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1 Pg. 13. This work was first exhibited in 1979 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Subsequently, and despite the resistance it suffered to be given the value it really had, it toured sixteen different stages in six countries on three continents, with a face-to-face audience of fifteen million people. It was then removed and stored until 1996, when it began to be exhibited in numerous places and since 2007 the montage has been on permanent display at the Elizabeth A. Sacker Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.


2 P. 20. The nautical mile, also called marine, is a measure of length used in sea and air navigation, equivalent to one meridian arc minute, with an exact length of 1,852 meters.


3 P. 27. The first woman chosen as a member of the Royal Geographical Society was the great traveler Isabella Bird in 1892; before a fierce controversy had arisen to accept it. For example, the conservative politician George Nathaniel Curzon, who had been Governor-General of India, still held the view that women were unsuitable for research trips, disqualifying them, saying that "their sex and their background make them equally unsuitable for exploration and the genre of professional female vagabonds with which America has lately become familiar is one of the great horrors of this late 19th century.”  _cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b- 136bad5cf58d_   This opinion undoubtedly reflected the common ideas of large sectors of the population and influential circles still half a century after Pfeiffer's travels. Between 1892 and 1893, a total of twenty-two traveling women, “well-qualified ladies”, were accepted as members of this association. However, later new additions were suspended until 1913, when access to women was finally open.




1 P. 34. In 1602 the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (Dutch East India Company, VOC) was created, which concentrated Dutch commercial efforts into a single command and a single policy until 1800, when it was dissolved and the Dutch state took control of their territories. The same happened with the West-Indische Compagnie (Dutch West India Company, WIC), created in 1621 and disappeared in 1791.


2 P. 40. When Malaspina sent his writings about the trip to the Spanish government, they were considered unsuitable for publication due to the existing political situation. Disenchanted, Malaspina took part in a conspiracy to overthrow Prime Minister Manuel Godoy; and this led to his arrest and sentence of ten years in jail. In 1802 he was released thanks to pressure from Napoleon and deported to Italy, his country of birth.


3 P. 40. The Novara voyage was no exception in the German and Austrian tradition of making trips around the world, whether for scientific or other purposes, although it was much less than that of other countries with colonial possessions. During the 16th and 17th centuries there were several travelers and explorers of these nationalities, such as the diplomats Sigismund von Herberstein and Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq, the missionaries and cartographers Martin Martini and Samuel Fritz, or the explorers Georg Christoph Fernberger and his nephew Christoph Carl Fernberger. During the 19th century, but already after the voyages of Ida Pfeiffer, there would be the expeditions to the Arctic by Carl Weyprecht and Julius Payer, and the African explorations by Oscar Lenz, Oscar Baumann and Emil Holub.


4 P. 41. While exploring the Malay Archipelago, Wallace changed his ideas about evolution, believed in the "transmutation of species", and began to consider the theory of natural selection. In 1858 he sent a letter to Darwin describing it and he considered that it had many points in common with his, which was already well advanced to be published. Wallace's article appeared that same year along with a description of Darwin's theory, and in 1859 the celebrated On the Origin of Species was published. All the honors went to Darwin and Wallace accepted it, his social and scientific prestige was far superior to his own. Wallace was relegated to the role of co-discoverer but gained access to the highest levels of the scientific community, and the friendship with Darwin will endure through the years.




1 P. 52. The Treaty of Schönbrunn, also known as the Treaty of Vienna, was signed between France and Austria in Schönbrunn Palace on October 14, 1809 and ended the Fifth Coalition during the Napoleonic Wars, once Austria was defeated in the decisive battle of Wagram (5-6 July).

     During these negotiations, Napoleon escaped an attempt on his life when he left the palace to observe with a military parade Friedrich Staps, the seventeen-year-old son of a Lutheran pastor, had arrived in Vienna and asked for an audience to make a petition, which was refused by the emperor's aide, General Jean Rapp. Shortly thereafter, the latter observed Staps in the barracks courtyard leading a crowd against Napoleon and was arrested. He was taken to the palace and they found a large kitchen knife hidden in his coat. Once questioned, he openly revealed his plans to kill the emperor, outraged at the plight of his people. Taken before Napoleon, he asked him if he would thank him if he were pardoned, but the boy replied that "I would kill you all the same for much less." The next day, Staps was shot outside the palace, but before being shot he shouted “Long live freedom. Long live in Germany! Napoleon, shocked and fearful that a larger conspiracy might take place, instructed his police minister to keep the event secret. Shortly after the German campaign of 1813, Staps was seen as a martyr to burgeoning German nationalism.


2 P. 55. The name Galitsia is the Latinized form of Halichinano, a principality of medieval Ruthenia. The kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, also known as Austrian Poland, became the crown of the Habsburg monarchy in 1772, following the First Partition of Poland. After the 1867 reforms it became an autonomous unit administered by Poles under the Austrian crown. Currently, this historical region is divided between Poland and Ukraine.


3 P. 60. In 1818, the American businessman William Scarbrough had become the main investor and president of the Savannah Steamship Company; the company purchased a 320-ton sailing ship, the Savannah, which was equipped with a steam engine, funnel, and sidewheel. In April 1819 it was already available and even President James Monroe, on a visit to the city, toured the Savannah River in this boat. On May 22 of the same year, the steamer left Savannah and arrived at Liverpool (June 20) and later Saint Petersburg (September 15). This was the first steamship in history to cross the Atlantic Ocean, although it did so alternating the sail and the steam engine, since it had to be supplied frequently; however, it did not generate commercial profit and apart from the initial reluctance of the people about the great innovation that steam travel represented, the engine and coal did not leave much room for the transport of goods.

     A few years later, steamships began to prevail over sailboats and on April 1827 they already produced the first voyage using only steam power: the Dutch ship Curaçao went from Rotterdam to Paramaribo (Suriname) powered by two 50-horsepower engines, a voyage that lasted just under a month (April 26 to May 24, 1827 ). From 1838 the era of steam liners began, which would cover most of the oceanic routes.




Europe and Asia Minor


1 P. 66. The plague is a rodent disease that can pass to man only through the bite of a mouse flea and can present epidemic or endemic forms. An inflammatory reaction occurs in the lymph nodes in a few days, with very painful swelling, necrosis, and suppuration, which characterizes the bubonic form of the disease. There may be early passage of bacteria in the blood, or septicemic plague, which without adequate therapy causes multiple purulent, hemorrhagic, and necrotic lesions in most organs, generally accompanied by shock and disseminated intravascular coagulation, which causes death in a short time. Lung involvement, or pneumonic plague, causes fulminant pneumonia; contagion, which can cause devastating person-to-person spread, occurs directly from droplets of saliva emitted when speaking, coughing, or sneezing, which can travel very far through the air and remain suspended for a long time.


2 P. 66. In fact, the first known plague had an enormous effect on Constantinople during the sixth century AD. and is known as Justinian's plague. The Black Death of 1348, although it had its origin in China, spread through Europe from outbreaks in Asia Minor and Constantinople, and this was a repeated event during the following centuries. In the 16th century there were six epidemics in Turkey and one in Egypt; the seventeenth century, four in Turkey and two in Egypt; and the eighteenth century, seven in Turkey and thirteen in Egypt.

During the 19th century there were several plagues in Eastern Europe: Wallachia, Bessarabia or Albania (1824); Greece, Moldavia, Wallachia, Bessarabia, Odessa, Crimea and Transylvania (1828-1829); Dalmatia (1840). Both in Asia Minor and in Egypt and the Near East, outbreaks of plague were frequent: Baghdad, Cairo and Upper Egypt (1801); Constantinople and Armenia (1802-1803); Constantinople (1808); Smyrna (1809); Egypt, Mecca (1812); Constantinople (1813); Egypt (1814-1816); Armenian (1828-1831); Persian (1829-1835); Iraq, with 60,000 deaths in Baghdad in a single month (1831); Egypt (1833-1845); Whole Turkey (1836); Constantinople and a good part of Turkey (1839); Armenian (1840-1843).


3 P. 66. The kreuzer was a currency that was used between the 13th and 19th centuries in southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland. One hundred kreuzer was equal to one guilder.


Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Egypt


1 P. 85. Sattler did not suffer from the plague since the incubation time of the disease is between two and eight days after the flea bite. Apart from high fever, chills and headache, and also nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, the most characteristic is the appearance of the bubo, more frequently in the groin but also in the axillary and cervical area, but Pfeiffer did not say anything about that. .


2 P. 87. Flies can transmit about a hundred diseases. They do it passively or mechanically, limiting themselves to the transfer of microorganisms by contaminating their feet, tarsal hairs, trunk, or by passing through their gastrointestinal tract and subsequent regurgitation, without multiplication of the pathogenic agent or with development of the same. Its high transmitting capacity is not surprising if we take into account that flies are highly mobile, come into contact with faeces, corpses or garbage, and are closely associated with humans and their diet. As eye diseases they can transmit ophthalmia, epidemic conjunctivitis and especially trachoma, which today remains the leading cause of infectious blindness in the world, especially in Africa and the Middle East.


Rreturn to Vienna


1 P. 97. The saints whose main specialty was curing the plague or preserving the town from its contagion were called "pestillaceous depulsors" and those who had the most devotion among believers were San Sebastián and San Roque and to a lesser extent Santa Rosalía from Palermo; they were the only chance to survive the scourge sent by God as just punishment for the sins committed by man.


2 P. 100. Malaria or paludism, a disease transmitted by the females of some species of mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles, had intensely attacked the city of Rome throughout history. The Holy See paid a high price in victims throughout the entire territory of the Vatican State and both popes and cardinals died in large numbers. In 1241, one of the twelve cardinals who were to choose the new Pope died of malaria before the conclave began; and Celestine IV, the new Pope, died a fortnight after his appointment. During this thirteenth century there is evidence that seventeen Popes died due to fevers and other diseases, and only in the conclave of 1287 six cardinals died and most of those who survived fell ill due to the "intense summer heat" and the conclave was discontinued.

     Pope Boniface VIII died in 1304, “prostrated in body and spirit”, and five years later Papal Court moved to Avignon, the death rate among the religious was halved. However, when the papacy returned to Rome in 1378 malaria struck again: in 1521 Pope Leo X died and in 1590 Popes Sixtus V and Urban VII. During the conclave of 1623 (from July 19 to August 6), in which Pope Urban VIII was elected, eight cardinals and thirty secretaries died of malaria, in the “long and battle-filled conclave, very tiring due to the extreme heat and in rampant malaria”.




Vienna to Copenhagen


1 P. 110. The enormous Catalog of Scientific Papers published by the Royal Society of London in nineteen volumes beginning in 1867, covering the period from 1800 to 1900, included tens of thousands of authors of all nationalities devoted to all fields of science with hundreds of thousands of publications. But only about 1,000 women appeared, representing less than 1% of entries, around 3,400 articles. Of all of them, 41% were American and 26% British.


2 P. 112. The great fire in Hamburg started on May 5, 1842 in a cigarette factory and lasted for three days. The rapid expansion of the fire was due to drought and strong changeable wind. It destroyed about a third of the buildings in the Altstadt, the old city, and affected around a hundred wineries, two synagogues, sixty schools and several public buildings, including the City Hall and the Bank of Hamburg. In addition, some buildings were demolished by order of the authorities and to serve as firebreaks. Fifty-one people died and 1,700 buildings were destroyed. Some 20,000 people were left homeless and economic losses were estimated at about one hundred million marks.




1 P. 118. Leprosy is an infectious-contagious but hardly contagious disease caused by Hansen's bacillus, a name given in honor of the Norwegian physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen, the discoverer of this bacterium. It is a disease with cutaneous, nervous and visceral involvement, but it can also affect the mucous membranes, eyes, bones and testicles, in its two tuberculoid and lepromatous forms. Its spread depends on the patient's immune status and the most severe complications are disfigurement, deformity and disability, either due to neurological involvement or blindness.

     Leprosy has been known since ancient times and although the oldest remains are found in India, China and Egypt, the origin would be in Africa or the Middle East. However, this disease affected the Nordic countries such as Norway, Sweden and also Iceland, with some seriousness and in a way, where the Laugarnes hospital, near Reykjavik, had even been built to treat these patients infected through secretions. nasal passages and ulcerated skin lesions, although it is not clear that this is always the case. Intimate contact is associated with spread of the disease; that is why family members are the most frequent source of infection.


2 P. 122. The solfataras are openings in volcanic terrain through which gases emanate at high temperatures (between 100 and 300°C), characterized by a high content of sulfur dioxide, which in contact with air oxidizes and forms crystals. of sulfur. Its emissions are essentially made up of water vapor and would correspond to the final phases of semi-extinct volcanoes.

Fumaroles are small openings that arise from the outer vents of a volcano. Their composition varies according to the temperature at which they are emitted, so they change throughout their "life cycle".


3 P. 123. The eider, Somateria mollissima, is a medium-sized bird of the duck family that is distributed along the coasts of northern Europe, North America, and eastern Siberia. It nests near the sea, on the coast and on islands, and its feathers provide material to fill quilts. It feeds on crustaceans and mollusks, but mussels are its favorite food; they eat them whole, rupture in the stomach, and excrete the shell.


4 P. 128. The Geysir can throw boiling water over 80 meters high. However, eruptions are not usually frequent and in the past there have been years in a row where there were none. Between June 17 and 20, 2000, during an earthquake, one of the emissions of the great Geysir reached 122 meters and since 2006 it has been cordoned off for security reasons.


5 P. 129. The Strokkur geyser, which in Icelandic means “cylinder”, currently erupts every six to ten minutes, more than seventy-three thousand times a year, and its usual height is usually fifteen to twenty meters high. height, sometimes forty. This geyser was first mentioned in 1789, after an earthquake unblocked its vent. Its activity fluctuated throughout the 19th century and although in 1815 it was estimated that it could reach a height of up to sixty meters, at the beginning of the 20th century another earthquake blocked the conduit. In 1963, locals cleaned it up, and the geyser once again erupted regularly.


6 P. 130. Sigurthur Stefánsson, a master of the monastery of this town and grandson of the former bishop, drew a map in 1570 based on ancient documents, where he located the discoveries of the Norse in the Western Atlantic and included Vinland. The original map of Sigurthur has been lost, but there is a copy from the year 1690 that when consulted by Scandinavian scholars realized that Vinland was located at 51°, the same latitude as the southern tip of Ireland or Bristol. This information, transferred to modern maps, indicated that Sigurthur had marked Vinland in the same position as the northern promontory of Newfoundland, and this was fundamental to the investigations of archaeologists, who in 1960 found Viking remains at the l'Anse site aux Meadows, on the northern tip of the island of Newfoundland, at 51° 35′ 47″ north latitude.


7 P. 130. Thorlak Thorhallsson was the sixth Bishop of Skálholt between 1178 and 1193, when he died. Five years later, his successor in the bishopric named the Alþingi a saint and his relics were deposited in Skálholt to be venerated. In 1984, Pope John Paul II canonized him and declared him patron saint of Iceland.


8 P. 131. The thaler was an ancient silver coin used in several European countries of the Germanic area. A thaler equaled three marks.


9 P. 132. The eruption began on September 2, 1845 with an intense explosive phase of the Plinian type that lasted one hour (magmas with an acid composition and a high degree of explosiveness); then it went into effusive activity and ended on April 5 or 10, 1846 with a possible recurrence on August 13 or 16 of the same year. The amount of tephra or expelled material (magma) was found very close to the volcano, so it can be considered that the eruption was moderate. However, the ashes were transported to the Faroe Islands, Shetland and Orcades. Large amounts of ash were deposited on the pastures, and fluorosis caused cattle deaths over the next two years.

     However, the largest known volcanic eruption in Iceland occurred on June 8, 1783 when a 303 fissure crater in the Laki volcanic complex, it opened explosively due to the interaction between the submarine bottom and the thrust of basaltic magma, emitting 14,000 million cubic meters of lava and being classified at level 4 on the volcanic explosivity scale. The following eight months of sulfuric gas emission, which reached up to fifteen kilometers in height, caused one of the most significant climatic disturbances of the last millennium and gave Europe what became known as “Laki fog”. The coincidence of the emission of sulfur dioxide and unusual climatic conditions, with a very hot summer and winds blowing to the southeast, caused a thick sulfurous fog that spread across western Europe and caused thousands of deaths during 1783 and the winter from 1784 in Bergen, Prague, Berlin, Paris, The Hague or the center of England.

     Fog heated by the summer sun caused violent storms with significant stone precipitation damaging crops until autumn which they killed the cattle. That winter was particularly hard with many days of frost; major floods occurred in the spring and the following winters were also very severe, followed by episodes of drought that caused a drop in the prices of agricultural products and a famine crisis due to widespread poverty in rural areas.


Scandinavia and return to Vienna


1 P. 139. Situated at the entrance to the Numedal valley, Kongsberg had been founded by King Kristian IV in 1624 as Konings Bierg or King's Mountain, a mining commune after two herdsmen had discovered silver a year earlier. . It became Norway's largest mining industrial center before the industrial revolution, contributing 10% of the gross national product of Denmark and Norway. It was given the royal charter of commerce and in 1802 it already had the official status of a town with a market.


2 P. 141. The Göta is a navigation channel that is part of a 390-kilometre-long waterway that links several lakes and rivers to provide a route from Gothenburg to the North Sea to Söderköping on the Baltic Sea. This route takes place through the Göta river and the Vänern, Vättern, Boren and Roxen lakes, and reduces the distance from Gothenburg to Stockholm from 900 kilometers to 590. The width of the channel ranged from seven to fourteen meters and the maximum depth It was about three meters. The canal had fifty-eight locks that made it possible to overcome unevenness and raise or lower ships as needed. This canal can accommodate vessels up to 30 meters long, 7 meters wide and 2.8 meters deep.

     Although the idea of making this canal had already been proposed at the beginning of the 16th century, construction began under the orders of Baltzar von Platen, a former Swedish Navy officer of German origin, who had British technical help and where up to 58,000 workers were employed. It was inaugurated on September 26, 1832 and boosted the Swedish economy for only a few years, as it came into competition with the railway lines that started up in 1855 and was never an economic success. Currently it is used almost only as a tourist and recreational activity.


3 P. 142. The attack took place inside the building. Although the bullet did not kill him at first, the subsequent infection did prove lethal, and he died on March 29, 1792, a fortnight later.


4 P. 143. Eighty-five personalities of great importance and of diverse origins are buried in Uppsala Cathedral. Catharina Magelone is unknown and Ida probably referred to Catharina Jagiellon, the first wife of King Johan III; Gustavus Erichson was the name of King Gustav I before he was crowned and he died a natural death, not beheaded. There were three members of the Sture family killed by King Erik XIV: Svante Sture the Younger and his two sons Nils and Erik. Archbishop Karl Frederik Mennander is correct; he had been a student of the great Linneaeus, the botanist Carl Linné who devised the classificatory system of all animal and plant species for which Ida surely felt great admiration. Charles De Geer, another important naturalist and dedicated to the study of insects and a disciple of Linnaeus, is also buried in this cathedral.


5 P. 145. Ida was referring to the area known as “museum island”, or Museuminsel, a museum complex located in the northern part of the island of Spree, in the historic center of the city. In 1830 the Royal Art Museum, or Königliches, was built, and in 1841 King Friedrich Wilhelm IV announced in a royal decree that the entire area "would be transformed into a sanctuary for art and science." Thus, between 1843 and 1855 the New Museum or Neues Museum was built, and the name of the Königliches was changed to the Old Museum or Altes Museum. These were the two museums that Ida saw during her visit. Later the Alte Nationalgalerie (1862-1876), the Bode Museum (1898-1904) and the Pergamonmuseum (1910-1930) would be built.


Publication of the travel book


1 P. 151. Carl Franz von Schreibers, Professor of Natural History at the University of Vienna, had been commissioned by the former Emperor Leopold II to completely reorganize the collections of the Royal Empire's Natural History Cabinet, the Naturalien-Cabinet which later it would become the Natural Museum of Vienna (Naturhistorihes Museum). It was founded by Schreibers following scientific criteria and using the Natural History Museum in Paris as a model.


2 P. 152. He was referring to The Englishwoman in Egypt: Letters from Cairo (1845), a work written by Sophia Poole. She lived in Cairo between 1842 and 1844 with her brother, the well-known orientalist Edward Lane. Sophia had separated from her husband and remained in Egypt with her two children; he learned Arabic, he adopted the characteristic Arab dress, not only to observe daily life in the streets and markets but also to enter the baths and harems and become intimate with Egyptian women of different social classes.

Letters of a German Countess was the work of the previously discussed German Countess Ida Hahn-Hahn, a fervent nun who embraced Catholicism.


3 P. 153. The prophet Jeremiah predicted great evils for the people of Jerusalem and Babylon because their rulers and the people lived in the midst of violence and corruption. The "jeremiadas" comes from this prophet and is understood as a "lamentation or very exaggerated display of pain".


4 P. 153. Before Ida had gone to Iceland, this island had only been described by a dozen travelers, the vast majority of them belonging to the aristocracy and with a budget far greater than hers. Without a doubt, Pfeiffer can be considered a pioneer in this journey and the first woman to describe the island, even if it was only the southern part, the most visited.






1 P. 157. Elephantiasis or lymphatic filariasis is a parasitosis produced by nematode worms transmitted to humans through the bite of various species of mosquitoes. It is characterized by inflammation of the lymph nodes and channels, thickening of the extremities, a late complication caused by the obstruction of living, dead or degenerating adult worms. This clogging of the vessels also causes hypertrophy, sometimes monstrous, of the scrotum, penis, breasts and especially the legs and feet.


2 P. 160. The Puris Indians lived in four states in southwestern Brazil: Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Sâo Paulo, following the extension irrigated by the Paraíba do Sul river and its tributaries. It is estimated that in the 18th century there were some 5,000 indigenous people living there; currently there are a few hundred.


3 P. 163. It is Tunga penetrans, popularly known as chigger, a flea from the Hectopsyllidae family that attacks the skin and produces the disease called tungiasis. This was a typically American condition, but it is known that in 1872 several females of this species were transported by the crew of the British ship Thomas Mitchell, which was sailing from Rio de Janeiro to Ambriz, a Portuguese colonial city about 100 km . north of Luanda, the capital of Angola; from there, the chiggers spread rapidly up the African coast. In 1882, tungiasis was known all over the coastline, from Sierra Leone to Mozambique, invading the entire African continent in just twenty-five years.


Cape Horn, Valparaiso, Tahiti


1 P. 169. This dissolute and carefree life had already been described almost seventy-five years before. The English explorer Samuel Wallis had discovered the island in 1767 and the following year Louis-Antoine de Bougainville also capsized during the first French circumnavigation. He named the island Nova Citera, in reference to the Greek island of Citera, the garden of Eden where Venus would have been born, because he described it in his work Voyage autour du monde (1771) as an earthly paradise with a people who lived happily on earth. innocence. Regarding his women, authentic “nymphs”, he explained how the expedition arrived in Tahiti:

     As we neared the ground the islanders surrounded the boats. The crowd of canoes was such that we had great difficulty in mooring in the crowd and noise. Everyone came calling "tayo", which means friend, and they gave us a thousand testimonials of friendship and they all asked us for nails and earrings. The canoes had been filled with women who openly showed what their charms were in front of a large number of Europeans and who, due to the beauty of their bodies, could compete with an advantage with any woman. Most of these nymphs were naked since the old men and women who accompanied them had removed the cap with which they usually wrap themselves.

    At first, and despite their naivety they seemed to feel a certain shame; a bit because nature has embellished sex with a naive shyness because even in countries where the sincere golden age* still reigns, women give the feeling of not wanting what they most want. Those men, simpler or freer, soon spoke clearly: they asked us to choose a woman and follow her on the ground, with unmistakable gestures that showed how we should know her. I asked myself: how can you keep your job in the middle of a show like this, with four hundred young French sailors who haven't seen a woman for six months? Despite all the precautions we had taken, a young woman came on board and from behind the quarterdeck on the upper deck stood in one of the winch hatches, which was open to ventilate the lower area. The young woman casually dropped the cap that covered her and appeared like that in everyone's eyes, as when Venus showed herself in the Phrygian shepherd with celestial forms. Sailors and soldiers rushed to the hatch and never had the winch moved so well as with this activity. We dedicated our effort to contain these bewitched men and it must be said that the least difficult thing was not to contain oneself.

     Bougainville reported in his work that later, syphilis contracted in Tahitians, and suspected the expedition was severely affected by syphilis The contagion had been caused by the English from Wallis who had been on the island a year before.


* According to Greek and Roman mythology, this period also known as the reign of Saturn, is the time during which Cronos-Saturn, after being dethroned by his son Zeus-Jupiter, is received in the Italian peninsula by King Janus, with who will share the power; and this turned out to be a time characterized by widespread prosperity.


2 P. 170. Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, known as “the prince consort”, was the husband of Queen Victoria of Great Britain.




1 P. 175. A few years later a new revolution would take place, known as the Second Opium War, between 1856 and 1860. The United Kingdom wanted to expand its territories to China and asked its authorities to renegotiate the previous treaty, which included exercising free trade throughout the country, legalize the trade in opium, abolish taxes on foreigners for internal traffic, suppress piracy, regulate the traffic of workers (they were treated almost like slaves) and allow the British ambassador to reside in Peking. The court rejected those demands and thus began a war between the Chinese empire and the United Kingdom and its allies France, Russia and the United States.


Singapore and Ceylon


1 P. 185. Ida was referring to the Polish sanctuary of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, located about forty kilometers southwest of Krakow and only fifteen kilometers from Wadowice, the birthplace of Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II.




1 P. 190. In July 1857, the regiments of sipais stationed in Dinapur, that is, the Hindu soldiers enrolled in the British East India Company, rose in revolt due to various religious, social, political and economic reasons, mainly due to the ethnic differences between the white officers and the Indian troops. The British had to flee to Shahabad, in the northwest of the country, and Arrah, a town near Patna, was besieged and the reinforcements sent failed. Finally, most of the English were able to retire in boats thanks to various heroic actions, such as those of William McDonell and Ross Mangles. Both received the Victoria Cross, the highest award given by the British forces for acts of courage against the enemy.


2 P. 202. Phrase taken from the poet Horace in De Arte poetica. Epistola ad Pisones: “I say mihi, Musa, virum, captae post tempora Trojae, Who mores hominum multorum vidit et urbes” (Say, Oh Musa! Of the man who, after taking Troy, toured many towns and studied their customs).


3 P. 203. The Black Hole or Black Hole was a dungeon in Fort William in Calcutta that measured approximately 4.30 x 5.50 meters. On June 20, 1756, the site fell into the hands of the troops of Siraj ud-Daulah, the Nabob of Bengal, and British soldiers, civilians, and sipayos were imprisoned, but as the place was so small and cramped, forty died of heat or drowned. and three people out of the sixty-four who were sent to the hole. One of the survivors was John Holwell, a surgeon and temporary governor of Bengal, who later erected a tombstone at the site to commemorate the victims, but who at some indeterminate time, before 1820, disappeared.

     Later, Viceroy Lord Curzon realized that there was no indication of the fact that he had he commissioned a new monument which was erected in 1901 and made mention of the previous existence of Holwell's headstone. Curiously, as Ida Pfeiffer had mentioned fifty years before, apparently with clairvoyant skills, it was an obelisk fifteen meters high, which is currently in the cemetery of the Anglican church of Saint John in Calcutta.


Mesopotamia and Persia


1 P. 212. The first excavations in the area were carried out in 1843 by Paul-Émil Botta, French consul in Mosul, and found the royal palace of Sargon II, but in Khorsabad, 20 kilometers north of Nineveh. In 1847 Austen Henry Layard's exploration of Nineveh took place, and he found the palace of Sennacherib and the well-known Ashurbanipal bookstore with 22,000 engraved tables that were sent to London. When Ida arrived in Mosul, Layard was in the British capital, so they did not meet.

     Christian Rassam had a younger brother, Hormuzd, who was hired as his personal assistant at the age of twenty and Lambard was hired as his personal assistant at twenty , impressed by his worth. Hormuzd went to England and studied at Magdalen College, Oxford for eighteen months before accompanying Layard on a second expedition to Iraq. Later, when Layard abandoned archeology and dedicated himself to politics, Hormuzd already worked alone and made important discoveries, such as the clay tablets that would be deciphered as "the epic of Gilgamesh", the oldest narrative poem in the world.


2 P. 213. The so-called clothing or human body lice belong to the species Pediculus humanus humanus. They are the transmitters of epidemic or exanthematic typhus, the cause of many epidemics throughout history. There is another human louse, Pediculus humanus capitis, which lives in the hair but does not transmit any disease except for the so-called pediculosis, the concentration of many individuals.


3 P. 214. Undoubtedly it was the Locusta migratoria species of lobster, very common in these places and famous for having constituted large swarms and plagues throughout history during its migratory phase. Ida's observation that the natives ate them is accurate and a common occurrence in many places, especially North Africa and the Middle East. It must be taken into account that although 60-75% of the lobster's body is made up of water, the rest is distributed with 60% protein, 24% carbohydrates, 12% lipids and 4% mineral salts. In addition, at the University of Montana they conducted a study showing that 100 grams of lobster have 300% more protein than 100 grams of roasted sirloin.


4 P. 218. Ida was not mistaken in the description of the viceroy: once he became the new shah of Persia and despite starting a process of modernization of the country with the introduction of Western technologies and customs, his style of government showed dictator and used for continued repression against religious and political adversaries, thousands died. After reigning for forty-eight years, he was shot to death by an opponent in 1896. Shortly before he died, he said that "if I survive, I will reign in another way."


Asian Russia and return to Vienna


1 P. 220. Cholera is an acute intestinal infectious-contagious disease, caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The infection is generally benign in up to 75% of cases, but on occasions it can be very serious and appear suddenly. It is characterized by abdominal pain, watery diarrhea with a high number of stools (up to 30-40 in 24 hours) and vomiting that causes rapid dehydration, up to a liter per hour. Without adequate treatment, death can occur in a matter of hours, when dehydration exceeds 12-15% of body weight. These bacteria are present in water and food contaminated by feces and are usually transmitted through these when the person ingests them. During an epidemic, the sources of contamination are generally the feces of the infected person, which is the reservoir of the disease, but the role of flies as spreaders of the infection is also very important.

      From the mid-17th century to 1817, sixty-four relatively isolated outbreaks of cholera were first reported in the Goera region and later in other localities of the Indian coast, advancing progressively towards the east and north. a period of recess, in 1817 the first pandemic began, which spread throughout the world from its original reservoir in the delta of the Ganges river. The second and most devastating pandemic began in 1829 in Persia, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan and from there it spread worldwide in the following years. The third pandemic began in 1852, but it did not follow a linear course but rather responded to the sum of local outbreaks in various areas around the world. There would still be three more epidemics, between 1863-1875, 1881-1896 and 1899-1923, the last two less fatal due to greater knowledge of the disease. The last and current pandemic, the seventh, began in 1961 and is still persisting in developing countries.


2 P. 222. Circassia was a historical region encompassing the entire northwestern Caucasus that was gradually conquered by the Russians between 1763 and 1864 in the framework of the Russo-Circassian Wars that cost the lives of more than three and a half million people. . Because they were Muslim, many of them began a mass exodus to the Ottoman Empire, and today significant communities are found in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel.




1 P. 233. The Crystal Palace, the crystal palace, was the main building of the great Exhibition, originally located in Hyde Park. It was a cast iron and glass construction designed by the English architect and gardener Joseph Paxton, a building 564 meters long, 138 meters wide and 39 meters high.


2 P. 235. The Museum of Vienna would have bought quite a few species from Ida for 300 florins, and there is evidence that she would also have sold specimens to other institutions, such as the Schottengymnasium in Vienna, a prestigious private Catholic school, since in 1850 he wrote a letter to Ferdinand Breuding, the curator of his natural history collection, offering to sell spices collected during his long journey.


Publication of the translations of the travel book


1 P. 241. Marmier took advantage of this same article, in its entirety, to include them in his works Les voyageurs nouveaux (1852) and Voyage d'une femme autour du monde (1853). This last work was not limited to Pfeiffer's travels but included others in Lapland, Africa, America, China, New Zealand and Australia. In 1886, Marmier published a new work, Passé et présent. Voyage recitals, where Pfeiffer also appeared, and again in her widowed condition: “Mme. Ida Pfeiffer, the brave Austrian who, at the age of forty-seven, already a widow and with established children, left for Egypt and Palestine, then Sweden, Norway and Iceland; He returned to his home in Vienna and left again to go around the world.



From London to Cape Town and Singapore


1 P. 243. A marine league is equivalent to 1/20 of a degree of the terrestrial meridian, or 5.55 kilometers. Therefore, 8,000 legas were equivalent to 44,400 kilometers.


2 P. 244. Cape Town had been part of the British Empire since 1814, but the territories where Ida wanted to go were in the northeast of the country, which would be the free state of Orange and the Transvaal, dominated by the Boers of Dutch origin . The war of the English against the Kaffirs (from the Arabic "cafir", as they referred to the blacks of southern Africa), actually of the Xhosa ethnic group, was a long conflict with several high points, which remained active between 1779 and 1879 in the territory now known as the Eastern Cape Province.


3 P. 245. Ida was referring to the "tsetse" flies, of the genus Glossina, transmitters with their bite of African trypanosomiasis or son disease in humans and nagana in cattle, produced by the protozoan Trypanosoma brucei.


4 P. 245. Klein William, now Clanwilliam, one of the oldest cities founded by the Dutch, is located about 230 kilometers north of Cape Town, at the foot of the Cederberg mountain range and on the banks of the Olifantes River . Clanwilliam is the center of cultivation of roibos, Aspalathus linearios, known as the "plant of happiness", which only grows in these mountains. Carl Thunberg, one of Linnaeus's disciples, already noted in 1772 that the natives of the country made infusions with this "red bush".


5 P. 247. The discovery of antimony ore in the Kuching region, in the north of the island of Borneo, led Pangeran Indera Mahkota, a representative of the Sultan of Brunei, to increase the development of the territory. The increased production of this mineral caused the sultanate to demand higher taxes, which led to civil unrest. In 1839, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II charged his Pangeran uncle Muda Hashim with the task of restoring order, but he was unable to do so and asked James Brooke for help.


6 P. 248. Among the insects he sent to the Vienna Museum was the species Gryllotalpa fulvipes, an insect of the mole cricket family, originally known from Singapore but for over a hundred years only the type specimen collected by Pfeiffer existed. , until another was found in January 1978. This extremely rare species is about 3 centimeters long, burrows the ground, and lives underground, confined to primary forest. It was first described in 1877 by the Swiss orthopteran entomologist Henri-Louis-Frédéric de Saussure.



1 P. 250. The Syrian consisted of a betel leaf* surrounding a small piece of areca nut*, seashells needed, all chopped, and with a little gambir*.


* Betel, Piper betle is a plant with healing properties as it stimulates saliva, prevents halitosis, diarrhea and intestinal parasites and is a remedy against cough and asthma.


* Areca nut is the fruit of the betel palm, Areca catechu.


*Gambir, Uncaria gambir, is a plant that contains many catechins, an antioxidant with medical properties widely used in traditional Chinese medicine.


2 P. 253. Commander Lee would die two years later, in April 1853, due to an attack by daiaks opposed to Rajah Brooke, led by chief Libau Rentap, who would call himself "Rajà Darat Sarawak" ( Rajà of the land of Sarawak).


3 P. 257. Lake Danau Santarum (Boenot) is much larger than what Ida comments, but she would have entered from the southern part and could not see it in its entirety.


4 p. 257. Kalimantan's diamond deposits are exclusively alluvial and cluster in two well-defined zones. On the one hand, in the extreme west of the island, where extraction is currently almost marginal: the deposits along the Landak River, near Serimbu (north of Ngabang), up the Sekayam River and on the Kapuas River, around Sanggau. In the southeastern part of the island, deposits are concentrated in rivers draining the Meratus Mountains, mainly around Martapura, thirty-nine kilometers east of Banjarmasin.

     Borneo diamond deposits are believed to share with India the distinction of being the first diamond mined the world by Hindu population, probably around 600 B.C. From 700 AD until the end of the 13th century they were worked by the Malays and later by the Chinese. From the 14th century the dedication would be complete and two centuries later the Portuguese already pointed out the operation of the Landak river and the mineral work in Ngabang and Pontianak. When the Dutch colonized Borneo they began to exploit Landak diamonds and trade with Batavia was important.

     In 1738, the Dutch East India Company exported 300. guilders in diamonds in Landak district, but this century and during the next its trade decreased as the monopoly was also reduced. In 1836 thousands of workers were reported to be in the vicinity of Martapura, but the Dutch government recorded a diamond production of only 29,857 carats between 1836 and 1843, and 25,378 carats between 1876 and 1880 only at Ngabang, where laborers worked ( currently about 140 million carats are produced worldwide each year). The point is that when diamond mines were discovered in South Africa at the beginning of the 20th century, Borneo's diamond production was negligible and currently only minimally worked in Martapura.


5 P. 258. In his work, Spenser St. John doubted these distances traveled and suspected that “Madame Pfeiffer measured kilometers based on her tiredness. She speaks of thirty kilometers a day as a normal walk for her, but other travelers from this island contradict her, saying that walking that distance in one day through the jungles of Borneo is an absolute impossibility.


Java and Sumatra Islands


1 P. 266. They were the Scottish explorers Mungo Park and Hugh Clapperton, the Englishman Dixan Denham and the Frenchman René Caillié, who explored the regions bathed by the Niger River at the beginning of the 19th century. They all died very young from tropical diseases, the eldest Denham at forty-two, and Park drowned in the Niger River when he was thirty-five.


2 P. 266. The Preanger or Parahyangan is a mountainous region in the province of West Java that covers one sixth of the entire island of Java. The name comes from the Sundanese words meaning "the residence of the hyangs", or of the gods, as the ancient Javanese believed that the gods lived on the tops of these mountains.


3 P. 268. Twenty-five-year-old Layman and thirty-year-old Munson had arrived in Padang in April 1834 and were heading inland onto Batak land. They were accompanied by an interpreter, a cook, two natives and ten coolies, and after spending a few days among friendly Bataks, one of them warned them not to go any further, it was not safe. They paid no attention until the night of June 28 when they came to a barricade defended by armed men. At one point there was an assault from the side and rear carried out by some two hundred Batak warriors. The coolies and the interpreter fled into the jungle and then Lyman was shot and Munson was speared. Both died right there and their bodies were taken to a town called Si Sakkas, where they were consumed by those warriors.


4 P. 268. Colonel van der Hart would come to a premature and violent end three years later at only forty-four years old, when he had become governor of Celebes and lived in Macassar. On May 26, 1855, he severely reprimanded his servant, named Kimping. That man felt so insulted and ashamed that he decided to take revenge and hid in the house before the family went to sleep. At half past two in the morning he emerged from his hiding place with a kris in his hand and climbed the stairs to his master's bedroom. Van der Hart was sleeping and Kimping stabbed him; the wounded governor jumped out of bed and wrestled with his attacker but was wounded again with two stab wounds to the chest and many other cuts. He tried to run down the hall but the servant jumped after him and stabbed him again in the back and then in the heart, and he died.

     During this fight, Kimping had received a wound in the abdomen and in that state he went to look for the governor's wife. However, he only managed to wound her in the arm before she was able to escape through the window and run to her children for help. Meanwhile, Kimping still had time to murder one of the maids, until, weakened by the wound, he stayed in a part of the house and there bled to death.


5 P. 268. The Padri or Minangkabau War took place between 1803 and 1837 in western Sumatra and confronted the "Padris", Muslim clerics from the south and center of the island who wanted to impose Islamic law, and the "Adats". , the Minangkabau country nobility and traditional chiefs, who lived on the southern border with the Batak, with their capital at Padang. The "Adats" asked the Dutch for help, who intervened from the year 1821; After a time of peace and more or less bloody skirmishes, with episodes of brutality and widespread corruption on the Dutch side, they besieged the fortress of Bonjol, the last stronghold of the "Padris", until it fell in 1837.

     The Batak ethnic group is currently made up of more than four million people, but divided into six groups that share features common cultural and linguistic This territory was not fully dominated by the Dutch until 1907, when the last king, Si Singamangaraja XII (the great lion king) died along with his sons during a skirmish with colonial troops around Lake Toba (17). of June). In 1961, this king was declared by the Indonesian government "Hero of the struggle for freedom" for his resistance to Dutch colonialism.


6 P. 270. Curiously, Friedrich Junghuhn, a German doctor, botanist and traveler who had a life full of adventures, wrote in 1847 the book Die Bättalander auf Sumatra (The lands of the Bataks of Sumatra), a first anthropological and topographical study of that ethnic group, where he denied the existence of Lake Toba and affirmed that it was a fable.


7 P. 271. Xavier Brau de Saint Pol Lias, ethnologist, geographer and explorer, a staunch propagandist for French expansion, led expeditions where members were both colonists and explorers.


8 P. 276. Symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, joint pain, diarrhea, anemia, blood in the urine, retinal damage, and intermittent seizures. Cyclic stages of sudden cold followed by rigor, fever and sweating for 4-6 hours, which occurs in infections caused by Plasmodium vivax (the former benign tertian) or Plasmodium falciparum (malignant tertian), are characteristic. Given the rather "mild" picture of the disease, Ida would have been infected with P. vivax, typical in Southeast Asia, which is very debilitating but can also cause severe malaria, with symptoms such as neuromalaria, severe anemia, low level of platelets and red blood cells, jaundice, ruptured spleen, acute renal failure, and acute respiratory obstructive syndrome.


9 P. 277. The Marapi, not to be confused with the Merapi volcano of Java, is a stratovolcano or composite volcano, with a conical shape, the most active in Sumatra. Since the late 18th century, more than fifty eruptions have been recorded, usually with little or moderate explosive activity and no lava flow out of the crater. The last eruptions, some of them causing deaths, took place in 1975, 1979, 1992, 2000 and 2001. Since 2011 it has been on alert since it has resumed activity and in 2014 and 2020 there were some small eruptions . There is a legend very similar to that of Noah and the Ark, according to which the Marapi was the place where the Minangkabau settled for the first time, when everything was surrounded by water and the ship they were traveling in ran into the mountain.


Java, Banda, Moluccas and Sulawesi Islands


1 P. 283. Indonesia has been constantly affected by earthquakes, tsunamis and explosive volcanic eruptions with records dating back to the year 1608. Although the rate of earthquakes has remained stable throughout these centuries, their importance has been great, With magnitudes greater than eight on the Richter scale the years 1780, 1797, 1833, 1852, 1861, 1907, 1938, 1965, 1977, 1996, 2004, 2005, 2107 in 2004 in Sumatra, when 228,000 people died.

     The 1852 earthquake, with a magnitude of 8.4 on the Richter scale, lasted five minutes and devastated Banda Sea region and was felt in most of Indonesia, while Ida was in Yogyakarta. It caused new islands to emerge and triggered a tsunami with waves up to eight meters high in Banda Neira and also affected, among others, the islands of Ambon and Saparaua.


2 P. 284. Visser died on September 21, 1855, when he was forty-nine years old, tragically falling down a great waterfall into Lake Tondano, in the north of the island of Sulawesi, which Ida also visited.


3 P. 284. The Alfuros are an Indonesian population group of Melanesian origin that in colonial times referred to the tribes from the interior of the islands of the South (Buru and Seram) and North (Halmahera) Moluccas, some parts of the north Celebes and smaller islands of the Sunda archipelago. They referred to themselves as Harafura or Alifuru, and it distinguished them from the Christians or Muslims who lived nearby. In fact, it defined the populations that had no contact with the coastal populations and that lived as hunters and gatherers at low levels of civilization.

     The origin of the word is not clear and some think it could derive from Portuguese, Spanish or Arabic, but the most probable hypothesis is that its origin comes from the word tidoresa halefru, composed of hale, land, huru, savages. The island of Tidore, opposite that of Ternate, had a lot of influence over these “alfuro” territories, it would have been the place where the word was adopted by the Malay traders and adventurers and Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch settlers who arrived on the so-called “islands”. of spices”, in short, the Moluccas islands.


4 P. 286. The alfuros were animists and believed in mana, a supernatural force or substance, of which the blood was the carrier. Therefore, its spill implied sacrifices to the spirits, which could be animals or humans. However, the human head was the highest that could be sacrificed; It was seen as the greatest of the senses and this custom was maintained until the 1940s. Currently, a large part of the Alfurs have converted to Christianity or Islam and it is estimated that only 2% maintain the old beliefs.


5 P. 287. The tjakalele is the traditional war dance where the dancers displayed their skill as warriors using an elongated shield, the salawaku, and the machete, the parang. Usually, this dance was danced to prepare for battle, but later it also appeared in important ceremonies, although there are several varieties depending on the geographical area. The dance was very noisy and was accompanied by gongs, tifas (cone-shaped drums) and tahoeris, large sea snails of the genus Charonia, known as "Triton's trumpet", whose tips would pierce because the sun passed by. sound.


6 P. 289. Very close to Maros is the Bantimurung National Park, famous for the great biodiversity of its fauna. British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace referred to this site as the “kingdom of butterflies”: during his 1857 exploration he found 256 different species, some of them endemic. It is quite possible that Pfeiffer brought insects back from this area and Wallace had seen them and felt the desire to go and collect himself.


7 P. 292. Bromo is an active volcano 2,329 meters high, currently a very touristy place. It must be borne in mind that on the island of Java there are more than a hundred volcanoes, many of them active, the most active area on the planet. Its name derives from the Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the creator God according to the Hindu religion.


8 P. 296. Punch, or The London Charivari, was a British humor and satire magazine started in 1841. Miss Harris was a fictional character who appeared regularly; She was a somewhat eccentric old woman, setciencias, gossipy, cheeky, with a bad temper and who always carried an umbrella with which she pointed her nose at those who did not like her or laughed at her. Ridiculous things often happened to her but when she was wrong she persisted in the mistake and did not listen to anyone, she was fanatical and intolerant and during tantrums she became incoherent. Perhaps it was similar to Ida when she said that “I see what I see, and what I see I keep”. This magazine also published a satirical commentary on Pfeiffer (see below).


9 P. 296. Adam White worked from the age of eighteen in the Department of Zoology of the British Museum, dedicated to the study of insects and crustaceans. He was the identifier of the arachnids that Darwin had brought back from his trip with the Beagle, "preserved in wine liquor, since spiders are only preserved that way."


10 P. 297. Bleeker was the author of a great work, Atlas Ichthyologique des Indes Orientales Néêrlandaises, published in ten volumes between 1862 and 1878 and where four hundred and twenty plates appear with spectacular illustrations that gave an idea of the great diversity of marine life in the Indo-Australian Archipelago.


United States: California


1 P. 304. A lynching would be the execution without trial of a suspect or prisoner by a mob. The origins of the word are obscure and a legend spoke of James Lynch fitz Stephen, mayor of the Irish town of Galway. In 1493 he sentenced his son to death for "loss of confidence and murder of a foreigner", and hanged him from the balcony of his own house.

The most likely origin is that the word comes from Charles Lynch, a Virginia Quaker, planter, and revolutionary, who headed a court in his county and imprisoned loyal British supporters to one year in jail, despite not having any appropriate type of jurisdiction but with the argument of the "necessities of the War". Lynch was credited with ordering the execution of a group of Tories in 1780 without trial, but there is no document to prove that he imposed this punishment.


2 P. 305. Upon learning of the discovery on January 24, 1848, Sutter wanted to keep the news secret as he feared that his agricultural business would disappear if there was mass immigration in search of this metal. However, the rumors spread quickly and a few weeks later The Californian published the story signed by Samuel Brannan, who immediately set up a supply store for the miners he imagined would arrive shortly, and became rich.

     On August 19 of that same year, the New York Herald newspaper announced the news of gold in California. Immediately, countless immigrants arrived, around 90,000, from all over the world, the so-called "forty-niners": Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, Chinese and Europeans, mainly French, German, Italian and English, who were later joined by Spaniards. , Filipinos, and black miners from the Caribbean, Brazil, and the southern United States. In 1855, when the gold rush ceased, the miners and merchants numbered approximately 300,000 people.


3 P. 307. The Australian gold rush began on February 12, 1851, when Edward Hammond Hargraves announced the discovery of gold near Bathurst, New South Wales, a place he named Ophir. Six months later gold was found in the mountains of central Victoria, but large quantities of gold had been found in both provinces long before that, notably in 1841 and 1844. However, the Governor of New South Wales He hid the discovery since in a convict society that was not good news, they could reduce the workforce and destabilize the economy.

     As of 1851 the situation changed completely and many gold seekers were disappointed by California, easily attracted prospecting and the possibility of finding large straws of gold. Between 1851 and 1860 there was a great expansion because the population went from 400,000 inhabitants to 1,200,000, which meant the beginning of economic development.


4 P. 307. These Indians belonged to the Shasta group, they formed a small group that at the end of the 18th century was made up of about two thousand individuals. But after the gold rush they were decimated by gold prospectors from the Californian mountains and severely affected by alcohol, venereal disease and acculturation. They were even poisoned by the same army at Fort Jones in 1851.


5 P. 308. Between 1855 and 1856 a bloody war broke out between the Rogue River tribes and the US Army that ended with the creation of the Siletz reservation. The obligation to live there was imposed on twenty Native American groups that spoke ten different languages.


6 P. 308. This steamer, which could carry more than a thousand passengers, suffered a fire in July 1862 near Manzanillo, in the south of Puerto Vallarta. Just an hour later, the flames engulfed the entire ship and two hundred and thirteen of the three hundred and thirty-eight people on board died.


7 P. 309. The role of mosquitoes in the transmission of malaria and yellow fever had not yet been discovered, and one of the most current theories of that time related the disease to the miasmas and putrid exhalations that originated in the swampy areas.


Peru, Ecuador and Panama


1 P. 310. Actually, the Lima and Callao earthquake was terrible, it will last between four and five minutes and it is supposed to be a magnitude 9.0 Mw on the seismological scale of moment magnitude, which measures the total energy released by a seism. It is estimated that some two thousand people died in Lima out of a population of sixty thousand, and the destruction of buildings was almost total, only twenty-five of the three thousand that the capital had resisted.

     The case of Callao was even worse because half an hour after the earthquake came a devastating tsunami that swept everything away his step. Of the old port, only remains of the wall and the base of the walls of some buildings remained. Of the four largest ships, two ended up in the center of a plaza and the other two southeast of the city, "a cannon shot from the bulwarks." It is estimated that between four and five thousand people died, practically the entire population, since only about two hundred were saved. The sea withdrew because it did not return to its previous limit and from this it can be deduced that a coseismic subsidence occurred and that the entire area of Callao sank after the earthquake.

     Ida did not see ruins in Callao because the port and the city, as well as Lima, had been quickly rebuilt thanks to the efforts and tenacity of its viceroy, José Antonio Manso de Velasco.


2 P. 311. It was the Liberal Revolution or Arequipa Revolution, a popular insurrection that occurred because of government corruption. This conflict would later give rise to the Peruvian civil war between liberals and conservatives (1856-1858), one of the longest and most violent in Peru, where some 40,000 people would die.


3 P. 311. Yellow fever was also transmitted by mosquitoes, in this case of the Aedes aegypti species. The contagion reached America at the beginning of the 16th century through the Portuguese and Spanish slave traders, since the disease was endemic in Africa and spread throughout the south and north of the continent, always in tropical or subtropical areas. It was a rather dangerous viral infection in which around 10-15% of patients died, since at that time there was no effective treatment.


4 P. 316. White spirit or turpentine, a volatile and colorless liquid, produced by distilling the resin, was formerly used to quickly kill insects.


United States and Canada


1 P. 321. The author of this work was the abolitionist Theodor Dwight Weld, a key figure in the fight against slavery in the United States. Harriet Beeche Stow drew partly on his work when writing the famous play Uncle Tom's Cabin, published in 1852.


2 P. 330. The Barnum Museum was located at the corner of Broadway and Ann Street and was in operation between 1842 and 1865. Its owner was the famous showman Phyneas Taylor Barnum, who had bought the building with all its contents; John Scudder's Choice Natural History, Scudder's American Museum. The five-story museum combined living zoological exhibits, a natural history museum, a huge lecture hall offering all kinds of entertainment, a wax museum, traveling exhibitions, student educational tours, theater performances and a “freak” show with assorted monstrosities like the ones Ida saw.

     On July 13, 1865, the museum burned down in one of the most spectacular fires the city had ever experienced. with the animals trying to escape by jumping out of windows or burning to death in their cages or boiling in the water tanks where two beluga whales lived. The new museum was reopened on September 6, 1865 but it burned down again two and a half years later and Barnum dedicated himself only to politics and the circus industry. It is estimated that during the twenty-five years that the museum was open, it received some thirty-eight million visitors, when the total population of the United States was less than thirty-two million. The site occupied by the museum on Ann Street was used to build a new building, it would be the headquarters of the New York Herald newspaper.


3 P. 332. Harvard University is the oldest in the United States and continues to be one of the most prestigious in the world. It was founded on September 8, 1636 as New College and renamed on March 13, 1639 in honor of John Harvard, a minister of the Anglican Church who died the previous year of tuberculosis at the age of thirty. He was one of his main patrons in donating 779 pounds and his library consisting of about four hundred volumes.


4 P. 333. Perhaps Pfeiffer made this light-hearted comment about black American slaves so as not to antagonize potential readers in the South. On the other hand, in the published work, his attack against slavery is absolutely forceful.




1 P. 343. The Radetzky Association was created in 1848 to honor the figure of Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz. He was considered one of the best commanders in 19th century Europe, who actively participated in the defeat of Napoleonic France and the reform of the Austrian army. This was a patriotically oriented and charitable association with the task of raising funds to care for wounded or disabled soldiers in Tyrol through cash contributions, sale of writings, patriotic poems and the like. He focused on everything that had to do with the person of Radetzky and distribute it, hoping to awaken a feeling of courage and loyalty. This gave rise to the so-called Radetzky Album, containing 1,524 autographs of relatives and allies of the Imperial House, famous generals and soldiers, statesmen and well-known contemporaries in civil society such as scholars, writers, poets or patriots.


2 P. 344. The tunggal panaluan is a magical staff used by Batak shamans, made of wood from the Cassia javanica tree and sculpted with human figures and animals such as snakes, dragons or water buffaloes. The upper end of the mast was wrapped with strips of cloth that formed a kind of turban from which a long bundle of human hair protruded. Inside, supposedly, was the brain of a child belonging to an enemy tribe who had been sacrificed, it was the so-called pupuk. This staff was used in ceremonies to avoid disasters and diseases, or cause them.


3 P. 344. Currently, the island of Sitka is a district of Alaska belonging to the United States. Sitka is also the capital of the district, a city that was formerly, when it still belonged to the Russian administration, had been baptized as Novo Arkangelsk. No doubt Pfeiffer acquired ethnographic objects wherever he found them with the intention of selling them later.


4 P. 345. In the castle or palace of Ambras in Innsbruk is the Kunst- und Wunderkammer, the cabinet of curiosities created during the 16th century by Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria and Count of Tyrol, where a wide variety of objects can be found. paintings, sculptures, weapons and all kinds of unusual objects and rarities.


5 P. 346. The singa gave a benevolent and protective power and was described as part human, part water buffalo and part crocodile or lizard. He could be represented in various ways, sometimes just the head and sometimes with the entire bang, but always with an elongated face, large domed eyes, a well-defined nose and a long spiral beard.


6 P. 347. The kris is an asymmetrical dagger from the Malay Archipelago, although typically Javanese. The shape of its blade is usually wavy and is achieved by alternating laminations of iron and nickel. Both the dagger and the sheath are considered a spiritual object, which has an essence or presence with magical powers, some blades have good luck and others bad luck. More than as a weapon, the kris is used to be displayed, as a talisman, as a valuable heirloom, auxiliary equipment for court soldiers, accessory to wear in ceremonies, indicator of social status, symbol of heroism, etc.


7 P. 349. The kauri, Agathis australis, is a large tree, endemic to the North Island of New Zealand, considered sacred by the indigenous Maoris. It is possible that Ida had confused the name of the tree or that she might have acquired a branch or the fruit (similar to a pineapple) in Singapore or Tahiti.


8 Pg. 351. Ferdinand Maximilian renounced his titles to become Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, heading the Second Mexican Empire between 1864-1867. His end was very unfortunate since he was arrested, tried and executed by the revolutionary troops commanded by Benito Juárez, who would later be president of the new Mexican Republic.


9 P. 352. Sumatra: Kesah pelajarán seorang perampoewan mengoelillingi boemi (1877, 1878, 1879). Borneo: Kesah pelajaran kepoelau Kelemantan (1888, 1899, 1902, 1906).

Macassar and Moluccas: Kesah pelajarán ka Mengkasar dam lain-lainnja (1892, 1901, 1904, 1907).


10 P. 353. Before being an editor at The Athenaeum, Dixon had contributed to this magazine and had also been an editor of the Daily News newspaper. Once the Great Exhibition in London was over, he made a long tour of Europe, it would be his first experience as a traveler, and it was not until 1861 when his tours covered other continents, such as Morocco, Asia Minor, Egypt and Palestine, Russia, the United States and Canada. Dixon was a member of the Royal Geographical Society and the author of numerous novels and some biographies. At the time, his works had great popular success, but in more academic circles they were little appreciated for their lack of historical rigor.


11 P. 353. There is a possibility that the article was written by Geraldine Jewsbury, an editor, novelist and literary critic, well known in the literary field and author of the review of more than 2,000 books on all subjects between 1846 and 1880, most of them for The Athenaeum magazine. However, her profile as a liberal woman in all senses, who strongly questioned the submissive role of wives and mothers and promoted their self-improvement and equality within society, makes it difficult to assume that she was the author of the article. Rather, one would have to think that Jewsbury would have liked Ida Pfeiffer for all that her travels and her personality meant.


12 P. 355. Presumably, Wurzbach was referring to Ida Pfeiffer's husband, for whom he would not have much sympathy.


13 P. 358. Conference "Journey to Sumatra of the cannibals":

     Who doesn't like to travel in today's times? Railways and steamships transport people in a very short time from one part of the world to another, and the most distant regions are getting closer. Regardless of this, there are still unexplored and little-known territories, and I want to introduce one of them to my dear listeners: a beautiful land under the hot equator sun that produces the most precious aromatic plants of the south, specifically Sumatra.

     The wildest inhabitants of this large island are the Batak, who are found in North Sumatra and are cannibals. Until now very few travelers have attempted to penetrate the interior of their country, and the few who have have paid with their lives for this audacious adventure. I had already visited other savage tribes, such as the Kurdish nomads and the Tartars of Asia, the Dayaks of Borneo, the Alfurs of Ceram, the Buginese of the Celebes and some others; but my travels had not yet led me among the cannibals, and I must confess that my greatest desire was to be among them. But not to say "I have been with cannibals too", which would have been an act of vanity, but because he wanted to convince me and explain to me if they really were so fearsome and with such alienated human feelings as many travelers reported. I decided to approach these savages completely defenseless, trusting, kind and fearless, which is what impresses unfriendly people the most.

     After careful consideration, my decision was final. The Dutch officers wanted to influence me and they summoned all the chiefs who were under their government to ask them about my trip and listen to their answer: if they trusted the humanity of their savage compatriots and would allow a defenseless woman to enter their country without being attacked, or if it was expected to be killed and eaten. I was prepared for this last possibility, but I did not change my decision; I only asked if they would torture me slowly or if they would kill me quickly, and I was very reassured by her statement that I would be dead quickly.

     I wrote to my children and ordered my papers and belongings and handed them over to Mr. Goddin with the request to send it all to my relatives in Austria if you didn't hear from me in a maximum of six to eight months, then you could consider me dead. I only took a few clothes and a woolen blanket with me, and I undertook the perilous journey in the company of a Batak who spoke the Malay language, which I also knew minimally, and would serve as my interpreter. At first I toured the Dutch possessions and one afternoon I came to the last village where Bataks lived under the rule of the Dutch government.

     When I got up the next day to continue my journey, those good people tried with all their might to stop me: they didn't skimp on me. facial expressions and pointing at their throats and scratching their arms to let me know what could happen. But since it would go just the same, I would have liked our good Christians to have seen how cordially these joyful sons who are among the afflicted sent me off. They gave me a hand and a pat on the back, it seemed that I was honored and loved by a sister, a mother or another relative of mine, and I was deeply moved. He wishes so badly that if these savages ever converted to Christianity they might retain that childlike disposition.

     It may be considered that this desire of mine is strange and perhaps wrong, since the great crowd believes that the savages would be better if Christianity were introduced; but so far, this I have not been able to confirm in a general way. For example, I was alone and without protection in Italy, Greece or Sicily, and I felt the same security as between Kurds and Persians, Hindus and cannibals.

     Today we will not have enough time to talk in detail about my trip to the land of the Batak, but I want to emphasize that it is splendid and temperate since it is seven hundred meters high. The soil is excellent and everything that is planted grows in abundance, the forests are dense and hardwood, the shrubs abundant, and the plants and climbers are found everywhere energetic. The great fertile valleys are found between chains of beautiful mountains where there are rich sources that irrigate the land well; but instead I did not see navigable rivers.

     The trip must be done on foot and the first nights even sleeping under the trees of the forest. A dense jungle of more than thirty kilometers in extension forms a natural and impregnable fortress between the free country of the Batak and the Dutch possessions. Traveling through this territory offers all the hardships you can imagine: there are only narrow roads with fresh and exuberant jungle vegetation where there is no shortage of swampy areas and stagnant waters. The traveler must bravely walk for hours without spare clothes because they would remain wet in the deep swamps. The hills are steep and you have to use your hands and feet to climb them. You must go around streams or swim directly, and sometimes cross them with a kind of bridges that are bamboo tubes that swing and require the skill of a tightrope walker. The journey of such a tiring day ends at night, but there are no refreshments to replenish: we had to simply boil rice with water and stretch out on the cold, wet leaves; and one could not surrender to rest without worries because tigers and snakes are found all over Sumatra, especially in such impenetrable forests.

     The third day we arrived at the first village. The bad roads were almost over, but now the deal with people began. Whenever we approached a residential area, the entire male population would approach us making terrible noises and screams, with gestures so lively that we expected the worst. They would immediately close a tight circle around me and express their surprise that I dared to go there alone. As the “domesticated” batak had already told me, they pointed to their necks and scratched their arms. It was the same, the reception scenes, where the heart of the bravest person would undoubtedly have trembled, and yet it is fear that can least be shown to these natives.

     Fortunately I spoke a little Malay and this language was also understood by the Batak, so I was able to understand them especially. a bit with them. Subway, when such threatening scenes took place, I stayed calm, looked at people firmly and often smiled. I made them understand that I was not afraid of them, that I was not armed and that I trusted them! This calm and confidence made such an impression on the crowd that even the most conspicuous ones became my friends: they welcomed me into their huts, gave me food, and showed me a place to sleep. They often showed great hospitality to the point of killing a chicken when they used to only eat rice.

     When I resumed my journey, I prayed to the Rajah to accompany me, to recommend that he protect my head and next tribe. Although he didn't want to help me at first, my sincere plea eventually won out, everyone smiled, and my will was done. And so I found people from all tribes, initially wild, but finally good, almost childish. Only one rajah was the exception in this regard, and I had my sword hanging from my head by a thread; but I also got over that thanks to the intervention of my awake companion and he let me go ahead without major obstacles.

     After everything I've seen with these and other savages I've met, I don't think I'll give myself up to any chimera when I affirm that they are always better people than how most travelers describe them. If the whites entered among the children of Nature with love and kindness, but above all with a sense of justice, they would undoubtedly be welcome. Where the white man had never been seen, where he had never been heard of but came as an honest person, I am convinced that out of ten times, nine times he would be well received. When the white man is not welcome, a more exhaustive examination will have to be carried out and it will be shown that his bad reputation preceded him or that an injustice against the natives was allowed.

     The white man longs for the women and daughters of savages, mocks their sacred faith and gods more . He deceives them, he takes advantage of them whenever he can and if it is within his power he pursues them in their own land and destroys the graves of their loved ones: there is no act of violence that the white man has not done against the natural populations. What's more, no government has ever taken possession of a land where savages or infidels live with the noble intention of improving the pre-existing situation. All governments, we may cite the English, Dutch, American or whatever, have no other will during their conquests than to make as much profit as possible and squeeze the most out of the natives.

     It is natural that in these circumstances the reputation of whites can only be the worst. His evil attitude spreads among the tribes and so the white man is known, feared and hated even in places where he has never set foot. And then we are still surprised that these people do not welcome us with open and loving arms if we only want their surrender?

     Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if the opposite happened: if they killed all the white men I would find what they are subject to quite natural. But as they do not, as I have always done well among the savages, and have always found them kind and benevolent to me, I cannot help thinking of them as a better, nobler, and more generous person than the white man's bunch of creatures. I have no special desire for the whites to enter their hearts, and where they appear among savages and infidels, I would advise them to do so with the true sense of Christian morality.

     Before leaving the subject of the Batak, I cannot help expressing my astonishment for them, since they are they were I thought they would be much darker in all aspects, and except for a few points I found the opposite to be the case. In addition to the unnatural lust for eating human flesh, they also treat the female sex badly and really keep it in deep bondage. Women must do all work apart from rice cultivation and are hardly allowed to speak in the presence of men, raise their eyes or eat a meal with them; in short, it eliminates all social equality. Regardless of this, I have never seen a man treat a woman badly, hit her or abuse her. I never saw any similar barbarism in these lands or in any other place where the so-called “savages” lived.

     Otherwise, they have a culture that surpasses any other feral race I have ever met. Their fields are wonderfully cultivated and they grow rice, tobacco, sweet potatoes and the like. They live in villages and their houses are large and regular, built entirely of wood. On the front walls, especially in the houses of the rajahs, there was no lack of delicate, highly worked and tasteful wood carvings. They kept cattle, and I saw many buffaloes and other animals, and in some parts even excellent horses; and chickens and pigs were nowhere lacking.

     They wove extremely beautiful texts and are able to read and write. Currently they continued to write on the outer bark of the bamboo cane, in which they engrave the letters with a pointed iron or other similar object. In the old days they wrote books and decorated them with little drawings, but it seems that now they don't do it anymore because the few books I saw seemed very old and dilapidated. When I asked if they still wrote, I received a negative answer: they pointed to the bamboo poles and told me that if they had something to tell their neighbors they would write it there. Their government is constitutional and the laws must be very good and fair. Their belief is based on good and bad spirits, but above all they revere the latter, since they say that they must be respected more, good spirits do not need it. Nowhere did I see priests or temples and the services were held inside the raja's house or in front of it, but the ceremony only consisted of a dance performed by the raja or his son.

     After all I have seen and observed among the Batak, I would not have believed, on the one hand, that these savages so advanced, they had a burning desire to consume human flesh. Shouldn't this custom be in the process of extinction? Unfortunately I could not take it upon myself to investigate it as I lack all scientific knowledge, I am not even able to speak the Batak language and my little knowledge of Malay would not have been enough for such an important investigation, so I can be suspicious for any certainty. This would be extremely interesting for historians to study.

     With this comment I end my simple report, which is based solely on ideas. I ask my sympathetic listeners to be satisfied with the little that a simple woman can offer them, because I have not dedicated my life to studies but to leading a quiet domestic life.



Vienna, Munich, Amsterdam, London and Paris


1 P. 364. All the letters written by Humboldt appear in an appendix to Pfeiffer's work on Madagascar. Ida explained that "I hope I will not be accused of vanity if, with the joy of having been so honored by such an enlightened man, I have believed that it was my duty to add to my work the copy of these letters that filled me with happiness".


2 P. 365. It was Coster Diamonds, the oldest diamond polishing factory still in operation today, founded in 1840 by Moses Elias Coster, the father of Martin Coster. This company was in charge of polishing some of the most famous pieces in history, such as the Koh-i-Noor diamond (105.6 carats), which was part of the British crown treasures. This diamond was set in 1911 in the crown of Queen Mary of England and later in that of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, on the occasion of her coronation in 1937.


3 P. 366. The lake of Haarlem initially had an area of 26 km² and was adjacent to three smaller lakes; but successive floods during the 16th and 17th centuries made the four lakes become one and many towns disappeared. In 1836 there were two terrible hurricanes that drove the waters to the gates of Amsterdam and it was decided that the lake needed to be drained. The works were undertaken in 1839; water pumps with steam engines were used and from 1848 the drying tasks began, which lasted until 1852, when eight hundred tons of water had already been removed and 170 km² of land recovered from the waters.


4 P. 366. Conradus Leemans was a Dutch Egyptologist and Hermann Schlegel a German ornithologist and herpetologist.


5 P. 367. Jomard was a French engineer, geographer and archaeologist who had been a member of the famous French expedition to Egypt in 1798. He devoted an important part of his life and work in that country, in what was the beginning of Egyptology. He participated in the writing of the magnificent Description del Égypte, an enormous collective work in ten volumes of text and thirteen of plates that would appear in the imperial and later royal presses between 1809 and 1828.


6 P. 370. This beetle, belonging to the Erotylidae family, currently has the name Triplatoma variegata, since the name given by Thomson was a synonym of that other previously classified by the English entomologist John Obadiah Westwood in 1832.


7 P. 370. This beetle, from the Lycidae family, currently belongs to the genus Broxylus, according to the revision made by George Robert Waterhouse, Pfeiffer's entomologist and friend, in 1878.


8 P. 372. Depping knew about the country because that same year he had written an article in the magazine Nouvelles Annales des Voyages, for which Victor Adolphe Malte-Brun was the editor. The note referred to the trip made in 1844 by the "English tourist Sigismond Wallace", although the author was somewhat pessimistic since he considered that "no country has given rise to so many fables or lies as Madagascar. All sailors have made an Eldorado, but in reality this country has no industrial or commercial importance, since neither the climate, nor the products, nor even the animals found make it suitable for colonization. Depping was contrary to this opinion and assured that “no doubt the fevers are very dangerous in these places and our garrisons at Nossi-Bé and Sainte-Marie know something; but the miasmas reign only on the coast. Once inside, one is safe in a fertile land excellent for colonization”.


Mauritius Island


1 P. 377. Ida was referring to some species of the Sphecidae or Pompilidae family, some wasps that inoculate a poison that immobilizes their haste and then take the opportunity to take it to their nest. There they place an egg on top of it and when it hatches, the larva feeds on its still-living haste. Jean-Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent participated as a zoologist in the well-known Baudin expedition (1800-1804), aboard the ships Géographe and Naturaliste, with which they sailed for more than three years through the South Seas.


The Empire of Imerina and Queen Ranavalona


1 P. 384. The native rulers of Imerina, in the Malagasy highlands, believed that their country was impregnable since it was protected by two generals, hazo and tazo, the jungle and the fever. Malarial fevers were caused by Plasmodium falciparum, the same protozoan as in West Africa, and the main vectors were the same species of Anopheles mosquitoes. However, the epidemiology of malaria in Madagascar is different from that of the African continent and malariologists currently distinguish four distinct zones on the island: most of the coast is holoendemic for the local population, with widespread immunity among people older than ten years, a pattern similar to that of the forested regions of West Africa.

     The northern three-quarters of the west coast is similar to the savanna regions of West Africa and is now considered hyperendemic for malaria, characterized by a stable period of disease transmission for more than six months of the year, which coincides with the rainy season, when the mosquito population proliferates. The third malarious region is located in the extreme south of the island, too dry for the usual mosquitoes to survive. This aridity would suggest that the area should be free of malaria, but this is not the case, since if a year of relatively intense rainfall and the proliferation of mosquitoes is followed by a sequence of dry years, a serious epidemic could take place, because natural immunity would be lost. against disease.

     The epidemiology on the plateau is historically similar to that in the South, with a pattern of periodic high epidemic rates of mortality in a non-immune population. Currently, malaria is endemic at fairly high altitudes, in some cases up to 900 meters. In these places, the malaria incidence varies greatly depending on the rural areas or urban environments, depending on the altitude, rainfall and the activity of farmers in rice cultivation, where mosquitoes are always very present . This variability has meant that much of the plateau is occasionally free of malaria, while at other times malaria epidemics have killed tens of thousands of people in a population that was effectively non-immune.


2 P. 386. The use of this ritual poison was abolished in 1863 by King Radama II and it was also decreed that those who died due to this ordeal would no longer be considered guilty of witchcraft and their bodies could be buried in family tombs. This arrangement was celebrated by the majority of the population, because almost every 19th century Imerina family would have lost at least one member of their family. Despite this royal decree, the practice continued secretly for several decades after it was officially banned.




1 P. 391. The escudo was a gold coin minted in Spain in the mid-16th century and used throughout its empire. It weighed 3.4 grams and was equivalent to 16 silver reales.


2 P. 391. Raphia, a word of Malagasy origin, is a genus of plants consisting of about twenty species native to the tropics of Africa, along rivers and in swampy environments. The leaves of certain species reach a length of twenty-five meters, the largest in the entire plant kingdom. The raffia plant fiber has historically had various uses in the textile and construction field and has been used to make everything from ropes or hats to shoes and multiple decorative objects. In Madagascar it was used as the main garment of its emblematic traditional costume.


3 P. 392. It was the species Ravenala madagascariensis (the name comes from the Malagasy ravinal, which means "leaves of the forest"), also known as "traveler's tree" or "traveller's palm". It's not really a palm tree, although it looks like it and it can reach an average height of seven meters and up to twenty meters if you count its huge leaves. It is a plant endemic to Madagascar that can also be found on the islands of Bourbon and Mauritius. It had been given this name because it was said that thirsty travelers could find water reservoirs in many parts of the plant, such as the leaflets of the leaves, the bracts of the flowers, or the bases of the leaves, where it could be stored in up to a quarter of a liter of water.

     However, the water inside the plant is cloudy and dead leaves and insects rot there at tropical temperatures, therefore it is not suitable for human consumption if it is not purified. What is drinkable is its sap, easy to extract with a machete. The plant requires a sunny location and moderate water, and furred lemurs are known pollinators of this plant.


4 P. 400. Alexandre-François Debain was a French inventor who developed the harmonium and patented it in 1842. It was a new action system whereby, by pressing a note on the keyboard, a valve was opened that emitted the sound from the instrument itself.


5 P. 403. The first time Lambert had gone to Antananarivo, the queen had offered a great banquet in his honor made up of several hundred dishes that had arrived from all parts of the island: “The most exquisite sweets, according to the palate of the natives, consisted of terrestrial and aquatic beetles that passed for being delicious, especially the last ones; grasshoppers, silkworms and other insects. The diners remained at the table for twenty-four hours and the most surprising thing, according to Lambert, was that the majority of the guests did the honors on all the dishes.


6 P. 405. In the month of March 1862, the French geographer Victor-Amédée Barbier du Bocage published an article in the Bulletin of the Société de Géographie de Paris about an English embassy that was on its way to Antananarivo and that went through the terrible town of Beforona: “This mission, led by MWA Middelton, Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Artillery, left Mauritius on the morning of September 22, 1861, aboard the ship Jessie-Byrne, and arrived before Tamatave on the afternoon of the 26th. On October 9, the English mission left Tamatave to reach Tananarive and on the night of the 9th they reached Beforona. This site, says the editor of the trip, is one of the most unhealthy in Madagascar and certainly the most unhealthy on the road that leads to the capital. It lies in a valley about five kilometers long and half a kilometer wide, completely enclosed by hills. The valley is very swampy and runs through a considerable stream. The noxious exhalations escape continuously and are visible in the form of a thick mist, both in the morning and at night.


7 P. 407. During the reign of Madagascar's penultimate sovereign, Ranavalona II, the French reclaimed part of the northwest coast that local chiefs had ceded to them. But the Imerina tribe refused and the result was the beginning of an armed confrontation that took place between 1883-1885 and ended with a peace treaty that was not fully complied with by the natives. At first, the Malagasy had the support of the English, who wanted to establish their influence over the territory; but in 1890, Great Britain recognized the French protectorate over the entire island and, in turn, France accepted the establishment of a British protectorate on the island of Zanzibar.

     From then on, the French conquest was only a matter of time, as plans to invade Imerina were they had started in 1894. Queen Ranavalona III did not accept the treaty by which Madagascar became a French protectorate. Then, in the month of March, they disembarked in Majunga (present-day Mahajanga), in the northeast of the island, and from there they marched towards Antananarivo. In this last French military operation to dominate Madagascar, his troops were made up of about 15,000 men and 7,000 indigenous bearers. The campaign only lasted ten months and only twenty-five deaths from combat were counted, since Imerina's potential army, made up of 35,000 soldiers, only put up sporadic resistance. However, there was a very high mortality rate due to diseases, mainly malaria (also typhoid fever and dysentery), from which more than 6,000 soldiers died, 80% of them French. It was an absolute health disaster and it meant more losses than those caused by all the French conquests made in the vast territory of West and Equatorial Africa.




1 P. 411. Le Spectateur was a newspaper with revolutionary ideas, founded on February 29, 1848 under the title Assemblée National. But on July 8, 1857, he was suspended and had to change his name to Le Spectateur, since he could not bear a name "that evoked his origin under the Second Republic and was considered unconstitutional." Le Spectateur only lasted until January 19, 1858, four days after Felice Orsini and three other anarchists bombed Emperor Napoléon III, who would be the last French monarch. Eight people died but both Napoléon and the Empress Eugenia de Montijo were slightly injured thanks to the iron plates with which the sides of the carriage were reinforced. The newspaper could not survive the consequences of that attack and the public image that resulted.


2 P. 411. It refers to the words of Lucretius in his work De rerum natura: Suaue, mari magno turbantibus aequora uentis, and terra magnum alterius spectare laborem; Non quia vexari quemquamst yucunda voluptas, Sed quibus ipse malis careas quia cernere suaveste. torment, but because it is sweet to see what evils you have spared yourself).


3 P. 411. Except in the first Epistle of Saint Paul (V): "About this time vigilate quia adversarius vester diabolus tamquam leo rugiens circuit quaerens quem devoret" (Be sober and vigilant. Your adversary, the devil, prowls like a lion roaring looking for someone to devour).


4 P. 412. This hospitalization was published in October 1858, in the Miscellaneous Editorial section of The Indiana School Journal, “Madame Ida Pfeiffer, the great traveler, is in the Hamburg hospital where she is receiving treatment for her malaria. chronic contracted in Madagascar”.


5 P. 415. The Geologist lamented the death of “the famous traveller”, long known to its readers from published works. Although his writings were more adapted to the general reader than to the scientific world, "his work has a very interesting character although he rarely talks about the geological formations of the many places where his feet have trodden." However, the magazine wanted to pay tribute to her and recalled the visit made to the geysers in Iceland, although it did not contribute any scientific news, or the anecdote of that Chilean mule driver who wanted to throw a rock at one of the donkeys that had fled and was struck. noticed that the stone contained numerous veins of silver.


6 P. 416. This newspaper, subtitled Lectures du Soir, was one of the main ones in France, founded in 1833, where fantastic illustrations made by the best French cartoonists of the time were incorporated, and where the first versions of novels were published in the form of series of famous authors such as Honoré de Balzac, Alexandre Dumas, Théophile Gautier, Victor Hugo, Alphonse de Lamartine or Jules Verne.


7 P. 417. The chronicler of the article referred to the shipwreck of the steamship Austria, due to the negligence of the crew commanded by Captain Heydtmann. The first voyage was as a troop transport for the British East India Company; on that occasion she suffered a severe storm in the Bay of Biscay, a sailor was killed and the ship returned badly damaged to Plymouth for repairs. On the second voyage, the ship was hit by a storm again and one of the two steam engines was badly damaged and returned to Plymouth for further repair.

     On May 1, 1858, the ship entered service on the Hamburg America Line New York to carry out the route . The trip began on September 1 and was scheduled to arrive on the 18th of the same month. On the 13th at noon, off Newfoundland, and according to the regulations, the ship had to be disinfected by fumigating the deck with tar. Unfortunately, the bucket containing the tar got too hot and the sailor doing this task dropped it on the wooden floor. The fire started immediately and spread throughout the deck; the steam engine could not stop and when the helmsman left his place the ship drifted, it changed course and the wind that blew from all sides fanned that fire even more. Panic spread throughout the ship and worsened after a first explosion. Many passengers jumped into the water and many of them died underwater from being swept away by the waves produced by the drifting ship or by the spinning propeller. Captain Heydtmann himself, one of the first to try to get on one of the lifeboats, also drowned. A total of 456 passengers and crew members died in what is considered one of the worst maritime accidents of the migration period.


8 P. 419. This obituary in The New York Times is important if we take into account that the first one referring to a woman appeared on October 2, 1851, two weeks after the initial edition of the newspaper, which was then titled The New York Daily Times. That text was less than fifty words and referred to Abigail, age sixty-three, "the wife of Amos L. Lounsbury." Since then, the New York Times has published thousands of obituaries, but women have only accounted for 15-20%, a shockingly low figure.


9 P. 419. Über entomologische Sammlungen, Entomologen & Entomo-Museologie. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Entomologie (1935-1937).


10 P. 420. Despite the great interest that Ida had in collecting insects during this trip, most correspond to the island of Mauritius. Although in Madagascar he made catches in Tamatave and possibly during the outward journey to Antananarivo and perhaps on the return journey, the political situation was so extremely dangerous and his malarial attacks so serious and continuous that the insect catches would have been insignificant in relation to the entomological richness of this great island, with many endemic species after it separated from the African continent 165 million years ago and after the Indian subcontinent, to which it was attached, about 88 million years ago.


11 P. 421. In taxonomy, the type is a particular specimen or a group of specimens of which a scientific description has been made that justifies its name as a species and serves to centralize the features that define it.


12 P. 422. This species is known as the “Madagascar moon moth”, native to its rainforests. The male has a wing span of eight inches and a tail of fifteen, one of the largest butterflies in the world. The female lays between 120-170 eggs and after hatching the larvae feed on plants of the genera Eugenia, Weinmannia, Uapaca and Sclerocarya. The cocoon has numerous holes to prevent the pupa from drowning due to the daily rains. The adult hive cannot feed and only lives for four or five days. Despite being in danger of extinction due to the loss of their natural spaces, this hive has been able to be reproduced in captivity even by feeding it with other substitute plants.


13 P. 430. The Madrid publishing house Gaspar y Roig had been founded in 1845 by the Catalan printers, engravers and booksellers Josep Gaspar Maristany and Josep Roig Oliveras. They had a large collection made up of a variety of religious, legal, historical materials, dictionaries and various manuals, which was enriched at the end of the 1860s with the acquisition of publishing rights in Spain and Latin America for the works of four successful authors: Jules Verne, Captain Frederick Marryat, Olivier Gloux (Gustave Aimard) and Captain Thomas Mayne Reid.

     With the publication of the works of these great authors, the Gaspar and Roig Illustrated Library collection was created, and the a great leap in the consolidation of the adventure genre as a continuation of an older tradition, more or less fictionalized trips. The collection was a publication of cheap books of medium quality, two columns, with tight typography and thin margins to reduce costs, with engravings and illustrations inserted into the text, always looking for the reader accustomed to newspapers. They specialized in the reproduction and translation of illustrated French books and magazines, since they acquired copies of their plates at a good price.


14 P. 431. Cortambert, French geographer and novelist, also wrote an article about Ida Pfeiffer in the Journal des Voyages et des Aventuras de Terre et de Mer (December 5, 1880), it was a small summary of what she had written in Les illustres voyageuses.


15 P. 432. At that time, the Austrian Geographical Society had only accepted two women, the other was Countess Mathilde Pauline von Nostiz (second wedding name), widow of explorer and naturalist Johann Wilhelm Helfer, with whom he traveled around Middle East, India and Burma, until he was assassinated in 1840 in the Andaman Islands. The collections were given in the Museum of Natural History in Prague, a large part of them were insects, especially Coleoptera. Pauline wrote the account of these trips in the work Johann Wilhelm Helfer's. Reisen in Nordasien und Indien, published in 1873.


16 P. 433. Anton Maria Storch, who died in 1887 at the age of seventy-four, was a composer and conductor at heart (the tomb is in the Zentralfriedhof, Group 0, row 1, number 11). Johann Georg Müller, who died of tuberculosis in 1849 at the age of 27, was an architect and designer (the tomb is in the Zentralfriedhof, Group 0, row 1, number 13).


17 P. 434. It is about the Litanei auf das Fest Allerseelen (Litany on the feast of All Saints). Its first stanza goes like this: Ru'hn in Frieden alle Seel en, / die volbracht ein Banges Quälen, / die vollendet süssen Traum, / Lebenssatt, geboren Kaum, / aves der Welt hinüberschieden, / alle Seelen ruhen in Freiden!

    (Rest in peace all souls, / who have endured dying torment, / who have completed sweet sleep, / full of life, barely born, / pierced by the world, / may all souls rest in peace!).


18 P. 437. This series of photographs was first presented in the lobby of the Intercontinental Hotel in Vienna (November 1-30, 2010) and was part of the Wiener Frauen (Viennese Women) exhibition.

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