Page images
[merged small][merged small][graphic]


Cuba. Largest island of the West Indies, between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, between lat. 20°-24° N. and long. 74°-85° W.; 780 m. long. 28-143 m. wide; area 48.319 sq.m.; adjacent islands 1,400 sq.m.; coast line 3,000 m. It is separated from Florida on the north by the Straits of Florida, 130 m. wide; from Hayti on the east by the Windward Passage, 48 m. wide; from Jamaica on the south by the Carribbean Sea, 90 m. wide: from Yucatan on the west by the Yucatan Channel, 130 m. wide. It is of volcanic origin, with mountain ran<re from e. to w., the highest at the e., 7,700 ft. Coral formations surround the island. The longest rivers are in the south, navigable for vessels of 50 tons. There are several good ports. The climate is that of the torrid zone, 77-82" F., Aug.-Sept. being the hottest months, Nov.-Feb. the coldest; rainfall 39-46 in. The highlands are healthy, the low, marshy parts unhealthy. Yellow fever is endemic. Earthquakes have occurred in the eastern end. Hurricanes take place in fall months. Pop. 1894 was estimated at ab. 1,640,000, of whom 950.000 were white Creoles, 150,000 Spaniards, 500,000 negroes, 40,000 Chinese. A large portion of the land is uncultivated, consisting of virgin forests and fertile plains. In 1894-95 there were produced 1,004,264 tons of sugar; of tobacco 560,000 bales of 110 lbs., of which 338,000 bales were exported, the rest being made into cigars and cigarettes; e 1895, 48,163,846 cigarettes were exported. Other products are coffee, cacao, opium, aniseed, indigo, manihot, two crops Indian corn, cotton, hard woods, tropical fruits. Horses, mules, swine and sheep are largely raised. Iron, copper, zinc, coal, asphaltum, manganese, mercury, gold, silver, petroleum, and mineral waters are found in the eastern end. In 1897, 495,566 tons of iron ore were exported by two American companies. The imports are rice, flour, meat, wines, cottons, woolens, silks, perfumeries, and building materials. The exports in 1892 amounted to $90,000,000; and the imports $57,000,000. The revenue of the government does not exceed $30,000,000; in 1893-94 the expenditures were $26,000,000. The debt amounted in 1896 to $350,000,000 and the annual interest to $17,800,000. The principal towns are Havana, pop. 200,000; Santiago, 70.000: Puerto Principe, 45.000; Holguin, 35,000; Santo Spiritu, 30,000; Cienfuegos, 28,000; Cardenas, 24,000. C. is divided into six provinces; these and the municipalities are administered by corporations of councilors. The whole island is governed by the Captain-general, with an advisory council, which is rarely consulted. There are 16 senators and 30 deputies to the Spanish Cortes. There have been numerous revolts against the government—one, 1868-78, was formidable. The present rebellion began in 1895, under the lead of Jose Marti, Antonio and Jose Maceo, and Gomez. Gen. Martinez Campos, the Gov.-gen., endeavored to quell the rebellion by fair fighting and employing the people. He was not supported by his officers, and in 1896 was replaced by Gen. Weyler, who was energetic and cruel, and concentrated the Cubans within certain lines, near towns, who suffered from want of food and exposure. Gen. Blanco succeeded in Oct. 1897, who endeavored to conciliate the Cubans by appointments to office and the establishment of autonomous government, the Cuban parliament bein^ inaugurated at Havana, May 1. 1898. Roads are few; ab. 1,000 m. of railroads radiate from Havana. There are ab. 2,500 m. of telegraph. The religion is Roman Catholic. Slavery was abolished 1886. C. was discovered bv Columbus in 1492, settled by Spaniards 1511-15, taken by England 1762, ceded back to Spain 1763. The inhabitants found there at the discovery were Indians from Yucatan and S. America.

Hawaiian (or Sandwich) Island*. Group of 12 islands in the Pacific Ocean, lat. 19-23° N. and long. 155-162° W., 2,100 m. from U.S.; 8 are inhabited, having an area of 6,740 sq.m. The others are barren rocks. They are volcanic and mountainous, high ground in the center, rich valleys to sandy shores, with coral reefs. Soil is fertile and productive. Hawaii, 4.210 sq.m., and Kauai, 640 sq.m., are supplied with rivers for irrigation, not navigable. Harbors are wanting; that of Honolulu, on Oahu 500 sq.m., has a depth of 22J ft. Climate temperate, 52-90° F., rainfall 40-54 in. N.E. trade winds bring rain. The uplands have forests. There are no mineral resources. Rats, dogs, mice, bats, hogs are indigenous; there are also wild horses, few reptiles and 71 species of birds. Sugar, rice, coffee, bananas, wool and hides are exported; cotton, tobacco, cacao, arrowroot, yams, and all live stock, are also raised. The imports consist of groceries, provisions, clothing, grain, machinery, hardware and cotton goods. In .1896 the exports amounted to $15,436,000. of which sugar was $14 932,000, rice $195,000 and bananas $125,000. The imports amounted to $7,165,000: 93 percent of the trade is with U.S. Tiie public revenue in 1896 amounted to $1,997,818; expendi

tures $1,904,191; customs $656,896; taxes $706,542; internal revenue $168,384; debt $4,136,174; interest 5-13 per cent. Pop., 1892, 109,020; of these 31,019 were Hawaiians, 8.485 half castes, 21,616 Chinese, 24.407 Japanese, 15,191 Portuguese, 3,087 Americans, 235 British, 1,430 Germans. 378 Norwegians, 101 French, 455 Polynesians, 600 others. 7.570 were engaged in agriculture, 3,100 in fishing and navigation, 3.265 in industries, 2,031 in trade and transport, 2,580 in liberal arts, 34.498 laborers, 4,310 various. The natives are allied to Maories of New Zealand in race and language. There are 71 m. of railroad and 250 m. of telegraph in the islands. The capital is Honolulu, on Oahu; pop.. 1896, 29,920. It has electric lights and tramways. Postal savings banks in 1890 had deposits of $956,999. U. 8. coins constitute the money. Kalakaua was elected king 1874, with opposition of dowager Queen Emma; he died 1891. His sister Liliuokalani succeeded him. In 1893 Committee of Public Safety, of U. S. element, abrogated monarchical government and established a provisional government, applying to U. S. for annexation. July 4,1894, a Republic was proclaimed, and Sanford B. Dole was elected President. July 7, 1898, President McKinley signed the Senate resolution annexing the Hawaiian Is. to U. S. Aug. 12 the American flag was raised over the palace in Honolulu, and President Dole and his government continued in office.

Ladronea, or Mariana Islands. Group of fifteen islands in the Pacific Ocean, lat. 13-21° N. and long. 144-146° E., area 417 sq.m. Four of the islands are inhabited, Guahan or Guam, Rota, Tinian and Aquigan; pop. 9,000; capital San Ignacio de Agafia on Guam, which island has an area of 198 sq.m. and a pop. of 7,000. The islands are of volcanic origin, mountainous and fringed with reefs. They are fertile and wooded. Rice, maize, sugar, tobacco, cotton, indigo, breadfruit, bananas, areca and eocoanut palms and castor oil are produced. Water is plentiful and the climate is salubrious, the mean temperature being 81° F. At the time of the Spanish settlement the inhabitants numbered 50.000. The present population consists of the descendants of the original inhabitants, called Chamorros, more or less mixed with Spaniards, and the Tagals from the Philippines. They are poor and indolent. The islands were discovered by Magellan in 1521 and settled by the Spaniards in 1667, since which date they have remained a Spanish colony with little revenue. In 1898, during the Spanish-American war, U. S. took possession of the group, June 21.

Philippine Island*. Extensive group of islands belonging toSpain, lat. 4-20° N., long. 116-127° E., area 114,400sq.m., of volcanic origin, having mountains 7,800 ft. high, with coral formations on the coast and subject to earthquakes and eruptions. The climate is healthy, tropical, 79° mean temperature, March to May hottest, Nov. to Feb. coldest; N.E. wind Oct. to April, S.W. monsoon April to Oct. The soil is fertile. The flora is Malayan and Australian; ebony, teak, sandal, sappan, camphor, areca and perfume flowers abound. Pepper, tea, cinnamon, cloves, palms, manila hemp, tropical fruits, sugar, tobacco, coffee, rice, cacao, cotton, indigo, wheat, maize, ginger and vanilla are cultivated. The fauna is Asiatic and Australian; monke3's, flying lemurs, boars, buffaloes, antelopes, cockatoos, tortoises, insects, pheasants, ducks, parrots, squirrels, niollusca, fish, tarantulas and mosquitoes. Gold, galena, mercury, iron, copper, pyrites, amber, coal, sulphur and mineral watersare found here. Oxen, horses, jroats, sheep and swine are raised. The ancient inhabitants are negritos (negro pigmies), with woolly hair; they are savage and repulsive and roam in bands; a few thousand of pure stock remain. Malays constitute the majority; they are Roman Catholics, live in villages, and are engaged in fishing, agriculture, shipbuilding, leather dressing, and weaving mats and linen. Chinese are numerous, and Mestizoes, a cross of the Chinese with native women; they are engaged in commerce. The Spaniards are few. Pop. 6,500,000. Luzon is the largest, 40.000 sq.m. The capital is Manila, on Luzon, pop. 160.000. Other large towns are Laoag, pop. 31,000; Lipa, 42,000; Banang, 36.000; Batangas, 34,000. The imports in 1896 amounted to $10,750,000 and exports to $37,500,000. The imports were rice, flour, wines, dress goods, petroleum and coal. The exports were sugar, tobacco, cigars, hemp, cotton manufactures and yarn. Value of sugar exported $8,000,000; hemp, $7,500,000; "tobacco leaf, $2,500,000; cigars. $750,000; copra, $1,875,000. Average imports 34 percent from Great Britain; 21 per cent from Hong Kong and Amoy; 13 per cent from Spain; 10 per cent from Singapore. Coins are Mexican dollars, with local fractional coins. Estimated revenue 1894-95, $13,579,900; expenditures. $13,282,630. There are 70 m. of railroad; 720 m. of telegraph. The P. were discovered by Magellan 1521, who

[merged small][merged small][graphic]
« PreviousContinue »