« ZurückWeiter »
Two mountain systems are of importance in
Geographical Sketch. the present case. The one is the main range of the Imataka, which runs fairly parallel to the coast, from north-west to south-east. It starts British Counter
Case, app., 5 from the Orinoco, where that river is joined
by the Caroni, and, as a well-marked range, extends to the neighbourhood of the Acara bisi Creek. To the east of this it gives place to a
scattered group of hills of low elevation, including 10 the so-called “Blue Mountains," which extends
nearly to the point of junction of the Massaruni and Essequibo and down the latter river. The range thus continued separates the two districts
called in the Venezuelan Case " the coast 15 regions,” which lie on its seaward face, between
the Orinoco and the lower course of the Essequibo, from the two “interior regions,” which lie to the south. The height and consequent
importance of the Imataka Range have been 20 much exaggerated, at any rate as regards the
part touched by the Schomburgk line. It is only to the westward of that line that there are any mountains worthy of the name, though even there
they do not rise to more than between 2,000 and 25 3,000 feet. At the Schomburgk line, and to the
east of it, there are merely more or less detached hills, at most not more than 600 feet high. Writing of the range at the point where the
Aunama and the Acarabisi rise, the one to join 30 the Waini, the other the Cuyuni system, Schom- British App. VII,
“I estimated the highest ridge which separates the two sysiems at 520 feet above the level of the sea.
Heights which really deserve the name of mountains 35 commence 20 miles further westward.”
And Barrington Brown writes of the same part:
Report on Geologs of British Guiana -London, 1875,
“ Between the Cuyuni and Barama Rivers comes the Imataka Range, which terminates near the sources of 40 the Waini River, and is of no considerable extent or
height in this part.”
The other mountain system, in some parts of British Counter
Case. App., much greater altitude, is a much less easily defined
pp. 405, 408. group of ranges, covering the country west of 45 the Essequibo, and extending as far to the south
as the head-waters of the 'Trombetas, a large tributary of the Amazon. At its northern ex
group is considerably expanded from east to west, the expansion being separated from the Imataka by the broad valleys of the Massaruni and the Cuyuni Rivers. Westward from Teboco Cataraci on the former river, the hills 5 thus expanded are of considerable height; but eastward from that cataract, and thence to the E sequibo, these hills, which here constitute the watershed between the Lower Massaruni and the Essequibo, are scattered, ill-defined, and of no 10 great elevation.
It is these insignificant hills which are magnified by the Venezuelan Case into the so-called Ayangcanna Range.
The statement in the Venezuelan Case, that 15 on the east a spur of this same rugged range, under the name of the Ayangcanna Mountains (at places nearly 5,000 feet high), runs north until it meets the Blue Mountains, which, as a spur of the Imataka, run south,” is destitute 20 of all foundation in fact. There is a mountain named “ Mount Ayangcanna,” in longitude 60° 10' and latitude 5° 20', of about 5,000 feet high, but there is no such range as the so-called Ayangcanna Mountains.
25 Moreover, there is a wide interval between the low and ill-defined hills to the south of the Massaruni and the hills of the " Blue Mountains" to the north of the Cuyuni, and the statement in the Venezuelan Case that "near the point 30 of junctio!of the Cuyuni and Massaruni there is a break in these mountains, and through this break, over rapids and falls, the Cuyuni and Massaruni Rivers pour their united waters into the Essequibo,” is entirely misleading. No such 33
British CounterCase, App.,
From the northern slopes of the Imataka and the “Blue Mountains” the Rivers Amakuru and Barina, the Waini with its tributary the Barama, and the Pomeroon flow directly into the sea. 40 Westward of the region which is watered by the rivers just mentioned, a spur, called on the maps the Piakoa Mountains, runs up from the Imataka Range in a north-easterly direction. A more easterly spur, which may for convenience 45 be called the Amakuru Range, l'uns up to the source of the Amakuru River, and along its right bank past the point where it is joined by the Yarakita Creek from the east. This spur constitutes the watershed between the
upper courses of the Amakuru and Barima Rivers.
The watersheds respectively between the Barima, the Waini, the Moruka, the Pomeroon, 5 the Supenaam, and the Lower Essequibo are low and ill-defined.
Immediately south of the Imataka Range, more or less parallel to that range and to each
other, flowing mainly from west to east, are the 10 Cuyuni and the Jassaruni, separated by a water
shed of irregularly scattered mountains. The Essequibo, on the other hand, flows mainly from south to north, and almost at right angles to the united stream of the Cuyuni and Massaruni.
The Four Regions.
15 The Venezuelan propositions as to the four
regions will now be dealt with in detail.
The so-called “ Orinoco Delta Region,” according to the Venezuelan Case, extends eastward as
far as the watershed dividing the Waini from 20 the Moruka, thus including the basins of the
Amakuru, Barima, and Waini Rivers.
The Venezuelan arguments are: (1) that “into the Orinoco, at and above Barima Point, flow
various streams, the Barima, Amacura," and 25 others; (2) that there exists a “set of conditions
which converts the Lower Barima and the Mora Passage into a veritable Orinoco month;" and (3) that “also intimately connected with the
Lower Orinoco ..... is the Waini, a river which 30 empties into the ocean, in part through its
own mouth, but in part also through the same Mora Passage and the Barima River." so that “the Waini, with the region through which it
flows, constitutes a part of the great Orinoco 35 Delta.”
The British reply is: (1) that the Amakuru and Barima are not tributaries of the Orinoco, but are, in fact, independent rivers; (2) that
the conception of the Lower Barima and the 40 Mora Passage as a mouth of the Orinoco is
entirely at variance with the facts, and is founded only on erroneous mapping; and (3) that the inclusion of the Waini in the system of the Orinoco is in contradicticn to physical facts.
Trend of Rivers.
A first glance at a map-fancifully drawn and coloured as at p. l of the Atlas delivered with the Venezuelan Case---may give
the impression that the Amakuru and the Barima, especially because of the north-west trend of the lower part of their course, belong to the Orinoco system.
It can be clearly shown from the origin of this 5 north-west trend that these rivers have, in fact, no connection with the Orinoco system.
Each of the Rivers Pomeroon, Waini, Barima, and Amakuru runs for a certain distance in a direction at right angles to the line of the coast, 10 but, before reaching the sca, turns very decidedly in a north-westerly direction and runs for a considerable distance parallel to the coast before entering the Atlantic. The cause of this peculiarity is that the great equatorial current from 15 the African coast, streaming across towards South America, meets the stream from the Amazon and, helped by the trade-wind, drives it up in a north-west direction along the coast of South America, carrying with it the sand 20 and detritus from the rivers which it passes in its course.
The deposit of this sand and detritus has built up between the Essequibo and the Orinoco an alluvial tract outside the original coast-line, which was situate where 25 these rivers first turn somewhat west from north. Thus the true course of the rivers above mentioned is at right angles to the coast, buć their lower course has been blocked and gradually turned more and more north and west, till, in the 30 case of the Barima and the Amakuru, they might be supposed by a person unacquainted with the physical history of this coast, to run into the estuary of the Orinoco.
It is also requisite to explain, in some detail, 35 the true nature of the Mora Passage, or Morawhana, and, incidentally, of the other smaller water channels, or, as these are locally called,
Forination of Itabos.
itabos," which connect some of the rivers of that part of the world.
40 An itabo, as the word is used in the Northwest district, is a water-channel connecting two rivers. These itabos are confined to the swampy alluvial tracts, the drainage of which is carried by countless small and obscure creeks into the 15 main rivers. Where two of these small creeks rise in the same central swamp, but run the one to one main river, the other to another, the Indians are able in the wet season to push their canoes through the swamp from the head of
pp. 404, 409.
the one creek to that of the other, and so make for themselves a short cut, which becomes more and more used. The passage of each boat renders
that of the next more easy, in that it deepens and 5 wilens the channel. The water naturally flows
more and more through the opening channel, and, in its course, eats away the exposed banks of soft mud. Thus the itabo is formed, it may be
said, artificially, and yet without definite purpose. 10 Of course such a waterway is at first small and
at certain seasons almost or quite impassable;
connecting the Barima with the Waini below 15 Mount Everard, and that connecting the Anabisi
with the Kaituma. Sometimes, if use of them is abandoned, they may practically disappear, as, for example, that marked in Schomburgk's
Physical Map between the Barima and the British Atlas, 20 Wairi at the place called Eckanabua above P. 47.
. Morawhana. On the other hand, where much in use they may enormously increase in width and depth, as has been the case in the last fifty
years, and more especially within the last ten 25 years, with the Mora whana. It should be explained that in the country British Counter
Case, App., under consideration the itabos have originated p. 404. by the junction, in the manner above described,
of two or more flowing streams, each of which 30 has an independent source of its own, and its
own course. This is still quite obvious in the case of such connecting water-channels as that between the Moruka and the Waini, and that
between the Waini and the Barima below 35 Mount Everard. The only channel in which
it is no longer obvious is the Morawhana; but there can be little doubt that the Mora whana originally consisted of two flowing streams, both
rising in the swamps between the Barima and 40 the Waini, the one draining this swamp into the
Barima and the other into the Waini. The
bayous” as distinguished from 45 “true flowing streams," is based on a miscon
ception of the nature of the itabos.
The Morawhana, which is simply the largest of the itabos, has been very incorrectly represented in the Venezuelan Case, and more especially in the maps accompanying that document. The