National Geographic : 1960 Feb
New Cities, Roads, Rails Sprout in South America ABORIGINAL STILT VILLAGES along the frine of Lake Maracaibo in spired Spanish explorers to name their discovery Venezuela-" Little Venice." A con tinent's length to the south, Magellan gazed at Indian fires on a wind-scoured shore and called it Tierra del Fuego-Land of Fire. Today, in place of thatched dwellings, oil derricks rise over Maracaibo's waters, and the flames of Tierra del Fuego spout from waste gases of Chile's petroleum fields (page 200). Between them lies scarcely a country that has not found rich pools of "black gold." From Caribbean to Cape Horn, the National Geographic Society's new Atlas Map South America reflects the continent's freshly tapped riches in growing road and rail net works, derrick symbols for oil fields, and new place names-new cities where none existed before. The measure of the continent's worth today lies not in the gold and gems the con quistadors once sought, but in lakes of oil, mountains of iron, miles of track; in coal, copper, and kilowatts. Brazil Builds an Inland Capital The new map reaches 2,500,000 members as a 10-color supplement to their February NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. Designed as Plate 25 of the National Geographic Society's Atlas Folio, it provides up-to-date coverage of the whole continent, to be supplemented with large-scale regional Atlas Maps. One of them, Southern South America, already has been issued; two others, covering east and west, will follow.* Brazil, sprawling across nearly half a con tinent and bordering every South American country except Chile and Ecuador, inevitably dominates the new chart. And the most sig nificant of the map's many new names ap pears here-Brasilia, an ultramodern planned city which is scheduled to open for business this spring as Brazil's capital. Imaginatively designed, Brasilia in outline resembles a giant dragonfly. It was born of a law as audacious as its architecture; in 1956 the government simply decreed that it would build this city on a remote plateau 600 miles inland and move to it from Rio de Janeiro by April, 1960. Eventually the new capital is intended to house half a million people and speed devel- opment of the largely unsettled area around it. Already its impact is visible in a new highway threading northward some 1,400 miles to the port of Bel~m. This artery opens up nearly two million square miles of plateau and Amazon jungle lands. Similarly, a nearly completed railway pierces unexploited terri tory between Rio and Brasilia. Other new railroads creep across the map, each a sinuous symbol of fresh wealth un locked from the earth. In northeastern Brazil, rails link the new town of Serra do Navio where great blocks of rich manganese ore litter the ground-with the equally new port of P6rto Santana. In Peru's Andean south, trains climb from the port of lo to the freshly exposed copper mountain of Toquepala, in an area that may yield a billion tons of ore. jet Age Comes to South America Red stars pinpoint many new airports on the map, for South America has vaulted im patiently into the air age. Today a stylish Sdio Paulo woman thinks nothing of a morning flight to Rio for a dressmaker's fitting. The longest nonstop overland flight on any com mercial schedule connects Rio with Caracas, 2,800 jungle and mountain miles northwest. Lima and Asunci6n are building landing strips for jet flights soon to start. The continent's largest hydroelectric -power project is taking shape at Furnas Dam on the Rio Grande northwest of Rio de Janeiro; its output will serve fast-growing industries. Argentina's El Choc6n Dam, under construc tion on the Limay River in Patagonia for irrigation and power, will create one of the biggest artificial lakes in the world. Fourteen insets enlarge island areas off the coast of South America, and even these reflect progress. Great stone images brood on Easter Island over an airstrip newly cleared for the Chilean Air Force. And Brazil's Fernando de Noronha-long an isolated penal colony-now serves 20th-century technology as a United States Atlantic Missile Range station for tracking long-range rockets. *Fifteen Atlas Maps have now heen issued, de signed to fit the convenient Atlas Folio. Individual maps, 500 each; the Folio, $4.85. A packet of the seven 19,58 maps or the seven 1959 maps (folded once), $3: both packets, $5.50; both packets (14 maps) with Atlas Folio, $9.95. All are available from National Geographic Society, Dept. 34, Washington 6, D. C. 237 Twin towers of Centro Simon Bolivar dominate Caracas, capital of Venezuela KODACHROMEBO THOMAS J. ABIERCROMBIE,NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICSTAFF @ N.GS . .