Through Five Republics On Horseback Being An Account Of Many Wanderings In South America By G. Whitfield Ray
 -  It is a country where all climates can be found. As the
northern part of the continent is equatorial the - Page 5
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It Is A Country Where All Climates Can Be Found.

As the northern part of the continent is equatorial the greatest degree of heat is there experienced, while the south stretches its length toward the Pole Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is on the equator, and Punta Arenas, in Chile, is the southernmost town in the world.

For hundreds of years Spain and Portugal exploited and ruled with an iron hand their new and vast possessions. Their coffers were enriched by fabulous sums of gold and treasure, for the wildest dream of riches indulged in by its discoverers fell infinitely short of the actual reality. Large numbers of colonists left the Iberian peninsula for the newer and richer lands. Priests, monks and nuns went in every vessel, and the Roman Catholicism of the Dark Ages was soon firmly established as the only religion. The aborigines were compelled to bow before the crucifix and worship Mary until, in a peculiar sense, South America became the Pope's favorite parish. For the benefit of any, native or colonist, who thought that a purer religion should be, at any rate, permitted, the Inquisition was established at Lima, and later on at Cartagena, where, Colombian history informs us, 400,000 were condemned to death. Free thought was soon stamped out when death became the penalty.

Such was the wild state of the country and the power vested in the priests that abuses were tolerated which, even in Rome, had not been dreamed of. The priests, as anxious for spiritual conquest as the rest were for physical, joined hands with the heathenism of the Indians, accepted their gods of wood and stone as saints, set up the crucifix side by side with the images of the sun and moon, formerly worshipped; and while in Europe the sun of the Reformation arose and dispelled the terrible night of religious error and superstition, South America sank from bad to worse.

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