Berlin State Library (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz)
Alexander von Humboldt
American Travel Journal, Vol. VII a and b
After returning from Cuba, Journal VII a et b first describes the journey on the Río Magdalena (April 21 to June 15, 1801). A stop along the route is the town of Mompós. Here Humboldt dissects crocodiles and studies their anatomy, and the sketches become part of his later anatomical work.
On his journey through the viceroyalty of New Granada, Humboldt meets a population on the move: “Everywhere one hears talk of the nueva Philosophia; this is the epitome of the newer physics, mechanics, astronomy. The American youth is in a state of inner emotion that is unknown in Spain. Everyone complains about the yoke and nonsense of the Peripatetics and wants to shake off the shackles on reason that the monks have put on the people. Even among the clerics, there are innovators ...”.
Besides the description of the journey through Turbaco, Cartagena, Honda, Bogotá, the Quindíu Mountains, the Andean Cordillera, and Quito, there are short portraits of travel companions and famous personalities such as Carlos Montúfar, José Celestino Mutis, and Francisco José de Caldas.