William Stevenson

The Narrative of Twenty Years' Residence in South America

The Narrative of Twenty Years' Residence in South America in three volumes is a travel narrative by a British explorer William Bennet Stevenson who spent many years in Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, in early 19th century. About 1803 he landed on the coast of Chile, which at that time was inhabited only by indigenous people. His intention was to travel through the country, but he was detained a prisoner. He was conveyed to Peru, where he was permitted to reside in the town and to make excursions into the adjoining provinces. On the outbreak of the Ecuadorian War of Independence, Stevenson joined the insurgents, and he also served in the Chilean War of Independence, taking part in many naval operations. Upon his return he published the results of his American experiences. His goal in writing this book was to bring European readers closer to the distant continent which has undergone remarkable changes in its political and religious life. The book is of great value for the period of the Spanish American wars of independence, and he used his unique opportunities for observation to advantage.
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