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form true waterfalls, sometimes only rapids, and even divide the basin of any of these rivers into superior and inferior, which are generally distinguished from each other by the variety of geognostic formations and the kinds of plants.

Upper and lower Amazon

The basin between the Madeira and the Ucaiale, as an immense valley, with smooth slopes towards the Amazon, is then presented to us, and it is furrowed by the shallow beds of its secondary rivers.

Let us now return to the western limits of the great Amazon Basin, and we shall see them, not formed by low slopes and declivities, but by the high peaks of the eastern Andes. In the province of La Paz, in the southernmost part of the border, Professor Pentland's observations pointed to snowy heads, which, like Illimani and Sorata, still surpassed the colossal Chimborazo by more than a thousand toises, and where the ancient Peruvians explored mines at an altitude of 16,000 feet. These Andes, extending in an uninterrupted chain to the north, rising to the clouds ice or fire ridges, therefore, separate here the eastern slopes, almost all covered with forests, inhabited only by wild Bugres of the Lake of Titicaca, which show countless vestiges of very ancient civilization of some primitive South American people, in these high, fertile Andean valleys, through which the Inca's sovereignty extended beyond the equator.

The same majestic border of high mountains determines the Amazon Basin to the latitude of Popayan, where in the foothills of the easternmost of the three branches, in which the Andes here divides, forming the imperceptible elevation of the territory, determined by the outflow to the south of the waters of the

Rivers Japura, Uaupes and Negro, to the north those of the Guaviare, and of the Orinoco. In this region, the scene of Mr. von Humboldt's activities, which shed light on all sides,

Humboldt-Bonpland expedition 1799-1804

we find the prodigious phenomenon of the meeting of two large basins by the Cariquiare Channel, and an equivalent not yet confirmed, is presented in the Channel of Cabuquena. To the east of this enigmatic region, the Amazon Basin is widened to the meridians, cut by the wide valleys of the Branco River, until, finally, even further, to the east, the group of the mountains of Parima, which goes forward to the south , and, at a distance of three to four degrees of latitude, forms the northern watershed for the river, where it is equal to an arm of the sea with waves like the ocean.

Up to this point, we have given a general glimpse into the whole basin assembly of the largest of all the rivers. I thought I ought to allow myself this exposition, to give myself the occasion to touch on some of the main traces of Brazil's geography.

The mountains and gentle slopes, that delimit this basin, are of the most different heights; up to now, however, little is known about the altitudes of the boundary lines, and we do not yet have any measurements of altitude, which have been made of the watershed of the Amazon Basin. It can be said, that the Amazon River is the sum of all climates. Some of its waters gush from icy and snowy peaks, whose average temperature rises little above zero; part of them runs fast in the middle of forests full of evaporations, continuously exposed to the rays of the equatorial sun, measuring an average heat of 24 ° R. and more. Here, there are cool mountain waters, habitat of the trout, precipitating past the walls of rocks, active volcanoes and high pastures; and, at the same time, the warm waters of the Pantanos river,

Pantanal, the grasslands

where the jaguars and gigantic snakes live, flow lazily;

at one time, the source of the gold, and the place for washing of gold and diamonds in Brazil;


at another point, the gold dust clouds the rivers and the silver mines of Potosi and Huancabelica.

Gold dust

From these springs and rivers, about 200,000 people are provided with water including all the inhabitants of Peru, on this side of the eastern cordillera, and the inhabitants of northern Mato Grosso, Goias, Rio Negro and Para. If the entire area were cultivated, about 200,000,000 people would find space and food.