AGOSTURA--now called Ciudad Bolívar--is located, as the old name indicates, at a pinched-in place on the south bank of the wide and deep Orinoco River. It was quite a city, even in those days. There were several cobble-paved streets along the waterfront and running up the hill, a plaza on a level spot on the hillside, an imposing cathedral and many fine buildings and homes of masonry built in the Spanish manner with roofs of colored tiles and patios with lovely gardens. It scarcely, however, merited its local appellation, "Queen of the Orinoco." Its outskirts touched the virgin wilderness and near-naked savages lolled about its sun-drenched streets. Isolated, its aspect, for all the visual touches of civilization and the European manners of many of its inhabitants, was crude and semi-primitive.
Though located nearly 250 miles inland, deep water carried to the sea and permitted the navigation of oceangoing vessels. Then there was one advantage--a great one in the days of sailing vessels--in a unique combination of winds and current. The river, flowing constantly, carried vessels seaward, while the almost constant easterly trade winds blowing upstream were strong enough to drive them, sailing free, against the current at a fair clip.
When Brión arrived with his fleet, he brought all the gay ladies who followed the patriot officers. They were quartered in the best houses of the departed royalists and, though their finery was worn and tarnished from their long wandering, they made a brave show in the frontier