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Mérida city, Colombia. Coloured etching by C. Empson, 1836.

Empson, Charles, active 1836.

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view Mérida city, Colombia. Coloured etching by C. Empson, 1836.


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Credit: Mérida city, Colombia. Coloured etching by C. Empson, 1836. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

About this work


"The city of Merida is the capital of an extensive province, bounded on the north by Maracaibo, on the east by Varinos, on the south by Llanos, and on the west by Santa Martha. This city formerly contained twelve thousand souls, and was celebrated for its college and episcopal palace. The bishop of Merida is the only mitred dignitary in the republic : this venerable prelate is also in possession of the see of Maracaibo. Bagota and Caraccas are also bishopricks, but have been vacant since the Revolution. The earthquake, which overwhelmed Barquisimito, nearly destroyed the city of Merida: the former is still a scene of desolation; the latter was speedily restored to its present condition by its energetic inhabitants: unfortunately, their further exertions were terminated by the commencement of that exterminating war, which, by its fearful devastation, not only suspended all public works, but destroyed the very spirit of enterprise. Nearly all who could bear arms have perished in those desperate encounters between the Godos, as the Spaniards were called, and the Columbians: no quarter was given: freedom or death was the war-cry of the oppressed: the oppressors shouted victory or blood. The plains of Merida have witnessed many of those scenes so terribly fatal, that, in some instances, after the conflict, not a single individual escaped to proclaim the victory or defeat. The country is mountainous; but there are fertile plains rich in pastures and cattle, plantations of coffee, cotton, cocoa, and sugar-cane. The nearly perpendicular mountains which rise in the immediate vicinity of the city are covered to their very summits with a dense mass of the most luxuriant and varied foliage. Beyond these mountains are seen the distant Andes, reaching to an elevation of fifteen thousand feet, their snow-clad peaks forming an object of the most striking grandeur. In former times, the voluptuous monks and wealthy citizens of Merida employed relays of slaves to fetch down " (Empson. loc. cit.)


Merida Ninth narrative


[London] : [Ackermann and Co.] : [Charles Tilt], [1836]

Physical description

1 print : etching, with gouache and gum arabic ; sheet 16.6 x 23.5 cm

Publications note

Charles Empson, Narratives of South America, illustrating manners, customs, and scenery: containing also numerous facts in natural history; collected during a four years' residence in tropical regions, London 1836, pp. 150-151

Travel in aquatint and lithography 1770-1860 from the library of J.R. Abbey, San Francisco 1991, vol. 2, no. 702.11


Wellcome Library no. 678036i



  • English

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