from the Atlantic to the Pacific, expelling and exterminating the aborigines. There has been no mingling of the Anglo-Saxon and Indian races, no backward step, but ever civil, religious and intellectual progress. The Latin race conquered Central America and South America, a perfect Eden of natural loveliness, one hundred years prior to the settlement of the Anglo-Saxon; yet to-day they constitute but a thin layer over a scarcely populated country. Their leaders were men of unbounded ambition, rapacious, of great endurance, but cruel and unscrupulous. They sought adventure, expecting it would bring them gold and silver. For that end they plundered, despoiled and enslaved the Indians. Gold and silver flowed into their hands ; luxury, effeminacy, and weakness followed.
The Spaniards in America have scarcely retained the civilization they brought from the old world. They have intermarried with the Indians, and this mixed race is said to inherit the vices of each of their ancestors without the virtues of either.
A sparse population, mostly Spanish and foreigners, inhabit a zone ten to twenty miles in depth along the coast of South America, from the Bay of Panama to the Caribbean sea. All the cities and settlements, excepting a few in the Argentine Republic, are near the coast.
Back of this zone, on the Pacific, is a mixed Spanish-Indian population, much larger than the Spanish and foreign population; and on the Atlantic a population which is Spanish-Indian, SpanishNegro, and Negro-Indian, occupies a zone from twenty to one hundred miles wide. Beyond the first zone a few Spanish families and foreigners are found at the gold and silver mines, on the pampas, at the cattle ranches, and on a few haciendas in Peru and Chili. In Brazil the Portuguese and some Englishmen and Germans raise coffee and sugar, and oversee the diamond and gold fields. On the Amazon there are a few small settlements to collect the India rubber and cacao of that valley.
Save these sparse settlements, the interior of South America is inhabited by wild tribes of Indians, uncivilized save for the presence of a few Catholic priests, who have given the Indians the cross and the image of the Virgin Mary, which they worship, mingling the Catholic religion with their old idolatries and barbarous rites. The natives are believed to be more idle and less civilized than when the Spaniards discovered America.
The Spaniards are the grandees of the country ; too proud to work, they leave all business to the foreigners and all labor to the Indians, retaining in connection with the half-breeds all political power. When the regents appointed by Spain were expelled in the early part of the present century, republics were established, but they were republies only in name; the people were neither educated nor fitted for self-government. Their presidents generally exercised the powers of dictators and often assumed that title. They have rarely enjoyed a long rule, for their power and position were sought by others. Revolution in these countries has passed from the acute to the chronic stage.
A recent traveller in Peru, who wished to inspect its railroad system, was informed that only 26 miles were in running order, the remainder being under the control of the revolutionists who were then less than 80 miles from the capital. He asked why the rebels did not take Lima, the capital, and was told, “because there is no unanimity among them ; they are suspicious of each other, and cannot depend upon any one man.” Instead of being anxious to serve their country they are only interested in robbing her.
Another traveller in Bolivia, who witnessed some of these revolutions, says they sometimes occurred three times in as many weeks, and that it would have been ludicrous had not their results been often violent and tragic. There has been no settled government, no continued peace, no permanent policy, in any Spanish