National Geographic : 1937 Dec
BONDS BETWEEN THE AMERICAS BY FREDERICK SIMPICH " J OREIGN trade has long arms," said -'a rancher on the Argentine pampa. - "I buy a Chicago windmill to pump water for my cattle, miles of barbed wire to fence my pastures, or a tractor from Detroit; I pay by selling you North Amer icans a load of hides for your tanneries, a cargo of flaxseed for your paint factories or I sell my hogs and cattle to a local pack ing plant that ships meat to London, and pay you in cash." Such is the essence of world trade. On the new economic Map of South America, shown on the supplement with this issue of THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, are indicated that continent's most important products. Look at the map, and you see from what regions in South America we buy such items as coffee, cacao, and nitrates. At some spots marked "Oil" and "Copper" huge United States capital is also invested; but, since we have domestic oil and copper, most of these products are sold elsewhere. In this trade we use capital, credit, diplo macy, management, and communications. Only the latter can be shown on the map; there they appear as steamship lanes, rail ways, and air lines. To such communications must be added cables, land wires, and radio nets, of which more later (page 799). Briefly sketching the past of this ever shifting South American trade geography will better enable us to understand our own position today, and the profound signifi cance of this new map. AMERICA'S EARLIEST INDUSTRIES Portuguese had founded the old town of Olinda, near what is now Recife (Pernam buco) in Brazil, about 100 years before Henry Hudson saw Manhattan Island; by the time Massachusetts Colony was being formed, they had already built many sugar factories thereabouts. Soon afterward, Dutch traders established Pernambuco, where centuries later the German trans atlantic dirigible long tied up. How gold-hunting Spaniards blazed trails from Panama to Argentina, conquered and sacked Indian settlements, and built their own cities and churches is an oft-told tale. No less familiar is the record of English exploration, with the adventures of Sebas- tian Cabot, Sir Francis Drake, Hawkins, and others. To a curious degree England's and all Europe's knowledge of early naviga tion routes and possibilities for trade grew out of the daring voyages of pirates and freebooters. Early New England whalers sailed these southern waters, and during the Napoleonic wars American ships did a brisk carrying trade between Europe and South America. There was the romance of the Horn, of course, with all the hardy Yankee traders who sailed around it to China-forerunners of those to pass this way after 1849, bound for the California gold fields. But it was not until after the 1820's, when revolutions against Spain began to succeed and the new republics were asking recognition by the United States, that our country awoke to deep and abiding interest in South America. Up to the time of our Civil War, prob ably no man anywhere imagined what a destiny lay ahead of this continent, or even dreamed that from the vast, mysterious, slave-holding Portuguese colony below the Amazon was one day to emerge the rich, powerful United States of Brazil, larger in area than our own 48 States.* ENGLAND A PIONEER IN TRADE Of course these young nations needed credit, capital, immigration-besides ad vice-just as did our own land in its youth. As with us, too, it was from Europe these things first came, in return for South Amer ica's raw materials. England, particularly, took the lead. Though she did not send emigrants by hun dreds of thousands, as Italy later did, she gave credit, supplied capital and business brains, started ocean ship lines, laid cables, and built railways until by 1900 she domi nated the finances and commerce of all South America. Germany, France, and other powers were there, too, but England was supreme. * See, in THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, "Gigantic Brazil and Its Glittering Capital," by Frederick Simpich, December, 1930; "How Latin America Looks from the Air," by Maj. Herbert A. Dargue, October, 1927; "Skypaths Through Latin America," by Frederick Simpich, January, 1931; "Exploring the Valley of the Amazon in a Hydro plane," by Capt. Albert W. Stevens, April, 1926; and "By Seaplane to Six Continents," by Com mander Francesco de Pinedo, September, 1928.