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Puerto Cabello

PUERTO CABELLO is a town and port in the republic of Venezuela in South America, and in the department of the same name, in 10° 20' N lat. and 69° 10' W. long. It is situated on the north coast of South America, and is considered the best port on the south coast of the Caribbean Sea. A narrow low island extends about two miles east and west. It is overgrown with mangrove-trees, and at its eastern extremity is united to the continent by a shoal. To the south of this island is the harbour, which is formed on the west by a peninsula projecting northward and terminating about 100 yards from the island. The 9pace between the peninsula and island forms the entrance of the port, which is deep, but so narrow that only one vessel can pass through it at a time. The small bay, of which the northern part forms the harbour, extends southward, and at its extremity turns southwest The southern portion of it contains several islands overgrown with mangrove-trees. The harbour itself is deep and spacious, and the largest vessels may lie there in safety; for though a heavy surf breaks along this coast of South America, its force is broken by the intervening island, and as the entrance of the harbour is from the west, the surf does not penetrate to the interior. Accordingly the water of the harbour is always as smooth as that of a lake. The town consists of the city and of the suburb. The city is situated on the northern part of the peninsula, through which a cut has been made, by which th s site of the city is converted into an island. It is small, bat contains several good houses, and is well fortified. Neither the church nor any of the public buildings require particular notice. There are some good warehouses, and an excelU nt wharf faced with stone, both erected by the Guipuzcoa Company, when it had obtained the right of exclusive commerce with this part of America. Vessels of large burden lie close to the wharf, and as they can be easily and securely fastened to the shore, anchors are seldom required. To this circumstance it is said the harbour owes its name, as implying that vessels may here be secured by a single hair (cabello); but Humboldt asserts that it acquired this name from one Antonio Cabello, who carried on an extensive illicit traffic with Curacao before the Guipuzcoa Company built a town here. Over the cut which separates the city from the suburb is a bridge of wood, and a gate on it, which is shut every night. The suburb is much more extensive than the city, but built with less regularity. The houses are low, only a few of them having an upper story. It is the residence of the merchants and working people. Both places contained at the beginning of this century a population of 9000. Later accounts are wanting. The commerce of the town is considerable, and the produce of the fertile countries lying to the south of it, as the valley of Aragua and the plain of Valencia, is exported from it. The exports consist of cacao, coffee, sugar, and a great number of mules. Formerly 10,000 mules are said to have been annually shipped for Jamaica and other parts of the West Indies. The principal commercial relations of Puerto Cabello are with Jamaica and Curacao, but as to this matter also more recent information is wanting.

(Humboldt's Personal Narrative; Depons, Voyage d la Partie Orientate de la Terre Ferme; Semple's Sketch of the Present State of Caracas.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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