Maize is the only important cereal native to the new world. Nearly all the fruits of the old world have been introduced into America, where they nourish in their appropriate latitudes. The vine is a native, and within a few years its cultivation has received great attention. - We proceed to give more detailed statements under the general divisions of the continent. I. North America extends from the arctic region southward to near lat. 15° N. It is bounded N. by the Arctic ocean, E. by the Atlantic and gulf of Mexico, S. by the gulf and Central America, and W. by the Pacific. Its entire eastern coast line from Barrow strait to the southern extremity of Mexico, including the shores of Hudson bay and the gulf of Mexico, is about 13,000 m.; the western coast, being less deeply indented, has a shore line of not more than 11,000 m.; or 24,000 in all. Reclus, counting in the adjacent islands, gives the shore line of North America as 29,969 m.; South America, 16,012; together about one third more than that of Asia, about three times that of Africa, and considerably more than twice that of Europe. To the maritime system of North America properly belong also the great lakes, or inland seas, which it is estimated contain a third of all the fresh water of the globe. - North America has three main systems of mountains and watersheds, which divide it into four great hydrographical basins: 1, that which empties its waters into the Pacific ocean; 2, into the Arctic; 3, into the Atlantic; 4, into the gulf of Mexico. Each of these great basins is divided into two or more parts.
The Rocky mountain range, skirting the Pacific coast, is a continuation of the Andes of South America. At the isthmus of Panama it sinks low, rarely attaining the height of 1,000 ft., with depressions of less than half that altitude. From the isthmus the range- rises gradually, through Mexico and the United States, up to lat. 60° N., where it begins to sink into the Arctic basin. This mountain range bears different names in different parts of its course. Through Mexico, where it forms a broad table land, it is known as the Mexican Cordilleras. It is only in the United States and the British possessions that it bears the specific name of Rocky mountains. The Spaniards designate the whole as the Sierra Madre (Mother Range). Its general elevation is from 5,000 to 9,000 ft., with many summits much loftier. Among these are Orizaba and Popocatapetl in Mexico, which exceed 17,000 ft., and several in the United States and British America of from 12,000 to 18,000 ft. Mt. St. Elias, about lat. 60° N., reaches or surpasses the height of 17,850 ft.
This range follows the shore line at various distances, the greatest deviation being about lat 40° N., where the Pacific slope of the Rocky mountains has a breadth of some 000 m., upon which are situated the states of California and Oregon, and the territories of New Mexico and Utah. The Rocky mountain range is not a single ridge, but rather, like the Cordilleras of South America, a parallel pair of ridges. Between the two lies the isolated basin of the Great Salt lake. As the Rocky mountains run so near to the coast of the Pacific, the rivers flowing from them, draining only a small area, are necessarily small. The Columbia and Sacramento, flowing directly into the Pacific, and the Colorado, flowing into the gulf of California, are the only ones of any considerable size. The Yukon, although flowing into Behring sea, a part of the Pacific ocean, belongs to a different hydro-graphical system. Skirting the Atlantic coast is the Appalachian range. Starting from the promontory of Gaspe, on the gulf of St. Lawrenee, it runs south westward for 1,300 m. to northern Alabama, where it sinks to the level of the gulf slope. The Appalachian system consists of several parallel ridges, divided into two main lines.
The eastern ridge is made up of the Green mountains of Vermont, the Highlands of New York, the South mountains of Pennsylvania, and the Blue Ridge of Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. The western ridge comprises the Adirondack, Catskill, Alleghany, and Cumberland ranges. Between these two ridges lies an almost continuous valley, with a breadth of from 15 to 60 miles, designated in various parts as the valleys of the Champlain, the Hudson, the Cumberland, the great valley of Virginia, and the valley of Tennessee. The general tendency of the Appalachian ridge is to a greater elevation as it runs southward; the White mountains of New Hampshire being merely an isolated projection from the central mass of the Green mountain range. Except in a few points this range rarely reaches an elevation of 4,000 ft. Mount Mansfield, the highest summit of the Green mountains, is 4,359 ft.; Mount Marcy, the highest of the: Adirondacks, 5,837; Mount Washington, the loftiest of the White mountains, 6,285, an elevation exceeded by many points near the | southern extremity of the chain, the highest | being Mitchell's peak, in North Carolina, 6,732 ft.
The Appalachian chain is pierced at intervals by gaps which give passage for rivers, canals, and railways, linking the Atlantic slope with the valley of the Mississippi. The Appalachian ridge forms the watershed between the streams which flow into the Atlantic, with the exception of the St. Lawrence, and those which fall into the Mississippi, and thence into the gulf of Mexico. Several of these rivers are of considerable size, such as the Merrimack, Connecticut, Hudson, Delaware, Susquehanna, Potomac, and James. The Atlantic slope of North America, from the St. Lawrence to Florida, varies in width from 50 to 200 m., the mean elevation of its upper \ margin being from 150 to 1,000 ft. Through- out its whole extent it is without marked transverse ridges. The Rocky mountains and the Appalachians form two sides of a triangle, only the latter is broken off without reaching the point of junction. The third side of this triangle is formed by a broad low swell, without any defined crest, and rarely reaching the elevation of 1,500 ft.