National Geographic : 1919 Nov
114 'TI'E N\TION,\I, CICOG R.\PfIC I\iAG.\ZITNI sible for the Cairo-to-Calcutta express to bleat the fastest sea route by several days. BY Dr LUXE EXPRESS PROM TABLE MOt'N TAIN TO T''l GREAT WALL SSlowly but surely the iron rails are reaching out to bind Cape Town to Cairo <o - and Suez to Shanghai by way of Persia, g-v India, Burma, and the Yangtse Valley. The path of empire in the future will not 2- alone be traced by the wakes of passing . - steamers, but also by bold bands of shin Sing steel. The supreme strategy of a rail o00 way that will connect the valleys of the S Nile, the Tigris and the Euphrates, the InTdus, the Ganges, the Irriwaddv, and the - O ~ Yangtse lies in the fact that it will be flanked by the most thickly settled por . tions of the world's surface and can, from . the first, have commercial as well as . o strategic value. -W" Syria is the hub of the Afro-Eurasian F continents, and with every railway that ' reaches out to Bremen, Baku, Bokhara, - - Burma, or Bloemfontein the central re S" -- gion of the world's greatest land-mass achieves new significance. Aside from its importance as a trade route, Syria will find its greatest future z as an agricultural nation, and has exten Sg sive regions which can be made to pro duce large crops. The Iauran, south of Damascus, has long been a granary and the massive ruins of Baalbek dominate a plain whose fertility was once sufficient to make possible lavish local expenditures 4 and at the same time return large taxes S to imperial Rome, which used Syria not as a sinking place for public funds, but as a source of revenue for the treasury on - the Tiber. When Rome ruled, this re mote province had enough and to spare; but not for long did golden eggs from Syria enrich the greedy Turk. , SYRIAN ART THREATENED BY EFFICIENCY o AND SPEED o As an industrial land, Syria faces two S possibilities. The co-operation between o ~ different parts of the country, which " good government will make possible and < which good communications will foster, will tend toward an expansion of in g dustry and the establishment of factories b-g : to take the place of the household pro re duction which has hitherto been the rule.