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MEXICO AND MEXICANS

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fourth of whose area once belonged to its vegetation and beautiful for the air Mexico. It has a coast-line some 6,000 of prosperity and well-being that dwells miles long, although its greatest length is with it. Here land that yesterday was less than 2,000 miles and its greatest bare Mother Hubbard's cupbreadth only 750 miles. Although its board today is laden with all the good area is only one-fourth that of Brazil, its things that the vegetable kingdom afpopulation is approximately equal to that fords. A strange combination of tropof the empire of the southern continent. ical and northern agriculture greets the Some 15 million souls live within its. eye.

Most of the things which grow in borders, of whom more than two-thirds our own western country flourish alongcan neither read nor write.

side of the crops which grow south of the Of the total population, only 19 per Tropic of Cancer, cent are white, 43 per cent are of mixed .I trip along the Pan-American railparentage, while 38 per cent still main road, with its magnificent forests and tain their Indian blood uncorrupted. great ancient estates, among them one on The foreign population two years ago which the cattle still wear the brand of numbered 100,000 souls, of whom 30,000 Cortes; over the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, were Americans, 20,000 Spanish, and where the tropical jungle rivals that of 5,000 British.

the Motagua River Valley in Guatemala, MEXICAN AGRICULTURAL POSSIBILITIES

pronounced by Frank G. Carpenter the

richest in the world, and then on up The agricultural possibilities of Mex- through the great \tlantic plain of midico, despite its vast central desert plain, dle Mexico, suggests the immense undeare great. It has millions of acres of the veloped resources of the country. finest grazing land, great bodies of land In the middle and lower altitude belts that will produce two crops of corn a of the country the banana and the orange year, large areas of banana lands that can flourish. The excellent railroad facilities match those of Guatemala and Costa of Vexico give a good outlet to the ports Rica, coffee lands that produce coffee not at l'era Cruz and Tampico, where ships only fit for the “queen's table," but used are constantly loading for European and on it, rubber lands, and cocao lands—all American ports. The orangeries of eastlying accessible to good railroads and in ern lexico are nearer to the eastern part touch with the world's markets.

of the United States than are those of Go to Yucatan, go to Colima, go to southern California, and crop failures Chiapas, go to Vera Cruz, and every among them are unknown. With the where outside the great desert you will same methods of cultivation that are purfind a soil teeming with possibilities. And sued in Florida and southern California, portions even of the desert land, if we they should be a source of vast wealth to may judge by what we have done with

the country. our own western alkali plains, may yet be made to blossom when the irrigationist

THE TIONE OF CORN and the plant-breeder join hands.

Although the value of the corn proThe possibilities of the arid and semi- duced in Mexico each year is greater than arid regions of Mexico are disclosed at that of any other product, not even exSaltillo, on the Mexican plateau between cepting gold or silver, the country still Mexico City and Laredo, Texas. The has to import a part of its supply. The traveler who journeys from the capital reason is not far to seek—it is the nationto the frontier spends a night and a day wide love for the tortilla. There are vast traveling over a barren region, with here areas where it is easy to produce two and there an adobe city, and with noth crops of corn a year and where each

crop ing but the green of the cacti to relieve grows with an exuberance that would dethe depressing brown of the desert. light the heart of any corn-club contestant About twenty hours out of Mexico he in the United States. comes to Saltillo.

It was my good fortune to travel In a moment he passes from the desert through the region lving between the into a broad oasis that is wonderful for Mexican highlands and the lowlands,

AND COTTON

[graphic]

Photo by Dr. C. William Beebe This pastoral scene is where to springs-one hot, the other cold-arise close together, near the city of Colima and the active volcano of the same name, in western Vexico. This part of the country is noted for its enormous wild fig trees.

from Santa Lucrecia to Cordoba, and seen by Columbus along the coast of wherever I came across one of those little Yucatan at the very dawn of the sixMormon settlements which dot the prairie teenth century.

The Toltecs wrote in stretches of this region there were fields their sacred books that Quetzalcohuatl, of corn to be seen the like of which may god of the air, grei cotton of all colors be met in but few parts of the United in his garden and taught them its many States.

uses. In the times of Cortes the Indians Uncounted generations lefore the quilted armor of cotton, which was proof United States came into being the In- against arrow's. dians of Mexico had their liule patches To this day cotton is cultivated with of corn.

It was the great staple of profit in many parts of the country. In Montezuma's court, and to this day it is the Laguna region it is perennial and does almost the sole support of the Mexican not require to be plantel oftener than Indian.

once in teu vears. Some of the largest There are few parts of lexico, either cotton factories in the world are to be in the hot belt adjoining the sea or on found in Mexico. The great Rio Blanco the table-lands between the mountains, mills, in Orizaba, rank with the best in Where corn is not cultivated with success. Kugland and Imerica. llow valuable the crop might be made

RTILIRKABLE MEXICAS PLANTS when farmed in the Illinois and the lowa way is shown by the wonderful success Mexico probably has a greater range with which the Mormons have met when of remarkable vegetation than any other uudisturbed bilar.

country in the world.

The parrot fruit Ilistory does not recall the time when tree produces an odd-shaped fruit, beurCOLOn first was cultivated in Mexico. ing a close resemblance to green parraThe Spaniards found it there. Indians keets. Evidently mindful of this strikJothe lithi cotton garments were first ing resemblance, when the parrakeet is

MEXICO AID VESICANS

frightened it makes a dash for the par- plied with railroads as lexico. Prior rot tree, where it assumes a position

to the Madero revolution it had 20,000 which makes it look like the fruit itself. miles of up-to-date American railroad. So close is the resemblance hat their At six different points lines crossed the enemies, the hawks, occasionally fly by a frontier from the United States, and tree on which a dozen or more of these Laredo, Eagle Pass, and El Paso gatebirds are sitting, apparently unaware of ways handled much traffic to and from their presence.

Mexico. The lexican railroads carried Another remarkable tree is the "Arbol 11,000,000 passengers annually at that de Dinamite" dynamite tree whose time, and handled about 11 million tons fruit, if kept in a warm place, bursts with of freight. Their total revenues amountconsiderable force and a loud report, ed to about $40,000,000, scattering its flat seeds to a surprising The government owns a controlling indistance.

terest in the major portion of the mileage

of the railroads, and is the owner of the THE PAPAYA TREE

Tehuantepec road and of the Vera Cruz One of the most interesting fruits in and Isthmus line. I plan was on foot a Mexico is known as the melon zapote, few years ago to extend a branch of the or papaya. It grows wild and attains a

Tehuantepec road to Yucatan, to connect height of as much

as 25 feet.

The

up with the United Railways of that dark-green leaves are from 20 to 30 province. This would give every section inches long and grow at the top of

of the country railroad communication an otherwise leafless trunk. The fruit

with every other section. would seem a cross between a cantaloupe, Besides the Tehuantepec route there a pumpkin, and a watermelon. The tree

are tivo or three other transcontinental begins to bear fruit when a year olel,

pro lines. The Pau-Imerican Railway exducing from 20 to 100 melons at a time, tends from the Tehuantepec route to a single one of which may weigh as the Guatemalan frontier, and this gives much as 20 pounds.

through railroad connection from CanThe melons contain considerable pep ada to Guatemala city. But having traisiu, which reacts against both acid and eled over this route, let me advise the sea alkaline conditions of the stomach, and it trip as one far more comfortable, even is said that a diet which includes papaya to those who are not good sailors. precludes dyspepsia. Both the fruit and From American standpoint the the leaves possess the singular property Tehuantepec route is by far the most inof rendering tough meat tender. When teresting of the Mexican railroads, bethe pulp of the fruit is rubbed over a cause it is the principal prospective com piece of tough meat the juice attacks the petitor of the Panama Canal. This road fiber and softens it.

is built on the line of the proposed Eads' The trees are well defined as to sex, ship railway; from Coatzacoalcos to and where they are cultivated but one Salina Cruz. It is approximately 200 male tree is permitted to grow in a miles long and crosses the continental grove of fifty or more females.

divide above Rincon Intonio. Vexico abounds in orchids, and some

EDS' DREAM of the most beautiful species known in the plant kingdom are there to be found. How Eads could see

a ship railway Is one journeys through the country across those mountains is more than I from the Tehuantepec Railroad to the can imagine. When you journey across Vera Cruz and Mexico City line he sees a mountain on

railroad that is well dozens of species of orchids on the located, and vet on which the curres forest trees, some of which would bring have to be so sharp that the rear plattop prices in the New York market. form of your car and the headlight of

your locomotive point in the same direcMEXICAN RAILROADS

tion, and when this happens not No other country in the New World, but a dozen times, and in a 20-car mixer south of the Rio Grande, is so well sup train, you cannot imagine, in your wildest

an

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once.

Photo by Shirley C. Ilulse "TEELING

I COCK The Mexicans use a gafi, or heel, up to three inches or more in length. Is contrasted 10 the needle-like heel which is used elsewhere the Mexican heel is broad and razor-sharp on both clges, except that the top cage is blunted for a little wars back of the point to insure the penetration of the gati, which might otherwise merely rip instead of cutting deep. The Mexicans sometimes wrangle ud haggle for hours while arranging terms of the tights, whichi are usually over very quickly after they are once started. Not infrequently both cocks fall dead after the lirst clash.

llights of fancy; how a ship could be line to take it third of its stocki and to hauled over those mountains in gigantic handle its cargoes across the Isthmus cradle

upon terms that would be more adianThere are many peculiarities about the tageous than the trip around South Tehuantepee Railroad. It is owned by Imerica. It agreed to handle the busithe government, but is operated by a ness between Salina Cruz and Coatzacompany made up of 1110 cqual partners, coalcos for one-third of the through rate, the levican government and the firm of with the understanding that if this did S. Pearson & Son. lach partner 001 not allord a profit to the steamship comtributed half the capital of the tirm, and pany the railroad would be willing to they share the profits, the Pearson firm accept as low as a fourth of the through being the managing director

rite The Mexican government owns about one-third of the stock of the Imerican

COMPETING WITII PILULU Tlawam stcumship line, which is the With the opening of the Panama Canal, principal freight producer for the Te the Imerican-Ilawaiian line will send luuantepec Railroud. Tears ago these its ships through that watervay, in spite ships went around South America, from of the fact that the Mexican government Tawali to se York, with their cargoes. owns one-third of the line's stocki and

When the levican govern took it in order to get the steamships to menit decided to build the Tehuantepee 1156 the Teluantepec route. Railroad in proposal in the steamship But although the Tehuantepec officials

of sugar.

[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

concede that on through cargo business fcial entirely, and ships now ride 30 feet they cannot, under any circumstances,

above what once was the old town site compete with the Panama Canal, they of Salina Cruz. Great blocks of constill believe that they will not be seriously crete make a sea-wall between the inner affected by the opening of the big water and the outer harbors. The outer harway. They think that the business boom bor is formed by two great breakwaters that the canal will bring to tropical which leave an opening about 600 feet

America will give enough additional wide out to sea. These breakwaters enmixed cargo to take the place of the close a harbor space of about 20 acres. through cargo lost.

Ships are loaded and unloaded with To illustrate : On a ship loaded with electric cranes, the cars having trap lumber and bound for New York from doors in their roofs. The peons often Oregon, the Tehuantepec route could handle as much as 60 tons of sugar each not quote a rate that could compete with a day. They are paid a standard wage, the canal; but on a ship that left Liver with a bonus for all above a certain pool with mixed cargo, some bound for amount they handle, and they certainly California, some for Hawaii, some for do work for that bonus. Then the railPeru, and some for China, the Tehuan road was begun, wages in the Tehuantetepec route could transfer that cargo pec region were 25 cents lexican a as advantageously as the Panana Canal. day; they soon reached $1. then $1.50,

Mexico spent a fortune in building then $2.00, and finally, $2.25 a day. port works at Salina Cruz and Coatzoal In interesting sidelight on the policy cos for the loading and unloading of the of former President Diaz toward the upbig ships that carry cargo to and from building of a middle class in Vexico was the Isthmus. At the former place a afforded me by a conversation with the modern harbor has been made where Vice-President and General Manager of scarcely an indentation in the shore line the National Railwars. Ile told me that existed before. The inner harbor is arti- General Diaz wanted to put Vericans in

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