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standing their lowness in Choco, and the province of Darien, the Andes traverse the isthmus of Panama, and recover a considerable height in the kingdom of Guatimala. Sometimes their crest approaches the Pacific Ocean, at other times it occupies the centre of the country, and sometimes it approaches the gulf of Mexico. In the kingdom of Guatimala, for example, this crest, jagged with volcanic cones, runs along the western coast from the lake of Nicaragua towards the bay of Tehuantepec.; but in the province of Oaxaca, between the sources of the rivers Chimalapa and Guasacualco, it occupies the centre of the Mexican isthmus. From the 184° to the 21° of latitude, in the intendancies of la Puebla and Mexico, from Misteca to the mines of Zimapan, the Cordillera stretches from south to north, and approaches the eastern CO2 St.
In this part of the great plain of Anahuac, between the capital of Mexico, and the small cities of Xalappa and Cordoba, a groupe of mountains appears which rivals the most elevated summits of the new continent. It is enough to name four of these Colossi" whose heights were unknown before my expedition; Popocatepetl, 5400 metres (or 2771 toises); Iztaccihuatl, or the white woman, 4786 metres (or 2455 toises); Citlaltepetl, or the Pic d’Orizaba, 5295 metres (or 2717 toises); and Nauhcampatepetl, or the Cofre de Perote, 4089 metres (or 2089 toises)". This groupe of volcanic mountains bears a strong analogy with that of the kingdom of Quito. If the height attributed to Mount St. Elief be exact, we may admit that it is only under the 19 and 60° of latitude that mountains in the northern hemisphere reach the enormous elevation of 5400 metres above the level of the ocean. Farther to the north of the parallel of 19, near the celebrated mines of Zimapan and the Doctor, situated in the intendancy of Mexico, the Cordillera takes the name of Sierra Madre; and then leaving the eastern part of the kingdom it runs to the north-west, towards the cities of San Miguel el Grande and Guanaxuato. To the north of this last city, considered as the Potosi of Mexico, the Sierra Madre becomes of an extraordinary breadth. It divides immediately into three branches, of which the most eastern runs in the direction of Charcas and the Real de Catorce, and loses itself in the new kingdom of Leon. The western branch occupies a part of the intendancy of Guadalaxara. After passing Bolaños it sinks rapidly... and stretches by Culiacan and Arispe, in the intendancy of Sonora, to the banks of the Rio Gila. However, it acquires again a considerable degree of height under the 30° of latitude in Tarr', amara, near the gulf of California, where it forms the mountains de la Primeria alta, celebrated for the gold washed down from them. The third branch of the Sierra Madre, which may be considered as the central chain of the Merican Andes, occupies the whole extent of the intendancy of Zacatecas. We may follow it through Durango and the Parral in New Biscay, to the Sierra de los Mimbres (situated to the west of the Rio grande del Norte). From thence it traverses New Mexico, and joins the crane mountains (Montagnes de la Grue) and the Sierra Verde. This mountainous country, situated under the 40° of latitude, was examined in 1777 by Fathers Escalante and Font. The Rio Gila rises here, of which the sources are near
* Excepting the Cofre de Perote, these four measurements are all geometrical; but the bases being from 11 to 1200 toises elevated above the level of the sea, this first part of the total height was calculated according to the barometrical formula of M. Laplace. The word Popocatepetl is derived from popocani smoke, and tepetl mountain; and Iztaccihuatl from iztac white, and ciuatl woman. Citlaltepetl signifies a mountain brilliant as a star, from citlaltine star, and tepetl mountain ; for the Pic d'Orizaba appears at a distance like a star when it emits fire. Nauhcampatepetl is derived from Nauhcampa, any thing square. It alludes to the form of the small porphyritical rock at the summit of the mountain of Perote, which the Spaniards compare to a coffer (See the Vocabulary of theAztec Language by Father Alonzo de Molina, published at Mexico in 1571, p. 63). * 17716, 15700, 17371, and 13414 feet. Trans. + The Spanish navigators found, in 1791, by precise means its height above the level of the sea to be 2793 toises (17875 English feet) while it is said in the account of the voyage of La Perouse to be only 1980 toises (12672 feet).
those of the Rio del Norte. It is the crest of this central branch of the Sierra Madre which divides the waters between the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. It was a continuation of this branch which Fidler and the intrepid Mackenzie examined under the 50° and 55° of north latitude.
We have thus sketched a view of the Cordilleras of New Spain. We have remarked that the coasts alone of this vast kingdom possess a warm climate adapted for the productions of the West Indies. The intendancy of Vera Cruz, with the exception of the plain which extends from Perote to the Pic d’Orizaba, Yucatan, the coast of Oaxaca, the maritime provinces of New Santander and Texas, the new kingdom of Leon, the province of Cohahuila, the uncultivated country called Bolson de Mapimi, the coast of California, the western part of Sonora, Cinaloa, and New Gallicia, the southern regions of the intendancies of Walladolid, Mexico, and La Puebla, are low grounds intersected with very inconsiderable hills. The mean temperature of these plains, of those at least situated within the tropics, and whose elevation above the level of the sea does not exceed 300" metres, is from 25° to 26°f of the centigrade thermometer; that is to say, from 8° to 9°t greater than the mean heat of Naples.
* 984 feet. Trans. t 77° of Fahrenheit's. Trans. f From 14° to 16° of Fahrenheit. Trans.
These fertile regions, which the natives call Tierras calientes, produce in abundance sugar, indigo, cotton, and bananas. But when Europeans, not seasoned to the climate, remain in these countries for any time, particularly in populous cities, they become the abode of the yellow fever, known by the name of black vomiting, or vomito prieto. The port of Acapulco, and the vallies of Papagayo and Peregrino, are among the hottest and unhealthy places of the earth. On the eastern coast of New Spain, the great heats are occasionally interrupted by strata of cold air, brought by the winds from Hudson's Bay towards the parallels of the Havannah and Vera Cruz. These impetuous winds blow from October to March; they are announced by the extraordinary manner in which they disturb the regular recurrence of the small atmospherical tides", or horary variations of the barometer; and they frequently cool the air to such a degree, that at Havannah the centigrade thermometer descends to 0°t, and at Vera Cruz to 16°t; a prodigious fall for countries in the torrid 2One, .* "On the declivity of the Cordillera, at the elevation of 12 or 1500S metres, there reigns perpetu
* I have explained this phenomenon in the first volume of my Travels (Physique generale), p. 92, 94.
+ 32° of Fahrenheit. Trans. # 60° of Fahrenheit. Trans.
$ From 3936 to 4920 feet. Trans.