and the majority are settled on a small area of highland valleys in the northwest, where branches of the Andes strike northeastward, and then eastward parallel to the coast. The staple product is coffee; but cacao, cotton, tobacco, and sugar, besides other tropical products, are grown. Gold in the east and copper in the west are important minerals. The plains (llanos) of the Orinoco are devoted to cattle and horse rearing, an industry at one time much more flourishing than now. The chief inland towns are Caracas (the capital) and Valencia, which are situated in inland valleys from eighteen hundred to three thousand feet in height, and are connected by rail with their respective sea-ports, La Guayra and Porto (Puerto) Cabello. Ciudad Bolivar, on the Orinoco, the navigation of which is free to all nations, may also be ranked as a seaport, being accessible to sea-going vessels.
Colombia is a republic with a similar population to that of Venezuela, settled chiefly in the upper parts of the valleys of the Cauca and Magdalena, where, in consequence of the great elevation, the grains of temperate climates are grown. In the low-lands, on the other hand, rice is grown; and it is so generally eaten by the people that a deficiency of this commodity has to be made up for by import. The mineral wealth is great, and gold, silver, and precious stones take a leading place among the exports, which include also Peruvian bark and plantation products. The great channel of communication is the Magdalena, which is navigable for steamers without interruption as high as Honda, but on account of a bar at its mouth is connected with the sea by a short canal running westward to Cartagena, and a railway from Barranquilla to another seaport nearer the mouth of the river. The Panama Railway (from Colon or Aspinwall in the north to Panama in the south) and the Panama Canal belong to Colombian territory. Bogota, the capital, is within five degrees of the equator, but, in virtue of its situation at the height of eight thousand feet above sea-level, enjoys a healthy climate, with a temperature like that of a perpetual spring.
Ecuador is a republic chiefly south of the equator, but which owes its name to the fact that its capital, Quito, is almost under that line. Quito lies, like Bogota, between two chains of the Andes, its elevation being between nine and ten thousand feet. The only seaport is Guayaquil, whence cacao, grown on the western lowlands, is exported. At present communication is difficult between Guayaquil and the capital, but a railway between the two towns is now in progress. To Ecuador belong also the Galapagos, or Turtle Islands, a group situated on the equator, about seven hundred miles to the west.
Peru, a republic lying to the south of Ecuador, has a population