The Eastern Plains and Amazon
The sixth chapter examines the commission’s representations of the lowland Orinoco and Amazon borderlands in 1856 and 1857, especially the areas then known as Casanare and Caquetá, which the commission sought to transform and colonize. These costly and difficult trips took place during a period in which the commission operated under increasingly adverse circumstances, characterized by illness, dwindling state support, and constitutional revisions that required the commission to revise its maps. Manuel María Páz had become the commission’s principal illustrator and secretary. In addition to his paintings and sketches, the chapter analyzes a large manuscript map of the Eastern Plains, replete with ethnographic notations that belie Codazzi’s own repeated characterization of the region as deserted. Codazzi’s notations, reports, and illustrations emphasized the uncivilized sexual habits and gender roles of the populations that existed beyond the control of the state. Unlike in the highlands, the commission acknowledged the uncertainty of its cartography and explicitly cited the humble, local informants from which it obtained geographic knowledge, including Pedro and Miguel Mosquera as well as other black, mulatto, and indigenous inhabitants. Posthumously published maps, however, elided these informants’ intellectual contributions and their very existence, depicting the lands as empty and open for colonization.
North Carolina Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.