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937. Jamaica. Jamaica lies about 90 miles south of Cuba in the 18th degree of north latitude. It was set. tled by the Spaniards, and continued in their possession, till 1656, when it was conquered by the English, who still possess it. It is about 150 miles in length, and about 40 in medial bredth. It is mountainous, but contains excellent land, and is far the richest English island. It produces the sugar cane, cocoa, ginger, pimento, indigo, maiz, and all the tropical plants and fruits. Its exports, of which sugar of an excellent quality is the most valuable, amount to upwards of 9 millions of dollars annually. It contains 30,000 whites ; 250,000 slaves; 10,000 free blacks, and 1400 maroons ; 712 sugar plantations, and 20 parishes. Its ancient capital Port Royal was destroyed by an earthquake in 1693 ; since which Kingston has been the chief town. It contains 26,000 inhabitants, and is a place of great trade and opulence.
938. Porto Rico. Porto Rico, an island belonging to the Spaniards, is in the 19th degree of north latitude, about 60 miles east of Hayti; it is 120 miles long, and 40 broad, and contains 80,000 inhabitants. The face of the island is diversified with bills and vallies, and the soil is of remarkable fertility, but the climate is insalubrious. It abounds with cattle, horses and mules, and contains about 6000 plantations. The chief exports are sugar, ginger, cotton and melasses, with various fruits, drugs and sweet meats.
939, English Caribbean isles. Barbadoes, in the 14th degree of north latitude, was settled by the English in 1624. It is twenty miles by thirteen in size, contains · about 16,000 whites, and 63,000 blacks, and exports annually commodities to the amount of more than two millions of dollars. Grenada was first settled by the French in 1632, but was afterwards taken by the English. It lies in the 12th degree of north latitude, 30 leagues from Barbadoes, and is in size twenty-eight miles by thirteen. The white inhabitatants are about 1000, and the blacks 26,000. Its annual exports amount to two millions and a half of dollars. Many small isles in the vicinity, called Grenadines, are dependent on Grenada. Antigua, in the 18th degree of north latitude, is
fifteen miles by ten in size, and contains 2500 whites and 38,000 blacks. It has a rich soil, but is subject to extreme drouth, and there is not a spring or stream of fresh water on the island. Its annual exports are about two millions and a third, in value.
940. St. Christophers and Dominica. St. Christophers or St. Kitts, in the 18th degree of north latitude, and twenty miles by seven in size, was settled by the English in 1623, and is therefore the oldest British settlement in the West Indies. Its white inhabitants are computed at 6000, and the blacks at 36,000. Its annual exports are about the value of two millions of dollars. Dominica in the i6th degree of north latitude, between Guadaloupe and Martinico, is 29 by 16 miles in extent, and contains 1200 whites and 15,000 blacks. Its annual exports are in value about thirteen hundred thousand dollars. The English possess also St. Vincents, Anguilla, Nevis and Montserrat; smaller isles, but resembling the others in climate and productions.
941. French Caribbean isles. Martinico in the 15th degree of north latitude, is about 60 miles by 30 in extent. It was settled in 1635, and contains about 15,000 whites and 72,000 blacks. It is hilly, but fertile ; producing annually twenty-three million pounds of sugar, besides coffee, cotton and cocoa. It contains 28 parishes, and two considerable towns, Port Roval and St. Pierre. Guadaloupe, in the 17th degree of north latitude, is 45 miles by 58 in extent, and was settled in 1635. Its productions are the same in kind and nearly the same in quality as in Martinico. But it has a volcanic mountain, where sulphur is collected, and which ejects smoke and sometimes fire. St. Lucia, 6 leagues south of Martinico, is 27 miles by 12 in extent, contains about 3000 whites and 10,000 blacks, and exports to the value of half a million of dollars. Tobago, in the 12th degree of north latitude, is 32 miles by 12 in extent, and is a valuable island.
942. Danish, Swedish and Dutch Islands. Santa Cruse, in the 18th degree of north latitude, is about 30 miles by 8 in extent and contains 3000 whites and 30,000 slaves. Its productions for export are chiefly sugar and rum.
The blacks have mostly embraced christianity under Moravian Missionaries. St. Thomas, in the 19th degree of north latitude, is about 9 miles by 3 in extent. St. Bartholomews, in the 18th degree of north latitude, is about 15 miles in circumference. It belongs to Sweden, but being settled originally by the French, its inhabitants are mostly French and Irish Catholics. St. Eustatius in the 18th degree of north latitude, is a mountain of 29 miles in circumference, rising out of the ocean. It belongs to the Dutch, of whom there are 5000 on the island with 15,000 slaves.
943. General view of the West Indies. The climate of the islands is nearly the same, being extremely hot, but the heat is mitigated by the sea breezes. Some of the islands have nearly a level surface, as Barbadoes ; but most of them contain hills and mountains, and several of them are volcanic. The productions in all are nearly the same. The most valuable articles are sugar, coffee, cotton, tobacco, melasses, rum, cocoa, pimento, dyeing woods, with numerous other useful commodities, and all the tropical fruits. These are their exports, for which they receive English and India goods, provisions of all kinds, horses and mules, lumber, candles, &c.
This chain of islands is subject occasionally to most tremendous hurricanes, which spread destruction by sea and land.
944. Trinidad, Curaso and Cayenne. Trinidad is an island near the coast of South America, about 100 miles by 20 in extent. It was originally settled by the Span. iards, but has been conquered by the English. It is a fertile island, but a small part only is yet cultivated. Curaso, situated about ten leagues from the Spanish coast, is about 30 miles long, and 10 broad, and belongs to the Dutch, who took it from the Spaniards in 1632. It is naturally barren, but Dutch industry has made it productive. Cayenne is an island of 16 leagues in circumference, separated from the continent by two rivers. It belongs to the French, who possess also the province of Cayenne, on the main land. Its produce is arnotto, coffee, cotton, sugar and cocoa.
945. Mexico. Mexico, or New Spain, is that part of the continent which lies around the Gulf of Mexico, which deeply indents the land south of Florida. It extends from the istmus of Darien to an undefined limit on the north, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. This country was conquered by Cortez in 1521, and still remains in possession of Spain. It is generally broken and mountainous, but contains much fertile land, and numerous large rivers. The most populous parts of Mexico are within the tropics, where the earth produces every plant usually found in similar latitudes; and the domestic animals introduced by Europeans have greatly multiplicd. The mountains abound with gold, silver, and other metals. Mexico is divided into provinces and governed by a viceroy.
946. City of Mexico. Mexico, the capital of the province, is situated on islands in the lake Tezcuco, in the 20th degree of north latitude. It was the seat of the Mexican Kings before the conquest, and still contains 200,000 inhabitants. The buildings are of stone, and the public edifices magnificent. The floating gardens on the lake are a singular curiosity, being constructed of willows and marsh plants, twisted and united, and covered by light bushes, on which is spread earth to a sufficient depth. These gardens, are of different sizes, and cover the lake with floating fields, filled with plants, for the use of the city,
SOUTH AMERICA. 947. Situation and Extent. South America extends in length from Darien, or about the 12th degree of north latitude, to the 54th degree of south latitude, a distance of 4600 miles. Its bredth from the 35th to the 80th degree of west longitude, is about 3000 miles. It is surrounded by the ocean, which is called the Atlantic, on the east, and the Pacific on the west ; except a narrow neck of land at Panama, which . is not more than 45 miles wide, called the istmus of Darien, by which North and South America are connected.
948, Mountains. The Andes constitute the most ex
tensive and lofty chains of mountains on the globe. They extend nearly the whole length of South America, and generally within a hundred miles of the western coast. The highest peak is that of Chimborazo, a hundred miles south of Quito, which rises more than 20,000 feet, almost 4 miles above the level of the sea. The highest summits are always covered with snow, even under a vertical sun; and many of them are volcanoes which frequently eject immense masses of stones and ashes, with rivers of burning lava. These eruptions are also attended with violent earthquakes which shake the neighboring country, overwhelm cities, and rend vast chasms in the towering Andes.
949. Rivers. The Maranon. The rivers in South America, correspond, in magnitude, with the majesty of the mountains. The Maranon, which has its sources on the eastern side of the Andes, receives a vast number of subsidiary streams, until it becomes the largest river on the globe. For a great distance from its mouth, vessels sail on this river out of sight of land, and before it mingles with the ocean, under the equator, it opens to a bay of 150 miles wide. Its length, including its windings, is about 3300 miles.
950. The Paraguay. The second river in South America is the Paraguay, called also the Plate, or Silver river. It is formed by the Paraguay, the Pilcomayo, the Parana and Urucuay, with many lesser rivers. Its principal streams originate in the mountains of Brasil, and running south and east, it enters the Atlantic in the 36th degree of south latitude, after a course of about 2000 miles. Its navigation is rendered somewhat dangerous by islands and rocks, but ships ascend 1200 miles to Assumption. This river at its entrance into the ocean opens to a bay as broad as that of the Maranon.
951. The Oronoke. The Oronokc is the third river in size in South America. It is composed of numerous rivers which spring from the Andes and from streams in the south, which are said to connect this river with the Maranon. After a winding course, it enters the AtlanLic south east of Trinidad. Magdalen, a river of 600 miles in length, runs north to the sea near Carthagena.