Porto Rico

The island of Porto Rico, which came under the United States flag on October 18, 1898, is the most eastern of the Greater Antilles in the West Indies, and is separated on the east from the Danish island of St. Thomas by a distance of about fifty miles, and from Hayti on the west by the Mona Passage seventy miles wide. San Juan, the capital, is distant from New York 1,420 miles ; Key West, Fla., 1,050 miles.

The island is a parallelogram in general outline, 108 miles from the east to the west, and from thirty-seven to forty-three miles across, the area being about 3,600 square miles, or somewhat less than half that of the State of New Jersey (Delaware has 2,050 square miles and Connecticut 4,990 square miles). The population, according to an enumeration made in 1887, was 798,565, of whom 474,933 were whites, 246,647 mulat-toes, and 76,905 negroes. An enumeration taken by the United States Government in 1900 showed a population of 953,243.

Porto Rico is unusually fertile, and its dominant industries are agriculture and lumbering. The principal crops are sugar, coffee, tobacco, cotton, and maize, but bananas, rice, pineapples, and many other fruits are important products. The largest article of export from Porto Rico, is coffee, which is over 63 per cent. of the whole. The next largest is sugar, 28 per cent. The other exports in order of amount are tobacco, honey, molasses, cattle, timber, and hides.

There are 137 miles of railway, with 170 miles under construction, and 470 miles of telegraph lines. These connect the capital with the principal ports south and west. Submarine cables run from San Juan to St. Thomas and Jamaica. The principal cities are Ponce, 27,952 inhabitants; Arecibo, 30,000, and San Juan, the capital, 32,048.

An act providing for a civil government for Porto Rico was passed by Congress and received the assent of the President April 12, 1900.

Under this act a civil government was established, which went into effect May 1, 1900. The following is a list of the government officials:

Governor, salary $8,000; Secretary, $4,000; Attorney-General, $4,000; Treasurer, $5,000; Auditor, $4,000; Commissioner of Interior, $4,000; Commissioner of Education, $3,000.

The above, with the exception of the Governor, together with five appointed by the Govenor, constitute the Executive Council, or "Upper House".

The House of Delegates, or Lower House, consists of thirty-five members, who were elected by the people at the election in 1900.

The Judiciary for the island is as follows : Supreme Court of Porto Rico - Chief Justice, salary $5,000; and four Associate Justices, at salaries of $4,500 each; and a Marshal, at a salary of $3,000.

Hawaii was annexed to the United States by joint resolution of Congress July 6,1898.

A bill to create Hawaii a Territory of the United States was passed by Congress and approved April 30, 1900.

The area of the several islands of the Hawaiian group is as follows; Hawaii, 4,210 square miles; Maui, 760; Oahu, 600; Kauai, 590; Molokai, 270; Lanai, 150; Niihau, 97 ; Kahoolawe, 63. Total, 6,740 square miles.

At the time of the discovery of the islands by Captain Cook in 1778, the native population was about 200,000. This has steadily decreased, so that at the last census the the natives numbered but 31,019, which was less than that of the Japanese and Chinese immigrants settled on the islands.

The first United States census of the islands was taken in 1900 with the follow-ing result: Hawaii Island,. 46,843; Kauai Island, 20,562; Niihau Island, 172; Maui Island, 25,416; Molokai Island and Lanai Island, 2,504; Oahu Island, 58,504. Total of the territory, 154,001. The population of the city of Honolulu is 39,306.

There are seventy-one miles of railroad and about 250 miles of telegraph in the islands. Honolulu, the capital, population, 28,061, is lighted by electricity, and has most of the local features of an enterprising American city. The bulk of the business is done by Americans and Europeans.

Of sugar, of which it is said the Hawaiian Islands are much more productive in a given area than those of the West Indias, the exportation was 520,158,232 pounds in 1897. Of coffee, the exportation was 337,158 pounds in 1897 ; of rice, the exportation was 5,499 ,-499 pounds in 1897. In imports, nearly all of the necessities of life, aside from sugar, fruits, and vegetables, are imported, the products of the United States being given the preference in nearly all cases.

The new Territorial Government was in-augurated at Honolulu, June 14, 1900.


The island of Guam, the largest of the Marianne or Ladrone Archipelago, was ceded by Spain to the United States by Article II. of the Treaty of Peace, concluded at Paris December 10, 1898. It lies in a direct line from San Francisco to the southern part of the Philippines, and is 5,200 miles from San Francisco, and 900 miles from Manila. It is about thirty-two miles long and 100 miles in circumference, and has a popula-804.

tion of about 8,661, of whom 5,249 are in Agana, the capital. The inhabitants are mostly immigrants or descendants of immigrants from the Philippines, the original race of the Ladrone Islands being extinct. The prevailing language is Spanish. Nine-tenths of the islanders can read and write. The island is thickly wooded, well watered and fertile, having an excellent harbor.

Tutuila the Samoan island which, with its attendant islets, became a possession of the United States by virtue of the three party treaty with Great Britain and Germany in 1899, covers, according to the Bureau of Statistics of the Treasury Department, fifty-four square miles, and has 4,000 inhabitants. It possesses the most valuable island harbor, Pago-Pago, in the South Pacific, and perhaps in the entire Pacific Ocean. Commercially the island is unimportant at present, but is extremely valuable in its relations to the commerce of any nation desiring to cultivate transpacific commerce.

The Samoan Islands in the South Pacific are fourteen in number, and lie in a direct line drawn from San Francisco to Aukland, New Zealand. They are 4,000 miles from San Francisco, 2,200 miles from Hawaii, 1,900 miles from Aukland, 2,000 miles from Sydney, and 4,200 miles from Manila. The inhabitants are native Polynesians and Christians of different denominations.

The Philippine Islands

As a result of the war between the United States and Spain, in 1898, the Philippine Islands came into possession of the former country.

The Philippine group, lying off the southern coast of Asia, between longitude 120 and 130 and latitude 5 and 20 approximately, number perhaps 1,200 islands, great and small, in a land and sea area of 1,200 miles of latitude and 2,400 miles of longitude. The actual land area is about 140,000 miles. The six New England States, New York, and New Jersey have about an equivalent area. The island of Luzon, on which the capital city (Manila) is situated, is the largest member of the group, being about the size of the State of New York. Mindanao is nearly as large, but its population is very much smaller. The latest estimates of areas of the largest islands are as follows : Luzon, 44,400 ; Mindanao, 34,000; Samar, 4,000; Panay, 4,700; Mindoro, 4,000; Leyte, 3,800; Negros, 3,300; Cebu, 2,400. The estimates of population vary from 7,500,000 to 10,000,000. A conservative estimate is 8,000,000. There are thirty different races, all speaking a different dialect. The religion is largely Roman Catholic. In some of the smaller islands Mohammedanism prevails.

The climate is one of the best known in the tropics. The islands extend from 50 to 210 north latitude, and Manila is in 140 35'.

Mineral Wealth

Very little is known concerning the mineral wealth of the islands. It is stated that there are deposits of coal, petroleum, iron, lead, sulphur, copper, and gold in the various islands, but little or nothing has been done to develop them. A few concessions have been granted for working mines, but the output is not large. The gold is reported on Luzon, coal and petroleum on Cebu and IIoilo, and sulphur on Leyte.


Although agriculture is the chief occupation of the Filipinos, yet only one-ninth of the surface is under cultivation. The soil is very fertile.

The chief products are rice, corn, hemp, sugar, tobacco, cocoanuts, and cacao. Coffee and cotton were formerly produced in large quantities - the former for export and the latter for home consumption ; but the coffee plant has been almost exterminated by insects, and the home-made cotton cloths have been driven out by the competition of those imported from England.

In the fiscal year ending June 30, 1900, the exports from the United States to the Philippines had increased to $2,640,499, and the imports from the Philippines to $5, 971, 208. The total imports in the island in the fiscal year were $12,670,436, and exports $8,305,530.

The islands are at present governed by a military commission appointed by the President. Local self-government will, no doubt, be given the islands as soon as the people are prepared for it. Aguinaldo, the leader of the Philippines, after several months of active opposition, was captured in 1901, and afterward issued a proclamation advising submission.