Why lose we life in anxious cares,
To lay in hoards for future years?
Can those, when tortur'd by disease,
Cheer our sick hearts, or purchase ease?
Can those prolong one gasp of breath,
Or calm the troubled hour of death? —Gay
O grievous folly to heap up estate,
Losing the days you see beneath the sun.
When, sudden, comes blind unrelenting Fate,
And gives th' untasted portion you have won
With ruthless toil, and many a wretch undone.
To those who mock you, gone to Pluto's reign.—Thomson.
Mammon led them on;
Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell
From heaven; for e'en in heaven his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent, admiring more
The riches of heaven's pavement, trodden gold,
Then aught, divine or holy else enjoy’d
In vision beatific.—Milton
Yet in thy thriving still misdoubt some evil;
Lest gaining gain on thee, and make thee dim
To all things else. Wealth is the conjurer's devil;
Whom when he thinks he hath, the devil hath him.
Gold thou may'st safely touch; but if it stick
Unto thy hands, it woundeth to the quick.—Herbert
We know that wealth well understood,
Hath frequent power of doing good;
Then fancy that the thing is done,
As if the power and will were one;
Thus oft the cheated crowd adore
The thriving knaves that keep them poor.—Gay.
Knowing that wealth in some form pervades all savage domains as well as the more civilized countries, it was with keen interest that from century to century Europe worked out the proper conception of the shape and substance of the New World. In physical formation the two Americas are twin continents, pear-shaped, broad at the northern end and tapering to a point at the southern, one terminating in an isthmus and the other in a promontory. A continuous chain of volcanic mountains extending along the western side from the northern extremity of one to the southern end of the other, called respectively the Rocky mountains and the Andes, though other names are also used, tie together these two great masses of earth. On either side are smaller chains, for the most part following the trend of continent and coast. On the Pacific side of South America, between the Cordillera and the sea, is a low-lying strip 8,000 miles in length, and from 50 to 150 miles wide, fertile at either end but sandy in the middle. East of the mountains are the basins of the great rivers, the Orinoco Amazon and La Plata, the first consisting of nearly treeless llanos, or steppes, parched and cracked by heat during the dry season, but covered with luxurious vegetation during the rains; the second a plain 2,000,000 square miles in area, covered largely with forest, but containing much fertile soil; the third dry and often sterile pampas, or prairies, but for the most part with a rank growth of tall grass, which feeds immense herds of cattle and horses. The mountains and vales of Brazil are well wooded on the eastern side, the interior country being open pasture lands.
The mountain ranges which cut into strips the great eastern plains and plateaus, like the Cordillera of the western coast, run nearly north and south; but branching off from the Andes at right angles and extending from west to east are three transverse ranges, one at 17 degrees 25’ south latitude, running toward the river Mamore, one between 3 degrees and 4 degrees extending eastward into French Guiana, and one, the cordillera of the north coast, leaving the Andes at Maracaybo and extending eastward through Venezuela to the gulf of Paria. Between the head-waters of the Amazon and La Plata the mountains are in the form of hill-girt tablelands rather than of well defined chains; and in fact the same may be said of all Brazil, though there are some sharp ridges of moderate height toward the eastern seaboard, and running parallel with it. The Andes form a rampart with an average height of 10,000 or 12,000 feet, but the sierra de Merida in the north rises to a height of 15,000 feet, with many still higher peaks.
In the geology of South America we find a great variety of formations, notwithstanding that the stratigraphy is simple and wide areas are overspread by similar groups of rocks, namely, for the outer border pre-Silurian, the schist and quartzites of the basin between the Plata Amazon and Orinoco rivers being of the Silurian period, but with limestones and sandstones of the carboniferous age, and Triassic and Neocene in the transverse ridges. Along the west coast, in Chili and Peru, are granite supporting gneiss, slaty schists, and quartzite; granitic mountains also in Bolivia and gneiss in Colombia and Brazil; the oldest rocks visible in the high valleys of Ecuador being granite gneiss and schists. There are many extinct and a few active volcanoes all along the Andean and Rocky ranges, from Patagonia to Alaska, as well as in the Coast and Cascade mountains in and north of California. Of the active volcanoes those of Ecuador display the greatest igneous force. Cotopaxi and one or two others being in a state of constant eruption. On the eastern side, the metamorphosed Silurian and carboniferous rocks show evidence of volcanic fires in the Appalachian range, though long ago extinct. A line of living and dead volcanoes crosses the continent at the city of Mexico, among them being Popocatepetl, 17,884 feet high, and Orizaba 17,337 feet. Conspicuous also are St. Elias, 17,850 feet, on the seaboard of Alaska, and Holy Cross, 17,000 feet, Big Horn, 15,000 feet, and Lincoln, 14,300 feet, in the Rocky mountains. In the California sierra are several high peaks, and in the California and Oregon coast ranges are others showing not very remote igneous action.
Every variety of climate may be found in America, except, perhaps, the extremes of heat and cold. The mountains which overrule the courses of the wind and regulate moisture are primarily the Andes in South America and the Sierra-Cascade and Rocky ranges in the north. For a distance of 30 degrees on either side of the equator the trade winds blow from the east, causing the precipitation of moisture on the eastern side of the mountains and table lands which obstruct them, and leaving the western side comparatively dry and sterile. Thus it is that the eastern sides of both continents are well watered between 30 degrees south and 30 degrees north, while the western sides, that is to say northern Chili and the coasts of Peru Ecuador and Colombia in South America, and in North America Lower California Sonora and other parts of Mexico, are dry. In Central America and the southwestern coast of Mexico the table lands are so low, and the mountains so broken and scattered as to cause less obstruction to the trade winds, and consequently to exercise less influence over the rainfall. North and south of this belt of 30 degrees on either side of the equator the winds are variable, and regulated more by local influences, though as a rule coming in from the open sea from the west. The northwest coast is well watered through the influence of the Japan Current, which, rising in the Japan Sea, flowing northward, and sweeping round by Kamchatka across Bering Strait to Alaska, precipitates upon the mountains a heavy fall. But as the clouds become lighter as they drift southward, the rainfall in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and northern California is copious, while at San Diego there are but ten inches, and on the peninsula of Lower California scarcely any rain at all. A slight variation in the course of the wind summer and winter produces the dry and rainy seasons in California. Thus the wind from the southwest, which blows back the remnant of this Japan Current, brings rain, while the warm dry currents which come up from Lower California for six months, beginning about the first of May, disperse the moisture-laden currents from the northwest. The rainy season on the Mexican table land is during the summer months, which is the dry season on the coast of California. The wide area between the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky mountains is dry because shut off by high ridges from both oceans; indeed, it is said that the Mississippi valley would be sterile but for the open space at the mouth of the river which admits moisture-laden currents from the gulf.
With rivers and forests both the Americas are well supplied. There are in South America the Amazon, 4,000 miles in length; the Plata 2,400 miles, and the Orinoco, 1,800 miles; in North America the Mississippi, 4,300 miles, and the St. Lawrence, 2,200 miles, besides many lesser streams on either continent. A singular phenomenon, called a bore, occurs at the mouth of the Amazon two days before and after full moon—a wave from the sea so high and strong as to prove destructive to small craft. The large rivers of the west are the Yukon of Alaska; the Eraser and Columbia of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon; the Sacramento of California, and the Colorado of the great interior basin.
The flora of America, that so essential covering with which nature overspreads her deformities, how beautiful and grand it is! Forested hills interspersed with grassy plains, thousands of varieties of trees and grasses fruits and flowers, with food for beasts and men and wealth for all who will work for it. The snow plant of the arctic rises from beneath ten feet or more of its cold covering and crimsons the white surface with its flowers. Descending from the north through the region of sub-arctic lichens and asters, we come to the belt of pine oak and maple, each in their several varieties; here grow grain and the fruits of temperate climes, between latitudes 36 degrees and 30 degrees is the zone of the magnolia, and of forests of pinnated leaves and broad shining foliage; here sugar-cane rice and cotton are cultivated. Cacti and peppers appear all the way from California to the Amazon, in places at a height of 5,000 feet. Besides coffee sugar and cocoa are yams and plantains, growing almost spontaneously.
In North America are also indigenous ash, hickory, and beech, poplar chestnut and walnut; in Mexico and Central America ebony and mahogany; among the gigantic forests of South America the greenhart and the mora. Other plants indigenous to America are maize, tobacco, the potato, millet, tapioca, the pineapple, agave, nux-vomica, sassafras, chinchona, jalap, copavia, and arrow-root.
Animals native to America are the llama, and vicuna, corresponding to the camel and dromedary of Asia; the tapir and buffalo; the antelope, elk, and deer; the beaver and the seal; the lion, tiger, and bear, and hundreds of others. In the tropics, the monkey is conspicuous, and myriads of birds of brilliant plumage. Geologic formations show the presence at one time of a mammoth horse and of other gigantic animals. On the sterile stretches the prairie dog makes its home, and in the southern United States raccoon and opossum are numerous. In both oceans, and in the lakes and rivers are an abundance of fish,—among a multitude of others, cod on the eastern side and salmon on the western. However clearly defined in the imagination of some ethnologists are the race distinctions of the aboriginal occupants of America, aside from the Eskimo, who does not indeed belong to America, but rather to Siberia on one side and Lapland on the other, the native tribes and nations of the two Americas resemble each other in characteristics which have not their counterpart elsewhere on the globe,—reddish skin, long lank coarse hair, high cheek bones, and individuality of nose, eyes, lips and skull.
And so it is in languages and customs. Though displaying many differences such for example as are peculiar to the inhabitants of the great forests, to the prairie-dweller, the occupants of the Mexican and Peruvan plateaus with their light complexion and almost as civilized as Europeans; the dusky denizens of tropical seaboards, the South American forester and plain-dweller;—then again the differences arising from variety of occupations and habits as fishermen, hunters, eaters of grasshoppers, and the rest;—all, I say, are allied by race distinctions, bringing them under one great relationship, which may be called, as well as by any other name, the American Indian.
Ethnologically then, the aboriginal inhabitants of South America were one with those of North America, differing among themselves, yet different from all the world else. The land of the Incas was what is now the states of Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru. East of the Andes the natives were savages, and at the extreme south, in Patagonia, of the lowest type. The Peruvians, or subjects of the Incas, occupied both sides of the Andes for a distance of 2,500 miles, but some of their domain being desert and other parts mountain peaks, the capability of the country to support the inhabitants was not commensurate with its extent. The area occupied by the civilized Peruvians was of much more limited extent, the remaining portion of their empire being outlying provinces of savage communities. Without a hieroglyphic language, or calendar, as had the Mexicans, and lacking military courage and moral fiber, the culture of the Peruvians was not well grounded, and quickly disappeared under the blasting breath of European presence, while the Nahua nations so freely mingled their blood with that of the conquerors that Mexico today is more native than foreign. In Spanish-American countries we may count a score at least of recognized grades in the mixing of the black white and red, then of the mixtures of these mixtures, and so on. It is not a question of the deepest import, indeed, what or whence they were, as there will soon be few of them left for the dominant race to trouble itself about, the original 100,000,000 being already reduced to less than 6,000,000, leaving out half and quarter breeds. In regard to speech, notwithstanding the oneness of the people, half the dialects of the entire world were found in America, where they numbered more than a thousand.
The civilization of the Peruvians at the time of the conquest was the highest it had ever attained, having fairly emerged from savagism 1,000 years prior to this period. As agriculturists they were superior to the Mexicans. Wooden mattocks supplied the place of ploughs, and irrigation was extensively practiced, while for fertilization recourse was had to the guano islands near the coast. They had no draught animals, and yet like the Egyptians they used large stones in their building, squaring them with chisels made of copper and tin. Huge blocks were thus put in place, neatly joined, and often elaborately carved. But more of this hereafter.
Confining ourselves to authentic records, the mainland of South America was first touched by Europeans in the third voyage of Columbus, in 1498, Amerigo Vespucci preceding him in the discovery of North America; but long before this South America had undoubtedly been visited by Asiatics or Europeans, driven by adverse winds from the coast of Africa, as in the north Scandinavians had found their way to the shores of New England centuries ere the illustrious Genoese was born.
A chronological list of some of the more important events in American history will greatly aid us in our study of the subject.
1474 Ferdinand and Isabella proclaimed sovereigns of Castile.
1479 Ferdinand becomes king of Aragon.
1480 The Inquisition established.
1492 Granada taken by the Christians. End of Moorish domination in Spain. Columbus sails on his first voyage August 3rd. He lands at San Salvador (Cat island, one of the Bahamas, generally supposed to be the Guanamani) October 12th.
1493 Columbus’ second voyage. Pope Alexander VI "fixes the line of demarcation" between the Spanish and Portuguese possessions. Santo Domingo city founded under the name of Isabella.
1493 Porto Rico discovered.
1494 Jamaica discovered.
1496 Florida seen by Sebastian Cabot.
1497 Newfoundland discovered; the mainland of America discovered by the Cabots.
1498 Columbus' third voyage; he reaches the main land of America.
1499 Mainland of America reached by Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo
1500 Charles I of Spain, 5th of Germany, born.
1500 Brazil discovered by Vicente Yanez Pinzon.
1501 Columbus taken to Spain in chains.
1502 Columbus’ fourth voyage to America
1504 Queen Isabella, the catholic dies.
1506 Columbus' death, May 20th.
1509 Juan Ponce is governor of Porto Rico.
1510 Cuba conquered by the Spaniards.
1511 Diego Velasquez made first governor of Cuba.
1512 La Plata river discovered by Juan Diaz de Solis.
1513 Pacific ocean seen by Vasco Nunez de Balboa, who takes possession of it. He is beheaded by Pedrarias Davila at Acla, 1517.
1514 Reino de Castilla del Oro (Panama isthmus, and Venezuela) constituted; Pedrarias Davila, governor.
1515-1517 Gov. Davila s expeditions
1515 Habana (San Christobal de la) founded where Batabano now is; transferred later to its present site.
1516 Ferdinand the catholic dies January, 23d. Charles V succeeds, reigning jointly with his mother Juana; later reigning alone.
1517 Yucatan discovered.
1518 Juan de Grijalva's voyage; discovers Tabasco, and the coast of Vera Cruz.
1519 Tenochtitlan-Mexico taken by Hernan Cortes in November.
1519-1523 Gil Gonzalez in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
1520 Magellan straits crossed by Magalhaes, November 28th.
1520 Cortes leaves Mexico in July.
1521 Mexico besieged, bombarded, and captured by Cortes; May to August.
1522-1821 Spanish domination. Mexico under governors Cortes and others, 1522-1527; under the first audiencia, President Nuno de Guzman, 1527-1531; under the second audiencia, President Sebastian Ramirez de Fuenleal, 1531-1535; under viceroys, 1535-1821.
1522 Magellan's first voyage around the world.
1522-24 Guatemala and Salvadorconquered by Pedro Alvarado.
1524-25 Honduras colonized.
1525 Buccaneers begin their piratical practices in the West Indies about this time.
1526 Peru, Pizarro and Almagro arrange for the conquest and partition of the country.
1527 The Bermudas discovered by Juan Bermudez.
1527 La Plata river. Sebastian Cabot's journey on it.
1531-1533 Peru taken possession of by Pizarro and Almagro. Atahualpa put to death in 1533.
1531 Brazil. Settlements by the Portuguese.
1535 Buenos Ayers founded by Pedro de Mendoza; subsequently abandoned; refounded in 1542 by Cabeza de Vaca; abandoned a second time in 1543; founded a third time in 1580.
1535 Guayaquil founded.
1535 Chili. First invasion of by Almagro.
1537 Queen Juana’s death.
1538 Habana destroyed by a French pirate; destroyed a second time in 1554 by buccaneers.
1541 Peru. Francisco Pizarro murdered in June.
1544 Peru. Gonzalo Pizarro’s revolt; he is defeated and beheaded in 1547.
1550 Nicaragua. Revolt of Hernando and Pedro de Contreras. Murder of the bishop.
1550 Panama. The Contreras invade Panama; they are defeated and perish.
1559 Chili. Valdivia falls into the hands of the Araucanians and is put to death.
1568 Hawkins invades Vera Cruz; is defeated; but he and Drake escape; September 14-24.
1585 Drake s expedition against the West Indies.
1586 Callao destroyed by an earthquake.
1595 Porto Rico. San Juan attacked by Drake.
1598 Porto Rico. San Juan captured by the English, who carried off much artillery.
1608 Paragua. The Jesuits enter the country.
1616 Cape Horn. Van Schotten goes around it.
1629 United States. The Massachusetts Bay company chartered.
1629 Brazil. The Dutch occupy the Brazilian coast.
1630 Curacoa wrested from the Spaniards by the Dutch (Settled in the sixteenth century)
1643-1644 Brazil abandoned by the Dutch. The Portuguese retain full possession.
1655 Jamaica taken from the Spaniards by English. May 3rd.
1657 St. Thomas colonized by the Dutch. (Discovered by Columbus, 1493.)
1668 Puerto Principe (Cuba) sacked and burnt by pirates.
1680 Mexico Tampico sacked by corsairs.
1683 Mexico Vera Cruz sacked by the buccaneers in May.
1692 Jamaica. Earthquake sinks Port Royal, the capital, in less than three minutes, under the sea, June 7th.
1697 Santo Domingo, western portion, ceded to France by Spain.
1710 Quito, presidency, annexed to Nueva Granada.
1711 Rio Janeiro attacked by the French, captured, ransomed.
1723 Nueva Granada, viceroyalty; reduced to presidency, 1724; viceroyalty again in 1740.
1731 Venezuela detached from Nueva made a captain-generalcy.
1732 Washington born February 22d; died December, 1799.
1733 Santa Cruz island ceded to Denmark.
1744 Cotopaxi volcano, eruption.
1746 Lima earthquake, October 28th; Callao destroyed.
1752 Franklin (Benjamin) proves that lightning and electricity are identical.
1755 United States, then British colonies, great earthquake November 18th.
1762 Habana (Cuba) taken from the Spaniards by the English; returned next year, the conquerors receiving Florida in exchange.
1762 Louisiana ceded to Spain by France; possession taken in 1766; restored to France 1800.
1767 Jesuits expelled from all Spanish America.
1775 United States; Boston besieged by Washington; the English abandon the city March 17, 1776.
1776 Buenos Ayres, government of, formed.
1776 United States; Declaration of Independence. July 4th; in 1777 the national flag adopted, June 14th.
1781 Florida retaken by the Spaniards from the English.
1783 United States; independence recognized by Great Britain.
1783 Bolivar, Simon, liberator of South America, born; his death on December 17, 1830.
1789 United States; organized as a federal republic.
1789 Revolution of Santo Domingo.
1789 Washington, first president of the U.S., April 30th.
1803 United States, Louisiana sold to, by Napoleon.
1806 Buenos Ayres captured by the English, June 27th; the invaders surrendered August 12th.
1807 Montevideo taken by the English in February.
1808 Buenos Ayres attacked by the English, who are defeated, capitulate, and are allowed to leave.
1808-1818 South America; movements which led to the independence.
1810 Mexico, Venezuela, and Nueva Granada; revolution which led to the independence.
1811 Hidalgo executed in Mexico, July 31st.
1811 Paraguay organized as a republic.
1812-1815 War between the United States and Great Britain; peace concluded December 24, 1814; battle of New Orleans, Januarys, 1815; the English utterly defeated.
1814 Bolivar, chief of Venezuela, January.
1815 Morelos, of Mexico, executed December 22nd.
1817 Paraguay; Dr Francia becomes dictator for life; he died September 20, 1840.
1818 Spaniards defeated at Maipo.
1818 Brazil erected into a kingdom.
1819 Colombia; republic created December 17th.
1821 Liberia, republic in Africa, founded.
1821 Mexico; independent. Augustin Iturbide crowned emperor May, 1822; abdicated March 20, 1823; banished to Italy; returned, and was executed July 19, 1824.
1821 Colombia; independence secured. Panama threw off the Spanish rule, and joined Colombia.
1821 Brazil; revolutionary movements. Pedro I, emperor. October 12, 1822.
1821-1824 Central America seceded from Spain September 15, 1821; is attached to the Mexican empire; recovered independence in 1824.
1821 Florida ceded by Spain to the United States.
1821 Peru; independence of, proclaimed in July.
1822 South America; Great Britain sends consuls to the South American states October 30th.
1822 Chili; great earthquake.
1823 Brazil occupies Uruguay; war with Buenos Ayres 1826-1828; Uruguay abandoned by Brazil in 1828.
1823-1824 Mexico ruled by a triumvirate.
1824 Mexico constitutes herself as a republic.
1824-1826 Peru, Bolivar dictator of, February 10, 1824; he defeated the Spaniards at Junin August 6th of that year; they are again defeated by Sucre December 24th; end of Spanish domination in South America; Calloa surrendered by the Spaniards January 22 1826.
1825 Great Britain entered into treaties with La Plata, Colombia, and Mexico.
1825 Brazil's independence recognized by Portugal.
1825 Argentine republic constituted January 23rd.
1825 Central American republic constituted.
1826 Brazil and Buenos Ayres at war; peace restored August 29, 1828.
1826 Treaty between Great Britain and Brazil for the abolition of the slave trade.
1829 Buenos Ayres; Juan Manuel Rosas became dictator.
1829 Spaniards under Barradas defeated on the Panuco river, September 11th.
1830 Colombia republic disrupted; Venezuela constituted herself a republic September 14th; Jose Antonio Paez, first president; Paez born in 1790; died May 6, 1873.
1831 Brazil in revolution; Pedro I abdicated April 7th; his infant son proclaimed emperor as Pedro II; deposed and republic proclaimed, 1889.
1831 Nueva Granada constituted herself as an independent republic; Francisco Santander first president; he had been vice-president of Colombia.
1831 Ecuador organized as a republic.
1831 Vicente Gurrero shot at Cuilapa, February 14.
1835 Nicaragua; eruption of the Coseguina , January 22nd.
1835 Texas rebelled against Mexico in July; proclaimed independence December 22nd.
1835 Concepcion destroyed the fourth time by an earthquake
1836 Peru; General Salaverry executed.
1840 Central American republic disrupted; they remained as separate states for some time, and finally constituted themselves as independent republics.
1842 Ex-president Francisco Morazan of Central America executed in San Jose, Costa Rica.
1844 Dominican republic constituted.
1846-1848 War between Mexico and the United States, on account of fraudulent claims and Texas' annexation; the Mexican capital taken; treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo restored peace; the United States retained Texas and New Mexico; also California, by paying a sum of money for a clear title. The treaty was ratified May 19, 1848.
1849 Haiti became an empire under Soulouque, as Faustin I, August 26th; he was some years after deposed, and went into exile.
1850 Argentine Republic. The author of her independence, Jose de San Martin, died August 17th (born February 25th, 1778).
1851-1852 Uruguay. Capitulation of Oribe at Montevideo, October 7th, 1851; Urquiz entered the city the next day; defeated Dictator Rosas of Buenos Ayres, February 3rd, 1852, and occupied the city of Buenos Ayres on the 4th; he is made provisional director of the confederation June 23rd and deposed September 10th.
1852 Several slight earthquakes in California.
1853 Mexico; revolution in January. Santa Anna made president April 1st; he becomes dictator; he left the country in disgrace Aug 16-17. Santa Anna died in Mexico city June 21st, 1876.
1854 Earthquakes in Salvador; destruction of San Salvador.
1854 Mesilla valley, including Arizona, sold by Mexico to the United States.
1854 Guatemala. Rafael Carrera made president for life; he died in April, 1865.
1855 Panama railroad inaugurated January 28th.
1858 Mexico. Earthquakes with disastrous effects.
1858-1861 Mexico. War between the liberals and conservatives; the former victorious; President Juarez enters the capital January 11th, 1861.
1861-1862 Mexico. Foreign intervention. Occupation of Vera Cruz by Spanish forces December 17th, 1861. French and English troops arrive in January, 1862. The French defeated before Puebla May 5th.
1859 Quito almost destroyed by an earthquake; 5,000 persons perished; March 22nd.
1860-1865 Secession war in the United States, capture of the Southern capital and surrender of the remnants of the rebel army in early 1865.
1861 Mendoza in the Argentine Republic overturned by an earthquake.
1862 Honduras. President Guardiola murdered.
1863 Colombia constituted a federation of states.
1863 Dominican Republic. Spain takes possession to relinquish it again in 1865.
1863 Mexico. Puebla taken by General Forey May 17th. The French enter the capital June 11th; Maximilian of Austria chosen by the notables July 11th.
1864 Mexico. Maximilian arrives and assumes the crown; enters Mexico City June 12th.
1864 Venezuela assumes the federal form.
1865 President Lincoln, of the United States, assassinated April 14th.
1865 Jefferson Davis, president of the late rebel government in the United States, captured May 10th. African slavery formally abolished in the United States December 18th.
1865 Brazil, Argentine Republic and Uruguay form a coalition against Paraguay May 1st.
1865 Jamaica. Negro riots in Morant bay October 11th.
1866 Peru and Chili at war with Spain. Defenseless Valparaiso bombarded, with great destruction of property, March 31st; Callao bombarded later, without the Spanish force accomplishing anything.
1867 French forces, recalled to France, cease operations and gradually leave Mexico. Maximilian in Queretaro February 19th; the city soon after invested by the republicans; Puebla taken by Diaz's republicans,April 2nd, Queretaro captured by the Escobedo, May 14th; Maximilian a prisoner; Marquez, imperialist, routed by Diaz April 10th; Diaz invests the capital; Maximilian, Miramon, and Mejia shot on the Cerro de las Campanas June 19th.
1868 Asuncion, Paraguay, occupied by forces February 21st; destruction of the Paraguayan army at Villeta December 11th.
1868 Cuba's revolt for independence, October, unsuccessful end in 1878.
1868 Ecuador. Destructive earthquakes; the whole southern half of the eastern coast America devastated August 13-16.
1870 Paraguay. President Lopez defeated and put to death at Aquidaban March 1st.
1871-1872 Brazil. Slave emancipation bill passed by the Senate September 27th, United States; Alabama arbitration commission meets at Geneva December 18th, 1871; its award, September 14th, 1872.
1871 Central America. Overthrow of clericoligarchy.
1872 Mexico. President Juarez died July 18th (born in 1809).
1872 Peru. President Jose Balta assassinated; his death avenged by the people of Lima.
1872 California. Earthquake March 26th; effects of highly exaggerated abroad.
1873 San Salvador destroyed by earthquakes March 19th.
1875 Ecuador. President Garcia Moreno murdered August 14th.
1879-1881 Chili against Peru and Bolivia. Lima occupied by the Chilians January, 1881. Peace concluded soon after; the Chilians leave the country. Peru loses territory; Bolivia loses all her sea-coast.
1880 Panama canal works commenced.
1881 United States. President Garfield assignated.
1881 Patagonia. Dispute between Argentine republic and Chili settled.
1882 Panama Isthmus. Earthquakes September 7th.
1885 Colon or Aspinwall burnt by 31st; Prestan hanged at Colon August 16th.
1885 Central America. President Barrios of Guatemala attempts restoring the union by force; he is defeated and killed in battle April 2nd.
1886 Colombia. Federal system ceases; centralized regime established; new constitution August 7th .
1886 Jesuits of Peru forbidden to live in community.
1886 New York. Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty unveiled October 28th.
1888 Brazil. Slavery abolished in May.
Vicente Yanez Pinzon in 1499 coasted between the mouths of the Amazon and the Orinoco, claiming the country for Spain, and carrying away brazilwood drugs and gems. The following year, Pedro Alvarez the Cabral was blown thither from the coast of Africa, where he had been following the track of Vasco da Gama. He discovered the mouth of the Amazon, and claimed the country for Portugal. Neither Pinzon nor Cabral planted a settlement; but Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian in the service of Portugal, built a fort at All Saints, and so secured to the Portuguese the vast area which became known as Brazil; Amerigo also traded in parrots and monkeys, and permitted his name to be given to not quite half the world.
The appearance of Alonzo de Ojeda with three ships on the coast of Venezuela in 1499, and the entrance of the rio de la Plata by Pinzon in 1508, set bounds on either side to the pretensions of Portugal. Spanish occupation being further extended by the discovery, and ostentatious claims to ownership, of the Pacific ocean by Vasco Nunez de Balboa in 1513, and the later conquest of Peru by Pizarro and Almagro. By such trifles of accident and caprice were determined the so-called proprietorship of large parts of the earth, and the mastery over the bodies and souls of millions of their fellow beings by the temporal and spiritual powers of Europe! After spending thirty years in driving from the coast the Spaniards and Frenchmen who attempted to settle there the king of Portugal divided the country into captaincies, each with a frontage of fifty leagues upon the ocean, and gave them to such approved subjects as were able to defend and develop their resources, with full powers of civil and criminal jurisdiction. To Martin Alfonso de Sousa was given a captaincy; and his survey of the coast he came to the mouth of a river on the first of January, 1531, which he thereupon called Rio de Janeiro, thence continuing his way southward, naming places along the coast from the days on which he discovered them, and choosing the domain of his captaincy some distance south of his January river. In like manner captaincies were given to Pero Lopes de Sousa, Pedro de Campo Tourinho, Jorge de Figueiredo, and others.
And so the land was seized and settled, and natives who opposed the invaders were killed. As the savages here made no display of gold to tempt the cupidity of the foreigners, the settlers devoted themselves to agriculture. Cities, forts, and factories were established along the coast and at the mouths of rivers; plantations were laid out and European fruits, grain, and livestock were introduced. In due time it became necessary to centralize Portuguese power in Brazil, in order to provide adequate defense from foes without and within; hence the executive privileges given to the proprietors of the several captaincies were revoked, and the country placed under the rule of a governor-general, Thome de Sosa being the first to fill that office. With 1,020 men, 400 of whom were convicts, he built the city of Bahia, and established his capital there.
From this time the coast of Brazil was the prey alternately of various European powers. Philip III of Spain took with Portugal all of it that Portugal possessed, but presently gave it up, as did also the Dutch who in 1624 captured Bahia, and Olinda in 1630. Yet the Portuguese managed in the end to hold possession; and when the French revolution came, and after it Napoleon, the prince regent of Portugal. Dom Joao VI, who afterward became king, created a regency at Lisbon, and with a large retinue took refuge in Brazil in 1808 establishing his capital at Rio de Janeiro. Thus the colony became mistress of its mother monarchy and monarchy was planted in the New World, in due time to be uprooted once and forever.
The ports of Brazil were at once opened to foreign commerce; all exports were free of duty except brazil wood and diamonds, which were royal monopolies. Courts of justice, high and low, were established at Rio de Janeiro, as well as a royal mint, the bank of Brazil, and royal printing office and powder mills. On the whole the change was for the better, but a mistake was made in altering the money standard, thus bringing on financial confusion.
While the other American states were throwing off allegiance to the mother country, the spirit of republicanism became strong in Brazil, so that in 1821 King Dom Joao was obliged to send to Portugal for troops to quell insurrection. But the prince Dom Pedro, heir to the crown, who now began to take part in public affairs, through his popularity and intercession prevented revolution at that time. Independence was closely treading on the heels of imperialism, when in 1825 Dom Joao VI, king of Portugal, was made emperor of Brazil, and at once abdicated in favor of his son Dom Pedro I, at the same time declaring Brazil independent of Portugal. Though acknowledged king of Portugal on the death of his father, Dom Pedro transferred that crown to his daughter, Donna Maria, and becoming dangerously involved with the liberals, in 1831 he abdicated the crown of Brazil in favor of his son Dom Pedro II, then five years of age, and sailed for Portugal. The second Dom Pedro was a good and intelligent man, having the interests of the country at heart, and for the most part he was so regarded by the people; yet they held imperialism to be out of place, and after half a century and more of happy rule Dom Pedro II was quietly dismissed to the land of his ancestors, Brazil lapsing into republicanism.
With the exit of Dom Pedro II came to an end the only American monarchy, and let us hope the day is far distant when there will be another. In the older communities the infliction is bad enough, and is rapidly disappearing; when kingdoms and colonies are all wiped from the surface of the earth then men will be free, and intelligence reputable. Sentimentalists may exclaim "Poor Dom Pedro! Poor Maximilian!" But the sprouts of European royalty must learn the lesson that it is better for them to remain at home and let their own people feed and tip them.
The yellow fever appearing in Brazil for the first time in 1849, and the cause being attributed to the importation of slaves, laws were passed prohibiting the traffic, and in 1871 it was enacted that every child thereafter born of slave parents should be free, state slaves and those which had been imported for the imperial household being declared free at once. Thus independence and the abolition of slavery were accomplished without the long wars and social eruptions which some nations were not so fortunate as to escape.
Brazil is a country of high and low plateaus, with here and there mountains not of the highest, the whole formation being mostly of gneiss. In Minas Geraes are clay slates with auriferous veins; south of the tropic are strata of coal, and carboniferous formations are found on the Guapore. Along the northern seaboard are coral reefs; there are hot wells and warm sulfurous springs but no volcanoes. The coast is lined with mangroves, back of which are palms; each river has a vegetation and foliage peculiar to itself. There are cocoa and cinnamon trees, pepper and vanilla. Brazilwood, which originally fringed the coast, is hard and heavy, takes a high polish, and yields a fine red dye.
There are besides, the soap-tree, the tapia, or garlic pear tree, the trumpet tree, and laurel and rosewood. The leaves of Carnauba palm yield a gum which has commercial value, while the export of the caoutchouc tree, which may be tapped every day during the season and its gum poured into moulds, amounts to more than $5,000,000 a year. Agricultural products embrace every variety common to temperate and tropic zones; and so with regard to animal life, nowhere in the world is the variety greater, though there are similar species of larger growth in Africa.
In 1786 diamonds were discovered in the serra do Espinhaco, 300 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. The stones are found in the sands of disintegrated quartzite, in the vicinity of sandstones shales and conglomerates. The sands are washed out at some stream with the help of sieve and wooden pan. Less conspicuous and producing stones of smaller size and less value are the diamond fields of Goyaz, Matto Grosso, Parana, Sao Pedro do Rio Grande do Sul, and Sao Paulo. There are in greater or less profusion a score of gems, some of great beauty. Besides coal, sulfur, and salt deposits, several extensive auriferous districts attract attention, the largest being in Minas Geraes, and covering the greater part of that province. Then there are the Morro Velho, Gongo Soco, and other gold mines, mostly in and around Rio das Velhas valley.
In the basin of the Parana-Paraguay River system lies the republic of Paraguay, with Asuncion for its capital city. Between the marshes draining into Ypoa lagoon and the Asuncion plateau is some good agricultural land, and dense forests, containing 70 kinds of trees, cover the Parana lowlands, while beyond the Paraguay are the vast rolling plains common to this part of South America. The mean temperature is 75 degrees, the warmer part of the year being from October to March, and the colder from April to September; the rainfall at Asuncion is 58 inches. Mining is not conspicuous, though iron and gold, copper and manganese, besides building stone and salt are found in abundance. There are eight fibrous plants of economic value and fifteen dye plants; Paraguayan tea is a commercial product, though mainly used for home consumption, the cocoa palm, orange, and banana tree grow so large and are such prolific bearers that their fruit can be had almost for nothing. The men women and children of the whole Plata country smoke Paraguayan tobacco, though little of it is exported; and so with coffee, of excellent berry but slightly bitter in flavor. Paraguayan sugar is good for making rum and syrup; refined sugar for domestic use is brought from Brazil. All the people wear while cotton cloth, made in England, and subject to a duty of 40 percent, and this notwithstanding the fact that cotton grows there almost spontaneously. Bread is made, now as for centuries past, of mandioca and maize, which have long been staple products; wheat oats and rice are also grown in places. Nature in South America, mountains, plains and rivers, plants and animals are all on a vast and magnificent scale.
The Oriental Republic of the Uruguay, or Banda Oriental, that is to say the land on the eastern side of the river, is divided for administrative purposes into eighteen departments, the smallest of which, Montevideo, the Plata contains a fourth of the population. The great rivers that here converge, the Plata, the Uruguay, the Negro and its tributary the Yi, draining the vast pastoral plains between the Andes and the Atlantic, offer possibilities of limitless wealth. The tawny mountains of Uruguay, contrasting with the verdant rolling open country, are picturesque though not lofty. In the north are hills containing many metals and valuable stones; silver, gold, copper, and lead; agate, alabaster, and amethyst; marble, granite, and limestone. The climate is good; rainfall 40 inches.
Montevideo, with a lighthouse and old Spanish fort, stands on a small peninsula, less than 100 feet above the sea, the suburbs extending well into the country. The low flat-roofed houses with a profusion of Italian marble and the high towers from which far-distant ships can be seen, present the appearance of an oriental city rather than a South American seaport. Patriotic names abound. There is the plaza de la Constitucion, which is honored by the presence of the cabildo and the cathedral; the plaza de la Independencia, and the calle del 18 Julio. A market covering two acres cost $430,000. The city lives mainly by its slaughter houses, its chief exports being besides livestock, preserved meats, hides, tallow, horns, hair, wool, and bones. By 1,000 vessels $3,500,000 worth of such products is carried away every year. Total value of real property $100,000,000.
The special mission of Juan Diaz de Solis at the rio de la Plata in 1516 was to find a way by water to the other side of the continent, which indeed was Magellan’s purpose when he was there in 1519. It is said that Solis and some of his men on landing were killed and eaten by the Charruas, but with what degree of truth I know not. Magellan, proceeding southward, passed through the strait to which his name was given and, continuing his course toward the Spice-islands, was killed by the natives of Zebu the year following. Sebastian Cabot was likewise here in 1527, and anchored off the spot where now stands Buenos Ayres, founding the settlement of San Espiritu on the Parana. Rio de la Plata received its name by reason of the profusion of silver ornaments worn by the natives. Other attempts were made to find a waterway through the continent at this point, leading to explorations which stopped only on reaching the Andean mountains. Meanwhile the settlements of Asuncion and Buenos Ayres were made, and upon the destruction of the latter by the savages, it was reestablished by Cabesa de Vaca.
After many wars with the natives, who were among the fiercest of native warriors, prosperity came to the settlements. Horses and cattle were brought from Europe, and such was the increase that in time innumerable herds spread over the pampas; wild but a source of wealth. Buenos Ayres was raised to a viceroyalty in 1776, with jurisdiction over a wide area, including besides what is now the Argentine Republic, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia, and with power to curb the encroachments of the Portuguese of Brazil. Wars between England and Spain, which here made themselves felt, were followed by the wars for independence, and these again by revolutions, internal discords, and quarrels with the Portuguese which cannot here be given, and which indeed are scarcely worth the recital. Finally, a republican constitution was adopted, based on that of the United States.
Becoming involved in a war between Paraguay and Brazil in 1865, the resources of all participating were severely taxed, bringing to the front, either as patriots or victims, all the rich men of the country. Of these none were more wealthy than General Urquiza, who had vast estates at Entre Rios, and who was assassinated in his own house, in 1870, by an officer of his army. Thereupon further insurrection and civil war ensued.
With an area of over 1,600,000 square miles, the Argentine Republic has a population of some 2,400,000, being one and a half to the square mile, including Indians—a heavy decrease from the number of inhabitants prior to the coming of the Europeans. In the larger cities, as Buenos Ayres, more than half the people are Europeans, or of foreign birth; throughout the country are endless negro Indian and European intermixtures, not conducive to high culture. The importation of Africans ceased with the abolition of slavery during the war of independence. The yellow fever, which decimated the inhabitants of Buenos Ayres in 1871 and arrested immigration, is said to have been brought from Brazil, though the Argentine town was prepared with open arms to receive it, being in a filthy condition and almost without drainage. A good system of sewers has since been constructed.
Argentina is a pastoral country, though there are mines in the northwestern part, and several agricultural sections to develop vast wealth. From the hides, wool, and increase of 20,000,000 cattle and 100,000,000 sheep come for the most part the means for the payment of imported articles, as cloth and iron from England; wine, textile fabrics, and fancy goods from France; and lumber from the United States. To Belgium goes annually wool to the value of $12,000,000; to England, tallow $3,000,000, sheepskins $2,000,000, hides $3,000,000; to the United States $2,000,000 worth of hides. In wealth and importance Buenos Ayres is far in advance of any other Argentine city, possessing most of the advantages and adornments of civilization.
Standing upon the great plain that stretches out far away toward the Andes, on the right bank of the rio de la Plata, the city of Buenos Ayres, with its quarter-million of population, presents a pleasing picture. It is well laid out in squares, with broad paved streets, and the old Spanish one and two story houses of mixed adobe and cobblestone, with little furniture and no chimney, are rapidly giving place to modern structures of European style and finish and furnishings. There are sixteen Catholic churches, two hospitals, five theaters, and five markets. Upon the principal square, the plaza de la Victoria, front the government buildings, where resides the president of the republic; the cathedral, with Corinthian pillars and portico, and surmounted by a large dome; and the cabildo, or city hall. In the center of the square stands a monument in memory of the war of independence.
Patagonia was first sighted in 1520, by Magellan, who named it Tierra de Patagones from the large footprints in the sand. Tierra del Fuego being so called from the fires seen along the coast. By the sovereigns of Spain the territory was given first to Alcazava Sotomayor and then to Pedro de Mendoza. Under the auspices of these, and later of other interested persons, the coasts and interior were explored. In 1881 the country was divided between Chili and the Argentine Republic.
Patagonia is a great plain, with the southern extremity of the Andes on the western side. The western or Chilean part, sometimes called the Magellan territory, shows the action of glaciers, which with the help of the sea have cut Cape Horn into islands, with peninsulas and fiords indenting the tierra firme. In the Chonos archipelago alone are more than 1,000 islands. The climate is equable; perpetual snow lies on the higher peaks and stunted vegetation covers the lower levels. The potato grows wild, and other vegetables are cultivated. Sea-elephants were once here, and the smallest deer known, the pudu, is found on the Taytas peninsula. The eastern Andean foothills support a luxuriant vegetation, the mountains precipitating the moisture brought in from the Atlantic, and here the soil is better, plant life richer, and animals more abundant. Under the large trees and in the thick undergrowth are found wild cattle and wild horses, from the strayed European stock of northern latitudes, with multitudes of deer and birds. On the broad open steppes, though the soil is thinner, it still supports many guanacos and ostriches, which are hunted on horseback and constitute the chief food of the natives.
Europe still retains its tenacious hold on parts of the New World, among others Guiana in South America, the French, Dutch, and English each owning a strip of territory. It came about in this way. Spain had the first claim to the country, as Columbus, Pinzon, Vasco Nunez, and Diego de Ordas were all there prior to 1830. The Dutch planted a settlement near the Pomeroon in 1580. Then in 1595 came Walter Raleigh and ascended the Orinoco in search of the fabled El Dorado. The French attempted colonization on the river Surinam. Then, following the usual methods in such matters, for two or three centuries they all fought each other, the governments meanwhile making grants and the settlers killing off the natives.
The boundaries of French Guiana were defined by the treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The seaboard is covered with mangrove marshes, back of which are fertile lands for agriculture and in the more distant interior, grassy highlands. The rainy season is from November to June, during which time the fall is 120 inches. All the grains and vegetables are raised, manioc being the principal food. Placer gold is plentiful. The Dutchmen have not explored more than one-quarter of their American colony, which is in area four times the size of their own country. Surinam has gold, and the river bottoms yield abundantly of almost all useful and commercial products. British Guiana has some good soil well covered with vegetation, fine rivers, and a little gold.
Venezuela, or little Venice, as Alonzo de Ojeda called it when he was there in 1499 and saw at the gulf of Maracaibo a native village the houses of which rested on piles above the water, was the first of tierra firme seen by Columbus. When in 1811 the people threw off the Spanish yoke, civil wars followed the wars of independence, in which Simon Bolivar, the Washington of South America, played a conspicuous part; and it was not until 1845 that Spain formally recognized the independence of the republic.
Bolivar, a native of Caracas, born 1783, was the leader of the revolution, and the hero of South American independence. After obtaining an education in Europe he returned home in 1809 by way of the United States whose free institutions he carefully studied. On his arrival at Caracas, he at once identified himself with the revolutionary movement and was given a command. After ten years of fighting with many successes and reverses, during which time he became first general and then dictator, he not only made his own country free but joining forces with the patriots of Colombia, delivered that land from Spaniards, who thereupon took refuse in Ecuador and Peru.
Thither went the indefatigable dictator with his army, and soon had the satisfaction of seeing the whole country independent and at peace. In 1819 the republics of Venezuela and New Granada were united and named Colombia, and after the adoption of a constitution. Bolivar was elected president and Santander vice-president. In 1825 upper Peru separated from the Buenos Ayres government, and formed an independent state, named Bolivia in honor of the liberator, who was made perpetual protector, with almost unlimited power over Peru, Chili, and all Spanish South America. He continued to exercise supremacy in Colombia to the time of his death, in 1830. He asserted the dignity of justice, purified politics, and encouraged arts and industries. Nine-tenths of a large fortune was spent in the service of his country, and he died a comparatively poor man.
The flora and fauna of Venezuela are not unlike those of the neighboring states. Maize and manioc are the two chief food products, the former being ground coarse and made into cakes like the tortillas of Mexico. Coal near Barcelona and on the banks of the river Utare, copper at Aroa, and gold on the Yuruari River are the principal minerals.
Nine states are confederated under the name United States of Colombia, whose domain includes the Isthmus of Panama, a mountainous district in the western part, belonging to the Andean chain, and a coast line of about 1,000 miles on either ocean. Its eastern portion is but an extension of the llanos of the Amazon and Oronico. In a spur of the Cordillera, almost under the equator, perpetual snow rests at a height of 23,779 feet above the ocean. The Cordilleras here consist of gneiss granite basalt and porphyry, the formations throughout the territory of the confederation being igneous and metamorphic. Volcanic action continues, and subterranean heat still affects the climate in places. On the heights are glaciers; on the slopes are vast basins of gravel, and rich alluvial deposits in the valleys. There are many rivers, the Atrato forming, with the streams flowing in the opposite direction, an almost continuous water line across the continent. The Isthmus measures 48 miles across at its narrowest part, where is the line of the Panama railway, and where De Lesseps undertook to dig a canal.
The Panama canal was one of the most stupendous failures the world has ever witnessed. The projectors of the scheme had no conception of the difficulties before them, of the malignant influences that nature could bring forth to defeat their project. The Panama railway, the first to traverse the continent from sea to sea, cost much money and many lives, Asiatic lives alone enough to form an unbroken line of dead Chinamen from ocean to ocean. Hired for the work by bosses, under whose misrepresentations they had been induced to leave their homes, their condition was worse than that of any African slave, their masters having no property in them, or interest in keeping them alive; so that many of the poor wretches, sooner than endure the hardships that befell them, straightway went and hanged themselves.
It was intended that the ship canal should follow the line of the railway, the length being 54 miles, depth below the ocean 28 feet, and width 72 feet at the bottom and 160 feet at the top. Workshops and boarding houses were erected; huge machinery put in place, and 10,000 to 20,000 men were set to work, but did not long remain. Then after $100,000,000 or so had been sunk in the enterprise, and Frenchmen in their own peculiar fashion began to rave over their losses, they seized and imprisoned the aged De Lesseps and his conspirators in the swindle, as they called it, and the Isthmus of Panama remains there to this day; but the big ditch, where is it?
It was an early problem, the attempt to cross the continent in ships, and one that still remains to be solved. No sooner did Columbus find the course obstructed to his Cathay by a continuous coast line, than he attempted to pierce it. So did a hundred who came after him, from Magellan in the south to John Franklin in the north. Saavedra presented a plan to cut through the Isthmus in 1520, which had it been accepted would probably have been successful, the Spanish adventurers of that day being far superior to modern engineers for work to be accomplished in a tropic clime, whether military or mechanical. Cortes surveyed the Isthmus of Tehuantepec for a canal, and Eads projected a ship railroad. Several lines for canals were proposed by Antonio Galvao and others in the sixteenth century, at the Chagres and Atrato rivers, in Nicaragua, Tehuantepec, and elsewhere. The rivers Amazon, Orinoco, Plata, Mississippi, Hudson, and St. Lawrence were all examined for this purpose; and from the Pacific side, the Columbia River, and the straits of San Juan de Fuca, about which the most extravagant stories were told, more than one of the early navigators claiming to have sailed through the continent at these points and beyond.
Colombia is full of mineral wealth, and but for its climate, deadly to Europeans, would ere this have been made to yield largely. Gold, silver, and copper, iron, lead, and platinum, mercury and antimony, coal, salt, and asphalt, potash soda, and magnesia, limestone and alum, amethysts, emeralds, and amber, are all here in profusion. As the Isthmus is approached from the south, gold is found in all alluvial deposits and along all the streams. The natives used to pick it up, string some of it on their person, and throw the rest away; so little was thought of the stuff before the coming of the gold-hungry Europeans! Large silver mines have been worked there, mostly by Englishmen; there are extensive emerald mines, and out from Panama lie the famous Pearl islands, of which more hereafter.
I do not say that there are no healthy places for Europeans in Colombia; it is in the low swampy lands, covered with an ever-living, ever-dying and redundant tropical vegetation that the air is laden with malaria. In the uplands there is a dry and a wet season, but on the Isthmus it rains at any and all times, the sun drawing the moisture upward only to let it drop again from the surcharged clouds. The lower regions are covered with a tangled mass of vegetation, while in the mountains and upland plains are great forests of logwood, brazilwood, the fustic and the India-rubber tree. Cotton grows wild, indigo is indigenous, and of fruits there are no end. It is unnecessary to enumerate the products of agriculture, which is the leading industry, notwithstanding the mineral resources, for there is scarcely anything which cannot here be easily raised. Manufacturing is of small amount, though weaving, tanning and dyeing are common, and in Bogota are factories for making glass, cigars, sulfuric acid, and alcoholic liquors. Panama hats are fashioned for foreign as well as home use; but most of the national wealth here so abundant is exported in the shape of raw material.
Ecuador, under the equator, the land of burning mountains and trembling valleys, is yet inhabited by man. It is not everywhere hot, the eastern cordillera carrying perpetual snow at a height amid the clouds of 18,000 feet, while of the Quito plain, surrounded by twenty volcanic peaks and 9,500 feet above the ocean, it has been remarked that there is never either spring, summer, or autumn, but each day a combination of all the three. The river and lake systems are of great extent, and cocoa, coffee, cinchona bark, and India-rubber are the chief agricultural and vegetable products. Minerals, though widely distributed, are rarely found in sufficient quantity to be of economic value.
Bolivia contains the famous high-mountain silver mines of Potosi, which with others in this vicinity have given to the world since 1545 more than $3,000,000,000, the cerro de Potosi alone having been perforated by 5,000 openings of mines. Then there are the silver mines of Portugalete Chichas, and Laurani, of Arque Lipez Oruro and Caracoles, besides many placer and quartz gold mines, the copper lead quicksilver and tin mines of Ingavi Potosi and other places, with coal and iron and precious stones, hyacinths and opals in Santa Cruz, and diamonds in Beni.
Chili claims for her seaboard all the region west of the Andes and southward from Peru to Cape Horn. The line is clotted with volcanoes, and earthquakes are frequent. There are numerous lakes and rivers here assisting interior communication, and several passes over the mountains lead into the Argentine country. They are open eight months in the year and traversed only by mules, the highest and most frequented being those of Doha Ana, 14,770 feet above the ocean; Colguen, 14,700 feet: Patos, 13,965 feet, and Uspallata, 13,125 feet. Saline and sulfurous mineral waters abound, containing carbonate of lime, bicarbonate of soda, and chloride of sodium. During the early gold-digging era, Chili sent to California hundreds of ship-loads of flour in 25 and 50 pound sacks.
In the cities of South America, the dwellings built by the Spaniards of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries after the Moorish style, —adobe and of a single story surrounding a court containing fragrant plants and fountain—are giving place to taller houses with projecting upper stories, though throughout the country, and on the haciendas and plantations, the low rambling style of architecture still obtains. Ruins of churches and convents are plentiful, and many of these edifices still remain in good condition. Every capital city has its principal plaza, with diverging streets laid out according to the laws of Charles V and Phillip II, a cathedral on one side and rulers residence and government buildings on the other. The Panama cathedral, erected in 1760, is one of the largest. The site of old Panama, two leagues distant, being regarded as unhealthy, upon the destruction of that town by the buccaneers it was rebuilt where now it stands.
Asuncion, capital of Paraguay, originally a small fort, became a town of low houses above which towered the ecclesiastical buildings that arose after it was erected into a bishopric in 1547. Caracas, capital of Venezuela, is to some extent governed in style of architecture by its earthquakes; besides the usual public buildings is a national library and three hospitals, one exclusively for lepers. Santa Fe de Bogota, capital of Colombia, stands high in air on a fertile plain, is well built, and has regular paved streets, though the houses are of whitewashed adobe, and mostly of one story, owing to the severe earthquakes. The cathedral, while its exterior is not imposing, contains some attractions within, especially an image of the virgin adorned with a profusion of precious stones. There are in the city thirty churches, a congressional capitol, university, three endowed colleges, school of mines, mint, and other public buildings.
Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, capital of Brazil, is situated on one of the finest and most picturesque harbors in the world, 16 miles long, two to seven in width, and with 50 square miles of anchorage. The city has 50 churches and monastic buildings, conspicuous among which are La Candellaria, built in the seventeenth century, and La Gloria, beautifully situated on an eminence overlooking the bay. The Sao Bento monastery has large possessions in lands and mines, being the wealthiest in the republic. The famous hospital sugar factory machinery of Dom Pedro II, La Misericordia, was built in 1841, as was also a large lunatic asylum. From the gate of what was during the dynasty of the doms the royal palace, runs the principal street, the rua Direita, now officially named the rua Primeiro de Marco, on which fronts, besides the convent of Sao Bento, the exchange, custom-house, and post-office. There is an abundant supply of water through several aqueducts, first among which is the one from Tijuca, twelve miles distant, constructed in 1750, and supported in places by a double tier of arches. There is a national library of 120,000 volumes founded by Joao VI, with several literary and scientific institutions.
La Paz de Ayacucho, capital of Bolivia, has still standing many remembrances of the aboriginal Peruvians, not least among which are the roads.
The cathedral here is built of stone. The mining town of Potosi, standing at the foot of the cerro de Potosi, is one of the highest spots on the earth where man hath built his dwelling, being 13,280 feet above the sea, and the cerro 16,150 feet. There is a mint, and besides the miners houses the usual church and government buildings. More conspicuous among these surroundings are the churches, convents, and cathedral at Sucre, where is the seat of the archbishopric of La Plata, and the university of Chuquisaca, the name of the place before it was changed in honor of General Sucre.
Santiago, the capital of Chili, is on a wide plain, with a rocky hill rising in its centre, the two fortresses that crowned it in former days having now given place to a pleasure-ground, with theater, restaurant, and monuments. It has its plaza de la Independencia, and an Augustine nunnery founded by Bishop Medellin in 1576; also a Carmelite nunnery, a mint, congressional buildings, the universities of San Felipe and of Santiago, school of arts, musical conservatorio, national museum, military school, school of agriculture, and a national library. For other recreation grounds there are the Alameda, and a beautiful avenue planted with trees and adorned with statues, among which are those of generals O’Higgins, Freire, San Martin, and Carrera. The city was founded in 1541 by Pedro de Valdivia, one of Pizarro’s captains.
Valparaiso has two floating docks, a chain of forts, naval academy, custom-house, and other political, commercial, educational, and ecclesiastical edifices. There are also here wheelwright works, machine and coach-building and government railway shops; also a refinery for the raw sugar brought from Peru. Valparaiso was founded by Juan de Saavedra in 1536. What was left of the place by Drake and Hawkins, and the Dutch corsair Van Noort, who captured it in 1578, 1596, and 1600 respectively, was well shaken by earthquakes in 1730, 1822, 1839, and 1873; and if that were not enough it was burned in 1858 and bombarded by the Spanish admiral Nunez in 1866, when a large part of the city was destroyed.
Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is 9,520 feet above sea level, and within five miles of the Pichincha crater. The houses are of adobe or sun-dried bricks, low and squat, while in all the town there is hardly a chimney to be seen, even the public buildings being seemingly fearful of raising their fronts too high in this region of trembling and unstable earth. On the central plaza are Government house with its spacious colonnade, the palace of the Nuncio, and the cathedral with marble porch; but a finer structure than any is the Jesuit college, now occupied in part as a university. Caxamalca is laid out in regular streets, but the houses are chiefly of mud. The remains of Atahualpa's palace are still to be seen, showing how much better the ancient Peruvians built than the later occupants of the place.
The empire of the ancient Peruvians extended, as we have seen, over a much wider area than the present republic of Peru. Cuzco was the capital of the Incas, and Lima is the modern capital. The former is 11,380 feet above sea level, and on the hill Sacsahuaman, overlooking the city, is the old Peruvian fortress where the Incas used to entrench themselves. The streets are well laid out in squares; the houses which border them partake in architecture of the old and the new, the lower portion being of stone, of the massive masonry of the olden time with a light, Spanish superstructure roofed with red tile. In the cathedral, with its lofty towers is much of interest, and the convent of Santo Domingo occupies in part the site of the aboriginal temple of the sun. Nearby is the cabildo, or government house; the university, founded in 1598; the college of science and arts; and the library and museum of Peruvian antiquities. The principal plaza of Lima, in which is a beautiful bronze fountain, covers nine acres, and fronting on its several sides, are the cathedral, the archiepiscopal palace, and other imposing structures. The largest of five parochial and 62 other churches and chapels is that of San Pedro, built in 1598, and with 17 altars. The Franciscans have the largest edifice and the Dominicans the finest. Here is the oldest university in America, founded in 1576. There are also some 80 schools, a public library, many religions and charitable institutions, an amphitheater for bull fights which will seat 9,000 persons, and statues of Bolivar who won independence for Peru at Ayacucho and other battlefields.
A thousand purchasers daily attend the market which is supplied with fish from Callao, and fruits and other foods from various quarters. The chief exports are guano, cotton, sugar, gold, silver, hides, and saltpeter. Francisco Pizarro founded the city in 1535, since which time it has suffered much from wars, pirates, and earthquakes. The houses of Callao, the seaport of Lima, and with the best harbor on the coast of Peru, on account of earthquakes are for the most part built of wicker-work plastered with mud. A walled fortress covering fifteen acres is used for a custom-house and there are other forts mounted with guns. Here are the machine-shops and headquarters in South America of the French, German, and English steamship lines to Panama, Valparaiso, and Europe. Five docks have been constructed; a large steam sugar refinery and a flour-mill are in operation. Besides guano, which stands first on the list, Callao exports wool cotton sugar hides silver and gold, and imports cattle wheat and lumber.
Francisco Pizarro belonged to the basest type of the Spanish adventurer. Of low origin, born in bastardy and suckled by a sow, possessed of unflinching courage and obstinate determination, he had also the instincts common to a beast of prey. Escaping from his master, a swineherd, he fled to Seville, took ship to Santo Domingo, drifted thence to Darien, and finally crossed the Isthmus to Panama.
He was more than fifty years of age when he started out on his famous expedition to Peru. Through the influence of a priest, Fernando de Luque, and a comrade Diego de Almagro, he obtained money, and the consent of the governor which he first of all required. In a small caravel, with 100 men and four horses, he set sail for Panama on the 14th of November, 1524. Almagro was to follow as soon as he could equip another vessel. For some years past rumors had been current at Panama, gaining in volume as time passed by, of a people toward the south, more opulent and of higher culture than any hitherto found in the Indies, and great were the expectations built upon the issue of this adventure. Bartolome Ruiz had reported the appearance of a balsa, or raft, navigated by lateen cotton sails, and carrying raw wool; he saw also scales for weighing gold.
The voyage was attended with unusual difficulties. Provisions gave out; the men mutinied, and some returned to Panama; but with the remainder Pizarro continued on his way. Coasting southward they saw evidences of a superior race. On the shore were verdant fields and populous villages; on the sea floated trading balsas with fish, game, pineapples, cocoanuts, bananas, plantains, and maize; there was also a liberal display of emeralds, gold, and silver. At Tumbez was the first beast of burden seen in America, the llama. A native nobleman, or orejo, so called from the large golden pendants in his ears, came on board with a retinue of attendants. Further advance convinced the strangers that they had indeed discovered the pirates’ paradise.
But how to enter it and take possession? Here was a handful of Castilians, cavaliers, and vagabonds, whose chief object was plunder. Yonder was a powerful and wealthy people, with organized government and well drilled armies. Yet the demon of dissension had there been let loose, and this fair land was to be given over to the spoiler. Atahualpa, the reigning monarch, was opposed by Huascar the rightful heir, and while Pizzaro landed and began his inarch. Atahualpa with 140,000 men was advancing on Cuzco to meet the forces of Huascar numbering 130,000. At Caxamalca, Pizarro requested an interview, which with some hesitation was granted by Atahualpa. After much maneuvering on the part of the Spaniards to get him into their hands, Atahualpa was seized during a panic caused by the massacre of his attendants. Pizarro was now master of the situation; for among the Peruvians the person of the Inca was sacred, and notwithstanding the vast army at hand, none dared to move in his behalf lest, as the captor threatened, the king should die. An exploit so brilliant, and yet so infamous, could scarcely have emanated from the swineherd's brain, had not Cortes first put it there.
Now for the harvest, "I will fill this room as high as you can reach with gold if you will let me go" said Atahualpa. Pizarro stood silent, awaiting a higher bid. "I will also fill yonder room twice with silver" continued the monarch. No further bid being made, the Spaniard concluded that this would suffice for a beginning, and so closed with the offer. Two months were allowed the royal captive in which to collect the metal for his ransom. It was understood that hollow vessels were not to be melted down, and all utensils were to be contributed in manufactured form. Valuable jewels were to enrich the collection, and friendship on the part of both spoiler and victim was to crown the promised ransom. Commissioners were sent forth in every direction to get together the treasure. The royal palaces at Cuzco and Quito, and the temples of the sun throughout the empire were stripped of their costly garnishings.
While awaiting this ingathering of wealth, the Spanish soldiers lived like lords; the meanest of them had his male and female attendants, they drank from vessels of gold and had their horses shod with silver; lo the swineherd posing as king of kings!
Yet time dragged; the harvest was so rich and tempting; they might surely help themselves while the Inca was helping them. So under the king’s protection, Hernando Pizarro, brother of the chief, with twenty horsemen raided the country round, while three soldiers were sent to Cuzco, where after desecrating the temple and violating the sacred virgins they returned to Caxamalca with 200 cargoes of gold and 25 of silver, the transportation of which required no less than 900 Peruvians. These proceedings delayed the Incas work, and made it more difficult than he had anticipated; nevertheless the precious piles grew apace and would soon attain the required height.
Before meeting the Spaniards Atahualpa had made Huascar prisoner, and the latter now besought Pizarro to release him, promising to give more than his rival had offered for his liberty. Although kept in close confinement Atahualpa heard of it, and had Huascar secretly put to death; thus Pizarro had the mortification of finding himself outwitted by a manacled barbarian.
The promised measure being nearly complete, the Spaniards concluded to melt and divide the treasure. The native artisans to whom the task was allotted were occupied more than a month in running into bars the immense mass of gold and silver collected.—in value 1,326,539 castellanos, equal in purchasing power to $20,000,000 at the present day.
"It is the most solemn responsibility of my life” sighed Pizarro, as he seated himself in the golden chair of the Inca to preside over the division of the spoils. "May God help me to deal justly by every man," prayed he; after which invocation the pirate's proceedings might well be watched. First he gave himself the golden chair in which he sat, valued at 20,000 castellanos; then gold bars worth 57,222 castellanos, and 2,350 marks of silver. To his brother, Hernando, was given 31,080 gold castellanos and 2,350 marks of silver, nearly twice as much as was apportioned to Hernando de Soto, who had accompanied the expedition, and who in rank and ability was equal or superior to Hernando Pizarro. Horsemen received each 8,880 castellanos in gold and 362 marks of silver; some of the infantry received half as much, others less. To the church of San Francisco was presented 2,220 castellanos in gold.
Fancying that he saw this great empire about to fall in pieces, and that he could better master the situation with the Inca out of the way, Pizarro determined to give Atahualpa a fair trial and then to put him to death. This was quickly done, especially the killing, the unhappy monarch accepting baptism as the price of kindly strangulation in place of being burned alive. It is said that the gold and silver obtained by the conquerors at Cuzco after the death of the Inca was nearly equal to all that they had previously secured from Atahualpa, being 580,000 castellanos of gold and 21,500 marks of silver. So much for this piece of trickery treachery and murder called conquest, the progress of civilization, conversion of the heathen and the like; let us turn, to other things.
The ancient Peruvians used to worship, besides the sun, a golden wedge. The Incas were not only rulers, but high priests, thus being clothed in both temporal and spiritual power. The walls of their temples were covered with great plates of gold and their public works were not inconsiderable. In constructing the highway, 1,500 miles or more in length and 20 feet wide, through the wild mountainous country from Quito through Cuzco to Chili, heavy flags of freestone were laid; tunnels leagues in length were cut through the solid rock; bridges were built of plaited osiers and hung swinging in the air; up the precipices stairs were cut, and swamps were filled with solid masonry. Stations were established five miles apart and relays of runners carried government and other dispatches with incredible swiftness. They would bring from the ocean shore to Cuzco, a distance of 300 miles, fish that was served for dinner the day after it was caught. Population prior to the coming of the Spaniards was thirty millions, ten times greater than now it is. There was a new apportionment of the land every year, regulated according to the number of persons in the family. This was made in three divisions, one each to the Inca, the sun, and the householder, the first two parts being worked by all the people. Mining and manufacturing were conducted in somewhat similar fashion. Metallic money was not used by the Peruvians notwithstanding the abundance of the precious metals.
Placing under review the topics treated in this chapter, we find the climates of South America almost as great in their variety as the climates of the world. There are the hot seaboards of Colombia, on both oceans, the Darien coast on one side and that of Panama on the other, breathing of miasmatic fevers fatal to foreigners. Venezuela has its three divisions of tierras calientes, or callaidas, tierras templadas, and tierras frias. It is not that the hot region is so very hot, ranging only from 80 degrees to 110 degrees, but rather on account of the decaying vegetation which makes the atmosphere so deadly. The temperate region consists of plateaus standing from 2,000 to 7,000 feet above the sea, with a temperature from 65 degrees to 75 degrees. Here reigns perpetual spring, the air being ever pure and healthy, even the highlands of Quito, Bogota, Cuzco, and Oruro possess delightful climates. Venezuela has but two seasons, summer, or the dry season, extending from November to April, and winter, or the rainy season, from May to October. The average annual rainfall at Caracas is 330 inches east of the cordilleras. In Ecuador are wooded and marshy regions, and in the west lowlands humid and hot. The great northern lowland of Brazil is very hot, the central and southern highlands are more healthful. In the southern part are the four seasons, though in a less marked degree than in central Europe. In the Amazon valley it is generally hot. The valleys of the Parana and the Uruguay are cooler, and colder still the highlands. The air of Argentina as a whole is good, yet of various temperature.
In southern Patagonia the climate is not so bad as in the same latitude of Labrador, and while Chilian Patagonia is deluged. Argentine Patagonia is mostly dry. Uruguay has on the whole a mild and salubrious climate, the temperature of which ranges from 32 degrees to 88 degrees, rising on the lowlands at times to 100 degrees. Paraguay has two seasons, a summer from October to March and winter from April to September. This, with what already has been said, will suffice for the climates of South America.
Passing lightly over agricultural resources, the products of the rich soil of Venezuela and the wonderful trees which grow there, some producing bread, some material for cordage, many yielding fruit of various kinds, not to mention the rubber tree, the many dye-woods, or the plants yielding gums, resins, spices, and even milk. So of other parts of South America, of which enough already has been said. The natural wealth is beyond words to describe, in extent and variety, and its development is hardly begun. A few words may be added concerning the mineral resources which may be of interest.
The great gold and silver bearing regions of Colombia are Antioquia, Darien, Cauca, and Tolima. The gold mines of Antioquia have been worked for upwards of three centuries, and their products from the time of the conquest exceed $250,000,000; and yet deposits exist which are far from exhausted. There are, besides, large and unknown portions of territory, particularly toward the north of the department, which are believed to contain the precious metals. In 1875 there were in Antioquia nearly 100 lode mines being worked, and some 15,000 men and women employed. In the department of Cauca it is calculated that the value of the precious metals obtained since the conquest has been no less than $242,000,000, of which $126,000,000 came from the Choco mines, and $116,000,000 from mines in other parts. The Isthmus of Darien has been renowned from the earliest days of the Spanish conquest for its gold deposits. During the conquest the Spaniards obtained much of the metal from the natives, and in after years the crown derived a considerable revenue from the mines, particularly those of the Cana district, which for years employed thousands of men. They were not actively worked, however, till the second half of the seventeenth century. The Espfritu Santo was the most valuable one. In 1708 the king’s fifths amounted to $216,000. These mines were several times plundered by buccaneers. In 1684, Harris carried away 120 pounds of gold, and in 1702 another raiding party stole 50 pounds. The yield of the Cana mines came to be 18,000 to 20,000 pounds annually. But in the midst of the greatest productiveness they were subjected to obstructions and troubles, which compelled their abandonment. Indian hostilities rendered it necessary to give up the La Plata and Miraflores mines. Then the cruel treatment inflicted on the poor Indian towns had to natives rapidly diminished their number. Even after negroes were brought from Africa, contribute one out of seven of their inhabitants to work in the mines which service bore the title of mitas. Finally the system was discontinued by royal order in 1729, in these words, "No permita la Audiencia que a ningun indio se le obligue a la labor de minas.” This measure left the mine owners almost without hands. The silver mines of the rich districts of Mariquita and Pamplona thus received their death-blow. D’ Eluyar wrote the viceroy in 1785 that, generally speaking, the mines that the old miners had been exploiting in Mariquita were almost in their primitive state. The war of independence and subsequent internecine troubles brought the mining industry to a full stop. It has revived but slowly. The Santa Ana silver mine, in Tolima, yielded from 1826 to 1873, $3,500,000, and afterward failed. The Magdalena region has gold, but the deposits are not worked. Fine coal is abundant in the vicinity of Bogota; platinum is likewise found, as also silver and emerald mines. Indeed this portion of the republic possesses great mineral wealth lying dormant. The emerald mines of Boyaca are not worked. From 1800 to 1882 the product of gold and silver in Colombia was $216,000,000, and from 1537 to 1800, $414,000,000, or a total of $630,000,000, of which $74,000,000 be credited to the Isthmus of Panama. Cinnabar and manganese are also reported to exist on the Isthmus, coal in Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro. In 1886 miners and prospectors from the mining districts of the Pacific United States rushed to Panama en route to the gold diggings of Tolima, Antioquia, and the Choco. At the same time two companies were organized in Boston to mine on the Atrato river, and great was the eagerness awakened in the United States to engage in mining in Colombia.
The Venezuelan gold-fields are very rich, though as yet not the most productive. Those of the Orinoco are said to be the richest in the world. Many towns owe their existence to the mines. There is coal near Coro, Asphaltum, copper, petroleum, silver, tin, salt, and sesqui-carbonate of soda are abundant; but these valuable minerals are not worked as they ought to be. There is a pitch lake at the mouth of the Pedernales River on the gulf of Paria.
Bolivia has a wealth of precious metals as well as of several, of the useful ones. There are not only gold and the apparently inexhaustible silver mines of Potosi, but copper, iron, tin, coal, and sulfur. Precious stones, chiefly the hyacinth and opal, likewise are found there. Nitrate of soda abounds, and guano deposits exist on the coast. The latter, however, have recently become Chilean property. The mineral productions of Bolivia have given a very high importance to this portion of America. Mining is, however, in a rather poor condition at present. Gold is found in considerable quantities in the mountainous parts. The Illimani Mountain is supposed to contain much gold. In the seventeenth century an Indian found at a short distance from La Paz a mass of native gold, for which $11,269 was paid, and it finally went into the cabinet of natural history at Madrid. But most of the gold is found in the form of nuggets in lavaderos, or gold-washings, in the beds of rivulets. The most productive are those of Tipuani, streams descending from the snow-capped summits of the cordillera of Ancuna, some sixty leagues to the east of the city of La Paz. These washings were worked in the time of the Incas. The gold-washings and quartz veins of Choquecamata, in Cochabamba, were also famous, yielding down to 1847 some $40,000,000. Several other districts in the departments of Potosi, Chuquisaca, Santa Cruz, and Tarija, are also rich in gold. Most of the mines are abandoned.
Silver at one time was the great metallic production of Bolivia. The mines of the Cerro de Potosi were next in extent and value to those of Guanajuato in Mexico. The records kept at Potosi of the fifths that accrued to the royal treasury from 1545 to 1800 show that no less than $823,950,000 were coined in that period, and if the other products of the mines were added, the aggregate obtained from the mountains of Potosi must have been at least $1,647,901,018 in those 255 years. The Portugalete mines were also very rich. The prosperity of Bolivia, depending mostly on the mining industry, sank very low during the war of independence, and subsequent political troubles. Potosi declined in population from 130,000 souls to less than 10,000. English capitalists tried in vain to revive the industry. Of the large number of forges which operated previously to the revolution, scarcely one remained at work. There are several other silver mines in Chichas, but scarcity of water and their inaccessible position diminish their value. The celebrated mines of Laurani, in Sicasica, are abandoned. In 1870 deposits were discovered at Caracoles. In 1858 twenty-two companies were working 46 silver mines in the province of Potosi, and the yield in 1856 had been nearly $1,000,000. In late years this mining region has revived, again yielding of its wealth, owing to the enterprise of the Anglo-Bolivian company. The Huanchaca mine produced in 1885 $4,819,146 in silver ores, netting the company for the year $2,080,039. Copper occupies the next rank among the mineral riches of Bolivia. The province of Ingavi, in La Paz, possesses mines from which 15,000 to 20,000 cwts. of copper are annually taken. The departments of Potosi, Chuquisaca, Oruro, and Atacama are also rich in copper. Lead is frequently seen near silver, as also quicksilver. Coal and iron are found in Chuquisaca, Oruro, and Beni. In 1858 there were four tin shafts in the province of Potosi. Precious stones, mostly hyacinths and opals, are found in the department of Santa Cruz, and diamonds in Beni. Nitrate of soda abounds in the desert of Atacama.
The Argentine Republic, as before stated, has alum, coal, petroleum, copper, tin, lead, gold, silver, salt, and sulfur. Coal is in the provinces of Mendoza, Rioja, and San Juan. At the two first named it is abundant and of first quality. Petroleum is found near the city of Mendoza; at the depth of 120 meters the deposit was reached, and a steady stream of pure oil came to the surface. But the great distance from the Plata River renders its ability to compete with the article from the United States doubtful.The whole mineral production of the Argentine Confederation in 1882 did not exceed in value $570,000, of which silver counted for about $230,000; copper in bars for $125,000, in ore $21,800; and tin, some $85,000.
Peru is world-renowned for mineral wealth, particularly in the precious metals. Gold and silver exist in great abundance. The silver mines are numerous and exceedingly rich. There is also quicksilver in the country. Copper, iron, lead, tin, nickel, cobalt, magnesia, aluminum, lime, and sulfur are widely diffused. There are extensive quarries of marble and alabaster. Coal occurs on the coast. There are likewise a number of petroleum springs. Saltpeter is largely produced along the Pacific shores. The richest beds, however, are now in possession of Chili. The Lobos, Macabi, and Guanape islands, are enormous guano deposits. Salt is collected from the salt ponds near Callao. Gold is found in all the passes. Nearly all the mountain streams carry gold in small quantities. In some places this metal appears in quartz. The Carabaya gold mines are quite famous. Silver ores yield from 5 to 50 percent. In the last decade of the eighteenth century there were in operation 70 gold, 34 silver, 40 quicksilver, and 12 lead mines, out of which the Spanish government obtained for many years a revenue of nearly $7,000,000 a year. It is of record that Peru, at the breaking out of the revolution for independence, possessed over 1,000 mines of gold and silver. Mining was discontinued in 1820, and though English efforts partially revived the industry, it went into decadence, because of the disturbed condition of the country. But after 1845—guano having become a great source of wealth—the people awoke to a sense of the importance of developing their resources; improved machinery and methods were employed in the works, and the silver mines began to yield a larger quantity of metal than they had produced in many years. Many new mines have been opened since. The most important silver mines are in Huayllura, Palmaderas, Montes Claros, Carabaya, Jauli, Castro-vireina, Salpo, Ancastis, Chilete, and the famous Cerro de Pasco. This last named district produced from 1630 to 1849, $475,000,000. It has been estimated that by means of a tunnel, 100,000 square yards could be opened in the hill, and $500,000,000 more would be obtained. The value of silver mined from 1630 to 1803 has been set down at $1,232,000,000, of which $849,445, 500 came from the three lodes of Pasco, Hualgayoc, and Huantaya.
It has been said that as late as 1661 silver was so plentiful in Peru that the streets through which one of the viceroys entered Lima was paved with silver bars to the value of $75,000,000. In 1878 the number of registered mines of all kinds was about 15,000, but only about 600 were actually worked. The gold and silver mines at present exploited produce about $6,000,000 yearly, but a very small proportion of which is gold. A large part of this yield is used at home. The chief quicksilver mines are those of Huancavelita and Chota. Lead, iron, aluminum, sulfur, lime, and magnesia occur in various places. Cobalt and nickel are found in Huanta; marble and alabaster deposits are extensive in Puno and Ayacucho; the petroleum springs are in Piura; coal exists in several places, and working the beds promotes activity in other industrial pursuits. A great source of Peruvian wealth, since 1836, has been the guano islands. Mining guano on a large scale began in 1840. The deposits yielded to the Peruvian government from $20,000,000 to $25,000,000 a year. As late as 1873 they were reported to still contain guano to the value of $275,000,000 to $300,000,000. The fact, however, is that the famous Chinchas are exhausted, and the guano of the Lobos, Macabi, Guanape, Punta Alta, Puerto Ingles, Pabellon de Pica, etc., along the southern coast, is inferior in quality. The total amount has been estimated at 1,800,000 tons. Commencing in 1869 with 574,790 tons, the sales declined to 378,663 tons in 1876, 310.042 in 1877, 338,000 in 1878, as appears in private reports.
Chili possesses a variety of minerals, many of which are found in large quantities, as gold, silver, quicksilver, copper, iron, zinc, nickel, antimony, arsenic, alum, bismuth, manganese, sulfur, iodine and borate of soda, niter, coal, cobalt, etc. Copper, silver, niter, and coal are the only ones which to some extent pay to work. The mines are not, generally speaking, worked by the most improved methods. While in California and Australia the mining industry has been declining, greater attention being devoted in these countries to agriculture, the reverse has occurred in Chili. In 1877 the mining exports exceeded those of 1876 by $3,407,000, whereas in the agricultural exports there was a decrease of $1,356,000. In 1875 there were upwards of 30,000 men engaged in mining; the products of which industry in 1878 were valued at nearly $18,000,000. An American company in 1877 put extensive works at Catapilco, some 40 miles north of Valparaiso, with the expectation of getting gold from placer deposits to the amount of $1,000,000 a year during fifty years. The annual mineral yield of Chili is about 160,000 kilograms of silver, 500 kilograms of gold, 40,000 tons of copper, 800,000 tons of coal, 550,000 tons of nitrate. The coal mines of southern Chili have been for several years past acquiring a great importance. They extend along the coast from the province of Concepcion to the straits of Magellan, including some of the Chiloe islands. The oldest as well as richest coal beds are south of the river Biobio at Coronel, Lota, and Lebu; they are worked by the same system employed in English coal mines. Steamers coal at the mouth of the pit, and a great deal of the copper ore that used to be shipped to England for smelting has been for several years past sent to Coronel and Lota for that purpose. The coal production has been growing very rapidly, and may soon average from 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 tons. There are large works for amalgamating silver and smelting ores in Copiapo, Chanarcillo, Carrizal, and Guayacan. Of the metal exports of the republic, copper counts for 70 percent, and silver for 25. Copper mining has lately suffered a setback. Owing to the low price of the metal in Europe, miners were already in 1885 and 1886 turning their attention to gold and silver mining, and a considerable revival in these lines immediately took place. The copper deposits are almost inexhaustible, it is true, but for various reasons—defective mining laws, cost of mining, smelting, transportation to the sea coast, and freight charges to consuming markets—the republic cannot compete with other copper-producing countries.
The chief difficulty is that the mining belt lies in the northern section, as distinguished from the central and southern of the republic, an arid region to which food must be taken from the other two sections; the mines, as a rule are at considerable altitudes, and the mining methods are exceedingly primitive; then again, there are no roads fit for the transportation of minerals; and where there are railways the freight rates are too high to be any benefit to mines of low yield. The country needs cheap railways, and the employment of labor-saving machinery to develop its resources. There are thousands of tons of valuable ore lying on the surface in the old mining fields between Coquimbo and Huasco, awaiting capital and improved methods to yield up its gold, silver, and copper.
Miscellany—"A new world!" Europeans said; yet America is new and Asia and the others old only in imagination; it was called new by the discoverers just as any old thing is new to those for the first time beholding it. As a matter of fact the so-called western hemisphere is older than the eastern in its geological strata, as well as in the works and remains of man.
North America has an area of 8,000,000 square miles, and South America 7,000,000. There is but one-seventh of the two Americas not available for cultivation, the six-sevenths of good land being sufficient to sustain a population of 6,000,000,000, which is four times the population of the earth. The present number of inhabitants does not greatly exceed 125,000,000.
Ustariz, Moncada, and Navarrete, who give the most moderate estimates of any of the Spanish writers, fix the sum received from America by Spain during the 248 years preceding 1740 at $9,000,000,000. Adding the 70 years of output to the time of the revolution would bring the total up to about $11,500,000,000.
Some writers estimated the amount required by Pizarro for Atahualpa's ransom at 1,500,000 piastres, or dollars, and the proceeds of the Cuzco plunder at $10,000,000.
Agriculture in ancient times was brought to a high degree of development, the result of centuries of intelligent labor. In artificial irrigation the Peruvians had not their equal in the world. From the mountains, where the water was gathered into lakes, aqueducts were constructed of large slabs of freestone, canals cut, and subterranean passages made through the rock, some of these artificial water channels being 500 miles in length. The water carried thus to the parched plains below made fertile the soil, which gave great returns and vast wealth to the nation. High above them, on the most elevated plateaus of the cordillera, wheat and corn were raised, and vast bands of sheep and llamas grazed. Ascent was made to these rocky heights by steep paths cut often into the side of a perpendicular precipice, while all the way up were terraces of hanging gardens. The wool thus grown, and the cotton raised in the valleys, were woven into fabrics of finest texture and brilliant colors. The palaces of the Incas were of granite and porphyry; smaller houses sometimes of adobe, and usually of one story. The exterior of all buildings was plain, but within, the walls of the larger edifices were rich in plates of precious metals, and in other embellishments. There were beautiful gold and silver statues, and plants exquisitely fashioned of the same metals, with metallic birds and lizards, highly jeweled and colored, moving through the metallic foliage. The finest edifice in the empire was the temple of the sun at Cuzco, before mentioned. Coricancha, it was called meaning the Place of Gold. Golden is the sun and here on the western wall hung a golden disk, with rays emanating from a human face; and as the first rays of the morning sun struck the burnished metal, a mirror on the opposite wall carried them in every direction, until the whole vaulted arch roof cornice and the innumerable plates and images of gold were bathed in this glowing golden sunshine. It is said that this golden image of the sun was gambled away in a single night by the soldier to whose lot it had fallen.
As of old, the wealth of Peru at the present time is found in its mineral, animal, and vegetable resources rather than manufactures. In the cordillera are extensive mines of gold, silver, copper, lead, and bismuth, and along the streams placer diggings. The sale of guano from the islands adjacent constitutes the chief source of public revenue. In the province of Tarapaca are great quantities of nitrate of soda, a powerful fertilizer and a source of great national wealth, as also is borax, which, like guano, is a government monopoly. Among the many railways constructed and in course of construction is one across the cordillera, which is said to have presented in the building greater engineering difficulties than did the Mount Cenis tunnel. Nearly all the European cereals and vegetables are successfully grown in Peru, together with many tropical and semi-tropical fruits and plants.
Colombia presents a less diversified surface than any other part of South America. Near Ecuador the cordillera divides, enclosing the Magdalena valley, and on the western side is the Choco mineral region. Upon the eastern branch are tablelands from 8,000 to 14,000 feet above the sea; at 5 degrees north is perpetual snow, the highest peak here being Tolinia, 18,020 feet. The valleys of the Panama isthmus spread out in plains to the Orinoco. Venezuela is mountainous. One-fourth of Ecuador is but little above the sea, but this is more than equalized in other parts where are valleys from 8,000 to 13,000 feet high, and volcanic peaks from 15,000 to 19,813 feet.
As in Mexico, there had been in Peru, when first seen by the Europeans, a civilized people then no longer existing. The children of the sun that is to say, the people of the Incas, took the country from the Aymaras, who had their great temples, palaces, and statues, but who disclaimed being the authors of all this magnificence. The Callahuas, they said, their forefathers, were the true people of the indigenous civilization, and they came from the north, even as had come the Nahuas and the Mayas, to whom, indeed, they may have been related. The Incas built Cuzco, and became great; their people multiplied; so powerful and numerous they became, that when they wished to fight, all the people around being subdued, it became necessary to divide and fight each other under the leadership of two brothers, for so the gods willed it.
By Manco Capac, who founded the dynasty of the Incas, were laid the foundations of Cuzco in the middle of the eleventh century.
The story is told that a band of the Inca’s soldiers, heavily laden with treasure which they were carrying to Pizarro, when they heard that Atahualpa had been strangled, buried their loads so that the Spaniards were unable to find them. To this day the natives of the mountains mourn for their beloved Inca, who to them was god as well as man.
The descendants of the old Peruvians hold strictly to ancient customs; they will not sell their stock in a lump, but only by the usual measure, and on the exact spot in the marketplace where their forefathers sold. A Peruvian will steal from the Spaniards, who stole from him all he had; but he will not steal from a Peruvian.
In the days of the Incas, Quito had a population of half a million; now it has 50,000. Factories are numerous, including several flour mills; wages of operatives 12 to 25 cents per diem; woolen blankets, average wage 12 cents; sugar refinery , wages 12 to 25 cents; brick, adobe, tile, pottery, 12 cents; silk hats, 25 cents; felt hats, 12 cents.
Peru used to employ 4,000,000 llamas as beasts of burden. Under the Incas was constructed an aqueduct 360 miles long.
The first cat in South America was given by Montenegro to Almagro, who sold it for 600 pesos. Next came a pair of cats which brought a pound weight of gold at Cuyaba.
Thrice has the native wealth of Peru brought misfortune upon her; first, when Pizarro overturned the Incas and their people when the revenue from for the gold which they possessed; second, the guano islands, which after 1846 amounted to from $20,00,000 to $30,000,000 a year, brought on reckless extravagance, which, with the war, and the loss of this revenue, left the country $250,000,000 in debt that may never be paid; third, the nitrate of soda bed, four or five feet thick and extending along the shore from latitudes 23 degrees to 25 degrees, millions of tons of it, having a present commercial value of from $40 to $60 a ton, and Atacuma alone exporting annually 350,000 tons. This brought on the war with Chili resulting in defeat and loss of all.
It is wonderful, this bed of soft, moist, cheese-like stuff, good for fifty things, and enough to supply the world for ten centuries. What unknown wealth may nature yet have in store, under our feet or over our heads, in the water we drink, or in the atmosphere we breathe!
The loss of property in Peru during the war with Chili was very great, among other places the winter resorts of Chorillos and Milleflores were destroyed. Houses, public and private, were plundered; "The burial of Atahualpa," Marini's great painting, was taken from the walls of the National library but was returned. The war filled the pawnshops of Peru with rich and beautiful things in silver, gold, and costly fabrics, many old and wealthy families being deprived of income by the destruction of their property.
As an example of personal wealth in South America, the Senora de Cousino, of Chili, may be mentioned. She is estimated as worth $200,000,000, her property consisting of copper mines in various places, potteries at Lota, stock-farms and vineyards at Macul, and estates of various kinds in various places.
The high protective tariff imposed of late years has greatly stimulated manufactures in Chili, where now are made glass, paper, cardboard, earthen pipes, enameled ironware, nails, bottles, ice, cement, chemicals, blasting-powder, locomotives, and steam-pumps, besides 100 soap factories, several tobacco factories, sugar refineries, breweries, machine shops, and saw and flouring mills.
Galera, a railway station in Peru, is 15,635 feet above sea-level, a little less than about one-third of the highest ascent made by a balloon.
Mosquitoes are troublesome in South America, so much so that in some places savages torture their prisoners by binding them naked to a tree, where they meet death in horrible agony. The river Volador fairly glitters with gold but no man can gather it but the scaly-skinned lepers. On the Magdalena river boats horses and cattle sometimes die from mosquito bites. The alligators hereabout are plentiful.
In the early fifties "Honest Harry Meiggs" slipped out of San Francisco bay in his own schooner, having on board his family, all of his belongings, and more,—some said $250,000 more and that in coin—but leaving a large amount of unpaid debts. When next heard from he was on the west coast of South America performing marvelous feats in railroad building. He became very wealthy; was highly thought of in Peru; built himself a magnificent palace in Lima, which was afterward occupied by the presidents, and made overtures to buy forgiveness from the legislature of California, which were not successful.
The completion of the Oroya railroad over the Andes to the Cerro del Pasco mines, left unfinished for lack of funds upon the death of Henry Meiggs, was undertaken by Michael P. Grace, of New York, who for finishing the road at a cost of $10,000,000, obtains what has already been built at a cost of $27,600,000 on a 99 years lease at the nominal rate of $25,000 a year. He has besides possession of the Cerro Del Pasco mines, which from their discovery in 1630 to the year 1824 yielded 27,000 tons of silver. Total length of road 186 miles, the grading and tunneling of 50 miles of which were as costly as on any road in the world. Another of Meiggs' roads was the one built for the Peruvian government in 1876 from Mollendo, the first important port south of Callao, to Bolivia, 325 miles in length, at a cost of $135,000 a mile—that is to say, the cost to the government. Western terminus, 14,500 feet or more above the sea.
The virtue of the bark of the cinchona tree, commonly termed Peruvian bark, from which quinine is made, as a remedy for fevers, was discovered at an early day in Bolivia, then a part of Peru, by a Franciscan friar. The tree was named in honor of the wife of the viceroy of Peru, the countess of Conchona. Indigenous here is also the cocoa plant from which cocaine is made. It is the opium of the Andes, and besides the creative comfort it gives has a sacred character, mingling in many superstitions. The dried leaves are used by the natives of Peru and Bolivia, and also chewed, with a slight mixture of unslacked lime. He who uses the stuff in excess is called blanco coquero, or cocaine fiend.
The finest Panama hats, made on the Peruvian coast from the fiber of the toquilla, or arborescent cactus, and braided under water to retain pliability, occupy six months in the making, and sell for $250 each.
The carved ceiling of the inquisition building at Lima, now occupied by the senate, was brought from Spain in 1560. The San Franciscan church and convent cover several acres, being the largest buildings of the kind in America, and costing more than the capitol at Washington. The only American saint, patroness of both continents, was a pious woman of Lima, canonized by Pope Clement X in 1671, as Santa Rosa.
The cathedral in Lima where lie the bones of Pizarro cost $9,000,000. During Pizarro's time besides the $11,500,000 collected at the time of Atahualpa's death, there was further secured nearly $80,000,000. The viceroy, La Palata, in 1661 it is said, on one occasion set forth from his palace on a horse shod with gold, and having the hair of mane and tail strung with pearls, the street on which he rode to the cathedral being paved with silver ingots.
In monetary matters Chili employs English reckoning; in Brazil the reis is the standard, 4,000 of them being equivalent to $1.
In Valparaiso, vale of paradise, is great wealth, rich men, elegant residences, and fine shops, as is also the case in Santiago. Vessels can lie safely in the harbor ten months in the year; for the other two they must remain at sea if they would escape being pounded upon the rocks. Indeed, there is not a good harbor on the west coast of South America, and but two on the west coast of North America south of Puget Sound, namely those of San Francisco and San Diego.
The city owns the opera house in Santiago, the finest in South America; and it is so said of the hotel there and also of the hotel at Montevideo.
At the beginning of the 19th century the pampas of La Plata were swarming with ostriches and wild horses, the former being the fleeter runner. Their height was that of a cow, and their eggs the size of an infant’s head.
There was a square fortification at La Guarda, with two mounted guns for keeping the savages in check.
The undulating heights of Saladillo are covered with saltpeter which looks like hoar frost.
Cordova, the seat of a bishop and having trade relations with Buenos Ayres and Potosi, had in 1800 a population of 1,500 Spaniards and Creoles, and 4,000 negro slaves. The streets were paved, and the cathedral and market place attracted attention.
The plain in which stands the town of Santiago de Estero is white with an incrustation of salt.
Nestling amid citron, fig, orange, and pomegranate trees, on the road from Cordova to Potosi, is the town of Tucuman, where dwell many rich men, who might be richer were they not so lazy and ignorant. At the shafts of the splendid gold and silver mines there, not a windlass is used, all the ore being brought to the surface on backs of human pack animals.
Potosi churches are rich in silver utensils. Pure native silver is sometimes found in its mines. During viceregal times the king of Spain derived a revenue of $5,000 a year from these mines alone.
The mountains around Cuzco are filled with valuable metals. Gold in quartz was so plentiful in Almara that the natives by their rude processes used to send gold enough to Lima to get in return 5,000 piastres a month.
The swinging suspension rope bridges in Bolivia, sometimes 500 feet long and spanning chasms a quarter of a mile deep, did not always seem to afford the safest transit, particularly after the ropes had begun to decay.
The quicksilver mines of Huancavelica, in the 18th century, were worked for the king; there were then 75 furnaces; the product remaining, after waste and robbery, was sold to miners at 73 piastres for 100 lbs.
It was neither difficult nor disreputable, unless caught at it, for the adventurers in America to rob the king of Spain of a good share of his revenues, and it was expected, even by the king himself. But as their majesties had robbed the natives, not only of their lands, but of their bodies and souls and all that the land contained, royalty should not complain.
At Jauricocha was a mass of silver ore half a mile square and 15 fathoms deep.
In 1789 were coined at the royal mint, Lima. 3,570,000 piastres in silver, and 766,768 piastres in gold.
The several viceroys in Spanish America maintained each a splendid court imitation of royalty at home; it was deemed fitting that thus the king should be honored, though he was often exceedingly jealous of his representative.
In early times Spanish galleons alone were permitted to bring European merchandise and carry away the gold and silver from the mines. The people of Spain becoming apathetic, indolent, and indifferent, instead of manufacturing for the American market bought from other nations, and so enriched their neighbors to their own impoverishment.
New Granada, or as the region round has been officially called since 1861, the United States of Colombia, is, as I have said, a country rich in resources but deadly in climate. Every tie used in the construction of the Panama railway may be said to represent the loss of a human life, and thousands of Frenchmen died in attempting the digging of the De Lesseps canal. There are many healthy places however in the mountains, but everywhere it is wet and hot. The sun acts as a perpetual pump, lifting up the water from two oceans perpendicularly a short distance and letting it drop. Bogota, the capital, is nearly 9,000 feet above the sea, and while perpetual snow covers the high peaks of the Cordilleras, along the ocean shores, and in the sections level with the sea, is a vegetation too rank for man to battle with. Cattle and horses are raised there, likewise maize, tobacco, coffee, wheat, plantins, cotton, cocoa, oranges, lemons, and sugar; while cedar, mahogany, cinchona and ipecacuanha are found in the forests; and in the hills silver, gold, copper, iron, lead, and coal; besides elsewhere emeralds, pearls, and rock-salt.
Famous among the towns early established along the shore of the Caribbean sea from the Magdalena river to the rio San Juan de Nicaragua was Cartagena, rich in the spoils of the natives, the products of the mines, and South Sea commerce. Notwithstanding its walls, 16 feet in thickness, the pirate Morgan found no great difficulty in capturing it. With a sort of poetic justice, though there was little either of poetry or justice in the nature of the bold villain, he measured out to the unfortunate Spaniards who fell into his hands somewhat of those diabolical cruelties which the Spaniards had inflicted on the Indians while robbing them of the gold of which they were now robbed by the buccaneers.
The old inquisition building at Cartagena is now used as a tobacco factory. The fortifications here, once the finest in America, are still imposing. The old ship canal which used to connect the city with the river is filled with tropical undergrowth.
Good land is everywhere in America but with much bad land, intermingled. Somewhat the same may be said of metals though, in more varied degree. While on the eastern side the precious metals are scarce all along the volcanic line of western seaboard, from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska, are rich deposits of mineral wealth; gold scattered by the streams and massed in the veined sierras, silver in big bonanzas and less conspicuous intermixtures; iron, coal, and the rest though in these last the eastern is the richer, section. Brazil is an exception to this mineral law regarding the west and the east, its mines of gold and diamonds being as famous as are those of the western Cordilleras for silver, iron, and salt likewise abound, while among the products of the soil, besides the vast areas of grazing lands, are all the plants useful to man, the exports being different from different localities; from the northern part hides, horses, and tallow; from the middle part rosewood, rice, tapioca manioc, spirits, dyes, drugs, gold-dust, and diamonds; from the northern part, coffee, cotton, sugar, tobacco, and cocoa. In vegetable products America gave to the world maize, or Indian corn, the yam, tobacco, the potato, and other edible roots and many medicinal plants. Native to tropical America are cocoa, tapioca, vanilla, the pineapple, arrow-root, pimenta, and cayenne pepper. Forests of vast extent and inestimable value are scattered over the continents, pine and cedar in the north with oak, ash, black-walnut, and hickory, and in the south mahogany, rosewood, brazilwood, and various dye-woods. Animals indigenous here are the buffalo, elk, antelope, deer, bear, and a hundred others. Likewise, there are many varieties of fish, birds, and insects some, of no small commercial value.
The Dorado, gilded or golden country, which Orellana, lieutenant of Pizarro, pretended to have discovered between the Amazon and Orinoco, Walter Raleigh declared that he saw from Guiana,—so strong were his eyes—and many pages of rose-colored description were written; but Raleigh’s head seemed somewhat astray; in fact he lost it altogether on his return to England. Others place El Dorado on the west side of Lake Parime, with a great river flowing by, and a capital city called Manoa. An account of the early expeditions to the golden temple of Dabaiba is given in the next chapter.
The Panama railway was the first to cross the continent; then followed the Central and Union Pacific, the Southern Pacific, the Northern Pacific, the South American, the Guatemalan, the Tehuantepec, the Mexican, and the Canadian.
Says a French writer, "Le Canal de Suez est l’ouvre de Dieu et de la France," achieved by M. de Lesseps under the benign influence of Napoleon III. On coming to America, France and M. de Lesseps it appears were left more to themselves, and were obliged in due time to retire before the forces of nature in that poisonous clime. Before De Lesseps' failure $250,000,000 was expended on the Panama canal.
The traffic of the Suez Canal is now ten times what it was at first, and there is talk of enlarging it, or of digging another parallel to it.
Between the Tara and Sardinarte rivers, in Venezuela, are oil geysers, where petroleum and boiling water spout up from cylindrical craters. Then there are the Colombia oil fields. A large bed of asphaltum covers the plain of Ceniza.
In the ancient city of Bocata, the present Bogata, capital of the Chibchans, was a famous temple to the god of agriculture, whither twice a year came votaries from near and far with gifts and petitions. There is here among other monuments a fine statue of Bolivar.
La Guayra, seaport of Caracas, was a noted rendezvous for pirates. It was while his ships were lying there that Drake crossed the mountain, burned the capital, and returned with $1,000,000 booty without the loss of a man.
There are telephones, electric lights, and street cars in most of the larger cities of South America, besides statues and monuments of patriots and learned men in great number.
When very rich gold mines were found in Venezuela, Great Britain claimed them as belonging to British Guiana. Caracas the capital of the republic was founded by Diego de Losada in 1567.
The current coin of Venezuela and its neighborhood is the bolivar, in value a little less than a franc.
Guayaquil, the seaport of Ecuador, ships annually $6,000,000 in coffee, cinchona, hides nuts, and other articles, and receives, from abroad merchandise to the amount of $19,000,000. The cathedral of Guayaquil is built of bamboo.
The Catholic Church is supreme in Ecuador, owns one quarter of the property, rules the ruler, has 272 feast or fast days a year, and a church building for every 150 persons. The country is rich in natural resources, but has few improvements; laborers' wages $2 to $10 a month; men carry 100 pounds of merchandise 285 miles for $2.25.
Many of the more mountainous and out of the way places are visited by peddlers, who carry a pack, trade, doctor men and cattle, and tinker household articles; and so extensive are their travels that they are sometimes four years in making their circuit, during which from time to time they visit the larger towns to replenish their pack and then dive again into the mountains or wilderness.
Infamous ingratitude attended the expatriation of Simon Bolivar, the founder of five republics although his bones are now entombed in marble and his name not only revered but worshipped. "He arado en el marl" "I have plowed the sea," he exclaimed, as he was left by his countrymen, after delivering them from the three-fold despotism of Spain themselves, and their neighbors, to die in exile and poverty.
On the Pampas back of Montevideo and Buenos Ayres a century ago were wild cattle and wild dogs, the former so numerous that 100,000 were annually killed for their hides the latter, the European domestic canine gone astray, living in holes and slaying the wild cattle for food.