Measure of the Earth: 4 of 4: The Enlightenment Expedition That Reshaped Our World. by Larrie D. Ferreiro (Author)

Jun 04, 2019, 12:17 AM
Photo: Narrative of a journey from Lima to Para, across the Andes and down the Amazon: undertaken with a view of ascertaining the practicability of a navigable communication with the Atlantic, by the rivers Pachitea, Ucayali, and Amazon
Year: 1836 (1830s)
AuthorsSmyth, William, 1800-1877
PublisherLondon, Murray
Contributing LibraryRobarts - University of Toronto
Digitizing SponsorUniversity of Toronto

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uda, (orthe little gate of tlie Viuda,) at an elevation ofabout 15,500 feet above the sea, the highest partof the mountain being 15,968. Here we saw be-neath us mountains surrounding a beautifullytransparent lake, over which a violent wind wasdriving huge masses of cloud. The scene wasinexpressibly grand, and the words of Campbellflashed across our minds, most beautifully verified, * Where Andes, giant of the western star, Looks from his throne of clouds oer half the world. We stopped a short time to admire the splendidscene, and give rest to our beasts, as well as takeour luncheon of bread and cheese, for which thekeenness of the air had given us a great relish ;and we sat down sheltered by a rock. After ourrepast, we drank a glass of grog to the prosperityof the Peruvian Republic, Avhich was returned byIMajor Beltran giving that of the British Empire ;and Dr. Valdizan proposed the Pachitea expe-dition. We then conunenced our descent in aheavy snow-storm, with the thermometer down to
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Measure of the Earth: 4 of 4:  The Enlightenment Expedition That Reshaped Our World.  by Larrie D. Ferreiro  (Author)

In the 18th century, Europe's scientific community was torn between two opposing theories: Descartes' argument that the Earth was spherical, and Newton's contention that it was flattened at the poles. Recognizing that the answer was the key to securely navigating the earth's oceans, France and Spain organized a joint expedition to colonial Peru. Their goal was to measure a degree of latitude at the Equator; by comparing this measurement to one taken back in Europe, they would be able to determine the planet's shape and put an end to the debate. But what seemed a straightforward scientific exercise was almost immediately marred by a series of unforeseen catastrophes: treacherous terrain, deeply suspicious locals, and the voyagers' own hubris. A thrilling tale of adventure, political history, and scientific discovery, Larrie D. Ferreiro's Measure of the Earth recounts the greatest scientific exhibition of the Enlightenment through the eyes of the men who completed it—pioneers who overcame tremendous adversity to traverse the towering Andes Mountains and discern the Earth's true shape.