Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent During the Years 1799-1804, Volume 4

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Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1819
Alexander von Humboldt's account of his monumental scientific expedition to South America and Cuba. Originally published in French between 1814 and 1825, this is the first edition in English ... This classic of scientific exploration was based on the researches of Humboldt and his companion, Aimé Bonpland, during their five-year excursion in South and Central America from 1799 to 1804. The volumes describe the voyage from Spain and the stop in the Canaries; Tobago and the first steps in South America; explorations along the Orinoco; Colombia and the area around Caracas; explorations in the northern Andes; and a visit to Cuba. "Humboldt and Bonpland traveled widely through South and Central America, studying meteorological phenomena and exploring wild and uninhabited country. At Callao, Humboldt measured the temperatures of the ocean current which came to bear his name ..."--Hill.
 

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Page 334 - The extraordinary noise caused by the horses' hoofs makes the fish issue from the mud, and excites them to combat. These yellowish and livid eels, resembling large aquatic serpents, gwim on the surface of the water, and crowd under the bellies of the horses and mules.
Page 211 - For several months of the year not a single shower moistens its foliage. Its branches appear dead and dried, but when the trunk is pierced, there flows from it a sweet and nourishing milk. It is at the rising of the sun, that this vegetable fountain is most abundant. The blacks and natives are then seen hastening from all quarters, furnished with large bowls to receive the milk, which grows yellow, and thickens at its surface. Some empty their bowls under the tree itself, others carry the juice home...
Page 341 - I do not remember having ever received from the discharge of a large Leyden jar, a more dreadful shock than that which I experienced by imprudently placing both my feet on a gymnotus just taken out of the water. I was affected the rest of the day with a violent pain in the knees, and in almost every joint.
Page 139 - ... they furrow, during . heavy showers, the sides of the hills, bear down the loosened soil, and form those sudden inundations that devastate the country. Hence it results, that the destruction of fores'ts, the want of permanent springs, and the existence of torrents, are three phenomena closely connected together.
Page 536 - ... out through the crevices ? Does not the impulse of the air against the elastic spangles of mica, that intercept the crevices, contribute to modify the sounds ? May we not admit, that the ancient inhabitants of Egypt, in passing incessantly up and down the Nile, had made the same observation on some rock of the Thebaid; and that the music of the rocks there led to the jugglery of the priests in the statue of Memnon < Perhaps, when " the rosy-fingered Aurora rendered her son, the glorious Memnon,...
Page 13 - ... diameter, left a mass of ruins scarcely exceeding five or six feet in elevation. The sinking of the ruins has been so considerable, that there now scarcely remain any vestiges of pillars or columns. The barracks, called El...
Page 337 - ... animals endowed with electromotive organs, the effects of which are sensible to man, are not found in the air, but in a fluid that is a conductor of electricity. The gymnotus is the largest of electrical fishes. I measured some, that were from five feet to five feet three inches long; and the Indians assert, that they have seen still longer.
Page 210 - ... as an aliment, appears to us exclusively the produce of animal organization. Such are the impressions we have received in our earliest infancy : such is also the source of that astonishment which seizes us at the aspect of the tree just described. It is not here...
Page 399 - I confess that these scenes, which were often repeated, had ever for me a peculiar attraction. The pleasure they excite, is not owing solely to the interest which the naturalist takes in the objects of his study; it is connected with a feeling common to all men, who have been brought up in the habits of civilization. You find yourself in a new world, in the midst of untamed and savage nature.
Page 335 - ... over the surface of the water. " By their wild cries, and the length of their reeds, they prevent the horses from running away and reaching the bank of the pool. The eels, stunned by the noise, defend themselves by the repeated discharge of their electric batteries.

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