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In 1799, Alexander von Humboldt and Aime Bonpland set out to determine whether the Orinoco River connected with the Amazon. But what started as a trip to investigate a relatively minor geographical controversy became the basis of a five-year exploration throughout South America, Mexico, and Cuba. The discoveries amassed were staggering, and much of today's knowledge of tropical zoology, botany, geography, and geology can be traced back to von Humboldt's numerous records of these expeditions. One of these accounts, "Views of the Cordilleras and Monuments of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas", firmly established von Humboldt as the founder of Mesoamerican studies. In Views of the Cordilleras, von Humboldt weaves together drawings and detailed texts to achieve multifaceted views of cultures and landscapes across the Americas. In doing so, he offers an alternative perspective on the New World, combating presumptions of its belatedness and inferiority by arguing that the "old" and the "new" world are of the same geological age. This critical edition contains a new, unabridged English translation of von Humboldt's French text, as well as annotations, a bibliography, and all sixty-nine plates from the original edition.
University of Chicago Press
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