The value of the foreign commerce of Colombia for five years has been as follows (in 1891 mostly in currency, in subsequent years mostly in gold) :-
Imports . . Exports . .
Pesos 14,447,860 24,802,769
Pesos 12,189,253 16,067,549
Pesos 13,403,299 14,630,332
Pesos 10,711,207 15,962,019
Pesos 11,528,365 15,088,406
The principal imports are food-stuffs, beverages, textiles, and iron and steel goods ; the chief exports are coffee, silver ore, cacao, cotton, dye-stuffs, live animals, tobacco, hides, caoutchouc, timber. In 1896 the total imports amounted to about 2,870,900Z. ; in 1897, to 3,335,900Z. In 1896 the total exports reached 2,739,000Z. ; in 1897, 2,658,000Z. In 1897 the exports from Barranquilla amounted to 1,776,734^., comprising coffee, value 1,074,626Z. ; gold in bars and dust, 237,657Z. ; silver and silver ore, 186,481^. ; rubber, 17,370Z. ; tobacco, 78,000Z. ; hides, 101,209Z. About 60 per cent, of the total imports enter by Barranquilla ; 20 per cent, by Carthagena.
Far more important than the direct commerce is the transit trade, passing through the two ports of Panama and of Colon, which, united by railway, connect the Atlantic with the Pacific Ocean. In the year 1896-97 the freight carried from Colon to Panama was : from Europe 77,553 tons, from New York 53,564 ; from Panama to Colon : for Europe 69,637 tons, for New York 40, 290 tons. The local traffic in both directions amounted to 34,013 tons.
The following table gives the total value of the imports into the United Kingdom from Colombia, and of the exports of British home produce to Colombia, according to the Board of Trade returns, in each of the last five years : —
Imports into United Kingdom Exports of British Produce .
£ 629,736 957,608
£ 569,232 1,344,841
£ 556,560 1,191,023
Of the imports into the United Kingdom from Colombia, the most important articles in 1897 were silver ore, of the value of 101,831?. ; coffee, of the value of 324,418Z. ; caoutchouc, 26,163Z. At the head of the articles of British home produce exported to Colombia in 1897 were manufactured cotton goods, of the value of 722,070Z. The other principal articles exported from Great Britain to Colombia in 1897 were linen manufactures, of the value of 50,783Z. ; woollens, of the value of 111,059?. ; iron, wrought and unwrought, of the value of 46,512?. ; apparel and haberdashery, 19,159?.
Shipping and Communications.
In 1896 the merchant shipping of Colombia consisted of 1 steamer of 457 tons and 7 sailing vessels of 1,770 tons. Vessels entered (1770) 1,573 of 1,136,354 tons. In 1895 there entered at Barranquilla 261 vessels of 392,573 tons (140 of 209,708 tons British), and cleared 258 of 391,668 tons (138 of