A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 05 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 739 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.

On the west side Chili is bounded throughout its whole extent by the shores of the Pacific Ocean; and on the south it joins with the southern land usually called the Terra Magellanica, from the name of the navigator, Magellan or Magelhaens, who first circumnavigated the continent of South America, and opened the way by sea from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, through the Straits which are still known by his name.

Chili may be considered under three natural divisions.  The country of Chili Proper, between the main ridge of the Andes and the sea:  The Andes themselves, from the main ridge eastwards to the plain country of La Plata, and the Chilese islands.  Chili Proper, or that which lies between the main ridge of the Andes and the Pacific, is usually distinguished into the Maritime and Midland countries.  The Maritime country is intersected by three chains of hills, running parallel to the Andes, between which are many fine vallies which are watered by delightful rivers.  The Midland country consists almost entirely of a uniform plain of considerable elevation, having a few isolated hills interspersed which add much to its beauty.  The Andes, which are among the loftiest mountains in the world, are mostly about 120 miles from east to west, in that part of their course which belongs to Chili, consisting of a vast number of mountains of prodigious height, as if chained together, and displaying all the beauties and horrors of the most sublime and picturesque grandeur, abounding everywhere with frightful precipices, interspersed with many fine vallies and fertile pastures, watered by numerous streams and rivers which rise in the mountains.  Between the latitudes of 24 deg. and 33 deg. south, the Andes are entirely desert and uninhabited; but the remainder as far as 45 deg.  S. is inhabited by various tribes or colonies of the Chilese, called Chiquillanes, Pehuenches, Puelches, and Huilliches, which are commonly known under the general appellation of Patagonians.

S1. Chili Proper.

The political divisions of Chili consist of that part which has been conquered by the Spaniards, and that which still remains independent in the possession of the natives.  The Spanish portion is situated between the latitudes of 24 deg. and 37 deg. south, and is divided into thirteen provinces; of which the following is an enumeration, with a short account of each, beginning on the north, at the desert of Atacama or frontiers of Peru.  In each of these a corregidor, or deputy-governor resides, to whose command the civil and military officers of the province are subordinate, and on whom the respective cabildos or municipal magistracies are dependent.

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