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Universidad del Pacífico


On the geodesic expedition of France

Authors: Antonio de Ulloa, Charles Marie de La Condamine, Jorge Juan

Santiago de Cárdenas clearly mentions the geodesic expedition of France between its references, information taken not from the authors work, but from the expedition itself. He explicitly names Charles-Marie de La Condamine, its French Director, as well as the Spanish scientists Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa. Although the exact reference of Cárdenas is the fact that condors fly above the peaks of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, the three science men talking indirectly about the subject , bring to the study topics such as the atmospheric conditions around both mountains, or the characteristics of the flight of the condors and their presence in the heights.

Starting from this, two works have been chosen to which Cárdenas might have had access and that he could have read about the expeditionaries.  However it is not impossible that the reference quoted by Cárdenas does not come from a written text but from an oral testimony, because the expeditionaries, especially Juan and Ulloa, traveled to Lima on several occasions and frequently interacted with their residents and authorities. These two texts have been chosen because the references to the condor were more explicit and direct. La Condamine, Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, have written other more extensive and technical treatises on the measurement of the meridian and other experiments made in their expedition, nevertheless in none of them, the flight of the condor is mentioned.


Relación abreviada de un viaje hecho por el interior de la América meridional desde la costa del mar del Sur hasta las costas del Brasil y de la Guayana, siguiendo el curso del río de las Amazonas, de Charles Marie de La Condamine (1745)

Relación histórica del viaje hecho de orden de su Majestad a la América Meridional, de Jorge Juan y Antonio de Ulloa (1748)