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Detailed map of the Orinoco River and seveal major Tributaries, compiled by Alexander von Humboldt during his explorations in South America.

Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt (1769 - 1859) was a Prussian geographer, naturalist, and explorer. Between 1799 and 1804, Humboldt travelled extensively in Latin America, exploring and describing it for the first time from a modern scientific point of view.

Humboldt was originally persuaded by the Spanish minister Don Mariano Luis de Urquijo to undertake a grand eploration of Spanish America. Using the imprimatur of the King of Spain, Humboldt and Aime Bonpland sailed departed Madrid in June 1799 and landed at Cumaná, Venezuela, on July 16. Humboldt visited the mission at Caripe and explored the Guácharo cavern, where he found the oil-bird, which he was to make known to science as Steatornis caripensis. Returning to Cumaná, Humboldt observed, on the night of November 11-12, a remarkable meteor shower (the Leonids). He proceeded with Bonpland to Caracas where he would climb the Avila mount with Andrés Bello.

In February 1800, Humboldt and Bonpland left the coast with the purpose of exploring the course of the Orinoco River and its tributaries. This trip, which lasted four months and covered 1,725 miles (of wild and largely uninhabited country, had the important result of establishing the existence of the Casiquiare canal (a communication between the water-systems of the rivers Orinoco and Amazon), and of determining the exact position of the bifurcation, as well as documenting the life of several native tribes such as the Maipures and their extinct rivals the Atures.

The present map is from a rare Spanish lanugage pamphlet, published in Paris, which provides a fine look at the observations made by Humboldt and Bonpland during their time exploring the Orinoco.

This is the first time we have seen this map on the market.