Our South American Neighbors - G. Southworth



South America

[Map] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

In the past we Americans have known very little about our South American neighbors. Perhaps as a nation we are too apt to pride ourselves on the many different fields in which we hold first rank, and to fail to notice the achievements of others. To be sure we deserve and receive much glory, but that should not dazzle us so that we cannot see the glory which belongs to those about us.

There are one or two reasons which may possibly excuse us for our little knowledge of South America. When we have studied history we have turned, not to South America, but rather to the Old World with its Greece, Italy, Great Britain, Spain, Germany and France, because from the Old World countries came the beliefs, habits and customs from which many of our own were derived.

Then, while we trace our ancestry back to the English, the Scotch, the Dutch, the Germans, the Irish and the French the South Americans are for the most part of Spanish, or Portuguese descent. Because of this difference we have not felt that the people of South America belonged to our family. We have not called them Americans, but Latin Americans, and accordingly we have not felt as closely related to them.

But the day has come when we must recognize the greatness of South America—the greatness of its resources and its peoples—for this vast southern continent has become one of our keenest rivals. Furthermore it offers great possibilities for trade.

Even before the European War the South American countries were rivaling us in trade with England, France, and Germany, where perhaps we thought we had no competition. One of the results of the World War is that the commercial eyes of our country are now turned on South America as never before.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

SOUTH AMERICAN BASKET AND BROOM VENDOR MAKING HIS ROUNDS.


It is interesting to compare the North and South American Continents. Both are triangular in shape, being broad at the north and tapering toward the south. The principal highlands of both follow their east and west coasts with broad plains extending between. However, the greatest river of South America, the Amazon, flows towards the east while our Mississippi flows from north to south.

Unlike our irregular coast line, the coasts of South America. are straight and regular, the western being the most regular coast line of long extent in the whole world. As a result, South America does not begin to have our great number of good natural harbors.

As to climate, the southern continent is just the reverse of ours, due, of course, to its position in relation to the Equator, which runs right across South America. Northern South America is hot and tropical while the southern part is cold and barren. As the greater part of South America lies in the torrid zone where the sun at noon is almost overhead, the continent as a whole is far warmer than North America.

South America is divided into thirteen countries all of which, with the exception of the three Guianas, are republics. The three most prominent are Argentina, Brazil and Chile and because of their initial letters they are often spoken of as the A. B. C. countries of South America.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE PANAMA CANAL PROMISES A NEW ERA OF TRADE WITH ALL SOUTH AMERICA.


Most of us think of South America as lying almost due south of us. In truth it. is so much farther east that the meridian of longitude which skirts its western coast runs through both Florida and Lake Erie. This brings many of South America's eastern ports as near to the ports of Europe as to the North American ports, and heretofore the trading nations of Europe have taken the lion's share of South American products. Now, however, the Panama Canal brings all the ports of the western countries of South America nearer our southern and eastern ports by thousands of miles and we are beginning on a new era of trade with all of South America.

To further this trade and to increase our friendship with our South American neighbors, the republics of both continents have formed the Pan-American Union. A beautiful building in Washington is the home of the Union. This building stands as a monument to the good fellowship of the republics of North and South America.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE HOME OF THE PAN-AMERICAN UNION.



Questions for Review and Study


  1. Why should the people of the United States know about the countries of South America, their history and products?
  2. Compare North and South America as to shape, principal highlands and rivers and coast line.
  3. How do the two continents differ as to climate?
  4. Into how many countries is South America divided, and how many of them are republics?
  5. Name the three leading countries and tell what they are sometimes called and why.
  6. What is the general direction of South America from North America?
  7. How is the Panama Canal helping our trade with South America,
  8. What is the Pan-American Union and why was it formed?


Brazil

We are hearing much to-day of South America which, like a great magnet, is drawing to it the attention of the entire civilized world. Perhaps no other republic on that continent is adding more to the drawing power of this magnet than the United States of Brazil. Does that phrase—The United States of Brazil—seem a bit strange to you? In its political divisions, Brazil closely resembles our own nation. Our republic consists of forty-eight states, and one federal district. Brazil has twenty states, one federal district and one Indian territory.

Brazil differs from all the other republics in South America in that it is not a Spanish but a Portuguese speaking country. It was a Portuguese navigator—Pedro Alvares Cabral—who discovered this part of the continent in the year 1500.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

ALONG THE AMAZON


Cabral had no idea the land was part of great South America. He thought it was merely an island. Taking possession of it in the name of his King and the Church he gave it a Portuguese name which means "The Land of the Holy Cross."

By that name the country was called for nearly half a century. How did it become changed to Brazil? It was this way. Because Cabral found no gold or silver there, Portugal paid no attention to its remote possession. Finally, however, certain exploring expeditions found that The Land of the Holy Cross possessed a great quantity of fine dyewood which in Europe was called Brazil wood. The commercial importance of this find resulted in changing the poetical name of the country to a name which resembled a trade mark.

Now you are wondering how small Portugal was able to hold this great immense region of Brazil. The truth of the matter is that she did not. Varied fortunes came to Brazil and the country was invaded at different times by the French, the Dutch and the British. Then, because none of these European powers knew the real wealth of Brazil the land was finally given over to Portugal, and Portugal went ahead colonizing Brazil and ruled over it until the year 1822. Then the Brazilians declared their independence of Portugal, but Brazil did not at once become a republic. The people thought they would prefer a monarchy so they chose Don Pedro I, a son of the King of Portugal, as ruler of their independent empire.

A few years later, Don Pedro I gave up the throne, asking that his little boy be made ruler in his place.

The Brazilians agreed, and with the infant son a mere figure-head of power, chose some of their best men to manage the affairs of their nation. Finally Don Pedro II grew old enough to rule for himself and for forty-seven years governed Brazil wisely and well. Then, as he had no son to succeed him, the Brazilians were forced to make another move. This time they actually changed their government and in 1889 became a republic with a constitution modeled closely after ours of the United States.

The Brazilian President is elected every four years but cannot succeed himself. He must be native-born and over thirty-five years of age. His duties and powers are very similar to those of our President. Likewise the various departments of the Brazilian government resemble closely the various departments of our own government.

Because the geographical maps of South America which we see are usually drawn on a smaller scale than those of the United States, we do not fully appreciate the vastness of Brazil, nor do we realize that the United States of Brazil covers a larger area than the United States of America. But, though larger in area, Brazil has not reached us in material development. Their slow development is due to lack of population, great Brazil having less than one-third as many people as the United States of America.

"How men from the Mississippi would make things hum along the Amazon and the Parana!" exclaims the United States traveler in Brazil. "In thirty years, Brazil would have fifty millions of inhabitants. Steamers would ply upon the rives, railways would thread the recesses of the forests." Yes, unquestionably it is a greater population, especially a greater white population, that Brazil sorely needs.

There are five distinct elements among this republic's people today. First, there are the descendants of the Portuguese settlers, who call themselves the true Brazilians. Second, are the aboriginal, or primitive Indians. The latest census estimates that in the Amazon region there are today 500,000 uncivilized Indians. This part of Brazil then is as "dark" as darkest Africa, never yet having received the light of learning. Third, in Brazil's population come negroes. These are descendants of the African slaves which Brazil, like the United States, used to import for work on great plantations. Fourth, there are the mixed descendants of all these three races. And, fifth, are the European immigrants, a rapidly increasing class of people from all nations.

As might be supposed, the upper classes of the republic's population are chiefly to be found in Brazil's beautiful capital, Rio de Janeiro. They are a delightful, hospitable, courteous people. Many of them have been educated abroad, mainly in France, and speak the French language almost as fluently as their own.

To-day the Brazilian boys are being sent in increasingly greater numbers to schools in our states, especially for technical education. It is on such promising young men that Brazil relies for the various kinds of engineering and technical improvements which she so greatly needs.

More and more Brazilian women, too, are being given a practical education to fit them for self-supporting work.

The homes, in Rio de Janeiro particularly, are for the most part charming, tasteful and, in many cases, very luxurious.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE GRAND OPENING OF A RIO DE JANEIRO BULL FIGHT.


The people enjoy amusement and always welcome "festa" occasions. Brazil has two independence days, one the 7th of September, commemorating her anniversary as an independent empire; the other, the 15th of November, marking the birth of her republic. Both are national holidays. The great Carnival season, however, occurs the week preceding Lent. In Rio de Janeiro the merry-making lasts for three whole days and during that time business is entirely suspended. The gorgeous decorations, the elaborate processions and the general spirit of gayety make the capital an enticing center for great crowds of people.

"But," you say, "Rio's more than a million inhabitants cannot live always on good times." No, indeed, and it would be most unjust to imply such a thing. "Order and Progress" is emblazoned on the flag of the United States of Brazil, and if there is any one city in the republic which is completely worthy of this inspiring motto, it is the beautiful majestic capital—Rio de Janeiro.

Rio—for nearly everyone uses this shorter term—was endowed by nature to be one of the most beautiful spots in the world. Nevertheless, for a great many years it was handicapped by the most deadly pests of the tropics—yellow fever, bubonic plague and smallpox. This unfortunate condition existed from the time of the city's founding until 1903. The inhabitants, not understanding how these dread fevers were spread, made no attempt to stamp them out. Sometimes the epidemics were so serious that for weeks not a single merchant-ship would stop at the infected port.

For centuries, then, the city was little more than an actual pest hole for disease. Then the wand of science, in the skillful hands of sanitation engineers, touched Rio and the Brazilian capital came into its own. If you would know the Rio of old, picture a city with unattractive, narrow streets—streets which were more like dark, rough alleys, than public thoroughfares. Imagine them lined with old-fashioned, low-lying buildings, and worst of all, imagine foul-smelling, open sewers which were the breeding places of all kinds of diseases.

In 1903 Rio started house cleaning on an enormous scale at the cost of $100,000,000. Low marshy places were filled in, an up-to-date water and sewer system was installed, the breeding places of mosquitoes—those dread agents of infection—were thoroughly wiped out and the entire city was made absolutely sanitary.

And all this meant progress. For, in the process of cleaning and polishing, many changes were made. Now picture modern, artistic buildings in place of the old, homely, low-lying structures; wide, paved streets and broad charming avenues and spacious parks. All these changes were accomplished in little more than ten years. It is no wonder that all late writers of Brazil nearly exhaust their vocabularies in praising the progress made by Rio de Janeiro.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

RIO'S SPLENDID AVENIDA RIO BRANCO.


In the reconstruction of the city, perhaps the most remarkable feature was the building of the boulevard now known as the Avenida Rio Branco. This avenue sweeps through the center of the city and continues for several miles around the bay. It is said that over three thousand men were kept at work night and day to construct this avenue, and that over four hundred buildings were torn down. The change was accomplished in less than two years and the magnificent boulevard, one hundred and five feet in width, to-day presents an enchanting scene.

Would it not be wonderful if we, too, could take the beautiful drive along the Avenida Rio Branco? The views would make us think that we were in fairy land. Imagine yourself in a softly purring car, with the avenue a strand of dazzling white in the flood of sunshine, sweeping ahead of you in a long, wonderful curve. Part of the way palatial homes are on either hand, for this is one of the most fashionable residence sections in Rio de Janeiro. Again, right beside you is the sea, a sparkling turquoise blue, and in the distance lie the hills—some jagged peaks of granite, some covered with a feathery forest of green.

The cliffs of the mountains descend majestically to the sea and form a truly land-locked harbor. Two of them which extend out beyond the city are very unusual in outline. One, a great cone of bare granite rising almost out of the sea, is known as the "Sugar Loaf." According to a pretty Brazilian legend, the Creator, having made the Bay of Rio de Janeiro, was so pleased with His work that He erected this monument as a sort of exclamation point to call man's attention to His masterpiece. The other lofty cliff, even more unusual in outline, is called by a Portuguese name which means "Hunchback."

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

RIO'S BEAUTIFUL HARBOR WITH THE SUGAR LOAF IN THE DISTANCE.


With so many attractions it is no wonder that Rio's harbor is placed by the majority of travelers above all other harbors in the world. The famous Bay of Naples, the historic and stately Golden Horn of Constantinople, our own charming Golden Gate at San Francisco, all of these are surpassed by the grandeur and picturesqueness of the Bay of Rio de Janeiro.

It is this great magnificent harbor which accounts for Rio's name. When the two explorers, Joao Manoel and Amerigo Vespucci, sailed down the coast of Brazil in the year 1501 and came by the "Sugar Loaf" into the Bay, they thought they were entering the mouth of a mighty river. So, it being the first of January, they simply called their discovery Rio de Janeiro, or "The River of January."

Of course, Rio de Janeiro was afterwards discovered to be not a river at all, but the name, although a misfit, has become that of the greatest commercial port of Brazil.

We have not yet stopped to learn of what this republic's commerce consists, nor have we looked at her other ports. These are, Santos, Bahia, Recife or Pernambuco and Para. In order of the total value of their commerce, Santos comes after Rio de Janeiro.

Now, the state of Sao Paulo is the coffee garden of the world. Brazil's chief export is coffee and in this one state alone more than half of the world's coffee supply is grown. No wonder Santos ranks as Brazil's second commercial port.

If you were in Santos, no matter which way you turned, you would see coffee in some form or other. On the street you would see drays going by, laden high with sacks of coffee; if you went near the railroads you would see long freight trains loaded with coffee; while at the docks you would see a steady stream of men carrying great bags of coffee into large ocean steamships.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A BUSY STREET CORNER IN SAO PAULO.


The city was formerly unhealthful and old fashioned. But, as a result of the spirit of progress and the money made in the coffee business, Santos, with its some 50,000 inhabitants, is to-day a modern, bustling little city. It has a thorough system of sanitation, an excellent water supply, an admirably equipped harbor, and all such improvements as trolley systems, electric lights and telephones. After this, whenever you look at a map of Brazil, remember that Santos whispers proudly to you, "I am the chief coffee port in the world."

But though Santos is the chief coffee port of the world, Sao Paulo is the chief coffee market of Brazil. In Sao Paulo live the great coffee merchants, the majority of them very wealthy or fast becoming so. Sao Paulo is in appearance more like an American city than any other place in Brazil. It is unusual to see very much manufacturing in agricultural Brazil, but Sao Paulo, with its population of 565,000, seems to be growing rapidly in this field. The high smoke-stacks of its many factories rise on every hand. Here are many large shoe-making factories, several cotton mills, a few foundries, and factories for making clothing, hats, furniture, and other necessities.

It would be interesting, indeed, to ride about fifty miles from Sao Paulo out into the country to the heart of the great coffee plantations. Coffee thrives best in a hot, moist climate, and on a rich, well-drained soil, and just these essential conditions are to be had in the state of Sao Paulo.

Arriving at the plantation home of a great coffee planter, we would be treated with true Brazilian courtesy and hospitality. Some of the largest plantations are veritable villages with the plantation owner like a feudal lord of old. One famous "coffee king" has nearly eight thousand people living on his one plantation, and 23,000,000 pounds of coffee are said to be marketed by this man in a single year. The plantations, whether as colossal as this one or not, are managed in a very efficient manner. They have their own stores, their own blacksmiths, their own telephone lines, their own private railways even.

In October, no more beautiful sight can be imagined than a great coffee plantation, for this is the flowering season. The low, carefully pruned trees, covering the hills and tablelands for miles, glisten in the sunlight with their soft, feathery blossoms, and everywhere there is a delicate fragrance. As soon as the flowers wither and drop. the green berries begin to form. These usually ripen in about seven months, and at that time look very much like ripe cherries.

When the berry is ripe, all other work on the plantation is dropped and the harvesting begins. This occurs either in May or June. And oh, everybody is busy! Large sheets are spread under each tree and the men, mounting ladders, or standing on the ground if they can reach high enough, carefully pull all the berries from the trees, allowing them to fall upon the sheets. From the sheets the berries are gathered up and swiftly sifted by women and girls to remove the stems and leaves which have fallen too. The berries are then placed in baskets and carried to one side, out of the way.

These berries each contain two seeds or coffee beans. Each bean is covered tightly by a thin, delicate, silver skin, and outside this by a parchment. Then comes the fleshy pulp of the outer portion of the fruit in which the two beans lie imbedded. All of these coverings have to be removed in preparing the beans for market. So you see the picking is the smallest part of the process. Nearly all of the work, however, is done right in the open out-of-doors.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

PICKING COFFEE.


After the berries are gathered into the baskets, they are carried to large tanks and washed in running water. They are then run through a "pulper," a machine which lightly crushes the pulp. Next they go into a tank again where the pulps float off, leaving the seeds. But these seeds still have on their tight little double-jackets. They are therefore put through a process of fermentation which removes the first coat, the parchment. The beans, still enveloped in their thin little silver skins, must now be run into vats, washed once more, and spread out upon great stone or concrete floors to dry. After this process is carefully completed, the beans are put through rubbing machines which at last take off the silver skins. Then they are run through machines called sorters, which grade the beans according to size.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE COFFEE BEANS ARE SPREAD OUT UPON GREAT STONE OR CONCRETE FLOORS TO DRY.


The product is now ready for sacking and weighing, needing only to be roasted and ground to be ready for the coffee pot.

Now, for the figures. Take a long breath. Brazil's average coffee crop is estimated at something more than 1,593,120,000 pounds.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

LOADING A STEAMER WITH BAGS OF COFFEE.


Another of Brazil's important products and exports is rubber. Just as the southern part of Brazil is her great coffee garden, so the northern part—namely, the great region of the Amazon—is the home of rubber. We seem to be using a good many superlatives in describing the various parts of this interesting republic. Now comes another, Brazil's Amazon is the greatest river in the world. Its total length is over 3,850 miles while our greatest river, the Mississippi, measures about 3,000.

Up in this tropical northern region of Brazil is the port of Para. And here another superlative adjective is required, for Para is the greatest rubber port in the world. It is the gateway to the state of Para, an enormous and rich stretch of country.

The state of Para is twice as large as our state of Texas. But its vast resources are handicapped by a lack of population, there being, on the average, less than one person to each square mile of territory. It has an extremely fertile soil, capable of producing almost anything necessary for the support and comfort of life, and yet rubber is the only product which is developed.

Complaint is made that in the state of Para the people think of nothing, deal in nothing, and dream of nothing but rubber. But what is more natural? In this all-important industry the people have made or are busy making their fortunes, and if there is nobody to develop the other rich resources of the state, it is not their fault.

The city of Para, with its 200,000 inhabitants, is very beautiful and up-to-date. With its magnificent palms and luxurious vegetation, it seems like a city built in the midst of a beautiful tropical garden. Being almost on the "line" of the Equator, it has a very warm climate, although the natives do not seem to think it unpleasant.

In the beautiful and spacious bay which stretches out in front of Para, are moored steamers from all parts of the world. The docks are the busiest place in the city. Men of all shades, from yellow to black, and also many whites, are busy loading vessels with rubber from the scores of enormous shipping houses along the wharves.

But one cannot learn as much as one would like to know about rubber standing along these busy docks. So pretend to be a rich rubber merchant and go over a part of your great estate with one of your tappers.

You get up very early in the morning and follow a trail through the forest with your workman and guide. The trail winds through a dense tangle of tropical growth. The trees make an almost solid roof of green above your head. Monkeys swing through the branches. No zoo ever had such nimble creatures as these. You see many gayly colored birds flying about, the most familiar of which are brightly hued parrots. In the distance you may hear the howling of wild beasts. Probably the most dangerous of these is the great spotted jaguar whose home has always been the Amazon valley. Aren't you frightened? No, for you are a rubber merchant and as has been said, "The howling of enraged beasts disturbed in their lairs, the fear of poisonous snakes, the dread of the fever-laden mosquito, the annoyance of troublesome insects are nothing, with the price of rubber soaring upward toward three dollars per pound."

Each rubber tree that you come to, the tapper skillfully gashes in several different places with a sort of little hatchet. He then fastens a tin cup under each gash. Unlike our maple trees, it is not the sap of the rubber tree that produces the rubber, but a juice which is yielded from the bark. As it flows, this juice looks much like milk, and it acts in the same way, for if left to itself it will separate into a lower fluid and a surface mass, actually called "cream." Latex is the correct name. The "cream" is the so-called India-rubber.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE TAPPER SKILLFULLY GASHES EACH RUBBER TREE AND FASTENS A CUP UNDER EACH GASH.


After the tapper has visited nearly a hundred trees, you return, hot and tired, to his hut. The next day you make the rounds of the rubber trees again to gather the milk from the cups. When you return this time to his hut, the tapper builds a fire, sprinkling it with palmetto nuts, which give off a dense white smoke.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

CARLOADS OF RUBBER HAMS READY TO SHIP.


On either side of the fire are two upright forked poles, supporting a horizontal pole over the blaze. With his right hand the tapper slaps the rubber milk on this horizontal pole by means of a wooden paddle, while with his left hand he keeps turning the pole round and round in the smoke.

This is the native method of preparing the "hams" of rubber as they are called. To-day there are other processes used, one involving chemicals, another employing separators similar to those used in butter making. But the primitive method of the tapper remains the most common.

When the hams are formed and cooled, the rubber is ready to be carried by trail and canoe to the nearest river port.

Bahia, another of Brazil's large seaports, is a city of 280,000 located in about the center of the republic's long coast line. The city is divided into an upper and lower town. The latter, stretching along one of the finest harbors in Brazil, is the business section of Bahia. The upper town, like Quebec in Canada, rises steeply from the sea. The bright hues of its buildings—vivid yellow, green, purple, sky blue, terra cotta, and many other equally striking shades—give the city so brilliant a coloring that someone has described Bahia as a "masked rainbow."

To return once more to the country's commerce, besides coffee and rubber, Brazil's three most important exports are hides and skins, cacao, and yerba mate or Paraguayan tea.

The chief products which Brazil buys are these: bread-stuffs, all kinds of iron and steel manufactures such as . machinery and locomotives, coal, cotton manufactures and textiles, chemicals and drugs.

In leaving this vast interesting republic it is worth while to divide Brazil into four imaginary parts and make a sort of summary of the entire great country. Along the frontiers of Guiana and also along a good deal of the coast between the mouth of the Amazon and Cape St. Roque lies the least valuable laud in Brazil. Large tracts are stony; protracted droughts are common and much of the land has hardly been settled at all.

The central section, extending about two-thirds of the way down, may be cut into a western and eastern part. The west central region is the land of the great Amazon selvas, the home of rubber. The east central part, consisting of mountain ridges and table lands, is a region of great resources. Here all tropical crops and fruits can be produced; cotton and sugar grow luxuriantly and might be a great source of wealth to Brazil except for lack of development.

Below these tropical regions of the country lies the fertile southern section. The upper part of this triangular space is given over to the enormous coffee plantations. The lower part is devoted to raising cattle and cereals.

Taking Brazil as a whole, no great country in the world possesses so large a proportion of useful land. In the United States there are deserts, and in gigantic Russia much is desert, much frozen waste. But on Brazil, lavish nature has bestowed nothing for which man cannot find a use. And it yet remains for man to respond to the promises which this magnificent country is offering. We have seen how the splendid capital, Rio de Janeiro, has proven herself worthy of the republic's fine motto: Order and Progress. Now we are looking for Brazil to swing into step with Rio.


Questions for Review and Study


  1. What form of government has Brazil?
  2. How many states belong to the United States of Brazil?
  3. What language is spoken in Brazil?
  4. What language is spoken in the other countries of South America?
  5. Tell the story of the discovery and naming of Brazil.
  6. What other nations besides the Portuguese invaded Brazil?
  7. Sketch the country's early history and give the date when it became a republic.
  8. Compare the United States of America. with the United States of Brazil as to size and population.
  9. What is Brazil's greatest need to-day?
  10. Name the different groups which make up her population.
  11. Describe Rio de Janeiro in its early days and tell how it differs today.
  12. How does the harbor of Rio compare with other noted harbors?
  13. Tell the story of the naming of Rio de Janeiro.
  14. Name the other leading ports of Brazil.
  15. For what is the state of Sao Paulo noted?
  16. Give a word picture of a South American coffee plantation.
  17. Describe the gathering of the coffee berries, and tell the story of the coffee from this time until it is marketed.
  18. What is Brazil's next most important crop?
  19. Where does it grow, and from what port is it shipped?
  20. Describe a trip into the rubber country and tell how the rubber is collected and how the "hams" are formed.
  21. Name Brazil's five chief exports and five chief imports.


Buenos Aires and Argentina

Although South America is called "The Country of Tomorrow," "The Land of Promise" and "The America of the Future," on this great continent there is one republic at least which belongs to " The Land of the Present." This is Argentina, South America's most ambitious and most progressive daughter. The figures which tell of her steadily increasing agricultural products, commerce and population have each year climbed higher and higher.

Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, is the largest city on the South American continent, in fact, the largest city of the entire southern hemisphere. Not only is its population already about 1,700,000, but every year the city is increasing at a very rapid rate.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A STREET IN THE CITY OF "GOOD AIRS"


The city was founded by a Spaniard in 1535, receiving the Spanish name which means "Good Airs," and Buenos Aires deserves its name, for its air is clear and keen, the pleasant climate of this part of Argentina being similar to that of California.

Buenos Aires has known various fortunes. Soon after it was founded, Indians captured it, and after the fashion of Indians, burned it to the ground. But again the Spanish gained possession of it and rebuilt the small city. Then in 1806 the English captured it, holding it for only a short time. Though on May 25, 1810, the people of Argentina declared their independence of Spain, their constitution was not finally adopted until forty years later. Buenos Aires was made the capital of the new republic, and became the residence of the Argentina President and Congress, just as Washington is the home of our President and Congress.

The Spanish origin of the Capital City is very much in evidence in her large Spanish population. The language of the people, the signs over the stores, the newspapers and periodicals, are, for the most part, Spanish. In fact, Buenos Aires is by far the largest Spanish-speaking city of the world. Madrid, the capital and largest city of Spain itself, is only half as large as Spanish Buenos Aires.

But the Argentine capital is riot wholly Spanish. Like the entire nation, it is very cosmopolitan. It is said that little more than one-half of the people of Buenos Aires were born in South America, that is, are natives of Argentina itself.

Next to the Spaniards, Italians are most numerous in the city's population. They, like the people from Spain, come to South America because here they can find plenty of work and good pay. Once arrived, all sorts of occupations are open to them and according to their ability they become masons, builders, mechanics, noisy peddlers of vegetables, soup or fish, bootblacks, grocers, traders and sometimes bankers.

However, the large banks—and they are very numerous in rich Buenos Aires—are managed and controlled by the English. Also the largest and finest stores are owned not by Italians or Spaniards but Germans.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

SO GLAD IS ARGENTINA TO WELCOME IMMIGRANTS THAT SHE USES THESE BUSSES TO CARRY THEM TO A HOTEL WHERE THEY MAY LIVE WHILE LOOKING FOR WORK.


In Buenos Aires, as we may know from its fine appearance, the richest people of Argentina live. Many are owners of vast estates or ranches in the country. Though they make their homes in the city, these owners visit their estates regularly. So vast are the great Argentine estates that the land is not counted by acres but by square miles, and the flocks and herds not by hundreds but by thousands.

In the settlement of our own great west, the land allotted to any one settler was comparatively small. No one man owned enough to give him power over miles and miles and large numbers of people. But the owner of an Argentine estate is really the head of an enormous meat and grain producing region and rules over a small army of laborers, managers and bookkeepers. These vast estates are to Argentina what the manufacturing plants are to England.

To understand the products of the estates as well as the rest of Argentina, one must first know the climate of the country. Argentina is a sort of three-cornered, wedge-shaped piece of land occupying almost the whole great southern point of three-cornered South America.

Chile—that long, narrow strip of land to the west—deprives Argentina of a Pacific coast. However, it has that which is far more important, a long Atlantic coast. To the west, too, is a long, high range of mountains—the Andes—while to the east the land dips gently toward the sea.

The climate of South America is just the reverse from that of North America, that is, in the southern part, South America is very cold, while the northern part is very warm, even very hot. This is, of course, due to the opposite position of the two continents in regard to the Equator.

Across the southern part of Argentina, then, writes "Cold." This part of the country, known as Patagonia, is as far from the Equator as Winnipeg, Canada. Here neither agriculture nor stock-raising is important for everything is more or less bleak and bare. Blinding sand storms are common, storms in which the wind hurls the sand about with such violence that it is necessary to crawl into holes or some such convenient shelter in the desert and cover oneself with blankets until the blizzard has passed. There are few people in Patagonia.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

PATAGONIAN INDIANS.


Across the central part of Argentina write the word "Temperate." This section contains the great prairies of Argentina, the famous pampas. Pampas is the word used in Argentina for prairies or plains. Here millions of cattle, sheep and horses are pastured, for herding is the chief industry. The republic has more sheep than any other country in the world and is surpassed by few in the number of cattle.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

EACH OWNER HAS HIS OWN BRAND WHICH IS STAMPED ON ALL HIS HORSES AND CATTLE.


These animals are looked after and cared for by dashing and daring gauchos, men who are very similar to our fearless western cowboys. The methods of the Argentine pampas correspond to those used on our own great plains. This means much branding and lassoing. Each owner has his own brand which is stamped on all his horses and cattle with red-hot irons. Whenever the gauchos wish to catch an animal, they do so by skillful rope-throwing called lassoing. Can you not see these galloping, fearless Spanish cowboys dashing after their great herds?

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A LOAD OF WOOL READY FOR MARKET.


In regard to the products which these herds furnish for export, let us list the three different kinds of animals. Of course the cattle are raised for beef, which is greatly needed by foreign countries, particularly Great Britain.

Horses are very numerous in Argentina. The horses raised naturally serve many purposes, one of which is a trade in horsehides. The fresh hides are stretched across stakes to dry in the sun, and seem from a distance to make many long, low-lying tents.

Their fleecy wool is the chief reason for sheep-raising. The sheep shearing requires thousands of hands for there are tens of millions of sheep in Argentina. These useful animals also supply great quantities of tallow and mutton.

The northern part of Argentina must be labeled with the long word "Semi-Tropical." This section has the most luxurious vegetation. Here are great forests of tropical trees such as palm trees and orange and lemon trees, as well as vast vineyards. Here also are large sugar plantations where gangs of men and women are employed each year to cut the cane. After the cutting, the cane stalks are loaded on heavy oxcarts and hauled to factories where the juice from the cane is squeezed out by means of great steel rollers. The juice is then boiled down and becomes sugar.

Although the vegetation in this semi-tropical northern part is the most luxuriant in all Argentina, it is really the north central section which yields the country's most famous crop, namely, wheat. You remember the Parana river cuts down across the northeastern part of the republic. Extending a hundred miles on each side of this river, lying in what is known as the Parana basin, are the most fertile and productive wheat lands in the world. One can hardly imagine the vastness of these fields—fields, or plains rather, which are covered as far as the eye can see with billowy waves of golden grain.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

CUTTING SUGAR CANE ON AN ARGENTINE PLANTATION.


These wheat lands altogether are so large that if they could be put into one great continuous area, they would make an unbroken wheat field five times the size of New York state.

In good seasons the wheat farms are very busy, some engaging many hundred workmen. After the crop is harvested, the grain is carried to the nearest railroad center in what seems to us very strange, picturesque wagons. They are great, substantial, two-wheeled carts having sort of clumsy arched covers. The arched covers are made of reeds over which skins are fastened to keep the rain off the wheat.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

GREAT SUBSTANTIAL TWO-WHEELED CARTS FOR THE HAULING OF CROPS.


Although these wagons look very primitive, they are just fitted to the purpose of the Argentine farmer. Some carts will hold several tons, so much, indeed, that. teams of ten or twelve oxen are often hitched to one cart. The driver guides the oxen by means of a pole and much loud shouting. Slowly and with a great deal of creaking the carts move over the great plains carrying the wheat to shipping points.

Argentina covers a greater area than all of our states east of the Mississippi and yet, despite its superior size, its population is not as great as that of our one state, New York. Because of this comparatively small population, much wheat, that is, a very large proportion of the total crop, can be exported. About three-fourths of the annual yield is sent to European countries. This Argentine wheat competes very strongly with our United States wheat in the markets of Europe, and, as a result, we receive much lower prices than we otherwise would.

Our farmers might indeed have to stop exporting wheat did not Argentina suffer two handicaps, drought and a particular kind of pest known as locusts. One thing is about as bad as the other. Sometimes in good seasons, when there has been plenty of rain and the wheat is about ready to be harvested, great swarms of locusts in veritable millions will fly down over Argentina and actually eat up a wheat field in a single night.

These pests come from that great unclaimed wild tract of land in Paraguay called the Gran Chaco. Many people say that Argentina will never be rid of them until the Gran Chaco itself is reclaimed and made sanitary. However, Argentina is to-day doing much with the help of government inspectors and scientists to rid the land of locusts.

Soon after the harvest, which is along in January and February, in the middle you see of our winter, the railroad tracks are crowded with train loads of grain. Sometimes even the passenger trains are held back to let the wheat cars go by, thus giving freight—for this is very important freight—the right of way.

Though Santa Fe and Rosario are also wheat centers, by far the greatest shipments are exported through the country's chief commercial port, Buenos Aires.

Arriving at Buenos Aires, the wheat is transferred from the cars into warehouses of gray galvanized iron situated along the quays of the harbor.

In front of each warehouse is a long chute, or trough, made of wood or iron, extending down to the water. These troughs are in sections so that they can be shortened or lengthened at will. When connected they make a continuous chute running from the warehouse right into the hold of a steamer. Down over these slanting chutes the wheat bags fairly fly.

Another of Argentina's most important and typical exports is beef. In Buenos Aires there are great factories for freezing meat. This process is necessary so that on the long journey to foreign countries the meat will not spoil. Instead of ice, various chemicals are used for the freezing, because these chemicals have even greater freezing power than has ice. From the great refrigerator meat houses the frozen beef and mutton and lamb are shipped in huge ice-packed steamers.

Buenos Aires is connected with the Atlantic Ocean by means of the Plata river. Formed by the Parana and Paraguay rivers, the Plata is in reality a bay, or wide mouth. Being very deep, it makes an excellent harbor for Buenos Aires despite the fact that the city is, strictly speaking, a river port two hundred miles inland.

The only important actual ocean port in Argentina is Bahia Blanca, several miles south of Buenos Aires on the Atlantic.

When one considers that Argentina is the first country in the world in the export of frozen meat, one of the world's leading countries in the shipment of wool and the growing of wheat, it is easy to believe that the exports of Argentina exceed the value of her imports. The great majority of the imports enter the republic through Buenos Aires. Thus the gateway of the capital city swings not only out but in. These imports are cotton goods, certain foodstuffs, clothing, many different iron manufactures such as agricultural implements, machinery for factory use and all kinds of cars and engines for locomotion, oil of all kinds, and coal, an essential which Argentina lacks almost entirely.

The approach to Buenos Aires by way of the Plata tells the visitor at once that the capital city is the splendid port of a great grain-growing and stock-raising country. Immense lengths of docks lined with government storehouses, grain elevators, cattle pens, cold-storage plants, railroad freight terminals, and thousands of freight cars from the many thousand miles of railroad that cover the republic, meet the eye in one long busy panorama.

The progressive city is entitled to its proud position as a political and commercial capital of a prosperous republic.

An interesting comparison has been made between Buenos Aires and a few of our leading cities. This comparison reveals the South American metropolis to us in a new light. "Buenos Aires exports more wheat and chilled meat than New York; publishes more statistics and educational works than Boston; receives and distributes more emigrants than Chicago; has the largest and handsomest opera house in the world; and has a death rate lower than any big city in the United States."

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

LA ROSSERIE IN THE BEAUTIFUL PARK OF PALMERO.


Besides all this, Argentina's capital resembles in certain other points some of the most noted cities in the world. For instance, Paris is recalled to the tourist in Buenos Aires, not only by dozens of splendid streets, but by the park of Palermo, which is the Bois de Boulogne of the South American capital. Here are the same beautiful drives, hundreds of elegant motor cars, the same well-dressed and cultured people, all this plus something of which Paris cannot boast—a double row of big palms on each side of each drive.

In its busy hustle and push, Buenos Aires reminds one of New York or Chicago. In fact, the Argentine capital has been called a cross between Paris and New York, having the gayety and pleasure-loving aspect of the one, and the business rush and luxury of the other. In its immaculate and substantial appearance, Buenos Aires reminds one of Berlin. But in its remarkable growth and development, there is no city of which it can remind one because, in these lines, Buenos Aires has no equal.

In her wealth and prosperity the capital city spells, as does all South America, "Opportunity"; and as more people realize this fact, the greater will be the glory of Argentina and its splendid capital, Buenos Aires.


Questions for Review and Study


  1. What is Argentina's capital called and how does it rank in size among the cities of South America?
  2. Tell the story of its early founding and days.
  3. Describe the population of Buenos Aires.
  4. What attracts foreigners to the capital city?
  5. Give a word picture of an Argentine estate.
  6. What is the climate of the southern part of Argentina; of the central part; of the northern section°?
  7. Tell of the population, occupation and products of each division.
  8. How does the area of Argentina compare with that of the United States?
  9. Name the two great handicaps to wheat growing in Argentina.
  10. Mention another leading export from Argentina and tell bow it is treated before being shipped.
  11. What does Argentina import?
  12. Describe Buenos Aires and tell what its name means.


Santiago and Chile—the Slim Country

Santiago is the capital of a strange, slim country, a country which is not particularly strange in regard to its people, its government, or its products, but which, nevertheless, is very strange in regard to its shape. Because of this shape Chile has been compared with a sabre or a sword—a most fitting simile because of the brave and proud character of its people. So long and narrow is it that, as one writer has said, "If Italy is a boot and France a teapot, surely Chile, twenty times as long as it is broad, is an eel."

Fancy a nation living on a strip of territory from one hundred to two hundred and forty-eight miles wide—no wider in some places, in fact, than the distance from Philadelphia to New York—but so long that, if laid from east to west upon the United States with one end at New York, it would stretch away out across our continent to eastern California. Chile is the longest and narrowest country in the world. The country covers an area about equal to the size of our two states, Texas and Virginia, combined.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

CHILEAN MINING TOWN


On the map of South America, Chile appears to be little more than a mountain range, extending along the Pacific coast for more than half the length of the grand division. In surface and climate, Chile, from north to south, is much like our Pacific coast from south to north. Chile's rainless north is the counterpart of lower California. Central Chile, with its plain running between the lofty Andean range and the low Coast range, has been called a vest-pocket edition of California's valley. And Chile's one great seaport, Valparaiso, despite its insecure harbor, is San Francisco to the South Pacific. In the southern part of Chile the coast range forms an archipelago. Here Chile's coast reminds us of the coast of southern Alaska.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

CHILE'S ONE GREAT SEAPORT, VALPARAISO.


Because Chile has three different, distinct climates, the northern, central and southern parts of the country differ greatly in industries and products. The northern part is the chief source of Chile's wealth, the reason for her rank among the most important countries of South America. This northern section is a hot, dry desert, a desert so dry that, in some places, water has to be brought in pipes from the Andes over a hundred miles. Yet in this desert are great beds of nitrate of soda, nature's chief gift to Chile. That does not sound very interesting, but if it were not for this product we might not be able to grow our greatest and best crops.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A NITRATE PLANT.


Nitrate of soda, commonly known as saltpeter, is a wonderful fertilizer for soil. We use vast quantities of it in the United States, and every year more than a million tons are shipped to Europe from Chile's desert.

Iodine is another product of the nitrate rock, being a valuable chemical much used in photography and for making dyes and many kinds of drugs.

On this barren, northern coast of Chile, which would otherwise be quite uninhabited, whole cities have grown up as a result of the nitrate industry. Chief of these is Iquique, Chile's most important nitrate center, and, in fact, the leading nitrate port of the world. Antofagasta, another desert city, is important as a silver as well as nitrate center. Here is the largest smelting plant in South America. In its huge furnaces the silver is smelted out of the ore, which is brought down from the Andes.

Further down the coast, at Coquimbo, great shiploads of copper are exported. This reddish-brown metal is smelted into the form of long bars and bricks. Much copper, both copper ore and copper bars, is sent to the United States. The total amount of Chile's copper is greater and, therefore, of greater value to her than her silver.

So much for the north. Now for central Chile, the land of plenty. A few miles in from the coast and just over the low coast mountains there are orange and lemon groves, large vineyards and almost all kinds of fruit trees. This is the long valley of Chile, one of the finest fruit-raising regions of all South America where grows almost every product of the soil that we produce in the United States.

Without her valley, Chile would be the poorest agricultural country on the southern continent; with it she is the richest for her size. The pleasant, semi-tropical climate of this central region, the garden of Chile, is very different from the climate of the dry, tropical, thinly populated north.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A TREE FAIRLY LADEN WITH LUSCIOUS ORANGES.


You wonder what causes these two distinct climates; why the northern part of Chile is a dry desert, and the greater part of central and southern Chile a well-watered and exceedingly fertile country. It is all because of the winds. The desert exists because it lies in the path of the east trade wind and all the moisture which this wind brings from the Atlantic has been drained out before the mountains are crossed and the western slope is reached.

The wind which blows over central and southern Chile, however, comes from a different direction, not from over the land but from over the sea. As it crosses the warm waters of the Pacific, the air absorbs much moisture; and as it reaches the cooler parts of Chile, the difference in the temperature condenses the moisture into rain, thus affording these parts of the republic a plentiful rainfall.

In central Chile agriculture is the chief industry. Wheat, barley, corn, oats, sugar, tobacco, grapes and other fruits are raised in large quantities. There are few countries in the world where farms are so large and their owners so rich. This great food-producing region is the home of five-sixths of the republic's entire population.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

OFF TO SURVEY THE FARM.


Southern Chile is much colder—remember its distance from the Equator. The mountains in the southern section are forest covered and lumbering is a profitable and important industry. The principal trees are the Chilean pine, the oak from which ships, cars and vehicles are made, the cypress, walnut, cedar, ash and beech. Much coal and quite a quantity of gold are mined in the south, near Punta 'Arenas, a lonesome little city, in fact, the southern-most city of the world. Cattle, horse and sheep raising, the wool industry and the manufacture of leather are being greatly developed in southern Chile. And leather, hides, wool and frozen meat are among the country's exports.

Both the capital and chief seaport of the republic are in the central section. Valparaiso, the seaport, is the largest Pacific port of all South America. The bay of Valparaiso is shaped like a great half-moon and is walled with steep hills covered with luxuriant trees and beautiful flowers. Many of Chile's imports enter through the city of Valparaiso. Chief among them are textiles, sugar, machinery and agricultural implements, bags and bagging and petroleum.

Santiago, the capital, lies one hundred and seventeen miles to the east of Valparaiso. With its population of 415,000, Santiago in many respects resembles our National Capital.

Santiago, on the small river Mapocho, lies in a great amphitheatre, whose highest sides are the snowy Andes, while its lower tiers are the small mountains toward the coast. Because of the natural beauty of the country surrounding Santiago, and the grandeur of the mountain scenery farther south, Chile has been called the "Italy of South America."

Perhaps the most picturesque hill in any city of the world is that of Santa Lucia in the heart of Santiago. This hill is a mass of volcanic rocks, rising to a height of some three hundred feet from a base of a little more than an acre. Its original scanty soil has been added to by the gardeners, and beautiful trees and exquisite flowers and vines have been grown. Fountains splash bright waters in the sunlight. Marble statues gleam against the green at every turn. Beautiful grottoes look inviting with their cool shade; and paths and roads wind everywhere. Santa Lucia, like a great hanging garden above the city, is indeed the park of parks in Santiago.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE MAGNIFICENT ENTRANCE TO THE PARK OF SANTA LUCIA.


The chief street of the Chilean capital is the great boulevard, Alameda. It is twice as wide as Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, and runs the full length of the city. There are rows of tall poplar trees bordering it, and the finest private houses in Santiago front on the Alameda.

The architecture of the city is of Spanish style. The houses are built very close to the street, in some instances bordering the very pavement. Although of vast size, they are seldom more than two stories high. The large homes are built in the form of a great hollow square, with beautiful gardens in the open center or court.

Near the Plaza de Armas, a very beautiful park, stands the splendid cathedral of Santiago, with the palace of the Archbishop next door.

Another important public building in the capital city is the National University, which is attended by over a thousand students. Chile has now a good public school system, similar to our own. Because of their intelligence and bright, enterprising ways, the Chileans are often called the Yankees of South America.

The Moneda, built of massive stone, was once the national mint. It is now the residence of the President of the republic and contains most of the offices of the Chilean government.

The government of Chile is fashioned after ours of the United States, the country having been a democratic republic since the year 1833. One interesting difference in their constitution is the fact that the President of Chile is elected for a term of five years instead of four as in our country.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

IN SANTIAGO, MOST OF THE STREET CAR CONDUCTORS ARE WOMEN.


The Chileans are great lovers of amusement. Horse-racing is very popular in Santiago, as in Buenos Aires. The people of Chile are also enthusiastic lovers of football. They are fond of music and dancing, have many concerts in Santiago's parks, and spend much time in the pleasant out-of-doors.

The women of Santiago are considered unusually beautiful, being refined, active and not as stout as is usual in tropical countries. Rich and poor alike, they all wear the manto  over their heads when they go to church. The manto is a sort of black shawl, folded in such a way that it is very becoming to the wearer.

In Santiago most of the street car conductors are women. This is true of all the chief cities of Chile. They stand on the rear platform and make change from the money in their neat, white apron pockets.

The custom was introduced when Chile was at war with Peru and Bolivia and the men were all needed for soldiers. The women proved to be so much more efficient than men that they were continued in service after the war.

Santiago has good railway connections with the other cities of Chile. And Chile, in turn, has good railway connections with the other countries of South America. Still more lines are being built. One recent road crosses the Andes and joins the Chilean city, Valdivia, on the Pacific, with the Argentine port, Bahia Blanca, on the Atlantic.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

STONE REFUGE HOUSE TO PROTECT TRAVELERS OVERTAKEN BY STORMS WHILE CROSSING THE ANDES.


One of the most important lines in Chile to-day is the Trans-Andean railroad which connects Valparaiso with Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. Before this railroad was built, the voyage from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires through the Strait of Magellan took from fourteen to sixteen days. Now passengers can be carried by rail across the continent in twenty-nine hours.

At the point where the Trans-Andean route crosses the boundary line between Argentina and Chile, stands an heroic bronze figure of Christ. This statue, called "The Christ of the Andes," is in commemoration of the treaty of peace entered into by these two neighboring countries. On a tablet is the inscription:

"Sooner shall these mountains crumble to dust than the people of Argentina and Chile break the peace to which they have pledged themselves at the feet of Christ, the Redeemer."

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE 'CHRIST OF THE ANDES'


The South American republics are teaching many worthwhile lessons to all the world. Surely not the least of these can be read from Chile's commemoration tablet. When a nation, whose people are largely descendants of the war-like Spaniards and wily Indians, vows with a neighbor to keep peace until the "mountains crumble to dust," that nation sets a high standard by its example.


Questions for Review and Study


  1. Describe the shape of Chile and compare it in size with the United States.
  2. Compare Chile and our Pacific coast as to surface and climate.
  3. What is the chief product of northern Chile and for what is it used?
  4. Give the other products of the northern section.
  5. What part of Chile has been called the land of plenty? Why?
  6. How does the climate of this section differ from that of the northern?
  7. What accounts for the difference?
  8. Name the chief industry of central Chile and its products.
  9. What are the industries of southern Chile?
  10. Name, locate and describe Chile's capital and chief seaports.
  11. What form of government has Chile?


Bogota and Columbia—
South America's Northwestern Corner

[Map] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

In the most northwestern corner of South America is the republic of Colombia. Jutting out from the top of it like a handle is Panama. This small country of Panama used to be a province of Colombia, but in 1903 it became an independent republic. And one of its first acts was to sign a treaty with the United States of America which allowed Uncle Sam to dig his great ditch, more dignifiedly called the Panama Canal.

The opening of the Panama Canal means much in increased commerce to Colombia and to all the other countries of South America.

Study the map for a moment. On the west, Colombia has about one thousand miles of Pacific coast line. To the north the Caribbean coast is nearly as long. Surely the country is splendidly located for commerce. Venezuela and Brazil form the republic's eastern boundary while Peru and Ecuador lie to the south.

The size of Colombia is more than twice the size of France. But where Colombia has only thirteen persons to the square mile, France, before the World War at least, had nearly two hundred. Or to compare Colombia's figures with one of our states, Colombia is nearly ten times as large as the state of New York, yet her entire population is not much greater than that of New York City.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A STREET IN COLUMBIA'S CAPITAL.


As to climate, Colombia is a country of the Equator and lies entirely in the torrid zone. As one approaches from the great Pacific, the very sea seems to steam. Fortunately, however, Bogota, the capital and chief city of the republic, is more attractively situated on a high and fertile plateau, 8,564 feet above sea level.

Due to its elevation, Bogota has a remarkable climate of perpetual spring. Imagine a temperature of from sixty to sixty-five degrees all the year around. Roses and lilies are in constant bloom; the baskets hanging about the upper balconies of the city's pretty homes are never without their orchids and sweet-scented violets. Strawberries, apples, pears, peaches, pineapples and bananas are always in the markets. Bogota is fortunate in having an extremely rich surrounding country which supplies her markets with all kinds of good things to eat. And a remarkably pretty countryside it is, too, dotted with prosperous looking little farmhouses, sleek cattle and busy workers in the fields.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE.


It is said that in the thin air of the capital city, the heart works at extra speed, and so the human machine wears out more quickly than in the lowlands. It is indeed true that very old people are seldom seen in Bogota.

The population of the city numbers about 144,000, largely descendants of the Spaniards. There are also many Indians. Negroes, so well represented in the hot coast towns, are not often seen in the capital.

With its telephones, electric lights and street cars, Bogota is a modern city. And with its National University, observatory, picture galleries, public libraries and schools, it has the reputation of being one of the most cultured of the South American capitals, the Boston, as it were, of Colombia.

The national language is Spanish, the daily newspapers are printed in Spanish and the capital city is a Spanish-speaking town.

Surrounded by all these Spanish characteristics, it is easy to remember that the republic once belonged to Spain, and as the land bears the name of the great explorer, Columbus, it is not hard to remember that he was its discoverer. Sent out by Spain, Columbus sailed along the coast of this particular part of South America in 1502, some thirty years before Bogota was founded by another Spanish expedition.

The Spanish-built houses are set very close to the street, the lawn or garden being in the open square, or court, called patio, about which the house is built. All of the well-to-do homes are built in this way, and usually have two stories. The upper story often has several balconies opening upon the inner court of the house. Some of these balconies are used as sleeping porches.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A BEAUTIFUL PLOT IN THE PLAZA BOULEVARD.


The homes of the poorer people have only one story. The houses are built low because of earthquake shocks which are common throughout Colombia. The buildings are brilliantly painted in yellow, green or white and nearly all have red tile roofs.

Among the parks in Bogota the one in the center of the city, known as the Plaza Bolivar, is the most beautiful. With its gardens of gay flowers and its many tropical trees, it is indeed luxuriant. The park is named after General Simon Bolivar, a Venezuelan under whose leadership not only Venezuela but Colombia, Ecuador and Peru won their independence of Spain. It was Bolivar's ambition to liberate his country from Spain and what he did resulted in the independence of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru and the foundation of Bolivia.

Colombia's President lives in a handsome building, called the Presidential palace. The Capitol where the two houses of Congress meet faces the beautiful Plaza Bolivar, as does the large cathedral.

The city of Bogota is built in terraces, as the ground rises abruptly towards the east. The streets, like those in neighboring Quito and Lima, are narrow and are paved with noisy cobblestones while the sidewalks are of smooth stone or brick.

Because of the narrow, hilly streets there are few carts or wagons in Bogota. Donkeys are the beasts of burden and these strong little animals are the carts, the drays and the trucks, all in one. Bread, vegetables and fruit are carried about from house to house upon them, and at the market, scores of donkeys stand and wait until their masters sell the produce they have brought in from the country.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

DONKEYS ARE THE BEASTS OF BURDEN, THE CARTS, THE DRAYS AND THE TRUCKS.


These masters are mostly swarthy Indians. The men dress in coarse cotton, often wearing gayly colored ponchos or blankets about their shoulders. The Indian women wear baggy, nondescript clothes, always dark and uninteresting looking. All wear high-crowned Panama hats, for the sun is bright in Bogota.

In Bogota, as well as in all the capitals of South America, men of the better classes follow European and American fashions in dress. Although the women wear European and American hats and suits, almost all of the young girls use the black silk mantilla edged with broad lace. This is coquettishly draped over the pretty little head, drawn tightly over the left shoulder and as tightly about the waist.

On Sundays all women wear these black mantillas to church. There is nothing which suits the piquant Spanish face, clear olive complexion and abundant hair of the Bogotanian so well.

Like most capitals, Bogota's importance depends upon its country's commerce. The products of Colombia are varied, for with high mountains, level table-lands and fertile valleys, the republic has almost every variety of climate and soil to be found in the world.

In the mountains, which are an extension of the mighty Andes, are enormous coal and iron mines. Bogota itself rests on a great coal deposit. As yet these mines have not been developed to a great extent. To-day the republic's agricultural and forest products lead in value, but it is believed that in the future Colombia's vast mineral resources will prove to be her greatest possession.

Platinum, a metal more valuable than gold, was first discovered in Colombia. The country's output of this metal is now second only to Russia. Gold and silver are mined extensively. Copper ores are abundant, and when better methods of transportation are provided, the country will make a name for itself as a great copper producer.

Because of the enormous cost of railroad building, due to the mountainous character of the country, there is one thing which Colombia sadly lacks, efficient methods of transportation. When compared with the great railway lines of the United States, for instance, the railway facilities of Colombia seem to belong to another age. Traders may well complain, as they so often do, that "practically everything in the country is inaccessible." Why, it was not until recently that the journey from the coast of Colombia to the capital could be made entirely by train and steamer. Formerly a part of the distance had to be covered in the saddle. And to the unadventuresome, the journey had little charm.

The wonderful Muzo emerald mines, although only seventy-five miles from Bogota, are so hard to reach that of their 140,000 acres only a very small proportion has as yet been used. In spite of this, however, Colombia is famed for its emeralds and supplies a large per cent of the world's demand.

So much for the minerals. Now for the forests.

Colombia has more timber for its size than any other country in South America. In the mountains there are many kinds of cabinet and dye woods, including mahogany and Spanish cedar. Much of this cedar is shipped to the United States to be made into cigar boxes. In the most tropical forest regions are hundreds of rubber trees. Comparatively few of these have been tapped. This, too, because of the difficulties of getting to them and of transportation.

In the lead of the country's great agricultural products is coffee, coffee of a very excellent quality. Brazil may surpass Colombia in the quantity of her exported coffee, but Brazilian coffee cannot surpass that of the smaller republic in quality.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

AN ORCHID HUNTER.


Other products of Colombia's soil are wheat, oats, corn, potatoes, beans and tobacco. In the warm low valleys, sugar-cane, cotton and all kinds of tropical fruits are grown. Herding is an important industry, thousands of cattle, sheep and horses being raised.

There are still two other things to be noted in Colombia and perhaps they are the most distinctive of all. These are orchids and alligators. Orchids are a beautiful and rare flower, much sought after by florists and owners of wonderful gardens. The native Indians in Colombia know best where these exquisite flowers grow, and are, therefore, valuable guides to foreign orchid collectors.

Alligators live in large numbers in the warm waters of the Caribbean and in the delta of the Magdalena river. The killing of alligators for their skins has become an important industry in the northern part of Colombia.

Alligators are valuable, for every ounce may be turned into a marketable product. The scrapings from the useful hides can be utilized in making glue. The teeth, a perfectly white ivory of medium hardness, are easily worked into an endless variety of small articles, such as thimbles, buttons and cigar holders. Even the grease, which constitutes a large percentage of the body, is used by the natives who believe it is excellent for diseases of the lungs. Another use for the leather has been found in the upholstering of automobiles and carriage seats.

Barranquilla, the chief receiving and shipping point for Colombia's trade, is on the Magdalena river and is connected with Puerto Colombia on the Caribbean Sea by a railroad eighteen miles long. Barranquilla is an ugly, colorless town built on the sands, and its sand-choked harbor might bear many improvements. Yet when the republic builds new railroads and enlarges her foreign trade, Barranquilla, with all Colombia, bids fair to have a flourishing future.


Questions for Review and Study


  1. In what way does the Panama. Canal help the commerce of Colombia?
  2. Describe Colombia as to coast line, size and climate.
  3. How does the climate of Bogota compare with that of the coast.
  4. What is the population of Bogota and what language is spoken by its people?
  5. Who discovered Colombia?
  6. Give a word picture of Bogota.
  7. What part do donkeys play in the life of the city°?
  8. Name the products of Colombia.
  9. With all her possibilities, what has so far prevented Colombia from developing her mines?
  10. Why are alligators valuable and what use is made of the different parts of their bodies?
  11. Name and describe the chief shipping port of Colombia.


Peru

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

Once upon a time, in the first half of the sixteenth century, a Spaniard named Francisco Pizarro set out from a Panama settlement to discover a country rich in gold. He had been told that such a land was to be found on the western coast of the southland, and so he made his way into Peru.

There he found the Incas, a very rich and powerful nation of Indians, with a mighty Emperor, or chief, ruling over a mighty territory.

The Incas were marvelous builders and in their land Pizarro found magnificent. temples to their great Sun God—for the Incas were sun worshippers. The palaces of the. Emperor, too, were built of huge stones so cunningly cut and fitted together that the builders of to-day cannot do the like. Neither can they duplicate certain of the Incas' tools because these were made from copper tempered to the hardness of steel by some method which no one now understands.

The wealth of the mighty Incas was fabulous. Their temples, with their heavy gold and silver ornaments and lavish decorations of precious stones, were resplendent treasure houses. The sight of all these riches so aroused the greed of Pizarro and his followers that they set to work to conquer the Indians. Asked to visit Pizarro's camp, the Inca Emperor was treacherously held a prisoner until an enormous ransom of gold should be paid. Believing that with the ransom paid their Emperor would be free, the gold was promptly brought by the loyal subjects, and heaped high in a great room of Pizarro's castle. Then Pizarro and his followers broke their part of the agreement and dishonorably killed the great Indian chief.

Without their mighty leader, the Incas fast lost their land and were soon scattered, their power broken. In some cases, the Indians were held by their conquerors and forced to work as slaves, a hard downfall for the proud Incas.

It is said that their Spanish conquerors took out of one of their temples as much gold as forty-two horses could haul at one time, and about twice as much silver.

Impressed by the wealth of the land he had conquered, Pizarro gave his chief city a name which means "The City of the Kings." Though Pizarro's "City of the Kings" long ago lost its poetical name and was renamed Lima, it remained a Spanish seat of government for nearly three hundred years.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A PERUVIAN MARKET


Then, in 1824, Peru became independent. In form, the present government of Peru is much the same as that of the United States. The Peru of to-day, while only a part of the ancient Inca empire, is about three times as large as our state, Texas. Yet there are fewer people in the entire country than there are in New York City. At least three-fourths of these people are of Indian descent. The population of the Peruvian capital, Lima, numbers about 176,500, the city being practically the size of the city of Syracuse in our Empire State.

Here are to be found descendants of much of the best blood of Spain, although the fine old aristocratic capital is fast becoming a very cosmopolitan city. A long-time resident of Lima, upon returning to his native city after an absence of about ten years writes: "This suburb is a Chinatown; this corner of the market is entirely negro; this store is manned and managed by Turks. Here are poncho-wearing Indians, dark-skinned Peruvian priests, French Sisters, American engineers, English, German and Italian merchants, Belgian school teachers, and representatives of almost every country on earth."

Peruvian women of the middle class do not generally wear hats. Instead they have fine black cloths, quite like the Chilean woman's manto, draped about their heads and pinned fast at the back with only the face showing.

As the unusual things are always the most interesting, the milk-women of Lima attract particular attention. Indian and half-breed women, not men, deliver the milk in the Peruvian capital. And they carry their various milk cans not in carts, but right on the pony or horse with themselves. They are clever horse women or they could never manage the cans and the bottles and the horse and themselves all at the same time.

The various hucksters and peddlers deliver their goods in much the same way. Fastening their baskets of vegetables or ware to the backs of patient little donkeys, they either ride or lead them through the streets. All this horse-back riding is because the streets in Lima are extremely narrow, too narrow for any unnecessary carts or large wagons.

For the most part the streets are well paved, and contrary to what one would expect, their narrowness is a particular advantage on hot days. Being more like passageways than streets, they create a natural draft like a tunnel. Moreover, the buildings, which are set close together and almost upon the pavement, furnish a welcome shade.

Shade is essential to comfort, for the climate of Lima is very warm. The city is only eight hundred miles from the Equator. However, its altitude, five hundred feet above sea level, improves the temperature immensely, and the southwest wind modifies the heat from the sun's almost direct rays.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A WALKING HARDWARE STORE.


Due to the climate, the business hours and habits of Lima are somewhat different from ours. The stores are open from seven to eleven in the morning, and from one to six in the afternoon. The people generally rest in cool, dark rooms from eleven to one, those hours when the sun is the brightest. This daily rest, or siesta as it is called, is a Spanish custom borrowed from far away Madrid.

The stores in Lima are numerous and prosperous. Some have no windows, but the doors are so made that the entire fronts can be opened, which makes the stores seem like the open booths at a fair. In many of the small shops all kinds of attractive and fine goods are piled upon the wooden floors.

In the markets are found all sorts of good things to eat—excellent meats, a great variety of vegetables, and luscious fruits. There are fruits, resembling enormous string beans, which are actually almost as long as your arm, and all kinds of potatoes, the famous yellow potatoes of Peru as well as many varieties of sweet potatoes. On the fruit stands are melons, oranges, lemons, alligator pears, pomegranates, pineapples, bananas, peaches, pears and grapes.

It is the Rimac river, on which Lima is situated, that makes possible all these products. In fact, it is the Rimac river that makes the very city itself possible, for without it all would be a desert. Its waters supply, either naturally or by artificial irrigation, the large plantations of sugar and cotton, and the rich vegetable and fruit crops which extend for miles about Lima, and occupy the sheltered irrigated "pockets" in the foothills of the Andes.

Then, too, the high falls of the river furnish the capital with abundant power for electric railroads and manufacturing plants. The streets and houses of Lima are well-lighted by electricity, the current being furnished very cheaply.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A RAILROAD BRIDGE ON THE WAY TO THE HIGHEST TOWN IN THE WORLD.


At the point on the coast where the Rimac flows into the sea is Callao, the seaport of the capital, and the chief port of Peru. Although the entire town disappeared during an earthquake some years ago, it has been rebuilt and has one of the best harbors on the Pacific coast.

Besides the Rimac river connection, an electric line runs between Callao and Lima, a distance of six miles. And, in addition to these connections, there is a very famous

the great Peru Central or Oroya railroad, which begins at Callao and runs through Lima and on, right up the magnificent Andes to Cerro de Pasco, the highest town in the world. This railroad has been called the Eighth Wonder ,

railroad man who has ever seen it, says that it is indeed the most wonderful railroad that has ever been built. It is a triumph of modern engineering and has cost many millions of dollars and many hundreds of lives. The road goes up some of the steepest mountains of the globe, and much of its bed has been cut or blasted out of solid rock.

From Lima the journey up this amazing railroad cannot be surpassed in strangeness and grandeur anywhere in the world. A traveler in writes: "As the engine climbs upward, the Andes tower everywhere, gaunt, treeless, mighty, awesome. From the train one looks down into the depths that turn the head dizzy and bring, the heart up into the throat. Mountain walls spring upward, seamed, scarred, swart. Alpine flowers cling here and there to the rocks, though one seems in a world where the very bones of the earth are broken and piled up in indescribable and appalling masses."

Arriving at Cerro de Pasco, a traveler is often attacked with severe mountain-sickness, for the air here above the clouds, on "the roof of South America," is very thin. However, after the head and stomach have become accustomed to the greatly changed climate, one can thoroughly enjoy the pure air and strange sights. It is rightfully said that only a poet can describe the scenery of the wonderful cloud-realm of this region.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

SMELTING IN A CERRO DE PASCO COPPER MINE.


At Cerro de Pasco are famous silver and copper mines, for the Andes give to Peru a great share of their mineral wealth, wealth which also extends south into both Bolivia and Chile.

In the case of Peru, this mineral wealth is one of the country's greatest resources. In addition to great copper and silver mines, there are rich deposits of gold, iron, coal, petroleum, salt and borax. Minerals, therefore, head the list of Peru's exports.

Another product of importance is sugar. It seems strange to have great quantities of both minerals and sugar in one country. But we must remember that Peru, lying on both sides of the Andes, presents great contrasts of climate, and likewise has great contrasts of products.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

WASHING GOLD ON A PERUVIAN RIVER.


Peru may indeed be divided into three distinct sections: first, the mountain region with its rich mines; second, the great plantations made fertile by means of irrigation; third, the narrow plain along the coast, which is little more than a dry desert.

About two-thirds of the mountain regions are covered with dense forests. These forests are watered by the melting snows of the Andes and their trees produce cocoa, vanilla and various dyewoods as well as rubber, still another of the country's exports.

Besides sugar much cotton is raised on the great plantations in the irrigated valleys. Because of a woolly character which fits it for mixing with wool, this cotton is known in the markets as "rough Peruvian." It is mixed with wool by the manufacturers of stockings, underclothing and such washable goods, as it makes the articles less liable to shrink.

Even the desert coast yields something for Peru to export. This product is guano, a deposit left by enormous flocks of birds, and is widely exported as a valuable fertilizer.

Another export of this republic is straw hats. These so-called "Panama" hats are woven and exported in large numbers, not from Panama, as one would suppose, but from Peru. The seaport, Paita, on the northern coast, is the greatest Panama hat market in Peru.

Now we come to Peru's wool, interesting because of the animals which furnish it. One naturally thinks of sheep in connection with wool, but in Peru other far more unique animals supply this useful article. These are llamas and alpacas from the highlands. Have you ever seen either in a zoo or circus?

The llamas are the most important animals of all Peru, in fact, they are indispensable in many different ways. And these interesting little beasts seem to realize how indispensable they are. Their long wool is used for clothing, their skin for leather, their flesh for food and they are the beasts of burden where no other animals can live on Peru's bare, breathless heights. The llamas, with their warm, shaggy coats, ask no shelter. They ask no food for they can live on the stiff grass of the mountain sides. They require no shoes nor harness.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE MOST IMPORTANT ANIMALS OF ALL PERU.


Is it any wonder that the indispensable llamas make their own rules of conduct and demand exact consideration of them? Usually gentle and docile, if annoyed they are disagreeable, revengeful and useless. Punishment they return in a way that one never forgets. They do not bite, they do not kick, they merely spit. And this spit has the most offensive and penetrating odor which one could imagine.

Another thing, these independent little creatures will carry just one hundred pounds and no more. You wonder how they manage the "no more." They simply lie, or rather kneel down like camels, and down they stay until the load is made light. As to appearance, picture a severe, haughty little beast, somewhat larger than a sheep, with a long neck, a small head like a camel's, and slender legs and feet like a deer's. Llamas walk very daintily and gracefully, skillfully picking their way over the mountains. Some are snow white, some are seal brown, and some are black with large white markings.

The alpacas are also domestic animals in Peru, and are very similar to the llamas. They are valued for their long, silky wool, which is straighter, finer and stronger than sheep's wool. Alpaca wool is used for shawls, fine clothes and umbrellas, much of it being sent from Peru to our country.

There is one conspicuous species of bird in this highland region of Peru. This is the Peruvian eagle, the mighty condor, a magnificent bird which can kill an ox with its powerful beak. These majestic birds sail along in the highest air, sweeping down upon their prey with a whir of wings that is deafening. "Loneliness is the condor's only friend. The wind howls through his broadened wings."

The creatures of the Peruvian lowlands are fully as unusual and interesting as those of the highlands. In the swampy sections are myriads of venomous snakes, gliding, writhing, crawling in and out, snakes of every description, from minute snakes to the great, deadly boa constrictor of the stagnant pools.

On the dry plains is the antiquated looking ant-eater, a strange. animal which hunches along on his stiff, curved claws. Stopping now and then to rake out a crowded ant-hill, he cleans out the crawling inmates with one slash of his long spiral tongue.

In this region is also found the armadillo, a four-legged animal with a small head like a pig's and a complete coat of mail. The armadillo trundles to and fro, burrowing out well-flavored roots. The flesh of these animals, white, quite tender and rather delicious, is eaten in great quantities, particularly in Argentina, where also they are very numerous.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A YOUNG SLOTH.


Another weird creature of Peru is the awkward sloth, a lazy, mournful object, which spends most of its time hanging upside down in a tree like a bundle of rags on a nail. Its hair is like dried grass, stiff and coarse, and, as one might imagine, grows the wrong way. The sloth's most active move is to tumble out of its tree and crawl to the next one, eating whatever stray insects it finds on the way.

Now to return to the country's commerce. In the list of Peru's imports are found food supplies, iron and steel manufactures, tools, machines and vehicles, cotton and woolen goods, and timber and lumber.

The majority of this trade is handled through Lima, for in addition to being the capital, Lima is the first commercial city of the republic. Its position fits it for being not only the great receiving center of the country, but also the great distributing center.

The capital of Peru appeals to us as it is a busier and more active city than some of the other South American capitals, which seem rather the residential cities of wealthy citizens. Lima, indeed, has several important industries, her chief manufactures being furniture, iron and copper articles, pottery and dyestuffs.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

LIMA IS NOT WITHOUT HER FINE RESIDENCES.


Yet Lima is not without her fine residences. These are Spanish in character, and are built with the open court in the center much like the large, wealthy homes in Santiago. The majority of homes in Lima are extremely low, being for the most part of one story.

The houses of the middle class are commonly made of cane and reeds, plastered with mud. It is amusingly said that in Lima 'a burglar needs nothing more than a bowl of water and a sponge to soften the mud plaster in order to make an entrance through the wall. As Lima is growing, the new buildings are being constructed of steel and concrete, a type of building which is the most satisfactory, for slight earthquake shocks are common in this part of Peru.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

LIMA'S TRIBUTE TO GENERAL BOLIVAR.


Among the public buildings of Lima, the cathedral is the most important. This is older than any church in our country, and although it is made of sun-dried brick, a characteristic building material in Peru, it has cost millions of dollars. Indeed, more time was spent in its construction than in building St. Peter's church in Rome. Within is a mummified body which tradition declares to be that of the unscrupulous Pizarro. This is preserved in a coffin of glass, mounted on a rich pedestal.

Across the square from the cathedral is an old government building called the National Palace, where, according to tradition, Pizarro was assassinated. The President has his offices in this building. One of the most interesting buildings in Lima is the old University of San Marcos, the oldest in America.

Lima's central square is called the Plaza de Mayor. There is much dignity in its ample space, much beauty in its fine proportions, in its central fountain, its palms, flowering trees and statues. Besides all this, the Plaza de Mayor has a wealth of historic association, dating back to the time of Pizarro.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

LIMA'S BEAUTIFUL CATHEDRAL.


It is expected that the Panama Canal will prove a very great benefit to Peru by bringing the republic's products much nearer to the great markets of the world. The canal also opens up Peru more fully as a market for the products of the United States. Thus we of the United States extend our hands in greeting to our now closer neighbors, Lima, and her wonderfully productive country, Peru.


Questions for Review and Study


  1. Tell the story of Pizarro and the Incas.
  2. What city is the capital of Peru?
  3. Describe its people.
  4. Describe the streets of Lima. and tell why their width is an advantage.
  5. What climate has Lima and how does it affect the habits and customs of the people?
  6. For what is Lima indebted to the Rimac river?
  7. Describe a trip over the Peru Central railroad.
  8. Name Peru's mineral products.
  9. Into what three sections may Peru be divided?
  10. Give the products of each section.
  11. Describe a llama and tell why the llamas are important to Peru.
  12. Name the other animals found in Peru.
  13. Give the leading industries of Lima.


Caracas and Venezuela—
Its Hospitable Land

On his third voyage to America the white sailed ships of Columbus made their way from the Caribbean Sea into Lake Maracaibo. On the shores of the lake and on its islands, the explorers found the huts of Indians built upon piles. The sight recalled to Columbus' men the city of Venice in faraway Italy. And so the land received the name Venezuela, or "Little Venice."

This pretty, although inappropriate name, has clung to a great mountainous region totally unlike Venice in every way. Being larger than the combined area of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, "Little Venice" is not exactly little. Among the eleven countries of the southern continent, Venezuela, with her 393,976 square miles and her population of nearly 3,000,000, stands sixth, or just halfway.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

CARACAS IS ONE OF THE MOST PICTURESQUE CAPITALS IN SOUTH AMERICA.


If, in place of sailing west on the high-prowed, slow-moving little ships which brought Columbus from Spain, you were to glide out of New York harbor on a modern ocean steamer, and were to journey south—almost due south—you, too, would reach Lake Maracaibo and Venezuela, "the front door of South America."

With such a title what could be more fitting than the Venezuelan's well deserved reputation for hospitality. All tourists, without exception, speak of the unusual courtesy of the Venezuelan officials, from the considerate custom house officers to the accommodating policemen in the streets. And to be entertained in a Venezuelan home is a charming experience.

These social people are particularly friendly to visitors from the United States for their natural hospitality is increased by a feeling of gratitude to us as a nation. More than once Uncle Sam has stretched a helping hand across the Caribbean Sea to Venezuela. Our country was the first to recognize the United States of Venezuela as an independent nation. But the proof of greatest friendship came in 1895 when the United States, at the risk of an appalling war, forced Great Britain to release her hold on the coveted Orinoco territory which she was most anxious to add to her neighboring possession of British Guiana.

Caracas, the charming capital of the republic, is one of the most picturesque capitals in the New World. The city lies in the beautiful valley of the Guaire river. Yet this "valley" has an altitude of some 3,000 or more feet, thanks to which Caracas possesses a delightful, even temperature. The capital's climate is varied, not by changes from heat to cold, but by seasons of alternating dryness and moisture.

The city has splendid buildings, several fine churches, a famous university, and numerous artistic homes. The style of the buildings is Spanish, and the homes, with their spacious open courts surrounded by the rooms of the house, are most attractive.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

TO THE LEFT IS THE CAPITOL, TO THE RIGHTJUST ACROSS THE LITTLE PLAZAIS THE UNIVERSITY.


It is rightfully said that there is not an inartistic touch in the town. Caracas does not intend that there shall be any. No pains are spared, no labor or treasure grudged, which can contribute to make the capital a beautiful, well-equipped, and healthful city.

One of the finest statues in Venezuela is the imposing figure of Columbus so placed on the neighboring Calvario Hill that it can be seen from nearly every part of Caracas.

Among the artistic squares of Caracas there is the Plaza Washington, or Washington Square, in the central portion of the city near one of its handsome, modern churches. In the center of the square rises a fine statue of George Washington, erected by the Venezuelan government.

Caracas is justly proud of being the birthplace of General Francisco de Mirando, called the Precursor of Spanish American independence, and of General Simon Bolivar the Washington of South America. The family of Washington presented Bolivar, the only Latin American hero to be so honored, with a medallion, bearing on one side a miniature portrait and on the other a lock of hair of the Father of His Country. General Bolivar always wore this medallion in preference to any of his numerous other medals.

The resources of Venezuela are numerous and as yet have hardly been touched. She has mountains, and those mountains have treasures of gold and many other minerals. She has extensive plains stretching for miles through the valley of the Orinoco river. These plains are known as the llanos, which, like our western plains, afford excellent pasturage for large herds of cattle. And she has dry and exceptionally healthful table-lands, or plateaus. This variety of physical features produces an equal variety of climate, products and soil.

Venezuela's chief exports are natural products. They include coffee, cacao, sugar, balata or rubber milk, hides and skins, rubber, gold, copper ore, iron, asphalt, petroleum and cotton.

The total value of the country's imports is almost twice as great as her total value of exports. These imports are cotton goods, flour, machinery and automobiles, drugs and medicine, rice, wines and certain canned goods.

It is fitting that Caracas, the capital and largest city of Venezuela, should also be the great commercial center of the republic. Caracas is connected with the outside world by the railway which runs to the seaport of La Guaira. These two cities are only about five miles apart "as the crow flies." But the railway, which has to wind ever up and up the intervening mountain before it reaches Caracas, is fully twenty-five miles long.

Sometimes a comparison of two cities makes much clearer the picture of both. Suppose, then, we compare Caracas with the capital of its near neighbor, Colombia.

In the first place, Bogota is larger in size and in population, is considerably higher and somewhat cooler and is much more isolated from the world. Caracas has more warm sunshine, and a more picturesque location. Caracas, modern, gay and fashionable, is perhaps a bit frivolous, while secluded Bogota is more stern, and holds herself aloof. The mountains near Bogota are bleak, barren and forbidding, while the beautiful mountains surrounding Caracas are green to their very tops. Though Colombia's mountains have a certain awesome grandeur, Bogota has the appearance of having climbed up out of the swampy plateau to take refuge on the side of the inhospitable hills. Caracas, on the other hand, seems to be nestling in her mountains.

A particularly lovely view of these Venezuelan mountains is to be had from Paraiso, a fashionable suburb to the south of Caracas. Before the balconies of the charming villas in Paraiso is spread one of nature's most artistically colored canvases. The intense blue of the sky, the lighter hazy blues of the distant mountains, every possible shade of green on the hillsides, a fascinating riot of colors in the gardens, and the red-tiled roofs and whitewashed walls of Caracas to the north—all these make a wonderful picture never to be forgotten.

Nature, then, it seems, has joined with the hospitable Venezuelans to make their land an attractive doorway to the South American continent.


Questions for Review and Study


  1. How did Venezuela get its name?
  2. Does the name fit the country?
  3. Compare Venezuela with the United States as to size.
  4. In what direction from New York is Lake Maracaibo?
  5. Tell how Uncle Sam has helped Venezuela.
  6. Name and describe Venezuela's capital.
  7. What are Venezuela's leading exports?


Bolivia and its Chief City—La Paz

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

The title to this chapter is "Bolivia and Its Chief City, La Paz," not "Bolivia and Its Capital City, Sucre." The reason is, that although Sucre is indeed the official and legal capital of the republic, La Paz, today, is nevertheless recognized as Bolivia's actual seat of government.

No act of the Bolivian Congress has as yet put this change into effect. That is why there, is a slight confusion as to which city is the capital. Does it seem unjust that La Paz, almost four times as large as Sucre, has sort of stolen the latter's title? You would not think so if you were one of the foreign representatives to Bolivia. La Paz is hard enough to reach, but Sucre is much worse.

It is just because of the hard journey to Sucre that the foreign representatives to Bolivia have come to stop off at La Paz, the President of Bolivia has come to reside in La Paz, Congress has consequently come to assemble in La Paz, and thus La Paz has grown to be the actual capital of Bolivia.

In speaking of Bolivia writers use such adjectives as "remote," "isolated" and "inaccessible," and for years Bolivia was known as the hermit republic. Why? Because Bolivia is one of the two countries in South America which have no coast line whatever.

And lacking a coast line, Bolivia. has been likened to a man who has a farm not reached by any wagon road, and who, therefore has to ask permission to travel across his neighbor's land in order to reach the public highway. The comparison is very close, indeed, for this is just what Bolivia has had to do. By means of government treaties, she has secured permission from her neighbors, Peru and Chile, to make use of certain of their Pacific ports.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PEAKS OF THE ANDES.


To these ports Bolivia has had to build her own railways and this has been a long and expensive process. Just as in days of old, "all roads led to Rome," so, in Bolivia, all railways lead to La Paz.

The Pacific ports with which La Paz is connected by steep railroads which wind up and around the jagged, sky-piercing peaks of the Andes are Mollendo on the southern coast of Peru and Antofagasta and Arica on the northern coast of Chile.

The Arica-La Paz line has been opened only since 1912 and forms the shortest connection between La Paz and the sea, having a total length of 274 miles. In building the road, enormous obstacles had to be overcome, obstacles which required the most skillful engineering. Such things as blasting through solid rock, carrying water for miles and miles through a dry desert country, and losing men by the score, these were the problems which daily confronted the undaunted engineers of the Arica-La Paz railway. It is little wonder that it cost the huge sum of $12,250,000, an average of over $45,000 a mile. But Bolivia believes that the line will more than pay for itself, so she does not begrudge the money.

The Mollendo-La Paz and the Antofagasta-La Paz railroads are much longer than the Arica-La Paz line, the former being 330 miles and the latter 719 miles. These three railway lines form Bolivia's only connection with the outside world.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE SORT OF COUNTRY THROUGH WHICH THE ARICO-LA PAZ RAILROAD WAS BUILT.


Part of the Mollendo-La Paz route is by way of Lake Titicaca. One-half of this lake is in Peru and the other half is in Bolivia. It lies 12,545 feet above sea level and is the highest navigable body of water in the world. It also claims the distinction of being the largest fresh water lake in South America, having an area of 4,000 square miles.

But although Bolivia now has these means of reaching the outside world, the republic is no better off for interior connections. The people are scattered, their interests are different and these conditions naturally account in large measure for the country's lack of development and lack of unity. Bolivia is trying hard to forge ahead, but what she needs most is railways, railways running in every direction like our great efficient lines. in the United States. In 1921, Bolivia had 1,100 miles of interior railways in operation. Further lines are being built or planned, but progress is slow.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

SHORE OF LAKE TITICACA.


Bolivia, however, is well worth the effort it takes to reach her. This country is like a very rich nut meat incased in a very hard shell. Hidden in her mountains lie great mines of gold, silver, copper, zinc and tin. Tin forms the great bulk of Bolivia's export trade and goes to all parts of the world.

Tin ore looks much like silver ore. Often these two minerals are found mixed together in the same vein. The story of tin is an interesting one. The ore is dug from the rocks, then broken to pieces and ground into powder. Sort of a battered life so far, isn't it? The powdered tin is put into a furnace and melted into a liquid. Then it flows out in a bright silver stream and is run into molds. Each mold contains fifty pounds, which, when cool, forms a brick of tin.

Bolivia's second most important mineral is silver, which in being prepared for export undergoes much the same process as tin. Then comes copper, not silvery gray like the other two minerals, but looking like dull burnished gold. Bismuth also comes from the mineral districts and is sold to druggists in many different parts of the world.

The centers of these great mining industries are all near Bolivia's western boundary, a bit to the south.

A few miles from Lake Poopo is the city of Oruro, famous for its tin. Still further south is Potosi, named after the great mountain out of which has been taken almost $3,000,000,000 worth of silver. It is claimed that this rich mountain has given more silver to the world than any other place on the globe.

The center of the copper industry in Bolivia is in the city of Corocoro. As a branch of the new Arica-La Paz railway has been built to Corocoro, it is expected that Bolivia's copper industry will now greatly increase, for it has not been copper but transportation that has been lacking heretofore.

The western part of the country, important as it is, is not the only region which supplies the republic with exports. The eastern section is divided into the southeastern and northeastern parts. The southeastern part. is a plateau or series of plateaus which gradually sink into the vast levels or plains on the borders of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. Much of Bolivia's plateau land is too dry or too rugged for cultivation or even for ranching. However, there is enough fertile land to support quite an agricultural population, although Bolivia in no way could ever be called an agricultural country. In the sheltered nooks of this region are found occasional tropical groves which supply the markets of La Paz and other cities with luscious fruits.

The northeastern section of the country is a part of the great low forest-covered Amazon selvas which stretch far out to the east. Save for a few small settlements, the only inhabitants are uncivilized Indians. From this very region, however, comes another of Bolivia's important exports, rubber. From Brazil we learned much about rubber; how the sap is gathered and the rubber hams prepared for market. So here it is only necessary to find out how Bolivia's rubber reaches the outside world.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

IN THE SUBURBS OF LA PAZ.


Fortunately, Bolivia has one or two convenient rivers up here in this northeastern section, and down the Beni, the Madeira and the mighty Amazon, she is able to ship her rubber by water all the way to Para—Brazil's great rubber port.

But now to visit La Paz. The most common route is by way of Lake Titicaca, over the Mollendo-La Paz line. The trains rise slowly through the bare hills and then come out on an immense level, walled in on either side by stupendous mountains. Over this level stretch the trains roll onward until a spot is reached which seems to be the very end of the world. There the traveler, walking a few yards to the east, is startled by the great yawning abyss below. Right beneath him, fifteen hundred feet down, a gray, red-roofed city fills the bottom of a gorge and climbs up its sides.

Every street and square, every yard and garden of the cloudland city of La Paz is laid out before the traveler's eye as though on a map. One almost seems to hear the distant noises of the town coming faintly up through the thin air.

From the edge of the canyon, electric ears descend into the city over a track which doubles back and forth in zigzags down the almost alarmingly steep hills. At last La Paz is reached. Think of being in a city at almost the height of Pike's Peak! La Paz, standing at 12,100 feet above sea level, is some 2,000 feet higher than Quito and more than 5,000 feet higher than Mexico City.

The keen air of this elevation has a fine, bracing quality, although it is so thin that the person subject to mountain sickness is apt to suffer for a while. Another disadvantage of the climate is that one is never warm except when actually in the sunshine. There are no fires in most of the La Paz houses, partly no doubt because there is nothing to burn. Wood is exceedingly scarce, there being practically no trees except an occasional Eucalyptus. And coal, due to the high cost of transportation, is frightfully expensive, costing from twenty to forty dollars per ton.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE INHABITANTS OF LA PAZ DRESS ACCORDING TO THE CITY'S AVERAGE TEMPERATURE.


The inhabitants of La Paz dress according to this temperature, the average of which, by the way, is fifty degrees. Workingmen—and these are mostly Indians or half-breeds —are seldom seen without their heavy ponchos. Ponchos are gayly colored, picturesque blankets and are characteristic of many parts of South America.

The native women also wear very heavy garments. They are extremely fond of voluminous skirts and wear a number of them. And the more brilliantly colored these are, the better. Strong and solidly built as the Indian women are, one often wonders how they can get around carrying the weight of four, five, or even more, of these thick skirts of closely woven cloth. Surely as they pass along the streets they present as brilliant a sight as any tulip bed in Holland. Besides their gay skirts most of these women wear long, silken fringed shawls and little quaint felt hats. The long black manto is also common in La Paz.

Indian women are very numerous, particularly in the markets of the city, for they are the venders of La Paz. In the morning scores of them go scudding through the streets, carrying fruit and vegetables to the markets for sale. Their burdens are tied up in striped blankets of red, blue, yellow and green.

Most noticeable in the La Paz markets is the great variety of fruits. These come from the southern part of Bolivia. On the stands are peaches, pears and quinces as well as oranges, lemons and pineapples.

Because of the large majority of Indians in the city's population, one hears Aymara, the most common Indian dialect, quite as. much as Spanish, the official language of the republic. Indeed Aymara is the language commonly spoken by three-fourths or more of the inhabitants of La Paz.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A BOLIVIAN POTTERY MARKET.


La Paz, as one might suppose, is very hilly; in fact, the streets plunge down one hill only to ascend another, and are so steep that all carriages must have four horses. However, very little carting is done by horse and wagon. The llamas are much used as beasts of burden. And there are also human "beasts of burden" for the majority of the packages and freight are delivered on the human back. The loads are sometimes far bigger and weigh more than the men carrying them, but in La Paz nobody regards such a sight as unusual.

Once having seen La Paz, one cannot forget the steep, rough streets, the flocks of graceful llamas, the sturdy dray-men with their huge, top-heavy loads, the swarthy Indians in their bright, picturesque costumes, and above all, the magnificent, snowy mountains towering into the sapphire sky.

Because it is unusual, Bolivia's city of La Paz makes for itself a niche in the memory and stays there.


Questions for Review and Study


  1. What city is the capital of Bolivia?
  2. Is the capital the country's chief city?
  3. How does it happen that the seat of Bolivia's government is actually at La Paz?
  4. Why is Bolivia called the "hermit republic"?
  5. What enormous obstacles had to be overcome in building the Arica-La Paz railroad?
  6. In what two respects is Lake Titicaca remarkable?
  7. What about the railroads within the republic of Bolivia?
  8. What effect does this have on the country's development?
  9. What minerals are found in Bolivia?
  10. Which forms the bulk of her export trade'?
  11. Tell the story of tin ore.
  12. In what section of Bolivia are the centers of her great mining industries'?
  13. Describe the southeastern and northeastern sections of Bolivia and name the productsof each of them.
  14. Describe La Paz as to location, climate and people.


Quito and Ecuador—
The Land of the Equator

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

Right around the very center of our great globe, half way between the poles, runs the Equator. On that imaginary line the rays of the sun beat straight down and the heat is terrific.

And right in the path of the Equator, where it crosses South America's western coast, lies a small country, Ecuador, the land of the Equator. Could anything sound hotter?

What a surprise then to hear that Quito, Ecuador's capital, is called the "City of Eternal Spring"! "Eternal Hot Summer" certainly seems more suited to a place only fifteen or twenty miles south of the Equator. But Quito is not only a city of the Equator. It is also a city of the mountains.

Two parallel ranges of the Andes cross Ecuador from north to south. Between them lies a high plateau which is crossed from cast to west by other mountains. These mountain ranges of Ecuador are like a great ladder lying on the ground. The two north and south chains form the sides while those from east to west are the rounds. The plateau varies from 7,000 to 9,500 feet above sea level, and Quito is at the greatest height.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF QUITO.


Its 9,500 feet above the sea accounts for the capital's delightful climate, the great elevation so tempering the heat as to make it just right for comfort. The warm, beautiful days of May in our northern states are like the constant climate of Quito.

The two most magnificent mountains in Ecuador are Chimborazo, "Emperor of the Equator, ". and Cotapaxi, "King of the Volcanoes." Neither of them is far from Quito. Chamborazo is the greater giant of the two, reaching a height of about 20,500 feet, or nearly four miles. Cotapaxi is a fiery old mountain, the highest active volcano in the world.

A few years back a journey to Quito meant a long, hard ride on mules. Setting out from Guayaquil, Ecuador's chief port, the tedious mountain climbing ride took from twelve to fifteen days.

In 1908 a railway between the two cities was completed after more than thirty-one years of work. The road is 297 miles long. As 400 miles of railroad is all. the entire country boasts, it is easy to see how important is the Guayaquil and Quito line. Both passenger and freight trains run over it regularly, the passenger trains, however, running only during the day. The engines creep and crawl and tug up and up the mountains and the journey takes two days.

Guayaquil has been called the front door of Ecuador. Through its port passes seven-eighths of the country's trade. On the map, Guayaquil seems to he situated on the coast. It is really about forty-five miles up the Guayas river, which, by the way, is Ecuador's principal water-way.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

AN INTERESTING BUT NOT ATTRACTIVE MARKET PLACE.


Lying in the lowest and most tropical part of the republic, Guayaquil is very unhealthful, but active steps are being taken for the drainage and sanitation of this important port of Ecuador. The people who live in the hot, fever-infected city are said to have only one reason for remaining, to make money. Guayaquil does indeed offer this opportunity.

Ecuador's greatest product is cacao and the republic leads the world in its. production, the annual export amounting to over $17,000,000. The word cocoa is sort of a trade name applied to the finished product of the cacao bean after it has been roasted and powdered. Chocolate is cocoa prepared with sugar and a flavor.

The cacao bean or seed grows in small melon-pods on trees of the same name. The seed looks like a thick almond in size and shape. There are about four steps in the process of making the cacao bean into the powdered cocoa of commerce. These steps are first breaking the pod, then the fermentation and drying or roasting of the bean itself, then the powdering process and lastly the packing.

Often the cacao bean is exported in its original form as the different countries which buy cacao treat the beans differently in order to suit the taste of different people.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

WORKING WITH THE CACAO BEAN.


For instance, what is known as Dutch cocoa is sold largely in England; English cocoa meets with favor in the United States; while American and French chocolate sells everywhere.

Another source of wealth in Guayaquil is the manufacture of the straw hats commercially called Panama hats. In Ecuador these hats are called gipijapa, and form Ecuador's second most important export. The making of the hats is the only manufacturing industry which furnishes the country anything for export. However, in the number and value of the Panama hats made, Ecuador leads the world.

All this is because the straw from which the hats are made grows chiefly in Ecuador. Hats of the best quality woven in this republic are so pliant and flexible that they can be folded and carried in the pocket without doing them the slightest injury. The story is told that one hat sent from Ecuador to a former Prince of Wales could be folded into a package no larger than a watch.

A skilled weaver will complete a hat in five or six months. He works always in the late twilight or early dawn, for in the middle of the day, the sun quickly dries the reed, which must always be kept moist to do good weaving. However, it is not so much the long labor which makes these hats too expensive for most of us to buy. Labor is cheap in Ecuador. It is the high import duties placed upon them by other countries. A great many of us might well envy the soft, beautiful hats which even Ecuador 's poorest peasants wear.

Did you ever hear of ivory nuts? Ivory nuts are the fruit of the tagua  palm, and buttons are made from them. "The clothes of the world are buttoned with ivory nuts and Ecuador is the chief producer."

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE BUTTON CROP IS BIG IN ECUADOR.


Traders in Guayaquil speak of the "button crop" as naturally as we speak of the wheat crop. The button crop is indeed a big crop in Ecuador. The ivory nuts are shipped to the United States, Germany, England, France and Italy to be manufactured into buttons. The turning out of these ivory buttons is a large industry in both Europe and the United States, giving employment to thousands of people.

Like ivory nuts, rubber is a product of„the tropical forest regions of Ecuador. The republic's annual yield of rubber is about one million pounds.

Ecuador's coffee plantations are in her lowlands. Here also are found sugar, rice, cotton, banana and tobacco plantations. These lowlands are strictly tropical and are in marked contrast to the snow-capped Andes which tower in the distance.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

FLOATING BANANAS TO MARKET.


In Quito, particularly, the contrast is most noticeable. There one can see afar off the snow fields of the surrounding mountains and at the same time the geraniums, roses, tulips and many other flowers which are always in bloom no matter what the time of year.

The last census places the number of Quito's inhabitants at 100,000, not very large for a capital city. But then Ecuador is not a very large country. It runs into the side of South America like a wedge driven in from the Pacific Ocean. In area, Ecuador is only about three times as large as our state of Pennsylvania; and its entire population about equals Philadelphia's. Many of Eucador's people are Indians who are descendants of the Quito and Cara tribes. Some 200,000 of these Indians live in the hottest parts of Ecuador and even to-day many of them are still uncivilized. Besides these pure Indians there are a few hundred thousand Spanish-Indians and over 150,000 families of pure Spanish descent, while the rest of the population is made up of people from the neighboring republics and traders from Europe.

Though the population of Quito, like most of all Ecuador, is made up chiefly of Indians, the city has its modern Spanish side. There are men of culture in Quito, there are women of high birth, there is a university of long standing, there are modern city improvements like electricity and telephones. Quito has the Government Building of the republic; it has many churches or cathedrals, an opera house and a very pretty park promenade.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

QUITO'S PRINCIPAL STREET.


The style of the buildings is Spanish, most of the houses being built of stucco with red tile roofs. Quito does not lack picturesqueness nor, with its many gayly, even gaudily, dressed Indians, does it lack color.

It is to the Panama Canal that Quito, Ecuador, and the west coast of South America look for a brilliant future.

Ecuador's great resources are yet to be developed. She needs more white settlers, more railroads and a more stable government. Let us hope that the Panama Canal may lead to increased population, increased means of transportation and increased trade and happy prosperity for Ecuador.


Questions for Review and Study


  1. Give a description of the Equator as to its location and the climate of the countries which it crosses.
  2. Name Ecuador's capital and give its location as regards the Equator.
  3. What is the city called'?
  4. How do you account for the seeming conflict between this name and the city's location?
  5. Give a description of the mountain ranges of Ecuador.
  6. Name Ecuador's two giant mountains. Tell what each is called. Which is the greater?
  7. Name and describe Ecuador's chief port. What is this city called?
  8. What is the country's greatest product°?
  9. Give the steps necessary in making it ready for the market.
  10. Tell about the making of Panama hats.
  11. What is meant by the "button crop"?
  12. Compare Ecuador with Pennsylvania as to size and population
  13. What sorts of people live in Ecuador?


Montevideo—
Capital of the Small Republic of Uruguay

[Map] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

Montevideo, the third largest city in South America, is the capital of Uruguay, the smallest South American republic.

In area, Uruguay is only a little larger than our single state, North Dakota, and the population of the entire republic is not as great as that of our one city, Philadelphia. About one-third of the republic's small population lives in Montevideo, the city's inhabitants numbering nearly 400,000.

Montevideo reminds one of Italy, the air, sky, streets, buildings and even, as some one has said, the smells, being much the same as that sunny land in southern Europe. The climate, too, is about the same as is found in northern Italy. And since there is plenty to eat and work for everybody, Montevideo attracts a very good class of emigrants from among the overcrowded and poorly paid people of that land.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

AVENIDA 18 DE JULIO


But in spite of the large number of Italians, the majority of Uruguay's population are native-born South Americans. Moreover, both the republic and its capital were settled, not by Italians, but by Spaniards.

In the very beginning, the natives of Uruguay were freedom-loving and independent Indians. Then, less than a hundred years after Columbus made his first discoveries for Spain, the Spanish landed on the eastern coast of South America, on the coast of what is now Uruguay. But the Spaniards did not, at once, become complete masters of the land. For many years they and the Indians struggled for the upper hand and sometimes one was victorious and sometimes the other.

As time went on and South America became more developed, this small fought-over territory was also claimed by Brazil on the north and Argentina on the south. The half-breed Portuguese from Brazil and the half-breed Spaniards from Argentina both crowded into the open, unorganized country and gradually the people of Uruguay became of Portuguese-Spanish-Indian descent.

Finally, after being ruled by Spain, by Portugal, by Great Britain, and again by Spain, Uruguay threw off her foreign yoke and became independent. This happened in 1811. But Uruguay still was not destined for peace, for in 1820 the country was again claimed by Brazil, and likewise, two or three years later, by Argentina. However, in 1825 Uruguay again asserted her independence though it was not until 1830 that she set up her republic and elected her first President.

It seems absurd, does it not, that the huge republics of Brazil and Argentina should regard little Uruguay as a great commercial rival? However, they do and there are three very good reasons why. First of all is the location of Uruguay. As an outlet for the products of the south central part of the continent, Montevideo is better situated than Buenos Aires. The Uruguayan city stands on the Atlantic while Buenos Aires is some two hundred miles from the ocean on the Plata river.

The second reason is that the gently rolling land of the small country with its splendid water supply is the most fertile of any in South America. Uruguay, in fact, seems fitted to raise anything: wheat, corn, oats, flax, fruits and vegetables. Many localities are even able to produce two crops in one year. The little republic is a veritable garden plot between the vast ranches of Argentina and the even greater plantations of Brazil.

Third, and this reason is very closely related to the second, the climate of Uruguay is very pleasant, mild and healthful. This makes the republic a delightful place in which to live and work. The seasons of summer and winter correspond in general temperature to our seasons of spring and autumn. But we must remember that the seasons are just the opposite from ours, that is, when we are having our summers the people of Uruguay are having their mild winters. The general vegetation and climate has been compared to that of Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee in the United States.

Montevideo is built partly on a small peninsula which juts out into the Atlantic, and partly upon the mainland which slopes gently down from what is called the mountain to the bay. In reality, the "mountain" is so called merely out of courtesy, for it is nothing more than a hill. But it was from this hill that Montevideo received its name, a name which means, "I see the mountain."

Because of its sloping site, Montevideo has excellent natural drainage. The streets are immaculate, for, as all run down hill, every rain washes them clean. Besides, the city has an excellent sewage system and a fine water supply. Thus Montevideo is a very healthful city, so healthful indeed that it has a lower death rate than any other city in the world.

The city's buildings are for the most part of an elaborate and imposing style. The President's palace, in the heart of the capital, is among the most beautiful buildings in the world. Also the Solis theater, with its imposing columns and domes, is one of the largest and finest in South America, having seating capacity for three thousand people. Then there is a magnificent cathedral built with two very lofty towers.

Montevideo has a handsome university building. This university was established by the government and has more than 1,200 students and a faculty of about eighty professors. There are several fine public libraries in the city also. Education is well advanced in Uruguay and compares most favorably with other South American countries.

Many wealthy people live in the capital city, people who have vast estates throughout the rich country-side of Uruguay. Their town houses are often more like grand palaces than homes. The floors are laid with marble and the ceilings upheld by beautiful marble columns imported from Italy.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE SOLAS THEATRE, ONE OF THE LARGEST AND HANDSOMEST THEATRES IN SOUTH AMERICA.


The principal and handsomest street in Montevideo is the Avenida 18 de Julio, named for the day upon which the republic was inaugurated. The town's people claim that this avenue, lined with its fine residences and beautiful shade trees, is the finest in the southern hemisphere.

Many of the buildings, both public and private, in Montevideo are even finer and larger than those in Buenos Aires.

The Uruguayan capital has very good street cars, is exceptionally well lighted and has all the modern conveniences of a European or United States city. The streets are fairly wide and straight and many of them are well paved. Some of the wagons still used for hauling purposes in Montevideo are peculiar. They are huge, two-wheeled carts, drawn by two or three mules harnessed abreast. They make a great din as they rattle along a street paved with cobblestones. You wonder why the people do not use more convenient four-wheeled wagons. It is because vehicles in Montevideo are taxed according to the number of wheels. So a four-wheeled wagon would have to pay twice as much as a cart.

The city's semi-circular bay, formed by the wide mouth of the Plata river, is six miles long and is shaped like a great horseshoe. It is so large that many hundred vessels can be anchored in it at the same time.

The commerce of Uruguay, which surges through its excellent port, Montevideo, is very large and prosperous. The exports of both republic and capital exceed in value the total imports.

On account of its well-watered soil and grassy plains, the raising of cattle and sheep is the chief industry in Uruguay. And beef stands high on the list of the country's exports, canned beef, frozen beef and jerked beef.

By canned beef we mean beef-extract, which is made by the German firm of Liebig. The Liebig Company has many thousand acres of pasture in Uruguay and exports from 60,000 to 80,000 tons a year. The largest of their meat-extract establishments is located at Fray Bentos, a city some miles up the Uruguay River, on the boundary line between Uruguay and Argentina.

Fray Bentos has been called the greatest kitchen in the world. On some days the meat from as many as 2,500 head of cattle is cooked. The work is carried on, moreover, with the best possible care and attention to detail. The lean meat is placed in large tanks or kettles and stewed in warm water. Whatever fat rises to the top is skimmed off. After a long time the stew thickens into a liquid, like thin molasses. The liquid passes through one process after another until when cooled it becomes a jelly-like substance.

The second kind of beef which is exported from Uruguay is frozen beef. There are several freezing factories in Montevideo and Fray Bentos. The freezing process keeps the meat in good condition for several weeks. The long journey across the Atlantic is thus made possible.

Not far from Fray Bentos are factories famous for the jerked or dried beef which is made in them. After the cattle are killed, the meat is stripped from their bones in sheets and dried in the sun in such a way that it will not spoil however long it is kept. Such meat is greatly liked by the South American people. Although much of it is consumed at home, large quantities are also exported. This kind of beef is shipped mostly to Brazil and the West India Islands.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE MEAT IS STRIPPED FROM THE BONES AND HUNG IN THE SUN TO DRY.


Meat is not the only product which the cattle in Uruguay furnish for export. Not a bit of the animal is allowed to go to waste. The hides 'are tanned and sent to European countries and the United States to be made into leather. Horns and hoofs are valuable in making glue. The very bones are used, being ground and made into fertilizer for the soil.

Besides some 8,000,000 cattle in Uruguay, there are nearly 25,000,000 sheep. The most valuable product which they furnish for export is not mutton, but bales upon bales of fleecy wool.

The five most important imports received into Uruguay through Montevideo are textile goods, iron and steel manufactures, coal, sugar and beverages.

So it seems that handsome, imposing Montevideo is quite as useful as she is beautiful. The capital city practically controls the entrance to the Plata river, and, as an outlet to central South America her situation is unequaled.

In addition to the connection with the outside world which this fine city enjoys, there are also plenty of interior water and rail connections. Chief among these, perhaps, is the all-rail route between Montevideo and Rio de Janeiro, which has been opened only since 1910. The journey of 1,966 miles takes the traveler through broad acres of waving grass, great fields of ripening grain, large herds of sleek cattle and even larger flocks of fat, fleecy sheep.

In leaving Uruguay the points to remember are that it has neither mountains, nor deserts, nor tropical jungles, nor aboriginal Indians, but that it has a prosperous people, a good government, a fertile soil, and an uniformly healthful climate, and that it is the smallest of the South American republics.

Uruguay, like the diamond, has much of value and beauty packed into a very small space.


Questions for Review and Study


  1. How does Uruguay rank in size among the South American republics?
  2. Tell the story of its early history.
  3. Why do Brazil and Argentina look upon Uruguay as a commercial rival?
  4. Name Uruguay's capital and give the meaning of the name.
  5. Describe the capital city.
  6. What are its chief exports?
  7. Describe the three main processes of preparing beef for market.


Paraguay and its Capital Asuncion

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

Asuncion is a small capital of a small republic, tucked far away in the central part of South America. Little Paraguay, because of its inland situation and remoteness from the outside world, has naturally been very backward and undeveloped. Its estimated population of about 1,000,000 consists for the most part of half-breed Indians, descended from mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry. However, European immigrants aided by the higher class of the Paraguayans are gradually giving a new character to this population.

Centuries ago Paraguay was inhabited by two tribes of Indians, the Guarani and Chacos. Then, about fifty years after Columbus discovered America, or, to be more exact, in 1536, an expedition of Spaniards visited Paraguay and founded a settlement on the present site of Asuncion. And the Spanish settlers took Indian women for their

During the next seventy-five years, the descendants of these Spanish-Indian families made many settlements over that part of Paraguay which lies east of the Paraguay river.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE GRAN CHACO IS INHABITED BY UNCIVILIZED INDIANS.


To-day this same eastern section of the republic, lying between the Paraguay and Parana rivers, and between Brazil on the north and Argentina on the south, is the most progressive section of Paraguay.

The rest of the country, that triangular part west of the Paraguay river, is nothing but a great level, uncultivated territory known as the Gran Chaco. The name means Great Hunting Ground. The Gran Chaco is inhabited mainly by uncivilized Indians.

Some of the remote parts of this "wild west" of Paraguay have never yet been explored by white men. That is why, in giving the population of Paraguay, we have to say "estimated population," instead of "exact population," for there is no census reporter who would care to count all the uncivilized Indians of the Gran Chaco.

The Chaco was formerly thought to be little else than a great swamp. But of late it has been found to contain much fine grazing land, the forests being broken by grassy plains or pampas. These plains are similar to the famous pampas of Argentina, and afford excellent pasturage for great herds of cattle.

It was in 1811 that Paraguay declared itself independent of Spain. The governing power was vested first in consuls and then in presidents. Finally, in 1870, the present constitution was proclaimed which established a republican form of government.

Asuncion, Paraguay's capital, is one of the oldest cities of our hemisphere. From the faraway time of its beginning until now, it has been the largest city of Paraguay, her chief center of civilization and principal center of trade.

Asuncion's claim to being the chief center of trade is accounted for by its fortunate location. The capital lies on the east bank of the Paraguay river. Navigable for almost its entire length, this river serves Paraguay not only with means of transportation within her own borders, but also connects her with the two great neighboring republics, Brazil and Argentina.

Although Paraguay has no coast line, the difficulties of reaching the country are as nothing when compared to Bolivia. From Buenos Aires and Montevideo steamships run up the Plata, Parana and Paraguay rivers to Asuncion and from there go on up the Paraguay or small branch rivers to various parts of the republic. Moreover, there is to-day an all-rail route from Buenos Aires to Asuncion, through trains making the trip in fifty hours, or a little over two days and two nights.

A very large proportion of the little inland republic's exports go to Argentina and Uruguay, and all her goods sent to Europe and the United States are reshipped at Buenos Aires or Montevideo, the chief ports of these two countries.

The total value of Paraguay's imports exceeds by millions the total value of her exports. The country's five chief imports are textiles and ready-made clothing, food provisions, agricultural implements and machinery, drugs and fancy goods or small wares sold by dry goods stores.

The five chief exports are quebracho extract for tanning hides and skins, hides, yerba mate or Paraguayan tea, tobacco and timber. Paraguay is not a manufacturing nation and her chief exports consist only of natural products.

Perhaps the most characteristic tree of Paraguay is the quebracho. The word really means "ax breaker." The character of the timber is told by its name. The wood furnishes material for railway ties for a large part of South America and is also used for furniture. In addition the quebracho tree supplies the quebracho extract which is exported to the United States and other countries where it is used for tanning as well as for different purposes.

Second on the list of Paraguay's exports are hides. It is estimated that there are over 5,000,000 cattle of all kinds in the small republic, far more cattle than people, you see. Her exports of hides form by far her most important cattle product, as these hides command good prices in Europe.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A STRETCH OF PARAGUAY'S TIMBER LANDS.


In Asuncion there is one tannery which turns out an excellent but unfortunately limited line of calf, kid, saddle, and harness leather. The other tanneries in the republic, all too few in number, give their attention chiefly to sole leather.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

CARRYING BRANCHES OF YERBA MATE.


Yerba mate, or Paraguayan tea, grows wild in immense tracts in the northern and eastern sections of the republic. The leaves make a tea which takes the place of both tea and coffee with the natives of Paraguay. The dried and crushed leaves of the plant are placed in a dried, hollowed-out gourd. There is an opening where the stem used to be, and into this, boiling water is poured. From the gourd the tea is sucked through a hollow tube of metal or reed called a bombilla, which means in our language "little pump."

If you were to go into a home in Asuncion, probably the first thing your hospitable host would offer you would be one of these pretty small gourds, filled with the hot, stimulating drink. But perhaps you would have to be impolite enough to confess that you did not like it, for the tea is quite bitter. However, it is sold all over South America and to some extent in Europe, and has also a very limited demand in our country.

One export in which we are interested is tobacco. In Paraguay good tobacco grows wild and uncultivated. Cigars which cost ten cents elsewhere can be bought for one cent in Asuncion. Paraguayan tobacco finds a ready market in Argentina, Brazil and several European countries.

Perhaps tobacco might be said to be lamentably cheap in Paraguay, for everybody, even the poorest, smokes. And not only this, but it is not uncommon to see women, mainly the Indians, smoking and chewing.

Another of the republic's most important exports—timber—comes from the forests which cover the mountain slopes, and also from the forests of the level Chaco. The Paraguayan woods are hard and heavy, being much used for railway ties, piles and all sorts of heavy construction work.

Here, as nowhere else in the world, is the land of oranges. Very fine sweet oranges grow everywhere. In fact, they grow wild, requiring no care whatever. So abundant are they that they are sold in Asuncion four for one cent. Besides her five leading exports, Paraguay also exports oranges and the smaller fruit, tangerines, by millions down the Paraguay river to Uruguay and Argentina.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

HOW TOBACCO GROWS IN SOUTH AMERICA.


What might be called a by-product of oranges is the oil of petitgrain. The principal distillery plants for the oil are about fifty miles from Asuncion, in the great orange growing district, and the industry is being conducted on an increasing scale in the small republic. The oil is extracted from the leaves of orange trees and is used as a basis for various perfumes and in the manufacture of flavoring extracts.

Many strange sights are seen in the Asuncion markets. Very wonderful markets they are, too, because of the great variety of different things to eat. If you were to go to market in Asuncion, you would have to carry your basket with you, for goods are not delivered as they are in our country. Also neither paper nor twine is commonly used to wrap up parcels. If you must have your groceries or meat wrapped, you provide a piece of cloth.

Seldom are men seen in these markets of Asuncion. Women not only do the buying, but women also sell the good,. Some sit right on the ground with their wares spread out before them. Others stand at small open booths. There is much cigar smoking, much chattering, and much bargaining.

But one must not judge the people of Asuncion by the women in her markets. The population of the capital, which, by the way, is over 100,000, is of a cosmopolitan and, on the whole, of a cultured character. Here are found besides the natives of Paraguay, people from Argentina, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Spain, France, Uruguay and England.

The climate in Asuncion being remarkably soft and gentle, the capital city has attracted many visitors, not a few of whom become permanent residents. One enthusiastic writer goes so far as to say that now that there is railway connection with Buenos Aires, Asuncion promises to be one of the most popular winter resorts of South America.

Without doubt, Asuncion is improving and progressing rapidly. Yet the city has a peculiar, quaint charm, which, it is to be hoped, will continue to cling to it. For instance, it is the custom after sunset for the older people to sit in the little open plazas or squares. Here they chat and enjoy the fragrance of the glowing tropical plants. From the windows in the house, girls of every shade, from pure white to dark Indian brown, lean, singly or in groups, and watch the men walking in the streets or sitting at little tables in the open-air cafes. All is rather subdued, quiet and charmingly quaint.

But Asuncion is not without its modern aspects either. During recent years, many automobiles have been bought by the inhabitants. The city has built complete electric car and electric light systems. There are several fine public buildings, such as the government palace, the municipal palace, a number of business buildings, an imposing hotel and a rather magnificent cathedral.

In regard to the language of the country, that which is recognized as official is Spanish, but Guarani, the language of the Indians, is in general use throughout the republic. Nearly everybody understands and uses it, and little else is spoken outside of the towns.

In regard to education, Paraguay is making great efforts to extend her school system into the less accessible parts of the republic so as to reach all classes of people. Another splendid thing she is doing is to send scholars to Europe and the

United States for a technical education which shall help them in solving all kinds of problems when they return to their native country.

At Asuncion the republic has one national college with a complete teaching staff and over five hundred students in attendance.

The chief industry of Paraguay is stock raising. The backward condition of the country and the scarcity of labor have prevented even agriculture from great development. The remarkable fertility of the soil, however, and the sub-tropical climate are both very favorable to luxuriant crops, and on these two conditions Paraguay's future possibilities rest.

The native cotton of Paraguay has a long, silky fibre and holds an excellent reputation in Germany, England and Holland because of its fine weaving qualities. It is said that no country in the world could produce a greater quantity of cotton per acre than could be produced in the rich and fertile soil of the small republic. The only thing which is lacking is business gumption.

Those who believe in Paraguay dream of a future in which the republic has become a leading cotton country. It only remains for Paraguay to make this dream a reality in order that she may take her place among the prosperous nations of the world.


Questions for Review and Study


  1. Give the location of Paraguay and tell how it has influenced the country's development.
  2. Which part of Paraguay is the most progressive?
  3. Name and describe the unprogressive part.
  4. Tell the story of Paraguay's early history.
  5. Name and locate the capital.
  6. For what is Paraguay indebted to its rivers?
  7. What is Paraguay's most characteristic tree and what does it supply?
  8. What is yerba mate and how is it used?
  9. Mention Paraguay's other exports.
  10. Describe Asuncion as to people and climate, buildings, language and education.
  11. What is Paraguay's chief industry?
  12. Along what line seems to lie her greatest possibility for the future?


The Guianas

[Map] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

The northeastern corner of South America, that small division known as Guiana, is the only part of the continent which is still held by European powers. All the rest of South America consists of separate and independent republics.

The three foreign nations which have kept their footing on the southern continent to the present day are the English, the Dutch and the French; for Guiana is divided into three parts—British Guiana, Dutch Guiana and French Guiana.

Like most tropical countries, the Guianas contain but few people and these are more or less backward and lazy, being handicapped by the climate and lack of communication.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

KAIETEUR FALLSTHE MOST WONDERFUL FALLS IN THE WORLD.


The larger part of the Guianas is an almost impenetrable jungle, much like the tropical forests of Brazil. Though it contains rubber trees and many other trees valuable as timber, this part of the land has been only slightly developed. The jungle is inhabited chiefly by wild, uncivilized Indians and tribes of bush negroes. The bush negroes are a mixed Indian and negro race and are of a very low type of civilization.

There are, however, many civilized negroes in the Guianas descended from the slaves who were imported into the country to work on the sugar plantations.

The cultivated land, where a limited amount of sugar cane, bananas, coffee, cocoa, cotton and a few other tropical products are raised, is a narrow strip near the coast.

British, Dutch and French Guiana were founded by their different parent countries in the first half of the seventeenth century.

The Dutch colony, in particular, prospered in those early days. The other two colonies were merely looked upon as possessions and little was done with them.

British Guiana, the largest of the three divisions, is to-day the most prosperous and most civilized of all. Although of relatively small importance in the great British Empire, British Guiana is nevertheless larger in size than England, the very heart of that empire. The area of England and Wales together is some 58,000 square miles, while that of British Guiana is over 90,000. When it comes to population, however, the case is quite different. British Guiana has only about 299,000 people, an average of less than four to the square mile, while more than 36,000,000 live in little England.

In the cultivated coast region of British Guiana, the chief products grown and exported are sugar and rice. Rum, one of the products of sugar cane, forms another important item of commerce. There are also diamonds and gold exported and several thousand dollars worth of balata. Balata is rubber-milk and is obtained from what are known as bullet trees.

The imports of British Guiana consist of flour, textiles, machinery and oils.

Georgetown, the capital of the colony, is an attractive city with fine avenues of tall, royal palms and many, many gardens full of luxuriant tropical growths.

Lying at the mouth of the Demerara river, the capital city is also the chief port of the country. Its population is about 50,000 and is made up of all kinds of people: negroes, copper-skinned Indians, almond-eyed Chinese with their hair in long braids down their backs, Portuguese and English merchants, and numerous dark Hindus in turbans and strange flowing garments.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE MAIN STREET OF GEORGETOWN.


These Hindus are sent as apprentices by England to work on the sugar plantations and in the rice fields of British Guiana. The men are sent for five years. the women for three. They are paid only a few cents per day, but, of course, their living expenses are almost nothing. Nearly all of them stay in the colony after they have served their time. In leaving India they have lost their caste, so they prefer to live as free men in the land where their help is so greatly needed. It is, indeed, well for British Guiana that they do stay, for they furnish the planter with cheap and reliable labor.

Far back in the forest region of British Guiana, on the small Potaro river, are some of the most wonderful falls of the world, the Kaieteur. This vast curtain of sparkling water, matchless in its symmetry and beautiful, tropical setting, is nearly five times as high as Niagara, although not nearly so wide. If the Kaieteur falls were in our own country or in Europe, they would be visited by thousands of tourists each year. But in British Guiana they are so far away from towns or even roads that very few white people have ever seen them.

Dutch Guiana, about half as large as British Guiana and with half as great a population, is very similar to its near neighbor in climate, products and people. In addition to British Guiana's balata, sugar and gold, Dutch Guiana also exports cocoa, coffee and bananas. Her chief imports consist of cotton and linen clothing, rice, bread-stuffs, iron and oils.

Paramaribo, the Dutch colony's capital, is a picturesque Dutch town. The high-gabled houses, with their quaint stoops and doorways, look strangely out of place under the shade of gigantic old mahogany trees and great royal palms. It seems as though Holland were suddenly transplanted to the tropics. The old-time houses of the wealthy Dutch merchants recall the flourishing days of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the trade of Dutch Guiana was far more important than it is to-day.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

PARAMARIBOTHE DUTCH COLONY CAPITAL.


It is possible to go all the way from New York to Paramaribo in about ten days. But then rapid travel stops. There is only one lone railway in the colony, and except right about Paramaribo there are even no roads. Travel is almost entirely by means of boats. These ply slowly along the rivers, creeks and canals with which the whole country is interlaced.

Owing to the flatness of the land, the tide from the ocean extends for a long way up the larger streams. The rivers are everywhere bordered by impenetrable mangrove swamps, rivaling in density the jungle of British Guiana.

Particularly noticeable in the vegetation of Dutch Guiana are the showy flowers, rather unusual in the tropics. There are golden yellow allamardas, crimson and rose colored passion flowers and a magnificent assortment of other brightly hued blossoms. And here, too, as if to keep the flowers company, are hundreds of brilliant butterflies and many gayly colored birds like parrots and toucans. The eagle, the white heron, the egret and a host of other birds are common throughout the. Guianas.

The story of French Guiana is a story full of misery. Back in the time of the French revolution France began to send her political prisoners to the equatorial, isolated northeastern corner of South America. It proved a convenient way to be rid of them forever, and the little country, the smallest of the Guianas, has ever since been used by France as a penal colony.

Here criminals and convicts of all kinds are exiled from France, and they, like the prisoners of former days, are almost certain never to return. France approves of the system, for it not only lessens the number in her over-crowded prisons at home, but gives her forced labor and colonists for what would otherwise be an almost unworked and uninhabited possession. To the colonists the system means the most severe and hopeless punishment.

Twice a year, in January and July, France opens the ponderous iron gates of her weather-beaten old convict station near her coast and sends out some half thousand wretched men. Each has heard the Court of Assizes pronounce that sentence "Cayenne" which makes the blood chill, the brain whirl and the heart-beat almost stop. Cayenne means French Guiana.

From the French convict station, this string of humanity, clad in coarse woolen clothes and chained in pairs, like a monster brown snake, creeps between glistening bayonets of double-ranked soldiers down the long wharf. From there small boats take them out to a waiting convict steamer. Nearly all know that the closing of the iron gate has shut them out from France forever.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

THE PRINCIPLE STREET OF CAYENNE.


Once at Cayenne, the capital of the hated land, the convicts are classified, and distributed among the half dozen penitentiary towns, or stations, situated along the coast, or near the river mouths of French Guiana. In these towns they must live without the slightest chance of escape. On the one side they are hemmed in by the boundless ocean, on the other by the impenetrable jungle.

The prisoners are of three classes: those sentenced for life, those sentenced for a given time at hard labor, and those on parole who have a chance—a slight chance—of going back to France.

The life sentence is given to incorrigible criminals of the worst type, and such prisoners are usually kept in solitary confinement. The "hard labor" sentence is given to highwaymen, murderers, and robbers, and is never for less than five years and may be for twenty years. Anyone so sentenced, however, whether it be for five or twenty years, might almost as well receive a life sentence, for prisoners sent to French Guiana for five years or longer are required to serve an additional term of the same length as settlers in the colony. And in this hot climate few, very few, survive.

In the towns in which they are placed, these poor unfortunates dig trenches, carry heavy loads and do all kinds of manual labor. Some are so thin and weak they can hardly stand, yet they must work monotonously on. All are under the eagle eye of a white-helmeted guard. who is never without an ever-ready revolver. And these prison police are, in their turn, supervised by the prison wardens.

The task assigned to a convict depends on the class to which he belongs. Hard labor prisoners usually begin with very strenuous work. Some quarry and break stones, others fell trees or help in building roads. In this work, because of the intense heat, even the strongest men break, and, without exception, the weakest die.

As a reward for good work and good behavior a prisoner may become a mason, a locksmith, a mechanic, a painter, a carpenter, or a gardener.

The lives of the convicts are lives, or rather existences, of the most monotonous routine. A bugle arouses the sleeping camps each day at five o'clock. Coffee is served at six-thirty and then the prisoners, or deportés, as they are called, form in squads for their assigned work.

A convict's daily rations consist of one plate of thin soup, one vegetable, one small piece of bread and an equally small bit of meat.

Breakfast is at 10:30 and later in the day, when the heat is most intense, a short rest time is given. But the sun is still glaring high in the heavens when the prisoners start at 1:30 for four more hours of toil. On return from work comes roll call. Then a drum sounds and buckets of meat and soup are dealt out. From that time on the convicts have two hours or so to themselves before the bugle sounds for turning in.

This, then, is the story of French Guiana. The colony, we may readily infer, plays but an insignificant part in the world's great game of commerce, and holds but an insignificant place in the world's great list of civilized people.

A word or two about Cayenne, the capital, completes the pitiable tale. Cayenne is an old, gray-mottled city of low wooden buildings, stiff palm trees and dreary quietness. Its civil population—this means its population outside of the convicts—numbers about 13,000.

[Illustration] from Our South American Neighbors by G. Southworth

A HOME IN THE BACK COUNTRY OF THE GUIANAS.


The sights of the city do little to enhance the picture we have already formed of the small country. On the streets, high curbed because of the heavy rains, are French men wearing tropical helmets and light cotton or linen suits, soldiers in attractive uniforms, creoles with many colored head gear, coolies from India and a few other foreigners from Africa and Asia. All add an individual touch of color, usually brilliant color, to the scene.

But there are other sombre little groups of hollow-cheeked, ghastly looking men, yellow with malarial fever. These go about their irksome tasks day after day in the intense, driving heat. Their clothes hang on them loosely, their hats flap limply, their identity is completely lost. But each is checked with a number and such number is strictly accounted for. These dreary, hopeless creatures are the convicts, the unfortunates who have gone wrong in the game of life.

It is no wonder that French Guiana is not a self-supporting country. Indeed, Dutch Guiana, which is far above French Guiana in opportunities, has never been self-supporting either. British Guiana, on the other hand, has been forced by Great Britain's colonial policy to be not only self-supporting but annually to turn her share of revenue into the coffers of the Mother Country.

As far as government is concerned, the management of the three colonies is very similar. Each has a governor appointed by the ruler of the country to which it belongs. Each governor resides in the capital of the colony to which he is assigned, whether it be hustling Georgetown, quaint Paramaribo, or wretched Cayenne.

In leaving these unique colonies of South America one does not wonder that they are backward and undeveloped and suffering from a lack of population. And we are selfishly thankful for one thing, that no Guiana census numbers us among their inhabitants.


Questions for Review and Study


  1. To what three nations do the Guianas belong?
  2. Describe the larger part of the Guianas.
  3. Compare British Guiana with England as to size and population.
  4. What are the products of British Guiana?
  5. Name and describe the capital.
  6. Mention the classes of people in British Guiana's capital.
  7. Describe and name the capital of Dutch Guiana.
  8. Tell of the means of travel in Dutch Guiana and picture the country through which one would pass.
  9. What purpose does French Guiana serve?
  10. Give a picture of a prisoner's life from the time he is sentenced.
  11. Name and describe the capital of French Guiana.
  12. How do the Guianas differ in form of government from the other South American countries.