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The Rio Napo and Tributaries

Detailed map centered on the Rio Napo and its Tributaries, illustrating the travel of the Italian Naturalist Gaetano Osculati.

The map extends from Quito in the northwest to the Upper Marangnoni and the confluence of the Napo and Ucayali Rivers.

After a stop in Quito to organize his expedition, Osculati began his adventure on June 7, 1847 by crossing the Cordillera to descend until the Rio Napo decided to follow the course up to the Amazon River. The path in the forest was very difficult. Osculati writes that:

... the trail, according to the usual, snaked between marshes and marshes, forced at every step to cut the long pipes of the suro harundo, which, forming a dense network, made the journey more difficult.

From the early days he had problems with his porters, so much so that on the banks of the Cosanga River, then swollen with water for rains, he was robbed of his belongings and abandoned with few remaining provisions. After thirteen days alone, he decided to try to wade by river back to the starting point to look for new guides. After reorganizing the trip, he finally managed to reach the Rio Napo to begin his navigation towards the Amazon River.

Gaetano Osculati

Osculati (1808-1894) devoted himself from an early age to the study of the natural sciences, and in 1830-31 he visited Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor, and other provinces of the Turkish empire. He embarked for South America in 1834, traversed the greater part of that continent, and in 1836 returned to Europe by the way of Cape Horn.

In 1841 he visited Arabia, Armenia, Persia, and the coast of Malabar, and in 1846 he visited the United States. After passing hurriedly through Canada, the United States, the Antilles, and Venezuela, he went to Quito, and thence started on an expedition to the Napo, a tributary of the Amazon. After several days' march he was abandoned by his native guides, but he succeeded in reaching the Napo alone, after a journey across a wide expanse of unsettled country and through trackless forests. He suffered for food, and during two weeks subsisted on palm leaves and a single kind of fruit. In 1848 he returned to Europe with a rich collection.

In 1854, he published Ezplorazione delle regioni equatoriali lungo il Napo, describing his travels.

The map is quite rare on the market. This is the first example we have seen offered for sale.