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Sir Walter Raleigh, poet, and a favorite of Queen Elizabeth, “dreaming with the idea of giving his beloved Sovereign so precious a jewel”, left Trinidad with a handful of daring rowers in search of the fabulous country.  But the furious waters of the Caroní river frustrated the adventure, destroying his ship, leaving the men stranded.

  The incomparable prose of Raleigh, full of force, splendid in color, poetic and animated, described his incredible fluvial odyssey.  Since the publication of Colinas de Manao on wards, the image there depicted of the grand wild scenery of Venezuela by the adventurer-poet, is multiplied, idealized by all European literature, through the centuries.

  A very special fascination, a rare emotion are added to the trip of today’s tourists through that “other world” of America’s geography, when he remembers that it was among its cyclopean mineral buildings, amidst its labyrinth of rivers, in its dazzling box of colors where Milton set the scene for his Paradise List; that Voltaire makes Candide evoke the marvelous tepuys, evocations of Manoa.  


Likewise, it is this fascinating will territory of Venezuela the scene chosen by Conan Doyle for his story The Lost World, a text that shared the emotions of our childhood with Le Majestueux Orénoque by Jules Verne. Four centuries later Sir Walter Raleigh’s description is still the most precise that can be offered to the traveler of the largest of the tepuys, in the Gran Sabana.  His ship lost, dead some of his rowers, feverish the few left near him, Sir Walter takes a look around from a higher place, and writes one of the most beautiful pages ever written in the English language:

  “When we run to the tops of the first hills of the plains adjoining to the river, we beheld that a wonderful breach of waters. Which ran down Caroní; and might from that mountain see the river how it ran in three parts, above twenty miles of, and there appeared some ten or twelve over flies in sight, every one as high over the other as Church tower, which fell with that fury, that the rebound of waters made it seem, as if it had been all covered with a great shower of rain: and in some places we took it at the first for a smoke that had risen over some great town…the dear crossing in every path, the birds towards the evening singing on every tree with a thousand several tunes, cranes &herons of white, crimson, and carnation perching on the rivers side, the air fresh with a gentle easterly wind, and every stone that we stooped to take up, promised either gold or silver by his complexion.”

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