Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  10 (1885), 47–58.

Santa Fe De Bogota

Lieutenant H R Lemly


Essay, Travelogue

Relevant illustrations:

eng. [11]


Geology, Climatology, Agriculture, Observatories, Astronomy, Meteorology, Race, Imperialism

    Observes that the elevated plateau of the 'Sabana of Bogota was undoubtedly once an immense lake unbroken by mountains, that by some violent convulsion of nature was ruptured, and the falls of Tequendama formed, by which the waters of the Funza River find an exit to the plains, and join the Magdalena' (48). Indeed, the 'situation of Bogota, it is said, led the eminent Humboldt to remark that it stood upon its own grave, it being his opinion that in one of the earthquakes to which the whole extent of the Andes is subject the city would be ingulfed' (49). The Sabana 'forms "a temperate zone upon the very verge of the equator"', thus yielding excellent crops of fruit and vegetable which are unique to the region, and 'Humboldt estimated that an acre of plantains would produce twenty times as much food as an acre of corn' (49–50). The city's mountainous location means that its 'astronomical observatory, an octagonal tower erected in 1802, is nearly the highest and most advantageously situated in the world. It contains but few instruments, but under the present administration and its own energetic direction is in process of efficient reorganization. A meteorological department has been established in correspondence with the Signal Bureau in Washington' (52). Reflects 'How notable the difference between the North and South American Indian! There he remains in his primitive state; here he has adopted not only the language and many of the customs, but the religion of his conquerors', a divergence caused by the 'nomadic' state of North American Indians throughout the period of the country's colonisation (56–57).

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]