Page:Guatimala or the United Provinces of Central America in 1827-8.pdf/264

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The invaluable researches of the Baron de Humboldt have thrown considerable light on the first of these questions. He supposes America to have been peopled by the migration of various tribes from the eastern parts of Asia, and argues, that “in order to conceive that Asiatic tribes established on the table land of Chinese Tartary should pass from the old to the new continent, it is not necessary to have recourse to a transmigration at very high latitudes. A chain of small islands stretches from Corea and Japan to the southern cape of the peninsula of Kamschatka, between 33° and 51° of north latitude. The great island of Tchoka, connected with the continent hy an immense sand bank (under the parallel of 52°) facilitates communication between the mouths of the Amour and the Kurile islands. Another archipelago by which the great basin of Behring is terminated on the south, advances from the peninsula of Alaska four hundred leagues towards the west. The most western of the Aleutian islands—is only 144 leagues distant from the eastern coast of Kamschatka; and this distance is also divided into two nearly equal parts by the Behring and Mednoi islands, situated under latitude 55°. Asiatic tribes might have gone by means of these islands from one continent to the other, without going higher on the continent of Asia than the parallel of 55°,