Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/413

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COMMERCIAL GEOGRAPHY OF SOUTH AMERICA.

ness of the port, which, is one of the chief hindrances to the development of Argentine commerce. At present, in consequence of the rapid silting up of the River Plate, large vessels have to anchor ten miles from the city, and have not only to load and unload with the aid of lighters, but in certain states of the river large-wheeled carts have to he employed to convey goods and passengers from the lighters to the wharves. Great harbor-works are now, however, in progress with the view of providing a navigable channel to large docks that are to be constructed close beside the town. Lower down the estuary a new capital for the province of Buenos Ayres has been founded under the name of La Plata, and a port with docks and a navigable channel nowhere less than twenty-one feet in depth has here been provided.

Uruguay, a republic lying between the estuary of the La Plata and Brazil, has a similar surface, climate, and population, and similar industries to the neighboring provinces of the Argentine Republic, and is now being as rapidly developed. Among the railways there is one avoiding the rapids of the Uruguay River above Salto, and there is one in progress connecting Salto with the capital. Having a greater rainfall on the whole than the more populous districts of the Argentine Republic, Uruguay rears relatively to area more cattle than the latter country; and of the one million two hundred thousand animals that were annually slaughtered in the two republics for the making of preparations of meat, on the average of the ten years 1876-1885, about fifty-five per cent were slaughtered in Uruguay. This industry has made the small towns of Fray Bentos and Paysandu, on the Uruguay, well known throughout Europe. Among the countries sharing in the commerce of Uruguay, the United Kingdom has the first place both in imports and exports, supplying on the average of the years 1878-1885 nearly twenty-nine per cent in value of the imports, and receiving about twenty per cent of the exports. The capital of Uruguay is Montevideo, which has an excellent harbor.

Paraguay is an inland republic, lying mainly between the Paraguay and Parana Rivers, with a very sparse population, chiefly of native Indians. Its chief export product is the so-called Paraguay tea, or mate. Tobacco, timber, and skins are also exported.

The Falkland Islands, situated to the east of the Strait of Magellan, belong to the British. They have a damp, foggy climate, and are largely covered with peat, but are inhabited by a small number of settlers engaged in the rearing of sheep and cattle. They are frequently visited for repairs and supplies by vessels that have made the passage round Cape Horn.