National Geographic : 1896 Feb
THE National Geographic Magazine VOL. VII FEBRUARY, 1896 No. 2 VENEZUELA: HER GOVERNMENT, PEOPLE, AND BOUNDARY By WILLIAM E. CURTis, Ex-Director of the Bureau of the American Republics Along the Spanish main, from Trinidad to the isthmus, is a mixture of Florida and Switzerland, where one can find within the radius of a single day's journey any climate or scene to suit his taste, from a tropical jungle swarming with tigers and 'gators to mountain crests crowned with eternal snow. The Andes and the Cordilleras, forming a double spinal column for the continent, split and scatter and jump into the sea. At the very edge of the ocean, within view of passing vessels, are peaks whose snow capped summits seem to hang in the air. The Nevada de la Santa Marta, 17,500 feet high, affords one of the most majestic spectacles in all nature. Tourists are always incredulous when the peak is pointed out to them, for it resembles a bank of clouds, but they are finally compelled to admit the truth of geography, for clouds do not stand transfixed in the sky, unchangeable and immovable, like this phenomenon. Between these mountains and along the coast are narrow val leys of luxurious tropical verdure and a rich soil-valleys which yield three harvests annually and are densely populated. Coffee, sugar, and chocolate are the staples of the lower region, called tierre caliente (hot earth); corn, beans, and other products of the temperate zone are raised upon the mountain sides, and higher, seven or eight thousand feet above the level of the sea, are herds of goats and cattle.