Imágenes de páginas

which will be found in the report of this Corps and in that of No. 2, the real work of the survey was commenced on the 2d day of June, at a point in the suburbs of Quito, and continued without interruption until its completion some 16 months later.

Owing to Mr. Miller's illness and Mr. Martínez departure, the Corps underwent a reorganization at Loja, from which point Mr. W. D. Kelley acted as Engineer in Charge, assisted for a while by Mr. Judson R. Kurtz as Engineer and Mr. A. B. Alderson as Draughtsman, but these last two named gentlemen, becoming ill, were not able to render much service to the party, and returned to the United States before the completion of the work. The line from Loja to its terminus at Cuzco was therefore run by Mr. Kelley, with the assistance of Mr. Forster as Transitman and Mr. Wilson as Topographer.


Corps No. 3 was charged with the solution of the problem of ascertaining the feasibility of a part of the Intercontinental Railway System lying south of the equator; hence was to survey a line and examine the country from Quito southward through the principal central towns of Ecuador into Perú, and after striking the Marañón River, in the northern part of the latter Republic, to follow the valley of that important stream to its headwaters near Cerro de Pasco, thence proceeding in a southeasterly direction towards Cuzco, the ancient Capital of the Incas, and onward towards the confines of Bolivia, until meeting another Corps coming northward, or receiving additional instructions from the home office as to final destination.



Ecuador, which derives its name from the fact that its Capital is situated nearly upon the equinoctial line of the earth, lies on both sides of the equator, and extends from about 1° 56' north latitude to about 5° 30' south latitude, a distance of over 500 miles (804.66 kilometers), and from 69° 52' to 80° 35' longitude west of Greenwich, a distance of over 700 miles (1,126.53 kilometers). On the north lies the Republic of Colombia, on the east that of Brazil, on the south that of Perú, while the Pacific Ocean washes the western shore. As the boundaries are still in dispute, the area has been variously estimated at from 120,000 to 248,000 square miles, and the population at nearly 1,272,000 inhabitants—whites 100,000, mixed 300,000, Indians 872,000. In addition, the Galápagos Islands, with an area of 2,400 square miles and a population of about 200, belong to Ecuador.

The Republic is divided into 16 provinces, as follows: Carchi, population 36,000; Imbabura, 67,940; Pichincha, 205,000; León, 109,600; Tunguragua, 103,033; Chimborazo, 122,300; Cañar, 64,014; Azuay, 132,400; Loja, 66,456; Bolívar, 43,000; Ríos, 32,800; Oro, 32,600; Guayas, 98,042; Manabí, 64,123; Esmeraldas, 14,553; Oriente, 80,000.

The executive power is vested in a President, elected for a term of four years, while the legislative power is given to a Congress of two houses, there being for each Province two senators, chosen for four years, and for every 30,000 inhabitants one deputy, chosen for two years. The Cabinet consists of five ministers. Each Province is administered by a governor, appointed by the Government. The provinces are divided into cantons, and the latter subdivided into parishes.

The imports in 1893 were valued at 10,000,000 sucres, and the exports at 14,000,000, the principal articles of import being cotton and other manufactured goods, and provisions. The main exports are cacao, coffee, ivory-nuts, indiarubber, hides, and straw hats.

Ecuador is an auriferous country, gold-washing being carried on by the natives, and some North Americans have formed companies to work mines at various places. Petroleum is abundant on the coast near Guayaquil. Silver, copper, iron, lead, and coal are known to exist.



The better to understand the railroad problem in Ecuador, a few words on the physiography of the Republic will be in order. (See Maps III and IV, accompanying this report.) Although its surface is very diversified, the highest mountains standing adjacent to the most profound chasms, and perpetual snow joining hands with eternal fire, this country does not present the jumble of mountain masses which is found in certain other parts of South America, but a rather well-defined system.

Running nearly north-northeast and south-southwest through the center of Ecuador, is an elevated region situated between two ranges known as the Oriental and Occidental Cordilleras, in general, lying asunder from 30 to 60 miles (48.28 to 96.56 kilometers). Although the axes of these two Cordilleras are not straight,

[ocr errors]

but curved lines, in certain parts there is more or less of a parallelism to be noted, while elsewhere this almost completely disappears. Moreover, these two ranges vary considerably in breadth, sometimes being quite narrow and then spreading out into more or less extensive páramos. Outside of the main ridges are subordinate ranges and projecting spurs extending on one hand to the Pacific Ocean on the west, and on the other to the tributaries and main waters of the Amazonas on the east. Sometimes on the crests of these Cordilleras, but as frequently detached and irregularly located, are found the magnificent volcanoes and cerros of Ecuador, enhancing the grandeur of the landscape and affecting the climate, and at the same time accentuating the irregularities of the surface, thus rendering more difficult a good alignment. Near the Colombian boundary we find the mass of Chiles with its elevation of 15,683 feet above the sea. Near Ibarra stand Cotacachi, 16,301; Imbabura, 15,033; and El Mojanda, 14,088 feet. Further south, and right on the equator, is Cayambe, 19,186; and due south thereof is Sara-urcu, 15,502 feet. Close by Quito is Pichincha, 15,918 feet, while the neighborhood of Machache boasts of some of the highest, notably Cotopaxi, 19,613; Antisana, 19,335; and Iliniza, 17,023. Near Mocha stands the grand and majestic Chimborazo, raising its head skyward to an altitude of 20,498 feet, and to the east of Riobamba are situated Altar and Sangay, 17,730 and 17,464 feet respectively. In addition to the mountains mentioned there are many others with altitudes over 15,000 and even 16,000 feet. Such monsters in near proximity to each other necessarily indicate a section through which railroad construction would be difficult. The elevated region just mentioned contains most of the important towns of the Republic, such as Tulcán, Ibarra, Quito, Machache, Latacunga, Ambato, Riobamba, Guamote, Cañar, Azogues, Cuenca, Oña, Zaraguro and Loja, varying in population from 5,000 to 80,000 inhabitants.

The two main ranges are more or less completely connected by transverse ridges which by the natives are called nudos or knots. These divide the central trough or valley into ten or more compartments, varying in length, breadth and elevation, and it is the passage of these cross ridges, within the limits of suitable gradients and alignment, and at the same time the avoidance, so far as practicable, of the numerous deep ravines along the mountain slopes, wherein lie the difficulties of the engineering problem awaiting solution.

The most northern of these plateaux, which may be designated as the Tulcán Basin, is separated from its southern neighbor, the Ibarra Basin, by the Nudo de Huaca, also known as the Altos de Boliche, and that of Ibarra from the basin in which the city of Quito lies by the Nudo de Cajas, joining El Mojanda with the

counterforts of Cayambe and the Cordillera Oriental; while the Quito Basin is separated from its southern neighbor by the Nudo de Tiupullo. Proceeding southward, the next basin is that of Ambato, the southern boundary of which is the Nndo de Sanancajas é Igualata, also sometimes called Nudo de Pumachaca, fol. lowed in order by the basin of Guamote, the Nudo de Tiocajas separating it from the basin of Alausi, which is separated from that of Cañar by the Nudo del Azuay; while the Nudo de Curiquinga divides the basins of Cañar and Cuenca; the Nudo de Portete, those of Cuenca and Oña; and the Nudo de Ramos-urcu those of Oña and Loja. Next south is the basin of Vilcabamba, separated from that of Loja by the Nudo de Cajanuma; and then the basin of Valladolid, with the Nudo de Sabanilla dividing it from the Vilcabamba Basin.

[ocr errors]


In the Tulcán Basin the drainage is into the Pacific Ocean, by the Guáitara and Patía rivers. In the Ibarra Basin, drainage is also into the Pacific, through the Huaca, Chota and Ambi, tributaries of the Mira River. In the Quito Basin the drainage is north ward and then westward into the Pacific Ocean, by way of the Guaillabamba and Esmeraldas rivers; in the Ambato Basin, southeastward and eastward into the Atlantic Ocean through the Patate, Pastaza and Marañón rivers, the waters cutting the Oriental Cordillera opposite the projecting spur of Chimborazo; in the Guamote Basin, northward and southeastward into the Atlantic via the Chambo and Pastaza rivers; in the Alausi Basin, westward and southward into the Pacific via the Chimbo and Guayas rivers; in the Cañar Basin, also westward into the Pacific via the Cañar or Chanar River; in the Cuenca Basin, the drainage, on the other hand, is eastward, southward and then eastward into the Atlantic through the Paute and Marañón rivers; in the Oña Basin, the water again flows westward into the Pacific via the Oña and Jubones or Rompido rivers; in the Loja Basin, eastward into the Atlantic via the Zamora and Marañón rivers; in the Vilcabamba, northward and then southwestward into the Pacific through the Catamayo or Chira River; and finally, in the Valladolid Basin, the fluvial discharge is southeastward, northeastward and eastward into the Atlantic by means of the Chinchipe and Marañón. The mere mention of the varying drainage of the several basins lying in the trough of the Andes is sufficient to demonstrate the truth of the statement that in this part of the traject of the Intercontinental Railway the problem for the engineers was to obtain suitable crossings from one depression to another, at the same time avoiding the precipitous spurs jutting out from the main Cordilleras, with their intervening chasmal abysses. It should be borne in mind that the

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Pastaza, outlet of the Ambato Basin; the Paute, outlet of the Cuenca Basin; the Zamora, outlet of the Loja Basin; and the Chinchipe, outlet of the Valladolid Basin, all empty into the Marañon and thus afford so many natural routes for reaching that stream, although passing through heavily-wooded regions now inhabited only by comparatively few. Indians. These natural routes consequently present possible lines for railroad construction in the endeavor to pass from the elevated valleys in which lie the populous towns of Central Ecuador to the valley of the Marañón, which is nature's highway to the heart of Perú.

The floors of these basins, from Tulcán to Loja, vary from 7,000 to 10,000 feet above the sea, and the dividing ridges, at their lowest points, attain altitudes of from 9,300 to 11,500 feet, while the projecting spur of Chimborazo, jutting boldly eastward, requires the surmounting of an elevation of 12,000. In Southern Ecuador, however, the valleys are lower, Vilcabamba being 5,476 feet, and the Río Canchis 3,000 feet above the sea, the Nudo de Cajanuma, however, entailing a passage at 8,250 feet, and Sabanilla Pass one at 9,390 feet.

As this central zone of 30 to 60 miles (48.28 to 96.56 kilometers) in width, passes through the nine important provinces of Carchi, Imbabura, Pichincha, León, Tunguragua, Chimborazo, Cañar, Azuay, and Loja, which contain a population of over 900,000 souls, nearly three fourths of the inhabitants of the entire Republic, the advantage of using the central plateau as the route for the Intercontinental Railway becomes apparent.

A right line drawn from the Río Carchi, near Ipiales, across Ecuador to the Río Canchis, would run about south 15° west and be 404 miles (650.17 kilometers) long.

RAILROADS, BUILT AND PROJECTED. The only railroad in operation in Ecuador is the Ferrocarril del Sur, running from Durán, a town opposite the port of Guayaquil, to Puente de Chimbo, and perhaps, at this time, a few miles further. The length of road in operation is between 55 and 60 miles (88.51 and 96.56 kilometers), and the intention has been to ascend from Chimbo, via Sibambe, to the neighborhood of Tigsán, and ultimately continue the line northward across the interior basins to Quito. Some grading between Chimbo and Tigsán has already been done, and according to latest information proposals have recently been invited by the Ecuadorean Government to complete the line to the Capital. The distance between Chimbo and Sibambe is only 15 miles (24.14 kilometers) in a direct line, but the difference in elevation to be overcome is said to be 7,727 feet, requiring a lengthy development and a

« AnteriorContinuar »