National Geographic : 1897 Oct
GEOGRAPHIC NOTES AFRICA SIERRA LEONE. The first section of the first railroad in British West Africa is now being operated between Freetown and Wellington. BRITISH SOUTH AFRICA. A company has been formed to construct and operate a line of railway from Umtali to Salisbury, a distance of about 160 miles. Umtali is the terminus of the existing Beira railway system. ABYSSINIA. A recent report on the trade of Adis Abbata states that ivory, which could once be obtained at the rate of a tusk for a percus sion musket, is now sold at from $80 to $100 for 40 pounds. Coffee of good quality grows wild in many parts of the country. CENTRAL AMERICA BRITISH HONDURAS. The report of the government surveyors on the practicability of the proposed railroad from Belize to the western frontier of the colony (a distance of 72 miles) estimates the cost of construction at $3,575,237, or nearly $50,000 per mile. It is considered doubtful if the road would pay interest on so large an investment unless it were continued into Guatemala, and negotiations looking to that end are now in progress. NICARAGUA. Mr Thomas O'Hara, U. S. consul at San Juan del Norte, states in a recent report that there is neither a cellar nor a chimney in that city. All the buildings are of wood, although lumber is expensive and short-lived, the climate and wood ants combining to play havoc with it. The exclusive use of wood (except in a very few cases for foundation purposes) is not due to fear of earthquakes, but to the fact that there is neither stone nor brick-clay in the vicinity. There is, however, no market for imported brick. SOUTH AMERICA VENEZUELA. The government of Venezuela has ceded to Messrs Rut gers de Beaufort, bankers, of Amsterdam, the monopoly of all the salt mines in the country, in consideration of the establishment of a new bank in Caracas with a capital of $3,860,000. The bank will have the right to establish branches and to issue notes to double the amount of its capital. The concession is reported to have created great dissatisfac tion among the people. BRITISH GUIANA. A recent writer on the gold industry of British Guiana says that whether the colony has a future as a gold-producing country is a question not yet removed from the region of doubt. There is no denying the fact that the central areas are richly auriferous, but the difficulties and dangers attending the navigation of the rivers constitute an enormous obstacle to the working of the deposits. The total gold pro duction of the colony for the year ending June 30, 1897, was 128,334 ounces, as against 119,422 ounces in 1895-'96, and 138,279 ounces in 1892-'93. J. H.