National Geographic : 1899 May
MISCELLANEA The total imports of the Samoan islands amounted in 1895 to $418,840 and the total exports to $256,758. The share of the United States was but $60,624 in the imports and $33,050 in the exports. The government of Haiti has imposed a surplus tax of 25 per cent on all importations, in effect from March 14, 1899. The proceeds are to be applied to the withdrawal of the paper money now in circulation. The Austrian Lloyds have recently established a direct service between Trieste and Calcutta. Austria is becoming an important factor in the rivalry of the greater European powers for the markets of the far East. The Simplon tunnel, when completed, will be 21,580 yards long. It will contain only a single track, but a second tunnel is to be constructed parallel to it, at a distance of 19 yards. The northern entrance to the tun nel is about a mile and a half from the station at Brieg, at an elevation of 2,254 feet. The exit on the Italian side will be 800 yards from Isella. To prevent the extinction of india-rubber trees in the Congo Free State, the government has decreed that for every ton of rubber yielded annually there must be planted not less than 150 trees. The law which prohibits gathering rubber except through incisions in the bark is to be more strictly enforced, and violations will be punished by a fine up to $2,000, or by imprisonment. An English syndicate has begun the construction of additional quays and magazines at Genoa. In 1897, 5,000,000 tons of merchandise passed through the warehouses of this port, and it is calculated that with the completion of the Simplon tunnel and the consequent improvement in railway communication, the annual tonnage will rise as high as 10,000,000. Genoa will then be the most important port of the Mediterranean. In a recent report to the Department of State, Mr Thomas E. Moore, U. S. Commercial Agent at Weimar, gives some valuable statistics concerning the balance of trade and the increase of population in Germany. The rap idly increasing population has caused a corresponding increase in the imports of provisions and raw materials, the home products not being sufficient to meet home demands. The population of the German Cus toms Union has risen from 50,960,000 in 1893 to 54,530,000 on July 1, 1898, an increase of 3,570,000, or 7 per cent within five years. The value of imports has increased by 29.5 per cent, and that of exports by 27 per cent. With the increase of population has also come a very apparent expansion of the productive capacity of the manufacturing industries. This is especially well shown by the steady output of steam-engines. The total horse-power of the steam-engines built in 1888 was 1,683,000, while in 1898 the total was 3,422,000. The most significant figures, however, are those of the manufacture of stationary engines during the last three years. In 1896 the total horse-power was 2,534,000; in 1897, 2,714,000; in 1898, 2,947,000. Agriculture does not show a corresponding develop ment, as the limits of the grain-growing area can be extended but slowly.