Bananas Being Rafted Down a Tributary of the Guyas River


This photograph of a scene in Ecuador is from the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress. Frank G. Carpenter (1855–1924) was an American writer of books on travel and world geography, whose works helped to popularize cultural anthropology and geography in the United States in the early years of the 20th century. Consisting of photographs taken and gathered by Carpenter and his daughter Frances (1890–1972) to illustrate his writings, the collection includes an estimated 16,800 photographs and 7,000 glass and film negatives. The photograph shows two men rafting a cargo of bananas down a tributary of the Guayas River. Carpenter’s Geographical Reader: South America (1899) informed readers that the river was usually “filled with shipping” with “many dugouts and cargo boats” that brought cacao, cane sugar, ivory nuts, and other goods from the interior of Ecuador for shipment abroad. The river was “a mile wide” and so deep that it furnished a “safe harbor for great ocean steamers.”

Last updated: February 12, 2016