This page of the book is from "The New Student's Reference Work: Volume 3" by Chandler B. Beach, Frank Morton McMurry and others.
PERU 1457 PERU
many fertile valleys watered by streams which have their sources on the mountain slopes. Between these valleys are trackless deserts, covered with a shifting, yellow sand, which is often carried about by the wind in pillars 100 feet high. In this coastal region rain is unknown. This is due to the fact that the southeast trade-winds of the Atlantic, cooled by the eastern slopes of the Andes, lose much of their moisture in the excessive rainfalls of that region and the further fact that the remainder is exhausted in covering the Cordilleras with snow, after which the winds fall cool and dry upon the western coast. The sierra embraces all the region between the eastern and western Cordilleras and the two ranges of the Andes. This region averages 100 miles in width and is estimated to contain an area of 150,000 to 200,000 square miles. After the table lands of Tibet those of Peru and Bolivia are the highest in the world. Unlike those of Tibet, which are mere grassy uplands, they are studded with towns and villages; and even at this elevation the climate is pleasant and wheat, corn, barley, rye and potatoes are produced. The montana region extends eastward from the Andes to Brazil and Bolivia. It embraces more than half the area of Peru, and consists of vast forests and alluvial plains, is rich in all the productions of tropical latitudes, and teems with vegetable and animal life. The mountain system is divided into three ranges: the western Cordilleras, the central Cordilleras and the Andes. In the western Cordilleras are found the peaks of Huascar 22,000 feet; Huandoy 21,088 feet; Hualcan 19,945 feet; Sara-Sara 20,000 feet; Chachain 19,820 feet; and Misti 20,260 feet. The central Cordilleras form the divide between the waters which flow to the Pacific and those which flow to the Atlantic Ocean. Between this range and the Andes on the east lies the great Peruvian plateau.
Rivers and Railways. The three great rivers of Peru are the Maranon, Huallaga and Ucayala. The Maranon has its source in Lake Laurichoca on the eastern slope of the central Cordillera at an altitude of 14,270 feet. It flows toward the northwest until near the boundary of Peru and Ecuador, where it turns eastward. The Huallaga has a parallel course on the western side of the Andes until it breaks through that range and joins the Maranon. The Ucayali is on the eastern side of the Andes, flowing north parallel with that range for 1,200 miles, when it unites with the Maranon to form the Amazon. The Amazon flows 270 miles in Peru, before it passes into Brazil. These three rivers have numerous branches, some of them of considerable size. The Ucayali is navigable to Mayso, 3,623 miles from the mouth of the Amazon. Numerous rivers flow into the
Pacific, but none is navigable. Several streams flow into Lake Titicaca. This lake, which extends into Bolivia, is 155 miles long and the largest in South America. Peru has but 1,200 miles of railways. The most important line runs from the port of Callao to Lima, thence across the Rimac Valley and over the mountains to Oroya, crossing through a tunnel 15,665 feet above the sea. Another line extends from Molenda on the coast, 324 miles to Lake Titicaca. The railway from Oroya to Cerro de Pasco is open. That between Guaqui and La Paz has been completed. Roads between Oroya and Huancayo and between Sicuani and Cuzco are building. The railways in operation extend 1,200 miles; the telegraphs 3,740 miles. Other short lines extend from coast towns into the interior. Between Cuzco and Sicuani there is a carriage-road on which steam-traction is used.
Cities. The chief cities are Lima, the capital, nine miles inland from the port of Callao, population 130,000; Callao, the principal port on the Bay of Callao (48,118); Arequipa (35,000),; Cuzco (15,000); Aya-cucho (20,000); Chinca Alta (18,000); Piura (15,000); Janca (15,000); Cerro de Pasco (14,000); and Chiclayo (14,000).
Resources. The mountainous regions abound in gold, silver, copper, lead, iron and other minerals, and there are rich placer deposits along certain rivers. The river valleys are very fertile, producing sugar, cotton, coffee and other products. The plateaus afford vast tracts of rich pasturage, while the vast forests in the east are rich in rubber trees and a variety of valuable woods. But the development of the rich resources has been long delayed through lack of transportation facilities. In the eastern or forest section there are navigable rivers; and a few railway lines reach short distances inland from the coast; but the great plateaus, the agriculture lands and the mountainous regions, rich in minerals, have not even wagon-roads but only bridle-paths. It takes one day by rail, nine on mule-back and seven on steamboat, 17 days in all, to go from Lima, the capital, to Iquitos near the head of the Amazon, a distance of 1,224 miles, or less than the distance from New York to Omaha.
Government. Peru is a republic, divided into one constitutional province, two littoral provinces and 18 departments. The president is elected for four years and is not eligible for a second consecutive term. There are two vice-presidents, and a Congress consisting of a senate and a chamber of deputies. The president, vice-president, senators and deputies are elected by direct vote of the electors. There are a supreme court, nine superior courts and inferior courts, called "courts of first instance."