Benguella - Encyclopedia


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BENGUELLA (Sao Felipe de Benguella), a town of Portuguese West Africa, capital of Benguella district, on a bay of the same name, in 12° 33' S., 13° 25' E. Benguella was founded in 1617 by the Portuguese under Manoel Cerveira Pereira. It was long the centre of an important trade, especially in slaves to Brazil and Cuba, but has now greatly declined. The anchorage, about a mile from the town, in 4 to 6 fathoms, is nothing but an open roadstead. Besides the churches of S. Felipe and S. Antonio, the hospital, and the fortress, there are only a few stone-built houses. The white population numbers about 150o. A short way beyond Benguella is Bahia Tarta, where salt is manufactured and sulphur excavated.

About 20 m. north of Benguella is Lobito Bay, a natural harbour chosen (1903) as the starting-point of a railway to Katanga. At Lobito steamers can come close inshore and discharge cargo direct. Lobito is connected with Benguella by a railway which passes about midway through Katumbella, a town at the mouth of the river of the same name, and the sea terminus of an ancient route from the heart of Central Africa through Bihe. Old Benguella is a small town about 120 m. north of Lobito Bay.

Beni, a river of Bolivia, a tributary of the Madeira, rising in the elevated Cordilleras near the city of La Paz and at first known as the Rio de La Paz, and flowing east, and north-east, to a junction with the Mamore at 10 20' S. lat. to form the Madeira. Fully one-half of its length is through the mountainous districts of central Bolivia, where it is fed by a large number of rivers and streams from the snowclad peaks, and may be described as a raging torrent. Below Reyes its course is through the forest covered hills and open plains of northern Bolivia, where some of the old Indian missions were located. The lower river is navigable for 217 m. from Reyes to the Esperanza rapids, 18 m. above its confluence with the Mamore, where a fall of 20 ft. in a distance of 330 yds. obstructs free navigation. Its principal affluent is the Madre de Dios, or Mayu-tata, which rises in the eastern Cordilleras about 35 m. east of Cuzco, and flows in an east and north-east direction through northern Bolivia to a junction with the Beni 120 m. above its mouth. The principal tributaries of the Madre de Dios are the Inambari and Paucartambo, both large rivers, and the Chandless, Marcapata, and Tambopata. In length and size of its tributaries the Madre de Dios is a more important river than the Beni itself, and is navigable during the wet season to the foot of the Andes, 180 m. from Cuzco.

[[Beni (El Beni]]), a department of north-eastern Bolivia, bounded N. and E. by Brazil, S. by the departments of Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, and W. by La Paz and the national territory contiguous to Peru and Brazil. Pop. (est., 1900) 32,180, including 6000 wild Indians; area (est., probably too high) 102,111 sq. m. The "Llanos de Mojos," famous for their flourishing Jesuit mission settlements of the 17th and 18th centuries, occupy the eastern part of this department and are still inhabited by an industrious peaceful native population, devoted to cattle raising and primitive methods of agriculture. Cattle and forest products, including rubber and coca, are exported to a limited extent. The capital, Trinidad (pop. 2556), is situated on the Mamore river in an open fertile country, and was once a flourishing Jesuit mission.

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