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BRAZIL


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BRAZIL


Connecting with tliis range near Rio de Janeiro, and stretching northward, is the Serra Central, while a third system stretches northwestwards, separating the headwaters of the Sao Francisco and Tocantins Rivers from those of the Parand.

The Atlantic coast line of the republic is about 4,000 miles long. North of Cape St. Roque it is low, and the slope towards the sea is gradual, but to the south of this cape the coast line is more elevated, the slope to the sea is steeper, and in the extreme south it becomes abrupt. The northern coast is but little broken, thus having few good harbours and not many islands, but along the southern coast there are many fine harbours. The system of rivers is perhaps un- equalled for their number and the length of their courses in any part of the world. They are especially important in the north of Brazil, where they con- stitute the chief means of travel through a region rich in natural resources. Owing to the copious rain- fall, most Brazilian rivers are navigable throughout the year. The principal ones are the Amazon, which is 2500 miles long and is navigable throughout almost its whole length, the Tocantins, and the Sao Fran- cisco.

Climate. — Covering so large an extent of territory, Brazil naturally has variations of climate. In the lowlands of the north, which are within the tropics, there is great heat, and the year is divided between the rainy and dry seasons of tropical regions. The rainy season begins in December or Januarj* and lasts until May or June. The rest of the year is generally dry. However, dry periods freciuently occur during the rainy season, and rainy periods during the dry season. In the highlands of the central and southern portions there are four fairly well marked seasons. The vast Amazon basin is remarkable for its small se;isonal variation of temperature; the thermometer rarely rises above 90° or falls below 75°. In the two southernmost States, Rio Grande do Sul and Sao Paulo, the temperature at times goes to the freezing point, especially in the highlands. The prevailing winds are the trade winds from the east. These are the strongest in the valley of the Amazon from July to November, and thus the heat of the dry season is somewhat mitigated. The countrj' is generally healthful, with the exception of the marshy banks of some of the rivers, the swamps, and regions where drainage is poor; in these places intermittent fe\-ers are very common. Yellow fever has appeared at times, but has always been confined to the coast.

Agriculture. — Brazil has extensive tracts of fertile land, especially along the Amazon and in the south-eastern portion; but the greater part of the plateaux is fit only for grazing. By far the most important product is coffee, of which Brazil produces more than any other country in the world. The principal coffee regions are Sao Paulo, Minas Geraes, Espirito Santo, and Rio de Janeiro. Sugar, the next product in importance, is extensively produced in Pernambuco, Bahia, and Ceara, tobacco in Bahia, and cocoa in the lower Amazon. Maize, beans, rice, and tropical fruits and vegetables are grown, but more for home consumption than for export.

MiNER.\L Resources. — In mineral resources Brazil is probably the richest country in the world, but scarcity of population and capital have retarded its progress. It is rich in gold and diamonds, especially the State of Minas Geraes, which is to Brazil more than California and Pennsylvania together are to the United States. Gold-mining is carried on to a limited extent in Minas Geraes and Bahia, chiefly with British capital. These same two states were at one time the world's chief producers of diamonds, but the discovery of the South African mines has greatly depreciated the Brazilian product, which amounts to about 40,000 carats per year, and it is estimated that since the discovery of diamonds in


Brazil (1723) the total yield has been 12,000,000 carats, valued at S100,000,000. Besides gold and diamonds, Brazil is rich in iron, lead, copper, zinc, manganese, and quicksilver, but the mining of these is impeded by the lack of cheap fuel and labour.

Manuf.\ctures. — These are generally on a com- paratively small scale. The most important is the production of cotton goods, especially in the northern cities. In 1S99 there were 134 cotton factories within the republic. Boots, shoes, cord, twine, hempen cloths for coffee sacks, furniture, saddles, and hats are also manufactured.

Railroads and Tr.\nsportation. — Railway en- terprise has made some little progress. In 1899 there were S723 miles of railroad in operation, 4992 miles in course of construction, and 8440 miles projected. The most complete railroad systems are in the coffee regions of Sao Paulo, Minas Geraes, and Rio de Janeiro. A considerable proportion of these roads was built with a government guarantee of interest on the outlay. The rivers have steam navigation through many miles of their courses, and there are several Brazilian lines of coasting steamers.

Commerce. — The foreign commerce of Brazil is quite large and is increasing yearly. Coffee is the staple article of commerce, constituting about sixty per cent of the total exports. Most of it finds a mar- ket in the United States. Sugar is second in im- portance, and then come rubber, cotton, hides, to- bacco, dye and cabinet woods, gold, and diamonds. The imports consist of all kinds of manufactured goods, cotton and woollen clothing, machinery, iron- ware, coal, petroleum, and foodstuffs. Great Britain controls about forty per cent of the import trade, Germany and France are next in importance, and the United States next.

Popul.\tion. — The population of Brazil, according to the official returns of 1890, was 14,333,915. A later census, taken in 1900, was rejected by the legis- lature as inaccurate. The population in 1903 ac- cording to an unofficial estimate was 19,500,000. According to the official figures of 1890, there were 14,179,615 Catholics; 143,743 Protestants; 3300 of other creeds; and 7257 who professed no religion. It will thus be seen that the country is overwhelmingly Catholic. The population is composed of: (1) people of pure Portuguese blood, who form a large per- centage of the total; (2) full negroes; (3) native In- dians; (4) people of mixed race (the most numerous of all); and (5) a few European immigrants. The Portuguese portion of the population, as they con- stitute the wealthy and educated class, have made Portuguese the national language. Most of the semi- civilized Indians, particularly in the eastern States, speak the liyigua gcral, a language adapted by the Jesuit missionaries from the original language of the Tupinambaras, one of the largest of the eastern tribes. There are many different tribes, among which the chief are the Tupi, the Guarany, and the Amagua.

Government. — Brazil is a federal republic of twenty States, with a Federal District. The constitu- tion is modelled upon that of the United States. The legislative power is vested in the president of the republic and a national congress consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The Senate consists of 63 members, three from each State and the Federal District, elected directly by the people for a period of nine years. The House of Repre- sentatives consists of a number of members elected by the people for a term of three years, one repre- sentative for each 70,000 inhabitants, but with a minimum membership of four for any State. All who are legally citizens of the republic exercise the right to vote, except beggars, illiterates, soldiers re- ceiving pay, and those who for any reason may have lost their rights as citizens. The executive authority is exercised by the president, or in his absence or