Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Part I: Human geography
 Part II: Physiography of the Peruvian...
 Appendix A: Survey methods employed...
 Appendix B: Fossil determinati...
 Appendix C: Key to place names

Group Title: The Andes of southern Peru : geographical reconnaissance along the seventy-third meridian
Title: The Andes of southern Peru
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075657/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Andes of southern Peru geographical reconnaissance along the seventy-third meridian
Physical Description: xi, 336 p. : illus., plates, fold. maps, diagrs. (part fold.) ; 26 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Bowman, Isaiah, 1878-1950
American Geographical Society of New York
Publisher: Pub. for the American Geographical Society of New York by H. Holt and Co.
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1916
Subject: Physical geography -- Peru   ( lcsh )
Geology -- Andes   ( lcsh )
Human geography -- Peru   ( lcsh )
Geografia fâisica -- Peru   ( larpcal )
Geologia -- Andes   ( larpcal )
Description and travel -- Peru   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: by Isiah Bowman ...
General Note: "The geographic work of the Yale Peruvian expedition of 1911 was essentially a reconnaissance of the Peruvian Andes along the 73d meridian."--Pref.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00075657
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01549314
lccn - 17001921

Table of Contents
    Front Matter
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
    Table of Contents
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Part I: Human geography
        Page 1
        The regions of Peru
            Page 1
            Page 2
            Page 3
            Page 4
            Page 5
            Page 6
            Page 6a
            Page 6b
            Page 7
        The rapids and canyons of the Urubamba
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
            Page 10a
            Page 10b
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 18a
            Page 18b
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
        The rubber forests
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 24a
            Page 24b
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 26a
            Page 26b
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
        The forest Indians
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
        The country of the shepherds
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
            Page 48a
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 56a
            Page 56b
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 58a
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 66a
            Page 66b
            Page 67
        The border valleys of the eastern andes
            Page 68
            Page 68a
            Page 68b
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 71
            Page 72
            Page 72a
            Page 72b
            Page 73
            Page 74
            Page 74a
            Page 74b
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 78a
            Page 78b
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
            Page 82
            Page 83
            Page 84
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
        The geographic basis of revolutions and of human character in the Peruvian andes
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
            Page 90a
            Page 90b
            Page 91
            Page 92
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
            Page 101
            Page 102
            Page 103
            Page 104
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 106a
            Page 106b
            Page 107
            Page 108
            Page 109
        The coastal desert
            Page 110
            Page 110a
            Page 111
            Page 112
            Page 113
            Page 114
            Page 114a
            Page 115
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
            Page 119
            Page 120
            Page 120a
        Climatology of the Peruvian andes
            Page 121
            Page 122
            Page 123
            Page 124
            Page 125
            Page 126
            Page 127
            Page 128
            Page 129
            Page 130
            Page 131
            Page 132
            Page 133
            Page 134
            Page 135
            Page 136
            Page 137
            Page 138
            Page 139
            Page 140
            Page 141
            Page 142
            Page 143
            Page 144
            Page 144a
            Page 145
            Page 146
            Page 147
            Page 148
            Page 149
            Page 150
            Page 150a
            Page 151
            Page 152
            Page 153
            Page 154
            Page 154a
            Page 154b
            Page 155
            Page 156
        Meteorological records from the Peruvian andes
            Page 157
            Page 158
            Page 159
            Page 160
            Page 161
            Page 162
            Page 163
            Page 163a
            Page 164
            Page 165
            Page 166
            Page 167
            Page 168
            Page 169
            Page 170
            Page 171
            Page 172
            Page 172a
            Page 173
            Page 174
            Page 175
            Page 176
            Page 176a
            Page 177
            Page 178
            Page 178a
            Page 179
            Page 180
            Page 181
            Page 182
    Part II: Physiography of the Peruvian andes
        Page 183
        The Peruvian landscape
            Page 183
            Page 184
            Page 184a
            Page 184b
            Page 185
            Page 186
            Page 187
            Page 188
            Page 188a
            Page 189
            Page 190
            Page 191
            Page 192
            Page 192a
            Page 193
            Page 194
            Page 195
            Page 196
            Page 197
            Page 198
        The western andes: The maritimes cordillera or cordillera occidental
            Page 199
            Page 200
            Page 200a
            Page 200b
            Page 201
            Page 202
            Page 203
        The eastern andes: The cordillera vilcapampa
            Page 204
            Page 204a
            Page 204b
            Page 204c
            Page 205
            Page 206
            Page 207
            Page 208
            Page 208a
            Page 209
            Page 210
            Page 211
            Page 212
            Page 213
            Page 214
            Page 215
            Page 216
            Page 217
            Page 218
            Page 218a
            Page 219
            Page 220
            Page 221
            Page 222
            Page 223
            Page 224
        The coastal terraces
            Page 225
            Page 226
            Page 226a
            Page 227
            Page 228
            Page 229
            Page 230
            Page 230a
            Page 231
            Page 232
        Physiographic and geologic development
            Page 233
            Page 234
            Page 235
            Page 236
            Page 237
            Page 238
            Page 239
            Page 240
            Page 241
            Page 242
            Page 243
            Page 244
            Page 245
            Page 246
            Page 247
            Page 248
            Page 249
            Page 250
            Page 250a
            Page 251
            Page 252
            Page 253
            Page 254
            Page 255
            Page 256
            Page 257
            Page 258
            Page 259
            Page 260
            Page 261
            Page 262
            Page 263
            Page 264
            Page 265
            Page 266
            Page 267
            Page 268
            Page 268a
            Page 268b
            Page 269
            Page 270
            Page 271
            Page 272
            Page 273
        Glacial features
            Page 274
            Page 275
            Page 276
            Page 277
            Page 278
            Page 279
            Page 280
            Page 280a
            Page 280b
            Page 281
            Page 282
            Page 283
            Page 283a
            Page 284
            Page 285
            Page 286
            Page 286a
            Page 286b
            Page 287
            Page 288
            Page 289
            Page 290
            Page 291
            Page 292
            Page 293
            Page 294
            Page 295
            Page 296
            Page 297
            Page 298
            Page 299
            Page 300
            Page 301
            Page 302
            Page 303
            Page 304
            Page 304a
            Page 305
            Page 306
            Page 307
            Page 308
            Page 309
            Page 310
            Page 311
            Page 312
            Page 313
            Page 314
            Page 314a
    Appendix A: Survey methods employed in the construction of the seven accompanying topographic sheets
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
    Appendix B: Fossil determination
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
    Appendix C: Key to place names
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
        Page 335
        Page 336
Full Text

e~ O






Director of the American Geographical Society




.*, ; : **.. ;
.. ... ..

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'.... ..: : .. : :. : : ,.
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S S R S S l !

C. G. B.



THE geographic work of the Yale Peruvian Expedition of 1911
was essentially a reconnaissance of the Peruvian Andes along the
73rd meridian. The route led from the tropical plains of the lower
Urubamba southward over lofty snow-covered passes to the desert
coast at Camani. The strong climatic and topographic contrasts
and the varied human life which the region contains are of geo-
graphic interest chiefly because they present so many and such
clear cases of environmental control within short distances.
Though we speak of "isolated" mountain communities in the
Andes, it is only in a relative sense. The extreme isolation felt
in some of the world's great deserts is here unknown. It is there-
fore all the more remarkable when we come upon differences of
customs and character in Peru to find them strongly developed in
spite of the small distances that separate unlike groups of people.
My division of the Expedition undertook to make a contour map
of the two-hundred-mile stretch of mountain country between
Abancay and the Pacific coast, and a great deal of detailed geo-
graphic and physiographic work had to be sacrificed to insure the
completion of the survey. Camp sites, forage, water, and, above
all, strong beasts for the topographer's difficult and excessively
lofty stations brought daily problems that were always serious
and sometimes critical. I was so deeply interested in the progress
of the topographic map that whenever it came to a choice of plans
the map and not the geography was first considered. The effect
upon my work was to distribute it with little regard to the de-
mands of the problems, but I cannot regret this in view of the
great value of the maps. Mr. Kai Hendriksen did splendid work
in putting through two hundred miles of plane-tabling in two
months under conditions of extreme difficulty. Many of his tri-
angulation stations ranged in elevation from 14,000 to nearly

18,000 feet, and the cold and storms-especially the hailstorms of
mid-afternoon-were at times most severe.
It is also a pleasure to say that Mr. Paul Baxter Lanius, my
assistant on the lower Urubamba journey, rendered an invaluable
service in securing continuous weather records at Yavero and else-
where, and in getting food and men to the river party at a critical
time. Dr. W. G. Erving, surgeon of the Expedition, accompanied
me on a canoe journey through the lower gorge of the Urubamba
between Rosalina and the mouth of the Timpia, and again by pack
train from Santa Ana to Cotahuasi. For a time he assisted the
topographer. It is due to his prompt surgical assistance to vari-
ous members of the party that the field work was uninterrupted.
He was especially useful when two of our river Indians from
Pongo de Mainique were accidentally shot. I have since been in-
formed by their patron that they were at work within a few
It is difficult to express the gratitude I feel toward Professor
Hiram Bingham, Director of the Expedition, first for the execu-
tive care he displayed in the organization of the expedition's
plans, which left the various members largely care-free, and sec-
ond, for generously supplying the time of various assistants in the
preparation of results. I have enjoyed so many facilities for the
completion of the work that at least a year's time has been saved
thereby. Professor Bingham's enthusiasm for pioneer field work
was in the highest degree stimulating to every member of the
party. Furthermore, it led to a determination to complete at all
hazards the original plans.
Finally, I wish gratefully to acknowledge the expert assistance
of Miss Gladys M. Wrigley, of the editorial staff of the American
Geographical Society, who prepared the climatic tables, many of
the miscellaneous data related thereto, and all of the curves in
Chapter X. Miss Wrigley also assisted in the revision of Chap-
ters IX and X and in the correction of the proof. Her eager and
in the highest degree faithful assistance in these tasks bespeaks
a true scientific spirit.


Fig. 28. Photograph by H. L. Tucker, Engineer, Yale Peruvian Expedi-
tion of 1911.
Fig. 43. Photograph by H. L. Tucker.
Fig. 44. Photograph by Professor Hiram Bingham.
Figs. 136, 139, 140. Data for hachured sketch maps, chiefly from topo-
graphic sheets by A. H. Bumstead, Topographer to Professor Bingham's
Peruvian Expeditions of 1912 and 1914.







Camana Quadrangle .114
Aplao 120
Coropuna 188
Cotahuasi .. 192
La Cumbre .202
Antabamba 282
Lambrama .304





LET four Peruvians begin this book by telling what manner of
country they live in. Their ideas are provincial and they have a
fondness for exaggerated description: but, for all that, they will
reveal much that is true because they will at least reveal them-
selves. Their opinions reflect both the spirit of the toiler on the
land and the outlook of the merchant in the town in relation to
geography and national problems. Their names do not matter;
let them stand for the four human regions of Peru, for they are
in many respects typical men.

One of them I met at a rubber station on the lower Urubamba
River.1 He helped secure my canoe, escorted me hospitably to his
hut, set food and drink before me, and talked of the tropical forest,
the rubber business, the Indians, the rivers, and the trails. In his
opinion Peru was a land of great forest resources. Moreover,
the fertile plains along the river margins might become the sites
of rich plantations. The rivers had many fish and his garden
needed only a little cultivation to produce an abundance of food.
Fruit trees grew on every hand. He had recently married the
daughter of an Indian chief.
Formerly he had been a missionary at a rubber station on the
Madre de Dios, where the life was hard and narrow, and he doubted
if there were any real converts. Himself the son of an English-
man and a Chilean woman, he found, so he said, that a mission-
ary's life in the rubber forest was intolerable for more than a few

For all locations mentioned see maps accompanying the text or Appendix C.





LET four Peruvians begin this book by telling what manner of
country they live in. Their ideas are provincial and they have a
fondness for exaggerated description: but, for all that, they will
reveal much that is true because they will at least reveal them-
selves. Their opinions reflect both the spirit of the toiler on the
land and the outlook of the merchant in the town in relation to
geography and national problems. Their names do not matter;
let them stand for the four human regions of Peru, for they are
in many respects typical men.

One of them I met at a rubber station on the lower Urubamba
River.1 He helped secure my canoe, escorted me hospitably to his
hut, set food and drink before me, and talked of the tropical forest,
the rubber business, the Indians, the rivers, and the trails. In his
opinion Peru was a land of great forest resources. Moreover,
the fertile plains along the river margins might become the sites
of rich plantations. The rivers had many fish and his garden
needed only a little cultivation to produce an abundance of food.
Fruit trees grew on every hand. He had recently married the
daughter of an Indian chief.
Formerly he had been a missionary at a rubber station on the
Madre de Dios, where the life was hard and narrow, and he doubted
if there were any real converts. Himself the son of an English-
man and a Chilean woman, he found, so he said, that a mission-
ary's life in the rubber forest was intolerable for more than a few

For all locations mentioned see maps accompanying the text or Appendix C.


years. Yet he had no fault to find with the religious system of
which he had once formed a part; in fact he had still a certain
curious mixed loyalty to it. Before I left he gave me a photo-
graph of himself and said with little pride and more sadness that
perhaps I would remember him as a man that had done some good
in the world along with much that might have been better.
We shall understand our interpreter better if we know who
his associates were. He lived with a Frenchman who had spent
several years in Africa as a soldier in the "Foreign Legion." If
you do not know what that means, you have yet all the pleasure
of an interesting discovery. The Frenchman had reached the sta-
tion the year before quite destitute and clad only in a shirt and
a pair of trousers. A day's journey north lived a young half-
breed-son of a drunken father and a Machiganga woman, who
cheated me so badly when I engaged Indian paddlers that I should
almost have preferred that he had robbed me. Yet in a sense he
had my life in his hands and I submitted. A German and a native
Peruvian ran a rubber station on a tributary two days' journey
from the first. It will be observed that the company was mixed.
They were all Peruvians, but of a sort not found in such relative
abundance elsewhere. The defeated and the outcast, as well as
the pioneer, go down eventually to the hot forested lands where
men are forgotten.
While he saw gold in every square mile of his forested region,
my clerical friend saw misery also. The brutal treatment of the
Indians by the whites of the Madre de Dios country he could speak
of only as a man reviving a painful memory. The Indians at the
station loved him devotedly. There was only justice and kind-
ness in all his dealings. Because he had large interests to look
after, he knew all the members of the tribe, and his word was law
in no hackneyed sense. A kindlier man never lived in the rubber
forest. His influence as a high-souled man of business was vastly
greater than as a missionary in this frontier society. He could
daily illustrate by practical example what he had formerly been
able only to preach.
He thought the life of the Peruvian cities debasing. The


coastal valleys were small and dry and the men who lived there
were crowded and poor (sic). The plateau was inhabited by In-
dians little better than brutes. Surely I could not think that the
fine forest Indian was lower than the so-called civilized Indian of
the plateau. There was plenty of room in the forest; and there
was wealth if you knew how to get at it. Above all you were far
from the annoying officials of the government, and therefore could
do much as you pleased so long as you paid your duties on rubber
and did not wantonly kill too many Indians.
For all his kindly tolerance of men and conditions he yet found
fault with the government. "They" neglected to build roads, to
encourage colonization, and to lower taxes on the forest products,
which were always won at great risk. Nature had done her part
well-it was only government that hindered. Moreover, the for-
ested region was the land of the future. If Peru was to be a great
nation her people would have to live largely upon the eastern
plains. Though others spoke of "going in" and "coming out" of
the rubber country as one might speak of entering and leaving a
dungeon, he always spoke of it as home. Though he now lived
in the wilderness he hoped to see the day when plantations cov-
ered the plains. A greater Peru and the forest were inseparable
ideas to him.

My second friend lived in one of the beautiful mountain val-
leys of the eastern Andes. We walked through his clean cacao
orchards and cane fields. Like the man in the forest, he believed
in the thorough inefficiency of the government; otherwise why
were there no railways for the cheaper transportation of the val-
ley products, no dams for the generation of power and the storage
of irrigation water, not even roads for mule carts? Had the gov-
ernment been stable and efficient there would now be a dense popu-
lation in the eastern valleys. Revolutions were the curse of these
remote sections of the country. The ne'er-do-wells became gen-
erals. The loafer you dismissed today might demand ten thou-
sand dollars tomorrow or threaten to destroy your plantation.


The government troops might come to help you, but they were
always too late.
For this one paid most burdensome taxes. Lima profited
thereby, not the valley planters. The coast people were the
favored of Peru anyhow. They had railroads, good steamer
service, public improvements at government expense, and com-
paratively light taxes. If the government were impartial the
eastern valleys also would have railways and a dense population.
Who could tell? Perhaps the capital city might be here. Cer-
tainly it was better to have Lima here than on the coast where
the Chileans might at any time take it again. The blessings of
the valleys were both rich and manifold. Here was neither a cold
plateau nor the hot plains, but fertile valleys with a vernal climate.
We talked of much else, but our conversation had always the
pioneer flavor. And though an old man he saw always the future
Peru growing wonderfully rich and powerful as men came to rec-
ognize and use the resources of the eastern valleys. This too was
the optimism of the pioneer. Once started on that subject he grew
eloquent. He was provincial but he was also intensely patriotic.
He never missed an opportunity to impress upon his guests that
a great state would arise when people and rulers at last recog-
nized the wealth of eastern Peru.

The people who live in the lofty highlands and mountains of
Peru have several months of real winter weather despite their
tropical latitude. In the midst of a snowstorm in the Maritime
Cordillera I met a solitary traveler bound for Cotahuasi on the
floor of a deep canyon a day's journey toward the east. It was
noon and we halted our pack trains in the lee of a huge rock shelter
to escape the bitter wind that blew down from the snow-clad peaks
of Solimana. Men who follow the same trails are fraternal. In
a moment we had food from our saddle-bags spread on the snow
under the corner of a poncho and had exchanged the best in each
other's collection as naturally as friends exchange greetings. By
the time I had told him whence and why in response to his inevita-


ble questions we had finished the food and had gathered a heap
of tola bushes for a fire. The arriero muleteerr) brought water
from a spring in the hollow below us. Though the snow thick-
ened, the wind fell. We were comfortable, even at 16,000 feet,
and called the place "The Salamanca Club." Then I questioned
him, and this is what he said:
"I live in the deep valley of Cotahuasi, but my lands lie chiefly
up here on the plateau. My family has held title to this puna ever
since the Wars of Liberation, except for a few years after one of
our early revolutions. I travel about a great deal looking after
my flocks. Only Indians live up here. Away off yonder beyond
that dark gorge is a group of their huts, and on the bright days
of summer you may see their sheep, llamas, and alpacas up here,
for on the floors of the watered valleys that girdle these volcanoes
there are more tender grasses than grow on this despoblado. I
give them corn and barley from my irrigated fields in the valley;
they give me wool and meat. The alpaca wool is most valuable.
It is hard to get, for the alpaca requires short grasses and plenty
of water, and you see there is only coarse tufted ichu grass about
us, and there are no streams. It is all right for llamas, but alpacas
require better forage.
"No one can imagine the poverty and ignorance of these moun-
tain shepherds. They are filthier than beasts. I have to watch
them constantly or they would sell parts of the flocks, which
do not belong to them, or try to exchange the valuable alpaca wool
for coca leaves in distant towns. They are frequently drunk."
"But where do they get the drinks I asked. "And what do
you pay them? "
"Oh, the drink is chiefly imported alcohol, and also chicha made
from corn. They insist on having it, and do better when I bring
them a little now and then. They get much more from the deal-
ers in the towns. As for pay, I do not pay them anything in
money except when they bring meat to the valley. Then I give
them a few reales apiece for the sheep and a little more for the
llamas. The flocks all belong to me really, but of course the poor
Indian must have a little money. Besides, I let him have a part


of the yearly increase. It is not much, but he has always lived
this way and I suppose that he is contented after a fashion."
Then he became eager to tell what wealth the mountains con-
tained in soil and climate if only the right grasses were intro-
duced by the government.
"Here, before us, are vast punas almost without habitations.
If the officials would bring in hardy Siberian grasses these lava-
covered plateaus might be carpeted with pasture. There would be
villages here and there. The native Indians easily stand the alti-
tude. This whole Cordillera might have ten times as many people.
Why does the government bother about concessions in the rubber
forests and roads to the eastern valleys when there are these vast
tracts only requiring new seeds to develop into rich pastures?
The government could thus greatly increase its revenues because
there is a heavy tax on exported wool."
Thus he talked about the bleak Cordillera until we forgot the
pounding of our hearts and our frequent gasps for breath on ac-
count of the altitude. His rosy picture of a well-populated high-
land seemed to bring us down nearer sea level where normal folks
lived. To the Indians the altitude is nothing. It has an effect, but
it is slight; at any rate they manage to reproduce their kind at
elevations that would kill a white mother. If alcohol were abol-
ished and better grasses introduced, these lofty pastures might
indeed support a much larger population. The sheep pastures of
the world are rapidly disappearing before the march of the farmer.
Here, well above the limit of cultivation, is a permanent range,
one of the great as well as permanent assets of Peru.

The man from the deep Majes Valley in the coastal desert rode
out with me through cotton fields as rich and clean as those of a
Texas plantation. He was tall, straight-limbed, and clear-eyed-
one of the energetic younger generation, yet with the blood of a
proud old family. We forded the river and rode on through vine-
yards and fig orchards loaded with fruit. His manner became
deeply earnest as he pictured the future of Peru, when her people

FIG. 4.


FIG. 5.

FIG. 4-Large ground moss-so-called yareta-used for fuel. It occurs in the zone
of Alpine vegetation and is best developed in regions where the snowline is highest.
The photograph represents a typical occurrence between Cotahuasi and Salamanca,
elevation 16,000 feet (4,880 m.). The snowline is here at 17,500 feet (5,333 m.). In
the foreground is the most widely distributed tola bush, also used for fuel.
FIG. 5-Expedition's camp near Lambrama, 15,500 feet (4,720 m.), after a snow-
storm. The location is midway in the pasture zone.

FIG. 6.


FIG. 7.
FIG. 6-Irrigated Chili Valley on the outskirts of Arequipa. The lower slopes
of El Misti are in the left background. The Alto de los Huesos or Plateau of Bones
lies on the farther side of the valley.
FIG. 7-Crossing the highest pass (Chuquito) in the Cordillera Vilcapampa, 14,500
feet (4,420 m.). Grazing is here carried on up to the snowline.


would take advantage of scientific methods and use labor-saving
machinery. He said that the methods now in use were medieval,
and he pointed to a score of concrete illustrations. Also, here was
water running to waste, yet the desert was on either hand. There
should be dams and canals. Every drop of water was needed.
The population of the valley could be easily doubled.
Capital was lacking but there was also lacking energy among
the people. Slipshod methods brought them a bare living and
they were too easily contented. Their standards of life should be
elevated. Education was still for the few, and it should be uni-
versal. A new spirit of progress was slowly developing-a more
general interest in public affairs, a desire to advance with the
more progressive nations of South America,-and when it had
reached its culmination there would be no happier land than
coastal Peru, already the seat of the densest populations and the
most highly cultivated fields.

These four .men have portrayed the four great regions of Peru
-the lowland plains, the eastern mountain valleys, the lofty
plateaus, and the valley oases of the coast. This is not all of
Peru. The mountain basins have their own peculiar qualities and
the valley heads of the coastal zone are unlike the lower valleys
and the plateau on either hand. Yet the chief characteristics of
the country are set forth with reasonable fidelity in these indi-
vidual accounts. Moreover the spirit of the Peruvians is better
shown thereby than their material resources. If this is not Peru,
it is what the Peruvians think is Peru, and to a high degree a
man's country is what he thinks it is-at least it is little more to



AMONG the scientifically unexplored regions of Peru there is
no other so alluring to the geographer as the vast forested realm
on the eastern border of the Andes. Thus it happened that within
two weeks of our arrival at Cuzco we followed the northern trail
to the great canyon of the Urubamba (Fig. 8), the gateway to the
eastern valleys and the lowland plains of the Amazon. It is here
that the adventurous river, reinforced by hundreds of mountain-
born tributaries, finally cuts its defiant way through the last of its
great topographic barriers. More than seventy rapids interrupt
its course; one of them, at the mouth of the Sirialo, is at least a
half-mile in length, and long before one reaches its head he hears
its roaring from beyond the forest-clad mountain spurs.
The great bend of the Urubamba in which the line of rapids
occurs is one of the most curious hydrographic features in Peru.
The river suddenly changes its general northward course and
striking south of, west flows nearly fifty miles toward the axis of
the mountains, where, turning almost in a complete circle, it makes
a final assault upon the eastern mountain ranges. Fifty miles
farther on it breaks through the long sharp-crested chain of the
Front Range of the Andes in a splendid gorge more than a half-
mile deep, the famous Pongo de Mainique (Fig. 9).
Our chief object in descending the line of rapids was to study
the canyon of the Urubamba below Rosalina and to make a topo-
graphic sketch map of it. We also wished to know what secrets
might be gathered in this hitherto unexplored stretch of country,
what people dwelt along its banks, and if the vague tales of de-
serted towns and fugitive tribes had any basis in fact.
We could gather almost no information as to the nature of the
river except from the report of Major Kerbey, an,American, who,
in 1897, descended the last twenty miles of the one hundred we
proposed to navigate. He pronounced the journey more hazard-


FIG. 8-Sketch map showing the route of the Yale-Peruvian Expedition of 1911
down the Urubamba Valley, together with the area of the main map and the changes
in the delineation of the bend of the Urubamba resulting from the surveys of the
Expedition. Based on the "Mapa que comprende las ultimas exploraciones y studios
verificados desde 1900 hasta 1906," 1:1,000,000, Bol. Soc. Geogr. Lima, Vol. 25, No. 3,
1909. For details of the trail from Rosalina to Pongo de Mainique see "Plano de las
Secciones y Afluentes del Rio Urubamba: 1902-1904, scale 1:150,000 by Luis M.
Robledo in Bol. Soc. Geogr. Lima, Vol. 25, No. 4, 1909. Only the lower slopes of
the long mountain spurs can be seen from the river; hence only in a few places could
observations be made on the topography of distant ranges. Paced distances of a half
mile at irregular intervals were used for the estimation of longer distances. Direc-
tions were taken by compass corrected for magnetic deviation as determined on the
seventy-third meridian (See Appendix A). The position of Rosalina on Robledo's
map was taken as a base.


ous than Major Powell's famous descent of the Grand Canyon in
1867-an obvious exaggeration. He lost his canoe in a treacher-
ous rapid, was deserted by his Indian guides, and only after a
painful march through an all but impassable jungle was he finally
able to escape on an abandoned raft. Less than a dozen have
ventured down since Major Kerbey's day. A Peruvian mining
engineer descended the river a few years ago, and four Italian
traders a year later floated down in rafts and canoes, losing al-
most all of their cargo. For nearly two months they were
marooned upon a sand-bar waiting for the river to subside. At
last they succeeded in reaching Mulanquiato, an Indian settlement
and plantation owned by Pereira, near the entrance to the last
canyon. Their attempted passage of the worst stretch of rapids
resulted in the loss of all their rubber cargo, the work of a year.
Among the half dozen others who have made the journey-Indians
and slave traders from down-river rubber posts-there is no rec-
ord of a single descent without the loss of at least one canoe.
To reach the head of canoe navigation we made a two weeks'
muleback journey north of Cuzco through the steep-walled granite
Canyon of Torontoy, and to the sugar and cacao plantations of the
middle Urubamba, or Santa Ana Valley, where we outfitted. At
Echarati, thirty miles farther on, where the heat becomes more in-
tense and the first patches of real tropical forest begin, we were
obliged to exchange our beasts for ten fresh animals accustomed to
forest work and its privations. Three days later we pitched our
tent on the river bank at Rosalina, the last outpost of the valley set-
tlements. As we dropped down the steep mountain slope before
striking the river flood plain, we passed two half-naked Machi-
ganga Indians perched on the limbs of a tree beside the trail, our
first sight of members of a tribe whose territory we had now en-
tered. Later in the day they crossed the river in a dugout, landed
on the sand-bar above us, and gathered brush for the nightly fire,
around which they lie wrapped in a single shirt woven from the
fiber of the wild cotton.
Rosalina is hardly more than a name on the map and a camp
site on the river bank. Some distance back from the left bank of

FIG. 9-The upper entrance to the Pongo de Mainique,
where the Urubamba crosses the Front Range of the Andes in
a splendid gateway 4,000 feet deep. The river is broken by an
almost continuous line of rapids.

FIG. 10--The lower half of a two-thousand-foot cliff,
granite Canyon of Torontoy, Urubamba Valley. The wall is
developed almost entirely along joint planes. It is here that
the Urubamba River crosses the granite axis of the Cordillera
Vilcapampa, the easternmost system of the Andes of southern
Peru. Compare also Figs. 144 and 145.

FIG. 11.

FIG. 12.

FIG. 11-A temporary shelter-hut on a sand-bar near the great bend of the Uru-
bamba (see map, Fig. 8). The Machiganga Indians use these cane shelters during the
fishing season, when the river is low.
FIG. 12-Thirty-foot canoe in a rapid above Pongo de Mainique.

the river is a sugar plantation, whose owner lives in the cooler
mountains, a day's journey away; on the right bank is a small
clearing planted to sugar cane and yuca, and on the edge of it is
a reed hut sheltering three inhabitants, the total population of
Rosalina. The owner asked our destination, and to our reply that
we should start in a few days for Pongo de Mainique he offered
two serious objections. No one thought of arranging so difficult
a journey in less than a. month, for canoe and Indians were diffi-
cult to find, and the river trip was dangerous. Clearly, to start
without the loss of precious time would require unusual exertion.
We immediately despatched an Indian messenger to the owner
of the small hacienda across the river while one of our peons car-
ried a second note to a priest of great influence among the forest
Indians, Padre Mendoza, then at his other home in the distant
The answer of Sefior Morales was his appearance in person to
offer the hospitality of his home and to assist us in securing canoe
and oarsmen. To our note the Padre, from his hill-top, sent a
polite answer and the offer of his large canoe if we would but
guarantee its return. His temporary illness prevented a visit
to which we had looked forward with great interest.
The morning after our arrival I started out on foot in
company with our arriero in search of the Machigangas, who
fish and hunt along the river bank during the dry season and re-
tire to their hill camps when the heavy rains begin. We soon left
the well-beaten trail and, following a faint woodland path, came
to the river bank about a half day's journey below Rosalina.
There we found a canoe hidden in an overhanging arch of vines,
and crossing the river met an Indian family who gave us further
directions. Their vague signs were but dimly understood and we
soon found ourselves in the midst of a carrizo (reed) swamp
filled with tall bamboo and cane and crossed by a network of inter-
lacing streams. We followed a faint path only to find ourselves
climbing the adjacent mountain slopes away from our destination.
Once again in the swamp we had literally to cut our way through
the thick cane, wade the numberless brooks, and follow wild ani-


mal trails until, late in the day, famished and thirsty, we came
upon a little clearing on a sand-bar, the hut of La Sama, who
knew the Machigangas and their villages.
After our long day's work we had fish and yuca, and water
to which had been added a little raw cane sugar. Late at night
La Sama returned from a trip to the Indian villages down river.
He brought with him a half-dozen Machiganga Indians, boys and
men, and around the camp fire that night gave us a dramatic ac-
count of his former trip down river. At one point he leaped to
his feet, and with an imaginary pole shifted the canoe in a swift
rapid, turned it aside from imminent wreck, and shouting at the
top of his voice over the roar of the water finally succeeded in
evading what he had made seem certain death in a whirlpool. We
kept a fire going all night long for we slept upon the ground with-
out a covering, and, strange as it may appear, the cold seemed in-
tense, though the minimum thermometer registered 59" F. The
next morning the whole party of ten sunned themselves for nearly
an hour until the flies and heat once more drove them to shelter.
Returning to camp next day by a different route was an experi-
ence of great interest, because of the light it threw on hidden trails
known only to the Indian and his friends. Slave raiders in former
years devastated the native villages and forced the Indian to con-
ceal his special trails of refuge. At one point we traversed a
cliff seventy-five feet above the river, walking on a narrow ledge
no wider than a man's foot. At another point the dim trail ap-
parently disappeared, but when we had climbed hand over hand
up the face of the cliff, by hanging vines and tree roots, we came
upon it again. Crossing the river in the canoe we had used the
day before, we shortened the return by wading the swift Chi-
rumbia waist-deep, and by crawling along a cliff face for nearly an
eighth of a mile. At the steepest point the river had so under-
cut the face that there was no trail at all, and we swung fully fif-
teen feet from one ledge to another, on a hanging vine high above
the river.
After two days' delay we left Rosalina late in the afternoon
of August 7. My party included several Machiganga Indians, La

Sama, and Dr. W. G. Erving, surgeon of the expedition. Mr. P.
B. Lanius, Moscoso (the arriero), and two peons were to take the
pack train as far as possible toward the rubber station at Pongo
de Mainique where preparations were to be made for our arrival.
At the first rapid we learned the method of our Indian boatmen.
It was to run the heavy boat head on into shallow water at one
side of a rapid and in this way "brake" it down stream. Heavily
loaded with six men, 200 pounds of baggage, a dog, and supplies
of yuca and sugar cane our twenty-five foot dugout canoe was as
rigid as a steamer, and we dropped safely down rapid after rapid
until long after dark, and by the light of a glorious tropical moon
we beached our craft in front of La Sama's hut at the edge of
the cane swamp.
Here for five days we endured a most exasperating delay. La
Sama had promised Indian boatmen and now said none had yet
been secured. Each day Indians were about to arrive, but by
nightfall the promise was broken only to be repeated the follow-
ing morning. To save our food supply-we had taken but six
days' provisions-we ate yuca soup and fish and some parched
corn, adding to this only a little from our limited stores. At last
we could wait no longer, even if the map had to be sacrificed to
the work of navigating the canoe. Our determination to leave
stirred La Sama to final action. He secured an assistant named
Wilson and embarked with us, planning to get Indians farther
down river or make the journey himself.
On August 12, at 4.30 P. M., we entered upon the second stage
of the journey. As we shot down the first long rapid and rounded
a wooded bend the view down river opened up and gave us our
first clear notion of the region we had set out to explore. From
mountain summits in the clouds long trailing spurs descend to the
river bank. In general the slopes are smooth-contoured and for-
est-clad from summit to base; only in a few places do high cliffs
diversify the scenery. The river vista everywhere includes a
rapid and small patches of playa or flood plain on the inside of
the river curves. Although a true canyon hems in the river at
two celebrated passes farther down, the upper part of the river


flows in a somewhat open valley of moderate relief, with here and
there a sentinel-like peak next the river.
A light shower fell at sunset, a typical late-afternoon down-
pour so characteristic of the tropics. We landed at a small en-
campment of Machigangas, built a fire against the scarred trunk
of a big palm, and made up our beds in the open, covering them
with our rubber ponchos. Our Indian neighbors gave us yuca and
corn, but their neighborliness went no further, for when our boat-
men attempted to sleep under their roofs they drove them out and
fastened as securely as possible the shaky door of their hut.
All our efforts to obtain Indians, both here and elsewhere,
proved fruitless. One excuse after another was overcome; they
plainly coveted the trinkets, knives, machetes, muskets, and am-
munition that we offered them; and they appeared to be friendly
enough. Only after repeated assurances of our friendship could
we learn the real reason for their refusal. Some of them were
escaped rubber pickers that had been captured by white raiders
several years before, and for them a return to the rubber country
meant enslavement, heavy floggings, and separation from their
numerous wives. The hardships they had endured, their final
escape, the cruelty of the rubber men, and the difficult passage of
the rapids below were a set of circumstances that nothing in our
list of gifts could overcome. My first request a week before had so
sharpened their memory that one of them related the story of his
wrongs, a recital intensely dramatic to the whole circle of his
listeners, including myself. Though I did not understand the de-
tails of his story, his tones and gesticulations were so effective
that they held me as well as his kinsmen of the woods spellbound
for over an hour.
It is appalling to what extent this great region has been de-
populated by the slave raiders and those arch enemies of the
savage, smallpox and malaria. At Rosalina, over sixty Indians
died of malaria in one year; and only twenty years ago seventy of
them, the entire population of the Pongo, were swept away by
smallpox. For a week we passed former camps near small aban-
doned clearings, once the home of little groups of Machigangas.

Even the summer shelter huts on the sand-bars, where the Indians
formerly gathered from their hill homes to fish, are now almost
entirely abandoned. Though our men carefully reconnoitered each
one for fear of ambush, the precaution was needless. Below the
Coribeni the Urubamba is a great silent valley. It is fitted by
Nature to support numerous villages, but its vast solitudes are
unbroken except at night, when a few families that live in the hills
slip down to the river to gather yuca and cane.
By noon of the second day's journey we reached the head of
the great rapid at the mouth of the Sirialo. We had already run
the long Coribeni rapid, visited the Indian huts at the junction
of the big Coribeni tributary, exchanged our canoe for a larger
and steadier one, and were now to run one of the ugliest rapids of
the upper river. The rapid is formed by the gravel masses that
the Sirialo brings down from the distant Cordillera Vilcapampa.
They trail along for at least a half-mile, split the river into two
main currents and nearly choke the mouth of the tributary. For
almost a mile above this great barrier the main river is ponded
and almost as quiet as a lake.
We let our craft down this rapid by ropes, and in the last dif-
ficult passage were so roughly handled by our almost unmanagea-
ble canoe as to suffer from several bad accidents. All of the party
were injured in one way or another, while I suffered a fracture
sprain of the left foot that made painful work of the rest of the
river trip.
At two points below Rosalina the Urubamba is shut in by steep
mountain slopes and vertical cliffs. Canoe navigation below the
Sirialo and Coribeni rapids is no more hazardous than on the
rapids of our northern rivers, except at the two "pongos" or nar-
row passages. The first occurs at the sharpest point of the abrupt
curve shown on the map; the second is the celebrated Pongo de
Mainique. In these narrow passages in time of high water there
is no landing for long stretches. The bow paddler stands well
forward and tries for depth and current; the stern paddler keeps
the canoe steady in its course. When paddlers are in agreement
even a heavy canoe can be directed into the most favorable chan-


nels. Our canoemen were always in disagreement, however, and
as often as not we shot down rapids at a speed of twenty miles an
hour, broadside on, with an occasional bump on projecting rocks
or boulders whose warning ordinary boatmen would not let go
The scenery at the great bend is unusually beautiful. The
tropical forest crowds the river bank, great cliffs rise sheer from
the water's edge, their faces overhung with a trailing drapery of
vines, and in the longer river vistas one may sometimes see the
distant heights of the Cordillera Vilcapampa. We shot the long
succession of rapids in the first canyon without mishap, and at
night pitched our tent on the edge of the river near the mouth of
the Manugali.
From the sharp peak opposite our camp we saw for the first
time the phenomenon of cloud-banners. A light breeze was blow-
ing from the western mountains and its vapor was condensed into
clouds that floated down the wind and dissolved, while they were
constantly forming afresh at the summit. In the night a thunder-
storm arose and swept with a roar through the vast forest above
us. The solid canopy of the tropical forest fairly resounded with
the impact of the heavy raindrops. The next morning all the
brooks from the farther side of the river were in flood and the
river discolored. When we broke camp the last mist wraiths of
the storm were still trailing through the tree-tops and wrapped
about the peak opposite our camp, only parting now and then to
give us delightful glimpses of a forest-clad summit riding high
above the clouds.
The alternation of deeps and shallows at this point in the river
and the well-developed canyon meanders are among the most cele-
brated of their kind in the world. Though shut in by high cliffs
and bordered by mountains the river exhibits a succession of
curves so regular that one might almost imagine the country a
plain from the pattern of the meanders. The succession of smooth
curves for a long distance across existing mountains points to a
time when a lowland plain with moderate slopes drained by
strongly meandering rivers was developed here. Uplift afforded

a chance for renewed down-cutting on the part of all the
streams, and the incision of the meanders. The present meanders
are, of course, not the identical ones that were formed on the low-
land plain; they are rather their descendants. Though they still
retain their strongly curved quality, and in places have almost
cut through the narrow spurs between meander loops, they are not
smooth like the meanders of the Mississippi. Here and there are
sharp irregular turns that mar the symmetry of the larger curves.
The alternating bands of hard and soft rock have had a large part
in making the course more irregular. The meanders have re-
sponded to the rock structure. Though regular in their broader
features they are irregular and deformed in detail.
Deeps and shallows are known in every vigorous river, but it is
seldom that they are so prominently developed as in these great
canyons. At one point in the upper canyon the river has been
broadened into a lake two or three times the average width of the
channel and with a scarcely perceptible current; above and below
the "laguna," as the boatmen call it, are big rapids with beds so
shallow that rocks project in many places. In the Pongo de
Mainique the river is at one place only fifty feet wide, yet so deep
that there is little current. It is on the banks of the quiet
stretches that the red forest deer grazes under leafy arcades.
Here, too, are the boa-constrictor trails several feet wide and bare
like a roadway. At night the great serpents come trailing down
to the river's edge, where the red deer and the wildcat, or so-
called "tiger," are their easy prey.
It is in such quiet stretches that one also finds the vast colonies
of water skippers. They dance continuously in the sun with an in-
cessant motion from right to left and back again. Occasionally
one dances about in circles, then suddenly darts through the entire
mass, though without striking his equally erratic neighbors. An
up-and-down motion still further complicates the effect. It is posi-
tively bewildering to look intently at the whirling multitude and
try to follow their complicated motions. Every slight breath of
wind brings a shock to the organization of the dance. For though
they dance only in the sun, their favorite places are the sunny


spots in the shade near the bank, as beneath an overhanging tree.
When the wind shakes the foliage the mottled pattern of shade and
sunlight is confused, the dance slows down, and the dancers be-
come bewildered. In a storm they seek shelter in the jungle. The
hot, quiet, sunlit days bring out literally millions of these tiny
One of the longest deeps in the whole Urubamba lies just above
the Pongo at Mulanquiato. We drifted down with a gentle cur-
rent just after sunset. Shrill whistles, like those of a steam
launch, sounded from either bank, the strange piercing notes of
the lowland cicada, cicada tibicen. Long decorated canoes, bet-
ter than any we had yet seen, were drawn up in the quiet coves.
Soon we came upon the first settlement. The owner, Sefior
Pereira, has gathered about him a group of Machigangas, and by
marrying into the tribe has attained a position of great influence
among the Indians. Upon our arrival a gun was fired to announce
to his people that strangers had come, upon which the Machi-
gangas strolled along in twos and threes from their huts, helped
us ashore with the baggage, and prepared the evening meal. Here
we sat down with five Italians, who had ventured into the rubber
fields with golden ideas as to profits. After having lost the larger
part of their merchandise, chiefly cinchona, in the rapids the year
before, they had established themselves here with the idea of pick-
ing rubber. Without capital, they followed the ways of the itiner-
ant rubber picker and had gathered "caucho," the poorer of the
two kinds of rubber. No capital is required; the picker simply
cuts down the likeliest trees, gathers the coagulated sap, and floats
it down-stream to market. After a year of this life they had
grown restless and were venturing on other schemes for the great
down-river rubber country.
A few weeks later, on returning through the forest, we met
their carriers with a few small bundles, the only part of their
cargo they had saved from the river. Without a canoe or the
means to buy one they had built rafts, which were quickly torn to
pieces in the rapids. We, too, should have said "pobres Italianos"
if their venture had not been plainly foolish. The rubber terri-

FIG. 13-Composition of tropical vegetation in the rain
forest above Pongo de Mainique, elevation 2,500 feet (760 m.).
Scores of species occur within the limits of a single photo-

FIG. 14-The mule trail in the rain forest between
Rosalina and Pongo de Mainique. Each pool is from one and
a half to two feet deep. Even in the dry season these holes
are full of water, for the sunlight penetrates the foliage at
a few places only.

FIG. 15.

FIG. 16.

FIG. 15-Topography and vegetation from the Tocate pass, 7,100 feet (2,164 m.),
between Rosalina and Pongo de Mainique. See Fig. 53a. This is in the zone of
maximum rainfall. The cumulo-nimbus clouds are typical and change to nimbus in
the early afternoon.
FIG. 16-The Expedition's thirty-foot canoe at the mouth of the Timpia below
Pongo de Mainique.

tory is difficult enough for men with capital; for men with-
out capital it is impossible. Such men either become affiliated
with organized companies or get out of the region when they
can. A few, made desperate by risks and losses, cheat and steal
their way to rubber. Two years before our trip an Italian had
murdered two Frenchmen just below the Pongo and stolen their
rubber cargo, whereupon he was shot by Machigangas under the
leadership of Domingo, the chief who was with us on a journey
from Pongo de Mainique to the mouth of the Timpia. After-
ward they brought his skull to the top of a pass along the forest
trail and set it up on a cliff at the very edge of Machiganga-land
as a warning to others of his kind.
At Mulanquiato we secured five Machigangas and a boy inter-
preter, and on August 17 made the last and most difficult portion
of our journey. We found these Indians much more skilful than
our earlier boatmen. Well-trained, alert, powerful, and with ex-
cellent team-play, they swept the canoe into this or that thread
of the current, and took one after another of the rapids with the
greatest confidence. No sooner had we passed the Sintulini rapids,
fully a mile long, than we reached the mouth of the Pomareni.
This swift tributary comes in almost at right angles to the main
river and gives rise to a confusing mass of standing waves and
conflicting currents rendered still more difficult by the whirlpool
just below the junction. So swift is the circling current of the
maelstrom that the water is hollowed out like a great bowl, a really
formidable point and one of our most dangerous passages; a little
too far to the right and we should be thrown over against the cliff-
face; a little too far to the left and we should be caught in the
whirlpool. Once in the swift current the canoe became as help-
less as a chip. It was turned this way and that, each turn head-
ing it apparently straight for destruction. But the Indians had
judged their position well, and though we seemed each moment in
a worse predicament, we at last skimmed the edge of the whirl-
pool and brought our canoe to shore just beyond its rim.
A little farther on we came to the narrow gateway of the
Pongo, where the entire volume of the river flows between cliffs


at one point no more than fifty feet apart. Here are concentrated
the worst rapids of the lower Urubamba. For nearly fifteen
miles the river is an unbroken succession of rapids, and once
within its walls the Pongo offers small chance of escape. At some
points we were fortunate enough to secure a foothold along the
edge of the river and to let our canoe down by ropes. At others
we were obliged to take chances with the current, though the great
depth of water in most of the Pongo rapids makes them really less
formidable in some respects than the shallow rapids up stream.
The chief danger here lies in the rotary motion of the water at the
sharpest bends. The effect at some places is extraordinary. A
floating object is carried across stream like a feather and driven
at express-train speed against a solid cliff. In trying to avoid one
of these cross-currents our canoe became turned midstream, we
were thrown this way and that, and at last shot through three
standing waves that half filled the canoe.
Below the worst rapids the Pongo exhibits a swift succession
of natural wonders. Fern-clad cliffs border it, a bush resembling
the juniper reaches its dainty finger-like stems far out over the
river, and the banks are heavily clad with mosses. The great
woods, silent, impenetrable, mantle the high slopes and stretch up
to the limits of vision. Cascades tumble from the cliff summits
or go rippling down the long inclines of the slate beds set almost
on edge. Finally appear the white pinnacles of limestone that hem
in the narrow lower entrance or outlet of the Pongo. Beyond this
passage one suddenly comes out upon the edge of a rolling forest-
clad region, the rubber territory, the country of the great woods.
Here the Andean realm ends, and Amazonia begins.
From the summits of the white cliffs 4,000 feet above the river
we were in a few days to have one of the most extensive views in
South America. The break between the Andean Cordillera and the
hill-dotted plains of the lower Urubamba valley is almost as sharp
as a shoreline. The rolling plains are covered with leagues upon
leagues of dense, shadowy, fever-haunted jungle. The great river
winds through in a series of splendid meanders, and with so broad
a channel as to make it visible almost to the horizon. Down river


from our lookout one can reach ocean steamers at Iquitos with
less than two weeks of travel. It is three weeks to the Pacific
via Cuzco and more than a month if one takes the route across
the high bleak lava-covered country which we were soon to cross
on our way to the coast at Camani.



THE white limestone cliffs at Pongo de Mainique are a bound-
ary between two great geographic provinces (Fig. 17). Down val-
ley are the vast river plains, drained by broad meandering rivers;

0 0o 0* s oo o oo *o o

*,^ 0,a 7 on BB. o.E TA CANOE A -NGDA 0NCH NAVo: o .
^ 0 0 0 .oTROPICAL LOWL AND. 00 :
o o o'
S Ao o *

and the adjacent tropical plains. For an explanation of the method of construction

and the symbolism of the diagram see p. 51.
MEoo o o o o C

canyoned streams (Fig. 18). There are outliers of the Andes still

the tropical horizon, but the country beyond them differs in no

N C o oo O o
o ~o o o o o ooo oo o o

Vo a o oo

important respect from that immediately below the Pongo.
The foot-path to the summit of the cliffs is too narrow and
The foot-path to the summit of the cliffs is too narrow and


steep for even the most
agile mules. It is simply
impassable for animals
without hands. In places
the packs are lowered by
ropes over steep ledges
and men must scramble
down from one project-
ing root or swinging vine
to another. In the breath-
less jungle it is a wearing
task to pack in all sup-
plies for the station be-
low the Pongo and to
carry out the season's
rubber. Recently however
the ancient track has been
replaced by a road that
was cut with great la-
bor, and by much blast-
ing, across the mountain
barrier, and at last mule
transport has taken the
place of the Indian.
In the dry season it
is a fair and delightful
country-that on the bor-
der of the mountains. In
the wet season the trav-
eler is either actually ma-
rooned or he must slosh
through rivers of mud
and water that deluge the
trails and break the
hearts of his beasts (Fig.
14). Here and there a

FIG. 18-Index map for the nine regional
diagrams in the pages following. A rep-
resents Fig. 17; B, 42; C, 36; D, 32; E, 34;
F, 25; G, 26; and H, 65.


large shallow-rooted tree has come crashing down across the
trail and with its four feet of circumference and ten feet of
plank buttress it is as difficult to move as a house. A new trail
must be cut around it. A little farther on, where the valley
wall steepens and one may look down a thousand feet of slope
to the bed of a mountain torrent, a patch of trail has become
soaked with water and the mules pick their way, trembling,
across it. Two days from Yavero one of our mules went
over the trail, and though she was finally recovered she died of
her injuries the following night. After a month's work in the
forest a mule must run free for two months to recover. The pack-
ers count on losing one beast out of five for every journey into the
forest. It is not solely a matter of work, though this is terrific;
it is quite largely a matter of forage. In spite of its profusion
of life (Fig. 13) and its really vast wealth of species, the tropical
forest is all but barren of grass. Sugar cane is a fair substitute,
but there are only a few cultivated spots. The more tender leaves
of the trees, the young shoots of cane in the carrizo swamps,
and the grass-like foliage of the low bamboo are the chief substi-
tutes for pasture. But they lead to various disorders, besides re-
quiring considerable labor on the part of the dejected peons who
must gather them after a day's heavy work with the packs.
Overcoming these enormous difficulties is expensive and some
one must pay the bill. As is usual in a pioneer region, the native
laborer pays a large part of it in unrequited toil; the rest is paid
by the rubber consumer. For this is one of the cases where a
direct road connects the civilized consumer and the barbarous-pro-
ducer. What a story it could tell if a ball of smoke-cured rubber
on a New York dock were endowed with speech-of the wet jungle
path, of enslaved peons, of vile abuses by immoral agents, of all
the toil and sickness that make the tropical lowland a reproach!
In the United States the specter of slavery haunted the na-
tional conscience almost from the beginning of national life, and
the ghost was laid only at the cost of one of the bloodiest wars in
history. In other countries, as in sugar-producing Brazil, the
freeing of the slaves meant not a war but the verge of financial

FIG. 19.

FIG. 20.
FIG. 19-Moss-draped trees in the rain forest near Abra Tocate between Rosalina
and Pongo de Mainique.
FIG. 20-Yavero, a rubber station on the Yavero (Paucartambo) River, a tributary
of the Urubamba. Elevation 1,600 feet (490 m.).


FIG. 21-Clearing in the tropical forest between Rosalina and Pabellon. This
represents the border region where the forest-dwelling Machiganga Indians and the
mountain Indians meet. The clearings are occupied by Machigangas whose chief crops
are yuca and corn; in the extreme upper left-hand corner are grassy slopes occupied
by Quechua herdsmen and farmers who grow potatoes and corn.


ruin besides a fundamental change in the social order and prob-
lems as complex and wearisome as any that war can bring.
Everywhere abolition was secured at frightful cost.
The spirit that upheld the new founders of the western repub-
lics in driving out slavery was admirable, but as much cannot be
said of their work of reconstruction. We like to pass over those
dark days in our own history. In South America there has lin-
gered from the old slave-holding days down to the present, a labor
system more insidious than slavery, yet no less revolting in its de-
tails, and infinitely more difficult to stamp out. It is called
peonage; it should be called slavery. In Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil
it flourishes now as it ever did in the fruitful soil of the interior
provinces where law and order are bywords and where the scarcity
of workmen will long impel men to enslave labor when they can-
not employ it. Peonage is slavery, though as in all slave systems
there are many forms under which the system is worked out. We
commonly think that the typical slave is one who is made to work
hard, given but little food, and at the slightest provocation is tied
to a post and brutally whipped. This is indeed the fate of many
slaves or "peons" so-called, in the Amazon forests; but it is no
more the rule than it was in the South before the war, for a peon
is a valuable piece of property and if a slave raider travel five
hundred miles through forest and jungle-swamp to capture an
Indian you may depend upon it that he will not beat him to death
merely for the fun of it.
That unjust and frightfully cruel floggings are inflicted at
times and in some places is of course a result of the lack of official
restraint that drunken owners far from the arm of the law some-
times enjoy. When a man obtains a rubber concession from the
government he buys a kingdom. Many of the rubber territories
are so remote from the cities that officials can with great difficulty
be secured to stay at the customs ports. High salaries must be
paid, heavy taxes collected, and grafting of the most flagrant kind
winked at. Often the concessionaire himself is chief magistrate
of his kingdom by law. Under such a system, remote from all
civilizing influences, the rubber producer himself oftentimes a law-
.. ".. .....
....... ..

*** *
*..* -. ... .


less. border character or a downright criminal, no system of gov-
ernment would be adequate, least of all one like peonage that per-
mits or ignores flagrant wrongs because it is so expensive to en-
force justice.
The peonage system continues by reason of that extraordinary
difficulty in the development of the tropical lowland of South
America-the lack of a labor supply. The population of Amazonia
now numbers less than one person to the square mile. The people
are distributed in small groups of a dozen to twenty each in scat-
tered villages along the river banks or in concealed clearings
reached by trails known only to the Indians. Nearly all of them
still live in the same primitive state in which they lived at the
time of the Discovery. In the Urubamba region a single cotton
shirt is worn by the married men and women, while the girls
and boys in many cases go entirely naked except for a loincloth
or a necklace of nuts or monkeys' teeth (Fig. 23). A cane hut
with a thatch to keep out the heavy rains is their shelter and their
food is the yuca, sugar cane, Indian corn, bananas of many kinds,
and fish. A patch of yuca once planted will need but the most
trifling attention for years. The small spider monkey is their
greatest delicacy and to procure it they will often abandon every
other project and return at their own sweet and belated will.
SIn the midst of this natural life of the forest-dwelling Indian
appears the rubber man, who, to gather rubber, must have rubber
"pickers." If he lives on the edge of the great Andean Cordil-
lera, laborers may be secured from some of the lower valleys, but
they must be paid well for even a temporary stay in the hot and
unhealthful lowlands. Farther out in the great forest country the
plateau Indians will not go and only the scattered tribes remain
from which to recruit laborers. For the nature-life of the Indian
what has the rubber gatherer to offer? Money? The Indian uses
it for ornament only. When I once tried with money to pay an
Indian for a week's services he refused it. In exchange for his
severe labor he wanted nothing more than a fish-hook and a ring,
the two costing not more than a penny apiece! When his love for
ornament has once b.en.igrati.fe4.the Indian ceases to work. His
S. .: : :..
*. .

*. .. ". .; .'..

FIG. 22-Trading with Machiganga Indians in a reed swamp at Santa Anato, Urubamba Valley, below Rosalina. Just outside the
picture on the right is a platform on which corn is stored for protection against rodents and mildew. On the left is the corner of a grass-
thatched cane hut.




FIG. 23-Ornaments and fabrics of the Machiganga Indians at Yavero. The nuts are made up into strings, pendants, and heavy
necklaces. To the left of the center is one that contains feathers and four drumsticks of a bird about the size of a small wild turkey
-probably the so-called turkey inhabiting the eastern mountain valleys and the adjacent border of the plains, and hunted as an im-
portant source of food. The cord in the upper right-hand corner is used most commonly for heel supports in climbing trees. The open-
work sack is convenient for carrying game, fish, and fruit; the finely woven sacks are used for carrying red ochre for ornamenting or daub-
ing faces and arms. They are also used for carrying corn, trinkets, and game.


food and shelter and clothing are of the most primitive kind, but
they are the best in the world for him because they are the only
kind he has known. So where money and finery fail the lash comes
in. The rubber man says that the Indian is lazy and must be
made to work; that there is a great deal of work to be done and
the Indian is the only laborer who can be found; that if rubber
and chocolate are produced the Indian must be made to produce
them; and that if he will not produce them for pay he must be
It is a law of the rubber country that when an Indian falls into
debt to a white man he must work for the latter until the debt is
discharged. If he runs away before the debt is canceled or if he
refuses to work or does too little work he may be flogged. Under
special conditions such laws are wise. In the hands of the rubber
men they are the basis of slavery. For, once the rubber interests
begin to suffer, the promoters look around for a chance to capture
free Indians. An expedition is fitted out that spends weeks ex-
ploring this river or that in getting on the track of unattached In-
dians. When a settlement is found the men are enslaved and taken
long distances from home finally to reach a rubber property.
There they are given a corner of a hut to sleep in, a few cheap
clothes, a rubber-picking outfit, and a name. In return for these
articles the unwilling Indian is charged any fanciful price that
comes into the mind of his "owner," and he must thereupon work
at a per diem wage also fixed by the owner. Since his obligations
increase with time, the Indian may die over two thousand dollars
in debt!
Peonage has left frightful scars upon the country. In some
places the Indians are fugitives, cultivating little farms in se-
creted places but visiting them only at night or after carefully re-
connoitering the spot. They change their camps frequently and
make their way from place to place by secret trails, now spending
a night or two under the shelter of a few palm leaves on a sand-
bar, again concealing themselves in almost impenetrable jungle.
If the hunter sometimes discovers a beaten track he follows it only
to find it ending on a cliff face or on the edge of a lagoon where


concealment is perfect. There are tribes that shoot the white man
at sight and regard him as their bitterest enemy. Experience has
led them to believe that only a dead white is a good white, revers-
ing our saying about the North American Indian; and that even
when he comes among them on peaceful errands he is likely to
leave behind him a trail of syphilis and other venereal diseases
scarcely less deadly than his bullets.
However, the peonage system is not hideous everywhere and in
all its aspects. There are white owners who realize that in the
long run the friendship of the Indians is an asset far greater than
unwilling service and deadly hatred. Some of them have indeed
intermarried with the Indians and live among them in a state but
little above savagery. In the Mamor6 country are a few owners
of original princely concessions who have grown enormously
wealthy and yet who continue to live a primitive life among their
scores of illegitimate descendants. The Indians look upon then
as benefactors, as indeed many of them are, defending the Indians
from ill treatment by other whites, giving them clothing and orna-
ments, and exacting from them only a moderate amount of labor.
In some cases indeed the whites have gained more than simple
gratitude for their humane treatment of the Indians, some of
whom serve their masters with real devotion.
When the "rubber barons" wish to discourage investigation
of their system they invite the traveler to leave and he is given
a canoe and oarsmen with which to make his way out of the dis-
trict. Refusal to accept an offer of canoes and men is a declara-
tion of war. An agent of one of the London companies accepted
such a challenge and was promptly told that he would not leave
the territory alive. The threat would have held true in the case
of a less skilful man. Though Indians slept in the canoes to pre-
vent their seizure, he slipped past the guards in the night, swam
to the opposite shore, and there secured a canoe within which he
made a difficult journey down river to the nearest post where food
and an outfit could be secured.
A few companies operating on or near the border of the Cordil-
lera have adopted a normal labor system, dependent chiefly upon


people from the plateau and upon the thoroughly willing assist-
ance of well-paid forest Indians. The Compafiia Gomera de
Mainique at Puerto Mainique just below the Pongo is one of these
and its development of the region without violation of native
rights is in the highest degree praiseworthy. In fact the whole
conduct of this company is interesting to a geographer, as it
reflects at every point the physical nature of the country.
The government is eager to secure foreign capital, but in east-
ern Peru can offer practically nothing more than virgin wealth,
that is, land and the natural resources of the land. There are no
roads, virtually no trails, no telegraph lines, and in most cases no
labor. Since the old Spanish grants ran at right angles to the
river so as to give the owners a cross-section of varied resources,
the up-river plantations do not extend down into the rubber coun-
try. Hence the more heavily forested lower valleys and plains
are the property of the state. A man can buy a piece of land
down there, but from any tract within ordinary means only a
primitive living can be obtained. The pioneers therefore are the
rubber men who produce a precious substance that can stand the
enormous tax on production and transportation. They do not
want the land-only the exclusive right to tap the rubber trees
upon it. Thus there has arisen the concession plan whereby a
large tract is obtained under conditions of money payment or of
improvements that will attract settlers or of a tax on the export.
The "caucho" or poorer rubber of the Urubamba Valley be-
gins at 3,000 feet (915 m.) and the "hevea" or better class is a
lower-valley and plains product. The rubber trees thereabouts
produce 60 grams (2 ozs.) of dry rubber each week for eight
months. After yielding rubber for this length of time a tree is
allowed to rest four or five years. "Caucho" is produced from
trees that are cut down and ringed with machetes, but it is from
fifty to sixty cents cheaper owing to the impurities that get into
it. The wood, not the nut, of the Palma carmona is used for smok-
ing or "curing" the rubber. The government had long been
urged to build a road into the region in place of the miserable
track-absolutely impassable in the wet season-that heretofore


constituted the sole means of exit. About ten years ago Sefior
Robledo at last built a government trail from Rosalina to Yavero
about 100 miles long. While it is a wretched trail it is better than
the old one, for it is more direct and it is better drained. In the
wet season parts of it are turned into rivers and lakes, but it is
probably the best that could be done with the small grant of twenty
thousand dollars.
With at least an improvement in the trail it became possible
for a rubber company to induce cargadores or packers to trans-
port merchandise and rubber and to have a fair chance of success.
Whereupon a rubber company was organized which obtained a con-
cession of 28,000 hectares (69,188 acres) of land on condition that
the company finish a road one and one-half meters wide to the
Pongo, connecting with the road which the government had ex-
tended to Yavero. The land given in payment was not continuous
but was selected in lots by the company in such a way as to secure
the best rubber trees over an area several times the size of the
concession. The road was finished by William Tell after four
years' work at a cost of about seventy-five thousand dollars. The
last part of it was' blasted out of slate and limestone and in 1912
the first pack train entered Puerto Mainique.
The first rubber was taken out in November, 1910, and produc-
tive possibilities proved by the collection of 9,000 kilos (19,841.
pounds) in eight months.
If a main road were the chief problem of the rubber company
the business would soon be on a paying basis, but for every mile
of road there must be cut several miles of narrow trail (Fig. 14),
as the rubber trees grow scattered about-a clump of a half dozen
here and five hundred feet farther on another clump and only scat-
tered individuals between. Furthermore, about twenty-five years
ago rubber men from the Ucayali came up here in launches and
canoes and cut down large numbers of trees within reach of the
water courses and by ringing the trunks every few feet with
machetes "bled" them rapidly and thus covered a large territory
in a short time, and made huge sums of money when the price of
rubber was high. Only a few of the small trees that were left


are now mature. These, the mature trees that were overlooked,
and the virgin stands farther from the rivers are the present
sources of rubber.
In addition to the trails small cabins must be built to shelter
the hired laborers from the plateau, many of whom bring along
their women folk to cook for them. The combined expense to a
company of these necessary improvements before production can
begin is exceedingly heavy. There is only one alternative for the
prospective exploiter: to become a vagrant rubber gatherer. With
tents, guns, machetes, cloth, baubles for trading, tinned food for
emergencies, and with pockets full of English gold parties have
started out to seek fortunes in the rubber forests. If the friend-
ship of a party of Indians can be secured by adequate gifts large
amounts of rubber can be gathered in a short time, for the Indians
know where the rubber trees grow. On the other hand, many for-
tunes have been lost in the rubber country. Some of the tribes
have been badly treated by other adventurers and attack the new-
comers from ambush or gather rubber for a while only to over-
turn the canoe in a rapid and let the river relieve them of selfish
The Compaiia Gomera de Mainique started out by securing the
good-will of the forest Indians, the Machigangas. They come
and go in friendly visits to the port at Yavero. If one of them is
sick he can secure free medicine from the agent. If he wishes
goods on credit he has only to ask for them, for the agent knows
that the Indian's sense of fairness will bring him back to work
for the company. Without previous notice a group of Indians
"We owe," they announce.
"Good," says the agent, "build me a house."
They select the trees. Before they cut them down they address
them solemnly. The trees must not hold their destruction against
the Indians and they must not try to resist the sharp machetes.
Then the Indians set to work. They fell a tree, bind it with light
ropes woven from the wild cotton, and haul it to its place. That
is all for the day. They play in the sun, do a little hunting, or


look over the agent's house, touching everything, talking little,
exclaiming much. They dip their wet fingers in the sugar bowl and
taste, turn salt out upon their hands, hold colored solutions from
the medicine chest up to the light, and pull out and push in the
corks of the bottles. At the end of a month or two the house is
done. Then they gather their women and babies together and say:
"Now we go," without asking if the work corresponds with the
cost of the articles they had bought. Their judgment is good how-
ever. Their work is almost always more valuable than the arti-
cles. Then they shake hands all around.
"We will come again," they say, and in a moment have disap-
peared in the jungle that overhangs the trail.
With such labor the Compafiia Gomera de Mainique can do
something, but it is not much. The regular seasonal tasks of road-
building and rubber-picking must be done by imported labor. This
is secured chiefly at Abancay, where live groups of plateau In-
dians that have become accustomed to the warm climate of the
Abancay basin. They are employed for eight or ten months at an
average rate of fifty cents gold per day, and receive in addition
only the simplest articles of food.
At the end of the season the gang leaders are paid a gratifica-
cirn, or bonus, the size of which depends upon the amount of rub-
ber collected, and this in turn depends upon the size of the gang
and the degree of willingness to work. In the books of the com-
pany I saw a record of gratificacidnes running as high as $600
in gold for a season's work.
Some of the laborers become sick and are cared for by the
agent until they recover or can be sent back to their homes. Most
of them have fever before they return.
The rubber costs the company two soles ($1.00) produced at
Yavero. The two weeks' transportation to Cuzco costs three and
a half soles ($1.75) per twenty-five pounds. The exported rubber,
known to the trade as Mollendo rubber, in contrast to the finer
"ParS" rubber from the lower Amazon, is shipped to Hamburg.
The cost for transportation from port to port is $24.00 per Eng-
lish ton (1,016 kilos). There is a Peruvian tax of 8 per cent of


the net value in Europe, and a territorial tax of two soles ($1.00)
per hundred pounds. All supplies except the few vegetables
grown on the spot cost tremendously. Even dynamite, hoes, cloth-
ing, rice-to mention only a few necessities-must pay the heavy
cost of transportation after imposts, railroad and ocean freight,
storage and agents' percentages are added. The effect of a dis-
turbed market is extreme. When, in 1911, the price of rubber fell
to $1.50 a kilo at Hamburg the company ceased exporting. When it
dropped still lower in 1912 production also stopped, and it is still
doubtful, in view of the growing competition of the East-Indian
plantations with their cheap labor, whether operations will ever be
resumed. Within three years no less than a dozen large com-
panies in eastern Peru and Bolivia have ceased operations. In one
concession on the Madre de Dios the withdrawal of the agents and
laborers from the posts turned at last into flight, as the forest
Indians, on learning the company's policy, rapidly ascended the
river in force, committing numerous depredations. The great
war has also added to the difficulties of production.
Facts like these are vital in the consideration of the future of
the Amazon basin and especially its habitability. It was the
dream of Humboldt that great cities should arise in the midst of
the tropical forests of the Amazon and that the whole lowland
plain of that river basin should become the home of happy mil-
lions. Humboldt's vision may have been correct, though a hun-
dred years have brought us but little nearer its realization. Now,
as in the past four centuries, man finds his hands too feeble to con-
trol the great elemental forces which have shaped history. The
most he can hope for in the next hundred years at least is the
ability to dodge Nature a little more successfully, and here and
there by studies in tropical hygiene and medicine, by the substi-
tution of water-power for human energy, to carry a few of the out-
posts and prepare the way for a final assault in the war against
the hard conditions of climate and relief. We hear of the Madeira-
Mamor6 railroad, 200 miles long, in the heart of a tropical forest
and of the commercial revolution it will bring. Do we realize that
the forest which overhangs the rails is as big as the whole plain


between the Rockies and the Appalachians, and that the proposed
line would extend only as far as from St. Louis to Kansas City,
or from Galveston to New Orleans?
Even if twenty whites were eager to go where now there is but
one reluctant pioneer, we should still have but a halting develop-
ment on account of the scarcity of labor. When, three hundred
years ago, the Isthmus of Panama stood in his way, Gomara
wrote to his king: "There are mountains, but there are also
hands," as if men could be conjured up from the tropical jungle.
From that day to this the scarcity of labor has been the chief dif-
ficulty in the lowland regions of tropical South America. Even
when medicine shall have been advanced to the point where resi-
dence in the tropics can be made safe, the Amazon basin will lack
an adequate supply of workmen. Where Humboldt saw thriving
cities, the population is still less than one to the square mile in
an area as large as fifteen of our Mississippi Valley states. We
hear much about a rich soil and little about intolerable insects;
the climate favors a good growth of vegetation, but a man can
starve in a tropical forest as easily as in a desert; certain tribu-
taries of the Negro are bordered by rich rubber forests, yet not
a single Indian hut may be found along their banks. Will men
of the white race dig up the rank vegetation, sleep in grass ham-
mocks, live in the hot and humid air, or will they stay in the cooler
regions of the north and south? Will they rear children in the
temperate zones, or bury them in the tropics ?
What Gorgas did for Panama was done for intelligent people.
Can it be duplicated in the case of ignorant and stupid laborers?
Shall the white man with wits fight it out with Nature in a tropical
forest, or fight it out with his equals under better skies?
The tropics must be won by strong hands of the lowlier classes
who are ignorant or careless of hygiene, and not by the khaki-clad
robust young men like those who work at Panama. Tropical medi-
cine can do something for these folk, but it cannot do much. And
we cannot surround every laborer's cottage with expensive
screens, oiled ditches, and well-kept lawns. There is a practical
optimism and a sentimental optimism. The one is based on facts;

the other on assumptions. It is pleasant to think that the tropical
forest may be conquered. It is nonsense to say that we are now
conquering it in any comprehensive and permanent way. That
sort of conquest is still a dream, as when Humboldt wrote over a
hundred years ago.



THE people of a tropical forest live under conditions not unlike
those of the desert. The Sahara contains 2,000,000 persons within
its borders, a density of one-half to the square mile. This is al-
most precisely the density of population of a tract of equivalent
size in the lowland forests of South America. Like the oases
groups in the desert of aridity are the scattered groups along the
river margins of the forest. The desert trails run from spring to
spring or along a valley floor where there is seepage or an inter-
mittent stream; the rivers are the highways of the forest, the
flowing roads, and away from them one is lost in as true a sense
as one may be lost in the desert.
A man may easily starve in the tropical forest. Before start-
ing on even a short journey of two or three days a forest Indian
stocks his canoe with sugar cane and yuca and a little parched
corn. He knows the settlements as well as his desert brother
knows the springs. The Pahute Indian of Utah lives in the irri-
gated valleys and makes annual excursions across the desert to
the distant mountains to gather the seeds of the nut pine. The
Machiganga lives in the hills above the Urubamba and annually
comes down through the forest to the river to fish during the dry
The Machigangas are one of the important tribes of the Ama-
zon basin. Though they are dispersed to some extent upon the
plains their chief groups are scattered through the heads of a
large number of valleys near the eastern border of the Andes.
Chief among the valleys they occupy are the Pilcopata, Tono,
Pifii-pifii, Yavero, Yuyato, Shirineiri, Ticumpinea, Timpia, and
Camisea (Fig. 203). In their distribution, in their relations with
each other, in their manner of life, and to some extent in their
personal traits, they display characteristics strikingly like those


seen in desert peoples. Though the forest that surrounds them
suggests plenty and the rivers the possibility of free movement
with easy intercourse, the struggle of life, as in the desert, is
against useless things. Travel in the desert is a conflict with heat
and aridity; but travel in the tropic forest is a struggle against
space, heat, and a superabundant and all but useless vegetation.
The Machigangas are one of the subtribes of the Campas In-
dians, one of the most numerous groups in the Amazon Valley. It
is estimated that there are in all about 14,000 to 16,000 of them.
Each subtribe numbers from one to four thousand, and the terri-
tory they occupy extends from the limits of the last plantations-
for example, Rosalina in the Urubamba Valley-downstream be-
yond the edge of the plains. Among them three subtribes are still
hostile to the whites: the Cashibos, the Chonta Campas, and the
Campas Bravos.
In certain cases the Cashibos are said to be anthropophagous,
in the belief that they will assume the strength and intellect of
those they eat. This group is also continuously at war with its
neighbors, goes naked, uses stone hatchets, as in ages past, be-
cause of its isolation and unfriendliness, and defends the entrances
to the tribal huts with dart and traps. The Cashibos are diminish-
ing in numbers and are now scattered through the valley of the
Gran Pajonal, the left bank of the Pachitea, and the Pampa del
The friendliest tribes live in the higher valley heads, where
they have constant communication with the whites. The use of the
bow and arrow has not, however, been discontinued among them,
in spite of the wide introduction of the old-fashioned muzzle-load-
ing shotgun, which they prize much more highly than the latest
rifle or breech-loading shotgun because of its simplicity and cheap-

The Cashibos of the Pachitea are the tribe for whom the Piros besought Herndon
to produce "some great and infectious disease" which could be carried up the river
and let loose amongst them (Herndon, Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon,
Washington, 1854, Vol. 1, p. 196). This would-be artfulness suggests itself as some-
thing of a match against the cunning of the Cashibos whom rumor reports to imitate
the sounds of the forest animals with such skill as to betray into their hands the
hunters of other tribes (see von Tschudi, Travels in Peru During the Years 1838-1842,
translated from the German by Thomasina Ross, New York, 1849, p. 404).


ness. Accidents are frequent among them owing to the careless
use of fire-arms. On our last day's journey on the Urubamba
above the mouth of the Timpia one of our Indian boys dropped his
canoe pole on the hammer of a loaded shotgun, and not only shot
his own fingers to pieces, but gravely wounded his father (Fig. 2).
In spite of his suffering the old chief directed our work at the
canoe and even was able to tell us the location of the most favora-
ble channel. Though the night that followed was as black as ink,
with even the stars obscured by a rising storm, his directions
never failed. We poled our way up five long rapids without spe-
cial difficulties, now working into the lee of a rock whose location
he knew within a few yards, now paddling furiously across the
channel to catch the upstream current of an eddy.
The principal groups of Machigangas live in the middle Uru-
bamba and its tributaries, the Yavero, Yuyato, Shirineiri, Ticum-
pinea, Timpia, Pachitea, and others. There is a marked difference
in the use of the land and the mode of life among the different
groups of this subtribe. Those who live in the lower plains and
river "playas," as the patches of flood plain are called, have a sin-
gle permanent dwelling and alternately fish and hunt. Those that
live on hill farms have temporary reed huts on the nearest sand-
bars and spend the best months of the dry season-April to Oc-
tober-in fishing and drying fish to be carried to their mountain
homes (Fig. 21). Some families even duplicate chacras or farms
at the river bank and grow yuca and sugar cane. In latter years
smallpox, malaria, and the rubber hunters have destroyed many
of the river villages and driven the Indians to permanent resi-
dence in the hills or, where raids occur, along secret trails to hid-
den camps.
Their system of agriculture is strikingly adapted to some im-
portant features of tropical soil. The thin hillside soils of the
region are but poorly stocked with humus, even in their virgin
condition. Fallen trees and foliage decay so quickly that the layer
of forest mold is exceedingly thin and the little that is incor-
porated in the soil is confined to a shallow surface layer. To meet
these special conditions the Indian makes new clearings by gir-


dling and burning the trees. When the soil becomes worn out and
the crops diminish, the old clearing is abandoned and allowed to
revert to natural growth and a new farm is planted to corn and
yuca. The population is so scattered and thin that the land assign-
ment system current among the plateau Indians is not practised
among the Machigangas. Several families commonly live together
and may be separated from their nearest neighbors by many miles
of forested mountains. The land is free for all, and, though some
heavy labor is necessary to clear it, once a small patch is cleared
it is easy to extend the tract by limited annual cuttings. Local
tracts of naturally unforested land are rarely planted, chiefly be-
cause the absence of shade has allowed the sun to burn out the
limited humus supply and to prevent more from accumulating.
The best soil of the mountain slopes is found where there is the
heaviest growth of timber, the deepest shade, the most humus, and
good natural drainage. It is the same on the playas along the
river; the recent additions to the flood plain are easy to cultivate,
but they lack humus and a fine matrix which retains moisture
and prevents drought or at least physiologic dryness. Here, too,
the timbered areas or the cane swamps are always selected for
The traditions of the Machigangas go back to the time of the
Inca conquest, when the forest Indians, the "Antis," were subju-
gated and compelled to pay tribute.2 When the Inca family itself
fled from Cuzco after the Spanish Conquest and sought refuge in
the wilderness it was to the Machiganga country that they came by
way of the Vilcabamba and Pampaconas Valleys. Afterward came
the Spaniards and though they did not exercise governmental au-

2 The early chronicles contain several references to Antisuyu and the Antis.
Garcilaso de la Vega's description of the Inca conquests in Antisuyu are well known
(Royal Commentaries of the Yncas, Book 4, Chapters 16 and 17, Hakluyt Soc. Publs.,
1st Ser., No. 41, 1869 and Book 7, Chapters 13 and 14, No. 45, 1871). Salcamayhua
who also chronicles these conquests relates a legend concerning the tribute payers
of the eastern valleys. On one occasion, he says, three hundred Antis came laden with
gold from Opatari. Their arrival at Cuzco was coincident with a killing frost that
ruined all the crops of the basin whence the three hundred fortunates were ordered
with their gold to the top of the high hill of Pachatucsa (Pachatusun) and there
buried with it (An Account of the Antiquities of Peru, Hakluyt Soc. Publs., 1st
Ser., No. 48, 1873).


thority over the forest Indians they had close relations with them.
Land grants were made to white pioneers for special services or
through sale and with the land often went the right to exploit the
people on it. Some of the concessions were owned by people who
for generations knew nothing save by hearsay of the Indians who
dwelt in the great forests of the valleys. In later years they have
been exploring their lands and establishing so-called relations
whereby the savage "buys" a dollar's worth of powder or knives
for whatever number of dollars' worth of rubber the owner may
care to extract from him.
The forest Indian is still master of his lands throughout most
of the Machiganga country. He is cruelly enslaved at the rubber
posts, held by the loose bonds of a desultory trade at others, and
in a few places, as at Pongo de Mainique, gives service for both
love and profit, but in many places it is impossible to establish con-
trol or influence. The lowland Indian never falls into the abject
condition of his Quechua brother on 'the plateau. He is self-re-
liant, proud, and independent. He neither cringes before a white
nor looks up to him as a superior being. I was greatly impressed
by the bearing of the first of the forest tribes I met in August,
1911, at Santo Anato. I had built a brisk fire and was enjoying
its comfort when La Sama returned with some Indians whom he
had secured to clear his playa. The tallest of the lot, wearing a
colored band of deer skin around his thick hair and a gaudy bunch
of yellow feathers down his back, came up, looked me squarely in
the eye, and asked
"Tatiry payta?" (What is your name?)
When I replied he quietly sat down by the fire, helping himself
to the roasted corn I had prepared in the hot ashes. A few days
later when we came to the head of a rapid I was busy sketching-in
my topographic map and did not hear his twice repeated request
to leave the boat while the party reconnoitered the rapid. Watch-
ing his opportunity he came alongside from the rear-he was
steersman-and, turning just as he was leaving the boat, gave me
a whack in the forehead with his open palm. La Sama saw the
motion and protested. The surly answer was:


"I twice asked him to get out and he didn't move. What does
he think we run the canoe to the bank for?"
To him the making of a map was inexplicable; I was merely a
stupid white person who didn't know enough to get out of a canoe
when told!
The plateau Indian has been kicked about so long that all his
independence has been.destroyed. His goods have been stolen, his
services demanded without recompense, in many places he has no
right to land, and his few real rights are abused beyond belief. The
difference between him and the forest Indian is due quite largely
to differences of environment. The plateau Indian is agricultural,
the forest Indian nomadic and in a hunting stage of development;
the unforested plateau offers no means for concealment of person
or property, the forest offers hidden and difficult paths, easy
means for concealment, for ambush, and for wide dispersal of an
afflicted tribe. The brutal white of the plateau follows altogether
different methods when he finds himself in the Indian country, far
from military assistance, surrounded by fearless savages. He
may cheat but he does not steal, and his brutality is always care-
fully suited to both time and place.
The Machigangas are now confined to the forest, but the limits
of their territory were once farther upstream, where they were in
frequent conflict with the plateau Indians. As late as 1835, ac-
cording to General Miller,3 they occupied the land as far upstream
as the "Encuentro" (junction) of the Urubamba and the Yanatili
(Fig. 53). Miller likewise notes that the Chuntaguirus, "a
superior race of Indians" who lived "toward the Marafion,"
came up the river "200 leagues" to barter with the people
"They bring parrots and other birds, monkeys, cotton robes
white and painted, wax balsams, feet of the gran bestia, feather
ornaments for the head, and tiger and other skins, which they ex-
change for hatchets, knives, scissors, needles, buttons, and any
sort of glittering bauble."

8 Notice of a Journey to the Northward and also to the Northeastward of Cuzco.
Royal Geog. Soc. Journ., Vol. 6, 1836, pp. 174-186.


On their yearly excursions they traveled in a band numbering
from 200 to 300, since at the mouth of the Paucartambo (Yavero)
they were generally set upon by the Pucapacures. The journey
upstream required three months; with the current they returned
home in fifteen days.
Their place of meeting at the mouth of the Yanatili was a
response to a long strip of grassland that extends down the deep
and dry Urubamba Valley, as shown in Figs. 53-B and 55. The
wet forests, in which the Machigangas live, cover the hills back
of the valley plantations; the belt of dry grassland terminates
far within the general limits of the red man's domain and only
2,000 feet above the sea. It is in this strip of low grassland that
on the one hand the highland and valley dwellers, and on the other
the Indians of the hot forested valleys and the adjacent lowland
found a convenient place for barter. The same physiographic
features are repeated in adjacent valleys of large size that drain
the eastern aspect of the Peruvian Andes, and in each case they
have given rise to the periodic excursions of the trader.
These annual journeys are no longer made. The planters have
crept down valley. The two best playas below Rosalina are now
being cleared. Only a little space remains between the lowest val-
ley plantations and the highest rubber stations. Furthermore, the
Indians have been enslaved by the rubber men from the Ucayali.
The Machigangas, many of whom are runaway peons, will no
longer take cargoes down valley for fear of recapture. They have
the cautious spirit of fugitives except in their remote valleys.
There they are secure and now and then reassert their old spirit
when a lawless trader tries to browbeat them into an unprofitable
trade. Also, they are yielding to the alluring call of the planter.
At Santo Anato they are clearing a playa in exchange for am-
munition, machetes, brandy, and baubles. They no longer make
annual excursions to get these things. They have only to call at
the nearest plantation. There is always a wolf before the door of
the planter-the lack of labor. Yet, as on every frontier, he turns
wolf himself when the lambs come, and without shame takes a
week's work for a penny mirror, or, worse still, supplies them


with firewater, for that will surely bring them back to him. Since
this is expensive they return to their tribal haunts with nothing
except a debauched spirit and an appetite from which they can-
not run away as they did from their task masters in the rubber
forest. Hence the vicious circle: more brandy, more labor; more
labor, more cleared land; more cleared land, more brandy; more
brandy, less Indian. But by that time the planter has a large
sugar estate. Then he can begin to buy the more expensive
plateau labor, and in turn debauch it.
Nature as well as man works against the scattered tribes of
Machigangas and their forest kinsmen. Their country is exceed-
ingly broken by ramifying mountain spurs and valleys overhung
with cliffs or bordered by bold, wet, fern-clad slopes. It is
useless to try to cut your way by a direct route from one
point to another. The country is mantled with heavy forest.
You must follow the valleys, the ancient trails of the people. The
larger valleys offer smooth sand-bars along the border of which
canoes may be towed upstream, and there are little cultivated
places for camps. But only a few of the tribes live along them,
for they are also more accessible to the rubbermen. The smaller
valleys, difficult of access, are more secure and there the tribal rem-
nants live today. While the broken country thus offers a refuge
to fugitive bands it is the broken country and its forest cover that
combine to break up the population into small groups and keep
them in an isolated and quarrelsome state. Chronic quarreling
is not only the product of mere lack of contact. It is due to many
causes, among which is a union of the habit of migration and
divergent tribal speech. Every tribe has its own peculiar words
in addition to those common to the group of tribes to which it be-
longs. Moreover each group of a tribe has its distinctive words.
I have seen and used carefully prepared vocabularies-no two of
which are alike throughout. They serve for communication with
only a limited number of families. These peculiarities increase
as experiences vary and new situations call for additions to or
changes in their vocabularies, and when migrating tribes meet
their speech may be so unlike as to make communication difficult.


Thus arise suspicion, misunderstanding, plunder, and chronic war.
Had they been a united people their defense of their rough coun-
try might have been successful. The tribes have been divided and
now and again, to get firearms and ammunition with which to raid
a neighbor, a tribe has joined its fortunes to those of vagrant rub-
ber pickers only to find in time that its women were debased, its
members decimated by strange and deadly diseases, and its old
morality undermined by an insatiable desire for strong drink.'
The Indian loses whether with the white or against him.
The forest Indian is held by his environment no less strongly
than the plateau Indian. We hear much about the restriction of
the plateau dweller to the cool zone in which the llama may live.
As a matter of fact he lives far below the cool zone, where he no
longer depends upon the llama but rather upon the mule for trans-
port. The limits of his range correspond to the limits of the
grasslands in the dry valley pockets already described (p. 42), or
on the drier mountain slopes below the zone of heaviest rainfall
(Fig. 54). It is this distribution that brought him into such in-
timate contact with the forest Indian. The old and dilapidated
coca terraces of the Quechuas above the Yanatili almost overlook
the forest patches where the Machigangas for centuries built their
rude huts. A good deal has been written about the attempts of
the Incas to extend their rule into this forest zone and about the
failure of these attempts on account of the tropical climate. But
the forest Indian was held by bonds equally secure. The cold cli-
mate of the plateau repelled him as it does today. His haunts are
the hot valleys where he need wear only a wild-cotton shirt or
where he may go naked altogether. That he raided the lands of
the plateau Indian is certain, but he could never displace him.
Only along the common borders of their domains, where the
climates of two zones merged into each other, could the forest
Indian and the plateau Indian seriously dispute each other's

IWalle states (Le P6rou Economique, Paris, 1907, p. 297) that the Conibos, a
tribe of the Ucayali, make annual correrias or raids during the months of July,
August, and September, that is during the season of low water. Over seven hundred
canoes are said to participate and the captives secured are sold to rubber exploiters,
who, indeed, frequently aid in the organization of the raids.


claims to the land. Here was endless conflict but only feeble
trade and only the most minute exchanges of cultural elements.
Even had they been as brothers they would have had little in-
centive to borrow cultural elements from each other. The forest
dweller requires bow and arrow; the plateau dweller requires a
hoe. There are fish in the warm river shallows of the forested
zone; llamas, vicufia, vizcachas, etc., are a partial source of food
supply on the plateau. Coca and potatoes are the chief products
of the grassy mountain slopes; yuca, corn, bananas, are the chief
vegetable foods grown on the tiny cultivated patches in the forest.
The plateau dweller builds a thick-walled hut; the valley dweller
a cane shack. So unlike are the two environments that it would
be strange if there had been a mixture of racial types and cul-
tures. The slight exchanges that were made seem little more than
accidental. Even today the Machigangas who live on the highest
slopes own a few pigs obtained from Quechuas, but they never
eat their flesh; they keep them for pets merely. I saw not a single
woolen article among the Indians along the Urubamba whereas
Quechuas with woolen clothing were going back and forth regu-
larly. Their baubles were of foreign make; likewise their few
hoes, likewise their guns.
They clear the forest about a wild-cotton tree and spin and
weave the cotton fiber into sacks, cords for climbing trees when
they wish to chase a monkey, ropes for hauling their canoes, shirts
for the married men and women, colored head-bands, and fish nets.
The slender strong bamboo is gathered for arrows. The chunta
palm, like bone for hardness, supplies them with bows and ar-
row heads. The brilliant red and yellow feathers of forest birds,
also monkey bones and teeth, are their natural ornaments. Their
life is absolutely distinct from that of their Quechua neighbors.
Little wonder that for centuries forest and plateau Indians have
been enemies and that their cultures are so distinct, for their
environment everywhere calls for unlike modes of existence and
distinct cultural development.



THE lofty mountain zones of Peru, the high bordering valleys,
and the belts of rolling plateau between are occupied by tribes of
shepherds. In that cold, inhospitable region at the top of the
country are the highest permanent habitations in the world-
17,100 feet (5,210 m.)-the loftiest pastures, the greatest degree
of adaptation to combined altitude and frost. It is here only a
step from Greenland to Arcady. Nevertheless it is Greenland that
has the people. Why do they shun Arcady? To the traveler from
the highlands the fertile valleys between 5,000 and 8,000 feet (1,500
to 2,500 m.) seem like the abode of friendly spirits to whose charm
the highland dweller must yield. Every pack-train from valley
to highland carries luxury in the form of fruit, coca, cacao, and
sugar. One would think that every importation of valley products
would be followed by a wave of migration from highland to val-
ley. On the contrary the highland people have clung to their lofty
pastures for unnumbered centuries. Until the Conquest the last
,outposts of the Incas toward the east were the grassy ridges that
terminate a few thousand feet below the timber line.
In this natural grouping of the people where does choice or
blind prejudice or instinct leave off? Where does necessity be-
gin? There are answers to most of these questions to be found
in the broad field of geographic comparison. But before we begin
comparisons we must study the individual facts upon which they
rest. These facts are of almost every conceivable variety. They
range in importance from a humble shepherd's stone corral on a
mountain slope to a thickly settled mountain basin. Their in-
terpretation is to be sought now in the soil of rich playa lands,
now in the fixed climatic zones and rugged relief of deeply dis-
sected, lofty highlands in the tropics. Some of the controlling
factors are historical, others economic; still other factors have


exerted their influence through obscure psychologic channels al-
most impossible to trace. The why of man's distribution over the
earth is one of the most complicated problems in natural science,
and the solution of it is the chief problem of the modern
At first sight the mountain people of the Peruvian Andes seem
to be uniform in character and in mode of life. The traveler's
first impression is that the same stone-walled, straw-thatched type
of hut is to be found everywhere, the same semi-nomadic life, the
same degrees of poverty and filth. Yet after a little study the
diversity of their lives is seen to be, if not a dominating fact, at
least one of surprising importance. Side by side with this di-
versity there runs a corresponding diversity of relations to their
physical environment. Nowhere else on the earth are greater phys-
ical contrasts compressed within such small spaces. If, there-
fore, we accept the fundamental theory of geography that there is
a general, necessary, varied, and complex relation between man
and the earth, that theory ought here to find a really vast num-
ber of illustrations. A glance at the accompanying figures dis-
closes the wide range of relief in the Peruvian Andes. The cor-
responding range in climate and in life therefore furnishes an am-
ple field for the application of the laws of human distribution.
In analyzing the facts of distribution we shall do well to begin"
with the causes and effects of migration. Primitive man is in no
small degree a wanderer. His small resources often require him
to explore large tracts. As population increases the food quest
becomes more intense, and thus there come about repeated emigra-
tions which increase the food supply, extend its variety, and draw
the pioneers at last into contact with neighboring groups. The
farther back we go in the history of the race the clearer it becomes
that migrations lie at the root of much of human development.
The raid for plunder, women, food, beasts, is a persistent feature
of the life of those primitive men who live on the border of un-
like regions.
The shepherd of the highland and the forest hunter of the
plains perforce range over vast tracts, and each brings back to the


home group news that confirms the tribal choice of habitation or
sets it in motion toward a more desirable place. Superstitions
may lead to flight akin to migration. Epidemics may be inter-
preted as the work of a malignant spirit from which men must flee.
War may drive a defeated group into the fastnesses of a moun-
tain forest where pursuit by stream or trail weakens the pursuer
and confines his action, thereby limiting his power. Floods may
come and destroy the cultivated spots. Want or mere desire in a
hundred forms may lead to movement.
Even among forest tribes long stationary the facile canoe and
the light household necessities may easily enable trivial causes to
develop the spirit of restlessness. Pressure of population is a
powerful but not a general cause of movement. It may affect the
settled groups of the desert oases, or the dense population of fer-
tile plains that is rooted in the soil. On the other hand mere
whims may start a nomadic group toward a new goal. Often the
goal is elusive and the tribe turns back to the old haunts or per-
ishes in the shock of unexpected conflict.
In the case of both primitive societies and those of a higher
order the causes and the results of migration are often contra-
dictory. These will depend on the state of civilization and the ex-
tremes of circumstance. When the desert blooms the farmer of
the Piura Valley in northwestern Peru turns shepherd and drives
his flocks of sheep and goats out into the short-lived pastures
of the great pampa on the west. In dry years he sends them
eastward into the mountains. The forest Indian of the lower Uru-
bamba is a fisherman while the river is low and lives in a reed hut
beside his cultivated patch of cane and yuca. When the floods
come he is driven to the higher ground in the hills where he has
another cultivated patch of land and a rude shelter. To be sure,
these are seasonal migrations, yet through them the country be-
comes better known to each new generation of men. And each
generation supplies its pioneers, who drift into the remoter places
where population is scarce or altogether wanting.
Dry years and extremely dry years may have opposite effects.
When moderate dryness prevails the results may be endurable.


FIG. 24-This stone hut, grass-thatched, is the highest permanent habitation in Peru, and it is believed to be the highest in the
world. Altitude of 17,100 feet (5,210 m.) determined by instrumental survey. The general geographic relationships of the region in
which the hut is situated are shown in Fig. 25. For location see the topographic map, Fig. 204.


The oases become crowded with men and beasts just when they
can ill afford to support them. The alfalfa meadows become over-
stocked, and cattle become lean and almost worthless. But there
is at least bare subsistence. By contrast, if extreme and pro-
longed drought prevails, some of the people are driven forth to
more favored spots. At Vallenar in central Chile some of the
workmen in extreme years go up to the nitrate pampa; in wet
years they return. When the agents of the nitrate, companies hear
of hard times in a desert valley they offer employment to the
stricken people. It not infrequently happens that when there are
droughts in desert Chile there are abundant rains in Argentina
on the other side of the Cordillera. There has therefore been for
many generations an irregular and slight, though definite, shift-
ing of population from one side of the mountains to the other as
periods of drought and periods of rain alternated in the two
regions. Some think there is satisfactory evidence to prove that
a number of the great Mongolian emigrations took place in wet
years when pasture was abundant and when the pastoral nomad
found it easy to travel. On the other hand it has been urged that
the cause of many emigrations was prolonged periods of drought
when the choice lay between starvation and flight. It is evident
from the foregoing that both views may be correct in spite of the
fact that identical effects are attributed to opposite causes.
It is still an open question whether security or insecurity is
more favorable for the broad distribution of the Peruvian Indians
of the mountain zone which forms the subject of this chapter. Cer-
tainly both tend to make the remoter places better known. Tradi-
tion has it that, in the days of intertribal conflict before the Con-
quest, fugitives fled into the high mountain pastures and lived in
hidden places and in caves. Life was insecure and relief was
sought in flight. On the other hand peace has brought security
to life. The trails are now safe. A shepherd may drive his flock
anywhere. He no longer has any one to fear in his search for new
pastures. It would perhaps be safe to conclude that there is
equally broad distribution of men in the mountain pastures in time
of peace and in time of war. There is, however, a difference in


FIG. 25-Regional diagram for the Maritime Cordillera to show the physical
relations in the district where the highest habitations in the world are located. For
location, see Fig. 20. It should be remembered that the orientation of these diagrams
is generalized. By reference to Fig. 20 it will be seen that some portions of the
crest of the Maritime Cordillera run east and west and others north and south. The
same is true of the Cordillera Vilcapampa, Fig. 36.

the kind of distribution. In time of peace the individual is safe
anywhere; in time of unrest he is safe only when isolated and vir-
tually concealed. By contrast, the group living near the trails is


scattered by plundering bands and war parties. The remote and
isolated group may successfully oppose the smaller band and the
individuals that might reach the remoter regions. The fugitive
group would have nothing to fear from large bands, for the
limited food supply would inevitably cause these to disintegrate
upon leaving the main routes of travel. Probably the fullest ex-
ploration of the mountain pastures has resulted from the alterna-
tion of peace and war. The opposite conditions which these estab-
lish foster both kinds of distribution; hence both the remote group
life encouraged by war and the individual's lack of restraint in

Note on regional diagrams.-For the sake of clearness I have classified the accom-
panying facts of human distribution in the country of the shepherds and represented
them graphically in "regional" diagrams, Figs. 17, 25, 26, 32, 34, 36, 42, 65. These
diagrams are constructed on the principle of dominant control. Each brings out the
factors of greatest importance in the distribution of. the people in a given region.
Furthermore, the facts are compressed within the limits of a small rectangle. This com-
pression, though great, respects all essential relations. For example, every location on
these diagrams has a concrete illustration but the accidental relations of the field have
been omitted; the essential relations are preserved. Each diagram is, therefore, a
kind of generalized type map. It bears somewhat the same relation to the facts of
human geography that a block diagram does to physiography. The darkest shading
represents steep snow-covered country; the next lower grade represents rough but
snow-free country; the lightest shading represents moderate relief; unshaded parts
represent plain or plateau. Small circles represent forest or woodland; small open-
spaced dots, grassland. Fine alluvium is represented by small closely spaced dots;
coarse alluvium by large closely spaced dots.
To take an illustration. In Figure 32 we have the Apurimac region near Pasaje
(see location map, Fig. 20). At the lower edge of the rectangle is a snow-capped
outlier of the Cordillera Vilcapampa. The belt of rugged country represents the
lofty, steep, exposed, and largely inaccessible ridges at the mid-elevations of the
mountains below the glaciated slopes at the heads of tributary valleys. The villages
in the belt of pasture might well be Incahuasi and Corralpata. The floors of the
large canyons on either hand are bordered by extensive alluvial fans. The river
courses are sketched in a diagrammatic way only, but a map would not be different
in its general disposition. Each location is justified by a real place with the same
essential features and relations. In making the change there has been no alteration
of the general relation of the alluvial lands to each other or to the highland. By
suppressing unnecessary details there is produced a diagram whose essentials have
simple and clear relations. When such a regional diagram is amplified by
photographs of real conditions it becomes a sort of generalized picture of a
large group of geographic facts. One could very well extend the method to the
whole of South America. It would be a real service to geography to draw up a set
of, say, twelve to fifteen regional diagrams, still further generalized, for the whole
of the continent. As a broad classification they would serve both the specialist and
the general student. As the basis for a regional map of South America they would
be invaluable if worked out in sufficient detail and constructed on the indispensable
basis of field studies.


time of peace are probably in large part responsible for the pres-
ent widespread occupation of the Peruvian mountains.
The loftiest habitation in the world (Fig. 24) is in Peru. Be-
tween Antabamba and Cotahuasi occur the highest passes in the
Maritime Cordillera. We crossed at 17,400 feet (5,300 m.), and
three hundred feet lower is the last outpost of the Indian shep-
herds. The snowline, very steeply canted away from the sun, is
between 17,200 and 17,600 feet (5,240 to 5,360 m.). At frequent
intervals during the three months of winter, snowfalls during the
night and terrific hailstorms in the late afternoon drive both shep-
herds and flocks to the shelter of leeward slopes or steep canyon
walls. At our six camps, between 16,000 and 17,200 feet (4,876
and 5,240 m.), in September, 1911, the minimum temperature
ranged from 4 to 20 F. The thatched stone hut that we passed
at 17,100 feet and that enjoys the distinction of being the highest
in the world was in other respects the same as the thousands of
others in the same region. It sheltered a family of five. As we
passed, three rosy-cheeked children almost as fat as the sheep
about them were sitting on the ground in a corner of the corral
playing with balls of wool. Hundreds of alpacas and sheep
grazed on the hill slopes and valley floor, and their tracks showed
plainly that they were frequently driven up to the snowline in
those valleys where a trickle of water supported a band of pasture.
Less than a hundred feet below them were other huts and flocks.
Here we have the limits of altitude and the limits of resources.
The intervalley spaces do not support grass. Some of them are
quite bare, others are covered with mosses. It is too high for even
the tola bush-that pioneer of Alpine vegetation in the Andes.
The distance 1 to Cotahuasi is 75 miles (120 km.), to Antabamba
50 miles (80 km.). Thence wool must be shipped by pack-train
to the railroad in the one case 250 miles (400 km.) to Arequipa, in
the other case 200 miles (320 km.) to Cuzco. Even the potatoes
and barley, which must be imported, come from valleys several
days' journey away. The question naturally arises why these peo-
ple live on the rim of the world. Did they seek out these neglected
Distances are not taken from the map but from the trail.


pastures, or were they driven to them? Do they live here by
choice or of necessity? The answer to these questions introduces
two other geographic factors of prime importance, the one phys-
ical, the other economic.
The main tracts of lofty pasture above Antabamba cover moun-
tain slopes and valley floor alike, but the moist valley floors supply
the best grazing. Moreover, the main valleys have been inten-
sively glaciated. Hence, though their sides are steep walls, their
floors are broad and flat. Marshy tracts, periodically flooded, are
scattered throughout, and here and there are overdeepened por-
tions where lakes have gathered. There is a thick carpet of grass,
also numerous huts and corrals, and many flocks. At the upper
edge of the main zone of pasture the grasses become thin and with
increasing altitude give out altogether except along the moist val-
ley floors or on shoulders where there is seepage.
If the streams head in dry mountain slopes without snow the
grassy bands of the valley floor terminate at moderate elevations.
If the streams have their sources in snowfields or glaciers there is
a more uniform run-off, and a ribbon of pasture may extend to the
snowline. To the latter class belong the pastures that support
these remote people.
In the case of the Maritime Andes the great elevation of the
snowline is also a factor. If, in Figure 25, we think of the snow-
line as at the upper level of the main zone of pasture then we
should have the conditions shown in Figure 36, where the limit of
general, not local, occupation is the snowline, as in the Cordillera
Vilcapampa and between Chuquibambilla and Antabamba.
A third factor is the character of the soil. Large amounts of
volcanic ash and lapilli were thrown out in the late stages of vol-
canic eruption in which the present cones of the Maritime Andes
were formed. The coarse texture of these deposits allows the
ready escape of rainwater. The combination of extreme aridity
and great elevation results in a double restraint upon vegetation.
Outside of the moist valley floors, with their film of ground
moraine on whose surface plants find a more congenial soil, there
is an extremely small amount of pasture. Here are the natural


grazing grounds of the fleet vicufia. They occur in hundreds, and
so remote and little disturbed are they that near the main pass
one may count them by the score. As we rode by, many of them
only stared at us without taking the trouble to get beyond rifle
shot. It is not difficult to believe that the Indians easily shoot
great numbers in remote valleys that have not been hunted for
The extreme conditions of life existing on these lofty plateaus
are well shown by the readiness with which even the hardy shep-
herds avail themselves .of shelter. Wherever deep valleys bring a
milder climate within reach of the pastures the latter are unpopu-
lated for miles on either side. The sixty-mile stretch between
Chuquibamba and Salamanca is without even a single hut, though
there are pastures superior to the ones occupied by those loftiest
huts of all. Likewise there are no permanent homes between Sala-
manca and Cotahuasi, though the shepherds migrate across the
belt in the milder season of rain. Eastward and northward to-
ward the crest of the Maritime Cordillera there are no huts
within a day's journey of the Cotahuasi canyon. Then there is a
group of a dozen just under the crest of the secondary range that
parallels the main chain of volcanoes. Thence northward there
are a number of scattered huts between 15,500 and 16,500 feet
(4,700 and 5,000 m.), until we reach the highest habitations of all
at 17,100 feet (5,210 m.).
The unpopulated belts of lava plateau bordering the entrenched
valleys are, however, as distinctly "sustenance" spaces, to use
Penck's term, as the irrigated and fertile alluvial fans in the bot-
tom of the valley. This is well shown when the rains come and
flocks of llamas and sheep are driven forth from the valleys to the
best pastures. It is equally well shown by the distribution of the
shepherds' homes. These are not down on the warm canyon floor,
separated by a half-day's journey from the grazing. They are in
the intrenched tributary valleys of Figure 26 or just within the
rim of the canyon. It is not shelter from the cold but from the
wind that chiefly determines their location. They are also kept
near the rim of the canyon by the pressure of the farming popu-


lation from below. Every hundred feet of descent from the arid
plateau (Fig. 29) increases the water supply. Springs increase
in number and size; likewise belts of seepage make their appear-
ance. The gradients in many places diminish, and flattish spurs
and shoulders interrupt the generally steep descents of the canyon

FIG. 26-Regional diagram to show the physical relations in the lava plateau of
the Maritime Cordillera west of the continental divide. For location, see Fig. 20.
Trails lead up the intrenched tributaries. If the irrigated bench (lower right corner)
is large, a town will be located on it. Shepherds' huts are scattered about the edge
of the girdle of spurs. There is also a string of huts in the deep sheltered head of
each tributary. See also Fig. 29 for conditions on the valley or canyon floor.

wall. Every change of this sort has a real value to the farmer and
means an enhanced price beyond the ability of the poor shepherd
to pay. If you ask a wealthy hacendado on the valley floor (Fig.
29), who it is that live in the huts above him, he will invariably say
"los Indios," with a shrug meant to convey the idea of poverty
and worthlessness. Sometimes it is "los Indios pobres," or
merely "los pobres." Thus there is a vertical stratification of


society corresponding to the superimposed strata of climate and
At Salamanca (Fig. 62) I saw this admirably displayed under
circumstances of unusual interest. The floor and slopes of the
valley are more completely terraced than in any other valley I
know of. In the photograph, Fig. 30, which shows at least 2,500
feet of descent near the town, one cannot find a single patch of sur-
face that is not under cultivation. The valley is simply filled with
people to the limit of its capacity. Practically all are Indians, but
with many grades of wealth and importance. When we rode out
of the valley before daybreak, one September morning in 1911,
there was a dead calm, and each step upward carried us into a
colder stratum of air. At sunrise we had reached a point about
2,000 feet above the town, or 14,500 feet (4,420 m.) above sea level.
We stood on the frost line. On the opposite wall of the valley the
line was as clearly marked out as if it had been an irrigating canal.
The light was so fully reflected from the millions of frost crystals
above it that both the mountainside and the valley slopes were
sparkling like a ruffled lake at sunrise. Below the frost line the
slopes were dark or covered with yellow barley and wheat stubble
or green alfalfa.
It happened that the frost line was near the line of division
between corn and potato cultivation and also near the line separat-
ing the steep rough upper lands from the cultivable lower lands.
Not a habitation was in sight above us, except a few scattered
miserable huts near broken terraces, gullied by wet-weather
streams and grown up to weeds and brush. Below us were well-
cultivated fields, and the stock was kept in bounds by stone fences
and corrals; above, the half-wild burros and mules roamed about
everywhere, and only the sheep and llamas were in rude enclo-
sures. Thus in a half hour we passed the frontier between the
agricultural folk below the frost line and the shepherd folk above
In a few spots the line followed an irregular course, as where
flatter lands were developed at unusual elevations or where air
drainage altered the normal temperature. And at one place the

Fra. 27.

FIG. 28.

FIG. 27-Terraced valley slopes at Huaynacotas, Cotahuasi Valley, Peru. Eleva-
tion 11,500 feet (3,500 m.).
FIG. 28-The highly cultivated and thoroughly terraced floor of the Ollantaytambo
Valley at Ollantaytambo. This is a tributary of the Urubamba; elevation, 11,000 feet.

FIG. 29-Cotahuasi on the floor of the Cotahuasi canyon. The even skyline of the
background is on a rather even-topped lava plateau. The terrace on the left of the
town is formed on limestone, which is overlain by lava flows. A thick deposit of ter-
raced alluvium may be seen on the valley floor, and it is on one of the lower terraces
that the city of Cotahuasi stands. The higher terraces are in many cases too dry for
cultivation. The canyon is nearly 7,000 feet (2,130 m.) deep and has been cut through
one hundred principal lava flows.


frost actually stood on the young corn, which led us to speculate
on the possibility of securing from Salamanca a variety of maize
that is more nearly resistant to light frosts than any now grown
in the United States. In the endless and largely unconscious ex-
perimentation of these folk perched on the valley walls a result
may have been achieved ahead of that yet reached by our pro-
fessional experimenters. Certain it is that nowhere else in the
world has the potato been grown under such severe climatic con-
ditions as in its native land of Peru and Bolivia. The hardiest
varieties lack many qualities that we prize. They are small and
bitter. But at least they will grow where all except very few
cultivated plants fail, and they are edible. Could they not be im-
ported into Canada to push still farther northward the limits of
cultivation? Potatoes are now grown at Forts Good Hope and
McPherson in the lower Mackenzie basin. Would not the hardiest
Peruvian varieties grow at least as far north as the continental
timber line? I believe they could be grown still farther north.
They will endure repeated frosts. They need scarcely any cultiva-
tion. Prepared in the Peruvian manner, as chufio, they could be
kept all winter. Being light, the meal derived from them could
be easily packed by hunters and prospectors. An Indian will carry
in a pouch enough to last him a week. Why not use it north of
the continental limit of other cultivated plants since it is the
pioneer above the frost line on the Peruvian mountains?
The relation between farmer and shepherd or herdsman grows
more complex where deeper valleys interrupt the highlands and
mountains. The accompanying sketch, Fig. 32, represents typical
relations, though based chiefly on the Apurimac canyon and its
surroundings near Pasaje. First there is the snow-clad region at
the top of the country. Below it are grassy slopes, the homes of
mountain shepherds, or rugged mountain country unsuited for
grazing. Still lower there is woodland, in patches chiefly, but with
a few large continuous tracts. The shady sides of the ravines and
the mountains have the most moisture, hence bear the densest
growths. Finally, the high country terminates in a second belt
of pasture below the woodland.


Whenever streams descend from the snow or woodland coun-
try there is water for the stock above and for irrigation on the
alluvial fan below. But the spur ends dropping off abruptly sev-

FIG. 32-Regional diagram representing the deep canyoned country west of the
Eastern Cordillera in the region of the Apurimac. For photograph see Fig. 94. For
further description see note on regional diagrams, p. 51. Numbers 1, 2, and 3 corre-
spond in position to the same numbers in Fig. 33.

eral thousand feet have a limited area and no running streams,
and the ground water is hundreds of feet down. There is grass
for stock, but there is no water. In some places the stock is driven

FIG. 30-Terraced hill slopes near Salamanca. There is
no part of the photograph which is not covered with terraces
save a few places where bushy growths are visible or where
torrents descend through artificial canals.

FIG. 31-Alpine pastures in the mountain valley between
Chuquibambilla and Lambrama. Huge stone corrals are
built on either slope, sheltered from the night winds that
blow down-valley.


back and forth every few days. In a few places water is brought
to the stock by canal from the woodland streams above, as at
Corralpata.2 In the same way a canal brings water to Pasaje
hacienda from a woodland strip many miles to the west. The
little canal in the figure is almost a toy construction a few inches

.----------------UPPER LIMIT OF HEAVY CLOUDS-------------OI GTAM
.--LOWER LIMIT OF HEAVY CLUDS--- ; .....- -"


FIG. 33-Valley climates of the canyoned region shown in Fig. 32.

wide and deep and conveying only a trickle of water. Yet on it
depends the settlement at the spur end, and if it were cut the peo-
ple would have to repair it immediately or establish new homes.
The canal and the pasture are possible because the slopes are
moderate. They were formed in an earlier cycle of erosion when
the land was lower. They are hung midway between the rough
mountain slopes above and the steep canyon walls below (Fig. 32).
Their smooth descents and gentle profiles are in very pleasing
contrast to the rugged scenery about them. The trails follow them
easily. Where the slopes are flattest, farmers have settled and
produce good crops of corn, vegetables, and barley. Some farm-
ers have even developed three- and four-story farms. On an al-
luvial fan in the main valley they raise sugar cane and tropical
and subtropical fruits; on the flat upper slopes they produce corn;
in the moister soil near the edge of the woodland are fields of
mountain potatoes; and the upper pastures maintain flocks of

2 Compare with Raimondi's description of Quiches on the left bank of the Maraflon
at an elevation of 9,885 feet (3,013 m.): "the few small springs scarcely suffice for
the little patches of alfalfa and other sowings have to depend on the precarious
rains. .Every drop of water is carefully guarded and from each spring a series
of well-like basins descending in staircase fashion make the most of the scant supply."
(El Departamento de Ancachs, Lima, 1873.)


sheep. In one district this change takes place in a distance that
may be covered in five hours. Generally it is at least a full and
hard day's journey from one end of the series to the other.
Wherever these features are closely associated they tend to be
controlled by the planter in some deep valley thereabouts. Where
they are widely scattered the people are independent, small
groups living in places nearly inaccessible. Legally they are all
under the control of the owners of princely tracts that take in the
whole country, but the remote groups are left almost wholly to
themselves. In most cases they are supposed to sell their few
commercial products to the hacendado who nominally owns their
land, but the administration of this arrangement is left largely to
chance. The shepherds and small farmers near the plantation are
more dependent upon the planter for supplies, and also their
wants are more varied and numerous. Hence they pay for their
better location in free labor and in produce sold at a discount.
So deep are some of the main canyons, like the Apurimac and
the Cotahuasi, that their floors are arid or semi-arid. The fortunes
of Pasaje are tied to a narrow canal from the moist woodland and
a tiny brook from a hollow in the valley wall. Where the water
has thus been brought down to the arable soil of the fans there are
rich plantations and farms. Elsewhere, however, the floor is quite
dry and uncultivated. In small spots here and there is a little
seepage, or a few springs, or a mere thread of water that will not
support a plantation, wherefore there have come into existence
the valley herdsmen and shepherds. Their intimate knowledge of
the moist places is their capital, quite as much as are the cattle and
sheep they own. In a sense their lands are the neglected crumbs
from the rich man's table. So we find the shepherd from the hills
invading the valleys just as the valley farmer has invaded the
country of the shepherd.
The basin type of topography calls into existence a set of rela-
tions quite distinct from either of those we have just described.
Figure 34 represents the main facts. The rich and comparatively
flat floor of the basin supports most of the people. The alluvial
fans tributary thereto are composed of fine material on their outer


FIG. 34-Regional diagram to show the typical physical conditions and relations
in an intermont basin in the Peruvian Andes. The Cuzco basin (see Fig. 37) is an
actual illustration; it should, however, be emphasized that the diagram is not a
"map" of that basin, for whilst conditions there have been utilized as a basis, the
generalization has been extended to illustrate many basins.

margin and of coarse stony waste at their heads. Hence the val-
ley farms also extend over the edges of the fans, while only pas-
ture or dense chaparral occupies the upper portions. Finally


there is the steep margin of the basin where the broad and moder-
ate slopes of the highland break down to the floor of the basin.
If a given basin lies at an elevation exceeding 14,000 feet
(4,270 m.), there will be no cultivation, only pasture. If at 10,000
or 11,000 feet (3,000 or 3,350 m.), there will be grain fields below

---- LO,'ER LIMIT OF PERMANENTISNOW- ----- -.-. --....

.-.. --------------------- SUGARCANE- 000
-----.. ------------------------------------ORANGEANDBANANA 6000 ---------

FGo. 35-Climatic cross-section showing the location of various zones of cultivation
and pasture in a typical intermont basin in the Peruvian Andes. The thickness of
the dark symbols on the right is proportional to the amount of each staple that is
produced at the corresponding elevation. See also the regional diagram Fig. 34.

and potato fields above (Figs. 34 and 35). If still lower, fruit will
come in and finally sugar cane and many other subtropical prod-
ucts, as at Abancay. Much will also depend upon the amount of
available water and the extent of the pasture land. Thus the
densely populated Cuzco basin has a vast mountain territory
tributary to it and is itself within the limits of barley and wheat
cultivation. Furthermore there are a number of smaller basins, like
the Anta basin on the north, which are dependent upon its better
markets and transportation facilities. A dominance of this kind
is self-stimulating and at last is out of all proportion to the
original differences of nature. Cuzco has also profited as the gate-
way to the great northeastern valley region of the Urubamba and
its big tributaries. All of the varied products of the subtropical
valleys find their immediate market at Cuzco.
The effect of this natural conspiracy of conditions has been to
place the historic city of Cuzco in a position of extraordinary im-
portance. Hundreds of years before the Spanish Conquest it was
a center of far-reaching influence, the home of the powerful Inca
kings. From it the strong arm of authority and conquest was ex-


tended; to it came tribute of grain, wool, and gold. To one ac-
customed to look at such great consequences as having at least
some ultimate connection with the earth, the situation of Cuzco
would be expected to have some unique features. With the glori-
ous past of that city in mind, no one can climb to the surround-
ing heights and look down upon the fertile mountain-rimmed plain
as at an ordinary sight (Fig. 37). The secret of those great con-
quests lies not only in mind but in matter. If the rise of the Incas
to power was not related to the topography and climate of the
Cuzco basin, at least it is certain that without so broad and noble
a stage the scenes would have been enacted on a far different
The first Inca king and the Spanish after the Incas found here
no mobile nomadic tribes melting away at the first touch, no
savages hiding in forest fastnesses, but a well-rooted agricultural
race in whose center a large city had grown up. Without a city
and a fertile tributary plain no strong system of government could
be maintained or could even arise. It is a great advantage in rul-
ing to have subjects that cannot move. The agricultural Indians
of the Andean valleys and basins, in contrast to the mobile shep-
herd, are as fixed as the soil from which they draw their life.
The full occupation of the pasture lands about the Cuzco basin
is in direct relation to the advantages we have already enumer-
ated. Every part of the region feels the pressure of population.
Nowhere else in the Peruvian Andes are the limits between cultiva-
tion and grazing more definitely drawn than here. Moreover,
there is today a marked difference between the types that inhabit
highland and basin. The basin Indian is either a debauched city
dweller or, as generally, a relatively alert farmer. The shepherds
are exceedingly ignorant and live for the most part in a manner
almost as primitive as at the time of the Conquest. They are shy
and suspicious. Many of them prefer a life of isolation and rarely
go down to the town. They live on the fringe of culture. The
new elements of their life have come to them solely by accident
and by what might be called a process of ethnic seepage. The
slight advances that have been made do not happen by design, they


merely happen. Put the highland shepherd in the basin and he
would starve in competition with the basin type. Undoubtedly he
would live in the basin if he could. He has not been driven out
of the basin; he is kept out.
And thus it is around the border of the Abancay basin and
others like it. Only, the Abancay basin is lower and more varied
as to resources. The Indian is here in competition with the capi-
talistic white planter. He lives on the land by sufferance alone.
Farther up the slopes are the farms of the Indians and above
them are the pastures of the ignorant shepherds. Whereas the
Indian farmer who raises potatoes clings chiefly to the edge of
the Cuzco basin where lie the most undesirable agricultural lands,
the Indian farmers of Abancay live on broad rolling slopes like
those near the pass northward toward Huancarama. They are
unusually prosperous, with fields so well cultivated and fenced,
so clean and productive, that they remind one somewhat of the
beautiful rolling prairies of Iowa.
It remains to consider the special topographic features of the
mountain environments we are discussing, in the Vilcapampa
region on the eastern border of the Andes (Fig. 36). The Cordil-
lera Vilcapampa is snow-crested, containing a number of fine
white peaks like Salcantay, Soray, and Soiroccocha (Fig. 140).
There are many small glaciers and a few that are several
miles long. There was here in glacial times a much larger system
of glaciers, which lived long enough to work great changes in the
topography. The floors of the glaciated valleys were smoothed
and broadened and their gradients flattened (Figs. 137 and 190).
The side walls were steepened and precipitous cirques were
formed at the valley heads. Also, there were built across the val-
leys a number of stony morainic ridges. With all these changes
there was, however, but little effect upon the main masses of the
big intervalley spurs. They remain as before-bold, wind-swept,
broken, and nearly inaccessible.
The work of the glaciers aids the mountain people. The stony
moraines afford them handy sizable building material for their
stone huts and their numerous corrals. The thick tufts of grass


Fro. 36-Regional diagram for the Eastern Cordillera or Cordillera Vilcapampa.
Note the crowded zones on the right (east and north) in contrast to the open suc-
cession on the left. In sheltered places woodland extends even higher than shown.
At several points patches of it grow right under the snowline. Other patches grow
on the floors of the glaciated valley troughs.

in the marshy spots in the overdeepened parts of the valleys fur-
nish them with grass for their thatched roofs. And, most im-


portant of all, the flat valley floors have the best pasture in the
whole mountain region. There is plenty of water. There is seclu-
sion, and, if a fence be built from one valley wall to another as can
be done with little labor, an entire section of the valley may be
inclosed. A village like Choquetira, located on a bench on the val-
ley side, commands an extensive view up and down the valley-an
important feature in a grazing village where the corrals cannot
always be built near the houses of the owners. Long, finger-like
belts of highland-shepherd population have thus been extended
into the mountain valleys. Sheep and llamas drift right up to
the snowline.
There is, however, a marked difference between the people on
opposite sides of the Cordillera Vilcapampa. On the west the moun-
tains are bordered by a broad highland devoted to grazing. On
the east there is a narrower grazing belt leading abruptly down
to tropical valleys. The eastern or leeward side is also the
warmer and wetter side of the Cordillera. The snowline is sev-
eral hundred feet lower on the east. The result is that patches of
scrub and even a little woodland occur almost at the snowline in
favored places. Mist and storms are more frequent. The grass
is longer and fresher. Vegetation in general is more abundant.
The people make less of wool than of cattle, horses, and mules.
Vilcabamba pueblo is famous for its horses, wiry, long-haired lit-
tle beasts, as hardy as Shetland ponies. We found cattle grazing
only five hundred feet below the limit of perpetual snow. There
are cultivated spots only a little farther down, and only a thou-
sand feet below the snow are abandoned terraces. At the same
elevation are twisted quenigo trees, at least two hundred years
old, as shown by their rings of growth. Thus the limits of agricul-
ture are higher on the east; likewise the limits of cattle grazing
that naturally goes with agriculture. Sheep would thrive, but
llamas do better in drier country, and the shepherd must needs
mix his flocks, for the wool which is his chief product requires
transportation and only the cheap and acclimated llama is at the
shepherd's disposal. From these facts it will be seen that the
anthropo-geographic contrasts between the eastern and western

FIG. 37.

FIG. 38.

FIG. 37-Cuzco and a portion of the famous Cuzco basin with bordering grassy
FIG. 38-Terraced valley slopes and floor, Urubamba Valley between Urubamba
and Ollantaytambo.

t xt M.

FIG. 39.

FIG. 40.

FIG. 39-Huichihua, near Chuquibambilla, a typical mountain village, in the
valleys of the Central Ranges, Peruvian Andes.
FIG. 40-Potato field above Vilcabamba at 12,000 feet (3,660 m.). The natural
sod is broken by a steel-shod stick and the seed potato dropped into a mere puncture.
It receives no attention thereafter until harvest time.


sides of the Cordillera Vilcapampa are as definite as the climatic
and vegetal contrasts. This is especially well shown in the differ-
ences between dry Arma, deep-sunk in a glaciated valley west of
the crest of the mountains, and wet Puquiura, a half-day's journey
east of the crest. There is no group on the east at all comparable
to the shepherds of Choquetira, either in the matter of thorough-
going dependence upon grazing or in that of dependence upon
glacial topography.
Topography is not always so intimately related to the life of
the people as here. In our own country the distribution of avail-
able water is a far greater factor. The.Peruvian Andes therefore
occupy a distinctive place in geography, since, more nearly than
in most mountains, their physical conditions have typical human
relations that enable one clearly to distinguish the limits of con-
trol of each feature of climate or relief.



ON the northeastern border of the Peruvian Andes long moun-
tain spurs trail down from the regions of snow to the forested
plains of the Amazon. Here are the greatest contrasts in the
physical and human geog-
N vAL y r raphy of the Andean Cordil-
''!:^ ,lera. So striking is the fact
'0 that every serious student
ZONELAt UD ALIEi 0/ of Peru finds himself com-
NSO Ra ~pelled to cross and recross
HILLSIDE FARMS AND PASTU N this natural frontier. The
BARLEY.,CORN thread of an investigation
S runs irregularly now into
*:'r'7 .one border zone, now into
S,' >0000 another. Out of the forest
came the fierce marauders
/^ /^ i 0who in the early period
drove back the Inca pioneers.
0. v Down into the forest to
S escape from the Spaniards
FIG. 41-Regional diagram of the eastern fled the last Inca and his
aspect of the Cordillera Vilcapampa. See also fugitive court. Here the
Fig. 17 of which this is an enlarged section. J f s
Jesuit fathers sowed their
missions along the forest margin, and watched over them for
two hundred years. From the mountain border one rubber
project after another has been launched into the vast swampy
lowlands threaded by great rivers. As an ethnic boundary
the eastern mountain border of Peru and Bolivia has no equal
elsewhere in South America. From the earliest antiquity the
tribes of the grass-covered mountains and the hordes of the for-
ested plains have had strongly divergent customs and speech, that
bred enduring hatred and led to frequent and bloody strife.

FIG. 42-Rug weaver at Cotahuasi. The industry is limited to a small group of
related families, living in the Cotahuasi Canyon near Cotahuasi. The rugs are made
of alpaca wool. Pure black, pure white, and various shades of mixed gray wool are
employed. The result is that the rugs have "fast" colors that always retain their
original contrasts. They are made only to order at the homes of the purchasers. The
money payment is small, but to it is added board and lodging, besides tobacco, liqueurs,
and wine. Before drinking they dip their finger-tips in the wine and sprinkle the
earth that it may be fruitful," the air that it may be warm," the rug that it may
turn out well," and finally themselves, making the sign of the cross. Then they set
to work.

** "-- ,- '-'i' Z!

'i' 2 ,.,


II. i ~4~

FIG. 43-The floor of the Urubamba Valley from Tarai. The work of the glaciers was not confined to the lofty situations. Moun-
tain debris was delivered to all the streams, many of which aggraded their floors to a depth of several hundred feet, thus increasing the
extent of arable soil at elevations where a less rigorous climate permits the production of crops and encourages intensive cultivation,

On the steepest spurs of the Pampaconas Valley the traveler
may go from snow to pasture in a half day and from pasture to
forest in the same time. Another day he is in the hot zone of the
larger valley floors, the home of the Machigangas. The steep
descents bring out the superimposed zones with diagrammatic
simplicity. The timber line is as sharply marked as the edge of a
cultivated field. At a point just beyond the huts of Pampaconas
one may stand on a grassy spur that leads directly up-a day's
journey-to the white summits of the Cordillera Vilcapampa.
Yet so near him is the edge of the forest that he .is tempted to
try to throw a stone into it. In an hour a bitter wind from the
mountains may drive him to shelter or a cold fog come rolling up
from the moist region below. It is hard to believe that oppressive
heat is felt in the valley just beneath him.
In the larger valleys the geographic contrasts are less sharp
and the transition from mountains to plain, though less spectacu-
lar, is much more complex and scientifically interesting. The for-
est types interfinger along the shady and the sunny slopes. The
climate is so varied that the forest takes on a diversified character
that makes it far more useful to man. The forest Indians and
the valley planters are in closer association. There are many
islands and peninsulas of plateau population on the valley floor.
Here the zones of climate and the belts of fertile soil have larger
areas and the land therefore has greater economic value. Much
as the valley people need easier and cheaper communication with
the rest of Peru it is no exaggeration to say that the valley prod-
ucts. are needed far more by the coast and plateau peoples to
make the republic self-supporting. Coca, wood, sugar, fruit, are
in such demand that their laborious and costly transportation
from the valleys to the plateau is now carried on with at least
-some profit to the valley people. Improved transportation would
promote travel and friendship and supply a basis for greater
political unity.
A change in these conditions is imminent. Years ago the
Peruvian government decreed the construction of a railway from
Cuzco to Santa Ana and preliminary surveys were made but with-

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