National Geographic : 1899 May
THE RECENT ASCENT OF ITAMBE archipelago comprises an area of 355,000 square kilometers, without in cluding the Jolo (Sulu) group. It then specifies about thirty of the prin cipal islands, and their areas aggregate 298,485 square kilometers. That, of course, leaves a multitude of the smaller islands not specified in the guide, but covered by the larger area. As the number of square kilo meters multiplied by .386052 will give the number of square miles, the area of the islands specified amounts to 115,238 square miles, and the area of all the islands, less the Jolo group, amounts to 137,057 square miles. Further, the statement is generally made that the Archipelago of the Philippines contains from 1,000 to 2,000 islands, and the "Guia Oficial" says the number is more than 1,200. But in examining the "Derrotero del Archipielago Filipino, Madrid, 1879 "-that is, the Coast Pilot of the Philippines, covering more than 1,200 pages-we find that the Islas, Islitas, Isletas, Islotes, Islotillas, and Farallones therein described amount to 583. Of course, this does not include reefs, rocks, or hidden dangers. I submit that these figures of the areas and of the number of islands and islets be accepted until replaced by government surveys. THE RECENT ASCENT OF ITAMBE In his letter referring to the ascent of Itamb6, Lieutenant Ship ton states (this magazine, November, 1898, p. 476) that " we are supposed to have been the first men ever on the summit of this peak." Itambe was ascended and measured by Spix and Mar tius in 1818. Those authors say of it: " The peak of Itamb6, the highest one ascended and measured by us in all our travels through Brazil, has an elevation of 5,590 Parisian feet."* This measurement was made with a mercurial barometer, and, so far as 1 know, it has never been repeated. The fact that Itambe has not been ascended is due to its being in a thinly populated, untraveled country, rather than to any particular difficulty in getting up the peak itself. It dominates almost the entire diamond district of Minas, and in my own travels through that region I was constantly reminded of what Dr Santos says-that this peak served the old gold and diamond hunters instead of a compass, for they never got lost so long as it was in sight. " It was a granite light-house to travelers-the center of a circle, seventy leagues in diameter, in which they could revolve without fear of getting lost."t J. C. BRANNER. Stanford University. *Reise in Brasilien von Dr J. B . von Spix und Dr C. F . P . von Martius, ii, 456, Miin chen, 1828; also Beitrage zur Gebirgskunde Brasiliens von W. L. von Eschwege, 334, Berlin, 1832. t Memorias do Districto Diamantino, por J. F . dos Santos, p. 8, Rio de Janeiro, 1868.