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whose source is considered to be the Lake of Hiauricocha, which at its highest height is less elevated than the southernmost headwaters of the Madeira River, which spring from the mountains of La Paz, or from both sources of the Ucaiale: Paucartambo (lambari) on the northern coast of the beautiful Alpine lake Titicaca, at an altitude of 11,970 feet, and the Apurimaco, which lies to the west of the majestic mountain of Chuquibamba, whose altitude was evaluated at 20,640 feet.

Rivers of Brazil

Finally, the course of Maranon itself, where the Amazon takes the direction from west to east, is shorter than that of Ucaiale or Madeira, from its mouth to its waterfalls. It seems, therefore, difficult to determine where the true springs of the Amazon are, and the tendency is to consider this gigantic caudal, not as a simple river, but as a complete fluvial system combined. For this reason, this set of rivers, in their main direction from west to east, retains the same entirely identical characteristics, while the isolated rivers of it present several peculiarities, both in length and direction, as in all other senses. Hence, it is reasonable to think that it was better to give different names to the great river complex in certain places, which were also used in the language of the inhabitants, since the Spaniards call their western part as Maranon, the Brazilians designate the middle part by the name of Solimoes and the eastern part with the expression of the Amazon. On the one hand, the naming policy is valid, since the name of Maranon extends to the border of Brazil, and, on the other hand, indicates its entry with the name of Solimoes, from there to the its confluence with the Rio Negro. More rigorous designation, based on the nature of its arms, should perhaps extend in due time the name of Solimoes from the mouth of Madeira to that of Ucaiale, for these two arms carry on the southern side, for a long way, the greatest quantity of water, and mark the line of the valley in both great basins, the one on the south giving its water to the Amazon.

Amazon Basin

In describing this river, wanting to move from the generalities to the particular specifications, we must, first of all, look at the length of each of the tributaries, which, in their complex set, gives the measure of the colossal fluvial basin, whose extension Mr. von Humboldt ("Voyage", V, page 336) assesses at 260,000 square miles, a little less, therefore, than the sixth part of the area of all Europe. With great rigor, one cannot really determine the length of these rivers, since it is only on the northern side, that Mr. von Humboldt's observations established the boundaries between the Amazon basin and the Orinoco basin, and in Guapore, the eastern tributary of Madeira, observations of the Portuguese Limits Commission are quite certain. The headwaters of the Ucaiale, the Guallaga, and the Maranon still all need to be astronomically rectified, and when the opposite slopes can also be safely astronomically determined for the Marona, Pastaza, Tigre and Napo Rivers from the provinces of Quixo y Macas and Quito, for the main ditches, the latitudes and longitudes of the place where the Maranon of the foothills of the Andes is born and run on the flat plain of the Amazon Basin, as well as those of the mouths of the Guallaga and Ucaiale; for I do not believe that, apart from von Humboldt's determinations in Tomependa (5 ° 31'28 "south latitude and 80 ° 56'37" latitude west of Paris), no news of this basin deserves absolute confidence. The great differences lie in the degrees in latitude and longitude on primitive maps. Lieutenant Lister Maw's observations on the position of Maiobamba and Chachapoias and those of Mr. Pentland on many places in Upper Peru and Bolivia indicate that a more accurate determination of the length of each of the tributaries and the whole of the Amazon is impossible. Under these conditions, I believe that, for the measurement of the river basin, the best base and general map of South America, was created by Weiss, with improvements later made by both Mr. Schwarzmann and myself.

The best way to to measure this complex river, marking the limits of the geographic basin, is to start from the most distant springs.