National Geographic : 1896 Feb
GEOGRAPHIC LITERATURE 85 the event of the building of the canal. Another advantage of transcendant importance is that of Ascension bay, which is one of the largest and deep est harbors in all Mexico, and with the exception of Acapulco, on the Pacific, affords a safer anchorage than any other. This is a desideratum of no little magnitude when it is known that most of the Mexican gulf ports are open roadsteads and that in the winter months, when northers are frequent, shipping is hazardous and uncertain. Up to 1891-'92 the credit of Yucatan in Europe was unlimited and her merchants enjoyed an enviable reputation for integrity, but they were overtaken by the financial crisis, which found them overstocked and deeply indebted. Collateral securities shrank, debts contracted in gold had to be met with its equivalent in silver, which had coincidently de preciated in its paying value 50 per cent; money became stringent and finally the collapse came. Many large dealers in dry goods and miscel laneous articles were forced to suspend. They represent to European creditors millions which are hopelessly lost. This unfortunate state of affairs is largely due to the long credit system. However, this salutary lesson has had the effect of restricting them to more business-like meth ods. The tide of trade will eventually turn to the United States, this market affording quicker transportation facilities. The chief articles of import embrace groceries, canned goods, etc.; dry goods, notions, cashmeres, men's furnishings, millinery, and hardware of all descriptions, except plows, hoes, etc., which are not used. Hennequen (sisal) is the chief export. The annual output is nearly 400,000 bales of 400 pounds each. In the first quarter of the present year there were shipped 81,030 bales, valued at $582,932.50, United States cur rency, on which state and federal duties amounting to $132,481 ($71,612 United States currency) were paid; over 12 per cent ad valorem. Of the 81,030 bales shipped, 66,269 were destined for the United States. With the exception of a small fraction, they were transported in other than American vessels. The August, 1895, imports amounted to 6,568 tons; 2,133 tons were imported in American vessels; 4,435 tons in English, Norwegian, and German vessels. The exports amounted to 6,600 tons, of which 560 tons were exported in American vessels and 6,040 tons in English, Norwegian, and German vessels. From January to June, 1895, there were shipped to interior points of Mexico 3,070 tons of coarse, unrefined salt. The high tariff on foreign salt makes it an expensive article. The home mines are difficult to work, and as in most cases they are only surface deposits of the sea the yield depends greatly upon the weather. The exports of logwood for the first three months of 1895 show 2,634 tons, valued at $80,000 in United States currency, cleared for European countries. Other articles of export in small quantities are hides, ham mocks, sarsaparilla, etc. The total declared exports to the United States for the fiscal year ending June 30,1895, were: From Progreso, $2,062,909; from Merida, $897,702; total, $2,960,611 in United States currency. Value of imports during the fiscal year 1894-'95, $1,092,981; value of ex ports, $8,376,680. Total amount of federal duties paid thereon, $1,155,932.