National Geographic : 1891 Mar 28
Gardiner G. Hubbard-SouthAmerica. In 1890 there was no money to meet the interest and general prostration ensued. It is difficult to ascertain the debt of the republic ; but if the accounts given in the English publications are correct the debt is greater in proportion to its population and wealth than that of any other country in the world. The only hope of the Argentine Republic is to wipe out the debt by insolvency and bankruptcy. PERU. A strip of land with 1200 miles of sea coast, without a natural harbor, and 200 to 300 miles wide, consisting of a plain, mountains, a plateau, and still another range of mountains-this is Peru. In the west, where the rain never falls, are numerous small rivers, to-day mountain torrents, to-morrow dry, rocky beds. Between the lofty ranges of snow mountains is the highest plateau in the world, after Thibet. The southern part of this plateau is dry and desolate, the northern portion is well watered, with beautiful streams running now through deep canons and then through rich, fertile valleys steadily descending toward the northeast; the valleys growing ever broader, warmer and more delightful, until the montalia is reached, only a few hundred feet above the Atlantic, where the streams have become rivers, navigable to the ocean. The western slope of the mountains is dry and barren, so that breadstuffs and provisions are imported from Ecuador on the north, or from lower Chili, far to the south. Yet no other country has contributed so much to the world's fertility ; for here are the great deposits of guano and nitrates, more valuable than mines of gold and silver. These deposits yielded for over thirty years a net annual revenue of $20,000,000. The eastern slope, rich and fertile, producing every tree and flower, all fruits and vegetables grown in any part of the world ; in the mountains, mines of gold and silver, platinum and cinnabar, copper and tin, lead and iron, coal and petroleum, nitrates and asphalt: a bankrupt nation in the midst of untold wealth-such is Peru. To bring the minerals down to the ocean, tens of millions of dollars were expended on thirteen roads ; but though none of them were ever finished, they reached a few of the poorer mines. Seven of these roads were built by the government, the others by private parties.
1891 Apr 1