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GUYANA. The valuable results obtained from recent explorations of the remoter regions of English and Dutch Guyana have incited the French authorities to despatch an exploring expedition, under direction of Dr. Creavaux, to ascend the Maroni River, returning by way of the Oyapoc or the Amazon.
BRAZIL. The Department of Topography of the Brazilian Government has lately issued a map of the Madeira and Purus rivers, which throws some light upon one of the most obscure portions of South American hydrography, the river system of the province of Bení.
A recent work on Brazil, by Mr. Oscar Canstall, contains a popular description of the country, its geography, flora, fauna, political and commercial relations, etc.
BOLIVIA. The late Professor James Orton, who died on Lake Titicaca, September 25, 1877, while on his return home, has been exploring the head-waters of the Madeira and Bení. From La Paz he had travelled, by way of Cochabamba, to the head of navigation on the river Chimoré, which he descended by canoe to Trinidad.
This is the first expedition down this river, Lieutenant Gibbon, U.S.N., having explored the Chapore and D'Orbigny the Securé.
Professor Orton has contributed greatly to our knowledge of the head-waters of the Amazon, this being his third expedition to that region, the first one being made in 1867, crossing the Andes eastward from Peru, and descending the Napo to the Marañon.
His second expedition in 1873 was the reverse of the former one, beginning with the ascent of the Amazon.
The great work of Dr. Reiss on the “Andes Lands of South America,” prepared in conjunction with Dr. Stübel, will soon be ready.
In the proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society for Nov. 26, 1877, is an important paper on Bolivia, by Commander Musters, R.N., who has lived there for many years.
Mr. Minchin, C.E., while surveying for a railroad between La Paz and Lake Titicaca, has determined the heights with great care.
His results are: Lake Titicaca, 12,545 feet above the sealevel; Alto de La Paz, 13,389 feet; Plaza Mayor de La Paz, 11,946 feet; Summit of Mount Illimani, 21,224 feet.
PERU. A new geographical society has been established at Lima.
Towards the end of last year, a commission, directed by Major D. A. Rivera and Mr. A. Werthemann, an engineer in the Peruvian service, was engaged in exploring the rivers Perené and Tambo, tributaries of the Ucayali, to ascertain if navigable communication were possible between the Perené and the Amazon at Iquitos. It is intended to extend the railway between Lima and Oroya, so as to form a highway of railway and navigable river across the continent from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
An account of this survey has been recently published at Lima, and forms a valuable contribution to Peruvian geography. Mr. Werthemann states that a length of only forty-eight miles of railway would be required to unite the European settlements of the Chancamay and Pancartambo valleys with the highest navigable point of the Perené.
He estimates that a route, passing from Lima by land through Oroya, Palca, Tarma, and Paucartambo, and by river along the Perené, Ucayali, and Marañon to Iquitos, could be traversed in twelve days; and that, if the railway were extended to the Ene, the time of transit from the Pacific coast to the main Amazon could be reduced to eight days.
The second volume of Señor Raimundi's work on Peru contains the geographical history of the country from the Spanish conquest to 1800. More recent geographical progress will be noticed in the third volume.
Mr. E. G. Squier's “Incidents of Travel and Exploration in the Land of the Incas” has recently been published, and adds much to previous knowledge.
PATAGONIA. Don Francisco Moreno has made a journey up the Santa Cruz River on the east coast of Patagonia, which he has described in a letter to the Buenos Ayres Standard of May 13, 1877.
He describes the Santa Cruz as issuing from a fine lake of the same name, thirty miles long and ten miles wide, in latitude 50° 14' S. and longitude 71° 59' W. The current of the river runs very rapidly, so that thirty days were occupied in ascending it.
Señor Moreno was the first to explore Lake Santa Cruz, on the shores of which he made a large geological collection.
Connected with the Santa Cruz Lake by a river 200 yards wide is Lake Biedma, in the immediate vicinity of Mount Chalten, a still active volcano.
ARCTIC REGIONS. The Blue-book of the Nares Expedition, published during the past year by the English Government, contains Captain Nares's comprehensive report, with special maps and a large amount of most valuable matter for students.
In the pages of the Geographical Magazine for the past year has appeared, from time to time, an admirable review of the work accomplished by the Nares Expedition. That the Alert wintered farther north than explorers had ever before wintered; that three hundred miles of new coast-line were discovered and surveyed; that one party reached the most northerly point ever attained; that the duties of everybody, from the leader downward, were conscientiously and thoroughly performed, and that the whole work was conducted with eminent ability and sound judgment, giving invaluable results, has been thoroughly demonstrated.
The official narrative of the Polaris Expedition, edited by the late Rear-Admiral Davis, and published by the U.S. Navy Department, will prove a valuable record for reference.
The first volume of the physical results of the same expedition, by Dr. Emil Bessels, has also been published under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution.
The Austrian scheme for the establishment of stations of observation within the arctic circle has again been brought forward, and seems likely to be carried out. Lieutenant Weyprecht, who commanded the Austrian expedition that discovered Franz-Josef Land in 1874, and Count Wilczek, one of the promoters of that expedition, have announced that they intend to undertake an arctic expedition to establish a station of observation in Northern Nova Zembla, and they strongly urge the establishment of others at various points both in the northern and southern hemispheres.
GREENLAND. No more valuable contribution to geographical literature has appeared for a very long time than Dr. Rink's “Danish Greenland.” For sixteen winters and twenty-two summers the author resided in the country, for a portion of the time as its governor. Not only could no other living person have written this book, but its accuracy and completeness appear to be beyond criticism.
EUROPE. The great demand of the year has been for maps and descriptions of the seat of war-a want partly supplied by the reissue of old maps, and partly by the publication of numerous new ones, as nearly accurate as could be expected of countries not having the advantages of a systematic government survey
Among the best of new issues is a map of European Turkey, in seventeen sheets, on a scale of 200oo, by Colonel Artamanow, of the Russian service.
The steadily increasing interest in exact geographical knowledge is attested by the increasing membership of the older geographical societies, and the establishment of new ones at Copenhagen, Antwerp, Brussels, Marseilles, and Bremen.
In Germany the Imperial Railroad Commission has published a chart of the most extensive net-work of railroads in the world; and a complete physico-statistical atlas of Germany has been edited by Messrs. R. André and O. Peschel.
A complete catalogue of dwelling-places in the kingdom of Bavaria, and a new topographical map of Baden, deserve mention.
The project of draining the southern part of the ZuyderZee has been submitted by the government of the kingdom of Holland to the States-General.
Count Bela-Szechenyi's “History of Neusidler” Lake gives a curious account of the rise and fall of its waters, with the reasons for the phenomena, and interesting discoveries from the stone age in the lake. In 1854 the waters of the lake, which lies in the western part of Hungary, near the Austrian frontier, began gradually to sink, until in 1868 there was not left so much as a marshy spot in its bed; but since 1869, they have been slowly returning, until in 1876 the surface of the lake has resumed its normal appearance.
The second division of “La France” has been completed in the admirable work of Élisée Reclus, “Nouvelle Géographie Universelle."
PALESTINE. The scientific survey of Western Palestine, under the charge of Lieutenant Kitchiner, R.E., has been completed. This laborious undertaking has been pursued, in spite of many difficulties, for more than five years, and it now only remains to work out the map of Palestine, which will consist of twenty-six sheets, on the scale of one inch to the mile.
A report on the “Line of Levels from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Galilee,” by Lieutenant Kitchiner, has been read before the Royal Geographical Society.
The levels extended over about thirty-six miles, and the result of the work showed the depression of the Sea of Galilee to be 682.5 feet below the Mediterranean, being 40 or 50 feet greater than had been generally supposed. The depression of the Dead Sea was found to be 1292 feet, and that of the deepest part of the valley of the Jordan 1300 feet below the Mediterranean. There seems no doubt that the whole of the enormous quantity of water brought down by the Jordan to the Dead Sea is carried off by evaporation.
A German association for the exploration of Palestine has been lately formed by scientific men, in different parts of the empire and in Switzerland, the headquarters of which will be at Baedeker's in Leipzig.