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150
[GOVERNMENT
CHILE

of the people. Some attention has been given to the production of butter and cheese, but the industry has attained no great importance. A new industry which has made noteworthy progress, however, is that of bee-keeping, which is greatly favoured by the mild climate and the long season and abundance of flowers.

Manufactures.—The manufacturing interests of Chile have become influential enough to force a high tariff policy upon the country. They have been restricted principally to articles of necessity—food preparations, beverages, textiles and wearing apparel, leather and leatherwork, woodwork, pottery, chemicals, ironware, &c. In earlier days, when Chile had less competition in the production of wheat, flour mills were to be found everywhere in the wheat-producing provinces, and flour was one of the leading exports. Concepción, Talca, and other provincial capitals developed important milling industries, which were extended to all the chief towns of the newer provinces south of the Bio-Bio. There are over 500 large flour mills in Chile, the greater part of which are equipped with modern roller-process machinery. The development of the coal deposits in the provinces of Concepción and Arauco has made possible other industries besides those of smelting mineral ores, and numerous small manufacturing establishments have resulted, especially in Santiago, Valparaiso, Copiapó and other places where no permanent water power exists. Tanning leather is an important industry, especially in the south, some of the Chilean trees, notably the algarrobilla (Balsamocarpon brevifolium) and lingue (Persea lingue) being rich in tannin. To provide a market for the leather produced, factories have been established for the manufacture of boots and shoes, harness and saddles, and under the protection of a high tariff are doing well. Brewing and distilling have made noteworthy progress, the domestic consumption of their products being very large. The breweries are generally worked by Germans and are situated chiefly in the south, though there are large establishments in Santiago and Valparaiso. Small quantities of their products are exported. Furniture and carriage factories, cooperages, and other manufactories of wood are numerous and generally prosperous. There are likewise a large number of factories for canning and preserving fruits and vegetables. Foundries and machine shops have been established, especially for the manufacture of railway material. The sugar beet has been added to the productions of Chile, and with it the manufacture on a small scale of beet sugar. There is one large refinery at Viña del Mar, however, which imports raw cane sugar from Peru for refining. The manufacture of textiles is carried on at Santiago and El Tomé, and numerous small factories are devoted to clothing of various descriptions. The great mining industries have led to a noteworthy development in the production of chemicals, and a considerable number of factories are engaged in the production of pharmaceutical preparations, perfumeries, soaps, candles, &c.

Mining.—The most important of all the national industries, however, is that of mining. In 1903 there were 11,746 registered mines, on which mining dues were paid, the aggregate produce being valued at 178,768,170 pesos. These mines gave employment to 46,592 labourers, of whom 24,445 were employed by the nitrate companies, 13,710 in various metalliferous mines, 6437 in coal mines, and 2000 in other mines. Gold is found in nearly all the provinces from Antofagasta to Concepción, and in Llanquihue, Chiloé and Magallanes territory, but the output is not large. There are a great many placer washings, among which are some extensive deposits near the Straits of Magellan. Silver is found principally on the elevated slopes and plateaus of the Andes in the desert provinces of the north. The second most important mining industry in Chile, however, is that of copper, which is found in the provinces of Antofagasta, Atacama, Coquimbo, Aconcagua, Valparaiso, Santiago, O’Higgins, Colchagua, Curicó and Talca, but the richest deposits are in the three desert provinces. Chile was once the largest producer of copper in the world, her production in 1860–1864 being rated at 60 to 67% of the total. Low prices afterwards caused a large shrinkage in the output, but she is still classed among the principal producers. Iron mining has never been developed in Chile, although extensive deposits are said to exist. Manganese ores are mined in Atacama and Coquimbo, and their export is large. The other metals reported in the official returns are lead, cobalt and vanadium, of which only small quantities are produced. Bolivian tin is exported from Chilean ports. Among the non-metallic minerals are nitrate of soda, borate of lime, coal, salt and sulphur, together with various products derived from these minerals, such as iodine, sulphuric acid, &c. Guano is classed among the mineral products and still figures as an export, though the richest Chilean deposits were exhausted long before the war with Peru. Of non-metallic products nitrate of soda is by far the most important. Extensive deposits of the salt (called caliche in its crude, impure state) in the provinces of Tacna, Tarapacá, Antofagasta and Atacama owe their existence to the rainless character of the climate. Those of the first-named province have been discovered since the war between Chile and Peru, and have greatly extended the prospective life of the industry. The nitrate fields, which lie between 50 and 100 m. from the coast and at elevations exceeding 2000 ft. above sea-level, have been officially estimated at 89,177 hectares (344 sq. m.) and to contain 2316 millions of metric quintals (254,760,000 short tons). The first export of nitrates was in 1830, and in 1884 it reached an aggregate of 550,000 tons, and in 1905 of 1,603,140 tons. The latter figure is apparently about the production agreed upon between the Chilean government and the nitrate companies to prevent overproduction and a resulting decline in price. Nearly all the oficinas, or working plants, are owned and operated by British companies, and the railways of this desolate region are generally owned by the same companies and form a part of the working plant. Borate of lime also furnishes another important export, though a less valuable one than nitrate of soda. Extensive deposits of borax and common salt have been found in the same region, which with several other products of these saline deposits, such as iodine, add considerably to its exports. The coal deposits of Chile are found chiefly in the provinces of Concepción and Arauco, the principal mines being on the coast of the Bay of Arauco at Coronel and Lota. Coal is found also in Valdivia, on the island of Chiloé, and in the vicinity of Punta Arenas on the Straits of Magellan. Sulphur is found in the volcanic regions of the north, but the principal mines are in the provinces of Talca.

The relative magnitude and value of these mineral products may be seen in the following abstract from the official returns of 1903:—

  Unit. Quantity. Value pesos
(of 18d.).
Gold grammes 1,424,625 1,745,115
Silver " 39,012,382 1,284,308
Copper kilogrs. 29,923,132 21,438,397
Lead " 70,984 9,097
Cobalt ore " 284,990 99,695
Lead and Vanadium ores " 2,000  
Manganese ore " 17,110,000 682,400
Coal tons 827,112 8,250,720
Nitrates metric quintals 14,449,200 140,102,012
Iodine kilogrs. 157,444 1,687,327
Borates " 16,878,913 2,363,048
Salt metric quintals 162,635 324,270
Sulphur kilogrs. 3,440,642 337,515
Sulphuric acid " 1,600,000 176,000
Guano metric quintals 111,335 267,466
Various kilogrs. 200 800

Government.—Chile is a centralized republic, whose government is administered under the provisions of the constitution of 1833 and the amendments of the 9th of August 1888, the 11th of August 1890, the 20th of August 1890, the 22nd of December 1891, and the 7th of July 1892. According to this constitution the sovereignty resides in the nation, but suffrage is restricted to married citizens over twenty-one and unmarried citizens over twenty-five years of age, not in domestic service, who can read and write, and who are the owners of real estate, or who have capital invested in business or industry, or who receive salaries or incomes proportionate in value to such real estate as investment; and as 75% of the population is classed as illiterate, and a great majority of the labouring classes is landless, badly paid, and miserably poor, it is apparent that political sovereignty in Chile is the well-guarded possession of a small minority. The dominant element in this minority is the rich landholding interest, and the constitution and the laws of the first half-century were framed for the special protection of that interest.

The supreme powers of government are vested in three distinct branches—legislative, executive and judicial. The legislative power is exercised by a national congress, which consists of two chambers—-a senate of 32 members, and a chamber of deputies of 94 members. The membership of the lower house is in the proportion of one deputy for each 30,000 of the departmental population, and each fraction over 15,000; and the senate is entitled to one-third the membership of the chamber. The senators are elected by provinces and by a direct cumulative vote, and hold office for six years, one-half of the senate being renewed every three years. The deputies are elected by departments and by a direct cumulative vote, and hold office for three years. Both senators and deputies must have reached the age of thirty-six, must have a specified income, and are required to serve without salary. A permanent committee of 14 members represents the two chambers during the congressional recess and exercises certain supervisory and advisory powers in the administration of public affairs. Congress convenes each year on the 1st of June and sits until the 1st of September, but the president may prorogue an ordinary session for a period of 50