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MEXICO OF TODAY*
By Senor Dr. Don Juan N. Navarro, Consul-GENERAL OF
MEXICO IN NEW YORK CITY
GLANCE at our factories shows a fiber originally imported from East
that our people manufacture India, which has been planted in Mex
acids, chemicals, candles, ex- ico and in all probability will yield a cellent beer and ale, carpets, furniture, good harvest. This establishment makes and carriages that have received pre- 7,000 bags per day and 800 meters of miums at some of the Paris expositions, carpets and rugs of the same material. cordage, glassware, hats, matches, paper The motive power in these factories is of every description, sugar, tobacco, and electricity derived from the falls of the many other articles, the production of Rio Blanco. which increases every day in quantity The wool manufactories, though not and quality. In the last few years the so many, are remarkable for the exceltextile industry of Mexico has pro- lence of their products, and are not often gressed at a surprising rate, and some excelled by the best products of other of the manufactories deserve special countries. The number of tobacco manmention. Rio Blanco is a manufactory ufactories is very considerable, and the situated near Orizaba. I personally vis- fame of the excellence of the material ited this manufactory a few months ago and elaboration is spreading day by day and found that it produces eighty differ- in the commerce of the world. Another ent classes of linen and cotton goods, manufactory worthy of mention is the has a colossal and tasteful building, and one in Merida for cordage. The capital maintains in incessant work more than invested in mounting it was $600,000, 3,000 workmen, who make 40,000 pieces and up to September of last year there per week. I have in my office, in New were exported to this country by way York, a complete set of samples of all of the port of Progreso more than two the linen and cotton goods from this millions of kilos of the henequen cordage manufactory, and all, especially the there manufactured. prints, in the perfection of the work Our government has promised certain and in the beauty and taste of colors privileges for the introduction of new and designs, excite the admiration of industries into the country, and the all who examine them.
department for correspondence has reI have not at hand the statistics giv- ceived 114 applications. ing the actual number of cotton manu- I have always believed that Mexico factories, but I calculate that there must is destined to be not only an agricultural be approximately 150, and that they last but an industrial country, as it produces year produced more than ten millions of a great number of vegetable raw matepieces of white and printed goods and rials and possesses an incomparable nearly two millions of yarn. The sales quantity of every known metal, and has declared for taxes for the years 1898 and living in cities a good part of its popu1899 are more than $29,700,000. An- lation who have a decided inclination other of the manufactories near the city and a remarkable ability for mechanical of Orizaba makes bags for flour, grain, labor. The facts of her development salt, etc. The raw material is jute, are confirming these views.
* Continued from the April number.
The scientific boards and establish- United States, and a geological instiments of the government render good tute, one of whose works, the geologservices to science in general and par- ical cut from Acapulco to Vera Cruz, ticularly to our country. There is a figured very advantageously in the last geodesical board that, besides other Paris Exposition, and many other scienscientific occupations, is measuring the tific institutions supported by public part of the arc of the meridian corre- funds or by private enterprise. sponding to Mexico.
To give some idea of our means of La Comisión Geografica Exploradora communication and public works, I shall (the geographical exploring board), in mention some facts about our railroads, order to make a correct map of the re- telegraphs, telephones, and postal servpublic on a large scale, is now working ice, and of some of the great works in in the States of Nuevo Leon, Vera Cruz, the capital and states. and Tamaulipas. The topographical Besides many hundreds of miles of surveys measure an area of 424,148 railways in active construction, we have square kilometers, the itineraries 142,- in actual operation 14,573 kilometers, 799 lineal kilometers, and the number or 9,055.22 English miles. In the last of positions astronomically determined four years 3,104 kilometers of roads is 424. The learned members of this were finished. Society can appreciate properly the time Mexico being a mountainous country, and scientific labor represented by these the cost of these roads in many cases operations.
was enormous; but we can boast of Our astronomical observatory in Ta- having some of the most daring and cubaya, Federal District, is in constant magnificent works of engineering and communication with similar institutions of the most picturesque views in the in the civilized world, and our directors world. One of the two railroads conhave visited them repeatedly and been necting the capital with the port of present at the astronomical congresses Vera Cruz has a section literally above of all nations. It has also the honor the clouds, and, according to the opinion of taking part in the formation of a pho- of foreigners visiting the country, the tographic zone of the celestial inap that trip of any tourist would be amply reis to be executed by international con- paid by only traveling on that magnifivention.
cent railroad, so solidly and skillfully Speaking of this science, it is worth built and cautiously run that an accimentioning that Mexico, since colonial dent of a serious nature has never haptimes, has always had remarkable astron- pened in more than 28 years of continual omers, and in the seventeenth century operation. For construction and splenthe illustrious Don Carlos de Sigüenza did scenery, the railroads running from y Gongora, of European renown, was Morelia to Uruapan, in the state of appointed by Charles II of Spain his Michoacan, and from Puebla to Oaxaca, royal cosmographer. In our times we connecting the two states of said names, had Diaz Covarrubias, and in fact Mex- can be especially recommended. ico, since the sixteenth century, has The number of passengers increases taken a prominent part in all astronom- at an enormous rate year by year. In ical observations, and was one of the
1893, 22,781,343 passengers were carmany countries to observe the transit of ried on Mexican railways ; in 1900 this Venus through the disc of the sun more number had nearly doubled, exceeding than 100 years ago.
40,000,000. Of merchandise, 3,798,360 There are also meteorological obser- tons were carried in 1893, and in 1900 vatories in connection with those of the nearly 8,000,000 tons.
The development of our telegraphs the greater part of South America as has kept pace with the railroads, and far as Brazil and Chile, and by land today there is not a place of any impor- with Guatemala and the other Central tance that is not connected telegraphic- American republics.
. We have one ally with the rest of the republic. telegraph cable at Alvarado Bar, and
Our telegraphic lines are divided into three others between Tuxtepec and four different branches-federal lines, Cosamaloapam, another between Chamstate lines, private company lines, and poton and Campeche, and one between railroad lines and the federal lines last San Juan Bautista and Nopalapam. November had an extension of 45,740 Our government has established a kilometers, or 28,421 English miles. school of telegraphy where girls receive President Diaz in his last report men- gratuitous instruction. tions only the federal lines, but, accord- Our postal system is continually ing to the statistical annuary, of the state studied and improved, and the results lines there were, on December 1, 1898, obtained are of the most gratifying 8,659.4 kilometers; of lines belonging to order. The number of offices in 1900 private companies, 3,690.240 kilome- was 1,972, including 96 on railroad ters, and of railroad lines, 11,198.195 kilometers. Adding these lines to the The public works completed and those 45,740 kilometers of federal wire and we in the course of construction are too have a total of 69,287.881 kilometers, or numerous to mention. Two, however, about 43,053 miles.
the drainage canal of the valley and city The extension of telephone lines in of Mexico and the great docks and December, 1898, was 28,433 kilometers, wharves in the port of Vera Cruz, debut in the last two years many more serve special consideration, because of lines have been constructed, and we can their colossal magnitude and importance. estimate that there are now 30,000 kilo- The city of Mexico is situated in an meters, equivalent to about 18,641 En- extensive and beautiful level valley, glish miles.
The number of messages surrounded by lofty mountains. There transmitted by federal telegraph only
is natural exit for the water that during the year 1892-'93 were 1,083,359, pours from the mountains or for the and during the last year, 1899-1900,
refuse of a large city. In consequence this number had more than doubled. the inhabitants were exposed to the
The federal offices in the capital and perils of floods which at different times other principal ones are open day and in the past became a reality. The Spannight, and the night service has been ish Government early took the matter so well patronized by the public that it in hand and approved the project of the covered its expenses almost immediately celebrated engineer, Enrico Martinez. after being established.
He constructed the gigantic cut now in Our telegraph lines are connected at existence and known by the name of different points with those of the United "Tajo de Nochistongo." But, although States and by two submarine cables- that work had averted the danger from one from Galveston to Tampico and the the side of Cuautitlán, deviating the other from Tampico to Vera Cruz. course of the river of that name, it did Through the United States we are in not solve the whole problem. The socommunication with any part of Europe, lution as completed was first proposed while the United States, through our by another Spanish engineer, Simon telegraph lines from the Atlantic to the Mendez, whose plans, with some modiPacific Ocean and a cable from Salina fications, constitute the work now finCruz to Libertad, communicates with ished.
The work was undertaken and sus- A few words will give some idea of pended several different times for the the magnitude and usefulness of the want of funds and the uncertainties public works in the port of Vera Cruz. produced by revolutions.
The city of Vera Cruz was founded by In the year 1885 it was resumed in the Spaniards for military and not for earnest, and incessantly and vigorously commercial purposes.
commercial purposes. It was planted prosecuted until its completion, by Gen- within the fire of the guns of the foreral Diaz, who, with his usual activity tress, San Juan de Ulua, which they and energy, put it under the direction had built on a rock in the bay. The of a board of distinguished citizens. port was a bay, or rather an open roadThe Mexican engineer, Dr. Luis Espi- stead, where ships could find no protecnosa, was the technical director, who tion in a storm. Often the shipmasters modified advantageously the original preferred to lift anchor and battle with plan and brought it to a happy termina- a tempest on the high seas. Today the tion with an ability, energy, and con- old fortress is a part of the city, and stancy that deserve the gratitude and can be reached by carriage, and the admiration of all his fellow-citizens. open roadstead has been converted into
The completed works consist of a a safe port, with wharves for the largest canal, with a length of 30 miles, and a vessels and every convenience for the tunnel of more than six miles. The landing of passengers and the loading canal runs from the northeastern sec- and unloading of ships. tion of the city, called San Lazaro, to In many other ports on the Gulf the town of Zumpango. There the and the Pacific Ocean improvements enormous mass of water enters the tun- are being constantly made In Tamnel cut through the mountain, and on pico a new wharf is nearly completed the other side disgorges into the ravine to replace the one destroyed by fire or Barranca de Tequisquiac, in which it in 1888. In San Juan Bautista four is confined till it reaches the Gulf of wharves have been finished. The fiscal Mexico. The works are laid out in wharf in Frontera is completed and in such a way that when the system of use, and also the one in Progreso. Very canalization of the streets of the city is important works are in progress in the finished, according to the plans pre- ports of Salina Cruz, the Pacific end of sented by another distinguished engi- the Tehuantepec Inter-Oceanic Railneer, Dr. Roberto Gayol, the water of road, and Altata, a port that is to be the lakes, principally of Texcoco, which changed to Tetuan, which offers a better is the lowest, will be controlled, and anchorage for vessels. Mexico will be perhaps the only city in
In the last four years many lightthe world which will be able to wash houses have been built on the coast its sewers every day. This last work of Yucatán, in Isla de Mujeres, Cayo is being vigorously pushed, and it is Norte, Cabo Catoche, Contoy, Punta expected will be completed during the Molar, and Punta Calarain and on the last months of the present year.
Mex- Pacific coast, on Morros de Seybaplaya, ico has good reason to be proud of this Salina Cruz, Santiaguillo, Isla de Arcas, magnificent work, which has cost her Zapotitlan, Cayo Lobos, and Puerto many millions of dollars.
( To be concluded in the June number.)
THE GENERAL GEOGRAPHY OF ALASKA
By Henry GANNETT, CHIEF GEOGRAPHER, UNITED STATES
LASKA, our northernmost pos- of islands, forming what is known as
session, extends over more than the Alexander Archipelago.
20 degrees of latitude and 45 The Cordillera of North America degrees of longitude-as far as from enters Alaska at its southeastern exFlorida to Maine and from Maine to tremity and follows the Pacific coast Utah.* From the main body of the Ter- around to the Aleutian Islands. Beyond ritory stretch two projections, one to the this mountain system and following its southeast, comprising the Alexander general trend is a broad depression, Archipelago and the adjacent mainland, drained by the Yukon River and its the other to the southwest, comprising tributaries. North of this basin is a the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian height of land which separates the Islands.
Yukon Valley from the bleak shores of The exact area of Alaska cannot at the Arctic Ocean. present be known, owing to the fact that the boundaries are as yet located only
THE PACIFIC COAST REGION approximately. The seacoast, which forms by far the greater part of the
This portion of the Territory is mounboundary, has not been accurately
tainous throughout. Although the mapped, except in small part, while the
coast of the mainland and of the islands land boundary on the southeast, which
is, altogether, several thousand miles in separates our territory from Canada, has length, yet for the entire distance there not been defined, except in the general
are very few square miles of level terms of the treaty of cession from Rus
ground. The land rises from the water sia. Various measurements have been
almost everywhere at steep angles, withmade, based upon different maps, giving
out a sign of beach, to altitudes of thouareas ranging from 570,000 to 600,000
sands of feet. It is a fiord coast. The square miles. A careful recent meas
islands are separated from one another urement from the large map published
and from the mainland by fiords, deep by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey
gorges, whose bottoms are in some cases (scale 1:1,200,000) gives its area as
thousands of feet below the surface of Of this the por
the water. 590,884 square miles.
These fiords extend far up tion lying east of the 141st meridian,
into the mainland and into the islands, popularly known as southeastern Alas
in deep, narrow U-shaped inlets. ka, which is the best known part of the
The relief features of this region, its Territory, has an area of 43,710 square
mountains and its gorges, partly filled miles, of which 30,800 square miles con
by the sea, are all of glacial origin, presist of mainland and 12,910 square
senting everywhere the familiar hand
writing of ice. Every cañon, every * It lies between latitudes 51° and 71° 30', water passage, whether called strait, extending 5 degrees within the Arctic Circle, canal, or bay, is a U-shaped gorge, and and stretches from longitude 130° to 175°. The
its branches are similar gorges comgreat body of the Territory lies, however, between latitudes 60° and 71° 30', and between
monly at higher levels" hanging vallongitude 141° and 168o.
ley's” they have been called. Above