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Title: Spanish America, Its Romance, Reality and Future, Vol. 1
Author: Enock, C. Reginald (Charles Reginald)
Language: English
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       *       *       *       *       *



SPANISH AMERICA



THE SOUTH AMERICAN SERIES

_Demy 8vo, cloth._


     1. =CHILE.= By G. F. SCOTT ELLIOTT, F.R.G.S. With an
     Introduction by Martin Hume, a Map, and 39 Illustrations. (4th
     Impression.)

     2. =PERU.= By C. REGINALD ENOCK, F.R.G.S. With an
     Introduction by Martin Hume, a Map, and 72 Illustrations. (3rd
     Impression.)

     3. =MEXICO.= By C. REGINALD ENOCK, F.R.G.S. With an
     Introduction by Martin Hume, a Map, and 64 Illustrations. (3rd
     Impression.)

     4. =ARGENTINA.= By W. A. HIRST. With an Introduction by
     Martin Hume, a Map, and 64 Illustrations. (4th Impression.)

     5. =BRAZIL.= By PIERRE DENIS. With a Historical Chapter by
     Bernard Miall, a Map, and 36 Illustrations. (2nd Impression.)

     6. =URUGUAY.= By W. H. KOEBEL. With a Map and 55
     Illustrations.

     7. =GUIANA: British, French, and Dutch.= By JAMES RODWAY.
     With a Map and 36 Illustrations.

     8. =VENEZUELA.= By LEONARD V. DALTON, B.Sc. (Lond.),
     F.G.S., F.R.G.S. With a Map and 36 Illustrations. (2nd
     Impression.)

     9. =LATIN AMERICA: Its Rise and Progress.= By F. GARCIA
     CALDERON. With a Preface by Raymond Poincaré, President of
     France, a Map, and 34 Illustrations. (2nd Impression.)

     10. =COLOMBIA.= By PHANOR JAMES EDER, A.B., LL.B. With 2
     Maps and 40 Illustrations. (2nd Impression.)

     11. =ECUADOR.= By C. REGINALD ENOCK, F.R.G.S.

     12. =BOLIVIA.= By PAUL WALLE. With 62 Illustrations and 4
     Maps.

     13. =PARAGUAY.= By W. H. KOEBEL.

     14. =CENTRAL AMERICA.= By W. H. KOEBEL.

"The output of the books upon Latin America has in recent years been
very large, a proof doubtless of the increasing interest that is
felt in the subject. Of these the South American Series edited by
Mr. Martin Hume is the most noteworthy."--TIMES.

"Mr. Unwin is doing good service to commercial men and investors by
the production of his 'South American Series.'"--SATURDAY REVIEW.

"Those who wish to gain some idea of the march of progress in these
countries cannot do better than study the admirable 'South American
Series.'"--CHAMBER OF COMMERCE JOURNAL.

[Illustration: COLON: STATUE REPRESENTING COLUMBUS PROTECTING THE
INDIANS.

  Vol. I. Frontispiece.]



  SPANISH AMERICA

  ITS ROMANCE, REALITY
  AND FUTURE


  BY

  C. R. ENOCK, C.E., F.R.G.S.

  AUTHOR OF "THE ANDES AND THE AMAZON," "PERU,"
  "MEXICO," "ECUADOR," ETC.


  WITH 25 ILLUSTRATIONS


  VOL. I


  T. FISHER UNWIN LTD
  LONDON: ADELPHI TERRACE



  _First published in 1920_


  (_All rights reserved_)



PREFACE


The purpose of this work is twofold--to afford a broad survey of
the Latin American countries, with the colour and interest which
so strongly characterizes this half of the New World; and to offer
in some degree a detailed study of the region as concerns what
(elsewhere) I have ventured to term a "science of humanity" or
science of corporate life, whose main factors are topographical,
occupational or industrial, and ethical or ethical-economic. New
responsibilities are arising in our dealings and contact with
foreign lands, especially those whose social affairs are still
backward. We must beware how we regard the folk of such lands mainly
as hewers of wood and drawers of water, or absorbents of exported
goods or producers of dividends, or their lands as mainly reservoirs
of raw material. Elemental forces are at work in the world to-day,
which only justice and constructive intelligence can control.
The English-speaking peoples have wide interests and consequent
responsibilities in these lands: matters which are discussed in the
final chapter.

As will be seen, I have embodied many descriptive passages in this
book from the various authors of the _South American Series_, to
which the present work is in a measure auxiliary.

  C. R. E.

  FROXFIELD, HANTS, ENGLAND.
  _May 1920._



CONTENTS


                                                         PAGE

        PREFACE                                             5

  CHAPTER

     I. A RECONNAISSANCE, AND SOME INFORMAL GEOGRAPHY      11

    II. A HISTORICAL OUTLINE                               40

   III. CENTRAL AMERICA: GUATEMALA, HONDURAS,
          BRITISH HONDURAS, NICARAGUA, SALVADOR,
          COSTA RICA, PANAMA                               63

    IV. ANCIENT AND MODERN MEXICO                          99

     V. ALONG THE PACIFIC COAST: IN COLOMBIA,
          ECUADOR AND PERU                                151

    VI. ALONG THE PACIFIC COAST: IN PERU, BOLIVIA
          AND CHILE                                       176

   VII. THE CORDILLERA OF THE ANDES: IN ECUADOR,
          PERU AND BOLIVIA                                209

  VIII. THE CORDILLERA OF THE ANDES: IN BOLIVIA,
          CHILE AND ARGENTINA                             266

        INDEX                                             291



ILLUSTRATIONS


  COLON: STATUE REPRESENTING COLUMBUS PROTECTING
  THE INDIANS                                  _Frontispiece_

                                                 TO FACE PAGE

  AVENIDA CENTRAL, RIO DE JANEIRO                          20

  THE ANCIENT CIVILIZATION: STONE STELÆ AT QUIRIGUA,
    CENTRAL AMERICA                                        32

  THE ANCIENT CIVILIZATION: RUINS OF MITLA, MEXICO         60

  THE CATHEDRAL, GUATEMALA                                 70

  THE CITY OF GUATEMALA                                    80

  A COFFEE ESTABLISHMENT IN CENTRAL AMERICA                86

  CUTTING SUGAR-CANE IN CENTRAL AMERICA                    96

  SCENE ON THE GREAT PLATEAU, MEXICO                      104

  THE CATHEDRAL, CITY OF MEXICO                           114

  CORDOVA AND THE PEAK OF ORIZABA, STATE OF VERA
    CRUZ                                                  132

  VILLAGE ON THE PACIFIC SLOPE, MEXICO                    140

  VIEW ON THE GRIJALVA AND USUMACINTA RIVERS, MEXICO      150

  THE WHARF AT GUAYAQUIL                                  158

  CULTIVATED LANDS ON THE PACIFIC COAST OF PERU           176

  THE LANDING STAGE AT VALPARAISO                         198

  THE MALLECO RIVER AND BRIDGE, CHILE                     206

  THE APPROACH TO QUITO                                   222

  PIZARRO, THE CONQUISTADOR                               240

  IN THE PERUVIAN ANDES                                   250

  PERU, LLAMAS AND ALPACAS                                260

  PERU: NATIVE BLANKET WEAVER IN THE ANDES                260

  THE RUINED INCA FORTRESS OF OLLANTAYTAMBO, PERU         264

  INDIAN RAFTS ON LAKE TITICACA                           274

  ACONCAGUA, THE HIGHEST ANDINE PEAK, CHILE               288



SPANISH AMERICA



CHAPTER I

A RECONNAISSANCE

AND SOME INFORMAL GEOGRAPHY


Who has not felt at some time the lure of Spanish America, the
attraction of those half-mysterious lands--Peru or Panama, Mexico
or Brazil, and all that galaxy of far-off States, with the remains
of their ancient civilization and their picturesque modern
setting--beneath the equatorial sun, beyond the Western sea? They
drew us in our youth, were it but in the pages of Prescott, when
with Cortes and Pizarro the Aztec and Inca Empires lay before us;
they draw us even in maturer years.

Yonder lies the Spanish Main, glittering in the sun as when we
sailed it first--in that long-foundered pirate craft of boyhood;
there stretch the tropic shores of wild Guiana; there the great
Andes rears its towering crests, and over golden sands the Orinoco
and the Amazon pour down their mighty floods; whilst, in slumberous
and mysterious majesty beyond, wide as the sea of Time, the vast
Pacific echoes on its boundless shores. And for those, who would
seek the true El Dorado of the West the great Sixteenth Century has
not closed yet, nor ever will; the days of ocean-chivalry are not
dead, the Elizabethan mariners come and go, for their voyages have
no end within those spacious days of history.

Spanish America, in fact, is enshrouded in an atmosphere of romance
and interest which time does not easily dispel, and remains a land
of adventure and enterprise. Its sunny shores, its picturesque
folk with their still semi-mediaeval life, despite their advancing
civilization--the great untravelled spaces, the forests, the
mountains, the rivers, the plains, and all they contain, the lure
and profit of commerce and of trafficking--all these are matters we
cannot separate from the New World as peopled by Spain and Portugal.

It is, moreover, peculiarly a world of its own, born in an
impressionable period, indelibly stamped with the strong
individualism of the Iberian people who overcame it, and it
remains apart, refusing the hegemony of the commercialistic age--a
circumstance for which we may be grateful, in a sense. Its future is
on the lap of the unknown, offering always the unexpected: geography
has everywhere separated it from the Old World; temperament keeps
the seclusion.

Whatever be our errand in this new world--erroneously termed "new,"
for it is old, and had its folk, its Toltecs and pre-Incas, in the
apogee of their ancient culture developed a shipbuilding as they
did a temple-building art, they might have come sailing around
the world and found us here in Britain still "painted savages";
whatever, I say, be our errand there, we shall not understand
Spanish America and its people, just as they will never understand
us, the people of Anglo-Saxon race. The gulf between us is as deep
as the Atlantic, as wide as the Pacific. The incomprehensible
Spaniard has added himself to the unfathomable Indian, the red-brown
man who sprang from the rugged soil of America (perhaps from some
remote Mongolian ancestry), who, inscrutable as a dweller of the
moon, is still sullen and secretive as he was and well might
be--after the rapine which followed on the white man's keel and sail
upon his shores four centuries ago; the white conqueror, who in his
adventurous greed destroyed the Egypt and the Chaldea of America and
trampled their autochthonous civilization in the dust.

And as to the Spaniards, it is their strong individualism which
presents a marked attraction here, though one which may not
generally have been put into words: the individualism of nations
founded upon historical and geographical bases, as has already
been said. We approach here, not a mere United States of Spanish
America, not a confederation of vast municipalities or provinces
whose borders are imaginary parallels or meridians, but a series of
independent nations, each stamped with its own character, bearing
its own indelible and romantic name, whose frontiers are rivers and
mountain ranges.

Is there any virtue in these things? In the day when prosaic
commercialism, when megalomania and money so sway us, there is a
refreshing atmosphere about the refusal to conglomerate of these
picturesque communities, whose names fall pleasingly on our ears.
Yet there are penalties too. Rugged and difficult of approach--the
vulgar gaze may not easily rest upon them by the mere passport of a
tourist's ticket--as are these vast territories of forest, desert
and Cordillera, Nature, though grand and spacious, is ill at ease,
and the mood might seem to be impressed upon the people of the land
that neither is there peace for them. For they have soaked their
land with the blood of their own sons, and we might at times despair
of self-government here.

But we need not despair. The malady is but part of one that afflicts
the whole world, whose cure awaits the turning of the next page
of human evolution--a page which can be turned whenever slothful
humanity desires to do it.

Spanish America is really one of the most interesting fields of
travel in the world, even if it does not make great pretension of
its attractions. From the point of view of the holiday-maker it
has remained undeveloped. The traveller who requires luxuriance of
travel, of hotel and pleasure-resort, such as the playgrounds of
Europe afford, will not find such here, except perhaps in a few of
the more advanced cities. It is a continent which, despite its four
centuries of discovery, has so far done little more than present its
edge to the forces--and pleasures--of modern life. Nature is in her
wildest moods: it is an unfinished world; mankind is still plastic.
The mountain trail and the horse are more in evidence than the
railway and the motor-car; the _fonda_ rather than the hotel. Here,
moreover, Don Quixote de la Mancha has taken up his abode, and we
may find him often, to our pleasure if we like his company, as some
of us do.

But let us dismount. Here are beautiful cities too. A sensitive
and developing people, the Spanish American folk would resent any
aspersion of their civilization. They have all the machinery of
culture to their hand. Here the Parisian toilette rubs shoulders
in their streets and _plazas_ with the blanketed and sandalled
Indian; the man of fashion and the man of the Stone Age walk the
same pavement. Here in these pleasing towns--some of them marvels
of beauty, some of them in an atmosphere of perpetual spring, some
miles above the sea--are palaces of justice, art and science. Here
are republican kings and plutocrats, rich with the product of the
field and mine, here are palms and music, homes of highly cultured
folk, speaking their soft Castilian: shops stored with all the
luxury of Europe or the United States. Here are streets of quaint
colonial architecture, and courteous hosts and hostesses, and
damsels of startling beauty in all the elegance of the mode.

Here, too, are smooth-tongued lawyer statesmen, dominating (as they
always do) the Senatorial Councils. It is true that from time to
time there are disturbing elements when rude soldier-politicians
break in upon the doctor-politicians with the clatter of a
mule-battery, on the pavement, and the sword takes the place of the
bauble; it is true that the walls of the streets are pitted here
and there with bullet marks, from some whiff of grapeshot, and that
there are stains of blood upon the pavements; and it is true that
against the white walls of justice, science, art and oratory stands
silhouetted the figure of the poor Indian, or _peon_, who slinks
_humilde_ amid the palms and music--doffing his hat as he passes
the Cathedral precincts--and that the veneer of civilization, torn
aside, reveals at times both the cultured and the uncultured savage.

Here, too, congregate the merchants and traffickers of all the
world, Old and New, from all the four corners of the earth to buy
and sell. Here is the Frenchman with his emporium of finery, the
Spaniard with his groceries, or the Italian with his wares, the
Arab with his little shop, the Chinaman with his laundry (and his
peculiar affinity with the Indian, perhaps of the same mother-race),
the German with his hardware, drugs and cheap jewellery and much
besides; the English or American with every commodity, and in
addition his mining schemes and railways and steamers, or his
municipal stocks and bonds. For Spanish America is now a peculiarly
attractive Mecca of the international merchant and pedlar, who does
it services both good and ill.

Here, in this financial and business field, the Englishman has been
predominant (though that predominance may not always be, for he is
closely pressed now and must not muddle on).

England, indeed, soon conquered a world commercially which she
bungled in overcoming in conquest. She early scorned Columbus,
or would not help him; at Cartagena, Callao, Rio de Janeiro,
Montevideo, Buenos Ayres, and elsewhere, her admirals and generals
seem to have failed, and she secured but a couple of small footholds
on the continent and some rich islands off its coast. Perhaps it
was destiny; perhaps we would not now have it otherwise, and the
Spanish American civilization develops more interestingly alone. But
interesting too would have been a British Indian Empire in America,
perhaps with possibilities and results of value to the world.

But, despite all this, the British name here stands high, and heaven
grant it always may.

Not for all her past misdeeds, nor the present defects arising from
them, shall we forget the gifts that Spain has made to the New
World. To-day it might indeed be said that some of the main problems
of colonial empires are but beginning (as witness Egypt and India
under British rule). Spain made nations, even it they afterwards
fell from her by misgovernment or from natural causes. She implanted
her religion, literature, culture, language, architecture over
hundreds of thousands of miles of forbidding desert and Cordillera,
as we shall see in these pages. Over a zone of the earth's territory
seven thousand miles long, from the Mexican border with the United
States, throughout the twenty Republics of Central and South
America, to the tapering end of Chile, the Spanish language is the
medium of communication, a language-area vaster than any in the
world.

And Portugal, the patron of great voyagers and explorers, has left
her mark and language upon her half of the New World, the old empire
of Brazil, with a population greater than that of all her neighbours
combined. Less dominating than the Spaniard in the long run--for
Portugal has always said of herself that she could conquer but not
colonize--Portugal has left her own Iberian culture in Latin America.

Here, indeed, are the elements of life in the making, of a
civilization whose life is before it rather than behind it; often
picturesque, often sombre, always, as we have said, a world of its
own, and possessed of its own peculiar attractiveness.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some rather serious doubts have assailed my mind in regard to the
succeeding portion of this chapter, as to how far the weighty
matters of geography and travel-description may be treated
informally. Dare we "speak disrespectfully of the Equator," or too
lightly tread over Cancer or Capricorn?

But the home-returned traveller knows that treatment of geography
and travel is generally informal--not to say casual--especially
among our good English folk, and at dinner, where white
shirt-fronts do gleam, and feminine elegance is displayed, he may
have to answer somewhat elemental questions upon the whereabouts of
this or that land, region, or locality he has visited, or upon the
nature and customs of its particular inhabitants.

Nor is this confined to Society chatter alone at such pleasant
moments. In the London Board Room perhaps some stout and comfortable
director of possibly half a dozen companies whose operations are of
no meanly distributed geographical range may ask where such and such
a country is, with most complacent ignorance of maps and globes;
perhaps, also, in a few words doing what it was long since said we
could not do, "drawing up an indictment against a whole nation," for
doubtless weighty (financial) reasons of his own. As to the general
public, it goes on its way careless of where places are--except
that, by reason of the Great War, it has grown accustomed to looking
at the maps so beneficially inserted in the columns of our daily
Press, and strives to hold the balance between kilometres and miles.

The foregoing lack of familiarity with the round world and they that
dwell therein is especially true of the lands of Spanish America
(or Latin America, to use that more cumbrous but more accurate
term). "Where in the world is Ecuador, or Costa Rica, or Paraguay?"
some one may impatiently exclaim if we mention that we were held
up by quarantine in Guayaquil on account of yellow fever, or
other incident of other spot. "Where is Bolivia?" is another not
infrequent query, but generally made in ignorance of its first and
classical utterance, it is reputed, in the anecdote relating to Lord
Palmerston and the President--many years ago--of that Republic.

Some think Mexico is in South America, and, no doubt drawing
their ideas from their or their parents' study of Prescott in the
Victorian age, ask if the Mexicans really wear feathers and carry
knives. The position of Peru puzzles many good folk, although it is
generally believed to be somewhere in South America, which of course
is right. Chile, again; where does it lie? Did not some one once
describe Chile--if you look at the map--as a country two thousand
miles long and two inches wide? Again, striving to give an idea of
the vast length of Chile, one writer of the country has graphically
remarked that you may conceive it as a "long, narrow trough of
which one end could be placed at Queenstown and the other near New
York, but along which luggage could not be rolled." No offence is
here meant to the enterprising people of that land, who resisted
so stoutly the pretensions of their neighbours of Argentina in
order that this narrow width might not be pared down still closer,
a contention finally ended by the arbitration of King Edward of
Britain.

For both Argentina and Brazil seem to have been bent, at one time
or another, on carrying out the principle that to him who hath not
shall be taken away even that which he hath, for both of them
sprawl--geographically that is--across the South American Continent
and crowd their smaller neighbours into its margins or corners,
if crowding be possible here. As for Brazil, it must have more
political frontiers, one imagines, than any other nation in the
world.

[Illustration: AVENIDA CENTRAL, RIO DE JANEIRO.

  Vol. I. To face p. 20.]

The traveller sometimes finds it necessary to explain that Colombia
has nothing to do with British Columbia. It is a republic quite
unassociated with our Imperial outpost of British Columbia. As for
Venezuela, only those who have been there can ever be expected to
know where it is, notwithstanding that it is the part of South
America nearest to Europe and was that first sighted by Columbus.
The Guianas are rightly associated by many with Demerara sugar,
but Demerara, it has to be mentioned, is not the whole of British
Guiana, and there are in addition French and Dutch Guiana. British
Guiana and British Honduras--which latter, let us remark, is not in
South but in Central America (location to be explained later)--are
the only foothold of the British Empire on the mainland of Spanish
America. Guiana, moreover, has nothing to do with Guinea, in Africa,
or New Guinea, in Asia. Few people at home know where these places
are or who lives there or what they do. As to the first-named, it
is interesting to see that a deputation has recently arrived from
the colony in the Mother Country, to remind that parent of her
offspring's existence.

Both these small places--they are as large as England--are perhaps
among the most backward portions of the Empire. It is not their
fault, or not alone. It is largely due to the stupidity or lack of
interest of the Home Government. It is also due, in general terms,
to the stupidity and ignorance of British folk in general, who take
little interest in their possessions overseas, and who from one
point of view do not deserve to have them. The tropical colonies of
Britain, and among them are these of South and Central America--not
to mention the magnificent heritage of the West Indies, which
of course are geographically part of America--are most valuable
charges, most essential elements of the national food supply. They
are at least geographical larders, and it is time they were much
more fully developed and cared for.

It is well to recollect, moreover, politically, that Britain has
scarcely given an efficient object-lesson of development, social and
economic, to the backward States of Spanish America in her control
of these two Crown Colonies.

But we digress. If the geography of the South American States
is nebulous to the ordinary person at home, how much more so is
that of Central America? In the first place, it may be asked,
where or what is Central America? Many well-informed people do
not know. North America and South America are easily realizable
as geographical entities, but where can a third America exist?
Central America is not the centre of the South American Continent,
as some well-meaning people think, but is that part of America
lying between the two continents, and includes no less than six
independent Republics, together with British Honduras. The Panama
Canal cuts through it; the Tehuantepec and other railways cross it.
Thus when we are asked where is Costa Rica or Nicaragua or Salvador,
Honduras or Panama, where perhaps the latest revolution has just
broken out, or the Government have just repudiated a loan, or
managed to pay an instalment of the interest due upon a loan, we may
reply in Central America.

And Paraguay--ah, Paraguay! Where is it? And Hayti, too?

Many people in England have relatives in Spanish American countries,
and it is interesting to be able to inform them where the particular
localities are situated, and how to get there, also the distances
approximately places are apart. "I have a cousin who is Chargé
d'Affaires in Revolutia," says a lady at a reception. "I do trust
he has not been injured by that terrible South American earthquake
we saw in the paper this morning." We are able to assure the lady
that the earthquake was in San Volcania, at least two thousand
miles from the enterprising Republic where her relative carried on
his doubtless invaluable diplomatic duties. "Have you ever been in
---- (we will call it Santa Andina)?" says a stout, bald-headed
gentleman, who looks like a company promoter (and we afterwards
found that he was such), referring to a well-known Spanish American
capital, adding that he thought of going there, and had heard
that no great difficulties attended the journey. He thought oil
concessions were to be obtained there. When he learned that you take
a river steamer, then a train, then a canoe, then a steamer again,
and lastly a mule, his _wanderlust_ seemed somewhat to abate. The
story of the lady who had a relative in New York, and hoped he would
call one morning on the brother of another person present who lived
in Buenos Ayres has often been told, but I am inclined to regard it
as far-fetched. The point is that the lady, knowing that both places
were in America, imagined they must be in easy daily radius of each
other.

The traveller who knows Spanish America and speaks the Spanish
language--which language is a veritable delight when you know
it--will often wish that English people would set out to acquire
at least a slight knowledge of the pronunciation of Spanish words
and place-names. He does not like to hear, for example, Buenos
Ayres spoken of as "Boners' Airs," or Callao as "Cally-oh"! And the
pronunciation of señor as "seenyor" is most offensive. Again, why
will the English Press persist in depriving "señor" and the Spanish
letter "ñ" generally of its ~, or in using Don where Señor should
be used (as is done even in _The Times_), or in the rendering of
the Spanish (or its Italian or French equivalent) _Viva!_ as "long
live." It does not mean "long live," but "live" or "may he live,"
and is generally followed by _que viva!_ "Let him live." It would
be better translated as "Hurrah for So-and-So." However, the Press
does not generally treat Spanish America very seriously. There is an
_opéra bouffe_ element.

The Spanish language is perhaps the most beautiful and pleasing in
the world, when we take into account its virility and brevity. It
says what it means at once, and every letter, except the aspirate,
in every word is pronounced. It is a simple language, easily
learned. It is spoken over an enormous part of the earth's surface,
and there is little variation between the Spanish of Castile and
that of Spanish America.

When we converse--in their own language--with the educated Spanish
American folk, we find them full of wise saws and modern instances.
They are shrewd and philosophical, and the Spanish language abounds
with proverbs and aphorisms applicable to the things of everyday
life. They are born statesmen and lawyers and orators. They go
back to the remote classics for their similes. All this is very
delightful in its way, and the Englishman, after a course of years
of it will come home and think his own countrymen rather stupid and
unimaginative; that is if his own common sense does not balance
their own more solid qualities against the more surface attainments.
What he wishes is that the one race might partake more of the
qualities of the other, and vice versa. Oratory and theory cannot
replace practical politics and justice, but we miss the amenities.

  Mucha tinta y poca justicia!

so says the Spanish American (or the Spaniard), referring to the
national power of document-compiling and red tape; that is to say:
"Much ink and little justice."

Nor yet can the most delightful spirit of hospitality make amends
for the insufferable defects of the _fonda_ and the inn, and

    De tu casa a la ajena
    Sal con la barriga llena!

is the soundest advice in Latin America to the traveller in the
interior, or, as one would say, "From your own to a stranger's home,
go forth with a well-filled belly."

The Spanish American people, as we have remarked, are of a poetical
and sentimental temperament, given to oratory, and they produce
many poets, many of which, however, would, if criticism is harsh,
be termed versifiers. They are fond of what might be termed
descriptive embroidery; what, indeed, one of their own race has
termed _desarollos lyricos_ ("lyric developments"). Love verses are
an absorbing theme, and their small magazines overflow therewith,
and even the daily Press does not disdain such. It might be said
that versifying in Spanish in matters amorous may be facile,
because _amores_ (love), _flores_ (flowers), _olores_ (perfume),
and _dolores_ (grief) all rhyme! One cynical Spanish American poet,
however, has propounded the following, descriptive of the social and
natural ambient:

    Flores sin olor
    Hombres sin honor
    Mujeres sin pudor!

That is to say: "Flowers without perfume, men without honour, women
without modesty." It is true that the flowers in the New World here
sometimes lacks perfume, where we might have expected to find such,
and that at times men and women lack the cardinal virtues, but the
same could be said anywhere, and is merely an epigram.

The verse-making of the young poets is often erotic and neurotic,
addressed to the object of undying affection, or to the shades
of night, or the cruelty of destiny--which tears lovers apart
or carries them off to early graves. In this connexion Byron is
well regarded (but let us say nothing derogatory of Byron) and
Shakespeare appreciated.

However, it is to be recollected that these are rather symptoms of
youth in a nation, and if the more blasé and practical Briton--and
the still more practical and less poetical North American--finds
their verse hackneyed (if he be able to read it, which is not
frequently the case), this sentiment has its valuable psychical
attribute. The English, indeed, are regarded by the Spanish American
as of a romantic temperament, or of having a reputation for romance,
and this is possibly due in part to Byron.

But let it not be forgotten that there are famous Latin American
poets, to which space here forbids even the barest justice to be
done.

The Spanish Americans are great panegyrists, moreover. The
most extraordinary adulations of public personages are made and
published, such as it might be supposed would cause the object
thereof to blush. The late President Diaz of Mexico was always to
his admirers--or those who hoped to gain something by his adulation,
and this it is not necessarily unkind to say is often the motive
of the panegyric--a "great star in a Pleiades or constellation of
the first magnitude," and similar matters are found in all the
republics. A stroke of ordinary policy becomes thus "_un acto de
importancia transcendental_," which sufficiently translates itself;
and so forth.

Of course, it is the case that the Spanish language lends itself
peculiarly to "lyric developments"; it is expressive and sonorous,
and even the uneducated person has in it a far wider range of
thought and expression than has the apparently unimaginative and
tongue-tied Briton, or American of Anglo-Saxon speech. Upon this
theme we might greatly enlarge, but we must refrain.

As I have already remarked, the general conception of the Spanish
American people by English folk is a vague one. To such questions or
remarks as: "Are they mostly Indians?" or "I suppose they are not
mainly niggers, or at least half black?" in brief terms, the reply
is that the Spanish American people are a blend of the aboriginal
Indian race--which possessed an early civilization of its own in
certain districts, as in Mexico and Peru, and has many valuable
qualities--and of the Spaniard, or in Brazil of the Portuguese.
They are not "half-breeds" now. We might as well, in a sense, call
the English half-breeds, because we are a mixture of Celt and Saxon
and Norman.

The "Indians" of Mexico and Peru--they are, of course, not Indian
at all in reality, that was an error of Columbus--had, before the
Spaniards destroyed it, a fine culture of their own and practised
the most beautiful arts. As to the modern culture, or that of the
upper strata, it surprises good cultured English folk to learn that
in matters of serious culture, knowledge and social etiquette, and
knowledge of the world, they themselves would have difficulty in
holding their own. The world, or outlook, of the educated man or
woman of Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, or any
other of these States, is a wider one than that of the British
middle-class folk: that great respectable body of persons so closely
engaged upon their own affairs.

Some writers have deplored the separate autonomy or absence of
"unification" of the Latin American States. They would like to see a
"United States of South America" or a Federation of Central America.

But this largely arises, perhaps, from the peculiar ideas of
hegemony which the last and present century brought to being. We
were to have vast empires. Weaker nations were to be controlled
by stronger. There were to be great commercial units. Is this
advisable, or will it be possible? The condition of the world after
the Great War would seem to indicate the negative. It would seem to
show that small nations have their own destiny to work out.

As regards Spanish America, its different States are, in general,
better in being separated. Both geographical conditions and those
of temperament support this. These States, or their capitals and
centres of population, are generally divided by Nature from each
other, often by tremendous barriers of mountain chains, rivers or
impenetrable forests. How could a single or centralized government
be set up to control either their home or foreign policy? Where
would it be, and how would it operate?

It might be said that similar topographical conditions obtain in
the case of the United States, Canada, or Australia, which prefer
to live as federations. But the natural geographical barriers of
Spanish America are, in reality, much more formidable. Again,
the present multiplicity of states, each with its complement of
president and state officers, gives opportunity for more intensive
political training, more pleasing social life and a greater general
opportunity for partaking in government by the people than does a
centralized government.

Let us thus refrain from judging too hastily or too harshly the
Spanish American people. Their temperament, their environment is
different from ours. They have not chosen or been able to follow
the more prosaic, more useful life of England or North America in
the commercial age. They had not our inventive, our mechanical
gifts. Under their warmer skies idealism played a stronger part.
They could not agree to live together unless idealistic conditions
were to dominate them--conditions which were impossible of course,
and they never were able to oil the wheels of life with that spirit
of compromise which providence--if it be a providential gift--gave
to us. Moreover, they have a dreadful history of oppression behind
them, and the dead-weight of a great Indian bulk of folk who were
ruined by the arrogant Spaniards, who despised them without a cause.

Rather let us see that they are endowed with many gifts, and that a
different phase of world-development and civilization may give these
people an opportunity to display their best qualities, of overcoming
their serious errors.

The thoughtful traveller will find matter of interest in Spanish
America wherever he journeys, in the delightful place-names he
encounters, which a little trouble will enable him to pronounce,
and often whose pleasing origin some study will permit him to
understand. Here are no duplications of "Paris," "Berlin," "London";
no monstrosities of "Copperville," "Petroleumville," "Irontown,"
and so forth, such as in Anglo America, the United States and
Canada, the developers of that part of America in some cases
hastily assigned to their places of settlement or industry, either
through lack of or laziness of search for original topographical
nomenclature. Here in Spanish America its old and rightful folk had
given poetical baptism to their localities. Such were often the
abiding places of deities or spirits. Yonder mountain, for example,
was "the home of the wind god" of the Quechuas; yonder point the
"place of the meeting of the waters" of the Aztecs, or the "field
of the fruitful," or the "forest of the dark spirits"; and thus is
imprinted upon them for all time the poetic fancy of their founders.
There rises the "snow-forehead" of the Andes, there is the "cañyon
of a thousand ripples," there is the "_pompa_ of the Holy Saints."
The names flow liquidly from the lips of the Indian, perhaps our
harsher tongues can ill articulate them in comparison.

Moreover, let us remark the wealth of topographical nomenclature,
both in the native languages of Mexico and Peru, and all the
sisterhood of states, and in the later Spanish tongue. Every hill,
hill-slope, stream, wood, plain, valley, desert, every kind of hill,
feature and topographical change of form is designated.

The present chapter, it is seen, is, in some small degree, designed
to prime the intending traveller to Spanish America--or, if not
the traveller, the person athirst for information concerning the
region--with such geographical detail as he or she may assimilate
without mental indigestion. In accordance with this purpose we may
consider a few figures, which are indispensable if we are to gather
any intelligent idea of extent and distance.

There are twenty independent republics of Spanish, or rather Latin
America, ranging from the enormous Brazil, with an area of three
and a quarter million square miles, down to little Salvador,
with only seven thousand two hundred and twenty-five square miles.
Among these twenty States we include Hayti and Santo Domingo, places
which, although often mentioned with a smile when independent
republics are spoken of, are nevertheless worthy of geographical
respect.

[Illustration: THE ANCIENT CIVILIZATION: STONE STELÆ AT QUIRIGUA,
CENTRAL AMERICA.

  Vol. I. To face p. 32.]

Between these great extremes of area mentioned above we have such
countries as Argentina, with over a million square miles, and
Mexico, Bolivia and Peru, with from nearly to over seven hundred
thousand square miles, Colombia, Venezuela and Chile, with from over
four to under three hundred thousand, Ecuador and Uruguay with half
and a third those areas, and the remaining nine States of from about
seventy thousand square miles down to about a tenth thereof.

The total area thus covered of this very diversified part of the
earth's surface is about eight and a quarter million square miles,
with a total population in the neighbourhood of eighty million souls.

It is of interest further to recollect that Brazil is larger than
the United States or Canada, or larger than Europe without Russia.
Even the little but progressive country of Uruguay, crowded by
Brazil and Argentina into a corner of the Atlantic coast, is much
larger than England.[1]

  [1] The good Church of England, in caring for her sons in Spanish
  America, is perforce obliged to have regard to the vast distances
  she must cover here. Thus the Bishop of the Falkland Islands'
  flock--his diocese--extends over the not inconsiderable territory
  covering the west coast of South America, including Chile, Peru,
  Bolivia, Ecuador and so forth--a strip some five or six thousand
  miles long. As I formed one of a committee with the good bishop to
  endeavour to raise funds among English business men to carry on his
  work (and incidentally to lecture on the subject), I had the matter
  brought specially to my notice. Again, the Bishop of Honduras, in
  a recent letter to _The Times_, appealed for funds for a vessel,
  by means of which he might visit his flock over the vast diocese
  that included Honduras and British Honduras, Costa Rica, Salvador,
  Nicaragua and Panama.

  And again, in giving evidence before the Select Committee of the
  House of Commons to inquire into the Putumayo rubber scandals, which
  I was called upon as a witness to do, concerning the Indians of
  Peru, it was necessary to inform the gentlemen of the Commission
  that the easiest way of reaching Eastern from Western Peru was to
  take steamer up the Pacific coast, cross the Isthmus of Panama, go
  home across the Atlantic to Liverpool, and come back again to the
  Amazon and go up that river!

It is to be recollected that the areas given to these countries
themselves in some cases include territory claimed by their
immediate neighbours, for there are unsettled boundaries and
frontiers, especially in the Amazon Valley. They must be regarded as
only approximate.

The same remark holds good with regard to the population of these
States. Exact enumeration is impossible, for the reasons both that
the inhabitants are often enormously scattered over vast territories
and that they often refuse to be numbered, or escape the census,
fearing that they are to be taxed, or pressed into military service
against their will, which latter condition has been a curse of
Spanish America all through its history.

Much of our earlier knowledge of Northern South America and Mexico
was due to Humboldt, the famous German savant and traveller. He
was born in Berlin in 1769, but it would appear that Berlin was
certainly not his "spiritual home." Paris was the only centre
congenial to him, and he settled there in 1808, after his travels,
in order to be able to secure the needful scientific co-operation
for the publication of the results of his work. "The French capital
he had long regarded as his true home. There he found not only
scientific sympathy, but the social stimulus which his vigorous and
healthy mind eagerly craved. He was equally in his element as the
lion of the _salons_ and as the savant of the institute and the
observatory. The provincialism of his native city was odious to
him. He never ceased to rail against the bigotry without religion,
aestheticism without culture, and philosophy without common sense,
which he found dominant on the banks of the Spree. He sought relief
from this 'nebulous atmosphere' in Paris."[2]

  [2] _Vide_ Humboldt, _Encyc. Brit._, Eleventh Edition, 1910.

It was by an accident that Humboldt directed his steps to Spanish
America, for he had hoped, with Bonpland, to join Bonaparte in
Egypt, but in Madrid he determined to make Spanish America the
scene of his explorations. He explored the Orinoco, crossed the
frozen Cordillera to Quito, investigated the mighty avenue of the
Ecuadorian volcanoes--the farm he occupied still exists at their
foot--and did much else in South America and in Mexico, geological,
archæological, and botanical.

The foregoing glimpse of Berlin which Humboldt's view of his native
city affords is not without interest to-day, when the savagery of
the German character--a curious development of that earlier obscure
philosophy--has been brought so prominently before the world and has
brought Germany to moral ruin, and what is in part financial ruin
and the loss of her colonies.

As has been said, methods of travel here are less inviting to the
ordinary tourist than the well-prepared fields of the Old World. Its
hotels--apart, perhaps, from a few here and there--are primitive,
its railways are conducted for commercial purposes, there are
no planned centres of delight and ease. No roads traverse the
countryside whereon the motor-tourist may spend his hours. Between
the primitive mule-trail or the bypath which the simple Indian has
found sufficient for his purposes since the world began, and the
railway, there is no _via media_. The coaching days of England
never had their counterpart in Spanish America. The _caballero_,
the horseman-gentleman, transplanted from old Spain, and all he
represented embodied, and still embodies, the philosophy of the
road. Here no one may walk the countryside, except the necessitous
Indian. The dust would smother him, the naked rocks would cut his
feet, he would lose caste for being on foot. No "local" botanist,
antiquarian, nature-lover sallies forth from Spanish-American
villages. The country squire is unknown, the landed estate is a
_hacienda_, a hive of _peones_, dependent body and soul on the will
of their masters. There are no week-end cottages; the "picnic,"
though its English name is not unknown, is a rare event. Sport,
where it exists, is an institution engrafted from abroad.

Woman here is much enclosed in the seclusion of her home, save
when she ventures to the temple and the priestly Mass, or to
well-chaperoned and formal events--she dare not traverse the road
alone, and, it may be said, with sufficient reason! The Spanish
American youth, with his patent leather shoes and breadth of cuff
and collar, loves not to leave the easy pavements of his towns, or
their bars and cafés, for the unknown world beyond, whose beginning
is the squalid Indian quarter which fringes the place around--unless
indeed he may have turned revolutionist, a phase which does not
usually take place much before middle age, when the Latin American
generally takes on his serious political habit. Then indeed he must
take to the road, unless a fortunate _golpe de estado_[3] shall
complete the uprising within the city plaza.

  [3] _Coup d'état._

The inland method of travel is the horse or mule: the saddle.
Unfortunately the horse is not very happy here. In the Day of
Judgment, if the beasts of the field ever bear witness against man,
the horse will have a severe indictment to bring against the Spanish
American people. He and his relative the mule have nowhere perhaps
been so dreadfully ill-treated as in these lands of mountains
and deserts. In Mexico we see him ridden to death by the callous
vaquero; his thin and starving body passing like a swift shadow
across the wilderness under the stimulus of enormous spurs. Or he is
gored to death in the bull-ring. In South America he climbs, with
enormous loads, the dizzy ridges of the Andes, under the blows and
curses of the arriero, and, stumbling over the precipice, finds rest
at times a thousand feet below, where his mummified carcass remains
a warning to his kind. Or he passes his life on high uplands where
pasture is unknown: his fodder a little dry straw.

The fact is that the Spanish American lands, in great part, did
not seem fitted by nature for the equine race, and there was no
horse in America before the Europeans introduced the animal there.
There was nothing but the llama, the friend of the Indian, which is
not ridden, but bears a small burden. The Indian himself at first
displayed great terror of the horse (especially with an armoured
Iberian on its back). He himself was accustomed to carrying his
burdens. When he was told to take a horse he said: "No, horses get
tired; we do not." When a Spaniard rode across the Isthmus of Panama
upon a jackass he met some Indians, and the animal brayed, and the
Indians fell down in terror and offered up their gold ornaments!

Yet the Latin Americans are perhaps the most expert of horsemen, and
train and manage their steeds as no one else can.

Spanish America is not a land for the huntsman, not a land of big
game. Its zoology is stinted. The lion and the tiger are represented
only by some almost insignificant felines, and the other huge
quadrupeds of the sportsman's rifle came not to being in the New
World, or deserted it by now fallen land bridges before their
skilled tormentor appeared upon the earth. There is, relatively, but
little game, and the traveller who might think to subsist upon it in
his passage through the wilds will do well to ponder the experience
of the early Conquistadores, some of which have been set down
briefly in these pages.

Thus far the picture of travel here. There are phases on the other
side to be considered. It is the explorer, the pioneer, who will
find material for his desires in these lands. The geographer, the
antiquarian, the naturalist, the ethnologist has before him a field
which is the equal of any region, and the engineer, that most
practical and valuable of travellers, has work before him in this
score of independent states whose magnitude has, so far, no limit.



CHAPTER II

A HISTORICAL OUTLINE


It would be manifestly impossible, in the present work, to enter
in detail upon the wide field of the history of the Spanish
American States. Yet, just as in order to gain an intelligent idea
topographically of the region we must refer to its main geographical
features and disposition, so must we cast a glance at its historical
outlines. Those readers who are drawn on to fill in the detail have
ample material at hand in the books recently published on the Latin
American States.[4]

  [4] Each volume of the South American Series contains such.

The beginnings of history and of geography are, of course,
inextricably interwoven, and in the case of America this is markedly
so. America, in a sense, was discovered by accident, and its first
discoverers did not know they had brought to being a new continent.
Columbus, to his dying day, believed it was India he had reached,
which he had set out to reach, and would not be persuaded to the
contrary.

On the maps of the earlier geographers there was, in fact, no
room for America. From the shores of Europe and Africa to those
of Cathay--the old, mediaeval, and still the poetical name for
China, the great Asiatic coast--stretched one sea, the Western
Ocean, broken by some small islands and Cipango, or Japan. Scholars
and dreamers, studying isolated passages in cryptic and classic
writings, or arguing from general principles, in which the wish was
at times father to the thought, believed that by sailing west India
could be reached.

These dreams of poets and the beliefs of scholars crystallized in
the mind of the Genoese sailor, Columbus, a man of humble origin,
and after many disappointments and disillusions, in the interviewing
of kings and high personages for aid and patronage (among them the
King of England, but England with characteristic lack of imagination
would have none of it, and the King of Portugal, who tried to cheat
him), was enabled to set sail by aid of the Queen of Spain--women
having more imagination than men--in three small vessels, and made
his great and memorable landfall in the New World on October 12,
1492, in the Bahamas.

These islands Columbus and his officers believed to be those
described by Marco Polo, as forming the eastern end of Asia; and
thus arose the name of "Las Indias," the Indies, which America long
retained.

As a result of this discovery, a controversy arose between Spain
and Portugal, for, in 1454, the Pope had given the Portuguese--by
what right he himself doubtless best knew--exclusive control of
exploration and conquest on the road to the Indies, although his
Bull had in view only the eastern route. Now, however, "spheres of
influence" might easily clash. The two Powers repaired again to the
Pope, successor of the former, and he, drawing a line across the
map of the world from north to south, in a position west of the
Azores a hundred leagues, awarded Spain everything that might lie
beyond it. The Pope was a Spaniard. The Portuguese did not think the
award fair. (It might have been mentioned that the Portuguese King,
his "especial friend," had treacherously endeavoured to forestall
Columbus by dispatching a caravel on his proposed route secretly,
instead of helping him, a futile errand, however.) They protested,
and by common consent the line was shifted to 370 leagues west of
the Cape Verde Islands, corresponding to-day to the 50th degree of
longitude.

Such a line cuts South America across the mouth of the Amazon, and
the Spaniards claimed the right to exclude all other people and all
trade but their own from beyond this line.

The subsequent conquest and discovery of America embodies some of
the most romantic and stirring episodes in history. In his last
voyage Columbus explored the West Indies and reached South America,
landing at the mouth of the Orinoco, and he sailed along the coast
of the Caribbean and Central America to Nombre de Dios--"Name of
God"--near Colon. Henry VII of England--who had declined to help
Columbus--now kindly permitted John Cabot to sail, in 1499, who
discovered Newfoundland and did other valuable exploits. Hispaniola
was the first Spanish Settlement, on the Island of Hayti, and this
spread to the mainland. In 1513 Vasco Nuñez de Balboa crossed
the Isthmus of Darien and Panama and beheld the "South Sea," as
described in our chapter upon Central America. The insistent hope
of a "strait" or passage through these lands, giving a way to the
Spice Islands of the Indies, was now given up, and when Magellan,
in 1520, passed through the strait which bears his name, and sailed
across the Pacific, it was understood that a vast continent and a
vast ocean divided the world from Asia here, a new world, and that
lying mainly within the sphere of influence which the Pope had so
generously assigned to Spain.

With regard to this obsession of Colombus that westward lay the
shortest route to India, and the insistent idea of a strait, have
not these been materialized in the Panama Canal, and are not these
ancient mariners vindicated to-day?

The New World now belonged to Spain. Perhaps the first purpose of
the Spaniards was trade with the Indies, but their main object
was that of gold, to be gained by slave labour. They could not
themselves work in the tropics, even if they had had any desire for
manual labour, which they had not. However, they began to introduce
European plants and animals into Cuba and Hispaniola, a service
which was of enormous value later to America, which possessed but
a meagre range of staple food products and no beasts of burden
or bovines. But gold--that was what they wanted. The shallow
deposits of the island were soon exhausted, as were the poor willing
Indians, killed off by forced labour. The barbarous treatment of the
aborigines of the New World by the Spaniards--and the Portuguese--is
one of the most dreadful blots on the history of America, indeed of
the world.

The easily gotten gold being exhausted, it was necessary to go
farther afield. The Darien Settlement was transferred to Panama, the
coasts of Yucatan and the Gulf of Mexico were explored by Cordova
and Grijalva, from Cuba, and in 1519 the great Conquest of Mexico
was entered upon by Cortes.

So far the Spaniards had found little difficulty in subduing the
Indians to their will, the inoffensive islanders, and Caribs, which
latter became almost exterminated. The Indian folk of these islands
were generally a simple and credible race, who at first looked upon
the white man as a demi-god, but these simple children of the soil
were treated with utmost callousness and barbarity. There is an
example in the treatment of the natives of Watling Island in the
Bahamas, which, as before remarked, was the first point in the New
World trodden by Columbus. Of this land and its folk the explorer
wrote to Ferdinand and Isabella: "These beautiful islands excel
all other lands. The natives love their neighbours as themselves,
their faces are always smiling, their conversation is the sweetest
imaginable, and they are so gentle and affectionate that I swear to
your Highness there is no better people in the world." But what was
the lot of these folk? The Spaniards wanted further labour in the
mines of Hispaniola, and to get these natives there they, trading on
a characteristic love of the people for their ancestors and departed
relatives, promised to convey them to the heavenly shores, where
these were imagined as dwelling; and so, treacherously getting them
on board the ships, they were taken away to the mines, where it is
said 40,000 perished under starvation and the lash.

The natives of Mexico were people of a different stamp. The Aztecs
were _pueblo_ or town Indians, highly organized as soldiers, skilled
in arts and crafts, with a developed civilization and certain
intellectuality. They were highland folk, the Mexican plateau
lying at seven to eight thousand feet above sea level, protected
by mountain fastnesses. It was, in fact, an empire of the New
World such as, in some respects, might compare with those ancient
semi-barbaric empires of the Old World, in times more ancient. Its
conquest by Cortes was an affair of great enterprise and toil,
entailing heavy loss and suffering on the part of the Spaniards, and
at one time their defeat, from which only a superhuman rally saved
them, at the Battle of Otumba. There was one specially weak point
about the Aztec rule. It was a hegemony, exercised over various
other Mexican races, who hated Montezuma, the Aztec Emperor, and his
people. Cortes was skilful enough to take advantage of this flaw in
the Mexican armour, to fan the jealousies of the subject tribes, and
enlist them to march against Tenochtitlan, the capital of Mexico.
These allied Indians, when the place fell, themselves committed the
most unheard-of barbarities on the Aztec population, such as shocked
the Spaniards, who were unable to restrain them.

The Conquest of Mexico was effected by 1521, and the success, the
romance, the adventure, and the objects of gold and silver sent by
Cortes to Spain, and the loot of the soldiers, fired the imagination
of the Spaniards in Hispaniola and Darien to other quests. The
settlers at Panama had heard of another empire where gold was to be
had for the taking, perhaps richer and greater even than that of the
Aztecs. This was Peru, and Francisco Pizarro and Diego Amalgro set
sail from Panama to explore and conquer that unknown region along
the sunset shores of America to the south.

This adventure too was an arduous one, not by reason of the
opposition of savage natives, for the Incas of Peru were a gentle
and philosophical people, animated by a remarkable social system,
and they offered little resistance to the white men and the
formidable men-animals, or horsemen, and their guns. It was famine
that assailed Pizarro and his followers, and insufficient support.
Also he, like Cortes, had to contend with the jealousies and
double-dealing of the Spanish Governor of the Indies. As for Peru,
its coast was barren, as it is to-day, and only after surmounting
the dreadful fastness of the Andes, amid the inclement climate of a
region twelve to fifteen thousand feet above the level of the sea,
was the Inca Empire reached and subdued. Here lay Cuzco, the Mecca
of Peru, and Cajamarca, a more northern capital. The stores of gold
recovered seem to have filled these Spaniards' expectations, and
great renown was the result of this conquest, which was completed by
1533.

These exploits were followed by a period of strife among the
Spaniards, and Pizarro was murdered, after founding Lima, the
capital of Peru. But in 1536 the regions lying between Peru and
Panama, which to-day we know as Ecuador and Colombia, were explored
and conquered, the first by Sebastian de Benalcazar, the second
by Jimenez de Quesada. Here were dwelling other advanced people
or tribes. Quito, the capital of Ecuador, had been the home of
the Shiris, a cultured people who were overthrown by the Incas
before the Spanish advent. The city was joined to Cuzco, eleven
hundred miles to the south, by the famous Inca roads, one along the
Cordillera, the other along the coast. Some early Spanish historian
delighted to speak of these roads as equal to those of the Romans,
but this was an exaggeration. Colombia was the culture-area of the
Chibchas. The Spaniards had heard of a further great empire, a rich
El Dorado, in this region, and encouraged by the ease with which
Pizarro had conquered Peru, they made their way up the Magdalena
River from the Caribbean Sea. A pleasing land and much gold was
encountered, after severe hardships, the people being of some
considerable degree of civilization, although not of the status
of the Aztec or the Inca. The richest plums, in fact, had fallen.
Quesada named this region New Granada, with its capital at Bogota.

There still remained the conquest of the huge territory south of
Peru, known as Chile, and this, attempted by Almagro in 1537, was
carried out by Pedro de Valdivia, who, however, was checked by
the redoubtable Araucanian Indians. These form one of the chief
admixtures of the Chileans to-day, a hardy and enterprising nation,
in contrast with the Peruvians of a more sentimental temperament,
with a basis of the Quichua Indians of the Incas. Terrible excesses
were committed upon the Indians on these expeditions. A terrible end
was visited upon the Spanish leader by the Indians. "You have come
for gold," said the savage chief who captured him. "You shall have
your fill." And he caused _molten_ burning gold to be poured into
his mouth. Then he was cut to pieces with sharpened oyster shells.

From the Southern Andes, the Spaniards, in the following years,
descended to the great plains which now form the republics of the
River Plate, Argentine, Uruguay and Paraguay. The exploration
of Brazil had been begun in 1510, and the region was traversed
by Orellana in his descent of the Amazon from Quito, and it was
gradually settled by the Portuguese.

The lands lying between Panama and Mexico, which to-day form
the Central American States, Guatemala, Costa Rica and others,
were conquered after the fall of Mexico. Here were evidences of a
splendid past, in the beautiful temples of sculptured stone found in
their forests and deserts, ruins even then abandoned. These remains
astounded Europe, when they were first revealed.

Thus did all this enormous region of Latin America, from tropical
Mexico--indeed, from California--to the frigid extremity of
Patagonia, fall into the possession of Spain and Portugal. In
some respects it is a dreadful history. The Spaniards overthrew
civilizations in Mexico and Peru which in many respects were
superior to their own, civilizations that had developed marvellously
without the resources that the Old World commanded, for there was
neither ox nor horse, nor even iron nor gunpowder. The Spaniards
destroyed everything that these people had done. For centuries
unknown they had evolved their arts and crafts and laws; laws, in
the case of the Incas of Peru, far more beneficial and democratic
than anything Europe had produced at that period, and millions of
these people were most ruthlessly destroyed.

To read the accounts of the happenings of those times is enough to
break one's heart. To-day, throughout the length and breadth of
this vast territory--of which not an acre now belongs to Spain--the
spirit of the Indian has so far remained faithful that there is not
a single statue raised to Cortes or Pizarro. Columbus, of course,
is commemorated by his monuments in every capital.

These great New World territories, by virtue of the papal Bull,
were held as the peculiar property of the Sovereign. The Spanish
possessions were divided into two "kingdoms," the Kingdom of
New Spain, consisting of Mexico and all lands to and including
Venezuela, and New Castile, later called Peru. This last viceroyalty
was found unwieldy, and New Granada and the River Plate regions were
constituted apart under viceroys. The administrative powers of these
functionaries were very great, but they were held in some control by
the Laws of the Indies: measures passed for native protection. Even
the frightful dominance of the Inquisition did not extend to the
Indians, who were regarded as merely catechumens. Queen Isabella of
Spain, by whose imagination and aid discovery of the New World had
been rendered possible, would not permit--and her memory should be
revered for it--the enslavement of the Indians, if she could prevent
it, and when Columbus returned home with a cargo of natives, whom
he proposed to sell as slaves, Isabella interfered. Let them be set
at liberty, she said, and sent back to their homes. Columbus has in
general been represented as a protector of the Indians, and must not
necessarily be judged in the light of this incident.

In the general condemnation of Spain at that period, these facts
should be recollected. It was declared by the home government that
the Indians were to enjoy the privilege of free subjects, and
that their native princes were to be upheld in their authority.
Censure was frequently visited upon the conquerors and governors
of Mexico and Peru, from home, for their displacement or execution
of these, as any who will study Spanish colonial history may see.
Some modern writers, in their democratic zeal, have overlooked
this. The declaration was opposed by the colonists, as well as the
colonial authorities, and indeed by the clergy. Some compulsion was
necessary, of course, if civilization was to make its way among
the Indians, for they were often loath to work, and stood sullenly
aloof from the white race. The _System of Repartimientos and
Encomiendas_--the assigning of bodies of Indians to the industrial
charge of colonists--was well meant, but the greed of the colonists
and their callous habit as regarded human life offset these
influences.

Another side of the question also presents itself. Under Philip
II, the colonies were governed not so much in their own interests,
as for the enrichment of Spain and its predominance. He yearned to
injure Protestant England, and the colonists were taxed and goaded
to produce wealth, and their interests sacrificed in the furtherance
of this end. Those into whose hands the unfortunate Indians had been
delivered body and soul, drove the unfortunates into the mines,
branded them on the face, flogged them to death, chucked their
miserable carcasses aside, when they fell from exhaustion, a prey to
the dogs.

We know what these things led to. England and other European
nations refused to recognize the exclusive control of the American
continents by the Peninsula Powers, and hardy buccaneers and
privateers streamed forth to dispute Spanish pretensions. Drake
intercepted the stream of gold with which Philip was enabled to
equip his armadas and thus performed a marked strategic service for
England.

Moreover, such pretensions would never have been respected,
especially under the influence of the Renaissance and the
Reformation.

The restrictions upon colonial trade by Spain were, we see further,
an element in the downfall of the empire. The natural development
of South America was seriously hindered. All trade must come via
Panama, and anything opposed to Spanish interests was suppressed.
The growing trade between Acapulco and China was suppressed;
Hidalgo's vineyard in Mexico was destroyed by the Spanish
authorities because Spain alone must grow grapes. "Learn to be
silent and obey, and not to discuss politics," ran the proclamation
of a Mexican viceroy, near the end of the eighteenth century.

When--unlawfully--the throne of Spain came to be occupied with
kings having French sympathies, these short-sighted methods were
modified. _Audiencias_ or law courts, of which, from the reign of
Philip IV there were eleven, in Santo Domingo, Mexico, Panama,
Lima, Guatemala, Guadalajara, Bogota, La Plata, Chile, and Buenos
Ayres, acted as counsel to the Governors, with civil and criminal
jurisdiction. Appeal could be had to the Council of the Indies, that
great colonial body at Seville. For centuries the history of Spanish
America is made up of the deeds and misdeeds of the viceroys.

The political and commercial control of the colonies was thus
entirely in the hands of the Crown. The territories were expected to
send quantities of gold and other precious metals home to Spain with
regularity, and indeed Spain later became a mere sieve into which
this treasure from the Indies was poured. They were also bound to
send raw material and to take all their manufactured goods from the
Mother Country.

It must be recollected that the ill-treatment meted out to the
natives of these lands was mainly the work of the Spanish settlers.
They generally both despised the Indians, and wished to enrich
themselves from their labours. They were, for the man of Iberian
race, inferior creatures, to be used at his will, and the forced
labour in the mines was a cause of the reduction of the population.
Questions have been raised by historians as to whether the dreadful
treatment of the American native by the Spaniard was worse than that
meted out to him by the Anglo-Saxon settlers in North America. There
have been grave abuses in the latter field. The Indians in Spanish
America, however, numbered many millions, as against a few hundred
thousand elsewhere. The Spanish Crown and Government certainly did
not countenance the excesses carried on by the colonists, but
strove to protect the Indians.

As for the English colonies in America, they enjoyed a greater
measure of self-government and had taken firm root under more
prosaic but more fruitful form. The same policy, however, on the
part of the Mother Country was enacted in commercial matters; that
trade should consist almost exclusively of exchange of colonial
raw material for English manufactured articles. French colonies in
America were less noteworthy or prosperous, but they played their
part in history, for the fall of French control in North America
was in reality the beginning of independence for all colonies in
the New World; as did the ideas of the French philosophers, which
found a ready soil in the Spanish American folk. The establishment
of the United States was but the precursor to the establishment
of the numerous Latin American States. The Spanish Government saw
its danger, but was too apathetic to move. However, some reforms
were introduced, and it may be said that Spanish America was well
governed at the time of revolution, and was prosperous.

But it has been said that "across the face of all human reform are
written the words 'too late,'" and this is in effect what happened
in Spanish America. The French Revolution, and the defeat of
British expeditions to Buenos Ayres by the colonists in 1806 and
1807 had their effect. The struggle for Independence lasted from
1810 to 1826, until the flag of Spain was entirely ousted from
the vast territory of Spanish America, upon which she had stamped
her individuality, language, laws and all else, with much that was
splendid and enduring, and much that in the future development of
the world may have a value so far scarcely apparent.

The dark pictures of misrule of the century of republican life of
the twenty Latin Republics are interspersed with pages of a more
pleasing nature, but it is a chequered history, whose end we cannot
yet foresee.

Among elements making for disorder and bloodshed in Spanish America,
religion has played a prominent part. Many States developed bitter
antagonism between clerical and non-clerical parties. Some would
overthrow the Church and the all-pervading priestly power; others
would uphold it, whether out of pious conviction, whether because
it was a convenient party upon which to hang their own pretensions
and ambitions. Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Central America,
Chile--in fact, all have as part of their history the deadly
struggles between these factions. To-day this very fierceness
has flamed out, in the main, to be succeeded by a thinly veiled
materialism. What more can be expected of a hemisphere which was
cursed by the Inquisition?

In many instances the "reform" parties of these States having
triumphed by force of arms, confiscates all Church property--and
this often was enormous--which was handed to secular and public
purposes, or enriched the pockets of politicians. In Mexico,
where at one time it was not safe to pass along the street unless
seeming to be muttering a prayer, the power of the Church was
entirely overthrown, and convents, monasteries and other religious
establishments were forbidden to exist. In Ecuador similar
things were brought about, accompanied by massacre and other
dreadful deeds. But it would be unjust to pick out any state as
over-prominent in these acts.

The Church, in large degree, brought these troubles upon itself.
It sought for too much power, spiritual and temporal. The priests
exploited the superstition and needs of the poor, of the Indian,
and themselves often lived immoral and corrupt lives. But let us
do it justice. It protected the poor and oppressed often against
the grinding exactions of the civil authorities; its vicars often
exposed themselves in humane works. Often priests dashed in with
upraised crucifix to save the victims of dreadful passionate and
sanguinary revolutions, and themselves were torn to pieces. Often
the devout fathers spent their lives in the most desolate and savage
regions of the untamed wilderness, seeking by their piety and
devotion to better the lives of the poor Indians, the poor, ignorant
children of the mountain and the forest.

The Roman Catholic religion ingrafted itself with wonderful strength
upon the mind of the aboriginal of Spanish America. In some respects
it seemed a development of his own earlier superstitious culture,
and became blended with it. Tawdry images held for them and their
miserable lives the hope of eternal joy, of reprieve of sin, of
comfort in misery, and to-day we cannot enter a simple church of the
remote villages in those boundless Cordilleras and deserts without
stumbling over the prostrate forms, bent upon the earthern floors,
of poor, black-clothed Indian women passing their silent hour in
supplication and orisons. Men are not there: the women, as ever,
seem to link the material and the spiritual. May heaven succour
these poor Indian women-folk, and bring them a happier destiny yet.

A glance now at the earlier cultures of these lands and the earlier
religions of their people.

Who, upon beholding the beautiful ruined structures of the early
folk of America--for by America here we mean Spanish America, where
alone these vestiges are found--in the decaying sculptured walls
of their temples, or the massive stories of their fortresses and
palaces, or of the strange pyramids they raised, has not felt his
conception of the New World undergo a change? Nay, do we even study
the printed page which sets them forth, not having had the privilege
of journeying to where they stand, wrapped in the silence of the
jungle or stark upon the rocky ranges of the hills, we feel that
here is a page in the book of mankind whose turning opens to us a
vista little dreamt of.

The story of those strange old cultures of Mexico and Peru has
always fascinated us: the Aztec and the Inca stand forth from the
dry lore of archæology with a peculiar charm, which we may not have
felt even in contemplating the more wonderful and ancient cultures
of the Old World. For here we feel that the intellect and art of man
sprang unaided from the dust, to write his pathetic story in the
stones of a continent unvisited by the Jehovah of the Israelites,
unknown to history, unblessed of Christianity, unrecorded and
obscure. Here the reaction of man from his environment came forth
from no recorded Eden; no tree of knowledge, of good and evil,
opened his eyes; no Abraham here walked with God, no Pharaoh or
Nebuchadnezzar brought visions and dreams to these more sombre
pages, and no divine wisdom seemed to shed its light within these
sculptured walls.

There is the credit due to early America, to the ability of her
autochthonous cultures, even if they formed no permanent link in the
chain of human development, but were too early cut off and faded
away like the untimely fruit of a woman, that at least man rose
here, in accordance with the divine mandate, arose from the dust,
and if he did but build him "fanes of fruitless prayer" to strange
idols and savage deities, he had that in common with the majority of
the cultures of the Old World of Asia, Africa and India, where men
raised temples of the utmost beauty to shelter the most inane rites
or bloody religions.

Before Mitla and Palenque or Teotihuacan and Tiahuanako let us
mark the skill which carved these intricate walls or raised their
terraces and monoliths, the greater wonder because all that has
descended from those skilled craftsmen of a bygone age on the
American soil are the stolid Indian, incapable of squaring stone to
stone, ignorant of the bronze chisel, degenerate and fallen. The
skill and imagination which would have done credit to the Greeks
or the Chaldeans lies buried in the dust, nor is likely yet to be
resuscitated.

We have spoken of Teotihuacan--the name means in the ancient tongue
of Mexico the "house of God"--and this, the great pyramid of the
sun, the work of the shadowy Toltecs, may be seen by the traveller
to-day who, taking steamer and train, will convey himself to the
high plateau of Mexico, a few miles north of the capital. It is a
structure of stone and rubble seven hundred feet upon its broadest
side and two hundred feet high, and, anciently, upon its summit
stood the golden image of Tonatiuah, whose breastplate flashed
back the rays of the rising sun, what time the attendant priests
chanted their savage refrain upon the terraces beneath. Restored
by the Government of the Republic under President Diaz, the great
monument stands up much the same as it did in days of yore. How many
centuries have beaten upon it we can scarcely conjecture. It was in
ruins when the defeated Cortes and his Spaniards, after the dreadful
experience of the _Noche Triste_, the sorrowful night passed beneath
its shadow and wept thereunder for his fallen comrades and his
ruined enterprise.

If little we know of Teotihuacan, what shall be said of Mitla,
whose mysterious halls and corridors, scarcely defaced by time,
arise from the sands of Oaxaca.

And the builders of these temples, have they produced no songs of
beauty, no enduring psalms? Had their dreadful religious rites
nothing in common with the idea of a true Providence? Hear the psalm
of Nezahual-Coyotl, the Solomon of Mexico. This is what he sang:

    Truly the gods which I adore--
    The idols of stone and wood,
    They speak not nor do they feel,
    Neither could they fashion the beauty of the heavens,
    Nor yet that of the earth and the streams,
    Nor of the trees and the plants which beautify it.
    Some powerful, hidden and unknown God--
    He must be the Creator of the Universe,
    He alone can console me in my affliction.
    He alone can still the bitter anguish of this heart.

So spake Nezahual-Coyotl, in what has been termed the Golden Age
of Texcoco, whose historians, arts and poets were in their time
renowned among the nations of Anahuac, on the high Mexican Plateau.
This person was a philosopher and a poet, but the writings of
the period--the picture-writings--were perversely destroyed by
Zumarraga, the first Archbishop of Mexico after the Conquest--an
irremediable loss.

Hear also the Inca prayer to the Creator, as chanted by the priests
and nobles of Peru:

Oh Creator: Thou art without equal unto the ends of the earth! Thou
who givest life and strength to mankind, saying, let this be a
man and let this be a woman. And as thou sayest, so thou givest
life, and vouchsafest that man shall live in health and peace, and
free from danger. Thou who dwellest in the heights of heaven, in the
thunder and in the storm-clouds, hear us. Grant us eternal life and
have us in thy keeping.

[Illustration: THE ANCIENT CIVILIZATION: RUINS OF MITLA, MEXICO.

  Vol. I. To face p. 60.]

This last is from the _Rites and Laws of the Incas_.[5] It is
but one of many similar prayers, which, as regards sentiment and
language, might be taken from the Bible and Church Service.

  [5] _Molina_, Hakluyt Series, Markham translation.

These prayers to the Unknown God, written by the early people of
America, cut off from any contact with the Old World, would seem
to show that man, in the reaction from his environment, inevitably
develops within him the conception of a supreme deity.

It now remains for us to choose how we shall approach the Spanish
American lands. Shall we cross the Spanish Main, and land where
Cortes did at Vera Cruz, the city of the True Cross, and so enter
Mexico? Or shall we, still crossing the American Mediterranean, land
on the Isthmus of Panama and thence, as Pizarro did, voyage along
the great Pacific coast to mysterious Peru? Or shall we take steamer
to the River Plate, that more prosaic route to the lands of corn and
cattle? Or shall we go round the Horn? Perhaps the middle course is
best, and, at the isthmus, we will first explore Central America.

Then we may say with the poet Keats:

    Oft have I travelled in the Land of Gold
    ... Or like stout Cortes ... and all his men
    Gazed on the Pacific ... silent upon a peak in Darien.

Keats, however, was in error. It was not Cortes, but another who
gazed from the peak, as presently we shall see.



CHAPTER III

CENTRAL AMERICA

GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, BRITISH HONDURAS, NICARAGUA, SALVADOR, COSTA
RICA, PANAMA


On Michaelmas Day, in the year 1513, a Spanish adventurer,
surrounded by his followers--they had sailed from Hispaniola, or
Santo Domingo, on an expedition of discovery--found himself on the
high ridge of the land called Darien. His eyes, seeking the horizon,
fell, not on an endless expanse of mountain and forest, such as here
might have been expected to stretch away into the unknown solitudes,
but upon the sheen of waters. A smothered exclamation fell from his
lips. "_El Mar!_" ("the Sea!") he cried, and he and his followers
remained a space in the silence of astonishment.

The Spaniard was Vasco Nuñez de Balboa. It was one of the most
dramatic of geographical discoveries. They had but traversed an
isthmus, where they had expected a continent--to-day the Isthmus of
Panama. They had discovered an ocean; they realized in that moment
much that before had been a mystery.

Descending to the shore and wading deep into the waters, Balboa drew
his sword, and waving it thereover took possession of that ocean and
whatsoever shores it might wash for the King of Spain, naming it the
"South Seas," for, from the curvature of the isthmus, he was looking
towards the south, having crossed from the north.

Thus was the great Pacific Ocean first beheld by the white man, as
far as history records.

We have already seen that Balboa's exploit preceded the Conquest of
Mexico. The land of the Aztecs, like that of Peru, was undreamed
of, but the discovery of both followed, as did the passage of the
Magellan Strait by the explorer whose name it bears, and who first
crossed the Pacific, and from its gentle and favouring gales gave it
its name.

The discoverer of the isthmus and the great ocean was a _hidalgo_,
and had been Governor of a province, but to escape his creditors
in Hispaniola--according to one account--he concealed himself in
a barrel on board ship, and so began his voyage. Balboa, pressing
into his service a train of Indians, many of whom, it is said, died
under the lash in the task, caused the timbers of two vessels to
be dragged across the rugged neck of land and launched upon the
South Sea, bent upon the discovery of Peru, which, later, Andagoya
attempted, but which, however, the fates had reserved for Pizarro.
Balboa was afterwards treacherously done to death by Pedrarias
Davila, one of the most ruthless of the Spanish adventurers of that
time.

Thus did the inhabitants of this region we are now to traverse have
their foretaste of the white man's overlordship--a foretaste of
the dreadful lot which fate had in store for them, the simple folk
of Central America, who, with their ancient culture and beautiful
arts, akin in some respects to those of the Aztec and the Inca, were
almost stamped out under Pedro de Alvarado, who invaded Guatemala in
1522, and his successors of the early Colonial period.

Seven different States or entities to-day comprise this zone
of territory of Central America, washed on the one hand by the
Caribbean and on the other by the Pacific, whose people dwell in
one of the most beautiful and interesting part of the earth's
surface--Guatemala, with its coffee plantations and lavish fruits,
Honduras of the rugged surface, and British Honduras, Nicaragua with
its great lake, Costa Rica, the one-time "Rich Coast," Salvador,
most populous and advanced of all, Panama, the land of the famous
Canal.

We may be permitted a brief glance at the ancient inhabitants of
this portion of America, prior to the advent of the Spaniards.

As in the case of North America, in Mexico: and South America, in
Peru and Colombia, so in Central America was there a ruling caste or
culture. Here it was that of the Quiches, a people of Maya stock.

These people were most numerous in Western Guatemala, and at the
time of the Conquest the most powerful inhabitants of Central
America. The sacred book of the Quiches, known as the _Popol Vuh_,
embodies a mythological cosmogony, in which is a Creation story
and an account of a Flood, after the manner of that of the Old
Testament. (The Quiches are not to be confounded with the Quechuas
of Peru.) Their capital was Utatlan, near where stands the modern
Santa Cruz Quiche, and the place was cleverly fortified. Their
system of government was an elaborate one, as was their religion.
Indeed, the student remarks with surprise how far these early
peoples had gone in the development of social polity and economic
order. The Quiches, like the Aztecs, kept historical records in
picture-writing. The Incas, we may remark in passing, of Peru, kept
their histories by means of the _quipos_, a mnemonic system of
knotted and coloured cords.

The Sun God was the chief deity, but there were many lesser objects
of adoration. But the religion was of a high order in some respects,
although the Spanish priests, after the Conquest, strove to hide
the fact, and, indeed, there was wholesale destruction throughout
Spanish America of native records and objects, whether it were of
the beautiful picture-writings and scrolls of Mexico and Central
America, whether the pillars of stone by which the early Peruvian
priests skilfully determined the solstices. The jealous priestcraft
of the Roman Catholic religion could not tolerate anything that
showed ingenuity or knowledge by their pagan predecessors, and all
these things they considered, or affected to consider, "things of
the devil," and destroyed them wherever possible. The marvel is that
so much has remained, for the benefit of the archæologist to-day.

The religion of the Quiches, like that of the Mexicans, contained
horrible practices involving human sacrifices. This was probably
absent in Peru. Repulsive as it was, we may question whether it
was as cruel as the dreadful tortures of the Inquisition, such as
rendered Mexico and Lima and other places in the New World centres
of horror, until the time of Independence, when the infuriated
populace destroyed the Inquisitional centres.

We have previously remarked that Columbus sailed along the Atlantic
coast of Central America, that of Honduras and Costa Rica, and it
was here that, seeing the ornaments of gold on the swarthy bodies
of the natives, the voyagers' imagination was freshly aroused to
the possibilities of conquest. But the natives of this region were
not necessarily as docile as those of Hispaniola and the Antilles.
They mustered on the shore, leaping from the dark forests as the
strange sails of the Spaniards hove in sight, communicating rapidly
with each tribe by those peculiar methods they employed, and made
the air resound with the beatings and blasts of their war-drums and
bugle-shells, brandishing their clubs and swords of palm-wood.

Columbus, however, did not generally employ harsh methods against
the natives. He is regarded rather as their protector, and a
beautiful monument at Colon represents him as sheltering an Indian
who timorously looks up for protection--a contrast, as remarked
elsewhere, with the lack of monuments in Spanish America to Cortes
and Pizarro. However, under Bartholomé Columbus, the brother of
Christopher, great animosity was aroused on the part of the Indians
in the settlement at Veragua, resulting in the death of the Spanish
colonists.

One of the most tragic episodes after the Conquest of Mexico was the
expedition of Cortes to Central America, following on the expedition
he had sent into Guatemala under Pedro de Alvarado. There had been a
desperate fight between Alvarado's band and the redoubtable Quiches
of Utatlan, and it was only due to the fortunate circumstance
of dissension among the different predominant tribes that the
Conquest of Guatemala was so readily carried out. Thus was history,
as in Mexico and indeed in Peru, brought about also in Central
America--fall under dissension, a house divided against itself.

In Honduras Cortes committed a foul deed. Suspecting, or pretending
to suspect, Guahtemoc, the son of Montezuma--who after the fall
of Mexico accompanied the conquerors to Central America--of some
treacherous design, Cortes had the unfortunate young Aztec hanged
head downwards from a tree. It will be recollected that Guahtemoc
was the author of the saying, well known in Mexico, of "Am I,
think you, upon some bed of roses?" when, whilst the Spaniards
were roasting his feet in order to make him reveal the whereabouts
of the Aztec treasure, he replied to his companions who were also
being tortured and were groaning in agony, and who asked if he too
suffered. This scene is depicted on a beautiful sculptured monument
in the city of Mexico--the statue to Guahtemoc, in the Paseo de la
Reforma.

In the early colonial government of Central America the capital was
set up by Alvarado in the chief town of Guatemala. The scenery of
the region is striking. Great volcanoes overhang the countryside,
and these have at times wrought terrible havoc here, and still do
so. In fact, the history of the city of Guatemala is a record of
successive destruction and re-establishment, probably unique in the
history of any land, due to the dreadful forces of Nature, seismic,
tectonic and volcanic, exerted upon this unrestful point of the
earth's surface.

We may glance briefly at some of these catastrophes. They show the
trials which the inhabitants of this part of the world are called
upon to bear.

The first city was established by Alvarado in 1527, on the banks of
the Rio Pensativo, at the foot of the Agua volcano, but in 1541 this
unfriendly mountain threw from its crater a deluge of water that,
carrying rocks with it, rushed down the mountain side and bore upon
the doomed city, whose destruction was lighted by the terrible fire
which simultaneously burst from the angry peak.

Afterwards the surviving inhabitants removed their city to another
site, and for twenty years made solemn annual pilgrimages to the
Ciudad Vieja, as the former place came to be called--the old town
about a league from the new. This flourished greatly and became the
most populous place in Central America, with more than a hundred
churches and convents, devoutly administered after the fashion of
the Catholic priesthood and pious folk of the Spanish American lands.

But this progress and piety failed to give security from acts of
Nature. After being many times threatened, this beautifully built
town, in the midst of the most romantic scenery, was destroyed
by a dreadful earthquake in 1773--earthquake to which was added
the horrors of eruption from the volcano Fuego (or "Fire"), which
overlooks it. In vain the people confessed their sins in the open
street, in vain priests and people weepingly carried procession
of the saints and saintly relics from church to church. The
very pavements rose up against them with the undulations of the
earthquake; the very heavens rained down showers of stones and ashes
upon them, obscuring even the light of the volcano, and morning
dawned upon a ruined and broken city with its people crushed beneath
the walls of their own dwellings.

The city was moved again twenty-seven miles away, and became the
seat of government in 1779--the third attempt, though whether it
will be the last remains to be seen, for but a short time ago we
heard of serious earthquakes in the district. Lofty mountains
rise on every side, with deep ravines on the edge of the tablelands
upon which the city stands. The houses have been kept of one story,
as a measure of security. The general beauty and prosperity of
Guatemala city has earned for it the name of the Paris of Central
America. We may reach it by the railway which, starting from Puerto
Barrios on the Atlantic coast, winds upwards to the elevation of
5,000 feet, which is that of the plateau on which it stands, 190
miles from the sea, and continues for a further 75 miles to San José
on the Pacific.

[Illustration: THE CATHEDRAL, GUATEMALA.

  Vol I. To face p. 70.]

Guatemala is a land rich in natural resources, with fruitful plains
and valleys, and the peculiar volcanic constituents of the soil
are specially favourable for the production of coffee, which has
been the source of considerable wealth. There are vast plains and
extensive lakes, and innumerable rivers and streams. Many valuable
kinds of wood exist in the forests, and such products as cocoa,
sugar-cane, tobacco, bananas, and oranges, with other less common
kinds are plentiful. There are some small deposits of gold and other
precious and commoner metals. The climate is excellent, except on
the coast.

But this fruitfulness and bounty of Nature is not conducive
necessarily to peace among the people of the land. Rather the
restlessness of Nature, as evinced by earthquake unrest, is
reflected in the politics and general economy of the Republic. The
colonial civilization, which was marked by the destruction of the
Indians and their more or less beneficent old civilization, and
the enslavement of many tribes, with total extermination in some
cases, was succeeded by a republic in which pretenders and dictators
strove with each other, less to advance the interests of the country
than to satisfy their own ambitions and fill their own pockets.
There were, too, constant embroilments with the neighbouring
States, and bloody local wars. Some of the presidents, however, did
endeavour, side by side with their other activities, to promote
education and commerce, and to improve the means of transport and
communication--ever a vital matter in Spanish America, with its
rugged soil and vast extent.

We find in Guatemala many remains of the ancient folk, in
beautifully carved stelæ, in innumerable idols recovered from the
soil, and in the native arts, which, evincing the dexterity and
love of beauty of the aboriginal, have happily survived both the
destructive force of the Hispanic domination and, so far, the
equally destructive forces of modern commercialism, which ousts
their industries with imported goods.

In Quetzaltenango, the ancient "Town of the Green Feather"--the
Quetzal was the sacred bird of the Quiches--we shall specially
remark the native aptitudes in their quaint and pleasing
handicrafts. If these quiet and peaceful folk--for the natives
themselves are peaceful enough--are from time to time disturbed by
the subterranean roarings which precede earthquake shocks in the
hills and the tidal waves upon the coast, they soon forget these
manifestations of Nature, which, after all, are less destructive
than those due to the political ambition and ruthless cruelties of
mankind itself.

The characteristics, natural and human, which we have remarked in
the northern part of Central America, as represented by the Republic
of Guatemala, are found in varying degree in the sister States
extending to the south. The general topography of the isthmian
region which Central America embodies is that of a long backbone of
mountainous highlands extending from Tehuantepec for eight hundred
miles to the South American mainland. The physiography of the
region, however, is associated with that of the Antilles rather than
the northern and southern land masses, and its belts of volcanoes
correspond to those of the West Indies.

In earlier geological times the region probably consisted of
isolated stretches of land and mountains, and before man appeared
upon the earth there may have been not one but several isthmian
"canals" or apertures, with the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific
intermixing therein. Alternately rising and sinking--as evidenced
by the "drowned" Valley of the Chagres, on the site of the Panama
Canal, the land took on its present form, in which, however, it may
be that final stability is not yet reached. It is fervently to be
hoped, however, that the particular belt traversed by the Panama
Canal will remain immune from any earth movements, for that great
work of human ingenuity, carried out at such enormous cost, might
otherwise be rendered useless in a single instant.

Panama, however, forms the extreme south of Central America, and we
must cast a glance at the sequence of States below Guatemala.

Honduras is a land of considerable area, but among the most
backward portions of the region. The efforts of its Government
to encourage economic and commercial development have not been
very well sustained and successful, and there are only two
towns in the Republic of any size, one of which is the ancient
capital Tegucigalpa, picturesquely situated upon its river in an
amphitheatre of the hills, for Honduras is essentially a land of
mountains and depths, as its name signifies. The great grassy plain
of Comayagua, however, which extends across the country, upon which
great herds of cattle feed, redeems the land from too broken a
condition. The city of Comayagua was in earlier times the capital,
but it was ruined by the wars of the Central American Federation,
when, after an endeavour to establish some form of political
unification quarrels set in.

This little-known Republic has a long frontage upon the Atlantic
side, but only a few miles on the Pacific, which, however, affords
it an outlet of corresponding importance at the picturesque seaport
of Amapala, on the beautiful Bay of Fonseca. Indeed, this condition,
of straddling a continent, as it were, is one enjoyed by all the
Central American States, with the exception of Salvador, which lies
between the Pacific and the backbone of the highlands. Otherwise,
Honduras is unfortunate in its means of communication: its railways
are few and short; its roads are difficult of construction over the
broken topography, and in the absence of national funds and private
enterprise; and an attempt made of recent years to inaugurate
services of motor-cars did not meet with success. However, a railway
across from sea to sea should be of national value, and the wealth
of the country, both agricultural and mineral, may become more
intensively developed.

The name of Honduras is almost a byword for revolution, which occurs
with marked regularity.

The colony or possession of British Honduras lies in a commanding
position between its neighbours of Guatemala and Mexico on the west
and north, facing, on the Atlantic Ocean--under its local name here
of the Caribbean Sea--towards the important island of Jamaica, some
600 miles away.

Belize, as this foothold of the British Empire is otherwise termed,
is about the size of Wales, and not unhealthy in comparison with the
other British possessions of tropical America. It is well endowed
with a wide variety of natural resources and potentialities, but
it cannot be said that its economic progress is commensurate with
its position. One of the neglected offspring of Britain, it is,
like Demerara, an example of British national and governmental
supineness. It might have been supposed that a people such as
those of the United Kingdom, urgently requiring for their teeming
millions of folk the things in foodstuffs and material that
the Tropics produce--things of the grocer's shop and the store
cupboard--would have demanded a more vigorous administration and
development of this piece of national property, but it is doubtful
if one in a hundred would know where or what British Honduras is.

We cannot here dwell at length upon its possibilities and
attractions. Approaching the capital, Belize, from the sea, we
pass the green islands that fringe the coast, and extending along
the banks of the river we see the high roofs and wide verandas of
the houses and remark the coco-palm's grateful shade. Often an
invigorating breeze blows from the sea, the same gales that crisp
the surf at Colon, which the traveller will inevitably note, and
this and the high tides wash the fever-bearing mangrove swamps and
marshes, rendering them less unhealthy than otherwise would be the
case. The inhabitants are grateful for these tonic breezes from the
east upon this coastal belt.

This belt gives place in the interior to savannas, pasture lands and
forests of useful timber, which latter is cut for export; and beyond
are the Cockscomb Mountains, the birthplace of numerous streams.

In this interior region of British Honduras there lie the remains
of an ancient culture area, ruins of buildings such as we see in
Yucatan, the adjacent part of Mexico, and in Guatemala on the
west. They appear to show the existence of a larger population
in pre-Colombian times--part of that undoubtedly clever and
industrious ancient folk of Central America who have so entirely
disappeared.

To the buccaneers of the Spanish Main the colony largely owes its
origin, and to the logwood cutters. The coloured folk here are some
of the most expert woodmen in the world, and we see the results of
their labour in the rafts of timber--pine, cedar and dyewood--being
piloted down the flood of the Belize River. These people are
descendants of the buccaneers, people of European blood forming part
of the population, the majority of which is composed of a mixture,
the descendants of negro slaves, Indian and white settlers. There
is, of course, a small purely white class, official, colonial and
commercial, under colony government from Britain.

The natural products here most in evidence are the timbers, together
with bananas and other characteristic fruits, and coconuts, rubber,
coffee, cotton and fibre-producing plants; and gold and other
minerals are found and worked in small degree.

It might perhaps be said that a description of British Honduras is
out of place in a book such as the present, treating of Spanish
America. But geographical considerations would not thus be denied.
Further, this little outpost of the British Empire, if it should
always remain such, cannot fail to influence, and to be influenced
by, the Spanish American civilization around it. It might under
better development accomplish much good in this respect, if
the policy of drift were abandoned. A North American traveller
who had journeyed across the Central American Republics and had
been badgered unceasingly by revolutionary strife there, and by
customs-house officers and others of the bureaucracy of those
States, once exclaimed that the only peaceful moment of his journey
was when he at length entered the confines of a portion of "that
hated British monarchy"--British Honduras! This may have been an
exaggeration, but held something of truth.

The little Republic of Salvador, as already remarked, lies upon the
Pacific side of this interesting isthmian region of Central America,
but, small in size, it is the most thickly populated and perhaps
the most prosperous and advanced of all this group of States. Its
capital, San Salvador, may be regarded as a fine example of Spanish
American culture, and, with its buildings and institutions, would
compare more than favourably with a European or North American town.
The climate and general character of the uplands upon which it is
situated, and the social atmosphere of the place, are pleasing.

But the Pacific littoral is of that low and monotonous character
characteristic of the western slope of much of Central America, and
as a consequence the ports are often difficult of access through
shoal water and heavy surf. The interior is gained either from La
Libertad or Acajutla, by railway to the capital, ascending to 2,000
feet above the sea.

The Republic shares with Honduras and Nicaragua the beautiful Bay
of Fonseca, but this beauty is characteristically associated with
natural terrors, for not far inland arises the dreaded San Miguel
volcano, one of the worst burning mountains of Central America, ever
threatening the life of the capital. Upon this bay lies La Union,
the chief port of Salvador.

The Republic prides itself, and not unjustly, upon the freedom
of its life politically. But it is by no means immune from the
inevitable factional strife of Central America, the ambition
of dictators and the evils brought about by such corruption of
self-government. However, many foreigners carry on successful
businesses in the capital.

The population tends to increase with some rapidity, and we shall
remark the much smaller proportion of Indians found here; the bulk
of the people, the _Ladinos_, being a mixture of white and Indian,
distributed throughout a number of pleasing secondary towns, and,
in the country districts, are engaged in the production of coffee,
sugar, tobacco and other characteristic resources; whilst the
hills afford them those minerals with which the region in general
is dowered, with some mining establishments, which, as usual, are
controlled by foreigners.

The economic life of Salvador is too greatly dependent upon European
markets and financial centres; upon the export of coffee thereto;
upon the elevation or depression of such markets--a condition,
of course, common to many Spanish American States, but which a
better-ordered regimen will seek to rectify.

We might wander long through the beautiful scenery of Salvador,
enjoying the grand and imposing aspect of its volcanoes, the beauty
of its valleys and streams, for this part of Central America is
famed, or rather should be famed, for the beauty of the landscape.
Quaint towns and curious products, the quiet and in some respects
pleasant life of its folk, the budding industries, and a certain
promise for the future leave a pleasant impression upon the mind of
the traveller in this little State facing the broad Pacific.

Of the Republic of Nicaragua, which we may approach either from the
Atlantic or the Pacific, and which is the largest of this group of
States, many dismal descriptions have been given. It is described as
economically and in civic conditions the most backward. Yet some of
its towns are fine places. Leon was described as a splendid city by
travellers in 1665, and about that period the very active buccaneer
Dampier gathered rich booty from it. Granada, founded by Cordova in
1523, was also one of the richest cities in Central America, and
it, too, gave up its toll of booty to the corsairs. The Cathedral
of Leon is one of the most noteworthy, massive and ornate of the
great stone temples with which the Spaniards endowed the New World,
typical of the colonial architecture which redeems these centres of
life from the prosaic vulgarity of some other lands.

[Illustration: THE CITY OF GUATEMALA.

  Vol. I. To face p. 80.]

We may visit these towns from the line of railway which runs from
Corinto, the chief seaport on the Pacific coast.

The capital of the Republic, the city of Managua, is of less
interesting character, and was, in a measure, raised to that
position in order to put an end to the rivalry between Leon and
Granada, both of which claimed metropolitan predominance. It is
situated upon the great lake of Nicaragua, the most prominent
topographical feature of this part of Central America, and which,
it will be recollected, was at one time destined to form part of
the waterway of a proposed trans-isthmian canal in place of that of
Panama.

This great lake valley and its adjacent highlands form the most
plentifully inhabited part of Nicaragua, as the Spanish colonial
development seized first upon its more fertile soil, watered by the
lake and streams. This civilization entered the country from the
Pacific side, from which we remark the grim and distant ramparts
of the Central American Cordillera, with its volcanoes intervening
between the western versant and littoral, and the low, monotonous
and swampy region of the east, and the Mosquito Coast bordering
upon the Atlantic. The Pacific coast here is bold and rocky, with a
headland enclosing the Bay of Fonseca in Nicaraguan territory.

Through the Cordillera flows the San Juan River, draining this low
eastern slope, and here lay the route of the projected Nicaraguan
Canal, whose abandonment caused bitter disappointment to the people
of the Republic.

In places in this wild land we remark the remains of the
pre-Colombian folk, who have left vestiges of their temples and
other structures, and thus we realize once more how a chain of
temple and palace-building folk in ancient times was carried down
the length of the continents from Mexico to Peru.

If too gloomy a description of the eastern side of Nicaragua has
been given, this must be tempered by noting that it possesses
certain natural advantages which may render it one of the most
valuable districts, from an economic point of view, in the whole
of Central America. Its rivers may be navigated by ocean-going
steamers, and in the Bluefields district the industry of banana
production and shipment has risen to very considerable importance.

The name of Nicaragua comes from that powerful native chief, Nicoya,
who, when the Spaniards first arrived, received Davila, their
leader, in a friendly spirit, and accepted Christian baptism at the
hands of the Roman Catholic priests. But the Spaniards overran the
country; those who invaded it from the east clashing with their own
countrymen who came in from the west, and Nicaragua's fine Indian
chief--pathetic page of native history--could not conserve here
anything of independence for the rightful owners of the soil.

The Spanish rulers of this unhappy land were a dreadful band, of
which it has been recorded that "the first had been a murderer, the
second a murderer and a rebel, the third murdered the second, the
fourth was a forger, the fifth a murderer and a rebel!"

In time the Indians revolted against intolerable oppression,
and, later, rebellion after rebellion took place against the
Mother Country. After Independence, the Wars of the Confederation
constantly deluged the soil with blood, and the political government
of the State was distinguished by a continuous series of military or
civil revolts, during which the land was impoverished, debased and
ruined, and from whose effects it has never recovered so far.

Yet Nicaragua is rich in natural products, agricultural, forestal
and mineral.

Famous in local history is the name of the North American
filibuster, William Walker, who for a space became president, and
the doings of this man and his band are stirringly adventurous. The
traveller will also recollect the long British Protectorate over the
Mosquito Coast.

But few remember that Nelson, the hero of Trafalgar, nearly met his
death from fever in Nicaragua. The great sailor, sent to report upon
the prospect of a canal, stated his intention of occupying Lake
Nicaragua, which in his opinion was "the inland Gibraltar of Spanish
America," whose possession would permanently sunder Spanish America
into two parts. But Nature was against it. Nelson and his force
ascended the river to the lake and successfully attacked the Spanish
force. He was wounded by a cannon shot, fired by a sixteen-year-old
girl, wife of a Spanish officer, and the maid was rewarded for the
act by her people.

Of Nelson's army of two hundred men all but ten perished of fever,
and left their bones in the soil of Nicaragua.

In the adjoining States of Costa Rica and Panama we are approaching
the narrowing, curving form of the isthmus, whose topography
culminates in the famous neck of land which joins the twin
continents of America together, and which has been severed to give
access between the world's greatest oceans, in the great Canal.

Whence the name of Costa Rica? Their eyes ever sharp to the glint
of gold, the Spaniards who approached Central America from the sea
immediately remarked that the swarthy forms of the Indians were
decorated with trinkets of yellow metal. The savages wore earrings
of gold, which dangled invitingly from their scared countenances
when the bearded and armoured white warriors approached, and there
was little ceremony in the transference of ownership. "This is a
rich coast! This is _Costa Rica_!" the Spaniards exclaimed.

Indeed, it was part of the old culture area of Chiriqui, whose folk
were clever producers of native jewellery in gold and precious
stones. Pedro de Alvarado called the whole region, including
Salvador, Cuscatan, the native Mexican name, meaning "Land of
precious stones, of treasures and abundance." But here in Costa Rica
the greedy Iberians found disappointingly little gold, except for
these trinkets. This region was the limit of the Maya civilization.

To-day Costa Rica is a flourishing little State, with fertile
soil and bright sunshine, with many luscious fruits, with food in
plenty, famous for its splendid coffee, special product of the
volcanic earth: a land of small peasant owners, upon which is
founded some political stability and civic prosperity, an example
to other Spanish American States, where oligarchies monopolize the
countryside, and the labourer dwells in peonage.

The Pacific coast here displays as we approach it, bold headlands
and broad bays, among them the Gulf of Nicoya, the home of that
pious-minded Indian chief, who, as before described, gave his name
to the adjoining State of Nicaragua. Studded with richly wooded
islands, and famous for its purple-yielding murex (the beautiful
ancient dye of the whelk), its pearls and mother-of-pearl, is this
bay, from which, leaving our steamer at the port of Punta Arenas, we
may ascend by railway to the pleasing capital of San José de Costa
Rica, on a plateau between the Cordillera at an elevation of nearly
4,000 feet above the ocean.

Here we are in a well-advanced city, the amenities of whose
public life are creditable to Central America. The line runs on
and descends to Puerto Limon, on the Atlantic, thus crossing the
isthmus.

But, like its neighbours, Costa Rica stands perennially in awe of
the volcanoes which top the summit of the Cordillera. Turialba, ever
hot and angry, and Poas are among these, pouring forth smoke and
vapour.

Let us take our stand a moment on Irazu, 11,000 feet above the
sea--we may reach it on horseback--higher than the summit of the
Pyrenees, and looking east and west remark the vast horizons which
unfold below: on the one hand we see the gleaming waters of the
Atlantic, on the other those of the Pacific, whilst, between,
the whole expanse of the country unfolds. Here, indeed, may the
inhabitant of Costa Rica cast a glance over the whole domain of his
_patria_, and let fancy wander over the realms of ocean towards
Europe and Asia.

Costa Rica was peopled largely by Spaniards from Galicia, but the
bulk of the folk are to-day _Ladinos_ or _Mestizos_, and, where the
native tribes have not been exterminated, there are Indians still in
complete savagery. The land is one of the healthiest in the region
we are treading, and its products of fruits and foods, of timber,
tortoise-shell, rubber, cedar, mahogany, ebony, and great stores of
bananas, give to the land a further claim to the name of the Rich
Coast.

And now our vessel floats upon the beautiful Bay of Panama, studded
with verdant isles, and if perchance it be the sunset hour the
flashing colour of the sky may light up the towers of the old
colonial city near its shore, a romantic haven, whose memories of
Drake and of the cruel Morgan, of Nuñez de Balboa, of Pizarro, and
all that gallery of bygone adventurers who made the history of the
New World upon these tropic shores. The sun does not rise, however,
in the Bay of Panama, but sets, for the curvature of the isthmus has
disoriented us, at Panama.

[Illustration: A COFFEE ESTABLISHMENT IN CENTRAL AMERICA.

  Vol. I. To face p. 86.
]

This independent Republic of Panama threw off its allegiance to
Colombia, whose heritage the isthmus was, in a grandiloquent
manifesto after the--alleged--machinations of the Americans, who,
wearied of the dilatory tactics of the parent State, laid hands on
the isthmus to carry out their cherished plan of making the Canal.
"Just as a son withdraws from his paternal roof, so the isthmian
people, in adopting the destiny they have chosen, do so with grief,
but in compliance with the supreme and inevitable duty the country
owes to itself. Upon separating from our brethren of Colombia, we do
so without hatred and without joy." So ran the manifesto.

But the people of Bogata, of Colombia, consider that an unspeakable
outrage was perpetuated upon them, and regard the United States and
its then President, Roosevelt, as its author--an outrage which time
will take long to heal.

We shall see something of the doings of the immortal Drake in our
journey down the great Pacific coast of South America, undertaken in
another chapter.

The Panama Isthmus was to Drake a vantage point, from which he
viewed a promised land. After his attack on Nombre de Dios, a
fugitive slave--a _cimarron_--conducted him and his followers to the
summit of the isthmian hills. There lay before Drake the gleaming
waters of the vast Pacific, as they had lain before Balboa. Drake
fell on his knees. He prayed to sail those waters in an English
ship. It was partly his destined work of "Singeing the King of
Spain's beard." Back to England he went. The commission which Queen
Elizabeth had given him to sail the Spanish Main had been honourably
accomplished, even if the Spaniards at Cartagena and elsewhere did
not so regard it. The queen must extend the charter to the Pacific.
She did it, and Drake's exploits there and return home westwards are
among the most thrilling annals of those "spacious days."

Hear a tale now of Morgan the buccaneer, and Panama, and the
dreadful things that befel that city. Young Morgan, born in Wales,
kidnapped for a sailor in the streets of Bristol, also sailed the
Spanish Main. Drake was a gentleman; Morgan seems to have been a
bloody-minded corsair. At thirty-three years of age he sacked Porto
Bello, committing frightful cruelties and excesses. But at Panama he
surpassed himself. Yet praise must be given him for his bravery and
resource.

Ascending the Chagres River from Colon in boats, with a dreadful
struggle over the hills, Morgan and his men, like Drake and Balboa,
beheld the Pacific beyond. Whether he prayed for success or not
history does not record. But there lay the rich city of Panama. It
must be taken. It was defended by hundreds of Spaniards. But Morgan
had taken Chagres and killed three hundred Spaniards there, and
double his own number at Panama did not daunt him. Down they went to
Panama. The enterprise was a tough one, but the result may be seen
to-day in the massive ruins of the old city, a sight for sightseers,
buried in the jungle some miles from the present city. For within a
few hours the buccaneers attacked and slew its defenders and burned
the place with fire, leaving but an empty shell, having robbed it
of its treasure, excepting that which an escaping plate ship bore
safely from his clutches.

It has been said in extenuation of Morgan's doings here that the
place was in reality burned by the Indians and the slaves, who were
animated by the most bitter hatred of the Spaniards, and were quite
ready to assist the Englishmen.

The isthmus resounded for more than a century with the tramp of
mules bearing gold and silver from the Pacific plate ships; the
treasures of Peru, of Bolivia, the pearls of Nicoya and the isles,
the gold and silver stripped from the Inca temples, the silver bars
from Potosi, the silver mountain of the Andes. Along that dreadful
trail the mule-trains groaned their way. It was a rough road for
horsemen.

The trail became, as time went on, one of the world's greatest trade
routes, under the development of the Spanish Colonies. We have
seen how the great Nelson hoped to split these colonies in two by
establishing a "Gibraltar" on Lake Nicaragua. A toll of human life
has been paid upon this rugged path for every human movement over
it. Has it not been said that for every sleeper in the first Panama
railway a human being died in the terrors of construction? If it is
not true, it is true that of the eight hundred Chinamen who left the
Flowery Kingdom to build the line--labourers who knew nothing of the
horrors that awaited them in this fever death-bed--many committed
suicide. Crowds of labouring peasantry from Ireland found here, too,
a more emerald grave, and hordes of negroes filled up with their
poor bodies any vacant tombs.

Punishment fell upon this railway, for, according to an American
writer, it degenerated until its rails "became nothing but two
streaks of rust."

Another tale of Darien the fateful: Listen, ye sons of Scotia,
to the story of one William Paterson, and his New Edinburgh. Not
content with having founded the Bank of England, Paterson must
fight the great East India Company, and with another enterprising
"interloper" he got over-subscribed, a company with a capital of
£600,000, and set sail for the isthmus "amid the tears and prayers"
of half Scotland. The new settlement was "to hold the key of the
world's commerce." "Universal free trade" with all the world was
to be maintained; all differences of race and religion were to be
annulled in this Utopia. Death, fever, loss, the attacks of the
Spaniards and complete disaster--such was the answer of Fate to
their enterprise, and of the two thousand trustful souls who left
the Clyde in the closing year of the seventeenth century for this
desired haven of the Spanish Main, a few hundreds alone returned to
tell the tale.

Paterson's idea was in reality that of a great empire-builder. It
was a magnificent scheme, and only lacked the element of success.
England might have possessed another India, and in the New World.
The Scotch were fully alive to the position, but the English were
stupid, and lost an enormous opportunity.

The making of the Panama Canal has greatly appealed to the
imagination of the world, although its triumph, in a spectacular
sense, was interfered with by the rise of the Great War. Here was
a wild isthmus which cut off the Atlantic from the Pacific, Europe
from Asia to the west. An isthmus which, whilst it formed a barrier
between two oceans, did not, nevertheless, serve as a bridge between
two continents: those of North and South America. Its construction
is an epic of engineering, and, be it added, of medical skill, for
without the latter the former would have been of no avail. What has
been picturesquely described as the "Conquest of the mosquito,"
also the conquest of malaria and yellow fever, enabled this work to
be done. Formerly the traveller hurried fearfully from his steamer
at Colon by rail across the neck to Panama, and if his journey lay
beyond to his steamer at Panama, anxious to leave the deadly region
as soon as were possible. Now no such anxiety marks his journey.

The fight against the natural obstacles to the work--those of
climate, of inefficient labour, of mountainous cuttings, of floods,
of finance and political intrigue, and all else, was brought
to an end--or mainly so--in November 1913, four hundred years
after Balboa's dramatic discovery of the Pacific from the "Peak
in Darien"; when a vast concourse of people witnessed the great
explosion that blew up the last barrier, and a small steamer, the
little French steamboat _Louise_, which, twenty-five years before
had conveyed de Lesseps to turn the first sod, passed completely,
on its own keel, across from Atlantic to Pacific waters--an act of
American courtesy to France.

Several lessons were learned by the construction of the Panama
Canal. One was that corruption and inertia among officials will
ruin all effort, as it did with the French--who, however, did very
valuable work on the Canal. Another that, with modern appliances and
just methods, even so stupendous a work could be carried to success,
even in the face of enormous natural obstacles; that the obstacles
raised by Nature are less formidable than those man raises himself.

Another lesson was in the methods of overcoming the dreadful
tropical diseases of yellow fever and malaria.

The last lesson was in the treatment of labour, in this case that of
the negro; a matter of much importance to all tropical lands, which
may justify here a few words.

A great part of the labour employed on the Canal, in fact, the
majority of it later, was that of the West Indian negro, largely
from Barbadoes. But it was soon found that this labour was very
inefficient. The negro would not or could not "put his back" into
the work. In 1906 an American commission appointed to investigate
conditions, reported upon the impossibility of concluding the job
with negro labour. "Not only do they seem to be disqualified by lack
of actual vitality, but their disposition to labour seems to be as
frail as their bodily strength," ran the report. The negro was, in
fact, roundly cursed as a lazy or incapable hound.

But some, wiser than others, thought there must be a cause below
this inertia. Such, indeed, was found to be the case. It was shown
that the negro either could not afford, or was too idle to prepare,
proper food for himself; in short, that he was ill-nourished. A few
bananas, and whatever else the difficult conditions of the isthmus
afforded, formed his meals. It was then resolved that he must be
properly fed and housed. A commissariat was set up, at which the
negro was obliged to take his meals, and the bare cost was deducted
from his wages. No profit was to be made. The system answered
admirably; the actual cost was found to be only thirty cents
American money, equal to about one shilling and threepence, for a
day's board of good food. The result was that the negro performed
entirely satisfactory labour, and he practically built the Canal.

Many writers have sung of the deeds of the Canal building, which
must always furnish a thrilling story of the triumph of human
genius, and we need not enter upon it here.

The Great War over, the American fleet--which had played a valuable
and noble part--accomplished, in July 1919, a spectacular passage
of the Canal, which brings us to-day again to realize the strategic
value of the waterway. Some two hundred vessels of war, flying
the Stars and Stripes, including six Dreadnoughts, embodying the
American Pacific fleet, entered the eastern end of the Canal as
the sun was rising in the Spanish Main. But before the orb of day
had turned its "westering wheel" into the bosom of the Pacific,
the great procession had passed through the Canal and was ruffling
the waters of that great sea, thus accomplishing in a few hours, a
passage which the battleship _Oregon_, during the American war with
Spain in 1898, had taken nearly two weeks to make, around the South
American Continent.

The Americans have fortified the Canal, but blockading would be in
contravention of the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty with England; and indeed
it is to be hoped and believed that the United States will prove a
conscientious guardian of her charge and creation. Yet the future
may have much in store in this region for good or ill.

Enthusiastic descriptions of the possibility of the Canal to
commerce have been written, in the shortening of distances, in
the "shrinkage of the world," and there is no doubt of its great
utility, which it is not, however, needful to exaggerate. Since
the project was conceived and executed, the world has learned that
more than the passage of armaments and argosies of merchandise are
requisite for the stability and progress of mankind.

A glance now at the general life of the people of these States.[6]

  [6] A full account of all these States will be found in _Central
  America_, Koebel, South American Series.

In the aggregate the population numbers somewhat over five million
souls, but they tend to increase more rapidly than others of the
Spanish American countries, or at least in some of the Republics,
for the native women are prolific, and mortality is low, due to the
comparatively easy conditions of life and the beneficence of Nature.
In some districts illegitimacy, both among whites and Indians, is
very marked, and the economic condition in a modern sense is a low
one. Primary education is generally compulsory, the Governments
generally making considerable parade of educational intentions,
but, withal, only a small proportion of the population can read and
write. Naturally this is true mainly of the Indian and lower class
mixed race.

As to food, this is mainly such vegetable products as maize, beans
and bananas, and at times jerked meat. Excessive drinking is a
frequent attribute of all Spanish American folk of the working
classes, and it is not in the financial interests of their masters
to stint the supply of liquors, the fiery _aguadientes_ or spirits,
which are so remunerative a product of the sugar-cane plantations,
possessions of the large landowners frequently. The Indians are
generally a peaceful folk, however, except when under the influence
of liquor, and they have many good qualities, which it is time
should now be more beneficently and wisely fostered by those in
whose hands their destiny so greatly lies.

The Central American States are dowered, as regards Nature, with
almost everything that could make a people happy and prosperous.
The varying elevations of their lands above sea-level afford every
variety of climate, and consequently of food product and industrial
material. They can enjoy their own beef and corn, produced in their
highlands, or, descending to the torrid strip of their coasts,
gather coffee, cocoa, bananas, oranges, sugar-cane, and a variety
of fruits which tempt both the eye and the palate. As for their
minerals, the precious metals of gold and silver in the hills could
provide sufficient for their uses and to spare, the baser for
manufactures. The timber of the forests is rich and varied, the
fibrous plants are of innumerable uses.

The noble landscapes which open to the view, of wooded mountains and
majestic peak, of romantic river valley, and the blue line of the
tropic sea, are such as might well bring out those attributes of the
poet and the artist which exist in the Spanish American mentality.

In brief, there are here, in each State, the elements of a quiet
and pleasing existence, far, it is true, from the world's more
ambitious centres, but nevertheless capable of producing peace and
plenty. Alas! however, for the unsettled temperament which cannot
yet assimilate the bounties of Providence in such method as shall
ensure their equitable enjoyment.

[Illustration: CUTTING SUGAR-CANE IN CENTRAL AMERICA.

  Vol. I. To face p. 96.]

To the foreign traveller, Central America might afford an extremely
pleasing field of travel. There is a charm in the remains of the
prehistoric American cultures, the carved walls of the old temples,
the buried idols, the ancient industries. Restful and quaint
are these little towns with the stamp of the Spanish Colonial
architecture. Here man and Nature soon forget the bloodshed and the
enmity of the torn and stained pages of history. The simple folk of
the countryside are full of courtesy, the needs of life are cheap
and plentiful, for the earth is bountiful. All these are elements
which impress themselves upon the mind of the traveller here.

This, then, is Central America, that region so slightly known to the
world outside that, as elsewhere remarked, its very geographical
position is often a matter of doubt. But, in the future--it may be
distant--it cannot be doubted that, with its advantages, the region
must play a more important part in the developing world.

Three Latin American island-Republics enclose the Caribbean Sea and
Spanish Main to the north: those of Cuba, Hayti, and Santo Domingo,
upon which, however, we cannot here dilate at length.

Nature has, in general, endowed these regions of the Antilles
with great beauty, but man, in their past history, has made them
the scene of the utmost cruelty, first by the Spaniards, in the
ill-treatment and extermination of the gentle and harmless natives,
and second, in the slave trade.

Cuba stretches its long, thin bulk from the Yucatan Strait, off the
Mexican coast, and the line is continued by the Island of Hayti,
containing the Republic of that name, the famous Hispaniola of the
days of the Conquistadores, now a French-speaking negro State, and
Santo Domingo, whose capital, the oldest settlement in the New
World, founded in 1496, may be regarded as the most perfect example
of a sixteenth-century Spanish town. Its cathedral contains the
reputed burial place of Columbus.

No countries in the world excel these lands in the variety and
richness of their tropical products, and in the beauty of their
scenery. Havana, the handsome capital of Cuba, was the last
stronghold of Spain in America, the Spanish flag flying there until
the time of the war between Spain and the United States in 1899. The
American attitude towards Cuba revealed the wisdom and generosity of
the great Anglo-Saxon Republic.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our way now lies to the north, into Mexico, that buffer-state
between the Spanish American and the Anglo - American civilizations,
which, upon its frontier, roll together but do not mingle.



CHAPTER IV

ANCIENT AND MODERN MEXICO


Of all the lands of the New World, none perhaps has impressed itself
more on the imagination than the picturesque and enigmatical land
of Mexico. It seems to stand, in our thoughts of distant countries,
apart from all others, a riddle we cannot read, surrounded by a
halo or mist of unreality, a region vague and shadowy as its Toltec
ancestors.

Perhaps this view has in part arisen from the description of the
Conquest by famous writers, which so greatly interested our forbears
of the Victorian period, and by the romantic story-writers of the
same era. But these matters alone would not account for the hazy
atmosphere surrounding the old land of the Aztecs, which even the
prosaic matters of trade and finance do not seem to lift. There are
many English and American folk with commercial interests in Mexico,
who draw perhaps, or in happier times there have drawn, dividends
from their investment in mine, or railway, or other enterprise; but
even this material standpoint fades into intangibility before the
endeavour to form a true mental image of the land.

Who are the Mexicans, where does their country lie, what language do
they speak, what dress do they wear? Geography and ethnology will
furnish us with the most exact replies; the books of travellers will
fill in abundant detail, but nevertheless, Mexico remains for us an
enigma.

We shall not hope here successfully to dispel this mystery, even
though we may have been there, traversed its varied surface, and
lived among its people. To say that Mexico is the Egypt of the New
World, whilst it is not untrue, is to deepen the atmosphere. The
sandalled Indian creeps across his desert sands and irrigates them
with his native torrents as he did in centuries past, lives in his
wattle or adobe hut, and, if he no longer worships the sun, at least
he stands before its morning rays to embrace its warmth--_el capa
de los pobres_ ("the poor man's cloak")--for poverty denies him
other comfort. The rich man is clothed in fine textures of European
model and may dwell in a palace, but beneath his modernized exterior
are traits of the Orient, and the blood of the Moor, the Goth, the
Vandal, the Roman, the Celt, the Semite, brought hither in the
Spaniard, is mingled with that of the Aztec, who lived upon the
great plateau and built his temples of strange and bloody worship.

No other American nation constitutes so wide a blending of original
races. Spain itself was a veritable crucible of languages, peoples
and creeds, whilst aboriginal Mexico contained a large number of
tribes, each with their particular culture, or lack of such.[7]
For Mexico, it is to be recollected, was not a land like the United
States or Canada, which contained, relatively, but a few bands of
Indians, without any particular form of government or developed
institutions.

  [7] Some of these tribes were unutterably savage and brutal, but
  it is doubtful if their methods were worse than those of the
  Anglo-Saxon who invaded Britain, with the repulsive horrors they
  visited upon the early Britains, in wholesale massacre and torture
  of the Celts.

The grandees of Spain came out to rule this diversified land, and
they did not disdain to make it their home. Spain gave it of her
best often, with capable legislators, laws; the _Ley de Indias_,
enacted for the benefit of the colonies, and erudite professors and
devout--over-devout--ecclesiastics; and these often carried out
their work with patriotism and fervency. Although it is not yet,
the student of history will be fain to think that out of this seed
a good growth must in the future come to being, and this we may say
without any unnecessary apologetics for Mexico.

But what, we may ask, is the influence here, that throws back this
fruitful land from time to time to anarchy, and makes its name a
byword?

Disorder and treachery periodically arises, dictator succeeds
dictator, revolution follows revolution, and the country's soil,
whether in the streets of its capital, whether upon its desert
plains or in its tropic valleys, is drenched with the blood of its
own sons. The results of thirty years of a constructive national
policy which Diaz gave, the hopes and pretensions of a high
civilization, laboriously built up, sink down to nought, revert
to the conditions of that dreadful half-century that followed
upon Independence, from which stand forth the names--noble and
ignoble--of Iturbide, Maximilian, Juarez, or Morelos. What ails this
strange land? Is it capable of no better life?

In reply, Mexico is a land following the inevitable law of reaping
what it has sown, and both the sowing and the reaping are but
exaggerated forms of processes that are affecting the world at
large. Judgment must not be too heavily passed upon Mexico as a
whole, for, as I shall later show, a whole nation must not be
condemned by reason of some of its nationals.

Mexico, like all Spanish American States, is at the mercy,
politically and economically, of certain small sections of the
people. Government is of an oligarchy in normal times, which often
abuses its position. The bulk of the people have neither art
nor part in their own governance. The ballot box is too often a
delusion and a snare. A turbulent or ambitious element can seize
power at any moment by a _golpe de estado_ (a _coup d'état_). The
upper and refined class, which, be it said, is the equivalent of
and as well-informed often as that in Europe, stand aloof from
political revolution and disturbance, and would be the last to
commit the excesses which bring execration upon the country's name.
The educated Mexican has all the traditions of the _caballero_,
the gentleman; the Mexican lady is refined, devout, delicate and
tenderhearted. The peon and the Indian are not turbulent, but
well-meaning and generally industrious.

These matters we shall further consider; for the moment let us pass
on to survey the land itself, to traverse its wide and diversified
surface, with its many elements of beauty, interest and utility.

Here, then, is a land of vast extent, in which various European
countries could be contained; stretching from the borders of Central
America northward to those of the United States, two thousand miles
long upon its major axis, shaped upon the map like a cornucopia,
washed on one side by the Atlantic, on the other by the Pacific, and
containing within itself every resource of Nature which could make
for plenty and progress. Its southern half lies within the Tropics,
but consisting in great part of an elevated tableland, where the
diurnal range of temperature--from the heat of the day to the cold
of the night--is so considerable that latitude we find is not a
reliable guide to climate.

This great plateau, whose escarpments, viewed as we approach from
either side present the appearance of mountains, is in large
part sterile, treeless, and without rivers of importance or
navigability. But it is crossed by ranges of steely-blue hills and
intersected by fertile valleys, where agriculture is carried on
under irrigation--an ancient art by means of canals fed from the
intermittent streams. Cacti, strange and gaunt, clothe it by nature,
but there are large coniferous forests upon the mountain slopes in
places.

Do we approach the country from the north, by the railway lines
from the United States border, we traverse deserts among the most
dreadful of the New World, deserts yet with a certain cruel beauty
of their own, where once the Apache roamed--cruellest and most
horrible of all the world's savage folk.

But Nature has disposed along this high plateau, vast, fabulously
vast mineral wealth, and from the famous mines of Guanajuato,
Zacatecas, Chihuahua, Durango, Potosi, Aguascalientes, Pachuca; and
places--some of them noble towns, dowered with royal charters before
the _Mayflower_ sailed for New England--silver and gold poured forth
to fill the needy coffers of Spain. Later, the English shareholder
tried his hands upon the "mother-lode" with varying fortune, and
copper, iron and other metals also came like magic from the rocks of
this great wilderness.

On the eastern and western versants of the country, and in the
south, we encounter a different landscape. Here Nature smiles. In
places it may be hot and humid, perhaps malarious, with tangled
forests. But rich vegetation, gorgeous flora and profuse animal
life--bird, insect, reptile--abound. Here are fruitful plains and
valleys, vast sugar-cane plantations, luscious fruits of kinds
unknown to the world outside--among them the _mamey_, the "fruit of
the Aztec kings," with orange and banana groves, coffee gardens,
cocoa-trees, yielding the _chocolatl_ of the Aztecs, rubber-trees
with elegant foliage, whilst above, the graceful coco-palm rears
its stately column and feathery plume high against the azure sky.

[Illustration: SCENE ON THE GREAT PLATEAU, MEXICO.

  Vol. I. To face p. 104.]

Here, indeed, is a region where it might have been supposed that
man could dwell in peace and plenty, with a minimum of toil and
ambition, of care and evil.

The climatic zones of Mexico were named by the Spaniards in
accordance with the condition of their varying temperatures
respectively, as, the _Tierra Caliente_, or hot lands, the _Tierra
Templada_, or temperate lands, and the _Tierra Fria_, or cold lands:
the first lying upon the coast, the second midway up the slopes,
and the last the higher regions, reaching an elevation of 8,000 to
10,000 feet and more above the level of the sea.

In this intermediate zone of the Tierra Templada lies a land which
has been not unjustly termed a region of perpetual spring, a truly
desirable land, where the fortunate inhabitant lives close to the
kindly earth as if in some mortal paradise--as far as Nature is
concerned. In the high zone, healthful and invigorating, lies the
beautiful city of Mexico in its enclosed valley; and many a handsome
town is found throughout the three zones.

This city of Mexico was the coveted prize of Cortes and his
Spaniards, and through the varying zones they passed after having,
on that Good Friday in 1519, landed on the shores to which they
gave the name of Vera Cruz--the place of the True Cross. Across the
waters of the Gulf as they approached the unknown land was seen the
gleaming peak of Orizaba, called by the natives Citlalteptl, or the
Mountain of the Star, hanging in mid-heaven, its point over thirteen
thousand feet above the sea.

From the shore, the native runners of Montezuma bore swiftly
upwards to the mountain city news of the white man's arrival--long
expected of old, from the traditions of Quetzalcoatl, the mystic
god-man of white race. These messengers made curious but faithful
"picture-writings," on Mexican paper, of the great "water-houses" or
caravels swinging in the bay, the dread "men-animals" or horsemen,
and the thunderous guns of the Spaniards, and hastened thence to
warn their master.

Swiftly they returned from the mountains. "Go back," the Aztec
Emperor said, "come not hither, the road is long and difficult," and
he sent presents--a huge wheel of gold and beautiful feather work
and other objects.

But Cortes, heeding not the message, burned his boats; the customary
Mass was rendered by the Padre Olmedo--the Spaniards were always
devout, partly in sincerity, partly as a custom--and the adventurers
set forth on that remarkable and adventurous journey which forms one
of the most thrilling episodes in early American history. Let us
briefly review it.

The Spaniards have allied themselves, in the fruitful land of
Tlascala--the "Land of Bread" in the native tongue--with the
Tlascalans, foes at first but friends afterwards, and then began the
most stirring events of their march.

"The Tlascalans were a people who had developed a remarkable
civilization and social and military organization, akin to that
of the Aztecs. On the arrival of the messengers of Cortes much
dissension had prevailed in their councils, some of the chiefs--the
community was ruled by a council of four--maintaining that this was
an opportunity for vengeance against their hereditary enemies, the
hated Aztecs and their prince, Montezuma. 'Let us ally ourselves
with these terrible strangers,' they urged, 'and march against
the Mexicans.' For the doings of the Spaniards had echoed through
the land already, with a tale of smitten tribes and broken idols.
But the wily old Xicotencatl thought otherwise. 'What do we know
of their purpose?' was his counsel; so it was agreed that the
army of the Tlascalans and Otomies, who were in force near the
frontier, under the command of the fiery young warrior--son of old
Xicotencatl, and bearing the same name--should attack them. 'If we
fail,' the old barbarian urged, 'we will disavow the act of our
general; if we win----'!

"The stone fortification at the valley's end had been undefended,
and with Cortes at their head the Spaniards entered Tlascalan
territory. Skirmishing was followed by a pitched battle between the
Christians and the Tlascalans, in which the firearms and lances of
the Spaniards wrought terrible havoc on their antagonists. Astounded
at the sight of the horses--those extraordinary beings, whether
of animal or demoniacal origin they knew not--and appalled by the
thundering of the guns, which seemed to have some superhuman
source, the Tlascalans at first fell back. But they overcame their
fears, fell savagely upon the invaders, and were with difficulty
repulsed, having managed to kill two of the horses. Greatly to
Cortes's regret was this, for the noble animals were few, and--more
serious still--their death removed that semi-superstitious dread
regarding them, which the natives held. However, the Spaniards
afterwards buried them from sight.

"Night fell, a season when the Indians fought not, but on the morrow
the messengers which had been sent to the Tlascalans arrived--having
escaped--with the news that the enemy was approaching in great
force. So indeed it befel, and upon the plain in front of the
Spaniards appeared a mighty host, varyingly estimated between
thirty and a hundred thousand warriors. The Spaniards with their
allies numbered--fearful odds!--about three thousand. 'The God of
the Christians will bear us through,' said the brave and beautiful
Marina. A frightful battle now ensued, the issue of which hung in
the scale for hours. Charging, volleying, borne this way and that by
the flood of the enemy's numbers, the gallant band of the Spaniards
snatched victory from almost certain defeat, their superior weapons
and cavalry, together with the bad tactics of the Indians, who
knew not how to employ their unwieldy army to best advantage, at
length decided the day for the Christians, who inflicted terrible
punishment upon their foes. The Tlascalans' policy now showed
signs of weakening, but further assaults were necessary, and some
treachery, under the guise of friendship, having been discovered on
the part of the fifty Tlascalan envoys to the Spanish camp, Cortes
barbarously cut off the hands of these and sent them back to tell
the tale.

"The upshot of these engagements was that the Tlascalans
capitulated, apologized for their conduct, invited the strangers to
take possession of their capital, and assured them that they would
now be allies, not enemies, of the white men, who were undoubtedly
the representative of the great and long-expected Quetzalcoatl. The
joy in the Spanish camp at this turn of affairs knew no bounds; well
did the Spaniards know that the continued opposition of the Indians
would have been their ruin, whilst in their alliance was salvation
and the key to the Conquest.

"Behold the war-worn and hungry Spaniards, lean and tattered from
marching and privations in the inclement uplands, now installed in
comfort in the centre of the powerful Tlascalan capital. Forth had
come to greet them young Xicotencatl, who, to do him justice, took
upon himself the responsibility of the war; and as the Spaniards
entered the capital the streets were lined with men, women and
children, and decorated with garlands of flowers as for a triumphal
procession. The old chief who had urged for opposition now changed
his tactics, and as Cortes entered he embraced him, passing his
hand over the face of the Spaniard to see what manner of man he
was, for the aged Tlascalan was blind, having reached, it has been
said--probably with exaggeration--a hundred and forty years of age!
'The city is much larger than Granada,' wrote Cortes to Carlos V,
with a description of its markets, shops, houses and intelligent and
industrious population.

"Six weeks the Spaniards sojourned there, recuperating their
energies, living on the best the plentiful land afforded--Tlascala
signified in the Indian tongue 'the land of bread'--taking wives
from among the maidens, the chiefs' daughters, and endeavouring,
first with the foolish haste of Cortes and then with the slow
prudence of Father Olmedo, to instil some tenets of the Christian
religion into their hosts. But religious fervour had to give way to
material necessities, and the Tlascalan idols remained unsmitten,
although their human sacrifices were somewhat stayed.

"Rested and mended, the Spaniards now set impatient gaze upon the
oak- and fir-clad mountain slopes which bounded the valley. Above
them loomed upward the great Malinche, snow-capped queen of the
Tlascalan mountain fastnesses; and still the friendly Tlascalans,
stern foes but noble allies, loaded them with every favour and bid
them tarry. When, however, they would stay no longer they raised a
great body of warriors to accompany them, warning Cortes against the
wiles of Montezuma. 'Beware of his presents and his promises; he is
false and seeks your destruction,' they urged, and their implacable
hatred of the Aztecs showed itself in their words and mien.

"Contrary to the advice of their new allies, the Spaniards decided
to journey on to Mexico through Cholula, the land of the great
pyramid. Embassies had arrived, both from Montezuma and from the
Cholulans, the latter inviting the Spaniards to go that way; and
the great Aztec monarch, swayed now by the shadow of oncoming
destiny, offering the Spaniards a welcome to his capital. 'Trust
not the Tlascalans, those barbarous foes,' was the burden of his
message, 'but come through friendly Cholula: a greeting received by
the Tlascalans with sneers and counter-advice. The purpose of the
Tlascalans was not a disinterested one. An attack upon Montezuma
was their desire, and preliminary to this they hoped to embroil the
Spaniards with the perfidious Cholulans. Another embassy--and this
was an important event--had waited upon Cortes. It was from the
Ixtlilxochitl, one of the rival claimants for the throne of Texcoco,
which, it will be remembered, was a powerful and advanced community
in confederation with the Aztecs; and Cortes was not slow to fan
the flame of disaffection which this indicated, by an encouraging
message to the young prince.

"A farewell was taken of the staunch Tlascalans, the invariable
Mass was celebrated by Father Olmedo, and, accompanied by a large
body of Tlascalan warriors, the Spaniards set out for Cholula. What
befel in this beautiful and populous place--which, Bernal Diaz
wrote, reminded him, form its numerous towers, of Valladolid--was of
terrible and ruthless import. Cholula, with its great _teocalli_,
was the Mecca of Anahuac, and was veritably a land flowing with milk
and honey. Well-built houses, numerous _teocallis_, or pyramidal
temples, well-dressed people with embroidered cloaks, and numbers
of censer-swinging priests formed the _ensemble_ which greeted
the Spaniards' eyes, whilst the intense cultivation of the ground
and the fields of _maguey_, _maiz_, and other products, irrigated
by canals from the mountain streams, formed the environment of
this advanced community. 'Not a palm's-breadth of land that is
not cultivated,' wrote Cortes in his dispatches to Castile, 'and
the city, as we approached, was more beautiful than the cities of
Spain.' Beautiful and gay doubtless Cholula was when the Spaniards
entered; drenched with the blood of its inhabitants and devastated
by fire it lay before they left it! There had been signs of
treachery, even on the road thither, work of the Cholulans; but,
lodged in the city, the Spaniards discovered, through the agency
of the intelligent Marina, a plot to annihilate them later. Taking
the Cholulans unawares as they crowded the streets with--at the
moment--harmless curiosity, the Spaniards, with cannon, musket
and sabre, mowed down the unfortunate and unprotected natives in
one bloody massacre, aided by the ferocious Tlascalans, who fell
upon the Cholulans from the rear. The appalling and unnecessary
slaughter at Cholula has called down upon the heads of Cortes and
the Spaniards the execration of historians. Some have endeavoured
to excuse or palliate it, but it remains as one of the indelible
stains of the Spanish _Conquistadores_ upon the history they were
making. Having accomplished this 'punitive' act, an image of the
Virgin was set up on the summit of the great pyramidal temple,
and some order restored. 'They are now your Highness's faithful
vassals,' wrote Cortes to the King of Spain!

"After this the way seemed clear. Far on the horizon loomed the
white, snow-capped cones of Popocateptl and Ixtaccihuatl, beautiful
and pure above the deserts, the canyons, and the forests beneath
them--the gateway to Mexico. From the foremost, above its snow-cap,
there belched forth a great column of smoke, for at that period
Popocateptl was an active volcano. Onwards the Spaniards pressed
with buoyant hearts and eager feet, and when they stood upon
the summit of the range their eyes beheld the beautiful valley
of Mexico, the haven for which they had long toiled and fought,
stretched below. There, shimmering in distance, lay the strange,
unknown city of the Aztecs, like a gem upon the borders of its
lakes: its towers and buildings gleaming white in the brilliant
sun of the tropic upland beneath the azure firmament and brought
to deceptive nearness by the clear atmosphere of that high
environment. There at last was their longed-for goal, the mysterious
Tenochtitlan."[8]

  [8] _Mexico_, by the Author, South American Series.

       *       *       *       *       *

The city of Mexico, notwithstanding its modern attributes, is
stamped with history and tradition, and in this respect is perhaps
the most noteworthy metropolis on the American continents. It is,
as it were, a mediaeval city, transplanted from the Old World to
the New. The United States has, naturally, no place which may
compare with it, and in happier times Mexico City has been a tourist
centre for Americans, who, escaping from the more materialistic and
commercial atmosphere of their own busy towns, and the extremes of
heat or cold which alternate therein, have sought the equable and
healthful condition of the Mexican upland capital--an easy journey
comparatively, of a few days in a Pullman car, amid landscapes
attractive from their novelty.

We are in a city of churches and convents. Elsewhere I have
described some of these remarkable edifices, home of the Roman
Catholic faith, and as we view the city from the pleasing hills
surrounding the valley their domes and towers stand up refreshingly.

The houses of Mexico are of a type unknown to the Anglo-Saxon
American; the social customs, the aspects of the streets, the
markets, the flower-market, the old, massive public buildings,
the cotton-clad Indian folk in the _plazas_ side by side with
beautifully dressed señoritas and correctly attired, grave and
ceremonious men--statesmen, lawyers, doctors and men of many
professions, the _serenatas_ or concerts in the _alamedas_, the
lottery ticket vendors thrusting their flimsy wares into one's face,
urging you to tempt fortune--for will not the wheel be turned in
the public square in half an hour, and may you yourself not be
the winner of the sorteo?--all these features catch the traveller's
eye as in the genial sunshine, before the midday heat renders the
shade of the _patio_ or veranda advisable, we observe the life of
the Mexican city. In the market-place, at an early hour or in the
evening, the odour of the _tortilla_ or the _frijoles_, fried in the
open for ready sale, will greet our nostrils, and there are piquant
_chiles_--a favourite article of diet--and many luscious and unknown
fruits which we cannot resist.

[Illustration: THE CATHEDRAL, CITY OF MEXICO.

  Vol. I. To face p. 114.]

Under the shade trees in the plaza or the alameda, escorted by
Indian maid-servant, or perhaps entering or leaving the temples, are
sweet-faced girls of the upper class, pale oval-faced _señoritas_
with dark hair and expressive eyes, with the mantilla drawn over the
head, bent on their early-morning orisons: but though their thoughts
are at the moment doubtless dwelling upon matters spiritual, there
are glances from expressive eyes--

    Para que te miré, mujer divina?
    Para que contemplé tu faz hermosa?

Sentiment and love, indeed, play a strong part in the temperament of
this southern race, with all its reserve and seclusion.

The foreigner in Mexico will thus find a varied local colour in the
Mexican capital and in other cities throughout the Republic, such
as could long occupy his pen, and indeed his brush, if he wield
such. To come into actual touch with the people in their homes is
more difficult, but if he is fortunate enough to be the guest in
an upper class Mexican family, he will experience the most pleasing
hospitality. To penetrate such circles, however, there must be the
appropriate qualities and circumstances.

In this peaceful city there are few signs of revolution, disorder or
bloodshed. The walls here and there may be pitted with bullet-marks,
but the things which caused them come and go, and the populace lives
its life with merely passing notice of them.

We may wander somewhat farther afield in the valley: to the
suburbs where the palaces of the wealthy lie embowered in flowers
and orange-trees; to Xochimilco, the Field of Flowers; to
Chalpultepec--the Aztec "Hill of the Grasshoppers," where stands
the presidential castle; to the shrine of Guadalupe, the Lourdes of
Mexico, where the Virgin, it is said, appeared in a vision to Juan,
the poor Indian.

The great lake of Texcoco, a dreary body of water now--it is partly
drained by a great canal, to the far greater salubrity of the
place--formerly extended to the city, which, indeed, at the time of
the Conquest, was built upon it and reached by stone causeways--a
position which might have been impregnable.

The first attempt by Cortes and the Spaniards upon Tenochtitlan
ended in disaster. They were enjoying the Aztec hospitality, which,
however, they outraged. They attacked and massacred a number of the
people and took Montezuma a prisoner in the stout palace which had
been assigned as their quarters. They stormed and carried the great
_Teocalli_, or pyramid-temple, and threw down the great idol of the
Mexicans. Montezuma was killed, either by a missile from without or
treacherously by the Spaniards whilst in their power. All seemed
lost as a result of the mad act of Alvarado in attacking the people.
The story of the disaster is a thrilling one.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The bridges broken, the savages screaming outside the walls,
hope of victory gone, there was now no counsel of war for the
Spaniards save that of escape. But how? At night and along the great
causeway was the only plan. A weird scene it was on the beginning
of that _Noche Triste_--the sorrowful night--which stands forth so
unforgettably in the history of the Conquest. Disorder everywhere;
piles of gold and valuables on the floor, each Spaniard, whether
cavalier or boor, loading himself with what he thought he could
carry. 'Pocket what you can,' Cortes said, 'but recollect that gold
is heavy and we have to travel swiftly'--grave advice, the neglect
of which cost some their lives upon that awful night.

"And then began the retreat along the fatal causeway. It was known
that there were three openings in this, and a portable bridge had
been made and was borne along to enable passage to be effected.
Hurrying on in the hope of passing the breaches before alarm might
be given, the Spaniards entered upon the causeway and placed their
portable bridge upon the first breach. Was safety to be theirs?
No! what was that appalling sound, sonorous and melancholy, which
rang over the city and the waters amid the darkness? It was the
great drum on the _teocalli_; the _tambor_ of the war-god, sounded
by vigilant priests, calling the people to vengeance and battle.
And in their myriads the Aztecs poured forth and fell upon the
Christians, raining darts and stones upon them, and making the night
hideous with their war-cries. Meanwhile Cortes and the advance
guard had passed over, and reached the second breach. 'Bring up
the bridge!' was the repeated order, as those behind crowded on.
Useless; the bridge was stuck fast in the first breach, wedged
down by the weight of guns and horses which had passed over it,
and as these dread tidings were heard the mass of men upon the
narrow causeway lost their presence of mind. Those behind crowded
on those in front; men and horses rolled into the lake; Spaniards
and Tlascalans fell victims to the Aztecs, who crowded the water in
their canoes and leapt upon the causeway; the shouts of vengeance
and triumph of the savages resounded all along the dyke, silencing
the muttered oath or prayer of the Christians huddled at the breach.
Down went horse and man, artillery and treasure, until the bodies
of Christians and Indians and horses, and bales of merchandise
and chests of ammunition the breach was almost filled, and a
portion of the fugitives passed over. And now the third breach
yawns before them--deep and wide. The morning is dawning upon the
fatal scene; the salt waters of the lake have closed over many a
gallant Christian head; the frightful causeway is strewn with wreck
of man and merchandise. 'The rear guard perishes!' and 'back and
save them!' were the words which rang out then, and Cortes and his
remaining cavaliers, who were in the lead, rode back, even in that
frightful hour--be it recorded to their honour--and, swimming the
breach once more, strove to support their comrades. There stood
Alvarado unhorsed and battling, with the savages pressing upon his
rear. Escape there seemed none. Canoes and spears teemed on every
side, and Cortes and his companions were forced onward."[9]

  [9] _Mexico_, loc. cit.

       *       *       *       *       *

The figure of Alvarado stood up against the grey sky alone--a
moment--and then he measured the breach with his eye. Planting his
lance on the wreckage in the waters of the breach, after the manner
of a leaping-pole, the heroic Spaniard, collecting his energies,
leapt forward, and passed the chasm at a bound. The Aztecs paused in
admiration of this feat of the "Son of the Sun," as they had named
Alvarado, from his fair hair and ruddy countenance. To-day we may
still see the place where this part of the causeway lay, known as
the _Puente de Alvarado_.

Away off the causeway into the grey dawn passed the remnant of the
routed Spanish Army, wounded, bleeding, starving, their comrades
gone, some to death, some to the dreadful sacrifices of the Mexican
priests, where their hearts would be torn living from their breasts,
and annihilation threatening all. Baggage and artillery were gone,
not a carbine was left, and Cortes, seating himself upon the steps
of a ruined temple on the shore, wept bitter tears of sorrow for the
loss of his comrades and his vanished fortunes.

So ended the _Noche Triste_, and to this day may be seen an ancient
tree under which it is said Cortes wept.

The Spaniards, however, were not of such stuff as easily gives in
to difficulty and disaster. Had it been otherwise, Mexico to-day
might have had a different destiny. It might have developed a purely
aboriginal or Indian state. But fate seems not to have willed it
that any such nation should exist in the New World.

Cortes and the remnant of his army--there was no other course
for them--returned to their Tlascalan allies, fighting their way
even here, however, for after passing the ancient pyramid of
Teotihuacan, even then standing ruined and desolate a few miles
north of the city--monument of the shadowy Toltecs, who preceded
the Aztec hegemony, and which, restored by the Mexican Government
under President Diaz, is an object of great interest to the
traveller--they looked down on the Plain of Otumba, and beheld
the forces of the Otomies drawn up in battle array against them.
These warriors wore armour of thick quilted cotton, which formed a
considerable protection against the rude weapons of the country,
and the Spaniards were now without firearms. They were so numerous
that, it is recorded, the plain "looked as if it were covered with
snow," from the white armour.

But the Christians routed them, and thus the Battle of Otumba
was one of the turning-points in New World history, as elsewhere
remarked.

Reinforced by the Tlascalans, Cortes returned to the siege of
the city. Fresh supplies of arms and ammunition had reached the
Spaniards from the coast, with horses and two hundred Spaniards sent
from Hispaniola. Cortes built a number of brigantines, which were
carried by the Indians to the lake in order to attack Tenochtitlan
by water as well as land. But the whole enterprise would have been
hopeless had not the other Mexican tribes, hating the Aztecs, joined
forces with the white men. The plan was to starve out the city on
the lake by laying waste the surroundings, for it was dependent upon
these for its food. To the dead Montezuma's place had succeeded
his nephew Guahtemoc, a noble Aztec prince, animated by the utmost
spirit of patriotism in defending the heritage of his forefathers.

       *       *       *       *       *

"A series of severe struggles began then, both by land and
water--burning, slaughter and the destruction of the lake towns.
The Aztecs, with their great number, raining darts and stones upon
the invaders at every engagement, attacked them with unparalleled
ferocity both by forces on shore and their canoes on the lake.
The Spaniards took heavy toll of the enemy at every turn, assisted
by their allies the Tlascalans, as savage and implacable as the
Aztecs, whom they attacked with a singular and persistent spirit
of hatred, the result of long years of oppression by the dominant
power of Anahuac. Cortes, on every occasion when it seemed that the
last chance of success might attend it, offered terms to the Aztec
capital, by no means dishonourable, assuring them their liberty and
self-government in return for allegiance to the Crown of Spain and
the renouncing of their abominable system of sacrificial religion.
These advances were invariably met by the most implacable negatives.
The Aztecs, far from offering to yield, swore they would sacrifice,
when the day was theirs, every Spaniard and Tlascalan on the bloody
altars of their gods; and as for entering into any treaty, the last
man, woman and child would resist the hated invaders until the last
drop of blood was shed and the last stone of their city thrown down.
This vaunt, as regards the latter part, was almost literally carried
out, and to some extent as regards the former.

"The siege operations were conducted vigorously both by land and
water. Again before the eyes of the Spaniards stretched that fatal
causeway--path of death amid the salt waters of Texcoco for so
many of their brave comrades upon the _Noche Triste_ of their
terrible flight from Tenochtitlan. And there loomed once more that
dreaded _teocalli_, whence the war-drum's mournful notes were
heard. Guarded now by the capable and persistent Guatemoc, the city
refused an offer of treaty, and invited the destruction which was to
fall upon it. From the _azoteas_, or roofs of their buildings and
temples, the undaunted Mexicans beheld the white-winged brigantines,
armed with those belching engines of thunder and death whose sting
they well knew: and saw the ruthless hand of devastation laying
waste their fair towns of the lake shore, and cutting off their
means of life.

"But the Spaniards had yet to learn to their cost the lengths of
Aztec tenacity and ferocity. It will be recollected that the city
was connected to the lake shores by means of four causeways, built
above the surface of the water; engineering structures of stone and
mortar and earth, which had from the first aroused the admiration
of the Spaniards. These causeways, whilst they rendered the city
almost impregnable from attack, were a source of weakness in the
easy cutting-off of food supplies, which they afforded to the
enemy. A simultaneous assault on all these approaches was organized
by the Spaniards, under Sandoval, Alvarado and Cortes himself,
respectively, whilst the brigantines, with their raking artillery,
were to support the attack by water, aided by the canoes of the
Tlascalan and Texcocan allies. A series of attacks was made by this
method, and at last the various bodies of Spaniards advanced along
the causeways and gained the city walls. But frightful disaster
befel them. The comparative ease with which they entered the city
aroused Cortes's suspicions; and at that moment, from the summit of
the great _teocalli_, rang out a fearful note--the horn of Guatemoc,
calling for vengeance and a concerted attack. The notes of the horn
struck some ominous sense of chill in the Spaniards' breasts, and
the soldier-penman, Bernal Diaz, who was fighting valiantly there,
says that the noise echoed and re-echoed, and rang in his ears for
days afterwards. The Spaniards, on this, as on other occasions,
had foolishly neglected to secure the breaches in the causeways as
they passed, or at least the rash Alvarado had not done so with his
command, his earlier lesson unheeded; and when the Christians were
hurled backwards--for their easy entrance into the great square of
the city had been in the nature of a decoy--disaster befel them,
which at one moment seemed as if it would be a repetition of that
of the _Noche Triste_. 'The moment I reached that fearful bridge,'
Cortes wrote in his dispatches, 'I saw the Spaniards returning in
full flight.' Remaining to hold the breech if possible, and cover
the retreat, the chivalrous Cortes almost lost his life from a
furious attack by the barbarians in their canoes, and was only
saved by the devotion of his own men and Indian allies, who gave
their lives in his rescue. Word, nevertheless, had gone forth among
the men that Cortes had fallen; and the savages, throwing before
the faces of Alvarado and Sandoval the bloody heads of decapitated
Spaniards, cried tauntingly the name 'Malintzin,' which was that
by which Cortes was known among the Mexicans. Men and horses rolled
into the lake; dead bodies filled the breaches; the Christians and
their allies were beaten back, and 'as we were all wounded it was
only the help of God which saved us from destruction,' wrote Bernal
Diaz. Indeed, both Cortes and the Spaniards only escaped, on these
and other occasions, from the Aztec's desire to take them alive for
sacrifice.

"Once more, after disastrous retreats and heavy loss, the bleeding
and discouraged Spaniards lay in their camp, as evening fell. Of
dead, wounded and captured, the Spaniards missed more than a hundred
and twenty of their comrades, and the Tlascalans a thousand, whilst
valuable artillery, guns and horses were lost. But listen! what is
that mournful, penetrating sound which smites the Christians' ears?
It is the war-god's drum, and even from where the Spaniards stand
there is visible a procession ascending the steps of the _teocalli_,
and, to their horror, the forms of their lost comrades are seen
within it: whose hearts are doomed to be torn out living from their
breasts to smoke before the shrine of Huitzilopochtli, the war-devil
of their enemies. From that high and fearful place their comrades'
eyes must be gazing with despairing look towards the impotent
Spanish camp, glazing soon in death as the obsidian knives of the
priests performed their fiendish work. The disastrous situation of
the Spaniards was made worse by the desertion, at this juncture,
of the Tlascalan and other allies. Awed by a prophecy sent out
confidently by the Aztec priests, that both Christians and allies
should be delivered into their hands before eight days had passed
(prophecy or doom, which the priests said, was from the mouth of the
war-god, appeased by the late victory), the superstitious Indians of
Cortes's forces sneaked off in the night.

"Continued reverses, in the face of long-continued action and desire
for the attaining a given end, forges in the finer calibre of mind
a spirit of unremitting purpose. Blow after blow, which would turn
away the ordinary individual from his endeavour, serves to steel
the real hero to a dispassionate and persistent patience, and the
purpose from its very intensity becomes almost a sacred cause, and
seems to obtain from the unseen powers of circumstance success
at last. So with Cortes and others of the Spaniards. The period
prescribed by the somewhat rash prophecy of the Aztec priests and
their infernal oracle having passed without anything remarkable
having taken place, the Tlascalan and Texcocan allies, upbraided and
warned by the Spaniards' messengers, now sneaked back to resume the
attack against the city. The Aztecs had sought to cause disaffection
in outlying places by sending round the bloody heads of decapitated
Spaniards and horses, but with little effect. Cortes then prepared
for a final effort. The plan adopted was to be slower but surer than
the former one of simple slaughter. It was determined to raze the
city to the ground; to destroy the buildings step by step, fill up
the canals, and so lay waste the whole area from the outside, so
that unobstructed advance might be maintained.

"The execution of this plan was begun. The city ends of the
causeways were captured and held; street after street was
demolished, and canal after canal filled up amid scenes of incessant
fighting and slaughter. Day after day the Spaniards returned to
their work; day after day with admirable tenacity the inhabitants
of Tenochtitlan disputed the ground inch by inch, watered with the
blood of themselves, their women and their children. Their supplies
cut off, famine and pestilence wrought more terrible havoc among
them--crowded as they gradually became into one quarter of the
city--than the arms of the Spaniards and the Tlascalans. At the
termination of each day's work the Spanish prepared an ambuscade
for the enemy, drawing them on by seeming to retire, and massacring
them with the artillery and gun-fire and lances, to say nothing
of the weapons of their savage allies. On one of these occasions
'the enemy rushed out yelling as if they had gained the greatest
victory in the world,' Cortes wrote in his dispatches, and 'more
than five hundred, all of the bravest and principal men, were
killed in this ambush.' He added, and it was a common occurrence,
'our allies'--the Indians--'supped well that night, cutting up and
eating their captives!' During the days of this terrible siege the
famous catapult was made, an extraordinary engine to discharge
great stones upon the enemy. This was to enable the Spaniards to
husband their powder, which was getting low, and the Aztecs watched
the construction of this machine with certain fear. It was completed
and set to work, but the builder, a Spanish soldier of inventive
faculty, nearly played the part of the engineer hoist with his
own petard, for the great stone fired rose, it is true, but went
straight up and descended again upon the machine, which was ever
afterwards the laughing-stock of the army.

"Further severe losses were now inflicted upon the beleaguered
inhabitants, as more ammunition had been obtained. Peace had again
been offered by the Spaniards, and again refused by the Aztecs. An
Aztec chief of high rank had been captured, and then returned to
Guatemoc as a peace envoy. The Mexicans' reply was to execute and
sacrifice the unfortunate emissary, and then collecting their forces
they poured out upon the causeways like a furious tide, which seemed
as if it would sweep all before it. But the Spaniards were prepared.
The narrow causeways were commanded by the artillery, which poured
such a deadly hail upon the enemy's numbers that they returned
fleeing to the city.

"And soon the end approaches. The division led by Cortes made a
fierce assault; and whilst the battle raged the Spaniards observed
that the summit of one of the _teocallis_ was in flames. It was the
work of Alvarado's men, who had penetrated already to the plaza.
Forces were joined, and the inhabitants of the city, driven into one
quarter thereof, still made their stubborn and--now--suicidal stand.
For the streets were piled up with corpses, the Aztecs refraining
from throwing the bodies of their slain into the lake, or outside
the city, in order not to show their weakness. Pestilence and famine
had made terrible inroads upon the population. Miserable wretches,
men, women and children, were encountered Wandering about careless
of the enemy, only bent upon finding some roots, bark or offal which
might appease the hunger at their vitals. The salt waters of the
lake, which they had been obliged to drink, for the Spaniards had
cut the aqueduct which brought the fresh water from Chapultepec,
had caused many to sicken and die. Mothers had devoured their dead
children; the bodies of the slain had been eaten, and the bark
gnawed from the trunks of trees. In their dire extremity some of the
chiefs of the beleaguered city called Cortes to the barricade. He
went, trusting that capitulation was at hand, for, as both he and
his historians record, the slaughter was far from their choosing.
'Do but finish your work quickly,' was the burden of their parley.
'Let us go and rest in the heaven of our war-god; we are weary of
life and suffering. How is it that you, a son of the Sun, tarry so
long in finishing, when the Sun himself makes circuit of the earth
in a day, and so accomplishes his work speedily?'

"This remarkable appeal struck renewed pity to the heart of
Cortes, and once more he begged them to surrender and avoid further
suffering, and the Spaniards drew off their forces for a space.
But the inexorable Guatemoc, although he sent an embassy to say he
would hold parley, and the Spaniards waited for him, did not fulfil
the promise at the last moment. Incensed at this behaviour, the
Spaniards and the Tlascalans renewed the attack with overpowering
energy on the one part and barbaric savagery on the other. Contrary
to the orders of the Spaniards, their savage allies gave no quarter,
but murdered men, women and children in fiendish exultation. The
stench of the dead in the beleaguered city was overpowering; the
soil was soaked with blood; the gutters ran as in a rain-storm,
say the chroniclers, and, wrote Cortes to the King of Spain: 'Such
slaughter was done that day on land and water that killed and
prisoners numbered forty thousand; and such were the shrieks and
weeping of women and children that there were none of us whose
hearts did not break.' He adds that it was impossible to contain the
savage killing and torturing by their allies the Tlascalans, who
practised such cruelty as had never been seen, and 'out of all order
of nature.'

"At nightfall the attacking forces drew off, leaving the remainder
of the inhabitants of the stricken city to consider their position.
It is stated that the Tlascalans made a great banquet of the flesh
of the fallen Aztecs, and that on this and other occasions they
fished up the bloated bodies of their enemies from the lake and
devoured them! At sunrise on the following day Cortes and a few
followers entered the city, hoping to have a supplication for
terms from Guatemoc. The army was stationed outside the walls,
ready, in the event of a refusal--the signal of which should be
a musket-shot--to pour in and strike the final blow. A parley
was entered into as before, which lasted several hours. 'Do you
surrender?' Cortes demanded. The final reply of Guatemoc was, 'I
will not come: I prefer to die where I am: do your worst.'

"A musket-shot rang out upon the air; the Spaniards and their allies
fell on to merciless slaughter: cannons, muskets, arrows, slings,
lances--all told their tale upon the huddled mass of panic-stricken
people, who, after presenting a feeble and momentary front, poured
forth upon the fatal causeways to escape. Drowned and suffocated in
the waters of the lake, mowed down by the fire from the brigantines,
and butchered by the brutal Tlascalans, women, children and men
struggled and shrieked among that frightful carnage; upon which
it were almost impious to dwell further. Guatemoc, with his wife
and children, strove to escape, and the canoe containing them
was already out upon the lake, when a brigantine ran it down and
captured him. All resistance was at an end. No sign of life or
authority remained among the ruined walls; the fair city by the
lake was broken and tenantless, its idols fallen, and its people
fled. The Homeric struggle was over; the conquest of Mexico was
accomplished."[10]

  [10] _Mexico_, loc. cit.

       *       *       *       *       *

Under the long rule of the viceroys that followed the Conquest,
Mexico lived her life in a mediaeval but often peaceful and not
unhappy state, and had Spain but understood her and developed the
resources of the land and protected her simple Indian folk instead
of exploiting them, and at the same time antagonizing the colonists,
there is no reason why a magnificent and permanent Spanish empire
should not have grown to being.

We have remarked elsewhere on the abundant mineral wealth of the
country. The great silver deposits of Guanajuato were discovered as
a result of a camp-fire made on the rocks by some muleteers, who
found refined silver among the ashes, which the heat had smelted
from them. The great "mother lode" here yielded up enormous wealth.
The pleasing city of Zacatecas to-day grew from another discovery
of silver ores, which produced a value, up to the middle of last
century, of nearly eight hundred million dollars. The curious
archives of these mines, which still exist, show how carefully the
Spaniards worked them. The Pachuca mines, which to-day are still
worked, yielded similar wealth, and it was here that the well-known
_patio_ or amalgamation process was discovered, with quicksilver
from Peru.

There are other centres, scarcely less important, well known to
the mineralogist. The mineral-bearing zone of Mexico is sixteen
hundred miles long, and yields nearly all the metals known to
commerce. Coal, however, is not a frequent product. The country
has been described as a paradise for the prospector. The mines are
innumerable: almost every hill is pierced or perforated by shafts
and galleries, ancient or modern; some are enormous tunnels, or
_socavones_.

[Illustration: CORDOVA AND THE PEAK OF ORIZABA. STATE OF VERA CRUZ.

  Vol. I. To face p. 132.]

The Mexican native miner is, in his way, expert and active, and with
rude appliances performs marvels in the work of ore extraction. Halt
a moment by yonder pit in the rocky slope. Look down: a notched pole
descends, upon which you would hesitate to venture, giving access
to the workings beneath. Yet, in a moment, perhaps, a peon, bearing
on his back an enormous load of rock in a hide or sack, will ascend
from the bowels of the earth, panting and groaning--we shall hear
the noise of his breathing before we see him. He will cast his load
at our feet, and from it will roll the gleaming quartz and pyrites,
with perhaps the red of the _rosicler_, or rich oxide ore of silver,
or the yellow ochres of the decomposed gold-bearing sulphides, more
readily prepared by Nature for treatment and winning of the yellow
metal. Or he may bear it to the stream-bed, there to treat it in
some primitive stone mill.

Otherwise we may visit huge modern mills where hundreds of stamps
are clanging and engines are winding and furnaces are burning, for
a host of these exist throughout the land, though disorder and
revolution may have suspended their operations.

Many curious products of the vegetable world attract our eyes.
Behold yonder stupendous cactus-trees--the organo cactus, whose
symmetrical spiny branches like a giant candelabrum, weighing
perhaps tons, with their mass of sappy foliage, arise from a single
stem, which could be brought down by a stroke of a _machete_, or
wood-knife--that formidable implement or weapon (made perhaps in
Birmingham) which the Mexican peon loves to wield or use. Look at
the marvellous giant leaves of the juicy _maguey_, or agave, as
long as a man, and see the peon insert his siphon to the heart of
the plant to draw forth its sap, which he blows into the goatskin
on his back, and from which he will presently make his _pulque_.
This plant, the great American aloe, comes into flower and dies in
a few years. It exhausts itself in flowering. In England we call it
the century plant, for the exotic lingers long in the unfavourable
climate, and with difficulty puts forth its blossoms at all. There,
too, are hedges and _circas_ of prickly-pear, or nopal, which yield
the delicious wild fig--the cactus familiar to the traveller in the
Holy Land and Syria, whence it was taken from Mexico.

In the coastal lands, as before remarked, the feathery coconut-palm
waves over the villages, and the elegant leaves of the banana form
refreshing groves, and the _cacao_ yields its stores of chocolate.
Lovers of this sweetmeat might hear the name of Mexico in gratitude
indeed, for is not the very name and product of Aztec origin--the
_chocolatl_ of the early folk here? In the tropic forests and
plantations the beautiful rubber, the _Castilloa elastica_-tree,
rears its stately foliage, and here, again, are we not indebted to
Mexico? Remember it, ye lovers of lawn tennis. For when the early
Spaniards arrived they found the Mexicans playing tennis, with balls
of rubber, in those curious courts whose ruins still remain in the
jungles of Yucatan.

Again, yonder flies the wild turkey. Was he not the progenitor of
that noble bird which comes upon our Christmas tables? Here, too,
is the _zenzontl_; or mocking-bird, and a host of gorgeous winged
creatures besides.

Through many a desert range and over many a chain of hills, violet
in the distance, alluring and remote; past many a sacred well or
hill marked by a cross, hard by the paths worn by the generations
of bare or sandalled feet we may pass; and here, perchance, by
some spring stands a startled native maid, her _olla_, or great
water-pitcher, on her shoulder--stands in classic but unwitting
pose. Or through the heat a mounted vaquero rides upon his
attenuated mule or horse--for the equine race works hard and eats
little here, but bit, spur and the bridle are his till the day he
leaves his bones upon the trail--and, "Buenos dias, señor," with
doffed hat the horseman gives us as he passes, with ever-ready
Mexican courtesy to the foreigner; or he did so until of recent
times, when, for reasons we need not here dilate upon, the
foreigner has come to be regarded with anything but friendship.

There was always a charm about this old land of Mexico; there
still is, despite its recent turbulent history. Small wonder that
foreigners in increasing numbers loved to make their life in its
quaint towns, to take up land and industry within it.

Of these towns we cannot speak here; Guadalajara, Puebla, Oaxaca
and many another invite us to their pleasing streets and ancient
buildings. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, from north to south,
they are dispersed over the wide area of the Republic.

The southern, or rather easternmost States of Mexico are, as regards
their landscape and life, often of peculiar interest, mainly by
reason of the more tropical surroundings and the large rivers, such
as those that flow into the Gulf of Campeche, in Vera Cruz and
Tabasco.

Typical of these rivers are the Grijalva and the Usumacinta. In
places lined by dark forests, the banks elsewhere open out to permit
of plantations of bananas, tobacco, maize, pineapples, rubber and so
forth, and an occasional village, its white walls gleaming among the
foliage, the roofs thatched with palm, gives the human touch thereto.

Ascending the river in a slow stern-wheel steamer, we remark an
occasional canoe, laden with skins and other produce, or moored
inshore whilst its occupants are fishing in the plentifully stocked
waters. There are great trees festooned with masses of moss and with
trailing lianas, where monkeys play by day and from whence at night
their howling falls on the ear. The white heron and aigret, whose
snowy plumage is so valuable an article of commerce, startled by the
passage of the boat, sail gracefully away to the bends of the river,
and flocks of parrots, similarly disturbed, scream their defiance,
whilst wild ducks and cranes and birds of the brightest plumage are
in sight at every moment. The alligators, large and small, that
throng the shoals project their grotesque forms into the water,
offering a mark to the gun of the idle huntsman.

In the flower world Nature is often gorgeously arrayed here. Pure
white lilies lie at the base of flowering trees that rise in a mass
of bloom for forty feet or more, of a profusion and beauty almost
inconceivable. The queen of the banks, the stately coco-palm,
carries its load of nuts, waiting for nothing but the gatherer of a
harvest provided by Nature. Here, too, is the cinchona-tree, with
its bright, smooth red trunk and branches and rich green leaves,
offering its virtues of quinine bark. The arnica plant, with its
daisy-like yellow flowers, and the morning glory of rich and
brilliant hue abound, and the orchids--"not the dwarfed product of
a northern hothouse, but huge, entrancing, of the richest browns,
the tenderest greens, the most vivid reds and the softest yellow,
sometimes as many as half a dozen upon one tree"--decorate the
decayed trunks of the trees. There are, too, natural plantations of
wild pineapples, and many fruits besides.

A good deal of land in these regions is capable of cultivation, and,
extremely fertile, yields profitable returns. But means of transport
are, of course, defective, although the rivers offer long lines of
communication. The Indians do not love work, except inasmuch as such
may fill their own small requirements, for in so bountiful a region
Nature supplies them with many things necessary for life, which a
very few hours' labour will supplement for a whole year. There is
rivalry between the established planters for the available labour,
and peonage is largely carried out.

In Yucatan, the labour system upon the plantations of the Mexican
millionaire hemp-growers of the peninsula has been described as
little more than slavery by some writers. But great wealth and
some measure of progress have resulted from this special Yucatan
industry, and Merida, the capital city, shows these elements in
marked degree.

The Yucatan peninsula is a curious limestone plain, originally
covered, and still covered in great part, with tropical jungle,
riverless, but with underground streams. The water was used by
the ancient builders of the Maya cities here, whose beautifully
sculptured palaces and pyramid temples are among the chief
archæological wonders of Spanish America. They constructed wells
adjacent to the buildings--the curious _cenotes_, or sacred wells.

The lore of these silent, buried temples, over-run by the jungle,
the haunt now of wild creatures, is fascinating in its mystery.
Some observers have likened their details of the façades of these
structures to Hindu temples, others to Egyptian, and so forth,
whilst others stoutly proclaim them to be of purely autochthonous
culture.[11] This culture area, we have already seen, extended into
Guatemala.

  [11] Vide _Mexico_, loc. cit.

To turn for a moment now to the Pacific coast of Mexico, this
presents its own special points of interest. From hence may have
come the Toltecs originally, with their wonderful native knowledge
and stone-shaping arts, among famous objects of whose handiwork is
the famous Calendar Stone, to be seen in the Museum of Mexico. This
remarkable stone shows the early Mexicans to have had a more exact
division and calculation of solar time than their contemporaries,
the cultured nations of Europe. However, the principal Toltec
remains are not upon the Pacific coast, but at Tula, on the Plateau,
which appears to have been their ancient capital.

Upon the long Pacific coastline Mexico possesses several important
seaports, to some of which access may be gained by railway, and
many picturesque places rarely heard of by the outside world,
together with vast areas of fruitful land and valuable forests.
This littoral, indeed; forms a region which must some day take its
place in the economy of the globe. The long peninsula of Lower
California, forming an isolated part of Mexico, is in many respects
remarkable, and into the head of the Gulf flows the Colorado River,
with many peculiar characteristics.

What we have here said as to the topography of Mexico, with its
beautiful mountains, rivers, archæological remains, cities and so
forth, is little more than an index to a vast field of interest,
which, however, must be studied elsewhere. We are now bidden to
cast a further glance at the people who have their being upon the
diversified surface of the Republic.

A small proportion only of the Mexicans are white--perhaps ten per
cent. The remainder are of varying shades of brown. But there is no
"colour line," although, naturally, the purest European blood is
found among the upper and governing classes.

However, the brown race has produced some of the best of Mexico's
people. The famous Juarez, the lawyer-president who preceded Diaz,
and who was responsible for some of the most important measures of
reform, was a pure Indian by birth, and Diaz himself was proud of
his partly aboriginal ancestry. In fact, it cannot be said that
there is any dividing line in the composition of the Mexicans. The
bulk of the people are thus of _mestizo_ or mixed race, but there
are various districts where only pure Indians are found.

The working population of the country, perhaps three-quarters of
the total, are peones. Peonage is a state of what might be termed
debt-bondage. They dwell upon the great landed estates, dependent
for their livelihood upon the owners of these, unable to leave them,
and are paid their small wage largely in goods under a species
of "truck system." They are often purposely kept in debt. Their
economic condition is a low one. They own nothing of the land upon
which they dwell; they carry on occupations which are not profitable
to themselves, and are subjected to many abuses in this respect;
they dwell in _adobe_, or dried mud huts, generally of the poorest
kind; their food is of the most primitive, and often scanty--meat
is an article which rarely enters into their diet; if a cow dies on
the plain they cut it up for food--but nevertheless they labour hard
from sunrise to sunset upon a diet of maize and beans. This class is
almost wholly illiterate, although there has been some improvement
of late years in this respect.

[Illustration: VILLAGE ON THE PACIFIC SLOPE, MEXICO.

  Vol. I. To face p. 140.]

It is not to be supposed that this numerous class is an unworthy
one. On the contrary, the Mexican peon is industrious, faithful,
courteous, and deeply religious--religion, however, greatly
mixed with superstitions. As an agriculturist he does not lack
capabilities, and as a miner the Mexican, as we have seen, is an
excellent workman in many respects.

In brief, the working class of Mexico is the most important and
homogeneous body of brown labour in the world. The European or
American mine or plantation manager (who was until recently
plentifully established in the country) may often express very
diverse views in this connexion, but from a more detached point of
view the above characterization is true.

As for the working class Mexican woman, she has many good qualities,
and is often of pleasing appearance, whilst among some of the Indian
tribes the girls are handsome.

The upper class Mexican is generally well educated, often having
been sent to Europe or the United States for his education. He
has the pleasing courtesy of the Spanish race, and is frequently
a well-informed man of the world. However, it cannot be said that
education in the United States is necessarily an improvement. There
is something about the association which is not pleasing. He becomes
too "smart" and cynical.

The educated Mexican class earnestly lays claim to a "high
civilization," and art, science and literature are, at least in
theory, greatly esteemed. There may be, in some respects, an element
of superficiality about this refinement, and about life in general,
with this class. But to a large extent it has its foundation in
reality, and the educated Mexican and the upper class man of
business has nothing to lose in point of culture in comparison with,
for example, the American or other foreign business man. Indeed, it
is the latter that would often suffer by comparison in this respect,
especially the American.

The Mexican is much less dominated by the money-getting spirit than
is the man of the United States, and has, perhaps, a wider vision,
both in domestic and international affairs. The upper class Mexican
woman is justly noted for her beauty and vivacity, and becomes a
devoted wife and mother. She is extremely religious. Indeed, the
influence of the Church and the priest enter too strongly into the
life of the female population of Mexico. The upper class man has
often thrown off religion and is acquiring an easy materialism.

With a people of the above described characteristics, it might
well be asked from what source does the revolutionary element
and bloodthirsty soldiery come? From what class do the ambitious
"generals," the would-be presidents, the ruthless guerilla bands
spring, whose doings have shocked the civilized world? They do not
come from the ordinary class of educated Mexicans, who are peaceful
estate owners, lawyers, business men, and so forth, who, in general,
would be very loath to risk their persons or property in the hazards
of revolution. As to the young man of this class, he generally loves
the ease and luxury of city life too much to adventure himself far
from his often effiminate pleasures. Nor do they come from the great
peon class, which, so far, has asked little more than to pursue its
normal life, varied by the not infrequent carousals of feast-days,
the _pelea de gallos_, or cock-fight, and the _corrida de toros_, or
bull-fight, as his Sunday diversions, and to drown his sorrows in
draughts of intoxicating _pulque or aguardiente_.

The revolutionary element is, in fact, drawn from a comparatively
small class of ambitious or disappointed politicians and the idle
or dissatisfied military element, in the main. It cannot of course
be denied that revolution at times springs to being under patriotic
or national motives, to remedy the abuses laid on the country by
dishonest or oppressive rulers. In reality, disorder is generally
the result of a mixture of both these elements. A revolutionary
standard having been raised, and a _pronunciamiento_ made, there
are rarely lacking followers. The latent martial spirit of the
Mexican--a heritage from both his Aztec and Spanish forbears--breaks
out. The prospect of place and office attracts the educated
malcontent, of booty and licence the lower element, and of higher
pay and free food the peon. Political murders and ruthless cruelty
attend these operations, and a whole nation is terrorized and its
ordinary affairs brought almost to a standstill thereby. Often,
however, the revolution is little more than a local affair, and is
put down or dies out, although it may have damaged the country's
reputation abroad in a measure far exceeding its real importance.

Is there any remedy for this perennial turmoil, and if so, what is
the remedy? The reply is that whilst the present economic conditions
of Mexico exist, stability will never be reached. A small upper
class practically monopolizes the wealth, education, land and
opportunity of the Republic--a republic in little more than name.
The main bulk of the people, as has been shown, are poor, landless
and illiterate, and in consequence easily throw off their settled
habits at the bidding of upstart leaders. They have little to lose
and perhaps--they think--the possibility of gain by disorder.

The steadying element of a settled middle class grows very slowly to
being in Mexico. Industry is in its infancy. Little is manufactured
in the country, except cotton, textiles, and even here the wage
of the operative is exceedingly low. Such manufacturing industry
is mainly represented by the well-advanced cotton and textile
factories of Puebla and elsewhere, works of much importance,
generally actuated by water-power plant. This is a highly profitable
industry for the mill-owners, who reap dividends often of thirty
per cent. Manufacturing industry here, as in the other Latin
American Republics, is accompanied in its growth by the rise of
the strike habit, which is rapidly increasing. Jealousy of the
foreign concessionaire--who flourished so markedly under the Diaz
regimen--is a further element in disorder. The advancement of
the masses has been extremely slow. A new spirit is needful if
progress is to be made, a recognition of the rights of the Mexican
"democracy," a better co-ordination of the national resources and a
constructive and equitable economic policy, added to disinterested
political leadership.

Mexico in reality offers conditions for prosperous and enlightened
life. Its natural resources are varied, abundant and well
distributed. The country does not, like some other Latin American
States, draw revenue from any great or special article of export
(sooner or later the economic defect of a land), but can be more or
less self-contained and self-supplying. Innumerable pleasing towns
and picturesque villages are scattered over its surface, which
normally are centres of peaceful life, and the population is well
distributed. There is much of beauty in the architecture of these
towns, and of refinement and dignity among the people--elements
largely, a heritage of Spanish rule, added to the native disposition.

The nation is not yet over-commercialized or vulgarized, and if
political and economic stability can grow to being without becoming
so, Mexico might build up for itself a pleasing and durable
civilization, and become a permanent leader among the republics of
the New World.

The traveller who has sojourned in this picturesque and romantic
land, who has experienced its pleasing hospitality and has
understood the character of its people, cannot but hope that such
future awaits it. In the coming settlement of the world Mexico has a
good deal to offer, but trading must be accompanied in the future by
statesmanship, here as elsewhere. Mexico, indeed, is a subject for a
science of constructive economic biology.

The history of Mexico after Independence shows how resolutely the
Mexicans threw off the method of governance by Royalty, but it is
a question whether there might not have been a more sustained and
orderly development under that system.

At this time, Mexico was the third largest empire in the world, and
included a large part of what is now the Western United States,
such as California and Texas and the adjoining territories, as
well as Guatemala. She began her independent history with an
emperor--Iturbide, who patriotically wished to strive against the
"Holy Alliance" which schemed to bring about the re-domination
of Spain, but he was executed by Mexicans, and fell, serene, and
disdainful of his ungrateful compatriots.

The ill-fated figure of Maximilian stands out in picturesque
silhouette in Mexican history, well-meaning but weak; as does the
pathetic story of the Empress Carlota, and her appeal to Napoleon
against his perhaps perfidious withdrawal of French troops from
Mexico. Maximilian was "executed" at Queretaro. Two faithful Mexican
officers shared his fate--Miramon and Mejia. "Take you the place of
honour in the centre," said the ill-fated Hapsburg prince in turn
to each of them, as facing the file of soldiers they awaited the
volley. But each declined, the carbines rang out, and so passed
the dream of empire in Mexico. An Austrian warship arrived to take
his body; the commander asking for the remains of "the Emperor of
Mexico." But he was informed that "no such person had existed,"
although the body of "Maximilian of Austria" was delivered to him.
In the Museum of Mexico to-day, all that remains is his gilded coach
and some other trappings.

The dream of empire in Mexico was largely due to the Napoleon of the
times, and was mainly frustrated by the action of the United States
and the Monroe Doctrine. Imperial government was, however, supported
by a very large party of upper class Mexicans.

The Mexicans, rightly or wrongly, have retained to this day a
certain animosity against the United States by reason of the loss
of their huge northern territory of Texas, in what they called _la
guerra injusta_, the "unjust war," in which they declared that
American machinations were displayed in order to deprive them of
the land. One phase of this history was in the filling up of Texas,
in part, by American filibusters, and in the upholding of slavery
there by the American Government, the Mexicans having made a decree
forbidding slavery; and this must be recorded to the credit of
Mexico. Black slavery there brought a dreadful fruit, and even in
recent--and present--times race riots, including the burning alive
of negroes, have been a result.

However, this is past history, and these territories developed
under American rule in a way that would not have been possible
under the Mexicans. To-day we hear of constant antagonism across
the border. It is urged by some that the United States might enter
and control Mexico, but it is to be hoped that Washington is wiser
than to embark upon such an adventure. It might be a difficult and
bloody undertaking, and, even if successful militarily, would but
perpetuate race-hatred in the New World. The Mexicans, a people of
nearly twenty millions strong, must work out their own destiny. The
history of Mexico shows the evils of forced and unnatural episodes
and conditions, and this would but add to the series.

Many a battle has been fought between Americans and Mexicans since
the first conflict in 1846, and both nations have had occasion to
test each other's bravery and capacity in war. The Mexicans excel
in guerilla warfare, and are splendid horsemen, but the more solid
tactics of the Americans generally prevailed. Mexico was invaded
more than once by United States forces, and, indeed, occupied. The
storming of Chapultepec Castle, near the city of Mexico, was one of
the heroic engagements, when a young Mexican, rather than see his
country's flag fall into the hands of the--to them--"hated Yanquis,"
wrapped it round his body and leapt from the turret, to be dashed to
pieces on the stones below.

All students of American matters will look for that time when these
two countries will dwell in amicable relationship, such as seemed,
in the time of Diaz, to have been reached, but in which, in reality,
jealousy and rancour were but thinly veiled. There is really nothing
fundamental between the two people against amicable relations and
co-operation in those matters of mutual interest on their continent.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus we leave this interesting land of Mexico, to make our way into
another region, no less attractive, in its own particular field.

[Illustration: VIEW ON THE GRIJALVA AND USUMACINTA RIVER, MEXICO.

  Vol. I. To face p. 150.]



CHAPTER V

ALONG THE PACIFIC COAST

IN COLOMBIA, ECUADOR AND PERU


An enormous horizon opens to the traveller who essays the voyage
along the Pacific coast of South America, from Panama perhaps to the
extremity of the continent; a voyage through every range of climate,
from the Equator to the frigid south, past verdant tropic shores or
barren desert, or beneath eternal snowfields; a voyage redolent of
the early heroic history of the New World, with, to-day, a setting
of the picturesque modern life of the old viceregal, one-time
colonies of Spain.

We shall touch at innumerable seaports, the outlet of five different
countries; those of Colombia and Ecuador, of Peru, Bolivia and
Chile. From Panama to Cape Horn this vast trajectory of some five
thousand miles may be roughly divided into six parts of eight
hundred miles each; that is, Panama to Guayaquil, thence to Callao,
thence to Iquique, thence to Valparaiso, with the remainder along
the southern coast of Chile: a voyage equal approximately to one
from Liverpool to New York and back again.

Due to the comparative tranquillity of the ocean, the voyage is made
in steamers of coasting type, in which the state-rooms are all upon
the deck, and open directly therefrom, a pleasing arrangement in
comparison with the stuffy hold of trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific
vessels.

Behold, then, a sterile coastline, beaten by never-ending
surf, broken by rocky promontories, bird-covered perhaps, and
seal-haunted, whence the distant roar of breaking rollers at times
comes seaward, and, inland, a rising, undulating zone of desert and
cañon, brown or tawny or purple in its shadows, stretching away
mysteriously for perhaps a hundred miles to where it meets the
solemn Cordillera, which, grey, faint and serrated, with no form
save that of outline--the true test of distance--forms our horizon
on the east.

Above is a deep blue sky, but inclining to greens and opals, for, in
the west, with banners of gold and crimson vapours--the colours of
Spain, whose mariners first beheld it here, the sun is setting, its
disc already upon the bosom of the Pacific. The sun-god of the Incas
goes down, and rose-tinted rays shoot across the stark and rugged
littoral and touch the edges of the green, refreshing seas, rising
between the steamer and the distant surf. It is the coast of Peru,
and in this romantic hour of sunset yonder deserts might be peopled
with the spectral forms of mail-clad Spaniards, the gaunt Pizarro at
their head, heedless of all save empire and El Dorado.

But not a sail or hull disputes possession of the fast-darkening
sea, with the quivering steamer upon whose deck we stand, cleaving
its way a thousand miles from Panama; and if ghosts there be, why
not one of a caravel of Drake, hot on the Plate ships' track from
Callao? Nor on the seaboard does a single habitation denote the
presence of man, for we are passing one of those stretches of desert
of which this coast is largely composed.

But let us look more closely, and imagine we behold for a moment
the forms of the intrepid white men who first broke in upon this
desolation.

It is the early part of the sixteenth century. Upon the seashore
there is a band of mail-clad Spaniards, at their head a tall bearded
man, spare of frame, but full of spirit, that spirit which dares
the unknown and dares again, in spite of famine and privation.
It is Pizarro, the famous _conquistador_, and in his hand is a
drawn sword. There has been disaffection in the band, wrought of
sufferings and disappointment in that desolate region. "Where is the
gold we have been promised?" the malcontents exclaim. "What profit
is there in fighting famine and miserable savages? Let us go back to
Panama before we all perish!"

For reply Pizarro drew the point of his sword across the sand.
"Comrades," he said, "on the south of this line lie perhaps hardship
and death; on the north salvation and ease. Yet perhaps on the south
is Peru and untold wealth; on the north Panama and poverty. Choose
you which you will. I go south. Who follows?" And thus speaking, he
stepped across the line.

Twelve faithful spirits followed this action, and, later, the
thirteen received special reward from the Spanish Sovereign.

Others arrived from Panama, and the voyage was continued. Among the
band was a valiant Greek of great stature, Pedro de Candia, and
he, on one occasion, contemplating from the ship a distant fertile
valley, went ashore alone to traverse it. "Resolved I am," he said,
"to explore yonder valley or die," and, bearing a great wooden
cross in one hand, and his sword and carbine, he broke in upon the
astonished Indians, returning unharmed with tales of gardens filled
with artificial flowers of gold, and other wonders. This was at
Tumbez.

But the conquest of Peru was not thus easily to be performed. The
Spaniards' resources were limited, and they returned to Panama. But
a few gold and silver toys and some Indian sheep--the llamas--which
they took back, did not greatly impress the unimaginative Governor
of that colony, and Pizarro was obliged to proceed to Spain, where
he made a good impression at Court. His further expedition was,
however, rendered possible mainly by the Queen--a woman again
furnishing the imagination and means to discover the New World! She
it was who rewarded Pizarro and his twelve faithful companions, in
the _capitulacion_ she caused to be drawn up.[12]

  [12] See the Author's _Ecuador_, in the South American Series; also
  _Peru_, in the same.

Pizarro and his men returned to brave the hardships of the coast
again, but we must leave this interesting history and turn to our
topography.

The conditions of aridity on this coast, upon which rain never or
scarcely ever falls, is a result of the interception by the Andes
of the trade winds, whose moisture is deposited on the summits, and
of the cool Peruvian or Humboldt current, flowing northwards up the
coast, its lower temperature preventing the evaporation of the sea
and discharge of the moisture as rain.

We shall have noted this peculiar change to aridity soon after
passing the Equator, as before remarked. The shores of the Gulf of
Guayaquil and part of the Ecuadorian coast are vividly green from
the dense mangrove thickets and other vegetation, but as soon as the
mist zone of the Equator is left behind the coastal zone becomes
stark and unfruitful, beaten by tearing surges between the few
havens.

Upon leaving Panama and its famous Canal--whose great works rapidly
fade into the haze of distant shore and mountain, reminding us how
small the greatest human mark on the face of Nature really is--we
have passed the Pacific coast of Colombia, which does not present
any very noteworthy features. It is shut off from the interior by
the high mountains, and is often unhealthy and but thinly populated,
notwithstanding that it affords certain resources and potentialities
that in the future should be valuable. At the principal port of
Buenaventura it is unlikely that our steamer will call. The
settled and prosperous Colombia--the old viceregal colony of New
Granada--lies in the highlands, whose means of access are from
beyond the Isthmus of Panama, upon the "Spanish Main," as we shall
see elsewhere. However, Buenaventura is the port for the beautiful
Cauca Valley, the garden vale of Colombia, with its pleasing town of
Cali, and a line of railway has painfully made its way up this steep
littoral thereto. Buenaventura was reached by the first Spaniard to
sail this sea, Andagoya, who named it the Port of Good Fortune, but
the great prize of discovery lay in Peru, which he did not reach:
the prize which fell to the more fortunate and adventurous Pizarro.
The port has been described as perhaps the most beautiful on the
Pacific coast, but the traveller who desires in addition material
comforts will not prolong his stay thereat.

Our vessel, pursuing its way, will shortly have sighted the coast of
Ecuador, and may, if conditions concerning quarantine be favourable,
have to enter the great indentation which forms the Gulf of
Guayaquil.

The Guayas River, with the Island of Puna at its mouth, is of
considerable width, but narrows as the ocean steamer ascends it so
much that passage at times is difficult. Memories of Pizarro centre
about the island.

The seaport of Guayaquil lies over thirty miles upstream, and its
aspect on approaching is a striking one; its buildings clustered
along the water-front, backed by verdure-clad hills, and the
shipping in the harbour, and, at night, the rows of lights of
the streets, give an impression of considerable importance to
this tropical seaport. The river off Guayaquil has been likened
to the Mississippi at New Orleans. In early times the town was
frequently sacked by buccaneers--French, English and others, among
them the ubiquitous Dampier. Its dreadful reputation for malaria
and yellow-fever has caused travellers to shun the place, but
these matters have experienced some improvement of recent years,
especially since the building of the Panama Canal.

As the steamer lies in the stream, enterprising Indian boatmen bring
off certain native wares for sale to the passengers, among them
the famous "Panama" hats--which are, be it noted, not a product of
Panama, but of the coastal district north of Guayaquil, notably
Jipijapa and Monte Cristi. They are also made in Colombia. Great
industry, patience and knowledge are displayed by the Indians in
making these hats, of which the material is a palm fibre, not a
straw or grass. They are a really beautiful and dexterous example of
native industry.

Upon the Manabi coast, in the same region, we may see some
remarkable vestiges of the ancient folk of Ecuador, in the great
carved stone armchairs or seats ranged upon a flat hill-top. These
seats are unique in early American archæology and form a puzzle to
the antiquarian.[13]

  [13] See the Author's _Ecuador_, loc. cit.

Six hundred miles to the west, far out of our track here, lie
the Galapagos Islands, a possession of Ecuador, the home of the
monstrous turtles whose name the archipelago bears.

The Guayas River and its affluents command our attention and
interest by reason both of their beauty and economic importance.
They form the only considerable fluvial system on the whole western
coast of South America, where, in general, the streams are of small
volume and unnavigable. Here we may navigate the river and its arms
for two hundred miles, and our vessel will convey us past many a
flourishing hacienda on the banks, where the famous _cacao_ of
Ecuador is grown--the chocolate of commerce, of which the region
produces, or has been accustomed to produce, a third of the world's
supply. This fertility is due to the nature of the alluvial soil,
which for ages has collected in what are locally termed _bancos_;
areas or deposits specially suitable for the cultivation of the
cocoa-trees. Many such haciendas flourish upon these rivers, and are
sources of much wealth to their proprietors and to the nation. The
alluvial mud of such remarkable fertilizing properties is carried
along by the waters, which have deposited it in these favoured spots
upon the network of streams which fall into the Guayas.

Groups of feathery coco-palms, with their slender columns and
graceful foliage, which flourish around the haciendas, form a
pleasing picture, which serves to offset the somewhat monotonous
appearance of the _sabanas_, or barer stretches of flat land which
we overlook from the steamer's deck, and which alternate with the
_cacaotales_, _cafetales_ and _cañaverales_, as the coco and coffee
plantations and the great cane brakes--of monstrous bamboos, which
are a valuable article of construction--are termed.

[Illustration: THE WHARF AT GUAYAQUIL.

  Vol. I. To face p. 158.]

We remark here the curious native rafts, which without other agency
than the current ascend and descend the rivers on the flowing and
the ebbing tide, reaching Guayaquil, and returning thence upstream.

Continuing our voyage along the coast, the eye may fall upon the
white guano-covered headlands, and the attention is suddenly
arrested by what appears at first sight to be a low dark cloud
moving on the face of the waters. It approaches, and we see that
it is not a cloud, but a flight of birds, innumerable, and flying
in close formation--at times, indeed, they obscure the sky. These
are the guano-producing birds, which haunt the rocky headlands and
islets, and whose product has been so considerable a source of
wealth and contention on this coast. Guano was used by the Incas in
their intelligent and painstaking agricultural operations, and its
misuse or monopoly was prohibited.

The Incas, vestiges of whose remarkable structures and curious
customs we find scattered in profusion throughout the enormous
territory--perhaps two thousand miles in length--which formed
their empire, upon whose coast we are journeying here, made little
use of the sea, except for fishing. By relays of posts, of Indian
runners, fish was carried in fresh, across the deserts and over
the Cordillera, for the table of the Inca at Cuzco, which town,
the ancient Mecca and capital of the early Peruvians, is situated
in a valley 11,500 feet above sea-level and over two hundred miles
inland--a remarkable performance.

The Incas were not a seafaring people, and their civilization--for
it fully merits the name of such--was indeed cut off from the rest
of the world both by the ocean and by the enormous rugged chains of
the Andes, and by the impenetrable forests of the Amazon basin on
the east. As far as is known, they appear not to have had knowledge
even of the contemporaneous cultures of the Mayas, the Aztecs, and
the Toltecs of Mexico and Central America, although all these early
American cultures may have had a common origin, in times much nearer
the general childhood of the world.

Was this coast first explored and even settled by the Chinese long
before Columbus sailed? There are reasons for thinking this may have
been so.

The exploits of Pizarro and his followers took place in the
neighbourhood of Tumbez, near the westernmost point of the South
American Continent. How, fighting against famine, they made their
way along this stark and inhospitable littoral and ascended the
Andes, where by a combination of intrepidity and treachery they
overcame the reigning Inca chief and his people, forms one of the
most fascinating episodes of early American history.

To-day, when we leave our comfortable steamer and follow those same
paths, we find little alteration, in many respects, after the lapse
of four centuries. We must journey in the saddle over the roughest
and often most dangerous of mountain trails. At night it may be that
an indifferent _fonda_, or inn, in the poor Indian villages on the
road will afford some hospitality, but this will be of the meanest
description. Railways are few and far between along this immense and
little-travelled seaboard; food is scarce and life primitive.

But the stamp of Spain is over all, and there is an
atmosphere--attenuated it may be--of the times of Don Quijote de la
Mancha in its social regimen. We cannot withhold a tribute to Spain,
in remarking how she stamped, for all time, her own characteristic
culture throughout thousands of miles, east, north and south, of
tropic seaboard and rugged Cordillera, upon this great continent.

But "Spanish gentlemen should not soil their hands in trade" ran a
decree of the old "Laws of the Indies," and the Spaniards, except
for their exploitation of the rich gold, silver and quicksilver
mines (at a terrible toll of Indian lives), did not reap much
commercial profit from their possessions. This great mineral wealth
was poured for centuries into the needy coffers of Spain--poured
as into a sieve, for it was largely squandered. Under the viceroys
the mines were worked with feverish activity. In one instance an
urgent mandate for increased production so worked upon the official
in charge of one of the huge mines, those of Huancavelica, in
yonder mountains--a veritable labyrinth of underground galleries
and chambers, among which was a chapel, deep below the surface,
with candles ever burning before its shrines--that he ordered the
supporting columns of ore to be taken out, with a result that the
mine fell in, entombing five hundred miners, whose bones remain in
the ruin to this day, it is said.

As for commerce, the British are the great Phoenicians on this
coast; transporting cargo hither and bearing it hence. The German
activity became marked before the war, but the _Kosmos_ line of
steamers stopped, and the Teutonic bagsman ceased his assiduous
traverse of the interior villages with his wares.

Mining in Peru is not what it was in the time of Spain. A wealthy
company of United States capitalists, it is true, ships great
quantities of copper from the wonderful deposits of Cerro de Pasco,
15,000 feet above sea-level, and there are many smaller concerns
of varied nationalities. But thousands of irregular subterranean
workings all over the vast Cordillera remain waterlogged and
abandoned--mines where the visitor is told of fabulous wealth
extracted, and which still contain untold riches, awaiting the time
when they shall be called upon to surrender their hidden stocks of
gold and silver, of copper and a host of other minerals. The glories
of Potosi have in large measure departed, but the tin mines of
Bolivia yield annually a large proportion of the world's supply of
that metal.

Enormous coalfields--notwithstanding that South America has been
regarded as a coal-less continent--exist in the Andes, their
upturned strata outcropping in the bleakest regions, in some cases
amid the perpetual snow.

To-day the cultivators of sugar and cotton in the irrigated valleys
of this vast littoral have come into their kingdom, reaping, during
the war, fortunes from the shipment of these commodities to Britain;
their only plaint that of the restriction of carriage. The merchant
and the shopkeeper made the same lament, and the fashionable
and _simpatica_ dames of Latin American Society bewailed the
impossibility of their enjoyment of the latest Parisian modes.

Away on the slopes and tablelands of the grim Cordillera the
ancient palaces and temples of the bygone Incas look down, unknown,
unvisited, save by those whom interest or chance may take that way.
Once washed by the waves of Lake Titicaca--that most remarkable of
lakes, 12,500 feet above the sea, yet whereon we may journey out of
sight of land--lie the ruins of that strange temple of Tiahuanako,
of unknown age, the most ancient handiwork of man in the New World.

To-day, all that remains of that epoch are these old stone
structures, save that the Indian, as evening falls, preserving
some sentiment of an ancient state, climbs the lonely hills, and
there, alone, makes mournful music with his flute of reeds: notes
which fall weirdly upon the ear as we pass beneath, across the wide
plateau.

The empire of the Incas lay principally in Peru, Bolivia and
Ecuador, and extended to the northern part of Chile, but the Incas
did not overcome the Araucanian Indians--fierce and intractable--who
dwelt in Chile. Nor did they, apparently, descend very much beyond
the eastern slopes of the Andes, into the forests and plains of the
Amazon and of the Plate, though there are some vestiges of their
occupation there. They established a line of forts, of blocks of
squared stone along the _ceja_, or edge, of the Montaña, some of
which we may see to-day, doubtless to ward off the attacks of the
forest savages.

The Incas possessed great stores of gold, which they used to make
household vessels for the princes and for religious purposes, and
the Spaniards possessed themselves of this gold. Much of it was sent
down to the coast for shipment to Spain, to fill the needy coffers
of the Spanish sovereigns. Some of it fell into the clutches of
Drake and other enterprising adventurers into these realms of gold,
who disputed the Spanish monopoly of the New World.

Let us imagine, as we pace the deck of the steamer and look over
towards the setting sun, touching the bosom of the broad Pacific, an
early scene upon these waters. Here is Drake's ship, _Golden Hind_
or _Pelican_, blowing out of Callao with every stitch of canvas set.
Drake has heard that a Plate ship, laden with gold and silver, has
just set sail for Panama, and he is chagrined at having missed it.
The Spaniards had feared no danger. As far as they had known there
were no craft in these waters save those which flew the colours
of Spain. But now the viceroy of Lima, Don Francisco de Toledo,
is uneasy. The, to him, unspeakable Drake--"_Caramba!_ Draco, a
Dragon"--is about!

The English ship overhauls the plate ship. But the wind drops and
she is still hull down, many a mile of heaving sea between. Shall
they lose the prize? No; the boats are put out, and for three days
the men of Devon towed their vessel, straining at their oars as
British seamen will, and the sluggish Plate ship rises more upon
their horizon. Away they toil, past the river of Guayaquil, above
which the gleaming Chimborazo rears his distant head, until, six
hundred miles to spare from the haven of Panama, she is overtaken,
off Cape San Francisco, in what is now Ecuador. They board the ship
and seize the treasure, which, according to the Spanish chroniclers,
amounted to nearly a million pounds sterling.

The viceroy did not altogether lose hope of recovering this
treasure. He prepared a veritable hornets' nest for Drake, in
the form of an armada, which was ordered to wait at the Strait
of Magellan, which, he imagined, Drake must pass in order to
get home. But Drake was not thus to be entrapped. He sailed on
northwards--trying for a strait eastward through America--reaching
the spot known now as Drake's Bay, in California; found, of course,
no passage; careened his ship, cleaned it, and turning his prow
westward, sailed across the Pacific, going completely round the
world for England, where he was worthily knighted by Queen Elizabeth
on the quarter-deck of his wave-worn ship.

Guayaquil is the gateway to ancient Quito, in the Cordillera, and
between that port and Callao is Salaverry with the quaint and busy
Peruvian town of Trujillo, founded by Pizarro. Callao, to-day, is
the principal seaport upon this vast coast, between Panama and
Valparaiso. The Oroya railway running therefrom takes us up to the
summit of the Andes, nearly 16,000 feet above sea-level, first
passing through the old viceregal capital, and ascending the valley
of the Rimac, whose waters, the whispering oracle of the Incas, gave
their name to Lima.

Lima, the old _Ciudad de los Reyes_, or "city of the kings,"
as Pizarro, its founder, termed it, in honour of his Spanish
sovereigns, surrounded by its cultivated lands, irrigated from the
Rimac, must be regarded as one of the premier cities of the Spanish
American world, and one of the most quaint and pleasing, with many
historical and literary attributes, a legacy of the old viceregal
times. A handsome cathedral overlooks the broad, well-planted plaza,
and its high towers, rebuilt after the disastrous earthquake of
1746, a sketch of whose terrors I have given later on, dominate the
green _campiña_, or countryside.

It is a city of many churches and other ecclesiastical buildings,
and has something of that mediaeval atmosphere we have remarked in
the city of Mexico, and some of its public buildings are worthy of
note. The gloomy structure which held the Inquisition faces upon a
small plaza in the midst of which arises a bronze equestrian figure
of Bolivar, a replica of that at Caracas. We remark the carved oak
balconies to certain of the ancient houses, former residences of
viceroys and nobles.

But Lima does not love to live upon its past. Its people have laid
out a magnificent _Paseo_, or promenade, named after Columbus, and
here a gay and fashionable throng parades upon the Sabbath day, or
in the evenings, listening to the music of the band amid the palms
and flowers. Here congregate the wealth and beauty of the city, its
statesmen and leaders, and all those who customarily throng to these
earthly paradises which the Spanish Americans customarily lay out as
adjuncts of their cities. The latest modes are seen, the fashions
of Paris and London--also the half-naked Indian, unlettered and
unashamed.

Lima possesses many educational and scientific bodies and
establishments, and has a well-deserved claim to being a centre of
culture. Its Press is one of the best in South America: its people
have strong poetical leanings and administrative genius. Among the
more recent of successful presidents stand forth the names of Pardo,
Pierola, and Leguia. The last-named, a capable administrator, lived
in London during the Great War and went through the experience of
air-bombardment, when he returned to Peru to take up his second
term of office.

There is a certain isolation about Lima, due to its geographical
position. The other large towns of the Republic are separated from
it by vast stretches of desert and Cordillera, and the railways give
access to but a few points, whilst any interruption of the steamer
lines along the coast cuts it off from the outside world. However,
its picturesque watering-places and well-built residential suburbs
extend the amenities of Lima over a wider zone.

The upper-class folk of Peru, as we behold them in their capital
and other large towns, have the pleasing traits of courtesy and
hospitality we are accustomed to associate with their race in marked
degree. They are extremely eloquent, and aim at a high standard of
civilization--that sensitive characteristic of the Spanish American.
Their women have justly earned a world-wide reputation for their
beauty and vivacity, their good breeding and culture, as well
as their piety and high standard of family life. If the hand of
semi-mediaeval custom still hampers Peru in its social customs, this
is a matter which time constantly modifies.

All parts of Spain furnished the ancestors of the Peruvians--Basque,
Catalonian, Andalusian, Galician, and Castillian names being
encountered among them, and in viceregal days there were many titles
of nobility, which fell into disuse on the advent of the Republic.
Nevertheless, it is an amiable weakness of the Peruvians--as it
is of many other Latin American folk--to love titles, as we see by
the so frequent use of the doctorate degree. In a Peruvian Cabinet,
it would be rare to discover a minister who is not addressed as
"Doctor"--of laws or science--for the degree is often taken in Latin
America largely as conferring some social distinction, and not
necessarily with the purpose of practising this or that profession.
Yet in justice to the Peruvians it must be said that they are
clever professional men, whether at law, medicine or other, whilst
practical science has its outlet also in the engineering profession,
a considerable number of whose exponents make a study of the
country's agricultural and mineral potentialities.

A pleasing feature of the Peruvians is their cordial welcome of
foreigners, their desire to assimilate the things of the outside
world, and strong notions of progress. It is not, however, to be
supposed that their houses are readily open to the foreign visitor.
Like all Latin Americans they are exclusive; and the traveller must
be a _caballero_, a person of refinement, if he is to enter their
family circle.

The main defect of the country and its governing classes is the
neglect of the vast Indian and lower-class population, for this
upper and enlightened class is but a small proportion of the
population. The oligarchical tendencies which we find so strongly
marked in Chile, in Mexico, and, indeed, in every Latin American
State, are strong in Peru. These countries can never truly progress
until they take their domestic responsibilities more seriously,
thereby improving the economic and social status of the great bulk
of poor folk whom Providence has delivered to their charge. On the
contrary, they are more and more exposed to uprising and anarchy,
such as that so terribly exemplified in Mexico, and farther afield
in Russia. If they would preserve their culture they must extend it.
It is true that these responsibilities concerning the Cholos and
Indians have of recent years been more widely recognized, but much
remains to be done in the field of practice. Elsewhere I venture to
discuss, in the closing chapters of this book, what would appear
to be the lines upon which the solution of this vital question of
Spanish America should proceed.

Peru is not yet freed from the revolutionary habit, the game of
politics which brings unrest and at times destruction. The sweets of
office are always alluring. The game is generally played in Peru by
but a few, the bulk of the people standing aloof. Its incidents are
often extremely picturesque and at times operatic. A president may,
one day, be in the zenith of his power, surrounded by his admirers
and fellow-administrators. The next, arrested by a rival with a
handful of soldiers, he may find himself on board a steamer for
Panama, deported, banished and alone. This method is at least better
than that which at earlier times involved political murders, some of
which stand forth in the republican history of Peru.

In justice, however, it must be said that such stains on the pages
of the past are not more marked in Peru than in the case of some
of her neighbours in the New World. Moreover, it is useless for
the European to pretend to arraign the Spanish American for these
practices, whilst his own house is, or has so recently been, the
scene of such dreadful disorders.

From the disorders of man here on the great Pacific coast, let us
turn to the unrest of Nature. During our stay in Lima we may have
experienced an earthquake shock, slight or considerable, and with
others have hastily left our dwelling. Upon this coast the scourge
of the earthquake and the tidal wave is at times laid heavy upon the
dwellers. The destruction of Valparaiso is but a recent occurrence,
as was that of San Francisco, in California. To-morrow, these or any
other cities along the unstable edge of this hemisphere might be
brought low from the same cause.

Here is a picture of terror from the middle of the eighteenth
century. It was in Lima, the beautiful capital of Peru, when, on
a summer night in October 1746, the folk of the city were leaving
the temples after celebrating the _fiestas_ of Saint Simon and
Saint Jude. Rich and noble personages, escorted by their slaves,
were exchanging, as was customary, friendly visits. The moon shone
brilliantly from a cloudless sky; all was quiet and peaceful: the
twang of a guitar or other evening whispers of the city alone broke
the serenity. The bells of the convents and the church-tower clocks
struck half-past ten. It was bedtime.

Suddenly a terrific shaking of the earth took place; the foundations
of the world seemed loosened, the people were thrown from their
beds; the towers of the churches fell; the walls and roofs of the
houses crashed in; the most dreadful panic reigned as thousands of
persons were smothered in living tombs. It was an earthquake.

The shock lasted three minutes, during which the earth was wrenched
and torn as if by a giant. In the time it takes to tell the city
was destroyed, and the work of over two hundred years brought
to ruin. Of a city with 60,000 souls, not more than twenty-five
houses remained. Of the two great towers of the cathedral, one fell
upon the domed roof and the other on the belfry, destroying the
temple in great part--so chronicled a Jesuit priest who witnessed
it. Five magnificent churches were laid in ruins, with sixty
convents, chapels and monasteries. The great buildings fell upon the
small--all were demolished. The streets were blocked with wreckage:
the inhabitants, in all states of dress and undress, striving to
flee, were crushed by falling walls. Sweet maidens of Lima, old hags
from the back streets, noble and priest, gallant and beggar, all in
their terror jostled each other. Those engaged in illicit amours
confessed their sins to unheeding ears. The viceroy's palace fell;
the triumphal arch with the equestrian statue of Philip V fell; the
Royal University and colleges fell; the Tribunal of the Inquisition
was reduced to fragments.

In Lima at this time Catholicism was in the zenith of its power and
splendour and the faith of the people strongest. But no one dare
approach the churches, notwithstanding that they were the home of
God. The shocks continued--more than two hundred in twenty-four
hours--and went on for three days. Trenches were opened to bury the
dead. The stench of the dead bodies of mules smothered in their
stables was unbearable. Over six thousand persons perished.

Whilst the stricken people were seeking their lost relatives,
another terror was visited upon them. Suddenly, from Callao appeared
a negro on horseback, his eyes starting from their sockets, shouting
in accents of terror: "Save yourselves! the sea is coming sweeping
in over the coast! It will be upon you!"

Lima is but a few miles from Callao, with a strip of coastal land
between. The earthquake had given rise, as it commonly does on that
coast, to a tidal-wave, which was now rushing inland. It did not,
however, reach Lima, falling some distance short, and, it is said,
rising to 150 feet above sea-level. But the people already seemed to
see themselves overwhelmed. A priest, half naked, wounding his own
breast in penitential frenzy, rushed through the streets, ashes on
his head, the bit and bridle of a mule in his mouth. "This is the
punishment of heaven upon sinners!" he cried, and he beat himself
with an iron bar until the blood gushed from his body. At the sight,
thousands of persons fell on their knees, imploring pardon from
heaven, confessing their crimes, but "as all were sinners, none
lent ear to the confession of others, being too much occupied in
recounting their own misdeeds."

In Callao a more dreadful scene was enacted. After the first great
shock of the earthquake, the people tried to flee from the town, but
the gates had been locked for the night, and whilst they flocked the
streets, screaming and praying, endeavouring to avoid the falling
walls, a terrible thing was seen. The sea had gone out for more than
two miles from the shore, forming mountains of water that seemed
to reach the skies. The mountains of water then rushed forward and
fell with horrid crash upon the doomed city, submerging the ships in
the bay or carrying them in among the houses. The cries for mercy
to heaven were vain: there was no mercy shown them, and the people
perished. When at length the waters retired, nothing was left of
Callao but part of the wall and the two great doors of the city.[14]

  [14] See the Author's _The Andes and the Amazon_.

To this day the image of _Nuestra Señora de los Temblores_--Our Lady
of the Earthquakes--is carried through the streets of Lima, as of
other Peruvian towns, such as Arequipa, which has suffered terribly
from earthquakes in its history, whenever the earth trembles, that
the heavens may be appeased.

A moral effect of these visitations is to be noted by the traveller
in Peru. It is seen that the women of the labouring class wear very
long skirts that often drag in the mud or dust. It was ordained
that, the formerly short skirts being immodest and displeasing
to heaven, which, it was held, had punished the people by that
earthquake, they should henceforth be worn long enough to conceal
the ankles!

Perhaps the devotees of exaggerated feminine fashion in Europe
to-day might usefully ponder these occurrences!



CHAPTER VI

ALONG THE PACIFIC COAST

IN PERU, BOLIVIA AND CHILE


Our course still lies southward. The steamer, at times approaching
sufficiently near the coast or calling at the small seaports to set
down passengers or to embark merchandise--of ores, cotton, sugar,
cattle and so forth--permits glimpses of the littoral, the long
stretches of desert alternating with fruitful vales, irrigated
by the rivers descending from the Cordillera. Here and there the
curious _médanos_, or moving sand-dunes, arrest the eye;[15] here
and there are olive-groves and vineyards and other cultivation of
Southern Peru, where excellent wines are produced. Soon we shall
pass the Chilean frontier, and away in the interior lies Bolivia,
among the distant Andes, whose grey and solemn wall looks down
eternally upon the seaboard.

  [15] Their movement is not readily apparent.

Let us ascend from the coast by one of the railways here, that
running from the Peruvian port of Mollendo, an exceedingly bad and
exposed roadstead, in which, at times, it is difficult to gain
the shore at all from the heavy surf.

[Illustration: CULTIVATED LANDS ON THE PACIFIC COAST OF PERU.

  Vol. I. To face p. 176.]

The Southern Railway, ascending the dreadful volcanic wastes, and
barren, rocky spurs which mark this region, reaches the pleasing
city of Arequipa, lying at nearly 8,000 feet elevation. It stands at
the foot of the Misti, a high, snow-covered volcano, whose conical
form reveals its geological structure, a prominent landmark in this
part of Peru, seen far over the surrounding deserts. The tonic
breezes and blue sky give to Arequipa an invigorating environment.
The cathedral, a handsome structure, and the houses, are built of
volcanic freestone, which gives an air of solidity and repose to the
place.

In including Arequipa in our survey of the coast we shall be
consulting the wishes of the people of the city, who prefer to
consider themselves as of the coastal region--with all that such a
position conveys--for the coast represents a more advanced culture
here, as contrasted with the _Sierra_, or Cordillera.

The fortunate traveller will retain pleasing impressions of Arequipa
and its society--its

  Bright skies and brighter eyes.

The railway, leaving Arequipa, passes the main range of the
Cordillera at an elevation of nearly 15,000 feet, and descends to
Lake Titicaca, whence fresh-water navigation on this high inland sea
carries the traveller into Bolivia.

Lake Titicaca is perhaps the most remarkable lake in the world. A
body of fresh water, 12,500 feet above the sea, and two hundred
miles long, upon which we navigate out of sight of land, is perhaps
unique. From the steamer the imposing range of the White Cordillera
of Bolivia is seen, the snow-covered Andes, from Sorata to Illimani,
whose crests or peaks rise to over 20,000 feet. We remark the craft
of the natives, the curious _balsas_ of woven grass, sometimes with
mat sails, in which they navigate the lake. Titicaca is peculiar in
being a hydrographic entity, having no outlet except that the water
flows for a few miles along a channel to the adjacent Lake Poopo.
Fed by the melting snow of the Andes, the waters are kept down
solely by the agency of evaporation and some possible seepage.

Beyond these high lake basins and the mountain crests to the east
stretch the illimitable forests of the Amazon, partly unexplored, a
lure to the traveller.

But we must return to the seaboard. We have already remarked that
Bolivia possesses no ports. She is isolated from the coast, having
lost the port of Antofagasta in the Nitrate War of last century.

In passing, it might be remarked that the comity of the South
American nations on the coast might be consolidated if this seaport
could be restored to Bolivia. Nothing in the future is likely to
cause more enmity than the arbitrary cutting-off of peoples by
adjoining nations from access to seas and navigable rivers, whether
in America or Europe. The nitrate region, which was the scene of
the bloody struggle between Peru and Chile, and in which Bolivia
took part, stretches like a veritable Sahara upon the littoral here,
south of Tacna and Arica. These two last-named provinces were,
students of South American polity will recollect, possessions of
Peru, and are now held by Chile. They are still the cause of bitter
controversy between the two nations, which periodically threatens
to bring about war between them. It is greatly to be lamented
that this fruitful source of contention cannot now be settled,
and an era of neighbourly feeling brought about, instead of the
hypocritical diplomatic expediency and veiled hatred which do duty
for international relations on this coast. The matter might well
be made the subject of arbitration, with friendly nations (perhaps
Britain or the United States) as umpires.

The sun-baked rocks and sands of this part of South America have
been stained with the blood of thousands of Chileans and Peruvians,
and the same events might occur again. Yet both these nations have
more territory than they can efficiently develop.

But the Spanish American people have ever much difficulty in
settling their quarrels. Their traits of pride and over-individualism,
inherited from the Spaniard, render it difficult to give way. If one
performs an act of magnanimity, the other may suspect or accuse it
of weakness or cowardice. Both wrap themselves in haughty reserve,
both invoke the high gods to bear witness to their own truth, both
are quixotic and quick-tempered. Yet they are people of the same
civilization, speech, laws, literature and culture, with splendid
qualities and a promising future, and if these quarrels could be
composed, the progress of the region would be hastened.

The port of Iquique (with Pisagua), south of Arica, is well known to
many travellers and other persons interested in the Chilean nitrate
fields, of which it is the principal shipping centre.

The greater share of the business of nitrate production is in
British hands. The _oficinas_ are establishments peculiar to
Northern Chile, forming small colonies or localities, whose
workers consist of the Chilean _rotos_--a hardy and turbulent but
industrious folk--headed by English managerial staffs.

Around these centres of industry, on every hand, broken here and
there by small oases where water-springs occur, stretches some of
the most dreadful desert land in the world. Such, for example, are
the desert of Tarapaca, and those intervening between the nitrate
pampas and the Cordillera, where neither man nor animal can live,
nor blade of herbage can flourish. Nature here, as far as the
organic world is concerned, is dead, or has never lived.

Iquique is a town of wooden houses, overlooked by sand-dunes
that threaten it from the wind-swept desert, but it has pleasing
features, and the English colony here, with its well-known
club--it has a reputation for hospitality, and, incidentally, the
consumption of cocktails--has its own marked characteristics. The
Nitrate Railway ascends through high, broken country to the east to
the Pampa. Indeed, the life and thought of the region is largely
embodied in the words "Nitrate" and "Pampa."

The deposits of this mineral are unique in geology. There is
none other of the same nature on the globe. The mineral lies in
horizontal beds a few feet beneath the surface. We may be riding
over the flat, absolutely barren _pampa_, or plain, floored with
nothing but fragments of clinkstone, eroded by the ever-drifting
sand and unrestful wind, gleaming in the metallic sunlight, for
no shower of rain ever visits this wilderness, a place where we
might think Nature has nothing to offer of use or profit. But we
should be mistaken. An excavation will reveal the sheet of white
salts beneath, deposited in geological ages past by marine or lake
action, under conditions not clearly understood--deposits which
cover many miles of territory. The material is blasted out in
open mining and conveyed to the oficinas--large establishments of
elaborate machinery and appliances--where it is boiled, refined,
re-crystallized and thence shipped for export.

Still farther afield through the deserts here are vast areas of
salt, the ground presenting the appearance of a suddenly arrested,
billowy sea, over which the horseman makes his way like a lost
spirit in Hades. Upon the horizon are the steely Andes, upon whose
plateaux here, reached by the highest railway in the world, we
find rich copper mines, such as those of Colhuahuassi, and various
deposits of the salts of copper.

But to return to the coast. It was upon this melancholy seaboard,
the coast of Tarapacá, that a sea-fight, classic in the annals
of South America, and indeed one of the very earliest of battles
between ironclad ships, took place--an engagement which has rendered
the names of Pratt and Grau, the Chilean and the Peruvian admirals,
immortal in the memory of their respective countrymen.

Peru and Chile were engaged in life and death struggle with each
other on land and sea. Iquique, then a Peruvian port, was blockaded
by Chile. Grau, having sailed from Callao for Arica with the
_Huascar_ and _Independencia_, which vessels practically constituted
the Peruvian Navy, heard of the blockade, and proceeded to Iquique
to engage the enemy. The day was breaking as the Peruvian vessels
arrived off the port. The approach was seen by the _Esmeralda_ and
the _Covadonga_, two Chilean ships, and Captain Pratt, on board
the _Esmeralda_, decided to give battle, notwithstanding that the
Peruvian vessels were ironclads, whilst his own commands were
unarmoured. It was a brave resolution, but the Chileans were born
sea-fighters.

The _Huascar_ was a turret-ship, built at Birkenhead in 1866, but
of only 1,130 tons, armed with Whitworth and Armstrong guns, but
with armour-plating incapable of resisting any heavy cannonade. The
_Independencia_ was an older type ironclad, of 2,000 tons, built in
London in 1865.

The _Esmeralda_ was a wooden corvette, and the _Covadonga_ a wooden
gunboat which had been captured from the Spaniards in the expedition
sent by Spain against Chile and Peru in 1866. They carried Armstrong
and Nordenfelt guns. The Chileans had some powerful ironclads, as we
shall see later, but they were investing Callao at the moment.

Thus unequally armed, the contestants began the engagement. The
_Huascar_ opened fire upon the _Covadonga_ and the _Independencia_
strove to ram her. The _Huascar_ then turned her attention to the
_Esmeralda_, and so the battle proceeded for a space. At length, the
_Esmeralda_, feeling the inferiority of her structure, adopted the
ruse of steaming into shoal water, hoping to draw her antagonist of
greater draught ashore. But ill-fortune frustrated this attempt.
There was a loud explosion on board, and it was found that a boiler
had burst, crippling her. The _Huascar_ rapidly closed in to 1,000
yards, and at this range the two vessels continued to bombard each
other in a struggle to the death, Chilean and Peruvian each serving
their guns with equal valour. The noise of the cannonade resounded
over the crisp waves of the Pacific and rumbled far inland over the
desolate wastes of Tarapacá.

Fortune was against the Chilean. A shell struck her, set her on
fire, killing a number of her crew and practically putting her
out of action. But the gallant Pratt was not of the stuff that
surrenders, notwithstanding the condition of his ship--littered
with dead and wounded and in imminent danger of sinking. He would
not strike his flag, whilst the Araucanian blood of his sailors,
which never gives way, would first go down to death, and the vessel
continued her now enfeebled fire.

The _Huascar_, protected by her armour, was little injured, and
Grau, to end the struggle, determined to ram. The ironclad rushed in
upon the wooden hull of her victim, ramming her on the port side.
Seeing that all was lost and determined at least to sell his life
dearly, Captain Pratt leapt from his own craft upon the Peruvian's
deck. But a single man had time to follow him before the ships
separated again, and "Surrender! surrender!" the Peruvians shouted.
For reply, Pratt rushed along the deck, attacked all who opposed
him, and, engaging a Peruvian officer, slew him. But so unequal a
contest could not last, and, pierced by a dozen bullets, the gallant
Pratt fell dead.

But the _Esmeralda_ refused to strike her flag, the standard of the
single star, which still waved proudly from her peak. Her second in
command swore he would follow the example of his chief, and so it
befel. The vessels closed again, the beak of the Peruvian ramming
the _Esmeralda_ on the starboard bow, opening a breach. The waters
rushed in, the furnace fires were extinguished, the seamen were
killed at their posts, but ere they separated, the commanding
officer and a sailor leaped upon the _Huascar's_ deck and died
fighting, falling as Pratt had fallen. Again the _Huascar_ rammed,
simultaneously discharging her guns into the bowels of the doomed
corvette. It was the end; the _Esmeralda_ went down, carrying with
her to a sailor's grave all but fifty of her crew of two hundred
souls. As for the _Covadonga_, she fled into shoal water, and the
_Independencia_ following, ran aground on the rocks, a total wreck,
and the _Covadonga_ opened fire upon her.

Notwithstanding this loss, Grau harassed the enemy for months with
his single ironclad, until excitement in Chile caused the dispatch
of the Chilean fleet, which, having been overhauled, was sent to
hunt down this brave and persistent unit to the death.

A misty morning off the coast of Tarapacá. Two Peruvian war vessels,
the _Huascar_ and the _Union_, are steaming quietly to the north.
The mist lifts, and to the east disclosed the sandy desert shore
and the far, faint, grey range of the Andes. To the west, what?
Three lines of smoke from as many hostile funnels. The _Union_ was
an indefensible vessel, and Grau signalled her to escape. And now
on the north-west three other ominous trails of smoke appear--smoke
from the Chilean vessels--the _Almirante Cochrane_, so named after
Lord Cochrane, the Englishman famous in Chilean history; the
_O'Higgins_, named after the Irish President of Chile; and the _Loa_.

Escape was impossible, unless it were by fighting a way through
the line, and, against these odds, the brave Grau prepared his ship
for action. He opened fire, striking the _Cochrane_, whose armour,
however, was too strong to pierce, and, at a thousand yards, the
Chilean replied. His shot struck the old hand-worked turret of
the _Huascar_ so that it ceased to revolve. Grau closed in and
strove to ram, but the _Cochrane_ was a twin-screw steamer, and was
manipulated well. The _Cochrane's_ armour was thick, her armament
heavy, her weight three times that of the old _Huascar_. For two
hours the unequal fight raged on; shot and shell rained from both
vessels, often doing but little damage.

Grau was in the conning-tower when his end came, directing the
action of his ship, calm and collected. Suddenly there was a crash,
and when the smoke cleared away it was seen that the conning-tower
had been struck by a shell. It was blown to pieces, as were the
brave Peruvian admiral and his officer, nothing remaining of their
bodies but a few ghastly fragments.

And now the powerful _Blanco Encalada_, one of the Chilean
ironclads, closed in. A shell from her guns at six hundred yards
took off the head of the _Huascar's_ second in command and wounded
the third officer. Scarcely had the fourth had time to take his
place when he was injured by a shell, and the junior lieutenant
assumed command of a ship littered with the dead and dying. Yet
though the guns in the tops were silent and those below disabled,
the turret injured, the deck strewn with mutilated bodies, the
Peruvians kept up the fight, the dying _Huascar_ striving at least
to ram one of her enemies before she sank. But at length, being
utterly disabled, the vessel hauled down her flag.[16]

  [16] See the Author's _Peru_, in the South American Series; also
  Markham's _History of Peru_.

Thus ended this epic sea-fight, and with it went the sea-power of
Peru. Thus, moreover, was the value of the ironclad demonstrated--the
armoured vessel, the forbear of the _Dreadnought_. The torpedo was
also used in this fight, one fired by the _Huascar_ turning back
upon the vessel itself, where it would have caused disaster earlier
had not a sailor jumped overboard and diverted its course.

The attack on Lima by the Chileans and its defence by the Peruvians,
and other episodes of the war following on the above events, make
terrible reading--a history of which, however, we cannot here enter
upon.

We continue to pass the coasts of the nitrate-bearing lands, whose
working and export yield the Republic of Chile their greatest source
of revenue.

It was off the Chilean coast, it will be recollected, that another
and more modern engagement between vessels of war took place, when
a weaker British squadron was overpowered by the German Pacific
Fleet--a disaster amply wiped out off the Falkland Isles, a little
later on.

The railway that ascends from the port of Antofagasta also enters
upon the nitrate pampas, and there are copper-bearing districts
tributary to the line. At 10,000 feet elevation the River Loa is
crossed, and beyond we approach the ever-smoking, snow-capped cone
of San Pedro, one of the Andean volcanoes here. Then the gleaming
surface of the borax "lake" of Cebollar, the largest borax deposit
on the face of the globe, catches the eye. The great snow-clad
Cordillera, with the giant Ollague, 20,000 feet, on the border of
Chile and Bolivia, is passed, and the railway reaches the Bolivian
plateau, the southern portion of the Titicaca basin, and passes the
town of Unini, with its rich silver mines, skirts Lake Poopo, and
reaches the town of Oruro, famous for its tin.

Beyond, this interesting line reaches La Paz, the capital of
Bolivia. The same place is now served by the railway recently built
from Arica, and thus the interior of the mountainous Republic
of Bolivia is rendered more accessible. Recent construction has
effected a juncture with the railway system of Argentina, thus
affording a further transcontinental route.

After the Tropic of Capricorn is passed, the Andes approach nearer
to the sea, revealing their snowy crests from the steamer's deck,
and from Valparaiso the fruitful valleys of Chile unfold, watered
from the mountains--a more temperate zone, where the flowers as
of Europe may be seen and the culture of the Chilean people is
displayed.

Of his native land a Chilean poet sings that its bulwarks are the
mighty Cordillera, its frontiers the sea--a romantically expressed
conception of the position of Chile which is geographically correct.

A zone of territory three thousand miles in length and nowhere
broader than two hundred miles, and, in general, only a hundred,
confined between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, the Republic has
perhaps the most curious form of any country in the world. Under his
own flag the Chilean may journey from the heat of the Tropics to the
cold of the Antarctic by taking steamer up and down his coast or
by a more or less arduous land journey along the littoral. Such is
the topography of this interesting land--interspersed with burning
deserts, fruitful valleys and with glimpses of delightful landscape,
snowy mountains and profound forests.

To have opened a sketch of Chile with a reference to a poetical
conception is not to argue that the Chileans are a dreamy and
over-poetical folk. They are, on the contrary, practical, hardy, and
courageous--courage which, in their conflicts with their neighbours
in the past, and in their own internecine strife and revolution, has
at times given way to cruelty and savagery--a condition, however,
not confined to these more southern inhabitants of the South
American Continent.

By reason of their more practical ideas and enterprise in commercial
matters, their ability--which is largely absent from the Spanish
American people as a rule--of forming successful joint-stock
companies to exploit this or that field of industry or finance,
their superior navy and seamanship, and for diverse reasons, the
Chileans have been termed, or have liked to term themselves, the
"English of South America" a soubriquet varied by the appellation of
the "Americans or _Yanquis_ (Yankees) of South America." The Chilean
Navy was modelled after that of Britain; the army, however, after
the German style.

The early history of Chile, if less picturesque than that of Peru,
is full of incident--often dreadful--and doughty deeds. Bluff old
Almagro it was who set his eyes upon Chile--Almagro, the partner of
Francisco Pizarro, partners whose quarrels finally resulted in the
death of both.

The Indians of Cuzco had told their conquerors of a land that lay
beyond the desert and the mountains to the south, reaching no man
knew whither; a land not a great empire, but one of many tribes,
and so easily to be subdued, and, moreover, overflowing with gold
and silver. This land they called Chile. Fiery spirits flocked to
Almagro's standard from Panama for another of those "dare-devil
heroic marches into the unknown world which only greed and faith
could inspire." Almagro's band consisted of 600 white men and 15,000
Indians, and it left Cuzco in 1535.

     "To have descended to the coast and thence march by the lowlands
     would have been the easiest way, but it was the longer, and
     the adventurers were as impatient to reach their goal as the
     Pizarros were to see them gone: so Almagro marched straight
     along the Inca road, past Lake Titicaca, across part of Bolivia
     and what is now Argentina, and then over the Andes. Daring
     and difficult as some of the Spanish marches had been, none
     hitherto had had to encounter the hardships that faced Almagro
     on his Andean progress. Cold, famine, and toilsome ways killed
     his followers by thousands, and to the frost and snow of the
     mountain sides succeeded hundreds of miles of arid deserts,
     where no living thing grew and no drop of water fell.

     "At length, with but a small remnant of his host, Almagro found
     himself in a well-defined region, consisting roughly of a vast
     valley running north and south, the giant chain of the Andes
     enclosing it on the east with foothills and spurs projecting
     far into, and in some places almost intersecting, the narrow
     plain, and a lower range of mountains bordering it upon the
     west, and shutting it off from the sea, except here and there,
     where a break in the chain occurred. The valley was relatively
     narrow, so narrow that in many places the hills on either side
     were clearly visible, but the adventurers as yet knew not that
     this curious strip of broken plain between two mountain ranges
     extended with its immense line of coast for well-nigh 2,000
     miles, and was destined to become, from its natural formation,
     the first maritime nation of South America.

     "Almagro found the sturdy, skin-clad tribesmen of the mountain
     slopes and elevated plains far different foemen from the soft,
     mild slaves of the Incas in the tropical north. Their very name
     of Chile came from the word meaning cold; and their temperate
     climate had hardened them and made them robust. Gold and silver,
     it is true, they had in plenty, and held them in no very high
     esteem, but they fought with a fierceness of which the Spaniards
     had had no experience in America in defence of their liberty and
     right to live. This, it was clear, was to be no easy conquest,
     and Almagro, learning that the Peruvians of the north had risen
     in a mass against the Spanish oppression, abandoned Chile, and
     marched back to Peru to fish in troubled waters, and in due time
     to meet a felon's death at the hands of vengeful Pizarro.

     "But the tales of the rich and fertile land of the south had
     whetted the greed of the victor, and when old Almagro was
     finally disposed of, Pizarro set about adding Chile to his own
     vast domain, held for Charles the Emperor and King of Spain,
     with the sanction of Holy Mother Church. The news of Almagro's
     formal annexation of Chile to the Spanish Crown, as usual in
     such cases, set the hungry courtiers of Madrid clamouring for
     a share of the spoil and glory, and an incompetent nonentity
     called Pedro Sanchez de la Hoz was sent out from Spain to
     complete the conquest of the new domain in the name of the
     Emperor. Pizarro knew well how to deal with such folk, and
     whilst appearing to respect the imperial orders, really
     stultified them. What he needed to do his work were iron
     soldiers, dour Estremenians, like himself; who knew neither ruth
     nor fear, and one he found after his own heart in Pedro de
     Valdivia, who in the five years since he had joined the chief
     in Peru, had proved that he possessed all the qualities for
     repeating in Chile the success of Pizarro in the empire of the
     Incas. Sanchez de la Hoz, nominally the leader, promptly became
     the cipher that nature had intended him to be, and Valdivia took
     the lead.

     "This time, in 1540, the safer way by the coast desert was
     taken, and with a mere handful of 150 Spanish soldiers, but
     accompanied by a great host of Indians, Valdivia marched through
     the interminable valley, carrying with him rapine and oppression
     for the gold he coveted. A great pitched battle for a time,
     early in 1541, decided the supremacy of the white men, and
     Valdivia, with superhuman energy and cruelty unexampled, set
     tens of thousands of Indians to work washing auriferous sand,
     delving in mines, cutting roads that still exist, and clearing
     the way for the advance of the Spaniards southward. In a lovely,
     fertile, elevated plain, with the eternal snow-capped Andes
     looking down upon it, Valdivia founded the capital of his new
     domain, the city of Santiago, on the morrow of his victory in
     February 1541, and from the height of St. Lucia above, upon the
     spot where the conqueror overlooked the building of his city,
     his gallant figure in bronze still dominates the fair scene of
     his prowess.

     "Fighting almost constantly for years, Valdivia, with
     ever-growing forces, pushed farther south. Valparaiso was
     founded in 1544 as the main seaport for the capital, and
     two years afterwards the conqueror crossed the Biobio River
     and entered the fertile agricultural and pastoral country of
     the Araucanians. Refined and cultivated as the Incas of the
     north had been, these stalwart Indians of the temperate south
     surpassed them in the sterner virtues and in the arts of war.
     Tales of their lofty stature and mighty strength grew with
     the telling, and the Spaniards acknowledged that at last they
     had met in America a people who were more than their match.
     Concepcion, Talcahuano, Imperial, Valdivia, one city after the
     other rose in this land of forests and fighters, to be destroyed
     again and again, only to be rebuilt. Gold in abundance,
     surpassing the visions even of the Spaniards, was to be had for
     the digging or washing, but the Indians would only dig or wash
     the metal whilst a white man with a harquebus stood over them,
     and not always then. Poison and treachery were common to both
     sides, and cruelty surpassed itself. In one battle Valdivia cut
     off the hands and noses of hundreds of Indian prisoners and
     sent them back as an object lesson, and the Araucanians, with
     devilish irony, killed the Spaniards by pouring molten gold down
     their throats.

     "The lands through which the Spaniards passed were teeming
     with fertility, and tilled like a garden, and the sands of the
     frequent rivers abounded in gold; but the people were hard to
     enslave, and the leader that at last aroused them for a final
     successful stand was Valdivia's own Araucanian serf, Lautaro.
     The Christian chief fell into an ambush led by him in 1553, and
     though Valdivia begged and bribed hard for his life, vengeance
     sated itself upon him. His heart was cut out, and the Indian
     arrows soaked in his blood, the heart itself, divided into
     morsels, being afterwards eaten by the braves, whilst his bones
     were turned into fifes to hearten the tribesmen to resist the
     invaders.

     "For well-nigh a hundred years the fight went on in the country
     extending from the Biobio to the archipelago of Chiloé, and it
     ended at last in the formal recognition of the independence
     of this splendid race, who had withstood in turn the Inca and
     the white man. Even then the struggle was not over, for the
     Spaniards could ill brook the presence of an independent Indian
     people in their midst as civilization and population grew in
     South America. But what force and warfare could never compass,
     time, intermarriage and culture have gradually effected, and in
     our own times the Araucanians have become Chilean citizens."[17]

       [17] _Chile_, Scott Elliot (Martin Hume's Introduction), South
       American Series.

Chile threw off the yoke of Spain in 1810. The yoke upon the Indies
was really falling off itself. Spain was too weak to coerce her
colonies much longer. But in 1814 Spain tried again. A half-Irish
Chilean patriot was the hero of this struggle, a patriot who,
his ammunition giving out, charged his guns with coin in lieu of
grapeshot and cut his way to Santiago, and he on land and the
Englishman Cochrane on the sea caused Chile to become one of the
foremost factors in the final liberation.

Many travellers have rendered homage to the beauty of the Chilean
landscape. "The appearance of the Andes from the Central Valley is
always imposing, grandiose and magnificent. They are unique: it is
worth crossing half the world to see them. The dry, stimulating
air and the beautiful cloudless sky in themselves provoke
enthusiasm."[18]

  [18] _Chile_, loc. cit.

Elsewhere I have spoken of "the beautiful Andes and the
death-dealing Andes." Almagro's terrible march across the Chilean
Andes, as described elsewhere, shows these characteristics of the
Cordillera vividly.

Much of the early history of Chile is made up of the rebellion
of the Indians; their attacks upon the coastal towns, such as
Concepcion and Valdivia, which they sacked, massacring the Spaniards.

The town of Concepcion, in 1751, suffered something of the fate
that overtook Lima and Callao in the earthquake and tidal wave,
and Santiago, too, suffered greatly. With a crash the tower of the
cathedral fell, awakening the inhabitants at midnight. There were
horrible rumbling noises--those curious subterranean earthquake
voices in the Andes. "There was scarcely time to pray to God," say
the chroniclers. Every single church and house was thrown down, and
nobody could even stand upright. Those who could, flew: they fled to
the hills for refuge--refuge from the sea, the dreadful tidal wave.
For the ocean retreated, as if mustering force for the deluge. Then
it returned, not once, but thrice, washing over Concepcion as if the
day of doom indeed had come.

The destruction of Valparaiso in August 1906 was the last terrible
disaster of this nature.

     "The day had been unusually calm and pleasant. At about 8 p.m.
     there was a sudden, unexpected shock, immediately followed by
     another; the whole city seemed to swing backwards and forwards:
     then there was a horrible jolt, and whole rows of buildings
     (about thirty blocks of houses, three to five stories high,
     in the Avenida Brasil alone) fell with a terrific crash. The
     gas, electric-light and water mains were at once snapped, and
     the whole city was plunged in darkness. This, however, did
     not last long, for, five minutes after the shock, great fires
     started in the ruined buildings about the Plaza del Orden, and,
     aided by a violent storm wind, which began about the same time,
     spread northwards over the city. Between the earthquake and the
     subsequent fire ninety per cent. of the houses are said to have
     been destroyed. The Arsenal, station, custom-house, hospitals,
     convents, banks, club-houses and Grand Hotel were for the most
     part ruined, for without water, and in the horrible confusion
     that at first prevailed, it was almost impossible to check the
     fires.[19] But the authorities showed no lack of energy and
     presence of mind. Patrols of troops and armed citizens kept
     watch; thieves and marauders attempting to loot were shot. The
     fire was, where possible, checked by dynamite. Messengers on
     horseback were sent to Santiago and other places, appealing
     for help, and especially for provisions. The telegraph lines
     were destroyed; the railways were wrecked for miles--bridges
     had twisted and tunnels had caved in--but communication with
     Santiago seems to have been re-established within a wonderfully
     short time. This was all the more creditable, for the shocks
     continued on Friday and Saturday, and apparently did not cease
     until about 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

       [19] The Central and South American Cable Office, built of
       _tabique_, stood the shock. One telegraph operator seems to
       have pluckily stuck to his post throughout the confusion. The
       _Mercurio_ newspaper office also stood firm, and indeed this
       paper was regularly issued.

     "The condition of the wretched inhabitants was most pitiable.
     Some 60,000 were encamped on the barren hills above the town
     without food or clothing; others took refuge on boats or
     steamers in the bay, for mercifully there was no tidal wave such
     as commonly accompanies great earth tremors on that coast, and
     no damage was done to the shipping in harbour.[20] The number
     of people killed has been variously estimated at from 300 to
     10,000 persons; it is probable that from 500 to 1,000 were
     killed and another 1,000 wounded. The damage done was at least
     £20,000,000."[21]

       [20] The disturbance produced a tidal wave 5 feet high at
       Hawaii, Mani and Hilo.

       [21] _Chile_, loc. cit.

[Illustration: THE LANDING STAGE AT VALPARAISO.

  Vol. I. To face p. 198.
]

From earliest times the history of Chile upon this coast has been a
tortured one--the barbarities and the sufferings both of the early
Spanish conquerors, the reprisals of the Indians, the bloodthirsty
and unsubduable Araucanians, the feuds between the Spaniards
themselves, the toll of earthquakes and tidal waves, the battles
between Spaniard and colonist and between Chilean and Peruvian and
Bolivian, the dreadful pages of revolutionary and civil strife. It
is veritably a blood-stained coast, and both man and nature might
well cry to Heaven for surcease. Yet to-day there hangs a menace
over it--the feud with Peru over Tacna and Arica: and for the
future the savage strikes of the workers against the oligarchies of
industry.

But we need not dwell too much on this aspect. There are many
beautiful and peaceful attributes about the land, much to admire in
its people. It has been said that Chile seems to rise more vigorous
and more enterprising after every disaster.

Let us turn for a space to view somewhat more in detail the Chilean
capital, as described by a recent writer:

     "Santiago, 'most noble and most loyal,' is a mixture of Paris,
     Madrid and Seville. It is far ahead of Spanish towns in its
     electric tramways, broad avenues and brisk movement. But the
     larger houses are all characteristically Spanish. They are built
     round a central court or patio, which is usually open to the sky
     above and full of flowers and graceful shrubs. Very often there
     are sparkling fountains and statuary also. In fact, through
     the great gateway of a large Santiago house the most delicious
     little views of water, flowers and greenery can be gathered in
     passing. This gateway has heavy wooden doors, carefully locked
     at night; the windows opening on the street are usually heavily
     barred, which is by no means a useless precaution.

     "The design of these houses is a very ancient one. Four stone
     huts, placed so as to enclose a square, and with but one opening
     to the outside, form a miniature fort; even the mansions of the
     great Santiago families, with four or more stories, and with the
     street front elaborately decorated, are but a development of
     this very simple arrangement.

     "It is in Santiago that one discovers what marvellous and
     gorgeous results can be obtained by the use of stucco. Very
     often it is tinted by rose-pink or terracotta, and it is simple
     and easy to make Corinthian, Doric or Ionic columns, to model
     flowers, wreaths, vases, and Cupids, and other classical figures
     by means of this plastic material.

     "The streets run, as is almost invariably the case in South
     America, at right angles. The Alameda is a delicious avenue
     planted with trees, and traversed by little streams of running
     water which give a pleasant, murmuring sound and cool the hot
     air of midday. Amongst the trees are statues such as those of
     Bernardo O'Higgins, San Martin and many others.

     "The Plaza da Armas has colonnades along the sides which
     are famous in Chilean history, but is possibly a little
     disappointing. Most of the other public buildings, though fine
     and magnificent, do not show any very special distinctive
     character. It is the enormous size, business-like character and
     thoroughly business-like tone that distinguish Santiago. It is
     quite obviously a metropolis, and indeed, to the upper classes
     in Chile, it is what Paris is to every Frenchman.

     "The Quinta Normal, with its library, Herbarium and Zoological
     Gardens, where the Niata cattle mentioned by Darwin are still
     maintained, is a sort of Jardin d'Acclimatation and Jardin des
     Plantes in one.

     "In fact, the French, or rather Parisian, instincts of the upper
     classes in Santiago can be noticed at every turn.

     "It is the fashion of books on Chile for the author to wax
     eloquent on the Cerro de Santa Lucia. This rugged, projecting
     rock overlooking Santiago should remind one vividly of Pedro
     de Valdivia, of Señora Suarez, and of the heroical little band
     that starved out there the first two momentous years of Chilean
     history.

     "'In this valley, two leagues from the great Cordillera, by
     the side of the River Mapocho, God has planted a mountain of
     a beautiful aspect and proportion which is like a watch-tower
     from which the whole plain is discovered with the variety of its
     culture in arable and meadow.'

     "That is how Ovalle describes the hill of Santa Lucia in his
     time.

     "But what has been done with it? Stucco vases, balconies,
     balustrades, gardens, restaurants, and even a theatre, make it
     impossible, even for a moment, to remember the Conquistadores.
     The view is, however, still magnificent, and it is from the
     Santa Lucia that one can obtain the best possible idea of
     Santiago itself.

     "In the mornings, one may see the Santiago ladies hurrying to
     the churches. The power of the clergy is perhaps most easily
     realized from the fact that no woman dares to enter the church
     in a hat or bonnet. Every one, rich or poor, noble or lowly,
     wears the inevitable Manto. This is a sort of black shawl; it is
     sometimes of very rich and beautiful material, and it is always
     folded in such a manner that it is as becoming as possible.

     "In the afternoons there are fine horses and carriages to be
     seen, and the _jeunesse dorée_ may be observed sauntering
     through the streets and staring in an open and unabashed manner
     at every lady that passes. It is not considered bad form;
     indeed, it is supposed to be the correct thing to make audible
     remarks on a lady's personal appearance. 'How beautiful is the
     little one! What sympathetic eyes has the elder lady!' and so
     on.

     "The physical appearance of some of these young aristocrats
     (if they really belong to the highest social circles) is not
     impressive. One notices everywhere the narrow chest, sloping
     shoulders and effeminate appearance of the typical Parisian
     _roué_. The corner-boys, even, resemble the _apache_ of
     the boulevards, and are as dangerous and cowardly as these
     degenerate types of city life.

     "Perhaps the most characteristic custom of Santiago and of all
     Chilean cities is the evening 'Paseo,' or promenade. After
     dinner, in the cool of the evening, people saunter under the
     trees, very often in some public garden where a good band is
     playing, and gossip over the events of the day.

     "There does not seem to be much jealousy or ill-feeling between
     the upper and lower classes in Chile, for the masses keep to
     a different part of the Plaza, and do not intrude upon the
     pacing-ground of the richer or better-dressed people.

     "This evening promenade is attended by quite small boys and
     girls. They do not mix, but keep quite separate paths. Yet
     even the little girls of seven or eight years old are finished
     coquettes. Their eyes languishingly observe every man and boy
     in the Plaza, and they take care that each shall receive a due
     share of their smiles!

     "The governing classes of Chile are, for the most part,
     descendants of the Spanish Conquistadores. They preserve in
     their own hands not merely all important government posts
     (civil, military and naval), but also they own most of the
     large landed estates. A few of them, which is very unusual in
     Spanish American countries, not only own but take some part
     in the management of nitrate oficinas, banks, mines and other
     industries. Almost all the lawyers and doctors are of Chilean
     birth. There are two Universities, which supply, in a very ample
     and generous manner, advocates, solicitors and medical men.

     "On the other hand, mercantile business of all kinds, both
     on the large and on the small scale, is carried on almost
     invariably by foreigners. The old Spanish prejudice against
     traders is by no means dead. Even the small shopkeepers seem to
     be usually Spanish Basques and Italians.

     "In the south there are many small farms owned by Germans,
     French, Swiss, British, and some Danes, Swedes and Norwegians;
     even Indians own much of the land in the south. But the
     working-class throughout Chile, in the mines, in towns, on the
     farms, and, indeed, everywhere, are Chilenos. Chile is not the
     place for a British or Continental workman.

     "There is a very well-marked difference between the Chileno
     inquilino or peon and the better classes, whether Chilean or
     foreign. But amongst the Chilean or Santiago aristocracy one
     finds such names as Edwards, Simpson, Walker, Rogers and Porter.
     These, of course, are of British or Irish descent. Towards
     the end of the eighteenth century, many exceptionally gifted
     foreigners drifted to Chile. They were educated, business-like
     and capable people. If one remembers that the first line of
     steamers to Europe only began to run some fifty years ago,
     it is obvious that such men should have been able to acquire
     wealth. They were respected, even liked and appreciated, by the
     Chilians of those days. Many distinguished themselves in the
     Army and Navy. But their descendants are pure Chilenos now,
     and very likely quite unable to read or speak any tongue save
     Spanish. This is not surprising, for one can see the process of
     assimilation going on even at the present day.

     "Any young foreigner who has business instincts and ordinary
     common sense will, of course, learn to speak Spanish. Should
     he possess the necessary industry and talent, he may find
     himself early in life in a position of some importance, which
     involves dealing with the better-class Chilenos. He will in all
     probability marry a Chilean señorita. The truth is that it is
     not very easy to resist a Chilean girl when she is inclined to
     be gracious.

     "She is not at all an advanced woman; she is not inclined to
     tyrannize over her husband, but is quite content to leave him to
     manage his affairs and his house as he pleases. She never dreams
     of contesting his marital authority. It is true that she is not
     very energetic, but then, is not that an agreeable change?

     "Our young Scotchman's or Englishman's children will be entirely
     Chilean in ideals, in aspiration and in training. They may be
     sent home for education, but a few months after their return to
     Chile no one could distinguish them from the Chilean _pur sang_.
     The father will, no doubt, retain a sentimental regard for the
     old country, but in Chile it is exceedingly unlikely that he
     would ever desire to return permanently to the rain, snow, slush
     and fogs of Britain, where he will be, not a leading aristocrat,
     but merely a business man of sorts.

     "But though the somewhat Frenchified Chilean aristocracy and
     cosmopolitan foreigners are of interest, the really important
     person is the Chileno peon, inquilino or huaso of the working
     class.

     "There is no country in the world which has so valuable a
     working class (with the possible exception of Japan and China).
     They are descended from the Araucanian Indian and the Spanish
     Andalusian or the Basque. They are hardy, vigorous and excellent
     workmen, and their endurance and patience are almost Indian.
     Of their bravery and determination it is unnecessary to speak,
     for these qualities appear on every page of the stormy history
     of Chile. Generally, they are short, dark-eyed and black-haired
     people. They are intelligent, and quick to learn anything
     requiring handiness and craftsmanship. They have, of course,
     many faults: at intervals they drink to excess when they can,
     and they are hot-blooded and quarrelsome; knives will be drawn
     and a fight started on very small provocation. As regards
     honesty, they are certainly no worse than others of their kind,
     and in the country districts they are better than most. Perhaps,
     economically speaking, the fact that they live and work
     contentedly on exceedingly low wages (chiefly on beans) is one
     of their most important characteristics."[22]

       [22] _Chile_, loc. cit.

[Illustration: THE MALLECO RIVER AND BRIDGE, CHILE.

  Vol. I. To face p. 206.
]

Of the vineyards and pastures, the many industries, the famous
wines of the country, the cattle, the industrious folk, the forests
and the fishing, the great mining enterprises, copper and all ore,
the rivers and the railways, the German colony of Valdivia and the
pleasing towns of the coast we cannot here speak in detail.

Chile is fortunate, industrially, in her great coalfields at Lota
and elsewhere in the south, which form the basis of considerable
industry. The seams in some cases dip beneath the Pacific.

Chile is a land that offers much by reason of its temperate climate,
and these more southern regions may be expected to attain to greater
importance in the future.

For a thousand miles, perhaps, the littoral still unfolds to the
south, with great fiords and forests, terminating in a maze of
channels which line the coast of Patagonia to Magellan Strait
and Cape Horn. There is a race of hardy Indian boatmen here,
a tribe which, it is said, "throw their women overboard in a
storm to lighten the canoe." It is a land cold and stormy, with
a little-known interior, which the early explorers described as
being inhabited by giants or people with big feet--hence the name
of Patagonia. For hundreds of miles the Pacific slope is a thick,
continuous forest. Nevertheless, in the Strait of Magellan lies a
prosperous Chilean colony, where vast flocks of sheep thrive--the
colony of Punta Arenas, the world's southernmost seaport.

Magellan, the intrepid Portuguese navigator of early times, whose
name the Strait bears, bore bravely out into the great south sea
which he named the Pacific. His crew were weak with cold and hunger.
But he would push on, "even if they had to eat the leather of the
rigging." Ox-hides, rats and sawdust, indeed, they did eat. On to
the west the vessels sailed, across the unknown sea--"almost beyond
the grasp of man for vastness"--to circumnavigate the globe for home.

Magellan himself did not finish the voyage, although he crossed
the Pacific, for his earthly race was run; he left his bones in
the Philippines. But the ship and his pilot, Sebastian del Cano, a
Spaniard, reached home, and Cano was given the arms of nobility,
with the device of a ship and globe and the inscription _Tu Solus
circumdedesti me_.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the Pacific coast we shall now ascend to the great chain of the
Andes, to follow the same series of countries in that high region.



CHAPTER VII

THE CORDILLERA OF THE ANDES

IN ECUADOR, PERU AND BOLIVIA


Siste, viator; draw rein: your mule will stop willingly; he is
stricken with _soroche_ perhaps, the malady of the mountain, which
you yourself may suffer if at this elevation, where but half an
atmosphere presses upon us and oxygen is scant, you attempt to run
or climb. Draw rein upon this summit and look beyond. There is a
panorama it were worth a journey over a hemisphere to see. Range and
peak are clothed with perpetual snow, which gleams like porcelain in
the sun.

Heavenward thrown, crumpled, folded, ridged and fractured, with
gnomon-fashioned uplifts pointing to the sky, shattered strata and
sheer crevasse, natural terrace and grim escarpment, hung over
with filmy mist-veils and robed with the white clothing of its
snowfields, and, when the windows of heaven are open, drenched with
the deluges intercepted from the boundless plains and forests far
beyond; the father of the rivers whose floods are borne a thousand
leagues away the Cordillera crouches, rears and groans upon the
western seaboard of the continent. The beautiful Andes, the terrible
Andes, the life-giving Andes, the death-dealing Andes--so we might
apostrophize them--for the Cordillera is of many moods, and whatever
change of adjectives the traveller may ring, he will fail of truly
describing this mighty chain.

When the delicate tints of early morning shine on the crested snow
in rarest beauty, and the light and tonic air invigorates both
man and horse, the leagues pass swiftly by. Night falls, or the
snow-cloud gathers, or the pelting rain descends; then does the
weight of weariness and melancholy descend upon us[23]--so have I
felt it.

  [23] The Author's _The Andes and the Amazon_.

The name of the Andes, to the traveller who has crossed the giddy
passes and scaled the high peaks of this stupendous mountain chain,
brings back sensations which are a blend of the pleasurable and
the painful. In his retrospect the Cordillera--for such is its
familiar name to the inhabitants of the land it traverses--bulks as
a thing of varied and almost indescribable moods. It possesses that
individuality--menacing, beautiful by turns--which no doubt is an
attribute of all mountains, in the recollection of those who best
know them.

The Andes are no playground, such as some of the mountains of Europe
have become, nor are they the object or scene of climbing enterprise
and exploration such as bring the Himalayas so frequently before
the geographically interested public. Comparatively simple in
their structure, it is their enormous length--a wall unbroken,
extending for four thousand miles from north to south along the
western littoral of their continent--their treeless aridity, their
illimitable, dreary, inclement uplands, and, these passed, their
chaste snowy peaks, tinged by the rising or the setting sun, that
most impress the traveller in those lands they traverse.

Here in the higher elevations of these remote fastnesses there
are no material comforts for man or beast. Humanity, as far as it
has the hardihood to dwell here, is confined to the Indian or the
_mestizo_, who has paid nature the homage of being born here, and
so can dwell and work in what is his native environment. In the
more sheltered valleys it is true that large centres of population
flourish; important towns which from their elevation above
sea-level--ten thousand or twelve thousand feet--might look down as
it were from a dizzy height upon the highest inhabited centres of
Europe; whilst, did we establish industrious mining communities on
the peak of the Matterhorn or Mont Blanc, we should still be far
below some of those places of the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes where
minerals are won for the marts of Europe.

The Andes consist physiographically of two great parallel chains,
forming into three, with lesser parallel undulations, in certain
parts of its course; the ranges being joined by _nudos_ or knots,
as the transversal ridges are termed; a very well marked structure.
In places vast tablelands lie between the high _paramos_ of
Colombia, the altiplanicies of Peru, the _punas_ of Bolivia, often
studded with lakes, including the enormous Lake Titicaca. In some
cases these high uplands between the enclosing Cordilleras are
indeed dreary and inclement, sparsely inhabited, and the dweller of
the lowlands loves not to sojourn there longer than may be necessary
for his purpose. Conversely, the highlander fears the enervating
climate of the lowlands.

Between the more easterly paralleling ranges great rivers run,
having their birth in the snow-cap and incessant rains, both of
which are the result of the deposition from the moisture-laden trade
winds which, sweeping across the Atlantic and Brazil for thousands
of miles, are intercepted by the crest of the Cordillera, impinging
thereon and depositing their moisture. Running down the easterly
slope, in a thousand rills, the waters gather in the giant channels,
all flowing northwards, in the troughs between the ranges, to where,
with curious regularity, they break through these ranges in deep
cuttings or _pongos_, as they are there termed, like gargantuan
mill-races, turning thus east and pouring forth their floods upon
the Amazon plain, where, after vast courses amid the forests, they
reach the main stream of the Amazon, and finally empty themselves
on the coast of Brazil into the Atlantic, whence they originally
came upon the wings of the wind--a mighty natural hydraulic engine,
unceasing in its operations, stupendous in its work. Yes; _Siste,
viator_, draw rein--

    Hast thou entered the treasures of the snow?
    Or hast thou seen the treasuries of the hail?
    Who hath cleft a channel for the water-flood?
    Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds?

The imprint of the Andes perhaps never fades from the mind of the
traveller. When you have braved the tempest and the steep, when your
slow and panting beast overcomes the last few rising yards upon
the maritime range that shuts off from view the White Cordillera,
then, as the dark horizon of the foreground rocks gives place, your
astonished gaze rests upon that range of white-clothed sentinels
beyond, upraised some time since the Jurassic or Silurian Ages.
There they mark the eras: there they stand, performing their silent
and allotted work; and there, when evening falls, it tints their
brows with orange and with carmine, and wraps their bases with the
purple pall of finished day.

Borne upward three to five miles above the level of the ocean
arose these mighty guardians of the western shore, carrying some
ocean bed from where it lay, where strange creatures of the deep
reposed within the ooze--huge ammonites and cephalopods, whose
fossil scrolls and circles, now petrified in rigid schools upon
the stiffened summits, catch the traveller's eye as his weary mule
stumbles over the limestone ridges: and, blurred by the pelting rain
of the Andine winter and loosened from the stony grasp by frost
and sun and earthquake, they, together with the rocky walls that
hold them, are again dissolving into particles; a phase within the
endless sequence of Nature's work; an accident of her ceaseless and
inexplicable operations.

Has this great Cordillera produced a high type of humanity? Has the
clear atmosphere, the nearer approach to the clouds, the purity and
example of the heights made man here pure and noble? We shall judge
later, after viewing the palimpsest of history here, following on
the palimpsest of Nature, for the Cordillera is a scroll of time,
erased, rewritten in the physical and in the human world. The Andes
have been blood-stained along all their four-thousand-mile course,
that we know, ever since the white man trod them. We also know that
before his time the Cordillera did produce a high human culture,
that of the mysterious "Andine people," with their successors, the
Incas. Pagan, perhaps, but who, in the long ages, had evolved some
comprehension of the "Unknown God," and whose social code was more
in tune with a true economic philosophy of life than that of their
successors.

Descending now from the clouds, metaphorically and actually, we must
glance more particularly at the life of those modern countries which
have in part their home in the Cordillera, to whom the Cordillera is
a very real and palpable thing.

From north to south, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia
and Chile occupy this extensive zone: countries whose general
conditions as regards the littoral we have seen in our journey
along the Pacific coast. Excepting Bolivia, all these lands have the
advantages accruing from the condition that they stretch from the
coast across the Andes, extending to the Amazon plains beyond; thus
enjoying zones respectively of coast, mountain and forest, with all
their diversity of environment, climate and resource.

As we shall see in the chapter devoted to the Amazon Valley, many
navigable streams traverse this forested region, giving access by
launch or canoe through thousands of miles of otherwise inaccessible
territory, for roads are often impossible and of railways there are
none.

Colombia we shall visit in another chapter. Both Colombia and
Venezuela lie in part upon the Andes and face upon the Spanish Main.

Ecuador is but a small country in comparison with the vaster areas
of its neighbours, but Nature has rendered it extremely diverse, and
has dowered it--it is a terrible gift, however--with some of the
most remarkable mountain forms on the face of the globe. Nothing can
exceed the stupendous grandeur of the great "avenue" of snow-clad
volcanoes which arises before us around Quito and terminates on the
Equator.

In Ecuador Nature might seem to have thought to display her
powers after the manner of a model, with every grade of climate,
topographical form and species of plant and animal life; to have
set up, within a measurable compass, an example of her powers in
the tropical world. The hot lowlands of the coast, covered in part
with the densest and rankest vegetation, intersected by the most
fertile of valleys, where ripen the most delicious and valuable
fruits, with rivers wherein the curious life of the Tropics has its
home, from gorgeous insect or bird down to the tortoise and the
loathly alligator, slope upwards to the bleakest tablelands, the
icy _paramos_, which themselves are crowned with the snow-capped
volcanoes, at times belching forth fire and ash, carrying
destruction to fruitful field and populous town. Beyond lies some
of the most broken region on the earth's surface, descending to the
forests inhabited by the half-naked and savage Indian, still outside
the pale of civilization or the influence of Christianity, who may
receive the incautious traveller with deadly weapons of blow-pipe
and poisoned arrows.

The uplands of Ecuador embody a high tableland, cut up into three
_hoyas_ or basins, known as those of Quito, Ambato and Cuenca
respectively.

     "Rising from both the eastern and western rims of this elevated
     plateau are the higher Cordilleras, their main summits
     culminating far above the perpetual snowline, which in Ecuador
     lies at about 15,750 feet above sea-level. As before remarked,
     due to their peculiarly symmetrical arrangement and spectacular
     appearance, such an assemblage of snow-clad peaks is not found
     in any other part of the world. Not only for their height
     are the Ecuadorian peaks noteworthy, but for their peculiar
     occurrence in parallel lines, sometimes in pairs facing each
     other across the 'cyclopean passage' or avenue formed by the
     long plateau. There are twenty-two of these great peaks, several
     of which are actual volcanoes, grouped along the central plains
     almost within sight of each other. Built up by subterranean
     fires, the great mountain edifices of Ecuador are sculptured by
     glacier streams and perpetual snows. The volcanoes of Ecuador
     have rendered the country famous among geologists and travellers
     of all nationalities. They were the terror of the primitive
     Indian, and objects of awe and worship by the semi-civilized
     peoples of the land, and have been at various periods terrible
     scourges and engines of destruction.

     "The largest number of high peaks and the greatest average
     elevations occur upon the eastern Andes, or Cordillera Oriental,
     whilst the western or Occidental is distinguished by having the
     highest individual elevations. The altitudes given by various
     authorities of these peaks differ somewhat, and the measurements
     of later investigators vary considerably from those of Humboldt
     in some cases. Humboldt was the first to study and measure the
     Ecuadorian volcanoes, and La Condamine measured them in 1742.
     The more modern investigators were Drs. Reiss and Stübel, who
     spent four years, from 1870 to 1874, in the study, and in 1880
     they were the subject of Edward Whymper's famous travels. The
     alleged remarkable condition of the sinking or rising of various
     of these summits and localities may account, it has been stated,
     for the variation found in measurements made at different
     times. It has been estimated that a considerable decrease in
     the elevation of the Ecuadorian Andes in the region took place
     during last century. Quito has sunk, it is stated, 26 feet
     in 122 years, and Pichincha 218 feet in the same period. The
     farm at Antisana, where Humboldt lived for some time, has sunk
     165 feet in sixty-four years. On the other hand, two of the
     active volcanoes, those of Cotopaxi and Sangay, have increased
     in altitude since they were measured by La Condamine, it is
     asserted. Underlying seismic disturbances have doubtless been
     the cause of these movements."[24]

       [24] _Ecuador_, loc. cit.

The highest of these peaks is Chimborazo, 20,498 feet, followed by
Cotopaxi, 19,613 feet, Antisana and Cayambe, both over 19,000 feet,
with others ranging downwards to about 14,000 feet.

     "The great Cotopaxi, with its unrivalled cone, is the most
     terrible and dangerous in Ecuador, and the highest active
     volcano in the world. From its summit smoke curls upwards
     unceasingly, and knowledge of its activities begins with
     South American history after the Conquest. The first eruption
     experienced by the Spaniards was in 1534, during the attempted
     conquest of the ancient native kingdom of Quito by Alvarado.
     The Indians regarded the terrible outpourings of the volcano,
     which coincided with this foreign advent, as a manifestation of
     Nature in aid of the invaders and against themselves, and this
     was a factor in breaking down their opposition. But the rain
     of ashes from the burning mountain greatly troubled the small
     army of Alvarado for several days, as before described. After
     this out-burst Cotopaxi remained quiescent for more than two
     hundred years, until 1741, when it broke out with extraordinary
     force, and became for twenty-six years the scourge of the
     districts of Quito and Latacunga. The province of Leon and
     Latacunga, which formerly had been among the most beautiful and
     fertile, became poverty-stricken by reason of the eruptions.
     These outbreaks generally consisted in a great rain of sand
     and ash, followed by vast quantities of mud and water, which
     were thrown over the valleys and plains, destroying whatever
     lay in the way. Between 1742 and 1768 there were seven great
     eruptions of this character, and it is noteworthy that none of
     these were accompanied by earthquakes. The thunderings were
     heard at Honda, in Colombia, 500 miles away, it is recorded.
     Cotopaxi then remained quiescent for thirty-five years, until
     1803, when Humboldt heard the detonations of a new outbreak,
     like discharges of a battery, from the Gulf of Guayaquil, where
     he was on board a vessel for Lima. A number of lesser outbreaks
     occurred during the nineteenth century, but comparatively little
     record has been kept of them. There were streams of fresh
     lava, columns of black smoke, and showers of sand sent forth
     at various periods, and in 1877 a further memorable eruption
     took place, followed by others up to 1880. It would appear
     that since the volcano of Tunguragua entered again into action
     Cotopaxi has been less vigorous. Cotopaxi is regarded by various
     travellers as one of the most beautiful mountain peaks in the
     world, its symmetry of outline rivalling the famous Fuji-yama
     of Japan, which it overtops by more than 7,000 feet. This
     Ecuadorian volcano is 2,000 feet higher than Popocateptl, the
     "smoking mountain" of Mexico, and more than 15,000 feet higher
     than Vesuvius, and 7,000 higher than Teneriffe. It rises in a
     symmetrical cone, with a slope of 29° or 30°. Its height, as
     before given, is 19,613, according to Whymper, and the crater
     varies from 2,300 feet to 1,650 feet in diameter, and is 1,200
     feet deep approximately, bordered by a rim of trachytic rock.
     The summit of Cotopaxi is generally shrouded in cloud masses,
     and only visible for a few days even in the clearest season of
     the year."[25]

  [25] _Ecuador_, loc. cit.

This high region of Ecuador is gained by the railway from Guayaquil
to Quito, which ascends amid some remarkable scenery over a
difficult route, traversing deep ravines and fertile districts. Some
of the passages are terrific in character.

     "Riobamba is reached at 9,020 feet. The town is lighted from a
     hydro-electric station in the mountain stream. Beyond this point
     Chimborazo bursts upon the view. The great mountain displays
     a double peak, the snow-clad crests of which are outlined
     against the upland sky, at those times when the firmament
     is free from clouds. The plateau of Riobamba has a healthy
     climate, described, on the authority of Humboldt, as one of the
     best in the world. In this region a considerable increase in
     the production of wheat has followed upon the building of the
     railway.

     "Between Riobamba and Ambato the Chimborazo pass is crossed, at
     Urbina, the highest point reached, and thence a rapid descent is
     made to Ambato, 8,435 feet in the midst of a district producing
     fruits and foodstuffs abundantly. Along the Latacunga Valley,
     comparatively flat and some ten miles wide, rich pastures,
     intersected by irrigation ditches, abound, with numerous bands
     of cattle and horses. Grain, corn, potatoes, alfalfa, apples,
     peaches, strawberries, etc., are products of this high fertile
     district, and good cheese and butter are made. Beyond the
     town of Latacunga, 9,055 feet elevation, the line crosses the
     base of Cotopaxi, whose snowy cone is surmounted by the thin,
     unceasing smokewreath from its crater, the cloud hanging in
     the atmosphere. This point of the line is 11,653 feet above
     sea-level, only slightly less than that of the Chimborazo pass.
     Beyond Cotopaxi lies the fertile valley of Machachi, one of the
     most pleasing districts in Ecuador. On either hand is the row of
     famous volcanoes, a mighty avenue of great peaks, often clothed
     in green up to the line of perpetual snow. A view is obtained
     from the railway of the Chillo Valley, with various cotton and
     woollen mills, actuated by water power. In these establishments,
     hydraulically worked from the river, cloths of cheap character
     for native clothing are made. Still descending, the railway
     approaches and enters the city of Quito at 9,375 feet elevation.

     "The construction of this remarkable railway from Guayaquil
     to Quito was mainly due to the activity and enterprise of an
     American financier and railway builder, Mr. Archer Harman, whose
     work in connection with which began in 1897. The line remains as
     a worthy monument to this man, whose grave lies at the pretty
     town of Huigra. A strong impulse was given to the progress of
     Ecuador by the building of this railway and by the influence of
     its builder, and the Republic has cause to remember his name
     with gratitude, as indeed has the traveller.

     "Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is not without an atmosphere
     of interest and even romance. Remote and inaccessible as it
     has been until, in the last few decades, the railway united it
     with the outer world, Quito still conserves its character of a
     mountain capital, surrounded by lofty snow-clad volcanoes, whose
     names are bywords in geography. There are many large towns in
     the Andes, throughout Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Venezuela, but
     both by reason of its history and its topography the capital of
     Ecuador is among the most interesting. The Quito Valley lies
     at an elevation of 9,500 feet above sea-level. Around the
     upland valley are twenty noble volcanic summits, whose variety
     of form is remarkable, from the truncated to the perfect cone,
     from jagged and sunken crests to smooth, snow-covered, gleaming
     domes, among them the beautiful, if dreaded, Cotopaxi. These
     mountains are fully described in dealing with the peaks and
     volcanoes.

     [Illustration: THE APPROACH TO QUITO.

  Vol. I. To face p. 222.
     ]

     "The historical interest of Quito lies in the fact that it was
     the ancient centre of the Shiri Empire, formed by the mysterious
     Caras and the Quitus, as described in the historical section
     of this work, whose dynasty fell before the Incas under Huayna
     Capac, who in their turn gave way to the Spaniards. The famous
     Inca road, traversing the Cordilleras and tablelands, joined
     Quito with Cuzco, passing through the various centres of Inca
     civilization, with their stone-built temples and palaces,
     flanked by hill fortresses which guarded the heads of the
     valleys to the east or the west against the attacks of savage
     tribes. The remains of this road still exist.

     "As regards the character of the climate and surroundings
     of Quito, opinions differ considerably. It is difficult to
     comprehend why the Shiris and the Incas should have built or
     maintained their capital city upon such a spot, a small, broken
     _meseta_, or plain, as is that of Quito, or why the Spaniards
     perpetuated it upon a site of so little advantage and utility,
     when near at hand are the flat lands of Turubamba and Añaquito,
     and not very far off the spacious and delightful valleys of
     Chillo and Tumbaco. Of all the towns on the inter-Andine
     _hoyas_ Quito is the highest and coldest. The surrounding
     vegetation is poor and of melancholy aspect, and corresponds
     with the inclement situation. The position is healthy and even
     agreeable for those who are acclimatized thereto, but the
     descriptions lavished by some writers thereon of 'delicious' and
     of 'eternal spring' are exaggerations, says one observer.[26]
     Another authority says that 'the traveller is charmed in looking
     at the carpet of perpetual verdancy on which Quito stands. The
     climate is delightful. It is neither summer nor spring nor
     winter, but each day of the year offers a singular combination
     of the three seasons. Neither cholera nor yellow fever nor
     consumption is known there. The mild and healthy temperature
     which prevails is something admirable. In short, it may be said
     that the great plateau of Quito is a kind of paradise.'[27] Thus
     extremes of opinion are seen to exist.

       [26] Wolf.

       [27] Professor Orton of New York.

     "The annual death-rate of Quito is given as about 36 per
     1,000,[28] but this might undoubtedly be reduced under better
     sanitary measures. It is a well-known circumstance that the high
     upland regions and towns of the Andes are generally free from
     pulmonary consumption, and tubercular disease of the lungs,
     which on the coastal lowlands of tropical America is very
     frequent, is unknown above 8,000 feet.

       [28] _Bulletin_ of the Bureau of American Republics,
       Washington.

     "The aspect of Quito, is picturesque. The first impression is
     that of a white city, relieved by roofs of red tiles, the
     streets thronged with interesting people. As seen from the
     slopes of Pichincha, which descend to the city on its western
     side, or from the summit of the Panecillo, a small hill standing
     within the borders of the city, or from other high points near
     at hand, the city unfolds pleasingly to the view. It may be
     likened to a city of the third order in Europe. In spite of the
     broken character of the land upon which it is built, the streets
     are nearly all straight, the principal thoroughfares being
     wide and paved. It is traversed from west to east by two deep
     _quebradas_, or ravines, which descend from Pichincha and other
     hills, and one of these is arched over in order to preserve the
     alignment of the streets. The city follows the general Latin
     American system of town-planning, being laid out mainly in great
     rectangular squares, the streets at right angles to each other.
     The architectural type of the houses is that embodying the old
     Spanish or Moorish style, well known to the traveller in Latin
     America, from Mexico to Peru or Argentina: the picturesque and
     often chaste character of façade (although some may term it
     monotonous), with iron grilles before the windows and high, wide
     entrance doorway, or _saguan_, admitting a mounted horseman. The
     main feature of the house of this type is the interior _patio_,
     or courtyard, upon which the rooms open, often followed by a
     second _patio_. The material of which the houses are constructed
     is _adobe_, or sun-dried earthern brick, which in the dwellings
     of more pretension are generally covered with stucco or
     plaster, whitened, and at times painted with vivid colours.
     Stone is also used. The use of colour, on the walls of houses
     in Latin American towns gives a picturesque appearance at times
     even to the meanest _pueblo_, and relieves what might often be
     an extreme poverty of appearance. The roofs of the Quito houses
     often project over the footpaths, affording protection from
     rain, and balconies overhang from every window.

     "The public buildings of Quito are of the heavy, square,
     colonial Spanish type. Looking upon the great square, or
     _plaza mayor_, occupying the whole of its southern side, is
     the cathedral, and on the western side the Government palace,
     with a handsome façade, whose main feature is its long row
     of columns. On the north side of the _plaza_ is the palace
     of the Archbishop, and on the east the municipal hall. This
     arrangement, with some modification, is one encountered in
     nearly all Latin American capitals, wherein are grouped upon
     the _plaza_ the principal edifices of Church and State, the
     former taking the place of honour. The arrangement is generally
     a pleasing and useful one. The _plaza_ is the pulse of the
     community, and during those times when the band plays in its
     garden it forms a meeting-ground for the people and the sexes.
     There are other smaller _plazas_ and subsidiary squares in the
     city, including those of San Francisco and Santo Domingo. The
     many ecclesiastical buildings are an indication of the part
     which the Church has played. The finest building in the city
     is the Jesuits' church, with a façade elaborately carved, and
     the university occupies part of what formerly was the Jesuit
     college. There are eleven monastic institutions, six of which
     are nunneries. One of the convents, that of San Francisco,
     covers a whole _cuadra_ or block, and takes its place as one of
     the largest institutions of this nature in the world. A part of
     this great building is in ruins, and another part has been used
     for the purpose of a military barracks by the Government. The
     university has faculties of law, medicine and theology--those
     three professions which appeal so strongly to the Latin American
     character; but the institution is regarded as backward, and it
     has been but poorly supported.

     "The commerce of Quito is small: there is little produced in
     so high a region for export. Superior hand-made carpets are
     woven, and much skill is shown in wood-carving and in gold and
     silver work. These industries were often characteristic of the
     ancient people of America, and weaving was essentially a widely
     practised craft among the Andine races. The beautiful textile
     fabrics of the Incas and pre-Incas, some of them probably
     thousands of years old, which have been preserved attest the
     taste and skill of these people. The native manufactures of
     Quito include _ponchos_, blankets, mattings and coarse woollen
     carpets, also tanned leather, saddles and shoes. There is
     a tendency among all the Andine people to preserve their
     interesting home-crafts and cottage industries, which a wise,
     economic spirit would endeavour to assist. But cheap imports
     menace them.

     "The streets of Quito are thronged from morning to evening with
     horses, mules, donkeys and oxen, also llamas, with loads of all
     kinds, and ladies in victorias drive about, or to the shops,
     which are replete with merchandise from London, Paris, New
     York, Vienna or Berlin. Officers in regimentals and gentlemen
     in top-hats and frock-coats are numerous, and Indians with
     red and yellow _ponchos_ and white cotton trousers and hats.
     But as regards modern conveniences Quito is backward, and the
     lack of hotels and public hygiene is very serious, and the
     general conditions surrounding public health call for urgent
     improvement."[29] [30]

       [29] A recent London traveller summed up his impressions of
       Quito as "a city of seventy churches and one bath." But there
       has been some improvement since.

       [30] _Ecuador_, loc. cit.

The Ecuadorian "Orient," as the eastern forested region is termed,
is, as has been said, the third natural division of the country,
and a maze of rivers flow to it from the _divortia aquaram_ of the
Cordillera. The boundary-line with Peru, Ecuador's neighbour on the
south, is in dispute, notwithstanding arbitration by the King of
Spain in recent years. The relations between the two nations have
been seriously embittered by reason of this controversy. Ecuador
is, in point of population, the weaker nation: perhaps her claims
have not been considered in a sufficiently generous spirit. The
law of _uti possidetis_ alone holds. But an outlet to the great
navigable affluents of the Amazon is a question of paramount
importance in this forested region, cut off as it is from the
Pacific by the huge rampart of the Andes, and--without prejudice to
the historical aspects of the boundary question--this matter should
receive full consideration. The Orient, although an undeveloped and
little-travelled region at present, must, in the future, be of great
value. Peru enjoys a vast territory in the same zone, and could well
afford to take a generous outlook upon the wishes of her neighbour,
thereby healing ancient quarrels and laying the foundation of future
international stability and friendship.

We shall tread this region again in the chapter dealing with the
Amazon.

The upland region of the Cordillera between Ecuador and Peru,
little known to-day, was the scene of bitter struggles between the
Incas--under Tupac Yupanqui and his son Huayna Capac, both famous
princes of the Inca dynasty--and the Shiris, of the empire or
kingdom of Quito, which the Incas wished to subjugate.

Cacha Duchisela, whose armies had beaten off the Inca attacks--he
was the fifteenth and last of the Shiri Kings of Quito--was rapidly
declining in health.

     "But his mind did not share the ills of his body, and he
     formulated careful plans for the organization of his forces,
     which, under Calicuchima, were carried out. Amid the snowy
     heights of Azuay the vanguard of the Puruhaes detained for
     long the onward march of the Inca forces. But, aided by the
     Cañaris, the Peruvians opened a way, and upon the bleak and
     melancholy _páramos_ of Tiocajas, where years before their
     fathers had fought, battle was again waged, and with the same
     fatal result for the forces of the Shiri. Completely defeated,
     Cacha retired upon the fortress of Mocha, as his father Hualcopo
     had done; but, still more unfortunate, Cacha could not prevent
     the advance of the Incas. Having lost almost all his army, not
     so much by death as by desertion and disaffection, Cacha was
     forced to abandon the provinces of Mocha, Ambato, Latacunga,
     and Quito, which seemed insecure, and to pass to the northern
     provinces. Followed by the Inca, he first fortified himself at
     Cochasqui and then at Otalvo.[31] Here the valiant Caranquis,
     who had always been the faithful vassals of the Shiris, fought
     with such bravery that from the defensive the army passed to the
     offensive, and the Inca, escaping from an attack, was obliged
     to raise the siege of the Caranqui fortress and to suspend
     operations. He ordered strongholds to be made at Pesillo, and
     turned back to Tomebamba, with the purpose of calling up from
     Cuzco and the other provinces fresh forces of the imperial
     troops. In the meantime the Caranquis attacked and took the
     Pesillo fortress, and killed its garrison, an exploit which
     was at once answered by Huayna Capac with a strong detachment
     of soldiers, under the command of his brother Auqui Toma.
     Encountering no resistance, this general advanced to Otalvo,
     but he fell in the first attack. Discouraged by his death, the
     Peruvians halted. Huayna Capac then advanced, bent on vengeance,
     and the attack was renewed, but without result. At length by
     means of a subterfuge, in which the Incas pretended to flee
     and then made a flank attack, the castle was taken and burnt.
     The cheated Caranquis fell confused before the enemy, and only
     a captain and a thousand men escaped, taking refuge in the
     forests. Cachi fled to the famed Hatuntaqui fortress, the last
     hope of his remaining vassals, and around this stronghold his
     troops were concentrated. The Shiri king, notwithstanding his
     wasting infirmity, caused his servants to carry him in his chair
     to the place of greatest danger in the combat. The Inca sent him
     the last invitation to an honourable surrender, with the hope of
     avoiding further bloodshed. Cacha made reply that the war was
     not of his seeking, that he was defending the integrity of his
     people, and that he would die before submitting. The attacks
     continued, and at first it seemed that the tide of battle might
     turn in favour of the Shiri. But these hopes were vain, for,
     suddenly struck by a lance, which penetrated his body, the brave
     Shiri fell dead in his chair. Disaster followed: the vanquished
     army gave up its weapons and surrendered, proclaiming, however,
     at the last moment, upon the stricken field, the right of
     accession to kingship of Paccha, the son of the dead king. But
     with the battle of Hatuntaqui fell the dynasty of the Shiris,
     and on the plain which had formed, he fatal battleground the
     traveller may observe to-day the numerous tumuli beneath which
     repose the remains of those who once formed the army of the
     kingdom of Quito. Thus was played out in those high regions,
     overlooked by the Andine snows and volcanoes, one of those
     fateful dramas of early America, analogous in many ways with the
     historic struggles of Old World dynasties.

       [31] Velasco and Cevallos.

     "An incident of Huayna's reign, as concerns Ecuador, was the
     rebellion of the Caranquis, who had accepted the Inca rulers. It
     was a long and obstinate conflict to overcome them, but terrible
     punishment was meted out. The Inca caused 20,000[32] of the
     rebels to be drowned in a lake, that of Yahuar-Cocha, whose name
     means 'the lake of blood,' which it bears to the present time.
     The number given, other writers remark, was probably that of the
     combatants who fell on both sides. When the punitive expedition
     was accomplished Huayna returned to Quito, greatly troubled
     by the constant insurrections of the various provinces of the
     northern empire. There was a shadow upon the mind of the great
     Inca ruler, a portent of some disaster to befall his nation.
     These forebodings were later to be realized, for the caravels of
     the white man, although at that moment the Inca did not know it,
     were about to traverse the waters of the Pacific upon the coasts
     of the empire.

       [32] According to Cieza de Leon.

     "Huayna Capac doubtless received news of the earlier
     arrival of the white men on the Panama coast of South
     America, and the matter impressed him strongly. Tradition
     states that supernatural occurrences heralded the fall of
     the Inca Empire--flaming comets, earthquakes, and so forth.
     On his deathbed, according to tradition, Huayna recalled a
     prognostication that had been earlier made, that after twelve
     Incas had reigned--Huayna himself was the twelfth--a valorous
     race would appear, a white, bearded people, who would overcome
     the empire. 'I go to rest with our father the Sun,' he added.
     But it would appear that the great Inca had not always regarded
     the sun as an infallible power. Some years before, at the great
     feast of Raymi, the festival of the Sun, at Cuzco, the chief
     priest had observed that the monarch looked up from time to
     time at the orb with considerable freedom, an action prohibited
     and considered almost sacrilegious; and he inquired, why the
     Inca did this. Huayna replied: 'I tell you that our Father the
     Sun must have another lord more powerful than himself; a thing
     so inquiet and so bound in his course could not be a god.'
     Before he died Huayna Capac admonished his successor ever to
     carry on the noble traditions of their dynasty, in fulfilling
     their title as 'lovers of the poor.' Indeed, a civilization
     and rulers who had so organized the material resources of the
     realm and the life of the community that none were in want, and
     where no class oppressed another, as was indisputably the case
     under the Inca Empire, well merited such a title, and that the
     system should have been destroyed by the ruthless individualism
     of the Europeans is one of the most melancholy incidents in
     history."[33][34]

       [33] The author at the request of the Economic Circle of the
       National Liberal Club in London lectured before that body on
       "The Land Laws and Social System of the Incas" (1912).

       [34] _Ecuador_, loc. cit.

These same remote uplands were the scene of the strenuous march of
the Spaniards under Alvarado (whose earlier adventures we followed
in Mexico), who affected to consider Quito as outside Pizarro's
jurisdiction. Theirs was a dreadful march. Accustomed to warmer
lands, men and horses starved with cold and famine in the inclement
and foodless Cordillera. They were forced to eat the bodies of their
horses and to boil herbs in their helmets for food. The march was
made in vain, for Alvarado had been forestalled by Benalcazar, who,
with Almagro, was the real conqueror of Ecuador.

Ecuador, after the time of Independence, in which the famous
Liberator, Bolivar, figured prominently, formed part of the
republican incorporation with Columbia and Venezuela. Afterwards
it was subject to revolutionary strife and civil wars of the most
savage and bloodthirsty nature.

Among the leaders of the republican period the name of Dr.
Garcia-Moreno stands forth. It was a steadfast doctrine of his
that political progress could not be secured whilst widespread
poverty among the people remained--a doctrine opposed to the merely
political ideas of other Presidents of the Republic, and which
indeed is as true to-day in the Spanish American Republics as it was
then.[35]

  [35] For an account of this ruler, see _Latin America_, Calderon,
  South American Series.

The antagonisms of the Liberal and clerical elements at this period
brought dreadful excesses in political life, with assassination
and destruction. The clergy were in a large measure corrupt, their
opponents uncompromisingly hostile, and woe fell upon the land, and
as late as the year 1912 the most dreadful deeds were committed, and
the future seems to hold little immunity from similar occurrences.

Our way lies now into Peru. But no highways unite the two Republics
along the almost inaccessible ranges of the Cordillera; no railways
traverse this wild and broken region between them, and for a
thousand miles the whistle of the locomotive is unheard among the
mountains, whose solitudes are traversed only by the difficult
mule-trail, over which the hardy _arriero_ pursues his arduous
course, or the slow and patient llama, feeding on the scanty herbage
as it goes.

It was in one of the more northern towns of Peru, that of Cajamarca,
that the principal act of the drama in the downfall of the Inca
Empire took place, and we cannot do less, as we stand in the plaza
of the town, than cast a backward glance at this page of early
American history, fraught with such changes of destiny to the folk
of the Cordillera.

We have seen elsewhere how Pizarro and his followers painfully
made their way along the South American coast. On September 24,
1532, they began their march upon Cajamarca, ascending from the hot
coastal lands to the cold regions of the Andes. Stories had reached
them of great, populous valleys, high up among the clouds which
covered the mountains, of people who had gold in such profusion that
they regarded it as a commonplace, and made their household utensils
of the yellow metal.

The Inca Empire at that moment was divided against itself. The two
sons of the great Huayna Capac, Atahualpa and his brother Huascar,
were fighting for the inheritance. Never had the Empire been divided
thus, and its dissension was the precursor of its fall.

Pizarro sent emissaries before him, and they found evidence of
a remarkable civilization--in cut-stone buildings, bridges, and
intensive agriculture. By torture of the Indians, information was
extracted concerning the intentions of Atahualpa, whose swift
messengers had already apprised the Inca chief of the white man's
arrival on the coast. Atahualpa was crafty and laid plans for their
destruction, but meantime he sent gifts of llamas and golden cups.

However, the arrival was a peaceful one. The Spaniards formed camp
and arrogantly sent to summon the Inca to appear before them.
Hernando de Soto, the emissary, found the chief in the courtyard
of his residence--a part of which still stands in Cajamarca--and,
riding up to him, rudely forced his horse in front of Atahualpa,
until the animal's breath fanned his very face.

But the stoic Inca, although he had never beheld these terrible
men-animals, as the Indians termed the horsemen, before, moved
not. He wore the _llauta_, a fringe of crimson wool, the emblem
of sovereignty. He vouchsafed no reply at first, but afterwards
professed his friendship, and _chicha_, or native beer, in a golden
loving-cup, was brought forth for the Spaniards' refreshment. Thirty
thousand soldiers with lances surrounded him. At a word of his the
Spaniards might have been destroyed, or at least driven off.

A careful watch was kept that night in the Spanish camp. "They are
five hundred to one, comrades," said Pizarro; "but if we must fight
and die, it shall be like Christians, with Providence on our side."
Or such at least is what the historians have recorded of Pizarro's
address; and, as we have before remarked, the men of Spain, on
occasion, were devout.

The Spanish plan was a surprise attack and to seize the person of
Atahualpa. On the following day the chief was to return the visit.
The Incas were seen approaching, with bands, dancing, and singing,
adorned with gold and silver; and, decked in his regal bravery,
reclining in his litter, was the figure of the prince, the last of
the Incas.

Whether the intentions of the Peruvians were hostile or not is
doubtful. But the Spaniards saw, or pretended to see, arms concealed
beneath the peaceful robes, and they prepared themselves to make
a sudden attack--to strike the first blow, after their customarily
valiant manner.

It was the hand of the Church that gave the signal for the onslaught
that marked the beginning of the end of the Incas. The Friar
Vicente Valverde--chroniclers have acclaimed him as "the rascally
friar"--advanced, at the instigation of Pizarro, with a Bible in one
hand and a cross in the other, accompanied by an interpreter, to
meet Atahualpa as he approached, the armed Spaniards being concealed
by the wall of the plaza. "You must here render tribute and homage
to our Emperor," exclaimed Valverde, "to our Pontiff, and to the God
of the Christians"; and he held forth the Bible.

The Inca chief took the book, in curiosity perhaps, probably not
understanding what was said. Opening it, he fingered the pages a
moment, and then haughtily and impatiently threw the book from him.
"Christians!" called out the friar--and it is recorded that it was
his intention, or that he had instructions, to break the peace under
any circumstances--"Christians, I call upon you to avenge this
insult to the faith!"

Atahualpa, suspecting a menace, stood up in his litter and ordered
his soldiers to prepare. Pizarro and his men grasped their arms and
rushed forth. The trumpets sounded; the mounted Spaniards rode to
the charge; the Indians, stricken with terror at the sound of the
guns, retreated in panic; and the Christians, falling upon the Inca
army, triumphed, massacring the Indians like sheep.

Then they raised their eyes to heaven, giving thanks for this great
victory. The conquest of Peru was, by this easy victory, already
theirs.

The Inca chief had been taken prisoner in the engagement. He was a
man of some thirty years of age, good-looking, fierce, stoic, a good
reasoner and speaker, and the Spaniards regarded him as a wise man
and treated him well at first. Probably they felt his superiority
over them, these rude knights of the conquest. Great chiefs came
from all parts of Peru to do him homage in his captivity. Huascar,
his brother, had been murdered, it is said, by Atahualpa's orders;
and Pizarro was wroth at this occurrence.

The scene changes again. Fearing that, sooner or later, the white
men would kill him, Atahualpa offered them a princely ransom for his
release.

"What ransom can you give?" asked Pizarro, seeing thereby a means of
securing untold gold. "And when and how can you deliver it?"

The imprisoned chieftain raised his arm to a white line that ran
high around the wall of his chamber or cell. "I will fill this room
up to that line with gold," he said--"gold as pots and vases, gold
as nuggets and as dust. I will fill this room, also, twice over
with silver, in addition. That shall be my ransom, and it shall be
completed in two months' time."

The offer, naturally, was accepted. "Have no fear," said Pizarro.
The Inca sent swift messengers to Cuzco, the capital, hundreds
of miles to the south, along the rugged Cordillera, with orders
that two thousand Indians should bring the golden vessels from the
temples and the palaces.

One of the remarkable institutions of the Inca Empire was the system
of posts, established along the famous roads. Relays of postmen
or runners were kept stationed at the _tambos_ or post-houses.
When a message was despatched, the runner ran his section at full
speed, shouting out the message to the next waiting postman, who
immediately proceeded to cover his stage in the same way; and thus
the message was conveyed with the utmost speed for hundreds of miles.

Stores of gold began to arrive--vases, jars, pots, some weighing as
much as twenty-five pounds each of the precious metal. The Spaniards
one day saw a remarkable spectacle upon the precipitous mountain
track, on the farther side of the valley--a line of golden pots,
borne on llamas, gleaming in the sun, coming to Cajamarca for the
royal ransom.

The promise of the Inca was fulfilled. The ransom was made good.
Did the Spaniards fulfil their part? For the answer we may point
to the final scene, when Atahualpa, at first condemned by his
captors--especially the priest--to be burnt to death, was strangled,
after a mock trial in the plaza--infamously done to death, on what
was probably a trumped-up charge of intended treachery.

The only bright spot on this foul page of Spanish history is in
the circumstance that twelve of the Spaniards, among them Hernando
de Soto, protested vigorously against the deed. But Pizarro and the
false friar Valverde, and others, were resolved upon it, and nothing
moved them.

[Illustration: PIZARRO, THE CONQUISTADOR.

  Vol. I. To face p. 240.
]

Possibly Pizarro, on the day of his own assassination, nine years
afterwards, recalled this hour. He was killed, whilst at dinner on
Sunday, by the follower of his partner Almagro--because he did not
keep his promises.

Peru has always appealed to the imagination by reason of its natural
wealth, added to its mysteries and remoteness. Humboldt spoke of
it as "a beggar sitting upon a heap of gold," an aphorism designed
to convey the idea of undeveloped riches. There is scarcely any
valuable or useful product of Nature in the mineral and vegetable
world which we may not find in one or other of the wide zones
of littoral, mountain and forest of this land; scarcely any
potentiality of life is lacking among her people, could they but
make their way to its enjoyment. Since Humboldt wrote, much has been
done, it is true, but it is little more than a beginning, in some
respects.

If on the coastal zone we remark great tracts of territory capable
of cultivation under irrigation, so do we find the agricultural
resources of the uplands still calling for development, and mineral
resources still lying unworked in many districts; whilst in the
great Montaña, or region to the east of the Andes, which occupies
the greater part of the Republic, settlement and cultivation are
in the nature only of a few scattered oases in what is a rich and
fertile wilderness.

The uplands of the Andes in Peru contain some of the most
thickly-populated parts of the country, notwithstanding their
considerable elevation. Here we find capital cities or towns of the
various Departments or States at elevation ranging from 8,000 to
13,000 feet above the sea, whilst populous mining centres, such as
Cerro de Pasco and others, are at heights up to 14,000 feet.

     "The people of pure Spanish blood in these upland communities
     are few, relatively, for in the course of time they have become
     so intermingled with the original inhabitants that they now
     form the real Mestizos, or people of mixed race. But they are,
     to all intents and purposes, as much Spanish Americans as
     the dwellers of the littoral provinces, their language being
     Spanish, and their customs principally of similar origin. They
     are a well-meaning class, desirous of progress and betterment,
     but kept backward by the isolation of their position, and the
     poverty of the country, and low standard of living consequent
     thereon.

     "But the main bulk of the population of these regions is
     formed by the original people who constituted the communities
     of the Inca Empire--the Quechuas and Aymaras. Whilst in
     general terminology these are called Indians, they must not be
     confounded with the savage tribes of the forest, from which
     they are distinct in every respect. They merge into the Cholos,
     with an admixture of Spaniard. They have, of course, absolutely
     nothing in common with the imported negroes of the coast, and
     are not necessarily dark-skinned--their complexion sometimes
     being relatively light--although they are beardless. The hair
     is worn in a queue. They are strong and hardy in constitution,
     and are much sought after as mining labourers, having a natural
     aptitude for this work. The mining regions, in some cases, are
     situated at very high elevations, from 11,000 to 17,000 feet, or
     more, and in the greatly rarefied air of such altitudes none but
     the actual sons of the soil--who have paid Nature the homage of
     being born there--can endure the hard physical exertion which
     mining demands.

     "The history of these people is a chequered and terrible one.
     At the time of the Inca Empire they lived in a condition of
     happy and contented enjoyment of the fruits of their toil--a
     quiet, pastoral life, ruled by beneficent laws and monarchs who
     had their welfare at heart in a manner such as has never been
     carried out among the subjects or citizens of any Christian
     nation. They inhabited their glorious uplands, wresting from
     Nature, with pleasurable toil, the means of their simple
     existence, until--in the inexplicable plan of Nature, which
     ever demands strife and change--Spaniards came sailing round
     the world, and substituted for that peaceful regime battle and
     bloodshed, and long and terrible oppression. A resulting fear
     of the invading white man inspired the distrust which to-day is
     one of their dominant characteristics--Spain's legacy in the
     Andes. This has induced a feeling of despair, which is imprinted
     on their melancholy countenances, and in the passive resistance
     which has become their habitual attitude towards progress and
     the administration of the Republic. But it would not be fair
     to cast the onus of this distrust upon the Spaniards alone,
     for the Cholos have been abused and oppressed by the Peruvians
     of the Republic, almost up to the present day. In times of
     revolutionary war their goods have been commandeered, and
     themselves made to serve as soldiers in strife in which they had
     no interest, whilst in times of peace they have been considered
     an easy subject for spoliation by the petty authorities and the
     wealthier Mestizo class.

     "The population of these regions in prehispanic days was very
     considerable. The destroying tendency of the Spanish rule is
     indicated by the fact that the Viceroy Toledo, in 1575, numbered
     eight million Indians, exclusive of the savages of the forests,
     whilst at the close of the Spanish regime the whole population
     of the country only numbered about a million and a quarter. At
     present it is calculated that the number of the Cholo-Indians
     of the Andine regions is something under two millions. None of
     these calculations is quite reliable, but the fact remains that
     the country was well-populated in pre-Colombian times, and that
     great destruction took place during the epoch of Pizarro and the
     viceroys, whilst internal feuds and the Chilean War accounted
     for a great many more deaths. High mortality, moreover, was
     brought about from misery and privation consequent upon wars.
     To-day the population tends slowly to increase, but infant
     mortality among the Cholos is very heavy, due to the wretched
     and insanitary condition of their life, added to the rigours of
     the climate on the high plateaux; which latter, however, would
     not be an evil were the standard of life higher.

     "The poor Cholo has retained one fortunate condition from
     the civilization of his Inca forbears--he is an independent
     landholder. The small holding, or _chacara_, which he has
     wrested from Nature's chaos of rocks and ravines on the Andine
     slopes is his own; no one can dispossess him of it, and it
     affords him sufficient crop of _maiz_, potatoes, and, in places,
     _alfalfa_, to keep him and those dependent upon him. He is
     often, in addition, the owner of herds of _llamas_, _alpacas_,
     or sheep and goats, and from their wool he and his woman spin,
     and weave with their primitive looms, the 'tweeds'--for of
     this nature is the native cloth--and felt hat, which are his
     garments. These small holdings have been made in the most
     inaccessible places in many cases, by clearing away rocks and
     banking up the ground on the lower side in a similar way to
     that in which the _andenes_, or old cultivated terraces of the
     Inca period, were formed, and which still remain and excite the
     traveller's notice throughout the whole Andine region.

     "Indeed, to the rough, topographical conditions and difficult
     environment of these small holdings is due the Cholos'
     undisputed possession, in the first instance, thereof. Had they
     existed in more favourable situations they would have been
     annexed long ago, first by the Spanish landholders, and then by
     the owners of large _haciendas_ under the Republic, or taken by
     the petty authorities under one or another pretext. It is again
     an instance of Nature protecting her progeny against the ravages
     of their own kind. The laws of the Republic now forbid these
     small holdings to be alienated from the Cholos; a wise measure,
     tending to preserve this useful peasant class.

     "The _andenes_, as the terraced fields which cover the
     hill-slopes of the Andine region are termed, are worthy of
     detailed description. They exist in almost every valley,
     extending upwards from the coast and the foothills to elevations
     of 12,000 feet, and even 16,000 feet or more, covering the
     slopes even in the most inaccessible situations and rigorous
     altitudes. From some high saddle or summit whence the
     surrounding horizon is visible, the observer notes a curious
     chequered or rippled appearance upon the flanks of the ridges,
     as far as the eye can reach, from the floor of the valleys up
     to the precipitous rock escarpments. They are the _andenes_;
     small terraces, one after the other, embanked on the lower sides
     with stone walls, like a series of irregular steps, where the
     soil has been collected and cultivated. The great number of
     these small holdings in every direction throughout the Peruvian
     Sierra has given rise to the supposition that a numerous
     population inhabited the Andes in prehistoric times--estimates
     even of ninety million inhabitants having been made. But this
     is fabulous, although it is evident that a numerous people must
     have formed and cultivated these remarkable terraces, of whom
     the present population are only a residue.

     "Adjacent to these valleys, especially in certain districts,
     as upon the Upper Marañon,[36] are groups of extensive
     ruins of habitations, as well as of burying-places, known
     as _huacas_--often containing mummies--and of castles and
     fortresses. These latter often command the heads of valleys
     and defiles, and they go to show that the former inhabitants
     must have dwelt as separate groups or communities under the
     leadership of some chief--probably in pre-Inca times. These
     _andenes_, as the Spaniards termed the terraces when they
     conquered Peru, may have given rise, it has been surmised,
     to the name of the Andes; but this probably is not correct,
     the real derivation undoubtedly coming from the name of the
     _Antis_--a tribe which inhabited the snow-covered Cordillera
     region, which was termed by the Incas _Ant-isuyu_. This name, in
     Quechua, signifies 'copper-bearing,' and copper was extensively
     used by the Incas.

       [36] Visited by the author and described before the Royal
       Geographical Society.

     "The Cholo, then, provides for his wants, and he is quite
     independent--when allowed to be so--of the governing race. He
     asks nothing from civilization, and indeed this has, so far,
     brought him mainly two things--the superstitious part of
     the Roman Catholic religion, and alcohol! The one has partly
     improved his mind--the other tends to ruin his body.

     "At Fair times, and on the numerous Church feast-days, the
     Cholos and their women flock into the towns to buy, sell, drink
     and indulge in religious exercises. With their bright-hued
     blankets and _ponchos_--generally made by themselves--they
     lend colour and interest to the scene. And the priests--ha! the
     priests!--this is the time of their harvest, and the Cholos
     are the inexhaustible supply whence they draw fees, tithes and
     offerings. For the Cholo nature has been most susceptible to
     the rites and representations with which Roman Catholicism is
     interpreted among them. They all bear Spanish names--Christian
     and surname--and each has his patron saint: and they must be
     considered a civilized race.

     "As stated, these people are the descendants of the Incas, or
     rather of the Quechuas and Aymaras, who formed the population of
     the Inca Empire, for of the Inca line there are no descendants
     whatever left. The Incas were a royal line, and whilst their
     members were more or less numerous, owing to the polygamy
     customary to them, the irregular descendants were not recognized
     as legitimate Incas, the real line of succession having been
     preserved by the progeny of the marriage of the reigning Inca
     with his own sister. The illegitimate offspring naturally
     intermarried with the common people, and were merged into
     these again. Elsewhere some particulars of the past history and
     conditions of the Incas, and the population under their rule,
     have been described, as also their structures--temples, palaces
     and habitations--the ruins of which are encountered to-day along
     these vast uplands, where the Cholo feeds his flock, and lives
     his remote and melancholy existence. In marked contrast are some
     of these beautiful ruins to the wretched habitations of the
     present occupiers of the land.

     "The Cholo-Indians of the uplands are, then, miners, shepherds
     and agriculturists. In tending their flocks, and in the
     breeding and domestication of the _llama_, they are remarkably
     expert, and their patience and endurance arouse the interest
     of the traveller who sojourns among them. They have many good
     qualities, which have been unable yet to expand. The true
     policy of the administrations which govern them must be towards
     bettering them and causing them to multiply, for, apart from
     motives of humanity, they are one of the country's most valuable
     human assets. If they fail, and become exterminated, a large
     part of the uplands and higher valleys of the Andes would become
     an uninhabited desert, for it is doubtful if any other race
     could ever occupy their place, or perform manual labour at the
     great elevations which form their habitat.

     "Let us now glance at the conditions of life in some of the
     principal towns of this region of the Sierra. As is but natural,
     the farther these communities are removed from the coast, the
     more primitive does their mode of life become. When the only
     means of communication with the outside world are by difficult
     and sometimes dangerous mule-roads, journeys are undertaken
     but rarely, and new influences, objects and appliances are not
     easily forthcoming. Yet in some cases demand is met by supply,
     and in spite of the difficulty of conveyance of heavy goods;
     pianos, billiard-tables and such things are constantly met
     with in the houses and restaurants of the large towns in the
     inter-Andine region. But books, pictures and other essentials of
     refined life are scarce.

     "What is the aspect of these towns? Imagine yourself astride
     your mule upon the summit of the range which bounds one of
     these Andine valleys. You have toiled on all day, saddle-galled
     and weary, and you gladly direct your gaze to where the town
     lies spread below--a bird's-eye view. The streets run at right
     angles, with a central _plaza_ containing the cathedral or
     church, and official buildings; the hotel--if there be one
     at this particular place--and various shops and houses. The
     cultivated plain surrounds it--the 'flat place' which Nature has
     provided, and which, together with the river which intersects
     it, is the reason of man's habitation there at all. For it is
     early impressed upon the traveller in the Andes that 'flat
     places' are a prime requisite for humanity's existence. You
     begin the descent, having seen that the crupper of your mule is
     in place, in order that you may not journey upon the animal's
     neck; whilst your _arriero_ tightens the pack-mule's girths.
     Small _chacaras_, or holdings, with little tumble-down stone
     huts, grass-roofed, straggle up the hillside, and bare-legged,
     unwashed children rush out among your animal's legs--the
     progeny of unkempt Cholo peasant women, at work within upon
     the preparation of some primitive meal. The little holdings
     are surrounded by rude stone walls, or hedges of prickly-pear,
     or _maguey_ (agave). Still you descend. The huts give place
     to adobe houses, with whitewashed walls and red-tiled or
     grass-thatched roofs; the straggling trail forms itself more
     into the semblance of a street; your beast's hoofs rattle over
     the cobble pavement; some few inhabitants stand at their doors
     to stare and remark at the advent of a stranger; and in a moment
     you have entered the _plaza_.

     [Illustration: IN THE PERUVIAN ANDES.

  Vol. I. To face p. 250.
     ]

     "The condition of the _plaza_, in Spanish American cities, is
     an index of the prosperity and enterprise of the particular
     community. In the more wealthy and advanced towns it is well
     paved, and planted with shrubs and flowers, and a band, during
     several evenings of the week, discourses music therein, to the
     delight of the populace. Here pretty girls and amorous youths
     promenade--the only means of exercise the former are permitted,
     and the only general meeting-ground of the two sexes. In the
     interior towns of Peru the _plaza_ is often grass-grown and
     unpaved. It seems to reflect the poverty of its inhabitants,
     and to impress upon the foreigner that the country is but
     slowly recovering from the misfortunes of its troubled history.
     The traveller, accustomed to the movement and modernness of
     the cities of other lands, will observe the _triste_ aspect
     of the place with dismay, and wish he might turn his horse's
     head again without delay towards the coast and civilization.
     But the more leisurely observer will not fail to find much
     that is interesting even here. The buildings are quaint; the
     air of mediaeval times which shrouds the grass-grown _plaza_
     and the half-ruined church, together with the strange garb of
     the Indians who slink through the streets, and the struggling
     evidences of modern civilization--in shop sign or municipal
     notice--are almost pathetic. Whatever it is, it is peaceful; the
     climate is bracing, the cost of living--to foreign eyes--_nil_;
     and do not the surrounding hills and valleys contain unknown
     possibilities of mineral and industrial wealth?

     "The society of these places consists of the official
     element--the prefect and other functionaries, and few
     professional men; the few storekeepers, and the chief landowners
     of the neighbourhood. There is but little social life--an
     occasional _baile_, a few political meetings, and the Sunday
     morning Mass. At the latter, the young men of the place
     foregather at the church door, what time the devout _señoritas_
     come forth, and pass review of soft faces and flashing eyes,
     beneath shady mantillas. There is probably a club with
     billiard-tables, brought with difficulty over mountain roads, as
     before mentioned, and newspapers of somewhat remote date. But
     the chief centres for gossip-mongers are the stores, and shops
     where _copitas_ of brandy and native spirits are sold.

     "The great merry-making period of the year is that of the
     three days' carnival celebration. During this time business is
     entirely suspended, and the whole population--whether in Lima
     and other coast cities, the towns of the Andes, or the remote
     hamlets of the plateaux--give themselves over to frenzied play.
     This consists principally in bombarding each other from the
     balconies of the houses with _globos_, or india-rubber bladders
     full of water; squirts, scents, powder and other matters. It is
     impossible to pass along the streets during these three days'
     riotous play without being soaked or covered with flour or
     powder from above, and the only method is either to enter into
     the sport, or else lie low at home until it is over. The usual
     reserve between the sexes is much broken down at this time, and
     the warm-blooded Peruvian girl enters with much zest into the
     temporary licence of Carnival.

     "The houses of the upland towns are generally built of adobe
     or _tapiales_--that is, of bricks or concrete made of wet
     earth, sun-dried and whitened--the roofs being covered with red
     pantiles, or thatched with grass. Through the wide entrance door
     access is gained to the _patio_, or interior paved yard, after
     the usual Spanish American style, upon which the various rooms
     look and open. The windows upon the street are all securely
     barred with iron _rejas_, or grilles, and the whole aspect is
     quaint and mediaeval, though the arrangement lacks in comfort
     from the foreigner's point of view; whilst the interior _ménage_
     is naturally of a nature more primitive than that of communities
     in European towns. But in general, the peoples of these regions
     dwell in sufficiency, and that acute poverty, as among the lower
     strata of foreign cities, does not exist in Peru.

     "The ultimate and irrevocable line of caste distinction in
     these places is that between the coat and the _poncho_. From
     the prefect and the lawyer and the doctor, down to the shop
     assistant, the dress is the coat of the ordinary European form.
     Be there but the smallest recognized strain of European blood in
     the individual, it will be sheltered by the coat, but below this
     all is ignorance and the _poncho_. This useful but uncivilized
     garment consists of a species of blanket with an opening in the
     centre by which it is slipped over the head. We must, however,
     temper this 'clothes--philosophy' by remarking that the _poncho_
     is used even by _caballeros_ on certain occasions, especially on
     horseback, when, in the form of a thin white material, it wards
     off the sun's rays and protects the horseman from dust, whilst
     as a thick woollen garment it shields him from the bitter blasts
     and keen air of the mountain uplands. The _ponchos_ woven of
     _vicuña_ wool by the Cholos are of the most exquisite texture,
     and practically, waterproof. But the ordinary blanket _poncho_
     is the poor Indian's greatest possession. It shelters him by
     day from the sun or rain, and at night it forms his bed.

     "The advent of a foreigner in these more remote places is a
     matter of interest to the inhabitants, and--especially if he
     be a person bent upon some scientific or exploratory work--he
     is well and hospitably received, and all facilities afforded
     to him. Keen interest is taken in anything pertaining to the
     outside world, for these people, cut off as they are by natural
     barriers from its happenings, are far from being apathetic, or
     indifferent of events. Indeed it is this eager interest and
     avidity for knowledge of the modern world which most greatly
     touches the sympathy of the traveller, and which is the element
     which must redeem the people of these remote places from
     stagnation and decadence.

     "Peruvian hospitality is proverbial, and nowhere is it stronger
     than among the peoples of the upper class in the Sierra. The
     traveller soon becomes the centre of a group who press their not
     unwelcome attentions upon him; and they provide the best their
     houses afford for his refreshment and entertainment, as a rule
     accepting nothing in payment. This pleasing quality, in addition
     to being born of their native kindness, is motived partly from
     the desire to be considered civilized, and this is not without
     a note of pathos. The traveller, moreover, will not fail to
     recollect that he has sojourned in other--business--communities,
     whose higher civilization certainly does not necessarily include
     hospitality. These Sierra people of Peru, whilst they possess
     pleasing traits of the above nature, have also others less
     happy. They, as a class, are sometimes unscrupulous in their
     business dealings, and agreements are not always to be relied
     upon--a defect of the Spanish American generally, which at times
     overshadows his better qualities."[37]

       [37] _Peru_, Enock, in the South American Series.

We have already remarked on the mineral resources of the Andine
region of Peru. It may be that, in the future, attention will
be more widely directed thereto, and travellers with technical
knowledge of mining are increasingly making their way here, and some
notes on this score are of interest. Little, however, seems possible
in this field without the use of foreign capital.

In a land so famous for its gold as was that of Old Peru, it is
remarkable that so little gold is produced at the present time--an
insignificant annual amount of little over £100,000. Yet there are
many gold-bearing deposits scattered over the vast upland region,
from auriferous quartz-seams: to vast gravel deposits. There do not
appear to be any huge ore-bodies of the nature of South Africa, with
low-grade but abundant material. The seams, however, in many cases
offer "payable propositions." There are rock ledges of great length
and depth, capable of being worked economically by adits rather than
shafts, and sometimes with water-power available and with "cheap
mining labour" (that attractive item of the company-promoter's
prospectus) at hand, with immediate areas of fertile land for the
needful foodstuffs. A difficult feature sometimes is the matter of
transport, for, from the coast, the Cordillera must be surmounted.

The enormous gold-bearing alluvial deposits are generally situated
on the most westerly side or summits of the Cordillera, and in the
Montaña, and are difficult of access at present in the absence of
railways. Various enterprises have been set on foot to win the gold
from these in recent years--whether by the method of dredging,
whether after the Californian "hydraulic" system--but it is doubtful
if they have proved a success, from a variety of causes. There,
however, is the gold, awaiting recovery.

The reputation for fabulous wealth of silver in the Peruvian
mountains has passed into a proverb. Great wealth has been
recovered, and the ores are often extremely rich. Myriads of old
workings exist, which were abandoned because the more primitive
appliances of a past age did not permit the drainage of the mines,
which became filled with water; but they are capable of being
pumped out. Romantic tales are told of the enrichment of miners
who persevered in their labours in some lonely mine and won great
fortune. In the many examinations I made here of gold and silver
mines in Peru there were found conditions that should well repay
modern mining enterprise. There is, of course, a good deal of work
being carried on.

The great wealth of copper, lead, zinc, quicksilver, iron and coal
also present their attractions, and there are rarer metals whose
use commerce urgently requires. But foreign capital does not flow
very freely to Peru, and Peruvian capital does not seem to have the
organizing faculty to develop the mineral wealth of the country for
itself. The mining laws of Peru offer considerable privileges to the
foreigner, whom the Government is ever desirous of encouraging.

The Indian, the native miner, has his own methods of winning the
gold from the rocks and gravels, or the gold-bearing streams of the
Montaña, or the auriferous earths of the high pampas. In the streams
he selects a suitable spot and paves it with large stones. Then,
when the floods pass over the prepared surface of rude "riffles,"
the gold carried down by the waters from the auriferous rocks lodges
in the interstices, and, removing the stones, he recovers the
precious nuggets and dust. Or, by laborious panning in a _batea_, or
wooden bowl, hollowed out of a block of wood, he washes the gravel
from the rich banks of sediment, and the gold lies at the bottom.
In the case of the gold-bearing ores, he digs shallow pits in the
surface of the ledge, where Nature, under the oxidation of the
pyrites, has transformed the gold into a form recoverable by the
simple method of amalgamation with quicksilver, after crushing the
friable quartz under a primitive rocking-stone.

Indeed, in many places, it would seem that Nature has placed the
gold here in a form such that recovery will remunerate the natural
son of the soil, when a more greedy and better-equipped "company"
would be unable to pay its way. The stores of gold possessed by
the Incas of Peru were won by such primitive methods; large bodies
of Indians being employed upon the work, and evidences of their
operations remain to the present time.

The ancient folk of the Andes had as their greatest food products
maiz, millet and potatoes, together with the numerous tropical
fruits of the lowlands. They gave Europe the potato--surely no
inconsiderable gift--having developed it in Ecuador, Peru and Chile,
from the wild, bitter variety; and Europe gave them wheat and other
cereals, and, of course, the domestic animals--ox, cow, sheep, horse
and pig.

The llama was their only beast of burden here--this curious, hoofed,
ruminating quadruped of the camel tribe, with its long neck and
timid face. In our journeys along these bleak uplands we shall meet
large droves of the llamas, bearing loads of merchandise, in weight
up to a hundred pounds. These animals are sagacious in their way,
and if overloaded refuse to move. Their services, their wool, their
flesh, are all extremely valuable adjuncts of Indian life. The
creature costs little or nothing to keep: it requires no shelter,
and it feeds itself as it goes along, at a rate of about four miles
an hour. The llama indeed was--and is--an outstanding figure in the
native economics of the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes. Its cousin the
alpaca is also to be seen in large bands.

Up to the limit of the temperate zone in the Peruvian Andes, about
11,500 feet, we shall remark some of the familiar flora of England,
such as ferns, nettles, buttercups, violets and stitchwort, together
with wild geraniums and pelargoniums. Apples, pears, cherries and
strawberries also grow, under desultory cultivation. Trees are scant
in the almost treeless Andes, and we find little beyond the groves
of stunted _quinua_ and other native shrubs, which, however, are
valuable for fuel. The _ichu_ grass--_stipa Incana_--which also
serves for "thatching" the Indian huts, is the predominant herbage.

As we ascend, the vegetation becomes even more humble. At 13,500
feet the potato will not grow; the hardy barley will not yield. Only
a few thorny shrubs and some curious cacti are to be seen. Higher
still we reach the limit of the perpetual snow, where little but the
lichens and a few cryptogams appear, except a few cold-resisting
flowers having medicinal properties. Above, all is bare, the
inorganic world asserts its kingdom--except for the condor of the
Andes circling around the summit of some ice-covered volcano.

Here in these high, inclement uplands, I have pitched my tent, and
my Indians are now preparing a meal around the camp-fire, made of
the dry grass or some scanty _leña_ or firewood, or possibly we
may have come across a "colony" of the curious _yareta_, a huge
mushroom-like woody growth, perhaps three feet in diameter, full
of resin, which burns fiercely: a product only of the Peruvian and
Bolivian heights. Failing these matters, the fire must be of dry
llama dung, or _taquia_, a useful fuel in the Andes, from which even
the ores of silver, in places, are smelted.

[Illustration: PERU: LLAMAS AND ALPACAS.]

[Illustration: PERU: NATIVE BLANKET WEAVER IN THE ANDES.

  Vol. I. To face p. 260.
]

Here on the roof of the world we mark the rays of the setting sun
tinting a rosy red the eternal pinnacles of the Andes, and the last
glow gone, we must seek the tent and draw the ponchos about us; the
Indians throwing themselves upon the ground outside. Simple and
faithful souls are these children of the uplands, full of gratitude
to the _patron_ who treats them fairly; resourceful and industrious.
And the _Ingles_, of course, treat them well and justly. Is not an
Englishman's word his bond? Further, are not his pockets invariably
lined with silver! Months have I spent in these wilds, without any
other companions than the Quechua Indians and the Cholos, our only
language Spanish and what smattering of Quechua it was possible for
me to acquire.

Or perhaps I have formed camp in some abandoned Inca ruins, and
the evening meal has been cooked in the ruined stone fireplace of
folk departed these many centuries: my seat a cube of stone neatly
fashioned--one of those which strew the ground around--by some
ancient mason. There one may ponder upon the strange folk, who built
massive temples and megalithic walls--in a region where there is no
timber and where corn does not grow. Why did these folk establish
themselves in these high places? Are there any other mountains in
the world where Nature brought forth a dominating culture so near
the clouds as that whose progenitors went forth, as we are told,
from the mysterious island of Titicaca?

Or again, night has overtaken us on the edge of the Montaña, and,
below, we overlook the tree-filled valleys, part of the forest which
stretches unbroken for thousands of miles across the Amazon plains
of Brazil. The valley may be filled with mist, and the effect is
remarkable, as a weird transformation scene. The sun sets; it still
tinges the western sky with its beauteous and indescribable tints.
The palest saffron fades into the pearly-green of the zenith, and
the last, orange rays, calm and cold, flash faintly and expiringly
upwards. In the deep cañons the fleecy masses of pearly vapour
slowly pour--"slow, lingering up the hills like living things." So
soft and pure are they that they might be the couch spread for some
invisible god-traveller! No eye but mine beholds them. The Indians
are busy at the camp-fire. Then the mist masses arise as if to
engulf the lonely headland on which we stand, like awful billows.
But the light fades, except that of a single jewelled planet, which
gleams softly and protectingly down from its gathering height.

The Indians sustain themselves at times on their journeys by chewing
the leaves of the _coca_ shrub, which are a valued possession among
them. This shrub, peculiar to Peru and Bolivia--although it has now
been transplanted to Ceylon--is that which gives us the cocaine
of the pharmacopoeia. For the invaluable quinine, we may also be
grateful to Peru and to the memory of that viceroy's lady, the
Countess of Chinchon, who, sick of a fever--it was _tercianas_ or
tertial malaria--was cured by an Indian woman with doses of the
steeped bark of the quinine shrub, which bears her name to this day.

The most ancient and remarkable town of the Cordillera is Cuzco,
the one-time Inca capital. It lies in a valley, overlooked by lofty
mountains; and on its northern side stands the famous fortress of
Sacsaihuaman, the cyclopean fortress of the early Peruvians--the
Incas and their predecessors. Here we may stand upon the great walls
of what is one of the most remarkable of prehistoric structures,
forming terraces along the hillside of great stone blocks, built in
the form of revetments and salients, some of the stones being nearly
twenty feet high.

Many of the walls of the Cuzco streets still retain their Inca stone
construction, a monument to the clever masonry of these people,
which has excited the interest and admiration of many archæologists
and travellers. Here was the Temple of the Sun, and indeed part of
its beautifully moulded walls still remains.

The town is the centre of one of the most popular districts of Peru,
labouring Indians mainly; and it has a number of interesting Spanish
colonial buildings, with some textile and other industries. We may
reach Cuzco now by rail from Arequipa and the coast at Mollendo.
Not far away are others of the remarkable remains of early Peruvian
civilization, including the Inca "astronomical observatory" of
Intihuatana, where the priests determine the solstices by means of
the shadow cast by a stone column, a portion of which still exists.
Also Ollanta.

Cuzco witnessed the final overthrow of the Incas after the scene at
Cajamarca, and many excesses were committed here by the Spaniards,
in their purpose of stamping out the early Peruvian civilization--a
sad and pathetic page of history indeed.

If on these high and often dreary uplands it was destined that
the power of the Inca Empire should pass away in so melancholy a
fashion, it would seem that fate had here a similar end for the
empire of its conquerors in store. For are not the fateful names of
Junin and Ayacucho stamped upon the face of this Cordillera region?
Here the Royalists of Spain made their last stand.

We cannot enter upon the details of Spain's downfall. From its
history stand out the famous names of San Martin, with his march
across the Andes from Argentine into Chile; Bolivar, and his equally
or more renowned march across the Northern Andes; Cochrane, the
English admiral, and his operations on the coast; Sucre, La Serna,
and others. At the Battle of Junin the Royalist leader of the
Spanish forces was defeated. Cuzco, the last stronghold of Spain in
South America, fell. Then came the historic Battle of Ayacucho. The
patriots--Peruvians, Chileans and some Argentines--numbered some six
thousand; the Royalists nine thousand. The Royalists were utterly
routed, fifteen hundred were slain: the viceroy, his generals,
officers and army were captured. It was hailed as a providential
victory for freedom; a new life after three hundred years of
Spanish domination, and the colours of Iberia flew no more upon the
Cordillera.

[Illustration: THE RUINED INCA FORTRESS OF OLLANTAYTAMBO, PERU.

  Vol. I. To face p. 264.
]



CHAPTER VIII

THE CORDILLERA OF THE ANDES

IN BOLIVIA, CHILE AND ARGENTINA


Still threading the high region of the Andes, our journey takes us
into Bolivia, that comparatively little-known Republic.

Neither topographically nor historically is there any marked change
from Peru to Bolivia. Both countries occupy the "roof of the world"
here, the chain and uplands of the Cordillera, although, if such
were possible, the _punas_, or steppes, of Bolivia are even more
inclement than the corresponding _antiplanicies_ of Peru.

Bolivia has, indeed, been termed the Tibet of America, where the yak
is replaced by the llama. But it would be unjust to compare the one
with the other as regards the human element, for the Andine Republic
is peopled, or at least administered and animated, by the sensitive
and progressive Spanish American civilization, and is not an old or
decadent land, but, on the contrary, has all its life before it.

The highlands, we have said, are a continuation of those of Peru. In
both countries, as well as in Northern Chile, we shall remark on
our mountain expedition the herds of beautiful vicuña, fleet as the
wind, living where nothing else will live, yielding a soft, tawny
fur or skin, a boa of which is indeed a comforter around one's neck
as a protection against the keen air of the heights. In the ramparts
of the rocks myriads of _viscachas_ squirrels, or rather conies,
have their home, and it is a swift shot that will secure one for the
evening meal.

Of the stupendous snowy peaks of Bolivia we have already spoken.
There arise Sorata and Illimani, highest--with Huascaran and
Coropuna, in Peru, and Aconcagua, in Chile, all near or over 23,000
feet--on the American Continent. Few travellers approach or ascend
these mountains, whose beauties the inhabitants themselves generally
prefer to contemplate from afar.

Bolivia is generally regarded as a "mountain republic," remote,
inaccessible, backward. Such a concept requires some modification.
It is true that the country, deprived of its seaboard, has its
population and centres of life mainly upon the Andes, that its
population is relatively small in comparison with those of its
neighbours, and consists to a larger degree of the Indian element.
But it is not all mountain, nor all Indian folk. A considerable area
of the Republic extends to the lowlands of the Amazon Valley (and to
the Plate), including those delightful sub-valleys and hill-slopes
which Nature, by reason of climate and vegetation, has rendered of
the most pleasant. As for the people, we find here the same Spanish
American civilization, among the cultured class that is, with the
traits and gifts common to their race. As for the Indian--that is
their social problem.

La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, to which we may have ascended by
rail from the coast, is approached almost unawares. There is nothing
to foretell, as we cross the barren plains from Viacha, that so
important a place will shortly be displayed to the view. Suddenly
we reach the Alto, or "Height," and there, far below, is La Paz,
reposing in the mighty amphitheatre of its abrupt valley. Before
the train descends from the verge it is well to look again upon
Illimani, Huayna-Potosi, and another giant, Mururata, whose snowy
peaks reflect the colour of the sunset, bathed in an atmosphere so
limpid that their distant slopes are brought to deceptive nearness.

The Valley of La Paz has the aspect of a vast crater, its floor
lying over 12,000 feet above sea-level. Its buildings and
institutions merit the traveller's attention. Its pleasing alameda
and other planted or cultivated areas are a relief after the dreary
and forbidding aspect of the valley around, with its scarred and
precipitous sides. Who could have founded a city here, and why?

La Paz was founded by Alonzo de Mendoza in 1548, and first named
to commemorate the temporary reconciliation between Pizarro and
Almagro, who had grievously quarrelled. The cathedral was begun in
the seventeenth century, when the famous mines of Potosi were at
their height of productiveness. Some of the streets are of the most
winding character possible, and many of them reflect the poverty
of their Indian dwellers. Others are full of animation, constantly
threaded by caravans of llamas, asses and mules, and thronged by
a many-hued population of pure-blooded Indians, with garments
negligent but picturesque; Cholas, or half-breed women, often
extremely pretty, dressed in vivid colours, coquettish, wearing
their home-made hats of white felt; and townsmen of white race,
ladies of La Paz, and European folk: in brief, all the elements we
shall have seen in the upland towns of Spanish America, where rich
and poor do congregate together. On Sundays the animation increases,
for this is the day of markets, and piles of wares and fruits and
other products interest and attract. The streets are electrically
lit. In the new part of the city are many handsome residences and
evidences of wealth. The inevitable band in the plaza discourses
its music, and the churches command their usual congregations. The
museums--mining and archæological--show a regard for science here.
La Paz is now becoming a comparatively cosmopolitan centre, and its
interest and importance most undoubtedly increase.

The Republic of Bolivia took its name, as a token of gratitude, from
Bolivar, the great Liberator. Since his time, from 1825 to 1913, it
has had seventy-one different presidents, an average of a little
over one per annum, an indication either of an experimental outlook
towards self-government or of chronic unrest, whichever way we may
prefer to view it. It is difficult for a European to comprehend the
disabilities and difficulties of such a community, and criticism is
easy. But we may again reflect that their future lies before these
remote States, and that their human vitality and natural resource
are storehouses for the future, not depleted or derelict.

To the observant foreigner perhaps the most interesting human
element in the Andes is that of the Indians. They are the true
children of the soil, Nature's product unadulterated, the specimen
of her human handiwork in this special environment. They hide
nothing, they expect nothing from her. But if the future lies before
them they are nevertheless obsessed with their past. They are a
_raza conquistada_ as their masters term them--a conquered race.
They may not always be so. Different writers take different views of
them.

In Peru the natives of these uplands are the Quechuas; in Bolivia,
the Quechuas and the Aymaras. These two differ somewhat in their
habits and temperament. There are, in addition, a number of savage
tribes, mostly in the forested regions.

     "The Aymaras, one of the principal ethnical elements of the
     Bolivian nation, are found in the north, as far as Peruvian
     territory, on the banks, islands and peninsulas of Lake
     Titicaca, and on the plateau as far south as Oruro. The
     Quechuas occupy the south and the north of the Argentine.

     "Between these two races there is a difference of type and a
     greater difference of character. The Aymara is a little above
     the average height, has the chest strongly developed, the calves
     powerful, and the feet small. The features are not on the whole
     attractive; they are prominent, and indicative neither of
     intelligence nor goodwill. The head is large, the neck short and
     thick, the cheeks wide, the nose massive; the eyes are small,
     the mouth wide, and the lips thick. The colour is coppery or an
     olive-brown, varying with the altitude. The hair is black, thick
     and strong, but the beard is absolutely lacking.

     "While the Quechua is docile, submissive and obedient, the
     Aymara is hard, vindictive, bellicose, rebellious, egotistical,
     cruel and jealous of his liberty; he is always ready to resort
     to force. In times of disturbance the factions have always
     recruited the bulk of their fighters from the Aymaras. Yet they
     seem lacking in will, except the will to hate all that is unlike
     themselves. The Aymara is also fanatical, and his is not the
     fanaticism of religion, but of vanity; he wants to cut a figure
     in the religious fêtes, which are not unlike orgies of idolatry,
     and are marked by alcoholic and moral excesses of every kind.

     "The plateaux are always cool, so the Aymara wears a
     comparatively warm costume, consisting of a thick woollen shirt
     and a poncho of many colours, with dark, narrow breeches coming
     just below the knee. The legs are bare, and the feet equally
     so, or are shod with sandals of raw hide. The Aymara, like the
     Tibetan, another dweller in plateaux, is insensible to cold;
     he sleeps bare-footed in the hardest frosts, and walks through
     freezing water or over ice without apparent inconvenience. On
     days of festival the Aymara replaces the poncho by a sort of
     tight-fitting tunic. The head is well covered with a large
     woollen bonnet, which protects the neck and ears. The women
     also wear a shirt or chemise of thick wool or cotton, over
     which they throw a mantle of coarse, heavy wool, striped with
     bright colours, and retained on the chest by a sort of spoon
     of silver or copper, the slender handle serving as a pin. A
     heavy woolle petticoat, pleated in front, and usually dyed a
     dark blue, covers the lower part of the body to the ankles. The
     Aymara woman wears several of these petticoats superimposed,
     which gives her a very bulky look about the hips. A somewhat
     unattractive hat completes the costume. Men and women alike
     having a perfect contempt for hygiene, all parts of the body are
     coated with a respectable layer of dirt. Their clothes, which
     they never put off, even to sleep, are worn until they fall into
     tatters, and usually give off a disagreeable ammoniacal odour.

     "The Aymara tongue differs from the Quechua; it is a harsh,
     guttural idiom, rather formless, but having conjugations. It
     is forcible and concise. The peoples conquered by the Quechuas
     learned the language of their conquerors; but the Aymaras
     retained theirs, and when the Spaniards conquered the country,
     the Aymaras, who had long been a subject race, were decadent and
     diminishing in numbers.

     "By the innumerable vestiges of building and the tombs
     near Lake Titicaca we may judge that this country was once
     thickly populated. But the plains afforded no refuge, and
     the inhabitants could not escape the forced recruiting which
     supplied the mining centres. At the time of Tupac-Amaru's
     insurrection the Aymaras, happy to reconquer their liberty, or
     perhaps merely to effect a change of masters and to satisfy
     their bellicose instincts, threw themselves into the revolt;
     whereupon war, sickness and famine considerably reduced their
     numbers. To-day they are estimated to be about 400,000 strong.

     "The Aymaras are divided into six tribes, according to the
     regions they inhabit. These are the Omasuyos, the Pacasas, the
     Sicasicas, the Larecajas, the Carangas, and the Yungas. The
     Aymaras of the provinces of Yungas, Larecaja, and Muñecas are
     lighter in tint, cleaner, more intelligent and less uncouth than
     the rest.

     "The Quechua race, whose numbers are greater, are found in
     many regions of Bolivia. The Quechua is lighter and yellower
     than the Aymara, and more of a Mongolian type. The features
     are irregular, the eyes black, the cheek-bones prominent; the
     narrow forehead is slightly protuberant, and the skull oblong;
     the mouth is wide and the nose massive. The stature is rather
     below the average, but there are tall individuals, who as a
     rule resemble the Aymara type. Solidly built, the Quechua looks
     a powerful and muscular man; but as from childhood both sexes
     are used to carrying extremely heavy burdens on the back they
     are not really very strong in the limbs, although the shoulders
     are very powerful. The Indian is an extraordinary walker; his
     legs of steel enable him to travel long distances in mountainous
     regions without the least fatigue. The women are even stronger
     than the men, their work being heavier, although they live
     practically the same life.

     "The Quechua costume consists of a coloured poncho, a tight
     woollen vest, and breeches rarely falling below the knee; the
     feet are shod with _ojotas_, or rawhide sandals, which take the
     shape of the foot. The woman wears a small woollen vest, cut
     low on the bosom; the skirt is the same as that worn by the
     Aymara women; and on a feast-day the Quechua woman wears all
     the petticoats she possesses, one over another. As they are all
     of equal length, each shows the edge of that below it, whence a
     gamut of various colours. The Quechua women are distinguished
     from the Aymaras chiefly by their hats, which are flatter.

     "The Quechua idiom is extremely rich and has been studied
     grammatically.

     "The Indian race has never been assimilated; as it was at the
     moment of conquest, so it is now; with the same language, the
     same customs, and the same miserable dwellings, hardly fit to
     shelter beasts. Isolated and solitary, or gathered into hamlets
     of a few cabins, they are merely conical huts of unbaked bricks,
     covered with thatch or reeds, and consisting of one small
     chamber, in which all the members of the family live in the
     completest promiscuity. These huts, in which the most wretched
     poverty and uncleanliness reign supreme, contain nothing that
     we should call furniture; as a rule there is no bed but the
     hardened soil or a few coverings of ragged sheepskin."[38]

       [38] See _Bolivia_, Wallé, South American Series.

[Illustration: INDIAN RAFTS ON LAKE TITICACA.

  Vol. I. To face p. 274.
]

The principal vice of the Indian is drink, both with men and women.
Perhaps it drowns reflection--race-sorrow. But, as in the case of
the Mexicans and all others of the brown race, this excess is not
the fault alone of the drinker. The producing of alcohol is, in many
cases, a lucrative trade for those above him, the large growers
of cane or other alcohol-yielding plants. Legislation, moreover,
against the evil, if it be necessary in other lands--for example,
the United States or Britain--is surely necessary with the ignorant
Indian.

The Indian is, as has been said, melancholy. He rarely laughs,
except when he is drunk. Perhaps this is partly due to the
melancholy environment of the Cordillera; perhaps the result of his
practical enslavement and the downfall of his race.

Melancholy and music are here akin. The Indians of Peru and Bolivia
have always been lovers of their national music--veritably the music
of the Andes. They have many curious musical instruments, many weird
songs and musical laments. Reed flutes or pipes and a species of
guitar are among the principal of these instruments. The Bolivian
Indian has a good ear for music, and, it is said, will execute any
piece of classical music with precision. The military bands of
Bolivia are mostly composed of Indians.

     "The Bolivian Indian is also remarkable for his ability to
     execute long passages on wind instruments. Even while dancing he
     can blow the _quena_ or the _zampona_, which shows the vigour of
     his lungs, a quality due to the altitudes in which he lives. Few
     inhabitants of ordinary altitudes could endure such a test.

     "Native music is usually soft, plaintive and naïve; its
     tremulous notes, often repeated five or six times in a minor
     key, swell and die in a monotonous rhythm which, to European
     ears, becomes tedious. Never do the instruments or the songs
     of the Indian suggest an idea of gaiety, but always a profound
     melancholy, the idea of extreme unhappiness and the wretchedness
     of a disordered mind.

     "However, for one reason or another the Indians are now rather
     improving their music; and in many parts one notes unmistakable
     efforts to imitate and adapt the foreign conceptions of music
     and to mingle them with their favourite native airs. The latter
     do not lose their melancholy, but are even more affecting.

     "Despite these improvements, which are not general, the
     traveller is always greatly impressed when, as he journeys
     through the mountainous regions, surrounded on every hand by
     gloomy masses without horizon, he hears, suddenly, at the
     fall of night, rising near at hand in the midst of a profound
     silence, the long mournful notes of the _quena_, like a long
     and profound complaint, which echo repeats in distant sobs.
     Sometimes the flute is accompanied by the measured taps of
     a drum or tambourine, and sometimes it accompanies a song,
     monotonous and guttural as the songs of the Arabs; sounds
     inspiring sombre thoughts and provoking a shudder of melancholy
     in the stranger who hears them for the first time. The _quena_,
     indeed, produces sounds of a sinister melancholy; one manner
     of playing it consists of introducing it into a great crock
     of earthenware pierced with a hole on either side so that the
     hands may be introduced; and when so played it yields notes of
     sepulchral sonority. In all the arsenal of human music it would
     perhaps be impossible to discover more doleful sounds.

     "When this primitive music seeks to interpret a comparatively
     calm and cheerful frame of mind it is certainly a little more
     inspiriting, but some of its notes are still like the moans of a
     stricken soul.

     "The native dances are for the most part common to both Aymaras
     and Quechuas. The most ridiculous and grotesque of these, on
     account of the extravagant costumes worn by the dancers, are
     the _Danzantes_, the _Huacas-Tocoris_, the _Pacoches_, the
     _Morenos_, the _Tundiques_ and others yet, such as the _Sicuris_
     and the _Chiriguano_.

     "This last is a war-dance; the dancers wear each the skin of a
     jaguar, or something resembling one; each carries a heavy stick;
     the music is harsh and warlike. The _sicuri_ is danced by a
     group of fourteen Indians, wearing petticoats of white cotton
     cloth; on the head of each is a hat adorned with long feathers,
     the whole having the shape of an umbrella; they wear tambourines
     at their girdles and play the _zampona_, using two instruments.
     The _huaca-tocoris_ or _toros danzantes_ is performed during the
     fêtes of Corpus. A wooden framework covered with hide vaguely
     represents a bull; in the back of the beast is a hole through
     which the dancer introduces his body; his face smeared with
     soot, and clad in the following costume: white breeches, an old
     coat, a red poncho, and a hat bearing a semicircular crown of
     feathers. To imitate a bull-fighter another dancer brandishes a
     wooden sword in one hand and waves a handkerchief with the other.

     "The commonest dance among the Indians is a slow, almost
     automatic _rondo_, the head continually rising and falling
     and turning from side to side. In another dance the dancers
     form couples, keeping their ground, and facing one another,
     accelerating their steps only at the end of each figure.

     "During Lent the majority of the natives do not employ any
     instrumental music, but, on the other hand, they attend
     nocturnal gatherings known as _chochus_, at which young people
     of both sexes dance round a cross and sing psalms. There is
     absolutely nothing edifying about these functions, those taking
     part in them displaying a most disconcerting cynicism. On Easter
     Day the Indians wear their gala costumes, and ornament their
     hats with flowers and ribbons; they make up for their forty
     days' silence, and fill the air with the sound of _quenas_,
     _sicus_ and tambourines. But even while dancing they are never
     gay; their sombre natures unbend only under the influence of
     drink.

     "Among the strange and savage customs of the natives, we must
     not forget to mention the fights with whips which take place
     in certain provinces on Good Friday. On the occasion of the
     procession of the Sepulchre the Indians build altars along
     the route of the procession. The latter takes place always at
     night. Once it is over the altars are demolished by two separate
     groups--the Huarcas and the Incas, who at once begin to strive
     for victory. The two groups then assemble in the public place or
     square, and lash one another with implacable ardour. Triumph or
     failure is a good or bad omen for the year's harvest.

     "Poetical songs, accompanied on the _quechua_, are known as
     _yaravis_. They are greatly appreciated by the natives. The
     Quechua _yaravis_ have been to some extent improved by the
     modern Bolivians. They are usually a species of round, with a
     good deal of repetition; each stanza has four to ten lines.
     These songs reflect the dreamy and sombre character of the
     race. Love is always their subject; a melancholy, plaintive and
     monotonous passion.

     "The Bolivian Indian usually provides for his modest needs
     in his own way; ignorant of the advantages of the division
     of labour, he weaves the cloth of his own garments--mantle,
     breeches, or vest--and makes his hat and sandals himself. His
     chief occupations are agriculture and stockraising; but he is
     indolent, thriftless, imprudent and, above all, an obstinate
     conservative; so he confines himself to growing a few potatoes,
     a little barley, _quinua_, or _oca_, just as much as he needs to
     keep him alive. The land, cultivated by the most primitive of
     means--for the Indian will never accept any innovation, however
     practical and excellent--is generally very limited in extent,
     unless the neighbourhood of a city of a mine calls for a greater
     production than usual. Moreover, thousands of Indians are taken
     away from' their fields by all manner of tasks--by the necessity
     of transporting merchandise, provisions, machinery, etc., on
     the backs of mules, asses, llamas and even men, in countries
     innocent of other means of transport, to the mines and factories
     established in barren and uncultivated regions.

     "Both the Aymaras and the Quechuas keep little herds of llamas,
     alpacas or sheep whenever possible, as their care calls; for
     less labour than the raising of crops. A few fowls and other
     birds give them eggs, a few pigs furnish leather, meat and
     fat; they have the wool of their llamas and sheep, and they
     utilize even the excrement of the former as a combustible, as
     the Tibetans do that of the yak. A mule or a donkey grazes round
     the Indian's hut. From the age of four or five years the Indian
     guards the little herd of swine belonging to his parents; a
     little later he grazes their sheep among the mountains, where
     by means of his _quena_, _zampona_ or _cicus_ he learns to play
     melancholy airs.

     "On the produce of his crops and his herds he lives in poverty,
     leaving the mountains or the plain only to exchange some of his
     products for coca or brandy. The woman is rarely idle; whether
     in the market, or loitering over her household tasks, or even as
     she walks, one sees her always spinning the wool of the llama or
     the sheep of which her garments are made.

     "The Bolivian Indian in general excels in carrying loads, in
     spite of the lack of tolerable highways, covering daily stages
     of twenty to thirty miles. The average load is 66 to 80 lb. With
     his shoulders free his speed and endurance are amazing; he will
     cover fifty miles a day for several days on end, and without
     feeling exhausted, unless for some reason he wishes to seem so.
     We have seen Indians follow or accompany the coach or the mule
     which bore us, at the trot, shouting or blowing a pan-pipe;
     and at night they seemed less eager to rest than our mules or
     ourselves.

     "The Indian is to-day little better off than he was under
     Spanish rule. Since the proclamation of Bolivar, which declared
     him capable of holding property, many Governments have passed
     laws intended to protect the Indian; but they have either
     remained ineffective or they have been overlooked and violated
     by the very officials whose duty it was to apply them."[39]

       [39] _Bolivia_, loc. cit.

The Cholo, or half-breed, race of the Cordillera--or indeed the
lowlands--is, after the Indian, the most numerous element in the
population. These folk unite the qualities of the Spaniard and the
aboriginal.

     "The Cholos of Bolivia possess excellent qualities. They are
     robust and well-built physically; they are courteous and
     intelligent, rapidly acquiring all sorts of knowledge; they
     are, as a rule, proud and courageous, and, like the Indians,
     make excellent soldiers. They are good industrial workers;
     many become foremen and artisans. But they are also, like the
     Indian race from which they have sprung, avid of pleasure, with
     a strong inclination to idleness and alcohol. They profoundly
     despise the Indians, whose worst enemies they are; and they have
     always retained the Indian's timidity or servility toward the
     white man. Like the Indians, they are often lacking in energy,
     will-power and commercial or agricultural initiative.

     "The Cholos, except in the poor and backward classes of society,
     are in no wise distinguishable, as to costume, from the white
     inhabitants. The women, or Cholas, many of whom are extremely
     pretty, are generally well made, with small hands and feet;
     their costume is conspicuous and characteristic. The Cholas of
     the more well-to-do classes are always extremely well shod,
     wearing high-laced boots with high heels, made of leather soft
     as a glove and of a light shade. These boots show off the foot
     and a shapely leg, clad in well-fitting stockings. The head is
     protected by a round hat of whitish felt, two black tresses
     falling down the back. On the shoulders they wear light shawls,
     white or of some other bright colour, of silk or other material,
     which covers a low-cut bodice worn over a short white pleated
     skirt, beneath which is a white petticoat edged with lace, which
     is slightly longer than the skirt. As the skirt is gathered on
     the hips, which are thus enlarged, and the bottom of the skirt
     is weighted, it sways as the wearer walks like the skirt of a
     dancer. The whole costume has a rather pleasing effect.

     "The Cholas of the lower classes wear the same hat, the same
     coiffure, and a skirt of heavy woollen stuff, gathered on the
     hips, but no laced petticoat. The legs are bare and the feet are
     shod with sandals or cheap shoes.

     "Hygiene is not always respected by the half-breeds of the lower
     classes, who are very superstitious. They bathe, it seems, only
     on odd dates, and more particularly on the 9th, 17th or 21st,
     otherwise they would be ill the rest of the year; and one must
     never take more than twenty-one baths in the year, or the same
     results would follow.

     "The Cholos are in the minority in the country districts, but
     live, as a rule, in the towns and cantons. Since they have
     participated directly and ardently in politics, they profess
     to live, if not for, at least by the State, and have a perfect
     passion for bureaucracy. In the towns and capitals the Cholos
     more especially enter the Army and the Church, and lately have
     also become schoolmasters. There are very distinguished men
     among the half-breeds, whose degree of education varies. At all
     times this class has furnished really remarkable statesmen and
     writers of talent.

     "On account of the many crossings which have taken place, and
     are still taking place, it is not always possible, without great
     perspicacity, to distinguish a member of the white race from
     one of the superior classes of half-breeds. All Bolivians are
     very much alike physically, and the singular yellowish tint
     to be observed in the cornea of the mixed race, a noticeable
     and tenacious characteristic of the Indian, and one that often
     persists to the third and fourth generation, at last entirely
     disappears. The colour of the skin is not a certain indication,
     for it depends upon the local conditions.

     "We are of opinion, and many agree with us, that the future of
     the half-breed race is henceforth assured; that in years to
     come, when it is still further improved by the admixture of
     fresh blood, it will play a very prominent and active part
     in the national life. Already the half-breeds, who are more
     numerous than the whites, and almost as numerous as the Indians,
     are beginning to accumulate capital and to fill important posts
     in commercial houses. A half-breed aristocracy is in process of
     formation, which, when it is more numerous and more wealthy,
     when it has lost a little of its indolence and timidity, and
     has acquired greater initiative and a more serious education,
     will no longer be content to take a secondary place. Little
     by little--and examples already exist--it will assume the
     direction of the great industrial and commercial undertakings,
     and we shall see it consolidating its numerical and financial
     superiority by assuming the political direction of the country,
     to the detriment of the whites."[40]

       [40] _Bolivia_, loc. cit.

I have dwelt thus lengthily upon the Indian races of the Cordillera
for the reason that they have been comparatively little studied,
and are indeed almost unknown to the outside world in general.
They are in reality a valuable folk, mainly because they alone can
perform sustained labour in the Cordillera, due to the condition of
climate and atmosphere. If they disappear--and they do not appear
to be increasing--these vast uplands might become uninhabited
wildernesses. They are not likely to increase until the economic
condition of their lives is improved, and, as a consequence, the
heavy mortality among infants arrested.

To suppose that the Indians of the Cordillera are incapable, or
even will be incapable, of receiving a higher civilization is to
fall into a sociological error. The governing classes of these
republics often assert this, however. But it will depend very much
how "civilization" is applied to them. They are capable of becoming
good mechanics and craftsmen, they are extremely careful and
painstaking, as the intricacy and exquisite finish often of their
native arts show; they imitate perhaps better than they initiate,
but they nevertheless display considerable resource. They will not
be herded into factories, if civilization consists in that. They are
independent, and prefer to work for themselves.

As to their numbers, if we take the combined population of Colombia,
Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia at, say, twelve to thirteen million
people, and deduct ten to twenty per cent. for the whites and
mestizos, we shall obtain approximately the number of these real
sons and daughters of the soil to-day, mainly upon the Cordillera.

The Cordillera of the Andes is, we might fancifully say, the great
banker of the West, the great guardian of gold and sliver, the
father of minerals, and the progenitor of the treasure of the
rocks. We have seen that Peru is a land fabulous for its mineral
wealth; Colombia, far to the north, has only lesser stores of
metals, precious or base; Ecuador has been but little favoured in
this respect, but nevertheless has a famed old gold mine; Chile
is markedly rich in almost every mineral. But Bolivia perhaps
surpasses all these. There was a famous Peruvian scientist and
traveller, of Italian extraction--Raimondi--who described the
plateau of Bolivia as "a table of silver supported by a column of
gold." The same might be said of Peru. In the Cordillera generally
we find gold in the lower districts, silver in the higher. It would
almost seem that the metals have some affinity with the climate. At
least the native Peruvian miner says that "the gold looks for the
warmth, the silver for the cold."

Thus in the cold and the bleakness of the high hills do we find the
white metal in Bolivia: we find, indeed, two white metals verging
upon the regions of perpetual snow--silver and tin.

The tin mines, indeed, were first worked for silver, and the tin
ores thrown away.

For the lore of silver-mining let us ascend to Potosi, the Silver
Mountain. Its summit rises in perfect sugar-loaf form to over
16,000 feet above the level of the sea. Upon the slopes of this
wonderful mountain, some 2,000 or 3,000 feet lower down, stands a
city, founded in 1545 by the adventurous Spaniards, with their keen
_olfato_, or instinct for gold and silver, and fifty years later
150,000 folk had their habitations there. For lodes and seams of
the richest silver ore lay here--native silver and others; and the
shell of the mountain quickly became honeycombed with shafts and
galleries. Of five thousand such, a thousand may be seen to-day.

All classes of adventurers flocked to Potosi. There were bankrupt
Spanish nobles, thinking by a lucky stroke, or with their name and
prestige, to recoup themselves; there were merchants, anxious to
obtain sudden wealth; gamblers, thieves, _demi-mondaines_ and all
else, and Potosi became a centre of prodigality, romantic adventure,
revelry and often disorder. Here Spanish _hidalgos_ vied with each
other in squandering fortunes in pleasure and ostentation, matters
which caused faction-strife among the bands into which the people
of the place were divided. The old chronicles of Potosi are very
interesting, revealing as they do the custom of those times, the
superstition, the chivalry and all else, which not even the high and
solemn environment of the Cordillera could dampen.

To-day an English mining company works upon the mountain, striving
to earn dividends for its shareholders. The silver is far from being
exhausted, but methods of recovery fell back; and the low value of
silver and the high rate of wage demanded by the miner were other
factors in decadence.

The Potosi mountain was not a possession of the Spaniard alone.
It has a metallurgical interest more remote. A traveller in the
Cordillera before the time of the Conquest might have seen, as he
approached the spot at night, a number of twinkling lights upon the
slopes. They were the fires of the little furnaces in which the
Indians, of the Incas, smelted the simpler silver ores, the winds of
the Cordillera furnishing the needful blast; and these furnaces
were called in Quechua Guayras, which word means "the wind." It is
said that at one time more than 15,000 of these little furnaces
were to be seen upon the Silver Mountain, which reared its desolate
slopes to heaven, but was a treasure-house of Nature.

[Illustration: ACONCAGUA, THE HIGHEST ANDINE PEAK, CHILE.

  Vol. I. To face p. 288.
]

It would not be possible here to dwell on the other great mines of
Bolivia.[41] The mines of Huanchaca, with their great installation
and considerable population, form a community of themselves, and
have produced literally thousands of tons of silver. In winter,
buried in snow, the place looks like a town of Northern Europe
or Canada. The ores are first sorted by women, who are expert
sorters of the grey argentiferous copper ores of the main lode.
At times of late years nearly half a million pounds sterling have
been distributed among the European shareholders of this important
concern. Sometimes in a single month as much as seven tons of silver
have been produced.

  [41] An excellent account will be found in _Bolivia_, loc. cit.

Silver to-day is less important than tin, however, which has become
the principal article of Bolivian export, wrested from the bleakest
places here in the Andes, as is the copper of Chile.

We have visited, in the Cordillera of South America, the highest
inhabited places on the face of the globe.

But south of Bolivia the Andes no longer offers a place for the
homes of mankind, for towns and populations, such as Nature has
provided in those vast regions we have traversed. The Cordillera
becomes a single chain or ridge, without intermediate valleys or
plateaux, and so continues for an enormous distance, lowering its
elevation by degrees towards the frigid regions of the southern
extremity of the continent, where its glaciers veritably run down
into the bosom of the ocean. Perhaps the Cordillera has sunk
here, as its "drowned" valleys--the fiords of the south seem to
indicate--sunk, split and shattered as if Nature had done enough in
this vast range running half across the globe.

If, however, the Chilean Cordillera does not offer an abiding place
for man, it nevertheless is the source of his comfort and wealth,
for the streams which flow from its summits irrigate the fields
and vineyards of Chile's fruitful vales and Argentina's productive
plains, bringing to being corn, wine and oil, and other things which
make glad the heart of man.

The Andes form the dividing-line between Chile and Argentina. The
water-parting was adopted as the boundary under the arbitration
of King Edward of Britain. A remarkable monument has been erected
in Uspallata Pass, a token that these two nations will enter into
conflict no more; a great bronze statue of Christ, on a huge
pedestal--El Cristo de los Andes--standing solitary and majestic
amid the eternal snows, looking out over the high places of the
mighty Cordillera.



INDEX


  Aguascalientes, 104

  Alligators, 137

  Almagro, 190, 241

  Alvarado, 65, 119

  Amazon, 209, 229

  Americans, 83, 94, 114, 142, 148, 149

  Andagoya, 156

  _Andenes_, 246

  Andes, 155, 160, 166, 209

  Antofagasta, 178

  Apaches, 104

  Araucanians, 194

  Archæology, 59, 69, 138, 157, 163, 164

  Areas, 33

  Arequipa, 177

  Argentina, 290

  Arica, 188

  Armchairs, stone, ancient, 157

  Arnica plant, 137

  Arts, native, 72

  Atahualpa, 236

  Ayacucho, 264

  Aymaras, 242, 270

  Aztecs, 13, 32, 57, 104, 160


  Bahamas, 41, 44

  Balboa, 63

  Bamboos, 159

  Bananas, 77, 104, 134

  Belize, 76

  Birds, 135, 137, 152, 159

  Bogata, 48

  Bolivar, 234, 266

  Bolivia, 20, 188

  Borax Lake, 188

  Brazil, 21, 48

  British Guiana, 21, 75

  British Honduras, 21, 75

  Brown labour 141, _see also_ Indians

  Buenaventura, 155

  Bull-fights, 144


  _Cacao_, _see_ Chocolate

  Cacti, 103, 134

  Cajamarca, 235

  Calendar stone, Mexican, 139

  Cali, 156

  California, 44, 147, 165

  Callao, 151, 166, 173

  Campeche, 136

  Carlota, Empress, 147

  Carnival time, 253

  Cathay, 40

  Cathedrals, 166

  Cauca Valley, 156

  Central America, 22

  Cerro de Pasco, 162

  Chihuahua, 104

  Chile, 20, 48, 164, 188, 266

  Chimborazo, 165, 218

  Chinese, 160

  Chocolate, 104, 134, 158

  Cholos, 170, 244, 282

  Cholula, 111

  Christ, statue of, 290

  Church of England, 33

  Church, Roman Catholic, 55, 66

  Coal, 133, 163, 207

  Cochrane, Admiral, 196, 264

  Coconuts, 77, 104, 134, 137, 158

  Coffee, 77, 104, 159

  Colluahuassi, 182

  Colombia, 47, 50, 67, 87, 151

  Colour line, 140

  Columbus, 34

  Concepcion, 196

  Concessionaries, foreign, 145

  Condor, 260

  Conquest of Peru, 237

  Copper, 247

  Cordillera, 152, 162, _see_ Andes

  Corinto, 81

  Cortes, 45

  Costa Rica, 84

  Cotopaxi, 218

  Cotton, 77, 145, 163

  Creation story, 66

  Cuba, 97

  Cuzco, 160, 223, 262


  Dances, Indian, 278

  Darien, 63

  Davila, 64

  Demerara, 21

  Diaz, 101, 140

  Doctorate, love of the, 169

  Don Quixote, 161

  Drake, 52

  Dress and morals, 175

  Dress, native, 254, 270

  Drink evil, 275

  Durango, 104

  Dyewood, 77


  Earthquakes, 69, 171, 196

  Ecuador, 151, 216, 151

  Edward, King, 20

  Elizabeth, Queen, 88, 166

  English in, 17-24, 75, 142, 180, 204, 205, 261, 288


  Fibres, 77

  Fishing, 137

  Foreigners in, 16, 115, 142, 204, 255

  Forests, _see_ Timber

  Fossils, 209


  Galapagos Islands, 158

  Game, 38

  Garcia-Moreno, 234

  Germans, 162, 204

  Gold, 48, 77, 84, 154, 164, 256, etc.

  Golden utensils, 236

  Government, 30

  Grau, 182

  Guadalajara, 136

  Guadalupe, 116

  Guahtemoc, 68, 120

  Guanajuato, 132, 104

  Guano, 154

  Guatemala, 43, 69

  Guayaquil, 151, 156

  Guayaquil-Quito railway, 220

  Guayas River, 156, 158

  Guianas, 21


  Hayti, 97

  Holy Alliance, 147

  Honduras, 68, 74, _see_ British Honduras

  Horse, the, 37

  Houses, native, 114, 141, 200, 225, 253

  Huacas, 247

  Huancavelica, 161

  Huanchaca, 289

  _Huascar_, 182

  Huayna Capac, 229

  Humboldt, 34, 217


  Inca roads, 223

  Incas of Peru, 13, 32, 57, 159, 229

  Indian folk, 13, 44, 51, 53, 57, 68, 101, 138, 163, 170, 243,
        249, 275

  Inquisition, 50, 167

  Iquique, 151, 180

  Irrigation, 176

  Isabella, Queen, 41, 50

  Iturbide, 147

  Ixtaccihuatl, 113


  Juarez, 140


  _Kosmos_ line, 162


  Labour, native, _see_ Indian folk, _also_ Peonage

  La Condamine, 218

  La Paz, 268

  Leguia, President of Peru, 167

  Lima, 166

  Llamas, 154, 259

  Lower California, 140


  Magellan, 43, 207

  _Maguey_, 134

  Malaria, 157

  Manabi, 157

  Mangroves, 155

  Maximilian, 147

  Mayas, 65, 138, 160

  Melancholy, Indian, 275

  Merida, 138

  Mexico, 20, 45, 98-150

  Mexico, city of, 113

  Mining, 51, 104, 132, 133, 160, 243, 258, 288

  Misti, 177

  Mitla, 60

  Monroe Doctrine, 148

  Montezuma, 106

  Morgan, 88

  Music, native, 163, 275


  Natives, _see_ Indians

  Negroes, 92

  Nelson, Admiral, 83

  Nezahualcoyotl, 60

  Nicaragua, 80

  Nicoya, 82

  Nitrate, 179

  _Noche Triste_, 117


  Oaxaca, 136

  _Oficinas_, nitrate, 180

  O'Higgins, 195, 201

  Oligarchies, 169

  Olives, 176

  Ollague, mountain, 188

  Orchids, 137

  Orizaba, 105

  Oroya railway, 166

  Oruro, 188

  Otumba, Battle of, 120


  Pachuca, 104, 132

  Pacific Ocean, 64, 139, 151-208

  Pampa, 181

  Panama, 43, 63, 73, 86, 87, 91, 155

  Panama Canal, _see_ Panama

  Panama hats, 157

  Pardo, ex-President, 167

  Patagonia, 207

  Paterson, 90

  Pedro de Candia, 154

  Peonage, 138, 141

  Peru, 20, 47, 151-265

  Peruvians, the, 168

  Philip II, 51

  Picture-writing, 66

  Pierola, ex-President, 167

  Pineapples, 138

  Pizarro, 47, 151, 236

  Poetry, Indian, 279

  Poetry, native, 279

  Poetry, Spanish American, 26

  Ponchos, 254

  Popocateptl, 113

  Population, 34, 95

  Portugal, 41

  Potosi, 104, 162, 269, 287

  Prat, 182

  Proletariat, 145

  Puebla, 136, 145

  Putumayo, 34


  Quechuas, 242, 270

  Quesada, 48

  Quetzalcoatl, 104

  Quiches, 65

  Quicksilver, 161

  Quinine, 137

  Quipos, 66

  Quito, 166, 215, 222


  Rafts, native, 159

  Revolution, 143, 170

  Roosevelt, President, 87

  _Rotos_, Chilean, 180

  Rubber, 77, 86, 104, 135


  Sacsaihuaman, 263

  Salvador, 78

  Sand-dunes, 176

  San Martin, 264

  Santiago, 193, 199

  Santo Domingo, 97

  Seals, 152

  Shiris, 223, 229

  Silver, 132, 162, 256

  Slavery, 148

  Sorata, 178

  _Soroche_, 209

  Southern railway of Peru, 177

  Spain, fall of, 264

  Spanish language, 24

  Stelae, 72

  Strikes, 145

  Sugar, 104, 163


  Tabasco, 136

  Tarapaca, 180

  Tehuantepec, 73

  Tennis, Aboriginal, 135

  Tenochtitlan, 113

  Teotihuacan, 59, 120

  Terrace-farming, 246

  Texas, 147, 148

  Texcoco, 116

  Textiles, native, 227

  Tiahuanako, 163

  Tidal waves, 174

  Timber, 86, 101

  Tin, 162, 188

  Titicaca lake, 163, 177

  Tlascala, 106

  Toltecs, 12, 139, 160

  Travel methods, 36, 37, 152

  Trujillo, 166

  Tumbez, 154

  Turkey, original home of the, 135


  United States, see Americans

  Unknown God, 61, 214

  Uynini, 188


  Valdivia, 48, 193

  Valparaiso, 151, 188, 197

  Venezuela, 21

  Volcanoes, 216


  Walker, American filibuster, 83

  Water power, 145

  Whymper, 217

  Wine, 176, 207

  Women, status of, 37, 115, 135, 143, 154, 163, 168, 202, 205,
        252, 274


  Yareta, 260

  Yellow fever, 157

  Yucatan, 138


  Zacatecas, 104, 132



THE ANGLO-SOUTH AMERICAN BANK, LIMITED

AN INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTION

The Bank has Branches in--

  GREAT BRITAIN
  FRANCE
  SPAIN
  UNITED STATES
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and it is represented in BRAZIL and throughout CENTRAL AMERICA by
its affiliated Institutions, THE BRITISH BANK OF SOUTH AMERICA, Ltd.

and

THE COMMERCIAL BANK OF SPANISH AMERICA, Ltd.

[Illustration: Bank Advertisement first half]

[Illustration: Bank Advertisement second half]


THE ANGLO-SOUTH AMERICAN BANK

LIMITED

_Head Office: 62 OLD BROAD STREET, LONDON, E.C.2_

The Capital and Reserves exceed £12,500,000

     ¶ CURRENT ACCOUNTS opened at Head Office on the usual terms of
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     ¶ DEPOSIT ACCOUNTS may be arranged for long or short periods,
     and interest allowed thereon at rates ascertainable on
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     ¶ FOREIGN EXCHANGE business is made a speciality, and particular
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     contracts, under which insurance may be effected against
     commercial loss resulting from exchange fluctuations.

     ¶ DRAFTS and LETTERS OF CREDIT are issued on all of the
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     usual terms.



  _Printed in Great Britain by_

  UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED

  WOKING AND LONDON


       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Minor typographical and punctuation errors have been corrected
without note. Irregularities and inconsistencies in the text have
been retained as printed.

The illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up
paragraphs, thus the page number of the illustration might not match
the page number in the List of Illustrations.

Mismatched quotes are not fixed if it's not sufficiently clear where
the missing quote should be placed.

The cover for the eBook version of this book was created by the
transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

Page 116: the transcriber has changed Chalpulepec to Chalpultepec.

Page 229: for ease of reading, the transcriber inserted a new
paragraph break where there was none, to begin a block quote.

'was rapidly declining in health. "But his mind did not share the
ills'





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