TERRA FIRMA, or the Firm Land [today's Venezuela]
, is a large
country of South America, and contains eleven governments, subject to
the King of Spain. The air here is extremely hot, though
wholesome, the soil very fertile, when well manured. The natives
are tawney [sic]
healthful, long lived, and go naked about the middle. The
commodities are gold, silver, and other metals; balsam, rosin, gum,
long pepper, emeralds, sapphire, jasper, &c. Here is one
Spanish archbishopric and four bishoprics; but the natives are
Account of PERU.
PERU is in South America, a large country, divided into six
provinces. The air in some parts is very hot, in others sharp and
piercing. The soil is the richest of all the
Spanish plantations, abounding with exceeding high mountains and large
pleasant vallies. The commodities are vast quantities of gold and
silver, valuable pearls, medicinal drugs, cochineal, tobacco, abundance
of cotton, &c. The natives are of a copper colour, tall and
well made; but are so depressed by the Spaniards, it is impossible to
form any judgment of their genius, virtues, or vices.
the Land of the AMAZONS.
THIS country is very little known, but as far as discovered the air is
temperate, and the soil fertile. There are on the banks of the
river Amazon about fifty nations of fierce savage people, said to eat
human flesh. --- The commodities are gold, silver, sugar, ebony, cocoa,
tobacco, &c. Their religion is Paganism, and language unknown.
Account of BRAZIL.
BRAZIL is in the east of South America, bounded on the east by the
Atlantic Ocean, on the west by some undiscovered countries between it
and the mountains called Andes, on the north by Guiana, and on the
south by Paraguay. It was discovered by the Portuguese in 1501,
and is still in great part subject to them. The air is very
temperate and wholesome, though under the torrid zone;
the soil fertile, and the country produces red or Brazil wood, sugar,
amber, rosin, balm, tobacco, train oil [most likely whale oil]
confectionary, &c. The natives are reckoned cruel, but
ingenious; have faint notions of religion, and speak several different
languages, though they cannot pronounce either of the three letters L,
F, R. They are all naked, and neither sow nor reap, but live by
hunting and by the fruits which the land produces of its own accord.
Account of CHILI.
CHILI [the name is still spelled
this way in French]
is also a great country of South America,
400 leagues in length from north to south, is divided into three
governments, and subject to the King of Spain. In summer the air
of this country is very warm, but in winter so extremely cold that it
often kills man and beast. The mountainous parts are generally
dry and barren, but the vallies exceedingly fertile in maize, wheat,
and other grain. The people are white, tall, courageous, an
warlike, but very gross Idolaters, the chief object of their worship
being the devil, whom they call Eponamon, i.e.
powerful. The country is
enriched with several mines of gold, and great quarries of jaspar [sic]
. --- The commodities are
gold, silver, maize, corn, honey, ostriches, and metals. Most of
them use the Spanish tongue, but some their ancient jargon.