This page of the book is from "The New Student's Reference Work: Volume 3" by Chandler B. Beach, Frank Morton McMurry and others.
lighted and is served by an electricaPcar-system which extends to suburban towns. There are numerous parks, of which the Alameda is chief, and many flowery boulevards and drives, including the famous Paseo de la Reforma, stretching between rows of magnificent trees for two miles, from the bronze equestrian statue of Charles IV to Chapultepec. Points of interest are the great cathedral, founded in 1524, with 13 chapels, a century in building and costing $2,000,000; the National Palace, the residence for 300 years of 63 Spanish viceroys and after independence the presidential residence; the National Museum, the vast enclosure filled and its walls hung with the relics of a vanished race; the Art Gallery, School of Mines and the Medical Building; and in the suburbs the Castle of Chapultepec ; Guadalupe, the holiest of Mexican shrines; and La Viga Canal, 16 miles long, through a succession of floating islands. There are some manufactures, as cigars, gold and silver work and pottery, but the trade of the city is largely that of a receiving and distributing center. The great sewer completed by President Diaz at cost of $30,000,-000, drains the Valley of Mexico into the Gulf, and has made a clean, healthy city.
Mex'ico, a federative republic is the most southern country of North America, lying between the United States and Guatemala. It is as large as Great Britain, France, Germany and Austria together, and is 2,000 miles long and from 130 to 1,000 wide. Lying between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, it has a coast-line of 6,000 miles, but only one good harbor, Acapulco. The peninsulas of Yucatan and Lower California belong to it.
Surface. The country in the main is a great tableland, reaching a height of over 8,000 feet. High above the plateau tower the snow-capped crests of several volcanoes, most of which are extinct. The highest peaks are Popocatapetl (17,540 feet), Orizaba (17,362 feet), Ixtaccihuatl (16,076 feet), Toluca (15,019 feet) and Colima (14,-363 feet). Two mountain-ranges traverse Mexico, running almost parallel to the coast, one along the Gulf of Mexico and the other along the Pacific coast. The former runs from 10 to 100 miles from the coast, with a slight upward incline from the low coast to the foothills, while the range on the Pacific side runs very near the coast. This range has several branches, some crossing the country.
Rivers. The rivers are of little use for navigation, but, marked by numerous cascades, afford abundant waterpower. The largest is the Rio Grande, 1,500 miles long, which forms part of the boundary between Mexico and the [United States.
The principal gulfs are those of Mexico, California and Tehuantepec. The largest lake is the Chapala, over 80 miles long and
30 wide. The valley of Mexico has seven lakes, one fresh and six salt water.
Climate. Mexico presents great diversity of climate by reason of differences of altitude. The heat of the torrid zone is experienced on the sea-coast and the low lands adjacentto theGulf of Mexico. There are two seasons, the rainyanddryseasons. The rains begin usually in June and last until November. The temperate zone lies between 3,000 and 5,000 feet above the sea-level. This may be called the region of perpetual spring. Semi-tropical productions have their home here, m.'ngled with the products both of tropical and cold regions. There are farms where both wheat and sugar-cane grow on the same parcel of ground. Between 7,000 feet above the sea-level and the heights of the mountain-ranges lies the cold region, with a mean temperature of 590 or 6o° and with small changes from one end of the year to the other, though the change between sunrise and sunset is often considerable. On the central plateau, high above the sea-level and protected from winds and storms by the mountains, the climate is even, temperate and delightful.
Vegetable Life. There can be no more pleasing or extensive field for the botanist than the tropical forests of Mexico. Here are found 114 different species of building and cabinet woods, including pine, oak, fir, cedar, mahogany, rosewood etc.; 12 kinds of dyewoods, 8 of resinous trees the cacao and india-rubber, copal, liquid amber, camphor, dragon's blood and mastic; 17 varieties of oil-bearing trees and plants, among which are the olive, almond, sesame, flax, cocoa, palm etc. Fibrous plants abound, including heniquen or sisal hemp, ixtle, pita, maguey, jute, flax, ramie, aloe and cotton. In the forest-shades bloom flowers of most brilliant colors and exquisite tints. In the vicinity of Orizaba orchid-collectors may find a paradise.
Animal Life. The animal kingdom is most extensively represented including the puma, jaguar, ocelot, wolves, coyotes and wild-cats. In the southern forests a species of sloth and five varieties of monkeys are found. The armadillo and iguana are common. There also are beavers, martens and otters. Venomous serpents and insects are in the lowlands. In the mountains and foothills are deer, hare, rabbits, quail, partridge and a great variety of birds and ground game. The birds of Mexico are famed for their brilliant plumage, and include 353 species.
Minerals. The mineral wealth of Mexico is boundless, both in variety and richness of deposits. Although the metal-bearing regions have been exploited for 400 years, and fabulous values of precious metals have been mined, it is true beyond question that greater riches remain to be uncovered. Humboldt, early in the last century, esti-