South and Central America
Voyages and Excursions on the East Coast and Interior of Central America
by Orlando W. Roberts
Orlando Roberts, an American seaman, traveler, and "for many years a resident trader," journeyed to little known reaches of Central America between 1824 and 1826 in order to map the east coast, and set up trading relations with native communities. Commissioned to survey the region between Darien (northern Panama) and the Miskito Coast of Nicaragua, he sailed up the San Juan River in Costa Rica and across Lake Nicaragua.
Except for a cluster of pirate and logging narratives by Dampier and his confederates in the 17th and 18th centuries, little had been written of the area north of Darien since the days of the Spanish Conquistadors. Roberts' account thus became, when published in 1827, the most up-to-date compilation of data on the geography and the native peoples of central America, just as his map of that region (included in this edition) was the most accurate of the day.
Roberts provides excellent detail of native life along the San Juan river and its many tributaries, all serving as arteries for travel and trade. He also gives a full account of the natural environment including descriptions of birds, fish, turtles, manatees, and a full range of edible and other useful plants then being considered for commerce. Perhaps his most fascinating accounts are those of the San Blas, Miskito, and other tribes; and of the complex politics of the region, an outcome of three centuries of conquistadors, buccaneers, colonization, and native independence.
Paperback, 363 pages. Illustrations, maps, and index.
ISBN 1-887954-24-4. US $15.95
Travels in South America
by Paul Marcoy
One of the most fascinating and highly readable of all 19th century accounts by travellers in Amazonia is provided by Paul Marcoy, a French explorer and botanist whose works were translated from French to English by Elihu Rich. In 1870, Marcoy travelled from the coast of Peru through the interior of Brazil to the Atlantic, displaying a sure touch for both anecdotal and scientific reporting of exotic flora, fauna, and landscapes.
[Palm trees on the upper Amazon; Marcoy]
Marcoy describes dozens of little-known villages and their inhabitants along a myriad of rainforest river courses. The two volume set includes all of the numerous maps and figures drawn for the original volumes by V. Riou, plus many additional notes, bibliographic references, maps, and figures.
[Amazonian villagers and house; Marcoy]
Vol.1: Paperback, xiv + 434 pages. 275 illustrations and maps, notes, and index. ISBN 1-887954-12-0.
Vol. 2: Paperback, x+ 397 pages. 249 illustrations and maps, notes, and index. ISBN 1-887954-13-9.
2 volume set: ISBN 1-887954-11-2. US $29.95
Peru: Incidents of Travel and Exploration in the Land of the Incas
by E. George Squier
[Condor deity carved on stone monolithic arch at Tiahuanaco; Squier]
One of the most important 19th century acounts of the archaeology of ancient Andean civilizations was provided by Ephriam George Squier, an American archaeologist and historian also known for his comprehensive 1852 survey of North American mound sites, and his Notes on Central America (1855).
Squier's 1870-72 explorations in Peru and at Bolivian ruins at Tiahuanaco near Lake Titicaca provide the first detailed descriptions of remains of the Middle Horizon (AD 600-1000) centers of Wari-Tiahuanaco, and the Late Empire (AD 1000-1550) Chimu and Inca cities. Illustrated with hundreds of drawings, and filled with detailed descriptions of temples and monuments as well as native Andean peoples, Squier's Incidents of Travel in Peru provides timeless documentation of these major archaeological sites. Their buildings, sculptures, and symbolic motifs including the sun god, feline, and condor remain at the heart of today's research in the region.
From the 1877 Harper and Bros. edition.
Paperback, xxvii + 537 pages. Illustrations, maps, tables, notes, index, and bibliography.
ISBN 1-887954-19-8. US $18.95
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