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now an independent state. The government is a limited monarchy, the emperor is a prince of the Portuguese royal family. Three-fifths of the population are slaves.
Chili lies between the Andes and the Pacific.
Its rivers are short, and too impetuous for the purposes of navigation. It is peculiarly subject to earthquakes. Of its mines, those of copper are the most valuable.
The chief towns are Santiago, and its sea-port, Valparaiso. The island of Juan Fernandez, the residence of Alexander Selkirk, is off the coast of Chili. LA PLATA lies between Chili and the Atlantic.
The plant yielding the gum caoutchouc, or Indian rubber, flourishes here.
Buenos Ayres, on the river La Plata, about 200 miles from its junction with the sea, is the chief town.
The mouth of the La Plata is so obst ructed with shoals that vessels cannot approach within two or three lcagues of the town. Buenos Ayres was so called from the supposed salubrity of its air.
PARAGUAY is a small independent territory on the south-west of Brazil, of which Doctor Francia, a private adventurer, was in absolute possession until his death, which took place recently.
This country produces a kind of tea called matè, which is in as general demand throughout La Plata, Chili, and many parts of Peru, as the teas of China are in Europe.
BANDA Oriental is situated between the river Uruguay and the Atlantic, and extends along the northern shore of the Plata. It was declared an independent State in 1829. Monte Video, its capital, has an excellent harbour.
PATAGONIA, occupying the southern portion of South America, is in possession of native tribes, who are represented as being in person taller than the ordinary standard. The insular portion, separated from the con
tinent by Magellan's Straits, was called Terra del Fuego, the land of fire, from the supposed prevalence of volcanoes.
The total population of South America is estimated at fifteen millions.
The West India Islands are between N. and S. America. There are five large and about forty smaller islands, besides numerous rocky islets. They are usually classed in three groups; the Bahama islands, the Great Antilles, and the Less Antilles or Caribbee islands.
The West Indies were discovered by Columbus in his celebrated voyage in search of India. Supposing that he had reached that continent by a western route, he denominated them the West Indies.
The islands are mountainous and abrupt, looking like the summits of a submerged continent towering above the ocean. They are generally well watered, but the streams are short and rapid.
All the islands, except some of the Bahamas, are within the tropics. The seasons consist of wet and dry. The spring rains set in about the middle of May. They are comparatively slight and of short continuance. From the beginning of June to the end of September summer reigns in all its power. In October the rainy season again sets in, when the clouds seem to fall in cataracts. In December the weather again clears, when a comparatively cool and refreshing season is enjoyed.
Most of the islands are subject to dreadful hurricanes between the months of July and October.
The oppressive beat of the dry season is tempered by the sea breeze, which sets in about 10 A.M., and continues till late in the evening. when the land breeze, after a short interval, succeeds.
The nights are peculiarly bright and the dews heavy.
The Bahama or Lucayos Islands extend in line from the coast of Florida to near Hayti. They belong to Britain.
The principal island is New Providence. San Salvador was the first land seen by Columbus on his first voyage, October 12th, 1492.
The Great Antilles are Cuba and Porto-Rico, belonging to Spain ; Hayti, an independent state ; and Jamaica, belonging to the English.
Cuba is 790 miles long, and about 70 broad; it is as large as all the other islands put together. It occupies an important position, commanding the entrance into the Gulf of Mexico; for a long time it was neglected by Spain, but since the loss of its American colonies it has risen into much importance. The great bulk of the population consists of slaves in the lowest state of degradation ; about 70,000 are annually imported to supply the waste of them. Havannah, its capital, is a very flourishing town.
Hayti, also called Hispaniola, and St. Domingo, was formerly occupied by the Spaniards and the French. The French had the western and more fertile districts. During the French revolution, while the free blacks were at open war with the whites for equal liberties with them, the slaves conceived the idea of procuring their own freedom; scenes of blood and devastation ensued, but the cause of freedom triumphed.
The government is nominally republican, but actually a military monarchy. White people, of whatever nation, are prohibited by the constitution from acquiring or exercising any right of property or mastership in the island. Its soil is very fertile, and before the revolution it produced great quantities of sugar and coffee.
The chief towns are St. Domingo and Port-au-Prince.
It produces superior mahogany, which is exported to England under the name of Spanish mahogany.
Jamaica is the most valuable of the British possessions; it is not naturally very fertile, but is well cultivated. It is 150 miles long with an average breadth of 40. The Blue mountains of the interior are about 7000 feet high. Its former capital, Port Royal, has been thrice destroyed -- by earthquake, by fire, and by hurricane. Kingston is now the chief town.
The Less Antilles or Caribbee Islands, form a long chain, extending in a curved line from Porto-Rico to the Gulf of Paria. The most northerly part of this group is called the Leeward Islands, the southerly portion the Windward islands.
Of these the greater part of the Virgin Isles, Barbuda, St. Christopher's, Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vin
cent, Barbadoes, Grenāda, Tobago, and Trinidad, with some smaller islands, belong to the British. St. Vincent is the most beautiful of the Windward islands ; it contains
an active volcano. Grenada has been styled the gem of the ocean ; it is mountainous but
picturesque. Barbadoes, the oldest and most improved of the British possessions in
the West Indies, is the most easterly of the Windward Isles, and lies considerably out from their line. Hurricanes are frequent and violent. Trinidad contains a pitch lake and some active mud volcanoes.
Martinique and Guadaloupe belong to France; St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John, to Denmark; St. Bartholomew belongs to Sweden ; and St. Eustatius and Curaçoa, to Holland.
The Bermudas, or Somer's Islands, situated half way between Nova Scotia and the West Indies, belong to the English. They are important as a naval station.
From the West India Islands are procured sugar, rum, cotton, indigo, cocoa, coffee, mahogany, pepper, ginger, arrow-root, &c.
Formerly the labourers in the plantations were African slaves. The slave trade was abolished in 1807, and in 1833 the British Parliament passed an Act by which slavery was abolished in all British colonies.
QUESTIONS FOR EXAMINATION.
The arrangement being uniform, the same system of examination may be pursued with the other continents as with Europe.
CONTAINING PROBLEMS ON THE TERRESTRIAL
DEFINITIONS. 1. The terrestrial globe is a representation of the earth on a globular surface, showing the relative situations of the places upon it.
2. A map is a representation of the earth, or of a part of it, upon a plane surface.
3. The axis of the earth is an imaginary line passing through its centre, round which it turns from west to east, once in 24 hours.
This is represented in globes by the wire which passes through them, and on which they turn.
4. The poles are the two ends of the axis : one is called the north, and the other the south, pole.
5. The equator is that line supposed to be drawn round the middle of the earth, at an equal distance from both poles : it divides the earth into two equal portions, called the northern and southern hemispheres.
The equator, when referred to the heavens, is called the equinoctial: it is sometimes called the line, or equinoctial line.
6. Meridians are lines drawn from one pole to the other, directly across the equator.
They are so called, because when any of them is, by the motion of the earth, brought directly opposite to the sun, it is mid-day (meridies) there.
As each place is in succession presented to the sun, the meridians must be considered as indefinite in number. Not to obscure the surface, they are usually drawn only through every five or ten degrees. On maps they always run from top to bottom.
The brass circle in which the globe hangs, and which is called the