Esmeralda, a S. W. county of Nevada, bordering on California; area, 7,850 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 1,553, of whom 56 were Chinese. It contains Walker lake, and is watered by East and West Walker rivers. The land along the rivers and lake is fertile. In this county is the great salt basin, 16 m. long and 3 m. wide, which is covered with pure salt. The White mountains are in the S. W. part. Gold and copper are found. Nine quartz mills are in operation, mostly for the production of silver. The chief productions in 1870 were 185,400 bushels of wheat, 103,920 of barley, and 4,405 tons of hay. There were 2,191 horses, and 6,078 cattle. Capital, Aurora.
I. A river of Ecuador, the largest of those emptying into the Pacific. Its head waters are said to descend from the mountains Cotopaxi, Sincholagoa, Tiopullo, and Moreta, but it does not take the name Esme-raldas until the junction of the Guaillabamba and Blanco in lat. 0° 30' N., from which point it holds a nearly N. course, almost wholly through dense forests, and falls into the ocean 10 m. below the town of Esmeraldas. Its mouth, on the W. side, is obstructed by sand banks, and it is not navigable for more than one third of its length, owing to cataracts and the inequality of its bed. The circumstance to which it owes its name really belongs to the Rio Quininde, one of its tributaries, on the banks of which were once extensive mines of gold and emeralds. II. A province occupying the N. W. portion of Ecuador, and watered by the preceding river, bounded N. by Colombia, and W. by the Pacific ocean; area and population uncertain. On its coasts are the bay of Ancon and the port of Pailon, besides that of its own name. The province is chiefly covered with forests, affording excellent timber for building, and various ornamental woods; which, with cacao, little inferior to that of Caracas, and tobacco of good quality, form the chief products.
The inhabitants, almost exclusively mulattoes and zambos, live mainly on the banks of the rivers, and are occupied in the preparation of cacao and tobacco, and the manufacture of rum. There are few facilities for transport besides the rivers and a wretched road over the Cordillera to Quito. Education is at the lowest ebb; and although there are rich deposits of gold, iron, and emeralds, and a soil of unsurpassed fertility, the province is in a very primitive condition. It has five villages: Esmeraldas, Atacames, Rioverde, La Tola, and Concepcion. The new town of Esmeraldas, the present capital, is on the river Esmeraldas, 10 m. from its mouth, and 110 m. N. W. of Quito, with an excellent harbor. The old town of the same name, the former capital, is 6 m. further up the river. The climate is very hot, and both towns have not more than 1,500 inhabitants.